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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

How was traveling lost?


FortySix
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The white tower was also mostly settled by the aprentice aes sedai and all because all the real aes sedai went off and died fighting the shadow. Some aes Sedai may have helped build Tar Valon but then went off to deal with the mess left over after the worst of the breaking happened. Also yea as above the land shifting and all.

Edited by rand4747
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I'm curious about that as well- but how did they lose as much as they did, on top of from Travelling?.

 

To begin with, although many of the experienced Aes Sedai certainly died during the breaking, at least some of them must have made it beyond. The level of skill necessary to create Tar Valon, and the White Tower seems to require at least a few people of experience to lead the show. Further, Rhuidean, although unfinished, was apparently planned along the lines of the previous age. This raises any number of of other questions. Chiefly, was the glass columns ter'angreal salvaged from the breaking, or was it created by the Aes Sedai we see in Rand's vision. I'm of a mind that it was created specifically for the purpose the Aiel use it for, as it seems too specifically geared towards maintaining the Aiel and ultimately fulfilling prophecy.

 

As far as losing as much as they did, I've been curious for a while. If I remember correctly, the Trolloc War began in 1000AB. The Trolloc War itself lasted several hundred years, and ended in 1350AB(after breaking). We have it from one of the Forsaken (which, I can't exactly recall; Semhirage, perhaps?) that lifespan for Aes Sedai during the 2nd Age could be in excess of 700 years. The Aes Sedai of the 3rd Age did not begin use of the Three Oaths until after the Trolloc War, but before the War of the Hundred Years which begins in 994 FY (roughly 2300AB).

 

My conjecture, based on the above is that: The Aes Sedai, not having used the Oath Rod yet, should have experienced as few as 2, or as many as 4, generations of channeling women, before the Oath Rod cut their lifespan in half (although to a still impressive 300ish being possible). Was so much lost, in so few generations?

 

I suppose Jordan, or Sanderson now, might say something to the effect that: It can be difficult to predict what would be lost, and what not, during the kind of cataclysmic event the Breaking was. It happens that Travelling, making Cuendilar, and designing and building all varieties of angreal, and 'angreal, were among those lost.

 

That's believable, and true, enough to be a fairly decent answer. I'd also accept that with Travelling well known earlier than it's rediscovery by Aviendha, a lot of the early story involving the journey from point A to B would have been harder to explain. Why not just Travel to Fal Dara, instead of riding there? Fain took the Horn and is going to Falme? Rest up and hit up a Gateway in a couple of months.

 

However, the speed that the Travelling weave makes its way around the various females who can channel would suggest that if anybody had known it after the breaking, it would have been maintained. So, I suppose, Travelling was lost because everyone who knew it died, and any textual instruction was lost during the Breaking.

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As far as I understand, the WT was built by a group of self taught channeling women with no link to the Aes Sedai from before the breaking. Hundreds of years after the actual breaking. They gathered and created their own thinkgs, gathering whatever knowledge/items they could. It stands to reason that something as specific as Travelling could be lost.

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I'm curious about that as well- but how did they lose as much as they did, on top of from Travelling?.

 

To begin with, although many of the experienced Aes Sedai certainly died during the breaking, at least some of them must have made it beyond.

Actually, they didn't. I believe the quote is in the BWB, but we are told at one point that no AS survived the Breaking. Given that the Breaking itself was a less than ideal teaching environment, and that all the AoL folks died during it, it stands to reason that much knowledge would be lost.
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Plot convenience. I find it really implausible.

The Oaths alone should give you a hint. Before the Shadow Wars, Aes Sedai had the time and a period of peace to develop extravagant weaves. Following the Dragon and the DO being unsealed was a time of war. The Shadow was winning, and those it didn't defeat joined the Shadow. The entire world was in turmoil, the Shadow took over entire cities and regions. On top of that, entire cities were Balefired. Chaos. Disorder. Panic and people fleeing. Dozens of forsaken loose upon the world. Shock Lances giving way to Power-Wrought weapons. Much lost during the war. Female and Male Aes Sedai creating the Chodan Kal dead, those developing the Accses Keys dead. A hundred Companions dead in the sealing of the Bore and LTT and the surviving males driven mad by the backblast from the bore. With the Male Channelers all going mad, those that hadn't gone mad yet who survived dying with many women creating the Eye of the World. With the Male Channelers gone, the Aes Sedai in ragged ranks and scattered between two continents and possibly add in the Land of the Madmen, Shara, etc, travel between these was relegated back to horse and old sailing ships. So much was lost during these times. Then add in the Trolloc Wars, Ishamael out and shaping events every 40 years. Do I really need to go on?

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Well, half of the AoL Aes Sedai went crazy; therefore, half of the knowledge base is gone. Next, by the scenes through Rand's ancestor's eyes, many things that were salvaged from the AoL were lost during the travels; therefore, I can believe that texts containing this knowledge was lost as well. Somewhere along the line, Aes Sedai started not trusting each other and kept knowledge close. This knowledge was not shared and was lost at death.

 

I just see it as the knowledge was lost over time, and it helps the plot line.

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Plot convenience. I find it really implausible.

The Oaths alone should give you a hint. Before the Shadow Wars, Aes Sedai had the time and a period of peace to develop extravagant weaves. Following the Dragon and the DO being unsealed was a time of war. The Shadow was winning, and those it didn't defeat joined the Shadow. The entire world was in turmoil, the Shadow took over entire cities and regions. On top of that, entire cities were Balefired. Chaos. Disorder. Panic and people fleeing. Dozens of forsaken loose upon the world. Shock Lances giving way to Power-Wrought weapons. Much lost during the war. Female and Male Aes Sedai creating the Chodan Kal dead, those developing the Accses Keys dead. A hundred Companions dead in the sealing of the Bore and LTT and the surviving males driven mad by the backblast from the bore. With the Male Channelers all going mad, those that hadn't gone mad yet who survived dying with many women creating the Eye of the World. With the Male Channelers gone, the Aes Sedai in ragged ranks and scattered between two continents and possibly add in the Land of the Madmen, Shara, etc, travel between these was relegated back to horse and old sailing ships. So much was lost during these times. Then add in the Trolloc Wars, Ishamael out and shaping events every 40 years. Do I really need to go on?

 

Nope, no need to go on...

 

That was pretty damn good!

 

:-)

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The White Tower Aes Sedai did and do teach a lot of things, but each AS keeps a LOT of things secret as well. Plus, with the AS getting weaker on top of that, any AS who knew the skill might not have had anyone around that they actually WANTED to teach it to. There would have been a good reason to keep it secret, what with Dreadlords still looming over their minds. They claim they don't believe there is such a thing as Black Ajah, but why all the secrecy? There likely wasn't much they wanted to transport that was worth risking teaching new Dreadlords how to bring Trollocs behind their lines. And deathgates? Lots of good reasons to let Traveling be forgotten.

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Isn't there an RJ explanation to the effect that, during the Breaking, the geography changed so much and so randomly that Travel was actively dangerous.

On the basis that X would attempt to Travel to a location where Y had exploded a volcano and thus get buried alive under lava.

Hence, they stopped Travel for a while until the loonies and the geological processes they had kicked off, settled down. By then, everyone who knew Travel was dead.

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It's not all that implausible. It takes time to train a channeler properly, even with forcing which the Aes Sedai would wish to avoid. Travelling is one of the more complex weaves, requiring strength as well as skill. Beyond that we have the following factors.

 

1. The War of the Shadow did not end with the Sealing. The vast majority of the Forsaken were still free, and for all that the men went as mad as the male Aes Sedai, that's no great relief.

2. The male Aes Sedai going mad.

3. The lawlessness and banditry that would come during a period like the breaking--some of which would be done by wilders, some by rogue Aes Sedai and Forsaken, and all of which would have taken Aes Sedai lives just like any other--even the average bandit can kill an Aes Sedai under the right circumstances...

 

These three would mean the female Aes Sedai had duties--battles to fight that would see them dead, and it would be precisely the strongest, the most capable, and specifically those able to travel who would have answered these needs, especially in the first few decades--certainly Cadsuane speaks of this in reference to the creation of her ter'angreal, in the Breaking, when an Aes Sedai could expect to have all hands turned against her, and Elayne references Nynaeve's ter'angreal seemed deisgned by a woman who expected to be attacked at any moment.

 

After three hundred years of this, and the sheer chaos of the Breaking, how many would still be alive? How long would they have had to train their apprentices before a battle or a mad Aes Sedai or something else drew a need for them to risk their lives and what small details would be lost. And then, how long would that apprentice have to train her apprentice, and that next apprentice to train hers?

 

As the Breaking continued, as each generation rose and fell, the Aes Sedai would have less time to train their new apprentices. How long does it take to train a girl enough that she can understand a gateway? Egwene doubts any of the novices with her during the battle of the Tower could, and some of them had been novices for as much as ten years. We know no sisters survived the entirety of the Breaking, the sheer dangers overcoming their longevity.

 

 

The sheer reality is that a great deal of information must have been lost, especially of the complex weaves. One might even look at it like chinese whispers--the unified knowledge of the Age of Legends shattering in the Breaking, travelling through hundreds of different paths, each path loosing information as it went from teacher to student, and on. What came out reunified in the White Tower, as each ajah (and there were fourteen major, and many lesser) brought what it had salvaged to the table, but that would be very far from the original whole, and the very first information to be lost would be the complex weaves.

 

Indeed the other influence, though I doubt on something like Travelling, would be that during the formation of the Tower there were a number of ajah and lone Aes Sedai who refused to kneel to the new authority, and were stilled as women 'who called themselves Aes Sedai'. Which very likely did loose whatever specific threads of knowledge they had retaind.

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It's in the guide--though I was wrong, it was twelve major ajah, and other lesser. I had thought it was fourteen, declined to twelve with the two ajah that resisted joining the Tower (those led by Lideine Rajan and Mailaine Harvole), but it was twelve, declined to eleven when Lideine and her followers were stilled and Mailaine submitted.

 

And its ajah. Lowercase. The modern Ajah did not come about until some time during the second century of the Towers existence (one may note that of the twelve major ajah leaders, seven came to a position of higher power over the others, as advisors to the first Amyrlin, this may indicate that their ajah gained authority, subsuming the other ajah. It would explain too why there are three sitters for each ajah--the consolidation of the ajah likely left multiple strong leaders--though none of this is certain).

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Plot convenience. I find it really implausible.

The Oaths alone should give you a hint. Before the Shadow Wars, Aes Sedai had the time and a period of peace to develop extravagant weaves. Following the Dragon and the DO being unsealed was a time of war. The Shadow was winning, and those it didn't defeat joined the Shadow. The entire world was in turmoil, the Shadow took over entire cities and regions. On top of that, entire cities were Balefired. Chaos. Disorder. Panic and people fleeing. Dozens of forsaken loose upon the world. Shock Lances giving way to Power-Wrought weapons. Much lost during the war. Female and Male Aes Sedai creating the Chodan Kal dead, those developing the Accses Keys dead. A hundred Companions dead in the sealing of the Bore and LTT and the surviving males driven mad by the backblast from the bore. With the Male Channelers all going mad, those that hadn't gone mad yet who survived dying with many women creating the Eye of the World. With the Male Channelers gone, the Aes Sedai in ragged ranks and scattered between two continents and possibly add in the Land of the Madmen, Shara, etc, travel between these was relegated back to horse and old sailing ships. So much was lost during these times. Then add in the Trolloc Wars, Ishamael out and shaping events every 40 years. Do I really need to go on?

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but 100 went to seal the bore (maybe 101 including LTT) they didn't die sealing the bore. They sealed the bore went home noticed something was different and eventually went mad.

 

Post Breaking they did not gather all the channelers and people born with spark died often taking their genes out of the pool. All males born with spark removed from gene pool. Talents and strength faded quickly.

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Maybe I'm wrong, but 100 went to seal the bore (maybe 101 including LTT) they didn't die sealing the bore. They sealed the bore went home noticed something was different and eventually went mad.

There were 113, and they went insane on the instant. The rest of the male channelers went insane more gradually.

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The White Tower Aes Sedai did and do teach a lot of things, but each AS keeps a LOT of things secret as well. Plus, with the AS getting weaker on top of that, any AS who knew the skill might not have had anyone around that they actually WANTED to teach it to. There would have been a good reason to keep it secret, what with Dreadlords still looming over their minds. They claim they don't believe there is such a thing as Black Ajah, but why all the secrecy? There likely wasn't much they wanted to transport that was worth risking teaching new Dreadlords how to bring Trollocs behind their lines. And deathgates? Lots of good reasons to let Traveling be forgotten.

 

The AS need to, and seem to have, develop a more open source method.

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I viewed it as the WT was built by the apprentices of the apprentices of the apprentices of the apprentices of the AoL AS. Except for the AS who had specific tasks to due (like Callandor, EotW, help the Aiel) the AS went out in ajahs of 13 to find and sever/kill AS men.

 

Because of the lawlessness of the time and the geography of the world in turmoil they couldn't use traveling and AS died.

 

So as needed the AS conscripted young women who could channel to fill their depleted ranks. But the education was just "here's how to embrace the source" and they learned new weaves by watching the AS. When the last of the AS died the conscripts would have called themselves AS and carried on finding madmen.

 

Rhavin said half of what they know is self taught tricks and the other half barely scratches the surface.

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As has been said, the founders of the White Tower and the 'modern' Aes Sedai weren't the Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends. They were women who could channel, maybe wilders, maybe some given some informal training, but I doubt they were direct apprentices or anything of the sort of the Aes Sedai. They likely tried to find all the literature and culture and knowledge they could of the AoL Aes Sedai and recreate it, but they had some limitations. Given their limited numbers, the dangers in the world, and the fact that few had any formal training, it seems the Tower developed a very, very cautious approach to using the One Power and weaving, it was more a culture of preservation than innovation, and I think after the Trolloc Wars that culture got even worse.

 

The most inventive Aes Sedai were likely the ones who spent less time being brainwashed into that culture. It's implied that Aes Sedai typically spent many years as novices and apprentices. I assume the same was true even before the Trolloc Wars when Aes Sedai were more powerful. Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene all were exceptional circumstances in exceptional times, hence their quick raising, and relative to most modern AS they were incredibly skilled (I think if you put them back a few thousand years they would have spent far longer as novices and apprentices, as all the other AS would have been more comparable to them, or at least Eggy and Elayne). Even Siuane and Moiraine and Elaida were likely raised fairly quickly for similar reasons. Everything, including progression, is relative to the people around you.

 

As the three girls really spent little time in AS culture and given the circumstances and experiences they saw, they were naturally far more inventive than most other Aes Sedai. It should also be noted that many of the new innovations came from information extracted from Moggy, not all pure inventiveness, otherwise they tended to be inventive only around their strengths. Nynaeve with Healing. Elayne with studying and inventing ter'angreal. I'm not sure if Egwene has a particular Talent talent that we've seen.

 

Now, is it a stretch of the imagination that such a culture as the Aes Sedai's persisted for 3,500 years? Probably a bit. Not plot breaking, but perhaps a bit of a stretch.

 

Then again, it's hard to reason out quite how long the Tower's been as it has. How was it just after the Breaking? Before and after the Trolloc Wars? What about during the War of a Hundred Years? Is it only since then that they've really begun to decay?

 

I don't know.

Edited by Agitel
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