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The Shining Walls (Attn. MoN)


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 "Bloody, blighted Warders," Ariani thought to herself as she sulked on the back of the Warder's horse. Her earlier escape attempt had been thwarted only because she was unaware of the other two. She had managed to slip away from the Aes Sedai and the Warder unnoticed, she had even managed to make it pretty far into the forest before the other two caught up to her and took her right back. Maybe they already knew, and they just let her think she had gotten away? It didn't matter now. She shot a baleful glare at one of the men and then bristled when he flashed her a grin.


They had been traveling for days, stopping for short rests at night. During those rests, the Aes Sedai would take Ariani off to the side and try to talk with her. Sometimes, she would try to explain to her what she should expect once they reached the tower, and sometimes she would have Ariani try to make the little gem flash again. Those particular sessions lessened after the girl, having become intensely frustrated when she couldn't make the gem flash, let out a torrent of swears and threw the gem as hard as she could and hit one of the Warders. Of course, it wasn't hard enough to actually do any harm, but in retrospect, it probably wasn't the wisest thing to do. The Aes Sedai began lecturing her instead, on the importance of self control, focus, and respect. Despite the fact that the girl hardly spoke at all the entire trip, the Aes Sedai continued those lectures nightly. Ariani wondered when they would decide that she just wasn't worth the trouble and let her go.


Tar Valon lay before them, and Ariani caught her first glimpse of the shining walls that made up the White Tower. She craned her neck to look up and almost fell off the back of the horse as she searched for the top of it. Giving up on that, she decided to take in what she could see. She saw ornate buildings, all seemingly built to compliment the colossal tower that they surrounded. There were people everywhere you looked and she wondered how everyone seemed to travel through so smoothly when they all seemed to be moving shoulder to shoulder. "A person could easily lose themselves and never be found in a place like this," she thought to herself. The Foregate had been busy, but Tar Valon seemed even more so.  With all of gawking about, she hadn't even noticed that they were passing through the Tower gates.


There, they dismounted and she stared in amazement at the pristine campus about her. A couple white clad girls hurried by her, stopping briefly and giggling when they looked at her, and then rushing off. Ariani glared at them icily and then gazed down at herself. Everything here was so perfect and clean. Everything was precisely in place, and she stuck out like a sore thumb. Her choppy hair was a mass of tangles, her clothing was full of holes and ill fitting. She couldn't even remember the last time she had worn a dress. She slouched and kept her head down in an effort to hide.


All of a sudden, Ariani felt eyes on her and she spun around ready to give those two girls an earful, and then froze mid step as she saw a different girl standing before her. She was rather tall, much taller than Ariani was, and her ebony hair flowed in soft waves down her back. She was also wearing a white dress, except hers wasn't solid white like the other girls that she had seen. There were seven bands of color around the hem of hers. The girl regarded Ariani coolly, and maybe with a hint of disgust. "Come with me, girl," she said flatly, "I am to bring you to the Mistress of Novices." And with that, she turned on a heel, and started towards the front steps of the tower. 


Ariani looked around slowly. "Where did the Aes Sedai and her Warders go? When did they leave?" she wondered and then cursed under her breath.


"Come along," the older girl demanded, "I haven't all day, you know."  The girl walked away with her nose in the air. Ariani hurried to catch her, wondering all the while if that girl would drown if it rained.


Through several twisting halls the older girl led her, lecturing all the while. "You know, it is impolite to ignore someone who is talking to you. Do you not have manners where you're from? Leala Sedai will fix you soon enough, she'll switch you so hard that you won't be able to walk for a month. Come on now, don't dawdle. Do keep up!" the girl went on and on.


Just when Ariani was about to unleash a multitude of verbal horrors, the girl stopped and pointed at a door. "There," she said, "and hurry up. You have kept the Mistress of Novices waiting quite long enough."  She tossed her hair over her shoulder and made her way back down the hall. Ariani thought that the girl didn't quite walk as gracefully as she thought she did. 


She crept over to the door and softly rapped on it. What would happen to her now?



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OOC:  Just a tip - Leala is my White.  The MoN is Valeri.  :)


IC:  Valeri shuffled through reports coming in from the kitchens.  Apparently, some novices had thought it funny to start hurling grease at each other as some sort of game or fight while they cleaned.  The cooks had already dealt out some punishments of their own, and they'd be coming to her office as soon as possible.  She sighed.  There had been an Accepted involved.  She had a few ideas of who it could be, but she would certainly make sure they--


A knock at her door drew her eyes up.  She embraced Saidar for a moment and opened the door with a small weave of Air.  Beyond the door, there stood a girl in tatters.  "Come in, child.  Please take a seat."  She was very tempted to grab a set of novice white right then and there, but there was procedure to consider, of course.  "My name is Valeri Sedai.  I am the Mistress of Novices.  Please tell me your name and how it was that you came to the White Tower today."  She paused for a moment before the girl could answer, and added, "Your journey here seems to have been a difficult one.  Would you like some tea?"

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OOC: lol Sorry, I just kept reading Leala, MoN and it never occurred to me that it was a different character. And I didn't want to be terribly long winded, so I didn't go into a great detail on how she came to the conclusion. But she is thinking that this is a trick to get her here for punishment. She doesn't believe that she passed the test because she couldn't make the stone flash every time, so she doesn't believe that she did it the first time.



IC: Ariani stared at the empty hallway behind her. "Just run," she thought to herself, "You know that's what you want to do. You probably can't even channel. That was a trick just to get you here. Light knows what these women will do to you for what you tried to pull in the Foregate."


The sound of the door opening pulled her back out of her thoughts and she turned around in time to meet the gaze of the woman sitting behind a large desk. "Too late now," she thought as she cautiously entered the room, making sure that she left the door open....just in case. She sat slowly, but only making use of the very edge of the chair and keeping herself positioned to dart out the doorway if the need did arise. She accepted the tea, but studied both the cup and contents carefully before taking a sip. She glanced back at the open door and the deserted hall before dropping her gaze back to the cup. "Do not offer anymore information than you absolutely have to."


"Ariani Cairawyn. There was an Aes Sedai in the Foregate," she said almost inaudibly, "she said that I could channel and brought me here." 


When she lifted her eyes to the Aes Sedai, she was met with a look of disbelief. "Or maybe its the guilt that made you see that."


"Light blind you, Ariani," she cursed herself in frustration, "lying to a bloody Aes Sedai! Blood and bloody ashes!" She pulled at her hair a little bit and then growled, "Fine! I stole the Warder's coin purse. I wouldn't have, but I hadn't been able to find work in days and I was starving. I would have only taken a couple coins and left the rest alone, but it is all or nothing when you do that. No one helps, not for free. Not out of kindness. They always want something in return, terrible things. He caught me. Then she comes along. She makes me hold this little trinket, a gem, and then tells me that I made it flash. She wants me to come here. I would have ran, but I thought that that man would have dragged me here whether I wanted to or not. So I agreed. I thought I might slip away on the way here, but no one had said a word about the other two! Two more Warders, and they caught me before I got too far away from them. Now I'm here." 


She was amazed at how quickly the words poured out of her mouth, and she almost wanted to cry right there. Instead she clenched her jaw and met the Aes Sedai's stare. "I'm sorry. I only take from people who look like they can spare something, and ONLY so I don't starve. If I have to be punished, then punish me, but please don't lock me up. I'll die. I'm not afraid to work. I can work off the punishment," she glanced at the door, it seemed to have gotten further away. "You'd never make it before she caught you," she thought. Instead, Ariani sank into the chair, wishing a hole in the floor would open up and swallow her.

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OOC:  No big deal.  It does get a little confusing.


IC:  Valeri settled herself into her chair with a cup of her own tea when the girl started to talk.  She seemed very distracted as she told her about an Aes Sedai at the Foregate.  Valeri kept her face smooth and waited a step.  That seemed to do it.  The girl spilled her story about stealing from a Warder to keep herself fed.  Light, it almost sounded as if the Aes Sedai had kidnapped her.  But, whether the girl knew it or not, she had been brought to the right place.


"I see," she said, setting her cup of tea on her desk.  "That is quite the harrowing tale.  However, I have good news for you.  The White Tower's purpose is not to punish you today.  You may not believe it, but you do have the ability to channel.  I can feel it within you, since you have been tested with the jewel.  That entitles you to the right to enroll as a novice.  You won't be paid for the work you do until you become Aes Sedai, but you will have ample work in studies and chores, and you will be well fed and cared for as you work."  The girl seemed almost unwilling to believe anyone would help her, so she tried to keep her speech as plain as she could.  "As a novice, you will do chores assigned to you, and you will run errands or do chores for any Accepted or Aes Sedai that bids you do them.  Of course, Aes Sedai hold rank over Accepted.  As the Mistress of Novices, I will act as your mentor and your supervisor.  If anyone finds fault within you, or if you break a rule, you will come to me for punishment.  I not only act as your overseer, but I also offer comfort, should you need it.  My door is always open to novices and Accepted."


With that, she stood up and noticed that the door was open.  She closed it with another weave of Air, and decided to ignore that just for now.  She took the thick volume that was the Novice Book and laid it on her desk, but she did not open it.  "When an Aes Sedai brings someone like yourself to my office, it is not for punishment.  It is for the chance to become an Aes Sedai.  The first step, though, is just a small amount of information from you, if you'll share it."

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Ariani absentmindedly fidgeted with the cup she still held, as the woman spoke. She felt torn. Who would want her in this place? Those other girls didn't seem overly friendly and despite what Valeri Sedai said, there was still the question of trust. She had had several hard lessons in trust, and accepting the offer of help sent so many warnings echoing through her mind. However, there would always be a place for her to sleep, and there would always be something to eat and she wouldn't have to pickpockets anymore. It would be worth it for those things alone. For the first time in what seemed like forever, there was hope. "And if they show themselves as being like the rest, well I've gotten out of worse..."


Just then the door closed behind her and she dropped her head and muttered a swear before lifting her eyes back to the woman. "It would be worth it for the room and board. If I become Aes Sedai, then that is even better," she said flatly, her gaze falling onto the enormous book that had been placed on the desk. Her heart sank in her chest, the small sliver of hope was gone.


"I will tell you what I can, but I....", she bit her bottom lip and stared at the book, "....I want to stay, but.....an Aes Sedai has to know letters, don't they? I never learned them. There was never time."

She turned back to the door again, maybe she could make it out before the Aes Sedai did something to stop her. "Where would you go, you woolhead? Back to starving in the streets?"

She returned her gaze to the woman in front of her and then quickly dropped it to the floor. 

Edited by tonnalea
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Valeri smiled when Ariani admitted that she couldn't read.  She was fishing for excuses, but she could tell she had her.  "Aes Sedai know much more than just their letters.  And you are not the only one to come to us, not knowing them.  But that will be part of your training as a novice.  You will start off as a novice, and when you are ready both mentally and in the One Power, you will be tested for Acceptedhood.  Accepted are those in white dresses, but with the colored bands for all seven Ajahs.  When you reach a certain point in your studies and training then...you will be tested for the shawl.  And by then, you will know much more about the world and yourself than you do now."


She reached up and flipped the enormous book open and turned the pages until she found the first blank entry, waiting for Ariani's name and information.  "Now.  I'll need your full name, your place of birth, and your age," she said as she dipped her quill into the ink.

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OOC: Is it bad that I completely forgot how old I made this girl and I had to go check my bio. lol




"A warm bed and no more wondering when you will eat," is what Ariani kept repeating in her mind. These things weren't free, but it was made clear that she 

would be put to work and that seemed fair. It just seemed too good to be true, but she would be a fool not to take advantage of this situation. She found herself

 wondering what Thomas, her brother, would have thought about this. Would he have brought her here if he had known? You know that he would have. He would 

have thought that it would be safer and he probably would have tried to become a Warder as well, just so he could keep an eye out for you.



She spared a final glance at the door. Is this worth the temporary loss of freedom? Her heart began racing in her chest and her palms felt clammy. She took a deep breath and 


sighed heavily. She could get up and leave and maybe they wouldn't stop her, but what did she have to go back to? Maybe that was why the Aes Sedai in the Foregate wouldn't 


let her just run away. Maybe she was trying.... Nothing is ever free...but it was better than starvation.



"Ariani Cairawyn," she said her name again I will know myself better? How could I know myself any better than I do now? "Fifteen, from Andor.....Caemlyn," she finished. 

Light, what have I stepped in now? 



She stared at the strange markings in the book, wondering how in the world she was going to learn to decipher anything like that and then blushed as her stomach growled loudly. 

"When do I start?" she finally asked after a moment, "And when is supper?"



Edited by tonnalea
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OOC:  Nah, each character is a lot to remember.  lol


IC:  Valeri copied down the information that Ariani gave her, Ariani Cairawyn, Andor, 15 years.  She replaced her quill when she was done and closed the book.  Then Ariani asked her when she would start, and when supper was.  She smiled at that.  Ariani thought she would be taking on a job.  Well...being a novice was a lot like having a job, truthfully.  "You'll start immediately," she said, standing up.  She replaced the Novice Book on the shelf where she had retrieved it, then turned around to another cabinet.  This one housed all the novice whites.  She searched until she found a set that looked like it would fit Ariani.  


Turning back to her desk, she set the clothes on the desk.  "These will be your uniform.  Once you are shown to your room, you will wear these every day, and keep them clean and pressed.  I don't want to find you with stains and wrinkles in them.  Everything is white: the dress, the shift, the shoes, the belt, and the coin purse.  If you wear things in your hair, ribbons, bows, and scarves will also be white.  If these do not fit, you may visit the seamstresses to have them fit you better."  Once she had gotten that out of the way, she returned to the other question.  "As far as supper is concerned, it won't be served for another two hours, but during your tour of the Tower, you may stop by the kitchens and ask for something to tide you over if you need it."


"Do you have any other questions?"

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OOC: I know that I don't have to add this part, but I thought it would make sense.




White. Oh, that is not at all good.


Ariani was suddenly very aware of how dirty she was. The teacup that she had been holding was now brown where it had once had white places. And she was almost

certain that when she did leave this office, her boots would leave a trail of mud in her wake. In fact, the entire office could do with a good cleaning once she left.

She wondered how she was to even get near the clothes on the desk without ruining them.


"Yes," she said in a slightly more relaxed tone, "Can I have a bath before I touch those clothes? And can I come back and clean up the mess that I've made?"

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