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Preparing and executing a performance
Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:34am (XFF:

Taphen stood with three balls in his hands, made by the One Power – a fact that made him feel proud, despite the discomfort of channeling them into existence – and looked at the failures of his fellow novices. Focus points! What’s the purpose of having them if I can’t hit them. He tried again, it wasn’t that he wasn’t deft with his hands, it was just that trying to hit the same two focus points with every ball, while catching them again, proved to be an overwhelming task. He tried it again, attempting to keep everyone else out of his mind. It did not work, his mind seemed too loud, there was little peace in there, and he kept eyeing the others and their progress. He tried altering the height as if throwing them higher up in the air, made them easier to catch. They weren’t, only sped more uncontrolled toward him and the ground. Once in frustration Taphen tossed one high up in the air, only to have to take cover as it came back down aiming for his head. It hit the ground, the pressure enough to shift the weaves to make the ball look flawed. Guess my work is pretty delicate then. he quickly weaved a new one, just as Accepted Aranisia called them to attention.

The next part was more him, and the trick to tie up the ball, so it floated, was definitely a move he could use while juggling. The second seemed more difficult, but the good news was that it involved Fire and Earth, which gave him a fair shot at doing it well. Seizing saidin, a rutine act by now, Taphen prepared the weave for catching the ball, it really did seem manageable, an easy feat even. There were of course the question of which was the best and most efficient way of holding an object in midair. Pushing the thought away, accepting, at least for now, that their way was good enough. The Brown really did seem a suitable place for him to end up, and these days he was more and more prepared to plan for his future at the Tower, prepared to acknowledge that he was going to have one. Returning to the task at hand, Taphen tossed a ball lightly up in the air, and seized it with the weave. It stopped just shot of one of the damned focus points. A thin net of Air solidified the air around the ball, suspending it, while actually giving him the option of moving it wherever he’d like. Tying of the weave as thoroughly as he had with the balls, Taphen began the second task of making the ball more pleasing to the eye.

Seizing Fire, Earth and Spirit as they had been told to do, Taphen coated the ball with weave that made it pulse its chosen color in a glow that seemed to extend in an aura around the ball. He tried for swirling colors that the Accepted had made, but it just didn’t work, they never became more then streaks of color emitting from the ball itself. It was neat, had its own charm, but not exactly the trick he had been shown. Tying of yet another weave, Taphen observed his work. The ball had a finely spun coating of Fire and Spirit, intertwined with the top layer of the ball’s Earth weaves. Weaves that should have formed closed circuits around the ball, kept slipping, leaving Taphen with a ball that emitted its own multicolored tail whenever it moved. When it stood still, the tail was reduced to small and sporadic eruptions on the surface. He knew he should work to change it, try harder to make it into the image that had been presented to them, but he really thought it looked impressive, and so copied the weave to the remaining balls, with their own color in focus of course. Impressed with how they looked soaring through the air, did nothing to ease the difficulty of learning to juggle. I will need to practice hard for the day we’re to perform. The mere concept of it had not yet registered; somehow he doubted that they would be performing anything at all; that they would be allowed to.

A week later the concept had indeed dawned on him. He had spent the last three days practicing with potatoes, as he was not allowed to channel, while on his own. He was able to keep three in the air, but no more than that. He figured it would be easier with his own power-wrought balls and the fact that he could guide any near losses or misdirected balls without anyone from the audience seeing it. He followed the group as if heading for a beheading, his hands going through the motion of juggling, while his mind raced; arguments as to the purpose of actually performing in front of people. He hoped to be able to fake a little of the Aes Sedai calm, or at least not visibly shake with nervousness. Maybe it was all about acting under pressure, and Taphen felt the pressure, even this far from the stage. Markel and Aranisia led them back to the orphanage where a stage had been set up, I’m to stand on that? But then all will be able to see me! Taphen’s last hope had been that his height would make him disappear among the other novices, but according to the Accepted they were to perform one at a time. He would much rather stand behind the scenes and manage the glittering orbs, but he was not among the fortunate few to have weaseled their way around actually performing.

“Taphen, why don’t you go first.” It was not a question, and yet Taphen felt the desire to tell her exactly why he was not to be first. Knowing that it would do no good, he took solace in the fact that the audience would have no one to compare him with. Might as well give them a show, then. If I am to do this, I will do it well. Seizing saidin he walked out onto the stage. There were more children then he thought there would be, surely they were not all from the orphanage, and even adults made a fair circle around the children. None should be parents, but word would have spread, and more people would have come than was invited. From inside the void Taphen could see every gleeful smile, every sparkling eye, even the sparse applause seemed to roar in his ear, but then people had never applauded him before. Having already prepared the weaves for the balls, Taphen held out an empty hand, and with a swirl and a bit of channeling, he produced a ball between two fingers. Some children laughed, but then this was something he had once seen a gleeman do, and he had had no True Source to aid him, now that was magic. The second suddenly rose from behind his hand to balance on his fingertips. He snatched that one up quickly, so not to drop it. Starting a sudden cough, he spat the final ball into his hand to a bit more laughter and applause. Thus the juggling began, somehow he felt that to be an anticlimax compared to his intro, and wished he had been able to do more.

The juggling had gone well though, only a few times did a ball make an odd jump back into his hand, after being sent astray. Walking off the stage, his heart was pumping and he couldn’t stop smiling, “That was awesome! Did you see me Accepted Ara! Markel…” Remembering his place, he offered a small bow, “that is, thank you for the opportunity, I’ll get ready for the next part.” He hurried off, so much for Aes Sedai calmness. He was not the only to be all giddy leaving the stage, though some did bad enough for tears to appear as soon as they left the stage. Taphen moved to the side of the stage, it was time to light up the stage, and this part at least he could do without being the center of attention. It hadn’t been that bad actually, but let’s not do it again any time soon. He took over for Kareen, and produced a new glowing orb, for every one of hers that was cut asunder by Accepted Markel. Seeing that the balls’ primary purpose was to light up the stage and not be the actual show, Taphen altered his weave slightly. He did have five years experience after all and made sure to learn every weave’s purpose as well as what effects its different parts produced. The orbs were still glowing, a fine net of Fire and Spirit, with a touch of Earth made sure of that, but instead of small colorful eruptions, Taphen made each ball emit beams of colored light across the stage, the eruptions were longer and slower in tempo, and none of the beams hit the audience. There was no telling how comfortable they were around the One Power, this would be more than enough to catch their eyes and make sure the Novice performing, was visible. Spirit had seemed obvious for that purpose, making the majority of the beams hit the novice and make her glow, though none strong enough to actually be a hindrance. Taphen’s lack of strength took care of that. All in all he was quite content with his performance and stage assistance; there had been some uhhs and ahhs when he took over. A reaction that produces yet another smile

OOC: Hi, sorry if I made him seem too good at all this, it was not the intention… and about the lights, I’m planning on him having some knack for illusion, this will be the first time that shows. Enjoy! Oh and a nice lesson, it was…

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