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Part II: Kinship
Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:17pm (XFF:

Adopting an amused sort of smirk, Miravalles watched as the novice–Necros, unless she was greatly mistaken–broke into an uncontrolled tumble into Thorhild. The pair of them fell to the cobbles below, and how! Thorhild was quick in pulling herself up again, straightening her skirts and dusting off the garments. She did not show anger, no, but with the Seanchan patrols, she certainly could not stand to be serene. Instead, the woman went more thin-lipped than Miravalles supposed she’d ever seen another woman.

Approaching the Blue, Miravalles whispered, “Slip off. I’ll hold the novices until you’re ready.” It would do no good to give a penance out here in the open! It was far too Aes Sedai-like! The aquiline Blue nodded. In spite of it all, she appeared rather formidable. She stalked off away from the scene.

Turning her face to the novices who, by now, were mostly done, Miravalles grinned. Light, but it felt good to be able to smile openly, bereft of the restraints that plagued an Aes Sedai. Sharing her gaze with each of them, her eyes rested finally on Necros, her smile holding steadfast. Well, the novice and his partner certainly had done a very disappointing job at orchestrating the faux-duel, then. Still, she could hardly blame them. Not all novices were as intelligent as others, and she hardly could blame Necros if he was just a little slower than the rest. Children learned at different paces, after all. Still, to fight–and they truly weren’t supposed to have used even a whit of real strength!–so close to an Aes Sedai . . . well, that was very foolish, even if Necros was slow. He appeared to pant, too. Was that for the heat, then? It was only morning; was it already overwhelming the poor child?

Isn’t he the one that keeps squirrels in his sleeves? she thought, shrugging. A fairly inhumane practise, suffice to say.

“Thorhild has gone off to prepare the next part of the lesson,” she explained, smiling graciously. More specifically, the Blue likely had ducked off into some deserted alleyway to Travel to the vicinity of the next part. It really was a blessing that there were no damane currently in the city. Light, how awful would that be for them all? “I give you permission to roam the square if you please, poking your head into shops. I’d give you a good twenty minutes.”

And once that twenty minutes had dissipated, Thorhild returned, and the novices crowded around them again. Miravalles did a headcount to be sure all the novices had returned–Light, but she’d not lose another one–before the older woman began talking.

“Our next subject will take us again out of the city, several miles northeast thereof. I have made sure that the preparations are certain. Follow closely.”

Taking up the rear again, Miravalles followed the novices led by Thorhild as they departed from the city square. It was a winding path that took them little more than five minutes until they reached a dark, secluded alleyway. By night, it might appear rather ominous, though as it was day . . . it certainly did not look very impressive. The sense of Thorhild touching the True Source pervaded her mind. The woman channeled fine flows of Spirit into a gateway as Miravalles monitored the mouth of the alley. No folks passed by.

The class stepped through, with Miravalles passing through just as the gateway snapped shut behind her. The change in scenery was evident, and gasps appeared to rupture the throng of white-clad initiates. Not Miravalles, however, as she knew what to expect. The place . . . was in ruins. Tiny houses, as they once might have been, were now reduced to scorched rubble; obscure splinters lay scattered around the ground. There were great barren patches where the earth was missing, where fire had ravaged parts of the grass. The land had been ravaged. In the distance, grassy hills could be seen, and the city was but a distant dot.

“This place,” Miravalles said, her voice growing quiet and barren, “was once known as the Farm. It used to be the home of the Kin. Rubble only now remains, as you can see. The Kin is a group of channelers whose origins date back more than two thousand years. They largely included initiates who had been turned away from the White Tower, whether by failing the test for Acceptance or Aes Sedai. Some had run away. The Tower was knowledgeable of these individuals, but made no attempt at interaction.”

As the novices progressed, passing the tattered wreck of buildings, they spied a woman in the centre of it all. She was a short woman, her face pace and youthful and adorned with tiny freckles. “This,” Thorhild said quietly, “is Synnove, a member of the Kin. She has agreed to meet here today to speak with you about the Kin that, for so many centuries, resided out of Ebou Dar. The Kin have since relocated since their Farm was destroyed at the hands of the Seanchan.”

Synnove nodded quietly. She was a pretty woman, yes, with yellow hair falling down to her shoulders, though her dark eyes belied a tortured soul. The topic was an obviously difficult one. “We taught–still teach–women how to channel, and we would reject no one. Women can still choose to come to use over the White or Black Towers, though our numbers no long reside in Ebou Dar. Our methods are much stricter than the White Tower. This place was in actuality a true farm, with the initiates toiling in the fields growing plants for penances. The Seanchan did this when they attacked the far. This, of course, was before we adopted more amicable relations with the White Tower. We acted as Healers in the city, dubbing ourselves secretly as ‘Red Belts’ and dispensing poultices when, in actuality, we Healed them.”

Thorhild nodded with a glance at the novices. “Your imminent task is simple, really. You will help clean up the Farm. It truly is the only way you can learn, and I hope what you find in the ashes helps you realize what the Kin had to leave behind. All of the structures have been decimated enough that nothing will collapse, as there are no buildings in the least for you to enter. Simply collect some of the smaller pieces of rubble and deposit it in a large pile at my feet. There is no need to use the Power. Most of it is ash, but it will still take you lot a good hour’s work. If you find any spared belongings, please give them to Synnove, as she will be Traveling back to Andor where the rest of her numbers wait. And I hope that each of you is mature enough to respect this site for what it once was. Though the Seanchan have left, the Farm still stands as a token of what they can do.”

“Once you’ve done that,” Miravalles continued, stepping in, “Thorhild and I have vellum and pens to dispense among you lot. Find a quiet spot, and I want you to write down your thoughts on the Kin. Though they no longer are based in Altara, they play a significant role in Altaran history. You can write about whatever you please, but I want you to consider many things. What measures do you think the Kin took to hide themselves from the Aes Sedai? With the harsher structure and different political front, would you rather have joined the Kin as opposed to the White Tower? Why? There has been a notion deliberated within the Hall of Aes Sedai, once they reach a certain age, foreswearing the Oaths and retiring into the Kin. What would the pros of this be? The cons? Do you think the Kin would be stronger or weaker than the average Aes Sedai? Would people respect them more, perhaps?”

“Once you do this,” Thorhild said, “do not sign your written message. Instead, we will place them in the centre of what once was the Farm, and I will ward them so they don’t blow away. Consider this as something of a tribute to them, for though they exist, it is not in Altara.”

Sinnove nodded. “I would like this,” she said, smiling pleasantly. She was a pretty woman.

“Off you go, then,” Miravalles said with a quicksilver grin.

OOC: Final bit! You have the choice of writing out two posts of 400 words minimum or one post of 800 minimum. For the first bit, have your character explore and sift through the rubble and help clean it up. The second bit is the tribute message to them, and you can write whatever you please, so long as it’s about the Kin. *grins*

Credits will be posted in a week. If you need an extension for any reason, by all means, request one! This lesson is now closed to newcomers. Have fun.

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