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  1. Carina sat, as per usual, cross legged on the floor of the library in an island of open books sprawled around her. She loved this place, though still preferred to do her reading outside under the trees. She choose the library today as she couldn't afford the distractions the forrest animals inevitably provided and the Greens were having some sort of training camp going that had the entire outside of the White Tower in an uproar. Too much noise and too many distractions for her research. The book in her lap lay open on a page showing a picture of a squirrel and she was scribling notes in her little pocketsized notebook. Earlier that day one such squirrel had suddenly leaped on to her shoulder and started nipping her ear for some reason. She had sensed the little critter needed help, but after some carefull delving with the One Power she couldn't find anything wrong with it. The Yellows would probably have gone all in shock had they known she knew the weave, let alone used it, but what they didn't know wouldn't hurt her. She couldn't very well leave that poor thing feeling all sick and stuff when she had the knowledge to do something about it. "It's time to clean up and go to bed, Carina", a voice spoke to her from behind the bookcase that stood behind her. Scowling at the bookcase, Carina didn't respond but immediately started closing the books and replacing them on the trolley. One of the novices would put them back in their proper place in the morning. Her muscles protesting from being forced to work after being stationary for so long, she stretched and then straightened down her dress and schooled her face. She knew better than to let the Sister notice her being upset over being told to go to bed. The look she received as she emerged from behind the bookcase gave nothing away from the Sister's mind and she couldn't help but wonder if she managed to get hers even remotely as even as half that. Curtseying properly she left and made her way to her room. Halfway up the stairs her stomach rumbled loudly and she realised with a shock that she hadn't eaten all day except for breakfast. 'Maybe I can sneak into the kitchen and snatch up something to take to my room' she thought and turned and stopped dead. A few steps below her, on the landing between the stairs, stood seven Aes Sedai, each wearing their shawl, one from each Ajah. The Mistress of Novices stood looking up at her, her shawl clearly visible and spoke, “Carina al'Tara, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai, the light keep you whole and see you safe.” Just like three years ago Carina felt a surge of panick rushing through her. She wasn't ready! 'Oh Light! Why now?' she thought frantically. Working to keep her face serene and her posture calm she decended the few steps and followed the Sisters without a word, as protocol prescribed. They made their way down the stairs, through empty hallways and down to the basement where Carina felt again the weight of the ages press down on her shoulders. 'Light, give me strength and make me worthy' she prayed. As they approached the doors of the testing chamber, the Mistress of Novices channeled Air and they opened without a sound. The Aes Sedai filed in the room, taking their positions along the wall, facing the Ter'Angreal in the middle that was the testing ground for each Accepted to gain the shawl and title of the Aes Sedai. Carina entered the room and stood waiting for the ceremony to begin.
  2. The only word to describe her mood was dejected. Nynaeve Sedai had released her from her tasks early, the Sister’s attention taken up with some important matter in the Infirmary that could not wait and so, Kiyi had been able to leave the wards and take some time just for herself. She wandered the gardens slowly, looking for a secluded spot to think and regain some composure, hoping that the peace and beauty of the grounds would restore her sense of well-being. She felt little these days other than tired, ground down and depressed. Things were not going at all according to plan and she had no idea why that should be. Finding a bench nestled in the lee of some bushes covered in pretty purple flowers, Kiyi dropped exhausted onto the wood and stared morosely at the Tower. She’d had such hopes in coming here, such dreams. She was no closer to attaining them than she had been on arrival though and that was baffling to her. Kiyi’s fingers picked distractedly at a loose thread on the sleeve of her novice dress as her thoughts turned to Esther and Deanne. The girls had been absent from the Tower for some time, returning only recently, though Kiyi did not know why and when they had come back everything had changed. In truth, things had changed even before that, the friendship she’d begun to form with Esther seeming to dissipate overnight. Where did it all go so wrong? the thought snaked through the young girl’s mind as her shoulders slumped. She felt as though a huge weight was pressing her down and suddenly, everything was just too much to cope with. She didn’t sob and howl as Deanne was wont to do; even in distress Kiyi was too reserved for such an outpouring of emotion, but the tears flowed just the same, obscuring her vision and tracking their way down her cheeks in an unstoppable stream of sadness. Entangled in her own concerns, she was oblivious to the approaching footsteps until it was too late to hide.
  3. OOC: Continued from here Raslyn nodded at the child's determination and hoped that it would see her through. Too many started off determined only to wane and fall by the wayside. She eyed the young novice in front of her and frowned. The girl was staring into space and looked positively stricken. Oh light, what has happened now. She's not suddenly embraced the Source, so that can't be it. Raslyn ran through the conversation she'd had with the child and couldn't see anything there that would elicit such a reaction. So that left the child's past. "Child?" Raslyn spoke sharply. "Carina!" She repeated her name several times, but to no avail. Eventually she got up and approached the girl, who still staring into space, her breathing becoming laboured. Taking Carina's shoulders she gave the girl a shake "Carina! What's the matter girl?" Raslyn spoke firmly, wondering whether to slap the girl out of her hysterics.
  4. Carina sat cross legged on the floor of the library, cradling the heavy volume on ‘Nature’s Creatures’ in her lap. She came here often in her rare spare times. So often that the Brown sisters no longer looked up in surprise but instead had started to expect her. One day she had decided to go observe the training of the Tower Guard instead and a Brown sister had come to see if she was ok. Thinking her to be sick as she hadn’t been seen in the library for a full two weeks. Her sitting on the ground had stirred up some controverse at first, for surely future Aes Sedai didn’t do such a thing. Raeyn Sedai put a stop to the other sisters pestering the child about it though, as she seemed to understand it was the girl’s preferred position to learn. The Brown never spoke to her, had only glanced at her in passing, her face completely unreadable as always. She still gave Carina the shivers whenever she saw her. “Now where did I see that section about the wolves….” Carina muttered to herself as she flipped rappidly through the pages. The rustling of the pages effectively muted the sound of aproaching slippers and Carina literally jumped up at the sound of a pointed cough right behind her. Towering over her stood the Mistress of Novices, Larindhra Sedai. Carina’s breath caught as her eyes registered the red fringed shawl the sister was wearing. There were not many occasions where the Mistress of Novices wore her shawl and the only reason for doing so when aproaching a novice was an occasion all novices both longed for and feared at the same time. Gulping visibly, Carina got to her feet and offered the sister a perfect curtsey. The volume completely forgotten, which was a clear sign of the girl’s distress and mental state, she followed as the Mistress of Novices turned and led the way out of the library and down the halls of the Tower. Down they went, through corridors Carina had never before seen, where time seemed to have stood still. A weight lay on the young woman’s shoulders that seemed to be growing heavier with each step. She almost felt the gaze of countless people throughout history upon her as they travelled ever down, into the deepest depths of the Tower. Feeling their gaze and wondering if they considered her worthy. The Light knew she didn’t feel she was! Not yet! There was still so much to learn! Calm yourself, woman. Carina berated herself in silence and automatically slipped into performing her novice exercises. She followed Larindhra to a huge double door that smoothly opened upon their aproach and entered into a domed chamber. Carina gulped then, standing in front of the famed Ter’Angreal known to the novices as the ‘Arches’. The device that would test each of them towards becoming Accepted, the next step on the road to becoming Aes Sedai. She still couldn’t believe this was happening. The Accepted all seemed so much smarter and stronger than herself. They were, after all, only a very small step removed from sisterhood themselves. Would she shame herself today? Her mentor, who had so steadily broken down her fear of the Red Ajah and who had been a steadfast beacon throughout her years at the Tower? Her savior… Carina blinked then. Recalling the man who had died for her, to see her to the Tower safely. Who, three years ago, made the ultimate sacrifice so she could stand here today. As always, her resolve returned and her determination fastened. She would not fail them. When the Mistress of Novices spoke, Carina was ready. As ready as she would ever be. Looking around the chamber, the young woman’s appearance was that of utter calm and acceptance. Her eyes took it all in while her mind held fast to the image of the man who now symbolised her courage, her determination and her drive. The ter’angreal known as ‘the Arches’ was made of three rounded silver arches, each just tall enough to walk under, sitting on a thick silver ring with their ends touching each other. Where arch touches ring, an Aes Sedai sat on the floor, concentrating on the silvery construction. There was a sister of the Gray, the White and the Yellow Ajah. A fourth Aes Sedai, this one of the Blue Ajah, stood beside a table on which sat three silvery chalices filled with clear water. All four Aes Sedai and the Mistress of Novices wore their shawls. Larindhra Sedai stepped in front of Carina and spoke: “two things shall I tell you now that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on and, no matter your potential, you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter”angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they - were - not - there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure.” A pause in which Carina nodded her understanding of the rules and the Mistress of Novices continued. “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.” Carina took one last deep breath and answered in a clear voice, “I am ready, Aes Sedai.” Larindhra nodded and turned towards the Ter’Angreal which indicated the start of the canon as was done for each of these ceremonies. The blue sister beside the table spoke solomnly and clearly, “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?” Larindhra answered, “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister.” “Is she ready?” “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.” “Does she know her fears?” “She has never faced them, but now is willing.” “Then let her face what she fears.” Larindhra then turned back to the novice and instructed her to strip down to her skin. The young woman blinked once, as she had totally forgotten that part and blushed a bright red as she hurried to obey, putting her cloths neatly folded on the chair that was put there for that purpose. She thought she saw a glimps of amusement in the Red’s eye before she led Carina towards the first Arch. “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”
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