Sounds from a Spinning Wheel – Profile of Christian Szczesniak

Sounds-Christian

 
 

As I was listening to Tellings of the Wheel, VOL. 1, in preparation for an installment of the Sounds from a Spinning Wheel series in which I review music inspired by the Wheel of Time book series and, in the future, written for the Amazon Prime series, I thought it would be neat if I could talk with the composer and musician who created this album. So, I did what all normal people would do, opened the Twitter app, and Tweeted at Christian Szczesniak. Thankfully, not only did he answer, but he was very gracious in my request for a conversation. And so, we messaged back and forth, and set up a time that we could talk.
 

On one level, I had seen that he is a prolific musician but at the same, I was oblivious to the fact that he is an accomplished, prolific musician, until I spoke with him. After all, his guitar playing can be heard on Celine Dion’s “A New Day” album, as well as Edwin’s “Another Spin Around the Sun”. He stated that after he met his wife, he stopped touring. And, in 2001, after signing a contract with SONY ATV Canada, he began to gravitate toward advertising, film, and television; his music can be heard on “The Great Food Truck Race”, “Flip or Flop”, “Alaskan Bush People”, as well as the Nickelodeon show “Mysticons” (and his music for the episode “The Coronation” was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award). Christian is also proud of his work on “Mysticons” because of the LGBTQ representation in the show. So, given all this background, what is his connection to Wheel of Time? He has composed two albums inspired by The Wheel of Time book, Tellings of the Wheel, Vols. 1&2, and Rob Christianson, known for his artwork based on the Wheel of Time was a very vocal advocate for Christian to be composing the music for the Amazon Prime Series. Obviously, this is a person who has a deep affinity with and love for The Wheel of Time.
 

Christian Szczesniak was born in Washington, D.C., USA, in July 1970, and as a young child, the family moved to Toronto. At the age of 13, he started playing guitar, and from the ages of 14 to 20, played under Eli Kassner (Canadian Classical guitar teacher and musician). At the age of 18, he got a job at Smith Way Books. Initially, Christian was a fan of Terry Brooks, but two years later, The Eye of the World was published, and he was an early fan of the series, and that has carried through since then.
 

In our conversation, we discussed the decision to give Thom a guitar instead of a harp, in the Amazon series, and Christian said he supported that decision because he thinks it works fine and is adaptable. He also stated that he would not use the music he has composed for the two volumes of Tellings of the Wheel, as he does not think this music would be adaptable. Instead, he would write and compose new music for the show. He also stated that if he had been chosen to be the composer for the series, or is tapped in future seasons, that this would be the single most significant moment of his lifetime and would not know what to do afterward.
 

Christian also remarked that one of his favorite things about the “The Wheel of Time” is that each character is unique and well developed. This remark came out of our discussion about which character we see ourselves as or would like to be like. Christian admires Lan a great deal, and your humble writer sees himself more as Basel Gill.
 

Mr. Szczesniak continues to compose music; his most recent release is named “Textures of Fear”, released in April 2021, which he describes as a soundscape. His next project is Textures of Sci-Fi. I did ask Christian what his dream was, and his response was to go to Prague, and play in the Prague Symphony Orchestra, with his dad conducting. Ultimately, Christian is concentrated on making good music.
 

I am thankful for Mr. Christian Szczesniak’s willingness to take time out of his day to speak with me, as well as agreeing to have a profile written on him prior to my reviews of the Volumes of Tellings of the Wheel.

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Great Charity Hunt – May Update

GreatHuntTVTBanner

 

“Life is for service.”

 

It has been a busy couple of months on the Great Charity Hunt. The Great Charity Hunt was launched back in November 2020. In March 2021 we saw the first Heroes of the Horn Challenge, and our first Hero of the Horn, Idine Espanyas of the Yellow Ajah.

 

Idine

 

In honour of our first Hero, part 2 of The Hero Story was shared with us all.

 

Lilli had seen her heroes come together to work to help those domestic animals that didn’t have homes. Not as many people stepped up to be a hero, but there was a hero that stood out. Idine Espanya showed real conviction in the first challenge. Hero number one had been found. Lilli pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and carefully wrote the name of the first hero at the top. Taking care to make sure the letters were clear. She sighed and sat back. What to do to find the next hero? Spring was upon the land in full. She looked out the window and looked over the city. The walls gleamed white, but the melting snow was uncovering a wealth of litter that had been mixed with the snow during the winter. Then it struck her. Later in the month was a day especially auspicious for tending to the land. It was called Earth Day. It was a day to help the land wake up from its winter slumber and get ready for planting and gardening. And with Traveling and Aes Sedai the world over, along with their warders, just maybe this could truly be a world wide effort. It was time to put out the next call. As Lilli firmed up her plans to call together the Aes Sedai, I figure in a green silk dress smiled serenely as she faded away to nothing……

 

In April the Heros of the Horn Challenge was led by the Gray Ajah and focused on “Spring Cleaning.” The challenge was in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22nd) where the Ajah challenged TarValon.Net to not only make a difference in the world around them but also to show how international the community of TarValon.Net is.

 

To some, Mother Earth is sacred. To others, the Earth is just the place we live. A whole host of emotion, thought exists in between. No matter how you view the Earth, the truth is that it is our home. For most of us, it will be the only planet that we have. As we do in our own houses, we need to keep it clean so that we can live.

On April 24th, we would like to see just how much of the Earth our Tower covers. We would like you to find a park, a stretch of highway, or some other area (nature trails, etc) to adopt for the day. On that day, Tweet or post a picture on Facebook of what the bags of trash you’ve picked up with the hashtag #TrashforTarValon and allow your photo to have a location tag.

If you do not have the mobility, or do not have the time to participate in this challenge, you can still help out.
The Grays have provided a link to an Earth charity near and dear to their hearts, Tradewater. – Lilli O’Neeus

 

April’s Hero of the Horn was Natalya Laragan, affectionately known as Dr. Aes Sedai! We look forward to seeing Natalya appear in the next installment of The Hero Story.

 

Natalya

 

TarValon.Net’s members found so many different ways to contribute over the past couple of months so here’s the run down.

 

April 2nd Update!

 

  • Nymala (Blue Ajah) has started crocheting stars for a charity project, and as of 3/1/2021 she had spent 2 hours working on this. Nymala also volunteered at the SPCA for 5 hours.
  • Sonea (Blue Ajah) donated the equivalent of £23.96 in toys or £23.96 to pay for toys to a local animal sanctuary
  • Atreyu (SDS) shared the results of the Dry Feb fundraiser he organized: $1,150.39 raised! Many site members also donated. :)
  • Dar’Jen (Of All and None) donated $20 worth of food to her work’s “Cram the Van” initiative to support Salvation Army efforts
  • Erin (Of All and None) donated $25 to MSF (Doctors Without Borders) through the WoW Pet Charity Program
  • Arella (Of All and None) donated $20 to MSF (Doctors without Borders) through the WoW Pet Charity Program
  • Ninya (Green Ajah) donated $348.66 to the GISH 2021: Change-A-Life Ecuador program
  • Jocasta (Of All and None) donated $25 to help a local family in need with surgery costs
  • Melisande (Green Ajah) donated $30.92 to support Dry February and $50 to Telemiracle 45
  • Juliya (Blue Ajah) donated to several different places: $50 to Movember (men’s health charity focused on prostate cancer, testicular health, and mental health), $100 monthly donations to Power 2 Change (a Christian charity focused on helping athletes in universities), and $80 monthly donations to CRWRF which sponsors 2 families in Kenya

 

May 1st Update!

 

  • Ahmyra al’Ruley (Of All and None) donated $50 for a Music for Life scholarship for a child in Uganda that covers school supplies and life supplies. She also donated $50 to Canadian Mental Health.
  • Mieriana Souvra (Blue Ajah) donated $20 to the Animal Welfare Institute.
  • Siera al’Cere (Gray Ajah) donated $25 to a local animal shelter.
  • Nymala Ingasy (Blue Ajah) gave 3 hours and 55 minutes of her time to the SPCA of Whangarei.
  • Maibella ni Rhoiden t’al’Varrak (Gray Ajah) spent 1.5 hours helping with a tree planting event on Earth Day.
  • Juliya Karisu (Blue Ajah), in addition to her regular monthly donations of $100 to Power 2 Change and $80 to CRWRF, also donated $10 to the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation and $75 to Pacific Post Partum, a non-profit organization that helps moms.
  • Ninya Evoneigh (Green Ajah) has started a cycle of volunteering that will continue on for the next 12 months. They will be spending 20 hours each month volunteering for IMALIVE, a crisis line. They will also be spending 50 hours each month working with the policy and abuse team at OTW (a 501(c)3). That is an astounding time commitment!! They also donated $25 to Tradewater.

 

This month also saw the beginning of the Third Hero of the Horn Challenge, May Flowers supported by the Yellow Ajah!

 

Our May challenge is about spreading good vibes and mental health and well-being. To do that, we’d like you to hand out a few of the May flowers that the April showers so often bring.
This link (Click Me) will take you to a pdf of our May flowers containing the numbers for major mental health help and crisis lines as well as numbers for LGBTQ+ support. We would like you to hand out these flowers in places or to people you think would appreciate or can use them.

 

May Flowers

 

The Yellows have chosen a charity for people to donate to if they are more comfortable participating in that way. It is the Trevor Project. It is one of the numbers featured on our flyer. The Trevor Project helps LGBTQ+ youth all over the US. LGBTQ+ youth are one of the more vulnerable groups in our country. They are more vulnerable to mental health crises, homelessness, and addiction, among other things. Please consider helping to give our vulnerable babies the support they need to make it through one of the hardest parts of life (becoming who they are).

 

Being a little over halfway through The Great Charity Hunt our Director of Community Outreach, Erin al’Denael shared a few interesting stats and figures with us. We’ve certainly been a busy bunch!

 

Entries & Participants

 

Entries and Participants

 

The Of All and None, Green, and Blue groups have been extra busy! Note the blue especially: quite a few members in these groups are active and help out in many different ways. Kudos to them.

 

Group Breakdown (by # of members)

 

  • 5 – Of All and None
  • 3 – Brown Ajah
  • 6 – Green Ajah
  • 1 – SDS
  • 1 – VC
  • 3 – Gray Ajah
  • 7 – Blue Ajah

 

Group Breakdown of Entries (many members have multiple entries)

 

  • 14 – Of All and None
  • 14 – Green Ajah
  • 3 – Brown Ajah
  • 1 – SDS
  • 1 – VC
  • 3 – Gray Ajah
  • 17 – Blue Ajah

 

Hours Donated

 

Hours Donated

 

While the majority of donations have been money or money in lieu of a physical donation, we do have some people who prefer to do their part through volunteering. Especially in Green!

 

Actual Numbers

  • 4 hours – Brown Ajah
  • 107.5 hours – Green Ajah
  • 11 hours – Blue Ajah

 

Donations, Random and Glorious

 

This inspires me to donate gently used/new clothes to Goodwill again, or school supplies to needy students. /ideas

 

  • 500 journals – Brown Ajah
  • Medical supplies – Green Ajah
  • Bags of food – Of All and None
  • Crocheted stars – Blue Ajah
  • Time, energy, and associated finances to adopt a puppy – Blue Ajah

 

Money Raised

 

We have raised a total of $6,729.58 omg as of April 30, 2021. Y’all astound me!!

That money has come from lots of different members and group activities, as broken down here:

Money Raised

 

Thank you to each and every member who has given during the past 6 odd months! If you haven’t had a chance to get involved yet, there’s still time. Stay tuned for the June update later this month!

 

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TarValon.Net Wheel of Time Re-read – Book 2

The Great Hunt ReRead

TarValon.Net Wheel of Time Re-read continues with Book 2 – The Great Hunt!

 

“And it shall come to pass…”
 

… that the fans of the Wheel of Time would have finished reading “The Eye of the World”, and then shall continue on to reading “The Great Hunt”!
 

With the Wheel of Time TV show coming really soon, it is now the perfect time to brush up on our Wheel of Time knowledge, to turn the Wheel and do yet another re-read of the books!
 

TarValon.Net is hosting a Wheel of Time re-read. The re-read of The Eye of the World is at the finishing line (planned to end on Friday June 25th, 2021). The thread where we have discussed points about characters, plots and foreshadowing, can be found on the forums.
 

Each month we are also posting a summary of the discussion and the re-read on our blog. You can check out the summary after the month of May in the blog post here.
 

Beware that both blog post and forum thread discussions CONTAIN SPOILERS for the entire series!
 

With The Eye of the World (almost) done, we are ready to start on book 2! The start date for reading “The Great Hunt” is June 28th, 2021 (Monday). The re-read of the second book is planned to last for a total of 8 weeks and we will be happy to have you come on the forums and discuss your views and whatever else you wish with us!

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The Shadow Knows, Part 4

 

The Shadow Knows is an ongoing series about things Dark as seen by a mysterious, Friend of the Night. As such, they are written from a certain point of view and cannot be taken as the absolute truth. These articles are intended to be entertaining, and at times might contradict accepted canon. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

Part 4: Rocks and Shoals
 

This episode is a bit different from the others. Normally, I share the stories of others. This time, however, the story is mine. I rarely leave Shayol Ghul. So, naturally I was here the day that Lews Therin assaulted the Bore. I had been getting reports from our eyes and ears in the Hall of the Servants that a council had been called of the Light’s most prominent commanders. Despite our best efforts we were unable to determine their intentions.
 

It had been a long time since the enemy had won anything larger than a skirmish and we had three armies knocking at their very gates. They needed something that would change the nature of the contest completely. To do that, they needed to cooperate and that proved to be something of a problem. As with all things in the Age of Legends, the most powerful works and by extension attacks always required men and women to work together.
 

Even just a few years ago the ability to casually form circles was a major advantage for the Light. We rarely, if ever even tried to do it. We simply did not trust one another enough for that to be common practice. So, forcing a wedge between the male and female Aes Sedai was a major strategic consideration since the beginning of the war. Fortunately for us, it ended up being an all too easy argument to make.
 

The truth of the matter is that when faced with uncertain and often horrific situations, people tend to trust the people they already know. So, when the Collapse began, Lews Therin turned to his closest friends to investigate the matter. As it so happened, they were all men. When those investigations turn violent, he enlisted even more of his friends, who happened to also be men.
 

Much later in the War of Power, men were also tapped to play a larger role on the battlefield then their female counterparts. The thought process was that since men were stronger in the Power that they made for more better commanders and deadlier combat channelers. That’s nonsense of course.
 

Which isn’t to say that women did not play a major role. In other spheres of battle throughout the world, there were female generals and combat channelers. Many of them quite brilliant and equally deadly but they did not see much in the way of public acclaim. There is only so much time in the news cycle. As a result, the generals in the primary sphere of conflict – mostly men – received more fame than all of the rest of their peers combined.
 

It wasn’t anyone’s design. It just happened to work out that way. Even so, it was not without consequences. After a certain point, this became a real concern and slowly as the war progressed the women started to close ranks. They were done. No more so than their leader, Latra Posae Decume. From that point on if you wanted a Sister’s help you had to go through her. Their movement came to be known as the “Fateful Accord.”
 

I cannot say Latra Posae Decume was the Dragon’s equal. But she did share exceptional aptitude in the same areas Lews Therin also favored. She was also a creature of sublime spite. I admired her greatly. She would have done quite well here.
 

I was not alone in that belief, only some thought that possibility was a threat that could not go unanswered. It is said that the Lady of Pain wanted desperately to capture her. Which is funny because I desperately wanted her to try. The Slicer of Shadows would have sent Semirhage back to us as a pile of ash and charred black cloth.
 

There is tendency among the unwise to characterize the Light as being weak because they are altruistic and value compassion above strength. That is a huge mistake. Have you seen a murder fight? How about a soldier? Can you imagine what would happen when the two faced one another? I promise you this would not go well for the murder, and we had far more of the former than the later. As vicious as casual killers can be, they do not stand up in the face of professionally trained infantry.
 

Which brings me to the second major faction in the Hall of the Servants. Let me tell you about the Hundred Companions. The stories say that Lews Therin formed the group in opposition to the Fateful Accord. This is incorrect. While they were not initially called by that name, the group was formed in the early days of the Collapse. Their mission was to investigate and quietly eliminate divergent elements of society. They were ruthlessly loyal, lavishly equipped, and carried the personal seal of the Tamyrlin himself.
 

As such they were given almost unlimited power in their investigations. For example, despite strenuous public protests, they are the only known formation of the Light to make open use of compulsion. White Cloak Questioners are at best apprentices in their craft. Even as bad as Ahridol would turn out to be they still only knew the most basic of techniques employed by Lews Therin’s finest.
 

Naturally, their numbers increased the longer the Collapse went on, and by the raid on Shayol Ghul there were considerably more than we could readily track. Our best guess had them at over one hundred and sixty at that point. The eldest of them had been fighting the Shadow for over a hundred years and the only emotions left to them were hatred and pride.
 

All in all, the Hundred Companions were the most experienced killers on either side, and they had zero hesitation in finding victory regardless of the cost. As a result, we spent a lot of time keeping them committed to disparate war zones. Why? Well, regardless of what we might say in public we were afraid of them of course. Engaging the lot all at one time would prove costly in the extreme.
 

Even before the attack, it was to be a day of singular importance. You already know part of the story. Thirteen of the most prominent Chosen were here for a high-level meeting in the Pit of Doom itself. Which is a bit of a tell because we don’t have meetings, high level or otherwise there. It is a sacred place. You only go there to make your obeisance or to answer for some great failing. You do not go there to simply talk. So, if it wasn’t some sort of conference what was happening that day?
 

The first item to be address was the elevation of Ishamael to Nae’blis. This was really just a formality. He had been the Shadow’s primary champion since the very beginning. The position was only kept open as a goad, for the people hoped to take that honor for themselves. I seriously doubt any of them would be so happy with the title if they really understood how things would play out for the Nae’blis in the end.
 

The second item was that all of the others were to be called to task for placing their personal interests ahead of the greater war effort. For example, someone decided it was a good idea to torture a whole city to death. Do you know how long it takes to do that? How about stopping to hunt down every great artist in your path? Or reeducate every child so that they turn upon their parents? Never mind, it doesn’t matter if it took a week or an hour, it was time we did not have if we wanted to win the War.
 

The Light might be on the back foot here but they were far from broken. If we gave them a chance to stabilize other fronts, they could shift their vastly superior resources against us here. Remember the Light had significant advantages. Their armies were larger, and far more mobile. They had a wealth of angreal and saangrel. They had more Channelers, not to mention superior command and control. We were winning but giving them any chance of a recovery was an awfully bad idea.
 

In any event, I would have given anything to see that “discussion.” Instead, I was left entertaining the honor guards, courtiers, and staff that always travel with the Chosen. Each of them was accompanied by no more than twenty individuals. Naturally, it turned out to be a motley collection of Shadowspawn, and Darkfriends.
 

For example, aside from his immediate staff Sammael had absconded with twelve hulking Trollocs from the Academy. He had them clad in thick plate and wielding great hammers. They formed a sort of flying wedge that split the crowd as their temporary master stomped around. That’s nothing short of pure theater. Graendal’s entourage wore outfits more akin to costumes than uniforms. I doubt any of them have had an original thought since they entered her service.
 

Ishamael’s people where seemingly everywhere, all of them in his livery of red and black. They looked as hard as nails. They were a grim, judgmental lot. Semirhage’s embassy was made up entirely of formerly prominent Aes Sedai. They were all beyond broken, not a one any better than a trophy. I can’t say I agree with her methods.
 

Lanfear didn’t bring anyone at all, which tells you all you need to know about Lanfear. Aginor, had brought a menagerie of prototype Shadowspawn. None of them looked terribly viable. I got the impression he just grabbed the most recent examples of his craft on the way out the door. No one likes him much. Even worse, it was obvious to those of us with eyes that his best work was behind him. More on that in a future episode.
 

Both Rhavin and Balthamel favored playthings over people who might actually be useful. It quickly became impossible to determine who was with whom. After a while I stopped trying. Asmodean only really had a reputation as a governor to fall back upon. So, he brought an odd combination of civil servants and fawning artists. He didn’t think to arm any of them. I had to wonder if all of them would make it home. I rather thought that was extremely unlikely.
 

As was their custom, Demandred, Mesaana, and Moghedien’s people all arrived at the same time. They seemed to share roles, which is the most elegant evidence of their alliance I have yet seen. That leaves Be’lal’s retinue – as a noted Blademaster it was not surprising that many of his servants also wore swords. Then as now, they carried slightly curved blades designed to be used with two hands. A classic weapon favored by Blademasters to this very day. They were very keen to talk shop and remarked upon the peculiarities of my own blade. I rather enjoyed that conversation. There was a purity to it that is sadly lacking in the matters we normally discussed.
 

My aide de camp, and unintentional insurance policy, Kyranna al Jakar was making the rounds. She was an unassuming woman and easy to miss, especially when she was dressing down. Her clothes, while expensive, were cut more for freedom of movement rather than to draw the eye. She was so very earnest in her attempts at conversation, but she missed all of the queues. That is hardly surprising, since she isn’t human. I met her shortly after she came into the world and we are rarely apart. If asked she says that I earned her friendship with the gift of a name and a smile.
 

Sammael aside, I think this is one of the few times I have seen so many of us genuinely happy. It seemed that our victory was only a matter of a few weeks. Once we broke their backs here the other fronts would also fall in short order. Truly it was a day of days, right up to the point that Lews Therin decided in abject desperation to take the fight right to our door.
 

Next, Part 5: The End of the Beginning

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Member Spotlight – Maibella ni Rhoiden t’al’Varrak

 
Welcome to our next Member Spotlight, all about Maibella ni Rhoiden t’al’Varrak! Maibella is an Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, and currently serving as the Head of Ajah, or Head Clerk. It’s a coincidence that her spotlight came up in the rotation this week – when we’ve been highlighting relationships in our Community – because Maibella is married to Vendri al’Varrak, Gaidin of Dai M’Hael. They are a “Tower couple,” having met through our site and married in 2018. There were several Tower members who were able to attend their wedding, something which Maibella speaks of fondly.
 

Maibella is a native of the state of Maryland, and claims to have a lot of state pride. She is the proud mom of her son, a 2020 graduation who is now 19 years old and lives in California. She and Vendri have three fur children – dogs Copper, Penny and Bella (yes, they are all Disney names).
 

 

 

Professionally, Maibella is an Operations Manager for a “design/build firm that specializes in stream, wetland, and shoreline restoration projects.” Her volunteer work involves serving with an international student exchange program, helping match up incoming students to host families.

 

“I absolutely love it! I get to plan fun activities for the kids and learn about their cultures and languages. It’s an absolute blast. And even better is when we get to host a student ourselves. So far we’ve hosted two students and we’d be doing it again this year except that our local school isn’t accepting students due to the pandemic. I’m hopeful that one day I can take a trip across Europe and Asia staying only with my former exchange students and Tower people the entire way!”
 

Additionally, she loves hosting Tower parties, and is making plans to do more. (I’m ready for a trip to Maryland, who’s with me?! Or Tennessee is fine too… the couple is planning a move in 2022.)
 

I love asking interviewees how they find TarValon.Net, the answers are always varied and interesting! Here was Maibella’s response:
 

“I was an active book blogger when The Gathering Storm was being released. I applied for a position as a “Storm Leader” for the book signing at my local bookstore. The idea was that local bloggers and social media influencers would be selected to assist with the logistics at each book signing event and have an opportunity to meet Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal, in return for promoting the event and the book. I was selected as a Storm Leader for my local event and got to have dinner with Brandon and Harriet and help out with the book signing. It was a ton of fun! I met Adolla Sedai because she was another of the Storm Leaders, and she invited me to join TarValon.Net… I didn’t check it out at the time. When Towers of Midnight was released I attended the book signing and ran into Adolla again, and she introduced me to several other Tower members who had come to town specifically for the signing. They convinced me to give the Tower a chance, and I’ve been here ever since.”
 

Once Maibella joined TarValon.Net, she started connecting with several of the Junior Members. (Including yours truly!) Some of them started an unofficial group called The Brandsworn, which involved things like riding weird animals and lots of spamming. She said what really connected everything for her was her first live event, JordanCon 2014. Being able to meet people in person really was important to her, and something she is looking forward to again.
 

Sleepy Hollow Fall Ball in 2019, including Maibella’s son and their exchange student.

 

Maibella was raised Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah in 2015. She is very “Gray” in real life, being someone who values seeing all sides of an issue, helping others do the same, and seeking balance. She has served in several leadership positions, including four years as Editor of our very own Tar Valon Times!
 

This spring, she took on the mantle of Head Clerk (Head of Ajah). It’s a position that she has had her eye on, but saw that this is a good time in her personal life to take it on. One of her main goals as Head Clerk is for people to know the Gray Ajah better. The Classroom recently held The Ajahs of TarValon.Net with Ajah Representatives, featuring a different Ajah each week. (It was fantastic!!) Maibella helped to lead the Gray Ajah’s week, and really enjoyed the opportunity to talk about Gray, and interact with not only the Junior Member students, but also other Senior Members who were participating.
 

Maibella also would like to see more JM’s guesting in Gray. There has been a lot of activity already this year, with as many as 8-9 guests at once! “I’d also like Gray to have a consistent schedule of game days. In the past we’ve sporadically gotten together (virtually) to play Cards Against Humanity or GeoGuessr and I’d love to see us be more consistent about that. We are spread very thin, with a large number of our members in Europe, so virtual events are a great way to bring us together.”
 

Personal connections with people is a very important ideal that comes across clearly when talking to Maibella. She said that the friendships she’s made in our community helped her work through difficult times, led her to meeting and marrying Vendri, gave her the opportunity to get out of her comfort zone by attending live events, and a place she enjoys to volunteer her time.
 

“I want this community to thrive both for the things it has given to me and for the opportunities it may give to others in the future. It is a special place and I want to do what I can to keep it that way.”

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