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[Full Prologue Spoilers] The Red Veiled Aiel

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So for 2,000 years the Shadow has been running a breeding program using male Aiel channelers, those who were taken / turned. That is a long, long time. Consider that it is the Shadow doing this, so each of those taken male channelers would be forced to father more children, and I doubt that stopped after fathering just one child. That program used men who could channel, it wasn't just a random pairing of a man and woman, so I think there is a very good case for having a large number of Samma N'Sei.

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So for 2,000 years the Shadow has been running a breeding program using male Aiel channelers, those who were taken / turned. That is a long, long time. Consider that it is the Shadow doing this, so each of those taken male channelers would be forced to father more children, and I doubt that stopped after fathering just one child. That program used men who could channel, it wasn't just a random pairing of a man and woman, so I think there is a very good case for having a large number of Samma N'Sei.

 

I think, considering the conditions that were described, the town isn't that big. Keep in mind the DO didn't have much influence until the seals started breaking when the books started. Also considering how Isam seemed terrified of the place, and he's a 2 person dream world ultra assassin, I have to think life is harsh and most die. Plus only 1% are born channelers, so most are fed to trollocs.

 

Edit: Also Isam made a point to mention another male Aiel channeler was caught and about to be turned, that wouldn't be such a big deal if they were birthing out hundreds of Aiel channelers. Though don't get me wrong I think they have a ton, I just don't think the Shadow had the power you think it did until very recently to start ramping up cities (In this case, only a town, which should say how much power is there.)

Edited by JustCharlie

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So for 2,000 years the Shadow has been running a breeding program using male Aiel channelers, those who were taken / turned. That is a long, long time. Consider that it is the Shadow doing this, so each of those taken male channelers would be forced to father more children, and I doubt that stopped after fathering just one child. That program used men who could channel, it wasn't just a random pairing of a man and woman, so I think there is a very good case for having a large number of Samma N'Sei.

 

I think, considering the conditions that were described, the town isn't that big. Keep in mind the DO didn't have much influence until the seals started breaking when the books started. Also considering how Isam seemed terrified of the place, and he's a 2 person dream world ultra assassin, I have to think life is harsh and most die. Plus only 1% are born channelers, so most are fed to trollocs.

 

Edit: Also Isam made a point to mention another male Aiel channeler was caught and about to be turned, that wouldn't be such a big deal if they were birthing out hundreds of Aiel channelers. Though don't get me wrong I think they have a ton, I just don't think the Shadow had the power you think it did until very recently to start ramping up cities (In this case, only a town, which should say how much power is there.)

 

Technically I don't think we were gauranteed that was an Aiel channeler they had.

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Isam looked at his meal. Vegetables—peppers and onions, mostly—sliced thin and boiled. He picked at one and took a taste, then sighed and pushed the meal aside. The vegetables were as bland as unseasoned millet porridge. There wasn’t any meat. That was actually good; he didn’t like to eat meat unless he’d seen it killed and slaughtered himself. That was a remnant of his childhood. If you hadn’t seen it slaughtered yourself, you couldn’t know. Not for certain. Up here, if you found meat, it could have been something that had been caught in the south, or maybe an animal that had been raised up here, a cow or a goat.

 

Or it could be something else. People lost games up here and couldn’t pay, then disappeared. And often, the Samma N’Sei who didn’t breed true washed out of their training. Bodies vanished. Corpses rarely lasted long enough for burial.

Burn this place, Isam thought, stomach unsettled. Burn it with—

 

I dunno man, it pretty plainly states people don't live up there healthy with full and vibrant lives. Again, maybe the Channelers got the actually "meat" to eat, but they're less than 1% of all births. Along with Ishamael only around every 40 years, it makes sense there aren't a million. I still agree there's a lot though.

 

Edit:

 

Whoops lol

 

 

 

Motion outside the window caused Isam to glance to the side. The Chosen didn’t look as a group of black-hooded figures passed. The winds didn’t cause the cloaks of these figures to stir.

They were accompanied by carriages; an unusual sight in the Town. The carriages moved slowly, but still rocked and thumped on the uneven street. Isam didn’t need to see into the carriages’ curtained windows to know that thirteen women rode inside, matching the number of Myrddraal. None of the Samma N’Sei returned to the street. They tended to avoid processions like this. For obvious reasons, they had…strong feelings about such things.

 

The carriages passed. So. Another had been caught. Isam would have assumed that the practice had ended, once the taint was cleansed.

 

That makes it pretty obvious.

Edited by JustCharlie

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Isam looked at his meal. Vegetables—peppers and onions, mostly—sliced thin and boiled. He picked at one and took a taste, then sighed and pushed the meal aside. The vegetables were as bland as unseasoned millet porridge. There wasn’t any meat. That was actually good; he didn’t like to eat meat unless he’d seen it killed and slaughtered himself. That was a remnant of his childhood. If you hadn’t seen it slaughtered yourself, you couldn’t know. Not for certain. Up here, if you found meat, it could have been something that had been caught in the south, or maybe an animal that had been raised up here, a cow or a goat.

 

Or it could be something else. People lost games up here and couldn’t pay, then disappeared. And often, the Samma N’Sei who didn’t breed true washed out of their training. Bodies vanished. Corpses rarely lasted long enough for burial.

Burn this place, Isam thought, stomach unsettled. Burn it with—

 

I dunno man, it pretty plainly states people don't live up there healthy with full and vibrant lives. Again, maybe the Channelers got the actually "meat" to eat, but they're less than 1% of all births. Along with Ishamael only around every 40 years, it makes sense there aren't a million. I still agree there's a lot though.

 

Edit:

 

Whoops lol

 

 

 

Motion outside the window caused Isam to glance to the side. The Chosen didn’t look as a group of black-hooded figures passed. The winds didn’t cause the cloaks of these figures to stir.

They were accompanied by carriages; an unusual sight in the Town. The carriages moved slowly, but still rocked and thumped on the uneven street. Isam didn’t need to see into the carriages’ curtained windows to know that thirteen women rode inside, matching the number of Myrddraal. None of the Samma N’Sei returned to the street. They tended to avoid processions like this. For obvious reasons, they had…strong feelings about such things.

 

The carriages passed. So. Another had been caught. Isam would have assumed that the practice had ended, once the taint was cleansed.

 

That makes it pretty obvious.

 

 

If this is in response to me, no it does not. Isam didn't say anything about seeing the captured person. One thing we've learned from these books is that just because someone says something doesn't mean they are right. In fact he doesn't even say what "another" is that had been caught. He could know already that Ashaman are being turned. This part I believe was written by RJ, who loves misdirection in his writing, so nothing is pretty obvious.

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Well, it doesn't say it outright, but Isam always equates the veils with the Samma N'Sei. Like this paragraph, for example:

 

Isam nearly left right then, stepping into the dream. He couldn't kill both of these men. He'd have been reduced to ash before he managed to take down one of them. He'd seen Samma N'Sei kill; they often did it just to explore new ways of using their powers.

They didn't attack. Did they know this woman was Chosen? Why, then, lower their veils? Samma N'Sei never lowered their veils except to kill - and only for the kills they were most eagerly anticipating.

 

The Samma N'Sei, the Eye Blinders, has always been touchy and full of pride. No, touchy was too mild a term. They required no more than whim to take a knife to one of the Talentless. Usually it was one of the servants who paid. Usually.

 

So, clearly the servants (who were not wearing veils) are included in the Talentless. This seems to make it clear that the red veils are meant to distinguish the Samma N'Sei from all others, and that the Samma N'Sei are all channelers.

 

You could be right, when I get home tonight I will pull the parts I am thinking about to show how it relates...

 

So here is why I think those Aiel that killed the merchant were talentless soldiers....

 

AMoL

Isam did, hastily, as two men stepped into the room. Tall, muscular and red-veiled. They wore brown clothing like Aiel, but didn’t carry spears or bows. These creatures killed with weapons far deadlier.

 

Seems to say the channelers don't carry weapons which the ones that killed the merchant had.

 

And then later....

 

AMoL

“They will accompany you,” the Chosen said. “You shall have a handful of the Talentless as well to help deal with al’Thor’s guards.” She turned to him and, for the first time, she met his eyes. She seemed…revolted. As if she were disgusted to need his aid.

 

So it is clear at least that they just don't kill those that can't channel and use them for food as some have said. The bodies they were talking about most likely come form those that die in training.

Edited by Suttree

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(Huge Quote Blocks Deleted)

 

Yeah but come on man we're on the final book. We're getting the full on Sanderson avalanche and no little RJ bits mean a thing. I guess we can keep theorycrafting but the story is over, there's not much time to misdirect the readers, especially in a prologue. *shrug*

Edited by JustCharlie

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So here is why I think those Aiel that killed the merchant were talentless soldiers....

 

AMoL

Isam did, hastily, as two men stepped into the room. Tall, muscular and red-veiled. They wore brown clothing like Aiel, but didn’t carry spears or bows. These creatures killed with weapons far deadlier.

 

Seems to say the channelers don't carry weapons which the ones that killed the merchant had.

 

The merchant was killed by knives though. While they were never specifically identified, it is not unusual for a channeler to carry a belt knife.

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So here is why I think those Aiel that killed the merchant were talentless soldiers....

 

AMoL

Isam did, hastily, as two men stepped into the room. Tall, muscular and red-veiled. They wore brown clothing like Aiel, but didn’t carry spears or bows. These creatures killed with weapons far deadlier.

 

Seems to say the channelers don't carry weapons which the ones that killed the merchant had.

 

The merchant was killed by knives though. While they were never specifically identified, it is not unusual for a channeler to carry a belt knife.

 

Yes but from ToM...

 

No. He blinked the tears and blood from his eyes. No, those weren't Myrddraal. They were men, wearing red veils over their faces. They walked at a crouch, scanning the terrain, short spears worn on their backs.

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Seems to say the channelers don't carry weapons which the ones that killed the merchant had.

 

 

Or that those particular channelers didn't feel the need to carry mundane weapons within their home base of operations. Just as some channelers wear a sword and others disdain them.

 

 

So it is clear at least that they just don't kill those that can't channel and use them for food as some have said. The bodies they were talking about most likely come form those that die in training.

 

To be fair, I was not one of those who said that. They keep others around as servants/slaves, and clearly at least a few who can fight, too. They are all called "Talentless" (fighters, servants, even Isam) and clearly distinguished from the Samma N'Sei, who are the only ones which Isam identifies as wearing the red veils.

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I've been reading the books since The Great Hunt and love the series.. And that prologue was amazing! I felt horrible for Talamanes though =( I think a lot of the characters we've come to know aren't going to make it. I don't forsee a real "happy" ending. I'm sure the DO will be defeated etc, but I think it's going to be with a terrible cost.

 

I am really quite excited about the BT rebellion that may occur, I hope they are successful.. Also, I know Rand is busy, but I just couldn't help but hope he would show up in Andor and save the day as it were.. Probably isn't going to happen though.

 

It's amazing that this is the end. The last chapter in a series I have read for a very long time.. So much has come to pass in our lives but the WOT series has always survived, even it's creator. To think that this is the end, it's very sad. I always knew one day the final book would come, but to start reading it, even in snippits, to get closer to the day of release (my mothers b-day btw) it's bittersweet. It's been a long strange and wonderful trip to say the least. I hope everyone enjoys the last novel as much as I will and that there will be many more years of discussion on them for me to lurk around lol.

 

Peace be upon you all and may the Dragon kick some DO ass on Jan 8th!! =)

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(Huge Quote Blocks Deleted)

 

Yeah but come on man we're on the final book. We're getting the full on Sanderson avalanche and no little RJ bits mean a thing. I guess we can keep theorycrafting but the story is over, there's not much time to misdirect the readers, especially in a prologue. *shrug*

 

Well, it is a forum for discussion so... And RJ bits will mean something if they were supposed to set something up, there is plenty of time to misdirect still, especially in a prologue, they can talk about an event and then not touch on it for several chapters, there is still the whole rest of the book to pull off whatever. And from Androl's pov we see that people are still disappearing and we have no gaurantee whether they are being turned at the BT or not. Just nothing is certain yet.

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I was certainly wrong on there not being a town in the Blight....though I still find the logistics of it hard to believe.

 

Anyway

 

I wonder when Aiel men that can channel were first encouraged to go to the Blight at their first sign of channelling? What if an Aiel Darkfriend began that tradition say...oh 2,000 years ago with Ishy's guidance during the Trolloc Wars. Seems likely to me anyway, what with the Black Ajah and the town coming into existence all about the same time.

 

As for their numbers. I'd guess maybe 300 or so...maybe much less. If there were many more, why would the Chosen's numbers not be more fleshed out? Taim is part of the Forsaken now, so if the Eye Blinders were more numerous, more powerful, and more knowledgeable why wouldn't they be a Chosen?

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(Huge Quote Blocks Deleted)

 

Yeah but come on man we're on the final book. We're getting the full on Sanderson avalanche and no little RJ bits mean a thing. I guess we can keep theorycrafting but the story is over, there's not much time to misdirect the readers, especially in a prologue. *shrug*

 

Well, it is a forum for discussion so... And RJ bits will mean something if they were supposed to set something up, there is plenty of time to misdirect still, especially in a prologue, they can talk about an event and then not touch on it for several chapters, there is still the whole rest of the book to pull off whatever. And from Androl's pov we see that people are still disappearing and we have no gaurantee whether they are being turned at the BT or not. Just nothing is certain yet.

 

Why would the mention of 13 Aes Sedai along with saying "He thought that tradition would end with the taint cleansed." mean anything else? I mean okay maybe if we're in Lord of Chaos I'd excuse this, but come on. Just take Isam on his word, the dumb Aiel male channelers are still sacrificing themselves because they think they'll go mad. Instead they get turned to evil. Damn actually the whole thing kind of just hit me, that's really tragic. And after Rand cleansed Saidin they're STILL giving themselves to Shai'tan.. shit.

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(Huge Quote Blocks Deleted)

 

Yeah but come on man we're on the final book. We're getting the full on Sanderson avalanche and no little RJ bits mean a thing. I guess we can keep theorycrafting but the story is over, there's not much time to misdirect the readers, especially in a prologue. *shrug*

 

Well, it is a forum for discussion so... And RJ bits will mean something if they were supposed to set something up, there is plenty of time to misdirect still, especially in a prologue, they can talk about an event and then not touch on it for several chapters, there is still the whole rest of the book to pull off whatever. And from Androl's pov we see that people are still disappearing and we have no gaurantee whether they are being turned at the BT or not. Just nothing is certain yet.

 

Why would the mention of 13 Aes Sedai along with saying "He thought that tradition would end with the taint cleansed." mean anything else? I mean okay maybe if we're in Lord of Chaos I'd excuse this, but come on. Just take Isam on his word, the dumb Aiel male channelers are still sacrificing themselves because they think they'll go mad. Instead they get turned to evil. Damn actually the whole thing kind of just hit me, that's really tragic. And after Rand cleansed Saidin they're STILL giving themselves to Shai'tan.. shit.

It could mean something else because of the part I put in bold and there is no reason to take Isam, a bad guy, at his word, when he hasn't definitively spoken anything at all, and he is no more an observer of the situation than anyone else; plus the circumstantial evidence, if it couldn't mean anything else then why include it at all? And have Isam think the bolded part?

 

Not too mention I can't imagine that the Aiel wouldn't have heard of their Car'a'carn cleansing saidin, i think that would give the rumor of whether it was clean or not some street cred....

 

You can be certain of it if you want, but nothing is certain so it will take a little more than that.

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(Huge Quote Blocks Deleted)

 

Yeah but come on man we're on the final book. We're getting the full on Sanderson avalanche and no little RJ bits mean a thing. I guess we can keep theorycrafting but the story is over, there's not much time to misdirect the readers, especially in a prologue. *shrug*

 

Well, it is a forum for discussion so... And RJ bits will mean something if they were supposed to set something up, there is plenty of time to misdirect still, especially in a prologue, they can talk about an event and then not touch on it for several chapters, there is still the whole rest of the book to pull off whatever. And from Androl's pov we see that people are still disappearing and we have no gaurantee whether they are being turned at the BT or not. Just nothing is certain yet.

 

Why would the mention of 13 Aes Sedai along with saying "He thought that tradition would end with the taint cleansed." mean anything else? I mean okay maybe if we're in Lord of Chaos I'd excuse this, but come on. Just take Isam on his word, the dumb Aiel male channelers are still sacrificing themselves because they think they'll go mad. Instead they get turned to evil. Damn actually the whole thing kind of just hit me, that's really tragic. And after Rand cleansed Saidin they're STILL giving themselves to Shai'tan.. shit.

It could mean something else because of the part I put in bold and there is no reason to take Isam, a bad guy, at his word, when he hasn't definitively spoken anything at all, and he is no more an observer of the situation than anyone else; plus the circumstantial evidence, if it couldn't mean anything else then why include it at all? And have Isam think the bolded part?

 

Not too mention I can't imagine that the Aiel wouldn't have heard of their Car'a'carn cleansing saidin, i think that would give the rumor of whether it was clean or not some street cred....

 

You can be certain of it if you want, but nothing is certain so it will take a little more than that.

 

*sigh* Okay. Romney/Ryan 2012!

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I think this prologue clears up another unanswered question. Remember the Aiel that attacked Mat's tent in LOC. The Aiel traveled to just outside his tent and attacked. Everyone always thought that one of the 13 opened a gateway for the Dark Friend Aiel to slip thru and attempt to kill Matt. These lads could have opened the gatewy themselves.

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I think this prologue clears up another unanswered question. Remember the Aiel that attacked Mat's tent in LOC. The Aiel traveled to just outside his tent and attacked. Everyone always thought that one of the 13 opened a gateway for the Dark Friend Aiel to slip thru and attempt to kill Matt. These lads could have opened the gatewy themselves.

 

It is a possibility, but Mat noticed nothing odd about the dead bodies.

 

I could understand them disguising themselves with black veils, but I would have thought someone would have noticed the black/brown eyes or pointy teeth.

 

Unless they just disposed of the bodies or left them there, but I would think that the Band had more sense and would have investigated the bodies for clues. (I also assume that not all died with their eyes closed.)

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Anyone tried calculating red-veil numbers using comparisons to the Wise Ones?

We know that one clan (Shaido) had a largeish number (500-odd) channellers.

Granted, most of the WO channelers would not be sparkers.

Say 1 in every 4 would be a sparker perhaps.

Assume the same sparker: learner ratios hold good for male channelers

 

Now, every male Aiel sparker for umpteen years from every clan has gone off to the Blight. That's roughly 12 times the base population.

That would mean what - 1500-2000 male Aiel sparkers ? - per normal human generation (25 years) going off to the Blight across all 12 clans.

Most would have been captured and turned rather than killed since they're untrained in OP, and going by Rand's struggles in the first four books, probably not even capable of grabbing saidin on demand.

If they're warded against the Taint , they'd live a very long time too - and they could each produce kids for centuries.

They're also apparently carefully bred to produce a higher number of channeler kids.

Could be a very large no of them actually in the town.

 

Disclosure: Haven't read the prologue

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Anyone tried calculating red-veil numbers using comparisons to the Wise Ones?

We know that one clan (Shaido) had a largeish number (500-odd) channellers.

Granted, most of the WO channelers would not be sparkers.

Say 1 in every 4 would be a sparker perhaps.

Assume the same sparker: learner ratios hold good for male channelers

 

Now, every male Aiel sparker for umpteen years from every clan has gone off to the Blight. That's roughly 12 times the base population.

That would mean what - 1500-2000 male Aiel sparkers ? - per normal human generation (25 years) going off to the Blight across all 12 clans.

Most would have been captured and turned rather than killed since they're untrained in OP, and going by Rand's struggles in the first four books, probably not even capable of grabbing saidin on demand.

If they're warded against the Taint , they'd live a very long time too - and they could each produce kids for centuries.

They're also apparently carefully bred to produce a higher number of channeler kids.

Could be a very large no of them actually in the town.

 

Disclosure: Haven't read the prologue

 

Unfortunately, this kind of analysis tends to break down when applied to the World of the Wheel. Given the same type of logic, there should be hundreds if not thousands of male sparkers popping up every year in Randland, yet it seems to be rare to find more than a few per year.

 

Also, I imagine that the training style of the Samma N'Sei has a very high attrition rate.

 

I would be surprised if the Samma N'Sei can match the Black Tower's numbers.

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"Not too mention I can't imagine that the Aiel wouldn't have heard of their Car'a'carn cleansing saidin, i think that would give the rumor of whether it was clean or not some street cred...."

 

 

First you must remember that the actual cleansing occured less then 2 years ago from their point of view. Even the AS were very doubtful of whether Saiden had actually been cleansed until quite recently. Further you forget that many Aiel have been taken by the Bleakness and going to fight the DO at learning that you can channel is a long and honored tradition.

 

 

 

"Also, I imagine that the training style of the Samma N'Sei has a very high attrition rate.

 

I would be surprised if the Samma N'Sei can match the Black Tower's numbers. "

 

Well since the Samma N'Sei recruit from the Aiel and the Black Tower recruits from all of Randland it would not be surprising. Further Taking into account the much harsher life style and training habits of the Aiel in general I would presume that their training methods are even harsher then those of the Black Tower which itself has a significant failure rate. Although I must point out that these Red Veiled Aiel would likely suffer from the same weakness as the Black Tower. They are trained as soldiers only (The Black Tower being less harsh also seems to train Healers but unlikely that the Red Aiel would show such "weakness"), all other aspects of the power would be ignored. Thus they are likely to be strategicly weaker then AS

Edited by CUBAREY

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"Also, I imagine that the training style of the Samma N'Sei has a very high attrition rate.

 

I would be surprised if the Samma N'Sei can match the Black Tower's numbers. "

 

Well since the Samma N'Sei recruit from the Aiel and the Black Tower recruits from all of Randland it would not be surprising. Further Taking into account the much harsher life style and training habits of the Aiel in general I would presume that their training methods are even harsher then those of the Black Tower which itself has a significant failure rate. Although I must point out that these Red Veiled Aiel would likely suffer from the same weakness as the Black Tower. They are trained as soldiers only (The Black Tower being less harsh also seems to train Healers but unlikely that the Red Aiel would show such "weakness"), all other aspects of the power would be ignored. Thus they are likely to be strategicly weaker then AS

 

I honestly don't understand what you're trying to say here. I'm sorry.

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"Not too mention I can't imagine that the Aiel wouldn't have heard of their Car'a'carn cleansing saidin, i think that would give the rumor of whether it was clean or not some street cred...."

 

 

First you must remember that the actual cleansing occured less then 2 years ago from their point of view. Even the AS were very doubtful of whether Saiden had actually been cleansed until quite recently. Further you forget that many Aiel have been taken by the Bleakness and going to fight the DO at learning that you can channel is a long and honored tradition.

 

I would assume that with WO's that can speak to each other through dreams and that gateways are used now, information flows freely, so the time frame for the taint being cleansed actually matters in that the longer it's been, the less likely this scenario is in the Town. As far as the AS being unsure, of course they are. They are all females, what do they know? They are speaking from thousands of years of fear of male channelers and only touch saidar, I would never consider them a credible source on this subject.

 

I don't know if I would call it an honored tradition either for the Aiel to head for the blight. It's more like "crap you are dangerous, you need to get the hell out of here" kind of thing.

 

But realistically I presented the previous points solely for the fact that we don't know who is about to get turned. I could easily see it being someone we wouldn't expect and thus playing out later in the story. This was written by RJ and he specifically had Isam point out that he thought they didn't do that anymore (the Aiel). Now why have him say that? Potentially as a clue that it is not meant to turn an Aiel. Now it could just be a device to make the scene more intense, but it was already pretty intense with the forsaken there, Slayer being present and getting his monumental assignment, and then the Samma N'Sei showing up, it didn't need this addition, other than perhaps clarifying that the 13x13 is actually happening, but that seems a little blunt for RJ. No, I think he was alluding to something.

 

I could be wrong, but I'm willing to admit that, given that I haven't read the book yet.

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I think there are about 100-200 Samma N'Sei, Not more. It just would be too much. But when i think of it. The shadow now has; 100 dark Asha'Man. 130 or so Black Ajah. In comparison to the Light that is just so few. So maybe the Samma Guys do have a larger number...

 

On a side note. I always got the impression the Aiel had like 2000 Wise Ones who could channel. Why havent they gotten great battle training. That would have been worth a lot. So strange. Now they are more like accepted with only fireballs and lightning.

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There's actually closer to 6,000 Wise Ones who can channel.

 

As for the Samma N'sei, we have no reliably way of estimating given we don't know what percentage of channelers are sparkers, how many the Shadow manages to capture alive, and what the attrition rate of a Samma N'sei lifestyle may be. In addition there probably are Darkfriend channelers who aren't part of any of the existing groups, including the Samma N'sei.

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