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Culture: Altara
Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:39pm
69.63.34.9 (XFF: 160.99.205.34)

It was almost an embarrassment to navigate the Tower’s halls this time of year, spying the novices and Accepted wilting away for the warmth. After the long, toilsome months of winter, this sudden bout of seasonal warmth was something to which one must get accustomed, yes, though many of these men and women were seeming as though boiled noodles. Thorhild spied paper fans and even weaves of the Power being employed, which was almost as sad in itself. Light, but for what did the Tower stand if not for the strength in unity? What unity could be found if a week of sunny days broke the initiates’ collective spirit?

The Blue sister sighed quietly to herself, approaching the novices’ lesson board with level gaited steps. Her presence alone cleaved a pathway through the whitewashed crowd of novices as she stood to tack a message on the cork board. Even as she departed, Thorhild could hear the throng of novices scrambling to read what it said.

Novices,

A lesson will be held on the first day of the month of Adar concerning the culture of Altara. It will be held directly after breakfast in the Oval Lecture Hall. Departures from the classroom will begin shortly into the lesson, so promptness is strongly recommended. Bring with you only a willingness to learn.

Under the Light,
Thorhild Trellacanthanine
Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah


The following morning, Thorhild swept with a dignified sort of step into the Oval Lecture Hall. A bit sizeable, yes–it was largely reserved for those few Accepted lessons where a strong turnout was expected–especially considering Altara’s standing. It wasn’t a powerful nation, due likely to the fact that it suffered such mismanaged government. The King of Altara’s reign extended not even a pace out of Ebou Dar, and so the rest of the extensive nation was largely anarchist. It was not without order, however, which was wordlessly divided among the noble Houses.

Miravalles was already in the marble Hall waiting for her upon Thorhild’s arrival. Miravalles, suffice to say . . . was, well, a beauty. She might have appeared like Thorhild in earlier years, though Thorhild had never carried such bust in the entirety of her life, she did not think. Both women were of Altaran lineage, and their appearances followed accordingly. Both had aquiline noses, though Thorhild’s carried more of a hook. Thorhild’s dark hair was worn in a formidable bun, while Miravalles wore hers all the way down her back. Both women, however, had the same eyes–eyes that would appear to be black when lacking proper inspection. Miravalles, of course, appeared wide and doe-eyed, hardly embodying an Aes Sedai. Understandable. Thorhild had held the shawl for more than a century; Miravalles had not had hers for a tenth of that amount in months.

“Good morning,” the Altaran sister said brightly, seated already behind the desk at the centre of the room. Thorhild sniffed. Was she herself, then, just to stand around? Miravalles was a Brown, of course, and still wore that brown-fringed shawl of hers. Browns were not the touchstone of empathy.

“Indeed,” Thorhild said thinly, spying the woman through her spectacles.

It was not long before the novices came piling in. There was not an incredible amount of them, no, but the turnout not noticeably slight. Perhaps the simple thought of “travelling” had lured them from other classes. Leaving Miravalles for her seat, Thorhild took command, standing at the front of the classroom. She endeavoured to hold herself with a commanding presence, though did not consider herself altogether humourless.

“I trust that you all enjoyed your repast,” the Blue intoned, “as you’ll be needing it. Altara, as you ought to know, is one of the southernmost nations on this side of the Spine of the World. It is located on the Sea of Storms. It is a proud of a long history, and its magnificence can be witnessed in its flag: two golden leopards on a field of checkered blue and red. Miravalles Sedai and I will impress this all upon you. Now, of course, I do not doubt that you’re positively itching to be from here. What better place to learn of Altara than the nation itself? Introduce yourself with your names and any relevant information, and after that, we will take you there.”

Once the class had run through their names in the typical manner, Thorhild embraced the True Source. She was strong in the Power, and as such, she formed the gateway with typical ease. A Talent in Traveling certainly did not go amiss. She smiled smoothly, her rosebud lips curving across her face. Channeling Spirit with none to spare, a large silver gateway rotated into existence before them all. “Single-file,” she instructed casually.

The novices would not have believed it. It hit them with all the impact of a charging Trolloc: the heat. While the sudden bout of spring might have caught them off-guard, this was practically summer. “Wait until it actually is summer,” Miravalles said appropriately.

Folks were bustling in around them. Not directly around them, of course, as Thorhild had marked this spot specifically for Travelling, but it was busy. “I welcome you to the Silver Circuit.” It was a colosseum unto itself, standing tall and circular with a proud sort of dignity. “We currently stand just north of Ebou Dar. The Silver Circuit is one of the city’s proudest attractions. It’s a racetrack where trusted breeders from all over the westlands come with the intent to race with the finest. These are the most skilled jockeys of their kind. Folks from the city and from beyond come to watch world-class entertainment–and, suffice to say, place a few bets. That is precisely what we’ll be doing.”

Thorhild and Miravalles guided the novices into the Silver Circuit, passing vendors and other Altaran sights. The men in patchy beards offering brochures appeared to pass over her; that she, at least, if not necessarily Miravalles, was Aes Sedai was evident. The day was bright, causing a rather sharp glare off her spectacles, as the Aes Sedai guided them to the polished stone seats reserved solely for them. While the outside had been teeming with activity, the inside was not so congested. It was, after all, early yet.

“Considering the time of day,” Miravalles explained with a very un-Aes Sedai-like grin as she seated herself, “there will not be many races. In fact, these can just be considered warm-ups for what would be seen later. As I am informed, this warm-up will contain all of two horses. It’s very likely that the other jockeys have not arrived as of yet. Your two choices include a palomino named Faris and a dun named Rosamund.”

“While no gold will be placed on these horses,” she said, almost by way of an admonition, “you will state your bet. Altara is, after all, a nation with a most prosperous gambling circuit. Now, choose your bet–either Faris or Rosamund–and shortly after we will watch the horses race. Whether or not your bet wins may affect the outcome of the lesson for you.” Or, perhaps, it could be just plain, blind fun.


OOC: We’re off! 300 words, please, with the regular standard–spell and grammar checking, descriptions, and so on. You can have their bet placed, and you’ll find out in my next post who wins and what exactly this means. (If anything. *sly wink*)

You can expect a rootin’ tootin’ good time. Not that Altara had any cowboys. Probably.

Enjoy your holiday. *grins*
/|\Mark

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