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Well, that was an… interesting class. Viviane dusted off her Accepted’s dress, soot dancing in the air. For the last eleven days, she and a few of the other Accepted had been learning how to Link from Lavinya Sedai. It was a weave that all Sisters had to learn. Lavinya Sedai had driven that point home with a pointed finger for each word. Every girl in the room knew how serious this class was. They would not dare dream for the shawl if they could not Link at a moments notice. It could mean the difference between life and death for any Aes Sedai and those around her. Today had been the twelfth day of the Lesson and finally, every girl in the room had succeeded in Linking with their respective partners. Unfortunately for Lavinya Sedai, she had lost control of the class shortly thereafter. Each girl that had the Link suddenly felt a rush of power. No matter how much control the Accepted had exhibited before this class, it all had seemed to be thrown out the window when links were formed. Suddenly, each Accepted found themselves handling more flows of the One Power than they had been used to. Each girl controlling the link lost control of their inhibitions and were weaving different flows all over the room. Within moments, fire was exploding in the air, water was crashing down from the ceiling, gusts of air were tossing books and parchment all over the room. It was chaos. Unfortunately for the Accepted, Lavinya Sedai reined them all in quite quickly with a sharp clap of her hands. All at once, the weaves stopped and all the chaos had ceased. The girls controlling the flows had each been sent to the Mistress of Novices right after class. Lucky for Viviane, she had not held the flows of her link. Thus, she escaped punishment. Not only that, but she had decided to linger after the lesson had finished. Viviane knew that she could have chosen a better time, but she was growing impatient. She had to know. Lavinya Sedai was the only Grey she had felt comfortable approaching… Wasting no time, Viviane rushed from her bench and up to the Aes Sedai. Lavinya was cleaning up the mess that the other Accepted had created. Viviane gave a deep curtsy, fit for a queen, before speaking to the older woman, “Excuse me, Lavinya Sedai… But, I hoped to trouble you with a question… You see, as an Accepted, I should begin to think of which Ajah I aspire to, and I must admit, I am a bit lost… I do not know much of the Grey, and I would not make an uninformed decision… May I ask what it means to be a Sister of your Ajah?” Viviane’s cheeks colored, foolish for a woman approaching her 29th nameday, but there it was. So long as she wore white, she would always be meek around a woman with a shawl.
Lavinya was alone in her room, practising the weaves that she would have to perform in the test. Each of the hundred weaves had to be performed correctly, and in order. So far she had only succeeded in successfully completing them once. Her room mate Evaida, one of her only true friends in the tower, had helped her, doing whatever she could to distract her as she channelled. She sighed, as she fumbled a weave, and released the source. She was never going to pass the testing. Light, she didnâ€™t think she would be able to bear the humiliation of being sent from the tower, not good enough to become an Aes Sedai. She shuddered. She MUST get this right. Chewing her lip, she embraced the source, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door. Rising, she opened the door, to be greeted by her mentor, Elyssa. A brief flash of panic overcame her, as Elyssa led her to the basement for her testing. Light, she was not ready, she could not do it! As though sensing her unease, Elyssa shot her a reassuring look, and Lavinya firmed her resolve. She had worked too long and hard for this moment, she would not turn back now, and she would not fail. She would have her power and position, as an Aes Sedai. Upon entering the basement, Lavinya noticed that one sister from each Ajah was there, forming a ring around the room. Nynaeveâ€™s voice rang out, loud and clear. â€œAttend.â€ All the sisters gathered together, and the ceremony began. "You come in ignorance Lavinya Morganen, how would you depart?" Lavinya swallowed, before replying. She had been through this many times, and knew how to respond, and what was expected of her. "In Knowledge of Myself." She was somewhat disgusted to hear how much her voice shook. She straightened her spine. She could do this. "For what reason have you been summoned here?" "To be tried" "For what reason should you be tried?" "So that I may learn whether I am worthy." "For what would you be found worthy?" Lavinya lifted her chin and steeled her resolve. "To wear the shawl." Her voice rang with a confidence she tried to feel. She then proceeded to strip, leaving behind her banded Accepted dress and underclothes, and her Great Serpent Ring, which she carefully laid on top. The sisterâ€™s present activated the terâ€™angreal. She was instructed to complete the 101 weaves, no matter what happened, and to be strong. Elyssa nodded slightly, and Lavinya took courage from her mentor. She could do this. Slowly she stepped forward, into the blinding light of the terâ€™angreal. Blinking, she found herself in a dim hallway, lit only by a few scattered wall sconces, which cast eerie shadows across the tiled floor. Looking down, she discovered with shock that she was naked. Picturing a sheer emerald gown, she grinned when it appeared. It had been so long since she was able to wear her native Domani clothes, rather than the suffocating white of novice and Accepted. Accepted. That word caused a flicker of recognition, of why she was there. She stepped forward along the corridor, towards the faint light at the end. Emerging into the sunlight, she raised a hand against the harsh light. Across a meadow was a pointed star. Remembering what it was she must to, she stepped on it and began to weave without a second thought. Carefully she wove together a jumble of air, fire and spirit, chewing her lower lip as she concentrated. Something in her peripheral caught her attention and she turned, drawing in a surprised gasp. A large wolf was approaching, eyeing her hungrily. It snarled, vicious white teeth flashing. Forcing down her panic, Lavinya finished the weave, and saw the second star, behind the animal. It crouched, as though to leap, and she hurriedly wove air, stilling the beast in mid air with invisible bonds. Without a second thought she rushed past the animal to the second star. Once on it she began the next weave, an intricate web of water and spirit, with earth twined between. She jumped when she felt the first bite between her shoulder blades and whirled, almost dropping the weave. Light, it was only her second! She could see nothing, and continued, only to feel a sharp sting on her shoulder, followed by more, all over her body. Looking down, she realised she was covered with ants, biting her constantly. Gritting her teeth she kept channelling, until the weave finally fell into place. With a sigh she moved on, rubbing at the welts covering her body. Soon the pain was a distant memory, as she began the next weave, channelling with a dedication she never knew she possessed. Weave after weave was completed, despite the whipping, the stones from the angry mob, and a most embarrassing incident where she was naked in the middle of the warderâ€™s yard, while the trainees pointed and laughed. Her face suffused with heat at the last. There was no reason to laugh, she was attractive! She yelled at them as the weave fell into place, and she ran from the laughing crowd. Stepping to the next star, Lavinya wiped the sweat from her brow and began the next weave. She was over two thirds finished. Her body was numb with pain, and sheâ€™d suffered so much pain, in so many different ways. Tears stained her cheeks, and her body shuddered with the effort of continuous channelling. Still she persevered. She must remain strong, and she would. Ninety-seven weaves completed, she moved on, looking for the star. It appeared beneath some trees, and she stepped onto it to begin the complex weave, spirit, air and earth threading together into a huge tangle. A voice she knew and loved called to her, and she paused, faltering slightly. Light, not this! Steeling her resolve, she added another thread. Sweat broke out on her brow again, but she continued. â€œPlease!â€ Begged the voice. Water was added to the weave, and thick strands of fire. Lavinya desperately tried to ignore the screams from behind her, and her knees shook from the effort. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of Elyna, her sweet mentee, bound and suspended over a bubbling cook pot. Lavinya whimpered, almost dropping the weave. Falling to her knees, she gritted her teeth against her sobs and added earth to the tangle. Trollocs appeared around the novice, and Elyna screamed. Lavinya sobbed, echoing the scream as she continued, her heart breaking at the sight and sound of the sweet girl, who had come to mean so much to her, suffering. Without thinking fire launched from her hands towards the Trollocs, but more soon came to replace the ones she struck. Over and over she threw the fire balls, while still maintaining the required web, barely. There were so many of the creatures, too many. Elynaâ€™s piercing screams filled the air, and Lavinyaâ€™s chest heaved from her heartfelt sobs. â€œIâ€™m so sorry Elilyâ€ she cried, and the weave fell into place. Lavinya wept into her hands. On unsteady legs, she slowly stood, turning her back on the heart-wrenching sight, and headed for the next star. She knew the sound of Elynaâ€™s bloodcurdling screams would haunt her for the rest of her days. Lavinya completed the next few weaves, her mind and body numb. The tears kept flowing, but she never stopped, never lost sight of her goal. The final weave fell into place, and she dropped to her knees once more, letting the emotion flow from her. Looking up from beneath her bedraggled hair, she realised she was back in the basement, slowly being helped to her feet by Elyssa. She blinked a few times before she understood, and wiped away her tears. She was wet from sweat and her tears, but her skin was unharmed. She tried to straighten her spine. She should feel some sense of victory. She had passed the test. Instead she felt strangely hollow. She allowed Elyssa to help her dress, and headed for the quiet solitude of her room, for her contemplation. __ OOC: Night of contemplation (I use the term loosely in Lavinya's case ) is on a separate thread IC: Lavinya tried to hide all evidence of her tearful night, frowning at herself in the mirror as she applied her various creams and powders. It would not do to look overly dishevelled on the first day she was named an Aes Sedai. Her heart was still aching from her encounter with Nuitari, but she tried to push the painful thoughts aside, and focus on what must happen today. Finally believing her appearance to be acceptable, Lavinya confidently strode from the room, silently saying goodbye to her days as an Accepted. Complete silence greeted her entrance, though all the sitters for the Hall of the Tower were present. The Amyrlin and the Keeper stood, silently and serene before her. Lavinya straightened her stance and adopted the Aes Sedai calm she had practised since her raising to Accepted. The silence was deafening, and Lavinya could feel all eyes burning into her. Tilting her chin, she faced the Amyrlin as the ceremony began. â€œWho comes here?â€ The Amyrlinâ€™s voice rang loud and clear across the hall. Lavinya silently cleared her throat, before answering confidently. â€œLavinya Morganen.â€ â€œFor what reason do you come?â€ â€To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.â€ â€œBy what right do you claim this burden?â€ â€œBy right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.â€ â€œThen enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.â€ Lavinya nodded, just a tiny inclination of her head. Forcing her feet to move, she stepped forward, through the terâ€™angreal. She had come too far to flounder now, had endured too much. A shiver ran down her spine as she stepped through the terâ€™angreal, as she recalled the scenes she had met inside. Stepping closer to the Amyrlin, she waited for what she knew was to come. Three oaths, that would bind her to the tower for the rest of her days. Three oaths that could not be broken. Lifting up her hands, she accepted the smooth rod, before uttering her oaths. â€œUnder the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.â€ She flinched, as the oath was bound to her bones, her skin feeling as though it had shrunk. Light, but it was painful. â€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.â€ The tightening sensation increased. Lavinya forced her face to remain calm and impassive, to ignore the pain. â€œUnder 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.â€ The last oath was uttered, and she let out a small breath she hadnâ€™t realised she held. Her skin felt as though it was too small, from her scalp to the soles of her feet, and the sensation was highly painful. Yet, looking around the room, she knew that she was far from the first to experience the oaths. If the Aes Sedai could handle the discomfort, so would she. "It is half done, and the White Tower graven on your bones. Rise now Aes Sedai and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light." Handing back the oath rod, Lavinya stepped forward, to the representatives of the Grey Ajah, one sister standing in front with a Grey Shawl. â€œI choose the Grey Ajah.â€ At last it was done. She was an Aes Sedai, of the Grey Ajah, should they accept her. She allowed the tiniest spark of a smile to cross her features as she faced her new sisters. _______________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia Dorian Ayerell - Tower Trainee, Mentee of Yrean Satine Whyre - Acrobat in Simon Jornin's travelling Circus The sun had hid behind a cloud, it was only a few hours after sunrise and Phaedra was up and about, reading through the reports from Andor and sipping her morning tea. She wore a light gray robe over her pale blue nightgown and looked utterly comfortable in the knowledge that she could spend her morning in solitude. Her mind was just waking up and her eyes had gotten over that sleepy look that one had when waking up calmly. She had often enough woken up troubled, after little sleep that had hardly overcome the worry but lately it seemed things were better. Marce was gone for about half a year now and the gossip they had expected had not been as fierce, the story that Freja had come up with had worked. Phaedra had hated how she had come to her position but knew, looking back on things, that it could not have gone any different. Finella had been a great support, she had stayed up many nights with the new Head Clerk to help her organize things and to contact Eyes and Ears hat Marce had had. Her sudden disappearance had left things in a jumble and knowing how the woman had left the Tower, they could not blame it on her for one bit. The Sisters involved had not yet returned from their punishment and would not for another few years. It was not like they were exiled from the Tower, the Trial had been harsh but fair, Phaedra had made sure of that. It had been her first task as Head Clerk to see that the women responsible were punished. Her mind traveled from the reports, back to Marce and that horrible night she had spoken with Freja and Finella about what had happened. And then it moved on to Ophelia who had stepped up and defended the women on trial, to see that justice was done for them. The Ajah had not blamed her, a defender was needed even for those who had hurt the Ajah down to its core and it was good that she had taken that step. It had shown Phaedra that the woman would not let her heart control her, even if her words were a jumble sometimes. A few months later, the Hall had greeted a new Sitter in the position of the Grays and Ophelia had done a good job at it. Phaedra had taken her under her wing a bit, knowing that the woman needed a guide but felt that Ophelia was growing fast and would soon stand on her own with more ease. Finella liked the other Sitter for they were alike so much, Phaedra could not come between that easy-going feeling the two had, but was glad that two of their Sitters at least had the heart on their tongue. One could easily see what the reason was that the Tower had not started a trial against the Ajah, Ophelia and Finella had worked hard on showing that this was an upstart, something horrible that should never have happened, but that was definitely not supported by the Ajah. A smile of pride pursed through Phaedraâ€™s lips when she heard someone knock and enter. â€œOphelia, what brings you here this morning?â€ she asked before turning around. The woman had a tendency of seeing her knock as the call to enter all in one go, but it was something that Phaedra had learned to live with. It was a small flaw and Phaedra brushed off her robe to put emphasis on the privacy of her quarters when Ophelia started to blush and said, â€œI apologize, the news was important and I had to come,â€ Phaedra nodded slowly. She hoped it was news that Marce had been found, that Freja had been successful in finding her, but something told her that Ophelia would not have stopped talking if that was the case. The Gray stood waiting for Phaedra to nod and give her leave to speak, a little irritated Phaedra did so and Ophelia started to speak of a young woman who had been tested the day before. â€œYes, I know, Lavinya, she has worked with the Grays and there is a lot of potential...â€ Phaedra stopped mid sentence and said, â€œIs she?â€ and Ophelia nodded. â€œShe is, she wants to become a Gray,â€ Ophelia said. Phaedra nodded, smiling and said, â€œIâ€™ll get ready, have you talked to Finella?â€ The other Gray nodded, â€œShe said she would like to speak tonight, she apparently has been preparing for this for quite some time already,â€ Phaedra nodded. She could have known that Finella had been on top of this for years before any of them had even expected this. When Ophelia left the room, Phaedra started to wash up and brush her dark hair, she let it hang loosely while she picked out a dress for the occasion. It was simple, a black dress with a silver pin on the chest in the shape of the Flame of Tar Valon. Then she placed her low black leather boots on her feet and took the Gray shawl which she placed over her shoulders. Leaving her quarters to get the Shawl that the new Gray would receive she smiled as Finella passed by and gave her a knowing glance. The woman had a talent and Phaedra knew it, she never let it slip passed her that Finella had talent and that she was an asset to the Ajah. As she prepared for the new Gray and asked Nyssa to ready herself for the events to come, Finella returned to the Gray quarters to warn them that the Ceremony was about to begin and they should be going. Phaedraâ€™s eyes went dark and she nodded through a few final comments towards Nyssa, the Youngest would help the Newest get ready. Nyssa had gone through the tradition herself and this would help her to be able to guide Lavinya. They went the three of them with Dawn, Sasra and Nyssa following shortly after. Phaedra pinched Finellaâ€™s hand softly and said, â€œI hear you prepared for this?â€ and the other Sitter gave her a broad smile, warm and welcoming when she said, â€œOf course, that is my job,â€ and Phaedra gave her another soft pinch in her hand nodded. Seeing Lavinya Morganen take her Oaths warmed Phaedra, she could see how the woman stood fierce, ready for anything as she took the Oaths and looked over the faces of the Ajah representatives. The Grays had not taken the entire Ajah, but enough to stand ready for their triumph. When Lavinya uttered the words that she wanted to join the Grays, Phaedra felt a light burst of butterflies erupt in her stomach. It was not all lost, Marce had left and so had Freja, they had overcome the sour time and now it was time for growth. Fresh blood to enter the Ajah and to make whole what had been torn apart. As the other Ajah representatives left the room, Phaedra took a step forward. â€œBe welcome Lavinya Morganen, you have completed your test for Acceptance to become an Aes Sedai with great strength and will power. You will become one of us, it is a task you have accepted that we are willing to give you. You have earned the right to wear the Shawl, to wear the Great Serpent Ring and to call yourself Aes Sedai, come here and show me you have earned the right to become Gray.â€ This was in fact the first step in her trial, only Lavinya had no clue of this. She did not know what was waiting for her later that day, for now it was all a dream for her probably. Being accepted by her Sisters and earning the Shawl after years of hard studies. The woman stepped up and then bowed through her knees into a curtsy, Phaedra placed the Shawl over her shoulders and rested a hand on the womanâ€™s left shoulder, â€œStrenght,â€ she mused. Then stepped back and let the other sisters accept the woman in their midst. Nyssa would then take her to her new quarters and prepare her for what was to come. Phaedra studied Lavinyaâ€™s face as she was welcomed by the Sitters and by the other Grays, it was not a lie. She was one of them, she had just not earned her place yet. But she would, Phaedra was sure of that and turned around to head back to her quarters. There was much work to be done before Lavinya Sedai could be named Gray. Phaedra Eskarne Head Clerk â€œBe welcome Lavinya Morganen, you have completed your test for Acceptance to become an Aes Sedai with great strength and will power. You will become one of us, it is a task you have accepted that we are willing to give you. You have earned the right to wear the Shawl, to wear the Great Serpent Ring and to call yourself Aes Sedai, come here and show me you have earned the right to become Gray.â€ Lavinya obediently stepped forward and curtsied, and the long sought after gray-fringed shawl was draped over her shoulders. She smiled triumphantly. She had worked too hard and too long not to enjoy the moment now. "Strength." Lavinya wondered over the soft word. She wasn't sure if the Sister was making an observation or not, but she took courage from it. She had come so far, all her dreams were finally being realised. She looked over the other Gray Ajah representatives, recongising several from various classes she'd undertaken as both novice and Accepted. Now she was one of them. She fingered the shawl at her shoulders, the slight pressure both comforting and awe-inspiring. She once again schooled her features into a calm, composed face befitting an Aes Sedai. It would not do well to appear as a giggling girl on the first day as Aes Sedai. Lavinya tried to maintain her posture, but the Oaths had taken their toll, leaving her skin feeling unbearably tight. She hoped one of the sisters would offer her healing, else she feared she may end up limping for the rest of her days. She hesitated as the sisters welcomed her, not really sure what was to happen next. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia Dawn pinched Nyssa in her arm as the two of them watched Lavinya Morigen take her Oaths. She remembered so well how proud she had been of her mentee and now a new Gray was to join their Ajah. She beamed up at Lavinya when she heard the woman utter the words that she wanted to join the Gray. As the other Ajah representatives left and the Grays were left to welcome their new member. She smiled and looked almost off in dreams, when Phaedra completed the ritual by handing the woman her Shawl. Dawn clasped her hands together and gave Nyssa a soft nudge. The woman looked a bit tensed up and Dawn smiled at her, â€œIt is your task to help her through this,â€ she knew that it was not an easy task. She smiled and wanted to add that Nyssa would do a great job, but she had already spoken with her former metnee about the matter and ti would only be emphasis of what the Gray already knew. Nyssa would have to guide the woman to what most Sisters considered the worst thing ever, the ritual the Grays used to make sure their Sisters were worthy. As Phaedra and the other Sitters said their welcome to the new Gray, Dawn stood ready to almost jump her. She smiled warmly when it was her turn and hugged Lavinya tight, â€œYou did good,â€ she whispered and then took a step back. She watched as the other Grays greeted the new Sister and watched as Lavinya started to glow and smile, realizing she was an Aes Sedai now. Her training was done and Dawn knew she would stand through the test they would give her. She watched Finella, she had heard the Sitter would speak up against Lavinya and knowing the Sitter well, this was not going to be an easy trial for Lavinya. Finella was a warm and kind person and Dawn had not felt any reserve towards the woman, yet she was also very perceptive and she would hit down hard as was asked of her. Dawn adjusted her Shawl, gave a last glance over the new Gray and then smiled at Nyssa who would take her to her new quarters. She had a mentee to see, one who might never stand before her as a future Gray. First her work, before the trial would begin and Lavinya could be accepted into the Gray Ajah. Dawn Sedai Gray Ajah Proud to be Gray Nyssa found herself running around her quarters, trying to get things in place for the upcoming ceremony. Of course her part wasnâ€™t all that complicated, but it had to be done well none the less. And since this was a once in a lifetime experience, for her and Lavinya both, she wanted to make the most of it. She donned a pale, lavender silk dress which fell smoothly along her body, and wrapped the gray shawl around her shoulders. It was a comforting weight, as it had been since the first moment she had received it. It would be to Lavinya as well, after she had passed the trial, and could call the shawl her own for sure. Nyssa looked herself over in the mirror one last time before looking at the table, which was already set for a dinner for two. Lavinya would probably be hungry by the time they could finally sit down there. Hungry and aching. Freja had waited until after the trial to rid her of the tight sensation that came with the Oaths. Finella had instructed her to wait as well. Apparently the feeling was a part of the trial. She felt a little sorry for Lavinya as she remembered how uncomfortable she had been during those hours. A knock on her door told her that it was time. She walked out of her room, leaving it ready for when she returned. Outside Finella was waiting for her. â€œReady?â€ the Sitter asked her. Nyssa smiled at the likeable woman. â€œIâ€™m prepared.â€ Finella returned her smile. â€œGoodâ€¦ then letâ€™s welcome our new sister to the fold.â€ Nyssa walked along side Dawn towards the hall. She could see Finella and Phaedra conversing in front of her. Again she smiled. She had often wondered about the bond between the two. Recently she had decided to let it rest. It was there, and it made them strong, and that was all any sister of the Gray Ajah really needed to know. Silently they watched as Lavinya took her Oaths. Dawn pinched her when Lavinya uttered the words that would make her a Gray Sister, and Nyssa smiled at her former mentor. It was a special day, when Nyssa would give up her role as the Youngest to Lavinya while she guided her through the last hours of her initiation. Finella shot her a glance that could be perceived as a warning. Nyssa nodded at the Sitter. She understood. Lavinya was not to know about the trial. She waited patiently for the older sisters to welcome Lavinya into the Ajah. As the youngest she would be the last to greet her, and the last to leave her side at the Trial. That was the way things worked. She smiled warmly when Dawn stepped aside to allow her to greet Lavinya. â€œWelcome sister.â€ She said as she embraced Lavinya. Then she stepped back, taking Lavinyaâ€™s hands in her own. â€œI know the past hours have been trying for you. Come, Iâ€™ll show you to your rooms, and then we can spend some time in mine.â€ She looped Lavinyaâ€™s arm through her own, and followed the procession of her sisters out of the Hall. Today would be the first day of a very special life for the new sister. Nyssa would try very hard to make it special. ~Nyssa Sedai Gray Ajah â€œI know the past hours have been trying for you. Come, Iâ€™ll show you to your rooms, and then we can spend some time in mine.â€ Lavinya gave Nyssa a relieved smile, glad for a friendly, familiar face. Also for the help - now she was Aes Sedai, she was unsure of what came next. Arm in arm, they followed the other sisters out of the hall, into the twisting corridors beyond. Lavinya had not had much reason to venture into the Gray Ajah quarters as a novice or Accepted, but instantly she felt as though she was coming home. Nyssa quietly opened the door to her new chambers, and Lavinya paused on the threshold an gasped. This was fit for a queen, after the cramped Accepteds Rooms. A cheerful blaze was flickering in the hearth of her new sitting room. Everything was decorated with silver touches, from the thick rug on the floor, to the elegant satin pillows littered across her large bed. She sighed quite contentedy. "It is wonderful." She breathed, already making mental notes of the slight changes she would make, adding her personal stamp to the room. After checking to make sure all of her belongings were in order, Lavinya followed Nyssa back out into the hall, towards her rooms. Lavinya was greeted by the delicious smells of a meal waiting for them, and her stomach rumbled hungrily in response. She'd been unable to eat erlier due to her nerves, and someone else she refused to acknowledge, even in her thoughts. Hastily bringing her mind back to present matters, she smiled at Nyssa and took the chair she offered. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia Standing by silently as Lavinya inspected her rooms and her belongings the way she too had done, not that long ago gave Nyssa a sense of joy that was unexpected, but not unwelcome. The broad smile on the younger womanâ€™s face told her enough about how well she liked the rooms, and the exclamation that followed merely confirmed that. Lavinya was home. â€œIâ€™m glad you like your new rooms.â€ She said. When she had been raised, Dawn had taken her to her new rooms as well, after which she had asked Nyssa to join her for a quiet dinner for two. They had done that before, as mentor and mentee. Nyssa hadnâ€™t spent quite as much time with Lavinya as she had with Dawn before her raising, but she was still sure that they could fill a few hours with enjoyable conversation. She wanted Lavinya to relax. Her trial would be hard enough even without her imagining all the horrible things that might be said or done. The trial was always a shock to newly raised sisters, or so Freja had told her. Somehow everyone expected that as soon as they received the shawl, their place within the Ajah was secure. It was, in a way. The outcome of the trial merely determined the duration of your try out period. Nyssa herself had been under Frejaâ€™s wing for a year before she was allowed to handle things on her own. She hoped that Lavinyaâ€™s trial period would be equally short. After another brief inspection of her rooms, Lavinya was ready to continue. Nyssa imagined that she was quite hungry by now. She had been absolutely famished herself, after she had been unable to eat after her test the night before, and had also skipped breakfast. The young sedai took her place opposite to her. For a moment they ate in silence, commenting every now and then on how well mistress Larass had prepared things. Some novices and Accepted had a deep loathing for the mistress of the kitchens, having spent many hours in her presence scrubbing pots. Nyssa found that that loathing passed swiftly as soon as they were raised. After all, one of her meals was exactly what a person needed after a hard days work. Nyssa smiled at Lavinya, watching as the young woman enjoyed the wonderful food on her plate. â€œSoâ€¦â€ she started, taking a sip of her wine. â€œHow does it feel to be raised?â€ ~Nyssa Sedai Gray Ajah Lavinya delicately wiped at the corner of her mouth with a napkin before answerin Nyssa's question. "It is quite a relief, I suppose." She mused aloud. "After all, I have trained long and hard for this day, and now it has finally arrived." She fingered the gray fringed shawl looped around her elbows. "It is like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders." She smiled up at Nyssa, though her thoughts were focused inwards. She let her thought roam back to her early days in the tower, as they continued eating in relative silence. She had always been an ambitious girl, working and striving hard to complete her lessons as best she could. She had stayed put of trouble for the most part, except for one large error on her part that made her shudder. She'd learned the dire importance of maintaining her self-control that day. She held in a shudder. She would still have her revenge on a certain Green Sister. She had also learnt patience. Lavinya had always had an inward struggle, partly due to her ambition, and partly with her own weaknesses. She had been told her potential would only be middling at best, and that was something that grated her continuously. She desired power and influence, and had constantly cursed the creator for not blessing her with the strength in the One Power that she believed she deserved. Still, through sheer determination and will power, she had been raised to Accepted after only seven years. She took a sip of wine and shrugged off the past. She had just acheived one of her biggest goals. She should be looking forward, not back. Last night should have been allocated to reminiscing. A dull ache started in her heart at the thought of what had instead ocurred the previous evening, and she hastily pushed the painful thought aside. She was Aes Sedai now. She didn't need any man, particularly one who rejected her love. She forced herself back to the present, though not without some difficulty, and smiled brightly at Nyssa. "It is a little daunting though. I have spent to long striving for the shawl, and now that I have it, well, I'm not sure what to do with myself." She grimaced. "I am grateful to not have to scrub anymore pots though." She laughed lightly and sipped her wine again. Suddenly she felt so...free. She didn't know how to take that though. Fifteen years of her life had been dedicated to this day. She wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh or cry. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia Nyssa could almost see Lavinyaâ€™s mind race through the years she had spent at the White Tower as both a Novice and an Accepted. She smiled. Lavinya had spent more time in the office of the Mistress of Novices than she had, but that hardly mattered now. Even though she had been rebellious, she had also been determined. In the end it had taken her just as long as Nyssa to be raised. The dark haired woman knew quite well that that took a lot of effort, ambition and determination. Perhaps it was that similarity between them that made her like the younger woman sitting across from her so much. When Lavinya spoke of feeling a little lost at what to do now she smiled. â€œAll will be well.â€ It took her some effort to hide the wryness she felt at that. She too had felt a little lost in the beginning. After all, she had reached her goal. What was next? She had wandered into the gray halls with Dawn at her side, not knowing what to expect and what to do next. That had been fixed soon enough, of course. Freja had put her to the test, reminding her of all the things she had done in her life. Then she had thought she was finally accepted fully within the Ajah. And she had been. Freja had taken her under her wing, and forced her to study long and hard, to make her worthy of the Gray Ajah. In the end it was worth it of course, but at the time she had felt much like she had in her Accepted years. She was still running for some Aes Sedai. She smiled warmly when she thought of Freja now. She hoped that her mentor was well, wherever she was. Lavinya finished her meal. Nyssa rose. â€œI think itâ€™s time for you to meet all your sisters.â€ Looping her arm through Lavinyaâ€™s she guided the young Aes Sedai to the gray halls, where she would have her trial. Nyssa had never seen Finella at work. She wondered what the woman would be like, with her prey in sight. She couldnâ€™t be worse than Frejaâ€¦ or could she? Nyssa had always wondered what the Sitter was hiding behind all that kindness. She would find out soon enough. ~Nyssa Deschain Sister of the Gray Ajah â€œI think itâ€™s time for you to meet all your sisters.â€ Lavinya let Nyssa link arms with her, before leading her from the room. She was very grateful to have someone with her to help her settle into her new Ajah. She had met wuite a few of the gray sisters over the years, as teachers in her classes, or even the visits to the Mistress of Novices, but now she would be not meeting them as an inferior, but as a sister, as a fellow Aes Sedai. They chatted amiably as they walked, Nyssa pointing out which sisters occupied the chambers they passed, and sharing a few tidbits about the sisters she had to meet. She was a little surprised that they didn't stop in to greet any of the sisters as they walked past. She was under the impression she was going to meet the other gray sisters. Perhaps they were waiting somewhere to meet her together? Lavinya didn't voice her query, happy to let Nyssa guide her through the spidery corridors of the gray quarters. They paused as the reached the Great Hall, where Lavinya had sworn her Oaths that very morning. They were waiting for her here? Silently Nyssa led her inside, and Lavinya found herself face to face with the other sisters from her Ajah. Suddenly Lavinya felt a little wary. There were many serious expressions on the sisters watching her. She looked at Nyssa quizzically. Was that pity in the woman's expression? She clasped her hands in front of her, uncertain of what was to come. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia Nyssa felt the fluttering of butterflies raving through her stomach as she presented Lavinya to the Ajah. It was a very special moment. The faces were all turned to her, some black, some curious or amused, and some filled with a kind of distrust. She could understand that now, a lot better than when she had been the one these looks were meant for. All these women were waiting to see if the most recent addition to the Ajah was worthy, or if she at least had the potential. In the middle of the Hall Finella stood behind the accusers pedestal. It was strange to see the woman there, dressed in a pale gray dress with a high collar. She looked every bit the judge. Nyssa glanced over at Phaedra. She also looked stern, but somehow more forgiving than Finella. It was strange to see how the roles between the two had changed now that Finella was leading the trail of Lavinya. She straightened her back slightly, and released Lavinyaâ€™s arm. With one had on the small of Lavinyaâ€™s back she guided her to the accused bench. How becoming it was. How Gray. Nyssa felt a great warmth going out towards her sisters. This was what she loved about them. What she loved about being a sister of the Gray Ajah. She left Lavinya standing in front of the bench, before walking over to Finella. She stood silently next to the Sitter for a moment, as if she had to gether her thoughts. With one small nod to Lavinya, she started the trial. â€œGood evening, Sisters of the Gray. We are gathered here tonight to bring a new sister into our midst. I would like to offer you Lavinya Morganen. Let us begin her trial.â€ ~ Finella nodded at Nyssa, indicating that the youngest could take her place at Dawnâ€™s side. It was time for her to test the newest. Her look was blank, which was quite a change from her regular, warm look. Even her attire was suited for her role as prosecutor. It would be up to Lavinya to defend herself against everything that Finella could throw at her. The Sitter looked down at her papers for a moment, scanning her notes. Yes. There was enough here. She had missed the trials of both the youngest sister, and her predecessor, but that would not matter now. Silence fell in the Gray hall, as everyone seemed to wait for something. Finella allowed that silence to stretch, before nodding at Phaedra. It was time for the other Sitter to take the shawl from Lavinyaâ€™s shoulders. Soon Lavinya would find out that Phaedra was also the Head Clerk of the Gray Ajah. Soon, but not yet. First came the trial, and Finella was eager to see how this promising young lady would do. She almost held her breath when Phaedra rose, and walked towards Lavinya. ~Finella Sedai Sitter of the Gray Ajah Her eyes gazed over the leaflet, it was not of any importance but she liked to study it now, as she knew that evening would be occupied by the Trial of the new Sister. Phaedra tapped a pencil over the parchment, made a few notes and then rose to have a light supper at her table. Finella had stopped by an hour before they had discussed the events of that evening and then the Gray had departed to prepare herself. Phaedra had an idea of the kind of things that would be passing by that evening, but as she had not worked closely with Lavinya, she did not know all the finer details. Her stomach was easily filled with the soup and bread and then it was back to work. The dark gray dress Phaedra had donned on for the Ceremony that morning clung to her skin elegantly, it was a fine cut and she appreciated the shade of gray that made her almost fade off in the shadows. Her hair was tied in a pony tail down her back and she ran her fingers through it before readying herself. Placing the Shawl over her shoulders, Phaedra realized her task. This was to be her first Official task of introducing a new Gray into the Ajah. It was hardest on the new Gray, but there was always a bit of shock and horror that went through the Sisters watching as this trial started. Finella stood ready, Phaedra gave her a nod and then sat down, along with her Gray Sisters. Ophelia came in just before Nyssa and Lavinya and sat down next to Phaedra. The newest was placed behind the pedestal and then it was time to commence. Finella greeted the young woman and Phaedra studied her face, a soft frown fuzzing her brow. Was the woman truly ready? Once had a young woman screamed and cried when the Shawl was removed from her shoulders. Once the woman had left the Tower, burned up a year after she had felt she failed her Ajah testing. Phaedra shook the thought off and rose at Finellaâ€™s nod. She gazed over Lavinyaâ€™s face and then stood in front of the woman, beaming at her and smiling as Phaedra lowered her eyes and stretched out her hands. She felt the weight of the Shawl and then it was gone from Lavinyaâ€™s shoulders. She did not say anything, merely nodded at Finella and then walked back to her seat. The Shawl was easily folded and rested in her lap, it was not until she had finished the folding, that she looked up at Lavinyaâ€™s horror struck face. Poor child, yet she would manage, she was strong and Phaedra patiently waited for Finella to commence the accusations. To see if Lavinya could deal with her own past and her own mistakes, spilled in front of the Ajah she hoped to join. Phaedra Gray Sitter Ajah Head Lavinya felt the slight pressure at the small of her back as Nyssa led her over to stand behind a podium. Something twisted in her stomach. This was not at all what she expected. She looked quizically at Nyssa, and received only a small nod in return. â€œGood evening, Sisters of the Gray. We are gathered here tonight to bring a new sister into our midst. I would like to offer you Lavinya Morganen. Let us begin her trial.â€ Trial? No one had told her she would be on trial. She straightened her shoulders against the pressure still affecting her after her Oaths. She hadn't even been offered healing. Maybe they couldn't heal the pressure? Lavinya forced herself to focus. She had come too far. She could handle this trial. She could handle anything that came against her. Phaedra smiled at her, causing Lavinya to feel some small sense of relief. That was until she felt her newly acquired shawl slip from her shoulders. She couldn't hide the shock from her face as Phaedra calmly stepped back, folding the shawl neatly in her lap. Snapping her mouth shut, Lavinya forced herself to remain calm. Obviously that was the first part of the test. She would not be shaken now. Picturing a river, Lavinya completed a novice exercise, until she regained her calm. She tried to make her face smooth, but her eyes were sharp. She was strong. She proven that to herself countless times. She would not let that strength fail her now. She waited quietly to see what would unfold next, her eyes flicking back to the shawl in Phaedra's lap now and then. She would have that back. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia