Aes Sedai

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General Overview

Aes Sedai is the name given to those women who have fully trained their ability to Channel at the White Tower, although it is occasionally used to mean anyone with the ability to Channel. In the Age of Legends, there were both male and female Aes Sedai. Women who study to become Aes Sedai first begin as Novices, and then may be raised to Accepted. The Novices and Accepted study history, politics and other subjects in addition to training with the One Power. When an Accepted is raised to Aes Sedai, she takes the Three Oaths. Aes Sedai earn a serpent ring in the Tower, which they may choose to wear on any finger, or not at all.

Each Aes Sedai is a member of an Ajah, one of seven organizations within the Tower. Many Aes Sedai choose to bond Warders as their warrior protectors. Aes Sedai are known the world over for their feats with the One Power, but are also known for their political adroitness and skill in manipulating people to meet their own needs. Reactions and attitudes towards Aes Sedai vary from fear and hatred to wary respect.

Obtaining the Shawl

Before a young woman achieves the right to wear the shawl, she must first undergo a series of trials to test her ability to control the power at whatever cost. Unlike the test to become an Accepted, where she faces her fears alone, she is tested by a group of Aes Sedai. The young woman must show that she can channel under varying extremes and circumstances, both mentally and physically.

In this test the Accepted is not given the option to refuse. Instead, those Aes Sedai who participate in the testing decide whether or not she is worthy enough to be tested. If it is decided that she is not yet ready to be tested, the young woman is sent back to the normal life and routine of an Accepted.

The Accepted must follow a series of orders and directives commanded by the Aes Sedai, those of which are a closely guarded secret among the Aes Sedai. If the student fails to follow the directions exactly or refusts to do as told, they fail the test to become Aes Sedai. There are no second chances.

When a student fails, they are given enough silver to last a year if spent frugally and any personal affects they brought with them or obtained during the course of their training. Students who fail must also return their Great Serpent Ring for the greater protection of the Tower. Failed students who masquerade as Aes Sedail will be harshly punished.

If the Accepted follows all instructions and completes all the assigned tasks of the test, the Aes Sedai are then asked if they consider her worthy enough to join the sisterhood of the Tower. If all are in agreement, the student gains the right to wear the shawl and bear the title of Aes Sedai. If not, she may be called to task again to prove her worthiness and asked to perform other feats. This may be done three times. If upon the final time all Aes Sedai are not satisfied, the student is put out of the Tower as if she failed the test herself.

Taking the Oaths

When an Accepted is raised to Aes Sedai, she must take the Three Oaths while holding the Oath Rod. This object binds the Aes Sedai to her spoken word, no matter what she wishes to do.

The Oaths are:

  1. To speak no word that is not true.
  2. To make no weapon with which one man may kill another.
  3. To never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defense of her life, her Warders' or another Aes Sedai's.

The Oaths are sworn in a ceremony open only to other Aes Sedai. The ceremony is directed by the Amyrlin Seat or her designate. The newly Raised Aes Sedai must hold the Oath Rod in her hands as another channels spirit into the object, speaking her Oaths aloud, Once the ceremony is complete, she is then given a colorless, fringed shawl until she chooses the Ajah she wishes to join. The members of the Tower and any friends or family of the newly Raised Aes Sedai are then invited to participate in a public gathering to congratulate her on her accomplishments.

Choosing an Ajah

The first priority of a newly raised Aes Sedai is to choose which Ajah she wishes to belong to. To join an Ajah, she must petition the members of the Ajah she wishes to join for acceptance. Traditionally, no Ajah has ever turned away a woman who wants to join their ranks. Once the Ajah accepts a newly raised Aes Sedai into their folds, she is then given a new shawl, fringed with the color of her Ajah choice. Each time an Ajah gains a new member in their ranks, they also gain a small bit of status.

Gaining Status

The heirarchy of the White Tower is a compliated matter of checks and balances through status, position and know how. There are several ways an Aes Sedai can gain status within the White Tower. Strength in the One Power, age, successful research, important developments, and discoveries of new channelers are all main factors which determine a persons status. Aes Sedai pride themselves in their ranking, and often times refer to it in daily affairs; such as determining who is in charge of a mission or group or who gets the assistance of a student in a project needing completion.

However, an Aes Sedai must also be careful in how she chooses to gain her status. A slip up or a wrong turn somewhere, could just as easily make her fall in position and rank. It is no small affair when a Sitter, a member of the Hall, or even the Amyrlin Seat becomes upset with a particular Aes Sedai. The woman becomes an object of observation, having people watch her every step or move watching to see when she'll mess up next.

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