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Old 11-19-2010, 01:35 AM
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Default Testing ter'angreal and Compulsion

We all know that there are various types of Compulsion. Moghedien uses a complex weave of Spirit with touches of Water and Air. Verin's mishmash Compulsion is also predominantly Spirit 'by far', with bits of all four of the other Powers. In both cases, instructions are required, though Verin's version is more along the lines of Liandrin's 'trick' (and of course, that was probably one of the weaves that Verin used to make her version).

For the Aes Sedai testing ter'angreal, a weave is placed on the woman before she enters. It is entirely Spirit, and Nynaeve thinks that it has something to do with memory, just by looking at the weave. Verin says of her own weaves, 'Even if a Wise One poked her head into the tent, with the smallest of luck she would not possess the rare Talent needed to realize what Verin was doing.'

As with the Compulsion weaves, instructions are required. Someone gives instructions, while another person touches the candidate with the weave and punctuates the instructions with 'Remember what must be remembered.' When the instructions are finished, the weave settles into the candidate like Healing.

In the Aes Sedai testing ter'angreal, the Aes Sedai actually control what is happening inside the ter'angreal.

Nynaeve, of course, was able to break the rules in the test for the shawl. Egwene had a theory:

Originally Posted by RJ/BWS
"You've angered them," Egwene said. "And confused them."

"I spoke the truth," Nynaeve grumbled.

"Perhaps," Egwene said. "But I wasn't speaking of your outburst. During the test, you flouted the orders you were given."

"I couldn't flout them. I didn't remember that I'd been given them. I . . . well, actually I could remember what I was supposed to do, but not the reasons." Nynaeve grimaced. "That's why I broke the rules. I thought they were just arbitrary. I couldn't remember why I wasn't supposed to run, so in the face of seeing people die, it seemed silly to walk."

"The rules are supposed to hold strongly, even though you don't remember them," Egwene said. "And you should not have been able to channel before reaching the marker. That is in the very nature of the test."

Nynaeve frowned. "Then how—"

"You've spent too much time in Tel'aran'rhiod. This test ... it seems to function much in the same way as the World of Dreams. What we create in our minds became your surroundings." Egwene clicked her tongue, shaking her head. "I warned them that this might be a danger. Your practice in the World of Dreams made you innately able to break the test."
I'm not so sure this theory is true, but Egwene can be forgiven for not knowing that she herself broke the rules of the Accepted testing ter'angreal when she went through it. She didn't tell anyone that she had channeled, so she didn't know that it was out of the ordinary. Everything that was noticeably out of the ordinary was explained by the resonance between the stone ring and the testing ter'angreal. Or perhaps it was affected by Egwene's innate Dreaming ability.

Nynaeve knew that she broke the rules in the testing ter'angreal, though. Well before she ever entered the World of Dreams.

The Accepted testing ter'angreal does not require a Compulsion weave like the Aes Sedai test, but also notable is that the Aes Sedai do not control what happens inside it, nor can they witness it. The experience is entirely between the ter'angreal and the candidate's mind.

But yet, the words 'The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.' are still emblazoned into the candidate's mind, just like with the Compulsion weave of the Aes Sedai test. During Moiraine's test - presumably a standard example - she continually (and thoughtlessly) reminds herself that she must be utterly calm, serene, and that she must keep a steady pace. She even concentrates on keeping her face expressionless and smooth. She knows that she dare not channel until she reaches the star, and never considers otherwise.

When Nynaeve goes through the Accepted ter'angreal, she not only remembers how to channel - which should be impossible - but she is able to ignore the urge to go through the arch that last time, with Lan, until the arch disappears. When she realizes that Lan isn't real - something she is not supposed to be able to realize - she creates her own damn arch:

Originally Posted by RJ
TITLE - The Great Hunt
Originally Posted by RJ
CHAPTER: 23 - The Testing

"I want to stay," she said softly. "I want to stay with you." When she opened her eyes, the arch was gone ... come but once. "No. No!"

Lan turned her to face him. "What troubles you? You must tell me if I'm to help."

"This is not real."

"Not real? Before I met you, I thought nothing except the sword was real. Look around you, Nynaeve. It is real. Whatever you want to be real, we can make real together, you and I."

Wonderingly, she did look around. The meadow was still there. The Seven Towers still stood over the Thousand Lakes. The arch was gone, but nothing else had changed. I could stay here. With Lan. Nothing has changed. Her thoughts turned. Nothing has changed. Egwene is alone in the White Tower. Rand will channel the Power and go mad. And what of Mat and Perrin? Can they take back any shred of their lives? And Moiraine, who tore all our lives apart, still walks free.

"I must go back," she whispered. Unable to bear the pain on his face, she pulled free of him. Deliberately she formed a flower bud in her mind, a white bud on a blackthorn branch. She made the thorns sharp and cruel, wishing they could pierce her flesh, feeling as if she already hung in the blackthorn's branches. Sheriam Sedai's voice danced just out of hearing, telling her it was dangerous to attempt to channel the Power. The bud opened, and saidar filled her with light.

"Nynaeve, tell me what is the matter."

Lan's voice slid across her concentration; she refused to let herself hear it. There had to be a way back still. Staring at where the silver arch had been, she tried to find some trace of it. There was nothing.

"Nynaeve ..."

She tried to picture the arch in her mind, to shape it and form it to the last detail, curve of gleaming metal filled with a glow like snowy fire. It seemed to waver there, in front of her, first there between her and the trees, then not, then there ...

"... I love you ..."

She drew at saidar, drinking in the flow of the One Power till she thought she would burst. The radiance filling her, shining around her, hurt her own eyes. The heat seemed to consume her. The flickering arch firmed, steadied, stood whole before her. Fire and pain seemed to fill her; her bones felt as if they were burning; her skull seemed a roaring furnace.

"... with all my heart."

She ran toward the silver curve, not letting herself look back. She had been sure the bitterest thing she would ever hear was Marin al'Vere's cry for help as Nynaeve abandoned her, but that was honey beside the sound of Lan's anguished voice pursuing her. "Nynaeve, please don't leave me."

The white glow consumed her.
It seems to me that Egwene might have had it backwards. Nynaeve gained skill in Tel'aran'rhiod quickly because she has strength of will - the exact same strength of will that served her when she resisted Moghedien's Compulsion, and actually managed to remember the incident that Moghedien had Compelled her to forget.

And while both of the testing ter'angreal are obviously related to the World of Dreams in many ways, I think that both of them also incorporate Compulsion, in two unique forms. The Aes Sedai ter'angreal requires a weave of Compulsion, just as it requires the sisters to control what happens inside of it. The Accepted ter'angreal comes with the Compulsion aspect built in, and it may be that the use of the other ter'angreal was inspired by the natural effects of the Accepted one. In some cases, the Aes Sedai do not know if the uses to which they put various ter'angreal are the original ones.

And underneath all of this is an irony...that a forbidden weave is a fundamental part of the two major tests all Aes Sedai must undergo.
Qui nos rodunt confundantur, et cum iustis non scribantur.