TVTT White Ajah Edition – Leala’s Two Rivers

 
Until recently, my Location said “Louisiana, USA;” and when I came back in early April, I changed it to “Illinois, USA.” So “What under the Light happened?” you hypothetically ask, as if I haven’t talked about it since I got back. Well, I mean a lot happened to move in with Ignis al’Caleum, Aspired Accepted of the Yellow Ajah. But, I thought I’d tell you about the two cities that I’ve called home.
 

Shreveport, Louisiana is in the northwest corner of the state, far and away from the capital and the most tourist-y of cities. It’s also pretty far from most of the tropical storms. It sits on the banks of the Red River, so called for the red clay on its floor. The city was named after Capt. Henry Miller Shreve when he made the river passable. There are several things named after him in town. (Or, if you’re me showing Ignis around: the city was named after him, the street I lived on was named after his brother, the school was named after his cousin, etc…) My hometown has a sister city across from the river called Bossier City (pronounced BOH-zhur). It was named after a French guy, but when we appropriated his last name, we changed the pronunciation. Welcome to Louisiana.
 

It took a fair bit of searching to find us a place, but Ignis found us a good apartment in Rockford, Illinois. Pretty early on, I found out that Rockford had a river flowing through it too, the Rock River. Three guesses why it’s called that! Rockford is also named after the river…a lot like some other towns and businesses and streets around here. My new city has a similar population to my previous city too, though being so far away, there is a different atmosphere. Ignis is a bit of a movie buff, and he showed me A League of Their Own recently, because…well, you might have seen the movie, honestly. It was hugely popular in the 90s. But, yeah. The Rockford Peaches were the stars of the movie. And Rockford, Illinois doesn’t let you forget it! Our wedding venue even has merch for them in their gift shop!
 

The move was stressful, as all moves are. But I’m here now, and I’m having fun finding out different things about my new city.

No Comments

TVTT White Ajah Edition – The White Ajah Raising Shawl

 
There is a possibility you’ve seen the Unity Shawls that the White Ajah likes to show off at events and post on forums occasionally. They’re all made exactly the same, white on the outside, with the Flame of Tar Valon, and lined with unique fabric to suit each Aes Sedai’s personality. Oh. And don’t forget that long…long fringe. They represent that while we’re all diverse and unique, we’re all a part of the White Ajah family.
 


 

I’m going to tell you about a tradition that I didn’t hear about until it was literally placed on my shoulders.
 

My first live Tower event was Fall Ball of 2018, in New York. I was incredibly proud of myself, after pushing through fear of flying alone for the first time. There was also the drive to the Dallas airport that began at 2:30 in the morning. (I uh…don’t recommend that, if you’re not used to it, which I was not.) And so, after a long and arduous day of travel I wound up at the hotel, and the first person I met was our dear Jaim. I think he could tell that I was nervous, because every other conversation and interaction I had with him was much more boisterous.
 

The first person I met from my aspired Ajah was my future first-sister, Ahmyra, who was the Head of the Ajah at the time. We…may have squeezed the life out of each other for a bit upon first meeting. We’re both huggers. She was also my roommate for that event, along with Alyria of the Blues, and Keelinnea of the Reds. Sidenote – Keeli did a great job trying to recruit me. It didn’t work, but it was a good effort.
 

As we settled into our room, I showed them my white shawl that a friend had commissioned for me from another site a few years before. I was a little embarrassed, because I was an Accepted at the time. But hey. When else am I gonna wear it? They all let out a nervous chuckle…which I thought was interesting.

We went down to the toast, and I drank Goldschlager, and toasted our community. I found out that Goldschlager is the traditional TarValon.Net toast drink, and that it was involved in the founding too. And then Lireina asked Ahmyra if she had brought anyone to be raised, and I about fell out of my seat! (The only other White there was Kelgan, you see.)
 

I held it together to kneel in front of our Keeper of the Chronicles and recite our Oaths (which I don’t remember), holding the bottle of Goldschlager that had provided our toast. Then when I was pronounced Aes Sedai and felt a shawl on my shoulders, I started crying. And I cried for like ten minutes while I hugged my two new Ajah siblings and sat back down with them.
 

But, wait a second. The shawl on my shoulders wasn’t the shawl I had brought with me. It was smaller, and a different color. It was the White Ajah Raising Shawl! (Ahmyra and Kelgan were sneaky and brought it into the toast in a gift bag.)
 


 

Our Raising Shawl is used to raise new White Ajah Aes Sedai during live events. Per tradition, the new Sedai keeps it until a newer Sedai is raised at the next event. And so, I kept it with me until Adanys was raised during JordanCon 2019. Alenya, an unaffiliated Accepted at the time, was the sneaky assistant there. Since I was the only White, I stood in for the Head of Ajah and got to place the shawl on Adanys’s shoulders and pass the tradition on to her…right before I made her my first-sister.
 

Because of the current state of the world, the shawl has changed hands a few times since then, but it is still in our Ajah’s traditions. Hopefully, we’ll be able to use it again some time soon. Until then, I’m proud to have been a part of it.

No Comments

TVTT White Ajah Edition – Unity Shawls

 

There’s a very unofficial position within the White Ajah known as the Shawlmaker.
 

Why might we need a position such as this one?
 

Well… to make our Unity Shawls, of course!
 

We in the White Ajah believe that one of our greatest strengths is our individuality. We have a lot of different people with varied hobbies, interests, goals, and backgrounds. No two people are ever going to look at a situation in the same way. No two people are ever going to live the same life, or hold the exact same beliefs.
 

But we’re all part of the same group, and we like to show unity.
 

The mantle of Shawlmaker was first taken up by Ubahsur Kindellaer, and has since passed through a few other White Aes Sedai before landing on my shoulders – pun intended!
 

The principle of the Unity Shawls is quite simple.
 

We use the same materials, the same fringe, the same fabric, and the same trim for the flame on the back. The outside of a White Aes Sedai’s shawl is, sometimes quite literally, cut from the same cloth. This represents our unity. This shows that we’re all part of something bigger than ourselves. It helps us to remember that we’re not alone, and that we have an Ajah out there that is connected to us and there for us. The outer part of our Unity Shawls represents our home, and our family within the Ajah.
 


 

The lining of our Unity Shawls is a bit different. It represents our individuality. The lining can be solid or patterned with just about anything! It’s meant to be a reflection of the owner, and to showcase their personality.
 


 

This combination shows that while we’re all part of a whole, we’re each our own individual person, and we will each provide something a little bit different to the Ajah. Our Unity Shawls remind us that we are White Aes Sedai, but we’re also our own people and we all have different perspectives that are valuable.
 

My original Unity Shawl was made by Ubah Sedai, and she passed it along to me at 12th Anni in Fenton, Michigan. Later, I sat down with Enya Sedai and we pulled my fringe apart. I knew I was Aes Sedai, but it was then that I really felt like my journey had been completed.
 

And who wouldn’t want to play in all that long fringe!?

No Comments

TarValon.Net’s May 2021 Recap

 
MAY you always find water and shade.  The May Recap from Tar Valon Times is here!
 


 

The month of May had a lot going on in Site Announcements:

  •  T-shirts for the Great Charity Hunt went on sale at the beginning of the month, and they look great!  May 31 was the last day to buy!  This was a fund-raiser for the on-going charity event, and you can find the link here.
  •  April’s Hero of the Horn in the Great Charity Hunt was announced as Natalya Laragan!
  •  Tar Valon has started re-reading the Eye of the World!  You can keep up with the official re-read thread every week in the Book Discussion board, and also follow along on social media.
  •  The Yellow Ajah is stepping up to help those in India affected by the COVID crisis with their GCH Project.  You are invited to check it out and help out here.
  •  The Great Charity Hunt has added a May Challenge to their hunt!  You can print out May Flowers with resources for mental health and well being, and distribute them where needed in your community.
  •  A mysterious thread popped up in General where one can get all sorts of accessories and accoutrements added to one’s braid.  Hop on over to the Blue Cat Inn and visit the Braid Consultants for some light-hearted fun and conversation!
  • Our Amyrlin Seat made an announcement clarifying and updating the Age Requirements for membership levels in our community.
  •  In a long-awaited announcement, the Amyrlin Seat proclaimed that those on the same membership path will be able to officially Bond beginning next month.  Our community fosters many kinds of wonderful relationships, and there has been active interest in the community guidelines changing in this way.  You can see the announcement here.
  •  The Amyrlin Seat and Keeper of the Chronicles made a large list of changes and works in progress of changes and goals made for the site.  Here, they made sure to give shoutouts to those helping them in their ventures.

 


 
Last month, we welcomed Jahily al’Karee as the Tar Valon Times Editor, and this month we welcomed Leala al’Dareis as the Assistant Editor of the Tar Valon Times!  Oh…wait.  That’s me!  I’m already enjoying my time working alongside our Editor, and Director of Marketing, Aleita Taviah.  I also see that we have an amazing team of reporters and content creators.  I’ll do my best to make the Tar Valon Times the best it can be!
 


 

There was only one raising in the month of May, and that was Accepted Jocasta Braithe!  Jocasta has been an active member of our community since she joined, and she is well deserving of this new rank.
 

No Comments

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Monthly Summary

 
Please note – this article contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time.
 
Tarvalon.Net began a re-read of “The Eye of the World” on May 2, 2021. The discussion thread is HERE to follow along and join in the discussion! Our Tower Archivist, Toral Delvar, brings us his perspective in a recap of the first month’s passages.
 

This set of chapters does have something of the feel of a fairly traditional fantasy series. Since then, there have been many series not remotely following this formula (and even before), but the Lord of the Rings was probably the best known then. There were others, such as the Belgariad and Shannara series, so the idea of simple village folk forced to flee by a strange evil in the company of a mysterious magic user has an element of familiarity. Which continues as they split up and it develops into a fairly standard quest-type plot.
 

We do see elements of what is to come – Min’s visions for example give a lot of hints; though much of this is not apparent until it happens, and maybe not even then. We also see some things such as the identity of Ba’alzamon, and which of the boys he is after, laid out pretty explicitly. But this is easy to miss, at least on a first read, in part because of one of the themes of the series — people believing and acting on incomplete, or even outright incorrect information. In this instance, we have Moiraine tell the reader that Ba’alzamon is the Dark One, and it is very easy to accept this, rather than ask ourselves “where is she getting this information from, does she have any real reason to be confident it is correct?” When the village folk make such statements however, we already know they are basically ignorant, so when Mat claims Lan can’t be a Warder because Warders spend all their time in the blight in gold covered armor, we don’t think “oh, he must be right.” If anything, we think “yeah, that’s an Aes Sedai and her Warder, shut up Mat.”
 

Further to this, we see characters refusing to learn from their mistakes, because they think they already know what they need to know. Despite knowing how reckless Mat is, Moiraine and Lan just assume he has the sense not to investigate Shadar Logoth, because they know how dangerous it is. Similarly, he had previously had it hammered into him “just because we don’t specify something is dangerous, doesn’t mean you should look for a loophole,” but persuades the others to wander off because it wasn’t explicitly said not to. We also see a fair amount on one of another common theme — “men and women are different” — along with the idea that “we can’t trust the men to know what to do.” The subplots regarding Padan Fain and the Whitecloaks also get their starts in these chapters.
 

We get a good feeling for Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene. They are all very much village folk, and somewhat immature, especially Egwene and Mat. But we also see at their core, much of who they later become. Similarly with Nynaeve and Thom. Moiraine and Lan remain more of a mystery, which is likely intentional; so the reader doesn’t really know if they should be trusted, and will largely accept the boys’ decision not to tell her important information such as their dreams. We do see some hints that Lan and Nynaeve had made an impact on each other, and they are responding to each other differently than how they respond to most people.
 

One of the things that really stood out to me, some 30 years ago when I first read this was the visions, prophecies, and foreshadowing. Min throws out about a dozen, some of which we can be fairly confident of what they are – the sword for Rand for example. Others are still something of a mystery, to me at least, such as flowering around Perrin. Ba’alzamon tells Rand that by sending one of Artur Hawkwing’s sons over the Aryth Ocean, he sealed a “doom yet to come” – What did he mean by this? Was this a dark prophecy, or was he just rambling? A lot of his actions here, from sending trollocs after the boys, to creating bizarre mazes in dreams seem to make little sense. What did he mean that the Eye of the World would not serve Rand? Did that mean anything, or was that just an attempt to direct him towards it?
 

We see a good amount of worldbuilding. We learn something of Aes Sedai and Warders, and the existence of the Aiel and Sea Folk. Plus both are expecting their prophesied figure, He who comes with the Dawn and the Coramoor; neither of which are really re-visited in any depth until book 4.
 

Finally, there are many mysteries –- comments about the world that don’t make much sense at the time. Sometimes, these are resolved almost right away, others not until much later in the book, or even series. And some that never really get resolved. There are also things that seem not to come up again. Moiraine’s statement that touching the Source gives her protection from the Dark One – I don’t even know what that means. Nynaeve’s ability to know when someone she has Healed is around, or the “feelings” Elyas gets – are they a Wolfbrother thing? I don’t recall Perrin having them, but that may be something I missed.

1 Comment