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  1. For all her claimed ‘worldliness,’ Viviane had never visited the Black Tower. Not until today. The large black stoned wall loomed before her, it’s heavy doors surprisingly open. Men in black coats sat watch, to be sure, but it was still a shock to see. The openness implied freedom and welcome. The White Tower had made peace with this group, but that did not mean there were not hushed whispers in the hallowed halls of the Tower; whispers about the madmen of the Black Tower and their tainted Saidin. Codswallop is what that was. If the Red Ajah could get over their past prejudices, then so should the other Sisters. If only more of them would come and see for themselves that there was nothing to fear. In truth, that was why she had come herself. Viviane Accylon still held some prejudice in her heart, but Light, she was determined to banish those feelings. She supported the Tower’s decision to play nice with these boys, and yes, she also accepted the new role her Ajah would play… She just never thought that Saidin would be cleansed… She never thought that the Last Battle would actually occur in her lifetime, but these were strange times. The Dragon Reborn walked the land and all things would be remade in his passing- once the Dark One was dealt with. Prophecy said as much. The Gateway winked out behind Viviane, not one she had Woven, she was unable to unaided; two Tower Guards remained as an escort. It was bad form, Viviane knew that, but most could understand her unease. As a sign of good faith, the pair would wait here for her, once she decided to make her return trip to the White Tower. Despite what the escort may have said to the observer, Viviane was still the picture of Aes Sedai calm and authority. A light breeze danced through the air, swirling Viviane’s coiled, ginger hair about her shoulders. The full skirts of her deep violet dress rustled against her legs, dagger sleeves waving this way and that. She held her hands clasped at her waist, patiently waiting for her contact to show. Ful Heart. That young man was a junior member of the Black Tower, not yet having earned both of the Asha’man pins. The thought softened Viviane’s nerves a touch. Surely, this Ful was still green behind the ears. Nothing she couldn’t handle with a few well-placed looks or sniffs. The two guards at the Gate seemed to be speaking between themselves, finally having spotted Viviane and her own escort. They did not come to greet her. Where was their propriety? Their decorum? And where in the Light was this Ful Heart?
  2. It was done. Viviane sat kneeling on the ground before the small table in her room, a single candle glowing before her. Shadows danced along the wall as the flame flickered too and fro. There was no detectable breeze, but there must be some unseen draft with the candle's behavior. Everything was silent in the hallways of the Accepted’s Quarters; most of those girls would have found sleep for the night. Not Viviane. She was contemplating her future… And how tired she would inevitably feel come the morning. Not that Aes Sedai let fatigue touch them, oh no. At the very least, Viviane sat alone with a full stomach. The kitchens certainly had outdone themselves on that meal. Smoked salmon on a bed of buttered greens. Warm honey oat bread and clear bone broth. Candied bacon and roasted potatoes. Custard filled tarts and several types of sugared berries. Wine that had not been watered. Tremalking black tea. Viviane’s mouth began to water at the thought. She pushed it out of her mind as quickly as she could. There would be time to eat whatever she liked once she had gained the shawl. It was a great injustice that one was not administered the Oaths as soon as they passed the test, but the White Tower was nothing if not traditional. There was nothing for it but to focus on the flame that danced before her. Viviane did not really want to contemplate her testing. It had all come flooding back to her as soon as she had stepped out of the Ter’angreal. Light, would she have to face such trials if she lived to see the Last Battle? She would be prepared if such was the case. At least she would never have to deal with any of the horrible situations involving her family… Hopefully. Her mother still lived. Best to put that out of her mind. The Tower was her home and the Sisters were her family now. She would be bound to them for eternity once she took the Oaths. Oh, she would certainly remain in contact with Mother, but it might be best if she never went to Camelyn to call on her. Mother could come here to visit. There would be less risk of anyone noting that the two were related, and then no one could use Mother against her… If it ever came to that- the Light forbid. One had to consider the possibilities when one had decided upon the Red Ajah. So strange. Years and years ago, Viviane had decided upon the Blue. It wasn’t until a certain Red sister took a liking to Viviane that she had started to doubt her convictions of Ajah choice. Viviane had grown up on the rougher side of Camelyn. She had seen what it was like for the poor and the destitute. Upon entering her name in the Novice Book, Viviane had vowed to herself that she would become Aes Sedai if only to help ensure that the people of the land were taken care of. Blues were obsessed with their causes and they held more than a little sway with many nations. It seemed so simple at the time. The Reds, however, were literally the sworn protectors of the world. They were the force that stood between humanity and the Shadow. They protected everyone that walked under the Light. Yes, they hunted and gentled men that could Channel, but that was only a small fraction of what it meant to be a Red Sister. People only focused on that mission because those same men were the biggest threat to the world. There hadn’t been many wars between the nations in recent memory. Light, even the Battle of the Shining Walls could be chalked up to the vanity of a single ruler. To be Red was to be flexible. To be Red was to be a guardian. To be Red was to be selfless. To be Red was to hold as much love in your heart as possible! If that were not true, why would so many women take up that shawl and vow to themselves to protect humanity from the horrors of the world… And even to protect humanity from itself. Viviane’s mission had never changed. It was only her view on the world that had changed, and thus her plans to achieve her mission. She would strike out and go to- A knock sounded at the door. It was time. Viviane had no need to school her face, she had already felt like serenity incarnate. So lost she had been in her own thoughts, she did not notice that the candle was almost burnt out. The sky was turning from black to a deep shade of violet outside of her window. Dawn was approaching. She rose from her spot on the floor with ease and went to the door, not hesitating to open it. She knew who lay on the other side. Seven sisters watched her as the door slowly swung back. Viviane was not surprised to find her favorite Red, Jagen Sedai, amongst them. Not a word was spoken by anyone. Viviane stepped out into the hallway and the seven women surrounded her, forming a sort of mock-honor guard, and they walked off into the dark hallways of the Tower.
  3. OOC: This is a WT approved Retro-RP taking place after Kathleen Sedai takes over Elessar Gaidin’s Bond from Carys Sedai IC but before they head out on their Borderland-journey in the previously posted RP “A Bond of Emerald Grace”, and much before Elessar’s later adventures. The Prologue below (which consists of several re-posted former IC-posts) sets the stage for this new Retro-RP. PROLOGUE To Pass A Bond: Part 1 ►▼◄ Elessar’s life was filled with dreams. Or so it felt. Much more so than normal. And he wondered why. Perhaps it was all a result of his constant restlessness these days. His feeling of stagnation as a Warder in the White Tower. His need for some action.. to do something. Anything. His worry about Carys. Thinking about her, made him aware of the emotion that was her at the back of his head, and as so often these days she felt weary to him. He shook his head in concern and placed his sword, which he had been sharpening, beside him on the bench there at the outskirts of the Warder’s Yard. Clouds were spreading across the sky above Tar Valon that early afternoon, mirroring his troubling thoughts. A soft wind was rising from the south, making the banners atop the Tower walls slowly ripple, and it seemed that a storm was coming. Looking up at the grey sky, the Gaidin waited. ● He was a man six foot three tall with a fairly dark complexion, short dark hair and hard dark eyes. He had a strong build (a result of hard physical training over many years) and also some battle-scars, most prominent was one across his abdomen. In fury over the death of his mother and his inability to prevent it, he had shaved off his forked beard (so common in Kandori men) long ago and had never re-grown it. Touching his bare chin, as his eyes roamed the heavens for a long time looking for the bird of prey he seeked, he wondered if he ever would re-grow his Kandori forked beard. He did not think he would. He had made his choice and he would abide by it. There! High above, coming in from the east, he saw the bird float on the currents high above the Aes Sedai city, as he had seen it on several occasions in the past three days. He followed it with his eyes as it flew off into the west. A bird of prey. A free soul. A small smile touched his lips and he reached for his blade. To be out in the world again. Doing his Warder duty. Carrying out his sworn service. Outside. Where he could contribute. That was his inner wish. To feel needed. ● Carys. His thoughts often stayed on her. And on them. On their Bond. On his worries. On his frustration that there seemed nothing he could do to change things. He was dutibound to serve Carys in whatever capacity. Part of him felt it was wrong to even question this. Wrong to complain. Do your duty and stop whining! that little voice in the back of his mind said. He listened only partially to the voice. This was complicated. As things often were in life. It had been days since he’d last seen Carys - a quick hello as she was instructing an Accepted on how to set a broken bone - but it felt like months in truth. If he were honest with himself, the closeness that they’d acquired on their travels had now melted into an awkward acquaintance type feeling. The distance between them was palpable and he didn’t know how to fix it. So, in a way, it seemed to him that they avoided each other. She stayed busy in the Infimary - and he spent his time…anywhere else. It was, Elessar thought, almost as if the memories of their time together - their travels and adventures in Cairhien, Ebou Dar, and with the Sea Folk - had happened in another life. And, he supposed, perhaps it had. It was different then, he thought, as he stared silently out at the ever darkening sky from the window in his Tower room. Out on the road, I was needed. I could carry out my duty and service - and I did not feel restrained. She needed me back then. He truly missed those days. With Carys at his side, as it had been with Leandreen many years before, he had felt as if he could make a true difference in the world. That he could excel as a Warder. Now, trapped in the Tower, he felt almost useless. That was, perhaps, an unfair notion and he would never say anything like that to Carys, of course, but recently he had struggled to suppress the feeling. ● Shifting his gaze to a pair of young Warder-trainees going through the forms some way off to his left, his mind returned to the present. To his concerns. To his tension. To his growing unease. His mind was occupied with heavy thoughts that burdened him and so he turned away from the trainees, taking with him the blade he had trained with that afternoon, and headed resolutely for his room. It is going to be awkward. The thought bustled in his mind as he walked. For both of us. He and Carys were going to dine together this evening. She had invited him. And he had known straight away that this was going to be more than a mere meal shared together. They had avoided each other for too long and it was time to speak out. She had not said as much, of course, but he felt sure this was the case. They had, after all, not spoken for what seemed ages. How did we drift so far apart? he wondered for the hundreth time. When did we stop confiding in each other? Inside he knew the truth. He had admitted it to himself a few times, but still part of him denied it. Her work in the Tower takes all her time now. And I cannot function well locked up. I need to be outside. In the open. Only there can I do my duty: to protect and serve. That is my life. Even so, he was bound to Carys and his duty lay with her. I swore on my life. I will not break my oath. It seemed hard, very hard indeed, but there was nothing to do but grit his teeth and steel his heart and serve as he was honour-bound to do. ▀▄
  4. Choice RP: * Transition - The Circle of Silence - Click Here - 1845 Words [Complete] * Aes Sedai RP - The Grey Lady - Click Here - [ 4 / 6 ] [Complete] * Aes Sedai RP - Failed Weaves and Withered Plants - Click Here - [4/6] [Complete] * Class - A Red Veil - Click Here - [ 6 / 6 ] [Complete] Accepted Quiz - [Complete] Three Oaths - URL - Word Count - [Incomplete]
  5. [OOC: The following scene was done through PM with Lih (Lillian Sedai) and myself (Viviane.)] ~ It was a lovely day in the gardens; that much was true. The delicate blossoms and rich green leaves danced in the gentle breeze that had picked up from the north, Viviane’s hair followed suit and started to get in the way of her vision. She gave an exasperated sigh, stopped the weave she was performing, and pulled the red locks away from her face, making a quick and sloppy braid to avoid the same thing happening again in a few moments. Starting up again, Viviane let the Source flow into her and drew upon threads of Earth and Water. The later came easily enough, it always did, but only a small trickle of Earth came to her… Same as the last twenty attempts… This particular weave was a family secret used at the shop for generations beyond count. One of Rowan’s ancestors, who had trained in the Tower, discovered this little ‘Novice Trick.’ The weave in question was normally used on fabrics… Rowan decided to break from tradition and try it on some plants. A large flax plant sat before her and she tried in vain to settle the weave upon the plant in an effort to improve its natural make-up. If Viviane’s theory was correct, the trick would work much more efficiently on the actual plant instead of the dead fibers that made up the fabric. Improving the plant would greatly expand its yield and quality… If only she could make the bloody thing work! The weave collapsed upon itself with little fanfare and Viviane hung her head in defeat.
  6. Viviane fidgeted in her seat. Today she was to learn what it meant to be Red Ajah. Jagen Sedai had not yet arrived to the classroom, so Viviane had little reserve in exhibiting her anxiousness. She’d have to bottle it up soon enough. Right when those doors swung open, the mock Aes Sedai serenity would slide over Viv’s face, as best as she could manage. The Reds made her nervous. They made every girl nervous… Well, not every girl. There were certainly a few Novices and Accepted that Viviane had encountered, girls that aspired to be Red above all else. People often said that Blues were passionate, but Viviane found the same was true for the Reds. At least it was true for the women that aspired to Red. From what Viv had seen, the Sisters of the Red were strong and commanding. It was often said those women were fiercely loyal as well. To the Tower and to their Ajah. Viviane had given an ear to those girls that aspired to Red, but it was hard when a few had sounded almost fanatical. Today was not a day for fanatisicm, however. Jagen Sedai was to be educating Viviane on the matter and she knew from personal experience that Jagen was a no nonsense type of woman. She would not spit blind faith at Viviane, no more than she would say falsehoods. Viviane had high hopes for today. The Red Ajah was not one that Viv had aspired to. She had wanted to be Blue, and the rivalry between the two Ajahs was no secret. That was why she was anxious. There was no way that Jagen could know Viv wanted to be Blue. She had not approached any Blue Sisters yet… She was saving them for last. She had hoped none of the other Sisters knew which Ajah she had been pining for, that might change what they told her or how they spoke to her. Viviane held great respect for every Sister that had taken the time to educate her, Jagen Sedai included. She had taught Viviane her first lessons on Saidar. It was a wonderful class. That was the first day she sensed Saidar. No woman of the White Tower forgot that moment. It had been a bit of a shock that Jagen Sedai had insisted upon a class to explain her Ajah, especially considering that Viviane was the only girl in attendance. Well, that wasn’t really weird, but the silence did nothing for her nerves. Lavinya Sedai had educated Viviane on the Grey a few weeks before, but she had made Viviane do chores while she spoke. Viviane hoped Jagen wouldn’t make her scrub the floor to learn what it meant to be a Red. But if she does, I’ll do it with a smile on my face.
  7. Well, that was an… interesting class. Viviane dusted off her Accepted’s dress, soot dancing in the air. For the last eleven days, she and a few of the other Accepted had been learning how to Link from Lavinya Sedai. It was a weave that all Sisters had to learn. Lavinya Sedai had driven that point home with a pointed finger for each word. Every girl in the room knew how serious this class was. They would not dare dream for the shawl if they could not Link at a moments notice. It could mean the difference between life and death for any Aes Sedai and those around her. Today had been the twelfth day of the Lesson and finally, every girl in the room had succeeded in Linking with their respective partners. Unfortunately for Lavinya Sedai, she had lost control of the class shortly thereafter. Each girl that had the Link suddenly felt a rush of power. No matter how much control the Accepted had exhibited before this class, it all had seemed to be thrown out the window when links were formed. Suddenly, each Accepted found themselves handling more flows of the One Power than they had been used to. Each girl controlling the link lost control of their inhibitions and were weaving different flows all over the room. Within moments, fire was exploding in the air, water was crashing down from the ceiling, gusts of air were tossing books and parchment all over the room. It was chaos. Unfortunately for the Accepted, Lavinya Sedai reined them all in quite quickly with a sharp clap of her hands. All at once, the weaves stopped and all the chaos had ceased. The girls controlling the flows had each been sent to the Mistress of Novices right after class. Lucky for Viviane, she had not held the flows of her link. Thus, she escaped punishment. Not only that, but she had decided to linger after the lesson had finished. Viviane knew that she could have chosen a better time, but she was growing impatient. She had to know. Lavinya Sedai was the only Grey she had felt comfortable approaching… Wasting no time, Viviane rushed from her bench and up to the Aes Sedai. Lavinya was cleaning up the mess that the other Accepted had created. Viviane gave a deep curtsy, fit for a queen, before speaking to the older woman, “Excuse me, Lavinya Sedai… But, I hoped to trouble you with a question… You see, as an Accepted, I should begin to think of which Ajah I aspire to, and I must admit, I am a bit lost… I do not know much of the Grey, and I would not make an uninformed decision… May I ask what it means to be a Sister of your Ajah?” Viviane’s cheeks colored, foolish for a woman approaching her 29th nameday, but there it was. So long as she wore white, she would always be meek around a woman with a shawl.
  8. It just wasn’t fair. Viviane had not been in the Tower for more than a few months at most, yet she had already made an enemy. It was silly, really. She didn’t even know her ‘enemy’s’ name. Some poor Accepted had misconstrued a supposed relationship between Ravenhild and herself. In this Accepted’s eyes, Ravenhild and Viviane had apparently started some conspiracy to get the Accepted kicked out of the Tower! P’shaw! That was utter folly. Viviane didn’t even know the girl’s name, much less have the urge to conspire against her. The life of a Novice was a stressful one, Viviane didn’t even have the time to mess with this girl, much less conspire against her. It seemed to Viviane that this girl had nothing better to do with the time she had between chores and studying. That has to be it. This Accepted is just bored, or she’s looking for someone to take her frustration out upon. From what I’ve seen, it’s not uncommon for Accepted to pick on Novices… Light, at times it almost seems like it’s encouraged! Still… That does not make it right. Operating on assumption, Viviane figured this girl must be the paranoid type. That or she was looking for attention. Perhaps the Accepted and Raven had a history; that would’ve made much more sense… if she was only targeting Raven. That still didn’t tell Viviane why she was also being targeted. She had done nothing more than be cordial towards Ravenhild, which any civilized person would do. If this Accepted was seeing shadows where there were none, then she would not last long enough to attain the Shawl. Light… I’ve only had a few classes with Ravenhild; maybe talked to her a handful of times outside of class. Our rooms are right next to each other. That is the only thing that can possibly draw us to each other. That is it. What am I do to? Be a terrible neighbor and ignore all of the women on my floor? There is a whisper-hole connecting Ravenhild’s room and my own. If I were not friendly to her, she might turn against me. Light knows she could spy on me with that hole connecting our rooms… Viviane was being paranoid, an old habit which she had to quell. An Aes Sedai was not the paranoid sort; she was discerning and intelligent. No. Viviane would not be paranoid, and yes, she would be cordial to the other Novices. Viviane might not trust most Aes Sedai, but that was not to say she couldn’t form bonds with other women in her position. Ravenhild wanted to escape the Tower, this was known amongst Novices, which was not much different from distrusting Aes Sedai. Perhaps there was a bridge that could be formed between Ravenhild and Viviane. Hah! The enemy of my enemy is my friend, but dare I? Ashes are easy enough to acquire. It’s an old trick, not too difficult to pull off… Despite all the thoughts and emotion running through her head, the one thing Viviane felt was anger. It really wasn’t fair, being targeted for no specific reason. Viviane was here to learn and then get on with her life. This Accepted had no right to meddle where she was not wanted. Before she knew it, Viviane was standing before a plain wooden door. She was only paces from her own room. Ravenhild should be on the other side of that door, hopefully unoccupied. If Viviane was right, Raven just might be amenable to her suggestion. Just a light prank. Ashes and embarrassment. It will be just cruel enough to get the Accepted to lay off. Light knows we have enough to deal with… Ravenhild better agree, otherwise I’ll have to carry this out on my own. Viviane straightened her spine, threw her head back, and knocked at Ravenhild’s door.
  9. Viviane threw open the door to her room in the Accepted’s Quarters, strode in, and closed the wooden door as silently as possible. The action was a stark contrast to what she was feeling at that moment. Without any hesitation, she opened herself to Saidar and embraced the One Power. Deftly weaving a trick called The Circle of Silence. She encased the entire room within her ward, and after tying it off, Viviane let out a blood-curdling scream and then fell to the floor. No one outside her room would hear the cries that now escaped her lips in ragged sobs. Saidar quickly retreated from her grasp. It had been exactly one month since Viviane had been raised to the Accepted, and her body felt as if it had been working day and night since then. Things were hard. Harder than when she had been a Novice. Viviane did not know how that was possible. The other night she had risked a hushed conversation with another Accepted that had been banished to the kitchens. The pair was washing dishes when the other woman had told Viviane that everything got easier after those first few weeks. There was now a bleak hope that she would survive the Sisters long enough to reach the Shawl. Apparently, the rough treatment was the Tower’s way of weeding out the weaklings that had snuck through the seams. Aes Sedai were servants to the people of this world. They were the reason the entire planet had made it this far since the Breaking. That was no easy feat. The Tower required strong women to lead mankind into the next Age. If a woman could not survive the trivial pains that Viviane was now being put through, then she did not stand a single chance at being Aes Sedai. Not even for a day! Dabbing at tears now spilled, Viviane brought herself up so that she was at least sitting on the ground, instead of lying upon it. This was no position for her to be in, even alone. What if someone walked in while she sat here pitying herself? It was no way for an Aes Sedai to behave, thus it was no way for an Accepted to behave. And that is exactly why I wove that ward. I just need one moment to myself. I’ll be blighted if any of the other women on my floor hear my cries tonight. Let them sleep... No. I shouldn’t even cry. Nor make an excuse for it… I am Viviane Accylon, first of the Accylon women to be raised to the Accepted in nearly 500 years. I am better than a few tears and wails. I have to do better. I will do better. This last month would have been more bearable if she had at least been able to do something that she wanted to do. The Accepted were suppose to be able to choose their own studies, but Viviane had not been able to do so yet. That was the one thing she had been looking forward to, especially after 10 long years in plain white. Instead, she was running errands for Aes Sedai, doing chores around the Tower, playing assistant for Clerks, the list was endless. Oh, it was nothing different than when she was a Novice, yet her workload had doubled; and those above her had seemed even colder in attitude than before. Every time Viviane had opened her mouth to anyone, they all responded as if her mere presence were an affront to their existence. It was all very frustrating. She had seen almost 30 name-days now, and here she was crying on the carpet of her tiny chamber. She was acting like a child, but dear Light, she felt like a child. Sure. Life was better here than it had been when she had to scrape by for crumbs on the back alleys of Camelyn. Really, Viviane had zero reasons to complain. But still. This treatment she was receiving did little to encourage her to persevere. I really don’t have any reason to complain. Suck it up Viviane! Things could be so much worse. Yes. I am proud to have gotten this far, but one couldn’t tell by looking at me. Grandmother would be furious if she could see me in such a state. I’d have a worse beating from her, than from the Mistress of Novices, to be sure. Pull yourself together, Viv. This won’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing except the Wheel. With a grunt, she pushed herself from the floor and staggered over to her bed. Slipping her hand beneath the mattress, Viviane felt a momentary flash of panic. What if someone had found it while she had been scrubbing floors? The panic subsided as quickly as it appeared. That was a foolish thought of course. She had been so careful in sneaking it up here. And Light, she needed it! Ten years. Ten long years she had gone without a sip of wine. Not even at meals was she allowed a drink of the stuff, even when Winter reared its ugly head. She especially missed those nights with a warm mug of mulled spiced wine. Mother always made the best batches. Tonight she didn’t have that, though. Instead, she had to settle for something little better than cooking wine. Viviane pulled a waterskin from beneath her mattress with a flourish, smiling to herself triumphantly. The aforementioned wine was within, of course. Without wasting any time, Viviane uncorked the skin and drank deeply. The fact that the wine actually tasted good was a testament to how long it had been since she had a good drink. Unfortunately, she had not been able to get away with much. Viviane was all too aware that the amount she held would probably only give her a little tiny buzz tonight and a splitting headache the day after. She didn’t care. All the more reason to make the best of it while she felt it. What a gamble this is… If an Aes Sedai were to walk in and even suspect… I’d be halfway to Camelyn by morning. Best not to get too uppity, Viv. This is just a means of release. That is all. Everyone deserves to have one every now and then, even Accepted. Why I bet the Amryllin herself had done the same thing when she was in my shoes! Who could fault me just one sip? It’s not like I broke into the good stuff… Within moments the thing was empty of its contents and a nice warmth had spread throughout Viviane’s body. She tossed the waterskin into a wicker basket that contained her dresses that needed a wash. Tomorrow was her day at the scrubboards, so there was little worry that another would stumble upon the skin. A Sister would need only to open it up and take a sniff before knowing what Viviane had been up to. She shuddered at the thought. No. She’d rid herself of the thing in the morning, away from prying eyes. With a look around the room, Viviane’s eyes crossed her writing table. On it lay a letter from Mother. Viviane had read it hundreds of times since receiving it. The letters were her only connection to Mother and also the outside world. Accepted were able to enter the city of Tar Valon sometimes. Viviane had not had a free day since being raised, but she already had plans for it when the day did arrive. She would go out and see as much of the City as possible. Despite the petty hardships she suffered, Viviane had everything she could ask for in the Tower. Everything except a network of information. It had been whispered among Novices and Accepted that the Ajahs all had ‘Eyes and Ears’ out in the world, a means to stay abreast with current events. Viviane had something similar in Camelyn, although much cruder and much less effective. Really, it was just two or three other children in the area… Anyone that had lived on the streets had informants or other sources of information. Her needs in the future would be very different from any she had in the past, however. True. She had no use for a network of informants now, what schemes did she have? None. What interests in the world did she have? None. That’s not what this was about at the moment. Now was the time for forming relationships and cultivating trust. She was young and full of promise. A pretty face, some clever words, and carefully placed coin could reap benefits further down the line. Oh, I am being foolish to even be considering… The notion suddenly seemed haughty. Viviane hadn’t thought that way in years. She had been so focused on studying and discipline for so long… Perhaps it was the wine that was making her feel loose. No. It was definitely the wine. Viviane’s eyes still lingered on that letter from her Mother. Before realizing what she was doing, Viviane was standing before the writing table with the letter in her hands, going over the words again. Mother was doing well, if not thriving. The business had picked back up and Mother even had a few steady customers. It was still too early to tell if those customers would remain loyal, but otherwise, everything was looking up for the shop. She had even taken on a new apprentice, one of the local girls. Viviane had never met the girl. It was hard to accept, but Viviane knew it was inevitable if the shop was to remain open. She was to be Aes Sedai, of course, Mother should look for a replacement. I just hope this apprentice has not become a replacement daughter for her… I’ve bound myself to the Tower, but she will always be my Mother. I just couldn’t bear the thought… The rest of the letter was glowing praise and happiness at Viviane’s raising to the Accepted. Mother could not control her tongue around the neighbors either, it seemed. All of Camelyn had heard of Viviane’s raising if Mother was to be believed. That biting feeling of jealousy for the new apprentice quickly faded as Viviane finished reading the letter. There was no question of Mother’s love for her. I’m her daughter, she loves me, and I’m just being silly… Viviane dropped the letter to the desk and retreated back to the bed. A copy of Gilded Hearts and Lengthy Lords sat atop a short stool close by. Viviane grabbed the novel and sank back onto the stiff mattress. She didn’t make it three pages before the book fell atop her chest, as it rose and fell in rhythm with her snoring. Eyes firmly shut, Viviane slept deeply that night. She dreamt of a brighter future for Mother. One where Father was alive. Viviane was Aes Sedai in that dream and she had made sure that neither had to want for anything in the world. A smile stayed upon her face as the night passed into morning.
  10. Ten solid years to the day. That was how long Viviane Accylon had been in the White Tower. She herself could not really believe it had been so long. Viviane had learned much and met a lot of people in that time. She had even made a few friends along the way. Her 28th nameday had passed about a month ago. Mother had sent another dress. It was breathtaking; made entirely out of imported silks from Sharra, all in shades of Blue, opalescent pearl buttons ran down the back, and a stiff boning was inserted to the bodice to cut a more slender figure. Viviane was not allowed to wear the gown, not yet. She was still a Novice. Some nights, after she was supposed to be asleep, she would slip into it or one of the others that Mother had sent along. Twirling around in her room, trying not to giggle with glee. She felt like a real Aes Sedai in those moments. Once she was properly raised, Viviane would waltz around the Tower wearing only the most beautiful cuts and cloth. Mother’s shop had rebounded only slightly. She had enough clients to support herself now, especially without Viviane around to feed or house. That was the only reason she was able to send Viviane such nice clothing. The dresses were all tucked away in a chest Viviane had to buy herself. She had to plead with the Mistress of Novices to be allowed to keep any of it. Some of the other girls despised Viviane for it. They’re all just jealous. Walking over to her mirror, Viviane gazed upon her reflection. She didn’t look that much older than when she first arrived in the Tower. Still no sign of agelessness, even though she had been working with the One Power for a decade. She had asked some of the Aes Sedai when she should expect to see it on her face, and they would always dodge the question. ‘It is different for every woman,’ was the most she had gotten out of any of them. Still. Without the agelessness, it was plain as day that Viviane was barely showing any signs of her age. Some of the Browns had said that Channelers aged slower than ordinary people, but that was entirely unrelated to the ageless look associated with Aes Sedai. That confused Viviane to no end, but still, even the Browns refused to give her a solid answer on the matter. Aging slower is something at least. I’d like to hold on to my ‘youthful glow’ as long as possible! The night was drawing to a close. She had about an hour or two before all of the Novices were supposed to be in bed, and tonight she just so happen to have nothing to do. It was a shock. She rarely ever had nights like these. Viviane didn’t even know what to do with herself, it was so rare. Boredom threatened to take hold. Perhaps I shall see what Ravenhild is up to… If she had any chores, she must be back by now. Vivane moved from her mirror and approached her bedroom door.
  11. [[OOC: as mentioned before, these lessons were done with @Lih-Lyh via messaging. First post is Lih and second post is me.]] A covered basket on her table this morning. Lillian drew off the cover and picked up one of the rosebuds inside. “Ok, last lesson and you’re good to move on. We’re going to cover earth, fire, and spirit. Also any other questions you may have for me. Earth has many uses. We can detect mineral ores in the earth, help plants grow during terrible weather, form battle weaves, etc. Today we will be helping a rosebud bloom." "This class begins with imagining yourself as a rosebud opening to the sun, and it ends with helping an actual rosebud do the same. These rosebuds are so tightly closed that it’s hard to tell what color it is inside. Please observe.” Lillian drew on the power and teased three threads of earth, wove them to create the weave she laid on the rosebud. Her movements were deliberate and slow. "Now. Take one rosebud. Just one. Then, try the weave for yourself. Water and air is a little easier for most women, since we tend to be stronger in these elements. Please let me know if you need help.” "Fire. Before we work with fire, there’s one rule you need to know. You must never draw the heat out of a fire using Fire. We use either Water to douse it, Air to snuff it out, or Earth to smother it. But never use Fire to draw the heat out. You will be hurt. Ok?" "Good. Let’s practice lighting a candle. A single thread of Fire is all we need. And just a small one.” Lillian’s candle lit quickly. "All you need to do is wrap that one little thread around the wick. And to douse it, the same move is used with Water. Please try the water first, then light it again with fire on this candle." “Lastly, we come to spirit. It’s less an element for action as one for the mind. We can set wards with it - those protecting our dreams while we sleep, those against eavesdropping. It's necessary for Healing. For shielding another channeler by cutting them off the source. Most weaves with spirit are too advanced for you to try today, but I can show you. an example.” Deftly, Lillian wove a keeping weave onto Vivian’s beautiful rose. “This is called keeping. Now this rose will always be full, its color never fade." “Great, now you’re ready to move on from basics. You know something of the nature and history of saidar, and the five powers. I must remind you that though you have a few handy weaves in your arsenal; you shouldn’t try to channel without permission. If you do the weaves wrong, you could hurt yourself and others. If you’re caught channelling without permission I believe the mistress of novices still keeps a switch in her office and is not shy to use it."
  12. [[OOC: Been burning the midnight oil with @Lih-Lyh ! Here is Saidar Class 3 which was done via messaging. Class 4 was done in the same manner and will be posted shortly. First post is Lih, second post is me.]] With Viv sat across from her, Lillian began today’s lesson. She was proud of how quickly Vivian took to saidar - these days novices and accepted swelled their ranks, but were raised quickly compared with even a few years ago. Lillian refused her arches twice before she faced her fears . . . “There are five powers, or elements within the Source: air, earth, fire, spirit and water. Your strength in each will vary, as you will find some elements easier to handle than others. Women tend to be stronger in air and water while men are typically more proficient in earth and fire, and spirit seems to be distributed equally, although this is not always the case. Please note your affinity for each power will vary in strength. Please embrace saidar and observe.” “This is a simple weave. Weaves are when you use more than one element, otherwise the term we use is thread. Each thread correspond to an element, and each element part of a weave. Rather like sewing.” Lillian created a single blue flame in the air and let it die. “You see how the two threads I used, air and fire, are dissipating? You must never, no matter what, pick at these threads. If you do the weave will unravel and more than likely kill you and everybody close to you in the process. That would be disastrous, so don’t do this, ok?” Lillian knew somebody who could read residues innately, but that sister was now dead for picking at a weave. A hard lesson to forget. Lillian pushed the steaming cup of tremalking tea across the table, continuing “first you should know the elements when you see them. Channellers sometimes see the colors differently, but most common is, fire as red, water green, earth brown, air blue, and spirit silver. I want you to look carefully at which thread I am drawing out of the glass.” "Water is all around us, in the air. Learning to pull threads of water from the air needs a certain knack, but with effort you can do it. Now please try this.” Lillian grinned, dipping her white handkerchief into a small pool of water in her basin and demonstrated another weave. "This is called dry. Though it is one of the easiest weaves, you will have to handle multiple threads of water to form a drain, and then tighten the weave until the water drains.
  13. 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
  14. [[OOC: @Lih-Lyh and I completed my Saidar 2 class via messaging. I am posting the scene here.]] Lillian rested for a moment as she polished her sword. It was funny the things you don’t forget. Basic sword forms, dancing skills, they never went away. Like how to maintain your stance. You don’t do anything that would shake or upset the fine balance you’d achieved between your weapon and your body. She admired her weapon appreciatively as she cased her oiled clothes. Its balance was enjoyable. The engraved mark on its handle was proud and deliberate. Like the scar tissues of a sworn soldier. This was a form of meditation. There was a knock on the door. Lillian instinctively reached for her sword, then stopped herself. “It’s open. Enter.” The aes sedai didn’t get up. Lillian was lithe and extraordinarily graceful. Her elegantly sculptural head was shaved to a fine down of hair. She was clad in a plain white bodysuit and the sheathe at her hip was shrouded with a red cloth. Her green gaze studied the figure in the entranceway. “Lillian Tremina,” she said, smiling “I am an aes sedai of the white ajah. Who are you?”
  15. Viviane paced across the cold stone floor. She exhaled before casting her gaze across the room. It was simply furnished, something she was used to. Back in Camelyn, before her family had grown poor, she was spoiled by her parents. All the finer things in life were hers if only she asked for them. Beautiful silk gowns, hot spiced chocolate from Sea Folk traders, gold gilded books from every corner of the continent, all of this was hers. Then the hardship came. Father died during the Aiel war, and the shop’s once loyal customers started to buy their garments elsewhere. Mother had to sell off most of their finer possessions just to put meat on the table. Oh, they had savings, but Mother wanted to save that for when things grew especially tough. Viviane was lucky her Mother thought the way she did. Things did get tough, and their savings was the only thing that had kept them alive. Viviane should be more grateful for the Tower. Since coming here, Mother wouldn’t have to worry about spending the coin on food for the two of them; she only had to focus on herself. Here, Viviane had no worry of food on the table or a warm place to sleep. Then why is it so hard? Why do I feel so empty inside? Life in the Tower wasn’t an easy one to adjust to. Not only was she suffering from homesickness, but she was also made to scour soup pots, scrub the floors, and even empty out chamber pots. Things here were horrible. The mattress was hard, and she always had to be up before sunrise. Viviane hadn’t really slept well back home, but sleeping here was comparable to sleeping upside down. As soon as Viviane’s head hit the pillow, she was right back up on her feet doing a chore or attending to some Aes Sedai or another. Yes. Viviane had learned some of the Power, but not enough to make up for all of the backbreaking stress she was under. Light! How do any of them survive this! The Accepted say that things only get harder! I cannot imagine… The truth was that she had no other choice. If she went home, she could never come back. Viviane would be a failure, just like every Accylon woman before her. She could not give up. She would become Aes Sedai. Returning home with nothing short of the shawl and the ring would spell doom for Mother and her. Without the title and accolades that came with it, there would be no coin to put food on the table. If Viviane became Aes Sedai, she could send her mother coin every month, and things would be right. That notion did nothing for the emptiness inside of her. Viviane strode over to her bed. It was a small thing built into the wall. When Viviane first saw it, she thought of the beds in a ship’s cabin. True to the thought, the bed in her room was a cramped little hole. Viviane could find no comfort in it, but it was the only thing here willing to offer a supporting embrace. She had done her best to make it feel cozy, arranging the pillows and the blanket just so. With an exasperated sigh, Viviane sunk down onto the hard mattress, pulling the woolen blankets tight around her. She practiced the calming exercises, the ones that opened you to Saidar. This time she didn’t reach for the Source. The only point to this was to calm herself. Viviane’s heart had been pounding, tears had threated to burst forth from her eyes… The thought of her mother in utter poverty was just too much to bear. The blanket and the mattress were a poor substitute for a Mother’s love. Here in the silence, she was truly alone. It struck her that she might never see her Mother again. Even if Viviane attained the Ring and the Shawl, Mother might pass away from starvation or homelessness. The road to Ase Sedai was a long one. If the others were to be believed, Viviane might not be able to leave the Tower for another twenty years! Mother would surely be old and grey by then. The thoughts did nothing to comfort Viviane. She pulled her pillow over her head and screamed into it. She screamed for all the worries, the fear, the loneliness. Pulling the pillow back, she felt a little better; but not by much. Perhaps if I just write her a letter. Surely Novices are allowed to write home… Viviane rose from the bed and moved to the pitiful desk allocated to her. Pulling the stool over, she sunk down and stared at the wall. What to tell her? I doubt she wants to hear how bad things are here… Mother always spoke glowingly about the Tower. One of the Aes Sedai might even read my letter. No. Better to only speak well of the Sisters and Tar’Valon. Grabbing a clean sheet of paper, Viviane began writing in a flowing hand… Mother, Things are well here. I do wish you could see it. The shining white walls of Tar’Valon are breathtaking. That is not to mention the bridges, which I have heard must have been wrought with the One Power. They are precious things, looking as if someone draped lace across the water and froze it in place. There is a delicacy to this place, Mother. I can only begin to guess at what marvelous creations you could design after visiting here. It does wonders for the imagination. My studies are going well, of course. I have not learned anything too advanced yet, but I can touch the True Source. A few months ago, I didn’t even know it was there within my grasp. Thank you for pushing me to come here, Mother. I do think things are turning around for the Accylon women. All My Love, Viv Viviane signed the letter with a flourish. She gasped as she noticed a watermark at the bottom of the page. Her cheeks were wet too. With a wail, Viviane broke down into a torrent of tears. She pushed the letter out of the way, and sunk her head into her arms, muffling her cries. None of the other Novices heard Viviane as she cried herself to sleep.
  16. Viviane Accylon exhaled sharply. She ran a hand through her long, flowing auburn hair, trying with all her might to smooth out a few loose strands. Her mane always seemed to act up whenever she was stressed. That just wouldn’t do if she were to be Aes Sedai one day. The Sisters of the White Tower were in complete control of their bodies and their emotions, that included their hair. Light! I still haven’t gotten used to the idea… Here I am all in white, and still, my brain denies it. A Novice of the White Tower, that was who Viviane Accylon was now. Her bone white dress covered her modestly, no man looking at her would guess she was almost a woman full-grown. In regular clothing, Viviane’s body would give that away in an instant, but her face remained soft and cherubic. Dressed as she was today, one could easily mistake her for a blossoming maiden, not a woman approaching her nineteenth Name Day. It was all so surreal, everything that had happened the last few days. Before Viviane came to Tar’Valon, she was living in Caemlyn and working out of her mother’s dress shop. Well, working wasn’t the right word exactly. Listlessly lying around would be a better term for what she did in her mother’s shop. No customer had entered their doors since before the Aiel War, the only reason they had remained open was because of her family’s vast wealth. That wealth was now dwindling. Viviane had initially planned on running away to Tear, but then they came. The Sisters. Mother had found out and insisted that Viviane should go out and get tested for her potential as a Channeler. They had fought long and hard, but in the end, mother won. Viviane went and was taken by the Sisters almost immediately. They left for Tar’Valon the next day. There were other girls that the Sisters had found in Camelyn, only a few, but Viviane hadn’t bothered to learn any of their names. According to one of the Sisters, a White whose name escaped Viv, there were fewer and fewer girls that had the aptitude to become a full Aes Sedai. By the Sister’s tone, Viv had assumed that most of the girls in their traveling group would be sent out of the Tower by year’s end. As much as Viviane distrusted the Aes Sedai, she desperately wanted to be one of them. She would not be sent from the Tower, not like her Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, and so many other Accylon women. No. Viviane would attain the ring and the shawl. To do that, however, she had to descend deeper into this viper’s nest. She exhaled again. A large door loomed before Viviane like the Dark One himself. Behind the wooden behemoth sat Valeri Sedai, Mistress of Novices at the White Tower of Tar’Valon. Viviane had not spoken to many since arriving at the Tower, but she listened. Novices and Accepted had loose tounges, so it was not that difficult to discern the Mistress’s temperament., Grumpy. That was the only word she had heard used to describe Valeri Sedai. Well, kid, I guess it’s now or never. Viviane threw her head back and straightened her spine, bringing her right hand up to the door. She rapped against the wood three times, lowered her hand, and waited for her journey to begin.
  17. Ooc: anybody can feel free to join in. Just two white sisters walking around Tower looking at artwork, talking In the end, nothing was explained about the disappearance of Lillian Tremina, how she returned, or about the time she was kidnapped. She didn’t need to tell her sisters these things. Not when there were more pressing matters cropping up by the day. The Tower was the same, but the feel different. More urgency. Imperceptible faces seeming troubled, somehow. Of course they made changes - new rules - while she was away. Yes, the Wheel wove as it willed. If only she understood that Weaving better. Lillian secretly wished for better days when she spent her youth immersed in research, isolated from affairs. The more she travelled, the more questions she had of the world, of her place in it. In one lower hallway in the eastern wing, she came upon another weaving, a tapestry that especially arrested her interest. It celebrated a feast in that golden age before the breaking - the age of legends when there was peace and no disease. When channelers were many and drew on their power for mundane use, not in defense against one another. When channelers didn’t train to kill others. A discomforting thought . . . In the Tower was a treasure trove of art from all over, some escaped Lillian’s comprehension. The art was elegantly displayed in lit alcoves in many iterations all over passageways. Sculptures, busts, paintings, woodcuts, scenes of unnamed landscapes, ancient maps and even studies of wildlife, animals cut open and splayed in cross sections. She understood some of it. There was a flowing dialogue between art and science, and between science and their culture at large. It was not normal to consider art analytically, reductionistic to do so; however, each of these artists honed a distinct way of expression of the unconscious, of the instinctive, brought insight, patterns, added richness and complexity to the viewer’s feelings. After some moment, she stooped down to peer at a portrait of a noblewoman and her family. Their faces worn, a rich patina covered once vibrant detail. What were their underlying feelings, bred to the game of houses; did they appreciate their privileges? At this thought Lillian rose and turned, brushing at her wide silver trousers. A petite White sister stood nearby, watching her. Lillian knew the woman, in libraries mostly, by her blue eyes, striking against her dark skin, by name and sight only. Smiling, Lillian said “Astradore, good to see you.” Lillian Tremina Aes Sedai of the White Tower
  18. Myrrhi looked around her, biting her lip. She was feeling sick, very sick, and was starting to worry about the breakfast she had eaten a bit earlier. I shouldn’t have taken three slices of bread nor this amount of cheese, she thought. The Mistress of Novices had asked her to accompany her without any kind of explanations: the young girl had immediately closed the book she had been reading and had jumped to her feet. She knew now that when a Sister asked you to hop, you hopped, hoping that it was high enough. Passing mentally in review everything she had done the past days, Myrrhi hadn’t managed to find any good reason explaining why the Mistress of the Novices would summon her. She had stopped channeling in secret after her little adventure with Pavara and her encounter with Jagen Sedai, she hadn’t dared to approach the Warders training ground either, she had behaved very nicely with all the other Novices… She had done all her chores as fast as she could. But butterflies had still been fighting against each other in her stomach. Of course, it had been better not to ask any questions and to stay silent. Aes Sedai weren’t fond of curious Novices. Myrrhi had had to fight to keep up with Hallia. The woman had smiled and winked at Anyora Sedai, a Sister of the Green Ajah. This one was very impressive. Anoyra Sedai wasn’t one to walk, she glided, throwing mysterious smiles to her Warders who were never far from her every now and then. The woman was one of the prettiest faces in the Tower, with a heart shaped face and long black hair. No wonder she had managed to get the attention of four Warders. Myrrhi had tugged at her light brown hair more than once, with a little feeling of jealousy. She had had her hair quite short when she had entered the Tower. Time had past since then, but she had kept her weird haircut. Very short in the front, longer in the back. It wasn’t the most female kind of look, but she liked it. When Myrrhi had noticed that Hallia Sedai hadn’t stop in front of the Mistress of Novices office, she had managed to breathe a bit better. Maybe I am summoned for something else than a punishment ? Myrrhi had then started to think about all the classes she had followed so far and it had seemed to her that no topic would require extra lessons. She was not the best channeler but, thanks to the amount of effort she had put in studies and practice, most Sisters had been really happy with her progress. When the Mistress of the Novices had started to descend to the lowest levels of the Tower, the Novice had finally understood: it was time for her to become an Accepted. *** As soon as Myrrhi entered the room she shivered. It was cold, very cold, and the Ter'angreal laying in the middle of it was one of the strangest, she had ever seen : three big silvery arches were not a common view. Hallia turned her head towards the young girl and explained to her that she had to go through each of the three arches composing the Ter'angreal and would have to come back. Myrrhi didn’t manage to understand all that was said to her. Her eyes were fixed on the arches and on the three Sisters channeling. The Mistress of the Novices took Myrrhi’s face in her hands and made her look into her eyes.
  19. The shining walls of the city loomed ever larger in the distance, totally dominating the surrounding county side. Yrean slowed his horse to a walk and studied the vista in front of him. It had been sometime since he had last visited this city and upon leaving he had sworn that he would never return, there were too many painful memories associated with this place for him. However, he also had unfinished business in the city and now he had the information that he needed to allow him to complete matters, but he was in no rush to arrive and decided to spend one more night outside the city in a small inn he had stayed at before. The next morning Yrean was awake before dawn and after packing his saddlebags made his way to the common room to break his fast. Yrean arrived at the city mid afternoon and immediately made his way to the dock area. He kept his hood up and did his best to avoid any areas that he used to frequent. His purpose was solely business and he wanted to conclude his business as soon as possible. The inn he stayed at had the amusing name of the Spanked Woman and a smile came unbidden at the sight of the sign, gently swinging in the light breeze. Some said it was a painting of the owner and his wife, who was being chastised. Yrean had never been able to confirm this, but it was an amusing story none the less. Entering the inn he found the common room to be half full, mostly with dockworkers and stevedores who had finished their work for the day. Because of this there was much raucous laughter and a Gleeman was just starting his performance, playing a fiddle and singing some song about a wayward woman who was caught by her husband in a delicate position. Dumping his saddlebags on the floor in front of the bar, Yrean spoke quickly with the owner and after a short conversation made his way to his room. After closing and barring the door, Yrean stowed his gear and then lay on the bed, resting as much as he could. His business would take place during the hours of darkness and he wanted to be as rested as possible. Yrean finally left his room, three hours after the sun had set, and ate a hasty meal in the common room, washed down by a tankard of Dark. Leaving the Spanked Woman Yrean made his way through back alleys to where his shop used to stand. It had been destroyed in a fire and Yrean and Mat had only just got away with their lives, although their clothes were singed and Yrean’s eyebrows had been burned clean off and still had not grown back properly. Concealed by the shadow cast by a tall building, Yrean observed the area, making note of the changes since he had last been here. He paid particular attention to the rooftops, a favourite way of getting around for him and one that still provided the easiest route of escape for him. Many times his use of the rooftops had saved his life or allowed him to confuse anyone who had tried to follow him. Finally satisfied, Yrean made his way further into the deep shadows before finding the spot he was looking for. His ascent was swift and surefooted, having climbed buildings since he was a child in his home city of Illian. It was while he was there on a visit that he had come across the information that he had been searching for and would now make use of. The climb was not a hard one and soon Yrean emerged onto the rooftop and started to make his way across the roofs to North Harbour. When he got within range of the location he was searching for, Yrean settled down behind a large chimneystack and watched the surrounding houses for activity. This part of the city was still fairly busy and it was a few more hours before the late night revellers had returned to their homes. Not wanting to take any chances, Yrean stayed in position until he was certain the city was quiet and then made his move. He first sorted through the gear he had taken along, leaving his bow and quiver behind the chimneystack, along with his sword and a few other items. All the weapons he now carried were for close quarters fighting several concealed throwing daggers, a mace and a longer dagger, that was almost a short sword. Carefully he made his way across the roof to towards his target, jumping the few feet between the buildings and landing with cat like grace. Scanning the roof, Yrean soon located a few loose roof tiles and started to remove them, making sure they would not slide off the roof and alerting the people inside. Eventually he had made a hole large enough for him to be able to enter the house and he dropped silently through the hole. It took him longer than he had expected to find the way out of the loft, but he eventually found the loft hatch and dropped through it to the house proper. He knew the location of the rooms he needed to find and worked swiftly, identifying his targets and deciding on what order he would take them in. Most of the people in the house were males, and all had been implicated in the attack on his shop. He also had a sneaking suspicion they may have supplied information that led to Mat’s capture and subsequent death. This alone marked them out for special treatment and Yrean was only too happy to supply that treatment. The first door opened without a sound and Yrean stealthily made his way over to the bed containing the slumbering form of his first victim. Placing his hand over his victim’ mouth, with one swift thrust, Yrean severed the man’s jugular. It was a swifter death than Yrean felt the man deserved, but this was about retribution not punishment. Moving swiftly, Yrean dispatched his targets one by one until there was only one left. Moving to the room of his last target, Yrean had no way of knowing that the occupant of the room had placed a small bell behind the closed door to alert him of any intruders. The first Yrean knew of this was when the bell fell over and a loud voice demanded to know who was trying to enter the room. Throwing all caution to the winds, Yrean shoved the door open and dived into the room, narrowly missing the small crossbow bolt that thunked into the doorframe. A shaft of moonlight illuminated the room and the man’s face creased up with anger as he recognised his assailant. “You! I thought we had done for you last year.” Yrean did not bother to answer the man, but the confirmation that this man had been one of those to target his shop, only caused a minor ripple to slide across the Void. Moving with much more caution now, Yrean advanced on the prone figure, who suddenly jumped out of the bed and lunged at Yrean with a concealed knife. Yrean waited until the last moment and then side stepped the man’s attack. Unfortunately Yrean’s assailant was quicker than Yrean and changed the angle of his attack. His blade penetrated Yrean’s upper arm, glancing off the bone. Yrean did not show any outward signs of pain, and cocooned inside the Void it only felt like a fly landing on his skin. However the wound started t o bleed profusely and the blood quickly flowed down Yrean’s arm and started to drip onto the floor. Knowing he had to finish this fight quickly, Yrean feigned pain and loss of concentration and sank to his knees, without taking his eyes off the man. Closing the distance between himself and Yrean, he kicked out aiming for Yrean’s head. However, Yrean was ready for him and swayed to one side, parrying the kick on his uninjured arm and turned most of the blow to one side. Yrean stepped away from his adversary, realising that the advantage of surprise would no longer work, Yrean decided on a different tactic. Pulling a throwing knife from its place of concealment, Yrean through it, aiming for the man’s chest. However the man was wise to this and dodged to the left, which was exactly what Yrean had hoped for and a well placed kick to the groin, followed by a bone jarring upper cut laid the man out. Taking a quick breath, Yrean moved swiftly, not knowing if the sounds of the struggle had alerted anyone or not, and grabbing the man’s hair Yrean lifted him from the floor. Reversing his grip on his dagger, Yrean used the pommel to smash the man’s larynx and then dropped him to the floor. As Yrean exited the room, the last sounds he heard were the dying gurgles of his last victim. Yrean had a dilemma now, he knew he would need to rest up for a day or so as the wound to his arm was deeper than he had realised. He also knew there would be a hue and cry raised throughout the city over his work this night. Having to explain how he got an obvious knife injury would not be easy, but neither would it be that easy to make his way to a place of refuge. Cutting a strip of cloth from his cloak, Yrean hastily bound up the wound and then made his way back to his lodgings, he needed time to recuperate and hopefully he would have at least a day and night of rest.
  20. OOC: This RP is set about 90 20 years before the current Timeline. It is a solo RP, and begins Elin’s discovery of her Talent. Edited for minor changes to bring up to a more modern time. IC: It was dusty in the store rooms, and not the pleasant kind of dusty one finds in a bakery, where the dust is mostly flour. Here is was simply a lack of presence. Wherever people spend time, the place takes on a feel... conversely, where people are not allowed, where people refuse to go... there is an absence. The storerooms were such a place. It had been seventy years since she was raised to the Shawl, almost eighty-five since she left that small village in Amadicia. Over the years, she had gained a reputation as level headed, and several of the women who had served as Highest had recognized her for it. Now there was a new woman in the position, one who wanted to utilize that Elin. No, she wasn’t abnormally strong, but she was truly gifted with weaves of Spirit. Somehow, the Highest heard of this, and set Elin a task. It was rarely pleasant to be given a task by the Highest, but this one wasn’t looking to be all that bad. Recently, the Yellow Ajah had been winning support among the other Ajahs, not just in the Hall, but for their efforts in the world. The Highest was working to find a way to counter the Yellow’s influence by raising the profile of the Red. That was why Elin was down here in the storerooms. Her strength in Spirit, the Highest hoped, would help the ter’angreal in the Tower’s keeping speak to her. Yes, it was dangerous, but she had worn the shawl long enough to be trusted with such a task. The ter’angreal were so varied it was hard to imagine that they all were objects of the Power. Sitting there, staring at a small statue of a woman fighting against a driving wind, a golden mask, and a bell without a clapper, Elin began to think that their makers must have been either mad or artists... which were often the same thing. These three ter’angreal were all known to be connected to Spirit, and their effects had already been studied. By examining these known ter’angreal, Elin hoped to get a feel for what a Spirit focused ter’angreal felt like. It wasn’t doing her much good. They all had a “feel” to them, much the same “feel” that all ter’angreal had. Everything in this room had the same feel. Sitting in the room was like sitting in the middle of an apiary, the constant buzzing grating on her nerves. She was beginning to develop a headache from it. With a sigh, Elin rose out of the chair and began to walk down the aisle of shelves. Item after item caught her eye, but after further examination, none seemed worth the effort of actually taking off the shelf. Rings, bowls, statues, knives, books, birds... they all sat there, waiting to be explained. Unfortunately, Elin was sure that she did not have the Talent of detecting the purpose of ter’angreal. As her head pounded, Elin decided that today was done. She had worked enough for the day. She climbed the floors of the Tower, leaving behind the basements, and stopped at the kitchen long enough to pull aside a novice. The girl bobbed a quick curtsy, and looked obviously torn between listening to the Aes Sedai and finishing her assigned task. The Kitchen Cooks could be merciless if a novice ruined a dish due to poor attention or lollygagging. Elin gave the girl her dinner order, including a hearty soup, some ham, roasted potatoes, and a small salad. Headaches from One Power related activities needed to be countered with either strong support with nutrients or Healing. Back in her room, Elin brushed her black hair as she stared out her window over the city. The ogier had designed the city to be seen from every angle. From above, it seemed to flow and welcome the eye. Elin always found it soothing to look over the city, letting her eyes wander from one graceful building to the next soaring edifice. Her first years with the shawl on her shoulders had been spent learning the traditions of her Ajah. Once she had the shawl, sisters began to tell her an old saying that Accepted never hear... “When you join an Ajah you have as much to learn as your first four years in the Tower.” After she’d learnt all there was to learn from her sisters and the Highest, Elin’s feet began to itch. She spent some time traveling around Caemlyn, Cairhien, and even Illian, before she gathered her courage and did what she’d been hoping to do for some time. She put away her shawl, hid her Great Serpent ring, and road up into Amadicia, back to her home village. By that time, she had been away from home for more than twenty years, but her village was much the same as it had been when she left. The old miller, the one who had labeled her brother tainted by the One Power, had died. His mill sat empty, and Elin felt a strong satisfaction knowing that in the end, he had not won. One new addition was an inn, where she stayed the night. On the next day, she sought out her family’s bakery. There were children working there... children who looked painfully like her brothers... little girls who looked much like Elin had years ago. Of course, as she stood there, the children giggled and blushed, and an elderly woman came out from the back room. Her iron gray hair hung in waves, just like Elin’s did. It was her mother. They stood there, staring at each other for a long moment, both knowing who the other was. Then, Elin felt a pain in her chest as her mother put on a mask. “Good morning, my Lady, how may we serve you?” Elin bought a small set of sweet buns and left. Her mother knew she was alive, knew that she had made something of herself. She knew that her family thrived after she left. It was enough. As she brushed her hair and remembered those painful memories, Elin came back to herself when the novice knocked on her door. At her call, the novice opened the door and brought her tray in. After eating, Elin laid down and thought long thoughts about the way her mother had aged, and how it would be decades yet before Elin even had a single gray hair. The next morning, she dressed in a simple black dress, and for the first time in many years, she put on a small bonnet. This one wasn’t very traditional, it lacked the deep front that hid a woman’s face, but it reminded her of where she came from. If anyone asked, she would say she was dressing so plainly to avoid getting her better clothing dusty. After a quick breakfast of fruit, stewed in milk and honey, Elin went back to the storeroom. She knew that a weave of Air, Earth and Water could suppress all the dust... but there were so many ter’angreal that could accidentally be activated by a stray flow of the Power. Today, she didn’t bother with the known ter’angreal. It hadn’t helped before, it wouldn’t help today. As she worked, lifting items off their shelves, manipulating them, turning them, the room grew hot and stuff, and her head began to itch under the bonnet she had decided to wear on a maudlin whim. After four hours of itching at her scalp through the material and mounds of hair, Elin finally ripped it off her head. “It’s the past... my past, but still the past. Wearing a bonnet today won’t change the fact that I left Amadicia far behind.” Her voice echoed in the mostly empty room. It took her another hour to get sick of having her hair hanging about loose down her back. Her pride wouldn’t let her put the bonnet back on, and she didn’t have anything at hand to hold her hair back. Something on the shelf caught her eye. It was eye level, but at the back of a shelf. Like every other item in the room, it wore a small tag that gave its details. Hair Caul; metallic from unknown source material; serves unknown purpose. Whatever purpose its creator had intended, Elin needed a caul. She piled her hair into a neat coil, and slipped the caul on over it. It seemed right. The metal net kept her hair off her shoulders, but didn’t trap the heat on her scalp like the bonnet had. Though, that didn’t entirely explain the coolness she now felt. Hours later, nothing had leapt out at her, declaring its purpose. It frustrated her. A lot. She hadn’t failed at anything in some time. Another novice took her dinner order this time, and when she went to her room, Elin simply reclined in a chair waiting for her food to be brought. After she ate, she slipped out of her dress and directly into bed. She could brush her hair in the morning. As she sank into sleep, something felt different. Not enough to keep her awake, but enough that her mind kept running even as she sank into sleep. She knew she wasn’t awake yet... but she found herself aware. She was sitting in her room, wearing her favorite dress and that caul from the ter’angreal storeroom. The sky outside was an odd mix of midday blue, but with visible stars. It was disconcerting. Her room was well lit... despite the odd external lighting and the fact that none of her lamps were burning. Standing, Elin walked around her room, then out into the Red Ajah halls. It felt like there were eyes boring into the small of her back, no matter where she went. She visited the rooms of women she knew, some she liked, other she barely stood because of their shared Ajah. Eventually, she even visited the Highest’s rooms. There were no other people here. She did do a little rifling through papers, confirming a few ideas she had about her sisters. Though, letters seemed to appear and disappear with an alarming frequency. Books were more stable... even personal journals. Elin wandered the halls of the Tower, exploring different rooms... places she hadn’t visited since she was an Accepted... places she still wasn’t allowed to go. It was exillerating. Suddenly the world was shaking... and her eyes sprang open. Standing over her was a wide eyed novice and one of her least favorite sisters. “Good morning, Airen. To what do I owe the pleasure?” Elin did her best to put a few inches of frost on every surface in the room. “This girl said she came to bring you your breakfast, per the instructions you left with the kitchen, but she found you still asleep. She tried to wake you, but could not. She came into the hallway, and almost ran into me. I of course came to see if I could be of any assistance.” Airen’s voice was just as icy. “You see, Child, with some deep sleepers, you just need to shake them hard enough.” On that line, the other Red left, and Elin dismissed the novice. What happened to her? Where had she gone? The only logical conclusion was that the silvery caul she still wore had caused whatever happened. She kept it on, though... she hadn’t come to any harm, so why take it off? She spent weeks working in the storerooms, but nothing else caught her eye. For the same weeks, Elin explored this new world. After a trip to the Library to confirm her growing suspicion, Elin had a name for her new world. Tel’aran’rhiod. The unseen world. The world of dreams. Aes Sedai had studied it before, so it wasn’t brand new... but no one recently had explored this world. Her discoveries would be hers alone, for now. It took a small procedure to get approval to keep the silver caul, but the Tower was lenient with ter’angreal that seemed insignificant. She, of course, had to promise to report her discoveries to share with the Tower... but the promise was carefully worded to exclude a deadline for that report. Elin knew the Highest wasn’t pleased that she hadn’t discovered anything monumental. Someone else would have to do something to elevate the Red Ajah. Elin knew that if she revealed her explorations in the World of Dreams, the Red would gain significant prestige, but she didn’t want to share it just yet. If she told the Highest, it wouldn’t be her explorations anymore. The Highest would have the caul taken from her, and the Red Ajah would explore the world of Dreams. Elin might be allowed to visit, but older sisters, women who had paid their dues and earned the Highest’s favor would be given that honor. For now, the caul was hers. The World of Dreams was hers.
  21. 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.
  22. The silence that blanketed the room was broken only by the hushed footsteps of Sisters returning books to shelves and occasional whispered exchanges between Novices receiving orders and the Aes Sedai issuing them. Kiyi, tucked away in an isolated corner, was unaware of even those minor intrusions to the peace of the massive room. Her fingers absently caressed the leather bindings of the small volume lying on the table before her and her eyes, although appearing to rest on the embossed title of the cover, were unfocussed. Normally, the writing, dealing with the undercurrents and complexities of Daes Dae’mar, would have held her spellbound; but not this day. Having a few rare hours to herself, Kiyi had as usual headed straight to the Great Library, a building second only in size to the Tower itself. The sheer extent of the knowledge collected there was overwhelming; the privilege of having access to it, access which would be extended further upon becoming a full Sister, was the impetus that kept Kiyi going. She could barely begin to imagine the secrets held here and the hunger to immerse herself fully only grew as the years of novicehood passed. Despite that wish, concentration was currently fleeting and elusive and instead, her mind was wholly taken up with a troubling thought. A thought that disagreed so entirely with Tower policy that it was causing a deal of heart searching. So involved was she in her convoluted internal debate, that she didn’t hear the Sister approach. A firm hand laid itself upon her shoulder and Kiyi’s gaze lifted to discover the Mistress of Novices regarding her with an inscrutable expression. As the hand withdrew, Kiyi hurriedly stood up and curtsied, keeping her eyes downcast respectfully until the woman should choose to speak. “Come with me, child and do not dawdle,” Larindhra’s voice was calm but made it clear that compliance was expected... immediately. Kiyi’s brain scattered, trying to think of any mistakes she had made recently, certain that she must be in trouble for something to have attracted Larindhra’s attention. Her own visits to the Mistress of Novices’ office had been relatively few compared to her fellows but those visits had been more than memorable enough to make her avoid them like the plague. She favoured Larindhra with a sidelong look as they left the Library but could discern nothing from that ageless visage. Trying to control fluttering nerves, Kiyi gradually became aware of their surroundings as wide open hallways gave way to narrower corridors with barely seen doors leading off into the Creator only knew what. The silent walk seemed interminable and a nugget of fear began to form in the pit of her stomach just as Larindhra Sedai finally spoke again. “Your time of Testing is upon you, child. Keep up.” Kiyi’s eyes widened, though she managed, barely, to keep the shock from her features and her thoughts tumbled faster wondering what was to come, what she would have to do. Elation at reaching this stage battled with self doubt as their steps echoed back at them from the walls. We must be far below the Tower now! They came to a halt before a stout wooden door and Larindhra looked Kiyi over, a hint of speculation in her clear eyes. Apparently satisfied, the older woman opened the door and strode inside with Kiyi trailing her apprehensively, attempting to take in everything with one awed glance. She was in a domed chamber, its floor dominated by three rounded silvery arches settled atop a thick silver circle, their glowing light casting further shadows around the room. The arches themselves looked barely high enough to walk under and where the ends of each one met, sat a Sister wholly concentrated on the rings before her. Kiyi knew she was looking at a ter’angreal and the nerves fluttered higher. Another Aes Sedai was positioned quietly beside a small table behind Larindhra, three chalices sitting atop it filled with what looked like crystal clear water. Like the Mistress of Novices, all of the Sisters wore their shawls, something that impressed the importance of the event on Kiyi, if any further emphasis had been needed. Sisters rarely wore their shawls within the Tower and seeing them added a measure of stateliness to the occasion. Turning towards Larindhra, Kiyi straightened her shoulders, a determination settling on her now that the moment had arrived, but she could not prevent her hands pressing tightly against her stomach as though to hold herself together. “Two things that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on, no matter your potential and you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Secondly, to seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered and never come out. When the ter’angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they – were – not – there. They were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure.” Larindhra’s voice carried through the room, her eyes fastened to Kiyi’s intent on imparting every bit of meaning behind her words and Kiyi was sure they would be imprinted on her mind for all time. “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.” Seconds passed in what felt like hours as Kiyi tried to find her voice and push it past tight throat muscles and a dry mouth. A brief nod was followed by a strangled but definite, “I am ready, Larindhra Sedai.” The Aes Sedai at the table, a Yellow by her shawl, waited barely a heartbeat before speaking in a hard voice, “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?” “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister,” the Red replied promptly. “Is she ready?” “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.” Kiyi looked back and forth from one to the other, her fingers tangling together and untangling once more as she took in every word. “Does she know her fears?” intoned the Yellow. “She has never faced them, but now is willing.” “Then let her face what she fears.” The Mistress of Novices returned her attention to Kiyi, instructing her to undress. Fingers fumbled with buttons, feet tangled up and everything seemed to conspire against Kiyi’s haste to do as she was bid but at last, she self consciously allowed Larindhra to lead her palely naked form towards the first of the Arches. “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.” Step. The soft glow of light vanished behind Kiyi, forgotten already, and she blinked, staring around the barn and then at her companion. She smiled at the blonde haired Lana. “They won’t look for us here. Let’s go up to the loft.” Her voice sounded musical in the silence and Kiyi had a momentary sense of something being wrong. She wasn’t 6 any more and Lana was long gone…but the feeling passed. The other girl grinned back, and Kiyi raced her to the ladder, scrambling up into the dingy space below the rafters. A quick push from behind sent her flying into the loose bales and Lana joined her as they tumbled together laughing and shoving, throwing handfuls of hay at each other. Tiring of this sport, reaching boredom quickly as only the young can, Lana stood up to light a torch left in a bracket by the barn window and lifted it down. “There, we can see now. I want to explore.” The barn loft was a place of intrigue and secrets to the youngsters, filled as it was with long disused implements, old chests of toys no longer needed, discarded items dusty with long years of neglect but which made a veritable treasure trove for bold adventurers such as they were. They often spent hours pretending to be Hunters of the Horn or heroes of legend, drawing on all of the best stories they’d been told. Some time later, Kiyi and Lana poured over the contents of a box they had unearthed from under some old rugs. “Look! It’s a diary I think,” Kiyi’s grey eyes shone with excitement but Lana threw her a scornful glance and snatched the small book away. “Books are boring. You’re always reading Kiyi. It’s no fun.” Lana’s voice took on a petulant whine and Kiyi, annoyed at being denied her pleasure, reached out to shove her hard, grabbing for her prize. So quickly that neither child realised what was happening, Lana fell sideways, knocking the torch from between two shelves where it had been wedged to free up her hands. Kiyi would never have believed that flames could spread so far, so fast, as all of the ancient, dusty, tinder dry relics fell pray to the reaching fire. “Run, Lana, run,” Kiyi shouted, taking to her heels and speeding the length of the loft. She was down the ladder in moments, sure that Lana must be right behind her, but as she gained the floor and looked back, there was no sign of her friend. Something flickered in the corner of her vision and a glance showed her a silvery archway. It called to her, drew her and she knew she had to go. Screams reached her ears, the terror and pleading in them clear. “I’m stuck, Kiyi. The fire... get help, quick. Please... get help!” Kiyi stood undecided, scared tears coming as desperation rooted her to the spot. This was not how it was supposed to be. She couldn’t leave Lana, but she had to go. Her eyes whipped to the silvery glimmer and back to the ladder. “Help, Kiyi help.” Kiyi took a step towards the distant house. She would get her parents. “Be steadfast.” The words were an echo inside her skull. She had to go. “Noooo, Lana!” With a sob, Kiyi changed direction, and flung herself at a run through the archway... and landed hard on her knees on a cold stone floor. Pain seared endlessly through her bones, the light so bright it seemed to consume her. In seconds, Larindhra’s hands were raising her with peculiar gentleness and Kiyi was shocked by the sudden drenching of cold water as the Yellow Sister upended the first chalice over her coppery curls. “You are washed clean of what sin you may have done and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul.” Gasping, Kiyi stared at the Sisters, horror and uncertainty warring within her for dominance. She couldn’t remember exactly what had happened, the memories fragmented and vague, but it had been bad… very bad. Still, she held her peace, shivering and stealing herself for what must come. I will do this, no matter what. There is no choice. I will succeed. Larindhra urged her towards the second of the Arches. “The second arch is for what is. The way will come but once. Be steadfast.” Step. Kiyi eyed her reflection in the mirror. She was as ready as she would ever be and she turned to leave the room, her pace measured, as though she had all the time in the world. Anyone else would see only a serene expression, a Sister going about her normal business but inside Kiyi was far from calm. She had worked long and worked hard for this day… dreamed of it for even longer. So long and so hard that she had indeed begun to fear it would never come. It was unusual for a Sister as young as she, even a Blue, to be assigned to such a key political role but she knew she deserved it, knew that no other Sister still in the Tower could play Daes Dae’mar half so well as herself. Advisor to the Cairhienin monarch! Her slippered feet whispered across the tiles of the hallway accompanied by the gentle rustle of her skirts. She was only peripherally aware of Novices and Accepted curtsying respectfully as they scurried by, her attention focused on what was to come. Reaching the antechamber to the Amyrlin’s office, Kiyi paused briefly, allowing the Keeper time to announce her arrival. At the Keeper’s gesture, Kiyi entered and waited patiently for the Amyrlin to speak. “Well Daughter, are you ready? I have the documents here and you may begin your journey today. We have had no reliable information from Cairhien in months. It is of the utmost urgency that you take up your position as soon as possible.” The Amyrlin’s clipped sentences spoke volumes. The White Tower did not like to leave anything to chance and having a monarch of such importance without an advisor was intolerable. A slash of silver made Kiyi turn her head. “The way will come but once.” Confusion clouded her face. She was suddenly certain that she had not yet become a Sister but was equally sure that she’d been raised for many years now. She shook herself. “Indeed Mother, I am ready to leave as soon as you order it so.” The Amyrlin held out a sealed leather case containing the papers and information Kiyi would need… and the archway shone more brightly catching and holding her eyes. Just two steps and I will have what I want. Just two, she thought longingly. But she knew deep within herself that there was nothing to do but go and that to hesitate would somehow be disastrous. With a snarl curling her lip, Kiyi flung herself through the arch…through the heat, the light, the excruciating burning. Kiyi tried desperately to orient herself and steady her legs as the Yellow Sister stepped forward a second time to pour cold water from a chalice over her head and stated, “You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul.” “Did it happen? Was it real? I didn’t... I couldn’t...” blue-grey eyes appealed to Larindhra for answers, for reassurance against the sense of loss and dashed dreams. “Nobody knows, Kiyissalle,” the Mistress of Novices murmured quietly. “Some believe these things seen in the Arches are possibilities, alternative lives. Others believe they are not real at all. We just do not know. You must decide for yourself.” She urged Kiyi towards the next Arch. “The third time is for what will be. Be steadfast for the way back will come but once.” A shudder ran through Kiyi’s slight form but she pulled herself together as best she could and went on. What other choice was there now? Once more, just once more and it will be over. She held tightly to that thought as the light blazed and scoured her body yet again. Step. She wiped the back of her arm tiredly across her brow, scanning the low hills for any sign of pursuit. Nothing. She didn’t have time to be tired. We can’t stop now when so much depends on us. A frown brought the elegant arch of her brows tilting downwards in confusion. Us? “Kiyi, there do be no trace of them. It do be looking to me as though we did lose them this time.” The masculine voice intruded on her puzzlement. A voice she knew as well as her own... and yet, somehow, she was convinced she’d never heard it before in her life. Dove grey eyes transferred themselves from the surrounding vista and came to rest on the owner of that voice; a man who held himself with a deadly grace, whose pale blue eyes never stayed in one place for long and who stood a good 5 inches taller than the diminutive Aes Sedai appraising him. She nodded briefly. “Well we have no time to stop now, my Gaidin, followed or not. We must make what haste we can. We should reach Tar Valon by daybreak, no?” The momentary befuddlement passed as the urgency of the situation was renewed. Kiyi smoothed the bronze silk of her skirts when her stallion pranced fitfully and she settled the animal with a slight pressure from her knees. Tossing her head disdainfully, impatience showed and was gone so quickly that most would not have seen the slight disruption to the calmness of her features. She continued, “I am not about to allow those fools to impede us.” She sniffed delicately, ignoring the fact that the band who had set upon them the day before had in fact already delayed the journey and that their own escape from the trap had been a closer call than either of them liked to acknowledge. “I do no be thinking they be alone, Kiyi,” his voice countered warningly. “There do be no point to pushing ahead and finding ourselves trapped by others.” Kiyi nodded a reluctant agreement as they moved their horses on down the narrow trail. Night would fall soon and that would bring too many opportunities for accidents if naught else. “Be steadfast for the way back will come but once.” Kiyi’s brow wrinkled at the familiar but distant words, the sense of unreality taking her again though it lasted but seconds. The horses settled into a steady trot and it took all her attention to watch the path ahead. Her Warder moved off into the trees, scouting carefully and giving himself space to move. Their route was taking them through a small copse of trees when Kiyi suddenly felt a sharp, strangling pain of a taught wire across her throat, the pressure forcing her unceremoniously from the saddle to land with a solid thud and an agonising crack to her skull before blackness took her. She could only have been unconscious for a matter of minutes but that had been long enough to give the attackers their chance. As she rose unsteadily to her feet, Kiyi was already embracing the power but she saw immediately that she could do nothing without risking harm to her bonded. He was moving fast, striking at several men like lightning slicing through storm clouds but he was outnumbered and Kiyi knew he could not hold them off much longer. As the frantic realisation came, a silvery flicker caught her eye off to the left and a shout of denial spilled from her. The archway hung there, taunting her and she ignored it, turning desperately back to the fighting. “Kiyissalle... go! Now!” his words were knives, cutting ribbons through every fibre of her being and she shook her head in refusal even as she felt his agony blossom inside her head and watched the first sword pierce his side. “You do be doing our friends no good by getting killed. GO!” Another pain flared as a second sword caught him across the back and Kiyi’s knees almost gave way. She could not... would not... leave him here like this. As well be dead herself. She would not run again. The arch seemed to fade a little as she glanced at it but its light pulled at her just as strongly, mocking her wish to ignore it. “Be steadfast.” Kiyi let out a low moan. She had no choice. She ran and leaped, closing her eyes against the betrayal, against her own weakness, against the memory of a pair of ice blue eyes that held death in their depths. His life for hers…the light burned her to the core. Kiyi felt the cold, bare stone of the chamber grazing her palms as she collapsed, the howl that left her throat then sounding as though it came from the farthest reaches of her soul. Gradually, bit by bit, she became aware of her surroundings and saw that there were more Aes Sedai in the chamber than before. The Amyrlin Seat, her seven striped stole across her shoulders, stood watching, her face impassive though her eyes showed empathy for the devestation clear in Kiyi’s own gaze. A Sister from each Ajah flanked the Amyrlin on either side and, recalling what she was meant to do, Kiyi willed herself to stand and walked slowly toward the Amyrlin Seat, kneeling before her as she had been taught. The Amyrlin poured the final chalice of water over Kiyi’s head then spoke clearly, “You are washed clean of Kiyissalle Chevra of Tremonsien. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul. You are Kiyissalle Chevra, Accepted of the White Tower.” A brief silence fell, Kiyi still not fully believing she had completed what seemed like a trial by fire and feeling sick to her stomach though she could not clearly remember why. “You are sealed to us, now. Welcome, daughter,” said the Amyrlin Seat, a hint of a smile touching her lips. She handed the empty chalice to one of the other Aes Sedai and produced a slim band of gold, a Great Serpent ring, which she slipped onto the third finger of Kiyi’s left hand. Kiyi just had time to curl her fingers possessively into a fist around it before the Amyrlin pulled her upright. “Welcome, Daughter,” she said, kissing Kiyi lightly on both cheeks. “Welcome.” At last, it was real. At last, it sank in that she’d achieved the first step on her journey to becoming Aes Sedai…at a cost. Kiyi’s eyes glowed, a dazzling smile flashing briefly over her face as she curtsied. “Thank you, Mother.” Daughter, not Child, she thought to herself in satisfaction. And now a new road must be traversed. I will succeed. The silent vow repeated itself over and over within the confines of her mind. One day, one day soon, she would see it fulfilled... and hope the cost was not too great.
  23. "Nesyer Yoshan Aravell ti Shiwar, you are summoned to take your test for Acceptance. You must follow me with haste, and speak to no one in passing." Nesyer had been on the way to the corridor for lunch, accompanied by her friends that she had made during her life as a Novice in the Tower. Now, they shrank back from her, a respectful silence fell, as Nesyer made her way to the bottomost basment of the White Tower. Nenen had been raised over a year ago, and Wilemi had been summoned, and had refused the test. Nesyer wondered in her heart, whether she was ready, and whether she ever would be. Down they went, the corridor swept clean of any dust, and Nesyer's slippers were accompaned by the rythamic tap of Larindha's soles on the floor as well. The shawl of the red ajah streamed out behind her as they walked briskly on the lowest corridor in the White Tower. The Mistress of Novices opened a door, and Nesyer entered, her slippered feet coming to a halt at the scene in front of her. Nesyer's eyes roved around. The Ter'Angreal was in the center of the room, catching to eye of everyone in the room. Three sisters sat around it, on in front of each arch, carefully maintaining it for the Test that was about to begin. It hummed and sang softly, streaks of colour streaking across its surface time and time again, it was by far the most eye-catching thing that she had ever seen. Try as she might, she could not break her gaze from the clutches of the light it emitted. Larindha loomed out of nowhere, her face grave. Turning her attention to the Mistress of Novices, she looked at her expectantly. “Two things shall I tell you now that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on and, no matter your potential, you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter”angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they - were - not - there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to failure.” “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.” Nesyer did not speak. She looked at the Ter'Angreal. She searched her own heart, and found a steely resolve that was in her heart. She would become Aes Sedai. She would face her fears, and be ready for them. She looked up at the Larindha Sedai, and nodded. "So be it. I am ready." “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?”, a voice rang out. A Sister was standing nearby. A Gray, from her shawl. “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister.” “Is she ready?” “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.” “Does she know her fears?” “She has never faced them, but now is willing.” “Then let her face what she fears.” Nesyer immediately began to undress under the steady gaze of the Aes Sedai. Baring herself to the skin, she began to walk steadly foward, her black hair absorbing the light the Ter'Angreal gave out. As she was enveloped by the Light, she heard Larindha speak one last time, before white enveloped her senses. “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."
  24. Nenen was looking out of the window in her room when it happened. The door slammed open with a rsounding crack, and Nenen jumped, as the Mistress of Novices, clad in a formal red gown, with a red shawl, stood framed in the doorway, her hair flying in the wind that was howling down the corridors of the White Tower, her dress stirring and flapping, giving her the form of some emphermal queen in her room. Nenen curtisied as Larindha spoke. "Nenen Kailadel Aravell ti Shiwar, you are summoned to take your test for Acceptance. You must follow me with haste, and speak to no one in passing." Nenen's heart stopped right there and then, for a second, then Larindha was down the ocrridor, sweeping down past the stunned Novices, who stared at Nenen with envy. Nenen followed, her face pale and frightened, despite her bravery. Wilemi smiled through tears. She had been like that ever since her first rejection of the Test for Acceptance. Nenen gave her a wan smile in response as she nearly ran down the corridor to catch up with the Mistress of Novices, causing a Servant to trip and fall in the process. They made steady progress down all the way to the very deepest basement of the White Tower. Nenen shivered. The atmosphere here was chilled and cold, having never been graced with the touch of sunlight for years uncounted. A chill breeze sweeped down the corridor, rattling doors, and Nenen followed Larindha Sedai into a room. What immediately caught Nenen's attention was the Ter'Angreal right in the middle of the room. Three perfect arches, each exactly the same as the other, shining a bright white. Larindhra Sedai stepped in front of Nenen, blocking her view of the Ter'Angreal and spoke, “Two things shall I tell you now that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on and, no matter your potential, you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter”angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they - were - not - there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure.” A pause in which Nenen nodded her understanding of the rules and the Mistress of Novices continued. “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.” Nenen took one last deep breath and answered in a clear voice, “I am ready, Aes Sedai.” Larindhra nodded and turned towards the Ter’Angreal which indicated the start of the canon as was done for each of these ceremonies. A green sister immediately started to speak. “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?” Her voice was challenging, questioning. “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister.” “Is she ready?” “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.” “Does she know her fears?” “She has never faced them, but now is willing.” “Then let her face what she fears.” Larindha Sedai turned up to Nenen, sympathy written all over her usually calm and stoic face, as Nenen went, bare to the skin, her hair seeming to fly as she walked slowly but steadly towards the Ter'Angreal, which hummed expectantly. “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast. Come back to us.”
  25. The only word to describe her mood was dejected. Nynaeve Sedai had released her from her tasks early, the Sister’s attention taken up with some important matter in the Infirmary that could not wait and so, Kiyi had been able to leave the wards and take some time just for herself. She wandered the gardens slowly, looking for a secluded spot to think and regain some composure, hoping that the peace and beauty of the grounds would restore her sense of well-being. She felt little these days other than tired, ground down and depressed. Things were not going at all according to plan and she had no idea why that should be. Finding a bench nestled in the lee of some bushes covered in pretty purple flowers, Kiyi dropped exhausted onto the wood and stared morosely at the Tower. She’d had such hopes in coming here, such dreams. She was no closer to attaining them than she had been on arrival though and that was baffling to her. Kiyi’s fingers picked distractedly at a loose thread on the sleeve of her novice dress as her thoughts turned to Esther and Deanne. The girls had been absent from the Tower for some time, returning only recently, though Kiyi did not know why and when they had come back everything had changed. In truth, things had changed even before that, the friendship she’d begun to form with Esther seeming to dissipate overnight. Where did it all go so wrong? the thought snaked through the young girl’s mind as her shoulders slumped. She felt as though a huge weight was pressing her down and suddenly, everything was just too much to cope with. She didn’t sob and howl as Deanne was wont to do; even in distress Kiyi was too reserved for such an outpouring of emotion, but the tears flowed just the same, obscuring her vision and tracking their way down her cheeks in an unstoppable stream of sadness. Entangled in her own concerns, she was oblivious to the approaching footsteps until it was too late to hide.
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