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Oaths and ageless-ness


Rinkai
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Ok so, I think I found a hole in the black ajah story. I has been stated that it is an oath taken on the oath rod that makes AS ageless looking. It has also been stated that it takes years for an oath to make one look ageless    (they sat a few times that a specific AS is young enough to not appear ageless). So, when an AS converts to the dark side after attaining the ageless look, wouldn't people notice that she doesn't look ageless anymore? Even if they take new oaths on the oath rod, wouldn't those take years to make them look ageless?

 

 

 

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We don't know that they removed all of the oaths, only that they removed the first oath. Also, it was only Seine and Pevarra who removed the oath, and I'm pretty sure it takes more than one oath to cause the look, and no, I'm not going to hunt down the Jordan quote about it.

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Ok so, I think I found a hole in the black ajah story. I has been stated that it is an oath taken on the oath rod that makes AS ageless looking. It has also been stated that it takes years for an oath to make one look ageless     (they sat a few times that a specific AS is young enough to not appear ageless). So, when an AS converts to the dark side after attaining the ageless look, wouldn't people notice that she doesn't look ageless anymore? Even if they take new oaths on the oath rod, wouldn't those take years to make them look ageless?

 

No just take and replace the oaths in this order.

add a black ajah oath then dissolve one regular oath and so on until all three oaths are replace. At worst the person is only bound to four oaths momentarily and is never bound to less then three.

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Still, Min noticed the change in appearance of "the sanche woman" when she rescued them which was immediatly after she was stilled and released from the oaths. So it doesn't take a long time. And we can assume that channeling does not have anything to do with the look because the kin do not look ageless.So, stilling in itself isn't the reason Sanche lost the look. I think its just a plot hole.

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Still, Min noticed the change in appearance of "the sanche woman" when she rescued them which was immediatly after she was stilled and released from the oaths. So it doesn't take a long time. And we can assume that channeling does not have anything to do with the look because the kin do not look ageless.So, stilling in itself isn't the reason Sanche lost the look. I think its just a plot hole.

The Aes Sedai were unaware of the effect before Siuan and Leane get to Salidar.  This means that there must be some time in between a removal of oaths and any change in appearance.  When the Black Ajah forswear the Three Oaths, they most likely immediately swear their new oaths.  That would be before any change in appearance occurs and would make the most sense because the oath rod would have a bigger chance of being missed if they kept it for a long time.

 

 

The idea though makes me wonder if someone who is stilled but hasn't sworn any oaths would look young again.  Does anyone know if this has been addressed anywhere?

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You're right. But the Black Ajah woman they caught, forswore all Oaths that bound her, so we do have one example at least of all oaths being removed and no one commenting on any physical change. 

Do we know that she foreswore all oaths? If she did, they surely made her swear some others, like the first oath again, and to obey them, like they did with the ferrets. Either way, it does take some time, but not much, as Egwene notices the difference in Amico Nagoyin's appearance within a day or so of stilling her in TDR, and Min notices Siuan's change of appearance withing a matter of days, too.

 

Shard has a point; the only ones we've seen lose the ageless look are those who are stilled or burned out, but it makes sense that foreswearing the Oaths would also remove the look, and even in the case of swearing new oaths right away, the new oaths should not induce the look immediately. Clearly, this is not the case, but I don't see a ready explanation for it. It might well be an oversight.

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Still, Min noticed the change in appearance of "the sanche woman" when she rescued them which was immediatly after she was stilled and released from the oaths. So it doesn't take a long time. And we can assume that channeling does not have anything to do with the look because the kin do not look ageless.So, stilling in itself isn't the reason Sanche lost the look. I think its just a plot hole.

The Aes Sedai were unaware of the effect before Siuan and Leane get to Salidar.  This means that there must be some time in between a removal of oaths and any change in appearance. 

It means that the Aes Sedai aren't accustomed to women who are stilled.
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The difference is far more visible in Siuan and Leane because they are so young, relative to the other Aes Sedai we've seen.  They went from "ageless" to looking about 20.  Contrast, for example, Sashalle Anderly who was stilled by Rand and lost the ageless look quickly; she went from "ageless" to "short of her middle years". (CoT prologue)  But neither of those effects was necessarily instant.  It had been hours between

 

As to how long it would take the ageless look to re-appear, it simply seems it does not take as long the second time, at least if the Oaths are re-administered fairly quickly.  The Black Ajah may remove and replace the Oaths one at a time, in order to keep the look intact, but given Talene's experience with the Hunters in WH prologue, removing all three and then immediately re-administering them is enough.  It may not take weeks for the "ageless" look to dissipate, but it apparently takes at least hours, and taking the Oaths again quickly prevents it from disappearing.

 

As to how long it would take someone like Siuan or Sashalle, we just don't know, since no one who has been free of the Oaths long enough to lose the look has re-taken the Oaths yet.

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That seems to be the explanation, yet it takes years for the initial oaths to create the look, so it just makes sense to me that it should take years for a second set of oaths to create the look. It just seems that the look should fade after the initial oaths are removed, and then, it should take years for the new oaths to re-create the look. Obviously, that's not how it works, but I do not understand why.  :-\

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The way that they describe it when they take an oath, their skin tightening and so on makes me think of it like silly puddy.  When you stretch it and let go it stays for a second or so before it bounces back.  If you reapply the stretching quick enough it doesn't get the chance to bounce back.  It would require more time to stetch it than to keep it stretched.  Gross to think about in relation to my face...

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That seems to be the explanation, yet it takes years for the initial oaths to create the look, so it just makes sense to me that it should take years for a second set of oaths to create the look.

 

Not necessarily.  Restoring a physical condition doesn't always take as long as initially creating it.  And, in the only people we've seen remove and re-take the Oaths, the look hasn't had time to fade in the first place.  It may be that for people like Siuan and Sashalle it will take years to restore the look, or at least, that it won't be instant.  But for Talene and the Hunters, the look was never allowed to fade.

 

Rinkai claims it is a "plot hole" because, "Min noticed the change in appearance of "the sanche woman" when she rescued them which was immediatly after she was stilled and released from the oaths. So it doesn't take a long time."  But Min didn't see her "immediately".  It was at least several hours, and perhaps as much as a day.  So, if you only have the Oaths off for five minutes or so, then the look doesn't disappear at all, and so it doesn't have to be "restored".  This means that there are plenty of ways the Black Ajah can replace all the Oaths and not lose the "ageless" look.

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When a woman/man (I think it works for men too) is able to channel but does not swear any Oaths on the Oath Rod, they continue to age but the effect is called "slowing" as we know.  Nynaeve was mistaken for a good 5 year gap which annoyed her since she was 29 and constantly mistaken for 24-25.  Elayne notices that one of the Kin looks only slightly older than herself but is in fact in her 50s.  She also notices that Kirstian looks like she might be in her middle years but is in fact several hundred years old.  When a person channels but is not bound by an Oath they simply look young but not "ageless".

 

When bound by the Oaths, their face becomes "ageless" where they could clearly have gray hair or white hair and still be unable to have someone peg their age.  Several POV's have said "I couldn't have told if she was twenty or fifty" so the ageless effect must be very different than someone just looking very young.

 

Being stilled rips the "ageless" look away but I think that without the ageless look the channeler would have continued to slow.  Say "agelessness" was sort of a mask that identifies someone bound by an Oath - perhaps this was how they recognized someone who had been bound against something in the Age of Legends...that person had an "ageless" look on them.  In any case, once the person is stilled the ageless look vanishes.  (given, after a day or two - Siuan and Leanne were in the cells for a day or two after they had been stilled, apparently forgotten until Min found them.

 

I think if a person removes an Oath rather than is stilled, then the effect is that the "ageless" effect slowly resolves into the "you look too young to be six hundred!!!" effect.  When a person is stilled, they revert to wherever they began to slow...and then age just like anyone else would (like Setalle Anan for example).  When a person removes the Oaths, they slowly lose the ageless look but continue to slow because they can still channel.  So then, the Black Ajah would have continued to have an ageless look because while they removed at least one Oath, they took another one (or three) on the Oath rod and therefore kept the ageless look.  They are bound by the Dark Oaths rather than the regular Three Oaths, but the rod produces the ageless look so they are still "ageless".  Likely when a Sister is inducted into the Black Ajah...removing the Oaths and replacing them is all done at the same time so they wouldn't have time to look differently.  (Talene will continue to have an Aes Sedai look because she swore Oaths on the Oath rod shortly after she removed her original BA Oaths.)

 

that's how I think of it anyway.

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RAW countered:

Not necessarily.  Restoring a physical condition doesn't always take as long as initially creating it.
Well, it takes less time and effort to tone back up once you've gone flabby than to build muscle in the first place, so that makes a certain kind of sense, although you don't go from tone to flabby overnight. Jordan is consistent with what happens to the look when women are stilled though, and he is consistent with the look remaining in those who have had oaths replaced, so I guess it is just as likely that it is by design and not a plot hole as it is that it's an error.
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Besides, Suian and Leane were severed and then tortured.  Sashalle and the others were just severed.  Also there may be a difference between voluntarily removing the oaths and forcibly removing them by severing.

 

This.

We even see Siuan comment that it should take longer for the Ageless look to disappear, and connects their case to the rough treatment they recieved.

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What if to counter this effect the black Ajah replace the oaths over a long time period. They might swear a fourth oath and remove an old one. But only do this once ever five years or so, and there is never too big of a change in appearance. That way there is ample time to regain any lost ageless-ness. So, the initiation ritual may take place over a decade or two. That seems to be a good way to ensure loyalty too.

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What if to counter this effect the black Ajah replace the oaths over a long time period.

 

Because that increases the chances of getting caught, and is totally unnecessary, based on what we've actually seen in the books.  Doing it quickly and all at once will definitely keep the ageless look.  See Talene Minly. 

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Do we know that she foreswore all oaths? If she did, they surely made her swear some others, like the first oath again, and to obey them, like they did with the ferrets.

 

Yes, Prologue of Winter's Heart.  From the passage:

Talene's tears redoubled, but she mumbled through them. "I--forswear--all oaths--that bind me." With that last word she began to howl.

Seaine jumped then swallowed hard. She personally knew the pain of removing a single oath and speculated on the agony of removing more than once, but now the reality was in front of her. Talene screamed till there was no breath left in her, then pulled in air only to scream again, until Seaine half expected people to come running from the Tower itself. The tall Green convulsed, flinging her arms and legs about, then suddenly arched up till only her heels and head touched the gray surface, every muscle clenched, her whole body spasming wildly.

As abruptly as the seizure began, Talene collapsed bonelessly and lay there weeping like a lost child. The Oath Rod rolled from her limp hand down the sloping surface. Yukiri murmured something with the sound of a fervent prayer. Doesine kept whispering. "Light!" over and over in a shaken voice. "Light! Light!"

Pevara scooped up the Rod and closed Talene's fingers around it again. There was no mercy in Seaine's friend, not in this matter. "Now swear the Three Oaths," she spat.

For an instant, it seemed Talene might refuse, but slowly she repeated the oaths that made them all Aes Sedia and held them together. To speak no word that was not true. Never make a weapon for one man to kill another. Never to use the One Power as a weapon, except in defense of her life, or that of her Warder or another sister. At the end she began weeping in silence, shaking without a sound. Perhaps it was the oaths tightening down on her. They were uncomfortable when fresh. Perhaps.

Then Pevara told the other oath they required of her. Talene flinched, but muttered the words in tones of hopelessness. "I vow to obey all five of you absolutely." Otherwise, she only stared strait ahead dully, tears trailing down her cheeks.

 

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