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More Surprises
Wed Aug 2, 2006 20:37
216.37.221.48 (XFF: 160.99.205.52)

Though it had only been a day since Adanai's name was added to the book of novices in Madeline Sedai's office, it felt like a lifetime. She had watched her clothing burn; though it was not much (only the dress she'd worn for travel and the one she'd torn immediately after her presentation to the Mistress of Novices), the sense of loss was still far more overwhelming than she had expected. They had been her only reminder of home, other than the tiny silver hair bells she'd forgotten in Keisan Sedai's room and planned to retrieve when someday she came to understand the layout of the Tower. At this point in time, it was still too difficult for her to process the magnitude of what had occurred in the past few weeks. Light only knew if she'd ever see her father or Arafel again.

Padding softly across the room in her new slippers, Adi wondered whether she'd ever be assigned a roommate. Granted, it had only been a day since she'd moved in, but the night had been long and lonely; it had been a very long time since she'd slept alone. Madeline Sedai had mentioned that the girl who'd lived in the room prior to Adanai's assignment there had been sent away... though Adi did not know exactly what the Aes Sedai had meant by "sent away," it did not sound pleasant or like something she'd want done to herself. Her fingertops brushed a dark mark low on the wall, where it appeared to have been scuffed. By what? A boot? Novices don't wear boots. Perhaps the reason for the novice's having been banished was related to the wearer of the boots. Perhaps not. Adi did not have enough knowledge of the Tower and its ways to make an educated guess.

She in fact did not even had enough knowledge of the Tower to have even an inkling of what she should be doing at the moment. The handbook she'd been given listed all sorts of rules and regulations regarding the protocol when responding to Aes Sedai and Accepted and so on, but it had not mentioned if there was a specific routine to be followed by novices. There was nothing about meal times or anything of that nature, that might be helpful to someone just arriving. Thanks to the girls who lived in the room next door, she had come to understand that notices regarding the time and location of specific lessons were posted on a board at the end of the corridor. That, however, was the only useful tidbit she'd come across during her interaction with the other girls.

Those other novices had surprised her a bit; they'd seemed almost like every other girl she'd ever met, if she disregarded the fact that one had darker skin than she'd ever seen and that the other one was very, very short. Adi had expected the novices to be different in some way. They had a specific mission to complete- training to become Aes Sedai- but they seemed no more motivated in their task than the girl who milked her neighbor's cows every morning. Becoming Aes Sedai seemed like something important enough that they might be studying or practicing or doing something- anything- that might further their training. Gossiping the hallway was not something she had anticipated from future Aes Sedai.

A loud knock at the door drew her out of her contemplation of the true nature of novices and back into reality. "Come in," she responded, completely bewildered by the sudden intrusion. Perhaps this was the way all novices were called to breakfast in the morning. Maybe this was how they knew they were allowed to leave their rooms.

"Good morning, Novice Adanai." The woman's accent was unlike any that Adi had ever heard, though she was finding that this was not unusual in the Tower. She was very pretty in an incredibly icy, intimidating way, and Adanai was terrified she'd gotten herself into trouble unintentionally within a day of her arrival. "I'm Accepted Calia Selle. I am to be your mentor, it seems." It was difficult for Adi not to audibly release the breathe she'd been holding since Calia had opened the door. She forced a smile, trying not to appear too awkward as she stepped toward the Accepted. After the scene she'd caused yesterday, she was praying that she hadn't already earned a reputation amongst the older women of the Tower for which she was about to be punished. The Accepted certainly seemed stiff enough for that to be the case.

"If you'll come with me we can perhaps get some breakfast and talk. Then, well then we have as much time as we need to answer your questions and show you what you might wish to see. Oh, and you'll be learning to embrace saidar today as well."

Adanai followed Accepted Calia willingly out her room, gently closing the thin door behind her. "I don't... forgive me, Accepted, I don't really know what saidar is."

"It is the female half of the True Source. Saidin is the male half. When you touch and control saidar it is called channeling, which you will learn to do after you can embrace- touch the True Source, that is." Though she had no proof, Adi had the feeling that touching the Source was what had allowed her to set her neighbor's barn roof on fire. This might not be something I really want to deal with, she thought, counterbalancing the thought only with the reminder that if she did not learn to control it, she might end up dead. "You must learn to embrace first, and then you can attend channeling lessons with the rest of the novices. You'll see there are notices up regarding lessons on the board in the corridor."

"Yes," Adi answered, nodding absently. It was a bit of relief to hear something she already knew. Calia was walking somewhat more quickly than she would have expected from someone her height, and it was taking all of Adanai's concentration just to remember where they were going, so that she would not get lost the next time she came.

"This is where we'll eat," the Accepted said simply, and after they'd each received a tray with a simple but satisfying meal, led Adi to a seat at a large, empty table toward the rear of the room. "There is not a specific schedule you must follow. You must simply make certain you have time for everything you must get done: chores, lessons, extra work, and so on. It will be some time before you are raised to Accepted- if you are raised to Accepted. Remember that you must do the bidding of the Accepted; we have much learning to do and chores and such things cannot be allowed to get in our way. You will hopefully understand someday." Adi nodded again, very seriously, her mouth full of some warm, very dense roll that tasted of honey and something she'd never eaten before.

"Don't worry when you see some of the novices, though. It takes some much longer than others to be raised. Novice Patreen is forty-five. She's been here since she was fifteen. There are Aes Sedai younger than she is, though that's a rarity as well."

"How do you become Accepted?" Adi asked suddenly, somewhat taken aback by her own boldness.

"Well, you must complete a great many tasks- lessons and such, first. When the Aes Sedai decide you are ready, you will be tested," Accepted Calia responded, deliberately vague. She was playing the ring on her finger, a ring that looked remarkably like the one Adanai had seen on the hands of countless other Aes Sedai and Accepted.

"What's that ring? I've seen others with it." She blushed when she realized the question had been asked with food in her mouth, but the Accepted either did not notice or decided to disregard the momentary lapse in good manners. Her immediate instinct was to apologize, but she realized after only a moment of thought that this would make her appear even weaker. I come across as one raised in the gutter.

"This ring is given to you when you are raised to Accepted. It symbolizes that you have bound yourself to the Tower and are worthy of that bond. You will work very hard for such a ring."

Nodding again, Adanai placed her utensils on her empty tray, observing and replicating her mentor's disposal of the items. "Where are we going now, Accepted Calia?"




OOC: I hope that suffices and that I didn't make Calia say anything she wouldn't! I didn't really know how to draw it to a close- I assume Calia will show her around a bit before she learns to embrace, but if that's not the case I tried to leave it open for anything. Thanks for posting so quickly!

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