Liaran leaned forward in her chair, her dark eyes meeting the novice's own. "Being blocked is something that can happen to anyone who is born with the spark, who will channel with or without instruction. It can be thought of as a condition that must be met in order for that person to channel, and in many cases, results from the new channeler struggling to handle the knowledge that he or she is touching the One Power. They can take nearly any form, from the strong emotion that seems to be behind yours, to something as simple as needing total darkness to be able to reach the source."
The Aes Sedai spoke more quietly as she switched to a slightly more personal topic in an effort to let Athilin know that she did understand the difficulty ahead of her. "I came here blocked myself," she admitted, "and could not touch the One Power without feeling as if my life were in danger." If Athilin asked how she'd broken it, Liaran would find a way around answering her, as that answer was the very last thing the novice needed to hear.
Her expression was serious as she watched the girl, but her voice softened as she added, "It is not something that the channeler means to do, but just happens to some of us. What you and I have to do now is figure out how to break yours. It may be a long and difficult process, but I don't want you to get discouraged. I have never before heard of anyone whose block could not be broken with enough time and effort." If she did, of course, Liaran would never tell the novice of it.
After the class ended, she went straight to the library to do research. She continued to see Athilin for classes, but instead of teaching, devoted all their time together to attempting to break through the girl's block. As the weeks passed, Liaran felt as if she were spending more time in the library, and consulting with many of her Indigo sisters, than she was in her own Ajah quarters. If she had been accomplishing anything, she would not have minded, but over time, she had to face the truth that she was not, and that the only methods she'd come up with for addressing Athilin's block were those that she simply didn't have the stomach to inflict on the novice.
She'd never liked to admit defeat, and it was with much reluctance that she forced herself to begin inquiring about another teacher for Athilin. Months had gone by by the time she found someone she thought might be successful, and while that was a relief, the Aes Sedai remained displeased with herself for what she considered a failure of hers.
Having spent the evening before in the Channeling Yards, throwing fireballs to work out her frustration with herself, Liaran was able to meet her student in the classroom for the last time without displaying the smallest hint of her emotions. "We'll be going somewhere else today," she explained. "I've decided it would be best for you to work on your block with a different instructor, so you'll be meeting with him for these classes from now. If you'll come with me, I will show you where to go."
Upon reaching their destination, Liaran paused before opening the door. "You've worked very hard during our classes, and I have no doubt that you'll overcome your block." she attempted to assure the girl. "While I may not be teaching you any longer, I will still be here. If you have any further questions for me, the Mistress of Novices knows how to reach me. " She opened the door for the girl, and once Athilin had entered the classroom, closed it behind her and departed down the hall.