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A Wise One apprentice is a young woman who is in training to become a Wise One of the Aiel. All women who can channel are required to become Wise One apprentices at a certain age, while those who cannot channel are allowed to choose whether or not to train as Wise Ones. If a channeler is a Maiden of the Spear, she must give up the spear and enter the apprenticeship.
Before training beginsEdit
To become a Wise One, a prospective apprentice must first go to Rhuidean and enter a ter'angreal much like the one used by the Aes Sedai in the White Tower for the test to become Accepted. However, instead of facing one's fears, the Rhuidean ter'angreal allows the user to see their future, laid out for them many many times in variation. Hence an apprentice can be understood to be the equivalent of an Accepted at the White Tower, bypassing the rank of Novice entirely. Indeed, it is the opinion of at least some Wise Ones that the White Tower "coddles women".
After this first test in Rhuidean, the apprentice undergoes training in various aspects of being a Wise One, from the use of the One Power and Dreamwalking to the use of herbs and medicine, depending on the student's abilities and talents. In the meantime, she must also serve the Wise Ones much as gai'shain do, by making tea, tending the sweat tents, etc. Wise One apprentices are expected to be absolutely obedient, accepting all training methods and punishments that the Wise Ones bestow.
In order to advance to the final test that makes her a Wise One, a woman must assert herself and profess that she is deserving of Wise One status. When an apprentice's training is complete, she is subjected to menial and increasingly meaningless tasks without any further instruction, until she declares herself ready to be a Wise One. This step of the training is often confusing to the apprentice, as she is not told why she is assigned to such seemingly unfair and shaming treatment. The rationale behind this practice is that the apprentice must see herself as an equal to the Wise Ones rather than be told she is ready, and demonstrate self-assured and independent thinking rather than remaining obedient as an apprentice would.
When the apprentice has declared she is ready, she is welcomed by the Wise Ones to their sisterhood, though she must return to Rhuidean to enter another ter'angreal before formally becoming a Wise One. This ter'angreal is also the one used for the male test to become Clan Chief. It shows the history of the Aiel, from the Breaking of the World to the Founding of Rhuidean, through the eyes of their ancestors. More women return from this test than men who hope to become Clan Chiefs, but unlike the men, the women return without any physical markings.