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  #1  
Old 09-08-2015, 03:01 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Default A strategy to deal with captured Foresaken

I was skimming through tGS, and all the discussions of how to handle Semirhage. And suddenly I realized there was ONE strategy no one considered. It should especially have leapt at Nynaeve, and frankly, I'm astonished she, or Elayne, Egwene, Siuan and Leane never thought of it for Moghedien.

What is the strategy? Still the woman, then Heal her. She now has all the knowledge she held anyway, but is significantly weaker, so she cannot do as much damage. Any regular Aes Sedai can handle her as a captive, which is a huge boon too.

Plus, of course, it reduces their pride, and might make them more pliable. It might have also cut their links to the Dark One, for all we know, though we cannot expect the characters to think of this.

Sure, with Semirhage there is talk of an official trial. But I seriously cannot believe anyone would think it a major violation of Tower Law if no such trial was held. Plus, she was the Dragon Reborn's captive, and her chief interrogator was Caduane, and neither cares about Tower Law in the face of what's at stake.

Of course, I suspect even if RJ had thought of this, he never implemented it because he wanted to keep the Foresaken as actual threats. But an angreal would have worked to bring them back to those levels. Or if not, maybe some other reason could have been found to rationalize why they don't do it. But that it wasn't even thought about by the characters is plain wrong.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2015, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
It might have also cut their links to the Dark One, for all we know, though we cannot expect the characters to think of this.
I think 'all we know' disputes this a a real possibility. Though that doesn't mean characters wouldn't have thought of it.

Rand believes (incorrectly) that he cut Asmodean's link to the DO (and Asmodean appears to believe it as well). But RJ said Rand was mistaken (it seems he only cut the Taint protection), and we have no reason to believe that such a cut is possible (it appears to be linked to the soul directly, and not the soul's ability to channel). Now I am aware Asmodean wasn't severed, but it doesn't seem that bond is so easy to break. And since Rand kept info on Asmodean to himself, the AS ignorance is understandable.

As for 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' analysis on any aspect of WoT...good luck. Characters frequently exhibited plot-facillitating stupidity, and asking why something wasn't tried is an exercise in futility.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:11 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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It seems very likely that Stilling would not have severed their links to the DO. After all, there were plenty of ordinary darkfriends who also had such links, and they had never had an ability to channel at all.

And that AS would not think of this is logical; they probably would only have considered it with a male Forsaken, and then having Nynaeve Heal him would've been pointless, as that would just have restored his full strength.

What would have happened if Cyndane had been stilled, and Damer Flinn had Healed her?
It would have been interesting to see whether or not she would have been restored to full strength.

Which, of course, brings up the other logical solution: shove Semirhage through the Tower of Ghenjei, and let the *finn have her.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:34 AM
padfoot89 padfoot89 is offline
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How much loss of power happened with a Stilling-Healing cycle?
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:40 AM
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How much loss of power happened with a Stilling-Healing cycle?
I don't think it's ever made clear. Siuan and Leane were both quite strong before, though Siuan was a bit stronger. IIRC, they're about the same, now. They're apparently still strong enough to be selected to take the test for the shawl. But whether Stilling then (female) healing cuts by a factor, removes a constant, is random...we just don't know.

In any case, this is obviously a bad idea. Siuan and Leanne aren't exactly helpless even outside of T'A'R and unaided by angreal. It's an especially bad idea when you consider the fact that better understood and more effective alternatives exist (a'dam, binding rod, foxhead handcuffs...)
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:58 AM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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I fail too see why stilling then Healing removes those other alternatives.

As for how much you drop in strength, we have an answer now from Siuan's entry.She dropped
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:01 PM
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I don't think it's ever made clear. Siuan and Leane were both quite strong before, though Siuan was a bit stronger. IIRC, they're about the same, now. They're apparently still strong enough to be selected to take the test for the shawl. But whether Stilling than (female) healing cuts by a factor, removes a constant, is random...we just don't know.
To springboard from this, I want to mention here that I don't believe the Aes Sedai in Randland were aware that a female channeler being Healed by another female always resulted in a diminished capacity to channel. Someone with a more encyclopedic memory of the books can prove me wrong, but I'm fairly sure that at least until shortly after Siuan was Healed, Nynaeve was asked to perform the Healing again and again in order to get Siuan back to her original strength. Needless to say, those attempts failed. It might have been an interesting anomaly that Logain returned to his full strength when Nynaeve Healed him, but as Unreasoner points out, there just wasn't enough data to know much of anything for sure about the mechanics of Healing being stilled.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:43 PM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Well, there were also the AS who had been Healed by Damer Flinn, who also regained their full strength.

On the other hand, I'm not sure Nynaeve was aware of that, and I don't know anyone else who could've connected those dots.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
I fail too see why stilling then Healing removes those other alternatives.
It doesn't. But, as I pointed out, your method is not enough on its own (because, again, Siuan and Leane are not like Moiraine. They are strong enough to take and pass the test for the shawl, and aren't even the weakest ones in that category), so you will need one of those alternatives as well. And since any one of my alternatives are (more or less) standalone solutions, your proposal adds no utility. In fact, not only does it not have any benefit, but it has actual drawbacks. Specifically, you can no longer include the Forsaken in a circle in order to take advantage of their raw power.

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As for how much you drop in strength, we have an answer now from Siuan's entry.She dropped
Spoiler:
22 levels
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I'm not sure how much clearer I can be on this point: that is almost useless information. First, Siuan fell further than Leane, so obviously it's not a straight subtraction. Whether or not it is a linear transformation, polynomial, inverse, logarithmic...is simply not knowable with only two data points.

I'm also not entirely sure what the context is you are looking for. When Moghedien was first captured, the tools available were the shield, forkroot, and an a'dam. Since the a'dam works perfectly, there was no need to switch later to a weaker method, or even add it on (unless they anticipated escape, of course, but they did not). Semmirhage was held by shields maintained constantly. Sure, the method could have weakened Semmirhage enough so that it would be possible to hold her with one shield (and may have cracked her pride), but Nynaeve (easily the single cleverest and most talented Aes Sedai in the books) apparently did not see it as necessary. Again, the number of times when a character in the books seems to fail to take some obvious action are legion, and listing them just seems tedious. As for the captives at the end, the captors each have either a'dam, a binding rod, the foxhead duplicates, or even a combination of the three. Since the DO is sealed at that point, I don't imagine the 'link' is a big deal anymore (not that it's likely your method would cut it in the first place, nor would I expect anyone save Moiraine (who knew about Asmodean) to suspect it would).

Again, your method seems to have a single advantage, and one not applicable to any case except Semmirhage. The drawback of lost power alone puts the nail in the coffin.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:17 PM
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Thoughts?
A few. First you seem to be disregarding what really made her intimidating. It wasn't her strength in the power. The idea of falling into her hands wouldn't be much, if at all, less terrifying if she was diminished in raw saidar potential than as at her full. She was terrifying because she was a brilliant psychopath. It's the same reason why Temaile intimidated her black sister colleagues, even those that were stronger in the power than Temaile. It's also why Siuan was no less capable after diminished in raw strength. She was still possessing of all the intellect and force of personality that made her impressive before. The whole point thus seemed to serve as a reminder of just how foolish the system that determined the Aes Sedai hierarchy was. Second, while not necessarily an effective means of taming her, it would be an inventive form of torture - the sort of thing that one would expect Semirhage herself to have implemented. Not so much the girls. Maybe Siuan. And third - you seem to be overlooking the more obvious choice. I would have bludgeoned her with compulsion, extracted intel, then balefired her so she couldn't be brought back.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fdsaf3 View Post
To springboard from this, I want to mention here that I don't believe the Aes Sedai in Randland were aware that a female channeler being Healed by another female always resulted in a diminished capacity to channel. Someone with a more encyclopedic memory of the books can prove me wrong, but I'm fairly sure that at least until shortly after Siuan was Healed, Nynaeve was asked to perform the Healing again and again in order to get Siuan back to her original strength. Needless to say, those attempts failed. It might have been an interesting anomaly that Logain returned to his full strength when Nynaeve Healed him, but as Unreasoner points out, there just wasn't enough data to know much of anything for sure about the mechanics of Healing being stilled.
It was Siuan who asked Nynaeve to, and Nynaeve refused. None of the other women asked her to, or thought she did something wrong. At least, not that we see it. Even if they DID think so, Nynaeve herself certainly didn't.

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It doesn't. But, as I pointed out, your method is not enough on its own (because, again, Siuan and Leane are not like Moiraine. They are strong enough to take and pass the test for the shawl, and aren't even the weakest ones in that category), so you will need one of those alternatives as well. And since any one of my alternatives are (more or less) standalone solutions, your proposal adds no utility. In fact, not only does it not have any benefit, but it has actual drawbacks. Specifically, you can no longer include the Forsaken in a circle in order to take advantage of their raw power.
1)The reduction of strength only acts as a contingency if the Foresaken escapes, of course. It keeps their knowledge alive, but makes their escape less of a catastrophic event.

2) The drawback is hardly relevant. The strength of a Foresaken is not THAT much above stronger Aes Sedai that it is desperately needed in a circle. And that won't happen till they volunteer to do it anyway. I suppose an a'dam would do, but again.. even a "weak" angreal brings Elayne to stronger than the strongest Foresaken, and there are way more angreal than Foresaken...

Quote:
I'm not sure how much clearer I can be on this point: that is almost useless information. First, Siuan fell further than Leane, so obviously it's not a straight subtraction. Whether or not it is a linear transformation, polynomial, inverse, logarithmic...is simply not knowable with only two data points.
We do not know Siuan fell further than Leane. Leane was always just a level of strength below Siuan anyway, not enough for her to be able to command Leane on anything or get more than bare deference if they interacted. Every statement Siuan or Leane makes about their post-Healing strength still holds if Siuan is still a level above Leane.

And two is plenty to know that there IS a reduction in strength the way Nynaeve heals them. It hardly hurts to try it on Moghedien or Semirhage and see how drastic the reduction is, since I was never suggesting this be the sole way to deal with the Foresaken anyway.

Quote:
I'm also not entirely sure what the context is you are looking for. When Moghedien was first captured, the tools available were the shield, forkroot, and an a'dam. Since the a'dam works perfectly, there was no need to switch later to a weaker method, or even add it on (unless they anticipated escape, of course, but they did not).
They certainly feared escape. Nynaeve insisted that either she or Elayne always wear the a'dam bracelet, because she was worried about escape.


Quote:
Semmirhage was held by shields maintained constantly.
By multiple sisters, which Cadsuane says was because they were worried about her strength.

Quote:
Sure, the method could have weakened Semmirhage enough so that it would be possible to hold her with one shield (and may have cracked her pride), but Nynaeve (easily the single cleverest and most talented Aes Sedai in the books) apparently did not see it as necessary.
I'm not with you that Nynaeve is the cleverest or anything, but I think she's plenty clever enough to at least think of this.

Quote:
Again, the number of times when a character in the books seems to fail to take some obvious action are legion,
Like? Most of the time, there is at least an implied reason for why they don't. Egwene, for instance, doesn't hide her weaves when she goes to the Tar Valon harbor. But her not thinking of this is commented upon, and her hasty decision to replace the much better prepared Bode is the reason for this.

With this, no one even thinks of it, which is different.

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A few. First you seem to be disregarding what really made her intimidating.
Not at all. Which is why I said this "might make them more pliable". I have no doubt Semirhage was intimidating for multiple reasons. But if you think her extraordinary strength didn't add to her aura for the Aes Sedai, you'd be wrong.


Quote:
It's also why Siuan was no less capable after diminished in raw strength. She was still possessing of all the intellect and force of personality that made her impressive before.
Siuan was no less capable a manipulator. Heck she might have been better as a weaker Aes Sedai. But she certainly was less capable in One Power terms. It hampered her in several ways.

Quote:
The whole point thus seemed to serve as a reminder of just how foolish the system that determined the Aes Sedai hierarchy was.
Definitely, though I feel Sorelia was the strongest example used to point out the absurdity of that system.

Quote:
Second, while not necessarily an effective means of taming her, it would be an inventive form of torture - the sort of thing that one would expect Semirhage herself to have implemented. Not so much the girls.
I don't expect the girls to see it as such. It is a way of defanging the monster, a little.

Quote:
And third - you seem to be overlooking the more obvious choice. I would have bludgeoned her with compulsion, extracted intel, then balefired her so she couldn't be brought back.
That is certainly a MUCH stronger violation of Tower law. We don't have any of her PoV on it, but I'm pretty sure Cadsuane would frown on Compulsion. She certainly frowns on Balefire. Nynaeve doesn't give two hoots about Balefire, but she definitely hates Compulsion.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fionwe1987 View Post
It was Siuan who asked Nynaeve to, and Nynaeve refused. None of the other women asked her to, or thought she did something wrong. At least, not that we see it. Even if they DID think so, Nynaeve herself certainly didn't.



1)The reduction of strength only acts as a contingency if the Foresaken escapes, of course. It keeps their knowledge alive, but makes their escape less of a catastrophic event.

2) The drawback is hardly relevant. The strength of a Foresaken is not THAT much above stronger Aes Sedai that it is desperately needed in a circle. And that won't happen till they volunteer to do it anyway. I suppose an a'dam would do, but again.. even a "weak" angreal brings Elayne to stronger than the strongest Foresaken, and there are way more angreal than Foresaken...


We do not know Siuan fell further than Leane. Leane was always just a level of strength below Siuan anyway, not enough for her to be able to command Leane on anything or get more than bare deference if they interacted. Every statement Siuan or Leane makes about their post-Healing strength still holds if Siuan is still a level above Leane.

And two is plenty to know that there IS a reduction in strength the way Nynaeve heals them. It hardly hurts to try it on Moghedien or Semirhage and see how drastic the reduction is, since I was never suggesting this be the sole way to deal with the Foresaken anyway.


They certainly feared escape. Nynaeve insisted that either she or Elayne always wear the a'dam bracelet, because she was worried about escape.



By multiple sisters, which Cadsuane says was because they were worried about her strength.


I'm not with you that Nynaeve is the cleverest or anything, but I think she's plenty clever enough to at least think of this.


Like? Most of the time, there is at least an implied reason for why they don't. Egwene, for instance, doesn't hide her weaves when she goes to the Tar Valon harbor. But her not thinking of this is commented upon, and her hasty decision to replace the much better prepared Bode is the reason for this.

With this, no one even thinks of it, which is different.



Not at all. Which is why I said this "might make them more pliable". I have no doubt Semirhage was intimidating for multiple reasons. But if you think her extraordinary strength didn't add to her aura for the Aes Sedai, you'd be wrong.




Siuan was no less capable a manipulator. Heck she might have been better as a weaker Aes Sedai. But she certainly was less capable in One Power terms. It hampered her in several ways.


Definitely, though I feel Sorelia was the strongest example used to point out the absurdity of that system.


I don't expect the girls to see it as such. It is a way of defanging the monster, a little.


That is certainly a MUCH stronger violation of Tower law. We don't have any of her PoV on it, but I'm pretty sure Cadsuane would frown on Compulsion. She certainly frowns on Balefire. Nynaeve doesn't give two hoots about Balefire, but she definitely hates Compulsion.
I almost brought "Foresaken" (it's Forsaken) up last time, but decided that it wasn't worth the bother, and perhaps just an accident, but after "Sorelia" (Sorilea), I think both must now be pointed out.

Quote:
That is certainly a MUCH stronger violation of Tower law. We don't have any of her PoV on it, but I'm pretty sure Cadsuane would frown on Compulsion. She certainly frowns on Balefire. Nynaeve doesn't give two hoots about Balefire, but she definitely hates Compulsion.
Worse than intentionally diminishing someone's overall power in saidar? You do realize they were going to kill her, yes? Not using balefire would have just released her back into the game. And not using compulsion is just stupid. It, traveling, eavesdropping, and the Blue bug deterrent are easily the four most useful weaves. Certainly the four that I'd be making sure to master first.

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Old 09-09-2015, 09:59 PM
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I almost brought "Foresaken" (it's Forsaken) up last time, but decided that it wasn't worth the bother, and perhaps just an accident, but after "Sorelia" (Sorilea), I think both must now be pointed out.
Apologies. Typing on the phone, and I swype so most times Forsaken starts up as "foreskin" and I have to manually change it, which makes me do it wrong when I'm rushing to type.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:58 PM
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Your phone gets Morgase wrong all the time, too. Why not just add them to the dictionary? That way you can take advantage of some autocomplete features. This has bugged me for years.

On the topic at hand: I'm still confused. Are you advocating a different path forward in a specific instance, or a more generalized protocol on strategy?

Kimon's position makes the most sense during the war, although the information needed to recognize that fact was only known to Rand until very late in the game.

A slight modification to his method (and mine) makes the most sense after the war, or during the war lacking the knowledge concerning Forsaken resurrection. Specifically: Compelling the Forsaken to make a sufficiently binding Oath on the Oath Rod. That way, even if the Compulsion wears off, the Oath is in place.

Again: your method has no advantage over Kimon's or mine unless you assume the Forsaken will escape. It is not sufficiently binding on its own to achieve a useful effect, and any method that closes that gap would work on its own, making your protocol (relatively difficult) busy work.

As for the specifics on the power reduction: two data points are not enough to draw a conclusion, even if the reduction is a constant in these data points. And you are completely ignoring the fact that if it is a constant reduction, your method is even weaker. The Forsaken are sufficiently more powerful than the average Aes Sedai that a constant reduction of the demonstrated magnitude might still leave them in a perfectly respectable tier among full Aes Sedai.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:52 AM
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On the topic at hand: I'm still confused. Are you advocating a different path forward in a specific instance, or a more generalized protocol on strategy?
I believe my first post makes that clear? As a strategy for Moghedien and Semirhage. More than that, though, I am wondering why no one even thinks of this.

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Kimon's position makes the most sense during the war, although the information needed to recognize that fact was only known to Rand until very late in the game.
Yup. So no one taking the drastic route of Compulsion+Balefire is understandable with no sure benefit. Further, we don't KNOW at what level of compulsion channeling knowledge goes away. The strongest kind, which may be needed with most Forsaken, makes you dumb according to Rand, and erases most of your personality.

The more subtle kind... only a few Aes Sedai knew those weaves, and most of those considered Compulsion abhorrent.

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A slight modification to his method (and mine) makes the most sense after the war, or during the war lacking the knowledge concerning Forsaken resurrection. Specifically: Compelling the Forsaken to make a sufficiently binding Oath on the Oath Rod. That way, even if the Compulsion wears off, the Oath is in place.
In the cases I'm talking of, though, access to the Oath Rod was restricted. Neither the wondergirls nor Cadsauane had access to it. All of them had major issues with using Compulsion too.

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Again: your method has no advantage over Kimon's or mine unless you assume the Forsaken will escape.
They all worried about that. Heck, Cadsuane even specifically wondered what would happen if Semirhage had some secret way to break through a shield, and ordered three women to hold her shield instead of one. Nynaeve herself talks about wanting Semirhage stilled due to her own experience with Moghedien, so it makes even less sense to me this idea didn't even come up.

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It is not sufficiently binding on its own to achieve a useful effect,


I fail to see in what world weakening your enemy permanently is not useful.

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and any method that closes that gap
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would [I]work on its own, making your protocol (relatively difficult) busy work.
But none of those (a'dam/shielding) was permanent. The more permanent option of the Oath Rod wasn't available. Compulsion was definitely viewed as repugnant, and I certainly don't see Nynaeve offering up that idea, or Cadsuane ever accepting it with Semirhage. Same thing in Salidar, where we know Egwene's disgust for Compulsion is strong as well.

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As for the specifics on the power reduction: two data points are not enough to draw a conclusion, even if the reduction is a constant in these data points.
We do not need specifics. Any power reduction would be helpful. Each of these characters has mentioned the danger of their Forsaken captive several times. Well, any reduction of their OP strength is going to lessen that danger. If isn't like this is a risky procedure, since Nynaeve has worked it thrice with no problems.

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And you are completely ignoring the fact that if it is a constant reduction, your method is even weaker. The Forsaken are sufficiently more powerful than the average Aes Sedai that a constant reduction of the demonstrated magnitude might still leave them in a perfectly respectable tier among full Aes Sedai.
But still weaker than they were. If the choice is between facing Semirhage at full strength and Semirhage even at Egwene's strength, only a moron would be okay picking Semirhage at full strength. This is assuming a much more minor drop in strength than we have seen in the two instances we have been given.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:29 PM
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Would the Stilling/Healing effect last through a death/recycling? The Finn drain apparently does, though it also seems less superficial. If it doesn't, it's more or less useless again.

As for why no one thought of it, plot facilitating stupidity shows up all of the time. One possible explanation is that Tower Law may have specific conditions for permitting it (such as, perhaps, a certain type of trial).
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:04 PM
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Would the Stilling/Healing effect last through a death/recycling? The Finn drain apparently does, though it also seems less superficial. If it doesn't, it's more or less useless again.
We don't know if the effects of stilling persist. Not, I suspect, but we don't know, and the characters certainly don't. But neither did they know about resurrection, so it cannot have been a reason why they chose not to go this route.

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As for why no one thought of it, plot facilitating stupidity shows up all of the time.
Not really. Not in this way.

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One possible explanation is that Tower Law may have specific conditions for permitting it (such as, perhaps, a certain type of trial).
It certainly does. But it also has clear laws about what has to be done with Darkfriend channelers. Keeping them captive without knowledge of the Hall already violates Tower Law. But unlike Compulsion, to which these women will also have moral objections too, they don't think stilling is as hideous. Nynaeve, in fact, actually proposes stilling her.
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:58 PM
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So your question is 'why didn't the Aes Sedai captors Still then Heal Semmirhage and Moghedien in order to mildly inconvenience them if they ever escaped?'

Well, since you are ignoring a number of legitimate issues with your protocol, maybe it's worth asking a slight modification to your question: why stop at Stilling/Healing? Why not blind them (to make weaving more difficult) in a way that can't be Healed (perhaps by cutting out eyes)? Or why not cut off their hands?

Your method adds quite a bit of work (though, it is easy enough) and adds minimal utility. But there are countless things that could inconvenience the Forsaken if they were to escape that are more or less equivalent in cost and utility. Taking out eyeballs has even more utility. Why didn't they think of that? Plot facillitating stupidity is as good an explanation as any.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:47 PM
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A few more thoughts:

First, Cadsuane may not have been aware of the possibility.

Second, Aes Sedai reluctance to discuss strength may have played a role.

Third, it seems like (for the Moghedien case, at least) it might be really rude: implying that Siuan's and Leane's state is so thoroughly unenviable that it may have a place in a suitable punishment package for a Forsaken. Framing it as a 'defanging' would only insult Siuan and Leane even more.

Fourth, Moghedien was already well contained and controlled when the method became available.

And lastly: why not Still then not Heal? They don't ask or allow either Moghedien or Semmirhage to channel. Maybe Healing could be dangled as a possible carrot for good behavior, but why restore it before the despair takes over?
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:23 PM
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A few more thoughts:

First, Cadsuane may not have been aware of the possibility.

Second, Aes Sedai reluctance to discuss strength may have played a role.

Third, it seems like (for the Moghedien case, at least) it might be really rude: implying that Siuan's and Leane's state is so thoroughly unenviable that it may have a place in a suitable punishment package for a Forsaken. Framing it as a 'defanging' would only insult Siuan and Leane even more.

Fourth, Moghedien was already well contained and controlled when the method became available.

And lastly: why not Still then not Heal? They don't ask or allow either Moghedien or Semmirhage to channel. Maybe Healing could be dangled as a possible carrot for good behavior, but why restore it before the despair takes over?
Why not sharks with fricking laser beams? That's basically what fionwe's suggestion boils down to. It's the sort of thing a Bond villain would come up with.
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