Aes Sedai Test
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
The Test to become Aes Sedai
In order to become Aes Sedai an Accepted must complete a test that assesses her ability to weave saidar and her ability to remain calm under extreme pressure. If an Accepted fails she is put out of the White Tower, there are no second chances. There are cases in which an Accepted dies during the test but these are not commented on by the White Tower, it is seen as a great failure to have lost an initiate.
When it is time for an Accepted to take her test the Mistress of Novices will find her and summon her to take the test. As with all official occasions the Mistress of Novices will wear her fringed shawl, something that warns the Accepted that a summons may be due. The summons is as follows:
"(Name of Accepted), you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe."
The Accepted is then escorted down into the basements of the White Tower to the room where she is to be tested. During this time she must remain silent unless spoken to; she must also show no emotion and remain composed. She is led to a large circular room on the lowest level of the Tower in which seven sisters are waiting, one from each Ajah. In this room is a ter'angreal that will be used to test her. The sisters then form a ring around the Accepted and the Mistress of Novices and the following must be said:
Mistress of Novices: "You come in ignorance, (name of Accepted). How would you depart?"
Accepted: "In knowledge of myself."
Mistress of Novices: "For what reason have you been summoned here?"
Accepted: "To be tried."
Mistress of Novices: "For what reason should you be tried?"
Accepted: "So that I may learn whether I am worthy."
Mistress of Novices: "For what would you be found worthy?"
Accepted: "To wear the shawl."
The Accepted must then undress as this symbolizes that she trusts the Light to keep her safe; she must even remove her Great Serpent ring. The Mistress of Novices will give her instructions of what she must do during the test, as described below. During this one of the Aes Sedai present must repeat the phrase "Remember what must be remembered" four times and cast a weave of the Accepted. This probably allows the Accepted to remember what weave must be woven even when she remembers little else during the test. The seven sisters now activate the ter'angreal using the One Power and the test begins.
- Main article:Aes Sedai Testing Ter'angreal
The ter'angreal used during the testing is oval-shaped; a span high and a pace across. It glitters a kaleidoscope of colors, constantly changing in the lamplight. The ter'angreal stands alone with no support. It is activated by the channeling of all Five Powers by seven sisters. When this happens the ter'angreal changes color faster than it does when not in use and begins to revolve slowly. The air within the oval turns to a pure white that seems to draw in light from the room.
An Accepted must step through the ter'angreal into a 'world' that is determined in appearance by the sisters operating the ter'angreal. From here she must find a six-pointed star carved into the ground and stand on it; she will then be required to create a weave. One hundred weaves are required for the test and so she must find one hundred carved stars. The weaves must be completed in order and must be woven within the star. Each weave must be completed correctly for the Accepted to pass.
Each star is in a different location within the world of the ter'angreal; stars may be found in cities, in villages, in remote areas or in other places. In each location their will be a distraction that will test the Accepted's ability to remain outwardly calm under pressure. She must remain composed at all times and must weave without faltering. She may use the One Power to 'deal' with the distraction but only when she is standing on the star and only after she has started to weave. The distraction in each setting is decided by the seven Aes Sedai who are operating the ter'angreal and is made to test the Accepted to her limits. Each setting is different from the others and the Accepted cannot remember the previous settings she has been in during the test, only what weave she must create next. Injuries sustained during the test are real and remain with the Accepted throughout and after the test.
Once the one hundredth weave has been completed successfully the Accepted is lead to another star and she steps out of the ter'angreal, back into the basement of the White Tower. The Mistress of Novices will then announce that she has passed and will instruct the seven Aes Sedai to remain silent as to what has happened during the test; the Accepted must never tell anyone what happened in her test either. She is then ordered to go back to her room and spend the rest of the day and night in prayer and contemplation of what lies ahead. She will be raised the next morning.
However if she has failed she will not be allowed to retake the test and will be put out of the Tower. She will still be allowed to channel the One Power but must keep a low profile. There is also the possibility that the Accepted might die during the test, something that the Tower sees as a great failure.
Accepted are taught the one hundred weaves required in the test long before they must take. They are actively encouraged to practice these weaves with their fellow Accepted causing distractions using the One Power. The weaves in the test are often complex and designed solely for the use of the test; many weaves do not produce anything or if they do, nothing of particular value. No weave when woven incorrectly will kill the Accepted though some have unwanted effects. No weave requires the Accepted to make gestures for it to work. Though there are one hundred weaves for the test, we only know of a few of them; they are as follows:
1. A weave of Air to produce a solid item; discs and balls are easiest to make. A mistake in this weave produces a noise like a thunderclap.
2. A complex weave of all Five Powers; it has no purpose.
3. A weave of Air, Earth and Spirit; it has no purpose.
62. A weave of Air, Earth, Water and Spirit; a mistake in this weave causes an Accepted's skin to feel clammy.
100. A weave of unknown Powers that produces shining, colorful specks of light. A mistake in this weave will painfully redden the Accepted's skin.
A mistake in an unknown weave will give the Accepted an electric shock.
After her night of contemplation, seven Aes Sedai, one from each Ajah, will summon her to be raised. The Accepted must be alone when the Aes Sedai come to collect her. They will then take her down into the basements of the Tower to the room where she took the test; during this journey all must be silent. In this room are the Amyrlin Seat, her Keeper of the Chronicles and the three Sitters of each Ajah accompanied by the newest member of each Ajah. All the sisters must wear their shawls and the Keeper will be holding the Oath Rod on a cushion. The Accepted must now walk into the room and ask to be raised:
Amyrlin Seat: "Who comes here?"
Accepted: "(Name of Accepted)"
Amyrlin Seat: "For what reason do you come?"
Accepted: "To swear the Three Oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai."
Amyrlin Seat: "By what right do you claim this burden?"
Accepted: "By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower."
Amyrlin Seat: "Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower."
The Accepted must then walk to the Amyrlin Seat and pass through the ter'angreal, not active now, and kneel before her. The Keeper will then pass the Amyrlin Seat the Oath Rod and she will place it on the Accepted's hands. She will then channel Spirit into the Oath Rod and the Accepted must swear the Three Oaths: to speak no word that is not true, to make no weapon for one man to kill another and to never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending her life or that of her warder or another sister. These Oaths will settle in to the Accepted's skin and make it feel too tight, something that remains for a year.
The Amyrlin Seat will then tell the newly raised Aes Sedai to choose her Ajah and the Aes Sedai will walk to the sisters of that Ajah and they will accept her into said Ajah. She is now truly Aes Sedai. The Amyrlin Seat, the Keeper of the Chronicles and the other sisters will now leave the room and let the sisters of the Ajah welcome their new sister. The youngest of the sisters will lay the Aes Sedai shawl on the newly raised sister and will then escort her to her Ajah quarters for a welcome from the entire Ajah.
In time gone by newly raised Aes Sedai must go to their Ajah quarters wearing nothing but their shawl to signify that they need no protection beyond the Light and the shawl of an Aes Sedai. This is no longer practiced by the Tower but the corridors of the Tower are still left clear for the Aes Sedai until she is in her quarters. An old custom was that the new Aes Sedai should be taken to the other Ajah's quarters so that they can see the newly raised sister.