The Tower Split
From Tar Valon Library
Siuan Sanche was seen as a strong Amyrlin, but had opposition. Many Sitters had been uncomfortable with the way she allowed Moiraine freedom. Shortly after Rand had used the Eye of the World, she visited Fal Dara. At that time, there was already significant opposition to her and one of the Greens proposed that Moiraine be sent into retreat, with the other Greens agreeing. This was supported by the Reds, which in itself was unusual as the Reds and Greens are traditionally opposed (TGH, Ch. 4). It was also proposed that since Siuan was raised from the Blue, she should be considered a Blue. This was supported by two Whites and two Greens, with the Yellows abstaining.
In the year 999 NE, Elaida returned to the Tower and learned that Siuan had presented Rand as the Dragon Reborn. She did not trust him to do what she thought necessary, so sought out Sitters she thought could be persuaded to her view. She arranged to replace Amira and called a meeting, of the very minimum number of sitters needed to depose and Amyrlin. They voted to depose Siuan and raise Elaida (This passage needs a reference). Elaida lead over a dozen sisters to the Amyrlin's study to shield Siuan and her Keeper of the Chronicles, Leane Sharif. The two women were then tried with treason and found guilty; they were stilled and sentenced to death as punishment. Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan was then raised to Amyrlin Seat and Alviarin Freidhen of the White Ajah became her Keeper (TSR, Ch. 47).
However many saw this as unjust and the Gaidin who taught men to become warders tried to free Siuan and Leane before they could be executed. The Younglings, men who were training to become Warders, fought the Gaidin and stopped them from freeing the two women. Many Gaidin and Younglings, as well as several Aes Sedai, died in the resulting fighting. Many sisters fled the White Tower in fear of their lives and in protest of what some sisters saw as a punishment that twisted the laws out of context (TSR, Ch. 47; TFoH, Ch. 26).
All of the Blue Ajah and many sisters of every other Ajah except the Red fled Tar Valon and congregating in the village of Salidar, Altara. Following the split, each of the Heads of Ajah sent a Sitter to join with the rebels with the intent that they would steer them back home. They claimed to have sent the youngest Sitters, though the Green, Yellow and Gray sent the only Sitter not to have voted to depose Siuan. This plan failed and the Sitters sent began to side more with the rebels. The replacements also turned out to be unsuitable, not letting themselves be guided as the Heads had expected. (TGS, Ch. 42). Eventually, the Aes Sedai in Salidar raised an Accepted, Egwene al'Vere, to the position of Amyrlin Seat among the rebels.
The sisters in Salidar believed that the deposing and stilling of Siuan was unfair and believed that Elaida had seized power in an unjust manner. This gathering of sisters united to form an opposition to Elaida and the White Tower Aes Sedai. They wanted to pull down Elaida and elect a fairer Amyrlin Seat. Thus the lines were drawn and the struggle began (TFoH, Ch. 26).
The Sitters who voted to depose Siuan were:
- Saerin Asnobar (Brown)
- Yukiri and Evanellein (Gray)
- Rubinde and Talene Minly (Green)
- Velina Behar (White)
- Doesine Alwain and Sedore (Yellow)
- Pevara Tazanovni, Teslyn Baradon and Elaida (Red)
Of those, Evanellein, Talene, Velina and Sedore were also members of the Black Ajah.