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Part Two: To Practise and to Take the Scene
Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:03pm
83.109.192.186 (XFF: 160.99.205.59)

”Are everyone done with their weaving,” Markel asked quietly, and Ara nodded. Most of them, in fact, had been done for quite some time; a number of the novices were already experimenting with throwing their balls from one hand to another, some even having progressed – or were trying to progress – into using all three of their balls.

“Okay, everyone.” Ara called out, immediately getting the attention of all the novices. “Everyone, gather around. Leave a little bit of space around you, you will need it for the next part of the lesson.” Wordlessly the white-clad boys and girls gathered around, some clutching their three balls as if their lives were depending on it, others holding them almost carelessly by their sides. “Please release the Power.” They did so – those who hadn’t already – and Ara knew they would all feel like she did because of it; like something dear was taken away from them, hovering within reach if one just stretched. The dangers of holding the Power was, Aranisia knew, one of the many reasons novices were made to be the very epitomes of obedience in all things; just like in a war people could die if those who were supposed to obey instantly failed to do so.

She picked out her own three balls and started juggling as she spoke. As before some of the novices seemed mesmerized by the balls flitting through the air as if forced into a pattern of steel, but as far as the Seanchan Accepted could see they were all paying close attention.

“First of all, if you think this is hard…well, it is. Juggling challenges your eye-to-hand coordination to a very great extent, and for every ball you add the harder it gets.” Ara added the fourth ball, and true to her words the juggling immediately got far more challenging. Seeing the widening of eyes in the novices was most gratifying, but hardly what she had brought them here for. Her showing off might add a small bit of money to the orphanage’s coffers, but she was moderately sure that the efforts of many novices combined would bring far more, even if they weren’t all that good.

“Now, for the most basic juggling, this is what you do.” She slid the fourth ball back into the pouch and allowed the other three balls to rest in her hand, two in her left and one in the right. “See how I have two balls in my right hand and one in the left? You can do it the other way around as well, but personally I think this is easiest.

“What you do is to imagine two crosses, about a foot in front of your forehead. Yes, child,” she said to one novice who was rolling her eyes, “I know it sounds a bit foolish, but just do it. Alright. The two crosses should be approximately eight inches apart. They’re called your focus points, and you had better remember the term. Focus points. Now, the trick I am going to show you now is the simplest one in the book, but it can be changed to a certain extent.

“The ball at the front of the hand holding two balls,” she said while she demonstrated, “should be thrown in an arch from waist-height, via the imaginary point to the left. As soon as the ball has passed this imaginary point, throw the one ball in your left in a similar arch, but going through the imaginary point to the right. The arches should be about eye-height, and you should throw and catch from waist-height. Repeat.” Ara went through the motions a few times, each movement a fluid and measured one. The novices looked at her, some of them with eyes big as dinner plates, and the Accepted smiled. “Now, practise for a while, when I call you over you may pocket your balls since you won’t be needing them for a while.”

Finished with the general instructions, Ara drew aside Sarina and Chria, another novice who looked like she was relatively adept in the art of juggling already. “Look, if you’re up for an extra challenge…” Ara picked up a tiny, leather-bound book from the sack that was again slung across her shoulders. “If you read these chapters, here,” she leafed through the book and pointed with a long, slim finger, “you will find information and simple how-to’s when it comes to juggling in pairs, what is called ‘passing’. If you so choose, you may find one or two exercises here, practise them and show that at our little performance.”

~*~

Half an hour had passed, and most of the novices looked like they would be seeing balls in their sleep for the next two weeks. Some seemed to be getting the hang of the art of juggling already, while others dropped the balls on their heads more often than anything else. For the most part the females were doing best; just like girls in general had more dexterity with weaves, so they also seemed to have better hand-eye coordination. Of course there were exceptions, just as some girls were stronger than boys both physically and with the Power, but for the most part that was how it went.

The Accepted summoned the novices to stand around her and Markel, and once silence reigned and balls of Air and Earth were safely tucked into pockets or placed on the earth beside their owners feet, she began speaking anew. “Now, juggling is well and good. However, you are also initiates of the White Tower, and as such you’ve been endorsed with more possibilities for entertainment than even the most adept gleeman.” The novices gawked at her, and she hurriedly continued. “The Power, children. The Power can be used to entertain.” She took a deep breath. “Surely most of you know already that I am Seanchan?” Most of the novices nodded, some of them going as far as giving her a baleful glare that Ara chose to ignore. She’d have to prove herself to them as well, she knew; she had proved herself to those who led the Tower, but those who would in some unforeseeable future lead the Tower must be convinced as well.

A worry for another time. This was here, now, and she had some weaves to teach.

“I will show you two weaves, both of which we will use at your performance” – they gasped at that, some of them; performance? - “this day in one week. The first weave,” she embraced saidar, “I think at least some of you know already. It’s simply a weave to hold an item up, and it’s solely of Air.” She channelled, her threads of Air seeming thick as an arm at first, before it swivelled out into thinner tendrils. “You will use thin threads of Air to fasten objects, such as this ball, to for instance a wall or a roof.” The ball, one of those she had made out of Air and Earth, hang suspended, caught in a fine net of Air that encircled it completely. The corners of the net were joined at the top with a thin band of Air, and that band was again tying the whole thing to the three branch a good two yards above Ara’s head.

“You might ask what is the point of hanging this pretty dull-looking ball up to dry. However, if we do this,” she tied off the weave and instead grasped for threads of Spirit, Fire and Earth. Earth and Fire were her weakest elements, but she was more than adept enough to weave the intricate web of Fire, laced with Earth and Spirit, and twirl it so that it resembled the flurry of moons she had learned surrounded some of those far-away planets she had never seen. She allowed the web to sink in and settle before tying it off, and suppressed a grin at the reactions to the display of colours and glitter that constituted the formerly oh-so-dull-looking ball. All the colours of the seven Ajahs were present, swirling through and in one another without mixing and thus losing any of their own brilliance.

~*~

A week later…
It was a warm, sunny day and only a few short minutes after the bell had tolled to signal the end of lunch and the beginning of afternoon class. For Ara it had been a complacent lunch; she and Samira had allowed themselves a rather relaxed if still productive day, and had taken their time chatting over lunch with a rare sense of ease and calm. From the somewhat red-faced exterior of some of the novices standing in a semi-circle around her and Markel she somehow doubted that had been the case for them, but then again novices very rarely had something that would ever be called relaxed hours, much less whole days.

“Are you ready, children?” Markel’s aloof voice hid very well the fact that he himself had only been an Accepted for a few months, and Ara almost had to admire him for it. It had been quite some while before she herself had adjusted to the extended responsibilities and duties of being among the Accepted; Markel seemed to handle it quite a lot better. Then again, of course, appearances could be very deceptive indeed.

Without waiting for an answer the male Accepted led the way out of the Tower and into Tar Valon proper. Some of the novices seemed nervous, fingers now tugging at a dress or a tunic, now clenching into fists. Others looked almost relaxed, as if this was a freeday and they were preparing for a whole day of gawking at the marvels of Tar Valon. What about me, Ara thought, measuring her own feelings, am I nervous?

No, she decided, she was not. The novices were as well prepared as they could be. True, not all of them had gotten the hang of the juggling, and she had accepted the pleas of those who felt truly insecure to be allowed to drop their performance and just do their part behind the scenes. Oh well, not really behind it, of course, since they depended on seeing the stage to be able to do their task, but Ara still thought the expression appropriate. All of them should be able to successfully make and maintain the glittering, colourful balls that were to light up the stage, and on that front no concessions had been given.

The wooden stage was well crafted, if not Ogier work. There were few ornaments, but the wood looked finest quality, and the lines of the structure pleased the eye. Already a crowd had gathered; smiling mothers and fathers with children perched on a shoulder or tugging at their parent’s hand to get closer to where the show would be, simple farmers in their feast-day finest who gawked on the spectacles around them until Ara was surprised their eyes were not falling out, the occasional trader, doing his or her best to stay aloof but still smile at everyone – after all, anyone in the crowd could be a prospective customer – and, most surprisingly, three or few individuals who Ara felt sure must be nobles.

“Right,” Ara said as the novices fell silent, “remember my instructions. You will enter the stage alone and show off your skill. After you’ve been up on the stage you get two performances’ time in order to cool down and gather yourself, and then it’s your turn to make sure the stage is well-lit, the balls as vivacious and lively as you can get them – do remember to tie off the weaves, none of you are able to maintain more than one, maybe two, at the same time.” She smiled. “Good luck!”



(OOC: Yes, I know I broke my promise about being less verbose. Sorry, you were out of luck this time!

What I want from you:
- EITHER two posts of minimum 400 words, one where you react to Ara’s drivel, practise your juggling AND your weaves and one with the performance as well as how your character manages to perform said weaves under pressure ;)
- OR one post of minimum 800 words, containing the same as the above.

Sarina, you’re free to have your char do it solo or with the npc novice I made up for you. If you’re not sure of the dynamics of group juggling, just do a google search!

Have fun, be creative with this :)

I will be giving out the credits Tuesday in one week, if you need an extension just email me!



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    • Part Two: To Practise and to Take the Scene — Accepted Aranisia Samin, Tue Jul 18 2:03pm
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      • PracticingNovice Kareen din Yokiri, Thu Jul 20 9:36am
        Kareen waited patiently before the Accepted asked them to gather once more. She had tied off her weaves a little before, having time to stare about the orphanage once again. At the instruction of the ... more
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          It had been a week since the lesson Kareen had taken in the city, and it was time for her to return once more. She made her way to the meeting place, so the Accepted’s could lead them into Tar Valon. ... more
    • Look at my ballsNovice Taphen al'Goud, Thu Jul 13 3:25pm
      Taphen didn’t feel the need to be told to behave, he had learned to be a model student, and it seemed the only way to go. There were always pranks being pulled by one or more novices, the most... more
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