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Blue Ajah Class [Open]

Guest Estel

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As the class filed in around her, Estel internalized her mirth at the irony of the situation. She was to teach this group of no doubt brilliant women, weighted down what was expected of them. Bitter laughter was once again smothered for the sake of “Aes Sedai decorum”, the very words being ironic in this particular Blue Sister’s head. Light, if these girls struggled with expectations now, how would they fare as Sisters? Would they snap as she had? Or were they made of sterner stuff?


When she stood up, preparing to begin the class, she was comforted by the hush that fell over the class. Apparently her reputation preceded her and there was no need to remind them why most initiates avoided the “bitchy Blue with the temper”.


“This is ‘The Ajahs 101: The Blue Ajah’ and I’ll be your instructor for the duration, Estel Liones.” she adjusted the shawl wrapped around her slim shoulders, taking the opportunity to examine the number of faces she recognized. This finished, she turned her attention to the chalk board and wrote the all-too-familiar words “Aes Sedai”.


“By now most of you know that Aes Sedai, in the Old Tongue, means Servant of All. And, in theory, you likely understand what that means by today’s standards.” This was actually quite doubtful, the weight of the shawl on her shoulders was a tonne of brick and her thin body had been crushed beneath its weight when it had first been set there. “ However, in the Age of Legends, a Servant of All was a woman or man who spent their whole life doing just what the words say… serving all. Based on what we know of that time, we have ascertained that Aes Sedai worked in all manner of fields from Health to Diplomacy, much as they do today… however, it was not unknown for an Aes Sedai to dabble in many things and change from one line of “work” to the next depending upon what was necessary in the course of her journeys.


“The word ajah from the Old Tongue translated means “Sisterhood of Aes Sedai” and defined means; an informal or temporary group of people gathered together for a common purpose or goal, or by a common set of beliefs.” Estel added the word and definition under “Aes Sedai” on the chalkboard. “Please note the word “temporary” in this definition. Ajahs, did in fact exist in the Age of Legends. However, they did not exist as we know them now. These groups formed as necessary to serve specific causes and when they were no longer necessary they simply disappeared.


“When the breaking occurred Aes Sedai were scattered to the four winds trying to survive and to help the world where they could. It was rare that more than two or three Sisters really ever gathered anywhere for more than a short time and so Ajahs faded into nothing more than memories.


“Of course, individual Sister did design ways of making note of each other and in particular an Ajah who had been working together in the latest hours of the Age of Legends, devised a series of connections with the people of the world which would soon grow to be the largest Eyes and Ears network known to the White Tower. Can anyone guess who might head that network today?”

Estel picked a student at random. “The Blue Ajah, Estel Sedai.”


“Correct. Being that the world was in such chaos as it was at the time, items had to be used to identify women. Now, since this was a time before shawls and rings let me show you what they used.” Reaching under her desk where she’d earlier placed the item, she pulled up a large quarter staff. It was made from a strong wood of some sort and the direction of the wood grain could barely be seen, that was how old it was. The staff had carvings of various saying in the Old Tongue as well as a symbol from long ago that had meant justice. From the top of the staff, which stood a few inches above Estel's head, there hung a feather about three inches long of a pure blue color that looked almost unreal from some bird of an age long gone the only thing keeping it from fading or falling apart was the keeping weave which hung still upon it.


“Staffs, such as this one, were carried by Aes Sedai to identify them to contacts and friends who would help them, giving them food, shelter, and aid from a myriad of foes that spanned the world hunting Aes Sedai. Not the least of which was their brother Aes Sedai who had gone mad.”


Estel handed the staff out to the students and let them pass it around the room to look at. “This staff has passed Sister to Sister since the Age of Legends. The bird feather on its top is not identifiable to us and we believe it died out in the breaking. Each sister, during the course of her life, adds something special and uniquely herself to the staff and once she has returned to the Creator, that staff is given to another so that through our Sisters our causes and the things we believed in live on.


“Of course the Tower was built and established and in time Amyrlins were raised. To this date more Amyrlin Seats have risen from the ranks of Blue Ajah than any other. Part of the reason for this is quite possibly our connections to the outside world, or perhaps that many of our Sisters come from well versed families in the arts of Daes Dae’mar… or the Great Game of Houses.


“But in truth when it comes to raising an Amyrlin Seat, you’re only as good as the Sisters who will support you and this is where the Blue Ajah has been truly blessed. Now, while the White Tower is a working unit and is certainly not at odds with itself; it’s pompous to assume that a centuries old institution with so many women running it, might not have groups and even factions within itself working for a vast group of goals and ideals. And, one can’t expect that everyone will always agree on just how to accomplish those goals. Now the Blues, while it is known we’ve often been at odds with the Red Ajah for our choice of methodology, have close ties and connections to nearly every other Ajah in the Tower. Practical reasons are the primary reason for this, again our connections with the outside world, but many other ties are forged from experiences that Sisters share in their time in the Tower.


“Since this is a bit of a hot topic among Novices & Accepted I’ll take a brief moment to focus upon the Red and Blue Ajah relationship. Often its said that the Blues hate Red Sisters and vice versa. This is a blanket statement and I assure you that not all Blues hate all Reds or vice versa. You might site the fact that no blue sister wears red or that no red wears blue… well, I can not speak for the Red Ajah in this matter but I can tell you some of the reasons for this tradition on the Blue Ajah side of things.” Estel felt the Three Oaths tighten slightly around her tongue. It was required that she say these things to give the impression that the White Tower stood as a whole. True, not all Blues hated Reds and not all Reds hated Blues, but that fraction was so small it was nearly non-existent. Besides, neither group would risk announcing her love for her Ajah’s traditional enemy out loud for fear of ridicule.


“The tradition of not wearing red came from, yes, old feuds. But it has continued as a matter of principal… a sort of silent statement of objection to, as I said before, methodology. The Red Ajah works on a very strict “prevention” sort of policy. Take for example the cause they are most well known for: protecting the world from insane male channellers. In this they are dedicated and well respected, my own mentor was a Red and I can say without doubt I have mountains of respect for this woman. However, she and I don’t agree on how all male channellers should be dealt with. It was not so long ago this topic came up in the Hall of the Tower.


“Should the Tower study male channellers under Shieldings in an effort to try to cleanse the Taint of saidin? A bitter topic let me tell you what! But it brought out the passion that both the Red and Blue Ajah hold in their hearts. Both Ajahs concentrate on their goals with a fire in their souls and the problem is, when it comes time to lay plans in how to deal with the issues before them… they almost never agree. The Red wishes to simply end what she fears may be a problem in the future… and the Blue sees that the hope of a better future is worth risk, pain, and effort even if its done so in vain for many years. Eventually…” Estel took the staff from the last student. “… some Sister will be successful. I’m sure that whoever held this during the worst times of the Breaking feared the world would never see an organized Aes Sedai government again… and now look.” All this talk of male channellers had awakened Estel’s passion for her own Cause and she was forced to take a moment to reign it back in.


“Now, moving on to the Blue Ajah traditions and their purposes.” Taking up her shawl she passed it out to the class. “Take a look at this shawl and ask yourself, why is it that any random woman couldn’t simply make a shawl like this and play at being Aes Sedai? After all… once the pattern is learned it must be a simple task, if you don’t fear Tower Law catching you.


“This shawl you’re holding, however, wasn’t made by some seamstress with a pattern. Each Blue Sister’s first shawl is handmade by her fellow Sisters. Each Sister in the Tower before a raising takes time to put a few bits of the stitching into it and when the Blue is raised the youngest Sister in the Tower gives the new Blue her first shawl. This is part of welcoming the new Blue into her family. To show that each of us is part of a greater whole and that with this symbol we are now a part of that unity which is even more tight knit than the Great White Tower itself.


“Once a Blue is raised a most interesting thing is done which some of you have seen already, no doubt, she is asked if she would like to go light clad save for her shawl through the Tower for all within to greet her. Why, you might wonder, would a Sister do such a thing? Well, some of this has to do with the fact that it is a matter of pride and a tradition which the Tower has nearly forgotten the origins of. The other is to show to all the world that the new Sister, still clad in her wounds and weariness from the final testing, needs only the Light and her shawl… a symbol of her new family… to protect her from anything the world has to offer.” Estel struggled to keep every ounce of bitterness from her voice. Some family her “Sisters” were, they might as well have taken her Shawl and cast her out... hell, it would have been kinder for them to refuse her from the beginning.


“When a Sister of the Blue Ajah leaves the White Tower she always wears blue stockings. The reason for this is so that she will remember that no matter where here feet take her… they will always know where home is. In the times of the Breaking when the Aes Sedai had no home all they had was their Sisters. There is a story in a private library I’ve been privileged enough to use which details out a story of a group of Sisters who met in an Inn for a few days before traveling their separate ways in the chaotic world. Each had come weary and without good shoes or socks and so each made socks for the other all of the same look and all in the only color cloth available… blue. This was their way of telling each other that so long as one woman walked the world who was yet Aes Sedai, there was still a place they were at home… still hope… still family.


“Lastly it is tradition that each Ajah keep certain weaves to themselves… now, I won’t be telling you too much about those today simply that they exist. Again this is to instill a sense of oneness and unity with the Sisterhood of the Ajah. Few things bind us tighter than the Tower but you’ll find that in an Ajah it is vital to the causes it pursues that each member feels they have some place, someone, with whom they can trust and rely on. The Blue Ajah, despite its many varied and differing causes among their sisters, believes that they create this environment for their members.


“Okay, now for your homework. Based only off what little you know of the Blue Ajah already, since this is your first class about the Blues I can only assume you know very little, and what you’ve heard today I’d like you to write a small essay. The Essay should be titled either: “The importance of the Blue Ajah” or “The false importance of the Blue Ajah.” Neither essay will be wrong based on topic … rather I’m looking to see what you know, what you think you know, and what you can find in the library in one week’s time. Next class we’ll focus on the life of a Blue Sister and what all that entails. Class dismissed.” As the class shuffled out, Estel left to find some tea to wash the bitter taste out of her mouth. Burn her but she hated the hypocrisy of the Tower.




OOC Homework: Based on what the characters have heard in this thread and imagined research time, the characters are writing a paper on the importance (or lack of importance) of the Blue Ajah. No answer is right or wrong but the character is expected to support their argument either way. Simply saying “the blues are cool cause they had a lot of Amyrlin Seats and they do good stuff.” Just won’t cut it; nor would saying, “they are pointless and they suck.”


Ideally this will give the player a chance to examine what they really feel about the history of the Blue Ajah and what their characters might think. This helps form a basis for if the character would or wouldn’t be drawn to the Ajah. I encourage you to check out Blue Ajah websites all over the web and even reference the WOT books. There are a lot of good sources for information or… just write from your character’s biases. Have fun with it!

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"We are to be Red Sisters, won't we?" Accepted Saline came in Blue Ajah 101 prejudiced toward the Red Ajah; Perine Sedai - a strong, stringent Mentor - had been the idol for Saline.


Going from Perine to Estel. Aes Sedai both, but Lord! It did not seem possible there could be such a contrast. Her first impression of Estel not help either. Accepted Estel had been a troublemaking tattler for Saline and many other Novices. It was ironic that Estel Sedai seemed one to attract a string of pranks. Perhaps it was her hormone-driven conduct. Saline could sympathesize with having a bad day or even year, but seriously the woman needed some self control.


That bitter soul grimaced at her with disapproval. Saline wondered if she remembered the fight. Probably had. The Aes Sedai seemed the type to nurse a grudge.


It was justice. Pure and simple. Saline smiled at its execution. And tried to focus on the Blue Ajah traditions.


Blue stockings. What endearing idiotcy. The benefits she saw immediately: one would never want for a matching pair, for they were all the same colour, and the fact that it was coloured elevated it in Saline's view. Blue was unlike the white stockings that not only scratched but - worse, stained easily, and the reason for Syara's famous glare. Cleanliness is Godliness.


The spirit stick! That's what Estel Sedai needed. A thump with it.


The instant class dismissed, she jumped up as if whacked, feeling sheepish. I do not belong here, do I?



You could always not turn one in. You don't have to do this.


Saline was having a hard time focusing. After deciding that though she did not like the fishmonger of a Blue Sister she could not twist the facts to write about how irrelevant the Blue Ajah was. It'd be silly. Light, all those Amyrlins raised from Blue. Mind-boggled she pushed away the text, began the research she was geniunely interested in.


Intricate connections of Eyes and Ears... Now the Blue Ajah took pride in gathering intelligence. The irony of what she was doing amused her to no end.


"What do you know about her?"


Ghosts from the past flitted through her mind, names evoking so, so many memories!


When will I be free of this? David and his dancer. Tinker. Mentor Perine Sedai. Aeveryn and Zaynab, the feisty andoran and gentle mayener were roommates. Not Syara - the redhead was hale, thank the Light for that.


Finally, she was ready to write. She did it rapidfire, point after point after point.


The importance of the Blue Ajah by Saline Westrel


There is the Law, and then there are laws. The Law is your own standards, whereas the laws are the (often conflicting) codes of others' morals. The Blue Sisters take justice into their own hands, and make their judgements based on the Law.


Through the grapevine it came to my attention the Novices and Accepted view one caricature of a Blue Sister with contempt. This Aes Sedai became pregnant and practically neglected her charges. Hot-headed, uneven tempered, many are wondering how she became Raised. Given time, perhaps she will grow into her backbone as befitting an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah.


... Who are we to judge?


Not only am I guilty of ridiculing you, I was the one responsible for setting chickens in your Accepted room. Judge me by your Law, O Blue Aes Sedai.


She deserved punishment for wronging Estel Sedai in the past. It was long ago. Perhaps Estel does not even remember you. Saline laid her essay carefully in the basket, and waited for justice to bite. And bite it will. Her only consolances would be that she had asked for penance willingly. Maybe the Blue would make her read the confession in public. Perhaps the ghosts would stop bugging her. In a weird convoluted manner, she felt better.


You know you should be nice. You cannot afford to cut yourself off, lose more friends - lashing out just because you're hurting. Not when everybody around you has offered kind words and comfort. They have troubles of their own.


What a heritage of pain that was wrought by my hand! I deserve it, she gritted her teeth.


Folding her hands primly, Saline sat; her eyes never strayed from the figure in front. Estel Sedai.


OOC: That was fun! My apologies about the lack of focus on the task of learning, but will try to make up for it in regards to the relationship between Red and Blue aspies next class. How dead is Saline for this clever little act, ma petite soeur?

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  • 2 weeks later...



It was a lot to take in. Secret weaves, proceeding through the corridors of the White Tower clad in only the Light and a shawl hand-stitched by her fellow sisters welcoming her to the Ajah … it was indeed a lot to take in. Ever since Rossa had heard the basic causes that the Blue Ajah stood for, she aspired to it, feeling she had found a home within the home that the Tower had become to her, and now she was finding out more information about it, she felt she wanted to do her utmost to find out whatever she could. It would be a pleasure to find out details about the Blue Ajah and to write an essay about it, and she wanted to begin as soon as she could. With reverence she had held the staff, and it had been with great reluctance that she had passed it on to the next student. Dismissed, Rossa made her way to the library as directed and stood staring at shelf after shelf of books, wondering where to start.


Eventually she found the shelf she was looking for, containing row after row of books about the Blue Ajah and also on the Red Ajah so she could compare political beliefs and standpoints. Obscure traditions that were done for a reason lost so far in time it was incomprehensible save for a few of the older Aes Sedai were not really listed other than what Estel Sedai had taught the group of Accepted and Novices, such as the staff that was passed from sister to sister, the wearing of blue stockings whenever a sister left the Tower for identification purposes and even the most common one of not wearing red.


Rereading her tiny notes in the library, Rossa pondered how would be the best way to start. Any arguments about the animosity between the politics of the Red and Blue Ajahs was probably something best left to the end of the essay to lend weight to anything else she had to say. By the same token, it was also good to leave it until the last so that the reader was not immediately put off by the false beliefs. There were always exceptions to every rule, even when it was not prudent to display such leanings openly. With an idea in mind, Rossa picked up her quill.


The Importance of the Blue Ajah, an essay by Rossa Venye, Accepted of the White Tower.


Justice. Knowledge. It is the application of knowledge into law and the addition of compassion to allow for real human justice. There will always be cases where the law does not take into consideration extenuating circumstances, and in those cases it is a necessity to have the Blue Ajah. Even though the White Tower is a collection of sisters from all of the Ajahs, it is probably a good idea that all of them are separate them. If we did not have an individual Ajah concerned with worldly matters - the ordinary individual person being as important as a ruler or politician, then even the most well-meaning law could be misinterpreted.


It is more than that. The very existence of a hidden network of "eyes and ears" for the sole purpose of finding out the undercurrents of the climate not seen in reports from these rulers or leaders is proof that such a thing is necessary. Whether ordinary people or those with some connection to the Tower or the Blue Ajah, these individuals play a part in a much greater whole – gathering information that could be useful to either the benefit or the protection of the White Tower. Usually there are certain words or signals a sister would use to recognise a member of their network, and likewise there are usually certain signals an eyes and ears can use in order to catch the attention of a Blue sister to pass on information when messages might be intercepted. The truth can be learnt in the oddest places and it is always possible there are details it would be prudent not to be announced. That does not mean it is useless information, and for that reason I believe the Blue Ajah plays an important role.


It is also a matter of balance. There may have been enmity between sisters of the Red and Blue Ajahs in the past that has continued in the form of differing policies, but it is there for a reason. If not for the Blue Ajah, certain things might be very different now. The traditions that identify a Blue sister when she is away from the Tower serve as reminders not just of her Ajah, but that there is still a piece of humanity in the world that holds to a higher cause, and the passing of knowledge down so mistakes are not repeated. While political standpoints may differ from other Ajahs within the Tower, it is imperative that every side of a situation is considered in order to get the full picture. Thus it is necessary to have representation of the lowest opinion as well as the highest. Concerning male channellers while the Red Ajah would like to see the end of potentially dangerous occurrences with Saidin, the Blue Ajah would rather see a resolution beneficial to all. For example, how are we to know if the problem of men channeling dangerous Saidin can be solved by a male channeller, if they are all gentled before we get the opportunity to study them? Prevention may be better than cure in some cases, but if male and female Aes Sedai existed in harmony in the Age of Legends, the possibility may yet exist for it to do so again. Just as a Blue Aes Sedai can rest secure in the knowledge that if she had blue stockings on, she will be reminded of the hope to return home, the Blue Ajah would hope to seek the answer for a beneficial solution, and the improvement of life for all.


She lay down the quill and stared at what she had written. This was probably the best indicator she had had so far to tell her that she was aspiring to the Blue Ajah because she had put her heart into writing it. It was more than a study. It was verging on opinion! This was very unlike Rossa to commit such words to paper, but knowledge and feeling had combined. She now just hoped not to be marked down for her opinions, and signed her name at the bottom of the page. Rossa Venye, Accepted.

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The Blue Ajah is important because....


Ino frowned, stopped writing, and settled back into her chair in the library. Why was the Ajah important? She'd thought she'd known after Estel Sedai's lecture, only to discover that the headful of information she'd gained was so dense it was like an onion. Peel one section back, and another section lay beneath. There was so much the Blue had said, and yet...yet so much she *hadn't* said. Ino's near-year of study at the Tower had taught her that much.


Well, never mind that Estel Sedai had left things unsaid; unsaid things also meant unanswered. And Ino had to suss out the puzzle. Lovely. Taking up her penknife, she began to whittle a new point on her quill while she tried to unwind the skein that was her lesson.


History. That was the key. Blue sisters didn't seem to pursue causes that could be solved in a week; from what she'd heard, their plans spun out over years. Decades. Centuries.


She found herself writing without thinking. Just notes, not the final product.


The Blue Ajah is important because, in their devotion to causes, they have learned to take the long view on nearly everything. While the Brown Ajah immerses itself in history, the Blues take the lessons of history and put those lessons into practice. The causes they pursue cannot be solved in an eyeblink; every change is connected to another, and thus one must learn to predict and anticipate what changes will come of a Blue sister's decision.


It is probably why they excel in the political arena....


As she continued to sketch down her thoughts and arrange them for the final paper, she found herself nodding in agreement.


Maybe I will be Blue, someday.

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Kaiari had sat through the whole class, taking in everything that she had heard...then when it was time for the class to dismiss, she gathered her things and headed straight for the Library.


As she entered the Library, she chose a small table off to the side and away from others, so she could study quietly and in peace.


She sat, and started going over the notes that she had written during class, glad that she hadn't missed taking the notes...for they will come in handy when it came time to write her paper.


After retrieving a few books from the shelves, she retook her seat, sifting through the books. When she found what she had been looking for, she started to write her paper.


The Importance of the Blue Ajah,

written by: Kaiari Starmela Al'Geneeva


It was during the Age of Legends, and after the breaking, when the Aes Sedai Sisterhood had been scattered throughout the world...and the Blue Ajah had devised a series of connections with the people of the world. These connections soon grew so large, that it grew into a type of network, known as the Eyes and Ears to the White Tower. It was then that they began using various items to identify another sister...a staff was used to identify themselves to contacts and friends who would help them.


Since then, the White Tower had been built...as time went on...Amyrlins were raised...more had been raised for the Blue Ajah, than from any other...possibly due to their connections to the outside world...but more so maybe because they are just in what they do.


Blues sees that the hope of a better world is worth taking the risks, pain and even loss...and will put forth the effort to see to that hope of a better world.


Blues leave the Tower, traveling the world, serving and doing what each can to solve problems of another, to be just. And through their travels, they become knowledgeable or the world and their surroundings.


The Blues tend to take the lessons they have learned, mistakes done in history...learning from those mistakes...and putting their lessons to good use throughout the world.


The Blue Ajah believe that by studying male channelers under a type of shielding, that they may one day find the cause and cure for the taint on Saidin...again all due to hanging onto that hope for a better world.


Kaiari Starmela Al'Geneeva


When Kaiari finished the paper, she then read through all that she had written, making a few corrections here and there. She then gathered her things, and returned to the classroom, where Estel Sedai waited patiently.


Heading up to the woman, she gave a low curtsy to her, as she held out the paper...then waited until she was spoken to.


((OOC: Hopefully I did it right! Sorry it took me so long to respond...I had actually forgotten that I had said I'd join this class...so sorry!))

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Guest Estel

Snuggling into the most comfortable position possible in her armchair, Estel gave one last longing gaze at her Warder’s sleeping form and took up the stack of reports by flickering candlelight. Kaiari and Ino’s renewed the sense of pride she had for her Ajah as it had been lacking lately. Rossa’s left her with grudging respect. The little Accepted always gave her the sense... it was the same sense she got after a meeting with Sirayn. It was a sort of “this is a role model, why aren’t you like that?”


The last essay left her with a different emotion. One that darkened her face, tightened her muscles and sent ideas racing through her head. As she blew out the candle, she had a definite wicked smile on her face.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Estel was not alone as she entered the classroom. A half-dozen men followed her through the door and stood respectfully silent behind her. They were led by her Warder Orion, impressive in his colour-shifting fancloak and Estel internalized a smug smile when one of her pupils let out a small gasp when she noticed he was blind. Blind he might be, but so far he’d protected her far better than her last Warder.


“Today is your lucky day, initiates. Today you will not have to listen to me lecture at you about the Blue Ajah while you all pretend to listen. Instead, we are going out into the city because Blues do not sit around the Tower discussing politics, philosophy or Healing over tea- we are the Ajah of action and I hope you’ll get a sense of the today.


“I have had your horses, or in some cases Tower horses, saddled and in your saddlebags you will find whatever you will need for your assigned task today. You have each been paired with a Tower Guard. Now, let me remind you...” she turned to the boys behind her as well “... all of you, that they are to accompany you only. Please think of them as statues and conversation is not only unnecessary but will be frowned upon. This is not basic etiquette, you are not here to flirt with one another, you are here to complete a task.” Not that Estel actually expected anyone to listen to the warnings- she wouldn’t have at their age.


Rattling off the list of pairs, Estel also introduced Orion before herding everyone out the door, giving a few extra warnings to moon-eyed couples.


Despite that early morning heat, Tar Valon bustled and moved at a speed that seemed to defy the heat as if the elements were simply a challenge that the citizens of Tar Valon were to overcome. The White City gleamed in the bright sun, bringing to life the Ogier masons’ mighty works and despite having been in the city nigh on two decades, it still took Estel’s breath and she heard expressions of awe from those behind her. However, there was too little time to waste on admiring the most beautiful city in the world and so the Blue Sister forged ahead, dragging her train behind her.


Bustling street crowds opened up before the weight of the blue shawl across her shoulders. Tar Valoners eyes her with respect but their eyes held none of the awe so obvious in the faces of the foreigners. The foreigners! Such diversity! Dark Tairens rubbed shoulders with pale Borderlanders, she watched as an Andoran nobleman asked a poor Altaran merchant for directions to some inn or shop.


Even with the crowds parting before her, it took an hour for the entire party to leave the main streets and wander into the rougher part of the town. Turning off the grand boulevards containing all the best inns, banks, shops and other such buildings of Ogier making, they found themselves forced to dismount in order to navigate the meandering streets of crude, brick buildings upon which no Ogier eyes had ever beheld let alone built.


Where before there had been such a grand mix of diversity, here the people were all the same. They wore the same rags, the same downcast expressions and the same dirt. The group was assaulted by panhandlers, vagrants and every sort of low-life imaginable. Estel spent almost as much time looking back at her class dealing with the people around them as she did looking ahead and guiding the group. In fact, she had no particular destination in mind rather her destination was a sort of event...


Finally! And from exactly the person she was hoping to use. Perhaps the Light wasn’t a complete sadist...


“Class! May I call your attention to what Ms. Westrel is doing?” Curious mutterings followed her as she gathered her class around the place where Saline was giving money to one of the many, many panhandlers lining the street and plaguing their party. “Ms. Westrel, why exactly do you feel the need to give this specific panhandler money when there are dozens more following our party and hundreds- thousands, more in this city? No doubt he’ll give some sob story about why he deserves your coin more than the rest and perhaps he does, perhaps he doesn’t. Why him and not some other poor vagrant with only one arm and no legs?” While the Blue was indeed making a point, there was a definite cruelty in the way she exposed Saline’s weaknesses in front of the entire group.


“This, class, is what we call justice. However, unlike the Greys, Whites, Browns, Yellows, Greens, Reds; any other Ajah, the Blues do no focus on one point of justice and do not simply discuss it over tea. As I said before, the Blue Ajah is the Ajah of action. Some Blue Sisters spend their entire lives in places like these dealing with the issues of how to help the community and each individual.


“What being a blue is all about is the people. At the heart of it, all our work and deeds must be the people. Some will tell you Justice is our truest purpose and reason for being… but without the concerns of the people near our hearts Justice is an empty thing. What good is law if it does not serve? What good is rule without the people it protects? All people… not just some, from these merchants to those homeless children in rags over there.


“Now you might argue that these are the concerns of all humanity, of all Aes Sedai, and you would be right but no Ajah more so than the Blues are connected to the heart of these people. They share in one thing that the Sisters of other Ajahs do not and at this end of this lesson, I hope I’ve made that clear to all of you.


“The Blue Ajah believes that each person has a mind and a voice of their own, and each as deserving of basic human rights; rights that cannot be taken away by any man, woman, or King. This is not always a popular opinion in a world where men and women are meant to bow to Kings and Queens and serve as they are told. It is for this reason that Novices and Accepted must learn to live as they do at the White Tower. To be a true servant of all who live in our world a girl must first learn what it is to be like even the most lowly of people in the world. Imagine if when you had come to the Tower we had treated you as Aes Sedai right away. Now perhaps you would have kept your perspective, and more the better for you if you would have, but not all girls would. Most would lose themselves in a lifestyle so vastly different than the ones they came from. Many girls who come from money would never learn what it means to go without and to live as a servant and so… if they had ever met one on the street, what do you suppose such a girl would do? Would she stop and help such a person? Would she ever understand what it means to be her? No. She wouldn’t. But now you will always remember, or so we hope.


“For a Blue, who often lives out of her saddle bag and surrounds herself with the common people of our world… it’s not so hard to remember. There have been many times in which I have found myself sleeping in a cold hard bed, or on the dirty earth… times I’ve gone without meals, let alone sweets… and chores pale beside some of the hard work I’ve done with my bare hands in places where the One Power was dangerous to use or not a viable option. It is for these things we prepare you, to make you strong and able… to know your fellow man and to better know yourself and your own heart.


“Usually Blues have known exactly what they want to do for their whole lives in one fashion or another. We’re willful women by design and we have a strong sense of self that sometimes develops and grows under the pressures of Novice and Accepted life. We can be opinionated to the point of being bullheaded and perhaps that is one of our greater short comings if we have many at all. But considering the Causes which we become bullheaded about, its hard to say being stubborn is bad.


“Blues are worldlier, or if you will… street-smart, because unlike the other Ajahs each blue has her own agenda which she’s working towards as well as the Ajah’s goals. And while those two things might sometimes be the same thing as what other Aes Sedai are doing, they don’t necessarily have to be and usually aren’t. For that reason alone, younger blues rarely stay in the White Tower long and instead prefer stretching their legs and their newfound resources to go back to the world they came from and make a real difference.


“Other Sisters see the Blue Ajah as so ready to save the world that they lose themselves. I don’t know that this is a fair assessment but I can see why they believe it. Our passions run high about the things which we care for and I can’t blame anyone for saying such a thing about us.


“For every purpose of every Ajah the Blues have at least one Sister who has, in the past, shared their cause. If you’re considering another Ajah think of this first… what prevents a Blue from healing like a yellow and making her cause better health care for all the people of the world? What prevents a Blue from mediating despites and arbitrating laws of countries between kings and queens as advisors, making her cause peace like any Gray? What prevents a Blue from taking up a sword and joining the warriors along the blight border and keeping the Shadowspawn out of the southernlands, and sharing the cause of preparation for Tarmon Gaidon like any Green? What prevents a Blue from researching the degeneration of male channelers, the arts of shielding and detection of the male channeler, thusly taking on the cause of preventing another breaking like any Red? What prevents a Blue from studying philosophies of the past and the theories of the world and its origins and thusly making learning and discovery her cause like any White? What prevents a Blue from opening schools and teaching poor children to read and write, making knowledge and its preservation her cause like any Brown?


“You see, the purpose for every ajah is simply a specified cause. It is the Blue Ajah alone which leaves it to the individual Sister to find her purpose and follow it and change that purpose when it is no longer necessary or something else comes along. Like our Sisters and Brothers in the Age of Legends the Blue Ajah is versatile doing what is needed today, tomorrow, and in the future.”


Estel gave the class a moment’s silence to absorb the huge amount of information she had given them. When some spark of intelligence finally lit in the girls’ eyes, Estel gave them their instructions. “Today there will be no written assignment.” At the hope in their eyes the young Blue lt out a snort of laughter. “Don’t look so hopeful. You will spend the rest of the day doing the sorts of things a Blue Sister might do. I have a task for each of you and throughout the day I will be observing each of you in turn to judge how you are completing your task.


“You are all to meet me back at this location an hour before sunset and I remind you once again that your guard is there to do just that- just that. I have assigned each of you a task and directions to your placement. Go out and serve all.”


A self-satisfied smile held a firm place on Estel’s otherwise complete mask as the initiates went about their tasks. Orion reeked of amused curiousity through the Bond and Estel answered the unasked question rather vaguely. “I’m afraid our dear Ms. Westrel will find an ironic twist to her task.” Clearly not understanding completely, Orion shrugged and followed as she led him towards where she had sent Kairi first. ‘Poor, poor Saline.’ Estel thought wickedly. ‘I do hope the poor girl enjoys wringing the neck of those chickens.’[/i]


ooc: *Homework* Write up how your char’s day progressed: what she was doing, how she dealt with it, any reflection upon it, etc. Blue aspies, this is a chance for you to perhaps play with a Cause you have planned for your char later on and any non-blue aspies, this is a chance to perhaps play with your own Ajah’s cause (for Yellows, perhaps they are sent to a local Wisdom, Greys perhaps end up settling a dispute somewhere along the way, etc.) I’ve left the choice of what your char does completely open, except for poor Lily, but you can still manipulate that any way you want as long as Stelly gets her chickens strangled :wink:

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Chickens? There were going to be chickens used in a lesson and not utilised? How very typical of Estel Sedai. Mind you, she did not know what the Blue Sister had in mind as the fate of the poultry, but they had effectively been given a free range of areas to consider as tasks, Rossa could see a way to fulfill one of her own goals. Feeding the hungry was always in the forefront of Rossa’s mind because it was a way to secure popularity. She had noticed on levels other than the population overseen by a particular lord or lady that people always trod carefully around the cooks. You never knew what they would put into your stew or on your roast potatoes when you weren’t looking… An idea was forming in her head, and she needed to talk to the Taraboner girl to further it.


There were hungry people everywhere, even such a resplendent city as Tar Valon. They would be too proud in a place like this to accept simple charity, however, and that was where Rossa’s idea would come into play. There would be lots of comings and goings in the wonderful white city that people might overlook. Complacency would be rife, even in a place such as this. A chicken made for so many meals. A family might have a roast chicken for one meal, then leftovers for the next, and possibly (depending on the size of the chicken) the one after that, augmented by adding vegetables into a hearty stew with beans, and more and more water added until it became a soup. The carcass could be boiled to make stock that could make more soup, and the bones could be crushed for some other means, possibly as a fertiliser. A single chicken went a long way, if used correctly, as did a little information.


Rossa dropped back to talk to the honey-haired Taraboner. If she could persuade her to join Rossa’s enterprising little scheme, then it would be the start of something wonderful. The hungry people of the streets of Tar Valon would be fed, and Estel Sedai would also be fed with information as to what was really happening outside the shining walls. Once the initial reports came in, carefully sorted, of course, Estel Sedai would have the choice morsels of information to pick over like the carcass of the chicken.


“Saline, I wouldn’t want to get on Estel Sedai’s bad side … I’ve already found that out, to my cost. How would you feel about making the best of a bad thing?” She went on to explain a little bit of her plan, becoming more and more hopeful with every word.

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Guest Sandrilene fa Toren

Sandry entered the Lecture Hall silently glancing around as she took a seat, and taking a small leather strap from her belt pouch she tied her shoulder length hair back at the nape of her neck, ignoring the long bangs and strands that escaped around her face. She preferred to be able to see what she had to face, however she was careful to avoid as much of the tower as she could by either hiding herself in the library, the gardens, or her room when ever she could. She drew her mind back to the present and the fact that she was required to be in classes as the Aes Sedai who would teach the class entered the room.


“This is ‘The Ajahs 101: The Blue Ajah’ and I’ll be your instructor for the duration, Estel Liones.” A slight frown creased her forehead for a moment as she saw it was Estel Sedai, she knew she had heard something about the woman at some point, but she couldn’t seem to remember what it had concerned.


“By now most of you know that Aes Sedai, in the Old Tongue, means Servant of All. And, in theory, you likely understand what that means by today’s standards.” Sandry nodded along with the other girls in the room—it was common knowledge drilled into a girl from day one. However, from the look Estel Sedai shot them all she began to think that the Aes Sedai was about to prove to them how little they knew. “ However, in the Age of Legends, a Servant of All was a woman or man who spent their whole life doing just what the words say… serving all. Based on what we know of that time, we have ascertained that Aes Sedai worked in all manner of fields from Health to Diplomacy, much as they do today…” With a sigh, Sandry began to take notes.


“The word ajah from the Old Tongue translated means “Sisterhood of Aes Sedai” and defined means; an informal or temporary group of people gathered together for a common purpose or goal, or by a common set of beliefs.” As Estel emphasized the word temporary in the definition Sandry’s mind wandered a little. So if Ajah means Sisterhood of Aes Sedai then how could men belong to them, even before the breaking? Interesting, she thought as she made a note to look into this linguistically aspect of Tower history in the library.


"Should the Tower study male channelers under shieldings in an effort to try to cleanse the taint of Saidin? A bitter topic let me tell you what! But it brought out the passion that both the Red and Blue Ajah hold in their hearts. Both Ajahs concentrate on their goals with a fire in their souls and the problem is, when it comes time to lay plans in how to deal with the issues before them… they almost never agree. The red wishes to simply end what she fears may be a problem in the future… and the blue sees that the hope of a better future is worth risk, pain, and effort even if its done so in vain for many years." Sandry looked up at this idea, allow men to continue to channel for the purpose of study--a curious idea. Her old life warred within her trying to tell her how ludicrous this idea was, but Sandry had begun to think differently since leaving her home. Unfortunately things weren't always as black and white as she had always thought they were. Estel Sedai took her staff from Sandry and held it up. As she continued on Sandry quickly jotted down a few of the markings that had caught her eye; maybe she could look them up later.


Sandry was focused on trying to remember the markings so precisely that she barely noticed the shawl, and had totally lost track of what Estel was saying until she heard mention of blue stockings. The reason for this is so that she will remember that no matter where here feet take her… they will always know where home is. In the times of the Breaking when the Aes Sedai had no home all they had was their Sisters. There is a story in a private library I've been privileged enough to use which details out a story of a group of Sisters who met in an Inn for a few days before traveling their separate ways in the chaotic world. Each had come weary and without good shoes or socks and so each made socks for the other all of the same look and all in the only color cloth available… blue. This was their way of telling each other that so long as one woman walked the world who was yet Aes Sedai, there was still a place they were at home… still hope… still family." Narrowing her eyes she thought about this, "still home, still family?" A curious thought. All her life family had ment everything, now with it gone training became her life. If she was strong enough, good enough then she could still do something to see the Light succeed, just like her family did, but were they really her family anymore? Shaking her head Sandry tried to focus as she swallowed hard.


Sandry jotted down the homework quickly and then packed up her things and all but ran from the room… Light, what was she doing here? a million responses to her stray thoughts skittered threw her head as she hurried to the library to begin her homework.

Grabbing a few books from the shelves she found a table and settled her notes and some blank pages in front of her. An hour of reading later she began to write:


The Importance and Role of the Blue Ajah

The Blue Ajah is perhaps one of the most universal Ajah’s, as such it is important to the structure of the White Tower. In many ways it combines all the other Ajahs into a powerful mechanism of strength, knowledge and power. Throughout history the Blue Ajah seems to appear a predominant figure in, not only the running of modern society in general, but also in the reconstruction of the world after the breaking.

Prior to the breaking Ajahs were used in a much different capacity than they are now. However, after the breaking it would seem that with the loss of the male half of the One Power and the lessening of both ability and strength in women some form of specialization within the roles of an Aes Sedai were needed. This is where the Ajahs as we know them came into being.


Sandry looked up as she heard another white clad girl drop a book, and cringed when she saw the Brown Sister swoop down on her fellow novice. A quiet cough made her look around worriedly, and she noticed an irate looking Brown glaring at her—light, what did the woman think she had done? She cringed as she looked down and noticed her hand poised over the open page of the book a drop of ink ready to drip from the point of the quill. She bit her lip as she noticed that one mark already stained the edge of the page. Light, if the Brown saw this she was done for. Pulling her hand away from the book quickly she casually laid another bit of parchment over the ink spot hoping she could figure out a way to get the stain out before she had to turn the book back in. Focus, she thought.


Each Ajah represents a specialized area of study: the Yellow Ajah focuses on healing, the Brown on gathering knowledge, the White on finding truth, the Red on preventing another breaking, the Green have their battle preparation, the Grey their Daes Dae'mar; however, the Blue Ajah does all these things and more. In a way they seem to be, or should be the glue that unites the Ajahs. As I see it, Sisters of the Blue Ajah must be proficient in all the areas that the other Ajahs deem to be their focus. The Blue Sister must be able to understand and gather knowledge or she would be no good to anyone, but she cannot be lost in history and the present search for “truth” that she looses sight of what must be done (the battle that must be fought). The Blue sister must always be on the watch for anyone or thing that might threaten the world and thus must be prepared to act if the need arises—whether that is to use might or healing to succeed. Finally, the Blue sister must be capable of understanding the game that all cultures play in order to hold sway.


In conclusion, the Blue Ajah is important because it is the unifying thread within the structure of the White Tower. Many do not realize how similar the Blue Ajah is to the Aes Sedai before the Breaking. The Blue Ajah is likely our greatest link to that time in their ability to tie all the strengths of the other Ajahs together to succeed in an all encompassing goal. Yes, the Blue Ajah is focused on their “cause”, but that “cause” always has been and always will/should be for the furthering of the Light.


Sandry re-read her paper and nodded, she didn’t know if she believed everything she had written; light, she didn’t have a clue what she believed at the moment, but she knew that based on her research, and what she had seen of her mentor, Serena Sedai, this was the best explanation of the importance of the Blue Ajah she could give. There were many worse things to spend ones life doing than fighting for a cause… That was something she could understand.


Gathering the marked book and her papers she worried for a moment about how she was going to get the book out of the library and somehow get it clean before it was time to head to the kitchens for her evening chores. With a quick and hopefully innocent looking glance around she checked for any Browns watching her, and hurried from the Library towards the Novice quarters.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Tower was, well, formidable. There was no doubts of its formidability as it loomed, its arms more encompassing than the sky. The initiates of the Tower tumbled out to the morning sunlight. It struck, yellow as goldleaf, slanting against the inscrutable pale face of the ageless woman in front pacing them with her words.


Despite the sweltering Tar Valon climate, Saline shivered, drenched in her muck-sweat. As expected, the Aes Sedai did not perspire, but neither did the other Accepted, or even the Novices.


Then again, they had not been party to the eyes of the Blue Sister. Augers intimated retribution... Aes Sedai justice, some would say. Under the civility and humble servitude, there posed an obvious covert threat to any who crossed a lady of the White Tower.


The Taraboner had been scared many times before. It was the first time she had been truly scared after her Arches. That was more than enough to make her cringe. Fear she - a coward - had known before, but what did she fear from this woman she deliberately angered? Never minding the eyes, she would have hugged herself if she could, to give that feeble comfort, the only one Estel Sedai seemed to have left her.


Casting her attention behind, Saline ascertained her mentee's well-being. Ino rode a few paces behind, and sat better than Saline ever did in her four days of punting Aldeba around, or frequently, it was vice versa. Saline was impressed, for her views were so low she would not have been at all surprised had her mount abruptly yelled about some fanatical figure, took to his heels, and began mooing.


Some noble you were.


The gelding on which she gripped with her legs slowed to a walk, a mild creature without that fire most preferred, rather unlike sweet Aldeba. As she slackened the reins and looked across the square something was different. Something tricky she could not quite put a finger on.


Yes, there it was. A skeleton, yellow and pockmarked, dragged its sandels near them. To quieten her thoughts, she frantically fingered her pockets for a few coppers. The youth who guarded her yawned, his cleft chin spouting a growth resembling peachfuzz. Ignoring the trainee she guided her gelding toward the vagrant...


The Aes Sedai cultivated a cold-bath demeanour, delivering her points with a punch. Saline was punished, singled out for her behaviour. Estel Sedai gave the trainee a slip intended for her. He eyed it with a feigned nonchalance, then a second cursory perusal, sporting a geniune smirk that confirmed what she dreaded.


Saline respected her. Grudgingly. Au fond, had their positions been reversed, she would have assigned a more odious task to the Blue. Its irony was a bitter one, but a necessity perhaps. Static in her doubts, discoursing on her complicated state of mind, she pitied her loneliness.


It was then that Rossa glided over, each step precise, a kind smile in her eyes. She harnessed the despotism into a positive force, created to serve the poor.


The breath flurried out of her at these words, sound with the logic of a Blue. It was as if her punishment was taken, the Altaran chit had stolen what was rightfully hers. Lightheaded she staggered to her mount and clutched the gelding for support, sharing his paddock. He moved his mouth at the world, calmly indifferent.


Scowling at the din, Saline wanted to bite the Accepted she counted as a friend this morning. Admit it, I do not care that people are dying; it happens, troublesome struggles to survive. What do I care if there are the poor, we will get punished for it again ... Knowing truly how weak she was, she hesitated, wanting to, to what? Her pride demanded a solo performance. If you will not share, you are gratifying your pride and their poverty, yes?


"Each woman has a mind and voice of her own," she murmurred, relieved. She had battled her own demons, and there was a spark of decency in her after all, brought out by friends. Did the Tinker saying go, sell your soul in public, but friends will buy it back? "Service is all about the perspective. Thank you for your courage, Rossa."


In a good mood, she whistled as they neared the chicken coop. Bwahking in the night, that night they got together and set the chickens in Estel's chamber, when they were almost caught by Throm, became clucking in the day. In the sunshine, all her troubles dissapated. Having boiled her complaints down to that, it was countable, and could be fixed quite easily if she would quit whining about the past. She was no more than a poor-little-rich-girl loafing about, inventing woes. It had been unbearable when somebody else was at the root of her concerns, but the realisation was no less bitter that it was her fault that she remained in such a state, a deteorating of the person whose actions were not futile, words not bootless.


"Alrighty, Lonny," she thought his name was "talk to me." Come on peachfuzz, you know you want to.His features kept stony, slouched against the wall. Walls have feelings too, you know. Stop making his life difficult for him; he's just following orders, and may I suggest you hop to yours too?


And this for the peach! Savagely as she turned her grip, twisting off the strangled cry: a rattle of wings, gouts of blood, then nothing.


A gleeful Saline grinned at Lonny's face.


Later in the evening, an essay found its way to the basket of a certain Blue Aes Sedai.


Hard-earned rights are better appreciated by posterity who comprehends the great sacrifices committed in order to achieve a common goal. Impossible obstacles unsurpassed by an individual become weak barriers against the rumblings of many. We can benefit from studying the significances of our past when making future decisions.


Our past experiences are vital clues to help us understand people’s behaviour. History can provide resources and artifacts from previous wars to analyse valuable lessons unobtainable in a current peace time. The past displays trends and pattern; the causes and effects of a change of Monarchs and Councils will certainly link up with earlier transgressions. All political theories would be virtually useless without the input of how we have dealt with family life and other aspects in societal developments. Social factors are the key to our problems, and contribute to we got to be what we are today.


Identities are uncovered by history. Many nations urge and encourage the people to form commitments and loyalty to motherlands by examining heritage. Confirming family trees and tracing bloodline origins prompts a special sense of pride in the national experience and ethnic groups. But identities can also be the causes one chooses to identify with. History provides a window to the thoughts and beliefs of people as they contribute to the ever changing story of society. Somebody clever once told me that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. A well lived life can inspire hopes and dreams that would never be realized without an aspiring example; the shockingly unacceptable opinion from another Age might do brilliantly in our present times. The beauty of an appealing tale can even seduce us to alleviate our worries.


Tears dotted these lines, silvery, the writing thin.


Perine Caral was a Red; the principles by which the Blue Ajah cultivates their Sisters fostered her well... The ultimate sacrifice is to give your life for a cause.


We are neither neglecting our duties to others nor ignoring how consequences of our choices affect humanity. As free people of the land, we study history’s wealth of information accumulated throughout the centuries to seek our unique conduct codes. We can compare, contrast, and learn from the remains of the giant puzzle called Humans. History is not often clear or simple. A scholar must organise wide ranges of different and sometimes contrary rumours to form accurate conjectures in situations where there seems to be none at all! The intricate knots woven by figures in our past are certainly worth further scrutiny.

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She knew it would take more than a few chickens to make a soup kitchen. It was the first part of the chain that was important, just as every other step was, and Rossa intended to follow it through to completion. Riding through the streets of Tar Valon accompanied by the nondescript trainee that had been assigned to her like a shadow, Rossa let her thoughts wash over her.


It will take more than chickens to gain trust, but it is a start. An overture from the White Tower in exchange for information would be useful, but it had to be phrased in the right way or it would be rejected from the outset. I don’t think I can do it all today. The shopkeepers will know where to start though.


Riding from shop to shop, Rossa spoke with each of the shopkeepers, telling each of them the same story; that she was on doing a study as part of a lesson and would they mind telling where she might find those in more need. She made careful notes of areas and different people that might benefit from such a thing. Rossa also made notes to go and speak to the Mistress of the Kitchens as to what happened to the scraps left over from cooking, and if they were not put to any real use to ask if they could be distributed to the poor, or turned into a very cheap and fulfilling meal at somewhere convenient for them to get to. In exchange, information of any comings and goings that seemed wrong was to be reported to Estel Sedai so she could filter through the information to be a sort of eyes and ears network within the poorer side of Tar Valon itself. Saline’s help had been vital in forming the plan, without the chickens there would be no soup kitchen. Who knew, perhaps the next time a lesson was needed, it might be for a group of aspirants to run the kitchen for a week. Rossa could picture it now. Accepted chopping vegetables to practice their Air weaves, Fire weaves used to heat the kettles… Oh yes, this was proving to be most useful. There was another facet that people did not consider, and that was the aspect of dealing with people. It was easy to become immured in Tower life to the point of excluding everything but the Sisters and your fellow initiates, save for the occasional servant.


As soon as the notes and the preparation had been made, Rossa rode back to where Estel Sedai had said she would be waiting. Rossa had made as many plans as she could, and proposed the idea to the Blue Sister. She mentioned Saline’s involvement, as well as the other accepted that had taken part, along with the list of shopkeepers that wouldn’t mind being involved with such a scheme. Far from resting on her laurels about how successful her plan would be, Rossa went to the library to look at recipes that would serve many cheaply.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Estel

Estel was flabbergasted at Rossa’s suggestion. A soup kitchen? In exchange for information? Her immediate reaction was to condemn the idea. Not because it was a bad idea, it was actually an ingenious idea, but because once more little Rossa Venye, mere Accepted of the White Tower, was completely outshining Estel the Aes Sedai and making her look very, very stupid. Memories of captioned caricatures flashed through her mind, feeding her temper.


Instead Estel forced herself to smile. As much as “Perfect-to-a-T” Rossa grated on her, it was an excellent idea and the information collected would benefit her and hopefully knock her up a few notches with her Sisters. The girl would make an excellent Blue Sister.


“An excellent idea, Rossa. And I would be more than willing to change the next class into utilizing that. Class dismissed until tomorrow.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


The next day class started as usual, with the Trainees from the day before lined up at the front of the classroom. Ginae had been loath to part with her boys for another day, especially to a Sister with her reputation in the Yards. In the end though, it all came down to the fact that Sisters still held the upper hand in power struggles between the Yards and the Tower itself.


“Good morning ladies. Today we’ll be addressing the tools of the trade for the Blue Sister of the White Tower.


“As many of you are well aware, the Blue Ajah is often considered to be a group whose expertise coined the phrase, “the truth you hear an Aes Sedai speak”. Blues have been accused of being ambulatory lexicons, women whose tongues are as golden as the rings we wear on our fingers. While the people of Cairhien are masters of the great game… we invented it.


“Truly the most powerful weapon any woman has is her good sharp wit but all the more so for a Blue. The ability to convey messages unseen and unheard, despite scrutiny, is a fine art usable by even the lowliest of servant or novice of the Tower. Imagine being able to convey to a fellow Novice or Accepted about a secret rendezvous that would occur late that night or a prank, right in front of those you meant to avoid knowing! I will advise all of you to take the class, Basic Daes Dae’mar regardless of which Ajah seems attractive to you but especially if you are wanting to go with the Blue Ajah once raised. In fact, if you’re considering the Blue Ajah… consider taking all three Game of House courses offered here at the Tower.


“Again, the Blue Ajah is considered powerful because of our connection to the outside world… our “eyes and ears” as it is sometimes referred to by the Sisters of the Tower. This connection is like the veins in a body… without them the body of our Ajah would not function, our purpose in the Tower… might as well be defunct. While other Ajahs have networks of eyes and ears, it is the Blues who spend decades cultivating and nurturing their relationships with their fellow men and women of the world, to ensure a lasting connection. Sometimes families will work for lifetimes, far beyond anyone’s remembrance in the family, for the White Tower simply because a good relationship was established by the initial Aes Sedai and up kept by younger ones over the years.


“True enough this is a large portion of what young Blues do, traveling the world keeping in touch with Eyes and Ears at the instruction of their Sitters and Ajah Head. These young women represent the Tower, renew bonds with their contacts, and more importantly serve the practical purpose of being the first on scene for problems. This, as you might have guess, often puts them in the position to make or break the image of the White Tower and it is a trial by fire to be certain.


“Sometimes, when out in the field a Sister finds herself caught between the most difficult choices… often for a Blue it is the conflict of duty to the Tower and duty to her Cause. For some their Cause is the Tower or in a fashion an idea the Tower stands by… but even for those lucky Sisters, fate finds interesting ways to weave the pattern in such a way that we’re forced to make hard choices.


“It is in these tough decisions that the character of a Sister is tested truly. Sometimes, as you will discover in time, two things can be very right… and very wrong all at once. Deciding between the lesser of two evils or the better of two rights… is no easy task but the Blue is prepared for these things by her training and her ability to think outside the box.


“What I mean by this is non-conventional thinking. Coming up with original solutions to unusual problems. More than once a Blue has disproven the old adage “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” The trick is knowing what you want and what others want… and how to employ the help of those around you even if they don’t realize or want it.”


With the whole speech over, Estel turned to Rossa and Saline and motioned them up to the front of the classroom. “Today, will be more or less an extension of yesterday. Yesterday, Rossa and Saline came up with the idea of making soup kitchen in the city ghetto where food can be exchanged for information. This is very much what a Sister’s eyes and ears network is like.


“It is your job to not only set up this soup kitchen but to staff it with either only yourselves or else expand the operation, using you own discretion. Also, you will be in charge of relaying all information gathered back to me in this classroom. I suggest you take today to set everything up and then open the kitchen tomorrow.”


Just before she sent them off, Estel gave them something of a smug grin. “And the rules of conduct between initiates and Trainees hold.”



*Homework* Write a brief piece, playing with the idea of eyes and ears and how that would help your char when she starts her carreer as an Aes Sedai. Other than that, you're all done! Congratz!

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Laying the pin aside, Lillian took up the twine and began to thread it through the paper she had just punched a hole through. Binding was annoying, but it helped her keep order to her multitudes of notes from classes she had been taking since her very first year as a novice. The amount of paper she had scribed since that time... Well, the sheer volume was enough to fill a couple of rooms, but that was what the abandoned wings of the Tower that weren't inspected. An ambition of hers, it was also useful for helping her students with their classes when she could refer to her own notes. Classes in the White Tower tended to change very little even over centuries.


This one, on the Blue Ajah, felt quite familiar even though she had never taken it before. Each Ajah always claimed to be different from the others, to have a more hands on approach to the world and competing enticements to try and lure people to their Ajah. Like the others, the Blue Ajah offered participation in this class, taking them out into Tar Valon itself. The only Ajah not to take them outside of the classroom was the Red Ajah, but given their task it wasn't much of a surprise to Lillian. She had yet to meet a Novice or Accepted who actually 'wanted' to encounter a male channeler. Even the Aes Sedai who did the task seemed for the most part... unenthusiastic, and rightly so. It was a necessary task, as opposed to a work one could fall in love with.


That was certainly something that enticed Lillian about the Blue Ajah. It would be very easy for her to adapt to it, or so she thought as she bit at the twine before tying up the severed piece, finishing the binding. She hadn't been sure of what Estel had thought of her paper, but looking over it she thought that she might have done something a little different.


The False Importance of the Blue Ajah, Accepted Lillian


A dedication to a cause, a devotion to social justice, the pursuit of many agenda's as opposed to being tied to a single duty like every other Ajah are just some of the ways that are used to describe the Blue Ajah. The Blue Ajah is praised by a fair number for being an important Ajah, its traditions, its Amyrlins and its Eyes and Ears network often being cited for the source of this importance. By examining these three aspects of the Blue Ajah it shall become clear that great degree of false importance is assigned to the Blue Ajah.


Traditions, in any society or grouping of people are pertinent as symbols that not only identify members of a group but also serve to bind them together. A good example of an identifying and binding symbol within the Blue Ajah is the staff. Carried by sisters pre-Tower and before the introduction of the shawl and ring, it has since become a method of binding sisters together by each sister possessing it adding something from themselves onto the staff, perhaps to signify a particular experience or themselves in general. Yet how is this tradition important for anyone other than members of the Blue Ajah?


Likewise there are other traditions that, while defining for the Blue Ajah, are hardly important beyond the Ajah itself. The weaving of the Blue Shawl, the walk in shawl and light, the wearing of blue stockings outside the Tower. While they are great symbols and traditions for binding the Blue Ajah together with its history and identity, these can't be considered 'important'.


There is one particular tradition that is not only unimportant, but also detrimental to the Tower though it is by no means confined to the Blue Ajah. The witholding of certain weaves from the other Ajahs is an outright waste. The Tower is not a monolithic entity by any means, but the deliberate obscuring of knowledge that could be vital to other Ajahs only serves to hurt the Tower as a whole. Weaves the Blue Ajah keep to themselves could be very handy for other Ajahs, such as the Gray. Likewise, Green battle weaves that could be highly advantegous to other sisters traveling in the Borderlands and could mean the difference between life and death, are likewise retained within the Ajah. If anything, the only importance of such traditions is that they, at best, create unecessary obstacles for sisters and at worst can result in fatal consequences.


That was maybe a little harsh, but true. Alot of the class had been dedicated to the Blue Ajah's traditions, but little of it had been important beyond the Tower. In fact, alot of the traditions in the Tower were increasingly appearing to be insular in Lillian's mind, but that was another matter and another paper altogether.


The Blue Ajah are often praised for having produced more Amyrlins than any other Ajah, as if there is an indelible quality that has made the Blue Ajah more suited to leadership than any other Ajah. While the Blue Ajah have certainly produced capable Amyrlins, much the same can be said about any other Ajah, even the Red who have only had a single Amyrlin. This is important to note particularly because the following Amyrlin, Deane Aryman of the Blue Ajah, was praised so greatly for undoing the damage of the Red Amyrlin Bonwhin Meraighdin who was not treated kindly by either historians or her contemporaries that ripped her stole from her.


Bonwhin Meraighdin took office as Amyrlin in the White Tower to face difficult challenges, not only had Artur Hawkwing claimed the fame of having captured Amalasan, but had also incurred significant losses amongst the Tar Valon forces granted to him for the Battle of Endersole. This not only left Tar Valon in a precarious situation to defend its borders (which were greater than at any other time in history), but left a famous warlord who remained unbeaten on its southern border in Shandalle. Not only did she have to contend with the greatest general our age has known, but also the greatest ta'veren whose ability to manipulate the pattern was undoubtedly a contributing factor to his success. Ontop of this, years after Hawkwing had united the Westlands, she then had to contend with the appearance of Moerad in Artur Hawkwing's court. With unusual speed, Moerad won his way into Hawkwing's inner circle and his openly contemptuous views of Aes Sedai must have been a contributing factor to Artur Hawkwing's decision to turn on the White Tower. For seventeen years, Bonwhin then had to defend Tar Valon against the greatest military force the Westlands has ever known.


Yet Bonwhin Meraighdin is condemned despite the odds she had to face. Deane Aryman who followed had to withstand the last two years of the siege before Artur Hawkwing's death provided her the opportunity in the form of Queen Ishara. Founding monarch of the nation of Andor, she ended the siege by using her influence on the commanding general, Souran Maravaile, in order to earn the White Tower's good will which was further confirmed with her eldest daughter being sent to the Tower, a tradition that continues to this day. She reclaimed lands around the White Tower for Tar Valon and began the steps of rebuilding the White Tower's influence in a land in the throes of conflict.


But what is the point of this discussion of Amyrlins? By looking at the two Amyrlins that are often juxtaposed as being the worst and the best that the Tower has ever produced, something becomes very clear. It was not their Ajahs that determined their actions, it was the challenges they faced and their circumstances. When Bonwhin Meraighdin began as Amyrlin, she was the leader of not only the Tower but a great nation and was charged with preserving it, something she did up until the day her stole was taken away from her with what some would call an imperious nature, something that derives from the Tower's position before the rise of Hawkwing.


Deane Aryman began as Amyrlin in a Tower that was under siege and had lost all of its lands, she was therefore more humble because she was not bound by a need to reclaim what had been, but rather to forge a peace by any means, and even then she was unable to until Hawkwing's death. To say that the Blue Ajah enjoys a special importance because it has produced more Amyrlins, particularly those that have enjoyed greater success, is a false importance that fails to recognise that it was the individuals and their circumstances, rather than their Ajah (which admittedly would have influenced development to some degree), that determined their fitness for leadership and their success first and foremost.


Lillian knew that she had harped on a bit in that particular section, but she had always felt that Bonwhin Maraighdin had been unfairly treated in history. Yes, she had made mistakes, but considering her situation and the odds constantly stacked against her, she had done all that she could to preserve the Tower's authority and influence. Considering the nature of ta'veren, perhaps she never even had a choice or chance of success, maybe that had been her role in history to begin with to allow for Hawkwing's success. For that she was reviled by many common people and even among a goodly number of historians, and her own sisters ripped her stole from her and turned her into a scullion maid for the last four years of her life.


But, her essay hadn't ended there.


The Eyes and Ears network of the Blue Ajah is not only greatly praised within the Tower as being the most extensive and developed, but also being the most hidden. But, there are some questions that immediately become apparent when dealing with this assertion.


Primarily, even though the Blue Ajah may have had the most extensive Eyes and Ears of any Ajah within the Tower, how can that be asserted for certain now? Unless the Ajahs compare all their sources of information, all of which are hidden from one another, how can such a thing be known for certain? Perhaps another Ajah over nearly three thousand years has overtaken the Blue Ajah, and because their network is just as well hidden as the Blue Ajah's, they have secretly supplanted the Blue Ajah without anyone being able to know because no Ajah will reveal its entire network.


But, putting aside the question of size when it comes to a network of Eyes and Ears, it is also a question of how Eyes and Ears operate as well as Ajah. Every sister is meant to maintain some form of Eyes and Ears, and while one could presume that Ajahs such as the Yellow and the White would have small networks due to their need, the Red and the Gray in particular would have great use for Eyes and Ears due to their Ajah's duties. Not only this, but their agendas are clearly outlined and their actions directed by the Ajah primarily rather than the individual. Eyes and Ears of personal Aes Sedai are much more likely to be shared within the Ajah as a result.


The Blue Ajah on the otherhand is much looser, individual sisters have their own agendas in addition to Ajah agendas to follow, and individual interests could easily be conflicted. In such a situation, it is far less likely for information of personal Eyes and Ears to be shared within the entire Ajah as a result. This means that while the Blue Ajah could possess a much larger Eyes and Ears network than any other Ajah, it would also be the most fragmented due to the competing personal interests combined with a looser direction from the Ajah due to it being more decentralised than other Ajahs. Blue sisters would only share the news of their Eyes and Ears with sisters they trusted not to oppose their own agendas.


Admittedly, a great deal of this is based on conjecture as, being an Accepted, I do not have definitive knowledge of the inner workings of every Ajah. But, from an outsider's perspective this would seem to be most likely. If it is true, then perhaps too much importance is attached to the Blue Ajah Eyes and Ears whose dominance cannot be verified and is possibly fractured by competing interests.


That point had been a great deal more into the realms of theory than grounded in fact, but then the whole point of it was that none of it could truly be verified. How could one truly know that their secret hidden network of spies and informers was vaster and better than another's secret hidden network of spies and informers? If you knew the Eyes and Ears of another, it was impossible to know that you had discovered them all, they were secret to begin with. Too much importance was attached to it either way, it was a tool and while it was a tool, that wasn't the measure of an Ajah in Lillian's opinion.


So, it becomes clear after scrutinising the traditions, Amyrlins and Eyes and Ears of the Blue Ajah that there is a great deal of false importance attached to the Blue Ajah. Indeed, these things are of no importance when it comes to measuring an Ajah to begin with, but if that is the case then how does one measure an Ajah?


Function. Not traditions, not having the most Amyrlins, not allegedly having the superior Eyes and Ears network of the White Tower. Some say that the Blue Ajah has no function, that it is an Ajah for people who don't fit into the other six or just want to do their own thing and follow their own plans. Perhaps in some cases that might be true, but that isn't the true function of the Blue Ajah. In my opinion, the role of the Blue Ajah is to be the White Tower's answer to a changing world.


All of the other Ajahs have fixed duties, yet the Blue Ajah does not. The sisters of the Blue Ajah are not only granted a great deal of individual freedom to determine how best to act in a situation but also the greatest latitude to determine what situations to involve themselves in and to what degree. The Blue Ajah is both inbuilt flexibility and deliberately aimed at addressing the now of today. Every other Ajah is save the White aimed at maintaing a status quo primarily. The Green Ajah to maintain the Blightborder until Tarmon Gaidon, the Red Ajah to maintain security against male channelers, the Brown Ajah to ensure the acquisition and security of knowledge, the Yellow Ajah to maintain the health of the people and the Gray Ajah to maintain the peace of the nations.


Yet even the White Ajah as a whole are 'limited' to questioning what exists as opposed to actively challenging the status quo. The Blue Ajah is change itself, sisters are given the freedom to pursue individual causes as well as greater causes held by the Ajah as a whole in order to reform what exists, as opposed to maintaining what is. This is what makes the Blue Ajah truly important, for without an Ajah of active reformers, it is entirely possible that the White Tower could not have been able to at least follow, if not keep pace with the world around it. This, is the true importance of the Blue Ajah to not only the Tower, but the Westlands.


Now that was the real reason that Lillian found the Blue Ajah so tempting. A great deal of freedom to determine what she felt was best, to try and effect what changes she felt were most necessary. At the same time, there was a certain measure of self doubt in herself that made her wonder whether she would ever be able to determine what was best and what needed to be changed. If something isn't broken after all, its sometimes best not to fix it. Such a broad mandate, as tempting as it was she was not sure whether it would be the Ajah she was best suited for, but time would tell should she ever be raised.


Laying the paper on the desk, Lillian began working on binding other sets of notes from other classes. So accustomed to the work was she that her mind began to drift, thinking about other aspects of the class. The next class after handing her essay in had been when they had gone to town and... Well, Saline had been singled out by Estel and Lillian couldn't have said she agreed with what was done. But, they had different teaching methods and as she was an Accepted she wasn't going to challenge Estel on the matter. Other thoughts filtered in as well, like the point of living as a Novice strictly in order to learn what it was like to be the lowest of the low for perspective. Amongst a group of beggars who may not have seen three square meals, and knowing that there were those that barely got a meal a day in other cities, Lillian couldn't help but feel that it was a slight misnomer. On the otherhand, she certainly wouldn't suggest starving Novices to give them perspective either.


The mention of getting into the world early had caught Lillian's attention in particular. That was something she most certainly wanted, even after all the years that had passed. The point that had followed had made her wince though. Every Ajah always tried to stress in their classes that they all used the skills of all the other Ajahs, and nothing stopped someone from healing from going and gentling men or from someone who liked to read alot of philosophy also being able to apply it to their every day life for the benefit of others.


The task she had been given was something she had been prepared for at least, thanks to Vera. Gathering information about local news was something she could do easily enough, and she got along well enough with the guard assigned to her. She'd known Mark since he'd been born, as soon as they were out of sight they had chatted away and he'd even assisted a little in getting information required. While the guards were there to, well, guard, on the otherhand a Blue sister was meant to use whatever tools that were available in order to gain information like any player of Da'es Daemar. At least, that was what she would tell Estel if she was confronted about it.


But, Estel hadn't spoken to her about it. Maybe she'd known about her connection to Mark but that was doubtful, otherwise Estel wouldn't have assigned him to begin with. But then the final class had come and they'd become involved in Rossa and Saline's idea with the soup kitchen. It had been a relaxing day, even if she had taken to reading in the times she had nothing to do. Those moments were rare though, as more often than not she had been sitting down with different people that had come to the kitchen and talking to them.


She wasn't sure how the others approached it, but she preferred to use Vera's technique. Rather than approaching outright about them becoming informers, instead she'd talked to them about who they were and their hardships. It was much better to establish a reportoire with them, and then after talking for awhile about them the conversation would swing to her. Invariably she would mention that she would not be at the soup kitchen again if it was kept open, but there would be times when she would be visiting the town and perhaps they could share a meal together. A shared meal was shared conversation and that meant information.


While it wasn't strictly the creation of an Eyes and Ears who were knowingly informers, it was a safer option if she over chose to use it. That and it served to balance her perspective, certainly a reminder whenever she felt she was struggling that there were people who genuinely were. It also felt, cleaner, it seemed like exploitation to deliberately hold food over them for information, an enslavement in a way. That had made her feel uneasy.


The feeling on the matter still remained, or so Lillian concluded as she finished the last binding. Stacking the bound notes together, she stood from the table as she took them in hand and made her way to the door. They needed to be filed away or they were going to clutter up her desk, there was more work to be done as always.



Lillian Tremina

Accepted of the White Tower

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Looking over the rest of the class, Rossa did not know whether it was pride or embarrassment she felt more. Assessing it briefly as Estel Sedai continued to unveil the rest of their lesson; Rossa concluded it was merely something that had to be done. She kept her expression neutral, considering the Taraboner, Saline, to one side of her and the eager faces of male and female Tower initiates alike. She vowed to sign up for the Daes Dae’mar series of courses purely to see if she could learn anything else from them: Rossa believed she already had a good grasp of the applications of politics, but the Blue Sister was correct – there were things far more complex than the twisted plots of devious royal females and their lust for power. Aes Sedai beat them into the shade with their own fans and hairpins! Dismissed, Rossa mulled her plans over in her head. She had not been told off for any chores, so now was the perfect opportunity to begin some of these relationships that Estel Sedai had been talking about. Eyes and ears…


She thought about it for a while longer. Where would be the most obvious place to have an eyes and ears in a city as vast and complicated as Tar Valon? This would take a lot more thought than merely picking a person at random. It had to be someone that the poorer people felt they could go to – perhaps someone among the minor nobility or of high rank among the White Tower servants. They would also have the added advantage of being able to communicate information whenever there was a need. Of course, a standardized rendezvous at a certain place and time every month was perfectly reasonable but if someone saw the frequency and decided to pay closer attention… No, it was far safer to have symbols that only Rossa and her informant knew of. Something that would not look out of place in their surroundings would be ideal, but if it were slightly out of place – a stream of silk bunting for example – then people would assume there was a birthday or celebration, nothing more.


Her connection with Nerome was another one she could use. As Rossa walked towards the kitchens to make sure the chickens had arrived and that the carpenters had created a little stall for them to use, she pondered asking him to fill her in on areas of interest that were happening in the yards. It was nothing sinister, merely the thought that sometimes men would not talk to women, whatever her status, and that they would be freer of speech with the Warders and Tower Guards. It was definitely to be borne in mind. The soup kitchen would be the perfect touch to add honour and prestige to her reputation. A simple act of kindness would give the White Tower a greater following among the commons as well as the nobles, and that Rossa had instigated such a thing using leftovers to help support the city was a thing to be proud of, even if she didn’t think a true Blue sister would admit to it. She had already reconciled herself to the fact that she would wear Blue stockings the next time she left the Tower and that she’d have to make a pie not long after her raising. The Blue Ajah was the one for her.


Saline. Rossa wanted to talk to her fellow Accepted once more. If it hadn’t been for the lovely Taraboner she had known since her novitiate, Rossa would never have considered using food as a means to get information. She wanted to say thank you and to offer any help she could. Perhaps Rossa would offer a set of portraits or sketches done for the woman, or help with study or something else. Maybe Rossa could brush the woman’s hair for her and help with braiding it in the Taraboner fashion as it always looked like it would take so long to put up. It was something she’d considered herself: putting her hair into a myriad of tiny braids for the experience of doing something new, something different.


Having vowed that the people she would approach to be her Eyes and Ears when she started her career as an Aes Sedai would be as she had described, Rossa was forced to make an amendment. The network she was starting up took the lower classes into consideration, and her own contacts would include the upper echelons of society without a doubt. What of the middle classes? There were two leveling factors that Rossa had to consider: in stressful times people wanted merriment and escapism from their problems. In most places this took the form of taverns with their pints of foaming ale and the pretty girls singing a variety of songs, from bawdy to balladic, while dancing on a table. If Rossa could find one pretty enough to look like a simpleton with an uncannily good brain behind it… That would be ideal. No one would think twice about talking in front of such an obvious featherbrain and all Rossa had to do would be to inveigle her to her service – a harder job than it seemed, particularly if the girl had the kind of thinking Rossa imagined. The knowledge – any knowledge – was worth having if it helped her Cause.


And she smiled and walked towards the completion of her class.

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