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Part 3: Dried Herbs
Mon May 22, 2006 7:28am (XFF:

There was no true indication that the Novices had performed their weaves properly except to go around and examine them to see that they'd been formed properly. Some of the Novices had succeeded, while others had failed—some only making one attempt before giving up, as if a weave could be mastered by everyone the first try. Alain sighed his frustration with the Novices just as Medaea kept her face smooth of the irritation she felt; showing it to them would only discourage them or make them much more belligerent.

"All right, last part of the lesson, everyone follow me into the drying rooms." Medaea called out. "Leave the stools where they are, there are plenty of seats for everyone where we're going." Allain and Medaea walked at a brisk pace down one of the smaller and more narrow paths that paralleled the White Tower walls, the shade almost too cool in the spring day for Medaea's liking. A small door that blended in with the rest of the surroundings was left unlocked for the two Accepted and as they entered the large room, a dozen tables were spread out in the open space and the aroma of herbs that were piled everywhere on them nearly assaulted the senses.

"Everyone find a table to sit down at, Schyler, Teiran, come stand up here at this table." There was little noise, only the soft hum of curious voices as Novices looked at the piles of herbs on their large tables and then silence as everyone was situated and waited for Medaea to continue.

"Before you are different types of herbs and Accepted Allain and I are going to teach you two different ways to dry them out, depending on your strength in the One Power. You might be wondering what these herbs are and what they're for. On this half of the room there are culinary herbs from the many herb gardens throughout the White Tower grounds and on this half are the medicinal. Aes Sedai work in these rooms normally to dry them out, package them and then they're taken to cities and donated to those who need it. Some are, of course, saved for White Tower needs, but this batch today is meant to be sent to Cairhien to help out with a lot of the refugees there."

"If you'll pay close attention," Allain continued. "Accepted Medaea and I will perform one way to dry the herbs—I'll show the male channelers how to use Earth and Fire first and Accepted Medaea will first demonstrate using Air and Water, then we'll switch."

Medaea opened herself to saidar and picked up a small bundle of basil, the sweet aroma of the herb reminding her of some of the dishes Mistress Laras made in the evenings. "You're going to use Air and Water to draw out the moisture from the herbs themselves, it's very much like the weave used to dry clothes that get wet in that you use Water to pull out the moisture and Air to speed up the process. Used incorrectly, you'll either not dry out the herb, or you'll overdo it and the herbs will end up a fine powder of unusable dust. So remember, small weaves, deft flows."

She wove Air and Water into a simple gridwork and drew it through the leaves of the herbs, almost instantly she felt the water pull from the leaves and the result was that Medaea was left with a handful of green-brown dried leaves, retraining their shape without even a curl to the leaf. Setting the basil down gently, Sisters would come by and break them up so that the herbs could be sprinkled into food, their flavors concentrated without all the air and water in their leaves. It was a practical use to stretch herbs farther during lean months.

"Now for Earth and Fire." Medaea said, "For anyone who is stronger in Earth and Fire, you're best off using this method, which is just as effective, but different." Earth and Fire were her two weakest Powers, but she was using them in such small amounts because of the size of the herbs, that Medaea was sure she would be fine.

Earth and Fire formed into a net that encompassed the herbs and by increasing the number of Fire threads in the weave, it caused the sphere to heat up and draw out the air and moisture of the herbs. "Remember to keep your net close and fine, we're not looking to do a lot of work with the One Power, just precise weaving more than anything." This time, the leaves curled from the heat of her flows, but within a few moments, they too had been dried and although the leaves had curled in on themselves, they were as brittle as the herbs from her first weave, and just as dried.

"Each of you take a bunch of herbs and use whichever method of drying that you are most comfortable with, depending on your strengths in the Power. Accepted Alain and I will be walking around to offer any help or assist if you run into trouble."

OOC: This is the final part ot the lesson! You will have until next Monday, May 29, to complete this lesson. If you need an extension, email me and let me know. Thanks to everyone for this wonderful participation! =)

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