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Zombie Sammael
06-01-2012, 05:11 PM
We know that the Black Ajah swear oaths to the Great Lord upon joining, both from Verin's confession in TGS, and from the fact that Black Ajah members would stick out like a sore thumb without the ageless face if they didn't. We also, thanks to Verin, know what one of those oaths is:

"I swear not to betray the Great Lord, to keep my secrets until the hour of my death."

We know that there are three, from ACOS:

[Galina] had broken free of the Three Oaths on joining the Black Ajah, replacing them with a new trinity

Although I'm not sure where I've come across it in the past, I have to bring up the suggestion that these Black Ajah Oaths - the Dark Oaths, as I've been referring to them - in many ways reflect the Three Oaths. With that in mind, I'd suggest that this First Dark Oath reflects the First Oath of the normal AS; "to speak no word that is not true", since both are oaths to remain "true" in one way or another, and both contain get-outs in similar ways; the First Oath allows an AS to mislead if not lie, and the First Dark Oath allows someone like Verin to betray the Great Lord and all her secrets as she dies.

That leaves us with two oaths unknown, but if I am correct and they reflect the existing oaths in some way, that might allow us to make some suggestions of what the others are.

The Second Oath is to make no weapon with which one man may kill another. Because of this oath, the ability to make Power-wrought weaponry has been lost until recently, and it might also play some part in the fact that the ability to make ter'angreal, angreal and sa'angreal has been lost until recently; in both cases, the re-discoveries were made by channellers who were not bound by the oaths; the Asha'man Fager Neald and Perrin Aybara on the one hand, and Elayne Trakand on the other. Since the Black Ajah are not running about creating power-wrought weaponry to give to Trollocs or their warders, or defending themselves with sa'angreal. My speculation for this one might be "to make no weapon to fight against the Shadow".

The final oath is never to use the power as a weapon, except against shadowspawn, or in the last most extreme defence of the sister's life, or that of another sister or warder. This is the longest oath, so if the Dark Oaths reflect it properly, it might also be the longest Dark Oath. Over in the Sorilea thread, I've speculated that it might involve not killing other darkfriends, apart from in certain specified contexts. On the other hand, I have also considered that, since it is conditional, this Oath might actually be reflected by the Dark Oath we already know, which is also conditional; I prefer the idea of an oath of honesty and an oath of loyalty reflecting each other, but it is still possible. It's notable that whilst Verin has considered murder as an option, she has preferred to name those who she knows to be Black Ajah and possibly other Darkfriends such as Weiramon, rather than removing them completely. Since the First Dark Oath speaks of both betrayal and secrets, it might just be possible for a BA to weasel out of it by deciding it refers only to secrets rather than to attacking other Darkfriends; also bear in mind that the Dark One actually wants Darkfriends to compete with one another, so the Known Oath is obviously intended to allow that; I'd suggest that, if the Third Dark Oath is unknown and reflects the Third Oath, it would also allow such a get-out clause.

Finally, there's this, from Brandon:

TEREZ
Will we learn anything else about the Black Ajah oaths?

BRANDON SANDERSON
Um...

TEREZ
I mean, you can tell us now.

BRANDON SANDERSON
Well, youíre phrasing these questions in such a way that...

TEREZ
I know, I know. I was trying to be...

BRANDON SANDERSON
Youíre being nice. No, I appreciate that. Iím not complaining that youíre phrasing these in a way...um, I think that there is a decent chance that those could go in the encyclopedia.

Depending on how weaselly Brandon is being, that doesn't necessarily mean they won't come up in AMOL, but it does seem unlikely that they will. However, it is certain that both Darkfriends in general and what remains of the Black Ajah still have a role to play. Working out the Black Ajah Oaths could well give us some interesting insight into the nature of that role.

GonzoTheGreat
06-02-2012, 03:52 AM
From another thread (where you came up with the idea of starting this thread):
Regarding Verin and leaving people alive, it may well be that the Dark Oaths in some way prohibit her from assassinating fellow Darkfriends outside of certain circumstances; compare "except in the last most extreme defence of my life, or that of a warder or another sister" with "except where it serves my own advancement in the Shadow, or the plans of the Great Lord of the Dark or one of the Forsaken", for example. That would still allow the BA to behave in the selfish way the Dark One requires, but both prevent betrayal and ensure they serve his ends.
It seems to me that this would place an unfair and unjust burden on high ranking Darkfriends. I'm sure the DO wouldn't do that. :p

Consider the case of an AS who discovers the identity of the head of the BA. She could now kill that woman, as it would help her own chances of getting that post and thus advancing in the Shadow. But the BA head couldn't kill her challenger, as doing so would not help her advance one bit further.

Now, there's also the "defense of my life" clause, but I'm sure that with a few decades of study, quite a lot of AS would manage to work out how to neutralise that one.

Cortar
06-02-2012, 05:27 AM
From another thread (where you came up with the idea of starting this thread):

It seems to me that this would place an unfair and unjust burden on high ranking Darkfriends. I'm sure the DO wouldn't do that. :p

Consider the case of an AS who discovers the identity of the head of the BA. She could now kill that woman, as it would help her own chances of getting that post and thus advancing in the Shadow. But the BA head couldn't kill her challenger, as doing so would not help her advance one bit further.

Now, there's also the "defense of my life" clause, but I'm sure that with a few decades of study, quite a lot of AS would manage to work out how to neutralise that one.

All DFs are extremely arrogant and self-centered so I would imagine its not much a stretch to say that they probably rationalize killing this challenger by the logic that he could do a better job of the challenger, so by killing the challenger, it ensures the Shadow continues to strengthen and if he didn't kill this challenger, it would be weakened.

I know thats kinda long and rambling, but it was much shorter in my head.

Kimon
06-02-2012, 11:42 AM
The Second Oath is to make no weapon with which one man may kill another. Because of this oath, the ability to make Power-wrought weaponry has been lost until recently, and it might also play some part in the fact that the ability to make ter'angreal, angreal and sa'angreal has been lost until recently; in both cases, the re-discoveries were made by channellers who were not bound by the oaths; the Asha'man Fager Neald and Perrin Aybara on the one hand, and Elayne Trakand on the other. Since the Black Ajah are not running about creating power-wrought weaponry to give to Trollocs or their warders, or defending themselves with sa'angreal. My speculation for this one might be "to make no weapon to fight against the Shadow".



Verin and Alanna made exploding catapult stones for the defense of Emond's Field. It's not completely clear whether these weapons were mere scientific knowledge, like the re-purposed fireworks that Mat has been using, or if they were weave reinforced weapons, but the latter would seem to be more likely as the former would almost certainly have been a direct violation of the 2nd Oath. After all, if it was a woven weapon, it could be argued off as a one-time use weapon, for specific use against Shadowspawn, whereas if the latter, they were potentially teaching men to make a weapon that could be re-purposed later for use against men. Regardless, clearly it didn't bother Verin to make weapons for use against Shadowspawn.

Tomp
06-02-2012, 12:01 PM
One of the oaths is probably something about never revealing other AS in their hearts (or other BA AS at all).
Unless it's covered by the first oath.

There is not an oath about always following the forsaken. Liandrin tried to best Moghegdien a couple of times.
And payed the price for it.

Zombie Sammael
06-02-2012, 12:11 PM
One of the oaths is probably something about never revealing other AS in their hearts (or other BA AS at all).
Unless it's covered by the first oath.

There is not an oath about always following the forsaken. Liandrin tried to best Moghegdien a couple of times.
And payed the price for it.

I would have thought that on either interpretation, revealing the members of your Heart would be covered by the Known Oath. It could, after all, be considered one of the BA's secrets that she must keep until the hour of her death.

Terez
06-02-2012, 12:57 PM
Verin and Alanna made exploding catapult stones for the defense of Emond's Field. It's not completely clear whether these weapons were mere scientific knowledge, like the re-purposed fireworks that Mat has been using, or if they were weave reinforced weapons, but the latter would seem to be more likely as the former would almost certainly have been a direct violation of the 2nd Oath. After all, if it was a woven weapon, it could be argued off as a one-time use weapon, for specific use against Shadowspawn, whereas if the latter, they were potentially teaching men to make a weapon that could be re-purposed later for use against men. Regardless, clearly it didn't bother Verin to make weapons for use against Shadowspawn.
It doesn't say they're not allowed to teach men how to make weapons to kill another man, and besides which, they'd need someone to rig the stones, so I don't think this even comes close to violating the Oath.

The Unreasoner
06-02-2012, 03:12 PM
Why assume they are reflections of the true Oaths? I think they may all serve some sort of purpose, but I think the real important thing is that there are three of them, to preclude noticeable physical differences.