Member Spotlight – Jahily al’Karee

 
Member Spotlights are supposed to shed new light on a member for the author and the audience, right? Well, I’ve known Jahily since I was a Citizen in Tar Valon, and I’ve been residing in her Pocket since I was a novice! She’s been the Editor of the Tar Valon Times since April 2, so you know it’s not an April Fool’s joke. She aspired to the Gray Ajah on June 12, along with her first-brother, Bryden von Brazilius, another staff member of the Tar Valon Times!

When I was just starting out here, she was encouraging and kind, and now that I’m serving as her first mate, she’s still that awesome person. I sat down with her and asked her some questions, and here is what she shared with me:

 

Leala: Tell us a little about yourself in real life (if comfortable sharing) – where you live, what you do, family/partner/pets/etc.? Photos you’d like to share?

 

Jahily: I am a native of the state of Texas, and currently live in the Central part of the state. My husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary back in June; and we are the proud parents of one teenage son, and one lab/shepherd fur child. 

 

  

 

I work in the non-profit world, in the area of office management, logistics/operations/event planning, team and volunteer coordination, etc. I love being in roles where I can support others, and meet people’s needs. 
 
Leala: Do you have any other hobbies/interests other than WoT? Share a “fun fact” about yourself.

 

Jahily: My main hobbies currently involve my son’s activities. He is a Boy Scout, and has been playing baseball for several years. 

Fun fact – I did pick up a new hobby over the past year, thanks to nudging from a certain first-brother — role-playing games. For some reason it’s not something I ever got into, but Brynden started a D&D campaign last fall and encouraged me to try. Turns out, I really enjoy it! 

 

Leala: What brought you to TarValon.net? What made you want to stay and get more involved?

 

Jahily: When my son was 3-4 years old, I was out of work for a period of about a year. I loved having the mom time with him at that age! I also caught up on a lot of reading. A friend recommended WoT so I started reading. And reading.

I was a few books into the series, and had questions. Plus I wanted to see if there was any sort of online discussion group. Enter TarValon.Net. I did find book discussion, and a whole lot more! 

I started getting to know people slowly – I’m one of those people who struggle with just jumping right into conversation threads on the boards. And then, I tried a Mafia game, and loved it. I got a chance to know people in a fun setting. Then I joined the Tower, started writing for the TVT, made some great friends, had the opportunity to serve in several roles onsite that I really enjoyed. 
 

Leala: How did you decide Gray Ajah was right for you? (what do you like about it, what makes you Gray? Or, like others on the boards have said, did the Gray Ajah choose you instead?)

 

Jahily: Gray really resonates with me, because of who I am and how I think, feel, and process. I am a peacemaker, I try to see things from all sides and perspectives. I am a caretaker – lending support with a “listening ear” or shoulder to cry on. (Or vent to!) I am fiercely loyal and protective of my family, my friends – including my “friends-like-family.” 

My break as a Resident Citizen really helped me take a step back to figure out what I was looking for in a group. Spending time in Gray made it all click, and I knew it was home. 
 
Leala: What led you to apply for the Editor of the Tar Valon Times? What are your goals for your tenure? What are some fun stories you can share about your tenure so far?

 

Jahily: Because Aleita is an amazing boss!!  

Part of my university degree is in journalism, which is what drew me to do some staff writing for the TVT initially. The Assistant Editor position came up right as I was transitioning out of the Mayor’s office. Knowing I would have a great boss and team, made that decision easy. When Aleita was promoted to Director, the move to Editor was a natural step. And I am thankful that Leala came off of her leave when she did, and decided to take the Assistant position!  
 
Leala:  Dawww, I am too!  I’m having a blast!
 
Jahily: While I did not come up with the concept, running the Takeovers has seriously been one of my favorite things to do. Seeing what our different groups come up with as content to represent them — either as a group, or highlighting a talent of one of their members — has been so interesting! I said this in my Takeover article for Accepted/Soldiers that it has been a funny coincidence that I have hit three months personally in this series. (Aleita published the schedule almost a year ago.) 

Really though, what makes the TVT great is the creativity of the team. Each person is so talented, and work hard every month — whether reviews of existing media, or original content — it’s all just SO good! I am in awe of them, and happy to fix their commas and punctuation. If you’re not reading our TarValon.Net blog, you should!  
 
Leala:  It really is a great part of TarValon.Net!  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? (About you personally; you on-site; the Gray Ajah – individually or as a group; about the Tower; etc.)

 

Jahily: Douglas Adams is a long-time favorite author of mine. I recently ran back across this quote, which I think sums up a lot of things pretty well: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
 
Leala: I can definitely relate to that quote.  Speaking of, I sadly couldn’t visit you in Texas before I moved away from Louisiana. But, Texas is a big state! Could you share a few facts about the city where you live? (Obviously, you don’t have to share identifying information, if you don’t feel comfortable with it.) 

 

Leala: I have a ridiculous amount of state pride as a Texan – 8th generation native on my dad’s side. Mostly in fun, but I really do love it. Texas is so diverse, from the flat, tumbleweed areas west where I grew up, to the beautiful Hill Country where I live now. We have mountains, beaches, big cities, and small towns. 

Hmm, interesting fact – the state capitol building in Austin is taller than the US capitol building. One of my first jobs after college was working at the capitol as a legislative aide to a state representative during an active session. Now THAT was interesting! 

 

Leala: I’m open about being a fan of the Aiel, and I know that you identify with the Tuatha’an. What about them is special to you?

 

Jahily: I love music and singing, so the Tinkers were one of the groups I was drawn to when I read the series. When I demoted, I decided as part of my “reset and regroup” time that I wanted to change things up, find something that was more “me.” The avatar I use now is titled The Way of the Leaf – Tinker.

 

Leala:  That’s a wonderful sentiment.  Thank you for this interview, and thank you for being an amazing boss too!  And you’re not a bad Pocket Landlord either.

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Tattered Threads – The Inverse Ajah

 
The triumphant return of the Tattered Threads comic transports us to a place we’re all familiar with…our own halls! Remember back in late June of this year, when the White Ajah inverted their avatars and invited you to join them? Well, I had so much fun with that, I made a comic to commemorate it.
 

Join Rabid Novice Julie’s cousin, Concerned Novice Janice, as she notices something strange pass her by in the White Tower halls. What could that be? Read on to find out!
 


 

(Disclaimer: The likeness of Lyndo’s avatar was rendered with his permission.)

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Happy Birthday Harriet!

 
The fan collective of the Wheel of Time series is incredibly fortunate to have Harriet McDougal with us. She is not only a direct connection to Robert Jordan, the author of our beloved series — who we sometimes affectionately call “the Creator.” She is also an advocate for us in so many ways. She has fought hard to make sure that Robert Jordan’s legacy continues to what it is today, and she has forged her own legacy as not just his editor and surviving wife, but as the helm of Team Jordan.
 
I’ve had a few fleeting interactions with Harriet at JordanCon. Each time, she was kind, always smiling, and willing to listen to messages from fans.
 
My favorite memory with Harriet was from my first JordanCon where she sat in on a writer’s panel. We all sat around a small grouping of tables, and I was surprised to find myself sitting right next to her! It was an informal panel, and I don’t remember the topic to be honest. Somewhere in the panel, the moderator asked everyone to start asking questions of the writers in the room. And someone asked Harriet how Robert Jordan pronounced the name Tar Valon.
 
Was it Tar VA-luhn? (Where the “a” in “Valon” is short, as in “cat” on the stressed syllable.)
Or Tar Vuh-LON? (Where the “o” in “Valon” is short, as in “dog” on the stressed syllable.)
 
This question stuck out to me, because we all began reading this series in a bubble. Fantasy words are an interesting study, because you can make them what you want; but Jordan’s words came with a glossary…most of them, anyway. I remember looking up how to pronounce “Egwene,” “Nynaeve,” and “Aes Sedai” in the back of the Eye of the World when I first started reading the series at the age of 14. But I had just kept going with the other words in my head. This experience gave me the motivation to keep going with my studies in language, and complete a degree in Spanish, while I was struggling with an apathetic teacher at the time.
 
I hadn’t considered that there was another way of pronouncing “Tar Valon” until I engaged with the community a bit more. This question would lead to an answer that peered into the Creator’s mind about something we all loved.
 
I had to know.
 
And, readers, I don’t remember the exact way that she answered, but she said that Robert Jordan had always pronounced it the second way — “Tar Vuh-LON.”
 
I was so excited, because that’s always the way I had said it in my head for over 20 years.
 
To Harriet, from all of us at TarValon.Net, we are so happy to have had you for another year, and we are so grateful for everything you do for us. Happy Birthday!

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TarValon.Net’s Community Recap – July 2021

 

Big things happened in our community in July! Raisings, a new Bond, Merits, the Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship, news about the Wheel of Time TV show, and…a wedding. Join us for the July 2021 Recap!
 

 
There were so many great things happening in our community this month.

  • The Merits for July 2021 were awarded. Congratulations to the recipients!
  • On July 10, 2021, Leala al’Dareis and Ignis al’Caleum were joined in marriage. Leala is now known as Leala ni al’Dareis t’al’Caleum. (I will also be referring to the Yellow Ajah as my Ajah-in-law at every opportunity.)
  • The Outreach Activities Team gave us a day to Embrace our Geekiness! Because, let’s be honest. We need every excuse we can get, right?
  • On July 23, San Diego Comic Con posted a video to their SDCC @ Home channels interviewing Rafe Judkins about the upcoming Wheel of Time tv series. We learned about his insights, and he shared with us the first teaser poster at the end of the segment. There was a Discord watch party for the video, and later there was a TVT Blog Post about it!
  • The annual Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship was awarded to two applicants!

 

 

The Yellow Ajah welcomed home two new siblings! Congratulations!!
 

 

 
We continued to celebrate the beautiful and unique friendships of our community with a new Bond.
Jadira Paerael and Sela Narian,  both Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, were Bonded in the Light!
 

 
Great new teams were selected for important posts!

  • The new Outreach Activities Team was announced! Thank you to the out-going team! Congratulations to Atane Valthon, Linkelivar Miou’Mai, Dar’Jen Ab Owain, Aleita Taviah, Mendo Cath, Onis O’Leia.
  • New Game Masters were announced. Thank you, Alexstrasz Ruskein and Jocasta Braithe for your work, and congratulations to Thaddius al’Guy and Jocasta for staying on for another term!
  • The Mayor announced the new City Council members as well. Thank you to the out-going team! Congratulations to Jocasta Braithe, our new Scribe, Atane Valthon, Leala ni al’Dareis t’al’Caleum, and Merena Orithana, the new City Architects!

 

 
It’s time to hire new leaders for a couple of Membership Groups!

  • The Department of Membership is hiring for the next Company Commander of Dai M’Hael. Applications close August 4. Thank you, Dnae Ila, for your service.
  • The Department of Membership is hiring for the next Head of the Blue Ajah. Applications close August 4. Thank you, Raevyn Tsornin, for your service.
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Tattered Sketch – Elyas Machera

 
 

This article contains spoilers for The Eye of the World.
 

As you may or may not know, my life has been a bit busy, getting ready for my upcoming wedding! It’s in less than two weeks now. [At time of article submission.] So when our Editor, Jahily al’Karee asked me who I planned to draw for this month, I turned to the love of my life, Ignis al’Caleum, sitting on the sofa next to me, and asked him. Because…my brain was just the shrug emoji when put on the spot. He suggested Elyas Machera, so I immediately reported this back.
 
I really like Elyas. When Mat and Rand were separated from the main group in The Eye of the World and were on their way to Caemlyn, they had Thom Merrilin as their older mentor figure. Perrin and Egwene stumbled upon Elyas, a strange old man with a pack of wolves as his buddies.
 
It was a good thing that Perrin ran into Elyas when he did, because he was given a crucial heads-up that he would be communicating with wolves a lot, and soon. Elyas introduced Perrin and Egwene to the pack that follows him, and explained what it’s like to communicate with them as well. Egwene, always willing to learn about the world around her, and trying to be polite but ultimately being awkward in this instance, asked if the skill could be taught.
 

Elyas is described as having really long gray hair, and a really long beard, which makes sense, because he only hangs out with wolves all the time. He has the golden eyes of a Wolfbrother, and his clothes are made of mostly fur. He also has a delightfully dry sense of humor.
 


 

I knew I wanted to draw a specific scene from the first book that I had recently read during The Wheel of Time Re-read. But when I read the scene again, it was so much better than I remembered from just a few weeks ago.
 


 

Yup, it’s the scene where Elyas catches Egwene and Perrin in their half-baked lie about why they’re on the road. The part that I didn’t catch at first was that the wolf to make a comment about how delicious they look was the one that had snuggled up to Egwene.
 

Oh, Burn. You scamp.

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