March, 2006 Tar Valon Times

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Tar Valon Times March Edition
Editor: Adriana al'Tere
Assistant Editor: al'Cary Mandoragon


Letter from the (assistant) Editor.

Well, Adriana decided to spring this duty on me somewhat unexpectedly due to a rush of other commitments, so I am madly tring to come up with a purpose and topic for this piece even as I write. Since the only topic of conversation on everyone's lips (or fingers) right now is the 5th Anni party, I thought I would write a bit about Tower RL functions, from the unique-ish position of someone who hasn't actually ever attended one.

So, what do we know about these occasions? People tend to enjoy them. Whether this is due to them being seriously awesome events that provide fun and merriment for all, or whether it is simply because we all live such drearily unpleasant and joyless lives that any escape from the norm is welcomed, I can't really say. Certainly the alcohol consumption seems to support the the "drowning your sorrows" theory, or perhaps just indicates a social situation that needs a fair bit of lubricating.

In any case, behaviour during these events does often seem perplexing and inexplicable to the uninitiated. Odd clothes, people whacking each other with sticks, people being sold off as cattle...the list goes on. Either it's the meeting of a weird and improbable internet based cult with a widespread membership base ruled over by a dictatorial matriarch, or everyone is just really drunk. Possibly both.

In any case, 5th Anni will undoubtably be filled with intruigue, suspense and all round enjoyment. Many new stories wll undoubtably be added to Wil's exhaustable repertoire. Many new and embarassing photos of people in compromising positions will be made public to the hilarity of all. Meanwhile, the rest of us will sit around be somewhat jealous of everyone going.

Have fun you all! Or, hope you had fun if this is as delayed as it usually is!

al'Cary Mandoragon


15 Minutes of Fame

by Dart Marouvin

Title: Gaidin of the Dai M'Hael
Tower Name: AXIS
Member Since: October 2001
Real Life Name: Stephen "Bigsteve" Irvine
Age: 23

1. The food I'd die for: Main meal wise I love my fish, Mmm nice freshly caught fish, covered in a lovely beer batter, served with a pile of crisp golden chips, nothing more delicious that that. And for desert Apple Crumble with cream and Ice cream. Now you're talking.

2. My tombstone would say: The Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich, Samuel Morse invented the Morse Code, Plato invented the plate, and AXIS invented the AXIS Bendy Straw Drink Skuller.

3. Trapped on a desert Island, I'd want: A Jackhammer to bust open the hatch that would obviously be frustrating me to get inside for a very, very, very long time.

4. Music genre that defines me: Well I do like metal a lot, but to sum me up? Probably be Weird Al Yankovich

5. Favorite Wheel of Time character: Well that would have to be Hopper, I was so sad when I thought he was dead, and so happy when we saw him in the Wolfdream, and then when he could fly, and Perrin said "He did it" I got all choked up. To soar!! Loved it.

6. I'd pick this person to play me in a movie based on my life: Hmm, for old me, I would cast Harrison Ford, for young me I would cast David Boreanaz from Angel and Buffy.

7. My lightsaber would be colored: It would be red, double ended and with little sparks of lightening flicking over it,

8. If I were Aes Sedai I'd be: damn sexy and handy with the balefire

9. Favorite emoticon: Can't go wrong with a good old smiley face or winky face

10. I have a weird habit of: Turning too quickly around corners and bashing my shoulder on doorframes, I think I still forget how wide my shoulders grew.

11. If I could be anyone for a day, I'd be: Albert Eienstein, would be cool to be him and then to fire up the old brain cells for some harcore thinking.

12. All-time favorite movie: The Princess Bride, love that movie. Inconceivable!

13. Most people don't know that I: Think Elephants are really cool, and would love to have a ride on one.

14. I'd be voted most likely to: Accidentally blow the entire city power grid.

15. Award I'll never win: Darwin Awards, I'm not going out like that, I'll live to a ripe old age of 103.


Hail to the New Chiefs!

By Cursor Wrathwind

People come, people go. Real life can get in the way, and sometimes people have to take a hiatus from this place we call home. Recently, our community witnessed the retiring of three outstanding members from the important positions of Company Commanders and Head of Ajah. However, as Yenie Sedai, Cathel Gaidin and Sataere Gaidin step down, new leaders must arise to the challenge of following in their footsteps. The new leaders, Jasin Gaidin, al'Cary Gaidin, and Morwynna Sedai were generous enough to grant the Tar Valon Times an interview, giving all a chance to get to know our new leaders.


Morwynna Sedai - Head of the Red Ajah

TVT: What motivated you to apply for the position?

Morwynna: Good question! when I saw how much work being a Head of Ajah involves, part of me thought "Oh my God", but seriously, I love my Ajah. It's been like my second family. I trust each of them, I can tell them anything and they give me support when I've needed it. I'd loved being Heart, and cliche as it sounds I wanted to give something back to them, to my Sisters. I just hope that I don't let them down.

TVT: How would you appraise the sate of your Ajah? What weaknesses need to be improved upon? What strengths need to be built up?

Morwynna: To be totally honest I don't think we have anything in particular that could be called a weakness. We have backed off from a lot of the torturing jokes; we don't do that as much which I think is a good thing. We have had our problems in the past but in the last six months or so we've grown significantly and we've had some excellent feedback from some of the Novices.

TVT: Any grand plans/ambitions for your Ajah?

Morwynna: Ah, now for me to tell you that you'd have to come and visit our nice comfy tort...er, study area... oh and you do know you won't be able to leave I'd like to see us continue to grow... we're only three members behind the Gray Ajah now which is amazing, considering when I joined we had I think three active Aes Sedai and five (including me) active Accepted... the fact that we've grown so quickly and yet still retained that closeness we had when we were tiny I think is a credit to the Sisters and Accepted.

TVT: Any aspect of the job frighten/overwhelm you at times?

Morwynna: I'm not looking forward to the report writing aspect of it, but I think once I've done that a few times I'll be fine - which reminds me but I've only been Head for a month now... the technical website side of things is a bit un-nerving but thankfully Yenie is very patient overall though I'm enjoying it, pretty sure there'll be something sooner or later though!

TVT: What's the best part about being the Head of Ajah?

Morwynna: Considering I've only been Head for a month, I've already dealt with two new Accepted joining the Ajah which has been a wonderful experience and I'm looking forward to other Raisings as well.


Jasin Gaidin - Company Commander of Val'Cueran

TVT: What motivated you to apply for the position?

Jasin: Well being Honor Guard for over a year, and with Cathel on a leave of absence due to real life circumstances, I was already doing a lot of the job...plus I wanted to give back to my Company in the best possible way.

TVT: How would you appraise the sate of the company? What weaknesses need to be improved upon? What strengths need to be built up?

Jasin: Our Company is strong and united. The wolves are showing a stronger sense of brotherhood that I've seen in a long time. Primarily we need to be a bit more active in the public eye. I am seeing a dramatic improvement in that, and it keeps getting better.

TVT: Any grand plans/ambitions for your company/Ajah?

Jasin: Activity is a big one. We have a few surprises down the road, things I'm very excited about, but think we're going to keep it a secret right now

TVT: Any aspect of the job frighten/overwhelm you at times?

Jasin: Nothing specifically...It's not an easy position, but not a difficult one either. It's all about time management and how to handle what's thrown at you. I'm fortunate enough to have a great group of easy going guys with very little drama or issues. The administration part of the job is probably the most challenging, because you have to look at everything in a bigger picture. Sometimes that proves difficult.

TVT: What's the best part about being the Company Commander?

Jasin: I don't know if there's any one part It's pretty rewarding on all fronts. I think that it's a great way to be a Servant of All to the site. To give back to a community and a group who has given me so much!


al'Cary Gaidin - Company Commander of Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb

TVT: What motivated you to apply for the position?

al'Cary: Mainly because I thought I could do the job well. Also, I really do like Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb and the people in it (really lucky they don't read this thing, otherwise they might find out...) and I figured this was a good way to put something back in.

TVT: How would you appraise the sate of the company? What weaknesses need to be improved upon? What strengths need to be built up?

al'Cary: Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb has been filled with some of the most talented people from its inception. We are a bunch of intelligent and funny guys, who tend to respect each other. Sort of. However, this talent has expressed itself in negative ways in the past. We need to fix that a bit.

TVT: Any grand plans/ambitions for your company?

al'Cary: Grand? No. However, it has become apparent that we need to interact with the rest of the site a bit more. Most of our immediate plans are centered on getting to know some citizens and recruits. The most obvious such would be our new #mdd chatroom, where we are hosting semi regular sessions where people can meet us in our full glory.

TVT: Any aspect of the job frighten/overwhelm you at times?

al'Cary: Not yet. Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb pretty much runs itself, we are all fairly independently minded and they don't need me to hold their collective hands. Some of the admin stuff has taken a bit of getting used to.

TVT: What's the best part about being the Company Commander?

al'Cary: I couldn't actually say. I am enjoying it all so far, but no one feature of it sticks out as being the fun bit. The power trips are pretty fun.


The New Hall: Things you didn't know about them

by Natalya Laragan


The New Hall of the TV.net has already been working since the beginning of January. Who are these people behind their serious Senior Member image? I am offering you a chance to get a peek into their lives. These random facts you shouldn't have heard before. (And if you have, feel free to send complaints to me by PM. I like getting them.)

When in High School, Adolla Sedai was in her School's State championship swimming team.

Aidan Sedai is afraid that one day, the police will pull her over and make her do the drunk walk. She claims she is unable to walk a straight line even when she's sober.

There's a 20-year time difference between Alena Sedai and her younger brother.

Allin Sedai has a naturally white eyebrow. But it only appeared when she was thirteen.

Darian Gaidin takes his shoes off before he can use the toilet. Any toilet. Even a port-a-potty.

Darim Gaidin hates mustard. In fact, he absolutely loathes it.

Dee Gaidin, who is most often known as Doc Gaidin likes his western star sign, cancer.

Don't go offering fruit to Jarin Gaidin. He has hated fruit since his childhood.

Jundna Gaidin doesn't like face masks.

Khisanth Sedai is about three generations removed from the last name Tudor (as in Henry VIII). Neat, huh?

Kytheria Sedai enjoys dinosaurs, cowboy boots and buttered popcorn jellybeans.

Before moving to her present location, Kiana Sedai worked in a cave, a battlefield and a floating memorial, consecutively.

Oddey Gaidin learned to read when he was six years old. His mother simply grew tired of reading the road signs aloud on a car trip to Sweden, so he had to start practicing himself. By the time they reached the Swedish border, he could read.

Osaka Sedai cannot stand the taste of normal toothpaste. She always uses a strawberry flavoured kiddy version instead.

Riley Gaidin can drive a tractor. This man has goats, too.

Robertus Gaidin just bought a new house. This is also his third term as the SDS representative to the Warder Council.

Sharradin Sedai would rather ruin her hair than use an umbrella. The umbrellas she's trying to use will anyway either turn upside down, drip on her or they simply won't open.

Tallan Sedai is a color-graphemic synesthete. In plain English, it means she is seeing colors when reading a letter, word or number.

Tyla Sedai is constantly walking into things. To quote her own words: "Poles, signs, doors... You name it, I'll probably walk into it."

Valadilene Sedai is 'double jointed' in her hands, shoulders, hips and toes. She can do one impressive seal imitation.

Yelenia Sedai has a very plotsy puppy. Nine-year-old, but still a puppy. It's definitely Blue Ajah material.

And finally we get to Z. The last sitter in our list, Zashara Sedai is a very ambitious one. She wants to get to Harvard Medical School and do a MD PhD there.

I hope you enjoyed this short glimpse to their lives. Of course, you can always get to know them even better. After all, they're just a PM away.

Tower Memories

File:Tvt.jpg
Author: al'Cary Mandoragon, March 2006

To celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the site, I have gathered the favourite memories regarding the site from a wide range of members. Contained in these memories is a rich history of the high points of the site, especially Nadine Sedai's contribution which reads like "Sum up the Tower's history in 50 words or less". It says a lot about our site, that so many people have had such pleasant and life altering experiences as described in these statements.

"I guess it would have to be the very first time I attended a Tower Party (the TN party in April of '03). The reason why it was so memorable for me was my very first impression of Tower Folk. Naturally, I was pretty nervous about meeting people that I had only talked to online before, but when I arrived, I was greeted by a few random people out in the driveway who asked, "What's your name?". And I answered, "Sherry but I guess Lyoness" and I was immediately tacklehuggled and grouphugged and I swear I wanted to cry tears of happiness! I had never before in my life felt so accepted and loved as I did when I arrived at that Tower party. I guess it's the warmth of the members on the site that prevents me from ever leaving. I love this place and all you guys like family!" Lyoness Sedai

"I would have to say my favorite memory was the first time I entered IRC chat. I was so new and everyone was so nice and welcoming.. Wil Cambrae and Neisa Sedai especially. The took me under their wings and really welcomed me. Its the first time I felt a part of a family. It was really something special.. Something I will never forget." Gracienda Al'vonde

"The first year I was here, when we were still on Ezboards and used a chat feature on the boards. I was chatting with some people, one who happened to be Arn Oakenskye, who eventually joined SDS. I was feeling my oats and since I was a Gaidin and he a recruit I had him drink some ooosquie. I forget why but he was. I talked the inebriated recruit into doing some kicking on a pole like the Aiel did at the in the books after the Battle at Carhien. Arn was jumping and spinning then I said I saw him fall off, and land with his knees locked and he broke his legs. Well I believe it was alCary or Moah who was in there with me also, and I had him help me take Arn to the Yellow Tents on the boards to get Healed. It was great times and my first real memory of Arn, and a good one at that. I later found out though it was a spoiler cause he hadn't read that book yet." Wil Gaidin

"It's hard, of course, to choose only one good memory from the many I've had in my just over a year as a member here. Being Raised, whether to novice, Accepted or finally to Aes Sedai - all three were a blast. Endless hours of chatting, either in IRC or via messengers or even Skype, has also been a part of my Tower experience I feel extremely privileged to have been allowed. Still, though, it's the Europarty in Gothenburg summer 2005 that has so far been the biggest prod-buttock experience. The sheer beauty of the place we stayed at was part of it, of course, but far more than that it was the immense feeling of...kinship? I felt with the people in attendance. We didn't really do a lot; we went to an amusement park (Liseberg) where both Ehlana and myself tried our first ever rollercoasters after some (more or less) mild persuasion, but other than that our weekend was filled with hanging out, drinking, swimming in the lake, drinking and generally just having fun. So yes; if you haven't been to a RL gathering yet and you have the opportunity; DO IT!" Ilissa Sedai

"There are so many memories that it's hard to pinpoint one particular one! Scraps we got into as Accepted... real life events... welcoming new Sisters... my bonding experiences... the evolution of the Tower... the list is endless. I shall choose a real life memory; Fall Ball 2003 in Tennessee. Mother was making her announcements of who had won the Tower Awards. For some reason that is still foggy to me, I was chosen as Member of the Year! Mother gave me a huge hug as she presented me with my yummy award book. I was quite giggly and feeling very flushed, but overall it has got to rate up there with my all time favorite memories of the Tower! I hope for many more in the future!" Amaria Sedai

"The first time I went to a tower party was 2nd Anniversary in 2003. I had just ridden 12 or more hours from Ubahsur Sedai's house in Richmond to Tennesse. I was a bit nervous wondering what I had gotten myself into, but when we arrived at the camp noone was there. We were kinda nervous that we had the wrong place but eventually people started coming in, the set up crew had gone out to get food and we were the first people to come in that day. Slowly more and more people showed up and everyone was hugging and talking excitedly. It was a bit like going to a school reunion except you actually like all the people. In the end I never felt more at home with a group and I've been addicted to tower parties ever since." Adolla Sedai

"I have many fond memories of my time here at TarValon, as my membership has spanned near four years now. al'Cary asked me to try to be brief, so, I shall jot down some stuff, and maybe it will spark memories in some of you. Union of Pranksters debut and the punishment set by Mother - When the Browns dressed up as Blues for Halloween and confuzzled everyone! BtBA (most Browns will remember this one) - Monkeys with Bananas and the Prevailing Teddies! When the Browns became Whitecloaks and tortured people in their Dome of Truth. When Naomi and I made a clock blink. My very first meeting of Tower people, when some Yellows kidnapped me for a weekend and introduced themselves to my Mom as the cult members. The tornadoes and floods at 3rd Anni Chicago. The cozy night at Marlinya's the night before heading to the mountains at 4th Anni Colorado. Last but certainly not least, the meeting of my fiance, Jasin Bashar." Nadine Sedai

As for my own memories? There have been a number of good ones. TC back on Ezboards where I made my first bunch of friends. The endless and pointless spam threads in the old DM forum. The immediate sense of belonging I felt when MDD first came together. Making friends from all around the globe, some of whom I hope will stay good friends forever. Having a place to hide and people to whine to when RL goes bad. I can only hope for another three years worth.


Keepers Past and Present

By Dart Marouvin
Laurienne Corana, contributor


Stilled. Abused by Forsaken. Forcibly removed from office. At best, disrespected by the Amyrlin.

In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the women filling the Aes Sedai second-in-command position, Keeper of Chronicles, seem to face trials and tribulation of momentous proportions.

At tarvalon.net, a Keeper's job description is different than that of the Wheel of Time Keeper's, and tarvalon.net Keepers don't tend to face such dire situations, but their job is still one that requires much from the woman who fills it.

For nearly four and one half years, Elyna al'Tzoran, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, has been Keeper of tarvalon.net. This February it was announced that Elyna Sedai would be retiring and that Dralyn Montsier, Aes Sedai and former Head of the White Ajah, would take Elyna's place as Keeper of Chronicles.

"I've been very fortunate in my Keepers," said Eleyan al'Landerin Aes Sedai, the Amyrlin Seat of Tar Valon. "Both in their unique abilities fitting the time in which they serve, but also in having their friendship."

At tarvalon.net, the Keeper's duties do not include acting as the Amyrlin's secretary. Instead the Keeper is in charge of the Female members, bondings and other administrative tasks, such as working with the community administrators.

Val a'Shain, Gaidin of the Dai M'Hael Company, serves as the Keeper's male half, the Master at Arms.

He said that the Keeper and Master at Arms, while they have different responsibilities, must work closely together and communicate.

He said that Elyna Sedai and Dralyn Sedai do things differently and it will take time for him to get used the change. But he said he believes that Dralyn will do a good job as Elyna Sedai's replacement.

"On the whole," he said, "I don't think there are going to be dramatic changes for our membership... The Tower remains unbroken."

The confidence that Dralyn Sedai will fill Elyna's place efficiently is shared, not just by the Amyrlin and Master at Arms, but also by someone who knows Dralyn Sedai well: Shyana al'Veara, Aes Sedai and new Head of the White Ajah,

"(Dralyn) is direct, she knows what she wants and goes for it," Shyana Sedai said. "She leads well by example rather than just with words. She doesn't just try to get people doing things, she participates with them. She was, and is, what a leader should be."

The Amyrlin's sentiments were similar, as she expressed her respect for both Elyna Sedai and Dralyn Sedai.

"(Elyna's) efforts and dedication have been a major force behind our development and growth," the Amyrlin said. "Without her, we simply would not be where we are today. I am confident that Dralyn is going to do the same: shape where we go."

The Amyrlin also said that she believes Dralyn Sedai will help tarvalon.net be the most it can be in the coming years.

As for Dralyn Sedai, she said that she never expected to be made Keeper when she first joined Tar Valon about four years ago in May of 2002.

"It never even crossed my mind that I would one day be involved enough to have the experience necessary to be in a position as involved as Keeper," she said. "Much less have the time and actually be chosen."

Her first reaction when she was told she had been chosen to fill the position, she said, was to wonder what she'd done.

Now, Dralyn Sedai's goal is one that, she said, encompasses all of her goals: to be a part of the administration that keeps things running smoothly.

She also hopes to be an active presence in the community. This will be one of the major changes in how the administration works, Val Gaidin said.

"Elyna doesn't like to be the center of attention," he said. "She runs things from the background as much as possible... Dralyn will spend more time in the spotlight I think."

Dralyn Sedai explained that she hopes being active will help show that administrators are active, often working behind the scenes even if they aren't visible.

"Members should also expect me to be as fair as possible," she added, "even if it does not appear that way. Remember, there are always multiple sides to the same story."

The change in administration is one that all those involved expect to go smoothly.

"(Dralyn has) been with us for most of our history," the Amyrlin said, "and has a firm grasp on where we're going in our future. I think she truly understands and shares my vision for our community. She is active, and she is eager to get started."


The Countdown Is On

It is March again and like every year that means TarValon.net's Anni Party is coming up. But this time it is not just any Tower Gathering; no, it is the Fifth Anniversary!

This year, the party will be held from March 17 until March 20 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and it is going to be the biggest ever! What can be expected? "We have a little bit of everything for everyone planned," says Kariada Kunai, Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah and Director of Membership Services. "We have some of our favorite traditions and ceremonies paired with some new additions.

To make it short: There will be trivia games, discussion panels, workshops, classes, a video game competition, a costume competition, group dances, a movie night, karaoke, ceremonies, and a formal dinner and masquerade, which will be the crowning event.

Everyone has been pretty much excited for the past few months, but now most attendees seem to be boiling with impatience. A lot of new faces will appear among the crowds, and although this is going to be their first Anni Party they can be sure they have at least one thing in common with the confirmed members - they use this opportunity to see their friends, siblings or loved ones again or just to make new friends; as Evgren Sedai of the Yellow Ajah phrases it "All of the activities sound fun, but the best part seems to be the communication with others."