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Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:27am (XFF:

“Sarina, you will remain after class, please, and for now you will rearrange your skirt so that it’s proper.” The Accepteds have said these words, the Aes Sedai have said these words, other Novices have whispered them…well except for the ‘remaining after class part’ but Sarina did not understand. Oh, she understood what Accepted Aranisia was asking of her. The woman wanted her to pull the skirts of her dress out of her belt so that it would fall around her ankles again. This Sarina did with alacrity as she did all things asked of her, but still did not understand the reasoning behind it. She was told that it was improper; that it was not lady-like, nor was is modest. For most this would have been enough to convince them of it, but not Sarina. When you do not know what the definition of improper or modest it is difficult for one to follow any measure of propriety. Especially since it seemed that the views of modesty changed drastically from culture to culture, not that Sarina knew much about other cultures anyway. For her it was simply impractical given how impossible it was for her to walk in the skirts let alone run.

Still she had been careless. Sarina had taken to tucking the skirt up while she worked raking the garden paths, or when running to class. She always brought it out of her belt again upon reaching her destination and almost always before she was seen by Aes Sedai or Accepted. If she had known and curses she might have uttered them at her own foolishness. Now she must see the Accepted after class because the issue of the skirt had slipped her mind. Careless stupid fool The words came to her, but as they did she was not sure whether she had thought them or whether they had been said by someone else. In either case she ignored it, because there was nothing she could do about it now.

With that she followed the rest of the class into the streets of Tar Valon. The city was as it was before. Originally she had thought cities to be wonderful things of great innovation. But lately she simply felt trapped by the stone and mortar making up its walls. So instead of looking around her she watched the one thing which was completely free, the sky.

The orphanage was interesting at least. Sarina had never seen such a concentration of children with so few adults. In the few villages she had stayed in during her trip to Tar Valon she had seen other children. But their parents were always close by, or at least within shouting distance. Yet here in this orphanage there were only a few men and women watching over many many children. Where could their parents be Sarina wondered? She took her time looking around and even played with some of the children, but soon left them when called back by Accepted Aranisia.

The Accepted asked them what they thought about the orphanage and one boy said that there were no toys here and the children seemed bored. The word toy was another strange one for Sarina. But from the nods other Novices were giving to this statement it was most likely true that there was a lack of toys here in the orphanage. Yet since everything in the orphanage seemed much the same as the Tower, only shabbier and a lot more run down, Sarina concluded that there was a shortage of toys in the Tower as well. Well, perhaps we do not need them at the Tower. I have never felt bored there. Sarina thought to herself.

All of a sudden Sarina came out of her thoughts as she saw the Accepted making multicolored balls out of weaves of Earth and Air. Then she began tossing and called what she was doing juggling. Her eyes widened in recognition. It was the same thing which her grandfather had taught her as a child. Winter was the time to be docile, much like the bears, or possums, or even some frogs she had once seen digging themselves into the earth for the winter. There was never much to hunt, the deer herds migrated leaving her and her grandfather with whatever they had been able to store for the winter. One might believe that they could simply follow the herds, but with the cold snaps prone to the region they lived it was tantamount to suicide. No, it was safer to remain where they where. But at the same time while traveling after the herds might have been physically dangerous, mentally remaining was just as precarious with nothing to occupy the mind.

The congenial old hermit was never much for speaking, and did so rarely. He either did not know, or remember the crafts civilized women teach their daughters; weaving, sewing, knitting, etc… so Sarina was never taught. But she was bubbling over with youth and would have been driven to discretion with the rivers frozen and the tree’s unsafe due to the weight of snow on their branches. It was in these times he taught her to juggle by example. He started, by teaching her to juggle two rocks in a single hand as is proper, before moving on to larger circles of three. She never knew where he had been taught such a thing and never thought to ask, but was content with the learning of it.

Sarina did not really have the hands for it and learned slow. This was evident in the seven winters of work it took for her to become proficient. She might even be considered good at it now, able to work up to six rocks moving them in two different circles in two different directions. She knew she would do well here; the only snag might be making the balls out of Air. Air was not her strongest element by far, but after the Accepted gave them the go ahead to begin she tried. Sarina had watched the Accepted carefully as she had woven the balls by winding the threads of saidar over and over themselves to form the ball. It did not seem too difficult.

Sarina embraced the source carefully, because it seemed to have a nasty habit of slipping from her grasp much like soap in the bath tub. This frustrated Sarina to no end, her inability and weakness. It had afflicted her so while learning to juggle from her grandfather and had slowed the process. The frustration today focused on her hate for Novice exercises. Be a flower opening your petals to the sun. She had heard it many times and still believed it to be nonsense. Who would ever wish to be a flower, especially in the way she heard most girls twittering over their beauty? Flowers were useful. Daisies for instance could be ground up and used on cuts to keep them from putrefying and becoming infected. But no one paid attention to that, to most Novices they were simply something pretty to wear in their hair on the pointless feast days. She could just scream.

But she did not, instead she set herself about her task with all alacrity, but at the same time attempting to remain calm enough to channel. Her threads came out slowly before her eyes as she cautiously fitted the threads end over end to create a web of Air. This web slowly formed a ball of Air, a ball without any substance. It was here that she remembered the weave of Earth the Accepted had used to give the ball weight and so she channeled again. This time Earth in a thin flow which she wove in and out of the small gaps in her lattice work. Still holding both weaves she handled the ball. It was too heavy for her to use effectively, but she was not sure about how to go about lightening it. Not wanting to bother the Accepted, who already seemed to have a dislike for her she decided to try without asking. Logic would dictate that if the addition of Earth to the ball of Air gave it more mass, then a subtraction would lessen it. She still held the ball in her hand as she began retracting the flow of Earth until the ball felt to be the correct weight. She sighed, and it was at this time the entirety of it fell apart.

Frustration rang through her and she began again starting with another Novice exercise of being the bank containing the river and then being the river contained by the bank. The first part of the exercise helped to calm her making her feel in control. The second was just the opposite and brought back her frustration. The Tower was getting to her. Not the lessons, or the chores, but the control. To be in the power of another, unable to control her own fate was to her worse than death. She would have ended her torment weeks ago, but was constrained by a promise which could not be broken.

The exercise not having done anything for her temper she lost control of the source entirely and cursed under her breath before looking around hoping no one had heard. They had not and she satisfied herself with that. By the time she was calm enough to begin again most of the other Novices had completed their work and were busy in their attempts to juggle. Not wanting to be lectured about slowness, or her inability she retreated three paces backward into an alcove out of sight from the others and tried again.

Eventually she was successful in the creation of three balls and had even been able to tie them off, though with great pains to herself. Walking out of the alcove she began to juggle as it was called. She created a high arc with the three balls all in one hand as she walked to join the lesson.

  • Part One: Ball-creationAccepted Aranisia Samin, Sat Jul 8 3:06pm
    ”Right,” Ara said briskly after all the novices had introduced themselves, ”I guess that is it, then.” The gathering of novices was rather less than what the Seanchan Accepted had hoped for, but then ... more
    • Frustration — Novice Sarina, Fri Jul 21 11:27am
    • For the ChildrenNovice Kareen din Yokiri, Wed Jul 19 1:23pm
      Kareen watched as another Accepted she had not noticed before, a boy, left with the roster with all their names on it. Apparently while they were waiting for him to return, the female Accepted was... more
    • Part Two: To Practise and to Take the SceneAccepted Aranisia Samin, Tue Jul 18 2:03pm
      ”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... more
      • Preparing and executing a performanceNovice Taphen al'Goud, Fri Jul 21 5:34am
        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... more
      • 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
        • PerformingNovice Kareen din Yokiri, Sun Jul 23 5:10pm
          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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