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What does Purple Smell Like When it Burns?
Mon Aug 14, 2006 15:14 (XFF:

Madeline had been Mistress of Novices for a very long time. During that time, she had seen every manner of individual submit to her for entrance to the White Tower. She had seen paupers of the very lowest origin, with wide eyes and trembling lips; nobles in silks and velvets with enough arrogance for ten kings; fat novices, thin novices, angry novices squeaking and squalling, fearful novices, tearful novices, nearly dead novices.

If asked, Madeline al’Roise would have said she had seen it all.

This morning, she was proven flatly wrong when Dempsey Apteco Taborwin strolled into her office. He was a vision in purple silk and lace, with pants so tightly stretched over his rolling frame that she wondered how he could breathe. He fairly dripped with vanity and self indulgence, only it wasn’t the sort of arrogant machismo that one might expect from one of his station. There was a sort of elegant frippery about the boy that oozed from every pore. It was evident from the moment he sashayed into the room. And yes, ‘sachey’ was really the only word that could be used to describe his gait.

Aes Sedai were carefully schooled in self-control, and Madeline had perfected the serene mask over the years so that it was effortless. Today, however, it took every ounce of control not to burst out laughing at the sight of him. And that was even before he started talking.

“So glorious we should meet,” he expounded. “Two fine individuals, both completely full of the proper refinement, meeting under circumstances of utmost certainty. For, dear Mistress of Novices, I am Dempsey Apteco Taborwin…”.

He went on, but really, that was all she needed to hear. Glorious indeed! She snorted, and sat up straighter in her chair. She took in every word, observing the ease with which his words poured from his tongue. She noted his stance, his affect, the way his eyes drifted lazily across the room as he spoke and registered distaste. That gaze lingered on her green velvet drapes, and his soft nose twitched as if he detected an odor.

Madeline could have grown angry at his monologue. Many sisters would have, certainly those who took themselves more seriously than they should. Most did. Madeline mostly felt amusement, and anticipation. Perhaps even a touch of pity. He just had no idea, did he? She wondered what might it take to form this boy without breaking him.

Of course, she knew he had the ability—he had tested true, though his spark was yet meager. That would grow, but until it did she would have no way of knowing just how strongly that flame could be fanned. But more than that, she wondered sort of mettle lay beneath when you stripped away the glossy finish.

He went on, nattering about his accommodations, his clothes, his concerns and demands and threats. Madeline could not imagine how the boy considered his taste to be fashionable, especially for a Cairhienin. There was nothing modest about his dress. The lace alone could have clothed a dozen babies, and the purple silk of his tunic shone with a luster that nearly blinded.

She leaned forward, watching him. Now he was strutting.

“Then,” his voice dropped a notch, "there is the extremely pressing matter of clothing. I simply cannot be made to wear all white, and I should think you would be accommodating of this also, no? If not, then I assure you my cousin will have a few choice words for you, dear Aes Sedai."

Madeline blinked, and then could not help it. She laughed.

The boy took a step back, his eyes widening with comic surprise. His eyes flickered down, as if wondering if she had seen a spot on his shiny purple tunic.

“Oh dear,” Madeline said, sitting up straight. “Oh dear, me. I’m afraid you’re in for a bit of a surprise, my boy,” she said.

“How do you mean, good woman?” Dempsey had recovered quickly.

“I mean, that you have no idea what you are in for.”

She rose to her feet and came round the desk to face him. “And you will refer to me as Madeline Sedai, not ‘good woman,’ or any other such surname. I’m surprised you didn’t learn your manners when you were first tested, but no matter. You will learn them now.

“Your accommodations will be no different than any other novice. Neither will your dress. What you are wearing now will be burned, and you’ll be given white tunic and breeches. I can’t imagine the smell will be good.” Her eyes brushed across his figure.

Dempsey’s eyes bulged at this. “But, the lace—!“

“The lace is quite lovely, if rather overabundant, but it will burn. The silks and satins and the lavender scarf will also burn. Your rings will be held, and any other accessories you might have tucked away. Don’t worry; not everything will go, just what you’re wearing right now. It is symbolic, you see; a way for you to see in concrete terms that your old life is over and your new life has begun.”


“I’m not finished.” Madeline took a step closer. Her voice was casual, almost pleasant. “You have been tested true for the ability to channel. You may have heard that the taint from the male half of the Source has been cleansed, but what you may not know is that without training, there is a good chance you will die. That is why you will remain here until we tell you that you can go. You have no choice in this matter, Dempsey. Once your training allows you to channel safely on your own, you may be allowed to leave, if you choose. Even if you want to stay, there’s no guarantee you’ll be given the chance to work towards being Aes Sedai. We are very discriminating, you must understand. Only those with sufficient strength, skill, and maturity, are allowed to remain, and learn.

“What I’m trying to say, Dempsey, is that you’re not doing me any favors by being here. As far as I’m concerned, you are a child that must be taught his manners. That is how everyone will see you. No one cares that you’re related to Lord Dobraine Taborwin. You could be the Creator himself, and you’d still have to wear white and sleep in a cubby. We don’t care how much money you have, or what your personal status is within the noble community. You are the same as everyone else, and you will be treated as everyone else is treated. If you can’t handle that, then that tells me all I need to know. Either way, you will do as you are told.”

She smiled. “Do you understand, Dempsey? Please tell me if you are…confused. I would be only too happy to further enlighten you.”

OOC: Okay, yo. I am back from LoA and ready to write! Thanks for your patience. Glad to see you kept on with your mentor string. I hope the very brief utterances I gave Dempsey were not out of character for him. I am always happy to play editor if I overstepped or misinterpreted.

  • The Pressing Matter of Clothing (MoN's!)Novice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Tue Aug 1 17:20
    Dempsey's delicate sashay across the polished floors of the White Tower provided him some comfort. His confidence was rather shaken, as he watched the throngs of white pass him by. He frowned at each ... more
    • What does Purple Smell Like When it Burns? — Madeline al'Roise, Mistress of Novices, Mon Aug 14 15:14
      • Putting Out a Fire with...Tears?Novice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Fri Aug 18 03:51
        Dempsey could not help his eyes from bulging at the woman. She had laughed at him; that had been the first great offense. Now she was explaining quite calmly, even mirthfully, that she planned to... more
        • Tears Tend to Stain Novice WhitesMadeline Sedai, Mistress of Novices, Sun Aug 27 15:26
          Madeline watched with calm passivity as the boy traveled through a variety of stages with remarkable swiftness. Stunned disbelief. Sharp anger. Empty demands and accusations. Tears, wailing,... more
          • So Do Thuggish TailorsNovice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Tue Aug 29 09:36
            Dempsey felt horrified as he listened to the Mistress of Novices long speech. He listened to her talk of practicality and maturity grudgingly, but before long had quite forgotten to listen. When she... more
            • Let's be Brief, Shall We?Madeline Sedai, (with a dash of Accepted Sonja), Tue Aug 29 15:52
              Madeline could not help herself. No sooner had the doors shut on the poor miserable Dempsey then she spun a web of Listening, a quick work of Air and Spirit, and focused the weave on the doors. She... more
              • Unjust Brevity and the Burning RoomNovice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Thu Aug 31 17:10
                Dempsey had never been so mortified nor as angry when Madeline and the Accepted discussed the possibility of forcing him to wear his purple small clothes. Those were custom made! he thought to... more
                • Flames...Burning...the Sides of my Face...!Accepted Sonja Meranes, Sat Sep 2 16:44
                  “This is not the—“ Sonja turned on the boy, flinging open the heavy wooden door to the burning room with a dramatic gesture. “Yes!” she announced. “This is indeed: the burning room!” She put a hand... more
                  • Anger, Fear, and PanicNovice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Sat Sep 9 07:57
                    Dempsey felt assuredly and soundly shocked. They had actually burned his clothes. They were nothing but ashes, despite his protests, despite his demands. They had burned his clothes. The foul... more
                    • Stupid, dumb, and moronic.Accepted Sonja Meranes, Sun Sep 17 17:31
                      Sonja’s amusement fell away, and she stared at the boy in utter shock. Her hand drifted to her cheek, and her brows fell sharply. Anger flooded her, and with it came saidar . She channeled, yanking... more
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