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  1. It just wasn’t fair. Viviane had not been in the Tower for more than a few months at most, yet she had already made an enemy. It was silly, really. She didn’t even know her ‘enemy’s’ name. Some poor Accepted had misconstrued a supposed relationship between Ravenhild and herself. In this Accepted’s eyes, Ravenhild and Viviane had apparently started some conspiracy to get the Accepted kicked out of the Tower! P’shaw! That was utter folly. Viviane didn’t even know the girl’s name, much less have the urge to conspire against her. The life of a Novice was a stressful one, Viviane didn’t even have the time to mess with this girl, much less conspire against her. It seemed to Viviane that this girl had nothing better to do with the time she had between chores and studying. That has to be it. This Accepted is just bored, or she’s looking for someone to take her frustration out upon. From what I’ve seen, it’s not uncommon for Accepted to pick on Novices… Light, at times it almost seems like it’s encouraged! Still… That does not make it right. Operating on assumption, Viviane figured this girl must be the paranoid type. That or she was looking for attention. Perhaps the Accepted and Raven had a history; that would’ve made much more sense… if she was only targeting Raven. That still didn’t tell Viviane why she was also being targeted. She had done nothing more than be cordial towards Ravenhild, which any civilized person would do. If this Accepted was seeing shadows where there were none, then she would not last long enough to attain the Shawl. Light… I’ve only had a few classes with Ravenhild; maybe talked to her a handful of times outside of class. Our rooms are right next to each other. That is the only thing that can possibly draw us to each other. That is it. What am I do to? Be a terrible neighbor and ignore all of the women on my floor? There is a whisper-hole connecting Ravenhild’s room and my own. If I were not friendly to her, she might turn against me. Light knows she could spy on me with that hole connecting our rooms… Viviane was being paranoid, an old habit which she had to quell. An Aes Sedai was not the paranoid sort; she was discerning and intelligent. No. Viviane would not be paranoid, and yes, she would be cordial to the other Novices. Viviane might not trust most Aes Sedai, but that was not to say she couldn’t form bonds with other women in her position. Ravenhild wanted to escape the Tower, this was known amongst Novices, which was not much different from distrusting Aes Sedai. Perhaps there was a bridge that could be formed between Ravenhild and Viviane. Hah! The enemy of my enemy is my friend, but dare I? Ashes are easy enough to acquire. It’s an old trick, not too difficult to pull off… Despite all the thoughts and emotion running through her head, the one thing Viviane felt was anger. It really wasn’t fair, being targeted for no specific reason. Viviane was here to learn and then get on with her life. This Accepted had no right to meddle where she was not wanted. Before she knew it, Viviane was standing before a plain wooden door. She was only paces from her own room. Ravenhild should be on the other side of that door, hopefully unoccupied. If Viviane was right, Raven just might be amenable to her suggestion. Just a light prank. Ashes and embarrassment. It will be just cruel enough to get the Accepted to lay off. Light knows we have enough to deal with… Ravenhild better agree, otherwise I’ll have to carry this out on my own. Viviane straightened her spine, threw her head back, and knocked at Ravenhild’s door.
  2. Talina found her working in a small study alcove, deep in the Tower Library. She had four different books open, each one by a different author trying to explain how the nations fragmented after Artur Hawkwing died. Each theory seemed like a partial explanation, while none seemed to explain the entire situation. To Gera’s thinking, the only thing that could unite the theories to explain the thoroughness and duration of the collapse was a unifying direction that oversaw the entire collapse. Most scholars disregarded that possibility because the collapse lasted several centuries, but they did not account for the extended lifespan of a channeler. If an Aes Sedai, or Light forbid, a Dreadlord chose to intervene they could easily orchestrate the entire collapse. When Gera looked up and saw the Mistress of Novices standing there, she quickly got to her feet and curtsied to the appropriate degree. Ever since that rather thorough punishment for rudeness to a Sitter, Gera had respected the old biddy... even while she longed for the day when she would be her equal. “Gera Mondwin, it is time. You are called to be tested for the Shawl and ring. Are you ready?” There was just a hint of a challenge in her tone, as if she expected the older Accepted to fail, to ask for more time. “Yes, Talina Sedai, I am ready.” She put steel in her voice, respectful steel. “Then follow me.” The Mistress lead Gera deep into the Tower, along a similar path to the one she took a few years prior for her test to be raised Accepted. Inside the large room, Gera saw seven sisters waiting for them, all wearing their shawls proclaiming their ajahs. “Attend,” Talina’s word seemed to fill the chamber as the Aes Sedai formed a ring around the Mistress of Novices and Gera. “You come in ignorance, Gera Mondwin. How would you depart?” “In knowledge of myself,” was the only acceptable reply. “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.” Gera knew that she was worthy of the shawl. She had to be. If she failed now, she would simply be an old spy mistress cast out into the world by the Tower. It was either succeed here, or relegate herself to a life of faded joys, her failure overshadowing everything else. She was worthy. “For what would you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl.” Gera knew that hers would bear a blue fringe. At the word, Gera began disrobing, as she knew she must. Let the sisters in the room see her over-round flesh. She had lived her years. “Therefore I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground.” Talina spoke, even as Gera stripped. She channeled, and a silver, six pointed star appeared in the air. As Gera nodded, she felt another woman channeling behind her, and a weave of spirit settled into the back of her head. It felt much like Healing. “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.” That voice coming from behind was a minor irritation, but Gera ignored the irritation and focused on the instructions. “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.” Gera felt those words had been etched onto each inch of her skull. She would not forget, the instructions or the words. Moving without signal, the seven sisters walked to the ter’angreal and knelt at its base. The pattern they wove of the power was incredible, and Gera felt a small bit of joy at the skill they obviously had. A task well performed was always a joyful thing. As the Power flowed into the ter’angreal, it began to rotate, slowly, colors flashing across the opening... faster and faster it moved, until suddenly the opening went solid white. That was her cue. Gathering her dignity, despite her nudity, Gera entered the ring. She was standing before the Amyrlin Seat, wearing her banded dress, all around Sitters glared. For some reason, they were deadly angry at her, and nothing she could do would change that. A quiet voice spoke behind her ear, “Remember...” Scanning the room, Gera found the six pointed star and walked toward it. A part of her heard the Sitters anger rising, but the more dominant part simply kept walking to the star. When she arrived, she began the appropriate weave. When it was finished, a blue coin appeared in the air where she had been weaving. Suddenly the Sitters stopped speaking, and Gera turned to walk toward the shining star. When her foot touched it, she found herself wading through hip-deep mud. She had never been in such a place, but she knew she hated it. There was a six pointed star to her left, so she walked toward it. With each step, she felt new disgusting things touch her, crawl on her, or attach themselves to her body. At the star, which was carved into a tree trunk, Gera wove the mandatory weave... and when it snapped into existence, she sighed. Had she made a mistake, she would have received a painful shock, which would only be made worse by the mud surrounding her. The next star was higher up in the tree, so she hoisted herself out of the mud and climbed for it. As her hand touched it, she found herself covered in mud in the middle of a ballroom. All around her were her friends, allies, and enemies. They were all dressed for a standard Cairhienin ball, but there she was wearing nothing but a thick layer of mud. In the center of the room, tiles described the six pointed star. Gathering her courage and the shreds of her dignity, Gera walked to the center of the room, ignoring the stares and snickers of the crowd. No one said anything to her directly, but she burned with the shame of walking in front of their stares. As she neared the star, their snickers and stares erupted into full laughter, and Gera’s shame burned brighter on her cheeks. She kept walking though, slowly and evenly. At the star, she wove, holding back tears. It went on. Each circumstance was worse than the last. There were some with physical pain, but Gera ignored those easily, so they stopped coming. It was as if someone noticed that the shameful scenarios caused her the most distress. In fact, during the 76th weave, she found herself in a bawdy dance hall, surrounded by girls and women wearing dresses so revealing that their cleavage ended a hand above where the slit in the skirts started. With each new scene, Gera forgot the details of why she was there and how, but a part of her remembered the shame. The weight of the shame kept growing. With each scene, her blush deepened, and it became harder to keep her composure. Shame was growing close to breaking her. The calm she wore on her face was a thin, brittle shell, but she still looked calm. She wasn’t sure why, but every part of her being was focused on maintaining her calm expression and steady pace. The shame and pain from each of the previous tortuous scenes had her wanting to weep, but she refused. She would not give up. The 84th weave came and went, with stinging nettles lashed across her back. The 96th involved walking through her son’s bedroom... while he bled to death. As soon as she reached the star and began that weave, she wove what little healing she was able to... but it was not enough. 97, 98, and 99 passed with simply variations on embarrassing situations in front of large crowds. Apparently, seeing her son die in front of her was enough to inure her to the shame. Weave number 100 created a fountain of sparks while Gera pulled a carriage by her own strength. Having a driver whipping her on added insult to injury... and yet more injury on top of the insult. Somehow, she managed to walk forward at a steady pace, despite pulling the carriage behind her. Gera suspected it might have been sheer willpower at that point. Once she finished the final weave and stepped onto the final six pointed star, the world around her vanished in a blinding light and she was back in the bowels of the Tower, surrounded by the seven Aes Sedai and Talina Sedai. The memories of the 100 different scenes suddenly crashed down on her, and Gera burst into tears. She cried in a way she hadn’t since she was a child. The Aes Sedai clustered around her, hugging and offering her their sympathy. One Healed her, without asking, but Gera was grateful anyway. Though physical pain was not their favorite in her tests, they still had used it. With a clap, Talina called the sisters back to attention. “Sisters, do you agree that Gera Mondwin, Accepted of the White Tower, has passed her test to prove her worthiness to wear our shawl and call us sisters?” Each of the women nodded, some more quickly than others, until the last held still. She was the Red sister, a bitter old thing, if Gera guessed properly. The Cairhienin woman knew she had blushed and that she’d nearly been broken, but she’d kept the appearance of calmness throughout the test. And the appearance was all that mattered, at least that is what they were taught. You could be a quivering wreck inside, so long as you kept your face neutral and your pace steady. An Aes Sedai must always be poised and ready to handle whatever situation came before her. It was much like playing Daes Dae’mar... just you were always surrounded by enemies and could never relax. It would be a hard life... but it would be hers. She had earned it. She had worked hard for years and passed this horrid test. It was a formality, waiting for the Red’s vote. The others had all agreed, but still every vote must be counted. Finally, she nodded, and Gera knew she would be Aes Sedai. The rest of the evening was a blur. Talina lead her back to her rooms, where a meal waited for her, and she was instructed to pray and meditate on her new life. After eating the meal, Gera decided to meditate by closing her eyes and laying down peacefully. Hours later, a knock interrupted her meditations, and she climbed off her bed. Outside her door was a group of Sisters, the Green, Blue, Yellow and Grey from the previous night’s testing. Silently, they formed a ring around Gera, and then all five began walking. The path was the same as it was the night before, but the room was markedly more full this morning. Inside were the Sitters of all seven Ajahs, the Keeper, and the most powerful woman in the world... the Amyrlin Seat. Despite having stood in front of her for judgment in both her tests, Gera had never actually met the woman. Today, the Amyrlin would welcome her home as one of her Aes Sedai. Passing through the ring, Gera moved to the Keeper and the Amyrlin. Words were spoken, but she didn’t remember them. Then it was time to take the oaths. Taking up the rod, held on a pillow by the Keeper, Gera channeled Spirit into the appropriate end. “Under the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation, I Gera Mondwin swear to speak no word that is not true. Under the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation, I Gera Mondwin swear to make no weapon by which one man may kill another. Under the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation, I Gera Mondwin swear never to use the One Power as a weapon, except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the last defense of my life, the life of another sister, or the life of my warder.” With each clause, each phrase, Gera felt an invisible layer of power tighten down on her. She was truly bound now. After she set the Oath Rod down on its pillow, the Amyrlin and Keeper left, quietly. Looking at the groups of Sitters, Gera sighed. Now, to make another life changing decision. Really, there was only one choice for her. None of the others fit her properly, though the Grey and Red came close. She would be a Blue. As soon as the other Sitters recognized her intent, they dispersed, leaving Gera alone with the Blue Sitters, and one other sister. Gera recognized her as a rather recently raised woman. Smiling, Gera knelt in front of the women. “I seek to join the Blue Ajah. May I be admitted?”
  3. It was a sickle moon that hung in the night sky, disappearing on occasion behind the drifting clouds that threatened rain. It was a quiet night, the grounds of the White Tower seemed subdued in comparison to the recent celebration of Bel Tine. Most of the litter from the celebrations had been cleared up and much of the inhabitants of the White Tower were rejuvenating from a week long party of dancing. A patch of blackened grass was the result of a giant bonfire that had blazed, roasting various game that had been the reason for full stomachs. In the Accepted quarters, the buzzing of daily chores was still going on. For there were never true days of rest for the girls who aspired to be Aes Sedai. Dressed in banded white, Accepted imitated the grace of the Aes Sedai to the best of their abilities, maintaining smooth, serene faces as they went about their- "Ouch." ... went about their- "Ouch. Burn you!" ... their activities. "Ray-ray, I hardly touched you!" Regalia sighed and released Saidar. Her face was flushed and her hair was wet from sweatiness. She shut her eyes tightly to stop the dizziness that threatened to make her vomit. It wasn't enough though. She clapped her hands over her eyes and rubbed at her temples wearily. "My head hurts. Sorry Amadine. I've dripped sweat all over your carpet. And I'm too tired to embrace Saidar right now." She sat down suddenly. Her shift was stuck to her back and her legs felt like jelly. All in all, it wasn't a good night. But it was important. The hundred weaves they were practicing were totally useless and seemed much more trouble than they were worth, but failing any of them resulted in failure. Something Regalia would never allow for herself. Her hands trembling slightly, she tried to get up, and promptly fell on her bum. "Ouch." "I think you should rest, Ray-ray." Regalia looked at the only other Accepted in the room. Amadine was a pretty girl who had a smile that could light up a room. But tonight, her face was marked with weariness and her hands trembled slightly from exhaustion. Neither had had much opportunity to join the Bel Tine celebrations, opting instead to hole up in their rooms to focus on the Aes Sedai test. A few of their peers had gone for theirs and it terrified both of them that while two of their friends had passed and gained the shawl, others had disappeared into the night without a trace. Whether it was because they had left the White Tower voluntarily or that their tests had somehow gone wrong, noone knew. But understand the failure in what happened made both Accepted terrified. "Let me go and change out of this shift, then we can chat a little before bed. I think both of us had had enough." Regalia glanced at Amadine's side where a bruise had begun to form from her channeling. It hurt Regalia to do it, but they both needed to pass. And her own body was battered with wounds. They would succeed. Regalia would be Blue. And Amadine herself had chosen the Yellow. There would be no other way about it. Pulling herself up with the aid of the bedstead made Regalia wince in pain. Later there would be Healing of each other. And then it would be over for the night. Regalia stepped out of the room quickly and wiped herself off. She longed to take a quick bath, but it was far too late, and she was far too tired. Changing into a fresh nightdress, she stepped back over to Amadine's room and waited as her friend changed as well. She was just glad to have someone to share everything with.
  4. Thwack… A shimmering silver blade flew through the air and pierced through the slick oil painting, lodging itself into the wall behind it. Glowing at the end of the hilt was a shining sapphire that resembled the flame of Tar Valon. Not now, though. It appeared to be too much like a tear drop. “Hah! A tear drop! I’d be cursed by the Dark One’s own luck if I shed another bloody tear!” An enraged voice pierced through the silence. Thwack… Another blade, another scream, another hole in the wall. The small hands that wielded the knives were pale, almost ivory in colour, and shook with the anger so accustomed to her people. Saldaeans were known to erupt in a rage; however, it was usually over something petty like being jealous of another woman. No, this was nothing like that. Emptiness, loneliness, darkness, and pain that none but an Aes Sedai could endure, flowed through the blood of this tiny woman. For Ages and Ages, the female channellers of the White Tower had been dealing with the death of their Warders, many of them made it through the suffering alive, and lived on to Bond another. No… not this… She pleaded with herself. However, usually, the Aes Sedai would remain with the Gaidin or Gaidar for quite some time, before the time would come to release their mortal shells into the depths of the earth, the last embrace of the Mother. Not this Sedai. Her wounds cut deep, and seemed to bleed eternally. Thwack… The blade seemed to shake the entire way towards the painting, and when steel met wood, the hilt wobbled from the force behind the throw. The painting could handle the thrusts…but could she? Could Serena Morrigan, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, bear the loss of a fourth Gaidin? Could she handle the stabbing pain in her chest, the un-ending nights of waking to gasping sobs, and the re-occurring notion to destroy everything that crossed her path? Let alone, keep herself alive? Thwack… Granted, two of her Bondmates were still alive. One, was slowly going mad, although he would surely deny it; and the other... Oh, Thera…Why? Serena’s chest heaved as she felt a sob building. It seemed to wash over her body like a wave exploding from her heart. Was it possible, that having a beloved Gaidar, whom you loved more than anything, marry a man and forget all about you while you were busy trying to save blasted lives, be worse than all of the others? Light, she was still alive; yet, Serena pined for the woman like a bloody lost puppy. Yes, their bond had been broken, but that did not mean the woman had to move on. Did it? The slow creaking of hinges broke Serena’s concentration, and she turned towards her door quickly. Without thought, she lifted her hand to the side of her head and thrust her last knife at the door. A familiar face glared back at her. To her dismay, the Saldaean Aes Sedai did not hear the comforting sound of the steel penetrating the wood. Instead, it hung in the air, mere inches before Estel Liones. “A few years late, don’t you think?” Light, it was a good thing she’d been on her toes coming in or else she’d have a nasty hole in her chest. While a knife imbedded in one’s body certainly made a fashion statement, they were hardly the most comfortable of accessories; idly the Domani ran a finger along her forearm where an inch-long scar stood testament to one of the many rather miserable days the Blue had experienced. “What have I done recently to elicit this sort of welcome?” Considering the Red Amyrlin and recent change in Ajah leadership, coupled with the return of its least favourite member, the sound of periodic thunking was hardly an uncommon occurrence in the Blue Quarters these days. Nastascia, at least, no doubt spent countless hours of the day thunking her head against her desk and Light knew the reason for her frustration spent excessive periods of time thunking the brandy bottles she was no longer allowed to drink against the walls. With the threat of Tarmon Gaidon looming over their heads, younger Blues spent as much time as possible thunking their Warders (or each other) today, lest they be thunked on the head by a Trolloc tomorrow. However, today’s source of thunking came from a particularly familiar room that hadn’t been occupied since Estel’s last escapade from the Tower. Serena had left shortly after the Watchers group had been released from their Bonds and, at the time, the younger Blue had been in no condition to talk to anyone – least of all her “babysitter”. Some two months later found in her in a... if not healthy, at least more balanced state of mind. Besides, she and Lavinya had an incredibly tenuous agreement concerning Order Members. Therefore she’d gone to investigate, and barely survived, her one-time friend’s return to the Tower.
  5. Gianna sat in her room; trying to still the shaking that wanted to overcome her. She had done it; she had passed the test. Tomorrow, she would be Aes Sedai. It was all she had dreamed of for years now, and now the time was finally at hand. Two Aes Sedai present during her test had deposited her at her room for the last time. Gianna had sat on the edge of her bed, contemplating the hurts she had received in the ter'angreal-- both physical and emotional. That cold Blue, Nastascia, had been present again for her testing. Gianna was sure that some of the most vicious scenarios she had faced were Nasty's doing. Her shaking was from the rage, not fatigue. The audacity of that woman! I am sure the burning of Cairhien was her doing, as was Toram's presence during my last weave. She must have wanted me to fail! She thought long and hard on the implications of this, and her thoughts also strayed to the box that was carefully concealed under her bed. Gianna had toyed with this idea for a couple of weeks now, ever since that conversation with Elyssa in the Blue quarters. It had been only a few days since she had managed to convince a stable hand to supply her with the mice and beetles. She had received them just in time, it seemed. After receiving Healing for the injuries she sustained during the testing, Gianna was ravenous. Almost as if summoned by her thoughts, a light knock sounded at her door. Gianna went to open it; a slim and beautiful woman from the Kitchens stood there, holding a tray full of food. The young lady's name was Charise, she was an under-manager of the Kitchens. As Charise entered the room to place the tray on the small table, inspiration struck Gianna like lightning. She turned to the diminutive woman. "Charise? Do you remember how you told me that if I ever needed a favor in return for my help that day....to ask?" Charise turned toward her and nodded, the obvious question on her face. She had a wonderful figure, and she had been suffering the unwanted attentions of the male helpers in the Kitchens until Gianna had noticed her predicament one day while scrubbing pots. Gianna had gone straight to Laras and explained the situation; the next day the offending males were out of the Kitchens on their noses and Charise was a new under-manager. She would do anything to return the favor to this young Accepted. No...not Accepted, not anymore. This young lady is now almost Aes Sedai. I hope she will remain the same kind soul after she gains the shawl tomorrow. "Of course I remember, Gianna. What is it that I may do for you?" Gianna quickly explained her plot, and Charise couldn't help but let a smile spread slowly across her face. She agreed readily to the plan and made her courtesies and left for the Kitchens. Charise rubbed her hands together eagerly as she walked, yet stifled the chuckles of delight that wanted to escape from her mouth. Nastascia had this coming, there was no doubt of that. Charise couldn't remember the number of times the dour Blue had thrown a fit at the Kitchen staff for some affront or another. Charise quickened her pace; she had some specially ordered tea to dispose of.
  6. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. It was still difficult to believe she was nearly at the culmination of her entire life’s purpose for the past fifteen or so years, and that she had come out of it as well as she did. She had come out of it – that was the most important thing. Of course this was dangerous, of course there were horror stories – there always were. And even though Rossa had done her utmost to avoid such talk, she still heard the odd story. After all, forewarned was forearmed. It had been one of the hardest experiences of her life, with the possible exception of fleeing her burning home and leaving her family to the fiery flames, or her arches when she was raised to Accepted. The knock at her door, heralding the arrival of the day’s destiny, and the inevitable walk towards the testing chamber, had made her nervous but she did not show it. She was Altaran. She was High Seat of her House. She was to be Aes Sedai. The chamber was smaller than she thought it would be. Somehow, Rossa had imagined it would be a stately hall rather than the room it was in, deep in the heart of the White Tower. A large ter’angreal was the focus of the room, oval in shape, and the place where her hundred practised weaves would be carried out. Would this be similar to the test for the ring? No, Rossa somehow doubted it would be. It would be hard work and this was not the time for questions. She stepped confidently into the room, embracing the future and what may come of it. An Aes Sedai from each of the seven Ajahs stood in a circle dotted around the room, and the Mistress of Novices stepped forward and turned to face Rossa, beginning the ceremony. She was ready, she could do this – she just had to keep her nerve. “You come in ignorance, Rossa Venye, how would you depart?” “In knowledge of myself.” “For what reason have you been summoned here?” Rossa paused. She knew the wording that would have to follow this question but she was seized by a sudden uncertainty. Who would carry out her vengeance if she were destined to not pass this test? She would be a failure and an example – an utterly humiliated try-hard. She could not let that happen, and her chin came up sharply. “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.” That was the aim of this, after all. The next words Rossa heard instructed her to remove her clothes and begin the test by entering the ter’angreal. She would be strong. Clad in the light, Rossa walked forward proudly. …flicker… She opened her eyes to see a small room with some clothes neatly laid out on a single cot. They looked to be her size as well, which was nice. Rossa dressed quickly and walked to a spot that looked meaningful; at least, to her it looked meaningful. A loud banging at the door heralded the first of the tests; accompanied by angry shouts that she couldn’t hide, that she would be found and the men would enjoy her soon enough. Disdain. It hadn’t helped. The door exploded inwards in a mass of splinters and large men walked in the room before she could do anything about beginning the first weave. One of them grabbed her arm roughly and it was all Rossa could do to wrench it free as she whirled to face him. Another was coming at her from behind and she panicked, running to the other side of the room. She had no weapons, no dignity, no nothing! A chair stood close to the bed, and Rossa took the initiative and lifted it in front of her, stepping on it. At least she could kick them in the face now. That’s not the point of all this. It was an odd epiphany of realities meeting, and the realisation of her situation. Rossa quickly embraced Saidar and wove the first weave she had practised so hard at. She knew them all by rote, but performing them under this kind of duress would be difficult indeed. As she completed the first weave, the men vanished and Rossa looked around, startled. Nothing had happened except that she had accomplished the first part of her test. Gathering herself, she left the small room and went on to the next challenge. And challenged she had been. Spiders, rivals that tried to strip her and make her sing in front of a figure that looked like the Queen of Altara naked, Trollocs attempting to overrun her … lots of trials that somehow, miraculously, Rossa managed to overcome. There had been a moment when she thought of giving up, but ruthlessly she suppressed it. At the time she had been covered with choking vines, her hands only just able to make tiny gestures to weave Saidar to the requisite form. With her success, she had dropped to the floor, gasping for breath and shivering. Names could not hurt her; she scarcely felt the abrasions on her body or the parts that would bruise. Her eyebrow was half singed at one point by one of the Trollocs she had thrown a fireball at – it had charged her and was almost on top of her when Rossa had been able to finish the weave and momentum carried the thing forward. A hasty hand batted out flames, but not before half her eyebrow had burnt off. Oddly it was seeing her rivals that forced Rossa to calmness. The real reasons of becoming an Aes Sedai to help people and discover as much as she could of what was lost or in danger of being lost made Rossa realise these Court butterflies were useless creatures, and it rekindled her dignity. Imagining she was being prepared for a presentation to the Queen, or worse yet, her mother’s inspecting eye, made Rossa focus harder on her task. It had done the trick. The final parts of the one hundredth weave fell into place, and Rossa knew she could return. She had been grazed, dazed and was completely amazed that she had succeeded this part. She stepped back into the chamber. …flicker…
  7. Day 27 Ata lay tossing in her sleep, she could feel the wet hand over her nose keeping her from breathing. Figthing with her hands she hit resistance and a yelp woke her. Shivering she looked at Taidin, she was covered in sweat, and her blanket lay on the floor. Moving her hand to her face she was wet, looking at her hand she instantly knew who the sinner was, her eyes floated to Taidin. "you lonely? me too.." she smiled as she picked up the puppy, geting a new cat wash in the face, she couldnt help giggeling a litle at the dogs joy. Ruffeling his fur she put him down on the floor again, sliping out of the bed she tossed the blanket up from the floor. Ata washed her face and slipped into one of her new dresses, this was ligth purple almost white, with offwhite on the cuffs and hem of the dress. The fabric was coton, she had found some comfort in dresses who reminded her of life before the tower, a reminder that there it was posible to be happy even without saidar. She let the puppy out on the balcony while eating breakfast, the tea was left overs of some leaves she had bougth in the tairhien store Nuit was coowner in, it reminded her of him. Checking the bond she could feel him closer to Tar Valon, in fact he would if he kept up reach the city during this day, futher it ment he had had to ride all nite. On instinct she sent consern through the bond, then shook her head and fuzzed it blocking him out. Raising she cleaned up the plates and made her bed before leting Taidin in, then she sat down with her journal. It felt odd to have so much time, just 4 weeks ago she would have had stacks of reports to go through. Ata looked out the window to the tower bathed in morning sun, then was sudenly startled as the shop keepers boy entered the balcony to come take Taidin on a tour to the grove, the boy and the puppy had become good friends already. Sitting down again she looked at the shelves, most only held difrent artifacts spread out to make them seem filled. When they had stood in her tower rooms they had been filled with books and live herbs, but much of it had in theory been ajah property and she had left it in the rooms. Thoug she had collected some who was her private ones, enough to have one full reol of books. Her eyes traveled to the casket containing her dried herbs and mixes, a few pots of live herbs decorated the windows. Her eyes traveled back to the shelves, covering one and a half wall, with a feeling of need to fill them. She smiled, the conversation with Ellysa had spured her mood, the wheel span as the wheel wanted, and somewhere in it all there was a meaning with everything. Whit the lack of strength she couldnt heal as she could in the past, in fact it was reducing her abilities to heal to minor things about any accepted could learn, she shruged, only 4 weeks past. Then she put the destructive thougths off to the back of her mind, if her main cause couldnt be healing then surely there was something else who could need her focus. If she wherent killed, and it wasnt her time obviously, then she still had a long time to go with saidar prolonging her life beyond the lifetime of a normal human. Her thougths wandered back to the life she had lead in inocense as a child, then to Tan who barely got to grow up before loosing her life, all what she had seen as a healer in the decades past, and then back to the present day. The father of lies had reached into the home she had thougth somewhat safe, and had altered her life, she had lived thoug part of luck and part because help had been there. It was beeing part of that help who had made her reach for the yellows, and her abilities making her able to change events throug what she would learn. There was however more than one way to help, to many issues to be solved on to few hands as their numbers dwindeled. Just as she reached a conclution she heard a knock on the door. Ata raised feeling somewhat eased by the conclution she had reached, she walked over to the door and opened it. Surpriced she looked rigth into the face of the keeper. When she heard she was summoned to retake her oaths she nodded and followed the keeper silently. They walked through the city, and compared to the last time she felt the walk to be even longer which would also be corect. Then they finaly reached the tower, throug some halls and then they came to the stairs. Ata hesitated slightly then followed on, happy that she wasnt going alone, specialy since thoug she knew what had happened last she went down to the lower levels she couldnt even remember it. That fact made it all worse, to not have the experience and memorie to grow from, so many questions but no answers. Then they where outside the door she last entered through as an representat of the yellows. The door went up and she was somewhat relived to see jsut the Amerlyn standing there, and not the full representation of the ajahs, to have 21 one other peoples looking at her with their difrent looks based on how they felt about what had happened to her, the mere thoguth made a shrug go down her spine. She walked through the ter'angreal to the other side facing the Mother. _________________ Today was a strange day, Lanfir reflected as she stood in the hall with the ter'angreal, where all Oaths were taken. Today was an unique day in the history of the White Tower and Lanfir was here to watch it happen, to guide the procedure... and she found that she had no idea how to do this. There was no precedent, no protocol, nothing for this kind of situation. The Hall should be bustling with sisters, three from every Ajah, and Lyanna should be at her side, waiting in a companionable, serene silence for the newest Aes Sedai to be to join them and swear her Oaths. It was nothing like that today. Even though Lanfir had seen (and done) Oaths being sworn without the normal rituals, this was still different. It was a strange and wondrous thing that the White Tower was able to welcome back Ata Dorje and embrace her as their sister again, and today would be the day to do it. Lanfir was genuinely overjoyed when the news came; following so quickly on the sad news of Ata's severance of the White Tower. Lwena Sedai figured out how to Heal Stilling! Even in the Age of Legends this had not been possible. They lived in interesting times indeed... and Ata was about to pluck the fruits from it. The door opened and Ata Dorje entered. She looked younger, for some reason, more girlish - as if the agelessness that was so common in the White Tower had been wiped off her face and had been replaced by sweet youthfulness once more. Lanfir could feel the ability to channel within the other woman - so faint now, but for some reason she was relieved that it was indeed true, that Ata would indeed be one of them again - and her face broke open into a warm and welcoming smile. "Ata, dear, I'm so sorry what has befallen you and I am so glad to hear of your... recovery," she said, taking the Oath Rod in her hands and offered the smooth white rod to the dark-haired woman before her. "I will not ask why you come here, because we all know why you are here. To re-claim your Shawl and to enter the ranks of your fellow sisters once again. So I ask of you, Ata Dorje; bind yourself to the White Tower again. It is time." ______________ "Ata, dear, I'm so sorry what has befallen you and I am so glad to hear of your... recovery," The Amerlyn took the rod in hand, unsertaint about the ceremony all of a suden as it was so difrent from last, then knelt before accepting the rod. "I will not ask why you come here, because we all know why you are here. To re-claim your Shawl and to enter the ranks of your fellow sisters once again. So I ask of you, Ata Dorje; bind yourself to the White Tower again. It is time." Ata took a deep breath, unlike last tiem she knew what waited, how the oaths would press down on her. Then focusing she spoke with a calm voice. "Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true." she felt the oath setle, it almost felt as the air changed for a bit, pressing against her then let go. She went on steadily. "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." it felt like the air became even thigther and Ata felt cold inside, drawing her breath knowing it would become thigther, had it really been like this last time as well. "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 shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister." She quietly draw a deep breath through her nose, it was done, now what would happen the ajahs wherent here but would the ceremony cary on? She waited. ___________ Ata took a deep breath and spoke the Oaths that bound her back to the Tower again, reinstating her status as Aes Sedai with a few simple words. The meaning of those words, however, wasn't so simple. With each Oath, the Rod glowed and engraved the promises in the woman's bones. It hurt, Lanfir knew that all too well. There was a tightness that came with swearing those Oaths; as if your skin was too tight about your body and you felt that one wrong word, one wrong move, would hurt. It didn't, of course. After the initial swearing there was no pain combined with lies. There just weren't any fullblown lies anymore. And you would be Aes Sedai. As Ata Dorje was once more. "It is done. Welcome back to the Tower again, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai," Lanfir smiled. She kissed the former Yellow on both her cheeks and then took a step back. "There is no precedent what happens now," she continued. "Many assume that you will re-join your sisters of the Yellow Ajah once more. I would assume so, too... an Ajah becomes closer than your own family has been to you, once. However, there is nothing keeping you from joining another Ajah if you would choose to do so, and if they would have you." Lanfir straightened her back and re-arranged her seven-striped stole about her shoulders, to re-instate her station. There was no one else watching and no need for decorum... and usually she would ignore formalities, but this was an important ceremony and she felt the need to do it right. " So I will stand before you as the representative of all Ajahs and none, and I will ask you... which Ajah will you petition, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai?" _____________ "It is done. Welcome back to the Tower again, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai," As the mother kissed both her cheeks somewhat it really felt as an return, a chanse for a new start, to have the oaths binding her from the freedom of the past three weeks, after all it was what defined an Aes Sedai. "There is no precedent what happens now," Ata listened, she had been unsure about this and her future, "Many assume that you will re-join your sisters of the Yellow Ajah once more. I would assume so, too... an Ajah becomes closer than your own family has been to you, once. However, there is nothing keeping you from joining another Ajah if you would choose to do so, and if they would have you." Ata couldnt help nodd her head slowly as the Mother talked. " So I will stand before you as the representative of all Ajahs and none, and I will ask you... which Ajah will you petition, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai?" she drew her breath, she had hoped that she would get a chanse like this, yet she had also hoped she by then would know, as she didnt there was but one thing to do, to speak her heart and ask advice. "Mother I thank you for that, and as it is I can not say. The past few weeks has been hard, i am confused, it was hopes my strength would be back when i recovered fully. That has not happened and do not belive it will, as such i am of litle use to the yellow ajah, also my memorie of the past is not as it should, it takes time remembering things, it makes me vary of mixing herbs in case i have forgoten something. " she stopped a litle lost..."I belive whatever reason i was left alive that it is no longer my cause to be healing peoples, i would need to reread on herbs to make sure the knowledge i held was corect, and my healing with saidar is litle more than any avarage accepted can do now." she faltered a litle on admiting that. "Having been a Sitter i know a litle of what moves in the world, more than many other sisters. Our numbers are needed more then ever, maybe its to late, but i want to seek out on the road, to search for those who have the potential to become one of us, and to help civilians, maybe most of all children in the times to come. " she smiled, "what has happened to me has made me remember that there is a life outside, and i too once where a child, i grew up in a loving home, not all childs are that fortunate." she stopped and pondered. "I want to ask your advice Mother on what to do" ______________ Ata's face darkened somewhat. She seemed to be searching for words for a moment, before they spilled over her lips. "Mother I thank you for that, and as it is I can not say. The past few weeks has been hard, i am confused, it was hopes my strength would be back when i recovered fully. That has not happened and do not believe it will, as such i am of little use to the yellow ajah, also my memory of the past is not as it should, it takes time remembering things, it makes me wary of mixing herbs in case i have forgoten something. " She paused for a moment, looking suddenly a bit lost and frightened. Lanfir felt for her. She tried to imagine what hell the former Yellow had gone through in the past few weeks... first thinking that you would never touch saidar again, and then getting it back and being severely handicapped in your abilities still. "I belive whatever reason i was left alive that it is no longer my cause to be healing peoples," Ata continued, "I would need to reread on herbs to make sure the knowledge i held was correct, and my healing with saidar is litle more than any avarage accepted can do now." No rushed battlefield healing and major wounds for you anymore, the thought passed Lanfir's mind, but then she pushed it away as feelings of empathy came in its place. She exchanged a short glance with Lyanna and saw her own emotions reflected in Lyanna's green eyes. Once again she tried to imagine her life without saidar, without her strength in saidar, and found herself utterly failing. The female half of the True Source had been with her for more than two centuries, it defined her. If she were to lose it... the thought was a bit nauseating. Even with Ata's blessing of having it partly restored to her, Lanfir still felt as if it were a great loss. The poor woman. No wonder she was questioning her abilities and usefulness as a Yellow sister. "Having been a Sitter i know a litle of what moves in the world, more than many other sisters. Our numbers are needed more then ever, maybe its too late, but i want to seek out on the road, to search for those who have the potential to become one of us, and to help civilians, maybe most of all children in the times to come. " Ata smiled a little, suddenly a bit more serene and less tormented, "what has happened to me has made me remember that there is a life outside, and i too once where a child, i grew up in a loving home, not all childs are that fortunate." She held still and thought for a moment. "I want to ask your advice Mother, on what to do..." Lanfir was at a loss for a moment. She led the other Aes Sedai and her Keeper to the adjacent room, where they could sit down. It was generally the room where Lanfir and Lyanna waited for the Oaths ceremonies to begin. Lyanna was all business, ordering tea and cookies and opening the heavy draperies to let some daylight into the room, but Lanfir sat down next to Ata and said: "I've always believed that choosing your Ajah is not a matter of logic and advice, but of following your own heart. I can offer you pointers, but the decision is all yours, dear." As the former Yellow nodded, Lanfir continued: "First of all, you want an Ajah where you feel comfortable in. Sisters you know and like outside your ajah could help you in finding where you'd want to be at home. But also, of course, the cause of the Ajah. You want to go out into the world, among the people, to help. This rules out a few ajahs, I guess. White and Brown and Green do not focus upon the people, but on specific things. Reds focus on male channelers, but they spend a lot of time among the people, travelling the lands. Greys and Blues are the one who interact most with the people, Ata... I'm sure you thought of that already. I am also quite sure that in your heart, you have decided already." She smiled at the dark-haired Aes Sedai and felt distinctively motherly. She remembered Marisah sitting with her, telling her that it was her own decision to go to the White Tower - a decision that she had already taken in her heart. Your head is just arguing to follow suit. It wants logic reasons to follow your heart. But I know you, Lannie... you've already made your decision. Do what feels right... She had packed her bags and had left for the White Tower a few days later, leaving Marisah behind and crying her eyes out, but knowing she had done right. "Do what feels right," Lannie told Ata, much like she had been told more than two centuries ago. "When you've made your decision, we'll see to working out the details together." ___________________ She was lead into a side room and they sat down on some chairs, she had not known this room was here, or had she, maybe she had just forgot. She felt the uncomfortability creep back in her as she was reminded of how her memorie could fail her, which again brougth her back to the reason it was so. "I've always believed that choosing your Ajah is not a matter of logic and advice, but of following your own heart. I can offer you pointers, but the decision is all yours, dear." Ata nodded, and listened as the thougths she so many times had thougth herself was openly said to her. "First of all, you want an Ajah where you feel comfortable in. Sisters you know and like outside your ajah could help you in finding where you'd want to be at home. But also, of course, the cause of the Ajah. You want to go out into the world, among the people, to help. This rules out a few ajahs, I guess. White and Brown and Green do not focus upon the people, but on specific things. Reds focus on male channelers, but they spend a lot of time among the people, travelling the lands. Greys and Blues are the one who interact most with the people, Ata... I'm sure you thought of that already. I am also quite sure that in your heart, you have decided already." When the Amerlyn was done Ata knew she was rigth, there where but two who fit, in one she had her best friend since just months after she had entered the tower, the one she soon would hit the road with. "Do what feels right," In the other there was a sister who had caused her toubles in the past, who had been after her warder, a warder she now already had enough problems with. And if she found out what Ata had done, and if she wasnt done with Nuitari, no she couldnt take that risk. Somehow somewhere she would win him back, he had been a part of her life to long for her to loose him, and even if there was several if's in it she couldnt take the risk. Before she had been both older and stronger, still older she by now was most likely the weakest sister in the tower, and she had enough by taking her life day by day, the thougth of having to face the other, strongwilled as she was. "When you've made your decision, we'll see to working out the details together." Ata looked up, "Mother with your premition i would like to petition the Blue Ajah" the words was out, there was a feeling of loss from speaking the words who made the desicsion already taken on leaving her old ajah a reality. But she had been trained to become an Aes Sedai, there where no time for such thougths, she had to do what was rigth, and as the mother had said, to follow her heart. With Lwenas healing she had been given a new chanse of starting over. She rose to follow the mother, upstairs towards the blue quarters, it was with a feeling of nervousness. Ata pondered what would happen if the blue sitters denied her request, the thougth of standing in such a situation where uncomfortable, it would be humiliating at least. ___________ There was only a short silence after Lanfir had spoken. Ata stared at her hands for just few heartbeats and then looked up sharply. "Mother with your permission i would like to petition the Blue Ajah." A slow smile broke through on Lanfir's face. It was not a surprise that Ata chose thusly. She would be suited for the Blues, Lanfir was fairly sure of that. She watched the Aes Sedai's face carefully and then said: "My permission to petition you have, Ata Aes Sedai. I do not think these things are up to me to decide, but for the Sitters and the Head of your Ajah. If you want, I can escort you to the Blue Halls and you can make your petition right away." She paused for a second. "The Sitters of your new Ajah will accept you... or not. It's unprecedented and new, and some sisters don't deal well with changes. However, I think that you have a fair chance." She smiled encouragingly. "So, are you up for it?" "Please," Ata nodded and rose from her chair. If Ata had not been an Aes Sedai and if her rising had not been so gracefully, Lanfir would have called her eager to get on with it. As it was, she just nodded and joined the Aes Sedai who was Ajahless for the time being. "Let us go then," she said. She exchanged a glance with Lyanna who nodded respectfully and stood back, allowing them to go on their way, leaving the Keeper in these quarters. Their footfalls sounded hollow on the tiled floor as they made their way to the stairwell. The halls were bustling with activity, and she saw many a curious glance coming their way: not only from young novices and curious Accepted, but also from full Sisters. They did not see any Yellows or Blues in the Halls and secretly Lanfir was glad for that. She did not want to have to answer any nasty questions before she had the other woman safely petitioned. "Are you sure about this?" Lanfir asked, as they climbed the last one of the endless stairwells to the Halls of the Blue Ajah. They were alone at this moment, nobody was there to overhear their conversation. "If you go through with this, there might not be a way back if things fall through. You are aware of that, of course..." __________________ There where many enough who looked at them wonderingly as they passed through the hallways, but Ata saw none who where yellow or had decleared to be aspirering yellows. Then they where outside the blue quarters and Ata slowly followed the mother upstairs. "Are you sure about this?" They where alone in the last stair before entering the blue comon room, in the past she had only come here to talk to Elyssa. "If you go through with this, there might not be a way back if things fall through. You are aware of that, of course..." Ata nodded, "There is only one way to find out" she tried to put on a smile. The Amerlyn nodded and then turned walking infront into the quarters, Ata didnt know where the sitters lived amongst the rooms, but they passed the door to Elyssas rooms on their way in. Then the Amerlyn stoped infront of a door and knocked, they waited and then heard an "enter", the room door was opened and looking past the Amerlyn she looked at... ooc figured would leave the rest open _______________ OOC: Thank you for this opportunity, ladies. :D IC: Keraselle Morveine leafed through papers that were somewhat organized in piles on her mahogany desk. Since being appointed as a Sitter for the Hall Keraselle had much more work than she had been accustomed to in the last twenty years. Having been forced out of her isolation and pushed towards being a diplomat between Sisters in her own Ajah, Keraselle had found a new determination dwelling somewhere within her. Plunging herself into her work as a Sitter had become MUCH more interesting than wallowing in tomes of the Prophecies of the Dragon. Light, she must have known everything there was to know about the Prophecies. Other than what a Brown might know, she chided with herself. Licking her lips, she realized she was much more parched than she thought. Her dark eyes searched her quarters for some tea or spiced wine, and could find none. Pursing her lips, the elder Aes Sedai stood regally and seemed to glide over to the door. Poking her head out, she pulled a serving maid aside and requested some tea be brought to her quarters. As the woman scurried away, Kera ducked back into her rooms to continue her work. Before she sat back down, she glanced at herself in the only mirror she had in her quarters. Most of the time it was covered with a light piece of material, however, the material must have fallen to the floor earlier. Shaking her head at her long , silky raven hair, large dark eyes and skin that seemed so pale it might have been bathed in moonlight, she balled up a fist and shook it at her reflection. Not that she hated herself, and she knew how to use beauty to get what one wanted, however, it was her beauty that seemed more deadly to her than anything else. It was annoying and disrupting to feel the eyes of men dance across your body as if they could undress you with their eyes. Shivering, the Blue Sitter thanked the Light for frumpy dresses and seamstresses that did not ask questions when one asked for one to be made. Brushing a wrinkle out of her blue-ish gray woolen skirts, Keraselle nodded and went back to her work. Within moments a loud knock came at her door. Expecting it to be a novice or Accepted with her tea, Keraselle bid the visitor to come in. "Enter," Standing and expecting to be handed a tray or a cup of tea, Keraselle was suprised to see the Mother with a young woman crossing her threshold. Keraselle curtsied to the Amyrlin Seat and greeted her. "May the Light favour you and the Creator keep you, Mother." Turning her head to the young woman, Keraselle arched a dark eyebrow and nodded to her. "Good afternoon, and may the Light favour you, as well." Motioning for the more comfortable chairs in her quarters, before the hearth, "Please, come in. Some tea should be on it's way any moment now." Keraselle waited for Lanfir to motion for her to sit before settling down in one of the chairs. "How may I be of service to you today, Mother?" Keraselle Morveine TPC Sitter of the Blue ______________________ Lanfir smiled at the beautiful Blue Sitter - it was her motherly smile, reserved for when she was playing the Amyrlin. It was not something she really practiced in front of a mirror, but it was something that she utilized because she knew it worked. She was not beautiful like Keraselle, but she knew she had charm; and her smile was a large part of that charm. "The Light illuminate you also, Keraselle Aes Sedai," she said warmly. "I am sorry for intruding on you so unexpectedly. I hope we are not catching you at an inconvenient time." "Not at all, Mother," Keraselle said. "What can I do for you both?" Her face was calm, but Lanfir knew that the Blue Sitter had to be curious. Lanfir was not a great friend of the Blue Ajah, after the stunt she had pulled with Nastasia by raising Lyanna to Keeper of the Chronicles in her stead. To enter the Blue Halls meant something important, and Keraselle knew this. And here Lanfir had brought a young woman with the ability to channel to boot - with the potential of an Accepted, perhaps. Would she recognize Ata, changed and young-looking as she might be? Lanfir glanced at Ata and said: "This is your moment, Ata Aes Sedai. There is no precedent for this, and I am not accustomed to Blue Ajah rituals. I am just here to support you." She then shifted her gray-eyed gaze to Keraselle and continued: "If at any moment I am intruding on Ajah business, please let me know and I will withdraw." Now the Sitter *was* confused, Lanfir could tell. She smiled at Ata, and made a small gesture to encourage the ex-Yellow. Here it comes... _______________ Ata watched the blue curtisy to the Mother, "May the Light favour you and the Creator keep you, Mother." then she turned her head and arched an eyebrow before nodding to Ata "Good afternoon, and may the Light favour you, as well." she was motioning for the more comfortable chairs in the quarters, before the hearth, "Please, come in. Some tea should be on it's way any moment now." Ata let her eyes roam the room quickly "How may I be of service to you today, Mother?" "The Light illuminate you also, Keraselle Aes Sedai," Ata held quiet while the formalities was exchanged. "I am sorry for intruding on you so unexpectedly. I hope we are not catching you at an inconvenient time." A flimer of doubt tried to push itself forward, but ata pushed it back again determit, it was to late for doubts now, she would have to stand with her back straigth, or sit she corected herself. "Not at all, Mother," Ata put on a calm Aes Sedai face, "What can I do for you both?" Ata knew whatever went in inside her it was time to draw on all her skills built up as an Aes Sedai to act beeing perfectly in place. "This is your moment, Ata Aes Sedai. There is no precedent for this, and I am not accustomed to Blue Ajah rituals. I am just here to support you." She smiled as the Mother turned her head to the sitter, "If at any moment I am intruding on Ajah business, please let me know and I will withdraw." Ata let her self draw in her breat one last time before speaking, though not to deep as it could be seen as a sign of hesitance, she looked at the blue sitter. "I am here to petition the blue ajah" she had descided it would be easier to speak rigth out, also it would create the most effect in its simplisity. She waited... _________________ As the events played out before her, Keraselle had wished she had been a little more prepared. Lanfir Leah Marithson, the woman that could have been called a traitor by the Blue Ajah, and most likely was called such by a few of her Sisters still, was sitting before her in her own quarters with a very young looking woman with less strength in the One Power than the weakest Aes Sedai in the Blue Quarters. What made her even more curious was that she called the young woman, 'Ata Aes Sedai'. What in the Light was going on here? If Keraselle's memory served her correctly, Ata Sedai was of the Yellow Ajah AND she had been a Sitter in the Hall the same time Keraselle had been. This young woman hardly resembled the fiery Yellow and lacked the agelessness of Aes Sedai. Furthermore, when had this woman been Raised to the Shawl? It was Keraselles duty as a Sitter to be at the ceremony waiting to except the petition of her Ajah if they were chosen. Narrowing her eyes, the Blue Sitter could not help but study Ata's face over and over again. "Mother, forgive me. Is this not the same Ata Sedai that petitioned the Yellow Ajah many many years ago? The same Ata Sedai that served in the Hall as a Yellow Sitter?" Kera's eyes were intense with curiousity and confusion. She wanted answers, and she would have them. "I think, before I do anything, there is a much needed explaination." Crossing her legs and sitting back in her chair, Keraselle clasped her hands on her knee and waited expectantly. Before she summoned the rest of the Sitters it would do well to know what she needed to prepare them for. Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter _______________ There it came. The questions, the confusion spilling over Keraselle's lips. It all hinged upon this explanation; they had to move carefully here. Lanfir nodded slowly. "Yes, you are completely right. Before you stands Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah. An Aes Sedai severed and Healed. Did you hear the rumours? They are true." She quickly glanced at the young-looking darkhaired Aes Sedai next to her. She did not want to say too much, though. Ata was on her own here; she did not want to give the impression that Ata was her protegée or anything. If Keraselle got that impression, it might just happen that the Blue Ajah would refuse Ata's petition. The political situation of Lanfir being seen in the Blue Halls was dodgy enough as it was already. If only the former Yellow had chosen another Ajah... Gray or Green... anything but Blue. Lanfir silently prayed that her presence would not destroy things, so she quietly added: "I think the tale is not mine to tell, though. All I can say that Ata Dorje is Aes Sedai again as much as she ever was, and that she has just sworn her Oaths again upon the Oath Rod. Ata, if you would, you could tell Keraselle Sedai your remarkable story..." _________________ "Mother, forgive me. Is this not the same Ata Sedai that petitioned the Yellow Ajah many many years ago? The same Ata Sedai that served in the Hall as a Yellow Sitter?" Kera's eyes were intense with curiousity and confusion. "I think, before I do anything, there is a much needed explaination." "Yes, you are completely right. Before you stands Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah. An Aes Sedai severed and Healed. Did you hear the rumours? They are true." Ata felt the mothers eyes on her. "I think the tale is not mine to tell, though. All I can say that Ata Dorje is Aes Sedai again as much as she ever was, and that she has just sworn her Oaths again upon the Oath Rod. Ata, if you would, you could tell Keraselle Sedai your remarkable story..." Ata nodded and tried to quickly sort her mind. "Honestly my memorie of the day is useless, i dont remember much at all and most i know has been told me. I where to go down to interview him with focus on health mathers, i woke up in the bed in the infarmary in the evening confused of why i was there and wanting to sit up cause i needed to go there. Of course i couldnt my body was to weak, also there was nothing to go too. " she looked to the mother, the woman probably knew more than she and Ata didnt even know how much she should be telling. "Lwena and Nynaeve had brougth me to the infarmary, the worst damages to my body was healed, i lay in the infarmary one nite and was then moved up to my quarters. A week past of the happening Lwena was able to heal me, but that is probably yellow mathers, not that i would be able to replicate it, the healing was somewhat successfull, i regained my ability to channel saidar, but not at full strength." she drew her breath, " as Mother said I have retaken my oaths, but with focus on what has happened i am convinced that healing is no longer my cause, the wheel weaves as the wheel wants and i am no longer of abilities to acomplish much in the yellow ajah." she took a pause "there has been much thougth lately and i have setled for a new cause and focus where the abilities i know lack wont mather that much" The words hurt to say but she managed to keep her voice calm and in control, she couldnt show any weakness, not now. ________________ Keraselles kohl coloured eyes searched from the Amyrlin to Ata. There must be something behind all of this..surely... The Blue Sitters stomach tied itself in knots as she thanked the Creator that she had not eaten much that day. Shivers ran up and down her spine. Sitting ridgedly she swore to herself that she would not shake visibly, which took almost all of her concentration. Surely, Lwena Sedai had not Healed Severing! That was impossible! Again, she studied Ata and knew that the woman did not look like herself, even IF she did sound like the woman that had been a Yellow Sitter. Shaking her head, she sat up a little straighter in her chair. The crease between her eyebrows revealed itself as she frowned. Any Aes Sedai would be shaken right out of her skin if she had heard the news that Kera had. As she held onto the food that threatened to crawl into her throat, the Blue tapped her lips a couple of times in thought. This would definately need to be run by Corinne'dei and the others. Keraselle would love to be able to make the decision on her own, it was miraculous that Severing had now been Healed, even if the woman cut off from the True Source was not restored to her full strength. How would Ata's presence benefit the Blue Ajah? The woman could hardly channel at all compared to the rest of the Ajah...Pursing her lips, she asked Ata, "Do you have a Cause prepared? Since your strength in the One Power has diminished, your mind will have to make up for that." As Ata replied, Keraselle grabbed a piece of parchment and began to write notes to the other Sitters and the Head of the Ajah. Dear Sisters and entrusted Sitters, You are summoned to the quarters of Keraselle Sedai. Do not waste any time adhering to this note. It is of utmost importance that you arrive immediately! Keraselle Morveine Nodding, when Ata was done, Keraselle excused herself for a moment and sent the notes to the proper rooms. Returning to her seat, she sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. "Mother, your presence in the Blue Ajah Quarters is somewhat...noticed. Is it adament that you be here when the others arrive?" Keraselle did not want to say much about the reaction her Sisters might have, surely they had already noticed the Amyrlin Seat gliding through the halls. However, it might be important, for Ata's sake, that Lanfir was gone by the time the Sitters and the Head of Ajah arrived. "Mother, " the Blue bowed her head and averted her eyes to the floor in a semblance of a bow. "I mean no disrespect. It just seems that, for Ata's sake, it might be better for you not to be here when the other Blues arrive. What do you think?" Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter ______________ Lanfir smiled slightly as the Blue Sitter tried to phrase her wish to let her leave. "No hard feelings, daughter," she said empathically. "I escorted Ata to show my support. I would not want to intrude on your customs and I am very aware of how private the Ajahs can be. Especially in a delicate situation like this one," she added. Still, to stress the point that from a idealistic standpoint Keraselle's request would be unseemly, she said: "I will ignore the fact that I am legally a neutral force in the Tower where it comes to Ajahs and I will respect the customs." She turned to Ata and kissed the (hopefully) Blue-to-be on the cheek. "Take care, daughter," she said, looking the dark-haired woman straight into the eyes to make sure that Ata could see how genuine she was in her well-wishes. She then turned back to the Blue Sitter and said: "And you, daughter. Have a good day. Be sure to bring me up to date afterwards about what has passed here." A nod, a faint smile, and then she closed the door of Keraselle's quarters behind her. She left the Blue Halls quickly, but not so quickly as if it looked like she was afraid to be here. She took her time, but kept her eyes on the goal. Out of here, as soon as possible... while inside, she seethed privately that things had to be this way. __________ OOC: For the sake of our own clarity, I think it would be safe to say that Corinne'dei and Keraselle assumed leadership only a few months before this RP. Allow me to allude to my latest plans for the Ajah. :) IC: "I have told you a thousand times, Espara. I do not care how it's done. I want someone in that camp watching those girls. We failed them already by letting them be pulled into the al'Tanin boy's plans. I will not abandon them." Corinne'dei Susten's dark eyes were hard enough to drive nails through marble, her expression fierce as she confronted the much younger Sitter. Incredibly intelligent and a gifted Aes Sedai, in many ways Espara embodied the future of the Blue Ajah. In the months following the Blue Ajah coup, the young sisters had taken up the heavy yoke of leadership that their elders had neglected for too long. Being none too young herself, Corinne'dei was learning that young or old, a spider's web held stronger the more threads she had to spin with. She needed every thread she could get her hands on if she was to repair the rifts that were quickly growing within the Ajah. Espara's role in that web was pivotal, but Corinne'dei would burn before she let the woman think that gave her an inch more authority than was due the youngest Sitter the Ajah had ever seen. "You have one week," she said plainly. If that put Espara's undergarments in a bundle, so be it. The woman barley nodded. Corinne'dei sadly noted that the woman would have to be watched closely. "I expect a list of potential eyes and ears qualified enough to be our contacts on my desk ten days from now. Not a day later. You may--" A gong sounded in the room to announce the arrival of someone at her door. Corinne'dei rose to her feet in one fluid motion with Espara only heartbeats behind her. "Stay here," she said as they entered the anteroom, echoed by a knock at the door. Smoothing her skirts, she opened the door. "I do be apologizing for the interruptions, Corinne'dei Sedai, but Keraselle Sedai do be asking me to give this to you and the Sitters." Peria Lobral's Illianer accent was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Years ago, she had accompanied Corinne'dei to investigate the murder of an Arafellin family, but they had become estranged when Corinne'dei remained in the Borderlands as an advisor and later retired. All Corinne'dei saw in her now was another string to strengthen the web she was determined to weave. Taking the envelope from the younger woman's hands, she turned and motioned for Espara to come forward. Peria handed the Sitter an envelope in turn, her face revealing nothing if she was surprised to find the two women together. "Burn me if she didn't be saying it was important. I'd have been sending an Accepted to deliver these if I didn't be thinking it was Ajah business only. The Mother did be seen with a young girl walking into Keraselle's rooms and then leaving again by herself. I do be thinking something's afoot." "You leave the thinking to us, Peria," Espara said coldly. Corinne'dei looked at her sideways and frowned, none too happy at the woman speaking out of turn. Espara clicked her mouth shut and turned crimson. She had much to learn if she was to lead with Corinne'dei. Thank the Light Keraselle had taken a strong footing among the Sitters. Together they might be able to teach Espara some manners. Peria shifted uncomfortably, though the awkward silence had lasted only a moment. Half of the Ajah would hear of it by the end of the night. There was nothing to be done but move on. "Yes, I think it best if you leave this to us, Peria. Speculation with only the slightest bit of information can be very dangerous in times like these. You can trust that whatever brought the Mother to our quarters will be taken care of in the best interest of the Blue Ajah." The younger sister nodded and then after a moment offered a curtsy before leaving. A curtsy from an Aes Sedai was a small honor, but it meant something more coming from Peria. Perhaps the rift wasn't so large as she feared. Perhaps. For now, though, she had business to attend to. "I will pretend that did not happen, Espara, so long as you see that it does not happen again." That she had spoken out of turn was half the problem. That she had spoken for Corinne'dei while Corinne'dei was more than capable of speaking for herself was unacceptable. "The last I checked, the First Selector stil has working vocal cords. " She turned red again, but if for shame or anger Corinne'dei couldn't tell nor did she care. Closing the door behind her, she motioned for Espara to lead the way to Keraselle's apartments. They were not too far from her own and Elyssa was only moments behind them. Espara had just raised her hand to knock when the door swung open and Keraselle motioned for them to come inside, her brow creased as it always did when there was something on her mind. "There's tea there if you care for some," she said absently and with a slight gesture to a tray with only two cups. Elyssa swept into the room and closed the door behind her as Espara poured herself a cup of tea. In the main room, a young girl of perhaps twenty summers sat with her arms folded neatly in her lap, dark hair framing a shy face and nervous eyes. Corinne'dei could sense the ability to channel in her, but it was so faint that she thought the woman had little chance of reaching the shawl, if not acceptedhood. "I think you will want to sit down." The light of saidar bloomed around Keraselle and cords of Air moved three cushioned seats into a semi-circle in front of the girl. "We may have our work cut out for us today, ladies." As always, Elyssa looked thoughtful and said little, while Espara eyed the girl much as a cat looks at a mouse, and Keraselle stood with her arms neatly at her sides. All three waited for her to take a seat before doing so themselves and she was took the one closest to the girl, to the right of the others. Whatever had Keraselle worked up, she wanted to have all four of these women in plain sight. As the rest took their seats, Espara directly across from her, Corinne'dei broke the silence. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Corinne'dei Susten First Selector ______________ ooc elyssa is here...;) this would then be just in the period she steped down, just the ic day before this we met and spoke about going to andor ;) so guessing it would be a very fresh step down before she had been properly replaced ic then but expecting to soonish "Do you have a Cause prepared? Since your strength in the One Power has diminished, your mind will have to make up for that." Ata nodded and started replying while watching the other sitter, no the sitter she corected herself in her mind as she continued to speak. "Yes, I intend to travel the roads, to help the peoples who need it, maybe most of all children. And also to seek for those who migth yet be able to learn to stand in our ranks, time is runing fast, and every sister will be needed, maybe its yet time.." she let it go as she got caugth in her own thougths. She barely listened to the conversation that followed where the mother departed. Her mind was caugth on wondering how much time exactly there would be, the reports...well she wouldnt get it as fast in the tower as on the road, not now with her loss of station and ranking. Ata looked up as the door opened, two other blues entered first, she recognised one from the hall. Then moments after Elyssa came in, Ata let a faint smile of recognision cross her lips, but this was not the time or place for friendly greetings. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Ata pondered for half a moment breaking in, but then setled back in the chair, it would be bether it came from the one asked, one inside the ajah, one of age, not to say the least age that showed. It would be time enuogh to speak soon enough, instead she focused on puting of a calm mask, something that came easily after decades, granted her memorie was slow, but not all was forgoten. Ata listened to the conversation that unfolded itself infront of her. ______________ OOC: I'm here so I guess I can contribute. Sorry for not being around much. IC: Elyssa recieved the note and left her rooms as quickly as she could. She was preparing for a class she was to teach on decorum. As she walked down the hall she could see Corinne'dei Susten's the head of the Blue's walking with Espara at her side. This must be very important for all of them to be called to Keraselle's rooms like this. She walked into the room just after Corinne'dei and Espara and closed the door behind her. She saw Ata sitting there and wondered what was going on. She knew Ata had resworn her oaths today but thought she was returning to the Yellows. Why she was here in the Blue halls Ely had no idea. She stood looking thoughtful but didn't say a word. She wanted to see what was going to happen. After everyone sat Ely gave Ata a slight smile hoping this would ease any tension she felt. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Just the question Elyssa thought should be mentioned first. If anyone had any doubt in their minds at all if this truly was Ata then she could set them straight as she had spoken with her just yesterday on the subject. No one could forget accusing one of their oldest and dearest friends of being a common thief and then finding out what the truth really was. OOC: Hope that was okay _________________ OOC: I'm so glad you guys are here! *claps in excitement* IC: Keraselle sat and listened attentively as Ata spoke of her potential Causes. Helping children was always a wonderful Cause in Kera's eyes, so she nodded and gave a soft 'hum' to show her affection for such a Cause. Before the former Yellow could finish speaking, Keraselle rose to her feet and headed for the door. Just as she opened it, she found herself practically rushing the First Selector and her fellow Sitters into her quarters. She offered tea and pulled some extra chairs forward so the others could sit around as they discussed the matters at hand. Fixing her eyes on Corinne d'ei, Keraselle breathed in deeply and prepared herself for a long and drawn out explaination. Motioning with her right hand towards Ata, she began. "This, my fellow Sitters, is Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah." She knew that her statement would have an affect on the others, and if one of their jaw's didn't, drop she would eat her shawl. Clearing her throat, she went on. "I will have Ata tell you the details, because I feel it is only right for her to do so, but I will tell you what I know." Pausing, Keraselle reached for a cup of tea and took a well needed sip. "The former Yellow Sitter was severed by a male channeller. Obvioudly, Ata was taken into the custody of the Yellows and the infirmary, however, through a few treatments of Healing and having one of the strongest Healers in the White Tower look after her..." Keraselle stopped to lick her lips. "Lwena Sedai has learned how to Heal Severing, ladies." Butterflies churned in the pit of her stomach as she finished her last statement. Silently, Keraselle promised herself that she would not sick up before everyone left her rooms. "There is more, Sitters. This concerns the Blue Ajah more than you think." Keraselle averted her eyes and studied Ata for a moment, and nodded. "Ata has resworn her Oaths and is again an Aes Sedai. However, Since Miss Dorje can no longer help as much with Healing, since her strength in the One Power has obviously diminished... she is wishing to petition the Blue Ajah." With that, the elder Blue Sitter sat back in her chair and clasped her hands together in her lap to wait out the reactions of the others. "That, is why I found it necessary to summon you here today." Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter _______________ Ata quietly sipped her tea and observed the others descreatly, she migth look young, and granted it had goten her in enoug troubles when she was at her most confused, but slowly she had managed to distance herself from what happened, enough so anyway that she outward could put up a calm Aes Sedai face. No she thougth, she would not be pushed around like a novice just cause she looked the age of one, she'd readily respect her elder and those stronger than her that deserved it but there where limits, she had earned her place and proven herself worthy of the ring once and again through the decades. She waited till Keraselle ended her speach about what had happened, then let it all sink in a couple moments before speaking. "As its been explained, the yellows know how to heal stilling.." she diverted using Lwenas name and discovering in the same sentance, with the oaths back ingraved in her bones it was a lie she couldnt tell, and it was yellow ajah buisnis, she knew that much and would respect that even with the change of ajah, revealing it would hardly gain her trust in any of the ajahs. "..I do not remember much of what happened, in fact my memorie of it is all blank, i woke up ready to go on down to study the male channeler as if I hadnt been there at all. And to this day i can not remember the that morning 4 weeks ago. " Ata took a sligth pause to sip her tea. "My memorie of the time before, some come easy, other memories comes harder, but comes as far as i am aware of it at least after some thinking. However there is of course no guarantie that there is not more lost, i wouldnt know if there where. All in all this togheter with even after beeing heal not beeing fully restored makes it hard to continue as a healer, how can i be sure that i do in the moment remember every bit of the herb rescepie, and when i at best can do minor healing." she forced herself to keep her voice even and strong as she spoke of her weaknesses. "The wheel weaves as the wheel wants, I been healed but its obvious that my time as a healer is up, instead now with the knowledge of what goes on in the world...peoples will be needed on the road, helping out..catching news, and most of all maybe its yet time to find and train those who can stand amongst our ranks when the day is up." she didnt mention what day, but it was underlaying, and she was sure that Tarmon Gaidon was coming, it was time to prepare, as best one could, when the day came every girl who could channel could be usefull. If they didnt have the knowledge yet to figth in themselves they could help in other areas, or maybe be linked into circles, many enough brooks would in the end make a river. _________________ "This, my fellow Sitters, is Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah." Keraselle's words brushed over Corinne'dei's ears, the unquestionable truth unable to take hold in her mind. As Keraselle gave a brief explanation, it was all the First Selector could to do keep from walking back out of the room. Was Keraselle mad to bring her here when there was another woman there who could identify her? When you added in what Keraselle had so plainly stated as fact, the situation became even more complicated. Needless to say, Corinne'dei was not a happy camper. The seemingly twenty-something girl seated in front of her might very well have passed for Ata some eighty years ago, but the report that detailed the events surrounding Ata Dorje's stilling had only been issued a month or more before. It was impossible that this woman--weak though she was in the Power--could be the same woman who had sat in the Hall for the Yellow. And yet Keraselle had spoken clearly and in no uncertain terms. Either her friend was unfortunately delusional or they were all in the same room as a living miracle. "Lwena Sedai has learned how to Heal Severing, ladies." She clenched her teeth, thought she wasn't sure if it was to keep her jaw from dropping or to keep from screaming in frustration. "There is more, Sitters," Keraselle continued as Corinne'dei fought for composure. "This concerns the Blue Ajah more than you think. Ata has resworn her Oaths and is again an Aes Sedai. However, Since Miss Dorje can no longer help as much with Healing, since her strength in the One Power has obviously diminished... she is wishing to petition the Blue Ajah. That, is why I found it necessary to summon you here today." For a long moment, Corinne'dei regarded the one-time Yellow much as she would regard a pig with wings. To think that the one thing Aes Sedai feared most was suddenly healed, the living proof right in front of her, and yet Corinne'dei still couldn't believe it. It was just too much. With four Aes Sedai eying her with suspicion and perplexion, Ata broke the tense and uncomfortable silence. The woman told her story with little interruption, much as she might talk of a book she had read for all the emotion in her voice. If Ata hadn't resworn the Oaths, Corinne'dei might have thought her making the story up. So many things were unfolding before her very eyes and she could only react with disbelief. "The wheel Weaves as the Wheel wills," Ata said as her story came to a close. "I have been healed but it's obvious that my time as a Healer is up. Instead, now with the knowledge of what goes on in the world, people will be needed on the road, helping out, catching news, and most of all maybe it's yet time to find and train those who can stand amongst our ranks when the day is up." The most influential women in the Blue Ajah looked at the one-time Yellow for a long moment, not quite certain of what to say, how to respond. The room was silent except for the clinking of porcelain cups clinking on porcelain saucers or the occasional sipping of tea. Deciding that it was far too late to walk out of the room and that it was up to her to break the awkward silence, Corinne'dei took a sip of her tea and placed the empty cup and saucer on the heavily carved table next to her. Light! If she had only known what this day would require of her... "Your testimony is a moving one, sister. If you walk away with nothing else today you will walk away with my utmost respect. Before we go any further, though, I think there is another matter of importance that needs addressing first. You might be wondering why an old biddie like me is doing in a room with the three Sitters for the Blue Ajah. Just to make certain we are all on the same page, I am the First Selector of the Blue Ajah." It was Ata's turn to be surprised, but whatever shock she might have felt was well hidden behind an Aes Sedai mask of calm. She merely nodded and said nothing. Corinne'dei cleared her throat and continued with a bit more confidence than before. "To be quite frank, you have experienced the one thing that has kept me up many a night since I first came to the White Tower all those years ago. There is no need to go on about the fact that you are nothing short of a living miracle. You know it, we know it, and soon the entire White Tower will know it." The women to her left nodded in agreement with mixed expressions. "Unfortunately, this does not make your request an easy one. Your head is full of secrets that belong to the Yellow Ajah, whether you can remember them all or not. Being a Sitter for some time means you also had access to deeper, darker secrets than most of the women in your Ajah. The fact that my identity is now added to those secrets only further complicates matters. What you ask has never been asked before, nor is it a request to be taken lightly." She paused and looked over to the three women on her left, unsure of herself for the first time in a long time. "Ladies? Surely you have something to say in all of this?" Corinne'dei Susten First Selector
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