1.3.2: The True Power
[Paul Raj Khangure, Pam Korda]
What do we know about the "True Power"?
- It is the power of the Dark One. [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 412]
- The ability to use it is granted specifically by the DO [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 419]. It may be that one must get permission each time one uses it ("The True Power was denied her [Moggy], of course--that could be drawn only with the Great Lord's blessing" [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 416]).
- At the moment, the only one with the DO's permission to use the TP is Moridin: "[Demandred] himself had never touched the True Power except at need. Great need. Of course, only Moridin had that privilege now, since his...anointing" [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 317]. We can assume that the "anointing" refers to Moridin's being named Nae'blis, but we're not clear on when exactly that occurred.
- "What can be done with the True Power is very similar to what can be done with the One Power." [RJ, aol.com Q and A session, 27 June, 1996]
- One sign of extensive TP use is the black dots in the eyes, which Moggy calls "saa." The dots are visible from both the outside [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 418] and from the inside [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 356]. We do not know whether the frequency at which an outside observer sees them is the same as that at which the user sees them. It seems likely that they come more frequently when one is actually using the TP, since the Watcher's dots come faster just before he uses it to "Travel": "The black flecks filled his eyes, a horizontal blizzard....To his ears, the world screamed as he used the TP to rip a small hole and step outside the Pattern." [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 358]
- The TP is much more addictive than the OP. "In the long run, the TP was far more addictive than the OP; a strong will could hold down the desire to draw more saidar or saidin, but she [Moggy] did not believe the will existed strong enough to resist the TP, once the saa appear" [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 418]. "It was a drug more addictive than saidin, more deadly than poison" [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 317].
- The TP is very dangerous, and has a high price. "The final price [for using the TP] was different, but no less terrible." [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 419] "There was a price, to be sure, one that grew with each use, but he [the Watcher] had always been willing to pay the price when it was necessary." [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 356] We don't know what this "price" is.
- As far as Moggy knows, only 30 or 31 people have ever been granted the use of the TP. ("Only twenty-nine others have ever been granted..." [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 419]. I dunno if Moggy is counting herself in the 29 (i.e. only 29 others besides Moridin), or not (only 29 others besides the people in the room).
- The Forsaken have the ability to use the TP. "Among the living, only the Chosen knew how to tap the TP..." [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 412]
- Even among the Forsaken, "few are foolish enough to [use the TP] except in case of dire need" [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 412]
- The TP can not "be detected except by who wielded it." [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 356] This is worded vaguely, but RJ has clarified it: "No one can tell if you're using the True Power except the Dark One, of course." [RJ, Amer. Online chat, 27-6-96]
- If Moggy's knowledge of the TP is reliable, then only people who can channel the OP can use the TP. We know this from the fact that as soon as Moggy realizes Moridin is a user of the TP, she immediately assumes that he can channel: "This Moridin had tapped into the TP, and more than once. Much more. She knew that some men who could channel survived in this time aside from al'Thor...but she had not expected the Great Lord to allow one that particular honor." [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 418]
Where have we seen the True Power used, before ACOS?
The TP is not new in ACOS. We've seen it and heard of it before, always in the hands of Ishamael. In [TEOTW: Prologue, Dragonmount, xi] Ish uses it to "heal" LTT of his madness. '"I was never very skilled at Healing, and I follow a different power now....I fear Shai'tan's healing is different from the sort you know...." He extended his hands and the light dimmed as if a shadow had been laid across the sun.' Another hint of the TP's existence in TEOTW is Ishy's remark that LTT "called down his precious One Power..." [TEOTW: 14, The Stag and Lion, 205]. The only reason Ishy would have for referring to the OP in this dismissive way is if he had access to another type of Power altogether. In Rand's fight with Ish in [TDR: 55, What is Written in Prophecy, 570], Ishy does something at the end which, in retrospect, is almost certainly a use of the TP: '"I cannot be defeated! Aid me!" Some of the darkness shrouding him drifted into his hands, formed into a ball so black it seemed to soak up even the light of Callandor. Sudden triumph blazed in the flames of his eyes.'
In general, a lot of the weird stuff Ishy did can probably be attributed to the TP. Whenever he was seen, he always had a "seething blackness" surrounding him, which "boiled up" when he was about to do something nasty to Rand (example: the fight at the end of TGH when Ish gives Rand his first unHealable wound). Ish was certainly one of the "fools" who used the TP in cases other than dire need. His lack of humanity is probably part of the "price" one pays for using the TP. His glowing eyes and mouth might be some advanced version of the saa.
In [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 306], it is mentioned that Lanfear/Mierin had said she "had found a new source for the One Power," usable by both men and women. Considering that her "new source" turned out to be the DO, it is possible that this is a reference to the TP. Whether Lanfear knew that this was the DO or not is a different argument...
- The taint on saidin is due to the TP being mixed into saidin by the DO.
- The black cords seen on some of the male Forsaken are not taint-protection, but a connection to the TP. The problems with this idea are: 1) The female Forsaken have the ability to use the TP, but nobody has ever seen the cords on a woman; 2) Asmodean is one of the people the cords were seen on, [TSR: 58, The Traps of Rhuidean, 671] and of all the Forsaken, the cowardly Asmodean is, IMO, the least likely to use the TP, given its dangers, especially for something (Skimming) that could be accomplished via the much-less-dangerous OP; and 3) From [ACOS book signing, Dunwoody, Georgia; 9 October, 1996, report by Erica Sadun], "Access to the TP is a matter of wanting it and the dark one letting you. NOT black cords."