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  1. And by the Power vested in me I now pronounce... hmm, no, wait... ... *waves a wand*... oh hang on, wrong programme... umm... abracadabra! How about... here's one I, (aka Cross did it but I'mma take credit anyway), made earlier (special reference for our UK viewers ). TA DA!!!! and of course, the wait staff: plus one for my own viewing pleasure : Enjoy!
  2. It was done. Viviane sat kneeling on the ground before the small table in her room, a single candle glowing before her. Shadows danced along the wall as the flame flickered too and fro. There was no detectable breeze, but there must be some unseen draft with the candle's behavior. Everything was silent in the hallways of the Accepted’s Quarters; most of those girls would have found sleep for the night. Not Viviane. She was contemplating her future… And how tired she would inevitably feel come the morning. Not that Aes Sedai let fatigue touch them, oh no. At the very least, Viviane sat alone with a full stomach. The kitchens certainly had outdone themselves on that meal. Smoked salmon on a bed of buttered greens. Warm honey oat bread and clear bone broth. Candied bacon and roasted potatoes. Custard filled tarts and several types of sugared berries. Wine that had not been watered. Tremalking black tea. Viviane’s mouth began to water at the thought. She pushed it out of her mind as quickly as she could. There would be time to eat whatever she liked once she had gained the shawl. It was a great injustice that one was not administered the Oaths as soon as they passed the test, but the White Tower was nothing if not traditional. There was nothing for it but to focus on the flame that danced before her. Viviane did not really want to contemplate her testing. It had all come flooding back to her as soon as she had stepped out of the Ter’angreal. Light, would she have to face such trials if she lived to see the Last Battle? She would be prepared if such was the case. At least she would never have to deal with any of the horrible situations involving her family… Hopefully. Her mother still lived. Best to put that out of her mind. The Tower was her home and the Sisters were her family now. She would be bound to them for eternity once she took the Oaths. Oh, she would certainly remain in contact with Mother, but it might be best if she never went to Camelyn to call on her. Mother could come here to visit. There would be less risk of anyone noting that the two were related, and then no one could use Mother against her… If it ever came to that- the Light forbid. One had to consider the possibilities when one had decided upon the Red Ajah. So strange. Years and years ago, Viviane had decided upon the Blue. It wasn’t until a certain Red sister took a liking to Viviane that she had started to doubt her convictions of Ajah choice. Viviane had grown up on the rougher side of Camelyn. She had seen what it was like for the poor and the destitute. Upon entering her name in the Novice Book, Viviane had vowed to herself that she would become Aes Sedai if only to help ensure that the people of the land were taken care of. Blues were obsessed with their causes and they held more than a little sway with many nations. It seemed so simple at the time. The Reds, however, were literally the sworn protectors of the world. They were the force that stood between humanity and the Shadow. They protected everyone that walked under the Light. Yes, they hunted and gentled men that could Channel, but that was only a small fraction of what it meant to be a Red Sister. People only focused on that mission because those same men were the biggest threat to the world. There hadn’t been many wars between the nations in recent memory. Light, even the Battle of the Shining Walls could be chalked up to the vanity of a single ruler. To be Red was to be flexible. To be Red was to be a guardian. To be Red was to be selfless. To be Red was to hold as much love in your heart as possible! If that were not true, why would so many women take up that shawl and vow to themselves to protect humanity from the horrors of the world… And even to protect humanity from itself. Viviane’s mission had never changed. It was only her view on the world that had changed, and thus her plans to achieve her mission. She would strike out and go to- A knock sounded at the door. It was time. Viviane had no need to school her face, she had already felt like serenity incarnate. So lost she had been in her own thoughts, she did not notice that the candle was almost burnt out. The sky was turning from black to a deep shade of violet outside of her window. Dawn was approaching. She rose from her spot on the floor with ease and went to the door, not hesitating to open it. She knew who lay on the other side. Seven sisters watched her as the door slowly swung back. Viviane was not surprised to find her favorite Red, Jagen Sedai, amongst them. Not a word was spoken by anyone. Viviane stepped out into the hallway and the seven women surrounded her, forming a sort of mock-honor guard, and they walked off into the dark hallways of the Tower.
  3. Viviane pushed the potato hash around on her plate with an air of dejection. Oh, she maintained the serenity expected of an Accepted, especially one that had spent ten years wearing the banded dress; but that didn’t mean she couldn’t explore her emotions privately. It was lucky for her that none of the Sisters could hear her thoughts, otherwise, she might be treated like a Novice again… Five, that was how many girls had been tested for the Shawl in the past three months, and all five of them had been raised to the Accepted after Viviane and had obviously spent less time wearing the banded dress. It was unfair, to say the least. Viviane was leaps and bounds ahead of those girls in terms of her studies and her mastery over her own abilities. Why she had personally helped all five of those girls with their work before earning the ring! What were these Sisters thinking!? Viviane had grown used to the idea of never attaining the Shawl. She knew the Hundred Weaves, practiced them every single day… There was no question at all that she could pass whatever test the Aes Sedai had cooked up, but still, she was made to wait. Perhaps the Sisters thought that Viviane had done such a good job at mentoring Novices that they would keep her in this bloody white and banded dress forever! A punishment for her family and their ‘minor transgressions’ against the Tower from generations ago… Viviane let out a sigh despite herself. She knew none of that was true. Why she had never even heard any of the Sisters bring up her family’s history more than once or twice and that was always as an afterthought. It was clear that the Accylon women had made it a bigger deal than it was. Most of the Sisters didn’t even recall the incident. Even Viv forgot it most of the time… Twenty years in the Tower had done much to reconfigure her brain, at least that’s how the Browns put it. Finally giving up on the plate, Viv admitted to herself that she had little appetite for dinner tonight. She may very well regret that later, but she still had a few chores to do before it was bedtime. If she was really that hungry, she’d bribe one of the servants for a day old crusty roll or a bit of cheese; and then pray that they did not rat her out later. Viviane dutifully cleaned up her meal, rising from the benches, when her eyes finally left the table and fell upon a woman entering the dining area. Her breath caught in her throat, the tray almost crashing to the ground. It was the Mistress of Novices and she was wearing her Shawl… Oh, Light! Can it be…!? Viviane thought flustered as she schooled her face to remain the perfect picture of serenity. The Mistress of Novices was indeed moving in Viviane’s direction, all eyes in the room turned to stare openly at the woman. Viviane’s right hand shook slightly before she caught the twitch.
  4. There was not a single black thread in all of Tar Valon. It would not be found on a seamstress' thread rack in a housewife's basket. Aes Sedai did not wear black at all, and that tradition carried into the grand city itself. No one wore a lick of the color, not in lace nor cord nor thread. Yet, Tar Valon had men dressed in black coats not only in the city itself, but the White Tower. Well, their uniform was black, but they certainly weren't wearing it now. But it didn't change the fact that it was their uniform, marking them. Oh, they had not walked through the city, no, but remembering it made her head ache. Jagen wanted to rub it away, but she stayed her hand. She could feel Aslan there. A man, bonded to her. A man who had bonded her. A man, using saidin, had… Jagen looked up at the sky. It was overcast, and for this she was grateful. It matched her soured mood. She had been trying to calm herself since that… incident. She had had one other meeting with that man, one that was shorter than me expected, perhaps. But today, that had to change. If she was to be bonded to him, whether she liked it or not, she had to get to know him. It had taken her a week to finally decide to have a second meeting. She did not wear her shawl today which, though she had been Aes Sedai for a long time, was unusual for the woman when she met with visitors or guests who were not of Tar Valon. She smoothed her dress, one of maroon and cream brocaded clinging silk, walking down a main corridor in the Tower. She had sent a message through a White Tower servant to Aslan, to have him meet her at the Tower's main grand entrance. The Taraboner—in her people's style of dress, with her hair in dozens of braids and a veil over the lower half of her face—inclined her head towards an old couple, perhaps petitioners who were seeking Healing or some other matter. Well, in truth, Jagen was older than them, but she was always grateful not to look the part. She passed through the main hall and made her way to the Red Quarters. From here she chose a sitting room available to the sisters who did not want to meet in their rooms. The room held a dozen comfortable chairs and had two marble fireplaces. A servant was tending a single, lit fire when she entered. Jagen dismissed her with a short word. Now she would wait. The Sitter pursed her lips, her jaw tight; it was not the waiting she minded, but the thought of being in a room with a man who could channel. Oh, she could, if she really wanted to, sever him on her own. But such a thing was against Tower law, and she'd be severely punished. Perhaps even stilled herself, and sent to a farm for the rest of her life. It was not worth it. Not unless she deemed him dangerous. At least here, where novices, Accepted, servants and visitors went about their daily tasks, she would not be alone in meeting him again. In public she felt more at ease and more in control. Soon enough, the Asha'man entered. Jagen turned to face him, standing regally. Jagen needed to appear strong; she was strong, she reminded herself. "Enjoying the city, Aslan?" She asked in a way of greeting. It wasn't a friendly tone, but neutral as she could make it.
  5. Tar Valon. Merdyn could hardly believe that he was finally here. The sacred city nestled on the banks of the River Erinin, Dragonmount looming dangerously on the horizon. The second largest city in the Westlands; the seat of Aes Sedai power. Men and women came to this Ogier-designed city for petitions, healings, and guidance. As an Asha’man, Merydn felt a tinge of guilt over his awe at the sight of the brilliant white buildings. Being the son of one of the High Seats of Andor, Merdyn should have visited this place long ago; but life had never steered him in this direction. Merdyn Gilyard was a man that had a Talent for Traveling; boring a hole into the Pattern, he had found himself stepping out just a few yards from the Shining Walls that enclosed the city. The walls in question were said to be impregnable; oh, they looked like Cuendillar, but Merdyn knew better… Although one never did know what the future held. Perhaps a Sister here wound find themselves with the Talent to create such a thing and then, perhaps, the city of Tar Valon would be truly protected from any outside forces. Merdyn pocketed the thought for later, it would be a handy suggestion to offer up to the Red Sister he was slated to meet with today. He had all sorts of those ideas stowed away. Asha’men were ‘new’ to the world, true, but youth often sprung innovation. Merdyn had vowed to himself to prove to the Sisters just how useful the Black Tower could be, if only in their ideas for the future. It had taken the better part of an hour or two, but before long, he was stepping into the White Tower itself. The city that surrounded the Aes Sedai stronghold had reminded him of Camelyn. It made him homesick. One of the other brothers back at the Black Tower had estimated that Tar Valon had housed over 500,000 citizens, not including the Sisters; a number that put the population of the Farm to shame. Oh, the Black Tower was thriving, and more came seeking refuge every day. It would take another generation or two, probably several or more, before their numbers reached even half of that, but still, it was something to think on. Nox had not come with Merdyn; his heart ached at being separated from his true love, but as an Asha’man, there would be times where duty would separate them. It was moments like these that Merdyn had wished Nox would consent to the Warder Bond… At least then Merdyn would always know that Nox was safe, alive, and where he may be; they would never truly be separated again. Now was not the time for emotions. Now was the time to act the professional gentleman, putting his best foot forward to represent the Black Tower. With a stiff upper lip, Merdyn entered the Tower and was lead off by a young Accepted wearing the typical stark white dress banded in the colors of the seven Ajahs. The M’Hael had named Merdyn the official liaison between the Black Tower and the Red Ajah. The thought scared Merdyn slightly; the two groups had enjoyed tense relations at best. The Reds were known for Gentling men such as Merdyn, it had been a shock for everyone when the Ajah had bowed to their ideals and started Bonding men of the Black Tower. It was something that spoke of the Ajah’s commitment to the Final Battle. If they were to overcome any of this, they would have to work together. There had been a time that Merdyn would have willingly been Bonded to a Sister, even a Red, but that time had long since passed. He had Nox now, and although it would’ve done wonders for relations between the Towers, Merdyn would no longer allow such a Bonding to happen. Nox held claim over his heart and soul, if there were one person in the Pattern that held the right to Bond Merdyn, it was Nox. Today, Merdyn was to meet with a Jagen Sedai. She was a high ranking member of the Red Ajah. The plan was to enter into talks concerning both group’s mutual interests and how they may come together to work better as partners on this hellish road to Tarmon Gai’don. Merdyn was the face of the Black Tower so far as the Reds were concerned, and he relished in the opportunity. He was a tad nervous, but life as a noble and being groomed to become the next head of the Great House of Gilyard… Well, Merdyn was more than equipped to deal with these talks. The M’Hael had made the right decision in naming Merdyn liaison with the Reds. There was no doubt in his mind that the talks would go well. With any luck, they would wrap this all up over tea and he would be back home in the arms of Nox before nightfall. Merdyn was genuinely good-natured, there was nothing to hide here, and he honestly hoped for the prosperity between the two Towers; surely this Jagen would see all of that. And if all else failed, Merdyn had brought seven fat chests of gold with him, to honor each Ajah.
  6. Viviane fidgeted in her seat. Today she was to learn what it meant to be Red Ajah. Jagen Sedai had not yet arrived to the classroom, so Viviane had little reserve in exhibiting her anxiousness. She’d have to bottle it up soon enough. Right when those doors swung open, the mock Aes Sedai serenity would slide over Viv’s face, as best as she could manage. The Reds made her nervous. They made every girl nervous… Well, not every girl. There were certainly a few Novices and Accepted that Viviane had encountered, girls that aspired to be Red above all else. People often said that Blues were passionate, but Viviane found the same was true for the Reds. At least it was true for the women that aspired to Red. From what Viv had seen, the Sisters of the Red were strong and commanding. It was often said those women were fiercely loyal as well. To the Tower and to their Ajah. Viviane had given an ear to those girls that aspired to Red, but it was hard when a few had sounded almost fanatical. Today was not a day for fanatisicm, however. Jagen Sedai was to be educating Viviane on the matter and she knew from personal experience that Jagen was a no nonsense type of woman. She would not spit blind faith at Viviane, no more than she would say falsehoods. Viviane had high hopes for today. The Red Ajah was not one that Viv had aspired to. She had wanted to be Blue, and the rivalry between the two Ajahs was no secret. That was why she was anxious. There was no way that Jagen could know Viv wanted to be Blue. She had not approached any Blue Sisters yet… She was saving them for last. She had hoped none of the other Sisters knew which Ajah she had been pining for, that might change what they told her or how they spoke to her. Viviane held great respect for every Sister that had taken the time to educate her, Jagen Sedai included. She had taught Viviane her first lessons on Saidar. It was a wonderful class. That was the first day she sensed Saidar. No woman of the White Tower forgot that moment. It had been a bit of a shock that Jagen Sedai had insisted upon a class to explain her Ajah, especially considering that Viviane was the only girl in attendance. Well, that wasn’t really weird, but the silence did nothing for her nerves. Lavinya Sedai had educated Viviane on the Grey a few weeks before, but she had made Viviane do chores while she spoke. Viviane hoped Jagen wouldn’t make her scrub the floor to learn what it meant to be a Red. But if she does, I’ll do it with a smile on my face.
  7. A girl sat on her bed in the Accepted's quarters in the White Tower on the island of Tar Valon surrounded by the Erinin River in the northeastern corner of the Westlands. She sits with her legs folded under her and she is closely examining a Great Serpent ring - her Great Serpent ring. She turned the golden snake over and over in her hands, feeling every detail. Jasmyne was frowning at her ring. She had worn this ring for at least ten years. She had actually lost count. How much longer would it take for her to get the second piece? She wanted a shawl. She didn't care what color it was, unless it was White. She would have taken nearly any color as long as she got a shawl. The striped dress was growing abhorrent. She brushed her hair out of her eyes. It was getting longer now: it was down past her ears. However, she looked a bit boyish in it, and felt it too. Her door opened without a knock and permitted an Aes Sedai. She could not tell who for her candle did not quite reach that far. Unsurprisingly, the voice she heard was most certainly belonging to Larindhra, the Mistress of Novices. However, it was unlike her to appear this late. It was past curfew. From her shadowed face, the most shocking words she ever heard came. She had just been wishing for those words, but it was so shocking to actually hear them. "Jasmyne Ceres, you are called to be tested for Aes Sedai." She quickly got up and followed after the Red. She was thankful that she had decided to stay dressed for a while. She trotted after the Aes Sedai. She sure hoped she was ready for this. She couldn't afford not to be. This Hallway went further than she had been before. She was led into a large room much like the one for the test for Accepted, but the ter'angreal was significantly different. It was a single oval shape. There were also many more Aes Sedai than before. One spoke. “You come in ignorance Jasmyne Ceres, how would you depart?” “In knowledge of myself.” She responded as confident as she could muster. Aes Sedai were always strong, even if they were nervous. “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” “For what would you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl,” She was then quickly briefed on her instructions. Small glowing pad to weave on, weave the correct weave, etc. she nodded, undressed, and then glided into the oval. She emerged on the other side in a very fine and expensive dress. At a glace, it appeared to be woven gold. The irony of this was that she was nearly waist deep in a swamp. A very muddy swamp. She looked around and saw the glowing mark a little ways off on top of a tree root sticking out over the swamp. She started to work her way over, but it was a rather difficult task. Her legs were short and by the feel of it, the hem of the dress was very narrow and movement constricting. The branch was higher than before once she got to it, or perhaps she was just deeper in now. She looked down and it was definitely above her bosom. Short little arms reached up and took a firm grip of the monstrous root. The muddy water held her in down quite well and she didn't have the upper body strength to pull free. She would have to muck her way over to the tree base. It was a rather slippery tree, but she got up on it with much grunting. The idea of ripping the constricting dress ran through her head many times. It would have been much easier to get up if she had. She put her arms out and balanced over to where the symbol was. It seemed as soon as she set foot on the pad, the entire marsh came to life with the worst possible wildlife. Alligators covered the top of the swamp water. Mosquitos, bees, and all sorts of annoying and biting insects filled the air. Every kind of snake were suddenly dropping out of the overhead branches and crawling towards her. She started her first weave, and then proceeded to deal out punishment to the creatures that wished her harm. She wove a large wave into the swamp and deterred the alligators for a moment. Her training with Jagen Sedai had certainly paid off. She wove fire into the Air and a wave of Flames consumed many insects, but they just replenished themselves quicker than anything should have. The snakes were awfully close to her, so she decided a air shield around and below her would suffice, while a fire shield hovered above that to keep her air supply semi-constant. Cobras and adders struck at the shield and bounced off, the she was losing oxygen. The fire was using hers up. A thought came to her. These were all cold-blooded creatures. She strongly wove a simple weave and the temperature suddenly dropped to below freezing. The alligators retreated into the swamp, bugs dropped from the sky, and the snakes hissed in disgust. She quickly finished off the absurdly complicated and useless weave, then was suddenly gone. She appeared in another setting. It was brightly lit and plat. The pad was on a hill in the distance and she could see it clearly. She looked down and she was in her birthday suit and up to her shoulders in briars, nettles, and itchweed. And….there were ants in it. Very possibly also mites and biting beetles as well. She must remain calm. She must not scratch. She walked forward with her fists balled up beside her, the itching getting worse with every step. Needles brushed against her constantly and she could not imagine a less comfortable situation. Sweat poured down her face with concentration to not scratch herself. She increased her pace and finally got out onto the hill. She itched like mad and her eyes were tearing up. The glowing pad lay in front of her and she stepped onto it. She started the second weave and a strong wind filled with cottonwood fluff blew past her. There was so much that it was blinding and it kept getting in her mouth and sticking to her sweat. It was gone as fast it came, but then the most peculiar phenomenon occurred. It began to rain…vinegar? GREAT LORD! That stings! It was very hard to keep straight posture and not scratch. She wove a bit quicker. It rained harder. Her eyes began to burn. Must weave faster! Discreetly faster. The weave was done and she was gone. This is exhausting! She thought as she appeared in the last world she would have to face. The creativity of the Aes Sedai working the ter'angreal was commendable. Who knew that large housewives trying to force-feed you could be so horribly distracting? What were they up to this time? It was the grand finale, so to say, so they would have to outdo themselves for this. She was in a simple garb and where she was appeared to be a barren wasteland of solid rock. Her symbol was only a few feet away and there was nothing out of the ordinary that she could see. She stepped carefully and nothing happened. She stepped onto the pad and waited for the bang. Nothing. She started to weave and it happened. The ground all around her shook violently and cracked open. Lava and steam exploded into the air and was falling around her. Hastily she wove a shield to block the large pieces of molten rock that were intent on landing on her. Hot steam then shot right up her dress and burned her legs and waist while scalding her torso. She concentrated hard to not scream or jump or run or something foolish like that. She was far too stubborn to give up now and she knew it. A weave of air deflected the steam away from her and she continued her weave. The ground shook harder and she nearly lost her balance. She wove a pair of rock bands around her feet so she wouldn't move from the spot. Her weave was nearly done. Another burst of steam shot into her face and she very nearly lost her weave. She deflected that one, crying from the pain. The weave came together and she was gone. She emerged into the room and found herself completely unblemished in any way. The itching was gone too. Just a faint memory of it all. The other sisters were quiet and she donned her Accepted dress, then returned to her rooms for reflection. The candle she had left burning before had gone out in the time she was gone. She left it that way. She needed time to reflect and the darkness was far less distracting. She lay on her bed, absentmindedly scratching her arms. She wasn't itchy, but the memory of it made her feel like she was. Her mind was so lost in thoughts that she eventually just faded into a restless sleep. She awoke to a knocking on her door. She rubbed her eyes and there were seven Aes Sedai standing in her room, one from each Ajah. Interesting enough, they were in alphabetical order by Ajah name from left to right. she did not know the Blue sister, Cara Sedai was the Brown, Alitacia the Gray, Janine the Green, Larindhra the Red, Lillith the White, and Respa the Yellow. "The time has come, Jasmyne Ceres, for you to swear the Three Oaths and become an Aes Sedai. The Amyrlin awaits. They all left and she followed them. Butterflies filled her stomach, worse than the night before. Why was this more un-nerving? They were back in the room with the strange oval ter'angreal. The Amyrlin was standing on the opposite side of the oval, and the Keeper was beside her holding a tassled cushion containing another ter'angreal. The Oath Rod. The Sitters of each Ajah stood in a semi-circle behind Kathana plus the newest Aes Sedai of each Ajah holding a shawl. A shawl that each one wanted to place on her shoulders. She only recognized two of them Jagen stood with the Reds and Kabria with the Greens. Those two were the only two she had ever really considered, and she had decided which one wins back when she made another major decision. She confidently stepped through the oval ter'angreal and approached the Amyrlin Seat. The Keeper gave Kathana the Oath Rod and she spoke. “Your time has come, child. Speak the Oaths and seal yourself to us forever.” She placed the thin white rod into Jasmyne's tiny hands and wove Spirit into it. "Under the Light, I swear to speak no word that is not true." Her eyes widened as she felt something constrict onto her skin, like a second skin. It was the oddest feeling. It was tight. "Under the Light," she continued, "I swear to make no weapon with which one man may kill another." This one was just as tight over her skin. She hoped they would not crush her. "Under the Light, I swear never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last defense of my own life, that of my Warder, or that of another Aes Sedai." That last one came just as the other. She almost held her breath in expectance. "Jasmyne Sedai, it is done. You have sworn the Three Oaths, and may now petition your Ajah." The Amyrlin took the Oath Rod and put it on the cushion, then stepped back. She stood and eyed all the Sisters over. She wanted to make sure she was right. She lingered over Jaydena Sedai, Eadon Sedai, and Loraine Sedai. She lingered over Raslyn Sedai, Shevara Sedai, and Zarinen Sedai as well. With a deep breath she stepped forward towards Jagen Sedai. "If it pleases you, Aes Sedai, I seek admittance into the Red Ajah" She heard a gasp, then a thump. All heads in the room turned to see the Mistress of Novices sprawled on the stone floor. She had fainted in shock. Respa tended her and she awoke, then all the other filed out of the room. Just her and the Reds.
  8. Aureli watched her students file out of her classroom and gave a few of them some nods, acknowledging that they had done a good job. Now, they had to go and finish their compositions, and all she had to do was sit back and relax while she wrote the lesson plans for the next class of advanced grammar. She tucked her notes from this class into her pouch, and made to stand up. Before she started to walk to the door, however, she saw Valeri standing in her classroom door, her shawl draped over her shoulders, and Aureli's heart jumped into her throat. "Aureli Yenda, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe." It seemed all at once that the gravity of the situation settled itself onto her shoulders. Instead of hiding, she stood up straight and glided over to the Mistress of Novices, hiding her anxiety and misgivings. This woman had seen her go from a scared young girl from Tear to a capable Accepted, and if she had faith that she could pass this test, Aureli did not doubt that she could. The next time my students see me, I'll be Aes Sedai... The thought of it gave her courage to follow. The path they took around the Tower's corridors was only slightly familiar to Aureli, as she had only gone this way once, to pass through the Three Arches. As she descended the stairs with Valeri, she suddenly felt an urge to start rambling, reminiscing, telling her her fears and anxieties, but she knew that it was looked down upon to speak until her turn came. And, so she entered the bowels of the White Tower with the guiding light of the sparse lamps and torches showing them each step as they went further and further down. Valeri stopped in front of the largest doors Aureli had ever seen. For a moment, her heart started beating faster and faster, but she calmed herself, making herself breathe slowly and readying herself for the moment that they would open. Valeri embraced Saidar and opened the door with Air, as she had done on Aureli's first day in the White Tower. The doors, even though they were enormous and ancient, opened silently because of the constant maintenance to the White Tower and every detail of it. She wanted to take in the whole room, but all she saw was the ring-shaped ter'angreal in the middle of the room, hovering about the gorund, waiting for her. Before she could admire the complexity of it, the Mistress of Novices said, "Attend." A group of other sisters took that as their cue, and made a ring around the both of them. "You come in ignorance Aureli Yenda," Valeri said. "How would you depart?" "In knowledge of myself," she answered calmly. "For what reason have you been summoned here?" "To be tried." "For what reason should you be tried?" "So that I may learn whether I am worthy." "For what would you be found worthy?" "To wear the shawl." After saying this, Aureli began to disrobe. She began as she always did, by untying the knot that covered her right shoulder, letting the world know that she was missing an arm. The Mistress of Novices continued on as she prepared to be clad in the Light. "Therefore, I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground." As she channeled, Valeri drew a six-pointed star in front of Aureli. Unexpectedly, a sister began to channel behind her. She wasn't told that was going to happen, but she wasn't told much besides what to say and when. The sister behind her sent a small weave into the back of Aureli's head. She felt unsure for a moment, but these were women who would be her sisters if she could pass this test, so she took this as an exercise in trust, and kept her composure. The channeling sister said, "Remember what must be remembered." Remember? Of course she would remember. Most of her training in the White Tower had been about memorization. She let the chanting of the words continue, however, as Valeri continued. "When you see this sign, you will go to it immediately, and at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed." "Remember what must be remembered." Aureli burned the image of that star into her consciousness, remembering every detail. Would there be decoy stars with five points? "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation." "Remember what must be remembered." "One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure." "Remember what must be remembered." The small weaves caressing the back of her head felt strange, but she ignored it, listening to what she heard as she finished disrobing. She felt the weave settled onto her head, and the sisters stood around the ter'angreal in a circle, and knelt down around it. They embraced Saidar, and began weaving, making the colors in the ring shift and change rapidly. It was beautiful. Aureli was finally completely undressed except for her ring. It hadn't left her finger since the Amyrlin put it there, all those years ago. With her little finger, and her thumb, she eased it off, and placed it atop the rest of her clothes. It wasn't until that was gone that she truly felt naked, but she kept her embarrassment tucked down and away from her face. At this point, the colors of the ring had changed so swiftly that they were a bright white, and the ring began to rotate slowly. She approached the ring, watching the golden sides as it rotated away from her, and when the opening came back to her, she stepped into the light.
  9. OOC: This RP is set about 90 20 years before the current Timeline. It is a solo RP, and begins Elin’s discovery of her Talent. Edited for minor changes to bring up to a more modern time. IC: It was dusty in the store rooms, and not the pleasant kind of dusty one finds in a bakery, where the dust is mostly flour. Here is was simply a lack of presence. Wherever people spend time, the place takes on a feel... conversely, where people are not allowed, where people refuse to go... there is an absence. The storerooms were such a place. It had been seventy years since she was raised to the Shawl, almost eighty-five since she left that small village in Amadicia. Over the years, she had gained a reputation as level headed, and several of the women who had served as Highest had recognized her for it. Now there was a new woman in the position, one who wanted to utilize that Elin. No, she wasn’t abnormally strong, but she was truly gifted with weaves of Spirit. Somehow, the Highest heard of this, and set Elin a task. It was rarely pleasant to be given a task by the Highest, but this one wasn’t looking to be all that bad. Recently, the Yellow Ajah had been winning support among the other Ajahs, not just in the Hall, but for their efforts in the world. The Highest was working to find a way to counter the Yellow’s influence by raising the profile of the Red. That was why Elin was down here in the storerooms. Her strength in Spirit, the Highest hoped, would help the ter’angreal in the Tower’s keeping speak to her. Yes, it was dangerous, but she had worn the shawl long enough to be trusted with such a task. The ter’angreal were so varied it was hard to imagine that they all were objects of the Power. Sitting there, staring at a small statue of a woman fighting against a driving wind, a golden mask, and a bell without a clapper, Elin began to think that their makers must have been either mad or artists... which were often the same thing. These three ter’angreal were all known to be connected to Spirit, and their effects had already been studied. By examining these known ter’angreal, Elin hoped to get a feel for what a Spirit focused ter’angreal felt like. It wasn’t doing her much good. They all had a “feel” to them, much the same “feel” that all ter’angreal had. Everything in this room had the same feel. Sitting in the room was like sitting in the middle of an apiary, the constant buzzing grating on her nerves. She was beginning to develop a headache from it. With a sigh, Elin rose out of the chair and began to walk down the aisle of shelves. Item after item caught her eye, but after further examination, none seemed worth the effort of actually taking off the shelf. Rings, bowls, statues, knives, books, birds... they all sat there, waiting to be explained. Unfortunately, Elin was sure that she did not have the Talent of detecting the purpose of ter’angreal. As her head pounded, Elin decided that today was done. She had worked enough for the day. She climbed the floors of the Tower, leaving behind the basements, and stopped at the kitchen long enough to pull aside a novice. The girl bobbed a quick curtsy, and looked obviously torn between listening to the Aes Sedai and finishing her assigned task. The Kitchen Cooks could be merciless if a novice ruined a dish due to poor attention or lollygagging. Elin gave the girl her dinner order, including a hearty soup, some ham, roasted potatoes, and a small salad. Headaches from One Power related activities needed to be countered with either strong support with nutrients or Healing. Back in her room, Elin brushed her black hair as she stared out her window over the city. The ogier had designed the city to be seen from every angle. From above, it seemed to flow and welcome the eye. Elin always found it soothing to look over the city, letting her eyes wander from one graceful building to the next soaring edifice. Her first years with the shawl on her shoulders had been spent learning the traditions of her Ajah. Once she had the shawl, sisters began to tell her an old saying that Accepted never hear... “When you join an Ajah you have as much to learn as your first four years in the Tower.” After she’d learnt all there was to learn from her sisters and the Highest, Elin’s feet began to itch. She spent some time traveling around Caemlyn, Cairhien, and even Illian, before she gathered her courage and did what she’d been hoping to do for some time. She put away her shawl, hid her Great Serpent ring, and road up into Amadicia, back to her home village. By that time, she had been away from home for more than twenty years, but her village was much the same as it had been when she left. The old miller, the one who had labeled her brother tainted by the One Power, had died. His mill sat empty, and Elin felt a strong satisfaction knowing that in the end, he had not won. One new addition was an inn, where she stayed the night. On the next day, she sought out her family’s bakery. There were children working there... children who looked painfully like her brothers... little girls who looked much like Elin had years ago. Of course, as she stood there, the children giggled and blushed, and an elderly woman came out from the back room. Her iron gray hair hung in waves, just like Elin’s did. It was her mother. They stood there, staring at each other for a long moment, both knowing who the other was. Then, Elin felt a pain in her chest as her mother put on a mask. “Good morning, my Lady, how may we serve you?” Elin bought a small set of sweet buns and left. Her mother knew she was alive, knew that she had made something of herself. She knew that her family thrived after she left. It was enough. As she brushed her hair and remembered those painful memories, Elin came back to herself when the novice knocked on her door. At her call, the novice opened the door and brought her tray in. After eating, Elin laid down and thought long thoughts about the way her mother had aged, and how it would be decades yet before Elin even had a single gray hair. The next morning, she dressed in a simple black dress, and for the first time in many years, she put on a small bonnet. This one wasn’t very traditional, it lacked the deep front that hid a woman’s face, but it reminded her of where she came from. If anyone asked, she would say she was dressing so plainly to avoid getting her better clothing dusty. After a quick breakfast of fruit, stewed in milk and honey, Elin went back to the storeroom. She knew that a weave of Air, Earth and Water could suppress all the dust... but there were so many ter’angreal that could accidentally be activated by a stray flow of the Power. Today, she didn’t bother with the known ter’angreal. It hadn’t helped before, it wouldn’t help today. As she worked, lifting items off their shelves, manipulating them, turning them, the room grew hot and stuff, and her head began to itch under the bonnet she had decided to wear on a maudlin whim. After four hours of itching at her scalp through the material and mounds of hair, Elin finally ripped it off her head. “It’s the past... my past, but still the past. Wearing a bonnet today won’t change the fact that I left Amadicia far behind.” Her voice echoed in the mostly empty room. It took her another hour to get sick of having her hair hanging about loose down her back. Her pride wouldn’t let her put the bonnet back on, and she didn’t have anything at hand to hold her hair back. Something on the shelf caught her eye. It was eye level, but at the back of a shelf. Like every other item in the room, it wore a small tag that gave its details. Hair Caul; metallic from unknown source material; serves unknown purpose. Whatever purpose its creator had intended, Elin needed a caul. She piled her hair into a neat coil, and slipped the caul on over it. It seemed right. The metal net kept her hair off her shoulders, but didn’t trap the heat on her scalp like the bonnet had. Though, that didn’t entirely explain the coolness she now felt. Hours later, nothing had leapt out at her, declaring its purpose. It frustrated her. A lot. She hadn’t failed at anything in some time. Another novice took her dinner order this time, and when she went to her room, Elin simply reclined in a chair waiting for her food to be brought. After she ate, she slipped out of her dress and directly into bed. She could brush her hair in the morning. As she sank into sleep, something felt different. Not enough to keep her awake, but enough that her mind kept running even as she sank into sleep. She knew she wasn’t awake yet... but she found herself aware. She was sitting in her room, wearing her favorite dress and that caul from the ter’angreal storeroom. The sky outside was an odd mix of midday blue, but with visible stars. It was disconcerting. Her room was well lit... despite the odd external lighting and the fact that none of her lamps were burning. Standing, Elin walked around her room, then out into the Red Ajah halls. It felt like there were eyes boring into the small of her back, no matter where she went. She visited the rooms of women she knew, some she liked, other she barely stood because of their shared Ajah. Eventually, she even visited the Highest’s rooms. There were no other people here. She did do a little rifling through papers, confirming a few ideas she had about her sisters. Though, letters seemed to appear and disappear with an alarming frequency. Books were more stable... even personal journals. Elin wandered the halls of the Tower, exploring different rooms... places she hadn’t visited since she was an Accepted... places she still wasn’t allowed to go. It was exillerating. Suddenly the world was shaking... and her eyes sprang open. Standing over her was a wide eyed novice and one of her least favorite sisters. “Good morning, Airen. To what do I owe the pleasure?” Elin did her best to put a few inches of frost on every surface in the room. “This girl said she came to bring you your breakfast, per the instructions you left with the kitchen, but she found you still asleep. She tried to wake you, but could not. She came into the hallway, and almost ran into me. I of course came to see if I could be of any assistance.” Airen’s voice was just as icy. “You see, Child, with some deep sleepers, you just need to shake them hard enough.” On that line, the other Red left, and Elin dismissed the novice. What happened to her? Where had she gone? The only logical conclusion was that the silvery caul she still wore had caused whatever happened. She kept it on, though... she hadn’t come to any harm, so why take it off? She spent weeks working in the storerooms, but nothing else caught her eye. For the same weeks, Elin explored this new world. After a trip to the Library to confirm her growing suspicion, Elin had a name for her new world. Tel’aran’rhiod. The unseen world. The world of dreams. Aes Sedai had studied it before, so it wasn’t brand new... but no one recently had explored this world. Her discoveries would be hers alone, for now. It took a small procedure to get approval to keep the silver caul, but the Tower was lenient with ter’angreal that seemed insignificant. She, of course, had to promise to report her discoveries to share with the Tower... but the promise was carefully worded to exclude a deadline for that report. Elin knew the Highest wasn’t pleased that she hadn’t discovered anything monumental. Someone else would have to do something to elevate the Red Ajah. Elin knew that if she revealed her explorations in the World of Dreams, the Red would gain significant prestige, but she didn’t want to share it just yet. If she told the Highest, it wouldn’t be her explorations anymore. The Highest would have the caul taken from her, and the Red Ajah would explore the world of Dreams. Elin might be allowed to visit, but older sisters, women who had paid their dues and earned the Highest’s favor would be given that honor. For now, the caul was hers. The World of Dreams was hers.
  10. The weave of Spirit formed easily for Elin, as they almost always did, and Elin split her flow into a second weave designed to slash other weaves, then a third, a shield, designed to cut another channeler off from the source. Her lessons with Rochel Sedai had inspired the Accepted to continue her work with Spirit, especially shields and defensive uses of the Power. She was alone in that quiet garden near the Red quarters, and she let the weaves dissipate. Sitting on a marble bench, she stroked the bands at her hem. Those seven stripes were dear to her, and she had worked to earn them. She had been an Accepted for many years, and she had passed her thirtieth birthday here in the Tower. Soon she will have spent more years in the Tower than she did in Amadicia. Back home, her brothers and sisters had probably married and had children of their own. Of course, Elin couldn’t visit them. She had obviously slowed, and it would be noticed if she came home looking a decade younger than she had any right to be. They were out of her life now, and the most she could do would be to look out for her family from a distance as much as she was able. The sound of a slipper on the stone of the garden pulled her out of her reverie, and she looked up just in time to see Valeri Sedai standing there, wearing her shawl. “Elin Hawes, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The light see you safe and keep you whole.” Without a word, because any noise from her would be a failure, Elin stood and followed Valeri. The path was familiar, and it felt like just the other day Elin had followed this woman along this same path to pass through the arches ter’angreal that marked her as Accepted. It was more than just days, though. In fact, years had passed, and in those years Elin had grown into a woman. When she had arrived at the Tower, she had been afraid, timid, still traumatized by the death of her twin. Becoming Accepted had forced her to face the harsh realities that she wasn’t just leaving her brother behind, but her whole family. She made her choice, and she was sure that she had made the right choice and she had bound herself to the Tower. Her face smooth, Elin followed Valeri into the solid stone chamber where the oval ring sat. Every Accepted knew the purpose of this ter’angreal, and Elin worked to keep her face smooth. This test would make the arches look like child’s play. Barely noticing the massive doors or the almost blindingly white walls, Elin only had eyes for the ter’angreal. It was shining silver, then pearl, then white, then gold, and yet more colors as Elin watched it. Around the room stood several Aes Sedai, all wearing their shawls, all judging her. If she so much as let a single crease show across her brow, she would fail. “Attend,” Valeri’s word seemed to fill the chamber as the Aes Sedai formed a ring around the Mistress of Novices and the Accepted. “You come in ignorance, Elin Hawes. How would you depart?” The ritual answer came to Elin’s lips without thought, “In knowledge of myself.” “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” In her heart, Elin knew she was worthy. She had to be. If she failed here, no one would seek out those poor souls being put on sham trials and executed simply for being suspected of being able to channel. “For what would you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl.” The word filled Elin with a sense of pride. She would have a lovely crimson fringe on her shawl. As the last word died in the stillness of the air, Elin stripped out of her Accepted dress, watching as Valeri continued speaking. “Therefore I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground.” She channeled, and a silver, six pointed star appeared in the air. As Elin nodded, she felt another woman channeling behind her, and a weave of spirit settled into her skull. “Remember what must be remembered.” Elin resisted the urge to arch an eyebrow. This was not part of the ceremony... or at least what the Accepted were taught about it. A small part of Elin’s mind wondered about that weave. It was sure to be mostly Spirit, and it likely could be altered... Elin cut off that train of thought. She would ask to learn the weave once she wore the Shawl. Valeri was speaking again. “When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed.” “Remember what must be remembered.” That voice coming from behind was a minor irritation. The least the woman could do was speak from in front so Elin could see her too. “When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation.” “Remember what must be remembered.” “One hundred times will you weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure.” “Remember what must be remembered.” Elin let the urge to mutter about that phrase sink into her and pass without acting on it. One hundred weaves that every Accepted learned and knew by heart. It was time to perform them, not being tested by her friends, but with real sisters judging her. Suddenly, the weave she felt behind her settled into her flesh, and she fought the need to shiver. Moving without signal, the seven sisters walked to the ter’angreal and knelt at its base. They all began weaving a tapestry of the five powers, more complex than most weaves. The oval began to increase the speed of the flow of its colors, and suddenly the opening flashed white. The last bit of covering she had was her Great Serpent ring, and without showing her pain at giving it up, Elin set it atop her pile of clothing. Then she stepped into that blinding light, and was suddenly somewhere else. She was naked, but she knew she could not react to that fact. There was a comfortable, black dress sitting on the ground next to her, and she calmly bent to gather it and dress. Once she was clothed, she saw a six pointed star inlaid on the hardpacked ground. With a small smile, Elin began walking toward the star. As she walked, the dress became tighter and tighter. Each step brought the seams in tighter. The high neck was suddenly a cinch around her neck. Despite the fact that she was being strangled, she kept her face smooth and merely walked to the star. When she arrived, the dress was cutting off the air in her throat, the blood to her arms, and it felt like it would cut her in half at the waist. Ignoring those facts, she channeled the first weave, the only weave her mind would let her channel. A blue coin popped into existence, and suddenly the dress was the correct size again. To her right, a six pointed star sat above an archway. With her hands held at her waist, Elin walked to the arch. The second she passed under the arch, she was wearing a ball gown in the most comlex of Cairhienin styles. Elin was surrounded by a horde of angry women, their hands turned to claws. They each screamed vile words and phrases at her, some were so bold to reach for her dress and tear the slashes that denote rank clean off her dress. These women obviously did not think Elin deserved to claim the rank the slashes spoke to, and so they were tearing her down, literally. Ignoring them, Elin walked through the room at a stately pace toward the tiled six pointed star, and once she reached it, the tangled web practically sprang into existence. This weave was difficult for Elin because it involved so much Earth, but she kept her face serene while the women tore the gown off her back. Once the weave was formed, Elin smiled. She hadn’t been shocked. To her left was a door in the shape of a six pointed star, and Elin walked toward it. In the next room, she was somewhere else again. She was still naked, and still had some of the scratches... but she didn’t know why she was scratched. There was a dress sitting on a chair next to her, so she put it on, along with the slippers that sat under it. Across the room was a pattern of wooden slats in the floor, in the shape of a six pointed star. Walking to it, Elin felt the cool air on her ankles. That was wrong, but she didn’t let her confusion show. She knew that she had to remain entirely emotionless throughout... whatever this was that was going on. Suddenly, there was a drunken man leering at her, and she felt the air blowing on her shins. What had been a full dress now ended at her knees. With each step, more fabric disappeared, and more men appeared. At the star, she barely had a collar of fabric anymore. As she began to weave the lacey mixture of Air, Earth, and Spirit, even that small collar disappeared. She couldn’t help but blush at that moment. Situation after situation passed. Some were merely embarrassing for her, like the disappearing dress, while others were hazardous to her health, like a pitched battlefield she had to cross without letting a single emotion show be it fear, concern, worry, or any other fleeting feeling that might want to cross her face. Every time her mind blanked, she found herself somewhere new, but she still had any injuries she’d received previously. It definitely confused Elin to find herself nude with scratches, gouges and bruises all over her body. After 99 weaves, Elin found herself standing in her village square in front of her family’s mill. Part of her knew that almost two decades had passed since she had left that village, but another part saw the wood piled up at the base of a stake. Tied to the stake was her brother Nile. The fire hadn’t caught yet at the woodpile, but Elin knew she could stop the fire from catching at all... but she could not channel until she reached the silver star marked out in stones in the middle of the road out of town. She was wearing the traditional dress and bonnet, even her baking apron, and as she walked, her back to Nile on the stake, she heard his cries. She heard the crackle as the flames caught on the wood. She smelled the scent of roasting flesh. When she reached the star, she began channeling the required weave. Turning back to her brother, she could see that he still lived. Splitting her flows, she continued the required weave while also creating a large ball of water that she let fall onto the flames, dousing them. Nile wept with mingled relief and pain. As she finished the final weave, it erupted into sparks. Down the path leading out of town, Elin saw a pair of trees tied together to form an arch, with a shining star high in their branches. Walking down the path, Elin kept her face smooth even though she heard Nile calling for her again, knowing that the villages wouldn’t let a single doused fire stop them. When she passed under the arch, she found herself back in the basements of the Tower outside the oval ter’angreal. Suddenly it all crashed down onto Elin. Every person she had walked away from, every pain inflicted on her, every shame. Then she saw Valeri Sedai. “It is done. Let no one ever speak of what has passed here. It is for us to share in silence with she who experienced it. It is done.” She clapped her hands. “Elin Hawes, you will spend tonight in prayer and contemplation of the burdens you will take up on the morrow, when you don the shawl of an Aes Sedai. It is done.” When Valeri left, Elin stood in the center of the seven sisters who all offered her Healing for her many wounds, and Elin knew that they had created the scenes she had lived through. A part of her wondered who had put Nile onto the stake... but she set that part of her aside. These women were now her sisters. Dressing in her Accepted’s dress for what would be the second to last time, Elin slipped her ring back onto her finger and was escorted back to her room by the sister from the Red and a sister from the Blue. At her door, she smiled at the women, and nodded to them. She had passed her tests, so she no longer had to curtsy. In her bed, she knew her body was exhausted, but her mind was reliving the test. She finally fell asleep, her fingers twitching as she imagined weaving the hundred weaves again. The next morning, she woke early and tidied her room for the last time. When the knock at her door came, she smiled and set down her brush. Her black curls were shining, and she was ready. Outside her door were seven Aes Sedai, one from each Ajah. She nodded to them, and they formed a circle around her. No one said a word, and Elin knew that was how it was meant to be. They retraced the steps from the night before back to the ter’angreal room, when the door opened, the seven sisters left Elin to walk through on her own. Inside the room, there were thirty women in the room waiting for her. The three sitters for each ajah, the Keeper and the Amyrlin. Elin had never had cause to wait on Shevarra Sedai. The Amyrlin tended to keep to herself. The remaining seven women were the newest members of their ajahs, and they each held a shawl with their bright fringes. Elin stepped through the ter’angreal again, knowing that nothing would happen to her this time. With a smooth face, but pride in her heart, Elin walked to the Amyrlin. “Who comes here.” Shevarra’s voice filled the chamber. With a loud, clear voice, Elin spoke her named. “Elin Hawes.” “For what reason do you come.” “To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.” “By what right do you claim this burden?” “By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.” “Then come, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.” Elin stepped closer, and took the Oath Rod from the plush pillow it rested on in the Keeper’s hands. While it was in her hands, Shevarra Sedai channeled Spirit into the end with the Old Tongue numeral, and Elin knew it was time. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” As soon as she finished the sentence, she felt like her skin was suddenly tighter than it had been moments before. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.” When the words were finished, the invisible screws that were tightening her skin ratcheted another notch, pulling her skin even tighter than before. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends and shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister.” Elin knew that she would have to live with this oath as close as a lover if she wished to live the life she had planned, despite its mention of a warder. She would be a Red, and they had always eschewed warders. When the Oath settled into her flesh, Elin rose to her feet and handed the Rod to the Amyrlin. With a small smile, the Amyrlin spoke again. “It is half done, daughter, and the White Tower is graven onto your bones. Come now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.” Elin curtsied to the Amyrlin, as was proper, and then turned to the assembled Sisters. She smiled at the Green and Blue sisters, knowing that if things had happened differently, she might have found a home there, but she turned her back on them and walked past the Yellows, Grays, Whites, and Browns. She walked Home to the warm embrace of the Red Ajah. It was time to deal with the formalities. She would be a sister of the Red Ajah tonight. There was no other option.
  11. "You come in ignorance Rochel Dion, how would you depart?” Rochel struggled to keep her breathing even. How could this be happening? Not half an hour ago she had been butting heads with a stubborn group of fool novices, trying to keep them from killing themselves and each other with the power. The Mistress of Novices had caught her in the hallway, and with little explanation had half dragged Rochel down to this seldom used part of the Tower. She had less composure right now than she usually did! And yet, despite her agitation and aprehension, the words flowed out smoothly. “In knowledge of myself.” “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” The words came automatically, flowing without conscious thought. “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” “For what would you be found worthy?” She hesitated. This was the final phrase. For so many years, she had fought tooth and nail to avoid this. To not join the ranks of the Aes Sedai. And here it was. A long silent moment later, she softly said, “To wear the shawl.” A brief smile slipped onto the Mistress of Novices face. No doubt, there had still been some concern on whether or not Rochel would actually go through with the ceremony. "Therefore I will instruct you. You will see the sign upon the ground." The glow of Saidar sprang up around the Mistress of Novices, and a six pointed star appeared drawn in Fire. Behind her, she felt another weave form and touch her head. "Remember what must be remembered." "When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed." "Remember what must be remembered." "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation" ”Remember what must be remembered." "One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure", "Remember what must be remembered." Rochel hardly heard the instructions. She didn't need to. For years, this procedure had been pounded into her brain until she felt that she could do it in her sleep. She'd actually heard some Accepted mumbling the phrases in their dreams. It didn't matter though. So long as she focused on the task at hand, and didn't stumble on the weaves. When it was time, she quickly slipped out of her banded Accepted dress. Her slippers and stockings came after, followed quickly by her shift. And lastly, her Great Serpent ring topped the pile. Swallowing the lump which was forming in her throat, Rochel approached the glowing ter'angreal and steeled herself. Supposedly, this was worse than the test to be raised to Accepted. That time she had only had to contend with her own fears. This time, she'd heard it whispered that one had to face whatever the sisters conducting the test could imagine. A scary thought indeed, especially considering that Rochel had stepped on the toes of more than a few of the sisters surrounding the ter'angreal. A moment later, she stepped into the glowing ter'angreal, and all thoughts were forgotten in the flash of blinding light.
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