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Between the 4th and 5th Age
So I've been curious about what demarcated the end of the fourth age. From what I've been reading/impressions I've gotten, it seems like in the Fifth Age, knowledge of the Power was somewhat scarce. "Gods" would find ancient artifacts, rather than create them. Gods had incredible abilities that made them all-powerful in the ancient world, but didn't seem to have any of the knowledge of the Age of Legends, etc. I'm really curious about what happened to make it so. In the 4th age, the website says that men and women are starting to figure things out again, and it's basically like the 2nd age. However, it took calamity and the breaking of the world to end the 2nd age. The 5th age ends when the Gods start killing each other, and the 6th age ends when the Atharim kill all the Gods, and the 7th age ends when Ascendancy comes back, etc. However, there doesn't seem to be anything that ends the 4th Age.

In canon, the Aes Sedai are able to preserve some knowledge from the AoL for 3000 years, and even further it (healing severing, Warder bonds, etc). It seems like there must have been some sort of calamitous event to make 4th Age Aes Sedai cease to exist and have their knowledge lost. Has this been discussed before?
That's a good question. I'm not sure if it has been discussed.
I think the Seanchan took over the world and destroyed the White Tower over the first couple of hundred years after the sealing of the Dark One's prison. But the empire couldn't hold together and within a few hundred years it began to break up, and some channelers rebelled, so you began seeing provinces captured and controlled by rival factions of channelers. Without any group that moderated or controlled them, they grew more powerful and used their power to fight each other in order to amass more power until they ascended into total dominance over the normal folk.
I would agree with what Jon Little Bird has said with one caveat. I am not sure how long the Dragon's Peace would have lasted, but my gut reaction says 100 years is too short.

The existence of very young, long lived channelers in positions of power in the land would provide a strong sense of continuity and stability, especially after the chaos of the Last Battle.

Moreover, the Seanchan unification was to be the theme of RJ's proposed 'outriggers' novels, chronicling Mat and Tuon's efforts in a land that was wracked by chaos and war. Remember, the entire Seanchan ruling family was murdered by Semirhage and the last few glimpses of Seanchan showed a 'userper' on the throne and red sailed ships at the Tower of Midnight, and many other terms indicating massive destabilization that is at least on a par with the war of the 100 years. (And thematically, a very nice reflection, given that that war was a result of Artur Hawkwing's death and the scramble for power in that resultant vacuum. That war produced destruction on such a level that entire nations were destroyed and once again, as at the Trolloc wars, 3rd age technology and knowledge was retarded at the same ~1300 AD level.)

Further, in the Alternate Future Aviendha saw, it was at least 3 or 4 generations before the Seanchan (and Aiel) even considered breaking the peace and many more before they began to make serious inroads into the other nations, including the White Tower. The exact number of years escapes me, but the impression is that this was 100's of years in the making, not a single century. And that was with Tuon dead and evidently, all the other long-lived channelers from the series absent. (Elayne is nowhere to be found, nor is Nynaeve or Avhienda in those memories.)

Then too, the Black Tower was all set to grow at a great rate and with Logain's newly found hero status, it would continue to play a larger and larger role in society, making any Seanchan conquest that much more difficult.

But all of that being said, it seems logical and indeed in character for the 4th age to have degenerated into wars of control and conquest, with channelers at the forefront. I rather imagine it like Seanchan after the breaking (and extermination of Shadowspawn using creatures from the mirror worlds), which then degenerated into Aes Sedai using their power in a never ending war/competition of control and power. This situation was the root of Seanchan hatred of channelers and made the selling of a'dam and the idea of marathdamane so easy when it was presented.

Not a rosey picture, given the way the series ended on a powerful note of hope, but sadly, all too believable. And it sets up a world where the Atharim are eventually (in the 6th age) able to lead an uprising against the gods with the support of the common people.

I am not saying the entire 5th age was one of constant war. But given that the 5th age is the primary era of the gods of old- and their fighting amongst themselves was a big part of those myths- it could not have been a completely rosey time.
I'd agree with the previous commenters. As the 4th age went on, it destabilized more and more. the end of the age could have been marked by some world wide treaty perhaps that each region would form independent factions that led to relatively isolated pantheons that didn't interact that much. Or maybe they did and those tales are lost to us. There's not much in the way of myths where Asian pantheons interact with American or Viking for instance.

Then the 5th age starts and all these individual pantheons are responsible for only themselves. Each grows more and more power hungry. But relatively accepted as the new normal. But over time the status quo is threatened. And the godwars break out and Aiel descendants come together to overthrow the gods.
Cool thanks! I didn't know about the seanchan stuff or Aviendha's prophesy. Sounds pretty logical [Image: 1.png]

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