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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Tar Valon: First Sighting


Hallia
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Wonder.  That is what Hallia felt as Tar Valon coalesced in her field of view.  As the party rode closer, the details of the buildings became clear.  It was so beautiful, especially compared to the starkness of the borderland towns and villages she was more familiar with.  Approaching from the North, they started over one of the many bridges connecting the island with the rest of the surrounding land.  The intricacy with which the bridge was constructed was awe-inspiring. 

 

Continuing down the streets of Tar Valon, Hallia could hardly tear her eyes from some of the buildings.  They’re amazing, so realistic!  With a pang of sorrow, she wished her mother could be there with her.  Laeral had been an important part of her life, a source of strength for her to draw on when she was unsure or frightened.  I will make you proud, Mother.  I will become Aes Sedai.  I will not fail you again.  Frowning, she stubbornly scrubbed the corner of her eye where a tear had formed.

 

The party reached the stables and dismounted, grooms and stable boys approached to take the horses away.  The Yellow Aes Sedai who had accompanied her drew her along towards the Tower as servants appeared to take care of their belongings.  Hallia's heart was in her throat as she was ushered into the Tower, memories coming back of the few conversations she and the Aes Sedai had engaged in on the trip from Kandor about what a novice could expect.  She had not been told much beyond that it would be difficult, meant to ensure a woman was tough enough to become Aes Sedai.  This is it, no turning back now.  I hope I am strong enough to do this.

 

“Don’t worry child, they will tend to your things, and I will send you with an Accepted to the Mistress of Novices.  She will see to you from there.”  With a smile, she tenderly patted the girl’s shoulder.  “I knew your mother for many years, she would be proud of you.  I think you will surprise yourself if you work hard.  Good luck.”  With that, the Aes Sedai stopped a passing Accepted with an order to see Hallia to the office of the Mistress of Novices.  

 

The Accepted issued a deep curtsy to the Aes Sedai and motioned for Hallia to follow her.  Following the Accepted deeper into the Tower, she twisted a tendril of hair that escaped the ribbon tying the rest of it back.  After some turns and few flights of stairs, the other girl stopped in front of a door.  With a knock they waited; the older girl knew what to expect and the other waited anxiously for the door to open.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Servants with the Flame of Tar Valon on their uniforms bowed their way out of Valeri's office.  She thanked them and nodded her head in acknowledgement.  They had just dropped off a load of white novice dresses, fresh from the wash.  She had let them do their job and stack them in her cabinet for new recruits.  Clerks had dropped off a pile of letters from families of novices and Accepted for her to go through.  She sat down after they left, ready to sift through the letters when there was a knock on her door.  Carefully, she stacked the letters in a drawer on her right.

 

Embracing the Source very lightly, she opened the door with a tendril of Air.  There was an Accepted standing next to a young girl with no uniform of the White Tower to speak of.  A new novice, then.  "Thank you, Adelaide, you may return to your duties."  The Accepted curtsied and walked away.  She smiled at the young lady at the door.  "Come in, child, take a seat.  I am Valeri Sedai, the Mistress of Novices.  I will be your guide during your training here.  Please, tell me how you came to the White Tower."

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Hallia’s eyes widened as the door opened of its own accord.  She must be using the Power!  That’s amazing, and I’ll be able to do it one day, Light willing!  The door opened to reveal a woman seated behind a large desk.  The Accepted closed the door behind her as she departed, leaving Hallia alone with the woman.  Hallia stepped into the room at the request, dropping into a curtsy before taking a seat in front of the desk. 

 

“My name is Hallia Shessair, Valerie Sedai, from Kandor.  I am from a small village not far from Canluum.  There was a Trolloc raid where I…I…lost my mother to them.  She was a wonderful healer, and I was training to be like her, but I wasn’t good enough to save her.” 

 

Pausing for a moment to gather herself, she continued to relate the story of how the Yellow Aes Sedai, a friend of her mothers, had collected her and brought her so far from home after testing her to find out whether or not she could channel.  “And so I joined Carella Sedai’s party, and we made for Tar Valon.  We just arrived, and Carella Sedai sent me with that young woman, Adelaide, to see you.  I will do anything asked of me; I want to become Aes Sedai one day.”

 

Hallia clasped her hands together in her lap, nervously waiting to see if she would be allowed to become a Novice.  Resisting the urge to bite her lip, she managed to keep her eyes on the ageless face before her.

Edited by Hallia
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Valeri listened to Hallia's story of how she came to the White Tower.  The girl was from Kandor.  Good.  That might be something they can relate to later, being from the Borderlands.  Then she explained at the Trolloc raid in her town and how a Yellow had come in, but not before Hallia's mother died.  Valeri nodded.  Losing one's mother was always a terrible thing.  If this girl lived to attain the shawl, she would experience more losses, assuredly.  "I am very sorry to hear about your mother, child," she said.  She was, however, glad that Hallia didn't seem to blame the White tower for being too late to save her, but she kept that thought to herself.  Knowing how her mother was a healer, and that she had tried to heal her while she had the chance, there was a good chance this girl would choose the Yellow when the time came.  

 

"I am glad that you decided to come to the Tower.  But tell me, have you been tested for the ability to channel?"

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Hallia flushed slightly; in her haste to rush through the rest of her story after her mother was killed she had forgotten to mention to the Mistress of Novices that she had indeed been tested.  The pain of losing her mother was just so fresh.  So much had happened; it felt like much more than a couple of weeks had passed since the fateful raid on her village.  I miss you, Mother… “Yes Valeri Sedai, I have.  At least, that is what Carella Sedai said after she showed me a firedrop and had me concentrate on it.  I thought I saw something, almost a flickering, and she told me I could learn to channel.  Is there anything else I need to do in order to find out?  I am prepared to do what is needed.”

 

I’ll do whatever it takes to become Aes Sedai.  At the very least, I want to learn their Healing!

 

Grateful for the kind words from the Aes Sedai, Hallia smiled.  The calming influence this woman exuded reminded her of her mother.  The familiar feeling helped Hallia to relax, her nervousness fading.  As she took a deep breath she felt a different emotion take hold in the pit of her stomach: excitement.  It looked hopeful that she would be allowed to become a Novice.  Carella Sedai had mentioned in the nightly talks they had on the trip to Tar Valon that it was a difficult journey lasting some years.  Hallia was willing to pay the price, especially if it meant learning new ways to help others. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Valeri nodded, keeping her smile for the girl as she explained her story.  "Carella Sedai is right, child.  That flicker means that you can be taught to channel.  Now..."  Valeri stood up and retrieved the Novice Book.  She flipped through the pages until she found the first blank spot for a new name.  "This is the Novice Book. It contains all names of novices enrolled in the White Tower since its founding.  Even my name and Carella Sedai's name are in here.  But before I add your name, I must tell you of the life of a novice.  It is not easy.  Novices are expected to do chores, study all subjects, and the One Power.  You will always be busy, unless you are given a free day.  If you are seen without anything to do, you will be given something.  You must adhere to all the White Tower's rules unless you want to visit my office for punishment.  And while I may be here to enforce the rules, I am also here to offer you comfort and guidance if you should need it.  Even after hearing all that, are you sure you are ready to enter the White Tower as an initiate?"

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Hallia felt a warm glow of satisfaction as Valeri confirmed that she could indeed learn to channel.  She watched curiously as Valeri Sedai stood and picked up a rather large book.  As the woman explained what being a Novice entailed, putting emphasis on the difficult years ahead, Hallia felt more and more excited.  It sounds like hard work, but I can do this!  And I’ll get to learn so much more than just how to channel from the sound of it. Besides, where else would I go now that Mother is gone?   At the end of her explanation, the Mistress of Novices asked Hallia if she was sure she wanted to enter the Tower. 

 

Hallia paused for a moment; she already knew she was committed to becoming an Aes Sedai but she wanted to gather her thoughts before replying.  This decision would define who she was as a person and control her fate for the foreseeable future.  It was not one to take lightly.  “I understand Valeri Sedai, and I am ready to have my name put in that book.  I will work hard, and I will become Aes Sedai!”  She leaned forward in her chair as she spoke, a passionate gleam in her eye.  “Is there anything besides my name that you need from me?  Oh, and will I need to change my clothes? I saw a lot of other girls wearing all white on our walk through the Tower.”  Upon realizing that she was rambling in her excitement Hallia flushed slightly, toying with the end of her ponytail.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Valeri smiled at the girl's enthusiasm.  So many girls were enthusiastic about being put into the novice whites, yet so many never made it to Accepted.  She hoped this girl had discipline to go along with her enthusiasm.  "For the book, I'll need your name, age, and place of birth.  You will receive your uniform after I have that information in the book.  After that, I'll have another novice or an Accepted show you to your room."

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Hallia smiled, nodding her head in understanding as the Aes Sedai poised a quill over the open book page. “Yes Valeri Sedai.  My name is Hallia Shessair.  I am sixteen years of age and I am from Blackmount in Kandor.”  She stopped then to spell it aloud for the woman.  She then settled back in the chair and waited as the woman entered her information into the tome. 



When Valeri Sedai had finished Hallia sat forward again, not sure if she should stand or wait to be dismissed.  “I won’t need any of the things I brought with me, will I? I’m pretty sure I heard Carella Sedai sending them somewhere, I’m just not sure where exactly.”  She went through the rather small list of things she’d brought with her from Kandor.  Aside from clothing there were a few extra ribbons, a book and a pouch with a few different herbs in it that she used in case of emergencies.  The last was a gift from her mother when she’d started teaching her the healing arts in earnest.  Of all the belongings she possessed she would miss that the most.

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