The Choedan Kal (see Angreal and Sa'angreal article) are both so powerful that using them safely requires purpose-built access keys, special ter’angreal like miniature versions of the great sa’angreal. Without the access keys, a channeller would be sucked in deeper and deeper and, unless they are able to pull out (as Rand did), their mind will be destroyed, or their channelling ability burned out instantly, or they will be killed (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes in box 55). Only those from the Age of Legends are aware of this danger. The access keys are two white stone statuettes a foot tall, a robed man and woman, each holding a crystal sphere aloft in one hand (The Shadow Rising, The Traps of Rhuidean) and were originally made because the sa’angreal statues are too large to be portable.
If a person touches the access key attuned to the same half of the Source they use while channelling, they become aware of the huge sa’angreal statue that the access key is linked to and then an enormous amount of the Power surges into them. The crystal sphere of the access key lights up (as does the sphere on the sa’angreal – see Angreal and Sa'angreal article).
For some time, Rand kept the access keys in a secret niche in Rhuidean. The night he set the army in motion toward Illian he transferred them to Cairhien in case he had to get them in a hurry (A Crown of Swords, A Bath), and in Winter’s Heart, took them to Nynaeve. The female access key melted and broke after the cleansing of saidin (there is now a hollow where the female Choedan Kal was buried (Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep)) and the male one was held by Cadsuane for a time (Winter’s Heart, With The Choedan Kal). After Cadsuane’s possessions were raided, Rand’s servants retrieved the statue for him (The Gathering Storm, Into Bandar Eban). He began using it more frequently and more tyrannically until after his epiphany he forced the Power through the access key into the male Choedan Kal and destroyed the sa’angreal (The Gathering Storm, Veins of Gold). Whether or not the access key survived, it is useless now.
There was a broken (but not melted) access key in the Panarch’s museum in Tanchico:
the upper half of a broken figure carved from some shiny white stone, a woman holding a crystal sphere in one upraised hand, her face calm and dignified and full of wise authority. Whole, she would have been perhaps a foot tall.Its effects on Egwene were described above in the broken terangreal section. The access key seemed to call to Egwene because it was linked to the sa’angreal, even if imperfectly, and sa’angreal resonate to nearby channellers. The male sa’angreal called to Rand, too, when he was nearby. The broken access key is still in the museum, if it wasn’t destroyed by Jeaine Caide’s balefire.
- The Shadow Rising, What Lies Hidden
Written by Linda, August, 2005 and updated March 2013 and May 2016