August, 2000 






Minako ti Rashaad

Siofra al' Kinsella




Taya Gille

Nori Tagalen

Tanya Ramsey


September Arches                                  back to Library


    Yavanne the Accepted

                   Mentee of Dallah Sedai

                   Aspirant Red

                   Owner of the Panther

                   Proud Trekkie


 OOC: "Mr. Sulu take us out from here"< "Who do you bring with you, Sister?"

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister," Dallah Sedai replied.

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She has never faced them, but now is willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

Another time in her life, she was out of her clothes, but this time she felt embarrassed, she waited till one of the arches lighted up, and she just waited for words of Phrygiana "The first arch is what was, the way back will come but once, be steadfast", and before she entered the ate, she heard the whisper of her mentor "Follow your mind not your heart child, and you shall pass", and then came the light.

When Yavanne opened her eyes, she was near the village she was born. She looked on all the buildings, and they were not destroyed, she still remembered how this place was burning, but there was no sign of horror. Then she just heard the voice she just knew was the voice of her mother, she looked at her home, and saw that her father was there also, she just couldn't believe... she thought that he was dead, killed on his way to Shayol Ghul. "Yavanne, child, come, the dinner is ready", he heard again the voice. She just followed it, and entered the home. Meal was almost ready, and she could sniff all the spices, it was like in her youth days, and then the arch appeared. She just didn't know what to do, her heart was telling her to stay, it would be nice to have the family again, but then she thought that it was impossible, if she had stayed, she would be doomed, she just closed her eyes, didn't look back, and jumped through the arch....

and she felt the hard floor of Tower's basement met her body. She almost cursed, and then she felt the water, not the cold one, but freezing one, on her body and in her ears, she just looked how Phrygiana's lips are moving, but she couldn't hear the words, she just wanted to go to some warm place...but she couldn't, she took her risk...she just didn't say the word about her arch....she just listened the ritual words and entered the arch for the present...

It was odd, she was in the tower, she had on herself the Accepted dress, but the changed, the walls were painted on different colors, they seemed to moving and whispering...she could hear "You coward, you won't are still afraid of them, coward, you will stay here forever..." She just ignored those whispers, Nobody was on the corridors, and it was even more odd "Talking walls, no one here, what it is, Am I crazy...what's happening to me..", then she just heard something coming after her, she just couldn't see it, but she felt air coming chilly, the glow from he walls started to disappear, and the feel of fear slowly started to come to her heart...she heard something moving, and she heard strange sounds, something seemed to scream "Tekeli-li...tekeli-li" (OOC sorry for that little Lovercraft like story :D) , she started to run in panic, and she quickly got lost, and even if she run as fastest as she could, the strange thing was coming closer and closer and then she was nobody was her own fear, that was chasing her. She reminded the wise man from the village where she was born , as he explained her not to fear her shadow "Do not run from your shadow child, the faster you run, the faster it follows you, slow down, and it won' chase you...". She laughed, and listened, when she stopped nobody was following her, but the walls started to scream again at her, but this time she ignored it, she just followed the corridors, and then she saw the arch, but it was blocked, by man in robe, He said "Before you come through the arch, you will answer me some questions, if you don't find the answer you will be killed..." She had no way but to agree.

"First question, what's your name - he said

- I'm Yavanne

- What's your quest

- I'm here to become Accepted

- What's your favorite color

- Red

- And what's the weigh of full grown panther, but precise weigh"

And that puzzled her, she looked at the arch, and it started to shimmer, she tried to run at it, but she was forced to stay at place...she was terrified, but then she found the answer in her mind...she just laughed and said:

"But which panther? black or the snowy one?" The old man was shocked. he said "I don't kno..." and he exploded, Yavanne just managed to jump through the arch, as it was fading out.... (OOC sorry for Monty Python :P, but I couldn't resist putting BridgeKeeper here :P)

And she hit the floor again...this time, she covered her ears, from water and heard the ritual:

""You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul." Phrygiana said." Do you want to continue child" - she asked her. Yavanne was almost exhausted, so she only nodded with her head, and followed the third arch...she just heard the words "The way back will come but once, be steadfast" but she also heard "The third is worst..."

She found herself in the red dress on the streets of Shadar Logoth, she and her friend Tania were following the male channeler, the one who destroyed Yavanne's village long ago, and at last they cornered him, and his apprentice. The channeler could run fast, but the apprentice was to terrified, and got lost, when he saw two Aes Sedai coming for him, he just launched fireball at them, which was deflected by Tanya's shield, and that fireball allowed her to use the One Power. Yavanne looked as her friend forms other fireball and as it struck the boy's body, and kills him. She then heard the voice "Oh my God! They killed Kenny! You bastards!", and the channeler himself approached. They were fighting for life. Cause only one side could survive the duel. And then it happened, before Yavanne could react, the channeler launch the fireball just near Tanya's feet, blowing the part of the streets to the sewers, Yavanne's friend couldn't just held the balance and felt to the water, the channeler laughed hysterically and jumped too...he looked at Aes Sedai, who was trying to jump from the water, and prepared the lighting weave....Yavanne knew that it would kill her friend, but then she saw the was already fading...she could just hear screams below " me, please, only not water...please.." and he heard the hiss of lightning and scream...she wanted to go and avenge her friend...but she heard her mentor's words about revenge, and costs of it...she jut turned back and walked through the arch...

There was the Amyrlin, the Keeper, and all Ajah Heads. Yavanne knelt before the Amyrlin Seat and waited for water to struck her poor, tired body and then she heard "You are washed clean of Yavanne from Caemlyn . You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world," the Amyrlin said. Yavanne just thought "Was it real...would it happen...and if it's real...I'm paying a high price for that white dress....""You come to us clean," the Amyrlin Seat continued, "in heart and soul. You are Yavanne, Accepted of the White Tower." Amyrlin emptied the chalice on her head and continued "You are sealed to us with both body and mind..." but she was too exhausted to understand meaning of those words....she felt as Dalllah was helping her to get on her feet, and guides her from the basement, she just couldn't think of nothing...except one "I'm now Accepted"...>>



Novice Mandi sat on her bed, she had had a long day. She was beat, lying down with a book she had gotten from the Mistress of the Library. Snuggling under her cover she began to read. When she was about to nod off she, felt the power of one who could touch Saidar. Looking up she saw the Mistress of Novices, Phrygiana Sedai.

A sullen look on her face she said, "It is time child." Leading the Novice down the halls of the White Tower the Mistress of Novices said nothing. Mandi knew what this was all about. It was her turn, her chance. She had heard stories of Novices that failed this test, they were sent away, or they never returned. She was determined to pass this test. No one would talk about what had happened in the Three Arches, they just got a sad look on their face or turned pale looking as if they were going to sick up.


In no time at all Novice Mandi and Phrygiana Sedai were standing in front of other Aes Sedai, "Who do you bring before us Sister?" one ageless Aes Sedai asked.

"One who is ready to cast off what she was and ready to gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?" another asked.

"She has never faced them but is ready."

"Then we begin"

Mandi stripped off her Novice's gown and stood naked in front of three silver aches, "The first arch is for what was," one sister said.

"The way will come but once. Be steadfast."

Mandi walked forward into the glowing arch....


.... and was sitting bye the Aryth Ocean, she was holding hands with Carlton. She and Carl were betrothed, and she loved him very much. This isn't right, this isn't supposed to be. He knew her ability to channel and didn't care.

He looked at her and smiled, love in his eyes, "Lets go."

Raising an eyebrow she asked, "Where?"

Looking into the ocean the waves hitting the sand. They were miles away from the docks and there were no people around, so Carl shed his clothes down to his small clothes and Mandi donned her shift. This was really not proper but it would be fun, Mandi loved to swim but Carl wasn't very good at it.

"Are you coming?" He shouted, from about five paces out.

Leaping toward the water she dove in when she came up she had just enough time to see Carl go under. Swimming out to where she say him, he bobbed to the surface again. "Quit playing...." was all she got out when he went under again.

"Lp Mandi I am caught in the cur.." was all she heard, as the current swept him back under.

Her heart racing she swam her hardest to where she had seen him, going under and grabbing for him brushed his hair. Coming up for breath to go under she heard, "The way will come but once. Be steadfast"

Looking up she saw a gleaming silver archway, "No I can't leave him! N0! I have time," she screamed.

"Be steadfast."

Looking around she started swimming towards the arch. She swam through....


........and landed on the cold stone floor. Tears burning behind her eyes she looked toward the silver archway as water was poured over her head from a sliver chalice.

"You are washed clean of what ever sins you may have done, and of those that were done against you. You are washed clean of any crimes you may have committed and those committed against you. You come to us washed clean. Pure in heart and in soul."

Feeling herself being lifted from the ground, she another Aes Sedai say, "The second arch is for what is."

"The way will come but once. Be steadfast." She heard the Mistress of Novices say.

Looking into the shimmering arch Mandi all but leaped through......


...........and was sitting on a rock out side Tar Valon with her sketch pad and writing box that her friend Jaydena had bought for her on a free day shopping many years ago.

"Hold it right there Witch."

Looking around she saw about ten to fifteen White Cloaks with swords drawn, she stood mustering all the Aes Sedai serenity she could and turned toward them.

"I said don't move Witch."

"No," she said "son you said 'Hold it right there Witch.' As you can see boy I haven't moved from this spot."

Watching his face turn blood red with anger, she felt her three Warders not to far away, hurrying toward her. They must have felt her fear. She had never liked White Cloaks they were prejudice, and she didn't care much for those who made an assessment of another without knowing the whole story. The White Cloak rose his sword to Mandi's throat. "We will see how you are laughing when I take you to the Hand of the Light."

Mandi looked at him calm and cool, "Do you see me laughing, boy. Now all of you put your toys away before you hurt someone."

The young soldier lowered his sword from Mandi's neck, she had that way with people. Just then her Warders, came up behind her. "Is there a problem Aes Sedai?"

"No Logan, I have everything under control here."

"Witch you have nothing, " the Boy said. Again raising his sword.

The Warders jumped to her rescue taking on thrice as many men. Through the crowd she saw a man, it was her little brother. Making her way through the fighting, without getting stabbed. "B, " that is what she called him it was his nickname to her. "What are you doing here?"

"Be quiet Witch you are no longer my sister."

"What are you talking about? You were never like this, you know I serve the Light, you know it"


With that he turned to stab at her. Her Warder Logan was right behind him running him threw with his sword. "NO!!!!" she screamed and dropped to him "B, please, forgive me I never wanted for this to happen."

"Shadowspawn," he gurgled. "May you rot in the Pit of Doom"

"I can heal him, I can..."

The way will come but once. Be steadfast.

Twisting around she saw the glowing arch, with her brothers head in her lap she sat, crying.

"Forgive, me. Please. PLEASE."

"Die, you Darkfriend"

She got to her feet and walked into the arch bawling......


........... and fell to her knees, her body racked so hard with sobs, she barely heard the Aes Sedai say, "You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, heart and soul."

She almost didn't feel the water being poured over her head.

"The third, is your choice, you may go through it, if you wish."

Standing on wobbly legs she walked to the front of the third arch. "I am ready," she said in between sobs.

"The third is for what will be."

"The way will come but once. Be steadfast."

Mandi walked shaking into the arch.......


******and into a battle field, Trollocs and Myddraals surrounded her and her Warders. Banners waved in the chaos that loomed around her. Several Sisters of the Green Ajah Battled around her and men in black coats wielding the One Power. The banners waving in the air were unfamiliar, one was a disk of white and black, that was the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai, when men and woman worked to together to serve the people. The other was a white with a crimson and gold dragon.

This was Tarmon Gai'don, the last battle. It was happening all around her. Ahead loomed, Shayol Ghul, and a boy no older then 25 naming days old, battling with the Sword that is not a Sword. He must be the Dragon Reborn. Making her way through the hoards of Shadowspawn she looked up at the boy.

This wasn't happening. It couldn't be, watching as the boy worked the Sword that wasn't a Sword like a blademaster. He looked at her, and smiled, then turned back to his foes. This is what she had trained for, this was what her Ajah was for, she felt overwhelmed. She couldn't take it.

She bolted, she ran. She ran into a Myddraal, picking up a sword she found laying on the ground, she was too scared to grab hold of Saidar, she made her way through the wounded men, she needed out. Falling to her knees, she sobbed she was a coward she didn't deserve to wear the stole. "Light Illumine me and give me strength," she wailed. Standing again she walked into the battle, she felt one of her Warders die, she had left him.

The way will come but once. Be steadfast.

No she couldn't leave again, she had to redeem herself, she wasn't going to be a coward. Slashing her way through the trollocs to the silver arch way. This wasn't fair she didn't want to be a coward. She leaped through.....


...........and back to the room full of Aes Sedai. I am not a coward, I am not. She repeated to herself over and over. She heard the Aes Sedai that was pouring water of her head.

"You are washed clean of Mandi Meeks from Ba ndar Eban. You are washed clean of all the ties that bind you to the world. You come clean to us now washed in heart and soul. You are Mandi Meeks Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us now."

Slipping on her shift she donned the banded Accepted's dress, the seven rings for each Ajah decorated the bottom. The Aes Sedai slipped the Great Serpent ring over the middle finger of her right hand. Saying nothing they let her leave.


Back in her room she laid cuddled with her little saw dust donkey that was given to her as a child. Sobbing all night till the morning when she put the little donkey on the window sill, for good.





    Minako ti Rashaad



 Minako was lying in her bed, trying to keep from dozing off long enough to finish her Ogier history of the Mountains of Mist. The sleepiness was winning when Phrygiana Sedai knocked once and barged into Lilliana and Minako’s room.

"Follow me, Minako," Phrygiana said with a half smile.

After this long in the Tower, Minako didn’t ask for explanations. She just moved. They walked down the stairs at the end of the hallway, and just kept walking down flights of stairs. "I am not looking forward to walking UP all these on the way back," Minako thought idly. "Where are we going, Phrygiana Sedai?" she asked aloud.

"To your raising, Novice."

Minako forgot to walk, for a second. She caught back up quickly. "Now? Really? Already?"

"The hour waits on no woman, Minako ti Rashaad. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills," Phrygiana said, and Minako thought she should start counting the number of times she heard that around the tower.

At the end of a thousand steps, there was the largest wooden door Minako had seen outside a fortress. Phrygiana Sedai pushed it open, and it swung smoothly. Minako mentally noted the hinges, and tried to remember to tell her father about them later. They would be perfect for the doors of Rashaad Keep.

All thoughts of the hinges fled, however, on sight of the ter’angreal. There were three huge arches, all joining in a silver ring which lay flat on the floor. At each meeting of two arches, there sat a shawled sister. Two were Brown and one wore the Blue. Gray Eidheann Sedai stood beside a table with three silver chalices. Phrygiana Sedai motioned toward Minako, catching her attention, and Minako listened.

"Novices are given three chances, Minako. You may refuse twice, but on the third refusal, you are sent from the Tower with enough silver to last you a year. There is no shame in refusal. Do you wish to go on?"

Minako knew no fear in what she didn’t understand; curiosity for the silver ter’angreal ruled her mind. "I will go on, Aes Sedai."

"Then you must know two things. No novice hears these words until they stand at this threshold. First, you must finish if you start. Refuse at any point, and it will be the same as if you had refused for the third time. Second, you must know that to seek, to strive, is to know danger. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter’angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they simply were—not—there. They were never seen again. If you will survive, you will be steadfast. Falter, fail, and…" She trailed off and fell silent. "This is your last chance. Refuse now, and you may still try twice more. If you accept now, you may not turn back."

"I will go, Aes Sedai," Minako said. She looked into the arches, and felt the battle spirit rising in her chest.

At Phrygiana Sedai’s instructions, Minako removed her three novice dresses. This earned smiles from several Aes Sedai in the room, and a full-blown giggle from one of the Brown. So EVERYONE knew of the Warders’ Yard incident, did they? She folded them, and turned back toward the arches.

"Who do you bring with you, Sister?" Eidheann Sedai intoned.

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister," Phrygiana Sedai answered.

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She has never faced them, but is now willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

Phrygiana Sedai turned from Eidheann Sedai to Minako. "The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Minako walked steadily toward the arches. She closed her eyes and lifted her chin, and was swallowed by white light.


"CLOSE THE GATE! CLOSE THE BLOODY GATES!" the captain roared. Dawin was a nice man, usually, but the captain of the guards at Rashaad Keep was no man to stop during a raid. You got out of the way, or you got ran over. Minako stepped aside.

Every man in the keep was running toward the outside. This was the fourth Trolloc raid this week. They were certainly being kept on their toes this month. Minako threw on some light armor, made sure all her daggers were in place, and grabbed her bow and arrow. She charged for the doors with the rest of them. In a small, close-knit House like Rashaad, the ENTIRE family defended during a raid. Men, women, sons and daughters. Usually, the younger ones kept to the top of the keep, where they pincushioned Trollocs with arrows. It was a shock when they met the first Trollocs INSIDE the courtyard.

"Rally! Rally to the gates, Rashaad!" the captain roared. Minako’s father swept by her, in all his radiant, violent, battle-hardened glory. "Back into the keep with you, Mina! Now!"

Minako, as usual, completely ignored any order meant for her own safety. And it was just as well, this time, as a Halfman was bearing down on her father, with a pack of Trollocs behind him.

"Papa! Papa, BEHIND you!" she screamed, while calmly drawing aim on the Fade. Just as she loosed the arrow, she saw a gleaming silver arch, out of the corner of her eye. She lost her concentration, and the arrow flew wide; the Halfman was bearing down on her father.

The way will come but once…be steadfast…said an echo in her mind. "No!" she answered. "I won’t! I can’t!" She turned back toward her father, preparing to loose another arrow, aimed at the pale skin where the Fade should have had eyes. At the same time, she knew what she had to do. Her father’s surprised cries echoing behind her, she turned and plunged through the arch, into…


…a fall of cold water being poured over her head. Minako gasped at the feel of the reality within the arch being so quickly ripped away from her. Eidheann Sedai was speaking.

"You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul."

Minako looked up at Phrygiana Sedai. "How did you make that? How did you know what the keep looked like, and my father, and…?"

"We don’t make the experience within the arches, child. Everyone’s experiences are different, and apply solely to her," Phrygiana answered.

Minako shook her head, hoping to clear it. "It isn’t real," she said to Phrygiana. "It can’t be."

"Believe what you will about what happens inside the arches, the danger is real. The second time is for what is. The way back comes but once. Be steadfast."

Minako stepped calmly through the second arch. The fire of a thousand white suns greeted her.


Minako grinned at Poluna on one side, and Trel on the other. They had challenged her to a horse race, forgetting where she was from. With a mock salute to each of them, she whispered a word in Golden’s ear and leaped up to stand on the bare back of the horse. She danced about a bit, showing off to Trel and Luna, who were behind her a fair bit, looking shocked. She waved to the group of Accepteds off to the side of the field. Once she’d gotten a feel for how Golden galloped on this terrain, she performed a few acrobatics, most of which showed off her knickers and that bright red petticoat she insisted on wearing. The Accepteds watching squealed with glee, and Minako glimpsed Trel waving a fist at her in mock anger.

"But where is Poluna?" she thought to herself. Looking back again, she saw Poluna’s horse lying on its side, one of it’s legs very obviously broken, as though it had stepped into a hole. Poluna was nowhere to be seen. Minako whirled Golden about, and rode as hard as she could to where the horse lay. Just as she’d feared, Luna was under the horse.

"Oh, Light, Luna, no!" she yelled, leaping to the ground. Trel was at their side in an instant, and Minako felt rather than saw the rest of the Accepteds running toward them. They carefully pulled the silent form of their friend from under her horse. Minako turned to them.

"Do any of you know any healing!?" Tania ran and slid onto the ground beside Poluna, placing her hands on her forehead.

"Oh, bloody---Minako, ride for a Yellow sister," Tania said. "We can’t heal this. You’re the only one who’s fast enough, Mina. GO!" Tania yelled, shoving Minako toward her horse.

Minako was no idiot; she knew Poluna needed that Yellow sister, and fast. She flung herself up on Golden’s back, and rode for the Shining Walls as if her own life depended on it.

The way will come but once, be steadfast…

The arch was there, out of the corner of her eye. "Not now! I can make it in time! I can save her!" Minako yelled at the arch, willing it to go away. It flickered, reminding Minako of the warning. Gritting her teeth and wrenching her eyes shut against tears for one of her dearest friends, she flung herself from Golden’s galloping back into the searing light of the arch.


She was kneeling again, on the floor of the room in the Tower. A second chalice was being emptied over her head.

"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul."

"False pride," Minako thought. "As though I could’ve ridden quickly enough to save her." But why did it hurt so badly to have left her friend there to die, when she knew it wasn’t real?

"The vision ends when we leave, doesn’t it, Phrygiana Sedai?" Minako asked, a note of begging in her voice to match the welling tears in her eyes. "I didn’t leave her there to die, did I?"

"No one knows that, Minako. You must believe what makes it easiest for you." Phrygiana Sedai sighed. Minako wondered what it must be like, seeing all these girls go through the arches, and re-living your own arches each and every time. "The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Minako hit the third arch at a dead run.-+


She had just seen another sister fall. The embassy to Kandor was not supposed to have gone like this.

"Lillianna! NO!" she shrieked, trying to make it to her side in time. It was no good. The Trollocs closed in around her, and Minako couldn’t see her anymore. Lilli’s Warders went crazy, hacking into anything they could reach in a frenzy of emotion and loss.

The embassy to Kandor was just another political visit by the Aes Sedai—an open show of support to the current Kandori queen, who cooperated with the Tower in everything. Minako Sedai of the Brown Ajah was here because her brother was married to Queen Gherania. No one could have guessed that there were Darkfriends in the palace, and that they had caused this.

Most of the other sisters were up on the dais with the royal family, using Air to shield and batter the fighting away from them. All of the Green sisters, some of the blue, and several of the Brown were in the thick of it, throwing blue fire and shouting battle cries and curses against the Shadow.

Minako alone saw the man walking toward the dais, and her breath caught in her throat. "Why is he making me so frightened?" she wondered, while knowing that he was someone horrible, that their channeling couldn’t touch him.

"Luna! Trel!" she screamed, trying to make her way to the sisters protecting her brother and his wife. "Kouji!" she screamed to her Warder. "Get me to that man!" She drew a dagger from her boot as her Warder cleared a path.

The man never noticed her behind him, and never turned. He would never have known what hit him, when the arch appeared to Minako’s left. "No! NO!" she screamed. "Not now!" The man kept walking toward the dais, and Minako crouched for her lunge into him, when she saw the arch waver. "It’s the decision that’s important. If I kill him, I’ve made my decision to stay here…the way back will come but once, be steadfast…" her mind told her.

One tear fell from each eye as Minako heard the slaughter of the man reaching the dais. She felt Kouji die, and she heard her brother’s children scream. She reached the arch and walked slowly and brokenly through. The light burned her, and she felt she deserved every inch of it.


She walked just as calmly out of the arch, and stood, emotionless, before the Aes Sedai. She knelt, and bowed her head, and the water poured over her. It was the Amrylin Seat who spoke the words that fell with the water.

"You are washed clean of Minako ti Rashaad of Saldea. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Minako ti Rashaad, Accepted of the White Tower." Minako stood. "You are sealed to us, now." The Amrylin finished.

Numbly, without tears, she accepted the banded dress and the ring, and walked slowly to her new room in the Accepteds quarters. She dried her hair, and sat awake for the rest of the night, thinking. She prayed to the Light that it wasn’t real, but cursed the Light that she’d never know for certain.



    Siofra al’Kinsella


 "...and it's going to be the most amazing dress in the whole world! Areyla Sedai is the best! I can hardly wait until I can pick out a kitten from Gaidin's next litter. Hopefully there will be one...."


Siofra faded off as she heard a knock on the door to her's and Eliset's room that they had been sharing since the day she arrived in the White Tower. She jumped off of Eliset's bed to answer the door, when Carrain Sedai poked her head inside the door.

"Siofra, come with me it is time."

Siofra took enough time to say a quick good bye to her roommate as she scurried after Carrain.

"Already! I didn't expect this so soon." Siofra sputtered.

"Well I bet you have already heard the saying, 'The hour waits on no woman. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, when the Wheel wills.' Now it pertains to yourself." Carrain explained as they made their way down the stairs and into the room with the magnificent silver arches.

Siofra looked around and saw Phrygiana Sedai standing next to a table with three beautiful, silver chalices. Next to the arches Sio noticed Eidheann Sedai, wearing her Gray shawl, Areyla Sedai, with her blue shawl, and another Aes Sedai with a White shawl that Siofra didn't recognize.

Carrain turned to Siofra and in a serious voice said, "Novices are given three chances, Siofra. You may only refuse twice. On the third refusal, you are sent from the Tower with enough silver to last you a year. There is no shame in refusal. Do you wish to go on?"

Siofra nodded and responded, "I am ready to continue, Carrain Sedai."

"Then you must know two things. No novice hears these words until they stand at this threshold. First, you must finish if you start. Refuse at any point, and it will be the same as if you had refused for the third time. Second, you must know that to seek, to strive, is to know danger. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter’angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they simply were—not—there. They were never seen again. If you will survive, you will be steadfast. Falter, fail, and…" She trailed off and fell silent. "This is your last chance. Refuse now, and you may still try twice more. If you accept now, you may not turn back."

Siofra nodded and straightened herself. "I shall go through the arches, Aes Sedai."

Carrain Sedai nodded at and Siofra removed the white Novice dress that she had become accustomed to while being at the White Tower. She carefully folded it. Goodbye little white dress. Hopefully I shall return to wear the beautiful dress of an Accepted.

"Who do you bring with you, Sister?" Phrygiana Sedai intoned.

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister," Carrain Sedai answered.

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She has never faced them, but is now willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

Carrain Sedai turned from Phrygiana Sedai to Siofra. "The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Siofra composed herself the best she could gave a wary half-smile to Carrain Sedai and stepped through the first arch.


"Eiffy, I told you I was going to come with you into town. You shouldn't have left me behind. I'm not a kid anymore."

Siofra stopped and turned around. Her mouth dropped open in unbelief. There stood her brother Nathianal. "But you're..."

"I'm what? I'm only 4 years younger than you. I already promised Da that I would behave and stay close with you, even though you are a smelly, mean sister!"

"Well then we best get going if we are to return in time to do our evening chores." Siofra shook her head as they walked on down the road that lead from their father's farm into Baerlon.

They entered through the gate and the wonderful sights and smells of Baerlon flooded her senses. Siofra caught a glimpse of Whitecloaks up ahead and quickly turned down another street.

"Don't want your BOYFRIEND to see you with your kid brother?" Nat chuckled.

Siofra bapped him on the arm. "He is not my boyfriend! I don't want anything to do with those Whitecloaks. Let's go get some lunch and I have to pick up some sewing supplies after that."

Nat pulled Siofra towards the tavern owned by their Uncle Martim. "Aunt Jania will be more than willing to give us some fresh bread I bet."

As they were rounding the corner to their uncle's tavern, Siofra saw the arch out of the corner of her eye and remembered, "The way will come, but once."

She shook her arm free from her brother's grasp and tears rolled down her face. "I don't want to, but I need to go. I love you, Nat, but I must do this." Siofra turned and ran through the arch.


Siofra gasped as the water fell on her bare flesh. She heard Phrygiana speak.

"You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul."

"...bbb...bbut Nat's dead! How?..."

Carrain Sedai looked at Siofra. "We all have things which the Arches pick up on. They are things particular to yourself. Someone else would not react the same. Now you must continue."

"The second time is for what is. The way back comes but once. Be steadfast."

Siofra took a deep breath and walked through the second arch.


"Sioa, darling. Miriaum is crying. Can you please quiet her down? I must go off now."

Siofra looked up and saw Jarrum looking at her adoringly. What is going on here? I'm married to....No!

Siofra looked down at the squealing child next to her and absolutely fell in love with the little girl. This is my child?! She is so beautiful.

There was a rustling behind her as Jarrum gathered up some of his things.

"Where are you going? How long will you be gone," Siofra questioned Jarrum. Remember the way will come but once.

"You know where I'm going. The Lord Commander is having us go to Tar Valon. We are taking over that Tower of thier's and destroying those Witches." Jarrum said with a smirk on his face.

"No! You can't do that!" Siofra saw the arch out of the corner of her eye. She ran towards it and away from the man she so despised. He ran after her trying to catch her as she slipped through the arch.


Panting Siofra stopped on the other side of the arch. She felt the cool water run over her.

"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul."

" baby... she was so beautiful...that awful man...."

Carrain Sedai nodded as Phrygiana Sedai continued.

"The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."


Siofra stepped through and found herself next to a man that seemed to be a warder, who was wounded. She saw Tania and Taya. Tania and her warders were off fighting in a nearby scuffle. Taya was bent over Eos checking out his wounds.

"What happened here," Siofra asked to Taya, who was closest to her.

"What does it look like, silly? Trollocs and Halfmen all over the place. We need to get our Warders fixed up as soon as possible. It is a good thing Tania helped us set up those wards before she ran off to fight." Taya said, while removing material to get at the wounds easier.

I don't know what I'm doing I'm just a Novice. How am I supposed to take care of these wounds without knowing exactly how to do it? I don't want to kill this man.

"Siofra? hurts bad...those lousy Trollocs!...owwwww!" The man with the fair hair and strong face winced at the pain caused from his movement during his outburst. "Help me please! Don't you feel my pain through our bond? Please Siofra!"

The way will come but once.

Siofra saw the arch straight ahead. "I am sorry, my Gaidin. Whoever you are you shall be well..." Siofra ran right through the arch with tears streaming down her face as she felt the man's near death pains.


She felt the last chalices water pour over her. She noticed that the Amyrlin had now joined the group in the room.

"You are washed clean of Siofra al'Kinsella of Andor. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Siofra al'Kinsella, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us, now." The Amrylin finished.

Siofra breathed a sigh of relief and accepted her new dress with the colored bands. Carrain gave her a big hug and the other Aes Sedai smiled kindly at her. She returned to her Novice room and decided she would move to the Accepteds rooms the next day.





                   Yellow Aspirant


Althena was sitting at her desk, writing a letter to her family about all that had happened. She felt a bit guilty about writing more often, but she was so busy here. She stopped to chew on the end of her pen and figure out what she wanted to say when a knock came on the door. She jumped up and answered it. Phrygiana Sedai stood at the door, looking a little more serious than usual. "Come with me child," she said.

Althena scurried after her, not wanting to keep the Mistress of Novices waiting. She didn’t know where she was going, but the mood set left her not wanting to break the silence. She followed Phrygiana Sedai down and down, until she could no longer remember where she was. They came up to a tall set of dark wooden doors that Phrygiana easily pushed open. As soon as Althena glimpsed what was inside, she thought she was going to pass out.

The three silver arches with a sister sitting at each place two touched was exactly as it had been described in classes. She looked at the sisters there. Her mentor, Lylana Sedai, sat calmly in her white serenity. Evara Sedai of her future Ajah sat in another corner, and a brown sister that she didn’t know sat at the last corner. She saw Lylana give a brief smile of encouragement, and felt a little better. She looked, and saw Ladria Sedai of the green Ajah standing by the chalices.

Phrygiana looked at her and said. "Each novice is given three chances. If you refuse three times, you will be sent away from the tower forever. You may refuse if you wish. You will still have two more chances. Do you wish to go on?"

Althena felt fairly calm about it all, and nodded. "Yes, I do"

"Then know now what no one else knows until they are standing in your position. Once you begin, you cannot go back. If you refuse at any time point, we will send you out of the tower forever. Second, to seek, to strive, is to know danger. Some women have entered and never come out. When the ter’angreal was allowed to grow silent, they simply were—not—there. They were never to be seen again. You must be steadfast! Falter, Fail, and…" Phrygiana stared at her with all the Aes Sedai intensity she could muster. "Do you wish to go on?"

Althena paled, but nodded boldly. She had so wanted to become Yellow Ajah. Althena slowly undressed, and stood ready for what was coming.

"Whom do you bring with you Sister?" Ladria Sedai intoned.

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister." Phyrigiana replied.

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She has never faced them, but now is willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

Althena gulped, her face a sheet of white. Phrygiana smiled an understanding smile. "The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast." Althena forced her feet to move, and walked through the first arch.


Althena found herself standing on the walkway to her front door at home. She remembered all the love that the house held and almost ran. She knocked on the door and waited impatiently. The door opened on a handsome man who was close to his 20th naming day. She stepped back a minute, unsure of herself. This is your brother, you ninny! Her mind told her. She shook her head, confused. My brother is only 10 now! but the confusion all washed away when the man swung wide the door, crying, "Mom, dad, Ryan, Althena’s come back!!" He swept her up in a giant hug, and she laugh, wondering why she had thought it wasn’t her brother. Steven looked wonderful. Her parents and other brother rushed to the door and gave her great big hugs.

"So how was it honey?" her dad asked eagerly, while her mother ushered her into the kitchen and fixed them all tea. She wondered why her mother had fixed six cups of tea. There were only five of them. Suddenly a beautiful man walked through the door.

"Sorry it took me so long, the horse’s were wetter than I thought." He said, standing next to her and encircling her with his arm. She knitted her brow, and tried to understand what was going on. It all felt so right, so perfect. There was so much love here. She looked from face to face.

Her mother, happily doing what she had done her whole life, taking care of the family. Althena smiled when she thought she would soon have a family to take care of herself. What?! She looked to her father, who was smiling at her and Devon, her husband Husband!?! with all the pride he could contain. She laughed. She loved her father more than anything, and would do anything to make him proud. Then there was Ryan and Steven. She reached out and ruffled Ryan’s hair, and for once, he didn’t pull away and scowl. Instead, he grabbed her hand and smiled at her.

"I’m really proud of you sis!" he said. She sat down. The love that filled this room was all she had ever wanted in her life. All she really needed. Be steadfast. The way back comes by once. Althena frowned. What had that meant? She shook her head to ignore it, and as she did, she caught a flash of silver out of the corner of her eye, in her living room. Her mind whirled, and she knew now what that meant. She didn’t want to give it up. There was happiness here. Slowly she let go of her husband, tears coming to her eyes at all the love that she was losing. All that she had given up to become Aes Sedai. With a small shake of her head, she stepped through the arch.


Althena walked numbly out of the arch, her heart already missing all of that love as she looked at her cold surroundings. "All that love," she murmured to herself. Phrygiana Sedai looked at her sympathetically.

A chalice of cold water was emptied over her head, and the shock of it numbed so of her loss. She held on to that numbness. She knew she needed it to make it through the rest of this.

"You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul." Ladria spoke, her voice steady but sympathetic at the same time.

Phrygiana looked at her. "Are you ready?" Althena nodded. "The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Althena pushed herself into the arch.


Althena found herself standing in a field with her warder. Her eyebrows wrinkled. Warder? They were just enjoying lunch after coming back from a short excursion to visit her family back in Tear. Her warder had insisted on coming of course, woolhead that he was. There wasn’t going to be any trouble visiting her family. Still, it was nice to have the company on the way back to Tar Valon. And the family sure had enjoyed him. Kier certainly was entertaining. He was so friendly and outgoing. She had certainly made a good choice when she chose him for her warder. She smirked as she thought about it. Actually, she hadn’t had complete control of it. He had demanded to be her warder, saying something about her needing her foolish rear protected. However, he hadn’t been quite so nice about it. She looked down at him as he lounged about. He was smiling back at her. Suddenly, she felt apprehension and readiness through her bond. Kier was now standing next to her, his sword drawn. "Ready yourself, Aes Sedai." He said quietly. "I think we may be in for a surprise."

Althena looked around, and as she turned to look at a hill, several hundred Trolloc crested it. They registered surprise as they saw the lone Aes Sedai and her Warder, but then cried with glee as they flooded toward them. "Gaiden." She whispered, seeing their doom. The Trolloc kept coming, soon reaching the thousand mark. She turned around. There was no escape. They were a rock in the face of an oncoming avalanche. Kier stepped in front of her, solid. "Best to stay protected, my lady Althena."

Be steadfast. Those words jolted Althena. The swarm of Trolloc was descending on them, and she was throwing fireballs, lightning, and anything else she could at the Trollocs, but they were too many. For every one she killed, six or seven more swarmed over the mangled body. There was no hope. The way back will come but once. Althena turned, dread in her heart. The silver arches stood, trumpeting her warder’s death. Althena looked at Kier, who was watching her now. He let concern and fear through the bond. "Kier. I’m sorry." She said, as she back towards the arches. He nodded, if not understanding. "Always to protect you, Althena Sedai." He turned to face the on coming Trollocs. She turned and ran for the arches, but as she reached them, she felt through the bond the first of many injuries to her doomed warder.


Althena stumbled out of the arch, shaking with terror and shame. Light, she had just left him there! And he had trusted her! She thought she would lose her lunch right there. Ladria stepped forward and poured the icy water over her head. "You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul."

Althena scowled in emotional pain. She certainly didn’t feel clean. "I’m ready," she growled, not waiting for Phrygiana’s question.

"The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

This time, Althena flung herself at the arch.


She found herself in the midst of the battle, fighting – fighting? –alongside Ryell, Taya, and a couple other green sisters. They were surrounded by Trollocs, Dreadlords, and a couple Myrddraal. They fought valiantly. Althena wanted to throw down the sword. She had never in her life tried to hurt anyone, in fact she had vowed never to hurt anyone. But, it felt right, comfortable. The thought made her almost want to sick up. She held a modified quarterstaff in her hands, with a blade on the end of it. She focused all her channeling into it. It must be an angreal, she thought. She swung, and arcs of deadly fire swung from the quarterstaff. The warders were all around the Aes Sedai, fighting bravely. They were winning, there was only a few more Myrddraal to take care of, and then the dreadlords that they could fight. She managed to catch a glimpse of Ryell in all her glory, riding Stonefist with one hand, using the other to throw terrible fireballs into the crowd. Althena found the time to smile at her friend. She would probably need to be healed because of this.

It had all been a surprise. They were just coming back from a journey into the Borderlands to quell some of the larger attacks from the Blight (they had been getting fierce lately) when this ambush happened. Now they were fighting for their lives. Be steadfast. The words made her falter slightly. Why would she listen to those words. Of course she would be steadfast. She was in the middle of a battle. She shook her head. The battle continued. She had just finished off one of their last dread lords, when she heard another charge coming over the hill. To her surprise, a ragged group of Children came over the edge. The leader took one look and screamed, raising his bow to his ear. "I knew you Witches were darkfriends! Die!"

Althena shook her head in amazement. Could they not see they were fighting against them? She prepared a weave to hold the small group where they were when they loosed their arrows. She heard to shrieks near her and whirled in fear. Be steadfast. As she turned, she saw Stonefist rearing and Ryell tumbling out of the saddle. Taya and Lanfir already lay, felled by arrows. They had been fighting the other way when the Children had appeared. She knelt, hurrying to weave the healing spells. "C’mon," she said. "I can do this. I’m strong enough. I’m skilled enough. C’mon. Just hang on." Suddenly she looked up, staring into the silver white arches that beckoned to her. "NO!!!!!" she screamed. "This is what I’m meant to do. To heal. No, please, just…" She knew it was hopeless. She stood up, and some one grabbed her ankle. She looked down at a semi-conscious Taya. "Green and yellow together, remember?" She murmured. Althena broke, tears streaming from her eyes. She shook loose from Taya’s weak grasp, and she dove into the arch.


Althena stumbled two feet out of the arches and fell to her knees. Tears poured from her eyes, Suddenly the Amrylin Seat was looming over her, and she could just register a sister from every Ajah now in the room. As the Amrylin emptied the chalice over her head, she intoned." You are washed clean of Althena Leareen of Tear. You are washed clean of all the ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Althena Leareen, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us, now." Slowly Althena stood, and the Amrylin slipped the ring onto her finger. She tried to feel excitement over being raised, but her whole emotional being was sore. Althena dried herself off, and then dressed into her new wardrobe, the white gown with the bands of color around the bottom. Then, she turned to find somewhere secluded where she could shed her bottomless tears for what had been.






 Krystonia stepped into the small room in the White tower, her heart in the pit of her stomach. The blood drained from her face when she laid eyes on the three rings; the ter’angreal which each novice was required to go through at the time of her being raised to accepted. Light, she had seen the terrible emotional distress, which the ordeal had caused on the newly raised acceptors. Most of them refused to speak about, it, however their eyes gave it away. Krystonia took in a long tremulous breath and began to undo the buttons of her white novice dress. Her fingers barely worked, shaking as they were. Setting her garments on the floor against a nearby wall, Krystonia ‘s gaze met that of the Mistress of Novices, whose eyes met a momentary flash of pain. Perhaps the remembrance of her own trip through the rings, or perhaps empathy for Krystonia, or, maybe both. Realizing she was standing in front of the group of Aes Sedai, in her skin and shaking like a rabbit; Krystonia squared her shoulders and nodded to Phrygiana Sedai. The age-old ceremony began, sending Krystonia into the ter’angreal to face her fears.

"The first time is for what was. The way will come but once, be steadfast"

With those words, Krystonia stepped into the first ring and was immersed with light. She felt as if she would explode. She was being picked apart; fiber, by bloody, fiber. And then blackness.

Krystonia’s eyes finally adjusted to the dim light of early dawn. She washed using the gilded wash stand, which stood directly across from the large bed. Her husband, who had been her childhood sweetheart from the tender age of thirteen, had already woken, and was most likely with their three children. Malcolm was a very good father to their two sons and little daughter; a great change from the brash youth which she had fallen for. His arrogance had mellowed with age, perhaps, Krystonia loved him all the more for it.

‘The way will come back but once, be steadfast.’

The words floated in Krystonia's mind unattached; she knew they meant something and she felt as if she should know the voice which spoke them. Feeling somewhat confused, she dressed herself, left her chamber and walked into the hall. Everything was pale in the morning light, however there seemed to be an air of joy and simple happiness. She could remember the manor bright and cheery, the wonderful balls and banquets which had brought much joy into her life. Striding along the wide halls, Krystonia had an idea where her beloved Malcolm and their three young children would be. Opening the doors to the garden, she saw that she had been correct. There, Malcolm, standing tall and handsome with his fair hair, dark eyes and roguish smile. There her beloved sons, Faris and Jerome, miniatures of their father, frolicking in the grass with play swords. And there little Zenith with her golden curls and crystal blue eyes and ready grin. Krystonia’s mind was interrupted by a foreign thought. "This is not right, Krystonia, Not this". She stopped to consider the small voice, which spoke so urgently, and dismissed it at one look into the loving eyes of Malcolm.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast."

Off in the distance she saw a sort of shimmer, a sort of an arch, she started towards it. She was compelled by it, she knew somehow it was right.

"Wherever are you going, dear?" Malcolm’s eyes looked mildly surprised, "Are you well?" Trembling, Krystonia stopped and looked and looked at her family, the sun shining down on them, highlighting them with a golden ray. The arch shimmered once again, fading now. Krystonia quickened her pace.

"Ma-ma?" There was a look of confusion on Zenith’s small face.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast."


As Krystonia neared the archway, she heard an anguished cry. When she turned, she saw Malcolm’s beautiful face filled with pain it felt as if her heart was being ripped out of her breast. With a sob, she plunged herself into the archway just as it was about to disappear. Light blinded her and picked her apart with an agonizing slowness. Finally Krystonia found herself back in the White Tower, in the room with the ter’angreal. It was a shock to feel water pour on her hair and trickle down her naked body. Shivering and sobbing like a woman who had nothing to live Krystonia sat down hard on the gray stone floor.


"You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul." It all seemed incomprehensible to Krystonia, but it did not matter to her what the voice spoke of. Nothing mattered.

"The next time is for what is. The way will come back but once, be steadfast."

Krystonia’s tears had subsided somewhat, but her eyes held pure murder for the ter’angreal and the women who seemingly forced her to use it. Gritting her teeth, Krystonia propelled herself into the second arch. Light blinded her and plucked her apart thread by tiny thread. Through the haze of intense pain, one thought burned in Krystonia’s mind, louder than the sensation felt by her every shred. ‘Why? All this for what?’ To this query, Krystonia replied with force, ‘To be Aes Sedai’.


When Krystonia opened her eyes, she found her fists had clenched so tightly that her nails had made impressions on her palms. She felt dazed and did not adjust to her surroundings immediately. Her head ached and she found it a challenge to think coherently. Where was she? Who was she? Her eyes finally adjusted let her see her surroundings, a city, with all the hustle and bustle of the common days work droning in her ears; Caemlyn. Home. But something was not right, her attendants looked dreary, as if there were a dense cloud downing their spirits. Something was terribly wrong.

Krystonia was surprised by the sudden stop of the carriage; she seemed to almost bolt, like a startled horse. She waved away her maids concern and stepped from the carriage and was immediately approached by a fat balding man who seemed familiar. Her uncle Stavian. She remembered being lifted up onto those shoulders; he was much younger then, and happier. He was not happy now, lines of worry creased his face and his eyes were shadowed.

"Krystonia, quickly dear. He has been asking about you all day. We fear he might not have much time left."

It hit Krystonia like a blow to the stomach, her father. He was ill and that was why she had made the journey. Memories of her dear father’s smiling face flooded back to her, filling her to the brim. Not her true father, yes, but Krystonia had known no other and had not felt the need to.

"Oh yes Uncle Stavian, lead me to him," her voice was filled with a sudden urgency.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." The words floated in Krystonia’s brain and were overridden by the sense of urgency; she had to see her father. Uncle Stavian led her through the halls of the manor, to the wing, which contained her father’s chambers.

There were people everywhere; all as grim as the as the stone walls seemed to be. She remembered those faces, loving faces that had cared for her all her life. She was promptly ushered into the chambers by the manor staff.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." An arch glimmered before her like a beacon. It was mesmerizing.

"Oh thank the Light, Krystonia, you are here! He has been asking for you day and night." Krystonia recognized the voice somewhat. Her gaze fell upon the bed, there on the silken sheets lay her father, a mere ghost of the man he had had been. His brilliantly gold hair now in hues of ashy gray and white, his cheeks hollow and eyes sunken deep. Krystonia felt a lump forming in her throat, her father had always been a constant in her life, she could not, she would not, see him wasting away like this. Her father’s eyes opened and opened and seemed to light up with newfound hope when they saw Krystonia. She knew that fire in her father’s eyes; he would survive.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." The arch seemed vibrate and slowly began to fade. She started towards it.

"Krystonia, where are you going?" She did not turn back to see who had spoken.

"Krystonia he will die if you don’t stay with him," the voice was urgent now. Still Krystonia walked on.

"Krystonia?" It was her father’s weak voice and Krystonia’s stride faltered at its pitiful sound.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast."

There was a commotion as her father sat up, an arm reaching for his dear daughter. Pleading shouts followed Krystonia to the archway, which seemed to be fading faster and faster. With one look back at her ailing father, now gasping for breath and desperation in his eyes, Krystonia plunged herself into the archway and was blinded by light. Tiny daggers pricked Krystonia, sparing no inch of her body.

It seemed like an eternity before Krystonia found herself facing the Aes Sedai in the same room in which she had started; their smooth and calm faces irked Krystonia. How could they be so collected when they sent a woman through what was seemingly worse than death? This time Krystonia did not feel the tears, which leaked down her face and the water emptied onto her hair was not a shock. All she could think of this time was that she still had one more ordeal to live through, and by the Light she would survive.

"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul." Krystonia thought she recognized the voice of one of the Aes Sedai, but she could not be sure, nodding again to the Mistress of Novices, she steeled herself and prepared to go through the third and final arch.

"The last time is for what will be. The way will come but once, be steadfast."

Krystonia steeled herself as she prepared to step through the arch, this would be her final time and Krystonia wished it were over already. She stepped into the third arch a sense of dread filling her, no matter how hard she tried to suppress it. Light blinded her and plucked her apart, thread by bloody thread and through it all, a voice of determination spoke in Krystonia’s mind.

"This is the last one Krystonia, after this you will be Accepted." Light, but why did it have to be so hard? Slowly the pain faded and Krystonia once again found her eyes failing her. Gradually she began to see her surroundings; a meadow and it seemed to pull at her memory like she should know it. Off in the distance she could see a grouping of structures, a city. The structures themselves were beautiful, yet everything seemed gray and dismal. She could even make out clouds of smoke, from many fires, seemingly merging into one thick cloud of smoke which hovered over the city. As she got closer, she could make out some of the individual fires; they gave the smog a sickening orange cast. Her mind was clouded still, however, once she got closer to the city some of the memories came back to her. With painful slowness, she recalled the cause of this mass destruction, civil war plagued Caemlyn. The succession had not been settled this time and Krystonia’s family had been key to it. Yes, they were not strong enough to put in a claim to the throne, yet they were a force to be contended with if they chose to support a single claimant. That was what had started the civil strife in Caemlyn, three claimants were deadlocked each with ample supporters to meet the others, yet not enough to beat anyone of their rivals. Krystonia’s family had been solidly behind one of those claimants, as were other powerful houses, and the whole drama had been dragged out so long that it finally ended in violence. As she neared the outer city, Krystonia felt a twinge of pain, the beauty of the city itself was marred by the lack of life in the usually bustling lanes. Here and there, a few fires still burned and Krystonia was drawn to a particular one, just ahead of her. Krystonia’s stomach turned to ice, she recognized the building, it had been an orphanage, one she had patronized herself. Not only had she been the institution’s benefactor, she had also visited the place quite often, it was unusual for most nobles to do so, yet Krystonia had felt drawn to the place. Making the children smile seemed to have given her great satisfaction out of life.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." The words once again floated in Krystonia’s mind unattached; however, they were swallowed by the intense emotion, which filled her. The fire had perhaps been quite recently lit, it had not spread to all the rooms in the house, some of the front rooms were not in flames yet. With a start, Krystonia thought she saw movement in one of the windows; a smallish shape. Krystonia’s heart raced, it must be one of the children.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." An arch appeared once again the distance, and shimmered. Krystonia could hear faint noises now, like a child sobbing and her heart tore when she saw a small little face peeking out of the second story window. She did not know the child, yet it did not matter, those large dark eyes were filled with a hope and Krystonia knew she could fulfill that hope.

"The way will come back but once, be steadfast." The arch was fading now, and Krystonia started towards it.

"Help me," the whimpered cry was so weak that Krystonia almost began to turn back to help the child.

"Why wont you help me, why?" It seemed as if Krystonia’s heart was being torn out of her. It was the hardest thing she ever had to do, but she steeled herself, tears pouring down her face, and plunged herself into the arch, ignoring the anguished cries of the child. Light blinded her, burned her and plucked her apart but she still could not get those dark eyes out of her mind; they haunted her and light, they would forever. Finally, the pain began to subside and Krystonia found herself before the Aes Sedai once again, their calm faces regarding her with expressionless eyes. It was over, but Light, Krystonia did not care. Nothing could have been worth what she had been put through. Krystonia barely looked up from her sobbing when the third chalice of water was poured over her.

"You are washed clean, Krystonia, from Caemlyn" she recognized the Amyrlin's voice this time, "You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Krystonia, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us, now." Once Krystonia had dried herself off, she was given the banded dress and great serpent ring, which marked an Accepted. She was Accepted now, yet, for Krystonia the title held no joy.







                   Mentee of Carrain

                   Aspiring Green


Elsenara was just about to take a nap, she had been running all morning to get her classes set up for Accepted, when she heard the knock on the door. Elsenara got up as she said "Who is it?"

Phry Sedai, Mistress of Novices, was at the door. "You must come now Elsenara."

Elsenara looked at her questioningly "What have I done, Sedai?"

"It is time for you to get raised" the MoN replied.

"Oh my gosh, I completely forgotten about this part, I'm right behind you." Elsenara stated.

They walked down different hallways, and what seemed a thousand stairs before they finally arrived to their destination. They stopped in front of a pair of double doors. Phryg opened the door into a great, domed chamber. Lamps were what lit up what was in the chamber, three silver arches. In front of the arches sat an Aes Sedai.


Phryg brought Elsenara further into the room and explained to her" You may refuse two times on the third refusal you will be sent out of the Tower forever. Do you want to precede?"

Elsenara took a deep breath and answered "I'm ready Aes Sedai."

"Good" Phryg said "Now I must tell you two things, once you start you must go to the end, to refuse after you have started you will be sent out of the Tower as though you had refused for the third time. Second, to seek, to strive, is to know danger." Phryg took a breath, "Women have gone in but have never come out, we do not know what happened to them, they just disappeared. Do you accept?"

"I accept Aes Sedai."

Phryg brought Elsenara up to the first arch "This is for what was."

Another Aes Sedai stepped forward "Who do you bring?"

"I bring a candidate for Accepted, Sister." Phryg said.

"Is she ready?" the other Sedai asked.

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

Phryg turned to Elsenara "The first is for what was, the way back will come but once, be steadfast."

Elsenara walked through the first arch, as she looked around her she could see her father's wagon sitting next to her parents' home. That is odd she thought it is midday her father would be out trading in the neighboring villages right now. What could be going on. Elsenara walked over to peek into the window, she gasped as she saw her brother lying on the bed, with blood all over the sheets. Her parents were both beside him, her mother trying to clean him up, while his father was reading passages out of a book. Elsenara heard hoofsteps coming towards the house, she ducked behind a bush were she could see who was coming. Her mouth gaped open when she saw two trollocs coming towards the house. What were trollocs doing way out here in Doman and why were they coming to her house?

The trollocs went into the door, Elsenara peeked in through the window again and saw the one of the trollocs reach down and grabbed her brother. Elsenara wasn't aware of hearing her own voice, she just heard the frightening scream. The trollocs also heard the scream and turned and saw her out the window before she had the chance to duck back down. Elsenara heard the door opening for one of the trollocs coming out of the house after her. She stood up and ran around the other side of the house, before the trolloc could see her. She jumped into the back of her father's wagon and hid under the blanket. That's when she heard the scream from inside the house. Elsenara knew she had to get into the house to save her family.

Elsenara jumped up out of the wagon and ran for the front door of the house. Before she could get in though, the trolloc that was chasing her was standing in the doorway. He had his ugly hand down about to grab her when Elsenara stepped back. She ended up stepping into the silver arch, with the last thing Elsenara could hear were her mother's screams.

Elsenara walked back into the domed room, one of the Aes Sedai started their chant "You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and those done against you. You are washed clean of what clean of what crimes you may have done, and those done against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul."

Elsenara looked toward Phryg "Was that real?"

Phryg replied "Every women that has come out of their has asked that question. The answer is nobody knows. All we know is that the danger is for real."

They walked over to the next arch, "This is for what is," Phryg said "The way back comes but once, be steadfast."

Elsenara stepped throught the arch. Once she was through she looked around, she was sitting in one of her classes. She saw in the back of the room a ward was sitting there, what was he doing here, she thought. Then she figured it was probably some kind of prank that the GG girls was doing on the MoN.

Then she heard the door open and looked up as the MoN walked in. She did her usual "Good day class", then she must of noticed the Ward in the back of the room. "What are you doing here?" she asked.

The Ward looked at her with a blank look as if she hadn't said anything to her. By the expression on Phryg's face you could tell she was in no mood for this. She said "Excuse me Ward, I asked you what you are doing here in my classroom?"

Still no answer, so Phryg walked over to the man and waved her hand in front of his face. This got a reaction out of him, all of a sudden he jumped up out of the chair and grabbed Phryg around the throat and put a knife up to her. He shouted "I'm no Ward, I'm a Darkfriend and you will be dead!"

All the girls in the class started to embrace Saidar, when the silver arch appeared. Elsenara had to go, she was hoping Phryg was right in saying this might not be real. She walked through the arch and back into the domed room.

An Aes Sedai started saying "You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambitions. You come to us washed clean in heart and soul.

Phryg walked her over to the last arch and said "The third time is for what will be, the way back will come but once, be steadfast.

Elsenara went through the arch. As she looked around her, she saw that they were about to battle. Next to her was an Aes Sedai that she did not know, she wasn't from the green ajah. In between them was a tall, dark man. Elsenara figured he must be a Warder, but was he hers.

The Warder said "Elsenara, my loving wife, you must not go into battle. I will go for you, you must stay here and protect our child you are carrying."

Elsenara looked at the man she had never seen before "I must go into battle, it is what I have trained all these years for, I will protect this child also."

"I forbid you to go, you are my wife, and you must listen to me. It is my job to protect you and the child, I will battle for the both of you and you will go back to the Tower until I come for you. Do you understand?"

Elsenara replied "I'm sorry dear husband, but I will not honor you this time." She then rode off into the battle.

She was fighting next to the other Green sisters, when out of nowhere a Man was taking a swing straight for Elsenara head. The tall, dark man who was said to be her husband took the blow in his arm.

Elsenara screamed "Oh my, you will be okay" she jumped off the horse to tend to her husband, when she saw the silver arch. Regretfully, walked through the arch and back into the domed room. Elsenara had tears in her eyes as she stepped out.

The Amyrlin was standing there now and she emptied a chalice over Elsenara. "You are washed clean of Elsenara from Arad Doman. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us wash cleaned in heart and soul. You are Elsenar, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us, now."

Elsenara then received the Great Serpent ring. Then she went through all the welcomes, and finally it was time to go back to her room. That was all Elsenara could think about was falling into her bed.




     Taya Gille

                    Aspiring Green


Phrygiana led Taya down the empty hallways, and the Novice (ooc: yeah, I know I know) breathed deeply, trying to clear her head. "You don’t give any warning?"

Phrygiana smiled. "No, child. Imagine what that would do to you? It is better that we spring it upon you this way. And we would not do so if you were not ready."

Taya did not feel ready. She felt sick to the stomach, all trembling and light-headed. She did not say anything to Phrygiana, of course. In a way it was good she had just had her heart broken, because it gave her something to think about besides the arches...not that she could have thought about them if she had wanted to. Light, Eos, I'm so sorry... Her lower lip trembled, but she caught herself quickly.

They walked a long and winding path down through the Tower, going deeper than Taya had ever been before. Eventually they reached the chamber which housed the ter’angreal arches, and Taya tried to swallow the lump in her throat. There were other Aes Sedai there, all for her.

"Whom do you bring with you, Sister?"

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister."

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She has never faced them, but now is willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

Taya promptly stripped naked, as she had learned she must. Phrygiana looked pleased, but Taya was too terrified to care. She was led to the first arch.

"The first time is for what was," Phrygiana intoned. "The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Taya stepped through…


…"Did you ever hear of an Andevaar surrendering?"

Taya’s cousin’s voice was haughty and confident, and his dark eyes gleamed with pride. For as long as she could remember, Joavin had been proud to a fault. "We will never give in!"

Taya sighed, and tried not to scream in frustration. "You do not understand the Dragonsworn," she insisted. Her index finger was still on the map where she had been pointing. "They are a brutal group, and the last thing you would want to do is oppose them."

"You suggest we surrender, then?" Her father moved out of the shadows, confronting his daughter. "You believe it is best that we give up everything we have ever worked for, everything we have achieved over the past eight centuries?"

"Father," she replied, "if you do not, you will surely lose it anyway. I am afraid that your best chance of survival is to admit defeat. You do not seem to understand just how fierce these men and women are. None of you do. If only some of you were willing to listen-"

"Taya my child, you should not even be here," her father interrupted, pursing his lips beneath his thick moustache. "Go to your mother and offer your aid in the infirmary."

Taya’s cheeks stung at the curt dismissal, and she glared about the room at the gathered men. "You will all regret this shortly," she said quietly, forcing herself to keep her cool. "I can promise you that."

She departed in a flurry of skirts.

The advancing army was monstrous in size, and Taya did not have to look at her father to know he was horrified. He would never admit it, but Taya had been right about the Dragonsworn. They would brook no opposition, particularly not from the residents of a tiny town on the outskirts of the city. She shook her head and closed her eyes, wishing she was not seeing what lay before her eyes clear as day.

"What do you want to do, father?" she asked calmly, ensuring that her voice contained no element of ‘I-told-you-so’. She glanced at her father, and saw him clenching and unclenching his jaw.

He took a moment to answer. Finally he said, "We will not back down." He did not look at her.

"Father!" she exclaimed.

"Enough!" he bellowed, rounding on her with clenched fists. "If I say we go on, then we go on! Now go to your mother!"

Taya barely kept herself from lashing out at him with the Power. She spun on her heel and stalked away, once again on the lookout for her mother in the ‘women’s area’.


It was hopeless.

The Dragonsworn army made their terrifying advance with every passing breath, and too many Elmorans had fallen already. Taya was run off her feet in the infirmary, rushing from patient to patient with barely a chance to attend to any of them properly. Her father was an utter fool, she was willing to accept that now. He would get them all killed.

The way back will come but once.

Taya looked up, pale braids swinging gently. She did not know what the words meant, but she knew they were connected somehow the silver arch she saw through the window across the track.

Be steadfast.

Steadfast. I will be steadfast, she thought, and moved on to the next patient.


The look in her father’s eyes was terrifying. She had never seen him so desperate, so truly fearful for his own life and the life of his comrades.

"Father, we must give up!" she cried, desperate to knock some sense into him. "It is hopeless! Look how many have fallen already!"

"I will not give in!" her father cried raggedly, and she thought he might be crying. "Never!"

"Father!" she wailed. "Please!"


Taya saw the arch just off a ways to her right. No, she cried inwardly. I cannot leave now!

Leave? Why would I leave?

The battle waged on, and at one point her father turned to run. Terror had taken him by the throat, and he no longer had any qualms about fleeing. It seemed that madness had crept in too. Taya began to sob.

"Father! I will help you."

"They’re coming, my girl! Out of the way! I will not have you harmed-"

"Father," she whimpered, and began to jog towards the arch. Her legs felt leaden.

"My girl, I am sorry!" he cried. "Do not leave me alone, please! I need you here."

She almost stopped, but forced herself to continue. The arch drew nearer. She wondered how something so beautiful could signify such sorrow.

"TAYA CHILD!" An image of her father’s eyes floated in her mind, eyes haunted and dismayed.


Taya stepped through the arch, and she thought that she was hyperventilating…


…Her legs gave way beneath her, and she fell to her hands and knees. As water was poured over her she shivered uncontrollably, blinking and finding her eyes were dry. Oh Light, if that was only the first arch, what on earth is coming? She whimpered as someone spoke the rites.

"You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul."

Taya rose and shuffled over to Phrygiana Sedai, hiccoughing continually. "It was not real," she said softly, firmly. "I know it wasn’t." Her face crumpled. "It just seemed so real."

"You have done well so far," Phrygiana spoke gently, leading her around to the next arch. "Just remember, it does get harder. You are strong, Taya."

Taya was weeping openly now, knowing that other women often managed to contain themselves this early. It seemed she was just weaker than all the others.

"I would not do it," she said defiantly. "I could never do that to my family!"

"Are you ready, child? Ready to go on?"

Taya nodded in defeat, her face sagging.

"All right." Phrygiana spoke calmly. "The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Taya stepped forward and was engulfed in light…


…She stood in a field of wildflowers, flowers of every color imaginable. She glanced down at her dress, of yellow silk and velvet, studded with pearls at the neck and waistline, and smiled.

But the smile faltered. She felt like she was missing something.

And then came the sounds of pitched battle, distant yet seemingly so near. They came from over the hill. She began to climb.

Climbing and climbing, and when she reached the top she looked down on a battle contained in the shallow valley below. She saw her Sisters fighting, and hurried down to join them, to be of what assistance she could.

She noticed an Aes Sedai motioning to her, pointing in the direction of a cordoned-off area. The place where the wounded were dragged, if possible, to be attended by the Healers. Healers… Taya glanced down at her Yellow-fringed shawl, and shook her head, frowning slightly. Then she hurried over to where the patients waited.

"Taya Sedai!"

The shout came from the right, and she turned around, squinting into the grayish darkness.

"Your help is needed here! Madria is ill. I fear she is dying."

Taya stumbled over, kneeling down beside a man she knew from the merchants’ wagons. Bailan, his name was, and this woman was his wife. A great gaping wound glistened wetly through her torn bodice, which was now stained an ugly shade of red.

"Step aside," Taya commanded, her voice ringing with authority. She pushed up her sleeves and leaned forward. As she did so her shawl fell forward, and she noticed the trimming again.

Yellow. Of course it is yellow, she thought in puzzlement, and shook her head to clear her thoughts. She placed her hands on the woman and embraced saidar, too distracted by the horror surrounding her on all sides to revel in the experience. She sent fibers of the Power through the wounded woman’s body, delving for clues. She grimaced as they presented themselves in all their ugly detail.

She rested her hands there for a moment, and stroked the woman’s cheek gently, pursing her lips. Then she pushed back and got to her feet, casting about for the next patient.

"What are you doing?!" Bailan exclaimed, a look of angry horror in his eyes. "You won’t help her?"

"Taya!" someone shouted, and she recognized Tania’s voice. Her sense were immediately on the alert, and she hastened her movements.

"Where are you going?" Bailan’s eyes accused her, and his voice was increasingly frantic. "Help her!"

"I cannot," Taya said as gently as she could. "I am sorry, Bailan."

She hurried away, oblivious to the sound of uncontrolled sobbing which now came from behind her. She had grown so attuned to death and pain in recent times, she hardly noticed it anymore.

The way back will come but once… The voice floated to her through the air, and she frowned, her step faltering. Then she shook herself and hurried on, spotting Tania at last. She was defending a fallen Aes Sedai from advancing Trollocs. Taya recognized the fallen woman as Krystonia, and horror filled her.

"Oh Light!" she murmured, and raced forward.

She saw a gleaming silver arch out in the woods, beyond Tania. Her heart stopped.

"Taya!" Tania exclaimed. "Get a move on!"

Taya started and then stopped, started then stopped. The arch remained, and she heard the words in her mind, Be steadfast. She blinked, and began to shake her head. No! Not now!

More Aes Sedai had joined Tania, including Leonora and Gytta. It seemed, however, that their efforts to hold the enemy at bay were in vain. Taya knew her added strength could very well tip the balance. The way back will come…

Taya frowned and advanced forward, seeing a look of pure relief on Tania’s strained face. "About time!" Taya saw her mouth the words before she returned her attention to the enemy.

The way back will come but-

The way back will-

The arch was to her right now, closer than before. She calculated that it was only 10 meters away. "No!" she whimpered. "No, I will not." I want to be Aes Sedai. I have to be Aes Sedai. She blinked. I am Aes Sedai. But there is something… She found herself walking towards the arch.


She tried to block her ears, to squeeze her eyes shut, but the sounds would not disappear.

"Taya, help! They’re coming too fast. I can’t-!!!"

Her friends, the people she loved most in the world, screaming in anguished voices for her to help. And she walked away.


She would never forgive herself, of that much she was certain. She would never, ever-

The way back will come but once.

She looked back once, and knew that she would regret it for the rest of her life. She could not see Tania anymore. She could not see Gytta, or Leonora or Krystonia. Her friends were gone, swallowed up by the advancing Shadow Army, and she was all alone with her guilt.

Be steadfast, the voice came again.

She faced the arch and bolted through. She was divided by the light.


…She staggered as she emerged, running right into Phrygiana. The Mistress of Novices moved away calmly and Taya fell to her knees, shivering uncontrollably. The second chalice was poured over her head.

"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul."

I feel ravaged, not clean, she thought sourly, burying her face in her hands.

"Are you ready to continue, child?" Phrygiana helped her to her feet and led her around to the next arch, an arm around her bare shoulders.

"I never ever want to see this place again," she spoke honestly, but hung her head. "Of course I will continue. It could not possibly be any worse."

"Unfortunately, child, it is bound to be just that. Everyone who comes through here knows that the third arch is the hardest."

"Very comforting," Taya muttered, and followed the Mistress of Novices around to the third arch.

"The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Taya inhaled deeply and stepped forward, knowing this was the beginning of the end, even if she did not quite understand how…

tewdelly :)


…Chaos reigned supreme in the valley, and Taya could barely hear herself think. The mist was thickening, swirling in sluggish circles above and around her, but it was not enough to obscure her view of the battlefield. Trollocs fought women and men, commanded by Myrdraal, and Aes Sedai and Asha’man brought down lightning and fire from the skies. Soldiers rallied in a desperate attempt to regain lost ground, while others concentrated on removing the dead and wounded from the battle field.

These wounded were brought to the Aes Sedai Healers who had been set aside for one purpose: to Heal. Something made Taya glance down, at the shawl fringed with yellow which enshrouded her. The frown was just fading when she heard someone cry out.

"Over there!" It was Natasshha, and she was pointing to the right. "They need you there."

Taya nodded and hastened over, keeping her eyes peeled and her shield firmly in place.

"There you are!" someone exclaimed, and one of the Yellows hurried to greet Taya.

"Buenico!" Taya cried. "What can I do? Where?"

The dark-haired woman gestured to one of the wounded men, and then moved on to another, turning her flushed face to Taya as she went. "He looks terrible," she called. "Just do what you can."

Taya knelt down beside her patient and prepared to Delve him, to see what was wrong. He appeared to be trying to lift his head, and his brow was furrowed with exertion. "I…know you-"

"Hush!" she reprimanded. "Do not try to speak."



She Delved him and nearly jerked back in horror. "Oh Light, where have you been?" She now knew that they were fighting creatures with blades made at the Thakan’dar forges. She doubted whether this man would live long. But she could try.

She took out the angreal, knowing she lacked the strength to do this on her own after the day she had had. Clenching the small figurine in one hand, she then laid her free hand and the finger tips of her other on his forehead and got to work.

He shivered and lurched as she administered her Healing. It took a minute or two, but by the time she was done his face looked to contain a bit more color.

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

She jerked back and immediately leaned forward again, ignoring the words that seemed to float to her on the breeze. "This is all I can do for now, I am afraid," she murmured. "You will be well again if I have my way."

She hurried to the next patient. The way back will come but once…

"I cannot leave now!" she muttered, and knelt again.

Be steadfast.

She set to work on the new patient, again delving to ascertain the extent of his injuries. The way back will… She looked up, and saw the silvery arch off to her left. It shimmered slightly, as if struggling to stay visible. "No!" she murmured fervently. "I will not. I am needed here."

"You abandoned me," Eos murmured, and Taya nearly died. In spite of herself she jerked her hands away, staring down in horror at the patient she had not recognized as her once-Promised.

"You left me all alone," he whispered in anguished tones. Taya’s eyes stung, and her throat caught.

"Eos, I-"

"Help me," he said. "Help me now and make up for what you did, at least in part." He was panting now, from the effort of saying so much.

The way back will come but once.

"Shut up!" she screamed at the voice on the breeze, and realized she was on her feet. "I won’t-"

"Taya," Buenico said suddenly, appearing in front of her. Siofra was by her side. "What are you doing? This patient needs-"

"Taya?" Siofra murmured, her eyes wide, and Taya opened her mouth to speak.

Something hit her on the head, and as her vision darkened rapidly she had the sensation of falling…

"I’ve got you, Tay. Don’t be afraid."

Calya? Taya opened her eyes with an effort, and looked around. "Where are we?"

"It’s all right," Calya whispered, smiling down at her sister. "I took you away from the battle. Just you relax."

Taya let her head flop to the left. The arch waited patiently, gleaming silver in the night.

"I’m going to take you away from here," Calya muttered, searching for something to wipe her blade off with. "You can’t be here. And it is my job to-"

"Cal, I cannot abandon my friends!" Taya exclaimed, and found that she was exhausted from the effort of speaking a whole sentence. She tried to calm down. "I am Aes Sedai now."

Calya stared at her. "I know that, silly! I’m your Warder, or didn’t you notice?" Her smile faded under Taya’s blank look. "Oh," she murmured. "You’ve some amnesia, it seems. Well, it should clear up by-"


Trollocs had found them, and Calya had her back turned. At the warning she twisted around and was on her feet in seconds, her sword drawn and waving gently, like silk on a breeze. Taya did not know why she was surprised by the dangerousness in her sister’s gait. Calya was a Warder, after all. But she reminded Taya of Elessar and other Gaidin, and somehow that seemed odd to her.

Calya engaged in battle with the Shadowspawn, and Taya tried to get to her feet. It took a few moments but she finally managed it. She reached out to the Source and found herself shielded. Panicking, she scanned the oncoming enemy for any Dreadlords – Dreadlords?! – but saw none.

Be steadfast.

The way back will-

"Leave my sister?" she whispered in horror, and then more forcefully, "No!"

Calya started to glance back, then changed her mind. "What? Tay, I can’t talk-"

Calya was greatly outnumbered. She had downed

two Trollocs, but they seemed to come and come.

Be steadfast.

Taya glanced over her shoulder, and there the arch was. She looked back at Calya. I can’t leave her! I just can’t! I’d rather be burned out. I’d rather die.

"Taya, help!" Calya said, sounding ashamed to ask. "There’re too many!" Her voice became panicky.

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

Taya tried again to reach the Source, but the shield was as firmly in place as ever.


With a cry of frustration and burning anger, Taya abandoned her efforts and raced towards the arch. "TAYA!" Her sister’s voice was high-pitched and frantic now, and Taya could picture it in her mind. Her sister battling with all her might against a wave of enemies too great. Her sister swallowed by the Shadow, trampled and torn beneath the onslaught. No, she wept inwardly. I cannot be doing this.

She launched herself through the arch, vowing that someone would pay for this…


She was told later that she was one of the only ones to actually collapse upon exiting an arch for the last time. It would shame her to the core for a long time, but she did not learn of it until her second evening as Accepted, when the Aes Sedai felt it right that she be told. All she remembered was coming to in Phrygiana’s arms. It never occurred to her that the Mistress of Novices had picked her up off the floor and propped her in preparation for her waking.

"You are washed clean of Taya Gille from Elmora. You are washed clean of all the ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Taya Gille, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us, now."

She wondered why she was not crying. She waited as the Amyrlin stepped forward to kiss her on one cheek.

"Welcome, Daughter," she murmured, and Taya realized what was happening. She was becoming Accepted. She was Accepted.

Kathana kissed her other cheek. "Welcome."

Taya did not feel welcome. She felt shredded to pieces.

She dressed slowly, trying not to fall to the ground and sleep where she was. Fighting her fatigue, she left the chamber with the other Aes Sedai and headed straight for her room, thankful that the corridors were so empty for once. She did not think she could bare to face anyone with a calm face.

When she reached the room she shared with Krystonia, she paused outside, leaning her forehead against the door. Then she wiped her eyes and went inside. It took her a moment to spot Calya, who was waiting on the bed with a beaming smile on her face. Taya’s heart lurched, and she almost began to cry right then and there.

"What are you doing here?" She must have looked aghast, because Calya rose from the bed and came to embrace her.

"I am your welcoming committee, of course," she murmured, and pulled back. "Congratulations! You are finally Accepted." Her eyes danced, but they soon lost their luster under Taya’s solemn gaze. "It was pretty awful, hmm?"

Taya moved around her and glanced absently at Krystonia’s bed. Her room mate was not here. One moment Taya wondered why, the next the memories of her ordeal came crashing back, and she flinched and flopped down onto her bed, feeling her lower lip trembling.

Cal came to sit beside her, reaching out to take her sister’s hand. "You want to talk about it?" she asked quietly, peering intently at Taya. "It might be good for you."

Taya laughed bitterly, and wiped at the tears that began to fall silently. "I don’t think so," she said, and inhaled sharply. "I think I just need to sleep."

She did not make any moves, though. She could not force her limbs to do anything right now. She was numb, completely numb.

"Tay…I’m not going to be your Warder am I?"

Taya stared at her. "What?"

Calya smiled sadly. "I…had a dream," she said, pressing her lips together briefly. "I…don’t think it would work. If you and I were Bonded." She began to cry as she went on. "I don’t think…it would be the best for us. I can’t Bond you. I see that now." Her face crumpled. "It would all be wrong, Tay."

Taya watched her in numb silence, and finally shifted over to embrace her little sister. The two girls sat there for a moment or two, sobs shuddering through Calya, calm breaths diffusing Taya. Eventually the elder murmured, "I’m so sorry, Cal. I didn’t want this…"

She knew that was no lie. It would have been wonderful, having Calya as her Warder, being able to keep an eye on her at all times, and having her there when the going got tough. But there was something wrong, she had known it from the beginning. Something about the whole arrangement just did not seem to fit, and Taya knew she could not lead her sister into something she was uncertain about. There were other things, however, that she was more than certain about. She did not know how to explain, but eventually Calya did the job for her.

"You will be wanting to visit…certain people, I assume." The Ward pulled away and smiled wearily.

Taya looked at her lap, unable to meet her sister’s gaze.

"I will go with you," Calya added, wiping at her own eyes. "I don’t mind."

"Cal, you-"

"No arguments," she interrupted. "I won’t let you walk alone."

The fierceness in her tone made Taya wonder just what her sister had dreamed about. I don’t want to know, she thought wearily. I will have enough things to haunt my sleep as it is.




     Nori Tagalen


                    Blue Aspirant


Nori was in her room studying the basics of Daes' Daeamar. It was an out-of-class study, she knew very little of it. One of her most held mottos is if you don't know much of something, remedy it. You never knew when you may need it. She was just getting to the forgery of signatures, when the door of her room opened quietly. The Mistress of Novices stood at the entrance, with only a few words.

"Come, child. It is time."

Nori rushed to her feet, white dress flowing at her ankles. Following the Mistress, Nori felt the small knot of anticipation form in her belly. She had been preparing for this since she entered the tower two years ago. They were weaving through a network of hallways, deeper and deeper into the tower. Finally they came to the grand doorway. Opening and stepping through, Nori saw a three-ringed archway, with one Aes Sedai at each entrance, and an additional Aes Sedai behind them. All glowed with the power.

"You have three chances to do this. You can refuse to do it twice, but if you refuse again you will be put out of the tower. Once you begin you must go on to the end. If you refuse to go on you will be put out of the tower as if you had refused three times. Also remember that to seek, to strive, is to know danger. This is dangerous, and you will know danger here. Some women enter and never come out. When the ter’angreal were allowed to grow quiet, they-were-not-there. And they were never seen again. To survive, you must be steadfast. It is no shame to refuse." Said Phrygiana.

The knot was beginning to grow, and this time it was turning into fear. Mentally shoving it aside, Nori chided herself. You do be needing all the wits you can get, Nori. Aloud, she spoke "I do be wishing to go." As if that were some appointed cue, The Mistress of Novices walked Nori to the center of the room.

"You must go as you are, child." Taking the phrase, Nori disrobed, and walked up to the first arch. "Whom do you bring with you Sister?"

"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance Sister." Phrygiana replied.

"Is she ready?"

"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."

"Does she know her fears?"

"She had never faced them, but now is willing."

"Then let her face what she fears."

"The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast," Phrygiana Sedai told her.

Nori stepped through the first gate, and appeared in her soft cotton dress in Illian, back home. She could have cried with joy, being home once more. But where were her Mother and Father? Her brothers and sister? Walking to her home on the edge of the city, she saw Jarrod, her elder brother, hunting near the tree-line. Smiling, Nori called, "You be losing something, brother?"

"A fine thing for you to be showing up now. We be looking over the Sea of Storms for you. Gabril do be sick, and the Wise Woman says she do be needing more Fox Teeth to heal him."

"Gabril, sick? What in the Light would Fox Teeth be used for to heal him?"

"We do be thinking it be a serpent bite that caused him this sickness. The Fox Teeth maybe help balance the poison."

"Well, where is it then! I'll help gather it!" Nori said. She loved her little brother dearly. He was only four. She would not let him die on the account of a serpent! Pointing to a swampy patch, Jarrod said "We have not been able to find any so far. It be the wrong time of the year for it to be growing." Frantically, she began searching. For what seemed like hours, she pushed apart weeds, and cattails, looking for that little plant to save her brother. She could no longer see her brother, they had drifted apart in their searchings. Off in thought, Nori almost missed the red plant with the small white flowers. This was it!

"Jarrod! I found some! Jarrod!" to no reply. An arch suddenly appeared. The way will come but once. Be steadfast. "I'm sorry, little brother. I do be having to go." Nori whispered before running through the arch.

Cold water poured over Nori's head. "You are washed clean of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and soul." Phrigaina said. Nori breathed the familiar air of the tower, and knew the past was for the past.

"The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Nori nodded and stepped into the arch.

Nori was on the rooftop with her old friend Anye. It was an old inn, above a rarely used street. No, Light. This can't be. I put this behind me! I never wanted things to be this way! "It never be good enough for my family. No matter how hard I do be trying." she said, taking a step closer to the edge.

"No Anye! They do be loving your work! You are a beautiful singer!" Nori cried.

"Only to be some barmaid at an Inn scraping up money for a living. It do be no way to live."

"That may be true, but there be other things to live for!"

Anye only walked closer to the edge. An arch appeared. The way will come but once. Be steadfast "Anye no!" Nori wailed, but ran through the gate. No again. "I do no be thinking I can be taking this," Nori thought as she touched familiar marble stone floor.

"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul," Phrygiana Sedai said as she poured the second chalice of water over Nori's head.

"Do you wish to continue, child?"

Swallowing her sorrow, Nori answered yes.

"The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast."

Nori walked solemnly through the third arch.

Nori was in the Tower Fields, her Warder Jerain, a big Shienarian, close by. She was wearing the shawl of the Blue Ajah, and contained all of the pride and dignity an Aes Sedai should own. Approaching her were four Red Sisters, all with pinched faces.

"That was very childish, what you pulled at the meeting. Stomping your foot at the Brown Sitter just because she needed you to help in the library." Said the first.

"What do you be babbling about now, Havanna?" Nori said with surprise. She never realized she knew her name.

"Don't play a fool, I don't understand how you ever got out of that Novice dress." said the second.

Funny, weren't there four of them before? Nori now counted six.

"You have gone on long enough, you and your childish escapades." said the third and forth in unison. There were now ten.

"You should have never entered the Tower. You are born to fail." said another three. This isn't right. I don't feel right. There were thirteen. Oh by the light this is getting annoying. Thirteen? Nori embraced the source, and gulls cry if they took it for a threat. Taint rolled over the source, oozing it's way through every portion of her body, seeping through her pores. Jerian reeled from the backlash, not knowing she was about to embrace the True Source. Snarling, the Thirteen embraced the source as well.

"This isn't right! Somebody! Help me!" Nori cried. An arch appeared, and Nori ran to it full force. She tripped, a wave of air holding her legs.

"Going somewhere?" They asked in unison.

"No!" Nori cried as the gate flickered. If the taint can be on Saidar, then I could be insane!

Nori got up regardless of the weave. She simply did not believe. She walked calmly toward the gate, sisters screaming in agony over what Nori could not see. Nori walked through, leaving her Warder behind.

"You are washed clean Nori Tagalen from Illian. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Nori Tagalen, Accepted of the White Tower."

Nori flinched as the last chalice of cold water dripped down her back.

"You are sealed to us now." The Amyrlin finished. She then placed the Great Serpent ring on the middle finger of Laqril’s left hand. "Welcome daughter."

The Amrylin Seat handed Nori an Accepted dress. Phrygiana came by and hugged her before escorting her to her new room in the Accepted Quarters. This day had finally come and gone.

Nori was proud.


  Tanya Ramsey

Tania blinked as she sat up in bed. Who could be stopping by at this hour? she thought to herself. Glancing over at the still-sleeping Yavanne and her new pet, she slipped her shorts and vest on and walked quietly to the door. The petite cat yawned and stretched, and Tania smiled as the feline went back to sleep. Opening the door, she nearly leapt out of her skin. It was Phyrgiana Sedai! Light, what'd I do this time?
Dropping to a curtsy, Tania sweated nervously. "Good evening Aes Sedai. What might I do for you?" She was surprised by how calm her voice sounded.
"Come with me, Novice Tania Ramsey." With that, she turned down the corridor. Tania grabbed her Novice dress as she hurried along behind her. I'm so dead... she thought. Phyrgiana lead her down a long hallway, then down some stairs, and then down some more. After what seemed like an hour, Tania gave up trying to memorize the path. Finally, they entered a domed room. In the center were three silver arches, joined together at a single point. At each arch sat an Aes Sedai of each Ajah. Tania wanted to throw up.
"Who do you bring with you, Sister?" It was Reile's voice, echoing throughout
the room. Tania restrained herself from waving.
"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister." Phyrgiana replied.
"Is she ready?"
"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and passing through her fears, gain Acceptance."
"Does she know her fears?"
"She has never faced them, but now is willing."
"Then let her face what she fears."
The words made Tania clutch the folded Novice dress tighter against herself. Phyrgiana walked her over to the arches, and gestured to her dress and shorts. Nervously, Tania removed her clothes and folded them neatly on the ground. Goodbye, little white dress. I think I will miss you . . . She barely noticed the cold of the room.
"The first time is for what was." Phyrgiana stated. "The way back will come but once, be steadfast."
Tania stepped into the arch.

"Tylin, you have to stop sneaking out this late. Someone might decide that they could make some money by selling you to slavers! Do you want that?"
Tania's voice was friendly, but had an edge of truth. The little girl nodded and walked back towards the orphanage. Tania smiled shaking her head. She was standing on the road she knew so well, the street that she had grown up on. She smiled again as she studied the orphanage that she had grown up in.
"Little rascals, going to get yourselves into trouble some day."
“Hey Miss Ramsey!" a young voice shouted to her across the street. She walked away from the orphanage to talk with Alric, a young man she had grown up with. A few minutes later, though, she smelled smoke. Turning around, she barely contained her scream. The orphanage was on fire.
At full sprint, she crossed the street and yard, stopping in a hail of dirt. The doors were engulfed, and she could see the children inside, crying at the windows. As she reached for the window, the heat grew unbearably intense, and she fell backwards, tossing the burning cloak onto the ground. The children's cries for help brought tears to her eyes.
"No!!" she screamed. "Light, not them!!" She clenched her fists as she prepared to ram the door.
Be steadfast. The words bounced inside of her head. Lowering her eyes, she began to remember where she was, what she was doing. “Not them . . . ” Tears ran down her face, and she stared at her feet. “I must be strong . . . I MUST!!!” She unclenched her fists, noticing the silver arch that had appeared a little ways off.
With a heavy heart, she walked through blinding light, her body destroyed.

She stepped out into the domed room, and clenched her teeth as freezing cold water poured down her head. She was too shocked to cry, too shocked to hear the words that came out of the Mistress of Novices’ mouth.
“The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”
Grinding her teeth, Tania walked into the arch.
“Eidhe said we were leaving in the morning, Tan. She told me to start packing.” Doman closed the door to their room quietly, almost noiselessly. Tania sat in a rocking chair, but when she looked at herself, she was cradling a sleeping baby in her arms. My little one . . .She smiled as Doman walked over and kissed her. “Will she be alright, traveling I mean?” He moved with the deadly grace of a Warder. MY Warder! she realized. She wanted to cry she was so happy.
“I’ll pack my things. Did she say where?”
He nodded. “To the Two Rivers, the Black Tower.” He seemed sad, almost worried. Black Tower? she asked herself.
Standing, she placed the baby in her crib. She smiled as she put a little blanket up to the little one’s shoulders, breathing peacefully. For the first time, she noticed her clothes and the rings on her fingers. A marriage band and the Great Serpent ring. She wore her shorts and vest, but they were grey, fringed with white, with embroidered vines running up the sides. A Sister of the Gray, a FULL sister . . .
As she turned to pack, she saw the silver arch, standing in the middle of the room. Doman hadn’t seemed to notice it. “No . . . “
Be steadfast. the voice mirrored her thoughts. NO!!! This is what I want too! A life, my baby, my Doman! She wanted to cry.
The arch flickered and almost disappeared. Be steadfast! The voice sounded nervous, almost frightened. Tania blinked, swallowing down her emotions.
“Tan, are you alright?” Doman had crossed the room without her even noticing. He held her small hands in his. “Is something wrong? If there is, I can tell Eidhe we can’t go. I don’t want you to stress yourself.” His eyes looked her up and down worriedly. I can have what I want, I have to be patient. . .It hurt to pull her hands free, but she walked over to the faded arch.
“Tania?” His voice followed her, and she pulled free. Stepping through the arch, she let the tears run freely. A little longer . . .

The water made her gasp, but not so much as the first time.
“You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul.”
Reile turned to stand by the table once more.
“Reile!” Her mentor turned to look at her. “Is it . . . is it wrong to love a man openly?” She knew she was blushing, but it meant a lot to her. Her mentor smiled and shook her head, as Phyrgiana lead her to the next arch.
“The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”
Closing her eyes, she walked into the arch.

She was walking through the shadowed halls of the Tower. Where IS he!? He was supposed to meet me an hour ago! I’ll just have to go on without him... She noticed there was no one out, not even for fresh air. Good, no one will know I’ve returned . . . That thought startled her, and she stopped at a nearby mirror, looking at herself in the dim light. Her face had the agelessness that all experienced Aes Sedai had, but it wasn’t her face that made her throat clench. Her normally white eyes were black, blacker than the darkest night. Just the pupils. Why should that scare me? They forced me to the shadow! She wanted to scream. Memories of thirteen Myrrdraal along with thirteen Dreadlords, standing around her. Her soul being twisted as she contorted in pain. One man stood out among the rest. His face was young, and handsome, but his hair was gray as if ancient, and his laugh was maddening, sounding like an old man and a youth at the same time. Without realizing it, she was standing outside Taya’s room. I wonder how she’s been. A visit won’t hurt, and I’ll just tell her that my eyes decided to change after all these years. Good thing I didn’t bring Doman, he would’ve given us away for sure. Pushing the door open, she came into what looked like a war. The gray haired man, Cyril she remembered his name as, was suspending Taya high in the air. She was shielded, and Eos lay on the ground unconscious.
“Cyril!” she barked after she closed the door. “Release her at once!” The man simply looked back at her, with a simple smile, but those red eyes seemed to try to dig into her mind. “We are here on business!" His laugh grated her bones.

“You care for this slip of a girl? PHAW!!”
He hurled Taya across the room, and she crumpled to the floor next to Eos. “She will easily be turned, but I think you are overstepping yourself AGAIN Tania!!” His voice had taken an edge of hate.
How she loathed this man, she could barely begin. The only reason she listened to him was because he was nearly, if not AS powerful as the strongest of the Chosen, and by far more cunning and underhanded. “No, we won’t turn these two to our cause. You will kill them, here and now.” He said it so matter-of-factly that her skin crawled. “If you do not, then Jeraal will be more than happy to end their lives. I hear he has a taste for Aes Sedai blood, as Gholams go!” He let out a loud bark.

It was then that she realized how strong she was. She could easily kill him, now that his defenses were down. As the thought came to her, a silver arch appeared at the end of the room. I can beat him, AND save my friends. I can redeem myself! The arch flickered as if warning her, sensing her thoughts. She gritted her teeth and ran at the arch, his laughs following her the whole way.

She tripped as she left the arch, landing on the palms of her hands. She stood up just in time to be drowned in freezing water, barely managing to not run in complete fear. STUPID WATER!!! FARK!!!

It wasn’t Reile who spoke next, but the Amyriln herself. “You are washed clean of Tania Ramsey from Tar Valon. You are washed clean of all ties that bind you to this world. You come to us, washed clean in heart and soul. You are Tania Ramsey, Accepted of the White Tower. You are sealed to us now.”
A Great Serpent ring was placed on her hand, and she was given a new dress, with the colors of the Ajahs on the hems. She dried off with the towel that was handed to her, then slipped the dress over her head. Kneeling, she kissed Kathana’s ring, praying to herself that she would rather die than be turned to the dark.