Wheel of Time
The Ogier are a race of non-human creatures who have an intense love of knowledge. They are also great architects and stonemasons, responsible for many of the most impressive structures and cities of the world. Ogier stonework is known for its organic nature, often appearing to have been grown like plants. Their first love, however, is forestry; they love the trees of their stedding, and grew groves near the cities they built to remind them of their home. Even their written language resembles growing leaves and vines.
Ogier stand about 10 feet tall (“half again as tall as a man”). They have broad noses, wide mouths, and long tufted ears. Ogier are also very long-lived compared to humans: Loial, a prominent supporting character, is considered by his elders the impetuous and irresponsible equivalent of a 15-year-old human teenager, despite being 90 years of age.
Ogier from the mainland are a peaceful and reclusive race who rarely leave their stedding. While the Ogier still visit larger cities to maintain their ancient stonework, the more remote areas have relegated them to myth and legend. Their society emphasizes rationality and slow, thorough debate; they deplore haste and abhor violence. However, when roused to anger they make unflinching, steadfast warriors; the common saying “To anger the Ogier is to bring mountains down on your head” suggests the difficulty of provoking an Ogier—and also the danger.
Ogier live in the stedding, small enclaves of exceptional botanical growth. After the Breaking of the World, the Ogier were forced out of their stedding and wandered the land for many years, seeking new ones. As a result, the entire race was instilled with the Longing; any Ogier who venture away from the stedding for too long will die. It is implied that five years out of a stedding is an extreme absence for an ogier to make; while they can still live at ten years away, any period of time between will begin to affect the mental and physical health to varying degrees. An Ogier who has been long from the stedding might be required to take several days’ rest every now and then to recuperate and delay the Longing. The stedding also have the unique property of insulating anyone inside them from the One Power, and during the Breaking, some male Aes Sedai sought refuge from the Dark One’s taint on saidin in the stedding. Historians argue about whether this prolonged the Breaking or diluted it (not coincidentally, those who hold the former view tend to be of the Red Ajah). Also there is no reflection of stedding in the World of Dreams, and a Dreamwalker cannot enter them in dreams.
Ogier and Seanchan
Ogier also live in the Seanchan Empire far across the Aryth Ocean; very little is known of Seanchan society or how the Ogier function within it, except that a division of the Empress’s Deathwatch Guards is composed solely of Ogier, called Gardeners, who apparently do not have the same reservations against violence as Ogier in the mainland. Seanchan Ogier also do not suffer from the Longing, as there are far more stedding on the Seanchan side of the Aryth.
As a gift to the Ogier for their help during the Breaking of the World, the male Aes Sedai grew a strange network of portals called the Ways using the One Power. Waygates stand just outside every stedding (since neither the male or female Aes Sedai could channel inside a stedding) and every Ogier grove in any Ogier-designed city. They allow rapid transit to other Waygates, shortening to several days journeys that would otherwise take months. However, in recent centuries, Machin Shin, the Black Wind, has appeared within the Ways. This hungry, irrational presence devours anyone or anything it encounters, posing a danger to both men of the Light and creatures of the Shadow alike. Furthermore, the Ways themselves are deteriorating: well-maintained stone paths and gardens, once spiraling majestically into warmth and light, now crumble into bottomless darkness and pitted bare stone. Because some of the northern stedding have been consumed by the Blight, the Shadow’s forces now have access to the Ways, and they are sometimes used to quickly move troops across vast distances (although the presence of Machin Shin has made this a risky maneuver).