Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Welcome to the Gardens: one of the most tranquil areas of the Tower Grounds.
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Welcome to the Gardens: one of the most tranquil areas of the Tower Grounds. Birds sing in the trees which line the wide paths between beautiful flower beds and serene lakes. There are benches to sit and listen to the waterfall, and there is neatly trimmed grass to lie on and rest. Novices and Soldiers as well as Warders in Training can be seen, sweeping the stone paths as Accepted and Dedicated study from books and relax under leafy trees.
Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 920
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Alianora » November 11th, 2020, 2:33 am

Kalyan Rihera, Dedicated
A chilly wind blew through the gardens, causing brightly colored leaves to flutter down from the trees above Kalyan's head. He sat on the ground in front of a cluster of strawberry bushes, too absorbed by the task ahead to be bothered by the cold. To one side of the group of plants, a few were thriving, filled with green leaves and ripe berries ready to be picked. On the other, where Kalyan's attention was focused, the bushes were little more than bunches of twigs poking out of the ground.

The Dedicated took a breath and seized hold of saidin, driving thick weaves of Earth into the soil that surrounded the plant in front of him. He added some Water to this, coaxing the roots below to grow larger to support the plant above. Moments passed in which he did nothing but direct the weave towards the roots, working until he sensed that he needed to move on. Letting go, Kalyan formed another weave, this one with much less Water, and settled it around the tiny branches of the recently planted bush. He much preferred this work to dealing with the roots, and he smiled as the branches grew taller and thicker, sprouting narrower offshoots that began to bud with light green leaves.

He adjusted the weave again, using less Earth and more Water, happily watching the leaves unfold to cover the branches. Before long, the bush that had started out so small had grown to match the size of the other plants nearby, those that had already been worked on by himself or another who shared the Talent. The Dedicated leaned forward, closer to the plant, staring into the leaves as little pink strawberries began to form. The sight wasn't new to him any more, but Kalyan still found it fascinating to watch the berries enlarge and turn to red, and he took pride in knowing his effort had made it happen.

Lege
"New Spring"
Posts: 14
Joined: October 29th, 2020, 11:00 pm
PC: Lewin Salter

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Lege » November 12th, 2020, 5:26 am

Lew was definitely not lost in the Grey Tower. He repeated that mantra in his head as he made his way cautiously down a corridor on the ground floor, the trek made all the slower by the frequent stops and bows he had to offer as Aes Sedai and Asha’man walked past. The Gaidin had hammered that propriety into him in his first week of classes, and he’d received a short review of the protocols before being sent on this errand into the Tower proper.

Bow... Scrape... and turn a five-minute walk into a half-hour odyssey after one such encounter had caused him to get turned around in a hallway. But he was not lost. Rounding one last corner he triumphantly discovered the exit—well, an exit. All his points of reference used the Tower from the outside, so escaping it could only lead to good things.

He stepped through the exterior portal and immediately squinted as a gust of wind hit him in the face, tussling his hair and sending ripples through the drab uniform he wore. It felt odd to be clean this late in the day, but he’d been told to make himself presentable before heading into the Tower and that had not been an opportunity to pass up.

Lew turned, looking up the impressive span of wall as the Tower loomed above, and he pinched his mouth in irritation. He was still entirely too close to the structure to figure anything out, so he continued his unintentional stroll to put some distance between himself and the walls. It gave him time to take in his surroundings, and that gave him a glimmer of hope as he realized he must be in the gardens. He had an idea of where those were in his mental map of the Tower grounds, which meant one step closer to returning to the Yards.

Taking the rare moment to himself, the Drin sauntered almost lazily away from the Tower in the vague direction he guessed the he’d need to go once he truly got his bearing. That slow walk let him catch sight of a dark figure off to his side, and his eyes were drawn to what appeared to be a man sitting among some trees.

I guess this is where everyone escapes... he had begun to think, when something in his mind flashed a warning. Something was wrong with the man. No, not the man... the bushes? Lew slowed to a stop, blinking and trying to clear his vision, but it was unmistakable. Time appeared to quicken around the plant, leaving its foliage to flourish at an unnatural rate. Dumbfounded, he watched the process from a distance until the man moved and snapped Lew out of his stupor.

His feet felt heavy, but he found himself walking towards the man while his mind worked to understand what he was witnessing. That mental effort ran through a few options—Shadowspawn, an exceptional fertilizer, a fundamental misunderstanding of temporal reality--but quickly settled on the One Power. Saidin. He’d been briefed on it and had some fundamentals explained during his orientation, having never encountered its use in his previous life. Largely sequestered in the Warder Yard since enlisting, he had not had the free time to wander around and encounter many channelers just yet, particularly none who were actively wielding the True Source.

He was a handful of paces away when he clumsily drove his foot through a wind-drifted pile of leaves and caused a loud, crackling rustle as they tumbled out into the wind again. He hadn’t been meaning to sneak up on the man, but realized it could at least look that way after his blunder. So he cleared his throat quickly, raising a hand in greeting and calling out, "Hello! Pardon, uhh... what are you doing there?"

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 920
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Alianora » November 15th, 2020, 1:57 am

Kalyan
Kalyan flinched in surprise at the sound of the voice and pitched forward. He narrowly avoided a collision with the bush in front of him, stopping himself with both hands laying flat on the earth. Still holding saidin, he hurriedly set the last few strands of Earth in place before tying off the weave. Then he turned his head in the direction the voice had come from, brown eyes blinking up at a man in Drin grey who looked to be taller than he was. The Dedicated smiled and explained, "It's just plantweaving. I'm growing some strawberries for the kitchens. It's helpful for the cooks, and it's good practice for me."

Beside him, the bush he'd been working with bore a harvest more fitting of late spring or early summer, rather than this cool autumn day. Pleased with what he'd accomplished, Kalyan got to his feet. "Haven't you ever seen plantweaving before?" he asked curiously. It was hardly an unusual sight in the gardens, especially in this area near the kitchens where fruit trees and bushes had been planted. He rubbed his hands together, brushing off most of the dirt from them before introducing himself. "I'm Kalyan," he said, offering a hand to the other man. "Have you been at the Grey Tower for long?" If the man hadn't noticed any of the Tower's plantweavers at work, Kalyan guessed he hadn't, but the only way to be sure was to ask.

Lege
"New Spring"
Posts: 14
Joined: October 29th, 2020, 11:00 pm
PC: Lewin Salter

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Lege » November 17th, 2020, 4:32 am

Lew winced just slightly as the other man startled at his oafish introduction, but his eyes shortly slid passed the surprised Dedicated and fixated on the stunning sight that had first drawn him over. Admittedly Lewin had never been one to stop and smell the flowers, as it were, but he knew enough about plants and seasons for his brain to be addled by what he had witnessed. In his stupor he nearly missed the explanation from the man he'd harassed, but managed to snap his attention back somewhat abruptly.

"Plantweaving," he murmured, almost to himself, meeting the man's eyes while he stood as though expecting them to be replaced with rosebuds. "No, I... I'm Lewin," he responded at last, shaking Kalyan's hand with his own bearpaw of a mitt. His hand fell away, his eyes strayed once again to the fruits of Kalyan's labours, and he slowly shook his head to the question.

"I've only been here a week or two, but I've never seen..." Only, maybe he had? Were the trees in the Tower grounds slightly greener than their counterparts he'd passed outside during his travels? Was it odd that a compound in the mountains seemed to have so much variety in what they served at the mess halls (regardless of whether he, as a Drin, was allowed to order the breadth of the menu)? He gave his head another quick shake, this time to escape the tangential thoughts.

"They're real, right? It's not just a... trick... no dyes or... I'm sorry. I haven't seen the One Power used up close, or at all..." Lew trailed off, and could feel the consternation on his face as he looked between Kalyan and the bountiful plants.

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 920
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Alianora » November 19th, 2020, 9:37 pm

Kalyan
"No tricks," Kalyan said with a shake of his head. The smile he gave the taller man was meant to be reassuring. "If you want, I could start over on one of the other bushes. You won't be able to see what I'm doing, but you'd see the plant grow." The Dedicated grinned suddenly, thinking back to his own first days in the Grey Tower. "Or if you really want to see something neat, I could show you where the Channeling Yards are, and we could see if anyone is practicing there. That area is for more dangerous weaves, like lightning, which you might find more exciting than the plants here."

With a shrug, Kalyan squatted down beside the plant he'd just been working with. It was a darker green than it had been when he'd begun, and was now covered in ripe berries. Reaching out, he picked one and bit into it. It was just as good as it had looked, and Kalyan nodded in satisfaction. The cooks will be pleased with these, he observed. He finished the rest of the strawberry in his hand, dropping the stem to the ground, and plucked a few more. He stood up, placing the berries in the palm of one hand, and extended that hand to Lewin. "Want one?" Kalyan asked. "They're as real as any others, they won't hurt you," he added. "The cooks don't care if we eat a few when we're working here, and even if they did....it wouldn't be hard to grow more."

Lege
"New Spring"
Posts: 14
Joined: October 29th, 2020, 11:00 pm
PC: Lewin Salter

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Lege » November 25th, 2020, 5:18 am

Eyeing the offered berries, Lew reached out slowly to pluck one from Kalyan's hand. He held it up before his own face, rolling the fruit between the pads of his fingers as if expecting it to turn to dust or wink out of existence. When it didn't, he carefully brought it to his mouth and took a tentative bite. The sweet, fleshy taste bloomed in his mouth in a way he hadn't experienced before, with fresh fruit a rare delicacy in his time before the Tower.

He couldn't help but smile as he popped the rest of it into his mouth, stem and all, chewing around the remaining fruit as he spoke, "I'll rain check the lightning. I took the... accidental long way... coming back from an errand so I don't think the Warders would like that much more of a wait. But if you have more bushes to tend to, I can stay lost a little longer."

Considering the remaining berries in Kalyan's hand, Lew held himself back, figuring it was best if he did not eventually turn back up at the Yard covered in the juice of pilfered fruit even if it were being offered by the 'gardener'. Instead, with the tension of his initial awkward introduction fading and feeling a bit more comfortable, he indulged an old habit, sliding his gaze passed Kaylan's hand to size the man himself up briefly. Then his eyes shifted back to the miraculous plants the Dedicated had been nurturing, and he gestured slightly. "Is this something everyo-all channelers can do?"

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 920
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Alianora » November 28th, 2020, 9:19 pm

Kalyan
Before saying anything, Kalyan ate another of the berries he held. He chewed, swallowed, then smiled and said, "It's probably best not to make the Warders wait on you. But if you want to, you're more than welcome to stay and watch for as long as you have." He still held his hand out, and when the other man didn't reach for it, the Dedicated finished the last of the berries. Kneeling down in front of one of the smallest plants, Kalyan reached for saidin and went back to what he'd been doing.

As he wove, sending Earth and Water into the ground towards the thin roots of the little plant, Kalyan answered Lewin's question. "Well, most channelers can learn the weave. What someone can do with it, though, that depends on how strong the channeler is in the One Power, and especially their strength in Earth. Someone weaker in Earth might only be able to coax a flower already starting to bloom into opening the rest of the way. " He stopped talking for a moment, finishing his work with the roots and moving on to the tiny branches that barely poked up out of the ground.

Kalyan added more Earth to the weave and continued, "Some channelers also have what we call the Talent for Plantweaving, and are just naturally good at it, regardless of strength. Some of the best can grow multiple trees in hardly any time at all." As he continued to work, the short branches grew taller, and Kalyan turned his head to look up at Lewin. "This probably isn't as interesting as you thought it would be," he commented. "I have to work slowly, or I could damage or even kill the plant."

Lege
"New Spring"
Posts: 14
Joined: October 29th, 2020, 11:00 pm
PC: Lewin Salter

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Lege » December 3rd, 2020, 8:14 pm

Kalyan's words made Lew turn his eyes briefly skywards, trying to gauge the passage of time by the sun to see what he had left to work with. It wound up being a fruitless gesture, as he had yet to adapt to... whatever phenomenon it was... that meant the sky above didn't accurately reflect what time he thought it should be. That had been one of many unanticipated struggles since settling into the Tower.

He looked back down and watched Kalyan resume the task that had been so thoughtlessly interrupted, taking a few small steps to the side to get a better view of the plant. He listened attentively, layering The Dedicated's explanations over what little foundation of knowledge he had. A general picture of how the One Power functioned was slowly coming together as the days went on, from what time he had to think on it between getting the stuffing beat out of him in the Yard and grinding his hands to the bone with chores.

At first he wondered if he might have been imagining the things he'd seen that had initially drawn him over. Kalyan's work on the roots went largely unnoticed to Lew's eyes, unable to see the weaves and ignorant of horticulture. But then the branches began to sprout, slowly but noticeable, and Lew found himself crouching and leaning in a little closer to watch the plant grow. "No, this is fine... it's a good introduction before someone starts lobbing fireballs at me. Or however the Warders choose to acquaint trainees with the Power."

"I half-expected there to be some sort of ritual," he continued, "Waving your hands, chanting, something like that. You really just have... light, or some such, I suppose... that you can see and do things with that most everyone else is blind to." He sat back on his haunches, scratching fingers through his short scruff of beard in wonderment. A thought appeared to spark in his mind and he glanced between Kalyan and the plant. "Can you do that with people? Make them grow faster by feeding them with the Power?"

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 920
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Alianora » December 9th, 2020, 2:31 am

Kalyan
The branches of the plant before Kalyan grew taller and thicker as the Dedicated made tiny adjustments to the Earth weaves. Smaller branches grew from the largest of them, and the strawberry bush began to grow wider. From the way Kalyan watched the plant, he could have appeared to be ignoring the Drin beside him, but he wasn't. He listened to the other man while keeping his eyes mostly on his work, though Kalyan did turn and smile at Lewin's comment about fireballs.

"Don't worry, nobody's going to throw any fireballs at you," Kalyan told him. "If we did that nobody would ever come here to train with the Warders!" He continued to work, slowly and carefully, carrying on the conversation while he did. "No rituals," the Dedicated said. "For me, at least, with Plantweaving, well, I've been doing it since before I learned that I was channeling," he explained. "So I've always done it this way. Other people might work differently, I don't know. Some weaves do require certain hand movements, though. Things like throwing a fireball, lots of people can only do if they move as if they were throwing an actual ball. It just depends on the person and how they were taught."

The Dedicated grew quiet for a very short moment as he leaned forward, watching tiny green leaves pop up from the branches and uncurl. He added more Water to the weave, thinning out the Earth threads as he began to focus on the leaves instead of the branches, which were now just a little taller than his head. "It's not really light," he said to Lewin. "It's more of a force, the power that turns the Wheel itself." Looking towards the Drin, Kalyan shook his head. "That doesn't explain it any better, does it? Sorry, if I could show you what it looks like for me, I would."

The leaves were turning to a darker shade of green, growing thicker along the branches. Kalyan watched them silently while he thought about the question Lewin had asked, one which had never occurred to him. "I don't know if that's possible," the Dedicated admitted. "I don't think anyone's ever tried, probably because using the Power to affect another person can be very, very dangerous if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Not that that's never done, but it's not something anyone would experiment with, I don't think. You could always ask the Indigos, some of them spend their lives studying what the One Power can do." He made another small adjustment to his weave, adding Earth as little pinkish berries began to emerge from between some of the leaves.

Lege
"New Spring"
Posts: 14
Joined: October 29th, 2020, 11:00 pm
PC: Lewin Salter

Re: Strawberries in Autumn (attn: Lege)

Post by Lege » December 14th, 2020, 4:11 am

Lew nodded slightly at the reassuring comment on fireballs, not entirely convinced but too distracted by the flourishing plant before them. The information on channeling--motions, gestures, the implication that there were people out there channeling without even realizing it--he absorbed, filing away in the back of his mind to deal with once the amazement of the task at hand washed away.

He felt a low thrum of energy in his muscles as he crouched and watched the Dedicated work, a strange sort of excited nervousness that did not quite match how he felt every time he stepped into the Warder Yards. There was a deeper fear underlying this particular sensation, he realized. For a man who had been able to meet most challenges head on with physical power, it was dawning on him that there were forces out there that would not bat an eye at a barhand from Andor. Light, the relatively unassuming man he crouched next to could likely pull his arms off with some sort of invisible weave!

"Well, that's good to know," he replied to the comment on manipulating people directly. Wetting his lips, his mouth feeling quite suddenly dry, he glanced away from the plant and over at Kalyan. "I think I'll save those sorts of questions until I get to know the Aes Sedai a bit better, though. Might get some funny looks, otherwise."

The growing berries in the bush helped direct his focus away from thoughts of Power-wrought dismemberment and manipulation. He reached out tentatively to nudge one of the budding fruits with the tip of his finger, twisting his arm a bit awkwardly as he did so as if to avoid putting his hand through any lingering weaves Kalyan may have been working.

"Is this what brought you to the Tower? I don't know very many farmers, but I would guess they'd kill to have someone with this skill around."

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