Persuasion: Fen Garlan

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Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:21 pm

Death comes for us all, we can only choose how to face it when it comes.

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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:02 pm

Lesson One
Basic Wards, Appearances, and now Persuasion; all classes that would further him along the path towards his goal. Yes, the Mistress had been wise indeed to insist Fen Garlan join the Grey Tower. These were the thoughts that occupied his mind as he entered the classroom and took a seat farthest from the door. So engrossed in such thoughts he did not notice the teacher until she closed the door and began to speak.

By the Shadow! It is her! He thought as recognition flooded his awareness, the Accepted from that night in the gardens. The one whose name he had not been able to discover. Now he knew it, Mirin Ronaile. A smile crossed his face as he considered the situation. Now he had a name to present to Adrian. Perhaps that would jog the man’s memory. In truth, Fen wasn’t sure why it mattered, but he had been bothered by it all the same. How had she caused his friend to lose his memory? That was a skill, or was it a weave, that he desperately wanted to learn. And now here she was, teaching a class in Persuasion. A coincidence? Fen did not believe in such things. No, it was all part of the Pattern, of that he was sure.

But then a second thought, a much more disturbing one, crossed his mind. If he recognized her, would she not him as well? Would this affect what happened in this class? Perhaps he should just slip out quietly, before she noticed. Why had he decided to sit so far from the door? He would be seen leaving for sure. Nothing for it but to stay and tough it out.

Oh, burn me! Discussion, we have to discuss instead of write? She would notice him, recognize him, there was no doubt as to that. But he was stuck with no way out. He began to pay attention to what Accepted Mirin was saying. Interesting, actually; things he had not considered. Of course he would have preferred learning manipulation, even better, compulsion, though he understood that last item was forbidden. All the more reason to learn it!

As it came time for him to share with the class he rose and smiled at her, “Accepted Mirin, it is my pleasure to share an experience with the class,” by the Chosen themselves, that Appearances class had done wonders for his confidence. Fen knew there would have been no way he could stand before a class such as this had it not been for the skills learned in Asha’man Seth’s class.

“I am from Mosra originally, a small village in Altara. The journey to the Grey Tower was a long and arduous one, and one I might never have survived without help. Such was my desire to attend this institution that I set out anyway, despite the hardships sure to be encountered. Fortunately, help I did receive in a form you might find incredulous. You see, I was able to persuade an Aielman to be my guide. Now, you may ask yourself how such a small seemingly harmless person such as myself could manage to persuade such a fierce warrior to aid me. I understand completely, but let me share my story and you may judge for yourselves whether to believe me or not.” He turned and smiled at his classmates, slowly stretching out his arms, palms upturned.

“I came upon the poor man as he was being held hostage by some very rough characters. I took them for followers of the self-proclaimed Prophet Masema. Perhaps this is my first example of persuasion, though I imagine Accepted Mirin might be more inclined to label it manipulation. You see, I was able to produce a forged document bearing Masema’s signature. Fortunately, the men holding the Aiel prisioner were illiterate, or you would have seen through my bluff. Obviously, they wanted authorization to release the prisoner and that I provided them. Hence, they released the prisoner to my custody, shall we say. Now, Accepted Mirin, you said one should identify their target’s interest. Let us review what else you said and how it applies to my situation. Context: Obviously, the man was a prisoner. Target: the Ailman. Interest: Freedom. I provided that and, in turn, received the savage’s agreement to assist me. It seems they have something they call toh. A most wondrous concept! Thanks to that, I was able to arrive safely here at my destination. Was that an example of persuasion? I would like to think so.” With that, Fen took his seat and awaited the discussion that he was sure would ensue.
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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Jenny » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:06 pm

The student's face was vaguely familiar. Ah, yes... he had been in the gardens, Mirin remembered with a sudden chill. Yet she had not been caught for her prank with Betrys - it seemed that her threats had worked. She brushed her thoughts aside and listened attentively to his answer.

The Soldier was eloquent and quite intelligent, although there was something... ingratiating about his manner that Mirin found unpleasant. But he spoke with confidence, and his answer was very good. Her grey eyes sparkled. "Wonderful example," she responded. "I believe that, yes, presenting the forged document is indeed manipulation - but sometimes circumstances call for it. Freeing the man, however, was certainly a very effective use of persuasion."

"What is your name? Fen Garlan? Very well, Fen, thank you for your answer."

She moved on. Soon, the bell rung and class ended. "I'll see you all next week," she called out.

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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:05 pm

Lesson Two
Fen Garlan sat in the classroom in exactly the same seat as he had the previous class. He liked the sense of comfort a routine such as this created. He felt more at ease, more like he belonged. That sense of belonging was something that had been missing in his life for most of his twenty-five years. He had never fit in, never been accepted in his Altaran village. As Fen joined in the laughter at the Ji’s response, he considered the concept of ‘liking’. Perhaps that had been his problem in Mosra, he wasn’t like the others. His Saldaean mother had passed on the trait of a large proboscis, a point of ridicule by his fellow Mosrans. But perhaps now that he was out into the wider world, that could work in his favor. Perhaps his nose would help him to persuade others who had unusual physical features, others who had suffered taunts and teasings because of it.

In addition, he realized that here in the Tower he had a lot in common with others. After all, weren’t they all channelers? He thought of his roommate, Adrian. While it was true that Fen had not actually ‘persuaded’ the man to befriend him, did it not come about in part because of an experience they shared together? He glanced up at the instructor, reminding himself again of that night in the garden.

Now, as for social proof, well, that was a different story. He realized he had no experience with it, largely because he knew so few people. The only thing he really knew about the various groups of friends and acquaintances in his village was that they shared a dislike of him! That was hardly the type of social proof he could draw upon, was it? Still, it was an interesting concept, and one he might be able to put into practice as he opened up to people here in the Tower and developed relationships.

Finally, on the question of authority what did he know? Who would accept his authority, a mere Soldier in the Tower? Someday, after he was Raised, he imagined other Soldiers might view him as someone whose authority they would trust. What of people outside the Tower? It was his experience that Asha’man and Aes Sedai often engendered a lack of trust on the part of the general population. Now, if the question was about the proper size wagon wheel, for example, someone might trust his authority as a cartwright, but he wasn’t about to go back to being one of those.

All in all, it appeared he had little authority and no social proof!
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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:33 am

Lesson Three
There was an edgy wariness about the class today, Fen sensed it and was sure others did as well. Most of the class appeared to have been shocked by the Accepted’s harsh rebuke of the tardy Drin; most of the class, but not Fen. He had already seen that side of Mirin Ronaile and recalled the razor sharp tone of her voice, Cairhien accent and all, as she had dressed him down in the garden that night. Oh, she knew persuasion, all right, and manipulation, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of compulsion. How else could one explain what had happened to Adrian then? But suspicion was not proof, and what would he do even if he had proof? What was it to him whether she could do those things? Much better to continue with this class as if he had no memory of their previous encounter. The Accepted certainly acted as if it had never happened.

As she spoke, Fen considered the meaning of the Accepted’s example of reciprocity. He had thought often, and with a gleeful anticipation, of paying back those who had wronged him. Of course this was revenge he was contemplating, quite the opposite of the Instructor’s intent. But when had anyone ever done something nice for him? His mother, he supposed, but that was different. Adrian? His roommate was friendly enough, but Fen couldn’t think of a particular kindness exchanged between them. Oh, Adrian had been grateful for Fen’s help that night in question, though the man couldn’t remember what had actually happened. Would that be an example? Fen didn’t think so.
When it came time to discuss with a partner, (Fen hated these moments) he turned towards the Novice seated next to him. Her expression seemed to indicate her displeasure in being paired with him, but that was her own fault. Fen always sat in exactly the same seat each and every class, the familiarity and routine helped his confidence. She was the one who chose to sit next to him.

“Silece,” she said by way of introduction.

“Fen,” he replied, then indicated she should go first.

The Novice prattled on about being complimented on her deep blue eyes and how warm and fuzzy it made her feel. Fen feigned interest while controlling the urge to roll his eyes. When she finally finished, he mumbled some pleasantry before describing his own experience.
“You might be surprised to learn,” he began in a wry tone, “but I am not the recipient of many compliments. I was a social outcast in my village so it was not until I arrived at the Tower that I can honestly say I received any compliments, at least none I can recall.” The Novice smiled sympathetically. Burn you! He thought I don’t need your sympathy, you silly twit! Offering her a rueful smile in return he continued:
“It was during my One Power Basics lesson that I can recall first receiving one. Kiellan was the Dedicated who tested me. I was new to the Tower, knew no one yet. When he praised my ability at the end of the lesson, well, I can’t recall ever feeling so proud! His compliment boosted my confidence immensely and made me feel welcome here.”

There, that should be enough to satisfy her, he thought, though whether he meant Silece or Mirin he wasn’t sure.
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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Jenny » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:44 pm

Mirin walked along the aisles, listening to her students speak. As she walked by Fen, she heard Kiellan's name.

"His compliment boosted my confidence immensely and made me feel welcome here," said the Soldier. Mirin hid a smile. Yes, that sounded like Kiellan. The Dedicated was good-hearted and kind. Too kind for his own good, in Mirin's opinion, but the sincerity of his compliments shone through.

"Excellent," she said. "Remember that it is not just his words that matter, Fen, but also his attitude. I've met Kiellan before and can speak from experience. He is a very sincere man. If he did not speak so sincerely, then you may have believed that he was mocking you. The best compliments always have the sound of truth." She turned to Silece. "Your example is also a good one, but I would also like you to consider the person who gave you the compliments. Would your feelings change if a different person said the same thing?"

She moved on to the next pair of students. When the bell rang, she dismissed the class and sat at her desk. She slumped over and buried her head in her hands. Thank the Light this class was over, she thought.

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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:30 am

Lesson Four
Seated in his customary spot in the middle of the classroom, Fen listened to the discussion of today’s topic, trust. He recognized immediately the challenge before him. Although he understood quite well the concepts Mirin Ronaile was stressing, he was having difficulty applying them to his own experience. How could he describe someone he admired or trusted when, to the best of his knowledge, he did neither?

Oh, there was the Chosen, of course. He trusted Graendal, partly because he desired her so to do otherwise would be foolish, and partly because he had no choice. But he couldn’t use her as an example! Nor could he mention Aran’gar, though he wasn’t sure he trusted her and he certainly did not admire her. Feared her, yes; she terrified him. Beautiful though she might be, he felt not a whit of desire for her. All right, Fen, no Chosen ones then. Who else was there?

His roommate, Adrian, came to mind, but did he admire him? No, he decided, he did not. He felt a friendship towards the man, that in itself was a strange sensation, but did he trust him? Obviously not, or he might have revealed already his affinity for the Shadow. There were a couple of Dedicated, but, again, did he really admire them, or was he simply reacting to the kindness they had shown him?

Finally he hit upon an idea. Seth Asha’man, his instructor for Appearances. Yes, he admired the man, admired his coolness, his confidence, his sense of comfort in his persona. And he had set expectations for Fen, as he did for every student in his class. His goals had not been set too high for Fen to achieve them, and the sense of success in doing so increased his admiration for the man as well as his own self-confidence. Thus it was that when it came his turn to share with the class, Fen painted a glowing picture of the Asha’man. Finally, taking his seat again, Fen heaved a sigh of relief. This had been a very difficult assignment!
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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:20 am

Lesson Five
Listening to Mirin Ronaile’s lecture, and the discussion it engendered, set Fen Garlan’s mind to wondering. The challenge she posed at the end of her lecture was daunting indeed, given that Fen could not recall ever trying to persuade someone of something in the first place. But the Mistress had recommended, no, ordered, if the truth be said, that he change. She had explained that his subservient behavior would prevent him from carrying out the mission she had in mind for him. Thus it was that Fen had taken the Appearances class to gain confidence and now Persuasion to help him put that newly developed confidence to work.

He chose not to engage in a dialogue on the subject with another student but instead worked out his answer in his head. For one thing, the likely targets of any attempt at persuasion were not ones he would care for others to know. Chances were they would be members of the Tower itself, perhaps some of the Black Ajah he had been ordered to contact. Obviously he would need to convince them he was a darkfriend as well. Fen also harbored a deep hope, one he barely dared acknowledge, that he might actually be able to persuade the Mistress herself. But the idea that she could invade his dreams caused him to fear she might be able to read his thoughts when awake as well; best not to entertain such ideas at all.

Seeing an opportunity, Fen rose and approached the instructor. She had pointedly avoided showing any recognition of him and he had happily played along. Perhaps she wasn’t even feigning it, wasn’t it possible that the occurrence in the gardens that night were of such little importance to her she actually did not recall him?

“Mirin Aes Sedai,” Burn it all, the woman had been raised! “If it pleases you, I would share my thoughts with you now.” As she nodded her assent he continued, “I would think that two of the most successful means of persuasion would be appealing to logic or to the emotions. If one cannot get the target to see the sense of your argument logically, then perhaps changing your approach to appeal to their heart would be the appropriate tactic. By way of example, let us assume I am trying to persuade you to give me passing marks in this class. Perhaps I have missed several lessons and you feel I am not deserving. I could first attempt to convince you logically by showing that I have grasped the most important concepts. However, if I see that I have not persuaded you then I might change my tactics. Instead, I would explain that my roommate had taken deathly ill and that I had missed class in order to help nurse him back to health, or at least to provide emotional support at his bedside as he recovered. Thus, I would be playing upon your emotions, hoping you would either take pity or perhaps be moved by my sacrifice.” He paused to gauge her reaction before concluding, “Of course, if neither of those worked, I could always ask for a second chance, the opportunity to make up the missed lessons on my own time. I hope this is the type of answer you were seeking.”
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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Jenny » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:38 am

Mirin smiled at the Soldier. She nodded as he spoke. Fen was one of her more insightful students. Last week, his assessment of Seth Asha'man had been very accurate even if he glossed over some of the man's flaws. This week, she was pleased with his answer - but he still had much to learn.

"Using logic and emotion are both good attempts," she answered. "But never forget your audience. Do you think that I am the sort of teacher who would pass a student even if they have missed classes? Or that I will fall for emotional manipulations? Your last suggestion is the best one. Asking for a second chance would be the best approach - for my class, at least."

She looked him up and down. "I also encourage you to think of how you can use your personal experiences and skills to frame an argument. For example, you look like the sort of man who had a life before coming to the Tower. You must have skills that others do not. Good job, Fen. I'll see you next week."

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Re: Persuasion: Fen Garlan

Postby Prew » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:48 pm

Lesson Six
As Fen sat in his customary seat in the middle of the classroom he smiled at the irony in today’s lesson. Emotions… well, he was quite emotional today, that emotion being pride. He hoped some of his classmates, perhaps even his instructor, would take note of the Sword Pin that now adorned his collar. He had yet to gain a cord, though, having just begun his exploration of Ajahs, but the pin alone should alert others to the fact he had passed successfully through the Three Arches.

And indeed it seemed to be working! The Novice with whom he had interacted during a previous class now approached him as Mirin Aes Sedai told them to find a partner. What was her name again? Silene? Silece?

“Dedicated, would you care to be my partner?” the raven haired young woman asked as she took the seat next to him. Nodding his assent, Fen tried to remember what they had discussed last time. Oh, yes, it was her blue eyes. Funny, he hadn’t noticed then but her eyes were quite stunning, contrasted as they were by her black shoulder length hair. In fact, she was very attractive all over!

“So, Silece,” yes, that was her name, the smile on her face assuring him that he had gotten it correct, “Would you care to go first?”
And she did, explaining that it made her sad and upset to eat meat. She actually teared up as she explained how emotional she would get when thinking about the poor animals slaughtered so that humans could consume them.

“I understand,” Fen replied, putting as much sincerity into his voice as he could fake, “but look at it this way, Silece. We raise those animals for such a purpose, sheep, goats, pigs, even cattle. Were we to stop using them as a food source, what would happen, can you imagine? They would continue to propagate and soon there would not be enough for all of them to eat. Some would starve to death, a slow and painful way to die, I am sure. Others would fall victims to predators, to be ripped to pieces by wolves, wild cats, or bears. Think how sad that would make you. Is it not better that we humans kill some of these animals in as humane a fashion as possible, in order to insure that worse does not befall them?”

Wiping a tear from her eye, Silece smiled at Fen. “I see what you did there. You took my emotions, my concern for the poor beasts and used it to persuade me what we do is correct. I’m not sure I believe it is, but I appreciate your effort.” She smiled and added, “Now it’s your turn.”

This was the part of the exercise Fen had dreaded. What would he share with this girl? What COULD he share? Dare he admit the anger and fear he felt so much of his life? Would that not tend to lower him in her eyes? He decided to take a chance.

“When I was growing up, in a small village in Altara, I was different than the other children. My mother was from Saldaea, and I inherited this nose and my short stature from her. This made me the object of scorn and ridicule, especially with girls. My mother would tell me I was better than the others, that they were jealous, but all I felt was anger and hurt. It has made me awkward and shy, especially around females.”

Silece reached out and took his hand in hers. No woman, no female, other than his mother, had ever touched him in such a way.
“Oh, poor Fen,” she cooed, not a hint of ridicule in her voice, “I am so sorry! Look at you, a Dedicated! Think how rapidly you rose to that rank! Why, those foolish girls from your village would wish they had been kinder to you if they could only see you now!” Her smile seemed genuine, her sympathetic tone unforced. As if to prove her sincerity, she added “I think you just need to be around women more, to see we aren’t all like those horrid girls in your village,” again the smile, the blue eyes sparkling, “Would you meet me in the Gardens tonight after evening dinner? We could talk.”

A smile burst across Fen’s face. She had done it; taken his emotions and turned them around with her sympathy!

“I would like that, Silece,” he answered, meaning it this time, “Very much indeed!”
Death comes for us all, we can only choose how to face it when it comes.

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