Weight: 88 lbs
Notes: Adalon is not channeling; he's too young for that. In fact, he may -never- Channel. But his mother has sent him to the Black Tower because she's afraid that someday he -will- Channel, trained or not. So he's at least a servant, but also likely a student.
"The kid's got spark."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
The woman stomped her foot, fists on hips. The man flinched.
"That is not the spark I meant!"
"Yes, dear. But he's... he's..."
Her eyes glinted dangerously. "Yeeees?"
He slouched a little lower in his chair. "Nothing."
"You were about to say that the things he does aren't natural, weren't you?"
She sighed. "Believe me, Jord, he shows no signs of anything unnatural. I may not have passed as one of their high-and-mighty Accepted, but I didn't leave the Tower without some knowledge."
"I thought you said your type of Power could detect the other?"
"But I can see if it took Power to put something together, dolt!"
"Where is he now?" she demanded, snatching up a checkered shawl.
"He's irrigating a field."
That stopped her. "He's digging a new ditch? At his age? By himself?"
"No," Jord replied, miserably. "He's doing something with bits of wood again."
"But, the field?"
"Oh, I don't understand it!" Jord declared, desperately. "He tried to explain, but I just can't follow it! Dark, Metreya, but it makes my head hurt!"
Metreya patted his head, gently, like a kind master with a skittish horse.
"It will be fine. I promise you. You go into Four Kings for a day or two. Adalon and I will talk."
Adalon was whistling through his teeth as he whittled away at a stick. Several oddly-shaped pieces lay around him as he dangled is bare feet in the water. His skinny arms were tanned by the sun, his childlike hands were roughened by labor, but his fingers were long and quick and precise. He held the vision of what he wanted in his mind's eye, overlaid on the obdurate wood, and slowly shaped it to his will.
Balance and weight, height and depth and flow... water had its own rules, intuitively understood, and one must follow them to make water an ally instead of an adversary.
Metreya, his mother, stood over the boy for several minutes, watching him work. He was far, far too young to Channel, that was certain. But... the look in his eyes, the focus, was something she'd seen in the eyes of Aes Sedai. He was oblivious to her presence, even her shadow, so total was his childlike concentration. He brought that focus to anything that attracted his attention, whether it was learning his letters or working with numbers.
If he could Channel, he would grow skilled quickly. But that was an "if" of no small consideration. If he had the spark, if he had the gift, if he could learn to Channel... But she would never be able to train him in that, and knew it.
A bitter woman learned something in those moments. The gall of being rejected by the White Tower was enough. She might spite the world in denying him the chance to learn if he could Channel, but would she? And if he did Channel on his own--a very real danger--could she bear to keep him and watch his descent into madness?
How deep does hatred run? Deeper than a mother's love?
"Adalon," she said. "Adalon!"
He glanced up, startled. "Hello, mother."
"Put that... that... what is that?"
"It's a water gate."
"It looks like one of those balance things you children go up and down on."
"That's where I got the idea. See, as the water on one side rises--"
"Stop, please. Your father already tells me it's complicated."
"Not really," he argued. "See, when the floating part on this side--"
"Adalon!" she snapped.
"I'm sorry, mother."
She sighed, trying to gather her thoughts again.
"I've reached a decision."
Adalon looked alert and wary. When she used that tone, it was a final decision, and probably one he would not enjoy. "You're a bright boy, and I've taught you what I can. But there are bigger places in the world, with more people and more to learn. And there's no time like now to start."
"Really?" he asked, eagerly.
"Yes. So, I'm sending you somewhere you can study some *complicated* subjects."
"Oh..." Sending him away? Leaving? Being anywhere but on the farm never even occurred to him.
"That's right. Maybe you'll find you're more gifted than you know," she said, thinking to herself 'and go mad someday.' "Or, perhaps, you'll find you're gifted in ways no other has dreamed of."
"But what if I don't want to go?" he asked.
Metreya looked at him sharply. Adalon met her gaze for several seconds, then dropped his eyes.
"Mother knows best."
That phrase would ring in his memory for years, a much-hated mantra.
"So... where am I going?"
"The Black Tower."