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How many Sisters did the White Tower lose.


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This is a intriguing question for me on just how many Aes Sedai were lost to the White Tower over the course of the 3 years of the story, including those who died, unaccounted for Black Ajah, captured by the Seanchan or now sworn to the Black Tower.

my guesstimate is it could be as few as 40% or as high as 80% or anywhere in between, any other ideas?

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The Thirteenth Depository has a good write-up about that here: http://13depository.blogspot.com/2002/03/dead-captured-and-missing-aes-sedai.html?m=1

 

They figure about 60% losses in total.  I'd probably go a bit higher, as we know that more than half were lost in the Last Battle, and their losses to the Black Ajah were nearly a quarter of their number, while losses to the Black Tower, Dumai's Wells and the Seanchan together probably comprise at least 10%.  70-75% losses from the beginning of the EotW seems high, but when you add 51% to 24%, you're already at 75%.  Another 10% and you're looking at 85%.

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3 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

The Thirteenth Depository has a good write-up about that here: http://13depository.blogspot.com/2002/03/dead-captured-and-missing-aes-sedai.html?m=1

 

They figure about 60% losses in total.  I'd probably go a bit higher, as we know that more than half were lost in the Last Battle, and their losses to the Black Ajah were nearly a quarter of their number, while losses to the Black Tower, Dumai's Wells and the Seanchan together probably comprise at least 10%.  70-75% losses from the beginning of the EotW seems high, but when you add 51% to 24%, you're already at 75%.  Another 10% and you're looking at 85%.

Thanks for the link that certainly clears it up a fair bit, about what i was thinking. The WT is probably down to less then 300 Sisters, and considering they now face 4-5* rival groups of channelers they are now at the weakest in their history. Militarily they are probably outclassed by both the Aiel and Seanchan and only the support of Andor/Carhien the Borderlanders and the Dragons peace will keep them in check.
*Bit hard to say where the Kin Folk stand exactly but they will be less inclined to take orders from the WT as they once would have.

Edited by Harldin
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We'll, don't forget though that we aren't taking into account gains either.  I doubt there was much time for many Accepted to be raised prior to the Last Battle, or that there were many Accepted to be raised, but there were over a thousand Novices added to the rolls, and very few of them were casualties of the Last Battle as their duties were restricted. 

 

The Aes Sedai may be greatly reduced following the Last Battle, but I doubt the Aiel or Seanchan fared much better, though the Seanchan at least may have.  But by the terms of their agreement, they're going to have difficulty replacing their casualties and acquiring new "stock."  The Black Tower, due to Taim's perfedy, certainly faired worse.  As for the Kin, if they keep to the plan of allowing Aes Sedai to retire into them, they won't be out from under Tar Valon's influence.  And they won't be taking in wilders and runaways anymore either.  With their thousand-plus Novices in their back pocket, the White Tower will be back to relatively full strength in 20-30 years, if not sooner.  Nobody else is in a position to bounce back from their Last Battle losses to such a degree.

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18 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

We'll, don't forget though that we aren't taking into account gains either.  I doubt there was much time for many Accepted to be raised prior to the Last Battle, or that there were many Accepted to be raised, but there were over a thousand Novices added to the rolls, and very few of them were casualties of the Last Battle as their duties were restricted. 

 

The Aes Sedai may be greatly reduced following the Last Battle, but I doubt the Aiel or Seanchan fared much better, though the Seanchan at least may have.  But by the terms of their agreement, they're going to have difficulty replacing their casualties and acquiring new "stock."  The Black Tower, due to Taim's perfedy, certainly faired worse.  As for the Kin, if they keep to the plan of allowing Aes Sedai to retire into them, they won't be out from under Tar Valon's influence.  And they won't be taking in wilders and runaways anymore either.  With their thousand-plus Novices in their back pocket, the White Tower will be back to relatively full strength in 20-30 years, if not sooner.  Nobody else is in a position to bounce back from their Last Battle losses to such a degree.

The problem though with the 1000 novices is many of them would never have been enrolled under normal circumstances, many being to old, some are former Novices or accepted being given a second chance and I can’t see Cadsuane lowering standards just because the number of Sisters are at an all time low, she does not have a particularly high opinion of most AS now. My suspicion would be her first instruction to the Mistress of Novices would be to go very hard on the unorthodox Novices, lets find out which of them can really handle it, get rid of the dead wood as fast as possible. Historically for every 1000 Novices you would probably get no more then 200 full Sisters at best. It takes roughly 8-10 years on average to turn a brand new Novice into a fully fledged AS, hard to know how long the Aiel take to produce a Wise One but i suspect it’s not as long, and Damane and Ashaman just a couple of months at most, depending on the person. 

 

The Seanchan now control a large part of the continent and probably at least a quarter of the population so the WT will get very few Novices out of there and the Seanchan will begin the process of testing Girls for both roles. And like Seanchan the Aiel are very thorough in finding every Aiel Girl who can channel, so they will replenish there numbers very quickly, Novices have a choice, Damane and Apprentices have none. Logain and his leadership will probably slow down the trg at the BT and move away from producing nothing but Soldiers but it will still be a lot quicker then the WT. 

 

I do see an exchange between the AS and Aiel and the AS and Sea Folk of girls under Trg, the Aiel are a long way behind the AS in knowledge of Channeling especially. But Aiel apprentices would not be sent to the WT to become AS, but for a year or so to learn from them, mainly Channeling. The problem with the AS is the way they train there Girls, it’s slow and methodical especially compared to the Seanchan and BT. They may replenish there numbers in 30 years but the Seanchan and the Black Tower will do far more then that. 
 

Cadsuane is a double edged Sword for the Aes Sedai, she is probably the best choice in the short term but the worst in the long term, Egwene’s death is a disaster for the WT, she was a reformer who was prepared to give girls a second chance, use the Kin Folk as part of the WT, would have been more proactive in finding new Novices instead of waiting for them to come to the WT, would probably have sent accepted to the Aiel, Sea Folk, Kin Folk and even the BT for short periods as exchange trainees, welcomed those groups to send there own Trainees to the WT in the same manner, the world would have been far better of for it, only the very low numbers of AS left and current general weakness of the WT, would stop Cadsuane from immediately kicking out every over aged or 2nd chance Novice now in the Tower. 

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I disagree that Cadsuane is gonna go hard in trying to drum out "unsuitable" Novices.  She's hardly a traditionalist, at least not for the sake of mere tradition.  And I tend to think that she's going to keep most, if not all of Egwene's diplomatic accomplishments in place.  For one thing, she's pragmatic enough to recognize the immense resource that pool of 1000 recruits is.  For another, she's enough like Egwene that she'd see the value in those alliances, after all, her greatest teacher wasn't an Aes Sedai, but a "toothless old wilder" she encountered in her early adventures.  And trying to overthrow Egwene's initiatives would likely be unpopular enough to have her unseated, considering Egwene now has near-sainthood status among the Aes Sedai.

 

I think the Fourth Age sees the rise of Aes Sedai as a political power, with the Aiel and Windfinders becoming adjuncts to that power, and likely an alliance of some kind with the Black Tower, especially against the Seanchan.  But then, if the Seanchan keep to their end of the bargain, and notions of Seanchan honor suggest they would, they're going to have a very hard time recruiting new damane.  For the long term, I think the future of the Seanchan is what we saw happen to the Aiel in Aviendha's dream.  By averting that future for the Aiel, the Pattern will demand another civilization to be extinguished, and theirs is the most likely to fit the bill.

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8 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

I disagree that Cadsuane is gonna go hard in trying to drum out "unsuitable" Novices.  She's hardly a traditionalist, at least not for the sake of mere tradition.  And I tend to think that she's going to keep most, if not all of Egwene's diplomatic accomplishments in place.  For one thing, she's pragmatic enough to recognize the immense resource that pool of 1000 recruits is.  For another, she's enough like Egwene that she'd see the value in those alliances, after all, her greatest teacher wasn't an Aes Sedai, but a "toothless old wilder" she encountered in her early adventures.  And trying to overthrow Egwene's initiatives would likely be unpopular enough to have her unseated, considering Egwene now has near-sainthood status among the Aes Sedai.

 

I think the Fourth Age sees the rise of Aes Sedai as a political power, with the Aiel and Windfinders becoming adjuncts to that power, and likely an alliance of some kind with the Black Tower, especially against the Seanchan.  But then, if the Seanchan keep to their end of the bargain, and notions of Seanchan honor suggest they would, they're going to have a very hard time recruiting new damane.  For the long term, I think the future of the Seanchan is what we saw happen to the Aiel in Aviendha's dream.  By averting that future for the Aiel, the Pattern will demand another civilization to be extinguished, and theirs is the most likely to fit the bill.

Rise as a Political Power? They’ve been at the top for somewhere between 7000 and 10,000 years through 2 Ages, survived through the Breaking, Trolloc Wars, Artur Hawkwing and Rand Al Thor. No i think if the pattern is going to bring someone down it will be the Aes Sedai, the time must come for them to become Memory, then Legend then fade to Myth and finally disappear from all knowledge and i think the Aiel will eventually go the same way, become memory during the 4th Age, legend in the 5th, Myth in the 6th and have totally disappeared by the 7th to return in the 1st or 2nd Age.

 

We know about 4 of the 7 Ages and the first days of a 5th, we know all about the 3rd Age, a lot about the 2nd, one unknown Age is our world, another is the Age where men and Wolves live in partnership. All the Ages are very different from each other, at the start of the 4th Age, its still to similar to the 3rd Age. We have one future vision of the 4th Age, forewarned the Aiel will strive to stop it from happening but we can’t be certain they will ultimately succeed they may just change the way it happens.

 

My prediction for the 4th Age is the rise of a great Empire using Channelers to keep the populace under control.

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At no point during the Third Age were the Aes Sedai ever as dominant a political power as they were during the Age of Legends.  They were not only effectively rulers of the world, they were also the bedrock of civil infrastructure.  In the Third Age, they were as much an obstacle or hindrance to be avoided if possible, as they were any kind of aid or genuine leader.  And from Hawkwing's time on, they were a failing and falling power.  No one needed them, and very few respected them.  What influence they had was born out of fear, not appreciation for the benefits they could bring.  Ages tend to go in cycles, an Age of war and conflict is followed by an Age of peace and comity.  The Fourth Age is not likely to be an Age of subjugation and military dominance such as the Seanchan would bring, following a Third Age full of war and division.

 

And if the Pattern demands a People to fall, the extermination of their whole culture and way of life, the Aes Sedai don't fit that bill.  They are not a People or nation.  They're an institution made of people from all kinds of different nations and cultures.  Avi's vision saw a people gradually abandon and twist their cultural ideals while stubbornly clinging to a way of life that had become incapable of adapting to the new realities of the world, and as a result, slowly dwindled to extinction. 

 

Because Aviendha subverted that future for the Aiel, and insofar as the Pattern demands some powerful nation fall prey to that process, there's really only two other cultural possibilities to take the Aiel's place: the Seanchan, and the Sharans.  Demandred, in rallying the Sharans to the side of the Shadow, has set the Sharans up not for a gradual degradation of cultural identity and extinction, but for an immediate one.  And that leaves the Seanchan, which is fitting, because the Seanchan have always been presented as almost a dark mirror to the Aiel.  If the Aiel are no longer to suffer the fate foreseen by Aviendha, then it must be the Seanchan who suffer it instead.

 

Aes Sedai are not going to remain the aloof, arrogant manipulators from far-off Tar Valon that they have become since Hawkwing's time.  The Last Battle and the Dragon Reborn have changed them significantly.  You've got Cadsuane leading them now, one of the most "activist" sisters in Aes Sedai recent history, following one of the most reformatory and beloved leaders in their entire Third Age history. 

 

The Aes Sedai haven't undergone this much change since the Breaking, when they whittled the ajahs down to seven (in the Age of Legends there were dozens) and bound themselves like criminals to try to regain some credibility after their male counterparts broke the world.  And they've got Nynaeve in their ranks now, who's going to be at the top of their authority structure for some time, at least until Sharina reaches her full potential.  There's no way she'll let the Aes Sedai backslide back into being the passive, arrogant manipulators who've removed themselves from the daily lives of those they are meant to Serve.  With Egwene's legacy, Cadsuane's shrewd leadership, and Nynaeve's idealism and forceful personality, combined with the enormous head-start the Aes Sedai have for rebuilding in that pool of Novices, the path for the Aes Sedai to become true Servants of All once again is wide open for them. 

 

Of all the extant organizations of channellers, the immediate future is brightest for the White Tower, followed by the Black, then the Aiel, and the Seanchan last of all.  The Kin and the Sea Folk don't even figure in.  The Kin have no political aspirations and are already basically adjuncts to the White Tower, while Windfinders will have to change the most, likely abandoning the sea, as Travelling and the new rail systems will have, if they haven't already, made cargo transport by sea obsolete.  They'll be lost until they figure out what to do with themselves. 

 

The Aiel are hampered by only finding new Wise Ones out of the Aiel, who have been absolutely devastated by the Last Battle; only a remnant of a remnant remains.  Their pool of potential new recruits and their ability to make more will take generations to recover.  The Seanchan are bound by their agreement to release any bound channeller who wishes to be released, excepting captured Sharans, and to not take new ones unless they volunteer.  If they honor that, and Tuon and Mat at least very likely will, the Seanchan will have an even harder time recouping their losses, very few are likely to volunteer for 4-800 years of slavery.

 

The Black Tower is the only group that has an immediate future bright enough to rival the Aes Sedai, thanks to Logain's actions in saving the non-combatants in the Last Battle.  They'll find recruitment and political tolerance easier than the White Tower will.  But they've also been completely devastated by the events preceding and during the Last Battle to an extent far greater than what the White Tower suffered.  And they don't have a thousand recruits already in their rolls ready to be trained and moulded.  They'll have to go recruiting first.  The Aes Sedai have at least that much of a headstart on them.  And I reckon the Aes Sedai, led by Cadsuane and informed by Pevara and Nynaeve, will quickly seek out a generous and lasting alliance with the Black Tower.  The Guardians will balance the Servants.  But both Guardians and Servants will survive and flourish in that new balance.

Edited by Thrasymachus
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Don't get me wrong, I fully understand why someone would want things to turn out differently.  The Aes Sedai, including Egwene and Cadsuane, and even Nynaeve at times, are insufferable and arrogant, and would fully deserve a to be extinguished as an institution.  But when you look realistically and the state of things following the Last Battle, and you don't overlook the virtues of those whose vices are all too grating and apparent, the scenario where the Aes Sedai are reformed and redeemed looks far more likely than one in which they continue to fumble and fail.

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7 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

At no point during the Third Age were the Aes Sedai ever as dominant a political power as they were during the Age of Legends.  They were not only effectively rulers of the world, they were also the bedrock of civil infrastructure.  In the Third Age, they were as much an obstacle or hindrance to be avoided if possible, as they were any kind of aid or genuine leader.  And from Hawkwing's time on, they were a failing and falling power.  No one needed them, and very few respected them.  What influence they had was born out of fear, not appreciation for the benefits they could bring.  Ages tend to go in cycles, an Age of war and conflict is followed by an Age of peace and comity.  The Fourth Age is not likely to be an Age of subjugation and military dominance such as the Seanchan would bring, following a Third Age full of war and division.

 

And if the Pattern demands a People to fall, the extermination of their whole culture and way of life, the Aes Sedai don't fit that bill.  They are not a People or nation.  They're an institution made of people from all kinds of different nations and cultures.  Avi's vision saw a people gradually abandon and twist their cultural ideals while stubbornly clinging to a way of life that had become incapable of adapting to the new realities of the world, and as a result, slowly dwindled to extinction. 

 

Because Aviendha subverted that future for the Aiel, and insofar as the Pattern demands some powerful nation fall prey to that process, there's really only two other cultural possibilities to take the Aiel's place: the Seanchan, and the Sharans.  Demandred, in rallying the Sharans to the side of the Shadow, has set the Sharans up not for a gradual degradation of cultural identity and extinction, but for an immediate one.  And that leaves the Seanchan, which is fitting, because the Seanchan have always been presented as almost a dark mirror to the Aiel.  If the Aiel are no longer to suffer the fate foreseen by Aviendha, then it must be the Seanchan who suffer it instead.

 

Aes Sedai are not going to remain the aloof, arrogant manipulators from far-off Tar Valon that they have become since Hawkwing's time.  The Last Battle and the Dragon Reborn have changed them significantly.  You've got Cadsuane leading them now, one of the most "activist" sisters in Aes Sedai recent history, following one of the most reformatory and beloved leaders in their entire Third Age history. 

 

The Aes Sedai haven't undergone this much change since the Breaking, when they whittled the ajahs down to seven (in the Age of Legends there were dozens) and bound themselves like criminals to try to regain some credibility after their male counterparts broke the world.  And they've got Nynaeve in their ranks now, who's going to be at the top of their authority structure for some time, at least until Sharina reaches her full potential.  There's no way she'll let the Aes Sedai backslide back into being the passive, arrogant manipulators who've removed themselves from the daily lives of those they are meant to Serve.  With Egwene's legacy, Cadsuane's shrewd leadership, and Nynaeve's idealism and forceful personality, combined with the enormous head-start the Aes Sedai have for rebuilding in that pool of Novices, the path for the Aes Sedai to become true Servants of All once again is wide open for them. 

 

Of all the extant organizations of channellers, the immediate future is brightest for the White Tower, followed by the Black, then the Aiel, and the Seanchan last of all.  The Kin and the Sea Folk don't even figure in.  The Kin have no political aspirations and are already basically adjuncts to the White Tower, while Windfinders will have to change the most, likely abandoning the sea, as Travelling and the new rail systems will have, if they haven't already, made cargo transport by sea obsolete.  They'll be lost until they figure out what to do with themselves. 

 

The Aiel are hampered by only finding new Wise Ones out of the Aiel, who have been absolutely devastated by the Last Battle; only a remnant of a remnant remains.  Their pool of potential new recruits and their ability to make more will take generations to recover.  The Seanchan are bound by their agreement to release any bound channeller who wishes to be released, excepting captured Sharans, and to not take new ones unless they volunteer.  If they honor that, and Tuon and Mat at least very likely will, the Seanchan will have an even harder time recouping their losses, very few are likely to volunteer for 4-800 years of slavery.

 

The Black Tower is the only group that has an immediate future bright enough to rival the Aes Sedai, thanks to Logain's actions in saving the non-combatants in the Last Battle.  They'll find recruitment and political tolerance easier than the White Tower will.  But they've also been completely devastated by the events preceding and during the Last Battle to an extent far greater than what the White Tower suffered.  And they don't have a thousand recruits already in their rolls ready to be trained and moulded.  They'll have to go recruiting first.  The Aes Sedai have at least that much of a headstart on them.  And I reckon the Aes Sedai, led by Cadsuane and informed by Pevara and Nynaeve, will quickly seek out a generous and lasting alliance with the Black Tower.  The Guardians will balance the Servants.  But both Guardians and Servants will survive and flourish in that new balance.

To clear something up first, i do not hate the concept of the Aes Sedai, i do not hate in any way any character in the WOT, i am not predicting the fall of the AS because of the way they acted, i think they were brilliantly portrayed and if it turned out i was wrong i would be happy to admit that, in my opinion what is known realistically points towards the eventual fall of both the AS and Aiel in the first few Centuries of the 4th Age. 
 

Totally disagree on the Remnant of a remnant of the Aiel remain, I don’t think that has happened yet, like everyone else they lost a lot of the Wise Ones and Warriors yes but their society in the waste still remains intact and would still number in the hundreds of thousands made up of some Warriors left behind, some Wise Ones, old Folk, Children, Mothers, Smiths, Farmers etc.

 

There is no real evidence that the Seanchan have been severely weakened. They joined the battle quite late and we have no idea of the size of the force they sent to Merilor, if they committed everything they have. I suspect not, Tuon is to canny an operator to commit her entire Army to a cause she is not 100% convinced about.

Its not about me wanting to see change at all, its about how the entire story is written, Jordan wrote it as a World that changes, that evolves, that Civilisations, Kingdoms, Organisations come and go. I can only go on what is known and don’t forget that Andor-Carhien, the Aes Sedai and the Black Tower where all tricked into allying with the Aiel in Aviendha’s vision and fell the only glimpse we have into the 4th Age and we don’t know if she is successful in changing that or not. You seem to want the Aes Sedai to rise to become the power they were in the 2nd Age again and the world to go back to being a Utopia again. sorry but I don’t think the pattern will allow that to happen only 2 Ages after the last time. 
 

I don’t think there can be any doubt that Sanderson believed that the AS will fall, Aviendha’s vision and the death of Egwene being my 2 main reasons. 

There is no real love for the Aes Sedai in this world, there is plenty of hatred, fear, contempt for them though and a lot less respect then once existed, their number one supporters, the Borderlanders have been reduced to a remnant of what they once where, because unlike the Aiel, their Homelands have been invaded, their Cities Destroyed and the populations killed or driven off. if the Blight and Shadowspawn disappear, which i Regard as a very strong possibility then the Borderland Nations will become nothing but unimportant Backwaters. 

Edited by Harldin
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The AS can go out and do things for the commons. Build roads, build and teach in schools. Use their powers to manufacture cheap devices to provide clean water, light and heating. Be the champion of the common people.

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44 minutes ago, Robert Laurel said:

The AS can go out and do things for the commons. Build roads, build and teach in schools. Use their powers to manufacture cheap devices to provide clean water, light and heating. Be the champion of the common people.

Yes they can but why haven’t they been doing that for the last 3000 years? Why the sudden change? Actually this is probably something you are more likely to see the Kin Folk doing now they are no longer hiding but are part of the Tower. I can see the Ashaman doing this to help fund the BT, but Aes Sedai? 

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Why can't you see the Aes Sedai doing that, when led by an Aes Sedai who for her three hundred year career has rarely set foot in Tar Valon, let alone inside the Tower, and supported by Nynaeve, who was a hair's breadth away from throwing away her potential shawl because she saw the Aes Sedai as valuing their membership and status more than their service, and as a result being too removed from the people they are to Serve, and who will be sitting at the top of Aes Sedai hierarchy for at least the next decade or more?

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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

Why can't you see the Aes Sedai doing that, when led by an Aes Sedai who for her three hundred year career has rarely set foot in Tar Valon, let alone inside the Tower, and supported by Nynaeve, who was a hair's breadth away from throwing away her potential shawl because she saw the Aes Sedai as valuing their membership and status more than their service, and as a result being too removed from the people they are to Serve, and who will be sitting at the top of Aes Sedai hierarchy for at least the next decade or more?

The Wheel of Time Turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.

That is why i think the Aes Sedai’s days are numbered no matter what they try to do after being a dominate force for so long, i believe the Pattern will decide time is up, it may still be several centuries yet and they may even evolve into something different. 

This is my opinion and i fully recognise that i may be totally wrong. 

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Eventually, sure.  Everything born in the turning of the Wheel eventually dies, to be reborn again when the Wheel comes back around.  But that fact doesn't say anything about when that will happen.  Aes Sedai will eventually cease to be, as will the ability to channel itself.  But there's nothing in the text to suggest that that's imminent, and no more reason to suggest that it's more likely to happen in the Fourth Age than the Fifth, or Sixth.  And considerable reason to think that they are more likely to remain the dominant channelling organization, and if anything, grow that dominance in the coming decades, i.e., the foreseeable future, than that they are going to decline.  For the latter to happen, something significant would have to happen to turn the tables on them, that we have no foreshadowing, Prophecy or hint of what it would be.

 

I don't know what future Ages are going to look like.  I don't know, or even have any educated or speculative guesses as to how the Fourth Age will end.  All we can reasonably speculate about is the first ~300 years of the Fourth Age, and only because we know the major players and the historical context in which they're acting.  That context and the character of the major players suggests that the White Tower is going to remain the dominant organization of channellers, likely for as long as that foreseeable period. 

 

And in the context of your question, it seemed as though you were searching for evidence that the Aes Sedai would fall into an immediate decline following the Last Battle, due to their losses and competition with rival channelling organizations.  And if you cherry-pick evidence, noting only their losses, stressing the existence of potential rivals and their historical political unpopularity, you can certainly construct that narrative.  But I think if you objectively weigh all the evidence, you'll find that the immediate, foreseeable future for the White Tower is actually pretty rosy.

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Eventually the Aes Sedai will vanish when the world loses the abiltiy to channel.  But nothing suggest it will be anytime soon, especially with all the contacts they now have with other groups of channelers.  Some speculate it will be the Seachean who cause the world to lose the abilty to channel.

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Channelling must die out at some point.  One of the conceits of the world-building is that our world is a prior Age to the Third Age and Age of Legends.  Either the First Age, or an Age prior to that.  Since we lack channelling, there must be at least one Age where channelling was unknown, or at least relegated to "myth and legend."

 

How that happens, nobody knows.  Likewise, nobody knows how channelling was discovered.  Though Jordan might have had some thoughts, afaik, they were never recorded anywhere.

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Ashaman are Channelers.

A fair percentage of the Aiel Wise ones are Channelers.

Windfinders are Channelers.

A fair percentage of Kin Folk are Channelers.

The Damane are Channelers.

The Sul’Dam have the ability to learn how to Channel.

The Ayyad can Channel as can there Male counterparts.

A unknown number of People living on the Southern Continent can channel

At the start of the 4th Age the number of Aes Sedai and there Trainees probably equates to less than 10% and possibly a lot less of the channelers in the world.

So why on Earth would the disappearance of the organisation known as the Aes Sedai equate to no more Channeling in the world?

 

No channeling in our age, says who? The history of the world is full of Legends and Myths of Sorcerers, Demi Gods, Witches, Warlocks etc. 

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That's the thing, though.  They're myths and legends, not known to be real.  In fact, I'll go farther and say that Channeling, and any other mythological, apocryphal, or legendary systems of magic, are known to not be real.  Even if channelling is extant right now, perhaps hiding away in some forgotten tibetan monetary or promulgated by some hidden Aztec cult, it is, for all intents and purposes, functionally extinct, and has been for as far back as there is recorded history.

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Try not to get too hung up on "our" world/reality as an actual 1:1 "age" within the Wheel of Time universe.

Remember; Time within WoT is literally cyclical, not figuratively cyclical (No Big-Bang-Big-Crunch).
Fundamental Laws of physics are entirely different.
Biological evolution isn't a "thing" within the Wheel of Time. 

It's often best for everyone's collective "brains", to view "our" history within Thom's tails as fun eastereggs.

From the Words of RJ himself.image.thumb.png.b34a4f582a1a74819cc2894faa0e1808.png


At some point, in some age, no one is aware that even "magic" exists, and the "first" channelers where either AoL, or even before that. The "why's", are pure speculation, and thus ripe for all kinds of wacky theories.

 

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