It’s been almost exactly two months since Kitan Sedai was announced as the new Mistress of Accepted and Soldiers (MoAS). That’s enough time to settle in and set some goals, so we at the TarValon Times checked in with her about the position, her time as a member of TarValon.Net, and her advice for the Junior Members (JMs) that she supports. First, though, I wanted to get to know the person behind the avatar a bit.
Originally from Southern California, Kitan Tataru now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, Brandon Gaidin. Their miniature schnauzer, Jinx, rounds out the family.
Having joined in 2004, Kitan Sedai has seen the vast majority of the Tower’s history. She regaled me with the story of how she (and the White Ajah) helped Brandon Sanderson participate in a toast at the tower’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. She shared a raucous recounting of Fall Ball attendees being ejected during a Gaidin’s raising.
And while those stories were entertaining, our MoAS has more enlightening stories to share as well. Asked to comment on how the tower has changed during her tenure here, Mistress Tataru had a lot to say.
“When I was first raised to Aes Sedai, guesting and demotion didn’t exist,” she said. Kitan Sedai has even authored a Library article on the guesting system, since she saw it implemented from start to finish.
Of course, a discussion of integration goes hand in hand with guesting. As one of the White Ajah’s representatives to the Integration Focus Group, she was intimately familiar with the problem and proposed solutions. (For any who aren’t familiar, “Integration” was the process by which men were given permission to join Ajahs and women were allowed to become Gaidin.)
“So what we were asked was: How do we accomplish this? What will this look like? What will the process be? What structures will we need to change – or not change?” Kitan Sedai said of their discussions. Of course, the Integration Focus Group overcame those obstacles, and the membership groups exist as we know them today. Before any JM can aspire to join one of those groups, though, they must go through their time as an Accepted or Soldier – and of course, that brings us to Kitan Sedai’s new(ish) position.
“As MoAS, I’m really focused on helping the Accepted and Soldiers Aspire. When someone Aspires, it’s because they’ve found their home,” she said. It makes sense, when I think about it, but I found it encouraging that the MoAS would be focused on helping JMs find their membership group home. Of course there are administrative issues that go along with being MoAS, but for Kitan Sedai, the focus is on helping JMs find that home:
“My biggest goal as MoAS is to help every Accepted or Soldier, regardless of whether they’re having having a hard time or not, to feel that they have a place in the Tower, even if they haven’t Aspired and don’t know where or when or if they will.”
As an Accepted myself, I can tell you that this goal is backed up by Kitan’s actions. Her Office in the Hall of Initiates is filled with helpful information. Recently, Kitan created a roundtable discussion between JMs about the transition from junior membership to senior membership. The discussion has ranged three pages, and covered topics like the test for raising to SM, what happens when members aren’t sure where they belong, and guesting strategies.
Participants in the class, of course, have been very grateful for the direct outreach from Administrators to JMs on their own terms. “All the insight is greatly appreciated,” said Dar’Jen Ab Owain in one post.
“It was good to know about Aspiration in detail,” Lyndo Shiranui agreed.
It’s a lot to have taken on already just two months into her term as MoAS. Still, Kitan Sedai looks on the role with optimism and eagerness. “I know this might sound cliché, but I feel that being MoAS is an honor. I’m excited to bring my experience and knowledge with me to the role, and I hope to make a real difference in the experience of every person who’s an Accepted or Soldier during my term.”
Needless to say, based on everything I’ve seen so far, Mistress Tataru is off to a great start.