Balefire

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For a fire made of bales of straw or wood, see Bonfire. For the book series by Cate Tiernan, see Balefire (book series)

Balefire, in the world of the Wheel of Time, is a weapon created with the One Power or the True Power (both being kinds of magic available in the Wheel of Time), described as a blindingly bright beam of "liquid light" immediately annihilating (almost) everything it touches.

Description

There is only one known weave of the One Power (or the True Power respectively) used to create balefire, and when evoked, it summons a blindingly bright beam of "liquid light" that is capable of destroying nearly every known substance. The real danger of balefire, however, is that it can undo (or erase) the actions in the near past of anyone or anything it hits, the stronger the balefire, the stronger effect on the timeline. This means that parts of the Pattern (the fabric of reality in the Wheel of Time universe) that have already been woven are untangled again which threatens the stability of the entire Pattern.

An example for this effect was when Rahvin, a Forsaken, killed several characters but was later destroyed by Rand al'Thor using balefire. "After", the slain characters' deaths were undone and they were later found alive, having a blurred memory of their death and at times others who were witness to it express surprise at seeing them alive.

Another important fact is that it removes the victim from the Pattern completely, for example preventing Forsaken from being resurrected. Balefire has different effects based on what it hits. For living beings, a mere touch seems to be enough to wipe the entire being from existence. For normal structures and objects, it seems to destroy only what it touches.

Cuendillar is the only known material to resist balefire. Rand al'Thor did once part a stream of balefire with (or through) the sa'angreal Callandor in the Stone of Tear, but whether or not this is an integral quality of Callandor (or, for that matter, what The Sword That Is Not A Sword is made of) has yet to be addressed.

It is possible that the intersection of two beams of balefire can cause adverse effects in the channellers. When Rand and an unknown-to-him male channeller (the forsaken Ishamael, later renamed Moridin) used balefire at the same time and the beams crossed, both were nearly knocked unconscious by the backlash. Some regulars in Wheel of Time newsgroups consider this to have cause in temporal paradox: both men were still channelling exceptionally powerful weaves that they had never actually cast. However, this may also be because Moridin was most likely using the True Power, drawn from the Dark One, rather than saidin. It is also possible that balefire has unknown effects when performed on weaves.

History

Balefire dates back in its use to the War of Power in the Age of Legends, when it was used to destroy entire cities. It is implied that the channelers of the age did not entirely understand what they had discovered, but that when they realized they were unraveling and destroying entire swathes and days of the Pattern, and in doing so threatening the very fabric of Creation itself, both sides mutually abandoned its use, on their own, with no actual negotiation needed. In the era of the novels, only the Forsaken (survivors of the War of Power), Rand al'Thor, Nynaeve al'Meara, Moiraine, and a few of their associates have access to balefire without the assistance of a ter'angreal.

See also