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A Time to Move On (Kira's Arches)

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Kira breathed deeply as she considered what she had written in her journal just moments before.


"Father, I've been here 10 years and I'm ready to be Accepted"


Kira had kept a journal in which she wrote letters home to her parents every so often.  It was a little part of home that she could hold on to.  Shortly after her last entry, on the way to dinner, Valeri came to her to escort her to the Three Arches.  There were butterflies in her stomach as she wondered what would await her there.  Would she pass or would she be stuck forever in the arches never to return?  Could she face what she feared most?


Kira reached the room where the test would commence.  Three arches sat on a ring with a shawled sister sitting next to them focusing on the arch.  Another sister sat by a table with three chalices on top of it.


Valeri spoke, “Two things that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on, no matter your potential and you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter”angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they – were – not – there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure.”


Kira cringed, afraid she would fail, but continued to listen intently.


“This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.”


Kira breathed in and spoke, "I am ready."


Then the sister beside the table spoke, "Whom do you bring with you, Sister?"


Valeri responded, "One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, sister."


"Is she ready?"


"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"


"She has never faced them, but now is willing."


"Then let her face what she fears."

The Mistress of Novices asked Kira to undress.  Kira did as she was told, reaching back and undoing her buttons.


Valeri waited until Kira was done, led her to the first arch and spoke, "The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."


Kira took a deep breath and stepped through the arch.





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Kira set the tray down on the table in front of her and curtsied to the customer.  She was serving tables at her parents inn in Ebou Dar.  The inn was full and the patron Kira had just served tipped generously.  Kira went back to the kitchen to pick up the next order.  She was to take this order to the Aes Sedai on the top floor.  Kira grabbed the tray and delivered the item politely.


Kira recently had found out that she would be going to the White tower to become Aes Sedai.  Her thoughts drifted as she brought the half full jug of wine down the stairs to refill it.  As she walked, Kira tripped on the last step, spilling the wine on a patron and her father.  Her father muttered apologies and took Kira by the hand roughly into the kitchen.


"You are terrible," her father said sternly.  "A complete and utter failure.  Why that Aes Sedai thinks you can make anything of yourself is beyond me.  Light I should have taken care of you long ago."


The malice in her father's eyes was evident as he grabbed a knife from the counter.  Kira began to breath heavily. She was frightened and had never seen her father act this way before.


He lunged at her, knife point first and Kira fell backwards avoiding him.  Behind her father, she saw a silver arch materialize, and Valeri's words echoed in her mind. "The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."


Kira suddenly remembered that this was an illusion.  It wasn't real, but this was her chance to get out.  Her father stood in her way.  Kira waited an instant as her father lunged again.  This time she rolled forward, narrowly missing the knife her father held as she sprinted towards the arch.


Kira reentered the chamber in the White Tower and the Blue sister who had been standing near the table poured water from a chalice over her head and said "You are washed clean of what sin you may have done and of those done against you.  You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure in heart and soul."


Valeri continued as Kira shook, the memory of the arch still fresh in her memory, "The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."


Kira took a step forward, and then entered the second arch.

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Kira was in the White Tower and her roommate Hallia was seated beside her in their room.  Hallia had committed some prank against an unexpected Accepted and was talking about it, giggling the entire time.  Hallia was quite the prankster, but Kira found she had gotten in enough trouble with her temper.  She enjoyed the stories, but didn't often partake in the pranking itself.


Hallia was getting to the best part or her story when the door suddenly opened.  A novice stood outside and fell into the room. There was a knife in her back.  She pulled herself up on her hands and knees and said weakly, "darkfriend..."


Hallia and Kira ran to the girl.  Hallia was skilled with healing more than Kira and said, "There's a chance we can save her, but we need to get her to the Yellows right away."


Hallia grabbed the novices left and Kira took the right.  As they entered the hall, Kira saw the silver arch appear and all came clear.  She had to get to that arch, but leaving meant the girls death.  Hallia could not carry her alone.


Kira made the decision.  "I'm sorry Hallia," Kira said, letting the girl go and sprinting towards the arch.


Kira came out the other side.  Once more in the room with the arches.  The Blue stood beside her and poured the chalice over her head.


"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul." she said.


Kira looked at Valeri with concern.  "Would that have...?"


Valeri stopped her and said, "It is not customary to speak of what happens in there, but no one really knows for sure."  She gestured towards the third arch and continued. "The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

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Upon entering the third arch, Kira had the sensation that she was Aes Sedai.  Kira was not in the White Tower, but once more, she was in Ebou Dar.  Her walk took her to the familiar inn that she had grown up in.  Kira entered and saw that the inn was rather empty.  An old woman was behind the bar and looked up as Kira entered.  The woman was very tired, but her eyes lit up as Kira entered.


"Kira...??" the woman said.  "Is it really you?"


"Yes mother, it is I," Kira responded. "How is father?"


The smile left the woman's face.  "He is not well.  I'm glad you're here.  You're Aes Sedai.  You can heal him.  Come!"


The woman ran out from behind the bar with more speed than would be expected at her age and pulled Kira towards the master bedroom.  Inside, Kira saw an old man, haggard and clearly very ill.  Kira could tell the man was her father, but only barely.  The man coughed blood as she entered.  Kira looked at her father, broken and sick.  His eyes opened a bit, and Kira could see the life leaving him.


"You can heal him. Please.  Give him a couple more days.  Stay here.  I need you!" Kira's mother said getting frantically.


Kira looked up into the mirror behind her father's head.  She could see the tears forming in her own eyes as she knew her father was dying.  Seconds later, an arch appeared in the mirror and Kira turned to see the arch behind her.


"No mother," Kira said.  "I can't stay.  You need to...we need to let him go."


Kira's mother began to claw at Kira, "No don't leave me all alone.  I can't live without someone...please."


Kira shrugged off her mother and turned to face the arch, faltering slightly.  "No mother...I'm sorry." Kira began to sob as she ran towards the arch and once again entered the White Tower.


In front of her were the sisters and the Amyrlin Seat herself. Kira knelt and the Amyrlin poured the last chalice over her head saying, "You are washed clean of Kira Tuvunenia of Ebou Dar. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul. You are Kira Tuvunenia, Accepted of the White Tower."


The Amyrlin paused and then continued “You are sealed to us, now. Welcome, daughter,”  She handed the chalice to a waiting sister produced and Great Serpent ring and placed it on Kira's middle finger of the left hand. “Welcome, Daughter” The Amrylin kissed her cheek and then kissed the other. "Welcome."

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