Athilin didn't seem to want to talk, which suited Liaran just fine, since she would rather not take time from the novice's lesson for it. The Aes Sedai sat up straight in her chair, dark eyes continuing to watch the girl. Athilin was talking quietly to herself about the flower, much as Liaran had earlier, and the Aes Sedai didn't interrupt her. Instead, she stayed seated and she waited until the girl looked down, wondering out loud what she'd done wrong.
You do remember what I told you earlier?" Liaran asked. "Saidar cannot be forced. You are not trying to make the petals open, but should instead be willing to allow it to happen. Try it again, and this time, let the warmth of the sun on your petals encourage your flower to bloom."
Liaran could see that the novice was genuinely trying to follow her instructions, but she never did manage to reach saidar that day. The next few lessons went similarly, and Liaran began to reconsider her approach. The rosebud imagery worked for most girls, but clearly was not right for Athilin. The evening before their next lesson found Liaran in the library, sorting through books of novice exercises for any that might be more effective for her student. By the time she'd finished, she had a decent stack of books assembled, and she carried them all back to her study.
When Athilin arrived the next day, the pile awaited them on her desk. Dressed as she had been in every other class, Liaran smiled at the novice as she welcomed her inside. "We're going to try something else today, Athilin," she said as they walked towards her study. "You've been struggling with the rosebud exercise, and there is nothing wrong with that. I never did well with it either."
Once they entered the room, Liaran sat down in her usual chair. Waving a hand at the books she'd collected, she said, "There are plenty of other exercises that can be used to embrace saidar, but before we try one, I'd like to have an idea of what might work for you. Could you tell me a little about yourself? What do you like, what do you dislike...anything that is meaningful to you. I think it will be easier for you if we can find something you relate to better than the flower."