The Ajah Basics class was written and taught by Soryn Sedai (later taught by Lynessa Sedai). It was compulsory for and restricted to Novices.
Soryn stood at the front of the room as the young Novices filed in for their first class on the seven ajahs. Today’s guest speaker, Rozen Sedai of the Blue Ajah, was also in the front of the room with her back only inches away from the room’s large window whose curtains nearly hid her ample form. As the girls settled down, Soryn stepped forward.
“Good morning, girls, and welcome to Ajah Basics class. In this class you will have an opportunity to learn about the inner workings of each ajah, from a member of each ajah. We cannot cover every aspect of each ajah in a single lesson. Teaching a lesson such as that would take years. However, our goal here is to give you a flavor of the purpose of each ajah and how the women within the ajah form their own missions from that purpose.
“Rozen Sedai is here today to share with us a bit about her ajah, the Blue. I’ll now turn the class over to her.”
Rozen Sedai stepped forward and faced the class as Soryn moved towards Rozen’s previous spot by the window. A smile crossed her face when she realized the Blue had chosen the spot because of the extra warmth from the morning sun. She could already feel her eyelids sagging and struggled to stay alert for Rozen’s lesson.
Rozen Sedai smiled warmly, meeting the eyes of each girl in the room before she began to speak. “The purpose of the Blue Ajah, when boiled down to its barest essentials, could be seen as staying informed and supporting causes. The Blue Ajah boasts of the largest and most intricate eyes and ears network in all the White Tower. We are also known for our politicking and our skill at Daes Dae’mar. All of these strengths contribute to the furthering of our causes.
“Perhaps the best way I can help you to understand the tasks of a Blue Sister is to give you a challenge. I will share with you a variety of information I have learned about your teacher and from that information you will answer my question. I recommend you take notes on the information I give you, since I will be asking the question after I have given the information.”
Rozen waited for the class to organize themselves to take notes before she continued. “On the day when Soryn first came to the White Tower, she was tightly bundled in a brown cloak with a worn light green dress below it. She presented herself to an Accepted in the courtyard, believing the woman to be Aes Sedai, and asked to be tested. The Accepted took her to the Mistress of Novices, who tested her and dressed her in white.
“On Soryn’s first trip into the city of Tar Valon as an Accepted, she and another Accepted strayed from the Sedai they were accompanying and did some shopping of their own. Soryn ordered three dresses from the first dressmaker they saw, one light blue wool, one light rose wool, and one gray silk with rose and blue detailing. She then browsed in a bookstore for a bit before going on and purchasing some pink sealing wax and her first signet ring, the flower of a poppy.
“The first party Soryn attended after being raised to Aes Sedai was a masquerade ball. She attended dressed in brown wool with a mask of the same brown material sporting a few straggly pink and blue ribbons. Throughout the night she was seen doing rather odd and somewhat distracted seeming things, such as dunking her carrots in her milk while she watched the dancing.
“On the desk in Soryn’s room there are a number of pens, a red bottle of ink, a black bottle of ink, a gray bottle of ink, plain white paper, light blue paper, light green paper with pink poppy flowers, a stack of books on various ruling families, a map of the nations, and a brown wooden box with a poppy etched in the top.
“Soryn’s room is decorated in shades of blue, gray and pink. It is fairly cluttered and disorganized looking, though she claims there is a sort of order only she understands in the piles of books and papers. Some of her clothing is hung neatly in her wardrobe, but the doors cannot be closed due to the things partially on the floor of the wardrobe and partially on the floor of the room. Her bed is neatly made, though the pillows are strewn about, some on the bed and some off.
“Today Soryn stands before you dressed in a light gray wool with pink and blue embroidery at the collar. Her hair is held back with combs bearing pink doves detailed in silver. She carried nothing to class with her and has been listening attentively as I speak, not having realized I knew these things about her.
“So now, we come to my question. Based on what I have told you, what is Soryn’s favorite color?”
The confused looks and sudden whispers that sprung up told Rozen that she had asked an unexpected question. She saw a few glances in Soryn’s direction and spoke again as she realized what one or two of the girls must be thinking.
“Please keep in mind that you may not ask Soryn outright what her favorite color is. Blues are faced daily with puzzles of both greater difficulty and greater importance than this. Consider the question your cause and the details about Soryn that I gave you to be both information you yourself have gathered and information gathered from your eyes and ears. Some of the information may not be useful, some of it may not be true. It is up to you to decide which is which.”
Rozen turned towards Soryn and flashed her a secretive smile, her eyes twinkling, before she turned to leave. Startled at both the content of the Sedai’s lesson and at her abrupt departure, Soryn hastily stepped back towards the front of the room.
“In addition to Rozen Sedai’s question, there is one other homework activity for you today. As a class, discuss the topic of unifying the Nations under One Treaty. Individually decide whether you are for unification or against it, then in your discussions, try to figure out which of your classmates is for and which is against. Try to keep your classmates from determining your own position.”
Soryn took a seat while she waited for the class’s discussion to begin. She already knew that after class she would be organizing her room.
Homework: As homework for this lesson, first RP your impressions on the class and answer Rozen’s question, then take part in the class discussion on unifying the nations and figuring out what your classmates think. Your impressions on the class and Rozen’s question are worth 50% of your grade for this lesson. Your participation in the discussion is worth the other 50%. Feel free to use NPC Novices during the discussion.
Lesson Two – The Brown Ajah
After Soryn’s somewhat surprising experience during the first lesson of Ajah Basics, she wasn’t exactly sure what to expect during the second lesson. Somehow, she wasn’t entirely surprised when all the girls had arrived, but her guest speaker for the day, Mada Sedai, had still not arrived. Rather than sending someone to find the girl, Soryn decided that a trip out of the classroom may be a good idea and trooped them out the door and down to the library.
As she had expected, Mada Sedai was surrounded by dusty books, clutching one firmly in her hands with an enraptured look on her face and the glow of Saidar surrounding her. Soryn blinked hard and let a nearly silent sigh creep past her lips, but didn’t allow her frustration to enter her voice as she called out to Mada. The Brown’s head snapped up almost guiltily and the glow fled as she realized that Soryn and her class were gathered just outside her stacks of books.
“Oh my, oh my. Is it that time already? The sun seems to fly across the sky when I have a good book in my hands. I was just reading about -- well, that really doesn’t matter, now does it? We Browns all have our own little studies and I’m sure you didn’t come all the way down here just to hear about the little pieces of history that so delight me.” She paused, looking at the class with a bit of confusion flickering in her green eyes. “Why were you here again?”
“You were going to speak to the Ajah Basics class about the Brown Ajah, Mada Sedai,” Soryn replied, careful not to sigh and let her irritation show in her voice. She truly had very little patience for the other woman’s scatterbrained ways, but she knew it would be undiplomatic to let that show.
“Oh, yes. Yes. The Brown Ajah. Well, first things first. A tour of the library is in order.” Mada carefully marked the page in the dusty text she was reading and somehow extracted herself from the fortress of books that separated her and the class. “Well, then, I suppose we should start by going this way.” She headed off in the direction of the door through which they had entered the library, the class quickly trailing behind her at a wave of Soryn’s hand.
“Well, now, class,” Mada started as she reached the door through which they had entered and spun around to face them. “Since you likely came through this door, you know that this is one of the doors through which Novices may enter. But only when an Aes Sedai sends you! I’m sure most of you have found the door you may enter through on your own by now, so we’ll just skip that. This way, girls, this way.”
Soryn quickly worked her way through the class until she was at the front of the group with Mada Sedai. It was clear that she would have to use other methods to get the woman to teach what Soryn wanted her class to learn. “Mada Sedai, perhaps you can tell the girls a bit about what you’re studying and why while we take our tour.”
“My studies, Soryn Sedai? Oh, my, but that could take days! And for that, we must go deeper than I had planned on this little tour of ours. Well, if we must, we must. We’ll just skip the rest of the tour and go straight there. Come along, girls!”
As they weaved through the dusty corridors of the deeper chambers of the library Mada began to mumble under her breath. Occasionally jumping, at the volume of some of the sneezes in the chorus of sneezing behind her.
Of the audible words, the girls nearer to the front of the troop were able to figure out that she was speaking of the quantities of knowledge that the dusty tomes they passed held. When she finally stopped in a somewhat larger room filled with shelves of dusty, moldy books, she turned towards the class, who instantly fell silent and stopped the scuffling after one look at the Brown’s drawn face and grieving eyes.
“Among these shelves lay texts that have not been read in the lifetimes of any of the Sedai in the White Tower. These dusty, rotting pages hold secrets and mysteries that we may never see or hear of in our world today. On these shelves lay more knowledge than any of us could learn in the whole of our lives. And it sits here. Molding. Dissolving. Going to waste.”
She plucked a book from the shelves and held it against her thin form, opening the pages gently, then holding the book so that the class could see it. “Some of these are barely readable. The ink has faded with time. The reader must do her best to interpret words that are not whole and restore knowledge that is nearly lost. This is my task in the Tower.”
Mada gently closed the book and stroked the cover of it gently, being careful not to rub the crumpling leather right off. The quiet in the room was interrupted by only a few stray sneezes. After a moment Soryn turned to Mada and gently asked, “Mada Sedai, would you mind sharing with us why you choose to study the texts of the past, while many of your sisters prefer to document the events of the current day?”
Mada snorted, mumbling about how Reds always did ignore the truths of the past, before she complied. “It has often been the opinion of some people within the Tower that the past should be left here as it is, to mold away in its uselessness. I happen to not agree. I believe that the past holds many wonders as well as many lessons that we have forgotten. I choose to study the past because I believe I can improve our situation today by knowing more about the lives of our ancestors. We can learn from their mistakes much easier and with much less strife than we would learn from our own. We can use their forgotten conveniences to improve our daily lives. The only problem is we must find them first.
“When I read through these texts, I never know what bits and pieces of information may one day prove useful. I’m never entirely sure if something I am reading could help one of my Sisters if she were reading it. Therefore, I do the only thing I can to preserve the knowledge we are losing. I copy it all. Word for word, every line, every page. It is the only way I can be truly sure that I’m not missing something important.
“Some days I wish there was a better way. The paper and ink I use today will have a limited life itself. The knowledge I struggle so hard to preserve is only finding its life extended by a time. I must trust that with each word I write and each book I finish, there will be another Sister in the future to read my words and copy them again.”
Mada stood with her head bowed and her eyes closed. As Soryn looked around the quiet room, she was pleased to see the reactions her class was having to her Sister’s words. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Mada’s head snap up and her eyes fly open and turned back towards the Sedai as Mada coolly surveyed the class once more.
“Perhaps it is time to challenge you, who hope to one day call yourselves Aes Sedai. How would you go about preserving the knowledge of the past and present? Is there a better way than copying words of fading ink from crumpling pages to new crisp pages? What are the faults in that method and how would you solve them?”
Soryn and Mada both faced the class waiting for their responses. For a class session that had seemed doomed when its speaker didn’t appear, Soryn was really quite pleased with the outcome. Mada had asked the questions she herself would have posed for her students and Soryn was curious to hear their responses.
Homework: Again, please give your observations and reactions to the lesson (50% of your grade) and answer Mada’s three questions (the other 50%). You may answer the questions IC or OOC, depending on your own preferences.
Lesson 3 – The Gray Ajah
The Novices entered the classroom today to find Soryn amiably conversing with an elegantly dressed woman. Once the class was seated Soryn stepped to the front of the room to introduce their speaker for the day. “I would like to all introduce you to Lyra Sedai of the Gray Ajah.” Soryn stepped back to let the other woman step in front of the girls.” Lyra took a few swaying steps toward the class before she began speaking in her soft-toned drawl.
“When Soryn Sedai asked me to come and speak to you about the Gray Ajah, my first response was, ‘Oh, dear! How can I best convey the heart of the Grays to these girls?’ Soryn smiled at me in her usual way and said, ‘Simple. Tell them your story.’ And so, I shall.
“I grew up as the daughter of a Cairhienin nobleman, so when war broke out again between my homeland and Andor, I was a logical choice to send in the party of mediators. It was believed that my former connections to Cairhien would cause the King to believe that I was truly working in his best interests, since I was once one of his subjects. A little known fact was that the King had always retained an Aes Sedai advisor, but his current advisor had been called back to the Tower and it was hoped that he would request my services in her stead.
“We arrived to find Cairhien in more of a shambles than I had expected. The King, angered by the recall of an Aes Sedai he had trusted, was determined not to accept a replacement for her and was, in fact, condemning the Queen of Andor for her reliance on her own Aes Sedai advisor. The Cairhienin people were losing their respect for the White Tower, a delicate situation that required the immediate attention of the skilled counselors in our embassy. We immediately set to the task of changing the King’s stubborn mind.
“At first the King tried to treat us as supplicants, simple women coming to his throne to ask great favors from the generous ruler. We quickly disabused him of that notion. Before he spoke more than a few phrases, we had delicately accepted his non-existent apology for keeping us waiting, agreed with his unspoken thought that his servants had been delinquent in acknowledging our presence, and thanked him for honoring us by moving us from our current humble rooms to the best suites in his palace, a thought which had never entered his mind. The man gaped as we continued on, telling him of the Amyrlin’s wish that he find one of us suitable to replace his former advisor, and conveying the greeting of the previous advisor.
As well as a letter from her, which we knew mostly contained her recommendations that he accept one of us as well as her own reproving for his current war with Andor. We did not tell him outright of our disapproval of his war or demand that he chose one of us to advise him, but before we left he knew just what we thought and just whom we thought he should choose. The man’s thoughts could not have been more than a muddle by the time we were through speaking to him.
“Of course, the King was not the only person in Cairhien who needed to be convinced that the war with Andor was a folly and that he needed the advice of the White Tower. We Sisters in Andor separated and individually adhered ourselves to as many of the King’s advisors and nobility as was possible. We rode with them, we ate with them, we attended their parties, we mingled, and we interlaced the desires of the White Tower into the simplest of circumstances. Even these excellent players of the Great Game could not entirely be sure of what our purposes or our desires were in Cairhien, but they were unconsciously speaking the words we wished them to speak and doing the deeds we wished to have done.
“When the rich soil was tilled and ready for planting, we began our sowing with a steady hand. We reminded the merchants of the trade routes they had lost due to the fighting and of the profits they would see if only those routes were open again. We reminded the townspeople of the food they would do without as the King sent it slowly on its way in long strings of wagons bound for the soldiers. We reminded the nobles of their sons and the little memories they would have to hold so dearly if the ones they wanted to hold did not return. Slowly these tendrils of worry crept out of the soil and made their way up to the King’s door.
“Before long, the King himself was sending for us and asking us to perform the duty we had been sent there for. He himself now wanted peace for his people as badly as the Tower desired it.
While our hands and lips had been molding the Cairhienins just as a potter molds his clay, other representatives were in Andor setting the moods of her people. By the time the King of Cairhien was ready to negotiate peace, the Queen of Andor was prepared for it as well. The negotiations went smoothly, since each side was well represented by guests of the White Tower.
Both parties were content with the results of the negotiations and both sides returned home in peace.
“The King of Cairhien did surprise us a bit by expressing his own will in the choice of an advisor. He did not choose me, as we had hoped, nor did he choose a member of the Gray, but he did choose and she was willing to stay, so Cairhien has an advisor once again.
“And so, we are faced with peace, a properly advised King, and the burning question all Grays must face. Is it right to manipulate rulers and their nations for the sake of peace? Not all situations require the degree of manipulation we felt was necessary in this one. Sometimes reasoning alone or even just listening to the individuals can solve disagreements.
“We also have another question to answer, since our purpose in Cairhien was twofold. We were in Cairhien to benefit its people by bringing them peace, but also to benefit the Tower by securing a position of authority in Cairhien for one of its members. Would we have been correct to manipulate only for the benefit of the Tower if there had been no war?
“And a final question for this class, since our purpose here is to learn. How would each of you handle the situation in Cairhien differently than those of us in the embassy? Grays are always trying to answer the question ‘How could I do this differently?’ because often times what works for one person doesn’t work for the next.”
Both Sisters watched the class as if they could see right into the girls’ thoughts and already knew what answers the class would come up with.
Homework: Again, please give your IC observations and reactions (50%), and then answer Lyra’s three questions. (1. Is it right to manipulate nations and rulers for the sake of peace? 2. Would we have been correct to manipulate only for the benefit of the Tower if there had been no war? 3. How would you handle the situation in Cairhien differently than the embassy?) (50%)
OOC: This will be a two part lesson. You will only have homework on the first part.
IC: Lesson 4A – The Green Ajah
OOC: This will be a two part class for this round. I will post the second post after this one.
As the classroom slowly filled, Soryn studied the different degrees of surprise and curiosity that each girl showed when they realized that today there were not two, but three sisters at the front of the room. She was a bit surprised herself, since she never expected Fedra Sedai to be willing to speak. It had only seemed right when Fedra arrived with her best friend, a sister of the Yellow, for support.
Soryn had a brief moment of worry after she introduced Fedra to the class. Fedra just stood there, her eyes looking distant. Then slowly, she began to speak with a scratchy, choked voice.
“We left Tar Valon on a day much like this. It was a short ride to the docks and the rain chose to stay in its dark clouds until we were well on our way north. Thirty Sisters and their Warders were crammed together in a small space, Sisters sharing rooms and Warders sleeping on the deck now slicked with rain. I remember our relief when the boats reached their destination and we were able to step out on dry land again, if that sopping mass of mud we walked through could ever be called dry. The persistent rains we faced on the boats seemed to hover over us as we traveled still further north from the landing point to Fal Dara. By the time we reached the Keep, we were all soaked and only the force of our own wills and the ingrained pride of a Sedai kept us from looking as bedraggled as we felt.
There were few Sisters that night that did not avail themselves of the opportunity to bathe, though some were more shy about the prospect of bathing with men, as is the custom, than others. We spent the next few days making our little plans, meeting and manipulating the lords of the land, and practicing our own skills so that we may be ready for the battle we faced.” A hollow laugh echoed through Fedra’s throat. “We thought we could make ourselves ready by practicing, but nothing can make a person ready for battle, for war. When the armies of Sheinar marched forth, we marched with them, enveloped in our own pride and our surety of victory.
“It seemed that time passed swiftly between the moment we left the gates and moment we faced the armies of the Shadow. In just seconds the sounds of war swelled around us. Stamping horses, bellowing generals, bold soldiers, clanging weapons and armor, the grunts and cries of the Shadow, all started softly and escalated quickly until our two lines rushed at each other. Then we added the sounds of pain. Screaming men, weeping men, screaming horses, the anguished cries of Shadowspawn as they met their death. Somehow, sounds seemed to pale next to the smell.
Shadowspawn themselves have an odor that cannot be described, but even that and the smells of our own sweat were buried by the smell of blood, innards, feces and urine. We could all pretend that we didn’t see the horrors before us, we could all block out some of the noise, but the smells were inescapable. Embracing Saidar made us even more sensitive to these things that we wished we could ignore, but we held all we could and we wove as well as we could. Every successful weave would mean fewer deaths among our friends and companions.
“We had engaged the enemy late in the morning and by the time the sun touched the horizon, most of our Sisters were swaying in their shoes. Those who had not given themselves a chance to take brief respites during the fighting had found themselves long since carried off by a pair of strong arms. Our Warders knew our limits and would not allow us to remain where we would be endangered by our weariness. One by one Sisters dropped their hold on the One Power and allowed themselves to be taken off to sleep. Those who had left the fighting early were refreshed enough to begin fighting again before the last of the weary went off for their own rest. The channeling didn’t stop for the entire length of the battle, but it was never as strong as in those first minutes when we met our enemies.”
Fedra’s voice stopped, her eyes still watching that distant battle. Sometime during her story she had seated herself in a hard straight-backed chair before the class. She gripped the edges of the chair with her hands, as if she was afraid that if she let go, she would float away. The class sat in silence until tears slowly started to trickle down Fedra’s face. Then the yellow stepped forward and placed her hands on the Green’s shoulders. Fedra allowed her head to fall back and rest on the stomach of the yellow and her hands loosened their grip slightly. In this position she began her story again, though her voice was now little more than a whisper.
“I was resting when a cry went out that the Shadowspawn were being pressed back. I was groggy and not well rested, but I moved forward with the rest. My Warders, Neam and Grend, were at my side. They knew how weary I felt. They exchanged a look when they thought I was preoccupied with my horse and then promptly led me towards an area with very little fighting on the eastern side of our lines. We fought there for an hour, maybe two, with the majority of our army on our west side. We were still pressing the Shadowspawn back, but their lines seemed to be thinning near the middle and building along the ends. Ours seemed to do the opposite. It was as if our people were being funneled between two of their own groups.
That left our edges, including the place my Warders had led me for safety, vulnerable. I was throwing fireballs and Neam and Grend were each engaged with large trollocs when two fists of trollocs and their myrddral were suddenly between our army and us. Neam and Grend acted quickly, disposing of their two opponents before joining me in my flight. We looked frantically for a way to rejoin our army, but the myddral followed behind us with his horde. It quickly became clear that we were well and truly separated from our group and would have to face this on our own. We chose our ground and turned, the weaves already flying back into our pursuers. Grend immediately went towards the myrdrall with Neam right behind him. I tried to yell at them to stay back so that I could take out the myrdrall without hitting them with my weaves, but they would have none of it.
Instead I tried to be more precise and hit the trollocs around them, a difficult task as weary as I was. I didn’t have to use that technique for long. The trollocs obliged by coming for me and soon I was defending my own life.
“I could feel Grend slowly weakening as he fought the myrddral. He was parrying the halfman’s strikes quite well and occasionally was able to strike back, but even with Neam at his back some of the lashes of the trollocs surrounding them still got through. Grend was soon trying to block the myrddral’s advances as well as those Neam missed. It was when Grend tangled his sword blocking the thrust of a trolloc that the myrddral saw his moment and took it. The black sword lanced through Grend’s stomach to its hilt, piercing Neam’s back as well. I felt my bond with Grend break even as I felt the life slowly start to drain out of Neam. The myrddral yanked on his sword, dislodging it from Neam, but it stuck in Grend’s lifeless body. As he took precious minutes to withdraw it, Neam stumbled around and clumsily lifted his sword. It was the only time I ever saw him hold his sword as if it were not merely an extension of his arm.
He swung his wobbling blade with all the strength he had left and a catchpole hit the ground before my frozen form. I had eyes only for the head of the myrddral as it rolled slowly down the hill and out of my sight, taking the lives of my protectors with it. I searched my mind for the feel of either bond, but there was just emptiness. Nothing. They were gone.”
Fedra’s voice choked on her last word. The Yellow looked towards Soryn before moving to stand before Fedra and slowly help the Green out of her chair. The silence held as the Yellow led the Green slowly across the room and out it’s wide door. Soryn felt her own throat tighten as she considered all she had just learned from a story she had thought she already knew. When she spoke, she spoke quietly, but she knew the class could hear her.
“The Shadow was defeated in the battle Fedra Sedai spoke of, though our losses were heavy. Fedra Sedai said that nothing could make a person ready for battle. How would you prepare yourself if you were about to go into battle? Warderless or bonded, how would you face the aftermath? As a Sedai, we can never be sure when we may need the answers to these questions.”
Homework: First give your observations and reactions to Fedra’s story (50%), and then answer my questions (1. How would you prepare yourself if you were about to go into battle? 2. Warderless or bonded, how would you face the aftermath?) (50%).
Soryn waited for the class to be seated before rising from her postion behind the desk. "Good morning girls, I would like you all to listen to what Irisian Sedai has to say." With that said she retook her seat and waited as Iris walked to the front of the room.
Iris looked at the girls gathered to the classroom and decided that she
needed to get their attention right from the beginning and Greens had
certain reputation. Besides, her speech would astonish them a bit
because she described some of the other Ajahs in a way they might not find
fabourable. But she was old enough to let that stop her because every
word was true. She started speaking in her melodious voice "To be Green Ajah
means that you must love men, not to be in love with them, but love
them. Not like a Blue, who merely likes men as long as they share her causes
and do not get in her way. And certainly not like most Reds, who despise
them as if every one of them were responsible for the Breaking. And not like a
White, who has no room in her life for any passions at all."
"Browns seek knowledge, Blues meddle in causes, and Whites considers
the questions of truth with implacable logic. We all do that of course. But
to be a Green means to stand ready. In the Trolloc wars, we were often
called the Battle Ajah. All Aes Sedai helped where and when they could, but
the Green Ajah alone was always with the armies, in almost every battle. We
were the counter to the Dreadlords. The Battle Ajah. And now we stand ready,
for the Trollocs come south again, for Tarmon Gai'Don, the Last Battle. We
will be there. That is what it means to be a Green." All the girls looked
very serious. The Dragon had been Reborn and declared the truly one by the
Amyrlin Seat herself. The Last Battle would happen during their
lifetime. Iris decided that the mood needed a little lift. She winked and talked
"Aah, and then there are the warders, never forget that the Green is
the only Ajah who bonds more than one." She wanted end her speech lightly.
Green was one of the biggest Ajahs and would gain members even without her
when the situation in the world was what it was. "Does anyone have
Homework: Just rp your responses to the class. Iris is the Green Ajah head if any of you were wondering.
Lesson Five – The Red Ajah
Kiersten Sedai of the Red Ajah walked into the room just behind the last Novice to enter. She marched smartly to the front of the room as if she owned it and turned to face the class standing just in front of Soryn. Soryn stepped back as gracefully as she could, but she was already feeling a bit displeased with the direction of this lesson. Kiersten would not have been her first choice as a representative of the Reds, but she had been the only other Red to want to come and talk to a class full of girls. A chill voice tainted by overtones of hatred escaped Kiersten’s lips and even Soryn cringed at the tone and the words. “It is my task today to remind you of the fallibility of men and to show you how only the Red remains pure in its efforts to protect the world from men’s evil.” She turned her ice blue eyes on Soryn. “You may go now.”
Soryn lifted an eyebrow and looked at Kiersten in a way that could only be interpreted as a veiled challenge. “Thank you, Sister, but I believe I shall stay. It seems I am about to learn of a failing I was unaware I possessed. I’m sure I will find your lesson quite… educational.” She smiled at the Red, whose eyes had been getting colder through Soryn’s response. Kiersten simply tossed her blond hair and faced the class, continuing as if Soryn did not exist. Kiersten was the only sister who still despised that Soryn had taken on leadership of the Red when Eve has departed, and only because her views were not as harsh as the other sisters.
“Three years ago pigeons flocked to the White Tower from the south carrying stories of a man who could channel. Thirteen Red Sisters set out immediately to find the man they called Belar Namigo. Our travels took time and we reached his small town in Cairhien to find that he had fled, leaving behind him the ruins of his own home with his family buried inside. Neighbors related that he had quarreled with his brother over which of them would ride to market with their parents while the other stayed home and plowed the fields. His parents had chosen his brother and Belar had burned the house down around their heads. The townspeople related a series of unusual events surrounding Belar, including the deaths or injuries of several individuals who had been close to him. No one was sure where he had gone, but signs pointed further south, since his only remaining family lived in that direction. We headed south and soon determined that we were correct. Our path was marked by another tragedy. Having no money, Belar had chosen to stay overnight in the stable of an inn. One of the inn’s patrons discovered him there and turned him in to the innkeeper. He was told to be on his way and was tossed out into the night. A scant hour later, the inn and its stable were two more piles of rubble along Belar Namigo’s path.
“The tragedy continued. Belar begged for food and money along the way. Houses who welcomed him were left to stand. Those who rejected him were burned. Death followed in his wake. By the time we caught up with Belar Namigo, his killings we were aware of totaled 13 men, 15 women, and 51children. Only one of those 79 people had ever lifted a hand to harm him.
“We did capture Belar and we did bring him back to Tar Valon to answer for his crimes. He fought like a bear, cursing us and screaming, lashing out whenever he could. The townspeople where we caught up with him were glad to see him go. The places he had not yet reached held people who were relieved they had never met this terrorist. He was not strong, even for a man, but even the small amount of the Power he could touch was capable only of destruction. He placed no value in anything but his own life and never attempted to help anyone but himself. He was a weapon of the Dark One and it was our responsibility to see him back to the White Tower, where he could be permanently sheathed.
“Our return to Tar Valon went much more swiftly than our search had gone. By the time we reached the Tower, Belar had given up on his cursing and wailing. He maintained his defiance as he stood to be judged, but as his crimes were reported, he gradually lost his stiff posture. He stood like a sullen child as the judgment was pronounced, but returned to his cursing and screaming as the circle of thirteen gave him his due. He was given money and told to go on his way. He returned drunken two days later, cursing and screaming at the gates to be let in so that he could demand the return of his powers. He was briefly imprisoned, and then he was given more money and told again to go on his way. Again he returned with his drunken ranting, this time accosting some of those who were coming to the Tower with legitimate pleas for help. He was imprisoned again. A third time he was released with enough money to make something of himself. A third time he returned, violent as ever, to lay more death in his path. He killed two women and a guard at the gates to the Tower. When asked why he killed the women, his response was,
‘Better for them to die at the gates than be slowly killed by the help these tools of the dark would provide.’
“Men who can channel hate us. They hate the thought that we can separate them from the Power. They hate that we can stop them from the destruction they want to participate in. They have shown time and again that all they can do with their strength, all they are willing to do with the Power, is dominate and destroy. They wish to destroy us because they cannot dominate us. It is for the protection of the Tower and for the entire world that the Red Ajah seeks out the destroyers and neutralizes their ability to destroy. Only we of all the Ajahs realize the importance of protecting the world from the men who would destroy it. Treaties, logic, politics, and books can all be destroyed by the machinations of one man who can channel. Death cannot be healed and what good is there in preparing for the Last Battle if we allow the male channelers of today to destroy us so that we never see it? Only the Red is focused on the true enemy. Only the Red is able to separate themselves enough from men to see clearly what men are made of.
Only the Red understands that men are not like women in the ways they learn to touch the Source. A man can learn at any time. We have no ways of knowing who can learn and who cannot. We can trust no man.
“Young girls new to the Tower are often very curious why we of the Red refuse to bond. I believe that you have heard enough that you can now tell me. How would the things I have told you, which are truths in the daily life of each member of the Red, affect your decision to bond? Would you be able to trust a man with your thoughts, your emotions, and your life?”
Kiersten Sedai stood gazing out across the room, her face still frozen in calm, though her eyes flashed cold. Sooner or later one of these girls would speak. Soryn watched as the girls took all that Kiersten Sedai said in and hoped that they would also see the way that Soryn was herself and not judge the whole of the Red on the opinion of one anger filled Sedai.
Homework: RP your reactions to the lesson (50%) and answer Kiersten’s last two questions (1. How would the things I have told you, which are truths in the daily life of each member of the Red, affect your decision to bond? 2. Would you be able to trust a man with your thoughts, your emotions, and your life?) (50%).
Lesson Six – The White Ajah
Soryn stood at the front of the room with Meghanne Sedai talking quietly until all the girls had filed in and taken their seats. She had never had an opportunity to speak much with Meghanne in the past. She was quickly finding that right before a lesson was not a very good time to get to know a person, especially when an Aes Sedai’s composure figured into the situation. Perhaps after class they would both have time for a talk over tea.
When the girls had settled in, Soryn introduced Meghanne Sedai to the class. The White’s voice was loud and cool as she began to speak of her ajah.
“The White Ajah focuses on the study of philosophy and the practice of logic. We are accused of being emotionless because we are able to bring ourselves out of a situation to see the whole picture and make a logical decision. White Sisters depend on logic to solve conflict, whether the conflict be war between nations or which dress to put on in the morning. There is no problem too big or too small for logic to solve.
“With that said, I must point out that there is no Aes Sedai, White or otherwise, who is fully without emotion. Each of us feels emotion and can be swayed by it if we don’t practice caution. Using logic does not mean ignoring emotion. Emotions must be taken into account as well. If I feel like wearing my red dress rather than my white on a warm day, that emotion must be taken into consideration even if logic tells me that by midday the darker color of the red would make me feel much too warm. I must take into consideration not only my desire to wear the red dress, but also the reason behind that desire. If I did not take into consideration the fact that I want to wear the red dress because I will be needing the white dress tomorrow, logic may have directed me in the wrong path. Emotion and the reasons behind emotion are essential factors in reaching a logical conclusion in any situation.
“I faced a situation just yesterday which I will share with you. A young girl came to the White Tower wishing to be tested. I saw her myself and tested her, only to find that she had no spark. When I told her she was unable to channel, she burst out into tears and cried, ‘Now there is nothing left for me but to throw myself off one of those tall white bridges!’ I could not help but wonder what would make a girl of twelve so desperate. I asked her to tell me her story.
“It was a familiar tale. She described her mother, father, and siblings as having been mean to her, so she saved her spending money and fled. Her money quickly ran out and she couldn’t buy food or shelter. She was nearly caught stealing a number of times and a few men along her path tried to take advantage of her. She had finally come to Tar Valon in the hopes that she would be taken in and cared for if she could channel. Finding that she did not have the ability left her believing she had no other option but death. She was hungry, cold, tired, and alone, but the only place she had to go to was the place she had fled.
“I carefully asked her questions about her situation. She had no other relations she could live with instead of her parents. She had no skills that would make her employable. The more she told me, the more I believed the logical thing to do was to send her home. So I asked her about her family. How had they been mean to her? They made her work in the gardens and take care of her younger brother. Had they hit her or physically mistreated her? No. Did she have enough to eat, a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear? Yes. Finally I asked her what she liked about her parents and her siblings. She sat and stared at me for a moment before she smiled slightly and told me a story about how her mother and father used to take her into town for market days and how her siblings would bring her little gifts just to surprise her.
I asked her if she missed her family and she reluctantly admitted that she did. Then I asked her again why she left. She sat and looked at me and was quiet for a long few minutes. Slowly she said, ‘I didn’t like that they wanted me to work in the gardens and care for the baby when I wanted to be playing outside or weaving on the loom.’ I asked her if living on her own has been easier or more enjoyable than living at home. She answered no. Then I began to describe the typical day of a Novice. Her eyes got rather large as she considered all the chores and hard work she would have been responsible for had she been found to have the spark. I asked if she preferred that kind of a life to the one she had at home and she again answered no.
Finally I asked her if she wanted to go home. She began to cry again even as she was assuring me that yes, she did want to go home, but she had no means of getting there since she had spent all her money. That problem was easily solvable and the girl is on her way back to her family as I speak.
“That situation may have seemed simple from the outside. The girl wanted to go home, but didn’t have the means of getting there, so she told herself that she really didn’t want to be there. However, that simple situation was one of the hardest I have ever faced. When I was young I too had family problems. My mother was a cold, hard woman and my siblings resented me because I was the only one of the batch who had a living father. I slowly saved money and eventually I ran away. I too found that life on your own is cold, hungry, and lonely. I too had to steal to survive. I was chased by people who I had stolen from as well as by men who saw a pretty young girl to take advantage of. It was when one of these men got hurt that I realized I must travel to Tar Valon. I came seeking refuge from what I saw as a bad situation. I was lucky that I was born with the spark.
“The whole time I sat talking with that young girl, I was reliving my own past with a different outcome. What if I had come to the Tower to find out that I was unable to channel? What if I had been sent off rather than taken in? What decision would I have made? I asked myself these questions about my own situation, but the questions that truly tormented me were the ones I asked myself about the girl. Is there another reason besides wanting to avoid work that caused her to leave her family? If I send her back, will they welcome her? Will she find happiness back in her home? Is there something she’s not telling me because I’m a stranger or an Aes Sedai? Am I really doing the right thing in allowing her to convince herself that she truly wants to go back to a place she fled?
“These are questions I must deal with and must consider. I have questions for you as well. What would you have done differently if you were the one who tested that little girl yesterday? Would you have been able to make the same decision I did?”
Homework: Give your IC reactions to the lesson (50%) and answer Meghanne’s two questions (1. What would you have done differently if you were the one who tested that little girl yesterday? 2. Would you have been able to make the same decision I did?) (50%).
Lesson 7 (Final)
Lesson Seven – The Yellow Ajah
Soryn and Shirana Sedai stood at the front of the room having what looked to be a one-sided conversation. Soryn seemed to be doing all the talking with an occasional one or two word response from Shirana, who seemed to be more interested in playing with the end of her brown ponytail than listening to anything Soryn could say. It was a well known fact that Yellows guarded their healing techniques pretty carefully and Soryn had been hoping that perhaps she may learn a valuable lesson today as well. She stifled a sigh of frustration when Shirana pointed out that her class was all assembled and suggested they begin.
It wouldn’t do to show Shirana just how much she wanted whatever information the Yellow would give. She continued on with the lesson’s introduction, secretly planning to try and get more information from the Yellow after class. Shirana stood before the class and, with a sly look in Soryn’s direction, began her lesson.
“As most of you know, Yellows concentrate all their efforts on healing, guarding their techniques and knowledge carefully within their ajah. It is true that not all healers are Yellows, but all Yellows are healers. The purpose of our ajah is the health and nurturing of each and every life. Because of our healing abilities, members of the Yellow are often less feared in society than members of other Ajahs. We care for the mightiest king right down to the lowliest street child without discrimination. Returning life to all we can is the strength of the Yellow Ajah.
“However, my story today is not only about the strengths of the Yellow, but also its weaknesses. Because healing is the focus of the Yellow Ajah, it is extremely rare for a woman to choose Yellow without having at least a moderate ability to heal. This means that we stay few in numbers, yet there are thousands of people who need our abilities. It is impossible for us to help everyone who needs us. We must pick and choose where our abilities will best serve.
“Perhaps the best example of this would be during a battle. Three Yellows traveled north with thirty Green sisters, a smattering of a dozen sisters from the other Ajahs, and sixty Warders. We three were all experienced in healing, but thus far had not faced the kind of fast paced healing that is necessary in battle. There were other members in the party who could heal and who had been in battles before, but we felt as Yellows that we need not take the advice of those who were not primarily healers. We knew our business.
“We marched just before the supply trains, grateful for the rains that kept down the dust of those ahead of us. We met the armies of the Shadow and initially we found that we had very little to do. One or two men came in with scratches, bruises, shallow cuts. Then gradually we began to see more serious injuries. Shattered bones, whole chunks of flesh missing, absent limbs. We closed our minds to the blood, the innards, the screaming, the moaning, the smells, and focused only on healing. We began moving in a rhythm. Walk to the injured person, stoop and touch them to delve, heal, stand, walk to the next injured person, and so on. I still remember how startled I was the first time I touched a man to delve him and found that he was already dead. A blade had slid down the side of his face removing his ear and lodging in his shoulder. I had not seen the severity of his injuries because I had approached him from the opposite side. I tried to move faster, but already I was feeling fatigued.
I looked up to judge the time by the passage of the sun. It had only been a little over an hour. “We continued on until our rhythm was the only thing keeping us going. One by one we were forced to admit our weariness when we could hold onto the Power no longer. It slipped from our grasp as easily as a raindrop trickles down a windowpane and we retired to empty beds to regain what strength we could. It seemed that my head had barely touched the pillow when one of the men sent to carry the wounded in shook me awake. I looked around me and found myself surrounded by men and women in agony. I pulled myself from the bed, reached for the Power, and began the rhythm once more.
Before long we learned the lesson of asking the conscious patients about their injuries rather than delving their whole bodies. We stopped treating bruises and scrapes. We stopped trying to remove fatigue. We healed wounds only to the point where the patient was unlikely to die then we moved on to the next patient. We didn’t worry about scars that would be left behind. It was enough that they would be left with their lives.
“For two weeks we followed this pattern. Healing until we could hold the Power no more, sleeping until someone woke us, then healing again. At the end of those two weeks, we marched back to the keep, still healing as we traveled. Even inside the keep our work was not over. We now had time for those whose need had not been as urgent and those we had healed only partly, so we saw to them before we left. It was not until we reached the ships to sail home to Tar Valon that we of the Yellow finally got our rest. I don’t remember anything of that voyage except the hard bed I was allotted. Our armies had won the battle, but those of us who were new to battle healing had never felt so defeated.
Though we had used every ounce of our strength before and after the battle, our losses had still seemed high to those of us who were used to being able to save nearly everyone in daily life.
“In later classes you will have a chance to visit the Infirmary as well as a chance to determine if you have the ability to heal. Whether or not you choose the Yellow, do not take healing for granted. Each time a Sedai heals, she has to give some of her own strength. That is not a gift to be taken lightly. It is also not a gift to be given lightly.”
Shirana Sedai cast her eyes over the class one last time before she turned and walked out the door. Soryn sighed, seeing she’d have no opportunity to ask Shirana any of the questions she had hoped to have answered. Why were Yellows always so secretive? She shook her head slightly to regain her focus and turned back to the class.
“Shirana Sedai shared with us one of her own experiences of having to pick and choose which injuries were severe enough to need the healing of a Sedai and which could heal using other means. However, she also implied that when time was less pressed, she and her sisters went back to heal injuries that could have healed on their own or with the help of herbal remedies and rest. Do you believe there are benefits to using herbal remedies and bed rest rather than the One Power? Are there reasons we should not use the Power to heal even if we have the ability?”
Homework: Give your impressions of the lesson (50%) and answer my two questions (Do you believe there are benefits to using herbal remedies and bed rest rather than the One Power? Are there reasons we should not use the Power to heal even if we have the ability?) (50%).