TVTT Novice/Recruit Edition – From the Hallways

TVTT Novice Recruit

 

From the Hallways, a note from your Novices and Recruits

 

As a follow-up to last week’s spectacular TVT Takeover, I asked my fellow Recruits and Novices to share something about their experiences here in the Tower at TarValon.Net. Many Senior Members have fond memories of your time as Junior Members (JM’s) — from roommates who became friends, to working together on free weeks, to pulling off pranks. Not to mention attending and being raised at live events. There’s something special about being Novices and Recruits in our community, and among other things it’s the first step toward finding home.
 

So what do our current crop of JM’s think about being Novices/Recruits? I decided to focus on the two most important questions — what do they dislike, and what do they like best?
 

First, what do they dislike? While people understand the reasoning why, the most common answer is losing access to the City. Even though it’s temporary, it can be disjointing to lose track of conversations for several months. One JM said they disliked “the lack of unlimited power.” Clearly that JM hasn’t been involved in enough pranks
 

What do Recruits and Novices like best? Some said having mentors — for the friendship, support and guidance they provide during the process of working through the steps. Overwhelmingly the thing everyone likes best — getting to know people. Making connections and friendships, both with other JM’s and Senior Members. After all, our members are the heartbeat of our community, and there’s nothing better than finding your place in it.
 

In closing, I’ll add a couple of observations from my uncommon experience of having been a Novice twice. While many things about the Tower are still the same, there are some notable differences. For one, in this post-integration era all of the JM’s are together. Which has been great. I’ve really enjoyed getting the opportunity to hang out with everyone!
 

Another main difference that I’ve noticed since my first time around is where JM’s spend their time. When I was a JM the first time, circa 2012-2014, the Forums were the primary activity spot. Now in 2020-2021, the updates to Discord (including more chat spaces, voice channels, games, movie watching, etc.), have given the JM’s (and everyone else) the opportunity to interact with members from all over the community in “real time” — something many community members have expressed a need and appreciation for in our current global environment. Activity in Discord has been invaluable to me personally, and it’s definitely a place where there is growing involvement among my fellow JM’s. Feel free to start a chat with me sometime!

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Member Spotlight: Alenya Al’Roran

Member Spotlight Alenya

 

This month, the Tar Valon Times is excited to bring you a bonus Member Spotlight, featuring our new Director of Membership, Alenya Al’Roran! Alenya is an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, and most recently is coming off of a successful stint as Director of Marketing. She has also served as a City Council Greeter, Social Media Manager, and member of the Outreach Activities Team
 

In real life, Alenya is married to Ken (Novice Kenith Sna’aps). They live in Central Florida with their two children, and their cat Chewy. In addition to raising children and facilitating their online schooling, Alenya describes herself as a professional volunteer. She runs Merchandising and Branding for a Star Wars costuming group; and said that when she joined TarValon.Net, she lasted all of about six months before jumping in and beginning to volunteer!
 

In addition to her WoT and Star Wars communities, Alenya likes to read, crochet, and cross-stitch. She has two Mandalorian costumes, and her Star Wars group normally has a large annual event. 
 

Alenya 1  Alenya 2  Alenya 3

 

Her journey with Wheel of Time began when she was given a copy of Eye of the World while serving in the Marine Corps. (Author’s note – Alenya and Ken are both Veterans, thank you for your service!) She discovered TarValon.Net then, but had little access to the internet. A few years later while doing a reread, Alenya remembered the site and decided to join. She thought she would be able to sit back and just enjoy, but her drive to serve kicked in quickly and she started signing up for positions.
 

Alenya was naturally drawn to the Brown Ajah, and those ties were formed easily as she made her way through the Tower. She attended JordanCon while Guesting, attended the Brown Toast, and “…it was pretty much over from there. Everyone I met was so great and they were clearly my family, and I Aspired as soon as I was able.  Brown has always been my home because it just is.”
 

When the Director of Marketing position opened up in 2019, Alenya applied for it because she had prior experience. And she had a lot of ideas that would build on the foundation laid by the previous director, Jeffan Caliarthan. During her tenure, Alenya has made several changes, and worked to build a strong leadership team within the department. She spoke very highly of her leadership staff, and is excited to see where #teammarketing goes in the future.
 

The Marketing staff members also speak very highly of Alenya:
 

“Alenya is one of the hardest working, smartest, and kindest people I know (and I’m not just saying that cause I’m her first sister ). She has a ton of fantastic ideas for this community and I am so happy that she found her way here. I look forward to seeing her talents shine in the DoMem role as well as they did in Marketing!”
~ Stasia t’Andrei, Marketing Project Manager
 

“Alenya is one of the hardest workers I know. She gives everything that she does 110% and she leads by example. I have really enjoyed getting to know her through the Department of Marketing and I will sincerely miss having her as my boss. In two words, “She’s fantastic!”
~ Aleita Taviah, Tar Valon Times Editor
 

“What can I say about Alenya? Alenya is one of the most hard working people I know. If you looked up “get stuff done” in the dictionary, you would surely find a picture of her avatar. She is an amazing person, and I am proud to work for her as Mayor and also to call her my sister!”
~ Aintza Bisera, Mayor, GameMaster, and TVT Staff 
 

This leads up to the question, why make the move to Director of Membership? Alenya said that this is a dream job for her, and she already loves doing it. In her own words: “I actually have a lot of goals for the Department and there are a lot of things that will be coming out of my office down the road. We’re hoping for an influx of new members when the show comes out, so I’m planning to do everything I can, with help from all of the membership admins, to prepare the site for more members and create a welcoming environment for everyone. My personal goal is to be present and active. I can’t ask anyone to do something I don’t do myself.” 
 

We here at the Tar Valon Times wish Alenya all the best as she completes her move; our membership will be in great hands under her leadership!

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Member Spotlight: Venric Methalion

MemberSpotlightVenric

 

For our January Member Spotlight, we decided to continue on the MDD theme and interviewed their new-ish Company Commander, Venric Methalion. Venric was raised to Gaidin in August 2012, and took on the leadership role for Mahdi’in d’ma Dieb (MDD) in November 2020. 
 

Venric Methalion

 

In real life, Venric lives in the state of Kentucky, USA. He is married to Alexstrasz Ruskein, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah; and they have two cats, Oz and The Precious.

 

Venric Cats

 

If you missed the TVT Takeover article, one of Venric’s many talents is glass blowing. He created the current Oath Rod that we use for live raisings.
 

I asked Venric if he had a favorite project that he’s created so far, and in his own words:

 

“I’d say the most rewarding experience I’ve had from making a piece was during college, on a suit of glass armor that I made with the help of a crew of about eight or nine people. That project was one of the most focused weeks of my life because I only had enough time to take one shot at it, and my graduation hinged on finishing it without breaking it halfway through. The thing I really enjoyed about glass blowing was the collaboration, since to make anything particularly elaborate you really need some extra hands to help.”

 

Venric Suit

 

Venric began reading The Wheel of Time at the suggestion of Alextrasz Sedai; and was introduced to TarValon.Net through JordanCon, which he has attended for the past several years. He tends to think of it as “MDDCon,” because it’s the live event that brings out the largest amount of their group members. 

 

Speaking of MDD, I asked Venric to talk about his membership group. He said that it’s hard to define MDD as a group in a traditional sense by our forum definitions. He added:

 

“To me the biggest unifying factors in our group are our sense of humor, that we don’t take the srs bsns of the internet too seriously, and that we’re constantly pushing to reexamine and adapt things when we feel it’s needed. We don’t try to change things for the sake of change, but if we do find a way to improve or expand something we push for it, and we’re willing to dig in and take a lot of flak if we think it will make things better in the long run.” 

 

One thing you might notice when reading threads or conversations with MDD, is that they own the art of “Gifersation” — communicating in GIF format. Admittedly not something I’m skilled at, I asked Venric to explain this conversational style:

 

“Proper use of gifs as conversation responses is a complicated endeavor, requiring a lot of thought and effort, and what people might perceive as a flippant response or lazy troll is actually a carefully calculated statement that conveys something difficult to otherwise express. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we can be terse but still expressive.” 

 

As mentioned above, Venric took on the role of CC in November. I asked him what interested him in the job. He said that it came up when he finished Guesting — “we felt like it would be pretty on-brand to let an aspirant take the helm and see what happened;” but it didn’t go through. When it came open last fall, he decided that it was the right time to put his energy into the position. The members of MDD have served our community in a lot of different ways, many behind the scenes. Venric is hoping to encourage the Company to be more active and visible during his term of office. 

 

Sounds like we’re in for some great Gifersations in the near future! 

 

Congratulations to Venric Methalion and Zashara Sho’am, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, on their new bond! If you want to read an epic Gifersation, their application is a fantastic example!

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Happy Koloss Head-Munching Day!

BrandonSanderson

 

Today we say Happy “Koloss Head-Munching Day” to celebrated American author, Brandon Sanderson!

 

Brandon Sanderson

 

Sanderson made his mark in the Wheel of Time community after taking up the torch from the late Robert Jordan, and completing his masterpiece.

 

Sanderson has won multiple awards for his own works; and is most well known for creating the multi-series Cosmere universe. The latest of which is Rhythm of War, which was released in November 2020. Our forums have a special Brandon Sanderson section in the Book Discussion forums that is dedicated to his works. (Don’t worry, the threads are clearly marked with spoiler tags!) You can also join in the discussion on our Discord channel’s Library section.

 

In addition to his writing, Sanderson has developed a very robust YouTube channel, which he describes as “fairly eclectic.” It contains a great deal of resources aimed at aspiring writers, including his university lecture series at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. There are also videos of live signings, interviews, random thoughts, etc.

 

Fun fact for those who may not know, Sanderson’s birthday is also known as “Koloss Head-Munching Day.” This started as a joke when a fan asked if there were any holidays on Scadrial, a fictional planet in the Mistborn series. Naturally, this has been picked up and celebrated annually by his fan base.

 

For more information about Sanderson’s current and upcoming projects, you can visit his website. Also upcoming is his “State of the Sanderson” report, which is released annually in December.

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TVTT Citizen Edition – A letter from the Mayor

TVTT Citizen Edition

 

Welcome to the TVT Takeover – Citizen Edition!

 

I am looking forward to you seeing what our Citizens have put together to kick off this exciting new series for the Tar Valon Times!!
 

My name is Jahily al’Karee and I have served over the past 18 months as the Mayor of TarValon.Net. This has given me the opportunity to “meet” every new member who registers for our community. And in many cases, help them find their way around the site – from choosing avatars, to getting involved in discussion threads, to deciding on their next step, whether that’s Resident Citizenship or applying to the Tower.
 

The reasons people join our community are as varied as the people themselves. Some find us through our Library and realize that we also have book discussion forums. Others meet our members at events and decide to check things out. Quite often people have friends or significant others who are members, and are “encouraged” to join. And some people join because they just want to make friends with others who share common interests.
 

Our community is unique in many ways. Our library is extensive (and ever-growing), and sets a gold standard for Wheel of Time information. Our forums are full of lively discussions, about everything from the WoT series, to entertainment, sports, or fun community building. We also have fun events throughout the year; and have recently added more virtual real-time options — game nights, Zoom chats, and a newly updated and growing Discord channel, just to name a few.
 

While we are not a role playing site, our members have the opportunity to work their way through the Tower (from Novice/Recruit) to Senior Membership as Aes Sedai or Gaidin. In our community, these roles are not tied to gender. This allows our members the most authentic expression of themselves. Anyone can be raised to Aes Sedai or Gaidin. Bonds remain restricted to between an Aes Sedai and a Gaidin.
 

Just as important as the reasons why people join, are the reasons why people stay. There is so much here to explore beyond a beloved book series. There are opportunities to connect with people who have similar interests, but are different from yourself. As an international community, the possibilities to reach beyond your corner of the world are limitless.
 

Our introduction page really says it best: We are Tar Valon, the City and the Tower, and we … recognize those around us as true friends and family. We host live functions, attend real gatherings, and this site is where we communicate, entertain, cooperate, and play. Join us!
 

Although my term as Mayor is coming to an end, I look forward to what’s next for our community — how it grows as each new member adds their gifts and talents. I hope to see you here soon!
 

Up next in the Tar Valon Times Takeover Series is The Gray Ajah. So keep an eye out for that in the first week of December.

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