The entire Grey Tower, from the Amyrlin Seat down to the scullery maids, have been granted a free day to celebrate Sunday. Hama Valon is hosting a traditional Two Rivers observance of the holiday with various competitions, feasting, and merriment, and a traveling show has set up camp just outside the city walls in hopes that the revelers will be free with their coin.
Students are reminded that even though it is a free day, they are expected to adhere to all rules, particularly those regarding proper conduct, and to tidy up after themselves lest they find their usual chores doubled on the morrow. Novices, Soldiers, and drin'far'ji may attend the celebration, in uniform, but may not stray into the city, enter the traveling show without permission, or otherwise evade supervision.
Elyscia had risen when the faint light of predawn was just beginning to break over the horizon. The air had been cool with the sweet smell of summer flowers heavy on the wind. It was the perfect weather for Sunday celebrations. It marked the first festival she had been asked to oversee as Mistress of Novices and she wanted everything to be perfect. Everyone had been given the day off with the exception of the staff and students who were asked to participate in the preparations for the days feasting and competitions. For the first few hours of the day she had been occupied checking on food, monitoring the raising of tents and tables, the placement of decorations and the arrangements for entertainment of all sorts.
An hour before high she had withdrawn to her rooms to clean up. She had changed from the simple brown dress she had been wearing to one of blue and white linen with small yellow flowers on the bodice and she had plaited her chestnut locks in a long braid down her back tied off with a single blue ribbon. Once she was refreshed and satisfied with her appearance she made her way down to the festival grounds.
The tents were awash in activity. Every member of the Tower had been given a free day and most of them had turned up in their best festival attire to enjoy a day of feasting, laughter and dancing. There were two large tents set out for feasting. At the far end of the field they had set aside for the festival a platform had been raised where judges could sit and observe some of the competitions, while others would take place in other areas. It was to this platform that Elyscia turned her steps.
She reached the center of the platform and embraced saidar. A slight breeze blew the few loose strange of her hair tickling her skin. As the bell rang high she wove fire and air in a cone spiraling out from her lips so that when she spoke her voice would carry over the entirety of the fairgrounds. “Good afternoon and welcome to the Grey Tower’s Sunday celebration. Much of the staff and many of the students have given freely of their time this morning – a day set aside for enjoyment – to give us these beautiful festival grounds and to prepare the feast laid out in the two largest tents set one on each side of the field. In an hours’ time, after everyone has had a chance to sample the cook’s wonderful cuisine, the games will begin. We have a variety of competitions scheduled this year ranging from archery to pie-eating and I trust there will be something for everyone. Further, for those of you with exotic interests a traveling show has pitched their tents just outside of Hama Valon. I would encourage everyone to have a look as I imagine there are bound to be many wonders there but I would like to remind all first-ranked students that they must have a chaperone and everyone will have to pay the entrance fee. Later this afternoon we will be lighting the bonfire where our evening dance will be held. Students who are interested in participating in the circle that will ignite the blaze should write their names down and add them to the raffle box on the table to my left. I will announce the names of those chosen a half hour before the lighting so if you are interested in participating please make certain you’ve returned from the menagerie in time to hear if your name is called. Thank you all. Let’s enjoy this beautiful summer day.”