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Dedicated Laila
Mon Jul 31, 2006 21:10 (XFF:

After they ran through the exercise several times, Laila waved a hand at Reyna to stop her. "You're doing very well, Reyna," she commented, with the slightest smile. "Most don't get the hang of it so quickly." A good student, she added in her mind. No need to say it out loud. Too many compliments would spoil a student. She had to admit--there was something...pleasing in watching the new Soldier embrace saidar for the first time. Like watching a baby take its first steps.

"Of course, channeling is much more than simply embracing, she continued. "Beyond the division between saidin and saidar, the Power also splits into five different parts. These five parts--called the Elements--are Spirit, Water, Air, Fire, Earth. Strength in an element varies from person to person. Men tend to be stronger in Earth and Fire, while women tend to be stronger in Water and Air." She leaned forward intently. "That said, many women are strong in Fire and Earth, and many men are strong in Water and Air. I myself am strong in Earth." Laila embraced, cracking the earth open just the slightest bit in front of Reyna. "Some believe that Fire and Earth are stronger than Air and Water," she added wryly, "simply because they're much more useful for blowing things up. This isn't true. Air and Water can be used very effectively; they simply have different uses. And yes, those elements can be used in battle. It's not very pleasant, but killing rarely is." Laila paused momentarily, seeing the battlefield in Illian--the gruesome weaves hurled at the ships of the Tower by the Seanchan damane. Killing with the Power always involved a lot of blood.

Laila snapped back to the present. "Right now, I'd like you to try to learn these first four Elements. I'll cause something to happen with each Element; then I want you to duplicate me. Afterwards, I'll tell you about Spirit." She held up a finger. "Watch carefully." Saidar flowed into her body, and she stretched out a tendril of Air. A bluish-white orb thumped into her outstretched hand. "Air." She waited paitently for the next few minutes as Reyna duplicated the feat.

Once Reyna had conjured up her own ball of Air, Laila allowed her orb to dissolve into nothing, releasing the flow of Air. "Right, you may release the flow." Another pause as Reyna destroyed her ball. Laila held up her finger. "Fire." A tiny flame burst into being on her fingertip, dancing in the breeze.

More minutes passed. Laila nodded in satisfaction at the small, if suitable lick of fire crouching on Reyna's finger. She released the flow of Fire and cupped her hands together. "Water." A thread of Water served to suck in the invisible droplets of water into her hands, filling it with liquid. When Reyna had copied her, Laila slurped the water from her hands. "Just goes to show," she commented, "This is all very real. Once you get used to channeling, you'll use the Power for the most basic needs, like getting a drink of water. Now that the water is in your hands, it'll stay there even if you release the Power. You can drink it, or dump it out, I don't care."

And lastly: the earth twitching before her, humping up to form a small, if definite bump in the ground. "Earth." She sat back to watch Reyna spin the weave correctly.

"Spirit," she continued once Reyna finished, "is...less tangible than the other Elements. Obviously, you can't make a lump of Spirit in your hand. Its simplest uses affect another person. For example, you could put someone to sleep with Spirit." Drawing deeper on the Power--Spirit was her weakest Element--Laila twisted a flow of Spirit into a corkscrew shape and sunk the weave into Reyna's head. The girl's eyelids immediately began to sag, and Laila hastily released the weave. "That's a basic weave of Spirit. I doubt you could see it--it will be a while before you start seeing the flows, but we'll talk about that later--so I'll describe it to you. I want you to take a strand of Spirit, and twist it into a corkscrew, then sink it into my head. As soon as I start to fall asleep, I want you to release the weave right away. Before you begin, though, I want you to know..." Laila gave Reyna a sharp look. "...I can cut your flow to shreds if I choose. If you don't release the weave immediately after I show signs of sleepiness, I will destroy the weave. And I will be very angry, too. I'm trusting you here, Soldier; I hope you won't abuse that trust." Her eyes hardened for a moment. "Now. Begin."

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