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The First Lesson
Sat Aug 26, 2006 19:44 (XFF:

Aethan'Tar, Sei'Tar, Gaidin – whatever under the Light the men and women training in the yards called themselves, Calia really didn't care. Most of the Accepted and even a few Aes Sedai saw it as some great privilege to be able to come out and watch the boys, and she did think of them disdainfully as boys, swing their toy swords around and flash those arrogant smiles when they thought their instructors weren’t watching. She saw the looks in their eyes, the hope that one of those men, or women if that was their preference, would come and sweep them off their feet and into a whirlwind romance and that they would spend the rest of their lives together as lovers. It was enough to turn her stomach, memories from her Arches being enough to tell her that they weren't missing all that much and that romances never worked out that way. The Accepted looked down at pale hands, rough from years of chores and penance, and made an effort not to cringe as she remembered all the things those hands had done for that bloody test. Yet, the worst act, the cold-blooded murder of a man who loved her, was not blood on her hands but a taint on the sweetness of saidar. It was a darkness resulting from the knowledge that, although she couldn't recall the weave, the Power could be used to stop a man's heart as easy as thinking it.

Dropping her hands, making an effort to steady herself and perhaps turn her thoughts to a lighter topic, she spoke up. "Novice Adanai," She waited, not sure whether the girl had heard or not. "Novice Adanai," She tried again, louder and more forcefully this time. The girl made no sign of having heard. "Adanai," This time the girl nearly started at her name, "we must go inside now. You can watch them some other time – Light knows the other novices do." She could hear the scorn in her voice. Not only was it a frivolous pastime, but novices were supposed to be in lessons, doing chores, or studying. They were not supposed to be watching the Gaidin train a bunch of sweaty boys and girls with sticks. "Right now, however, you must learn to embrace." Calia cursed the words nearly as soon as they were out of her mouth, but she had now left herself no choice but to teach the girl. She had no flaming idea how one generally went about teaching a novice to embrace saidar, only vague recollections from her own lesson. A lesson she hadn't paid much attention to at that.

"Before we can speak of saidar you must know a little about Aes Sedai." Calia began speaking as she led the girl back to the Tower to find an empty classroom; trying to remember the things she had been taught over a decade ago, "They divide themselves into seven different groups, known as Ajahs, each classified by a color and with its own purpose. The Ajahs are the Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Grey, Brown, and White. As I said, they each focus their skills in a different way. Yellows, for example, are healers. Blues work toward causes or justice, Reds try to prevent another Breaking, Greens prepare for Tarmon Gai'don, Greys are mediators, Browns are researchers, and Whites pursue logic and truth." She paused, realizing that she had perhaps made it a little too simplistic. "At least, those are their most basic goals and purposes. Each Ajah is much more than what I've told you, but I'm sure that you get the idea."

"Accepted Calia," The novice spoke up in the pause, "How do you choose and Ajah? I mean, how do you learn about them and know which one to pick?"

Calia frowned. She hadn't thought about it before, not being the type to think on such things before very recently. "Well, you'll have basic lessons about the Ajahs as a novice. If you're raised to Accepted you can choose to look into any Ajah you like to learn more about it and decide which you would like to choose if you are lucky enough to pass the test for the shawl." Calia hadn't thought much about Ajahs yet, but she didn't really have to either. She was years from even being considered for the shawl. "Most Accepted are fairly sure of the Ajah they will choose when they are summoned for the final test, but some are torn between two or three and have to make a choice."

Stopping at a classroom, Calia stuck her head inside to make sure it was empty and was surprised to find a class in session. She jumped slightly, thumbing the ring on her finger as reassurance against her small shock. "Can I help you, Accepted?" Calia flinched as the whole class, all novices, turned to look at her. She hated the looks they gave her. Most of them knew her and thought very little of the former sul'dam, whispering behind her behind her back about the unmentionable things she must have had to do to get Sloane and Madeline to raise her. After all, that was the only way an arrogant novice like her, one who could barely draw a fraction of her potential, could have been deemed fit for raising. Pushing the door fully open, she dropped a curtsey respectfully to the Aes Sedai.

"No, Aes Sedai, I'm sorry to disturb your class. I thought this classroom was scheduled to be empty right now."

"Well it obviously isn't, so I suggest you be on your way, Accepted." The Aes Sedai waved a dismissive hand as her class turned their attention back to the front.

"Of course, Aes Sedai," She dropped another quick curtsey before backing up and closing the door. They would have to try the next level up, as Calia knew for a fact the rest of the classrooms on this level were occupied. As she led Adanai on, she began to talk again. "The White Tower is led by the Amyrlin Seat, currently Evelyn al'Pazi, formerly of the Blue Ajah. She is of all Ajahs and of none. The Amyrlin, who is always addressed as 'Mother', is assisted by the Keeper of the Chronicles. It is traditional for the Keeper to be raised from the same Ajah as the Amyrlin, however recently this has not been the trend. The current Keeper, Demetri da'Faile, was raised from the Green Ajah. Along with the Hall of Sitters, they lead the Tower and make the big decisions."

Sticking her head in another classroom, Calia was relieved to find that this one was indeed empty. Using thick strands of Air, she dragged a pair of floor cushions from a corner and settled herself on one of them, motioning for Adanai to do the same. "Saidar, as I have already told you, is the female half of the True Source. You might even be able to already, but eventually, when another woman is holding saidar, as I am now, you will be able to see a glow around them and even the weaves when they channel. Unfortunately, we cannot sense when a man holds saidin but they have an advantage as to being able to sense when a woman holds saidar." Smoothing out her skirts, Calia paused. This was the part she had been dreading.

"Now, you are going to learn to embrace saidar. The trick is not to fight it, but to surrender to it. Male channelers tell us that saidin must be controlled by force, but if you try this with saidar it will simply slip through your fingers like water." Calia released saidar so that she could go through the steps for embracing. "I'm going to walk you through embracing now, but remember that you must only do this with an Aes Sedai or Accepted present. Channeling on your own before you have sufficient training can be dangerous, you could burn yourself out or even kill yourself."

She closed her eyes. "Now, close your eyes and simply try to do as I say. I know it will seem strange, but you'll just have to trust me." In her own mind, the image of a blood red ruby sprung up, pulsating with the inner light of saidar. However she instructed the novice in the traditional method. "Picture in your mind a flower of any sort. A small bud. See it in every detail, every leaf, every petal, every vein. You are that flower. Feel the sunlight beating down, but don't reach out for it. Open yourself to it slowly and allow the sunlight to fill you." In Calia's mind, the inner light of the ruby became so strong at this point that it enveloped everything as saidar filled her. It was such an exhilarating filling, and it was so difficult to merely hold it as she opened her eyes, the world suddenly sharper in her vision, and watched the novice before her. Softly, she continued to talk to her and waited. She knew this could take time, and she had to be patient.

OOC: Of course, by moving this along I meant that it would take me even longer to reply this time! I'm so sorry, but real life, specifically a load of summer homework, just caught up for a while there. Anyway, I know you said Adanai has a block, so we'll have to deal with that next I suppose. That should be fun, seeing as I've never had to break a block before... I'll try really hard to be more prompt next time. And if I'm not, email me and kick me or something. :)

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