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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Introduction to Saidar: Lesson Four


Leala Sedai
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Aureli opened the classroom door as her covered basket dangled on her left arm.  She needed no servant this time, thank the Light.  And because all she needed was this basket, she hadn't come too early, and a few of her students followed her in.  She smiled as they filed in with her.  She set the basket on the large teacher's desk and waited for the rest to file in.  They were all chattering, excited for what they would learn today.  Some were nervous, scared of the new things they would be doing.  Others were excited to see what else a channeler could do.  When they were all inside, Aureli stood up to begin the class.

 

"Welcome to your last class in this introductory course, class.  After today, your lessons will be much more challenging, but you have all shown that you are ready to handle what is to come next.  Today, we will study Earth, Fire, and Spirit.  As this is our last class together, this will be your last chance to ask me any questions or present any concerns you may have."

 

With that announcement, Aureli moved on.  "We will study Earth first.  Earth has many uses.  It can detect mineral ores in the earth, help plants grow during unruly weather, detect faultlines, and many other things.  But today, we will try the second thing I mentioned."  A few attentive novices' eyes lit up.  "Helping plants grow.  More specifically, we will be helping a rosebud bloom."  

 

Uncovering the basket on the desk, Aureli showed them the rosebuds resting there.  "This class always begins with imagining yourself as a rosebud opening to the sun, and it always ends with helping an actual rosebud do the same."  She picked up one of the rosebuds.  "You see, these rosebuds are so tightly closed that we can't even see its color.  But, watch closely."

 

Aureli embraced Saidar and slowly took out three weaves of Earth and wove them just so, letting them settle on the rosebud.  Slowly, it opened, and the class saw a white rose opening before them.  She set the rose down and picked up another bud.  "Once more.  Pay attention."  She showed them the weave with the same slowness, and a bright red rose bloomed for them.  "Now.  Take one rosebud.  Just one.  Then, try the weave for yourself.  Remember, you can always ask me for help."  She hooked the handle of the basket onto her arm and had the girls pick out their own rosebud.  She watched them carefully as they tried the weave.  She went through the classroom, helping those that needed it, and she was sure to praise each and every one of them.  

 

"If you find yourself using Water or Air a little easier, just remember that women tend to be stronger in those elements than these.  Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult.  Many things in life worth doing are difficult.  But now we will work with Fire.  Before we do, however, I must tell you one rule.  You must never...ever draw the heat out of a fire using Fire.  We use either Water to douse it, Air to snuff it out, or Earth to smother it.  But never use Fire to draw the heat out.  You will be severely burned, no "if"s, "and"s, or "but"s.  You will be hurt.  Does everyone understand?"  She paused to make sure that everyone had gotten that.  When she was sure they had, she moved forward.

 

"Good.  We will practice the simplest weave with Fire: lighting a candle. A single thread of Fire is all we need.  And just a small one.  Remember, this is a candle, not a fireplace, and not a bonfire."  Aureli took out a candle from the basket to demonstrate.  Embracing the One Power again, she wove a small thread of Fire and curled it around the wick of the candle.  The wick came to life with a small flame that sparked and danced to life, but eventually settled.  "All you need to do is wrap that one little thread around the wick.  And to douse it, the same move is used with Water."  Pulling out a small thread of Water, she wrapped it around the flame, and the candle went out with a hiss.  "Now it's your turn," she said with a smile.  

 

Instead of walking through the classroom as she had done earlier, she handed the basket to the novice on the front row and had her take one and pass it to the next girl to hand them out.  When everyone had a candle, she collected the basket and set it on her desk again.  She watched her students intently.  None tried to draw heat out, which was certainly good.  She helped those who asked for it, and a few who needed it without asking.  When everyone had lit and doused their candles, she passed the basket around again, this time to have the students put their candles back in it.  When all the candles were taken up, she moved on.

 

"The last of the Five Powers is Spirit.  While it is not an element of action like the others, it is an element of the mind.  For example, one can set wards with it, it is needed for Healing, and you can shield someone from the One Power with it.  The weaves with Spirit are too advanced for our class today, but I can still demonstrate.  I will show you the ward against eavesdropping."  Instead of asking for volunteers, Aureli picked one novice from the front of the class, and one from the back.  "All you need do is talk about breakfast this morning."  The girls started talking nervously, but when the nerves turned to giggles, she wove the ward around them and turned to the class.

 

The class gasped when the two, who were still obviously talking and giggling stopped making noise.  "As you can see, we can see them, but not hear them.  And they cannot hear us either."  The pair giggled even more when they realized that Aureli was talking, but they couldn't hear her.  

 

She let the weave dissipate and repeated what she had told the others to the two novices as they took their seats again.  After they wee seated, all the novices were still chattering on about the weave and what else they could do with it.  She reminded them that while they couldn't use the weave today, the classes were designed to bring out their potential with their strength and their control, and sooner than they knew it, they would be tackling very complicated weaves.  

 

"Now, we've only studied the very basics of Saidar and what it can do, but now you have the necessary tools to continue on.  You know the nature of Saidar, and the Five Powers as well.  I'll remind you that novices are not allowed to channel without permission for a reason.  Even though you know a few weaves now, and they are simple for you to do, if you do them wrongly, or too strongly, you can hurt yourself or those around you.  Just keep in mind those names we looked at from our second lesson.  It's because of that, that if you are caught channeling without supervision, the punishment will be harsh."  She paused to let it sink in, and to change the mood a bit.  "Now, if you have any questions about this class or one before it, I will be in this classroom for a few more minutes.  Class dismissed."  Aureli took her seat behind the teacher's desk to address questions as the girls filed out.

 

Aureli Yenda

Accepted of the White Tower

 

OOC:  RP your arrival, reactions to the lessons, trying out the new elements, and just general reactions to the class.

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  • 1 month later...

Kira ran trying to keep Aes Sedai calm, but at the same time she was excited.  She knew that she would beat Hallia to class today.  She slowed as she neared the classroom and saw Aureli entering the room with a basket.  Kira walked in and took a seat, smiling as she realized Hallia wasn't here yet.  She turned to face the door and flashed Hallia a grin as she entered and Hallia took a seat beside her.  Kira turned and waited patiently for the lesson to begin.

 

Kira listened intently as Aureli described the uses of the Earth element.  She watched as Aureli used it to make the rosebud bloom and gasped as the flower opened.  It never ceased to amaze her the things that the One Power could be used for.  Aureli repeated the weave a second time and then passed out the rosebuds for the novices to practice.

 

Kira accepted her rosebud and waited until she was given permission to embrace Saidar.  She allowed Saidar to fill her, feeling the joy that often comes with it.  She could understand why Saidar was addicting.  It always felt so good.

 

Kira attempted the weave, but Earth was more difficult to work with.  She eventually was able to form the weave and place it on the rose bud and a red rose beamed out at her.  Kira smiled as Aureli congratulated her.

 

"Excuse me," Kira said. "Are we allowed to keep the flower?" Kira asked smiling.  The flower would be a good reminder of her successes.

 

Kira then watched as Aureli showed them how to light a candle and explained the dangers of drawing heat out of fire.  A brief smirk came to Kira as she thought of several of the novices without eyebrows, but the smirk quickly vanished as Aureli gave her a stern look.  Aureli passed her the basket and Kira took out a candle and passed the basket to Hallia.  Again, Kira awaited permission and then practice the weave.  Fire, like Earth, was harder for her to use, than Water or Air, and Kira was really excited when she was allowed to use a weave of Water to douse the flame.

 

Kira was really excited to see the next weave.  She wasn't sure how Spirit would work, but when Aureli told them that she would be showing them the weave to ward against eavesdropping, she became excited.  This weave would be very useful.  Kira watched intently as Aureli formed the weave around two novices and gasped as their voices suddenly vanished.  It was absolutely amazing.  Kira smiled, but frowned as she realized this would be their last lesson with Aureli.

 

Kira stood as Aureli dismissed the class and faced Hallia. "One moment, please." Kira said to her and approached Aureli.

 

"Thank you Aureli for teaching us," Kira said, offering a curtsy.  Kira then rejoined Hallia as they left class.

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Hallia rushed down the hall, torn between wanting to get to class on time and maintaining the serenity that seemed so easy for the Aes Sedai.  As she entered the classroom she saw Kira already there and grinned, shaking her head as she made her way to the empty desk next to the other girl.  Normally she would have taken the time to get everything needed for note taking ready on her desk but upon seeing the basket Aureli’s desk she straightened, curious to see what this lesson would hold.

 

 

Like the rest of the class Hallia perked up at the announcement that this was their last introductory course.  A tingle of pride went through the girl as Aureli continued the lesson.  At the mention of helping a plant to grow Hallia’s interest was piqued even more due to her love of plant life.  Hallia selected a bud from the basket as the Accepted walked between the rows and then embraced Saidar, cupping the bud in her hands.  Concentrating on the weaves, she channeled, causing the bud to blossom into a lovely yellow rose.  Hallia looked over at Kira’s own bright red rose, smiling at their success.

 

 

As the rest of the students finished getting their rosebuds to bloom they all settled down to listen to the next part of the lesson.  Hallia nodded in understanding at Aureli’s warning about drawing heat out of a fire. That doesn’t sound good at all…  She took the basket from Kira, selecting a candle before passing it on to the next girl.  Embracing Saidar was easy now, taking much less time than it originally had.  She channeled carefully, just a small thread of Fire which she looped around the wick that caused it to burst into a tiny flame.  Hallia felt a glow of satisfaction that matched the little flame before dousing the candle with a thread of Water.  As the basket made its way back around she slipped hers inside before passing it back to Kira, who passed it back to the Accepted.

 

 

 

 After Aureli finished explaining about Spirit and what she was going to do Hallia stood nervously as Aureli asked her to before turning to face the girl in the back of the class.  When she saw that it was Dwyn who stood Hallia felt much more at ease, a smile crossing her face.  At her request the girls began to chat about breakfast this morning.  They kept the conversation light and then both giggled when they saw Aureli’s mouth moving but no words coming out.  “That’s amazing isn’t it Dwyn?  I can’t wait until we can do it!”  When the Accepted let the weave drop Hallia and Dwyn retook their seats and Hallia looked over to Kira “That’ll be fun to learn, won’t it?”  She murmured softly to the other girl.  With a final warning Aureli dismissed the class and Hallia felt a moment of sadness that they wouldn’t be taught by the friendly Accepted any longer.  As she made her way out she curtsied deeply to the young woman and smiled “Thank you for teaching us.”  Hallia waited a moment outside the door for Kira to speak with Aureli before the two hurried on to their next engagement.

Edited by Hallia
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  • 2 months later...

When Aureli dismissed the class, she felt a little sad in seeing them go.  She'd likely see a few in other classes, but each class had its own spirit.  This class would never meet again for the same reason again.  This class would never assemble the exact same way.  In a way, she had given them the metaphorical wings they would need to overcome fears and shortcomings.  And even though she couldn't spend a lot of time with each one individually, she grew attached to her students.  So, when Kira and Hallia turned to her and thanked her personally for teaching them, she couldn't help but beam at the both of them.  Any attempt to keep the Aes Sedai mask that Accepted were expected to practice faded away, and she burst into a full smile.  "You're very welcome.  And I thank the both of you for being my students.  Good luck in the rest of your studies."

 

She waved at them and watched as her students strode through the door.  She closed it and looked back on the classroom.  She cleared her throat that had suddenly started to tighten.  She liked teaching.  Saying good-bye to her students was always hard for her, though.  She took a deep breath, told herself that they would be fine without her, and started to clean up.  It didn't take very long.  The classrooms in the White Tower were always left very clean, even after a lively class like the one that had just finished.  Now, with her full basket, she left the room and found herself in a good mood.  A new class would be starting soon, and she had her own studies to conduct.

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  • 4 weeks later...

 

Ariani had walk around the corner, just as Aureli had disappeared inside the classroom. She wasn't late, she was never late. She was almost 

always at class before the instructors arrived. Today, she had taken a little extra time to stop and watch one of the halls that she had never been 

allowed access to. Her curiosity had been killing her lately, though, and there were days when she felt as if her will was weakening. What secret 

was that big door hiding? She did her best to shrug the thought off as she entered the classroom.

 

After the last student found their seat, Aureli began explaining Earth and things that it can be used for. Ariani had decided that she would pay extra 

attention to this lesson, partly because they would be discussing elements that men were typically stronger in and partly because she did not want a 

repeat of the Water class. 

 

Aureli took a rosebud from the basket on her desk and Ariani noticed the glow about her as she embraced Saidar. She pulled three weaves of Earth 

and laid them on the flower, and slowly the petals opened, revealing a white rose. 

 

"This would have been useful back home on the farm," Ariani thought to herself as she watched Aureli open another rose, this time red.

 

When Aureli brought Ariani the basket, she picked out her rose and sat it on the desk. She looked up nervously at the Accepted standing over her, and 

was given an encouraging smile. Embracing Saidar was much easier now than it had been before, and Ariani had finally began believing that she was actually 

doing these things, that they weren't some trick. Earth....she pulled out three weaves of the element, finding it extremely easy to manipulate. Earth wasn't anything 

like Water had been. It seemed, oddly enough, more malleable and much easier for her to control. She gently laid the weaves on the flower and just a moment later, 

a soft pink rose bloomed. She released Saidar, proud of herself and letting it show. Hers had been one of the first to open.

 

The next element was Fire, and Aureli demonstrated it by weaving a tiny strand of the element around a candlewick. She doused the flame shortly 

afterwards, with a thread of water. Water, was not Ariani's friend. She had had a fit with it in the last class. Eventually, the basket was passed to her 

and she took out a candlestick. Embracing Saidar once more, she soon forgot about the embarrassment in the last class. She pulled a tiny weave of Fire, 

rather she tried to. She felt clumsy with this weave, even more so than she had with Water. She tried again, and this time managed to form the tiny weave 

but struggled to get it around the wick. She cursed under her breath and tried it again.....and again...and just when she was about to shout some words that 

she was sure would get her a one way ticket out of the Tower, the wick lit and a tiny fire danced on the tip. Now to put it out. She remembered that she couldn't 

use Fire to put out a flame, and Aureli had used Water. Ariani pulled a thread of water, finding it just a tiny bit easier this time, and after struggling for just a moment, 

she was able to lay it around the flame and extinguish it. She released Saidar and slumped back in her seat. 

 

"I'm going to sleep well tonight," she said to no one in particular. The ones that heard her looked surprised that she had said anything at all. She added her 

candle to the basket as Aureli continued with the next segment of the class.

 

Spirit was demonstrated by having two of the novices stand in front of the class and talk about breakfast. As they talked and giggled, Ariani noticed Aureli 

embracing Saidar again. The girls continued talking, but soon their voices were inaudible as Aureli wove an eavesdropping ward around them. The class 

couldn't hear the girls and the girls couldn't hear the class. Ariani thought that she would find this particular weave useful later on, when she had had a class on 

Spirit. For now, they weren't to attempt the weave. Aureli also explained the other uses for the element. 

 

The class ended with Aureli reminding them not to channel unsupervised, and a quick recap of everything that they learned. It suddenly hit Ariani that this would 

probably be the last time that she sat in any of Aureli's classes. This one was only an introductory course. When she left, she made sure to stop and let Aureli know 

how much she enjoyed her class. 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

“Fish guts!” Ellisha cursed as a loud ‘thump’ connected with her backside. The Mistress of Kitchens had a strong arm and a keen eye for tom foolery it seemed. The lean brown haired Novice had tried to find ways to cheat the system, but had so far received mixed results. She was into the second week of her punishments – given to her by the stern faced Mistress of Novices – for an earlier prank she had pulled with ice peppers.

 

“If I ever catch you slacking off again, it’ll be more than this ladle you’ll be getting!” The Mistress of Kitchens barked as Ellisha scurried away from the weapon’s reach. She’s seen the woman use that thing to do everything – except stirring soup like its intended purpose. Ellisha grumbled to herself as she deposited the clean circular dish that she had pretended to be scrubbing for the better half of an hour into a tray along with the rest. It might have been a bit -too- obvious, she decided as she gave the firmly rounded woman another quick glance.

 

Her mandatory lessons will be starting soon, and she was looking forward to learning new things with the One Power, but perhaps more so just to get away from the stench of the kitchens. She would be glad when her two weeks punishments were over. She was beginning to run out of ways to pretend to work without the Mistress of Kitchens catching on and giving her a beating. When the wall clock in the room adjacent hers chimed twice for the hour, Ellisha threw down her white leather washed apron and bolted for the door before the large stocky woman could raise a finger to stop her.

 

She raced back to her quarters; up and down flights of stairs, between and through corridors, until she reached a familiar hallway marked with white polished marble walls and coloured floor tiles. She pushed open her door and grabbed the leather satchel that she had prepped before she had gone down for her morning work shift, returning outside when she had gathered everything needed. She gave her small wardrobe a sideways glance; considering if she should change into a fresh set of Novice whites, but decided not bother. Be one less thing to wash anyway.

 

Closing the door behind herself, she noticed Venca doing the same, one door down from hers. She smiled as she noticed Ellisha standing there, but was followed by a small furrow of her eyebrows which spoke of her disapproval of Ellisha’s dress sense.  
“You really should-”
“Save it,” Ellisha snapped, swinging the leather satchel over one shoulder as she strode along the corridor along with some of the other Novices in her class. A few seconds later, Venca joined her side; pointedly not looking down at Ellisha’s grimy, soot covered clothes.

 

A bemused expression crossed Ellisha’s face as she observed some of the other Novices going the same way as they.  A few were obviously trying to play Aes Sedai; sliding along the marble floor tiles and holding masks of serenity that would’ve done a stone wall proud for the lack of emotions. Of course, most of the Novices haven’t quite got the second part right yet, looking -for the moment- like they instead have a stick rammed up their arse – holding on to perpetual grimaces.

 

Ellisha rolled her eyes skyward. Fools, she thought, eyeing one particularly young, black haired Novice who stumbled awkwardly as her foot got entangled on the hem of her skirts. Ellisha had never been particularly fond of Aes Sedai before she became a Tower initiate. Now she thought about, one could say she still wasn’t fond of them.

 

Unlike most other people; who feared the Aes Sedai because of their ability to channel the One Power, Ellisha disliked the sisters for the way they conduct themselves. She wasn’t sure exactly what happens in those things they called Ter'angreal, that the White Tower used to test new initiates to become Accepted or full sisters. But whatever it was, the stone rings seem to -take- away part of the woman that enters them; leaving behind a distant memory of that same woman, only now wrapped in layer of inhuman coldness.

 

No, these Novices still had a long way to go before they became full Aes Sedai.

 

A chilling thought ran down her back as Ellisha considered if she herself will one day become one of those things; whether she will be as dead and as emotionless. It was a thought best put away for another time, she decided as her footsteps hastened and passed by a few more Novices trying their hand – or foot – at gliding.

 

She entered the small familiar classroom which had a slight flowery scent to it today. As always, Aureli was sitting at her table at the front; the black haired Accepted studying the stream of Novices as they entered to fill the empty desks and chairs. A large woven basket lay on top of the front table and a few of the girls gave curious looks towards it. Ellisha found her usual spot at the back, along with Venca.

 

The Accepted stood up and began to speak.

 

“Welcome to your last class in this introductory course, class. After today, your lessons will be much more challenging, but you have all shown that you are ready to handle what is to come next.” Ellisha noticed a few of the Novices sit up straighter; heartened by the woman’s words of encouragement.

 

“Today, we will study Earth, Fire, and Spirit.” She paused then began her lesson.

 

“First we will study earth.” She said as she twirled a single piece of chalk in her hand. “Earth has many uses: It can detect mineral ores in the earth, help plants grow during unruly weather, detect fault lines and so on.” She stopped twirling the piece of chalk and walked towards her table. “But today, we will try the second thing I mentioned. Helping plants grow. More specifically, we will be helping a rosebud bloom.” A few Novices perked up eagerly, and Ellisha raised another eyebrow.

 

Single hand sweeping over the basket, the Accepted drew back the covers and revealed a row of closed rosebuds sitting inside it. “This class always begins with imagining yourself as a rosebud opening to the sun,” she said as she picked up one of the buds from the stack. That was not -entirely- true, as Ellisha had recently found out. With the snatches of conversation she had managed to get with a few of the Accepted – and even an Aes Sedai – she had found that there were many ways to embrace and channel the One Power. “Just like we are all individuals.” The Novice rosebud exercise was taught to all Novices just because it was the easiest to learn, though most Aes Sedai tended to develop their own unique styles eventually. “-helping an actual rosebud do the same.” Ellisha caught before the Accepted told them to watch her very carefully.

 

The woman embraced Saidar; the glow of the One Power surrounding her as weaves of brown like the ones she saw last week appeared from around Aureli. Slowly, they wrapped themselves around the tip of the rosebud; Small intricate weaves settled inside the rosebud just so. The bud wavered then, with hesitant slowness, began opening its peddles to the room. A rose of snowy white, blossomed and basked the sun’s light from the windows; stretching its flower like a person stretching its limbs.    

 

The Accepted put down the flower and picked up another one. “Once more. Pay attention.” Again, the Accepted demonstrated the weave and Ellisha, along with the rest of the class watched intently as another rose; this one a deep crimson red, opened its peddles like the one before. Cries of ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s accompanied the Accepted’s motions as she settled the fully blossomed flower back on the table. “Now you try,” she said as she began walking around the classroom, handing out each Novice a single rosebud. “Try the weaves yourself. Remember, you can always ask me for help.”

 

Ellisha took a rosebud from the Accepted’s hand when she was offered one; examining the neatly cut bud and twirling it in her hand as she tried embracing the One Power. Saidar came more easily, now she was more accustomed to its sweet and dangerous nature, and Ellisha prepared to conjure up weaves of earth as instructed.

 

She frowned at herself when nothing happened. She tried again – still nothing. Staring at her hands, she -willed- the tendrils of earth to appear, and slowly – they did. A thin weave of green and brown slowly snaked its way around her wrists towards the rosebud. Ellisha could almost feel its reluctance as it entered into the bud, then infuriatingly – disappeared. Growling, Ellisha drew in more of Saidar, feeling the immense power; the waves and the thrill.  A rod of oaken green shot from her sleeves and slammed into the rosebud; penetrating into its depth as it settled into the centre of the bud. Instead of doing what she wanted however, the rose bud seemed to -contract- instead of open, like someone huddling into a ball after being struck with a blow.

 

Fury and indignation painted her face as Ellisha glared at the rosebud. Stupid earth weaves. She thought, clutching the stem of the buddling. Wish it would just burn. Before she could stop herself, reddish yellow tendril clawed its way across her wrist and made for the flower in her hand. She dropped it and stared wide eyed as it suddenly burst into flames; the peddles providing the fuel for the catching inferno. Beside her, Venca turn and saw Ellisha’s crackling ruin of an effort shrivel up and die in the flames – her own flower; a beautiful blossoming rosebud of sunlight yellow, tauntingly perfect as she held it up in her hand.

 

She burst out laughing and Ellisha scowled at the woman. Her laughter was abruptly cut off when her -precious sunflower- suddenly burst into flames as Ellisha settled her newly acquired fire weaves into it. Now it was her turn to give a sardonic chuckle as she watched Venca put the fires out by stamping on it wither her slippered feet.  Her expression when she looked up at Ellisha was not pleased. No, not pleased at all.

 

“Now, we will work with fire,” she heard the Accepted say from the front of the classroom, and gave another wry chuckle, sensing malicious eye settle into her and knowing the inevitable talking to she was about to receive.  With an expression that clearly said: “I will deal with you later.” Venca returned to the black haired Accepted as she began the next part of her lesson. “Before we do however, I must tell you one rule. You must never – ever, draw the heat of a fire using fire. We use either Water to douse it, Air to snuff it out, or Earth to smother it.” When everyone in the classroom agreed to never do such a thing, she continued.

 

“Good. We will practise the simplest weave with fire; which is lighting a candle.” Aureli rummaged around in the basket again then produced a single waxed candle for all to see. “A single thread of fire is all we need. And just a small one. Remember, this is a candle, not a fireplace, and not a bonfire.”

 

The Accepted held the candle out towards the class and Ellisha saw the yellow and red weaves of fire curl around the wick of the candle stick. She studied the tip carefully and watched as a small fire sprang up from thin air. Curious, she thought. Just like the other weaves; fire also seemed a manipulator of the world. Unlike water and air however – she wasn’t even going think about earth for the moment – an open flame could be created out of thin air. Ellisha guessed that was because fire could be directed converted from a channeller’s life energy instead of forcing other elements to bend – which, she considered with a sigh, would leave her to even more questions further down the line.

 

Like the rosebuds, the Accepted passed the candle sticks out to each Novice, though this time she allowed the basket to be passed down row by row. When everyone held a candle, Ellisha saw sourly some of the other Novices had neatly tucked away their blossoming rosebuds – no doubt to cherish it for the years to come, Aureli instructed them to begin trying the new weaves.  

 

Ellisha refocussed her attention back on the candle stick at hand. Instead of immediately going to do what she had been instructed however, Ellisha decided to test out some of her theories first. It had been easy setting fire to the flower peddles; plants burned and was fuel for fires, but what had caused the sparks in the first place? She embraced the source once more and held on to a reasonable amount of the one power. Like earth, the weaves and snakes for fire seemed ‘hesitant’ to come out at first, though with an increase of the power they seemed more inclined to do as she wished. The tendrils of yellow and red snaked out from her sleeves and she allowed them to hang there for a moment; studying them. Then, she twisted the weaves together into a ball and let the concentrated weaving hover an inch or so above her hand. A small tendril of smoke appeared above it and Ellisha could make out the wavering shapes of a ball of flame in her hand. She could -feel- the energy channelling through her to feed the fire, feel as it sustained her little ball of inferno as it hovered above her palm.

 

Slowly, she moved the ball of fire towards the candle wick and allowed it to catch before releasing her weaves. Fire is much better, she decided. Earth is just plain stupid. Who needs to make plants grow anyway? She turned and saw her friend watching her, a lit candle also in her hand. There was curiosity in those eyes as Ellisha quickly glanced at them, though the anger at having destroyed her rosebud had evidently not left yet. She regarded the woman for a moment, then decided to give a care free smile, which Venca replied by not changing her expression.

 

Ellisha suddenly had a ‘very good idea’ as she prepared a familiar weave of air. Venca narrowed her eyes but said nothing as Ellisha’s weaves went past and around her.
“What are you-”

she abruptly cut off, as she turned and noticed a small clump of her hair which had latched itself to the candle wick she held. Thin tendrils of smoke and the smell of burning hair drifted from it and Venca let out a very uncharacteristic hiss, as she conjured up flows of air and water to dose it.  Ellisha roared with laughter, delighted at both her cleverness and at the comical expression which had passed across Venca’s face for the briefest of moments. Her friend fixed her with another glare, and Ellisha knew she was in for it this time. She smiled good naturedly.

 

When the last of the candles in the room were lit, she noticed a few of the Novices had red faces, and the Accepted passed around the basket again and told everyone to extinguish their candles. With the basket filled with candle sticks once again, Aureli continued once again with her lesson.

 

“The last of the five powers – is spirit.” She said in a clear voice so everyone could hear. “While it is not an element of action like the others, it is an element of the mind.” There were confused expressions among some of the room’s occupants, but Ellisha was too curious to pay them much mind. Venca was still smouldering in her anger it seems. Maybe she had pushed her too far this time? She would probably have to apologise to her later.

 

“One can set wards with it, it is needed for healing, and you can shield someone from the One Power.” The Accepted continued. “The weaves with spirit are too advanced for our class today, but I can still demonstrate. I will show you the ward against eavesdropping.” She pointed to two Novices sitting closest to her at the front of the classroom and told them to talk about breakfast this morning. Ellisha’s stomach chose that exact moment to give a regretful grumble at the thought of food, but she forced it down. She always felt hungry after a strenuous Saidar class for some reason – probably because using the one power took so much of her energy.    

 

The two talked nervously about what they had this morning, but suddenly, white bars of light along with some tendrils of grey sprang from Aureli and surrounded the two Novices in what appeared to be a dome. The class gasped as the Novices inside the dome could suddenly no longer be heard, despite their lips still evidently moving. Ellisha stared fascinated by the new weave. Though it was too complex for her to reconstruct, what did get her interest was the way the Accepted had made them. She understood the need to use air in this. Voices were afterall merely vibration in the air, so it made sense of use the weaves to disrupt or stop those vibrations from occurring. But why spirit?

 

Saidar had always fascinated her, and Venca had once jokingly said she should become a Brown, from the way she rambles on about it. Ellisha had seriously considered this, and it hadn’t seemed like such a bad proposition.

 

Aureli released the weaves and the dome disappeared from around the two Novices.
“Whilst you can’t use the weaves seen here today, this class was designed to bring out your potential in both strength and control. You will soon be tackling much more difficult weaves. We’ve only studied the very basics of Saidar and what it can do, but now you have the necessary tools to continue on.” she said and everyone looked at the black haired Accepted with attentive eyes and ears. She gave the usual warnings before finishing with, “Now, if you have any questions about this class or ones before it, I will be in this classroom for a few more minutes.” The woman sat back down in her chair as she gave the dismissal and the class to adjourn.

 

Ellisha smiled and gave the Accepted a slight nod as she walked past. She decided she liked this woman. True to her earliest assessment of the black haired initiate, and especially because of the woman’s physical handicap – she had proven herself to be in control whilst not having to resort to making demands and pulling rank. She gained the trust and respect of her class through kindness and patience; and so had she gained that same respect from Ellisha.

 

She strode out the door and tried not to think too much about what Venca was going to say when they got back.  The days were growing darker and longer, but at least she had the comforting presence of Saidar to look forward to. 

 

 

~Ellisha Falwein
Novice of the White Tower

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  • 4 months later...

When Nateera arrived at the classroom, she saw that Aureli had just arrived, carrying a covered basket on her arm. She followed Aureli into the room.

 

"Welcome to your last class in this introductory course, class.  After today, your lessons will be much more challenging, but you have all shown that you are ready to handle what is to come next.  Today, we will study Earth, Fire, and Spirit.  As this is our last class together, this will be your last chance to ask me any questions or present any concerns you may have."

 

With that announcement, Aureli moved on.  "We will study Earth first.  Earth has many uses.  It can detect mineral ores in the earth, help plants grow during unruly weather, detect faultlines, and many other things.  But today, we will try the second thing I mentioned."  A few attentive novices' eyes lit up.  "Helping plants grow.  More specifically, we will be helping a rosebud bloom."  

 

Uncovering the basket on the desk, Aureli showed them the rosebuds resting there.  "This class always begins with imagining yourself as a rosebud opening to the sun, and it always ends with helping an actual rosebud do the same."  She picked up one of the rosebuds.  "You see, these rosebuds are so tightly closed that we can't even see its color.  But, watch closely."

 

Aureli embraced Saidar and slowly took out three weaves of Earth and wove them just so, letting them settle on the rosebud.  Slowly, it opened, and the class saw a white rose opening before them.  She set the rose down and picked up another bud.  "Once more.  Pay attention."  She showed them the weave with the same slowness, and a bright red rose bloomed for them.  "Now.  Take one rosebud.  Just one.  Then, try the weave for yourself.  Remember, you can always ask me for help."  She hooked the handle of the basket onto her arm and had the girls pick out their own rosebud.  She watched them carefully as they tried the weave.  She went through the classroom, helping those that needed it, and she was sure to praise each and every one of them.  

 

Nateera took her rosebud, formed the three weaves of Earth (weaving them as precisely as Aureli had), and let them settle onto the rosebud. As she caressed the bud, lovingly, in her hands, it began to open, ever so slowly. It was a perfect snow white rose.

It looks just like my mother's roses. They are still my favorite flowers.

 

Next, they learned to use Fire to light a candle.

"If you find yourself using Water or Air a little easier, just remember that women tend to be stronger in those elements than these.  Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult.  Many things in life worth doing are difficult.  But now we will work with Fire.  Before we do, however, I must tell you one rule.  You must never...ever draw the heat out of a fire using Fire.  We use either Water to douse it, Air to snuff it out, or Earth to smother it.  But never use Fire to draw the heat out.  You will be severely burned, no "if"s, "and"s, or "but"s.  You will be hurt.  Does everyone understand?"  She paused to make sure that everyone had gotten that.  When she was sure they had, she moved forward.

 

"Good.  We will practice the simplest weave with Fire: lighting a candle. A single thread of Fire is all we need.  And just a small one.  Remember, this is a candle, not a fireplace, and not a bonfire."  Aureli took out a candle from the basket to demonstrate.  Embracing the One Power again, she wove a small thread of Fire and curled it around the wick of the candle.  The wick came to life with a small flame that sparked and danced to life, but eventually settled.  "All you need to do is wrap that one little thread around the wick.  And to douse it, the same move is used with Water."  Pulling out a small thread of Water, she wrapped it around the flame, and the candle went out with a hiss.  "Now it's your turn," she said with a smile.  

 

Nateera acknowledged her understanding along with the rest of the class. She had to ask for help with the weave of Fire. She returned her candle to the basket, as instructed.

 

Then Aureli demonstrated Spirit for them by weaving a ward against eavesdropping around two of the girls as they discussed breakfast. It was amazing. She could not hear a word that they were saying. It seemed that they could not hear the class, either.

I will have to remember this weave. It may come in very handy some day.

 

She let the weave dissipate and repeated what she had told the others to the two novices as they took their seats again.  After they wee seated, all the novices were still chattering on about the weave and what else they could do with it.  She reminded them that while they couldn't use the weave today, the classes were designed to bring out their potential with their strength and their control, and sooner than they knew it, they would be tackling very complicated weaves.  

 

"Now, we've only studied the very basics of Saidar and what it can do, but now you have the necessary tools to continue on.  You know the nature of Saidar, and the Five Powers as well.  I'll remind you that novices are not allowed to channel without permission for a reason.  Even though you know a few weaves now, and they are simple for you to do, if you do them wrongly, or too strongly, you can hurt yourself or those around you.  Just keep in mind those names we looked at from our second lesson.  It's because of that, that if you are caught channeling without supervision, the punishment will be harsh."  She paused to let it sink in, and to change the mood a bit.  "Now, if you have any questions about this class or one before it, I will be in this classroom for a few more minutes.  Class dismissed."  Aureli took her seat behind the teacher's desk to address questions as the girls filed out.

 

She had enjoyed these lessons and would miss having Aureli as her teacher.

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  • 3 months later...

Myrrhi had not had the time to practice illegally her channeling skills since her last class. She had been moved in another Novice’s room, Thayetta’s. She and her had been very busy, studying, doing chores, reading books, sometimes together, sometimes separate. And with such a schedule, it had been impossible to sneak in the garden like she had done, before.

 

Today, for once, the young girl had tried to find a sitting spot in the middle of the classroom. Thayetta would be able to sit not far from her. It was weird not to be alone in the Tower anymore. I guess I can’t stay alone forever, thought Myrrhi with a grin.

 

Aureli arrived a few minutes after Myrrhi had sat on her chair. The Accepted had entered the room with a covered basket and, this time, no servant had been following her. With a little smile at the corner of her mouth, Myrrhi saw that quite a lot of her class companions had not been able to arrive as early as she had. A couple of girls filed in with a meek face but their silence only lasted for a time. As soon as they entered, they started talking with their classmates who were already in, showing how excited they were at going forward in their One Power training.

 

The class was quite nosy, nosier than usual that day, but Aureli didn’t say a thing. She seemed to take advantage of this background to set her basket on her desk. It was only when everyone was seated that the Accepted stood up to begin the class.

 

 "Welcome to your last class in this introductory course, class.  After today, your lessons will be much more challenging, but you have all shown that you are ready to handle what is to come next.  Today, we will study Earth, Fire, and Spirit.  As this is our last class together, this will be your last chance to ask me any questions or present any concerns you may have."

 

 Myrrhi looked around to check whether or not some hands were raised. She had some questions herself but she wanted to channel so much that she had decided that she’d wait till the end of the class. By chance, no one wanted to ask anything. They all must be as impatient as I am, the young girl thought.

 

Earth was supposed to be the first subject of the day. This element sounded quite useful but when the teacher started talking about how it could be use to help plants grow, Myrrhi rolled her eyes. She didn’t like plants that much. And using the Power to play the gardener was something she thought ridiculous. Unfortunately, this was exactly the thing she was invited to do by Aureli. The Accepted had uncovered her basket : it was full of rosebuds.

 

Some of the Novices squeaked in delight. One could see stars in their eyes as they were watching their teacher embracing Saidar and opening the buds she had taken between her fingers. Oh Light! How can Aes Sedai help soldiers win wars by playing with flowers… At least I know that the earth threads have a rusty color. The day is not lost. Myrrhi sighed and took a rosebud in the basket which was now traveling from one desk to another, like all the other Novices. She opened herself to Saidar and without difficulty made the flower bloom. It had been so fast that the flower had fallen from her hands. It was now laying on her desk next to her parchment. Pink, I am a Mighty Gardener who plays with pink flowers. Today’s lesson is fantastic. Sighing once more, she looked at Thayetta. She had managed to make her flower bloom too.

 

“Myrrhi you have done very well” said Aureli “It seems that it is easier for you to handle Earth than Water”.

 

“Thank you Accepted”, said Myrrhi with a smile. Of course, she couldn’t say anything else to her teacher. She had to show how enthusiastic she was for her lessons. Maybe if Aureli appreciated her well enough, she’d be able to have private lessons. 

 

The next subject was Fire. This part sounded was way more interesting, the teacher talked about the dangers of that Element and the class was asked to light a candle. This time, it was Myrrhi’s turn to squeek. Unfortunately it took her a lot of time to weave the needed threads. After the fifth try, Thayetta who had seemed to be very confident with channeling Fire, had to come near her desk to help her. The sixth try was her best and almost perfect. Smiling to her classmate weakly, the young girl felt that Fire could be her weakest Element. At least weaving a thread of Air to extinguish the flame had been easier.

 

Aureli announced then that the last subject of the day would be Spirit. An element of the mind, she said. Sadly, it seemed that the weave with Spirit were too advanced for the class that day. There would be no more channeling, except for the Teacher who showed the class a very interesting ward against eavesdropping. The weaves were definitely purple, like Myrrhi had thought they would be. She didn’t dare say a thing though. The Accepted used her weaves to make it impossible for the classroom to hear two of their fellow Novices. The results were astonishing. As soon as Aureli stopped channeling she rushed to write as much as she could about what she had seen. Weaves like that would come in handy in the White Tower...or maybe in the future when she’d be a full raised Sister.

 

After a couple of minutes, that the Accepted fully used to remind the younger girls that they were not allowed to channel unsupervised, the class was dismissed. Myrrhi hesitated. She still had some question and she wanted to find a way to practice channeling those fire threads that had seemed so hard to weave earlier in the class. Unfortunately three Novices were already around the Teacher’s desk and she didn’t dare approaching nor talking in front of others of the difficulties she had encountered. She decided then to leave the room.

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  • 3 months later...

"We will study Earth first," Aureli was saying, and Thayetta snuck a look to her right to smile shyly at her new roommate, Myrrhi. It was the first formal class they had taken together since the other girl had moved in. Things were going better in that department than Thayett could have hoped, having very rarely interacted with others her own age. She even had a sneaking suspicion that her and Myrrhi were likely to be friends. The thought made her nervous, but not enough to lose her smile.

 

"- today, we will try the second thing I mentioned-" Thayetta suddenly realised she had not heard the first, let alone the second or any other thing that Aureli had mentioned. "-Helping plants grow. More specifically, we witll be helping a rosebud bloom." Eyes wide, Thayetta wondered what in the Light could be the use of using the Power to make plants grow. She liked roses well enough, but... she caught Myrrhi's eyes and the similar expression on her roommates face, and shrugged. Who knows? She stifled a giggle.

 

"Watch closely." Aureli said, and Thayetta watched. She watched, with difficulty, as the teacher wove together two- no three? - strands of the murky brown Thayett had come to associate with Earth, and then ... settled... it on the rosebud. She watched as the bud opened, blooming into a crisp and beautifully white rose. Despite herself Thayetta smiled. It really was quite pretty to look at, after all. She watched as Aureli rested the rose on the table and picked up another bud to demonstrate again. Squinting, she decided that it was three weaves of Earth that the teacher was handling, this time causing a bright red rose to bloom. 

 

"Now. Take one rosebud... just one. Then try the weave for yourself. Remember, you can always ask me for help."

 

In desperation, Thayetta looked up at the teacher from her fourth attempt at the weave. Myrrhi's flower was blooming beautifully, as were those belonging to most of the other girls in the room. Thayetta blushed as Aureli came over. In all of her classes, she hadn't yet had to ask for help. Her memory, which printed things like maps and photographs in her mind, was proving to be a great help in class. But here, something was wrong. "I .. uh... can't really seem to see the Earth weave, Accepted."

 

Aureli looked at her a moment and then demonstrated again, slowly, with Thayett following along. Brows knitted together and tongue poking out the corner of her mouth, the young Novice gave it everything she'd got. The Earth weaves felt dull and heavy in her mind. For some reason, it seemed to take a great deal of concentration just to channel a single strand. The effort of channeling three and weaving them all together forced sweat onto Thayetta's brow. With great concentration, she shifted the completed weaves on top of the bud and watched as the rosebud 'bloomed'. It wasn't much of a bloom, really, but it was enough that she could tell the colour, a strange and beautiful fiery orange. Thayett smiled, it reminded her of Fire. With relief she relinquished her hold on the strands of Earth and sat back to recover her strength. She was the last of the students to 'finish'. Apparently, Earth was not to be her forte.

 

"Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult." Thayetta did her best not to hang her head and blush. Aureli smiled at her and turned to address the rest of the class as well, "Many things in life worth doing are difficult. But now we will work with Fire. Before we do, however, I must tell you one rule. You must never... ever draw the heat out of a fire using Fire. We use either Water to douse it, Air to snuff it out, or Earth to smother it. But never use Fire to draw the heat out. You will be severely burned, no "if's", "and's", or "but's". You will be hurt. Does everyone understand?" 

 

Each of the girls nodded. Thayett sat on the edge of her seat, eager to see what the Fire weave was that the teacher had in store.

 

"We will practice the simplest weave with Fire: lighting a candle. A single thread of Fire is all we need. And just a small one. Remember, this is a candle, not a fireplace, and not a bonfire." Thayetta blushed, wondering not for the first time if her teacher had heard about the incident with the book and the fireplace and Fire. She dropped her hands into her lap, and studied the thickening, blistered skin on her palms. Even without the newly-burned sting, they were a reminder that channeling Fire, or losing yourself in the Power at all, could definitely burn.

 

She watched as Aureli took a candle from a basket, embraced the source and wove a small thread of Fire to curl around the wick of the candle. The wick burst into flame, danced and settled into the rhythmic glow that Thayett had always found so soothing. "All you need to do is wrap one little thread around the wick. And to douse it, the same move is used with Water." The teacher pulled a small thread of Water from the source, wrapped it around the flame, and the candle went out with a hiss. "Now it's your turn," she said, and for once, Thayetta's smile was greater than the teacher's own. After all those years of staring into the flames of the candles on her tables at home, she never thought she'd be creating her own with nothing but the Power and her mind.

 

Almost as soon as she had embraced the source, Thayetta's candle wick flickered into flame. She stared at it, astonished but happily surprised. She looked at the little flame and glowed. Unlike with her Earth weave, she had finished this one first. Still smiling, she focused hard on repeating the task with Water to put the flame on the candle out. The smile was replaced with determination, the Water weave proving harder than the one in Fire had at first. When it was done she couldn't help herself, she whipped another tiny thread of Fire and watched, delighted, as the wick spluttered into a tiny flame. The Water weave came more easily to her this time too, but only just.

 

Thayett grinned and looked up towards Myrrhi, only to find that her roomie was struggling almost as bad as she had with the rose. Dropping her unlit candle, Thayett snuck over to her desk to  see if she could help. The next weave Myhhri channeled was pretty much perfect, and her candle flickered into flame. The two of them grinned and Thayett returned to her seat.

 

"The last of the Five Powers is Spirit." Aureli launched into her description of the final element, and demonstrated by channeling a ward that muted sound. Thayetta watched her carefully, noting the placement of each of the shimmery, silvery, translucent strands. The image filed itself away neatly in her mind, and she smiled, knowing for sure that weave would prove itself useful more than once as time went on.

 

Before she knew it, the class was coming to an end. "Now, we've only studied the very basics of Saidar and what it can do, but now you have the necessary tools to continue on. You know the nature of Saidar, and the Five Powers as well," Thayetta thought again of losing herself in the magic of Saidar, and the pain that it could bring. She opened and closed her fists subconsciously, and nodded along with the teacher's words. "I'll remind you that novices are not allowed to channel without permission for a reason-" Thayetta blushed. "-Even though you know a few weaves now, and they are simple for you to do, if you do them wrongly, or too strongly, you can hurt yourself or those around you. Just keep in mind those names we looked at from our second lesson." Thayetta winced - not that's its likely I'll ever forget. "... If you are caught channeling without supervision, the punishment will be harsh." Thayett chewed her lip and hoped noone had noticed the burn marks on her hands.

 

"Now, if you have any questions about this class or one before it, I will be in this classroom for a few more minutes. Class dismissed."

 

Thayett had wanted to ask about Fire. Why had it been so easy for her to channel? Why was everything with Earth so hard? When would she be able to practice, to learn more complicated weaves? These questions and several others buzzed around her head, but the throng of girls surrounding the teacher's desk was already thick and loud, and Thayet wasn't brave enough to push forward to find her answers out. She caught sight of Myrrhi's retreating form, and decided she too would prefer to leave. The basics are done, I guess... As for the rest, looks like we'll just have to wait and see.. she reasoned, gathering her stuff and rushing to catch her roommate up. 

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