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Dedicated Laila
With Great Anticipation
Mon Jan 1, 2007 19:26 (XFF:,

Traveling. A simple word composed of three syllables, a generic verb referring to the act of moving from one place to another. Among most people, a common word, meaningless, unimportant. But in places like the Black Tower...

"Class dismissed." The rustle of papers filled the classroom as students stood and stretched, gathering up their notes. Many lingered a moment, savoring a second's peace to talk with their friends. But one tall, dark girl had already surreptitiously stashed away her notes before the teacher finished speaking. As soon as the word "dismissed" fell from the teacher's lips, she was out the door and hurrying her way through the hallway. It did not look good to take a seat in the back of the class--and even less to bolt out of the room--but today, Dedicated Laila could care less. Though she moved at a stately trot befitting a Dedicated, her heart thundered an eager beat in her ears. As she burst out into the barren winter sunshine, she fought to keep herself from breaking into a wide grin. It would not do for a Dedicated to look like some green recruit, childishly worked up over a class. And yet she could not stop a small smile from stealing across her face.

Not for the first time, Laila thanked the Light for her newfound freedom as a Dedicated to choose her classes. Otherwise she would have been unable to choose a class so conveniently situated in the Northern Classrooms. Under normal circumstances, she would have never taken Herbology 101--she had no interest in healing whatsoever, considering it a course more fitting for Healers. But her next class, Traveling, took place in the Northern Yards, and she wanted to be on time for that one.

Traveling. As soon as she had heard about it, she had signed up immediately. The very idea of being able to Travel, to move so freely from one place to the next, sent a thrill through her. To escape the boundaries of space and speed. To move, in a single step, from Caemlyn to Cairhien. Light of Heaven, she wished she had known the weave long ago; it would have saved her many dark hours on the road, afraid for her life. More: Traveling revolutionized the very concept of warfare, of trade, of life itself. Utilized on a wide basis, it would transform the world. Used only by two organizations--as it was today--it still lent enormous advantage. Laila had seen the weave used before, of course, once even by another woman. But she had never really gotten the chance to study the weave. Now, sufficed to say, she was very excited.

As usual, a man and a woman awaited the class. Only two others were already there. Probably had classes on the Northern Yards, Laila decided, noting the sweat stains on their coats. She quieted the thumping of her heart and composed herself, standing to attention.

Within minutes the Yards were filled with Soldiers and Dedicated. People muttered even louder than usual--the air virutally hummed with excitement. Apparently, Laila noted with a slight smile, she wasn't the only one to look forward to this lesson. They would all get a sharp scolding shortly if they didn't quiet down.

But the entire class shut up as soon as the lady Asha'man opened her mouth. "Good afternoon," the woman said, her voice unusually melodious. "This lesson will delve into the Talent of Traveling." A thrill pulsed through Laila's veins. She pushed the emotion down. She could not permit herself to get excited over this. Losing control of her emotions could affect her channeling, and today she needed to channel very well indeed. And yet, she couldn't help but smile when it was her turn to introduce herself.

"Major-Dedicated Laila, age 18, Officer Track." The usual drone, the usual information. But an unusual class.

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    • With Great Anticipation — Dedicated Laila, Mon Jan 1 19:26