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Bonding

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Bonding

Moiraine bonding Lan.

Bonding is a weave which creates an enduring psychic link between two individuals; although there are several variants, the most common is the Aes Sedai/Warder bond.

Aes Sedai/Warder bondingEdit

Most Aes Sedai bond one Warder; Red Ajah sisters are forbidden from taking one (although some might entertain the option of a female warder), and Green Ajah sisters frequently have two or more. Some Brown Ajah sisters never bother to select a Warder unless they find it necessary to their studies; the White Ajah is also known for rarely bonding Warders. A Warder from an Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah may or may not be a Darkfriend.

Benefits and consequencesEdit

The bond gives the Warder heightened abilities to go without food, water, and rest, and the ability to withstand wounds that would kill ordinary men. They also appear to gain some semblance of the ability channelers have to detect Shadowspawn. Both individuals are able to detect certain emotional and physical states about the other, and they have an unerring ability to locate the others' relative direction and vague distance from their current location.

Gawyn Trakand, since being bonded to Egwene al'Vere, has theorized that Warders are important to Aes Sedai for psychological protection, as well as physical. This is due to the emotions only the Warder can see behind each Aes Sedai's calm facade. Only the Warder can understand what his Aes Sedai is feeling.

The ability of Warders to protect their respective Aes Sedai through these heightened abilities is paramount for them, for if she dies, he will most likely go insane with a sense of fatalistic vengeance. Most Warders do not survive their Aes Sedai by long if she dies, falling immediately after trying to avenge her, or going bleakly to their death in the Great Blight. Occasionally a sister will attempt to provide some sort of aid to the man's wounded psyche, as Myrelle Berengari attempts with Lan Mandragoran after Moiraine Damodred supposedly dies. Myrelle is known for her "talent" of helping Warders survive the death of their Aes Sedai. Generally this only slows and blunts their death wish, not resolves it.

It is also possible to create a switch in bonding if an Aes Sedai knows she is going to die. In the case of Moiraine's death, Lan's bond immediately switched to Myrelle, which meant Lan could not waste his life on the spot.

If a Warder dies, his Aes Sedai grieves deeply but does not go insane. Some sisters resist bonding another after their initial choice dies of old age or falls in battle. Green Ajah sisters instead frequently choose to bond another as soon as possible, which led in part to Alanna Mosvani's impetuous decision to bond Rand al'Thor, with disastrous and unforeseen results. Egwene took the same course of action when she bonded Leilwin, but in this case it gave her strength to continue fighting  while diminishing the pain from Gawyn's death.

Recently it has been proven that a single Warder can be bonded by more than one woman who can channel, but not without great consequence; when Elayne Trakand, Min Farshaw, and Aviendha jointly bonded Rand al'Thor, this caused Alanna to be rendered unconscious for three days.

Masking the bondEdit

Both male and female channelers are able to 'mask' a bond they have instigated, cloaking it to avoid the emotional awareness in inopportune circumstances, and even muting the geographic awareness when necessary. The ability is somehow related to the ability to channel, as non-channelers are completely unable to avoid feeling what the other person feels, even when it is not desired. Rina Hafden masked her bond with Elyas Machera when he became a Wolfbrother. Eldrith Jhondar masked hers when her Warder tried to find her and kill her for being Black Ajah.

ObedienceEdit

Even some Warders are unaware that their Aes Sedai can compel them to obey their wishes by manipulating their bond with Spirit. It is used rarely and only at great need in recent years, but is not forbidden by Tower law.

Strangely, Rand seems to be able to resist this part of the bond, at least with regard to Alanna. The Green sister tried to force him to obey shortly after bonding him in Caemlyn, but was unable to have any effect on him whatsoever, much to her surprise. It has been theorized that Rand's ability to channel, or his holding saidin at the time, allowed him to resist her.

Releasing the bondEdit

It has recently been confirmed [1] that Warders can be released from their bonds, although it is done rarely under normal circumstances. However, if an Aes Sedai is able to prepare for an unavoidable death, she may release her Warders to spare them the uncontrollable desire for revenge and death, and in rare instances a Warder may be released voluntarily while both are still hale and hearty. Alanna Mosvani released Rand from the bond in a crucial moment that contributed to victory for the forces of the Light during the Last Battle. The bond can also be released from a far distance as was proved by Logain when he released Toveine after she was turned to the shadow. 

Female WardersEdit

Elayne's bonding of Birgitte Trahelion contravened Tower law because she was still an Accepted at the time, but it was also unorthodox in that her Warder is female. No previous instances of this are recorded, and the side effects have been interesting. Both women have experienced embarrassing moments of emotional 'leakage', where one's strong emotion (embarrassment, anger, passion) is fed through the bond to the other, who experiences the emotion themselves, instead of merely being aware of it. Additionally, their cycles have synchronized.

Asha'man/wife bondingEdit

One of the students at the Black Tower discovers a weave much like the Aes Sedai/Warder bond, that the men studying there can use to remain close to their wives. While it provides the same shared information of physical condition and general mental state as the traditional bond, it is unclear if either party receives the Warders' hardiness, or the susceptibilities to death of either person.

Presumably with the harsh training and dangerous conditions that Asha'man go through, it would have been noted if their wives had gone into an insane rage when they died. As the bond is presumed to be independently discovered, it is likely that it does not provide those additional benefits and drawbacks.

The extra bitEdit

When Toveine Gazal's task to capture and gentle the entire Black Tower is disrupted, she and most of her fellow sisters are bonded by full Asha'man in a manner very similar to the wife bond. Curiously, the reaction to the bond that Toveine experiences appears to be very similar to a female orgasm. This is not the "extra bit" referred to, however; instead, the bond used with the Aes Sedai allows the Asha'man to require obedience from their bonded sisters. It may or may not require active channeling with Spirit, as is required to gain involuntary obedience by an Aes Sedai from her Warder. There is no sign yet that this can be circumvented by channeling, as Rand appears to be able to do with Alanna.

Third-party bondingEdit

The Aiel have a previously unseen type of bond, which joins two individuals as 'siblings' whatever their age and parentage. It is used to adopt someone as a first-sister or first-brother in their society, and is never done lightly. A wealth of conditions are imposed to ensure that the pair truly wants to become family, and failure or avoidance at any point results in immediate denial. The ceremony is performed by a Wise One who can channel on the pair, which creates a sensation of being physically reborn as if they shared the womb with a twin.

The end result is similar to a weaker form of the Asha'man/wife bond; the pair can sense each other vaguely, and share some level of psychic link, although the close friendship that precedes this bonding ceremony makes it difficult to tell what portion of this mutual understanding is due to the weave, and what is due to shared affection for each other. Neither of the pair have to be able to channel for the bond to work. Also, it is never done to a woman with child as the child would die.

See alsoEdit

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