Liaran withdrew her hands mostly into her sleeves, folding them in her lap, eyes on the novice as she listened to Athilin speak. Many girls were like her, here with little more knowledge of the One Power than that it existed. That did not matter, since she would learn, but the novice's assertion that she had channeled before was more troubling. Though that might be a problem later, Liaran did not say anything to the novice about it. Instead, she filed the information away in her memory against any future need of it, giving the novice a brief nod.
"Many people don't know much about the One Power," she reassured the girl with a faint smile. "I will start by telling you what you need to know before attempting to touch it." Looking into Athilin's eyes, Liaran began her explanation. "The One Power is the force that drives all of creation and turns the Wheel of Time. It is composed of two equal halves: saidin, which can only be used by men, and saidar, which can only be used by women. "
She pushed a few stray strands of her hair out of her eyes before continuing, "There are five different elements that make up both: Air, Fire, Water, Spirit and Earth. As you learn, you will find that some of these will be easier for you to use than others. Most often, women are stronger in Air and Water, men in Fire and Earth, and both in Spirit, but there are always exceptions; for example, my own greatest strength is in Fire."
She took a breath, then went on. "To access saidar, one must surrender to it, allowing it to consume you. Only after this will you be able to control it. That sounds difficult, and it is; it may be weeks before you have success, and that is normal for any woman who is learning."
The smile disappeared from her face then, any traces of friendliness gone. "Now. Before you begin, what you must understand is that in a sense, saidar is addictive. That is not to say that we need it, but that the more often you hold it, the more you will want to, and to draw larger and larger amounts. This is something you must learn to resist, and is the reason novices are not to channel unsupervised."
Liaran's voice dropped lower, and she leaned forward in her chair, needing to be sure that Athilin heard her next words. "Any novice who channels without someone more experienced watching risks drawing too much, whether or not she intends to. If she does, the stress of it can kill her. If not, it is almost certain that she will burn the ability out of herself, and there is nothing that can be done for her. Most who suffer this don't live more than a few years afterwards, and they long for the Power with every breath until their last."
She pushed herself back in her chair, resuming her normal, kinder expression. The warning had to be given, but Liaran could never say she enjoyed doing so. "Do you have any questions before we begin?"