April 2007, Tar Valon Times

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EDITOR'S NOTE by Sela Narian

I plan to execute al'Cary weekly in the Department of Communications. Yes; execute - for example, this week he was shot in the head and kicked into a ditch. I'm still considering next week's options. I don't often do light roleplay at TarValon.Net, but I have to say that every so often, it's worth it. (This is better than light roleplay, anyway. This is my weekly wish incarnate - or, well, in metaphor.) And as the tyrranical new Director of Communications, who, indeed, shall naysay me? Yes, folks; she's a tyrant. It's all in the name of order, progress and activism.

And active, might I say, is what our Department has become. We have tripled our staff. We have hired a new Assistant Editor - Karalyne al'Meida (bribes can get a girl far, and Karalyne has learned this valuable life lesson). We have a new webcomic artist, Valorian Edoras.

Ilissa al'Nari will be coordinating our new Member Calendar, which will consist of all those lovely personal dates we members celebrate, such as TarValon.Net anniversaries, bond anniversaries, first-sibling anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, graduations and really whatever else the members wish to personally commemorate, in reason. You may submit your dates to her through PM, and she will add submissions to the Member Calendar, which will be up in May on our new site.

Speaking of which - as many already have heard, we're building a website for the Tar Valon Times. We are also planning to send out the Tar Valon Times through RSS feed (along with rigging the main site's News pages to rss feed), so I'm very excited to see these put into place.

As you read through the Tar Valon Times, you will see many new sections. We have a new tabloid article called Vicious Lies. We have a 'Quickies' area, filled with interesting, short diversions. We have a webcomic, and are planning to hire more artists to expand on the section. (Keep your eye out for an application process.) There will be an interview with an Admin nearly every month, and we are starting with our Amyrlin this issue. Other fun, recurring articles will be beginning in our May issue, and I look forward to sharing them with you in the first week of May.

All in all, we have made substantial progress in expanding and restructuring the Department of Communications, and more is planned and already in the works. I am very proud of what the entire Department has accomplished in just over one month.

This current issue is without design and all on one page, and is not at all indicative of what is to come starting in May. Consider this our transitioning, 'in construction' issue. I hope you'll enjoy what we have planned in the future.

Newly Raised

To Senior Member Doquel Juviem Gaidin of Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb

Karalyne al'Meida Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah
Rehtaeh al'Navi Aes Sedai of the White Ajah 
Taric Gillandred Gaidin of Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb

To Accepted/Soldier Elays Saeryn

Jeryn Lekar 

Miridyth al'Landerin

Rinwyn Sihrera 

Newly Bonded Eleyan al'Landerin and Josef al'March

Faeril Munlear and Sothalis Braevin 
Manora al'Sara and Dinn da Noor 
Penryn Lendayl and Defen Estrator 
Yelenia Hylraren and Deoan Kakarot

New Positions Appointed Muirren Lina Alianin - Director of Real Life Services

Sela Narian - Director of Communications 

Darim Pelegro - General Services Manager (see article)

Madelaine Vitalia - Online Services Manager (see article)
Serinia Edoras - Mistress of Revels in North America 
Karalyne al'Meida - Assistant Editor of the Tar Valon Times 
Miriya ay'Anne - Assistant Mistress of Chat (see article)
Yenie Antagar - Radio Technician 

THIS MONTH at TarValon.Net

We're starting a month-long fundraiser! Please consider donating to TarValon.Net, the only fan-based Wheel of Time forum of its size without any outside advertisement. Funds go to maintaining the server and hosting package (it takes a substantial amount of space and bandwidth to accomodate such a large site), down payments for real life events, care packages to parents of new babies and to soldiers in the field, our college scholarship, emergency funding to members in crisis, and many other venues. Contributions by members are part of what allows us to maintain our strong, member-focused presence in the Wheel of Time fanverse. Every amount, large or small, helps.

The Community News is starting a new feature. Commencing very soon, we will be having a Member Spotlight of the Week. Each week, another member will have a short News post made about them and their TarValon.Net experience. The Department of Communications looks forward to sharing this feature with all members, and those with ideas for new spotlighted members are encouraged to email news@tarvalon.net with the subject, "Member Spotlight."

The Aussie Party is taking place April 5-12 in Hobart, Tasmania. Good luck and congratulations to the Aussies for having a week-long official Tower event; jealousy ensues!

A party with a number of members is also taking place in Slindon, England on the weekend of April 7th. Cheers to all going!

New Manager Positions in Department of Membership Services by Mirandha t'Bayana

If you haven't noticed the creation of two new positions in the Membership Services Department, then you might actually be living under a rock (or perhaps you should visit the Site Announcements forum more often). Darim Pelegro and Madelaine Vitalia were recently announced as the new Managers of General and Online services, respectively. Why is it important for you to be aware of this? Well, if they fail at their jobs it might very well affect you as a member of TarValon.Net. Don't worry; their contact information will appear at the end of this article. 
Managing services such as IRC, Ajah & Company chats, and the Radio department, has fallen into the capable hands of Madelaine Sedai. You will also see her developing new ideas to keep our online life at TarValon.Net exciting and different. 
At her disposal, Madelaine Sedai has a competent staff ready to assist her. “My main goal is help them work together so they can all be utilized to their fullest. My second goal is to develop new ways of using our online resources to benefit the membership,” she says when asked about her goals for the department and her new position. She would also like to stress that she adheres to an open door policy, and will listen to any concerns, complaints, or criticisms. 
In the other management position, Manager of General Services, Darim Gaidin has stepped up to manage the more general services that are offered to TarValon.Net's members. This new branch of the Membership Services Department exists to help each of TarValon.Net's services receive the administrative support and attention they need. The Guilds, the Museum and Community Creativity Development, and New Member Services are all under his care and guidance. 
Supported by a staff of eight people, Darim Gaidin will help “to increase a sense of community with the Guilds and get the Museum up and running – either through providing my staff with intellectual resources or extra help or encouragement.” 
The goal of reorganizing the Department of Membership Services is to ensure that we, as members of TarValon.Net, remain part of an exciting and interactive community. If you have any questions, comments, etc., please feel free to contact Madelain Vitalia at onlineservices@tarvalon.net  or Darim Pelegro at generalservices@tarvalon.net . 

New Department of Real Life Services by Dralyn Montsier

The Department of Membership Services has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception. It now touches on so many aspects of our community that it is our largest and most varied Department. However, that also means that it is one of the hardest Departments to run. It requires a very large skill set and a lot of time. To help with this problem, we decided to add a line of managers into the administrative structure of this Department alone.

We put out an announcement in Site Announcements looking for managers, and the applications started pouring in. Once we started discussing the positions themselves, however, we realized that one part of the Department was simply too large to really fit even in this new structure. Our parties alone touch too many different aspects of the site, and that doesn't include other pieces that weren't in a Department at that time, such as our Servant of All competition. Thus, the new Department of Real Life Services was formed. 
I am very excited about our new Department. The new Director, Muirenn Sedai, has a lot of ideas about what she wants to see in it. Some of the things we know will fall under this Department are our official and unofficial events, Servant of All competition, baby bundles, and various forms of fundraising (held in conjunction with the Department of Administration). One of the first things Muirenn Sedai wants to tackle is solidifying the Amyrlin's Court and Tournament that we had at this year's anniversary party in Colorado. This will include having more Marshals to make sure that our participants stay safe, as well as thinking up new events to include in it. We'll also be having a Servant of All competition in May, the first in over a year. I look forward to seeing all the changes! 

New Assistant Mistress of Chat Announced by Yamaal Morlovan

Miriya ay'Anne, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah was announced as the new Assistant Mistress of Chat (the position is more popularly known as "Yenie's Slave") for Tar Valon a month ago . She has been a member of the site for almost three years and an operator in the site's main channel #wheel since the 19th of July 2006. She was selected for the post by Yenie Sedai of the Red Ajah, the current Mistress of Chat for Tar Valon. 
Why does she consider herself capable of handling the job? "Well,I'm active in chat, and I know the technicalities. Besides, I've a good head for code, so while I don't know the script that goes into TDO (the beloved channel bot, TheDarkOne), it's easy for me to figure out. I also am familiar with how the Sorcery services work, so I'm good at helping out people if they have trouble with for example their nickname," she says. 
Her job responsibilities include monitoring chat, making decisions concerning chat policy with Yenie Sedai and monitoring the regular channel operators. She is also the co-moderator of the IRC A dmin forum along with Yenie Sedai. 
What difference does she hope to make with her current position? "Well, it will be fun to figure out how TDO works . I have a few practical commands I'd like to add, more tools of conversion, to ease chat usage. And I'd love to do a writeup presenting TDO and the commands once I'm done, so we get max usage. My main ambition is to make chat the nicest place possible - a good place to talk to other Tower members, and a place to get to know people, even better than it is now." 
Miriya Sedai took over the post from Sela Narian, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, who held the post from July 30, 2005 and is currently the Director of Communications for TarValon.Net. Sela Sedai wrote the current Chat Guidelines, which helped clarify a lot of questions people had about chat policy. 
Miriya Sedai may be contacted at miri@tarvalon.net  for any clarifications that might be required regarding TDO or Chat Policy. 

Interview With An Admin: Fearless Leader By Cursor Wrathwind

Sometimes they can seem invisible, and other times they can seem omnipresent. Without them, the smooth day-to-day operation of our home away from home wouldn't be possible. Whether they work behind the scenes or center stage, these men and women play an integral part in the well being of our site. They are the administrators. 
It is truly impossible to measure their importance to the site, and yet many times the vast majority of our members can feel distant from them. Such a phenomena is understandable—between busy real life schedules and over 2,000 site members, they don't have time to talk to everyone. 
But never fear: the Tar Valon Times has a solution. Every month, we will bring you an exclusive, in-depth interview with one of our valued administrators; where they come from, how they came to Tar Valon, and just exactly what they do to keep the site alive and well. 
This month, the Times bring you none other than Eleyan a l'Landerin Aes Sedai—the Amyrlin Seat herself. Not only the site's top administrator, Eleyan is also its creator...and it's debatable that no one has put as much effort, sweat, and devotion into the site as her. Now, thanks to this exclusive interview, you can learn (almost) everything you ever wanted to know about Mother and what she does, and trust me; that's a lot! 

TVT: Thank you for talking with us. So, tell us a little about your upbringing. Where did you grow up?

Eleyan: I grew up on a horse ranch. We were thirty minutes away from the nearest gas station and grocery store, and as such , we had to have a full refrigerator and a large outdoor freezer. I was quite fortunate. While my family has lived through exceptionally lean times, it was not the case when I was young—but I never knew it. We had just ten acres, and a lot of animals that I could play with. 

TVT: Tell us a little about your family. Did you have any siblings growing up?

Eleyan: My siblings were all older (with the closest to m e being older by a decade). On holidays, I was suddenly the youngest, which was strange to me. The rest of the time, I felt like an only child (with a few adults who cared a great deal for me). Neighbors were few and far between, but I saw them when I could. I played by myself, most of the time. 

TVT: What did you do for fun?

Eleyan: We traveled a lot, so I invented games to keep myself occupied. For several years, I worked on creating an imaginary world, and that took up most my spare time. I was even geeky enough to invent a language, complete with its own syntax (though my vocabulary only reached about two thousand words, with five tenses for the verbs). 

TVT: What were your hobbies/interests?

Eleyan: Various hobbies. Voice lessons, dance lessons, horseback riding lessons, elocution lessons (no kidding—apparently I had a high pitched S sound), and more. I was a library aid, I founded and ran drama clubs, participated in the Spanish Club, Students Against Drunk Driving, Progressive Student Alliance (looking to end intolerance), Key Club, NHS, and then some. I am very proud of my work with the AIDS Task Foundation, although most of what I know is outdated now.

TVT: That's quite an impressive list. So tell us : what did you want to be growing up?

Eleyan: As a young person, I denied wanting to be in theatre. I told people anything else: stewardess, lawyer...I didn't care. Just not "an 
actress." I disliked how easily people could label themselves in this field . I disliked how it made people not honor good contributions. So I studied like hell. Dance, voice, piano, guitar, elocution, ballet, jazz, belly dancing, renaissance court, foreign languages, and at least seven different acting theories—I earned my degree in the thing. I'm actually pretty decent at what I do, but I still feel pressure to tell people that I am not in theatre. I never got over the stigma, I guess. 

TVT: Tell us about how you came to create this site. First off, why? To use an acting cliché (no offense), what was your motivation?

Eleyan: I decided to create it because I had run out of books, still loved the Wheel of Time world, and wanted to be steeped in it. Originally, we began as a couple of humor/parody pages for the Blue and Green Ajahs. But soon, we filled out. We brought in some real life friends. We added a message board, we added chat, and our nature started to change. However, yes, when Wendy and I did our drunken "We should be Aes Sedai and create the White Tower!" talk, we both had in our slightly fuzzy brains the idea of literally becoming the White Tower: of being a place that was the modern equivalent somehow. We wanted our site to be recognized by Robert Jordan. We wanted to be known as a good place to be. We wanted people to care who we were. We wanted to be the place you went to be an Aes Sedai, not just pretend that you were. I am often shocked when I realize that we managed to meet goals that we never set in seriousness. 

TVT: Speaking of goals, how have they managed to change over the years?

Eleyan: It's been challenging to set larger and larger goals. We had reached each "oh, that's impossible, aren't we being silly!" goal within four years. That shocked the heck out of me. So the current challenge is to continue thinking bigger. Sometimes I'm successful at it, other times I just sort of stare at the wall and worry, "ok...now what?" 
How big can we go? What are we capable of? What is reasonable for us to aim for? What would be cool, but very difficult? Are these goals even what we want to pursue? Every goal reached will change us in some way. Is this what we want to become? 
Right now, we have several large goals. Some are reasonable. Some are not. Whether or not they happen? Eh. It's about having somewhere to point. We recently established the scholarship, which I'm very excited about. This year has been largely about setting up our administration ; trying to get things as business-like and consistent as possible. This is incredibly challenging when you have a staff made up entirely of volunteers, and when your total staff/admin/exec team starts pushing one hundred people and five to six departments. There's always room for improvement, but I've been very happy with our progress. Looking at the big picture, we've achieved so much in the last year. 
Future goals? The non-profit thing is a goal we all share. Unfortunately, the uncertainty of my own life put that on hold. Last year, around this time, it became apparent that my plans were not going to come out as I expected. I did not know where I was going to move. At this point, I'm still waiting for a permanent address, but I know I am settling in L.A. for the foreseeable future. That should help a great deal. 
The unattainable goal that I don't think we'll make , and am not even sure if we should: I love the idea of us buying property, and building our own campground, perhaps in conjunction with the local school district, and creating a sort of shared space. I don't know if it's the best thing for us. That's why it's an "unattainable goal." It's something large to shoot for, anyway. And if we don't make it, or decide it's not right for us…that's fine. At least we've been shooting for something. Where will we ultimately end up in 10 years? I don't know. And, I suppose, that's part of the fun. 

TVT: Initially, what was your role in running the site?

Eleyan: I did everything . I'm not kidding. Everything. Over time, I delegated things as we got bigger (everything for forty people is much easier to manage than everything for 2,000 people). I even processed applications by hand, raised members, served in several positions, and was our IT (god help us). 

TVT: How about now?

Eleyan: Now I delegate almost everything, which takes just as much time (if not more so) than when I used to do everything myself. I still keep a strong personal presence in working with community administrators, coordinating real life events, keeping up relations with the author and publisher, running publicity, inter-site relations, the Hall, and major membership issues. I stay very busy. And I am very, very grateful for my executives, administrators, staff and moderators. We wouldn't be here now without them; they allow us to grow. 

TVT: What were some problems or setbacks you faced early on?

Eleyan: There were a few. They centered mainly on my trying to figure out what being an Amyrlin actually meant. I played at it the first year or two. I worked my butt off, truly, but it never felt real . Around year three, I started feeling like I had earned my stole. Because I didn't feel like I had really earned the position I held in the first two or three years, I think I was too eager to find approval. I was sure that if I worked hard enough everyone would like me and know that I loved them. I felt that I had a duty to hear everyone's complaints, even if they were unfounded or meant to hurt me. I took a lot of blows in those first few years, lost a job, and cried a bit too much. 
I was trying too hard to please, and that has never really left me. When I know a member is unhappy, my heart sinks, but I no longer take it so personally—which probably makes me a better administrator overall anyhow. 
That might not sound like a site setback, but I do think my attitude was one of the larger challenges we faced. At least it was from my perspective, and that's the only perspective I have front row seats for. 

TVT: How about now?

Eleyan: Dealing with our size, mainly. How do we take advantage of all we can do with so many people and resources, and yet keep things manageable enough that all members feel that someone in the world cares for them? 
How do we get procedures down so they are not only fair, but also right ? 
How do we anticipate our future in such a way that we can plan for it successfully? 
Playing catch up on our to-do list. 
And, as always, there are the member issues. These are the most important issues to me, even if they take a long time to resolve in most cases. 

TVT: How did you go about developing your administrating team?

Eleyan: Slowly, and over six years and through many reviews and revisions and organizational changes. I am pleased to say , though, that every year I say, "this is the best team I've ever had," and every year it's true. We are all very blessed, and there is even more talent out there. Many members of this site who are not yet administrators are noticed, and when we have need of them, I look forward to pulling them into what we do. 

TVT: What has been your favorite site moment?

Eleyan: Personally, I love any time men take their shirts off and beat each other with sticks for my general amusement. My life is complete at that moment — which is probably why that moment is often repeated. 

TVT: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Eleyan: Thanks to all of you. TarValon.Net started as a hobby ; a way to forget a boring job. It has become perhaps the single most important thing I've put my time and energy into in the past six years. I don't regret a thing. I have friends in every corner of the world. I never spend a holiday alone. I know that we work to help one another. It is "community" in the way it was meant to be. It is special to me. I cannot imagine my life without you. 

TVT: And thank you as well, for talking to us, for your hard work, and for an unforgettable experience.

Eternal Novices by Karalyne al'Meida

5 strangers, picked to enter the tower and find out what happens when people stop reading Wheel of Time and start being eternal.

Eternals: Tar Valon 
It's not for everyone. In fact, very few aspire (or not, as the case may be…ahahaha) to attain the eternal ranks. It takes time, dedication and usually the inability to read the series. 
Despite these rigorous qualifications, over the years several have been eternals. Relinya Ryviarra and Penryn Lendayl were both novices for two and a half years. Penryn has now gone on to become an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, while Relinya Ryviarra strives for eternal Accepthood with the Reds. The two were raised together at the 5th Anniversary in Corpus Christi. 
“It was pretty awesome,” Relinya said. “Because everyone knew us and were like WTF! They finished reading? *GASP*” 
Both have many fond memories of their novice days. Relinya misses getting to know everyone but did not enjoy having to use honorifics for people who joined the site years after her. 
“There was also this one time that I, possibly single handedly, got rid of the kitchens. I fraternized with too many boys,” Relinya admits. 
Despite their eternal dedication, Relinya and Penny's novicehood pales in comparison to the one woman in white who reigns supreme: Skaya Tristian 
After five years and counting as a novice, Skaya remains active and committed. 
“I am on book 5. I love the series and I will finish it if it kills me.” 
Despite being HARSHLY DITCHED by those who swore to uphold the true values of eternalhood, Skaya is forgiving. 
“They just wanted to see what the tower has to offer,” Skaya benevolently explains. 
In the current batch of novices, a few stand out as possible eternal material. Melania al'Larwind and Miridyth al'Landerin have both long surpassed the minimum time requirements with no end in site (Miridy, having recently completed the series, is now battling with the maturity requirement). 
Despite being banned from the city, men, and booze, Miridy enjoys the pranks and people in the tower. 
“At first I enjoyed being with my first roommate and tooling around the tower, but then she left,” Miridy sniffles. “Then I enjoyed my second roommate, and then she left. Then they gave me two new roommates to enjoy and they BOTH left. So I no longer enjoy roommates.” 
Miridy's eternal title is in jeopardy as she recently finished the books, a deed frowned upon by true eternals. 
“I think one needs to read at least some of the books so they don't dress up as an Aiel with boob cleavage for Halloween and understand what a Trolloc is,” Miridy explains. “Read at least some so you don't sound ignorant at tower gatherings and instead meld into the geeky book club. 
The question all novices yearn to ask is just how long they must remain at their current rank to achieve the prestigious title of eternal. Those who have been there agree…anything under two years is, “NOTHING I TELL YOU!! NOTHING!” 
If only they showed such passion about reading. 
Edit: Miridy got herself raised just so I would have to change the article. But if I do, she wins…so HA HA! You have to wake up earlier than that to pull one over on me!

INTERVIEW WITH.... The Dark One's Mother by Roshen Aldazar

Q: What is TDO (for the ones who don't know yet)?

A : TheDarkOne is a bot. Basically , it's a robot without any body . It exists in a virtual environment. 
TheDarkOne is a normal chat client running on the program mIRC, but she's coded to respond to certain commands. I have a computer standing in my apartment 24/7 with the program running all the time. If I log on the computer, I can sit and chat on TheDarkOne in the same way as I can when using my name "Yenie" in the TarValon.Net chat-rooms. 
Actually, anyone can make their own mIRC program (or similar clients) respond to commands. It's pretty easy, too, so it's nothing spectacular. I think TDO has made herself liked because she's sort of has a personality . 
Also, the large amount of personal commands and the way so many of the members of the site participated in coming up with new and fun things for TDO to do on request, of course, mattered a lot. I always finds it fascinating when people miss her when she's on vacation (when the computer is offline for some reason). 
There's more to her than just fun, though. The most important aspect of her is that she keeps logs of what goes on in the chatrooms. If someone has caused serious trouble in there, I can always find out what's been going on from a source no one has cut out parts from or similar. 
She also keeps track of who's coming and going. She helps the operators keeping track of who's been idling too long, etc. The statistics are also useful for me to see how active the channels are in general. Plus, some of the commands are very useful in many ways, like the length, weight and degree converters. 

Q: How old is TDO?

A : Actually, I was running TDO long before I joined this site. She was called DenSvarte (TheDarkOne in Swedish) on a Swedish chat I used to hang in. She was also still wearing that name when I put her in #wheel for the first time. 
On my first or second day, I put DenSvarte in #wheel and started to make statistics pages based on who spammed the channel the most, etc. (We still have those , by the way !) Just after a couple of weeks , Mother chatted with me in a private conversation and said how awesome she thought the stats were, and that I should get raised and stuff - but it still took me six months to become Accepted. I bet she doesn't remember that conversation ...but I have logs! 
After a while I changed the name to TheDarkOne and made her a TarValon.Net bot completely. I also learned how to do some basic commands, and then it just evolved from there. Today, there are more than 300 commands - some of them a bit more advanced, like !seen, and some as simple as the personal ones. But to answer the question, TheDarkOne was born around 2001-2002, but joined TarValon.Net around July 7-8 in 2002. 

Q: Tell us how you feel being TDO's mommy . ()

A : Well , even though I've delegated much of the work these days, I do kind of feel like her mommy. She's growing up, though, and it'd just be silly if I kept insisting on doing all the updates myself. We are all probably happier with my assistant and staff doing some of the work. If there's any problem, it's still me who takes care of things though, and I still sporadically create a command or two. I don't take requests anymore, though. [Her assistant, Miriya, takes command requests.] 
Q: Is it true that TDO is female? How can you be sure? 
A : I'm sorry to say that I can't really remember how this thing started. It was probably me having a boring day with nothing better to do and someone asked about "him," and I started to think about why TDO had to be a guy. I mean, I am Red, after all, and we all know no guy can be as mean as a girl. 
I also think it's a good way to separate ourselves a bit from the TheDarkOne in the books, even if it's a small thing. (But who knows; perhaps TDO in the books is a female as well.) 
I've always been amazed that a site like TV.net, which doesn't allow anything that has to do with the Shadow, accepts having a bot called TheDarkOne. There was another bot for a while called BelaBot or something similar, but I think she only kept logs of the chat. 

Q: Tell us a dirty secret about TDO . ()

A : I don't know if there are many dirty secrets about her, but I can tell some random stuff . 
Sometimes I put a princess tiara on the computer (which is currently a black laptop btw) and call her Princess TDO to myself…but I suppose that was mostly a secret about me. 
She's also called TheDarkOne in my whole home network, which is called ShayolGhul. I've got a w-LAN in my apartment called Tel'aran'rhiod. My other computers have also names from the Dark side ; Lanfear, Mesaana, Semirhage and Graendal have been some of my computer names. Lanfear is, by the way, a white Macbook and the most powerful computer in the apartment - very fitting. 
TDO has been on a total amount of six or seven different computers over the years, and hosted in five different locations in Sweden. 
I still have the logs from the first day TDO joined #wheel. I've never deleted a log in my entire life, so whatever you've said to me during your time in the chat rooms, I sure can find it! 
I can control TDO from anywhere in the world. If I go to Australia or US, I just need a computer with internet access, and I can control her like if I were sitting right in front of her. That's how my assistants can work with her, even though they're not living in the same city as me. 
The Radio Server is hosted on the same computer as TheDarkOne. I figured since I already had a computer running 24/7 for the site, I might as well host the radio broadcast program. This is probably a very large reason why I just was announced as Radio Tech Director for the site as well. 

Q: Do you have any project (or improvement) in mind for TDO?

A : One thing I'd like to do someday is to set up an automatic radio station that'll broadcast when no member is. You can vote for songs and request ones to TDO, and she'll play them eventually. Also, a request system that'd work for the radio hosts. 
I have lots and lots of these kinds of projects; more than you can imagine. It takes a lot of time to do these kinds of things, though. 
T he website is probably the next large thing I'll finish. 

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A : I'd like to thank my former assistant, Sela, for all the hard work she put into the chat; Ninya, for taking over the stats and doing them better than I used to do them; and finally, Miriya, my new assistant, for being involved with the chat and a very promising new slave. 

Princess, Warrior, Dreamer: An Interview With the Composer and Performer by Ciaran Trystan

"Princess, Warrior, Dreamer" is a song written by Taric Gillandred and performed by Kitan Tataru. It may be found here, in the Creative Endeavors forum.

TVT: How did you come up with this idea?

Taric: I learned to play drums in High School and that is when music became a major part of my life. I played in several rock bands on the side as well. By college, I was playing guitar and piano, though not as well. Though I still play drums occasionally, even recording some songs at a professional studio with a friend a few years ago, I became more fascinated with composition. I've always been able to write small rifts that sound good, but writing longer songs (1 - 5 minutes) has been a stumbling block. I've composed a few songs that I was happy with over the years, but they are fairly simple. I felt if I pushed myself I could write a more complex piece, and so the Gaidin contribution presented the perfect opportunity. 

TVT: Who approached who about these pieces?

Kitan: Taric approached me and said he had a song for his Soldier contribution , but he couldn't sing well enough to do the vocals. He knows that I sing, so I agreed to help him.

TVT: When did you record it?

Taric: I composed some rifts in the song as early as 8 years ago , but never knew if I could mold a song out of it that I was happy with. I composed some other parts of the song about a year ago . A t first , I was trying to write more of a dreamy/trance song that represented moving through the Dream World. I recorded most parts from scratch again , and added new parts to it mostly from September of last year to January.

TVT: What equipment did you use?

Taric: For software I used Apple's GarageBand for the final production, running on my Mac Mini. For a keyboard, I use M-Audio's Ozone. We ended up using a decent headset mic for the vocals.

TVT: How long did you practice it before they were recorded?

Kitan: About ten minutes, I suppose. I listened to it without singing, looking at the instrumental tracks on the screen as I listened the first time. Then one or two more times I sang through it before recording.

TVT: How many sessions did it take before they were completed?

Kitan: We recorded each section twice. The first time it sounded a little too "note-note-note" (to use a non-technical musical term), so I did it again with more phrasing.

TVT: Is there anything about the song of which you're particularly proud?

Taric: I've written about 4 complete songs before , but this one was by far the most challenging and significant; the others were shorter and not as moving. It's really the first song I've written that I feel is truly complete and interesting. It's inspiring me to continue to write songs, probably starting in a few months. I'm also very happy the way Kitan Sedai's awesome vocal performance turned out!

TVT: Are you satisfied with the finished results?

Kitan: Yes, I am. Taric is an amazing musician and I'm familiar with the sort of program he was using, so I was able to take part in the process fairly easily.

TVT: What kind of instructions was he giving you?

itan: He showed me which line on the screen was the vocal line , and gave me a choice of which microphone to use - a high-quality gaming microphone (which annoyingly picked up my breathing, but we could edit that out) or a lower-quality hand-held microphone. (I chose the gaming one . )

TVT: Is it possible for you to walk us through the underlying symbolism of the piece?

Taric: The main theme is in the title. I tried to take the most central aspects of El ay ne, Min, and Aviendha's personalities which I feel many people can relate to. For Elayne, I saw that as her regal and commanding nature, and how she fits into society , which is as a Princess. Min is the Dreamer of course, and Aviendha is the Warrior, yet even with her amazing strength exists tenderness and humanity. Also, it is no coincidence that I chose these three , since they are the three women in Rand's life . P art of the theme of the song is how all three have unique relationships with Rand, and yet at a higher level their relationships, come together and form an even stronger bond as a team.

I'll describe the inspiration for some of my favorite lines: 

Training at the tower

There is darkness 
Yet the best of friends 
The darkness is a reference to the Black Ajah, which is one of the central conflicts in Elayne's life. 

I've searched for an answer

To a question 
My greatest fear 
Min's greatest fear is losing Rand , and yet her dreams always come true , though not always exactly as she sees them. This is her main struggle; she loves Rand, and in the back of her mind, thinks Rand could die - but her heart refuses to give up the fight. 

Gateway in a blizzard

Embrace passion 
I'll share with thee 
This one is a reference to when Rand stumbles on Aviendha naked, who makes a gateway to run away. In her haste, she finds herself in a blizzard, and Rand follows her to save her. That is when they both realize the extent of their feelings for each other and let all their barriers down. There comes a time in some relationships where to advance profoundly further, you have to trust each other completely. 

Sixth Anniversary Party: Denver by Karalyne al'Meida

Everyone knows the famous cliché: what happens at Anni gets smeared all over the TV Times.

Well, it's true. All of it. We apologize in advance. 
6th Anniversary in Denver, Colorado was a roaring success. The mountains were beautiful and the weather was so warm that the sword fighters went shirtless (though it would have to be below freezing for Mother to consider returning their clothes). 
This event marked the start of the hopefully annual Amyrlin's Tournament with competitions in fencing, archery and wrestling. Josef took home the gold in both fencing and wrestling, earning him the honor of top overall competitor. Typically, it took a woman to find the right spot on the archery board, the winner being Cassie of the Brown Ajah. Other awards went to Ban for Most Entertaining and Guiyall for Best Death (Cassie once again finding the right…spot). 
Far away from the medals and...actual talent, it was the wrestling match between Mathei and Defen that captivated the crowds. The two fighters entered the ring with determination glittering in their eyes. The round began! Biceps rippled (not theirs obviously) and both competitors threw scissors. The crowd was silent; tension palpable in the air. 
There could be only one champion. As Round 2 began, Defen again threw scissors. Most likely no one had explained to him there were other options. Through brilliant foresight and cunning, Mathei evaded this simple move and counted with none other than rock. The crowd rejoiced and Mathei was victorious. 
Then the real athletes resumed the games. 
Another first was the Bond Competition. Teams were winnowed out in a Honeymooners style trivia game and an apple-on-a-string eating contest. None of the couples that made it to the final (a 3 legged race) were actually bonded. Faeril and Guiyall took first, followed closely by Vivianna and Mathei (though he carried his team…literally) and Karalyne and Relinya (who gave everyone a show best viewed from above). 
Opening ceremonies took place on Saturday night because everyone was playing with Tinnlina, Burqa Adri and the rest of the slaves on Friday. Raisings included Miridyth to Accepted, Karalyne to Red Aes Sedai, Doquel to MDD Youngling and Taric to MDD Youngling. Tinnlin and Neol as well as Guiyall and Deoan became first brothers. Bonded in their fight against the shadow were Penryn and Defen (using the titanium spork), Yelenia and Deoan, and Eleyan and Josef. 
The 2006 Member's Choice Awards were given during opening ceremonies, many of the recipients being present to collect. They were awarded as follows: Friendliest: Miridyth, Most Helpful: Saminda, Most Inspirational: Arisaema, Most Entertaining: Karalyne, Most Artistic: Sindra, Best Bonded Couple: Katarianna and Jalen, Walking WoT Encyclopedia: Eniara, Best Mentor: Lireina, Best Avatar: Sienna, Best Guild Leader: Josef, Best Moderator: Leora, Best Executive: Dralyn, Best General Admin: Zhareen and Best Community Admin: Kyla. 
The members of the year for 2006 were Zhareen and Dralyn. The philanthropist of the year was Tinnlin. 
Beyond the ceremonies and events, the horses and Ajah toasts, the best part of the weekend was hanging out with old and new friends from around the world…and drinking so much you don't remember them being there. 
Let's talk about 2 words that are very near and dear to all of our hearts: Sex Closet. Surely I was not the only one to see Relinya, Mirandha, and Sunri slinking out of there early Sunday morning. Apparently Reds hate men but like boys. 
The Sex Closet played host for many groups and stories over the weekend, and if Sela had chosen a reporter who drinks less for this review, you, my dear readers, might have heard some of them. As it is…people were there…so was alcohol…and that's all I've got. 
As always, several tower members showed off their artistic talents. There was the crafting circle, Magdalena's handmade necklaces and, perhaps most impressively, Muirenn and Azrael's masterpiece entitled, “Impaled Snowman Slowly Bleeding to Death.” There was nary a dry eye to be found. 
It has been long suspected that we as a Tower are a group of geniuses. A quote book was available throughout the weekend for people to write their profound thoughts. Years from now, people will look back and marvel at our wisdom, while sadly shaking their heads. 
“She doesn't have to swallow, just chew aggressively.” Allin 
“I suck worse than a whore.” Relinya 
“Incest…the family game.” Brienen 
“It turned out to be the best ride of your life.” Doquel to Yelenia about their first…encounter 
“I feel bad for countries that don't have Ranch dressing.” Yelenia 
“I'll snip your tip.” Relinya 
"Kiss my ring." Darim Sedai of the Blue Ajah 
“I'm so glad that was all in my mouth and not in my throat!” Guiyall 
“I'll break your ‘bone' my boy.” Deoan to Wil 
“Nothing says love like marrying your cousin.” Atreyu 
“”Kinky is using the feather. Perverted is using the whole chicken.” Brienen 
Karalyne, trying to get people to guess the word deck, “There are 52 of these in a…” 
Kitty, “STATES!!” 
“DO ME!!” Our intrepid leader, Eleyan al'Landerin 
And yet, the Tower remains unbroken. 


Man On The Street by Arya Ellesméra

This month's question: What do YOU think will happen to Rand in the last book? 
Emerylde ni'Rohan: A vasectomy, I hope. 
Estella Sharina Agadis: He's going to go through the entire book arguing with Lews Therin, who finally snaps because of Rand's never ending list of women. Raving mad, he Travels to Shayol Ghul, where he proceeds to dance a polka until his feet are bleeding. This annoys the Dark One, who balefires his arse all the way to the Fifth Age. 
Tsubasa Kamui: I think that Rand will not die necessarily, but I think he will be burned out. Like LTT will die in his mind, taking the power with him...but it will be at the end of the battle in which he will have won. The Dark One will be imprisoned again, and Rand will have died but live. 
Aleita al'Taviah: Well... I haven't finished the series yet... So I think he'll have a party with a lot of candles! 
And last, but not least: I made the dire mistake of asking the lovely folks in chat what they thought. After compiling the creative ideas of Pylar al'Stnap, Eireann Namar, Adolla Ceryia, and Rollyn Montagorae, it's been decide that Rand will wake up and realized he's bonded to four women and kill himself due to hormones in a horrible, fiery death; afterwards, the fierce women of Randland will consume his flesh. But wait, there's a twist! At that point, the series will end with the realization that all along, it's all been the mad dreams of an autistic boy looking into a snowglobe.
Well there you have it, everyone. 

Explain Your Name: Noura Sofen by Arya Ellesméra

I made my name to imply wise enlightenment. I borrowed from 2 languages. 
NOURA: Comes from an Arabic root--Noor, which means light, or enlightenment. 
SOFEN: Comes from a Greek root--soph, meaning wise, knowledge or knowing. 

The Top 5 WoT Sayings About Women: by Arya Ellesméra

5. One pretty woman means fun at the dance. Two pretty women mean trouble in the house. Three pretty women mean run for the hills. 
-Abel Cauthon 
4. When a woman says she will obey you, of her own will, it is time to sleep lightly and watch your back. 
3. There are only two times a woman admits she is wrong: when she wants something and when it snows at midsummer. 
-Mat Cauthon 
2. The more women there are about, the softer a wise man steps. 
-saying in Arad Doman 
1. Women do not become exhausted, they only exhaust others. 
-Elder Haman 

Old Tongue Word of the Month by Sela Narian

The word caba means 'horse.'

It is seen in The Dragon Reborn, chapter 18, within the word caba'drin, meaning 'horse soldiers/cavalry,' in the exclamation Los caba'drin, meaning 'Forward the cavalry."

It is also seen in The Fires of Heaven, chapter three, within the word caba'donde, which means 'a horse to ride,' in the sentence Sene sovya caba'donde ain dovienya, meaning 'Luck is a horse to ride like any other.'

The word caballein appears in The Dragon Reborn, chapter 19, and is translated as 'free man.' It is from the sentence Caballein misain ye, or 'I am a free man.' Some posit that caballein literally means 'horse-man,' in that a man with his horse is free to go wherever he pleases. We will not know for sure until the Wheel of Time Encyclopedia, as Robert Jordan has said that it will include an extensive Old Tongue section.

In lyrics: Save a caba; ride a cowboy.

Random TarValon.Net Statistic by Sela Narian

There are currently 195 Aes Sedai and 91 Gaidin, making a total of 286 Senior Members.

There are 67 Accepted, 35 Soldiers, 57 Novices and 42 Recruits, making a total of 201 Junior Members.

There are currently 224 Citizens.

This information was gathered through the usergroup lists in the forums. Usernames made for 'pets,' for a freeday or otherwise were disregarded.

Vicious Lies: Sean Gaidin Receives a Makeover

by Very True Sources 

Recently, Sean Gaidin was blessed with a free makeover, a la reality tv style, by Vivianna Sedai and Karassa Sedai. It is unknown who recommended him for makeover, but the results speak for themselves. Many overheard his sentiments that he would have preferred his avatar to have a bit more pink, but was pleased as cherry punch with his new username of "Karassa's Whipping Boy," (with the title 'Smiley' rather than 'Gaidin') and wouldn't have traded it back for his own of "Sean Dragoran" if he didn't think people might be a bit jealous.

When questioned about the dubious morality of abusing admin privileges to expose Sean Gaidin's eagerness at being 'Viv's Big Helper,' Vivianna Sedai answered, "Oh, it's just Sean. It's not like he counts." Karassa echoed the sentiment, saying, "Sean was really happy with his makeover. He might not have asked for it, but it was obvious that deep down, he had always felt himself needing something more." That 'something more' was obviously for people to acknowlege that yes, he was a pretty pretty princess!

Sean, highly traumatized by childhood flashbacks, decided to write a story about the incident in therapy, in an effort to heal himself. The Tar Valon Times is pleased to publish this tale for the first time:

This is the story of a man. Actually, to be perfectly honest, man is to low a title for him; perhaps 'angel' is better. So here is the story of an angel and those who would try to ruin him: namely, the Blue she-devils Karassa and Vivianna. 
Together, they mounted a campaign to completely humiliate me by abusing their Administrative powers. It all began with the changing of my username from 'Sean Dragoran' to 'Karassa's Whipping Boy.'  Needless to say that this struck deep, but I maintained my composure.  Then slowly other pieces of public self changed.  My title.  My avatar.  Finally, my signature was replaced....with one designed by someone I thought of as a friend.  It broke my heart. 
It was only a matter of time before other members seemed to forget who I was and began referring to me as 'KWB' - yes, that is short for 'Karassa's Whipping Boy' - and yet I am not moved.  I manage to keep my bearing and play along with their little game.  I knew that in the end vengeance would be mine, though I did not at the time know how that would come about. 
So I wait and plot.

You read it here first, folks.

Red Ajah Takeover

by Mirandha t'Bayana 
Chaos. Destruction. Despair. These three words obviously describe the Tower as led by Eleyan al'Landerin, the woman who claimed to be the true Amyrlin Seat. However, brewing deep in the catacombs of the Red Ajah Halls was a plan. Karalyne al'Meida would surface as the savior of the White Tower. Clad in a regal robe complete with matching crown, Karalyne emerged from the Red Halls ready to enforce order and sanity on the Tower. 
With a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of pomegranate vodka in the other , she announced that a new regime was in power. All questions, regardless of being answered in the Constitution, were to be forwarded to Eireann Sedai. A new Constitution, in fact, was in the works. However, the new Administration preferred to wait until someone broke the rules. Only then would they be informed of said rule that was broken. It was a brilliant plan! 
Standing tall beside the Redyrlin were four of the most imposing figures you could possibly imagine. Neisa was finally returned to her rightful position as the Mistress of Novices. Woe to anyone who was sent to her. She did not bother with virtual punishments. Oh, no, she fully expected you to run laps around your own house. If any novice dared to hope that she would be raised to Accepted, that hope was pitifully dashed against a jagged rock if she did not bribe the most important people. 
In fact, if anyone thought to question the powerful regime of the Redyrlin and her fearsome Mistress of Novices , they only had to look at the once Morwynna Sedai- now Morwynna, N ovice of the White Tower. Stripped of her power, her title, and any colorful dress she thought to wear, Morwynna was cruelly demoted to N ovice and brought out as a spectacle for all the Tower to point and laugh at (aside from the regular ridicule of Sean Gaidin). 
Flanking the Redyrlin stood the real artillery. Relinya Ryviarra was menacing with a bloodied axe hoisted upon her shoulder. Should the Almighty Redyrlin require an execution, Relinya was her woman. 
With a shiny knife in hand and an angry glint in her eye, Mirandha t'Bayana became the new Director of the CIA (Cruelty to Imaginary Animals). Several fell victim to her sharp knife and acute rage. First up on her chopping block was Arafel. This enthusiastic Blue A spirant dared to put dragons in her avatar. Dragons! She was one of the gravest offenders in the eyes of Mirandha. It was a bloody battle as Arafel clung to her illusions that dragons do exist - But in the end, no one could survive when they came face to face with Mirandha's righteous rage. 
Unfortunately , there was a downfall in the new regime, and its name was spam. Estella Sharina Agadis bravely stepped in as the Director of the Anti-Spam Unit. She made a valiant effort to stave off those who thought to flood the boards with spam. At times , she successful held off the deluge with her smart looking tie and classy sunglasses; at other times, she just couldn't hold back the flow. The new Administration went into mourning. 
With the Redyrlin's regime weakened by spam, those who opposed the New Order thought to rise up and “save the day.” It's as if they knew the only weaknesses of the new Administration: boredom and apathy. Causing both in the new Redyrlin and her assistants allowed the Viverlyn to come in and wrest control away! 
Sadly, Karalyne al'Meida, the best Redyrlin the Tower has ever seen, quietly gave up. But do not be too discouraged - for somewhere in a locked chest deep in the Red Ajah's catacombs lies a slightly worn robe with a matching crown. Who knows when it shall be brought out again? Perhaps next time the hostile takeover will be successful. Perhaps next time, the Redyrlin and her new Administration's brilliance will be recognized, and YOU will be proud to stand tall next to She Who Is Made of Awesome. 

Eragon: Love it or Hate it? by Arya Ellesméra

This past Christmas season introduced a movie most people seemed to either love or hate. Eragon was based on the novel written by 19-year-old Christopher Paolini. 
The film took off quickly. After a bit of narration, elves fled through the forest to transport Saphira's egg. This continued all the way through the film. 
There were several large changes from the book, but the director pulled these off in what I believed was an admirable fashion. The changes in the story suited the movie medium. 
In the critical reviews, emotions seemed to conflict. Many complained of horrible acting, dragging action, mediocre effects, and a cheesy story. Others wrote of wonderful acting skills, intense action, and an all-around fabulous movie, ready to join the fantasy ranks of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. 
My opinion? I thought it was a wonderful adaption from the book. I loved that they added a bit of humor. I even cried a couple of times, when I already knew what was coming. I found myself caring about the characters, and what happened to them. They obviously put a lot of work into the special effects, as well. 
For those who missed the theatrical production, I recommend Eragon for rental. It was released for DVD and video on March 20.

Stephen King's The Dark Tower in Graphic Novel

by Adriana al'Tere

In 2004, Stephen King finished his series The Dark Tower . By now, 2007, the ending has been argued (hate it or love it, cop out or perfect); favorite books have been chosen (mine's probably book 1, The Gunslinger , or 5, Wolves of the Calla ); the world has moved on.

The Dark Tower returns, though. King is collaborating with Marvel Comics to create a graphic novel of The Dark Tower , and the first two issues of The Gunslinger Born have been released. The third will be released 4 April, 2007. 
Now, I don't know a lot about comics or graphic novels. I don't read them often; usually just when I'm in the bookstore killing time and need some amusement. The pictures are pretty. 
I've been a long-time fan of King, and The Dark Tower in particular. I've read everything I can get my hands on about the Dark Tower series. And now King feeds the addiction even more with this new version. The artwork is fantastic (I don't know enough about art to be able to critique it, but I know I like it); it has a very world-that-has-moved-on feel about it. The story is true to the novels, though ordered a bit differently--chronologically. 
Issue 1 begins with "the man in black fled across the desert; the gunslinger followed," but it slides back in time to when the man in black tricked Roland into his gunslinger test early. Issue 2 shows the three boys (Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain) leaving Gilead headed east for Mejis; we catch a glimpse of the Crimson King; we meet Susan. 
In addition to the story, Robin Furth, author of Stephen King's Dark Tower: A Concordance I & II , provides extra little glimpses into the world of Roland Deschain. In "The Sacred Geography of Mid-World" (issue 1), Furth tells a story of the boys with their teacher learning about the Beams. "Maerlyn's Rainbow" (issue 2) tells the history of Maerlyn, a creature of raw magic who did things for neither order nor chaos but merely his own pleasure, and Arthur Eld, the first gunslinger and the warrior who "bridled Mid-World's evil and reclaimed the land for men, not chaotic magic." 
If you're a fan of The Dark Tower or a fan of well-written and well-illustrated comic books, look into The Gunslinger Born. Marvel.com/darktower will help you find a comic book store near you. 

Rabid Novice Penny by Valorian Edoras