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Tears Tend to Stain Novice Whites
Sun Aug 27, 2006 15:26 (XFF:

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, downright blubbering, followed at last by a sullen, red-rimmed glare. All this passed in the space of moments, and Madeline considered whether a good sound slap would help clear things up.

No, she decided. Violence was not the answer. What this boy was lacking in was sense, so that was what she would give him.

“That’s quite enough,” she said clearly. “Quit your foolishness. Sit up straight, boy. Is this how nobles are raised these days, to slouch and whine and cry and lay about in hysterics? Wipe your nose, for the Light’s sake.” She shook her head, lips thin with irritation. “None of your dramatics will do you any good here. As I said before, no one cares here whether you’re a Taborwin or an al’Thor. Right now, you’re a novice. I can’t say how long that will last, but for the time being, that is what you will be, and that is how you are expected to act. It is certainly how you will be treated, by myself and everyone around you.

“I suggest you sharp, Dempsey Taborwin, for I will only say this once. You need to take a good look at your priorities. You think you want to be this great and powerful man, but you haven’t the faintest clue what that really means. Power is not about pretty silks and fancy friends. Power is about responsibility. Power is only give to those who earn it, through merit and inner character. You could be born a king, but if you’re a babbling idiot, no one important will pay you any mind. You want to be some hotshot in your House, and so you snub your nose at a chance to be Aes Sedai? Pah! Only a fool would do such a thing. If you can’t find something more important to value than what clothes you’re wearing, or who you’re related to, then you will not last long here. You will be taught enough for your safety and be sent on your way, to wear whatever you please. But, if you decide that you might actually want to make something of yourself, then I suggest you shut your pretty mouth and start listening.”

Her tone darkened, and the look she latched on him was hard and uncompromising. “And this is your last warning. I will not tolerate your attitude and fool threats any longer. You will speak to your superiors with respect, or suffer the consequences.”

She did not give him a chance to reply. “Now then,” she said, wiping her hands together. She rose, coming round her desk, and gestured impatiently for Dempsey to rise. “We’ll need to get you fitted with your novice whites. First, there is the matter of your garb and possessions. Follow me, child. While we walk, I’ll tell you more of what you need to know.”

Dempsey had no choice but to follow. Madeline struck a quick pace, faster than her appearance might have suggested was possible. Dempsey trotted behind, lugging his bags and panting as if they were running a marathon.

“You’ll be given chores,” Madeline explained, tucking her hands behind her back and looking straight ahead. “Five or six hours of each day, at first.” They were close to the novice wells, and they passed more than a few men and women in pure white. Each dipped curtsies or gave solemn bows, most greeting her with a “Morning, Madeline Sedai,” or a “Good day to you, Mistress.” Madeline nodded back to each, offering the occasional smile or pat on the head. They moved past the stairs that would led to the male novice well. Madeline continued, painting a rough sketch of what Dempsey’s new life as a novice would be.

“In between chores will be lessons, and meals, of course. You’ll have time set aside for study in the evening, and one free hour each day to do as you please, if your behavior allows for it. In the beginning, you’ll be assigned a mentor—usually one of the Accepted. He will be your guide as you get settled. In time, we will begin to teach you the most rudimentary basics of the One Power. It takes time and patience to learn proper control of saidin. If you work hard, you may master enough control over it to be safe in…say….a year or so. Your true potential is unknown. As you learn, you’ll gain strength and ability in leaps and bounds. Small at first, but larger as time goes on, if you apply proper study and effort. If you show enough growth, you may one day earn the right to be Tested to be one of the Accepted.

“It is rare that a novice is considered for their raising before four or five years of study. Few make it. Even fewer reach the point where they can be considered ready for the shawl or sash. We don’t just look at growth in the One Power, Dempsey. We look at character, and maturity.” The sidelong look she gave him was very pointed, indeed.

“I suspect you have a very long road ahead of you. If, that is, you’re willing to let go of some of your fool notions and decide to grow up.”

They were at the end of a narrow corridor, and Madeline took a door that opened into a bustle of sound and activity. A half dozen men and women were going about the business of ensuring that the White Tower was properly outfitted. Here, one woman was draped all in white fabric, busily sewing together the hem on a long skirt. Others worked on garments for Aes Sedai, bright crimson silks and soft blue pastels. Adjoining to this room was the laundry, and the open doors carried the sounds of splashing suds and water and the heady smell of soap and lemon.

“I mentioned that your clothes would be burned,” Madeline said pleasantly. “We’ll do that shortly. But first, you’re to be measured for your new outfit.”

A woman came ambling towards them. “Good morning, Aes Sedai!” Natti called out cheerily. The Andoran seamstress was round of face and bust, and a riot of red curls framed pink cheeks. Wrapped round one arm was a measuring tape, and a bulging bag was looped over the other.

“Nattie here will see that you’re measured, and set you up with your new garb as quick as we can. We should have tunic and breeches in your size, so it won’t be long.”

The expression on Dempsey’s face was memorable indeed. Wonder of wonders, he’d kept silent all throughout her recitation of ‘Life as a Novice’, but Madelien suspected his tightly-lidded composure was about to combust.

“I’ll be waiting outside,” Madeline said, smiling pleasantly. “You’ll cooperate, I’m sure. You don’t want to get poked with a needle, do you?”

OOC: Take this as far as you like. Our next stop is the “Burning Room.”

  • 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 Whites — Madeline Sedai, Mistress of Novices, Sun Aug 27 15:26
      • 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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