Novices

“Novice” is the term given to the girls and women who are beginning their journey to become Aes Sedai. They are referred to as “child” by the Accepted and Aes Sedai because they must “be protected and cared for, guided in the way they should go, and punished when they do what they should not”. Girls have to be at least fifteen to become a novice, unless they have already begun to channel. There is no longer a maximum age limit to begin training at the White Tower.

Most girls spend between five and ten years at this level, though some have spent only three, two have spent only one, and three initiates, Nynaeve al'Meara, Katreine din Ziago, and her Keeper Veira of the Mosaada Sept of the Goshien Aiel, completely skipped the novice stage and moved to that of an Accepted.

Now that the Red Ajah is tasked with seeking out girls and women who can channel, the numbers of novices have swelled considerably. When an Aes Sedai comes across a girl who can learn to channel, they are assiduous in making sure that that girl makes it to the Tower. When a girl first becomes a novice, another novice who has already been at the Tower for some time is assigned to her for a few days to help her adjust to her new life.

Novices are clothed completely in white; even their thin leather slippers, belt and belt pouch are white. The dresses are plainly cut and jewelry is frowned upon.

The training that novices must undergo before either leaving the Tower or being raised to the level of Accepted is very difficult. It is said that if a girl is going to break, “better it happened as novice than as a sister”.

Not all novices make it to the level of Accepted, but the White Tower keeps its strings on everyone it trains. Girls who are not considered strong enough in the One Power to become Accepted become Kinswomen and either stay with them or are sent home once they have learned how to properly control their grasp on the One Power. Refusing the test for Accepted three times will now have you shepherded into the Kin as well.

Behavior and Restrictions

The Mistress of Novices has the final say regarding all novices.

It is considered improper for an Aes Sedai to befriend a novice because there is the risk that the novice will “start feeling above herself” and therefore get into trouble. Novices generally don’t really know the Aes Sedai well.

Novices are expected to obey Aes Sedai immediately; it is the first lesson that a novice learns. Novices are disciplined to do what they're told without question because at a certain point of their training in Channelling hesitation or doubt could lead to catastrophic results.

They are not supposed to speak to an Aes Sedai unless they are bidden to do so. They are also expected to obey the Accepted almost as quickly as they would the Aes Sedai, and in the eyes of the novices, Accepted are just a small step below Aes Sedai. Novices are expected to try to live their lives as if they are already bound by the Three Oaths. Just like Aes Sedai and Accepted, novices are expected and required to do what the Tower needs.

Novices are not allowed to associate with men; they are discouraged from even thinking about them. In addition, they are also discouraged from thinking of romance and love. This is because women who can channel live a good deal longer than the average person and will likely “watch a husband age and die, and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, while [they] changed not at all”.

Although novices are not allowed to associate with men, they are often pillow-friends with other novices, and while male servants often turn a blind eye to what novices do, female servants keep a close watch on them.

One of the worst misdemeanors that a novice can commit is to run away. Because of the difficulty of the training, and the fact that it takes so long, many are tempted to try. Even setting foot on one of the bridges that leave Tar Valon is considered trying to run away. They are almost always caught and are punished severely; few try it a second time. One of the reasons that novices are kept away from men is so that they do not feel the inclination to run away to get married.

Another of the biggest restrictions on novices is that they are not allowed to channel the One Power if they are not in the presence of an Aes Sedai or one of the Accepted.

When a novice has to be punished for something, she is sent to the Mistress of Novices’ office where she is sometimes physically punished and sometimes given chores. The worst punishment a novice can be given is to be sent to work on a farm, forbidden to channel the One Power until she has learned her lesson. This punishment is usually given as a last chance.

Despite the fact that novice life is difficult and there are many rules, however, novices are treated more gently than Accepted. In addition, the Mistress of Novices usually tries to protect the novices when they need it, as they are not believed able to protect themselves. They are not punished over their lessons unless they have been trying something with the One Power that they are not supposed to, or if they are channeling the One Power without a supervisor.

Novice Training

A Novice is not supposed to Channel without the supervision of an Aes Sedai or an Accepted. When a woman first begins to channel, it requires testing to determine her potential strength. Novices will sometimes have contests of strength in the One Power, though a stop is put to these if any Aes Sedai discovers them at it.

Most girls who wish to become Aes Sedai, even those born with the spark, have a certain fear of the Power. Even after they've learned what to do, they need to be led step-by-step by an Accepted or a Sister. Only a very few will jump right in to Channelling with no regard or thought for the dangers, often putting them in a very dangerous position. Usually the guidance of the teachers, and the girl's own fear, slows her progress down so that the sure ability to touch the Source and Channel come together at the same time as control over Channelled effects.

In the beginning, the student will try reaching for the Source, and more often than not feel as though she's grasping for air. Or, when she does manage to touch the Source, she can do nothing with the Power, or what she does is not at all what she intended. Most have to study at Tar Valon for months before able to do something as minor as make a light flicker in a stone. In the beginning of training, a Channeler cannot handle much of the Power, but as she trains, the amount she can handle grows.

There are many novice exercises that novices use in order to learn how to touch the One Power. These exercises are useful even to Aes Sedai when they need to remain calm. One of the most common is for the novice to imagine herself as a still rosebud opening its petals to the sun. Another common one is for the novice to imagine herself as the riverbank that controls the river, with the river being saidar. Other exercises include imagining oneself as a summer breeze, a babbling brook, a dandelion seed on the wind, the earth absorbing water, and a root in the soil.

Aes Sedai tend to keep any personal tricks they've learned to do with the One Power a secret, though there is a body of common uses for the One Power that are taught to Novices. After learning to embrace the source, one of the first things that a novice is taught to do with the One Power is to make a single flame or a ball of fire. Other training sessions include such exercises as making the air stir, or lighting and dowsing a candle with the Power. They eventually move on to weaving patterns in the air with balls of fire and passing them back and forth with a partner.

Novice lectures include lectures on the nature of reality (Egwene hears two lectures from Sarene Nemdahl on this topic, and part of the lecture is about how “beauty and ugliness are equally illusion”), mediation, the old tongue, politics, OP artifacts, and history, especially war.

Lectures are given on the wars that have been fought between Andor and Cairhien, including the Great Winter War. More recent wars such as the War of the Towers are also taught. Other lectures given on history include Avendoraldera and the Weikin Rebellion, as well as history and the operation of the White Tower, and on topics such as Shein Chunla. They are also taught about Shadar Logoth, its destruction, and Tarmon Gai'don.

Novices who do not know how to write when they become a novice are taught a decent hand. Also, in some cases, a novice may be exempted from a class if she is already extensively learned in that area.

Novices spend almost all day, every day, in training. When they are not taking lessons in the One Power and other subjects, they are doing chores and fulfilling other duties. Novices are almost always tired, and many cry themselves to sleep, not only from exhaustion, but also from fear that they will either be sent away from the Tower or that they will be too tired and accidentally channel more of the One Power than they can safely handle. They rarely have free days, at most they get one once a month.

Training takes place from breakfast until High and then from dinner until Trine. Supper to Full is usually reserved for chores.

The training at the Tower is deliberately hard, and no exceptions are made for any women, regardless of her potential or ability (though there are "teachers' pets" at the Tower). The Aes Sedai feel it's important to learn if a person does not have the character and internal strength to handle the duties and responsibilities of a full Sister before she lets anyone down. Part of the training is learning when to use one's ability, as well as how, and when it's better to do things the way everyone else does. Therefore, it is forbidden for Novices or Accepted to channel to finish their assigned chores.

Novice Quarters

The novice’s quarters are located in a palace-like structure that is attached to the back of the main part of the White Tower.

There are a dozen floors in the novice quarters, arranged around two hollow wells that surround small gardens. There are five rooms on each of the four sides of the palace, making twenty rooms on each floor. Spiraling ramps in each corner lead from one floor to the next. One of the wells is closed, but the one that is currently open opens onto the Novices’ Court at the bottom.

The rooms in the novice quarters are all the same. They are small, just three short paces across, and plain. The walls are white and there are no carpets on the floor. There is a small table to be used for studying, with a short shelf above it. There are rows of pegs to hang belongings on, and a bunk-bed built against one wall. There is also a washstand, a three-legged stool and a narrow hearth. There are no windows. The beds are hard, and novice mattresses are not noted for their softness.

There are small holes in the wall that join one room to the next. The novices use these holes to talk to each other at night. They are too small to see unless you know where to look for them.

The novices eat on the lowest level of the Tower, in a dining hall that is set to one side of the main kitchen. It is large, with floor tiles in the colors of all the Ajahs. There are many tables, which can seat between six to eight novices.

Novice Families

Novice life is rarely easy and often lonely. Late in the Third Age the White Tower, in exile under Amyrlin Seat Egwene al’Vere, sought to ease the experience for their new and growing base of Novices by introducing the concept of a Novice family. Grouping Novices into a more closely knit unit allowed them to support one another, enabling more women to withstand the pressure of Novice life.

The program has continued and expanded in both goal and scope under each successive Amyrlin. With Novice classes quickly eclipsing the Aes Sedai as a whole, it became more important than ever for Novices to bond with one another.

The program currently consists of numerous Novice families, each sharing a floor of the Tower with three other families. Members come and go as some are raised to Accepted and others write their name in the Novice book, but there are never fewer than seven members or more than ten. New Novices are assigned to their families by the Mistress of Novices, who ensures that Novices are placed within families that will nurture their talents as well as break down the existing prejudices that Novices may bring into the Tower with them.

While the families are designed to support their members, they are also encouraged to compete with one another in their lessons, especially against the other family on their floor. Healthy rivalries are intentionally stoked in order to push Novices to grow and improve.

Each family is assigned an Accepted to watch out for them; not every Accepted will shepherd a Novice family, and those that do are chosen from among those most suited to supporting and nurturing their charges. They are also tasked with ensuring that friendly competitions never get out of hand.

Aes Sedai, as a tradition, interact little with Novices and never with the families themselves. That hasn’t stopped specific Ajahs from carving out specific families to look for possible recruits, often by appealing to the Mistress of Novices. While she can refuse any such request, and officially does not consider them, it is not unusual for families to consist of women with similar talents and natures.

Families are named after the floor of their quarters, as well as which quardrant (north, south, east, or west) that they occupy, in an effort to keep things impersonal and avoid headaches given the changing structure of the family.

The Mistress of Novice keeps track of the list of Novice families; they can be found here.

Site Raising Requirements

Novice to Accepted:

-RP as a Novice for one month minimum
-12 posts minimum spanning over at least three threads meeting the requirements below.

Required Roleplays:

‣ A thread that displays the development of control in the One Power. This thread must include another character that can instruct them in channeling. (4 post minimum)

‣ A thread that displays the development of maturity in the character. This thread must include at least one other character. (4 post minimum)

‣ The Novice to Accepted raising test(The Three Arches) thread. This can be a solo thread. (1 post is acceptable as long as there is a 400-word count minimum)

How to Apply for Advancement


When you wish to be raised, please send a direct message to The Lace of Ages. After sending the DM, feel free to tag Kay on Discord (@senna) to make sure she got the message.

In your DM to staff:

Please tag your author account (@username):
Please tag your character account (@username):
Link to approved character biography:

As well as links to each of the required roleplay threads:


Development of maturity (4 post minimum/chore):
Development of the OP (4 posts minimum):
Complete the Three Arches (1 post with a 400-word count minimum):

Raising Celebration

Both Towers trainees will raise on a person-to-person basis (once they have met all requirements and applied to their faction mod).

They will advance with the Rule of Thirds for OP stats appropriate to their new rank (See our Stats page for an in depth explanation).

A celebration will be held yearly on the Winter Solstice (in our world)/Feast of Lights IC to recognize all those who were raised higher that calendar year. The event will run from December 20th (beginning of the longest night of the year) through January 20th as a "one-off" post for characters.

Sharina

Test to become Accepted

The Accepted Test is the test that a novice must pass in order to reach the rank of Accepted within the White Tower. It is a test that forces her to face her greatest fears about what has happened in her life, what might be happening in the present-day, and what might happen in her future. In order to become Accepted, the novice “must want to be Aes Sedai more than anything else in the whole world, enough to face anything, fight free of anything, to achieve it.” What a woman sees during her testing for Accepted is not required to be shared with anyone, as a woman’s fears are her own.

The ter’angreal used for the Accepted test is in the shape of three round, silver arches that stand on a silver ring, with their edges touching each other. The arches are just tall enough for someone to walk beneath them. During the test, an Aes Sedai sits in front of the ter'angreal at each place where an arch touches the ring, presumably activating the ter'angreal somehow.

The ter’angreal forces the candidate for Acceptance to enter three different visions, or alternate realities (it is not known which), where she must face her fears. While within the ter'angreal, she is not supposed to be able to remember who she is, where she has come from, or that she has the ability to channel. An arch will eventually appear in the vision/reality and the candidate will remember that she must go through it. The way back is only supposed to appear once. There is always something that the candidate will encounter that tempts her to stay or distracts her from returning. Some women do not emerge from the ter’angreal, and it is not known what happens to them.

The ter’angreal is now located in a chamber far below the White Tower. The room is carved out of the bedrock of the island and has a domed shape. The walls are pale, smooth stone. The floor is bare stone. The ter’angreal sits in the center of the room, and light from tall stand-lamps flickers oddly on it; you cannot see what lies inside. During the testing, there is a plain table near the ter'angreal holding three large silver chalices, which are filled with clear water.

Before entering the room, the Mistress of Novices asks the novice if she is ready to face her fears. The test is dangerous. Some women have never returned. If the novice is to survive the test, she must be steadfast.

The novice is then given one more chance to refuse to take the test, which she is allowed to do twice before she must either take the test or leave to join the Kin or go home. If she chooses to go on, she then enters the chamber with the Mistress of Novices. If she survives the test she is given the great serpent ring to wear on her left index finger and the banded Accepted dress.

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Current Novices


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