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A Little Less Fear, A Little More Power
Fri Jan 5, 2007 17:26 (XFF:,

Pigarin was crestfallen. He had hoped beyond hope that the Dedicated would say there had been a mistake, that everything was fine and that he could leave. Walk away from the One Power, from the war, from the madness, from everything he feared so much. But alas, he hadn’t been so lucky, and while unhappy, he was not altogether surprised. He doubted that any army, whether those of the Dragon or other, would pick up a straggler, a weak and pathetic looking boy, if they weren’t sure of his potential. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad, after all; at least he was the same as someone, actually had something in common with another person. This couldn’t be taken away from him; he had been born with this. It made him special; it set him apart, and perhaps would provide that little thing that he needed, that little inkling of confidence that would help him stand up.

Or perhaps that too, was a little bit much to hope for.

“What I’d like you to do now is close your eyes,” requested Dedicated Ansel. And there it was, the first step to obtaining that Power that generations had feared since the Breaking. Saidin had, at the hands of madmen, wrought destruction and death, shattering cities, destroying mountains, making mountains, it had changed the land forever. Oh yes, now it had been cleansed they said, no longer would the Dark One’s taint threaten the men who channelled. The world need no longer fear the madness that had destroyed them all. With that said, it was a big step to get over that ingrained terror, those nerves that cried for Pigarin to run as fast as he could. The Creator must have a sick sense of humour to grant this young, shivering noble the ability to grasp the True Source.

Pigarin let the words of the Dedicated wash over him, taking in what he was told. And again, that point of the dangers was raised, once again reminding the pale faced soldier of the ‘scary reality’. He wondered if those of the black realised what they were doing, that his fear only increased tenfold at the thought of the disasters that followed the Power. How many times did he have to be told before they were happy? Until he ran and hid? Until he died?

Perhaps not. Pigarin had never been one to stand up, to face the music as it were; rather letting his complete lack of backbone do all the talking. Today was apparently no different, allowing himself to be defeated before even taking the chance. If he wanted to survive, he was going to have to take at least one positive step. Taking one small breath he stopped blaming his fear on others, on the Dedicated teaching him, on the various others who had uttered words of what they had meant to be advice, and tried to calm his nerves. And with that breath, he began to imagine the flame, the pinnacle moment of decision, where now Pigarin himself said he would channel.

Of course, sometimes it wasn’t always as easy as just saying yes.

Pigarin tried to focus all emotions into the flame, he threw into the fire his shyness in a new place, his regret of leaving home, his happiness in a new friend, everything he had been feeling at that moment. But even that could not halt those small little thoughts creeping in, for as his concentration increased, so too did his insecurities. His father’s insults came to the forefront of his mind, of how incapable he was, how foolish he was, and all that seemed to shatter his resolve. The centre of his focus, the flame Dedicated Ansel had described remained simply as he had conjured it. It remained a figment of his imagination only, it did not grow into the Void, it did not open up to the light. It meant only to taunt him in his failure as the colours danced across his mind.

Pigarin open his eyes, feeling a great deal of frustration. Surely if he was going to have to do seize saidin then it should be easy. At that moment, he was quite prepared to give up completely, perhaps try again another time. There was no point in punishing himself any further. He had stood up, and been pushed back down again.

“Try again,” commanded Dedicated Melangel bluntly.

Pigarin frowned, though he carefully avoided the eyes of his teacher. He was by no means ready to face up to another person, let alone one that outranked him, or more directly, one that could rip his body to shreds with only a thought. There was nothing more to it; he would try again.

Closing his eyes for the second time, he once again funnelled his feelings and his thoughts into a single focus, the flame that he had stared at to discover what he was to become, or at least what he now attempted to become. This time, rather than listen to the voices of doubt, he instead poured them into the fire, feeling the satisfaction as the rattling of his nerves began to slow. Indeed, as Dedicated Ansel had said, the fire grew as each new emotion was added, and the feeling of flying seemed to follow. Everything happening around him seemed far away, his thoughts belonged to another man, to another Pigarin, and he felt strong for the first time. The numbness seemed to provide invincibility and with that a sense of control he had lacked for so long, he felt part of everything around him, no longer an outcast.

He felt the light before he saw it, a strong pulse that seemed to beckon him, and then the light streamed throughout his mind, pushing itself towards him. For once, a certainty enveloped him, he knew without a single doubt that the power in front of him, the threatening light, would crush him if he let it. Pigarin felt afraid, or at least he recognised the feeling, this Void he was in kept him away from the trivialities of being human. But, fortunately, he knew the risks, he had been told countless times, and he grasped to the light, seized the True Source and bound it to his control. As the molten torrent that was saidin became part of him for the first time Pigarin almost wanted to scream. Life somehow became…intense. Everything in the room suddenly magnified, so much so that he could see the cracks in the wall, the slight perk of amusement in the Dedicated’s eyebrow, but it was more than seeing, he could feel them.

Within a few moments, however, his concentration shattered and saidin fled. The Void was now gone, and the wash of mortality returned, bringing with it the insecurities, fears and pains. All he wanted to do was rush back into the comfort of the Power; he wanted to feel strong again. While now, he still feared death and destruction, he did not fear saidin, rather he wanted back the ecstasy, the thrill of living within its deadly hold. Why he had ever wanted to escape this fate was beyond him, surely no one in the world would want to run away from the perfection. If only he had managed to maintain the flow for longer, even for just a second, to feel it for another moment, to hold the universe in his hand.

Dedicated Ansel soon interrupted his thoughts, expanding on his explanations about the Power. Pigarin felt slightly confused, for he had never said he had touched saidin, he hadn’t indicated it, or really done anything at all. A strange occurrence, but unimportant, for Ansel had mentioned using the True Source, one again touching it, and that was something worth caring about. He spoke of the Five
Elements; Spirit, Fire, Earth, Water and Air, and that when using saidin all he did would somehow involve these divisions. And when the education ceased, it was now Pigarin’s turn. Now he would actually use the Power himself, and then he would become truly part of the Black Tower. The world would see a dangerous man, a man who had channelled, he would be considered powerful for the first time in his life. The thought, while a little disturbing, was extremely appealing.

Immersing himself into the Void, Pigarin pulled the bright light close, and seized control of the One Power, fighting and struggling for survival, and yet enjoying every minute. Feeling every bit a king, he attempted to duplicate the threads that he had seen from the Dedicated, concentrating firstly on Spirit. Surprisingly the element was summoned with relative ease, and the resulting image was strong and unwavering as the opaque weave floated for many moments before disintegrating. While, of course, he had no idea what to do with the Power yet, he was sure that Spirit would be one of his greatest strengths.

Unfortunately, the ease of channelling did not remain in quite the same way when he attempted to conjure Water. Upon a thought, the thread appeared, at least he had thought it had, the blue shade had flashed for mere seconds before Pigarin had lost control of it. He tried again, altering his focus, concentrating harder, and with this maintained awareness the colour remained for perhaps another few seconds, but rapidly vanished. It not for the indicative nature of the colour, he might not have been sure what he had created at all.

Earth was by no means much better. The brown thread was, Pigarin thought, somewhat easier to control, and indeed he was able to observe the rich hues that reminded him quite distinctly of soil, though it too fought against him. When the weave snapped out of existence, Pigarin began to think of his strength in the One Power. It was said that men were typically strong in the Earth, and though exceptions occurred, maybe he was not part of that. Maybe, he was simply weak. While the thought was not comforting, the Void protected him from his usual doubts, allowing him to continue.

In contrast to his previous musings, Fire prompted a great surprise, as the deep red threads ignited instantly and with interesting strength. While Spirit had definitely been simpler to manipulate and appeared more defined, the weaves of Fire appeared with more ferocity, much like its physical form. Feeling confidence float around the Void as the element was extinguished, he thought now of the fifth division of saidin, Air. Relief coated the confidence as the pale, sickly yellow wavered across his vision, for while not as clear as Fire and Spirit, it was obviously more apparent than Water and Earth.

Finally, at the end of his practice, he pushed saidin away, returning to the mediocrity of the world, and the reality of his mind and body. It was a depressing rush, unfortunately, and Pigarin sighed with disappointment. At least now, he was no longer an outsider, he was like the other soldiers; a channelling minion of the Dragon.

Before leaving the classroom upon dismissal, he iterated his strengths in the One Power to his teacher, “From strongest to weakest, it is Spirit, Fire, Air, Earth, Water.” And with that, he stepped through the doorway, feeling a little more complete than he had before.

  • Part II: Lights and FilamentsDedicated Ansel Melangel, MuC, Wed Jan 3 13:57
    “Could there have been some mistake? Surely there is no way to tell that I channel until I actually do. I don’t understand, how could the Asha’man tell I could channel just by making me stare into a... more
    • A Little Less Fear, A Little More Power — Soldier Pigarin Maenred, Fri Jan 5 17:26
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