From Tar Valon Library
The Black Tower is the name give to the headquarters and training location of the Asha'man. The name derives from the White Tower, though unlike the White Tower, there is no physical Black Tower. The Aes Sedai do not like the name and refer to is as the “so called Black Tower" (TPoD, Ch. 17), though those who were captured and bonded do not (CoT, Prologue).
Initially, the Asha'man trained on a small farm near Caemlyn. The farm had sprawling thatch-roofed house of two weathered stories, smoke rising from one of its chimneys, and a large barn that had a distinct lean. The farm had no fields, with forest right up to the edge, broken only by a track meandering northwards (LoC, Ch. 3).
At first, there was just Mazrim Taim and four students, Eben Hopwil, Jur Grady, Damer Flinn and Fedwin Morr. In addition to the trainees, Grady's wife, Sora (LoC, Ch. 3), though others rapidly joined, expanding the numbers (LoC, Ch. 11). By the time Rand returns to hand out the Asha'man and dragon pins, it has grown further, the house re-thatched and the barn rebuilt. By this time, the students had taken to calling it the Black Tower, to balance the White, feeling that “the farm” was inadequate. Rand did not like the development but could see no good reason to oppose it. The area around the farmhouse had also been cleared, and Taim had obtained a large block of black stone, from which he delivered lectures (LoC, Ch. 42).
The area continues to grow, until it is the size of a small village. The soldiers are housed in five large stone barracks, each holding up to a hundred, with two more under construction and space marked off in the village for other structures. There were a dozen smaller structures to house ten dedicated each and nearly two hundred houses for married men, or the families of those whose training had not advanced enough to be on their own. The whole village was surrounded by a wall, not complete but eight miles long and twelve or fifteen feet high, interspersed with towers and bastions (WH, Prologue), which eventually expanded enough to form a defensible perimeter (ToM, Ch. 53). The village has several wide streets and has been planned to allow for easy growth into a town and even a large city (ToM, Ch. 46). Within the village are also numerous craftsmen. None of the Asha'man apart from Logain live in the village, the others all live in a palace constructed for Mazrim Taim (WH, Prologue). The palace itself is two stories of white marble, in the Saldaean style, topped with domes and spires, the inside red and black tiles.
White Tower Mission
- Main article: White Tower Mission to the Black Tower
When Elaida hears of the amnesty, she sends fifty sisters, under the command of Toveine Gazal, to destroy the Black Tower, which by this time had grown to over four hundred residents, though she refused to believe that. She has a Foretelling concerning the Black Tower "The White Tower will be whole again, except for remnants cast out and scorned, whole and stronger than ever. Rand al'Thor will face the Amyrlin Seat and know her anger. The Black Tower will be rent in blood and fire, and sisters will walk its grounds. This I Foretell." (ACoS, Prologue).
Taim takes to hanging the head of deserters from a tree, which he names the Traitor's Tree (TPoD, Ch. 14).
Taim tells the Asha'man that allegiance is to the Black Tower and the Dragon Reborn (TPoD, Ch. 17).