The True Power

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Author: Kyria d'Oreyn

General

The True Power is, like the One Power, a force a channeler can tap into to create weaves. It is drawn directly from the Dark One and both males and females alike can channel it, although not without consequences that grow with each use, as it is even more dangerous and addictive than the One Power (ACoS, Ch. 20).

Among the Forsaken, it is considered a great distinction and an honor to be granted its use. They are the only ones living who know how to tap it, but they won't do it except in direst need (ACoS, Ch. 25; WH, Ch. 13).

The True Power can neither be seen nor detected, except by other wielders of the True Power (ToM, Prologue). When filled with it, the user hears noises as though the world is screaming (ACoS, Ch. 20) and feels great ecstasy that amounts to pain (TPoD, Prologue), similar to the glory one feels when in Shayol Ghul, kneeling beneath the Dark One. With extensive use, tiny black flecks, known as saa, will appear in the wielder's eyes every time he or she taps the True Power. First, there will be only one floating straight across one eye "and then across the other in the same line" (ACoS, Ch. 25). The more the True Power is used, the more saa will appear (WH, Ch. 13).

At the end of the Age of Legends, the True Power was discovered when a team of researchers from the Collam Daan was looking for a source of power to bypass the "natural limitations of saidar and saidin." They found a thinning in the Pattern that apparently covered "an undivided source of the One Power separate from the True Source." This energy wasn't subject to conventional restrictions like the One Power and the researchers assumed it was equally accessible by men and women, which raised their hopes of uniting "in ways previously impossible" and being able "to perform feats well beyond existing capabilities" (TWoRJTWoT).

Graendal notes that "[w]orking with the True Power was similar, yet not identical to the One Power," so it is not as different from the One Power as the researchers in the Age of Legends presumed. Weaves could have side effects or slightly different outcomes and some can only be performed using the True Power. The feel of the True Power (ecstasy and roaring) is the same for both male and female (ToM, Prologue).

Theories

Moghedien mentions a final price that is different from the saa, "but no less terrible." She doesn't give further information, but it is believed that Ishamael paid it. When Rand meets him in the World of Dreams, he notes that "just for an instant, his mouth and eyes became openings into endless caverns of flame" (TEotW, Ch. 14). Either this is what happens when one channels the True Power too often and Ishamael was using it right then or he used Illusion tinged with warmth (the flames out of his eyes and mouth have real heat).

Moghedien notes that only the Chosen know how to tap it, but most wouldn't use it unless there was no other way. However, she is not allowed to use it (ACoS, Ch. 25). Only Moridin has the Great Lord's blessing (WH, Ch. 13). Either the Dark One can enable or disable a person to be able to use it or not or the person not allowed to channel it will be severely punished. The second option seems more likely, as Moghedien thinks: "The True Power washed around her, so strong here that attempting to channel it would fry her to a cinder. Not that she had any desire to pay the price elsewhere either" (ACoS, Ch. 25).

Miscellaneous

  • Moridin thinks that the glory he feels while using the True Power is worth the pain (ACoS, Ch. 20).
  • Moghedien remarks that there have been only twenty-nine aside from Moridin who have ever been allowed to use the True Power (ACoS, Ch. 25). Now, with Graendal able to use it (ToM, Prologue), there have been thirty-one in all.
  • In Shayol Ghul, the True Power is so strong that Moghedien thinks "attempting to channel it would fry her to a cinder" (ACoS, Ch. 25).
  • Moridin balefires a part of Mashadar, touching Rand's balefire in the process. Both of them momentarily lose their sense of balance and have a ringing in their ears (ACoS, Ch. 41). When Rand later sees an image of Moridin in his mind, he thinks the balefires touching must have created some sort of link between them (KoD, Ch. 18).
  • When Moridin learns that the weather is about to be changed with the Bowl of the Winds, he seizes the True Power and bends the wrought-iron grilles across the windows to let out his anger. He is unaware that he kills his minion, Madic, in the process until he turns around (TPoD, Ch. 2).
  • The gholam can sense the True Power, even if they do not know what it is. It makes them itch, but not quite like the One Power does (TPoD, Ch. 2).
  • Demandred has never used the True Power except in great need and now is the only one granted the right to use it (WH, Ch. 13).
  • Rand accesses the True Power while held by the Domination Band and kills Semirhage. It is not known if the Dark One deliberately gave him access or if this was through his link with Isha'mael. The voice of Lews Therin in his head thinks that doing so is too dangerous (TGS, Ch. 22).

Quotes

"An honor with a bite, as any of the Chosen knew. In the long run, the True Power was far more addictive than the One Power; a strong will could hold down the desire to draw more saidar or saidin, but she herself did not believe the will existed strong enough to resist the True Power, not once the saa appeared in your eyes. The final price was different, but no less terrible." (Moghedien on the True Power; A Crown of Swords, Chapter 25)

"A black speck floated across Moridin's blue eyes, then another, in a steady stream. The man must have been using the True Power exclusively since he last saw him to gain so many saa so quickly. He himself had never touched the True Power except at need. Great need. Of course, only Moridin had that privilege now, since his... anointing. The man truly was insane to use it so freely. It was a drug more addictive than saidin, more deadly than poison." (Demandred; Winter's Heart, Chapter 13)

"Graendal opened herself and accepted the Great Lord's dominance of her, feeling the thrilling ecstasy of his power, his passion, his very substance. It was so much more intoxicating than the One Power, this raging torrent of fire." (Graendal; Towers of Midnight, Prologue)