White Tower Aes Sedai

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Author: Atarah al'Norahn

The Split

Main article: The Tower Split

In the year 999 NE, the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, was deposed and stilled for keeping secrets about the Dragon Reborn. She was replaced on the Amyrlin Seat by Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan (TSR, Ch. 47; TFoH, Prologue).

Not all of the sisters were happy with this decision; many felt that Siuan’s trial was unfair and subsequently fled the Tower, where they congregated in Salidar as a rebel force (TFoH, Prologue; Ch. 26). Some of the Sitters who hadn’t been informed that the Hall was sitting to depose Siuan, fled (ACoS, Ch. 32), though this was at the instigation of their Ajah Heads (TGS, Ch. 45). Since the split, the Salidar Aes Sedai have been fighting to be recognized as the true Tower in exile, while the White Tower Aes Sedai, led by Elaida, have run into one disaster after another.

The Sitters who voted to depose Siuan were:

Of those, Evanellein, Talene, Velina and Sedore were also members of the Black Ajah.

The Leaders

Elaida and Alviarin

After Siuan Sanche’s deposal, Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan was raised to the Amyrlin Seat in her place. She is the first Amyrlin raised from the Red Ajah since the time of Artur Hawkwing.

Although the Keeper of the Chronicles is traditionally raised from the same Ajah as the Amyrlin Seat, Elaida’s first Keeper is Alviarin Freidhen of the White Ajah. Elaida was forced to accede to the White Ajah’s demands that one of their own be made Keeper in order to gain the White’s full support, without which she likely would not have succeeded in taking the Amyrlin Seat (TFoH, Prologue).

Despite the fact that Elaida manages to succeed in supplanting Siuan Sanche, she begins as a fairly weak Amyrlin; those who helped her gain the stole are aware that she could not have done it without their help, and so hardly even think twice about usurping her authority (TFoH, Prologue). Elaida eventually puts a stop to this, largely by handing out penances to sisters left and right (TPoD, Ch. 25). Her grasp on power takes another downward turn after she makes a couple of bad decisions – namely the embassy she sent to Rand and the sisters she sent to the Black Tower. Knowing that she will likely be deposed if word ever gets out about what happened with Rand, let alone the capture of fifty-one sisters by the Black Tower, Elaida lets Alviarin manipulate her into signing decrees that will break the Tower (ACoS, Ch. 32).

Alviarin, who is also secretly the head of the Black Ajah, uses every advantage she has to manipulate Elaida, who becomes little more than a puppet in her hands. She insists to Elaida that she is trying to save the Tower from Elaida’s follies (ACoS, Ch. 32; TPoD, Ch. 25), but really, she is just tearing it apart. Following orders from Mesaana to create chaos in the White Tower, Alviarin has Elaida sign a number of ludicrous decrees, such as a declaration that Rand is under the protection of the White Tower, which will only make him angry, and a decree saying that sisters may literally assault a sister from another Ajah if she enters their hallways (ACoS, Ch. 32). These decrees, among others, have horrible consequences, but Elaida is too afraid of losing the Amyrlin Seat to counteract them. To keep her in line, Alviarin also forces Elaida to take daily private penances with Silviana, the Mistress of Novices (TPoD, Ch. 25).

Angry at Alviarin for manipulating her, and wanting to regain the reigns of power, Elaida secretly visits Seaine Herimon and asks her to undertake an investigation on Alviarin to discover evidence that she entered a treasonous correspondence with Rand. However, she is so vague when asking Seaine to undertake this that Seine mistakes her and ends up hunting for and uncovering the Black Ajah (see the section on Hunt for the Black Ajah for more details) (ACoS, Ch. 32; KoD, Prologue).

When Alviarin disappears unexpectedly for two weeks, Elaida begins to take back some of the power of the Amyrlin Seat. When Alviarin returns just as unexpectedly, she sets Elaida straight, going so far as to slap her and then going through the decrees Elaida has signed and deciding which ones can go through (TPoD, Ch. 25).

When Alviarin disappears for yet a second time, Elaida finds the courage to go before the Hall and have Alviarin removed as Keeper on grounds of desertion. When Alviarin confronts her, reminding her of the follies that she has made that Alviarin can reveal, Elaida replies that rumors already abound and that blame has been laid elsewhere. Elaida also tells Alviarin that she will take ten days of private penance with Silviana for every one that Elaida suffered (CoT, Ch. 21).

Alviarin’s replacement is Tarna Feir. According to Tarna, people are now watchful of the Keeper because of what Alviarin did (CoT, Ch. 22). Nevertheless, Elaida’s relationship with her is a good deal better than it was with Alviarin, and she actually trusts Tarna (ACoS, Prologue; KoD, Ch. 2). Tarna is not particularly happy with her position (This passage needs a reference), but does what her duty requires. During much of the time that Egwene is held in the Tower, Tarna is out, having gone to the Black Tower with a proposal to bond Asha'man

Although Alviarin’s influence is now gone and she is unable to do any further harm to the White Tower, many of Elaida’s decrees are little better. She alienates sisters at every turn with her penances and absolute disregard for Tower custom.

Elaida’s Council

After Elaida takes the Amyrlin Seat, she has a council of sisters who supported her in deposing Siuan to advise her. The council is made up of a dozen women or more, with four sisters from the Red Ajah, two from the Gray, one each from the Green, Yellow and Brown and an undetermined number of Whites, likely between two and three. Alviarin also attends the meetings of this council. The sisters include Danelle from the Brown, Joline from the Green, Shemerin from the Yellow, Evanellein and Andaya from the Gray and Teslyn and Javindhra from the Red (TFoH, Prologue; LoC, Ch. 7).

The council meets to discuss reports and rumors of what is going on in the world. They discuss the rumors that there are skirmishes in Shienar, that the Marshal-General of Saldaea is moving south with an army, that Amathera has vanished from Tarabon, possibly with Aes Sedai involvement, the fact that Morgase’s new lover has her attention fixed on the throne of Cairhien, and rumors of Pedron Niall conducting secret negotiations with Altara and Murandy. They also make several decisions, such as to send an Aes Sedai advisor, Memara, to Queen Tenobia of Saldaea, and to redouble the efforts on finding Taim (TFoH, Prologue).

Although the council meets in Elaida’s study, a mere two months after Elaida is raised to the Amyrlin Seat they have already become so used to deciding things among themselves that they hardly even glance at Elaida. She finally gets fed up with this, and one day when Alviarin announces that they are done and all of the sisters get up to leave, Elaida stops them, telling them that she has not given them leave to go and that, since they are already standing, they might as well remain so until she is done speaking with them. She wants to know how the search for Siuan is going; Joline is supposed to be in charge of it, but Elaida hears nothing of it but difficulties. Elaida decides that a daily penance might help Joline to increase her diligence; she tells the Green to write out what she thinks is a suitable penance. If it is not high enough, Elaida will triple it (TFoH, Prologue). Part of the penance that Joline sets for herself is that she will not touch saidar (ACoS, Ch. 17).

Elaida also wants to know how things are going with bringing back the sisters who fled the Tower during the split, which Javindhra is in charge of, and with which there are also difficulties. Elaida informs Javindhra that the next day, she will hand in a list of everything that has been done to date on this issue, and that if she does not have suitable time to do enough work, she should not be a Sitter in the Hall (TFoH, Prologue).

As her tirade goes on, Elaida becomes increasingly angry. She speaks of the Dragon Reborn, and demands that every sister in the room look at the panel that she has in her study of Rand fighting Ishamael above Falme. If they do not, she will have every single one of them scrubbing floors, because they must have the courage to face what is coming. She commands them to find Rand, telling them that when she next sees them, they will each be prepared to tell her, in detail, what steps they have taken to find him (TFoH, Prologue). Because Shemerin collapses after hearing all that she has said, Elaida decides that something must be done about her, and eventually she demotes Shemerin to the level of Accepted (TFoH, Prologue; LoC, Ch. 7).

As time passes, Elaida’s council shrinks and then disappears. According to Elayne, the first time she visited Elaida’s study in Tel'aran'rhiod, there were a dozen or more stools around the Amyrlin’s desk, which were used by the council. With each visit, there are less chairs, until there are eventually none (LoC, Ch. 7).

The Hall of the Tower

The Sitters in the Hall of the Tower were as follows: Juilaine Madome, Saerin Asnobar and Shevan for the Brown Ajah (TPoD, Ch. 25; Ch. 26); Andaya Forae, Evanellein and Yukiri for the Gray Ajah (TPoD, Ch. 25; Ch. 26; KoD, Prologue); Rina Hafden, Rubinde and Talene Minly]] for the Green Ajah (ACoS, Ch. 32; TPoD, Ch. 25; CoT, Prologue); Duhara Basaheen, Javindhra Doraile and Pevara Tazanovni for the Red Ajah (TFoH, Prologue; ACoS, Ch. 32; TPoD, Ch. 25); Ferane Neheran, Seaine Herimon and Velina for the White Ajah (ACoS, Ch. 32; TPoD, Ch. 25; WH, Prologue); and Doesine Alwain, Sedore and Suana Dragand for the Yellow Ajah (TPoD, Ch. 25; Ch. 26; WH, Prologue).

Joline Maza and Teslyn Baradon held chairs for the Green and Red Ajahs respectively; however, they were un-chaired by Elaida and sent as an embassy to Ebou Dar as a penance (ACoS, Prologue). Duhara Basaheen has also been sent to Elayne in Andor, and it is unknown who is going to take her place (KoD, Ch. 31).

Not all of the Sitters were informed when Elaida called the Hall to vote on Siuan Sanche’s deposal. Of these Sitters, the only one who remained in the White Tower was Seaine Herimon, because she believes that the Tower must remain whole (ACoS, Ch. 32).

Elaida does not have a good relationship with her Hall. At first, they more readily take commands from Alviarin than they do from her. In addition, Elaida seems to hand out penances to them right and left. At least half a dozen have served days of Labor, which is humiliating enough for sisters in their position to be counted as Mortification of the Spirit as well (TPoD, Ch. 25). However, although Elaida tries to rule them with an iron fist, they still know what rights they have as Sitters in the Hall; for example, they refuse to let Elaida put them off of negotiations with the Salidar Aes Sedai, as this is a decision for the Hall, and not the Amyrlin, to make (CoT, Ch. 21). The Sitters are not as eager to please Elaida as she might wish them to be (KoD, Prologue).

With the strife currently existing between the Ajahs (for more information, see the section on Strife Between the Ajahs), relations between the Ajahs are at an all time low. Nevertheless, the Sitters still speak publicly to one another, even if they are not on the best of terms (WH, Prologue). However, when sisters see Sitters of different Ajahs standing and speaking together for too long, rumors have begun to sprout (KoD, Prologue).

The White Tower Aes Sedai

For more information, see White Tower Loyalist Aes Sedai

As of “Lord of Chaos,” there are two hundred ninety-four Aes Sedai in the White Tower aligned with Elaida. This is roughly a third of all the Aes Sedai (LoC, Ch. 7). There were also twenty Whites, and around seventy Black Aes Sedai. It is not known how the Whites were distributed, but this is also approximately one third of the Black Ajah

Novices and Accepted

When the Tower split, the rebels took as many novices and Accepted with them as they could (LoC, Ch. 8). Nevertheless, there are currently over a hundred novices in the White Tower, more than there have been in years, and thirty-one Accepted (KoD, Ch. 24).


Note: Nicola was a novice with the Salidar Aes Sedai until she ran away, hoping that she could learn faster at the White Tower (KoD, Prologue).


Important Issues


Elaida shows herself to be an ineffective Amyrlin, more concerned with her own status than providing leadership or uniting the Tower

Because of a Foretelling that she once had that Andor will be the key to the Last Battle, Elaida thinks that it is imperative that Elayne be in the White Tower. She therefore issued orders that Elayne is to be brought back to the White Tower at all costs. One of the Yellow Ajah’s eyes-and-ears, having received this order, tried to kidnap Elayne and Nynaeve (TFoH, Ch. 9; Ch. 10).

Elaida has dissolved the Blue Ajah; she is not sure she can trust any Blue ever again (TFoH, Prologue). She has gone so far as to remove the blue stripe from the Amyrlin’s stole (LoC, Ch. 7).

As a punishment, Elaida has demoted Shemerin, an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, to the level of Accepted. Although there is no provision for such a thing in Tower law, there is also no prohibition. Other sisters encourage Shemerin to ignore the Amyrlin’s decision, but Shemerin simply moves into the Accepted quarters once she realizes that Elaida will not change her mind. Eventually, she runs away (LoC, Ch. 7; KoD, Ch. 24).

When the Tower splits, Elaida commands Beonin to go to the Salidar camp and infiltrate it. Beonin manages to become a part of the ruling circle and does what she can to keep the Salidar Aes Sedai in Salidar. Eventually, though, Salidar elects its own Hall and names its own Amyrlin, and Beonin cannot stop them from marching on Tar Valon. Elaida has commanded her to remain with the rebels until they are all ready to return to the White Tower, but after Egwene is captured, she returns to the Tower, thinking that the rebels will be overcome within a few more days (KoD, Ch. 2).

Strife Between the Ajahs

The relationship between the six Ajahs that still remain within the White Tower has deteriorated immensely since the split. According to Yukiri, “The invisible walls between the Ajahs, once barely thick enough to hide each Ajah’s own mysteries, had become hard stone ramparts with moats. No, not moats; chasms, deep and wide” (CoT, Prologue). This is partly .0due to Alviarin’s manipulations.

One of the first things Alviarin makes Elaida do to begin the fracture between the Ajahs is to search Josaine and Adelorna’s rooms, because both have been holding on to angreal without the knowledge of the Hall. Alviarin also orders Elaida to reward Doraise, Kiyoshi and Farellien, which will make it seem as if they turned Josaine and Adelorna in. Because both Josaine and Adelorna are Green, while Doraise is Brown, Kiyoshi is Gray and Farellien is Yellow, this will create a bad relationship between these Ajahs and the Green (ACoS, Ch. 32).

Alviarin also manipulates Elaida into making a decree that each Ajah is allowed to have final authority over what happens to any sister of another Ajah when she is within its quarters (ACoS, Ch. 32). The Ajahs have taken advantage of this, and although it is tearing the Tower apart, few sisters are willing to give up this new power that they have (TPoD, Ch. 26).

Since Elaida’s decree, most sisters say within their own Ajah’s quarters, even at meal time (TPoD, Ch. 26; KoD, Prologue). Those who do leave their Ajah’s quarters are often in pairs or groups of sisters from their own Ajah (TPoD, Ch. 26). All wear their shawls, and Yukiri thinks that it is as if they are afraid someone might mistake their Ajah. Most sisters bring their Warders everywhere. Yukiri even finds herself thinking that she should find a Warder, which is a terrible thought, since “No sister should have need of a Warder inside the White Tower" (CoT, Prologue).

Rudeness between sisters of different Ajahs abounds, with sisters glaring at each other and acting in very haughty manners (CoT, Prologue). Many sisters, even ones who are very low on the hierarchy, sniff openly at Sitters of other Ajahs (TPoD, Ch. 26).

In some cases, the deterioration of the relationships goes further than simple rudeness and disrespect. Sisters are sometimes “bundled unceremoniously from the hallways around another Ajah’s quarters” (TPoD, Ch. 26), and some sisters have even been assaulted and sent back to their rooms, clad only in their shawl and their welts. Doesine, a Sitter in the Hall, supposedly “had more than her dignity ruffled by the Reds” when she went too close to the Red halls (TPoD, Ch. 26). Even Tarna walks lightly; although she doesn’t think anyone would assault the Keeper as of yet, she doesn’t want to take chances (KoD, Ch. 24).

The relationships are so bad that in Egwene’s opinion, the sisters within the Tower view sisters of other Ajahs as bigger enemies than the rebels camped outside the city (KoD, Ch. 24). Yukiri is of the opinion that someone must actually mediate between the Ajahs (CoT, Prologue). During Egwene's cativity, she encourages Sitters from the different Ajahs to been seen taking meals with other Ajah's sitters and to try and set an example to the rest of the Aes Sedai ({ref}}). This has only limited success, and after the Seanchan take Elaida, no Sitter is willing to support anyone not of their Ajah as the new Amyrlin (TGS, Ch. 43).

Despite the bad relationships, however, the Sitters still speak to each other in the open, even if they are cold about it (WH, Prologue). In addition, while the heads of Ajah snarl at each other in public, they speak together in private (TPoD, Ch. 26; WH, Prologue). After Elaida is captured, they meet to try and agree on a new Amyrlin, but cannot until Adelorna suggests Egwene (TGS, Ch. 43).

Embassy to Salidar

Knowing that the Tower needs to be whole once again, Elaida sends an emissary, Tarna Feir, to the Aes Sedai in Salidar with an invitation to return to the White Tower. The invitation is phrased more like a demand that all of the Aes Sedai in Salidar submit to Elaida (TFoH, Ch. 49; LoC, Ch. 8).

Tarna expects neither great difficulty nor success. Before entering Salidar, she leaves a pigeon-handler about a day’s ride from the village so that she can send a report to Elaida once she is done (CoT, Ch. 22). When Tarna arrives in Salidar, she is received by Salidar’s Hall of the Tower (LoC, Ch. 8). The Hall keeps very quiet about Tarna’s proposal; no one outside of the Hall and Sheriam’s group know what is being discussed (LoC, Ch. 12).

On the third day after Tarna’s arrival, the Salidar Hall decides that they need more time to make a decision, and tells Tarna that that is the message they want carried back to Elaida. Tarna agrees to take the message, but is very displeased about their lack of decision (LoC, Ch. 12).

While in Salidar, Tarna speaks with Elayne and Nynaeve. She tries to tempt them back to the Tower by claiming that, were they in the Tower, they would have been tested for the shawl by now, and she tells Elayne that Elaida would be very pleased to have her back in the White Tower. She also speaks to Nynaeve privately to find out what she can about Rand. She asks her to think about accompanying her to the Tower when she leaves in the morning (LoC, Ch. 13).

The next morning, before she leaves, Tarna speaks with the Salidar Hall once more. When she finally leaves Salidar, a dozen Warders serve as an escort of honor for the first few miles of her trip. She is given such a procession because, no matter what, she is still Aes Sedai (LoC, Ch. 15).

Tarna is so unnerved by what she sees in Salidar that it takes her only half a day to reach her pigeon handler. She immediately sends a report to Elaida (CoT, Ch. 22). The report contains things such as the fact that Elayne and Nynaeve are in Salidar, along with Siuan and Logain. She claims that the rebels are ready to jump at shadows, and that about a third of them are on the point of breaking (ACoS, Prologue). She then begins to travel towards Tar Valon as fast as she can, wearing out several horses in the process. On her way back, she runs into one of the Asha'man recruiting parties in Murandy. It is this that prompts her to later suggest to Pevara that the Reds bond the Asha’man as Warders (see the section on Asha'man Warders for more details) (CoT, Ch. 22).

Tarna finally reaches Dorlan, a village just outside of Tar Valon, barely a day after the Salidar army lays siege to Tar Valon. She spends much of her time there trying to find a way into the city past the besiegers. She and Katerine, who is also in Dorlan, finally find a boatman to take them across to the city (CoT, Prologue). Although we are not given details of the meeting, presumably Tarna meets with Elaida to give her more details about her time in Salidar.

Embassy to Rand

Main article: White Tower Embassy to the Dragon Reborn

For a full list of the Aes Sedai sent and what became of them, see List of White Tower Aes Sedai at Dumai's Wells.

Elaida sends a letter to Rand in Cairhien, offering him the protection and support of the White Tower, as well as an escort of Aes Sedai to bring him from Cairhien to Tar Valon. Although Elaida writes of having Rand escorted with “honor and respect,” she means to have him brought to her regardless of his wishes. This is apparent from the fact that she sends thirty-nine Aes Sedai, and more than five hundred men, to accomplish the task. Ten of the Aes Sedai are Green, twelve are White, one is Brown and fifteen are Red (LoC, Ch. 53).

On the way to Cairhien, the embassy meets with three Shaido Wise Ones, Sevanna, Therava and Desaine. They make an agreement; the Shaido will act as an escort back to the White Tower, and in return, Sevanna will get to see Rand, and have him see her, when he is defeated (LoC, Prologue).

Coiren, Galina and Katerine are the three sisters who “officially” go to see Rand. However, they also bring twelve other sisters with them, disguised as serving women carrying more chests. Five of them are women who have not yet gained the ageless face of an Aes Sedai. They Shield and capture Rand, implying he has gone to Caemlyn so that the Aiel will not be suspicious.

Rand is treated as little more than an animal. He is often put in a box for the duration of the day. Every night he is beaten, and then fed and doused with a bucket of water before they tie him up to sleep. The Aes Sedai reach a place called Dumai's Wells. There, a huge battle rages as Rand’s forces, led by Perrin and the Wise Ones, catch up and try to free him. The battle consists of forty thousand Shaido, with two or three hundred Wise Ones who can channel, against six thousand Aiel under Rhuarc, two hundred Cairhienin under Dobraine, two hundred Mayeners under Havien Nurelle, one hundred men from the Two Rivers, almost a hundred channelling Wise Ones, nine Aes Sedai let by Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Harkin, and many Asha’man, led by Mazrim Taim (LoC, Ch. 55; ACoS, Ch. 2).

During the battle, four of the Aes Sedai who are shielding Rand tie off their weaves so as to help. Rand manages to get past the other two, though a third returns when she realizes what he is doing. Nevertheless, Rand manages to break the shield, stilling three Aes Seda in the process (LoC, Ch. 55). The twenty-three that are captured are given to the Aiel. They are made da’tsang, with the exception of the three who were stilled, Irgain, Ronaille and Sashalle (TPoD, Prologue). Eventually, due to Verin' compulsion and Rand’s ta'veren influence, every single one of them swears fealty to him.

Embassy to Ebou Dar

As a penance for something we do not know, and to set an example for those who might wish to disobey her, Elaida decides to send Joline Maza and Teslyn Baradon as ambassadors to Queen Tylin in Ebou Dar. It is an insult to them because no one cares what happens in Ebou Dar (ACoS, Prologue).

Both Teslyn and Joline are very angry at Elaida’s decision. After arriving in Ebou Dar, they send no word to Elaida except of their safe arrival. When Elaida learns that Elayne and Nynaeve are also in Ebou Dar, she tells Alviarin to send a command to Teslyn and Joline immediately, saying that they are to bring the two girls to her and that she wants regular reports from now on (ACoS, Prologue).

Joline and Teslyn try to convince Mat that they would be friends to Elayne and Nynaeve if they could, but that the two girls are being foolish. They also try to convince him to accept the protection of the White Tower. When Adeleas, Vandene, Merilille, Careane and Sareitha come upon them, the two groups of Aes Sedai get into a fight over whether or not Mat should be shuttled off to the Tower. Joline also threatens the five rebel Aes Sedai, telling them that if it weren’t for the fact that they didn’t wish to offend Tylin, they would take the other five into custody, confining them on bread and water, until they could be returned to the White Tower (ACoS, Ch. 16).

Later, Teslyn and Joline discuss Elayne and Nynaeve. Teslyn suggests that they turn them over to Elaida immediately, as it will get them back into Elaida’s good graces. Joline, however, is too angry at Elaida and wants to make her wait before they bring the girls to her (ACoS, Ch. 17). However, just prior to this, Teslyn sends an anonymous letter to Mat warning him that the girls have to be careful lest they find themselves having to kneel to Elaida (ACoS, Ch. 17). It is possible that Teslyn is trying to mislead or manipulate Joline into leaving Elayne and Nynaeve alone for a time.

In an attempt to keep Joline from interfering with Elayne and Nynaeve leaving Ebou Dar, and because she does not want Elaida to get her hands on the two girls, Teslyn feeds Joline forkroot so that she will not be able to interfere. Unfortunately, this coincides with the Seanchan attack on Ebou Dar. Joline, while not captured, is forced to go into hiding because she falls unconscious and her Warders cannot get her out of the city safely (WH, Ch. 19). Teslyn, however, is captured (WH, Ch. 17).

When Setalle Anan finds Joline still in the city, she takes her back to her inn and gets Mat to agree to help get her out of the city (WH, Ch. 19). In addition, when he learns that it was Teslyn who left the note for him about Elayne and Nynaeve, he goes into the damane kennels and promises to help her escape from the city as well (WH, Ch. 17).

Mat’s plan for getting Joline and Teslyn out of Ebou Dar consists of disguising them as damane. He gets Juilin to find him an a'dam, and after drawing Egeanin into his plan, has her find three sul’dam, one to go to Setalle Anan’s inn to act as Joline’s sul’dam, and the other two to get Teslyn and Edesina, another Aes Sedai damane he has been roped into rescuing, out of the kennels (WH, Ch. 28; Ch. 29). All three of the Aes Sedai are now traveling with him, and Teslyn, at least, is willing to do anything he asks of her in thanks for rescuing her (KoD, Ch. 9).

The Hunt for the Black Ajah

Main article: The Hunt for the Black Ajah

Angry at the fact that Alviarin is exerting authority over her and blackmailing her into obeying her, Elaida makes plans to expose her as a traitor. She visits Seaine, one of the White Sitters, to determine if she can trust her with leading an inquiry. When Seaine asks Elaida what she wants her to do, Elaida tells her, “I want you to follow the stench of treason, no matter where it leads or how high, even to the Keeper herself.” She emphasizes the fact that Seaine must keep quiet about it (ACoS, Ch. 32). Seaine thinks that Elaida means for her to search out Darkfriends in the White Tower. This misunderstanding leads to a hunt for the Black Ajah within the Tower (ACoS, Ch. 32; KoD, Prologue).

Seaine goes to find the one sister in the Tower that she knows she can trust, Pevara Tazanovni, a Red Sitter whose family was killed by Darkfriends years ago (ACoS, Ch. 32). They reason that a Black Ajah sister must be able to lie so decide to look for evidence of an Aes Sedai saying one thing but doing another (ACoS, Ch. 32)

They test the Oath Rod and learn that oaths can be removed in much the same manner that they are taken. It is very painful however; both Seaine and Pevara remove the oath to tell no lies, in order to test the rod, and it results in pain so intense that they both end up weeping. They then re-swear the oath (TPoD, Ch. 26). At first, the mistakenly believe that Zerah Dacan is a member of the Black Ajah, but they soon set this straight. For more on this, read the section on The Ferrets. When they learn that she is actually a rebel, they force her into helping them (TPoD, Ch. 26).

While down in the basements after having determined that Zerah is not of the Black Ajah, four other sitters, Saerin, Talene, Yukiri and Doesine, walk in on them, having followed them down to the basements after Yukiri discovered them sneaking around. Saerin manages to puzzle everything out, and re-swears the oath to speak no lies before declaring, before the other five in the room, that she is not a Darkfriend. Seaine and Pevara retake the oath after her, followed by Yukiri and Doesine. Talene, however, protests as they do so that it is ridiculous, that there is no such thing as the Black Ajah and that she will not put up with even the suggestion. Suspicious, the others refuse to let her leave the room (TPoD, Ch. 26). They soon force her to recant of her oaths and she admits to being a Darkfriend (WH, Prologue). She tells them of the others in her Heart and they are able to follow a trail to arrest several more Black Ajah sisters, though the trail soon comes to an end with so many out of the Tower (KoD, Prologue).

After this, they continue to meet until Meidani takes Egwene to them. She tells them to continue the work, but to release the ferrets and to focus more on healing the rifts between the Ajahs. Saerin and Seaine in particular, become strong supporters of Egwene (This passage needs a reference).

The Ferrets

Main article: Rebel Aes Sedai Spies

In an attempt to undermine Elaida’s power, the rebel Aes Sedai send ten sisters back to the White Tower to spread the rumors about Logain being set up by the Red Ajah. They send two sisters from every Ajah except the Blue and the Red (ACoS, Ch. 8; TPoD, Ch. 26). They are discovered when Seaine and Pevara begin their hunt for the Black Ajah. When Zerah Dacan returned to the White Tower, she told people that she came from the north, yet Seaine and Pevara find Goldenthorn seeds and a red cockle-burr on her saddlecloth, which can only be found south of Tar Valon. Thinking that this lie must mean that Zerah is a member of the Black Ajah, they take her down to the basements, make her re-swear the Three Oaths as well as a fourth oath to obey them, and then make her answer their questions. They then force her to reveal the other spies and bind them the same way. They also make use of them by ordering Meidani to try and re-new a friendship with Elaida.

When Beonin, who has been spying on the Salidar Aes Sedai, returns to the White Tower, she tells Elaida all about the ferrets. Tarna wants to know if she should have them arrested, but Elaida tells her to simply have them watched, to see who they associate with. She also tells Tarna to have Meidani invited to dinner with her, since she now knows why Meidani has been trying to renew their friendship (KoD, Ch. 2). When Egwene finds out, she tells Meidani her work is appreciated and tells the Black Ajah Hunters that they should release the spies from the fourth oath (TGS, Ch. 16). They are reluctant at first, but eventually agree (TGS, Ch. 40).

The Black Tower

Main article: White Tower Mission to the Black Tower

Elaida decides to send sisters to the Black Tower to gentle any man who is there and can channel. She does not believe that there can be more than two or three men there who can actually channel, but she decides to send fifty-one sisters and two hundred of the Tower Guard, with Toveine Gazal of the Red Ajah at their head, just in case and to take care of the hangers-on and camp followers that might be there as well. Toveine has orders to hang the men after they have been gentled as a warning to any man who thinks of channeling (ACoS, Prologue).

Alviarin does not think that is a good idea, as she believes that there may be more men who can channel than Elaida believes. She plans to make sure that there are no Black sisters among the ones sent to the Black Tower (ACoS, Prologue).

Logain and some of his men from the Black Tower, including Hardlin, Norley, Kajima, Kurin, Malevin, Sandomere and Vinchova, happen to be out riding and encounter the Aes Sedai. They find the group that Gabrelle is with, and shield, capture and bond them (TPoD, Ch. 26; WH, Prologue; KoD, Ch. 20; Ch. 27). They later find Toveine’s group and do the same.

After two days of debating with herself, Gabrelle decides to seduce and sleep with Logain in order to learn more about the Asha’man and the Black Tower. It takes her four days to convince him to sleep with her. Toveine is aghast when she finds out, but Gabrelle’s information is useful. Gabrelle suggests to Toveine that the Aes Sedai must stick together, so that they can make use of whatever information she can gather, and that the only way to do so will be if the two of them publicly submit to Desandre and Lemai, who stand the highest among them (WH, Prologue).

Rand is very angry to learn that the Asha’man have bonded fifty-one Aes Sedai and tells Logain that it has to stop. He says that he may now have to let the same number of Asha’man be bonded by Aes Sedai, to appease the White Tower, but he does not order Logain to release the Aes Sedai (CoT, Ch. 24). It is noted several times that the Aes Sedai and Asha’man are on good terms. While they are in Cairhien, Sashalle Anderly sends a letter back to the Red Ajah. Although she doesn’t know about the bonding, she writes that the Aes Sedai are on “tense yet often friendly terms” with the Asha’man (KoD, Prologue).

Asha’man Warders

It is when she is on her way back from Salidar, where she was sent as an emissary, that the idea of bonding Asha’man as Warders first occurs to Tarna Feir. Frightened by their numbers and the power that they hold, it is, in her mind, the only way that disaster can be averted – by asserting some little control over these male channelers by bonding them to Aes Sedai. In Tarna’s opinion, the Red Ajah is the only Ajah who can handle this; they are used to facing men who can channel, and will be ready to take the necessary steps. She thinks that even the Greens would faint if it was suggested to them (CoT, Ch. 22).

Tarna has not suggested her plan to Elaida. Elaida has forbidden even mention of the Asha’man. Instead, she first broaches her idea to Pevara, one of the Red Sisters. Tarna claims that she does so because Pevara is “unconventional”; she once even stated that she wouldn’t mind having a Warder (ACoS, Ch. 32; CoT, Ch. 22).

Pevara wants to know if the Asha’man will be gentled after they are bonded. Tarna doesn’t know what this would do to the sisters who bond them, but admits that it might end up so. On the other hand, however, it might be impossible. Regardless of what happens, Tarna believes that this is something that must be done. She is willing to be one of the first Reds to bond an Asha’man as a Warder if a way is found to do it (CoT, Ch. 22).

When Pevara learns of Tarna’s plan, she lets her read the letter that has been received from Toveine, containing information on how Toveine and the other Aes Sedai sent to deal with the Black Tower have been captured and bonded. Tarna believes that it changes nothing, and makes her plan all the more necessary. Pevara, on the other hand, claims that it “changes everything. It changes the whole world” (CoT, Ch. 22).

Pevara presents Tarna’s plan to Tsutama Rath, the head of the Red Ajah. She argues in favor of the plan, using arguments such as the fact that Asha’man Warders will increase the amount of people able to link in a circle to combat things such as the “monstrous display of power” that happened recently (Rand and Nynaeve channelling). Pevara is surprised when Tsutama does not erupt at the suggestion; instead, she simply says that she will think about it, asking to have information on men and linking delivered to her.

Tsutama eventually makes her decision and calls Pevara and Javindhra, two of the Red Sitters, to her apartments. Claiming that “The world has become a more dangerous place than at any time since the Trolloc Wars, perhaps since the Breaking itself,” she tells Pevara to go ahead with the plan, and that Pevara is to arrange it along with Javindhra. Javindhra, however, is very against the idea. She argues that Elaida will never allow it, but Tsutama tells her that Elaida is not to know until it is too late (KoD, Prologue).

Although Pevara knows that Tsutama could simply order the Red sisters to bond Asha’man as Warders, Pevara decides that it would be better to find sisters who are willing to do it without being ordered (KoD, Prologue). Once Pevara has informed Tarna that the plan has been approved, Tarna begins trying to decide who to choose to bond the first Asha’man. She has a difficult time trying to decide who to trust. After almost two weeks, she still only has one name on her list of people she can trust, and that one is impossible for the task (KoD, Ch. 25).

In the end, only six sisters go to the Black Tower so as not to alarm the Asha’man. Tarna, Pevara and Javindhra are accompanied by Jezrail, Desala and Melare. Jezrail is chosen because she keeps a painted miniature of the boy she almost married before she went to the White Tower; Desala is chosen because she loves to dance; and Melare is chosen because she pays for her grandnephews’ education, just as she paid for her nephews before them. Among them, the six have agreed that they will bond no man who shows signs of madness (KoD, Epilogue).

Together, they approach the Black Tower and petition to be able to see Taim; after a wait, Taim sends a message that he will see them and they are led to his palace. When they arrive there, it is to find Taim sitting on a throne with about a hundred Asha’man in the room. It is Pevara who asks Taim if they will be allowed to bond Asha’man as Warders, reminding him that the Asha’man have already bonded fifty-one Aes Sedai. She assures him that no man would be bonded against his will. When Taim wants to know why Reds would want to bond men who can channel, Pevara tells him that it is because Reds have experience with men who can channel. She adds that “We are not afraid of them. Custom can be as hard to change as law, harder at times, but it has been decided to change ours. Henceforth, Red sisters may bond Warders, but only men who can channel.” Taim agrees (KoD, Epilogue). The women do not return quickly (This passage needs a reference).

The Siege of Tar Valon

Wanting to remove Elaida as the Amrylin Seat, the Salidar Aes Sedai begin a slow march towards the city of Tar Valon (LoC, Ch. 44). Although Elaida is not concerned at all, convinced that the rebels are on the point of breaking anyway, Alviarin is disturbed by the fact that three hundred Aes Sedai and an army led by Gareth Bryne, possibly numbering as high as twenty thousand men, are moving towards them. She argues with Elaida to increase the Tower Guard, but Elaida refuses. Once Alviarin has managed to blackmail Elaida into obeying her, the Tower Guard is increased (ACoS, Ch. 32; TPoD, Ch. 25).

Arguing that nobody views them as the legitimate White Tower in exile, Egwene manages to manipulate Salidar’s Hall of the Tower into officially declaring war on Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan, even though the White Tower supposedly does not declare war on individuals. It is decided that the rebel army will rest for one month in Murandy before Traveling straight to Tar Valon to begin the siege, as Egwene is sick of the Sitters trying to dig in their heels (TPoD, Ch. 19).

One month later, the rebels do indeed Travel to Tar Valon (TPoD, Ch. 30). At least twenty-five thousand soldiers camp on the east side of the River Erinin, and Gawyn believes there to be as many on the west bank as well (CoT, Prologue). They are camped halfway between Tar Valon and Dragonmount, and Gareth Bryne has forces occupying the bridge towns on both banks of the river (CoT, Ch. 17).

In order to speed up the siege of Tar Valon, one night, Egwene and Leane turn the harbor chains to cuendillar. Egwene manages to get the entire Northharbor chain converted before she is captured by Tower Aes Sedai; Leane manages to convert half of the Southharbor chain before she, too, is captured. Melare doubts that more than small ships will be able to pass even at the Southharbor (CoT, Ch. 30; KoD, Prologue). They try cutting away the iron half of the Southharbor chain, but that still doesn’t allow enough ships into Tar Valon to feed the city. Elaida eventually orders the chain towers to be dismantled so that the cuendillar chains can be removed, but the towers were built and strengthened with the One Power, making it so that only the One Power can remove them. At first, most of the work is done by Red sisters, who complain about this; Elaida orders that every Ajah who doesn’t send its share of sisters to help will have its Sitters take a daily penance from the Mistress of Novices (KoD, Ch. 25).

Despite the fact that the Salidar Aes Sedai are rebels, Elaida does not want them harmed because she still considers them as hers. She also intends to make Gareth Bryne the High Captain of the Tower Guard, and so therefore doesn't want his men harmed either (KoD, Ch. 2).

Negotiations with Salidar

Although Elaida has demolished the Blue Ajah and has declared that all rebel Aes Sedai will have to petition for re-admittance into their Ajahs after serving a penance, there is some talk among the rebel Hall about negotiations with Elaida. The Sitters who have spoken of it include three of the women who were Sitters before the split in the Tower, Varilin, Takima and Magla; Faiselle and Saroiya, also Sitters before the split, have also shown interest in the idea. In addition, Beonin, who is on Egwene’s council and also spying for Elaida, supports the idea. Beonin, at least, and likely the others, are frightened by the huge outburst of power (Rand and Nynaeve), thinking that it was the Forsaken, and are disturbed about Elaida’s proclamation about Rand, thinking that it means Elaida has control over him (CoT, Ch. 16).

Despite the fact that many other sisters abhor the idea, not wanting to go “crawling” back to Elaida, Egwene gives Beonin permission to approach Varilin and the others to arrange to begin negotiations. However, the only terms Egwene will accept is that Elaida is to resign and go into exile (CoT, Ch. 16).

Likewise, there are sisters in the White Tower support the idea of negotiations. Elaida is loathe let negotiations begin, but the Sitters insist that this is a decision for the Hall, and not Elaida, to make. Elaida tells them that the only terms she will accept are that the Blue Ajah no longer exists, and that all sisters who currently follow Egwene al’Vere must serve a penance under her guidance before being readmitted into an Ajah (CoT, Ch. 21).

Negotiations begin at the foot of the bridge that leads to the village of Darein. Every rebel Sitter who held a seat before the split, with the exception of Janya, is a part of them. None of them seem to trust each other to do the negotiations (KoD, Ch. 2; Ch. 23). Although Egwene had initially told Beonin that she could begin negotiations, Varilin soon takes over for the Salidar side. In Egwene’s opinion, the sisters on both sides are talking in circles, trying not to say anything that might offend the other side and send them away. Because of this, the talks are going badly; on the Salidar side, Varilin, Magla and Saroiya are very frustrated (CoT, Ch. 30).

After Egwene has been captured by the Tower Aes Sedai, the Salidar Sitters still ride out to continue the negotiations (KoD, Ch. 2). The rebel Aes Sedai refuse to agree to the dissolution of the Blue Ajah, as well as Elaida remaining in power, but in Romanda’s opinion, it is only her and Lelaine who are keeping them from acceding to some of Elaida’s other “odious” terms (KoD, Ch. 23). Elaida, apparently, won’t let the sisters who are negotiation on her side to budge even an inch (CoT, Ch. 30).

Elaida tries to order the Ajahs to break off the talks with Salidar, but they disobey. Elaida eventually tells Tarna that the Sitters of any Ajah who still sends sisters to negotiate with the rebels will have to take a daily penance with the Mistress of Novices (KoD, Ch. 25).

Egwene in the Tower

After being captured while turning the Northharbor chain to cuendillar, Egwene is taken to the White Tower, where she is demoted by Elaida to a novice. She is fed forkroot every day to limit the amount of the One Power that she can channel. Despite all of this, however, Egwene uses her time in the White Tower to her best advantage and manages to undermine Elaida’s position (KoD, Prologue; Ch. 24).

Every time Egwene so much as makes a tiny misstep, she is sent to the Mistress of Novices for punishment. Because she refuses to curtsy or use the honorific on any Aes Sedai’s name, she is punished every morning and midday, and usually many times throughout the rest of the day. Her perseverance and the way in which she endures her punishment earns her respect, not only among the other novices, but also grudgingly among some of the other Aes Sedai, including Silviana, the Mistress of Novices herself (KoD, Ch. 24).

Because her ability with the One Power and her disobedience of them unnerves the Accepted, Egwene takes individual lessons with various Aes Sedai after her first day. She uses these to try to plant seeds of doubt about Elaida within the sisters’ minds. Although some sisters, such as Pritalle Nerbaijan, Serancha Colvine and Adelorna Bastine will not listen to her, others, such as Bennae Nalsad and Lirene Doirellin, actually talk to her about some things. Even Silviana finds herself answering some of Egwene’s pointed questions (KoD, Ch. 24).

While in the Tower, Egwene also runs into Mattin Stepaneos, and gives him some food for thought, telling him that Rand did not kill Colavaere and Morgase as is commonly thought, and that Elaida has essentially kidnapped him. She also finds Beonin, and because of the oath of fealty that Beonin swore to her, manages to force Beonin into doing some of her work as well; she tells Beonin to warn all of the ferrets that they have been outed to Elaida (KoD, Ch. 24).

Although she is a prisoner within the White Tower, Egwene does not relinquish what she sees as her right to the Amyrlin Seat, and uses the chinks and cracks within the White Tower to raise questions about Elaida’s ability to hold the Amyrlin Seat (KoD, Ch. 24). She continues to point out Elaida's failings, but she also realises the need to put an end to the infighting and begins to encourage the women in the Tower to mend the rifts (This passage needs a reference).

She gains allies and supporters until she is required to serve Elaida and a group of selected Sitters. Here she exposes Elaida's follies until Elaida realises the Sitters are agreeing with Egwene and loses her temper, ordering Egwene arrested as a Darkfriend and imprisoned (This passage needs a reference). In her cell, some of the women she had impressed visit her to tell her how things have progressed and how precarious Elaida's hold on power has become. Elaida realises the Hall will not allow the execution of Egwene and when Silviana demands her release, she imprisons Silviana and replaces her with Katerine, ordering Silviana to be stilled and executed.

Silviana is awaiting judgement when the Seanchan attack. Egwene uses the opportunity to link with several of the novices and to fetch Vora's Sa'angreal, with which she is strong enough to defend against the Seanchan, saving most of the novices. As the raid ends, she is overcome with tiredeness, but is taken out of the Tower by Gaywn and Siuan.

The following day, with Elaida captured by the Seanchan, and the Hall unable to choose a new Amyrlin, the Heads of Ajah meet to choose one and settle on Egwene. She is summoned shortly after and raised, unanimously, though in a ceremony with fewer than the traditional number, there being no Reds or Blues, and several of the other Sitters having fled before being exposed as members of the Black Ajah (This passage needs a reference).


  • The state of the city of Tar Valon has been deteriorating. There is rotting garbage in the streets, and the sewers are nearly clogged. Although Egwene blames Elaida for this, Elaida has signed orders that it is to be taken care of immediately (KoD, Prologue; Ch. 2). There are also rats within the Tower itself, until Elaida has the Wardings in the basements fixed, and ravens and crows within the Tower grounds, at which Elaida orders that the Wardings on the walls be fixed (KoD, Ch. 2; Ch. 25).
  • Elaida has Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar kidnapped as a display of her power. She tells him that it was for his own safety, as Rand would have killed him. She intends to help him get the throne of Illian back as a further display of her power (KoD, Ch. 2).