The Book Of Law
A compendium of known Tower law
The Three Oaths
1) To speak no word that is not true.
2) To make no weapon which with one man may kill another.
3) Never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defense of her own life, or that of her Warder or another Aes Sedai.
Note on the Third Oath: While a strict interpretation of this Oath would prevent an Aes Sedai from using the Power as a weapon against human Darkfriends, the term Shadowspawn is generally taken to also include Shadowsworn in its meaning.
There are four levels at which information may be sealed: to the Tower, that is, forbidden to all but initiates of the White Tower; to the Ring, known only to full Aes Sedai; to the Hall, known only to Sitters; and to the Flame, only to the Amyrlin Seat and those she chooses to tell. For anyone except the Amyrlin, opening a document Sealed to the Flame, or revealing information so sealed, is considered a crime as serious as assaulting the Amyrlin's person.
The following formula is spoken to summon an initiate of the Tower before the Hall of the Tower, whether for trial and sentence or to be raised Amyrlin. No one can refuse such a summons.
(Name) you are summoned before the Hall of the Tower.
In the one example that we have seen, the summoning of Egwene al'Vere to the Hall in Salidar, the formula was spoken by three Aes Sedai in turn, with the last phrases being spoken by all three together. Whether this is itself Tower law, or merely formality and cusom, is not stated.
(quoted from the glossary of A Crown Of Swords) There are two levels of agreement that may be required for items to pass the Hall, the lesser consensus and the greater consensus. The greater consensus requires that every sister who is present must stand, and that a minimum of eleven Sitters be present; the presence of at least one Sitter from each Ajah is also required, except when the matter before the Hall is the removal of an Amyrlin or Keeper, in which case the Ajah from which she was raised will not be informed of the vote until after it has been taken. The lesser consensus also requires a quorum of eleven Sitters, but only two-thirds of those present need stand for an item to pass. Another difference is that there is no requirement for all Ajahs to be represented in the lesser consensus except in the case of a declaration of war by the White Tower, one of several matters left to the lesser consensus which many might think would require the greater.
Note on the consensus: the eleven Sitters who must be present comprise a simple majority of the Hall, which contains twenty-one Sitters, three from each of the seven Ajahs.
Raising an Amyrlin
The full ceremony for the raising of an Amyrlin Seat is too long to describe here; however, a detailed description is given in Lord of Chaos, c35, In the Hall of the Sitters, and c36, The Amyrlin Is Raised. Two points are of interest:
- The law does not state that the candidate for Amyrlin must be Aes Sedai; it is generally believed that this requirement is so obvious the writers of the law saw no need to specify it. This loophole was recently exploited by the rebel Hall, in raising a young Accepted, Egwene al'Vere, as their Amyrlin.
- While only six Ajahs are needed to depose an Amyrlin, the full greater consensus, with ALL Ajahs represented, is required to raise one. As the rebel Hall contains no Sitter from the Red Ajah, and the Hall in Tar Valon none from the Blue Ajah, neither of the rival 'Amyrlins' may lawfully claim that title.
The Amyrlin And The Hall
The Amyrlin Seat is, by law, the absolute ruler of all Aes Sedai.
In practice, however, the power of an Amyrlin is usually limited, and while there have been Amyrlins who held near-total power (Gerra Kishar and Sereille Bagand come to mind) there have also been Amyrlins who were little more than puppets of the Hall. An Amyrlin Seat may make any decree she wishes, but (except in certain special circumstances) it must be approved by the Hall. Conversely, no decision made by the Hall is valid without a decree from the Amyrlin, so that a certain amount of compromise is necessary on both sides.
The Amyrlin may also call for the resignation of any or all Sitters, and that call must be heeded. This is seldom done, however, as nothing stops an Ajah from returning the same Sitter or Sitters except custom that sisters not serve again in the Hall after leaving it.
As an indication of how serious a call for mass resignation would be, it is reliably believed that it has happened exactly four times in the history of the Tower. While two of those times resulted in the selection of a new (or nearly new) Hall, the other two resulted in the Amyrlin's resignation and exile.
Only one law specifically limits the power of the Amyrlin:
The Amyrlin Seat being valued with the White Tower itself, as the very heart of the White Tower, she must not be endangered without dire necessity, therefore unless the White Tower be at war by declaration of the Hall of the Tower, the Amyrlin Seat shall seek the lesser consensus of the Hall of the Tower before deliberately placing herself in the way of any danger, and she shall abide by the consensus that stands.
See also The Law Of War.
The Law Of War
Prior to the declaration of war by the rebel Tower on Amyrlin-claimant Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan, the White Tower had not been at war since the time of Hawkwing. As a result, few even among Aes Sedai know much more about the Law of War than that it exists.
A question in the Hall to declare war may not be shelved; it must be considered before any question called after it.
The only part of the Law which is quoted in the books perhaps explains why it is so rarely invoked:
As one set of hands must guide a sword, so the Amyrlin Seat shall direct and prosecute the war by decree. She shall seek the advice of the Hall of the Tower, but the Hall shall carry out her decrees with all possible speed, and for the sake of unity, they shall and must approve any decree of the Amyrlin Seat regarding prosecution of the war with the greater consensus.
There are strict laws regarding the questioning of prisoners by the Tower. Quoted from The Path Of Daggers: That law forbade not only shedding blood, but breaking bones and a number of other things that any Whitecloak Questioner would be more than ready to do. Before any session began, Healing had to be given, and if the questioning started after sunrise, it had to end before sundown; if after sunset, then before sunrise. The law was even more restrictive when it came to initiates of the Tower, the sisters and Accepted and novices, banning the use of saidar in questioning, punishment, or penance.