The Age of Legends, also called the Second Age, is the name given to the time preceding the Time of Madness and the Breaking of the World. During this time, channelers were far more common and Aes Sedai - trained channelers, both male and female - were able to make angreal, sa'angreal, and ter'angreal, and sometimes held important civic positions. Channelers also appeared to be much more powerful in general, evidenced by the fact that they were able to do a lot more individually with the One Power and that all of the Forsaken are much, much more powerful individually than today's Aes Sedai. One of the most powerful institutions in the world was the Hall of Servants, to which all channelers were accountable. The most respected, influential and accomplished Aes Sedai in the Hall was Lews Therin Telamon, also called the Dragon by his followers. Additionally, with the sole exception of Elan Morin Tedronai, he was also the most powerful of the Aes Sedai.
In the Age of Legends, material wealth had come to mean virtually nothing, as the means existed by which virtually anyone could acquire it. Instead, an individual gained social stature, respect, and high office by means of their service to humankind. Everyone was born with two names, but a citizen could gain a third name as an honorific as a recognition of public service. This service could take the form of virtually anything so long as it benefited the human race in some way. Great historians, scientists, researchers, healers, humanitarians, philosophers, engineers; all could acquire a third name if their work merited it. Theoretically, nobody was unhappy, and all were provided for.
Channelers in the Age of Legends had to work as hard for this recognition as any, and channeling was rarely seen as an advantage in earning the respect and gratitude of a community. However, the name Aes Sedai, literally meaning Servants of All, was chosen to signify how the channelers only wanted to help the world community.
However, all was not as it seemed. According to Rand al'Thor/Lews Therin, despite the society's apparently utopian state, there were still social problems festering beneath civilization's veneer that the world's government did not want to acknowledge. In hindsight, he believed that, had the Bore not been drilled, these social problems might have caused war to eventually break out regardless.
Not much survives in the way of records of the world governments. There were global parliaments and councils that somehow interacted with one another to come to decisions. It is uncertain how much area or population these bodies presided over, although it is thought to be substantial. The effectiveness of the global government, however, seems questionable. According to Rand al'Thor/Lews Therin, the individuals responsible for governing were apparently ignoring a considerable number of social problems, and may have even been in denial that such problems existed at all. During the War of Power, the primary form of government seemed to be the Hall of Servants.
The role of Aes Sedai
Men and women who were able to channel the One Power were very important in the Age of Legends. They ruled their own membership at the Hall of Servants, but did not rule the population as a whole. They could run for government positions, but being a channeler was not a prerequisite, nor was it of any aid with regard to actually obtaining said positions. However, channelers typically excelled at their professions due to the options the One Power afforded them, and as a group they were afforded much respect for their achievements. Since they comprised only three percent of the population, there were truly not as many as usually perceived (although since the average life span of an Aes Sedai not bound by an Oath Rod is around ten times as long a non-channeler, depending on their strength, quite a few channelers could have been alive at one time, even though only three out of every one hundred were born with the ability). Due to their extensive knowledge, the truly powerful could perform what seemed like miracles, often through the use of a circle-a group of Aes Sedai working together. People by the Third Age often believe that the Aes Sedai could become invisible (Rand al’thor is taught this by Asmodean) and traveled by flying (which was confirmed by Rand al'Thor with Lews Therin’s memories). Not all Aes Sedai worked in the use of the One Power; many chose not to, or simply used the One Power to augment their ability to perform their chosen profession.
Often these people were servants of the Aes Sedai, following the Way of the Leaf, taking an oath to harm no one, not even in defense of their own lives.
Technology and research
While Aes Sedai were at the forefront of many research projects, the One Power was used as a way to a solution, not the solution. As such, many extraordinary technological marvels were made that did not require the use of the One Power either to craft or to function. Additionally, highly advanced understanding of genetics allowed for the creation of constructs. However, this research was restricted due to the potential it had for horrific abuse. Furthermore, Graendal states that it was possible to determine whether spilled blood was human or animal.
Use of the One Power
Many ter'angreal were operable by non-channelers thanks to the Standing Flows, a permanent power system used to provide the benefits of the One Power to everyone.
Since waste could be broken down on the sub-molecular level, the word pollution was unheard of.
Energy for vehicles and machines could be transmitted and received by anyone with the proper equipment, thus no one ran out.
The most common form of transportation in the Age of Legends was the simplest, walking. But when distances and burdens did not allow for this, large transports utilizing anti-gravity technology were used. Jo-cars, jumpers, and hoverflies had much smaller carrying capacity. Sho-wings were used to cover large distances by flying through the air. These came in different shapes and sizes, though delta wings were the most common. They ranged in capacity from large ones carrying a few hundred people to small ones for personal use. Aes Sedai and those assisting them often used the One Power for Traveling.
A bloodless game called swords was popular, having been revived by Lews Therrin and Duram Laddel Cham (before he became Be'lal). Modern Blademasters believe that their movements' names are derived from this time. It was also possible to watch stories in your home, most likely with projection screens. Objects called view walls allowed users to create any illusion desired to be projected onto the walls of a room.
The same technology that is used in the stories was used then, making the person appear in front of you to have a conversation. Everyone had a contact sequence that could be used as long as they had a similar machine to call with. A three-dimensional logo was displayed if a person would rather not be seen.
Mesaana also mentioned at one point the existence of standing weaves that would allow non-channelers to use a ter'angreal to communicate across vast distances.
Fancloth, now used by Warders, created an almost perfect camouflage effect. Streith, a shimmering material that changed color to match the wearer's mood, was used in high-fashion clothing. Glowbulbs created light and never needed recharging, and heat exchangers gave every building a perfect temperature. Stasis boxes, which perfectly preserved what was stored inside of them, were also common. Weather was controlled using several ter'angreal for optimal crop conditions.
No maps survive of the world before the Breaking. However, it was clearly a very different place. For example, Shayol Ghul was then an island located in a cool sea and was a tourist destination. The Sand Hills in Andor were then located on the shores of a large sea. What appears to have been a seaport city has been sighted in the upper reaches of the Spine of the World.
It is also stated that Lews Therin's cloak of exotic fabric had been brought from "across the World Sea," an ocean that Ishamael stated is similar to the Aryth Ocean in size and scope.
It is unknown whether the world retained the same geography in the Age of Legends that it had in the First Age, or if some earlier calamity had altered the geography again between these two ages.
The Great Cities
Architecture was heavily influenced by the Power. Using the concepts and technologies gained by it, truly breathtaking and beautiful buildings were created. These were evident in the following great cities, ordered by importance and population:
- Paaran Disen
- Comelle Adanzan
- Mar Ruois
- Emar Dal