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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 bonding

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 consequences

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. This event was also the first instance of a non-channeler bonding someone as a Warder, as although Min has no channeling ability, the bond was carried to her by the other women.

Obedience

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.

Masking the bond

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.

Releasing the bond

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.

Effect of stilling/gentling on the bond

When Siuan Sanche's warder Alric was killed, she was stilled shortly after so she was saved from the pain an Aes Sedai would feel after losing a Warder. This indicates that stilling terminates the Warder bond. Once Siuan was Healed, she felt all the pain again, which indicates, Healing restores the Warder bond to that level, even after the death of a Warder. (More information is needed for this section.)

Female Warders

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. Areina Nermasiv was also taken as a Warder by Nicola Treehill, but this was kept secret as she had not been raised to the rank of full Aes Sedai.

During Tarmon Gai'don, the Amyrlin Seat Egwene al'Vere took Egeanin Tamarath as her Warder following the death of her original Warder and husband, Gawyn Trakand, although the bond was released before Egwene sacrificed her life in the battle. However, the act of an Amyrlin bonding a woman may indicate that female Warders may be more common during the Fourth Age.

Asha'man/wife bonding

Taril Canler, an Andoran Asha'man Dedicated at the Black Tower discovered how to bond his wife with a Spirit link somehow similar to the Aes Sedai/Warder bond. This weave was then taught to other men, Jur Grady for instance, which bond worked at a longer distance than did the Warder Bond. Jur felt in Ghealdan that his wife at the Black Tower had a sore knee. At the same, approximately a thousand miles distance a Warder Bond would only provide a general sense of direction. [1]

Later this kind of bond was used by other Asha'man to control the Aes Sedai captured by them, with the adding of a bit of compulsion. For instance this bond was formed by Logain to Toveine, giving her a kiss, as explained below.

There is no information about whether this version of the bond provides the same benefits of the Warder Bond. E.g. 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 bit

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. [2] 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.

Double bonding

While they were arguing, Pevara bonded Androl by surprise and he, enraged, bonded her in response[3], forming a unique double link; this kind of bonding enhances the sharing of emotions, sentiments and even thoughts between the people involved, becoming a form of telepathy.

The double bond significantly changes the behavior of a circle involving the two channelers. Every time one of the two touches the One Power, the other is immediately put in circle with them, which differs from the normal requirement that a woman start and form the link and the normal behavior that a channeler cannot be drawn involuntarily into a circle without the use of a ter'angreal designed for that purpose. Each channeler can take control of the circle using his/her willpower, while in a normal circle, control can only be passed willingly and, in addition, a circle consisting of one man and one woman must normally be controlled by the man. The Forsaken did not think it was possible for a woman to control such a circle; they could not have discovered this method, because the Warder bond did not exist during the Age of Legends.

Third-party bonding

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.

Notes

External links

See also

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