Time is represented by a seven-spoked wheelThe Wheel of Timewhich consists of seven Ages. The turning of this wheel and the events of each Age generate the Great Pattern, a predefined plan which defines the past, present and future. The Wheel itself is the work of the Creator, and it is powered by the True Source. Both the Creator and the True Source exist outside of time itself. A third force, the Dark One, was imprisoned outside the Great Pattern by the Creator at the very moment of creation itself. Although powerful, the Dark One had no ability to influence the world.
The True Source
The True Source is composed of two energy sources; saidin and saidar. Saidin can be accessed only by men, while saidar can only be accessed by women. It is these two opposing forces that power the Wheel of Time.
The One Power
The forces known as saidin and saidar are collectively known as the One Power, and are accessed by a method known as channeling. The ability to touch the True Source and channel the One Power is only present in a small percentage of the world's population. The One Power is composed of five threads: Earth, Air/Wind, Fire, Spirt and Water. It is the manipulation of these five threads, either individually or in combinations, that allows a channeler to affect his surroundings.
The Seven Ages
Each of the seven spokes of the Wheel of Time represent one of the seven Ages. Each Age is a specific period of time whose basic design is defined by the Pattern of the Age. The pattern of each Age is fixed by the Great Pattern, but the details of a specific Age can vary considerably from the base pattern. The length of time from one variation of an Age to its next variation is long enough to completely erase all memory and records of the previous Age.
The Web of Destiny
Into each Age are born individuals who posess the ability to change the Pattern of an Age in either minor or major ways. These people are known as ta'veren, and can have a great influence on events of an Age. Although powerful, ta'veren are still bound to the Pattern of an Age, as well as the Great Pattern. It is theorized that ta'veren are created by the Wheel as a method to assure that the Pattern of an Age is woven properly.
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