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  1. It was done. Viviane sat kneeling on the ground before the small table in her room, a single candle glowing before her. Shadows danced along the wall as the flame flickered too and fro. There was no detectable breeze, but there must be some unseen draft with the candle's behavior. Everything was silent in the hallways of the Accepted’s Quarters; most of those girls would have found sleep for the night. Not Viviane. She was contemplating her future… And how tired she would inevitably feel come the morning. Not that Aes Sedai let fatigue touch them, oh no. At the very least, Viviane sat alone with a full stomach. The kitchens certainly had outdone themselves on that meal. Smoked salmon on a bed of buttered greens. Warm honey oat bread and clear bone broth. Candied bacon and roasted potatoes. Custard filled tarts and several types of sugared berries. Wine that had not been watered. Tremalking black tea. Viviane’s mouth began to water at the thought. She pushed it out of her mind as quickly as she could. There would be time to eat whatever she liked once she had gained the shawl. It was a great injustice that one was not administered the Oaths as soon as they passed the test, but the White Tower was nothing if not traditional. There was nothing for it but to focus on the flame that danced before her. Viviane did not really want to contemplate her testing. It had all come flooding back to her as soon as she had stepped out of the Ter’angreal. Light, would she have to face such trials if she lived to see the Last Battle? She would be prepared if such was the case. At least she would never have to deal with any of the horrible situations involving her family… Hopefully. Her mother still lived. Best to put that out of her mind. The Tower was her home and the Sisters were her family now. She would be bound to them for eternity once she took the Oaths. Oh, she would certainly remain in contact with Mother, but it might be best if she never went to Camelyn to call on her. Mother could come here to visit. There would be less risk of anyone noting that the two were related, and then no one could use Mother against her… If it ever came to that- the Light forbid. One had to consider the possibilities when one had decided upon the Red Ajah. So strange. Years and years ago, Viviane had decided upon the Blue. It wasn’t until a certain Red sister took a liking to Viviane that she had started to doubt her convictions of Ajah choice. Viviane had grown up on the rougher side of Camelyn. She had seen what it was like for the poor and the destitute. Upon entering her name in the Novice Book, Viviane had vowed to herself that she would become Aes Sedai if only to help ensure that the people of the land were taken care of. Blues were obsessed with their causes and they held more than a little sway with many nations. It seemed so simple at the time. The Reds, however, were literally the sworn protectors of the world. They were the force that stood between humanity and the Shadow. They protected everyone that walked under the Light. Yes, they hunted and gentled men that could Channel, but that was only a small fraction of what it meant to be a Red Sister. People only focused on that mission because those same men were the biggest threat to the world. There hadn’t been many wars between the nations in recent memory. Light, even the Battle of the Shining Walls could be chalked up to the vanity of a single ruler. To be Red was to be flexible. To be Red was to be a guardian. To be Red was to be selfless. To be Red was to hold as much love in your heart as possible! If that were not true, why would so many women take up that shawl and vow to themselves to protect humanity from the horrors of the world… And even to protect humanity from itself. Viviane’s mission had never changed. It was only her view on the world that had changed, and thus her plans to achieve her mission. She would strike out and go to- A knock sounded at the door. It was time. Viviane had no need to school her face, she had already felt like serenity incarnate. So lost she had been in her own thoughts, she did not notice that the candle was almost burnt out. The sky was turning from black to a deep shade of violet outside of her window. Dawn was approaching. She rose from her spot on the floor with ease and went to the door, not hesitating to open it. She knew who lay on the other side. Seven sisters watched her as the door slowly swung back. Viviane was not surprised to find her favorite Red, Jagen Sedai, amongst them. Not a word was spoken by anyone. Viviane stepped out into the hallway and the seven women surrounded her, forming a sort of mock-honor guard, and they walked off into the dark hallways of the Tower.
  2. Viviane pushed the potato hash around on her plate with an air of dejection. Oh, she maintained the serenity expected of an Accepted, especially one that had spent ten years wearing the banded dress; but that didn’t mean she couldn’t explore her emotions privately. It was lucky for her that none of the Sisters could hear her thoughts, otherwise, she might be treated like a Novice again… Five, that was how many girls had been tested for the Shawl in the past three months, and all five of them had been raised to the Accepted after Viviane and had obviously spent less time wearing the banded dress. It was unfair, to say the least. Viviane was leaps and bounds ahead of those girls in terms of her studies and her mastery over her own abilities. Why she had personally helped all five of those girls with their work before earning the ring! What were these Sisters thinking!? Viviane had grown used to the idea of never attaining the Shawl. She knew the Hundred Weaves, practiced them every single day… There was no question at all that she could pass whatever test the Aes Sedai had cooked up, but still, she was made to wait. Perhaps the Sisters thought that Viviane had done such a good job at mentoring Novices that they would keep her in this bloody white and banded dress forever! A punishment for her family and their ‘minor transgressions’ against the Tower from generations ago… Viviane let out a sigh despite herself. She knew none of that was true. Why she had never even heard any of the Sisters bring up her family’s history more than once or twice and that was always as an afterthought. It was clear that the Accylon women had made it a bigger deal than it was. Most of the Sisters didn’t even recall the incident. Even Viv forgot it most of the time… Twenty years in the Tower had done much to reconfigure her brain, at least that’s how the Browns put it. Finally giving up on the plate, Viv admitted to herself that she had little appetite for dinner tonight. She may very well regret that later, but she still had a few chores to do before it was bedtime. If she was really that hungry, she’d bribe one of the servants for a day old crusty roll or a bit of cheese; and then pray that they did not rat her out later. Viviane dutifully cleaned up her meal, rising from the benches, when her eyes finally left the table and fell upon a woman entering the dining area. Her breath caught in her throat, the tray almost crashing to the ground. It was the Mistress of Novices and she was wearing her Shawl… Oh, Light! Can it be…!? Viviane thought flustered as she schooled her face to remain the perfect picture of serenity. The Mistress of Novices was indeed moving in Viviane’s direction, all eyes in the room turned to stare openly at the woman. Viviane’s right hand shook slightly before she caught the twitch.
  3. She knew what the solitude was for – it was a time for contemplation, for meditation upon the oaths and the duty she was about to bear – but Senette spent a good portion of the night in a state of numb shock. After all the years of study and sacrifice, of training and chores and character building and repetitive revision, at last the final goal had arrived. She’d managed in quite good time, from what she could determine, which was a tribute to her hard work and quick mind, as well as her studiousness. All the years had been preparation for this point, and now it was here…. blank. It wasn’t like her to not be mulling over the words of some ancient text, or pondering the properties of a mineral or even mentally dissecting a new botanic specimen. And yet, here she sat upon her narrow cot, staring at the same spot of chipped paint upon the wall, her brain in stunned silence. Really, she should be considering the weight of the oaths that would be written into her marrow in the morning, or coming to terms with the direction her life might now take with the combined freedom and duty that came with being raised to Aes Sedai. But no, she sat, and she stared. She had closed her eyes for a few moments despite knowing she was not supposed to sleep, but the weaves she had learned for the testing were ever burned into her memory and had begun a maddening revision behind her closed lids, now with the addition of the disturbing distractions that had tried to thwart her during the testing, and it had caused her to hastily reopen them. She didn’t think she could bear to see a snake ever again, no matter how interesting the specimen might be. The Tower was still and quiet in the pre-dawn hours, and Senette found a certain serenity in it. Her mind was cast adrift, attaching to nothing in particular, for once still and silent. Mayhap this was the true purpose of the night, to grant a reprieve before the structures of duty took hold, and a blessed respite from the bustle of life as an Accepted of the White Tower. Images of distant family came to mind, momentarily she took mental note to send them word of her achievement before her mind cast off again, flitting over books and sketches and samples, skimming ahead to the unknown future where her imagination conjured amazing discoveries and scholarly revelations. A small smile touched her lips at the picture as it became more focused, turning into one of her favourite daydreams as she rediscovered forgotten mysteries from the Age of Legends to great acclaim. She didn’t really long for recognition, but the notion did warm her in the secretes of her fantasies. To be renown for her work would really be quite lovely, she decided, but only if those discoveries served a greater purpose, she added loyally. She hadn’t always had a direction or purpose for her studies, but she knew she would find it now, with the backing of her chosen Ajah and with the newfound freedoms of the shawl. That was, of course, assuming they accepted her. She gave herself a slight shake, drawing her mind back from its meandering. Dawn was approaching, and with it, her destiny. How very dramatic. She had been moulded and guided for years now, though she’d only truly recognised it after that fateful encounter in the library when the Blue sister had questioned her motives and how she flit so readily between subjects of study. Since then her work had taken on a whole new perspective and a surprising passion – how will what I learn benefit the Tower and the world at large? What good can I do with my research and enquiries? If she was to leave a mark on world, let it be for making a difference. Putting aside her thoughts, Senette rose from where she sat and began preparing for the day, dressing for what would blessedly be the last time in the banded dress of the accepted. Not one for vanity, Senette still thought it would be exceedingly nice to choose her own wardrobe for a change and wear something other than barely relieved white. Her dark hair she carefully twined into two fat braids that she drew over her shoulders. Pondering her reflection in the small oval mirror, she hesitated, hand wavering over the small wooden jewellery box that owned what meagre pieces she possessed. It would be fitting, today, she thought, extracting two small silver bells that were engraved with tiny nightingales and gave of a subtle, harmonious chime when shaken. These she attached to the ends of her braids with small lengths of white ribbon, turning her head to and fro to both admire the look and sound. Resuming her position sitting on the edge of her cot, Senette returned to her daydreaming, eyes vacantly locked onto the same chipped spot of paint, a single taper now burned low in its dish flickering in the corner of her vision. It seemed only moments later that a knock sounded on her door, confident in its rapping. She stood, taking one last glance around the sparse room and schooling her expression into one she hoped displayed appropriate calm before opening the door the Aes Sedai – one from each Ajah – who summoned her. In silence she followed, the anxiety that hadn’t touched her all evening now gnawing on her empty stomach so that she felt slightly ill with nerves for what was to come. Stay calm, perfectly calm, she chided herself, doing her best to maintain a serene façade as her slippers trod quietly against the smooth tiles underfoot, undulating about the halls of the tower. The journey slid past in a blur, so that Senette was almost startled when she found they had arrived and had to force her mind to the task at hand, knees dipping into a habitual curtsey when she found herself in front of so many Aes Sedai, the Amyrlin and Keeper in particular. Should she have not done that? Was that amusement she detected in the eyes of the Amyrlin? She couldn’t tell and a blush pinkened her cheeks though she fought to maintain a smooth face. “Who comes here.” She lifted her chin a fraction, swallowing. “Senette Nadari.” “For what reason do you come?” “To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.” Was that truly her voice, strong and true? Remarkable. “By what right do you claim this burden?” The Amyrlin continued the ceremony in ringing tones. “By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.” “Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.” Oh, she dared. She knew in theory what would now happen, knew the words by rote. Her eyes were focused forward, taking in the oath rod where it rested reverently upon a velvet pillow. The entire hall was arrayed around the room but she paid them no heed. This was the moment, the pivotal moment where she left off the past and stepped into all the future held in store for her. She exhaled a short breath. This was who she was meant to be, and by the light she would be the best servant of all she could be. The rod was cool in her hand and it sparked a curiosity in the back of her mind which she did her best to quell. Now was hardly the time to indulge her desire to examine closely the artefact, she had oaths to swear. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” Senette’s eyes widened in surprise at the sensation that came over her with the firmly spoken words. She had been told something of what it would be like but it was more uncomfortable than she had reckoned, like her skin was suddenly too tight. “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.” With great difficulty she kept from grimacing, the invisible net pulling closer, squeezing her into a smaller space. “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.” Senette clenched her jaw - tight, so tight! – and her spine was rigid but ahh, she had done it, and she felt her oaths as though they were burned into her very marrow. She was bound, by her word and by her duty to serve, and if she felt she might burst with pride, well it surely wasn’t out of place in this moment, was it? A smile tried to come to life on her lips but she denied it, despite the joy now thrumming through her veins. Aes Sedai. At last the title was hers. “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.” Despite her efforts, a smile flitted across her lips as she looked to the sisters arrayed in a semi-circle, shawls held out for her taking. It was for show, she knew it was part of the ceremony, but it made a pretty picture, like the decision was still not yet certain. Stepping forward, she approached the Blue Sisters, accepting the shawl of her station with gratitude and another betraying smile as the other Aes Sedai melted unnoticed by her from the room. Senette Nadari Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah
  4. A girl sat on her bed in the Accepted's quarters in the White Tower on the island of Tar Valon surrounded by the Erinin River in the northeastern corner of the Westlands. She sits with her legs folded under her and she is closely examining a Great Serpent ring - her Great Serpent ring. She turned the golden snake over and over in her hands, feeling every detail. Jasmyne was frowning at her ring. She had worn this ring for at least ten years. She had actually lost count. How much longer would it take for her to get the second piece? She wanted a shawl. She didn't care what color it was, unless it was White. She would have taken nearly any color as long as she got a shawl. The striped dress was growing abhorrent. She brushed her hair out of her eyes. It was getting longer now: it was down past her ears. However, she looked a bit boyish in it, and felt it too. Her door opened without a knock and permitted an Aes Sedai. She could not tell who for her candle did not quite reach that far. Unsurprisingly, the voice she heard was most certainly belonging to Larindhra, the Mistress of Novices. However, it was unlike her to appear this late. It was past curfew. From her shadowed face, the most shocking words she ever heard came. She had just been wishing for those words, but it was so shocking to actually hear them. "Jasmyne Ceres, you are called to be tested for Aes Sedai." She quickly got up and followed after the Red. She was thankful that she had decided to stay dressed for a while. She trotted after the Aes Sedai. She sure hoped she was ready for this. She couldn't afford not to be. This Hallway went further than she had been before. She was led into a large room much like the one for the test for Accepted, but the ter'angreal was significantly different. It was a single oval shape. There were also many more Aes Sedai than before. One spoke. “You come in ignorance Jasmyne Ceres, how would you depart?” “In knowledge of myself.” She responded as confident as she could muster. Aes Sedai were always strong, even if they were nervous. “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” “For what would you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl,” She was then quickly briefed on her instructions. Small glowing pad to weave on, weave the correct weave, etc. she nodded, undressed, and then glided into the oval. She emerged on the other side in a very fine and expensive dress. At a glace, it appeared to be woven gold. The irony of this was that she was nearly waist deep in a swamp. A very muddy swamp. She looked around and saw the glowing mark a little ways off on top of a tree root sticking out over the swamp. She started to work her way over, but it was a rather difficult task. Her legs were short and by the feel of it, the hem of the dress was very narrow and movement constricting. The branch was higher than before once she got to it, or perhaps she was just deeper in now. She looked down and it was definitely above her bosom. Short little arms reached up and took a firm grip of the monstrous root. The muddy water held her in down quite well and she didn't have the upper body strength to pull free. She would have to muck her way over to the tree base. It was a rather slippery tree, but she got up on it with much grunting. The idea of ripping the constricting dress ran through her head many times. It would have been much easier to get up if she had. She put her arms out and balanced over to where the symbol was. It seemed as soon as she set foot on the pad, the entire marsh came to life with the worst possible wildlife. Alligators covered the top of the swamp water. Mosquitos, bees, and all sorts of annoying and biting insects filled the air. Every kind of snake were suddenly dropping out of the overhead branches and crawling towards her. She started her first weave, and then proceeded to deal out punishment to the creatures that wished her harm. She wove a large wave into the swamp and deterred the alligators for a moment. Her training with Jagen Sedai had certainly paid off. She wove fire into the Air and a wave of Flames consumed many insects, but they just replenished themselves quicker than anything should have. The snakes were awfully close to her, so she decided a air shield around and below her would suffice, while a fire shield hovered above that to keep her air supply semi-constant. Cobras and adders struck at the shield and bounced off, the she was losing oxygen. The fire was using hers up. A thought came to her. These were all cold-blooded creatures. She strongly wove a simple weave and the temperature suddenly dropped to below freezing. The alligators retreated into the swamp, bugs dropped from the sky, and the snakes hissed in disgust. She quickly finished off the absurdly complicated and useless weave, then was suddenly gone. She appeared in another setting. It was brightly lit and plat. The pad was on a hill in the distance and she could see it clearly. She looked down and she was in her birthday suit and up to her shoulders in briars, nettles, and itchweed. And….there were ants in it. Very possibly also mites and biting beetles as well. She must remain calm. She must not scratch. She walked forward with her fists balled up beside her, the itching getting worse with every step. Needles brushed against her constantly and she could not imagine a less comfortable situation. Sweat poured down her face with concentration to not scratch herself. She increased her pace and finally got out onto the hill. She itched like mad and her eyes were tearing up. The glowing pad lay in front of her and she stepped onto it. She started the second weave and a strong wind filled with cottonwood fluff blew past her. There was so much that it was blinding and it kept getting in her mouth and sticking to her sweat. It was gone as fast it came, but then the most peculiar phenomenon occurred. It began to rain…vinegar? GREAT LORD! That stings! It was very hard to keep straight posture and not scratch. She wove a bit quicker. It rained harder. Her eyes began to burn. Must weave faster! Discreetly faster. The weave was done and she was gone. This is exhausting! She thought as she appeared in the last world she would have to face. The creativity of the Aes Sedai working the ter'angreal was commendable. Who knew that large housewives trying to force-feed you could be so horribly distracting? What were they up to this time? It was the grand finale, so to say, so they would have to outdo themselves for this. She was in a simple garb and where she was appeared to be a barren wasteland of solid rock. Her symbol was only a few feet away and there was nothing out of the ordinary that she could see. She stepped carefully and nothing happened. She stepped onto the pad and waited for the bang. Nothing. She started to weave and it happened. The ground all around her shook violently and cracked open. Lava and steam exploded into the air and was falling around her. Hastily she wove a shield to block the large pieces of molten rock that were intent on landing on her. Hot steam then shot right up her dress and burned her legs and waist while scalding her torso. She concentrated hard to not scream or jump or run or something foolish like that. She was far too stubborn to give up now and she knew it. A weave of air deflected the steam away from her and she continued her weave. The ground shook harder and she nearly lost her balance. She wove a pair of rock bands around her feet so she wouldn't move from the spot. Her weave was nearly done. Another burst of steam shot into her face and she very nearly lost her weave. She deflected that one, crying from the pain. The weave came together and she was gone. She emerged into the room and found herself completely unblemished in any way. The itching was gone too. Just a faint memory of it all. The other sisters were quiet and she donned her Accepted dress, then returned to her rooms for reflection. The candle she had left burning before had gone out in the time she was gone. She left it that way. She needed time to reflect and the darkness was far less distracting. She lay on her bed, absentmindedly scratching her arms. She wasn't itchy, but the memory of it made her feel like she was. Her mind was so lost in thoughts that she eventually just faded into a restless sleep. She awoke to a knocking on her door. She rubbed her eyes and there were seven Aes Sedai standing in her room, one from each Ajah. Interesting enough, they were in alphabetical order by Ajah name from left to right. she did not know the Blue sister, Cara Sedai was the Brown, Alitacia the Gray, Janine the Green, Larindhra the Red, Lillith the White, and Respa the Yellow. "The time has come, Jasmyne Ceres, for you to swear the Three Oaths and become an Aes Sedai. The Amyrlin awaits. They all left and she followed them. Butterflies filled her stomach, worse than the night before. Why was this more un-nerving? They were back in the room with the strange oval ter'angreal. The Amyrlin was standing on the opposite side of the oval, and the Keeper was beside her holding a tassled cushion containing another ter'angreal. The Oath Rod. The Sitters of each Ajah stood in a semi-circle behind Kathana plus the newest Aes Sedai of each Ajah holding a shawl. A shawl that each one wanted to place on her shoulders. She only recognized two of them Jagen stood with the Reds and Kabria with the Greens. Those two were the only two she had ever really considered, and she had decided which one wins back when she made another major decision. She confidently stepped through the oval ter'angreal and approached the Amyrlin Seat. The Keeper gave Kathana the Oath Rod and she spoke. “Your time has come, child. Speak the Oaths and seal yourself to us forever.” She placed the thin white rod into Jasmyne's tiny hands and wove Spirit into it. "Under the Light, I swear to speak no word that is not true." Her eyes widened as she felt something constrict onto her skin, like a second skin. It was the oddest feeling. It was tight. "Under the Light," she continued, "I swear to make no weapon with which one man may kill another." This one was just as tight over her skin. She hoped they would not crush her. "Under the Light, I swear never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last defense of my own life, that of my Warder, or that of another Aes Sedai." That last one came just as the other. She almost held her breath in expectance. "Jasmyne Sedai, it is done. You have sworn the Three Oaths, and may now petition your Ajah." The Amyrlin took the Oath Rod and put it on the cushion, then stepped back. She stood and eyed all the Sisters over. She wanted to make sure she was right. She lingered over Jaydena Sedai, Eadon Sedai, and Loraine Sedai. She lingered over Raslyn Sedai, Shevara Sedai, and Zarinen Sedai as well. With a deep breath she stepped forward towards Jagen Sedai. "If it pleases you, Aes Sedai, I seek admittance into the Red Ajah" She heard a gasp, then a thump. All heads in the room turned to see the Mistress of Novices sprawled on the stone floor. She had fainted in shock. Respa tended her and she awoke, then all the other filed out of the room. Just her and the Reds.
  5. Aureli watched her students file out of her classroom and gave a few of them some nods, acknowledging that they had done a good job. Now, they had to go and finish their compositions, and all she had to do was sit back and relax while she wrote the lesson plans for the next class of advanced grammar. She tucked her notes from this class into her pouch, and made to stand up. Before she started to walk to the door, however, she saw Valeri standing in her classroom door, her shawl draped over her shoulders, and Aureli's heart jumped into her throat. "Aureli Yenda, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe." It seemed all at once that the gravity of the situation settled itself onto her shoulders. Instead of hiding, she stood up straight and glided over to the Mistress of Novices, hiding her anxiety and misgivings. This woman had seen her go from a scared young girl from Tear to a capable Accepted, and if she had faith that she could pass this test, Aureli did not doubt that she could. The next time my students see me, I'll be Aes Sedai... The thought of it gave her courage to follow. The path they took around the Tower's corridors was only slightly familiar to Aureli, as she had only gone this way once, to pass through the Three Arches. As she descended the stairs with Valeri, she suddenly felt an urge to start rambling, reminiscing, telling her her fears and anxieties, but she knew that it was looked down upon to speak until her turn came. And, so she entered the bowels of the White Tower with the guiding light of the sparse lamps and torches showing them each step as they went further and further down. Valeri stopped in front of the largest doors Aureli had ever seen. For a moment, her heart started beating faster and faster, but she calmed herself, making herself breathe slowly and readying herself for the moment that they would open. Valeri embraced Saidar and opened the door with Air, as she had done on Aureli's first day in the White Tower. The doors, even though they were enormous and ancient, opened silently because of the constant maintenance to the White Tower and every detail of it. She wanted to take in the whole room, but all she saw was the ring-shaped ter'angreal in the middle of the room, hovering about the gorund, waiting for her. Before she could admire the complexity of it, the Mistress of Novices said, "Attend." A group of other sisters took that as their cue, and made a ring around the both of them. "You come in ignorance Aureli Yenda," Valeri said. "How would you depart?" "In knowledge of myself," she answered calmly. "For what reason have you been summoned here?" "To be tried." "For what reason should you be tried?" "So that I may learn whether I am worthy." "For what would you be found worthy?" "To wear the shawl." After saying this, Aureli began to disrobe. She began as she always did, by untying the knot that covered her right shoulder, letting the world know that she was missing an arm. The Mistress of Novices continued on as she prepared to be clad in the Light. "Therefore, I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground." As she channeled, Valeri drew a six-pointed star in front of Aureli. Unexpectedly, a sister began to channel behind her. She wasn't told that was going to happen, but she wasn't told much besides what to say and when. The sister behind her sent a small weave into the back of Aureli's head. She felt unsure for a moment, but these were women who would be her sisters if she could pass this test, so she took this as an exercise in trust, and kept her composure. The channeling sister said, "Remember what must be remembered." Remember? Of course she would remember. Most of her training in the White Tower had been about memorization. She let the chanting of the words continue, however, as Valeri continued. "When you see this sign, you will go to it immediately, and at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed." "Remember what must be remembered." Aureli burned the image of that star into her consciousness, remembering every detail. Would there be decoy stars with five points? "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation." "Remember what must be remembered." "One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure." "Remember what must be remembered." The small weaves caressing the back of her head felt strange, but she ignored it, listening to what she heard as she finished disrobing. She felt the weave settled onto her head, and the sisters stood around the ter'angreal in a circle, and knelt down around it. They embraced Saidar, and began weaving, making the colors in the ring shift and change rapidly. It was beautiful. Aureli was finally completely undressed except for her ring. It hadn't left her finger since the Amyrlin put it there, all those years ago. With her little finger, and her thumb, she eased it off, and placed it atop the rest of her clothes. It wasn't until that was gone that she truly felt naked, but she kept her embarrassment tucked down and away from her face. At this point, the colors of the ring had changed so swiftly that they were a bright white, and the ring began to rotate slowly. She approached the ring, watching the golden sides as it rotated away from her, and when the opening came back to her, she stepped into the light.
  6. Ay’Lira took her book and snuggled into her bed. It was a complete account move-by-move battles in the Trolloc Wars. And she definitely deserved the time to read it. At least she thought she did. She had written a good thesis about three Amyrlins raised from the Gray. And now, she could enjoy her favorite subject in history…battles. She opened the book to the first page and only read the first two words before her door flung open. She lowered the book and looked up to find Valeri Sedai wearing her shawl. Any questions she had in her mind waited for the Mistress of Novices spoke. “Ay’Lira Sonoran, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe.” So, she wasn’t in trouble. No, it was something much more grave than that. All the work she had done over the past couple of decades or so was about to be put to the test. No, it was something much worse. Closing her book and setting it down, she stood up and following the Aes Sedai out. Much like when she had gone down to the bowels of the Tower for her test to become Accepted, the room where she would take the test for the shawl was far down a spiraling staircase under the Tower. Every step, every second before they reached the room seemed like a year! She soothed herself, reminding herself that Valeri wouldn’t have summoned her if she wasn’t ready. Finally, the Mistress of Novices stopped at a pair of double doors and opened them with a weave of Air. There were so many details about the room that she couldn’t take them all in before it began. But she did notice all the power going into the slowly spinning in the in the middle of the room. “Attend,” Valeri said in a strong voice. Seven sisters, all in their shawls, one from each Ajah, stood around the Mistress of Novices and Ay’Lira. “You come in ignorance, Ay’Lira Sonoran. How would you depart?” Valeri asked. “In knowledge of myself,” Ay’Lira answered. “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 should you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl.” After that, Ay’Lira began to disrobe. As she did, the Mistress of Novices continued. “Therefore, I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground.” The Aes Sedai channeled and traced a six-pointed star with her finger in the air. Oddly enough, as she demonstrated, a sister began to channel behind Ay’Lira as she continued to disrobe and lightly touched her head with the weave. Strange, that. She didn’t let any surprise show, though. To become an Aes Sedai, she had to trust them whether or not she knew their reasons. “Remember what must be remembered,” the unseen sister said. “When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed.” “Remember what must be remembered.” “When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation.” “Remember what must be remembered.” “One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been give and in perfect composure.” “Remember what must be remembered.” Ay’Lira soaked every word as it was spoken to her, even the “remember what must be remembered” part. The weave the sister was weaving settled in, and the seven sisters surrounding the ring. As she continued to undress, she felt all seven of them begin to channel, and channel complex weaves at that. She didn’t show any hesitation or falter at all as she finished, placing her Great Serpent ring on top of her folded clothes. She waited calmly for the signal from the ring ter’angreal. When she saw the air in it gleam completely white, she stepped through… Looking around, Ay’Lira decided she was in an empty manor. She saw no one, heard no one. The unfamiliar surroundings made her want to hide, but she had to keep perfect composure. She had to keep calm. Walking forward, she wondered why she was nude, and where her clothes might have gone. As she moved through the grand parlor, she spotted a simply cut but elegant silk dress, shift, stockings, and slippers. Not hurrying, but not hesitating either, she walk to the table that had the clothes and dressed at a steady pace. Once she was properly covered, she continued to walk, striding down the hallway connected to the only door in this unusual place. As she walked, she began to hear people move around. Even though she was dressed for this place, she felt very unwelcome, very out-of-place. But she kept her discomfort down. It did not show on her face. She couldn’t let it. The population of this once desolate place grew denser and denser. People cropped up out of nowhere now. Where under the Light were they coming from? As she moved down the hall, they began to cover amused smiles while looking at her. They snickered and murmured. She wondered what they found so amusing about her. But she kept her eyes forward, gliding down the hall until she reached a large ballroom. Lords and ladies flitted about, some dancing, some talking, but most still looking curiously at her. She wanted desperately to stop and demand what amused them so. But she kept walking, weaving through dancing, talking, and amused nobility until she saw it. There was a six-pointed star in the middle of the dance floor. Couples swirled and twirled around and atop it. She kept her shoulders straight and her face bare of any emotions as she made her way through the throngs of people. This time, she didn’t weave, she asserted her unusual authority, and people backed away, embarrassed to be seen with a creature as strange as her. As soon as her feet were planted on the star, she embraced Saidar, and as soon as she began to weave the first required weave, the music she hadn’t noticed before changed tune, and all the party-goers began to dance in a uniform motion. When she saw the immediate uniform movement, she immediately split a weave and made a wall of Air around her, making sure the couples wouldn’t knock her off the star. Once the weave was complete, the music died down again, and the people spread out, paying her no mind whatsoever. She left the star and headed toward the new one now hanging over the door leading out… Ay’Lira’s bare foot stepped on something that made a distinctive squish sound. She kept moving, but also looked down to see what she had stepped in. It was mud. But it wasn’t mud that one simply saw after rain. This was mud that was filled with decades of rotten plant fodder. It was green and black, and it stank of the Blight. Her face did not twist, her nose did not twitch. But she did keep a keen eye on the surroundings. The Blight did not accommodate to anyone. She did wish she had some clothes, though. As she thought that, a pair of trousers, a good shirt, and a coat appeared on some unusually clean branches of trees, some good boots hanging along with them. She dressed steadily and headed out again. The trees were black, not with death, but with decay. The plants were the same, but they seemed to have oddly-colored spots on them. Whenever something made a noise, she followed it with her eyes, but usually found nothing. She walked until she found a six-pointed star marked out in twisted sticks left in the mud. Stepping into the star, she embraced Saidar and began to construct the second weave. As soon as she brought out the barest amount of Air, Fire, and Earth, a Myrdraal appeared in front of her. It smiled at her, but before its smile could reach its eyeless gaze, she split the weave of Fire and burned its head off. The thing thrashed on the ground, scrabbling for its sword as she continued to weave her required second weave. The thing was grotesque and demanded her attention, but she ignored it. She added the Spirit and finished the second weave. The gnarled and decayed branches of the black trees formed the same six-pointed star she had just left. She walked under the branches, and… Her home felt so strange without anyone in it. And she felt stranger standing in her kitchen bare of clothing. She didn’t know where her family had gone, or how she had gotten to the kitchen without a stitch of cloths. But she knew she had to find the six-pointed star, weave the third required weave, and keep a completely calm exterior during all of it. Her simple preferred clothes appeared on her kitchen table: good woolen trousers, simple boots, and a good shirt. She dressed herself and walked through her house. The star was not here, and neither was her family. So, she went outside. She headed from her house toward the Seven Towers. Her father might be at work, or her mother. But more importantly, the star would be likely to be there. But as she walked through the streets, she saw it etched out in stones right in front of the main entrance of the Towers. When she reached it, she began to weave Air, Earth, and Spirit. In the corner of her vision, and in one of the arrow slits of the closest Tower, she saw movement. She split the weave of Air and sent a long weave to her target while keeping the complicated weave in its place. The extra weave of Air grabbed the arrow aimed at her and the bow that was about to shoot it and likely others. The bow and arrow dropped harmlessly to the ground, and a curse came out of the arrow slit. The assassin probably wasn’t done, but she kept weaving. Air, Earth, and Spirit began to look like a circle of lace. Ay’Lira was almost finished when the lone assassin came running out of the tower and rushing at her with a sword. She dispatched of the sword in much the same way she had the bow and arrow, but he kept running, now with a brandished knife. This time, she just tied him in ropes of Air and tied off the weave, finishing the required one. She turned around and saw a six-pointed star above an inn. The assassin shouted curses and obscenities at her as she walked away, saying that he had killed her family, had killed her friends, had killed anyone she loved, screaming her name. His voice sounded familiar, but she didn’t turn around. She didn’t want to confirm that this was her innocent little brother. She walked under the star… Ay’Lira was beginning to feel tired, but she didn’t let her posture or her face show it. She had to be calm, and keep going at a steady pace. Her bare feet hit rocks. Not stepping stones, but large pieces of earth. Looking up, she saw the top of a mountain. But, the tip wasn’t there…was it a volcano? Looking down, she saw nothing but forest. She looked up and saw the six-pointed star up the mountain, not very far away. As she began to climb, she found a simple woolen dress and boots. A dress wasn’t the best thing to climb in, but it was better than her skin. She dressed and headed up again. The vague pathway up the mountain slowly went away during her ascent, and she was forced to climb on all fours, but she still kept her face smooth, and her pace steady. It was hard to keep her breathing steady, but she managed it. When she finally reached the star, she stood on steady feet. She had to keep her feet apart, but she still stood. As she embraced Saidar, the ground moved and the mountain did indeed prove to be a volcano. She began to ready her weave with weaves of Air, Earth, Water, and Spirit. She split the weave of Earth and sent it into the volcano. She raised the earth around her to divert the oncoming lava at a wide angle. She wove the weave, careful to watch the lava, making sure that it didn’t go over the wall. Light, but it was hot! Her breathing became labored, but her face didn’t show the strain. As she expected, the lava did come over the wall of earth, but she sent split weaves of Water and Air at the molten earth until it hardened. Wanting to sigh in relief, she kept it away and finished the weave. When it was done, she looked around and noticed the lava around her was all hardened. There was also a good wide path leading to an opening of a cave with the six-pointed star on it. As she stepped over the hardened lava, she was glad for the boot. It was no longer hot enough to kill, but she could still feel the heat. She stepped off the lava and walked into the cave… Ay’Lira found herself in a small room in the Seven Towers. Next to her was a beautifully cut blue dress, a shift, and slippers to match. She dressed herself, and stepped out of the room. She had to find the last six-pointed star, and weave the hundredth weave. Stepping out of the room, she found herself in the servants quarters. She had spent so many happy days here with Benna. As she scanned the halls, she saw dark residue on the walls. Was it blood? Turning down the hall, she moved toward the main galleries and found that it was dried blood. The fall. She hadn’t been here since the fall. If she had, she would have gone into the Blight. Bodies were scattered everywhere. But not fresh ones. They were all decaying, not quite skeletons, and they all smelled terrible. She did not to look at the faces to see if she knew anyone. She just kept walking, dust and dried blood beginning to collect on her skirt. She was drawn to the throne room where the floor was absolutely littered with bodies. Some of the bodies were Trollocs and Myrdraal, but most of them were human. She tried not to think that her father would likely be one of them. In the middle of the floor, she found a six-pointed star etched out in black tiles against the predominant white. Ay’Lira wove around the bodies, keeping her eyes on the star. As she approached, she heard someone running toward her, shouting her name. Looking back, but not startled, she found her younger brother Teru. He was dirty, had a beard growing, and tears in his eyes. “Lira, you’re back! What are you doing here?” he asked as she continued to walk. “I have a purpose here,” she said simply, still moving to the star. “A purpose? What is it?” “I need to complete something.” “Well…can I help?” “No, this is something only I can do.” “When you’re finished…you can come live with us again. We’re living in Fal Moran now. I’m one of the defenders against the Blight, can you believe it?” There was a touch of excitement in his voice. The same little boy she had played with and taught archery to all those years ago… She bit back the tears. “No, I cannot. Tell mother and Benna that I love them, yourself as well,” she said as she stepped into the star and wove the last weave. When it was done, there was a spray of colors… And she was back in the room of the testing. She stumbled, but didn’t fall as she walked toward Valeri, but she didn’t go very far. She couldn’t believe how different Teru was. Out of all those memories, her brother as a desperate assassin and her brother as a proud defender of Fal Moran…which one had he become? Valeri’s clapping snapped her to attention. “It is done. Let no one ever speak of what has passed here. It is for us to share in silence with she who experienced it. It is done.” She clapped again. “Ay’Lira Sonoran, you will spend the night in prayer and contemplation of the burdens you will take up on the morrow, when you don the shawl of an Aes Sedai. It is done.” With that, she clapped yet again, and left the room. As the seven Sisters crowded her, they asked if she would like a Healing. Looking down, she saw herself covered in scrapes, cuts, and bruises. The Yellow Healed her after she accepted it, and almost let out a shout of the surprise of coldness. She dressed herself in her own clothes, putting on the ring first. The sisters escorted her to her room. It was late at night, and everyone was asleep when she came back to her room. After she ate the food left for her, she tried to pray and contemplate, but she was far too tired. She drifted off to sleep, not bothering to cover herself with her blankets, and not bothering to strip to her shift… Ay’Lira woke up perhaps three hours later, by her guess, and brushed her hair out, smoothing out of skirt. She drank some water, checked herself in the mirror, and sat back down on her bed. A smile crept up on her lips. She had passed the test. She passed! The enormity hadn’t quite hit her last night. But she woke up now, excited for what was to come. But she knew she still had to maintain her calm, so she allowed some of her pent-up giggles to escape. She caught her breath, schooling herself, and waited. A few minutes later, there were three knocks on the door. Standing, she walked to the door and opened it. A Red sister stood with six others, one for each Ajah. They stood in silence, but didn’t have to wait long for her to join them. They left with her and escorted her back to the room where she had tested. The Sitters from each Ajahs were there with one other sister there, holding a shawl. She couldn’t see all of it from where she stood at the doorway, but she knew the ceremony by heart. They were all shawled, and the Amyrlin and Keeper were stoled. “Who comes here?” asked the Amyrlin. “Ay’Lira Sonoran,” she answered. “For what reason do you come?” “To swear the Three Oaths and thereby gain the shawl of an Aes Sedai.” “By what right do you claim this burden?” “By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the Tower.” “Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the Tower.” Ay’Lira entered, keeping her countenance, serene and confident. She walked through the now still ring, but when she walked through, she was still in the same room. She had halfway expected another test. She found her way to the Amyrlin and knelt. Now with the Oath rod in front of her, she channeled just a bit of Spirit. “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true. Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will not make one weapon for one man to kill another. 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.” Ay’Lira noticed that as she swore each Oath, her skin tightened. But again, she wasn’t surprised with the unexpected effect. She handed the Oath Rod back to the Amyrlin. The Amyrlin said, “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.” Ay’Lira rose, now an Aes Sedai. No longer a “child”, and walked among the rows of sisters. When she had finally chosen her Ajah, she wondered to herself what took her so long to make that decision. But now she knew, no matter what hesitations she may have taken. And now she stood in front of the Greens, awaiting their words.
  7. 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?”
  8. The weave of Spirit formed easily for Elin, as they almost always did, and Elin split her flow into a second weave designed to slash other weaves, then a third, a shield, designed to cut another channeler off from the source. Her lessons with Rochel Sedai had inspired the Accepted to continue her work with Spirit, especially shields and defensive uses of the Power. She was alone in that quiet garden near the Red quarters, and she let the weaves dissipate. Sitting on a marble bench, she stroked the bands at her hem. Those seven stripes were dear to her, and she had worked to earn them. She had been an Accepted for many years, and she had passed her thirtieth birthday here in the Tower. Soon she will have spent more years in the Tower than she did in Amadicia. Back home, her brothers and sisters had probably married and had children of their own. Of course, Elin couldn’t visit them. She had obviously slowed, and it would be noticed if she came home looking a decade younger than she had any right to be. They were out of her life now, and the most she could do would be to look out for her family from a distance as much as she was able. The sound of a slipper on the stone of the garden pulled her out of her reverie, and she looked up just in time to see Valeri Sedai standing there, wearing her shawl. “Elin Hawes, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The light see you safe and keep you whole.” Without a word, because any noise from her would be a failure, Elin stood and followed Valeri. The path was familiar, and it felt like just the other day Elin had followed this woman along this same path to pass through the arches ter’angreal that marked her as Accepted. It was more than just days, though. In fact, years had passed, and in those years Elin had grown into a woman. When she had arrived at the Tower, she had been afraid, timid, still traumatized by the death of her twin. Becoming Accepted had forced her to face the harsh realities that she wasn’t just leaving her brother behind, but her whole family. She made her choice, and she was sure that she had made the right choice and she had bound herself to the Tower. Her face smooth, Elin followed Valeri into the solid stone chamber where the oval ring sat. Every Accepted knew the purpose of this ter’angreal, and Elin worked to keep her face smooth. This test would make the arches look like child’s play. Barely noticing the massive doors or the almost blindingly white walls, Elin only had eyes for the ter’angreal. It was shining silver, then pearl, then white, then gold, and yet more colors as Elin watched it. Around the room stood several Aes Sedai, all wearing their shawls, all judging her. If she so much as let a single crease show across her brow, she would fail. “Attend,” Valeri’s word seemed to fill the chamber as the Aes Sedai formed a ring around the Mistress of Novices and the Accepted. “You come in ignorance, Elin Hawes. How would you depart?” The ritual answer came to Elin’s lips without thought, “In knowledge of myself.” “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” In her heart, Elin knew she was worthy. She had to be. If she failed here, no one would seek out those poor souls being put on sham trials and executed simply for being suspected of being able to channel. “For what would you be found worthy?” “To wear the shawl.” The word filled Elin with a sense of pride. She would have a lovely crimson fringe on her shawl. As the last word died in the stillness of the air, Elin stripped out of her Accepted dress, watching as Valeri continued speaking. “Therefore I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground.” She channeled, and a silver, six pointed star appeared in the air. As Elin nodded, she felt another woman channeling behind her, and a weave of spirit settled into her skull. “Remember what must be remembered.” Elin resisted the urge to arch an eyebrow. This was not part of the ceremony... or at least what the Accepted were taught about it. A small part of Elin’s mind wondered about that weave. It was sure to be mostly Spirit, and it likely could be altered... Elin cut off that train of thought. She would ask to learn the weave once she wore the Shawl. Valeri was speaking again. “When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed.” “Remember what must be remembered.” That voice coming from behind was a minor irritation. The least the woman could do was speak from in front so Elin could see her too. “When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation.” “Remember what must be remembered.” “One hundred times will you weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure.” “Remember what must be remembered.” Elin let the urge to mutter about that phrase sink into her and pass without acting on it. One hundred weaves that every Accepted learned and knew by heart. It was time to perform them, not being tested by her friends, but with real sisters judging her. Suddenly, the weave she felt behind her settled into her flesh, and she fought the need to shiver. Moving without signal, the seven sisters walked to the ter’angreal and knelt at its base. They all began weaving a tapestry of the five powers, more complex than most weaves. The oval began to increase the speed of the flow of its colors, and suddenly the opening flashed white. The last bit of covering she had was her Great Serpent ring, and without showing her pain at giving it up, Elin set it atop her pile of clothing. Then she stepped into that blinding light, and was suddenly somewhere else. She was naked, but she knew she could not react to that fact. There was a comfortable, black dress sitting on the ground next to her, and she calmly bent to gather it and dress. Once she was clothed, she saw a six pointed star inlaid on the hardpacked ground. With a small smile, Elin began walking toward the star. As she walked, the dress became tighter and tighter. Each step brought the seams in tighter. The high neck was suddenly a cinch around her neck. Despite the fact that she was being strangled, she kept her face smooth and merely walked to the star. When she arrived, the dress was cutting off the air in her throat, the blood to her arms, and it felt like it would cut her in half at the waist. Ignoring those facts, she channeled the first weave, the only weave her mind would let her channel. A blue coin popped into existence, and suddenly the dress was the correct size again. To her right, a six pointed star sat above an archway. With her hands held at her waist, Elin walked to the arch. The second she passed under the arch, she was wearing a ball gown in the most comlex of Cairhienin styles. Elin was surrounded by a horde of angry women, their hands turned to claws. They each screamed vile words and phrases at her, some were so bold to reach for her dress and tear the slashes that denote rank clean off her dress. These women obviously did not think Elin deserved to claim the rank the slashes spoke to, and so they were tearing her down, literally. Ignoring them, Elin walked through the room at a stately pace toward the tiled six pointed star, and once she reached it, the tangled web practically sprang into existence. This weave was difficult for Elin because it involved so much Earth, but she kept her face serene while the women tore the gown off her back. Once the weave was formed, Elin smiled. She hadn’t been shocked. To her left was a door in the shape of a six pointed star, and Elin walked toward it. In the next room, she was somewhere else again. She was still naked, and still had some of the scratches... but she didn’t know why she was scratched. There was a dress sitting on a chair next to her, so she put it on, along with the slippers that sat under it. Across the room was a pattern of wooden slats in the floor, in the shape of a six pointed star. Walking to it, Elin felt the cool air on her ankles. That was wrong, but she didn’t let her confusion show. She knew that she had to remain entirely emotionless throughout... whatever this was that was going on. Suddenly, there was a drunken man leering at her, and she felt the air blowing on her shins. What had been a full dress now ended at her knees. With each step, more fabric disappeared, and more men appeared. At the star, she barely had a collar of fabric anymore. As she began to weave the lacey mixture of Air, Earth, and Spirit, even that small collar disappeared. She couldn’t help but blush at that moment. Situation after situation passed. Some were merely embarrassing for her, like the disappearing dress, while others were hazardous to her health, like a pitched battlefield she had to cross without letting a single emotion show be it fear, concern, worry, or any other fleeting feeling that might want to cross her face. Every time her mind blanked, she found herself somewhere new, but she still had any injuries she’d received previously. It definitely confused Elin to find herself nude with scratches, gouges and bruises all over her body. After 99 weaves, Elin found herself standing in her village square in front of her family’s mill. Part of her knew that almost two decades had passed since she had left that village, but another part saw the wood piled up at the base of a stake. Tied to the stake was her brother Nile. The fire hadn’t caught yet at the woodpile, but Elin knew she could stop the fire from catching at all... but she could not channel until she reached the silver star marked out in stones in the middle of the road out of town. She was wearing the traditional dress and bonnet, even her baking apron, and as she walked, her back to Nile on the stake, she heard his cries. She heard the crackle as the flames caught on the wood. She smelled the scent of roasting flesh. When she reached the star, she began channeling the required weave. Turning back to her brother, she could see that he still lived. Splitting her flows, she continued the required weave while also creating a large ball of water that she let fall onto the flames, dousing them. Nile wept with mingled relief and pain. As she finished the final weave, it erupted into sparks. Down the path leading out of town, Elin saw a pair of trees tied together to form an arch, with a shining star high in their branches. Walking down the path, Elin kept her face smooth even though she heard Nile calling for her again, knowing that the villages wouldn’t let a single doused fire stop them. When she passed under the arch, she found herself back in the basements of the Tower outside the oval ter’angreal. Suddenly it all crashed down onto Elin. Every person she had walked away from, every pain inflicted on her, every shame. Then she saw Valeri Sedai. “It is done. Let no one ever speak of what has passed here. It is for us to share in silence with she who experienced it. It is done.” She clapped her hands. “Elin Hawes, you will spend tonight in prayer and contemplation of the burdens you will take up on the morrow, when you don the shawl of an Aes Sedai. It is done.” When Valeri left, Elin stood in the center of the seven sisters who all offered her Healing for her many wounds, and Elin knew that they had created the scenes she had lived through. A part of her wondered who had put Nile onto the stake... but she set that part of her aside. These women were now her sisters. Dressing in her Accepted’s dress for what would be the second to last time, Elin slipped her ring back onto her finger and was escorted back to her room by the sister from the Red and a sister from the Blue. At her door, she smiled at the women, and nodded to them. She had passed her tests, so she no longer had to curtsy. In her bed, she knew her body was exhausted, but her mind was reliving the test. She finally fell asleep, her fingers twitching as she imagined weaving the hundred weaves again. The next morning, she woke early and tidied her room for the last time. When the knock at her door came, she smiled and set down her brush. Her black curls were shining, and she was ready. Outside her door were seven Aes Sedai, one from each Ajah. She nodded to them, and they formed a circle around her. No one said a word, and Elin knew that was how it was meant to be. They retraced the steps from the night before back to the ter’angreal room, when the door opened, the seven sisters left Elin to walk through on her own. Inside the room, there were thirty women in the room waiting for her. The three sitters for each ajah, the Keeper and the Amyrlin. Elin had never had cause to wait on Shevarra Sedai. The Amyrlin tended to keep to herself. The remaining seven women were the newest members of their ajahs, and they each held a shawl with their bright fringes. Elin stepped through the ter’angreal again, knowing that nothing would happen to her this time. With a smooth face, but pride in her heart, Elin walked to the Amyrlin. “Who comes here.” Shevarra’s voice filled the chamber. With a loud, clear voice, Elin spoke her named. “Elin Hawes.” “For what reason do you come.” “To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.” “By what right do you claim this burden?” “By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.” “Then come, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.” Elin stepped closer, and took the Oath Rod from the plush pillow it rested on in the Keeper’s hands. While it was in her hands, Shevarra Sedai channeled Spirit into the end with the Old Tongue numeral, and Elin knew it was time. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” As soon as she finished the sentence, she felt like her skin was suddenly tighter than it had been moments before. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.” When the words were finished, the invisible screws that were tightening her skin ratcheted another notch, pulling her skin even tighter than before. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends and shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister.” Elin knew that she would have to live with this oath as close as a lover if she wished to live the life she had planned, despite its mention of a warder. She would be a Red, and they had always eschewed warders. When the Oath settled into her flesh, Elin rose to her feet and handed the Rod to the Amyrlin. With a small smile, the Amyrlin spoke again. “It is half done, daughter, and the White Tower is graven onto your bones. Come now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.” Elin curtsied to the Amyrlin, as was proper, and then turned to the assembled Sisters. She smiled at the Green and Blue sisters, knowing that if things had happened differently, she might have found a home there, but she turned her back on them and walked past the Yellows, Grays, Whites, and Browns. She walked Home to the warm embrace of the Red Ajah. It was time to deal with the formalities. She would be a sister of the Red Ajah tonight. There was no other option.
  9. OOC: Being called to the Testing -- It's really long, so I'm breaking into sections, each one is preceded with the topic of each post so you can skim to the parts you want to read if you don't want to read it all at one (or at all ;) ) Kathleen was sitting in the dinning hall enjoying a late lunch. Most of the room was deserted with a few small pockets of Novices who had been busy during the main part of the lunch hour, most likely bringing some Aes Sedai their lunch. Kathleen sat alone but she wasn't upset. She was not in the mood to be around people. She had a bit of rough day and was starting to feel her afternoon slump settling in. She was hoping the soup and roll she had gotten would be enough to give her the boost she needed to get her feeling like normal again. Just as she was finishing the last little bit she saw Pia Sedai enter the dining hall. At first Kathleen paid no attention, it was not unusual for the Mistress of Novices to take a late lunch but there did seem to be something strange about it today. As the Gray got closer and Kathleen took the last sip of her drink she realized what made her feel so strange, Pia was not heading toward the food, but directly toward Kathleen, and the Mistress of Novices was wearing her shawl. As Pia reached the table Kathleen was suprised at she said, "Kathleen Vandiar, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe." The novices across the dining room all stopped their conversation and stared as Kathleen slowly took in what the Aes Sedai had just said and rose to meet her. Kathleen followed the Mistress of Novices out of the dining hall and down into the depths of the White Tower. They walked in silence but Kathleen's mind had never been more a buzz. She had known this day was coming for some time, but she was not expecting it today. As they walked underground through the surprisingly large and well lit corridors Kathleen hardly even took in the magnificence of it all as she tried to settle the bundle of nerves settling into her stomach and slow the stream of thoughts and worries that filled her head. She was quickly going through the list of 100 weaves in the order she had memorized over the last few years, just to review one more time, when they arrived at the extraordinary doors. At first Kathleen didn't know what she was looking at and it wasn't until she really looked that she saw what she thought was an impossibly large polished gate far under the Tower. Just as Kathleen was trying to figure out how to get in she saw the glow of Saidar encompass the Mistress of Novices and to Kathleen's surprise the massive doors silently opened. The chamber that opened up to them was large, circular and domed. The walls were white stone and ringed with stand-lamps whose light was reflected onto them making the chamber glaringly bright when compared to the halls they were leaving. In the center of the room directly beneath the dome, there was a large oval ring standing on its end. At well over a span in height and around a pace across at its widest point it was the largest ter'angreal Kathleen had even seen. It seemed to change colour over and over and always showing a new colour, sometime the colours even seemed to mix. Just as Kathleen noticed that it was somehow standing unsupported and wished she could study it up close she heard the Mistress of Novices say, "Attend," and Kathleen noticed the 7 other women all dressed in a different coloured shawl, one for each Ajah, rise and move to form a circle around Pia and Kathleen. As much as Kathleen's thoughts were all over the place she had held her posture and composure since the moment she had risen from the dining hall table. She knew the immense amount of importance there was in the way she carried herself so she tried to stay composed and calm and hold herself as the Aes Sedai she would hopefully soon become. As the Sisters completed the ring around them Pia said began the ceremony as she spoke and Kathleen knew how she was to respond and the dialog rolled off the women's tongues almost without having to think about it. "You come in ignorance, Kathleen Vandiar . How would you depart?" "In knowledge of myself." "For what reason have you been summoned here?" "To be tried." "For what reason should you be tried?" "So that I may learn whether I am worthy." "For what would you be found worthy?" "To wear the shawl." As soon as the required words were spoken Kathleen began to undress. Pia continued, "Therefore I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground." She said as she channeled and drew a six pointed star in the air with her finger in front of Kathleen. While Kathleen watched Pia draw the star she felt a Sister behind her embrace Saidar and when Kathleen felt the weave lightly touch the back of her head her heart fluttered in surprise but the girl barley blinked. She hadn't been expecting that, but Kathleen knew that almost all of the process tonight was to see if she could keep her composure when put to the test so even though she wasn't expecting this she knew the Aes Sedai wouldn't hurt her and she didn't let her surprise show. When Pia had finished drawing the star another Sister spoke, "Remember what must be remembered." and Pia continued saying, "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." The other Sister spoke again, "Remember what must be remembered." And Pia replied, "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation." The other Sister replied, "Remember what must be remembered." And Pia spoke again,"One hundred times will you weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure." One last time the other Sister spoke, "Remember what must be remembered." When the words were spoken Kathleen could feel the weave the Sister behind her had been channeling settle into her and all the Sisters, save the Mistress of Novices, began to take their places kneeling in a circle around the ter'angreal. When they were all kneeling on the stone floor Kathleen saw them all embrace the Saidar and begin to channel and each made the same complicated weave of all five powers. As they did the colours in the ter'angreal began to shift ever faster until it was flashing like a kaleidoscope. As the others left to begin this formation around the ter'angreal Kathleen continued to remove the last few articles of clothing. She was still uncomfortable disrobing in front of others, but she had done it for her Arches and she would do it for this a million times over. She noticed the Mistress of Novices leering at her and she was embarrassed as the last article of clothing was removed but much to her surprise she managed not to blush or show any sign that this was making her uncomfortable and as she folded her stockings and set them on top of her neatly folded dress she noticed the Great Serpent ring she wore on her finger and she slid it off and placed it on top of her clothes. With all of her worldly belongings out of her contact Kathleen calmly stood to meet the eye of the Mistress of Novices. As she stood the ter'angreal in the center of the room turned a solid white, and the air in the opening of it glowed with all the appearance of true pure light. Then the ring slowly and more curiously, silently, began to revolve on its base. No one spoke and Kathleen knew what must be done, it was time and with out hesitation she slowly began her steady walk toward the revolving ter'angreal, it is really time, she thought as approached it and carefully and confidently stepped through the center of the glowing structure.
  10. 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.
  11. "You come in ignorance Rochel Dion, how would you depart?” Rochel struggled to keep her breathing even. How could this be happening? Not half an hour ago she had been butting heads with a stubborn group of fool novices, trying to keep them from killing themselves and each other with the power. The Mistress of Novices had caught her in the hallway, and with little explanation had half dragged Rochel down to this seldom used part of the Tower. She had less composure right now than she usually did! And yet, despite her agitation and aprehension, the words flowed out smoothly. “In knowledge of myself.” “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” The words came automatically, flowing without conscious thought. “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” “For what would you be found worthy?” She hesitated. This was the final phrase. For so many years, she had fought tooth and nail to avoid this. To not join the ranks of the Aes Sedai. And here it was. A long silent moment later, she softly said, “To wear the shawl.” A brief smile slipped onto the Mistress of Novices face. No doubt, there had still been some concern on whether or not Rochel would actually go through with the ceremony. "Therefore I will instruct you. You will see the sign upon the ground." The glow of Saidar sprang up around the Mistress of Novices, and a six pointed star appeared drawn in Fire. Behind her, she felt another weave form and touch her head. "Remember what must be remembered." "When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed." "Remember what must be remembered." "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation" ”Remember what must be remembered." "One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure", "Remember what must be remembered." Rochel hardly heard the instructions. She didn't need to. For years, this procedure had been pounded into her brain until she felt that she could do it in her sleep. She'd actually heard some Accepted mumbling the phrases in their dreams. It didn't matter though. So long as she focused on the task at hand, and didn't stumble on the weaves. When it was time, she quickly slipped out of her banded Accepted dress. Her slippers and stockings came after, followed quickly by her shift. And lastly, her Great Serpent ring topped the pile. Swallowing the lump which was forming in her throat, Rochel approached the glowing ter'angreal and steeled herself. Supposedly, this was worse than the test to be raised to Accepted. That time she had only had to contend with her own fears. This time, she'd heard it whispered that one had to face whatever the sisters conducting the test could imagine. A scary thought indeed, especially considering that Rochel had stepped on the toes of more than a few of the sisters surrounding the ter'angreal. A moment later, she stepped into the glowing ter'angreal, and all thoughts were forgotten in the flash of blinding light.
  12. The clouds drifted past the dreamy moon. And it was a dreamy room. Round and high in the sky, bright and yet not glaring enough to make you want to squint. Camigwen’s fingers lingered on the window skill, her eyes was lost. A sort of desperation for the day to be over. She was tired from classes all morning. And her back ached from the 100 weave practices her friends and her had been doing over the past months. In her mind she imagined the test to be far worse and part of her prepared for failure. “Bardin, my beloved brother, keep me safe this day.” She sighed and closed the curtains. Her room smelt of spices and dried herbs, and a slightly sinister looking skeleton model. A gift from one of the Yellow Sisters who had taken her under her wing. “Bardin, if only you could see me now.” The knock sounded as Camigwen sat down upon her bed, startling her and making her get up in a hurry. Her silky hair streaked behind her as she walked towards the door, her footsteps muted by the carpet that lay on the floor. Odd how details seemed to scream at her now. Patterns that could not be deciphered, a weave of complex knots, reminding her of the Healing weaves she herself had been schooled in. “Camigwen Klatsang Marivin, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai, the light keep you whole and see you safe.” Camigwen froze at the words. Gorivin Crasula, the Mistress Novices’ face was serene, none of the usual warmth that greeted Camigwen when she met the Aes Sedai in classes or in the corridors. She wanted to speak. To say she was not ready. But that would not be. For she had been taught to maintain silence, to move as the escort moved and to believe in herself. Bardin, help me. Be with me, my brother. With a silent nod, Camigwen turned and shut the door behind her with a click. Her mind was chaos, but she worked her Novice exercises. A bud opening to the sun, and that calmed her down. With hushed footsteps she followed the Mistress of Novices. At this time of the night, there were few Accepted about, but those she passed gave her an encouraging smile. None dared approach her, for that was the rule. But she felt their love anyway, and was comforted. The path they took, Aes Sedai and Accepted, was familiar to Camigwen. Steps that led towards the chamber of testing, a place similar to the one she had gone to for her Accepted testing. Dark shadows danced across the walls as torches flickered slightly in the night breeze. Camigwen took it as a blessing, that the night was not hot and clammy as it had been the past few nights. The rain during the day had taken away most of the heat. At any rate, Camigwen’s mind was such a jumbled mess of thoughts the temperature bothered her not. But she had to breathe. Breathe. That helped a little. At least to loosen the knots she felt in her stomach. She relaxed her grip on her banded dress, a dress she prayed would no longer be needed after tonight. Breathe. It would happen. She would pass. And then she would be Aes Sedai. Healing those in need. And providing them succor in their times of pain. She would be Aes Sedai. There had to be no other way. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sensation of someone channeling nearby. In her shock she realized it was the Mistress of Novices, flows of Air, pushing two large doors open. Darkened by age and gilded, the doors reminded her of the great doors leading to the Hall of the Tower. Strange shapes were carved into them, many she did not recognize. Those that she did, were portrayed in ways she was not familiar with. But that was not to be her focus. Breathe. “Attend.” Gorivin Sedai’s voice was clear in the echoey interior of the large chamber. Aes Sedai of different Ajahs turned to look at them. Camigwen recognized many of them, having been through lessons and various channeling exercises with them. A large oval ring occupied the centre of the room and the seven Aes Sedai from each of the seven Ajahs moved to from a ring around it. “You come in ignorance Camigwen Klatsang Marivin, how would you depart?” Ancient words intoned by the sister who wore a Red shawl. Rosum Thorava Sedai. A lesson in Shielding. “In knowledge of myself.” Camigwen smiled slightly. Her voice did not waver. But she knew this was barely anything to be proud of. Breathe. “For what reason have you been summoned here?” “To be tried.” Camigwen swallowed, moistening a throat that had quickly dried up. “For what reason should you be tried?” “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.” “For what would you be found worthy?” Camigwen shut her eyes and opened them. This was what her past few decades of life were for. “To wear the shawl.” Breathe. "Therefore I will instruct you. You will see the sign upon the ground." Saidar glowed around the Mistress of Novices. A six pointed star appeared drawn in Fire. Camigwen stared at it with worried eyes. Behind her, she felt someone channel something that touched her head. She did not turn, but recognized the voice that spoke. "Remember what must be remembered." Jindarla Sedai. A Blue. She had taught Daes Dae’mar. And had marveled at how quickly Camigwen had picked it up. No time for memories. Focus. Breathe. And so it continued. "When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed." "Remember what must be remembered." "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation" ”Remember what must be remembered." "One hundred times you will weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure", "Remember what must be remembered." It ended as abruptly as it started. And Camigwen took a deep breath. Her face was unreadable as she was led to the starting point of the test. Shutting her eyes, she started her Novice exercises again, her fingers undoing the buttons of her banded dress as she opened herself to the sun. Part of her was tempted to embrace Saidar, but that was not allowed. One by one, her dress, her shift, her stockings, everything was piled onto the table. And finally, she removed the Great Serpent ring. A symbol of all she was living for. Nothing made her feel more naked. But it would only be for a while. Not long. Breathe. Once again the chamber filled with the glow of the sisters, who had begun channeling something incredibly complex. But their glow was no match for the blinding white light that emanated from the oval ring. Its glare made Camigwen squint a little. But it did not soften her resolve. It was time. With a steady pace, she walked forward. Her nakedness forgotten. Her beauty no longer of use to her. Her love for others, only adding to her determination. Her memory of lessons became a distant whisper. She would be Aes Sedai this day. She stepped through. Breathe.
  13. 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.
  14. IC: The muscles of her legs stretched and contracted with each stride. Breathing deeply and exhaling she ran. He mind was centered and she thought only one thing…making one leg move after another. She did not notice the trainees looking at her…usually she would have noticed and smiled or waved to them. She felt an odd feeling that she needed to be focused this day…the feeing itched her in the back of her mind. Ever since her weapon training started Sana made her run laps each day, and Veris came to find that it was a great way for he to let of steam. She always felt relaxed after a run. Slowing down she grabbed her things and jogged towards her rooms. As she headed to her rooms she ran into her friends. Raine her best friend was amongst them. They were talking about an Accepted that was seen being taken to the testing halls. Very early that moring…Veria did not dare ask why Raine was out at that hour. The woman’s name was Garada…one the would surely go red. Veria felt for the accepted…she knew her and wandered if she would come through ok. Garada was a stubborn woman and smart…but you just never knew. Making excuses Veria left to go and bathe. Once she was bathed and clothed again in her accepted’s dress she went to the library to study her history class. While she was there she found her mentee Audie doing some class work as well. Sitting with her they caught up as they had not seen each other in a along time. AS they laughed quietly together, Veria felt someone come up behind her… It was The Mistress of Novices, Darienna Sedai. OOC: I hope you don't mind helping a out a little but taking her to the testing? Thankx :D
  15. It's over. It's finally over. Over twenty years of work, countless hours of study, countless days scrubbing pots, and all of it leading to this one night and day. Janine sat nude on her bed in the Accepted's quarters, legs folded up underneath her, elbows resting on her knees. Her eyes were locked on the door in front of her, though she really didn't see it. In her mind, Janine was replaying the events of the night, seeing every moment unfold in her imagination. The fire had long burned down to embers, but Janine did not notice the slight chill in the air. She simply sat and remembered... One hundred weaves, one final testing... The list of weaves seemed oppressively massive, but Janine had committed every evening from the day she got the list to learning and memorizing every single weave on the list. None of the weaves were hard, per se, but they were unusual. It was no easy task to memorize them because of their odd nature. Of course, there was the second part of the test: utterly calm serenity. That one would be more difficult than the weaves. Janine's temper was well-known throughout the Accepted's quarters; she always seemed to be on the edge of exploding, as if something was always at the back of her mind, making her angry with the world. If any of them had cared to ask Janine about it, they would have found out they were absolutely right, though they would not have liked the resulting answer... Voices in the hallway brought Janine out of her silent contemplation. From the sound of it, there were two novices out there, sneaking into the quarters of a despised Accepted, likely with something squirmy to liven her evening. Janine remembered doing that on more than one occasion, though it wasn't very original. She had much preferred something more shocking than having her victims wake up with a 'friend' in their bed. For a moment, she considered leaving her room to catch the two in the act. However, it was likely that she didn't like the targeted Accepted, either, and in a few hours, she wouldn't be able to do it herself. Settling back, Janine allowed her mind to return to its contemplations... Meals in the cafeteria were filling, if a bit bland, but Janine didn't mind. A full stomach kept her from being too cranky with whatever obnoxious novices she was stuck teaching. She did not have the patience for it at any time, much less with all these recent raisings and... "Janine Alastarn." Not again... This was probably over assigning a chore to some novice simply for getting on her nerves and... Turning, Janine saw that this was not the case. It was the Mistress of Novices. She was in her shawl. Oh, Light... "You are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. May the Light keep you whole and see you safe." Janine could have died in that moment. After the Accepted test, she'd thought that there would never be such a fear again, but that familiar cold began creeping up her spine, chilling her in an all-too-familiar manner... "Here we go again," Janine muttered. Another shiver racked Janine's body, causing her to wrap her arms tightly around herself. The walk down to the testing had passed in silence. She remembered her mind, how it had roiled and ran through the list of weaves. She knew them all, but they had been gone from her mind as if they'd never been. It had worried her, but she'd been able to force a calm over her mind as the walk had progressed. To the door... The silence was deafening, oppressive, yet Janine had to allow it. Once in the passages below the White Tower, silence was required. Even if that silence seemed to stretch forever as she descended lower and lower into the bowels of the Tower. Only upon reaching the lowest level, the last door, did they stop. It took no time for Janine to see the difference between this door and the other doors that they had passed. It was huge. There was no other way to say it. The size reminded Janine of the doors on fortresses or defensive towers. A simple weave of Air pushed the doors open, revealing... Janine gasped. Lamplight reflected off the white walls of the room, arching up to the domed ceiling. In the center of the room, an oval stood on edge, the light reflecting various colors off of it, never staying the same for a moment. With a sinking certainty, Janine knew that she was to be tested within the thing. However, this was not the Arches. This was different. Janine knew she was capable of doing this. The shattered girl that had come out of that bloody ter'angreal so long ago was dead and gone, replaced with a woman who knew what she was about. Failure was not an option. "Attend," the Mistress of Novices said formally. At the word, the seven Aes Sedai in the room stood around her in a ring. It was time to be done with it. "You come in ignorance, Janine Alastarn. How would you depart?" I would depart with the knowledge I need to be free of the restraints you've put upon me. The fiery thought was no reflection of Janine's tone as she calmly said, "In knowledge of myself." "For what reason have you been summoned here?" "To be tried." And not just my patience. "For what reason should you be tried?" A sudden realization hit Janine. This was one of the last steps in becoming Aes Sedai. She was almost done. Twenty-some years to get to this point, and it was almost over. "So that I may learn whether I am worthy." "For what would you be found worthy?" Serenity could not help the small smile that blossomed on Janine's face for a moment. "To wear the shawl..." Light, it had been terrible. A hundred memories had cascaded upon her all at once at the end of that testing. She felt tears beginning to form at the corners of her eyes at some of them. She'd seen her brothers thrust into Trolloc cookpots. She'd been thrown to starved lions. There'd been Inquisitors with their needles and hot pokers and worse things. She'd been beaten, scratched, nearly mauled, nearly raped, nearly dead in dozens of ways that she'd never expected. She'd fought Trollocs and Fades and all kinds of Shadowspawned filth. And she'd come out at the end. Janine had done it all without the failure she'd expected. She'd succeeded. The sounds from the hall seemed to indicate that the day would be starting soon. Rising from the bed, Janine quickly dressed, laying her few belongings on the bed. They'd be here for her soon. Almost on cue, there came three clear knocks at the door. Looking into the mirror one last time, Janine took a steadying breath and opened the door. It was no surprise that there were seven Aes Sedai awaiting her, one from each Ajah and all wearing their shawls. Stepping into the silent circle, Janine allowed them to lead her once again through the corridors of the Tower, down the familiar tunnels of the previous night, and to the doors of the previous night. There would be no need for knocking, she saw; the doors stood wide open, waiting for her arrival. However, the circle around her stopped, halting her progress. Ah, yes, traditions, precedence, propriety, Janine thought for a moment. She was anxious to gain the shawl, to finally be free of all these restrictions! "Who comes here?" The voice was familiar in a vague sort of way. Janine had heard the Amyrlin speak on a few occasions, but that was all the interaction she'd had with the woman. Just as well; her temper could have very well caused her trouble. "Janine Alastarn," she answered clearly, her voice ringing through the room. "For what reason do you come?" "To swear the Three Oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai." "By what right do you claim this burden?" By twenty years of my life being poured into this one moment, she thought. However, that's not the answer they wanted. "By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower." "Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower." Janine dared. The Amyrlin stood framed within the oval ter'angreal, the seven-striped stole on her shoulders, her Keeper by her side with a black cushion in hand. Janine knew what would be on that cushion. Knowing what would be there, knowing that it would be there made Janine realize that she'd truly made it. They were really going to do this. Stepping through the oval, she went to her knees before the Amyrlin, her hands held before her. It seemed as if the smooth rod, not quite like ivory, not quite like glass, weighed more than it should have. There was no sound in the room. The only thing that seemed out of place was the glow around the Amyrlin as she channeled a thin flow of Spirit into the white rod in her hand. "Under the Light, and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear that I will never speak a word that is untrue." The sensation of the air seeming to press against her was... unnerving. Janine felt as if the words that she'd spoken were literally settling into her. "Under the Light, and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear that I will never make any weapon for one man to kill another." The feeling redoubled, making Janine feel as if she'd been sealed within a silk wrapping that was far too tight, leaving her hardly able to breathe. It was not comfortable, to say the least. "Under the Light, and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear 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." A gasp escaped from Janine's lips as the oath settled into her along with the other two, sealing her as surely as a stone sealed a tomb. Her breathing was ragged, pressured. How long was this going to last? "It is half done, and the White Tower is graven on your bones," the Amyrlin said, her voice carrying the same dull tone as it had before. "Rise now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah, and all will be done that may be done under the Light." If Janine had thought that kneeling was awkwardly uncomfortable, standing proved to be downright agony. The oaths seemed to keep her stiff and unbending, hardly able to move at all as she curtseyed to the Amyrlin and kissed her Great Serpent ring. With that formality out of the way, Janine looked to each Ajah in turn. The Yellows: healers and curers of diseases. They were the best healers known to the world. However, Janine had never shown any promise in Healing, nor had she ever shown any interest in it. The Blues: Seekers after Causes, with the capital letters audible. They sought to right wrongs and meddle with the affairs of thrones and nations. Not her cup of brandy in the least. The Reds: hunters of male channelers, defending the world from another Breaking. An admirable cause, to be sure, but not very high up on Janine's priority list. The Grays: mediators, arbiters, and negotiators. They sought to create peace and make groups work together. A good member to have in a party, but very far from Janine's nature. The Whites: philosophers, seekers of wisdom. Which meant that they sat around all day thinking deep thoughts. No. The Browns: archivers, librarians, and liable to know the most random things. Useful, but Janine had no desire to spend her entire life with her nose in a book. That only left one option. Her eyes traced the line back to the Ajah she'd long known she was meant for, and they'd known she was meant for them, too. Slowly, the rest of the Ajahs parted, leaving Janine with her choice. Always, she'd been the fighter, the one who refused to quit. She'd been the one who was more likely to lash out. She'd been destined for the Green Ajah since the day she'd strode into the Tower gardens and insulted Lavinya Sedai. Her steps made her choice clearer than any words could have.
  16. 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…
  17. 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 didn’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. Nynaeve’s voice rang out, loud and clear. “Attend.†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 sister’s present activated the ter’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 ter’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 warder’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 she’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. “Please!†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. Elyna’s piercing screams filled the air, and Lavinya’s chest heaved from her heartfelt sobs. “I’m so sorry Elily†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 Elyna’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. “Who comes here?†The Amyrlin’s voice rang loud and clear across the hall. Lavinya silently cleared her throat, before answering confidently. “Lavinya Morganen.†“For what reason do you come?†â€To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.†“By what right do you claim this burden?†“By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.†“Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.†Lavinya nodded, just a tiny inclination of her head. Forcing her feet to move, she stepped forward, through the ter’angreal. She had come too far to flounder now, had endured too much. A shiver ran down her spine as she stepped through the ter’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. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.†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.†The tightening sensation increased. Lavinya forced her face to remain calm and impassive, to ignore the pain. “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.†The last oath was uttered, and she let out a small breath she hadn’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. “I choose the Grey Ajah.†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 Phaedra’s lips when she heard someone knock and enter. “Ophelia, what brings you here this morning?†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, “I apologize, the news was important and I had to come,†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. “Yes, I know, Lavinya, she has worked with the Grays and there is a lot of potential...†Phaedra stopped mid sentence and said, “Is she?†and Ophelia nodded. “She is, she wants to become a Gray,†Ophelia said. Phaedra nodded, smiling and said, “I’ll get ready, have you talked to Finella?†The other Gray nodded, “She said she would like to speak tonight, she apparently has been preparing for this for quite some time already,†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. Phaedra’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 Finella’s hand softly and said, “I hear you prepared for this?†and the other Sitter gave her a broad smile, warm and welcoming when she said, “Of course, that is my job,†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. “Be 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.†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 woman’s left shoulder, “Strenght,†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 Lavinya’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 “Be 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.†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, “It is your task to help her through this,†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, “You did good,†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 wasn’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. “Ready?†the Sitter asked her. Nyssa smiled at the likeable woman. “I’m prepared.†Finella returned her smile. “Good… then let’s welcome our new sister to the fold.†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. “Welcome sister.†She said as she embraced Lavinya. Then she stepped back, taking Lavinya’s hands in her own. “I know the past hours have been trying for you. Come, I’ll show you to your rooms, and then we can spend some time in mine.†She looped Lavinya’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 “I know the past hours have been trying for you. Come, I’ll show you to your rooms, and then we can spend some time in mine.†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 woman’s face told her enough about how well she liked the rooms, and the exclamation that followed merely confirmed that. Lavinya was home. “I’m glad you like your new rooms.†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 hadn’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 Freja’s wing for a year before she was allowed to handle things on her own. She hoped that Lavinya’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. “So…†she started, taking a sip of her wine. “How does it feel to be raised?†~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 Lavinya’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. “All will be well.†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. “I think it’s time for you to meet all your sisters.†Looping her arm through Lavinya’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 couldn’t be worse than Freja… 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 “I think it’s time for you to meet all your sisters.†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 Lavinya’s arm. With one had on the small of Lavinya’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. “Good 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.†~ Finella nodded at Nyssa, indicating that the youngest could take her place at Dawn’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 Lavinya’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 Finella’s nod. She gazed over Lavinya’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 Lavinya’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 Lavinya’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. “Good 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.†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
  18. Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:27 pm Post subject: Becoming a sister... or not? (Christines Oaths, attn: Green) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walking through the yards, Christine smiled as she made it to the Oak tree where she and Aran often practiced. They had taken many naps under that tree, saying they were in meditaion. And how many times had she gotten thrown into the water bucket just a few feet away? Not as many times as she had deserved. It felt so lonely, practicing alone, but Aran had gotten called in to watch the wall that afternoon, and as she didn’t feel like studying, she decided to spend it training. She held out the sword before her, and entered her void. It was a peaceful river, calm and just. It filled her, just like the power did. It was this calm nature that readied her for battle. Breathing thru her nose, she stepped back on her left foot, and brought the sword down from high left to low right, before stepping back on her right foot and moving to the side on her left foot and swinging the sword from high right to low left. Her feet turned as she slid around, whipping the sword as she then thrust forwards, stepping with her right foot. She no longer had to memorixe the steps and think about it. It just came to her. The steps were natural, and she repeated the moves again. Her steps were light and graceful, and her sword was whipping around, ready to slice anything that got in its wait. Perhaps it was the void that made her lose her hearing from the calling, or perhaps she just wished to hear nothing. But as she turned, she thought she saw a grey shawl, and stopped on the thrust. It was an Aes Sedai, dressed as if something was happening, and it could be good or bad. Walking forward, Christine sheathed her sword as she whipped off the sweat on her forhead. Doing an awkward curtsy to Fearzyne Sedai, the Mistress of Novices, she began to explain why she, an Accepted, was in the Warders Yard. “Hello, Aes Sedai, I was only training, I promise you-“ but she was cut off with a serious look that would have stopped the most firey tongue. Light! If she got sent to the farm again, she didn’t know what she would do. It had destroyed her novicehood, being sent to that place, and she would do anything to keep from going back. Even thought it had been 9 years since she had been a novice, the 33-year-old longed to have nothing to do with that Light-forsaken place. “Christine Segrto, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai; the Light keep you whole and see you safe.†Fear struck like a smack on the face. Being tested? Now? She would no longer where the white dress with banded hem? She would be free? Happiness ran through her as she nodded, but at the same time, she wondered if she would pass. What would she do if she failed? Would she even live to come out? Would anyone even mourn her death? More than likely, no. She was alone. But if she passed, she would have sisters. The ideas and thoughts ran through her head, and she nodded slowly. Turning, she followed the Aes Sedai back to the tower, her head hung down as she stared at her sword-torn hands. She even played with her sword as she followed along, and fear ran down her spine as she glanced up at the tower. It seemed so much bigger, now that she knew she would soon be a real part of it. As a novice, you thought you were so important. When it came to being an Accepted, you thought you would never make it. And it was right then, when she looked up, she knew that something great was about to happen to her, and everything was about to change. She didn’t know what would truly happen when she stepped into her testing, but she was afraid of that too. Her arches had ripped her to pieces in the days after as her fears were relived before her. The walked through the tower slowly, both with their mouths shut. They passed a few people, mostly servants, and no one looked at her. They all knew what was going on. No one could miss the seriousness of the testing. There were two massive doors that opened, and she followed Fearzyne Sedai. They walked some more, and they entered into a large room, much like that when her arches were taken. There was a large ring in the center of the room, and light seemed to reflect from it as she saw her doom and future in its ring. There was a ring of Aes Sedai around the center of the room- one of each ajah, and the Mistress of Novices took her place. “Attend,†was all she said, and she saw the sisters obey. It struck her then that this was the defining moment of all her studies, of all her hard work, and all her failures and victories. Now, she was on the chopping block, and she could only pray to the light it didn’t cost her her life. And the ceremony began: “You come in ignorance Christine Segreto, how would you depart?†She swallowed, and Christine looked around at the Aes Sedai staring at her. Her eyes slowly returned to Faerzyne. “In Knowledge of Myself,†she heard herself say. “For what reason have you been summoned here?†Oh, Light! Someone help me please, she begged silently. She knew what she should answer, and while the Aes Sedai seemed so certain she was ready, she was not. She hardly even trusted herself… how could they trust her? “To be tried.†Her heart raced as she said it, and the ceremony continued “For what reason should you be tried?†Oh, Light! This wasn’t right! She shouldn’t have ever come to the tower- not if she was doubting herself now. But there was a voice that answered the question. “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.†And learn she would. Perhaps she was ready… she prayed she was. “For that would you be found worthy?†And here it was: she just blurted it out. “To wear the shawl.†And now, her testing was here. She knew nothing more. Now, she was on the chopping block, and the Aes Sedai all held an axe. It was now or never… and she prayed that she would live to tell. She was asked to undress, and she slipped off everything, and left her sword with it all. Perhaps that would earn points with the Green Sisters… or perhaps it wouldn’t. She ran through the random weaves, but all she thought of were sword steps. What would steps help her if all she had was the power, with no sword to help her? She walked towards the oval, and took one last look around. The Aes Sedai that stared at her showed no emotion on their face, and she knew then, that she was ready. Stepping into the oval, she was looking into almost complete darkness with only a small light from the moon shining down on her. One hundred weaves had to be formed, and one hundred weaves were what she would give. She began slowly, and after 20, she heard a voice in her ear. “Hello, child. We have been waiting for you…†She continued the weaves, her eyes almost shut in fear. She knew that voice… it was her bitch of a mother- that nasty darkfriend who had betrayed her, and joined the Shadow. 25 weaves, and she heard another voice. “Come on, Christine, you know you want the power.†That was her father. She knew what they wanted. They wanted her soul. It went back and forth between them as she continued her weaves, but as she neared 50, her heart almost stopped. Trollocs were coming towards her, with a Myddrral leading them. She continued the weaves, and they came closer, the voices continuing. Back and forth they went, with the trollocs running full force. It was 72 weaves when the trollocs came before her. She clenched her eyes as they came at her, continuing the weaves, and the beasts disappeared. But the voices continued. “So you have stood against trollocs… You have power in deed. But we will find you, and we will take you. Every Aes Sedai shall die to find you. And we shall claim you as one of ours, one for the Shadow.†It was 85 weaves, and her knees almost gave out as the battering continued. In the distance was a man, walking towards her slowly. She ignored the man, and concentrated on the weaves. 95… “Do you see that man? He is one of the Shadow’s, and he can channel…†Her skin prickled as he stopped ten paces away, and she completed weave 98. Only two more. A fire ball came at her from the man, and she yelped as another two followed. 99 weaves completed… “We shall have your soul, you whore, one day, we shall have your soul.†100. The man disappeared as the fire balls did, and the voices went away. And she almost fell to the ground, utterly exhausted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She was led to her rooms, and said nothing. Sleep would over come her any minute now, and as she made it to her room, she made a weak curtsy. Thoughts ran through her head as she fell onto her bed, but she pushed them away. She had passed her testing, and would soon be an Aes Sedai. She had done it. Now to join the ranks of the Green Sisterhood… Woken around dawn, she saw seven sisters before her. One spoke softly. “It is time.†She got out of the bed, still wearing what she had worn the night before. Light! Even her sword was still on her hip! How tired had she been? They gave her no time to take it off, and she followed them quietly. They entered the same room as the night before, and she was greeted by the Amyrlin Seat and Keeper of the Chronicles. The sisters lined up behind her, and she knew that now was the time to truly become an Aes Sedai. Pride filled her, and she stepped forward. The Mother spoke calmly and clearly for all to hear. “Who comes here?†Christine was more ready than ever. Where as the night before she had been terrified, she was now more certain of herself than ever. She would be an Aes Sedai… here it was! “Christine Segreto†“For what reason do you come?†â€To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai,†Christine replied. “By what right do you claim this burden?†“By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.†She still felt the pain of the night before, and she knew that a world of challenges were facing her. But she would make it. Light! She hoped she made it. “Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.†She looked around the group of Aes Sedai behind her, and a smile went across her face. Here it was, her time, and she would be choosing her Ajah, and they would welcome her. She stepped up to the Amyrlin Seat, who held the Oath Rod in her hands as the Keeper gave ot to her. She was handed the rod, and Christine looked at it in awe. Here it was. Her whole life had been waiting for it. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.†Oath one... 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.†Oath two…“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.†Oath three… she was a sister. She fetl a tightening over her as the oaths settled. She was an Aes Sedai. She had done it. All of her hard work had not been in vain. She returned the Oath Rod to the Amyrlin Seat, and a smile was across her face, which was gladly returned. “It is half done, with the White Tower engraved on your bones. Rise now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.†Turning, Christine looked at the Aes Sedai before her. Scanning over the group, she walked slowly towards them, her eyes scanning them. They rested on the Green sisters, and she stepped forward, stopping before them. Everyone else left the room, and she saw a shawl in their hands, the one she longed to wear. Clearing her voice, she looked into their eyes, no fear to be seen. “I beg acceptance into the Battle Ajah.†And it was done. She had done it. No matter what came her way, she was now a sister. She had traveled all this way, and she had made it. Nothing would hold her back now… _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Apollodoria27 DM Member Joined: 29 Apr 2005 Posts: 108 Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:12 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ooc- I assume this would be before Jade's dark period and in fact before she even meets Seia. So here goes, back in time! Jaydena rolled from the bed and walked to the window, her eyes roamed over the ground below her as the moonlight shone on her bare skin. She looked over at the empty bed and wished that she didn't have to climb back into the empty and cold bed. She ran her hands over her hands over her hourglass figure and wished that she didn't feel so alone, that she didn't feel like there was meant to be something more. Padding across the room in the moonlight her feet fell soft on the thick carpets she had gotten in Illian, she made her way to the bathroom and began preparing for the coming day. She couldn't force herself to get back into the cold bed anyway, it just seemed like hard stone to her anyway. Time passed and she climbed from the tub, she looked down at her body and examined the bruised that marked her pale skin. She had been training harder than ever, not just because she was a Green and she knew hard times were coming but also because it helped take away the lonliness. Jade walked from her bathroom and stepped toward her wardrobe inside her rom, she pulled her undergarments from inside and quickly dressed in a pair of tight green britches, a leather green vest, a white shirt, and knee high black leather boots. She walked to the side of her bed and picked up her sword and her short staves from where they leaned against the headboard. Hooking the belt for the staves around her waist one way she hefted the sword and looked down at it. It was made of hard metal and it was likely to be her only bed companion, it was sad and true fact that most Aes Sedai didn't spend their lives in happy and blissful conditions. She would likely die on some misty battleground and would only be remembered by those who had known her and with time her memory would fade and the only trace of her would be her part of the Vault. Shaking her head at the way her thoughts were turning she strapped the sword on her other hip and clasped the green velvet cloak with rabbit fur lining it and slide her hands wearing her serpent ring into the black leather rabbit fur lined gloves and walked out the door. It was time to train and take her thoughts from the lonely and short life ahead of her. Leaving her quarters she wove a ward around her rooms and alked quickly to a tapestry of a battle 500 years ago or more. Looking around she pulled it out and slipped behind it, she jogged down the steps and ran out into the garden that was just beginning to awake. The light glistened on the early morning dew as the sun rose over the Tower. She stopped for a moment and took a deep breath, pushing the ache from her heart as she ran out into the yard and began stretching before her work-out. Some time later she pushed the sweat from her eyes and regarded the Trainee she had just taught a lesson. He had swaggered up to her despite the fact that he knew what and ageless face looked like and acted like he was women's gift from the Creator and she should just jump into bed with him. Their spar had quickly taught him that he didn't want a woman with more power than him. She chuckled as she remembered his face and ran back up to her quarters. As she reached her quarters she saw a novice standing at her door. The young lady curtsied and said, "I am sorry Aes Sedai, I was about to come looking for you when you weren't here. This letter was sent to you." Jaydena thanked the novice and took the note from her, with a deft move of her hand and an a quick move she embraced the source, took the weave off from around her room and stepped inside. When she opened the letter she saw that a Accepted had passed the test and would now take the oaths to become an Aes Sedai. This one was expected to go green and Jade was looking forward to leading her on the right path. Making her way into the bathroom to change and wash the sweat from her body she glanced around the room and then set her sword down next to the bed... Two hours later she emered from hr room, she was now dressed in a emerald green dress with silver stars embroidered on it. Matching earring flashed in her ears, along with a necklace, and bracelet on her right wrist. Her hair was piled on her head and little sticks that looked like swords held the mass in place. Her emerald green fringed shawl with leaves across it shone in the light and she had adopted the serene expression of an Aes Sedai. Forgetting her weakness of the morning she walked on and soon reached the room where the child would swear her oaths. With a graceful glide she took her spot and waited for the ceremony to begin. A short time passed before the room had filled and the Accepted stood before the Amyrlin swearing the oaths to the Tower. Jade nodded as the woman stiffened when the oaths bond her and then stood, looking around the room, and then made her way toward them. She stopped in front of them and the rest of the other ajahs left when they saw where she was. Jaydena waited for her to speak and when she asked for acceptance into the green she said, "So you have chosen the green?" The new Sister whose name was Christine nodded and Jaydena returned her nod. "Well it's a hard ajah and a hard road, we begin it by taking you to our Captain General." She nodded and began walking through the Tower with the other sitters. They had soon reached the Green Quarters and she knocked on the door on her Ajah Heads door. _________________ Jaydena Sedai Sitter of the Green Lyssa Simeone Tower Guard Last edited by Apollodoria27 on Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total Allisa DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 370 Location: The Far Reaches of Maine Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:38 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Though she stood still as a stone, her eyes sharp on the newest supplicant grasping the Oath Rod, Kareja’s thoughts were half a world away and whirling through her mind like a storm wind. Rumors and reports hinted at dark days on the horizong and she rankled at the political fetters that kept her tied to the Tower and thought wistfully (and she admitted to herself far too fondly) of the days when she herself had been a newly raised Sister, free to roam at will and meddle where she may. Green, indeed, but not only in the color of her Ajah. And of course she was not as free to roam and meddle as she would have liked. Too many people, royal and common, seemed to have forgotten the respect and courtesy due an Aes Sedai even in the years of her youth. Eyes filled with fear wherever she had wandered. Faces became closed when her own ageless countenance appeared. Ears strained when she spoke, searching for hidden meanings and twisted words. Not that the Tower has proven to be much different. Here, the game of dancing words was played with a more serious aim. Here, the fate of the world could rest on a well placed word, an arched eyebrow, a slight frown. Her own Aunts, the Light bless their souls, who could dance words or daggers with the best of them, might have found their tongues tied in the White Tower. Now she studied the newest woman to place her life in service to the Tower. Christine Segreto, a countrywoman of Kareja’s though of course once one vowed to the Tower such allegiances were past. Still they could have been true sisters were it not for the flush and eagerness of youth in Christine’s as she faced the three Green Sisters squarely. “I beg acceptance into the Battle Ajah.†Kareja snorted but said nothing. Beg indeed. Together the three Sitters led their newest recruit toward her new life, Kareja making a mental note to pull her fellow Domani aside at the earliest opportunity and instruct her on leaving her begging days far behind her. Battle Sisters demanded. Kareja Nuitari Green Sitter The Battle is all Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:00 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If anyone had told her twenty years ago that soon enough she would give up the soldier’s life, always on the road with saidar her only companion, she might have been offended at having her dedication called into question. Yet not only had she condemned herself to the dank innards of the White Tower for possibly as long as she would live, but she had done so willingly, and by her own devious orchestration … she who had once argued so fiercely to be free of all constraint and to go in search of adventure wherever she chose. The irony of it all diverted her for a fleeting moment. Now the only escapades she involved herself in were conducted at a distance with herself the player directing pawns about her work. Ink stains had replaced war wounds. She contemplated the densely written pages before her, smudged by hurry and detailing matters which no doubt urgently needed her attention, and for a moment this was all so surreal that it cut at her bright edged: she, once the half illiterate bastard from Andor, knowing nothing save how to survive … the bitter outcast who had found no comfort in a life she had needed to make her whole … it was she who now sat as Head of the Green Ajah, the highest office in these halls, before whom all others gave way. It seemed dream like in a way and yet she already knew that the taste of ascendancy was sweet and having supped from this cup she could never pass it on. Hence why Sirayn Sedai, once a soldier and perhaps still so in her heart, worked in silence and deep concentration these late hours to master a rising tide of paperwork. Dealing with authority had never been her strong point, much preferring to keep her independence close, and all the constraints which bound about sisters now manifested themselves before her in the form of endless requests. Asking permission to leave the city had never seemed so unnecessary as when she had to read over every such instance and grant or deny it. Those new tasks were only the beginning. A sister wanted a meeting to discuss the progress of her young mentee who was likely to choose the Green Ajah in her turn; Sirayn noted in passing that the woman was a modernist, briefly considered how awkward that audience might be, and granted it with a brief flourish of her pen. Somebody else wanted her to consent to their bonding with a young Tower Guard and to perhaps grace the occasion with her presence. Such support was not strictly necessary, but it was considered a small piece of tact, and perhaps all the more so to an Ajah Head so new. A sister’s bonding might prove a simple enough task to begin her public duties; a little favour spread good will and if all went well it might not even be tiresome. And all the time a stack of huge tomes brooded in one corner. Compiled there were the thousand and one rules of protocol which a Captain General needed to know, particularly one for whom foes waited at every opportunity, and she could not afford the smallest mistake. Time wound on and she fell into a mechanical routine like some work of brass and sinew to lift and scan and respond; by her side cryptic coded notes spidered further across an otherwise fresh and blank page. Briefly she entertained the thought of recruiting some servant to manage her appointments and so forth but the idea filled her with such an immediate horror that she discarded it immediately. It would be a bleak day when she admitted this or anything else was beyond her. Even as the first and palest rays of dawn stole softly through the leaded glass window, to paint her papers and the small movement of her hand writing in shades of grey and subtle rose, she finally roused herself enough to lay aside her papers. The light outside her window held a pale wintry tint. This morning they held one of their most fundamental ceremonies: the petition of a newly raised Aes Sedai and her subsequent entry, if as a recruit, having had her request denied. Raisings. The procedure held a great deal of significance for her. Much of her career had been sparked on that shameful morning she was deemed unworthy to join the Battle Ajah … so much bitterness, so much resentment, a lifetime’s exile all begun on a morning much like this so many years ago; for the longest time she had wanted to abolish the whole pretence immediately she took this office, never doubting in the dark dreams of her youth that some day she would, but matters were more complicated now. It would take some phenomenal support to overturn a tradition of some thousand years’ standing … perhaps more than she had, certainly more than she was willing to risk … and in truth? She wasn’t certain any longer that that would be the best way. She had only to look at her own case to see how successful the initiation period had been if one measured in colder and more objective ways than she had. Troubled as she was by all this philosophy no amount of contemplation would resolve the task before her. Christine Segreto was to be raised to the shawl this morning and if they had guessed rightly she would be coming to join them amid the Green Ajah. A raising was always a source of celebration and in particular this young woman Sirayn had herself guided in some small part; difficult though it was to imagine why Christine had attached herself to her so, presumably she had proved to be useful in some way. This morning if all went to plan the child would come to see her in an entirely new light … as Head of the Green Ajah. Always assuming she played her part correctly of course. Intellectually she knew that she couldn’t mess up such a simple procedure if she tried; but her heart told her otherwise. Nevertheless, an hour later found her smartly dressed and at her most imposing in the Captain General’s Office. A stately desk occupied the centre of this luxurious room with half a hundred paintings of previous incumbents hung up round the walls; once the title passed along from her, by means of resignation or something more sinister, her portrait too would occupy a place there. Heavy leather bound books lined one wall while a display cabinet cased mementoes and artefacts of long gone campaigns. Directly behind the desk positioned so that it lay across the wall like a silent threat was the colossal greatsword borne by her predecessors into battle and now by rights belonging to her. The blade was near as tall as she was and not likely to become her constant companion unless she worked out some way to bear it without looking a fool; yet it lent a certain authority to her presence here. Perfectly calm, she seated herself being the polished dark desk and simply waited; her hard face set in lines of stone, a simple green shawl draped about her shoulders; ice grey eyes rested upon the door waiting for the party to enter. On the wall above her head waited that great grey sword which marked her rank and for all the bleak and winding path which had brought her here, and all the dark times which still lay ahead, she looked every inch Head of the Green Ajah in that moment. ooc: Speak friend and enter. _________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Last edited by Sirayn on Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:22 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walking through the halls, Christine heard voices. It was those of the Green sisters with her... but she was not paying attention. All she had on her mind was what faced her. She still had not been given her shawl, and had not been accepted as a sister... and this worried her. She had let the Battle Sisters know that she was going to be a Green Sister, so she did not know what the problem was. Perhaps it was something wrong with her. Perhaps another test. Or even worse- perhaps she would not be accepted in. She had never heard of an Ajah not accepting an Initiate, but she was sure it could happen. It was hallowed halls she walked through, that night. The halls of the Battle Ajah, the halls of the Green Ajah. She had been there before, whether for a study with Sirayn Sedai, running messages, a bit of research, or just looking around when she got a chance. She loved the beauty, the majesty, the presence that it gave off. Swords adorned the doorways, and the closed doors were leading her in deeper- deeper than she had ever been. Looking at the Sisters, she realized something that she felt idiotic for not noticing before. They were the sitters. Who could be higher than the Sitters? Oh no... she was going to meet the Head of the Green Ajah. Her eyes opened wide at the realization, but the sisters kept walking. This was horrid- being put before trial by a sister she didn’t know. She was bound to fail whatever test was put before her! Jaydena Sedai led her to a door, and stopped, the other two sitters standing behind Christine. Looking at them, she recieved a nod, and she knocked on the door. “Enter!†said a cold voice- a voice that she recognized from somewhere. She turned the handle, and looked at the Sitters, a small smile on each face. Stepping in, she was shocked. The walls were covered in paintings, and the large room held a desk in the center, the Aes Sedai sitting behind it. The door shut behind her, and she was still staring. But it wasn’t the paintings, nor was it the Great Sword over the desk that held her attention. It was the Aes Sedai. Sirayn Sedai- she should have known. After all these years, she had never known that the Aes Sedai she went to for help was the Head of the Ajah. The woman stared at her, and Christine stared back for a moment, before dropping into a curtsy. “Sirayn Sedai...†she whispered, shocked. “Well, girl, what do you want?†she heard. Slowly rising, Christine stepped forward, her eyes straight ahead, staring at her mission. She stood before the desk, and spoke clearly and slowly, afraid her voice would crack. “I come to beg acceptance into the Green Ajah.†ooc: god help us all... Sira has a friend _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Halvie DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 60 Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:47 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ‘*’ The smile he gave her tore her apart as she felt the rising tide of bitterness carrying her back into the murky past when they had enjoyed the vitality of youth together. Sharp memories of their meet amidst the dark chaos of the Blight; that hellhole of evil spawns & despair. His fight against the dark had inspired her much as he still did now but this, a simple spar against a trainee of all people! It had resulted in a torn muscle which placed his case under a grave, uncaring light; oh Light, what was the use of remaining in the Tower when he continued to injure himself so? Had he no concern for his own safety, let alone of her feelings? It was iniquitous for her to watch her only warder waste away into this pale image of the man he had once been and the cruel jibes he made of his age hurt her more than she revealed. Get another warder, I know of several worthy candidates. It’s improper for a Green to remain bonded to just one, one who will soon be no more… Maechella bit back half a hundred sharp retorts that sprung to her lips, clamping down on her aggravation before it got through the bond. ‘*’ Did he still think himself a man in his prime, to put himself through the harsh regime the yard offered? Him, a fresh victim of the callous creatures of the dark with a lean back ravaged with more marks than the eyes could bear. She had sacrificed a continued existence in the Blight for his sake; arduous though that life had once been, it had satisfied her fully. She had relished the bond shared by her soldier comrades, had worked into turning it into her life mission. Deplete the sturdy ranks of the Dark Lord before the Last Battle; their skirmishes would be minor in relation to the final confrontation but still, she had thrown in her best efforts to keep back the dark minions and that knowledge sufficed in calming her conscience. Now those flashing grey eyes were turned towards scrutinising impassive facades and running through pages of cryptic codes. ‘*’ These were the dark times when her fingers so unused to much writing cramped under pressure, her mind struggling to cope with political intrigue when it had grown comfortable dealing with the inventories of armies. Even now Maechella occasionally found herself groping for the appropriate terms to address a delicate matter or personage, periodically depending on her subconsciousness to back her up when at a lost; hazardous business. A simple flicker of eyes and hands, was that to be treated as an invitation or challenge? Subdued voices over the coarse voices of soldiers; and arguments withheld, with dissentients building up till break point should she be so dull as to miss those slight hints. Critical times and she stood in the middle of all these artful creatures, oddly enough. ‘*’ “Yet another is to be raised to the shawl today,†Maechella noted aloud with a heavy air of resignation. Another occasion for her to be submerged within stiff protocol & duties; she hoped to not end up dealing with yet another former catty Accepted. Unlikely that the occupants of the Tower would ever adopt a frank posture and she would be burned if she hadn’t noted herself changing to merge into her current surroundings; feeling her old self take over. Those endless days filled with lessons on etiquette and silk dresses, a slash for every faux pas that left her weeping for forgiveness. Old days; she was a drastically different person from that spoilt noble heir now. She had learned. ‘*’ “Be kind to her for me, won’t you?†came the weak call from their tousled bed. A stray beam of light caught the wry grin that appeared, painting the jagged lines on her facial planes in a forbidding manner. “It would depend, wouldn’t it?†she called back gently, cold hands slipping around the small brass doorknob. “It would depend on everything.†A faint gust of wind swept into their plain quarters, a chilly breath that made the edges of her green shawl flutter in its wake. “Our lives are hardly our own.†Nor is our fate. ‘*’ Maechella Verlein burned the final vestiges of warm emotions during the trial and subsequent ceremony. Her sharp eyes noted every trace of weakness the Accepted displayed to be stored, compiled and perhaps, abused. She was resigned that would be the way her current life ran and once that determined, set to excelling it with a vengeance born purely of frustration. Would this little one decide to add peace as a major decisive element in her future, or would she choose to act purely on brazen instincts? Death over life, what would she pick; peace or war, excitement or reasoning… was this child even emotionally stable? So many people had lost a piece of themselves when death flashed before their eyes, even the Aes Sedai. Did she have what it took to withstand them all? She observed the flame of eagerness dancing behind their youngest recruit sourly, musing, contemplating, doing nothing. She would do nothing for now; it was up to Christine Sedai to prove herself. Maechella Verlein Sitter of the Battle Ajah Ravaged emotions Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:24 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Silence lingered cool and waiting in the severely arranged room as the four women entered. Here serenely came the Battle Ajah’s finest, the three Banner Captains, her seconds in command; each composed and shrouded in majesty fit to strike fear into the hearts of those who observed them. Two she had raised herself while the third of many years’ standing held on only through the weight of their agreement while all around had expected her to cast the woman down in revenge for opposition. No matter their previous experience and their own connections, each now depended on her favour to hold their ranks, as did all other sisters who claimed the emerald shawl … a brief and surreal moment to think what control she now had over them. As a child even smaller and lesser than their fourth companion she herself had revered the women who had then held these coveted seats: now it was she who called the shots. They were too well schooled to let any trace of feeling colour their manner. As with many new sisters, their companion might have studied for decades and only achieved half that composure. Fair though she was, and seemingly popular among young men, the Domani child had no idea what lay in wait for her … and from her dazed expression perhaps she had just realised that. The other three women having taken up their accustomed places, the quiet drew out further into tension while young Christine Sedai stood before her and simply stared in shocked confusion. One dark brow arched in fractional query prompting for some sort of movement. Not particularly flattering to have it confirmed once more that she was not the type of person people immediately took for powerful; but she had expected little more and life was not all roses. A curtsey went some way to mend her irritation on this point. In response to her sharp query Christine lifted her voice, as sweet to hear as the rest of her to look upon, and set in motion the next stage of the machinery that was this process. A small part of her remained every bit as frozen as anyone first coming before their Ajah Head … the whole situation still seemed so foreign to her, that anybody should seek acceptance from her, that she should now sit in judgement who once knelt herself. Yes: success was sweet indeed. “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai.†Only a skilled listener might pick out a subtle note of irony in her tone. “But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:59 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Christine stared back down at the floor as she felt the three women behind her. Sirayn's glaring watch over her seemed to bare right into her soul as she faced her own revelation. She was going to die. Sirayn Sedai would never allow her acceptance. Perhaps it had been foolhardy of her to even believe she could recieve the honor, or perhaps she had just had so much hope that there would be a scrap of mercy that would grant her what she so much craved. “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai.†The sound of Sedai sounded so perfect with her name, but she didnt want just that. It was almost a slap in the face, to hear the Captain General use that name. It was like dangling the string before the cat... so close, yet she was not able to reach it unless she pleased the master. Her heart ached to reach her string, to recieve the shawl, and to be a Battle Sister. “But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†She knew it- she wouldnt be allowed in. This was just a pity talk, to make her feel like she had some chance, when truely she had none. Well, if she was going to fail, she might as well try her best before she hung her chin to her chest for the rest of her days. Looking clearly at the Aes Sedai before her, and feeling the power of the ones behind her, she began to speak softly. "Sirayn Sedai, my parents were darkfriends. Before I found this out, aye, I disliked all Shadow dwellers, but now, it is a hate with a passion. Whatever I can do to destroy the shadowspawn that torment my family, i will do." Glancing behind her, she looked at the three sets of eyes that held on to hers. Turning back to Sirayn Sedai, she felt as if she could fall to her knees, begging. "Please, I just want to make the world better. I want to destroy all shadowspawn. I want to fight, with my sisters, against the evil of this land. I want to help in the cause. And I want to do it as a Battle Sister. Whatever the cost, I will pay it to further the cause- even, no, expeccially, if it requires my life." Her eyes pleaded for her as she slowly moved her eyes from the Captain General's to the floor. "All I ask is that you grant me my wish, and I shall be eternally greatful, and will repay the debt I shall owe to you. Please." _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:19 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Darkfriend parents: her surviving hand tightened just a little on the desk before her, fingertips sliding a fraction over smoothly polished wood like satin, briefest sensation to distract her. Her composure she did not permit to waver even for a moment but that instant’s pause gave Sirayn time to assess their pretty young supplicant. The innocence still so evident in the soft features did not speak of malice to her own keen examination, much less Darkfriend knowledge, and she prided herself on her judgement … but all too bitterly Sirayn remembered how she had been fooled on past occasions; on how eyes seemingly just as trusting and artless as these deep brown ones had harboured a life’s worth of hatred. On their first meeting she had measured Christine Segreto and found her no threat. Yet for long hard moments now that her parentage had been revealed Sirayn considered that decision again. Surely any Darkfriend such a fool as to admit to a similar heritage in front of three Sitters and an Ajah Head whom they needed to accept them would never have survived this long. That took a particular kind of idiocy … unless it was a double bluff. Could such dark confidence be present behind an image of otherwise superficial beauty? By this time they ought to know that she was doubly on her guard for just such a scheme and Christine was not, unless she missed her guess entirely, subtle enough or skilled enough to take her on in that manner. No indication of anything warning in the manner. Nothing suppressed behind the brown eyes. Nothing save her own suspicion heightened a sense of danger in this magnificent room. If this child was a Darkfriend, she was an extraordinarily brash one, and such boldness could easily be converted into mistakes. Easing tensed shoulders a fraction Sirayn dismissed her worries … for now at least. Pleading to be permitted to join the Green Ajah seemed heartfelt enough. A note of desperation, a note of eagerness; it might have been stirring had Sirayn not been a callous cynic at heart. In small ways it made her uncomfortable to be listening to such a passionate declaration of loyalty toward them. All her sisters had reasons to be here on the front line against the Shadow, to go through mud and blood and weariness until the glamour had long worn away and to stay there anyway, to survive disaster along with triumph, and still to be there when the sun rose the next dawn picking through the bones of another battle. It did not serve well to inquire too closely into what women like her kept secret. Yet on this, the first of many such mornings, it was her task to judge them and find them wanting. Intensely it troubled her to do this who had always held so strongly that an Aes Sedai’s business was one’s own. To interfere here went against all the traditions which she kept closest. Most bitterly it stung her own long held memories of similar failures; bringing back too close and sharp recall that she had nearly become the only sister to be turned down at her second petition as well … telling her again that she had lost all faith in herself that morning and that something had been lost which even hundreds of years later had never been regained. Her own history had passed into legend along with that of many of her contemporaries but she herself still remembered despair. It took a certain kind of woman to do this job: a hard one certainly, a cruel one perhaps; someone capable of detachment from all common rules of courtesy and custom; the type of iron leader the Green Ajah had forged her into. Maybe this was why she sat beneath the Captain General’s greatsword this morning. Not so much because she had possessed the political will to make it so; that was only the final demonstration … but because she had herself gone through all the damage this could wreak on a woman, had seen its bitterest ending, and was callous enough to continue anyway. Perhaps she who had so nearly been brought down by this tradition knew best that the morning’s events would certainly damage Christine, might ruin her even, and Sirayn Damodred was pitiless enough to continue anyway. And if she meant to do so, she might as well do so in style. “Fair words, Christine Sedai.†Silky smooth as honey, a note no doubt the child had never heard from her before. “Unfortunate for you … a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here.†A twist of sheer steel there as an instant’s chill displayed the commanding strength of a voice usually kept restrained. “You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†Sheer cruelty now, this was enough to destroy most people and that knowledge lay on her like a weight; nevertheless not an instant’s pity did she permit herself nor could she allow such simple sentiment to stay her hand. Her deeds here served to silence any criticism that might rise, not that folk were likely to speak of her as too soft, knowing her reputation … and knowing that this served her own selfish purposes might have stung her if she had let herself care just now. Her words continued as iron, her bearing straight, every inch in command. “You are bound to us now and the Green Ajah does not give up so easily. You may not leave here a free woman; nor will you ever be free of us if we have our way. Over the next months you will be given a place among the lowest of our rank. If you learn well and willingly enough, if you demonstrate the qualities we require from our sisters, perhaps you will be permitted to petition again for acceptance. “This chance is one you have earned by passing the Aes Sedai test. Few will be permitted as you will be to learn from a Banner Captain of many years’ standing; you are being given an opportunity many would swear their lives into servitude for. If there is anything in you which wants the shawl … if there is anything in you which deserves the shawl … let it follow the example set to you by your initiation leader. She has been tasked with preparing you for your second petition, at which, let me warn you now, you will have to pass my scrutiny as you failed it this morning. Jaydena Sedai is your only chance now. If you have any sense you will be as her shadow: discreet, hard working, and obedient in every way. Should you trouble her you will answer to me.†Narrow grey eyes fixed the new recruit in a cold stare. Many had wept hearing this speech; many had raged and sworn; still others had, on some memorable occasions, gone straight for the speaker’s throat. She did not intend to be permissive of any such behaviour on this occasion. Now more than ever she had to appear entirely in control. A careless gesture sent away the young woman before her; grey eyes like flint never wavering in their gaze. “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:46 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You could have heard a pin drop in that room. No one moved. In fact, other than Sirayn Sedai, no one even dared breath. Christine’s eyes did all the pleading for her, and finally, her Judge, Jury, and Executer spoke. “Fair words, Christine Sedai.†A smile went across Christine’s face. She had done it. Surely she would be accepted. “Unfortunate for you-“ Christine’s heart stopped. Her whole naked, wet body froze, and she shivered, hearing those words. No, after all this time, she could not be denide. After everyone she had hurt, and after all these miles, and all these years, she was just going to be turned down. â€-a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here.†A single tear formed at the corner of her eye. She had failed. After everything, she had failed. “You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†She felt her soul leave her body. After being abandoned in the world, she had held one hope, that perhaps she could be an aes sedai. After discovering what the Green Ajah stood for, it was as though her destiny had been set before her. She knew she belonged with them. Every word just seemed to flow right over her. Nothing else really seemed to matter. “You are bound to us now and the Green Ajah does not give up so easily. You may not leave here a free woman; nor will you ever be free of us if we have our way. Over the next months you will be given a place among the lowest of our rank. If you learn well and willingly enough, if you demonstrate the qualities we require from our sisters, perhaps you will be permitted to petition again for acceptance.†Petition? Again? And what, be turned down again? She couldnt dealwith that. She was considerd a sister to others, yet truly, she was just a fraud. Could she do that? No. And she wouldnt. Her life was over. Words flowed over her. She heard something of recruit, then something about Jaydena and Initiation. Her eyes were fixed on Sirayn’s in horror, and she started freaking out. Her heart raced, and she started breathing harder. Hear she stood, naked and alone, and she was denied the one thing she had always wanted. “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†Recruit her ass... Looking around, Christine didn’t see her clothes, and she wished more than ever right then that she had her sword. She would put the blasted thing to good use. Spotting a knife on Sirayn Sedai’s desk, she walked forward and took it off. Holding it, with the four looking on, wondering who was the girl’s victim, Christine just shook her head, and plunged it into her heart. Slumping onto the floor, she bled out as the world spun around her. Just lying there, she closed her eyes, knowing that she had just been a waste of life and a waste of power. _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:58 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fascinating indeed to watch the effects of her little speech upon her quarry: the widening of her eyes, the rapid pace of her breath, all the small signs of panic … most satisfying to know that her discourse had hit home as intensely as she meant it to. Impressing her own will upon new sisters often too caught up in their own triumph to realise that some measure of deference was still expected of them was often a challenging task but this appeared to have accomplished its goal without difficulty; though her expression remained sternly composed inwardly Sirayn counted this an unqualified success. However, basking in her own approval lasted for all of a minute. Quick as a striking snake the child snatched a dagger from her desk. An instant only she remained still: despite all the stories truly she had never thought for a moment that there was a real danger to her with so many sisters about; incredulous that anyone should dare raise a hand against her in her own office; certain that her own eyes had misled her. Stillness lasted the brief space it took her to recall how easily a fragile system could be damaged by a well aimed knife. That she should even have to imagine that in this place outraged her. Cold fury drenched her like freezing water. Saidar slammed into her, a sister’s best defence, and Sirayn rose to her feet summoning all her wrath about her to stop the child dead in her tracks should she even attempt to use the blade. Her fury did not reach its intended target. Stunned, she watched unbelieving as Christine plunged the blade into her own heart. Blood spilled forth in a gush so richly red it looked surreal and, hands falling loosely away from the scarlet slicked hilt, the child slumped to the ground. Crimson liquid leaked over the smooth polished floor, sank into an elegant carpet, pooled before her desk. Bizarre though this whole situation was, the first thought that occurred to her through a haze of incredulity was that she had been passing fond of that carpet. Children these days were so inconsiderate about where they chose to bleed. “For the love of the Light!†Frustration rang hard as iron in her voice. Had her speech truly been so good it drove young women to kill themselves? How did it reflect on her that somebody had attempted to take their own life during her first raising? Questions chattered away and she dismissed them ruthlessly back into the darkness from whence she had come. “Somebody heal the idiot child.†A careless gesture summoned one of the three Sitters to perform a task; inwardly resenting a fact that none of them needed to point out, that she herself was too feeble in saidar to perform the same task herself. So many parts of her life might have taken a different turn if she had been able to complete that most necessary of weaves … but she had long ago resigned herself to her failings. Grey eyes remained sharp on the smear of red blood and the slowing rise and fall of the Domani child’s breast as breath stilled in her lungs. The healing weave was as quick and efficient as it had ever been. Once the immediate crisis appeared to have been averted Sirayn subsided back into her seat; as near to furious as she permitted herself to be in public. The sheer stupidity of some people both amazed and irritated her. “Are they raising lackwits to the shawl these days? How did dramatic suicide become an Aes Sedai’s first resort under pressure? I trust that your patience is good these days Jaydena Sedai because I can see that mine would not be up to the task of teaching this fool.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Apollodoria27 DM Member Joined: 29 Apr 2005 Posts: 108 Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:40 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- They stepped into the office of their leader and the newest Sister followed them into the dark room. Sirayn Sedai sat behind her desk, powerful yet small in stature and scared in more ways than one. Christine made a small shocked sound and her voice came out in a shocked whisper as she spoke the Captain Generals name. Jade smirked and watched the emotions flit across the woman's face. She could well understand that shock, it had been one more blow to her heart when Sirayn had been raised to that Greatsword instead of herself. Sirayn's voice rasped out across the room, “Well, girl, what do you want?†Christine answered in that same quiet and scared sounding voice, “I come to beg acceptance into the Green Ajah.†Jade rolled her eyes at the girl whose eyes were focused on their Ajah Head. Greens did not beg for anything at least not in public in front of their ajah head and sitters. Her mind wandered and she remembered well begging Seia to make her, to love her, and be with her always. She would never beg for anything again, she would never ask for anything from that woman as long as she lived. She refocused in as Sirayn began to respond, “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai. But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†Jaydena sighed and knew that the end was coming soon and before long they would have to deal with the anger and drama of yet another woman scorned. Christine began to speak and Jade's mouth almost hit the floor as she heard what the woman had to say. "Sirayn Sedai, my parents were darkfriends. Before I found this out, aye, I disliked all Shadow dwellers, but now, it is a hate with a passion. Whatever I can do to destroy the shadowspawn that torment my family, i will do." Jade couldn't believe that the girl oh yes girl had revealed something like this in front the leaders of her intended ajah. The ajah that was most likely to be peering around it's doors for people lurking in the shadows. Foolish foolish child. "Please, I just want to make the world better. I want to destroy all shadowspawn. I want to fight, with my sisters, against the evil of this land. I want to help in the cause. And I want to do it as a Battle Sister. Whatever the cost, I will pay it to further the cause- even, no, expeccially, if it requires my life. All I ask is that you grant me my wish, and I shall be eternally greatful, and will repay the debt I shall owe to you. Please." Well it was a pretty speech but it would do no good, no matter how pretty the words, every woman in this ajah had gone through the same thing and so would this young one. She folded her hands at her waist and waited for the storm to erupt as Sirayn began to speak. “Fair words, Christine Sedai. Unfortunate for you … a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here. You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†Sirayn continued to speak and Jade began to wish she had ended it with something like, "Hey look here your not a Green, get over, and go to your studies." Instead Sirayn was droning on about something and honestly after all these years Jade was a little of sick of the same thing over and over and the pompous acts of each ajah head that had stood in her place. Finally it was over and Sirayn was silent, she waited for the girl to start screaming. Sirayn turned to her and Jade let her eyes rack the woman's face for one moment as she spoke, “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†Jade stepped forward and was about to walk towards the girl when something strange happened. The woman stepped forward, grabbed the knife off Sirayn's desk. The power came into her just as quickly as she felt it echo in Sirayn behind her and the other Sitters. Instead of the woman making them protect their ajah head, the dagger was plunged into her own heart. As the blood squirted and Christine Sedai slumped to the floor Jade said, "You have got to be kidding me, how in the Light did you pass the final test." She saw the weaves of healing from beside her and then the wound sealed and the only sign that remained was the hole in her dress and the blood everywhere. Behind her Sira spoke, “Are they raising lackwits to the shawl these days? How did dramatic suicide become an Aes Sedai’s first resort under pressure? I trust that your patience is
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