Definitions

burn self out

Concepts in the Wheel of Time series

This article is about the concepts and terminology in Robert Jordan's fantasy fiction series The Wheel of Time.

One Power (True Source)

Items of Power

Angreal are items of the One Power which enable the user to draw more of the One Power than they would normally be able to. Angreal also protect the user from drawing enough Power to burn themselves out.

Sa'angreal are identical to angreal, except that they allow the user to draw more Power than even an angreal can handle. At least one sa'angreal, usable only by men, is known to be missing the buffer that prevents the user from burning himself out. This is Callandor, the sword which is not a sword. The access keys for the two most powerful sa'angreal known to man, the Choedan Kal, are in Rand al'Thor's possession, allowing him access to one designed for men which is buried in Cairhien, and another designed for women which is buried on Tremalking. These two sa'angreal are able to be used remotely by way of ter'angreal (see below) that are linked to them. It should also be noted that sa'angreal is probably derived from Sangreal, the name of the Holy Grail.

Ter'angreal are objects of the Power that perform functions. Some ter'angreal do not require the One Power to be used for their activation, such as the spiral ring that Verin gave to Egwene (which she gave to Elayne and Nynaeve), and the twisted red doorframes that lead into the realms of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn (Snakes and Foxes). By studying the a'dam, Elayne was able to devise and test a successful theory for creating ter'angreal.

The Aes Sedai consider all items of the Power to be property of the White Tower and, in general, this is not disputed. The High Lords of Tear, in their fear of anything connected to the Power due to the Prophecies of the Dragon and Callandor, collected a cache of items suspected to use the power that they hid away from the world. The Kin also collected a cache of items, one of which was the Sea Folk's Bowl of the Winds that was used to correct the weather in The Path of Daggers.

Cuendillar



Pronounced CWAIN-de-yar, cuendillar is also known as heartstone, and is an indestructible substance created during the Age of Legends. It absorbs any force attempting to break it and becomes stronger itself. Cuendillar is the material used to make the seals to the Dark One's prison, and a number of other artifacts are made of it. Egwene was able to reconstruct the weave for making cuendillar from iron. She has had little success in teaching other Aes Sedai as it seems the weave requires strength in Earth which many females lack.

Although apparently indestructible, the seals of cuendillar that formed the Dark Ones prison have become so weakened from the strain that it is now possible to cut slivers from them with a simple knife, or for them to shatter from a fall.

Meditation

The Flame and The Void

The Flame and the Void is a conceptual idea used by beginning male channelers to harness the male half of the One Power known as saidin. The premise is that one pictures a single flame within his mind; into that flame one pushes all of his emotions and thoughts. The process leaves one with a clear mind, which in the case of a male channeler allows them to access the One Power. It has also been known to be used by non-channelers as well to gain more focus when performing such tasks as shooting a bow and arrow or fighting. In the Borderlands, this technique is known as the ko'di, or The Oneness. Tam al'Thor uses this technique to win the archery contests in the Two Rivers.

The Rose Bud

The Rose Bud is the form used by beginning female channelers to grasp saidar. It is used by the channeler imagining herself as a rosebud (or another flower) in the sunlight, slowly unfolding. Its effects are to calm the channeler to grasp and direct saidar in a way that is smooth and gentle. It is one of the first techniques taught at the White Tower.

Ji'e'toh

Ji'e'toh is the system of honor and obligation that the Aiel follow. Ji'e'toh determines all interactions in Aiel life; fighting, housing, even intimate relationships and marriage. The term is from the Old Tongue and means, literally, honor and obligation. The Aiel developed it in response to the harsh conditions of the Threefold Land, needing a strict system of discipline and method to promote personal integrity in order to survive in the inhospitable terrain.

Ji is honor, and toh is obligation. The greatest ji comes from touching an enemy in battle without killing him. This incurs a great deal of toh, and the person who is touched usually becomes gai'shain, which in the Old Tongue means "pledged to peace in battle." A gai'shain serves his or her captor for a year and a day, touching no weapon, doing no battle, and wearing only white. A Wise One, blacksmith, woman with a child, or a child under the age of ten may not be made gai'shain.

The least amount of ji comes from killing an enemy, as the Aiel believe that killing is easier than leaving an enemy alive.

Toh is met in various fashions from service, to humility, to beatings. Although toh is met when the one who requires it says 'this person has no toh to me,' the one who incurs the toh, implicitly sets the amount required. Of the various ways to meet toh, the one that incurs the least ji is purchasing with money or valuables.

When the rebel Shaido Aiel invaded the wetlands, they took wetlanders as gai'shain, violating ji'e'toh and adding to their shame. Due to this violation, it may be construed that they are reconstructing their culture according to what works best for them, now that they know the truth of their history.

Prophecies of the Dragon

The Prophecies of the Dragon, also known as the Karaethon Cycle, are a series of Foretellings regarding the rebirth of The Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon. Originally Foretold in the Old Tongue during and immediately after the Breaking of the World, there are a variety of translations. However, most of these are very controversial.

The Prophecies include some rather specific events, such as taking the Stone of Tear and drawing Callandor, and also some circumspect ones, such as being "marked by the heron." The Prophecies can be read in many ways, due to the Old Tongue's ambiguity in meanings.

The Seanchan version of the Karaethon Cycle include a prophecy that the Dragon will kneel before the Crystal Throne, a corrupted version created by Ishamael. The mainland Prophecies state that he will bind the Nine Moons.

Nonviolent Living

The Way of the Leaf

The Way of the Leaf is a philosophy of nonviolence and acceptance of what may happen in life. The belief is similar in some ways to ahimsa. The Way of the Leaf applies to all living things, including that its adherents not put up a fight in defense of their lives, kill animals for food, or even touch weapons of war.

The original followers of the Way of the Leaf in the Age of Legends were known as the Da'shain Aiel. During the breaking and shortly thereafter, they were referred to as the Jenn Aiel. In the current time period, only the Tuatha'an (Tinkers) follow the Way of the Leaf.

The Water Way

The parallel to the Way of the Leaf among ocean cultures is the Water Way adhered to by the Amayar, who live among the Atha'an Miere.

Races

The Wheel of Time has a variety of sentient non-human races and species, some good, some evil, and some entirely alien in their motivations.

Ogier

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 old.

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 there from the Dark One's taint. 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.

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 the Ogier's 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, due to the male Aes Sedai's inability to channel inside a stedding, and every Ogier grove in any Ogier-designed city, and 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. 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).

Aelfinn and Eelfinn

The Aelfinn and Eelfinn are a pair of unusual nonhuman races who inhabit realms separate from the more familiar world of the Wheel. Two red doorframe ter'angreal allow visitation, one for each race of 'elfinn, provided that you bring neither iron, instruments of music, or fire (reminiscent of fairies in our world, or in the books, the game of Snakes and Foxes). The doorway to the Eelfinn was destroyed during the fight between Lanfear and Moiraine. The Aelfinn look vaguely human with snakelike features. They answer three questions truthfully, although the answers are difficult to unravel. Questions directly pertaining to the Shadow are to be avoided, as are frivolous questions. The Eelfinn resemble foxes, and grant gifts, but at a price. If the price isn't set before the request, then they consider themselves free to set a suitable price, often to the detriment of the petitioner. (The fact that the straps they wear look like "leather" punctuates the gravity of payment.)

The Aelfinn and Eelfinn live in twisted worlds, which allow them to read the Pattern more effectively than humans may. The Aelfinn and the Eelfinn are not believed to be evil, but their point of view and intelligence are so different from humans and so thoroughly alien that they might as well be (compare to the Great Old Ones from Lovecraftian fiction). It is believed that one can only visit each species once, through their corresponding ter'angreal. Moiraine and Lanfear fell battling into one of these portals and while Lanfear has apparently been resurrected by the Dark One, Moiraine remains trapped in the world of the Eelfinn.

The Tower of Ghenjei is a shining column of metal some 200 feet (60 meters) tall, and as big around as a house. Despite this, it has no apparent seams or an entrance. Through the Tower of Ghenjei it is possible to reach both worlds of the 'elfinn. One must use a bronze knife and make a sign: a triangle drawn in the air and then a wavy line through it, anywhere on the side of the tower, and a door will open.

Shadowspawn

A number of species, with varying levels of sentience, have been created by the Dark One or other agents of the Shadow.

Trollocs

Trollocs were created by Aginor during the War of Shadow, one of the leading biologists of the Age of Legends, by crossbreeding human and animal stock. They are able to interbreed with humans, however the offspring are usually stillborn or do not live long. Trollocs are generally bipedal and humanoid, often with both human and animal features: human eyes but an eagle's beak, for instance, or a bear's paws and claws. They are huge in stature and extremely vicious. They are the basic shock troops of the Shadow.

Trollocs are credited with being able to see better than a man in the dark, however they can be blinded by bright lights. Trollocs are also able to track by scent or sound, and kill for the pleasure of killing.

Trollocs are omnivorous and will eat any kind of meat. They are routinely fed captives taken during battles with humans, which are cooked in large cooking pots. If there are no prisoners then lower-ranking Darkfriends are sometimes fed to the Trollocs instead. It is often stated that they 'kill for the joy of killing'. Trollocs are known to be lazy and this is shown when Rand al'Thor and Loial sneak past a Trolloc guard in The Great Hunt and reclaim the Horn of Valere from Padan Fain.

Unlike other creatures of the Shadow, Trollocs are social animals and form into clan-like bands, such as Al'ghol (Ghoul), Dhai'mon (Demon), Ghar'ghael (Gargoyle), Ahf'frait (Efreet), Bhan'sheen (Banshee), Dha'vol (Devil), Dhjin'nen (Djinn), Ghob'hlin, (Goblin), Ghraem'lan (Gremlin), Ko'bal (Kobold), Kno'mon (Gnome), and Gho'hlem (Golem). Only male Trollocs are allowed to participate in raiding parties. Females are cloistered and remain in the Trolloc camps.

Some trollocs are capable of rudimentary human speech, but usually they converse amongst themselves in their own guttural tongue. Trollocs also have a written script for their language, in the form of angular runes. One trolloc, Narg, spoke to Rand al'Thor in his home in "The Eye of the World".

Trollocs are commanded by the Myrddraal, also known as Halfmen, the Eyeless, Shadowmen, Lurk and Fade. Their command of Trollocs began when the Age of Legends ended and the Forsaken were bound. During the Trolloc Wars, they led the trollocs in battle under the Dreadlords.

The weapons of Trollocs are made at the forges in the valley of Thakan'dar. Some of these weapons leave that place with a stain of evil in the metal. These blades can create wounds that will not heal or illnesses that medicine cannot mend. The weapons they use are often crude and cruel, something which reflect their brutish and war like nature.

Trollocs are hated by wolves, who hunt them and call them "The Twisted Ones".

Myrddraal

Myrddraal are Trolloc offspring, but are throwbacks to human origin (throwbacks to the animal side of their genetic heritage never survive). They are tall and pale, muscular and serpent-quick, but they have no eyes, which does not impair their vision in the slightest. Despite having no eyes they are said to have the vision of eagles in both light and darkness. Myrddraal are most often seen leading groups ("fists") of Trollocs, and sometimes "link" with them to achieve even greater control. However, this comes at a cost - dealing a Myrddraal a killing blow will instantly kill any Trollocs linked to it, even though the Myrddraal itself will not die "until the setting sun".

Myrddraal gain certain powers from the Dark One. They have the ability to cause paralyzing fear with a look and can vanish wherever there are shadows. They have few known weaknesses, one of which is that they do not like to cross running water.

Myrddraal wear black armor with overlapping scales, and black cloaks which do not stir in the wind. In battle a Myrddraal wields his sword with great skill and incredible speed. They are able to move between, or disappear into, shadows, and mirrors only reflect a misty image of them. Aginor, one of the Forsaken and creator of both Trollocs and (inadvertently) Myrddraal, theorized that they were "slightly out of phase with time and reality," but was unable to prove his thesis despite extensive, often fatal, testing. Their blood is acidic and will etch steel if not cleaned off. When killed they thrash around blindly for a time, often still holding their weapons, as if refusing to admit they are dead. They wield swords made at Thakan'dar, the forges on the slopes of Shayol Ghul, which are imbued with the soul of a human. (These humans are usually Borderlanders captured during Trolloc raids.) A Myrddraal's sword causes injuries that are almost always fatal if Aes Sedai Healing is not administered. The swords, however, only have a limited lifetime. Myrddraal have the uncanny ability to instill stark terror in anyone they gaze upon: "The look of the Eyeless is fear." The only things Myrddraal are known to fear are running water, the city Shadar Logoth, the half-Mordeth monster named Padan Fain, and the One Power. Myrddraal, along with Gray Men (see below), are the only known creatures who do not dream. Even Trollocs have dreams.

Myrddraal are hated by the wolves more than any other shadowspawn. They are called the "Neverborn" by the wolves. A whole pack of wolves will willingly die trying to kill one Myrddraal.

Myrddraal have their place in the legend and lore of most of the world's (Randland's) societies, where they are known by many names: Halfmen, the Eyeless, Shadowrunners, Shadowmen, Lurk, Fetch, Fade, Neverborn. In most nations, they are treated about as seriously as bogeymen, but those in the Borderlands or who have had the misfortune to encounter them, know better.

Recently, a Myrddraal has appeared that seems to be the Dark One's avatar.

Darkhounds

Darkhounds are a race of Shadowspawn used by the Dark One. They are about the size of a small horse and look vaguely like a dog. Darkhounds typically run in packs of ten to twelve, though a pack may be as large as fifty hounds. The saliva of a darkhound is an acid that causes bruising and burns which spread quickly, and a few drops are enough to kill a person. Darkhounds (or at least a subspecies Rand al'Thor fights at Rhuidean) are seemingly solid but if they are chopped into bits the parts liquefy, pool, and reform into the darkhound once again. They will not reform on the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai. Their liquified parts will run off the symbol before reforming. The darkhound leaves no tracks on dirt, grass or snow; but if it steps on stone it leaves footprints. Balefire is the only reliable way to permanently kill one, though Perrin (with Moiraine in party) fought Darkhounds outside of Illian, and killed one with several arrows to the face.

Darkhounds are created by an existing darkhound consuming the soul of a wolf. The wolves themselves refer to them as Shadowbrothers.

Masuri, a Brown Aes Sedai, has researched Darkhounds and claims to have crossed the paths of seven different packs. She says that the number of packs in existence is in dispute, with some sources saying only seven packs exist, while others claim nine, thirteen, or more. Some ancient sources even state that at the time of the Trolloc Wars, there were "a hundred packs" and "in numbers like unto the nightmares of Mankind." See Crossroads of Twilight for a more detailed discussion.

Gholam

The gholam is another creation of Aginor. Only six, three male and three female, were ever created, and only one is known to survived the Breaking (preserved in a stasis box). The gholam are among the Shadow's most deadly creatures. Appearing human in form, gholam are extremely strong and they appear to be impervious to most forms of physical injury due to their lack of bones and blood as well as their elasticity. A gholam can slip through the tiniest of cracks due to its lack of bones. Because of their incredible strength, they are able to rip a door off its hinges with one hand. They must regularly consume blood to stay alive; while they prefer human blood, the blood of any living creature will do.

Finally, as their only purpose is to kill channelers, they were made completely immune to the One Power (this may have contributed to their rarity: should these creatures have turned against the Forsaken, they would have been difficult to destroy). Only one thing has been known to injure them: a foxhead medallion, currently in the possession of Matrim Cauthon, caused burns when brought in contact with the gholam. It is possible that this is because of their similar natures; the medallion has been shown to protect Mat from the direct effects of channelling.

While not necessarily made of the same material, the gholam and Mat's foxhead medallion are seemingly the only things which absorb the One Power, other than cuendillar (which is said to be strengthened by it, not dispersed/conducted by it).

The concept of the gholam may be related to the Golem of Jewish mythology.

Draghkar

Draghkar are a flying creature of the Shadow, resembling a pale man with large eyes, red lips, and bat-like wings (much like our vampire myths). Like the Sirens of Greek myth, they sing hypnotically to their prey to attract them within near proximity. The Draghkar then sucks its prey's soul out by administering the Kiss. What is left behind of the unfortunate prey is only a shell of its former self. It has been said that, once this process has begun, it is worse to be rescued from a Draghkar's kiss with a partial soul, than to be allowed to die.

Though dangerous when undetected, they are not especially difficult to defeat if one can avoid their song. Their fragile wings and lack of armor or other weapons make them susceptible to direct attack; as such, they are often employed as assassins, along with Grey Men, to eliminate enemies of the Shadow.

Gray Men

Also known as the Soulless

A small subset of Darkfriends (of both genders, despite the name) actually donate their souls to the Great Lord. While most Gray Men are men, some women have been "stupid enough even among darkfriends" to give up their soul. They become Gray Men, ordinary-looking folk who are, in fact, very difficult to notice, to the point of 'hiding in plain sight': to a person not specifically looking for one, a Gray Man carrying a knife is about as interesting as an old chair. Their ubiquity and unremarkability is their primary asset, as they are sent as assassins against sensitive marks; frequently they do the deed without anyone even realizing they were there. Like the Draghkar, however, they are only truly dangerous if overlooked. Unlike the Draghkar, the Gray Men are very easy for most people to overlook.

Groups & Societies

Aes Sedai

The Aes Sedai are, arguably, the most important, powerful and influential society on the continent. Aes Sedai are formally trained to channel the female half of the one power. They are centered around the White Tower and their leader is the Amyrlin Seat, held at the beginning of the series by Siuan Sanche.

Warders

A Warder is a person (traditionally a man) who is bonded by an Aes Sedai through the use of saidar to become her bodyguard as she travels.

Warders are traditionally trained at the White Tower so that, once their training has been completed, they may serve the Aes Sedai as bodyguards. In their training, they are brought to a pinnacle of swordplay; man for man, Warders are historically considered to be the finest fighters in the land. They are highly recognizable for their "color-shifting" cloaks, which are made of fancloth created by a ter'angreal recovered from the Age of Legends, and provide chameleonic camouflage for their wearers.

The Warder bond has distinct benefits for both parties. The bonded party (the Warder) gains greater stamina and physical prowess, a greater capacity to resist evil, and greater resistance to injury (as well as the proximity of his Aes Sedai, who can probably Heal whatever injuries he does take). The Aes Sedai, for her part, gains a bodyguard, confidant and ally-in-schemes who is intrinsically linked to her and whose behavior can be controlled (to some extent) through the bond. She is also able to draw on the warder's strength if needed. Both parties are able to sense the other's general location, physical well-being and, to some extent, emotional state. Of course, this in itself can cause problems, should one party or the other become intoxicated or involved in romantic liaisons. Death is also a major occupational hazard; if one member of the bond is killed, the other suffers extreme emotional trauma, to the point that most orphaned Warders lose all will to live, and often throw away their lives in a berserker rage.

Whether by custom or law, all Warders are male; the only (known) woman Warder is Birgitte Trahelion, bonded to Elayne Trakand, who bonded her because because doing so was the only way to save Birgitte's life. Female-female bonding is more empathic than male-female bonding: Birgitte finds Elayne's emotional state contagious, and vice versa. Aes Sedai are capable of bonding several Warders at once, though only the Green Ajah make a habit of it; generally, men are bonded one at a time, as opposed to several through the same bond, and it is unknown if Warders bonded this way have any extrasensory awareness of each other. Three women (Elayne Trakand, Elmindreda Farshaw and Aviendha of the Nine Valleys sept of the Tardaad Aiel) have recently bonded a single, communal Warder (their mutual lover, Rand al'Thor); all three women hold the bond and are connected to him, though not to each other. It is not known if the converse, a single bond used to hold multiple Warders, is possible. Women who cannot channel (Min Farshaw) can hold Warder bonds, though still she required her channeler friends to create it. It is possible for two separate women to bond the same man as Warder on separate occasions, without interfering with each other's bonds: al'Thor, at the time of his bonding to his three loves, had already been bonded (against his will) by Alanna Mosvani in a fruitless attempt to control him. Finally, Warder bonds can only be dissolved by the holding Aes Sedai; the Warder himself can be kept against his will.

As of the later books in the series, Asha'man have discovered their own form of the Warder bond using saidin and have begun bonding women as Warders. In the beginning, married men bonded their wives, primarily for the benefit of being able to stay in contact with them through the bond, but recently Asha'man have also bonded a small number of captured Aes Sedai, much to the consternation of the White Tower. This form of the bond permits the use of Compulsion to control the captive Aes Sedai. In addition, three Asha'man (Damer Flinn, Jahar Narishma, and Eben Hopwill) have been bonded as Warders by Aes Sedai, and in Knife of Dreams, Mazrim Taim grants permission to Aes Sedai to bond his Asha'man. The fact that both parties can channel has had no (known) effect on the Warder bond, but there has been speculation that male channelers universally cannot be controlled the way normal Warders can.

Asha'man

Asha'man, Guardians in the Old Tongue, are men who can channel the One Power, recruited by Mazrim Taim at the direction of Rand al'Thor to be his army at Tarmon Gai'don. Like Aes Sedai, Asha'man identify their status by title. The main titles among Asha'man are:

  • Soldiers, the trainees, are identified by no rank pins, only their black coats
  • Dedicated, the officers, are identified by a pin of a silver sword
  • Asha'man, the masters, are identified by a pin of a golden dragon
  • M'hael, leader. This title is taken by Mazrim Taim. Variations have been given to other Asha'man for titles such as "Battle Leader."

Asha'man have generally been distrustful of Aes Sedai, largely because throughout the millennia, due to the Dark One's Taint on saidin, Aes Sedai have been hunting male channelers and cutting them off from the One Power. Most of the prominent leaders of Asha'man (including Rand al'Thor, Mazrim Taim and Logain Ablar) have been captured by Aes Sedai at one time or another throughout the series. A number of Aes Sedai have been captured by the Asha'man too, held captive with a kind of Warder bond that permits Compulsion to control captives.

The primary residence of Asha'man is the Black Tower (though not actually a tower, but rather a substantial village), located in Andor, named in contrast to the White Tower of the Aes Sedai. This is where the Asha'man train new recruits.

Asha'man have proved to be a major force in Rand al'Thor's armies, both when supporting the conventional forces, or when acting as an army on their own. However, Rand's other followers don't trust them, since they are all inevitably condemned to go mad due to the taint.

This was believed even though Rand and Nyneave used the Choedan Kal and linked to cleanse saidin of its taint in Winter's Heart.

Children of the Light

Children of the Light, or Whitecloaks, are religious zealots. They blame the Breaking of the World on the Aes Sedai and believe that the One Power is a tool of the Dark One. By this logic, all Aes Sedai, and any who associate with them or who have trained in the White Tower, must therefore be Darkfriends. The Children bear strong similarities to both the medieval order of the Knights Templar and the Ku Klux Klan.

The Children of the Light wear white cloaks with a bright gold sunburst. The battle armour is silver with a gold sunburst and conical caps.

Philosophically, the Children are nearly identical to the long-dead inhabitants of Shadar Logoth, who believed that "The victory of the Light is all," and became so oppressive of anything resembling the Shadow that they became an evil of their own. This link is used by Padan Fain to spread the evil of Shadar Logoth to the Whitecloaks, but that spread has ceased with the fall of the Dome of the Light to the Seanchan.

The Hand of Light

The Hand of Light, also known as Questioners, are an order within the Children of the Light, denoted on their cloaks by a red shepherd's crook. The Questioners are known for their somewhat questionable ability to find Darkfriends anywhere and everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. The Hand of Light will use any means necessary to gain the confessions they want, including (but not limited to) various forms of torture. They appear to be based on the Roman Catholic Inquisition.

Darkfriends

Darkfriends, or Friends of the Dark, are normal folk who have secretly pledged support to the Dark One, whom they call the Great Lord of the Dark. Darkfriends, though not necessarily dangerous combatants, are also ubiquitous, as they can be and often are found just about everywhere. Darkfriends believe that when the Shadow triumphs they will be granted great power and immortality. Prominent Darkfriends include Whitecloak Jaichim Carridin (ironically part of an organization dedicated to the Light), any number of Black Ajah women (see Aes Sedai for more details), the late Melindhra of the Charra sept of the Shaido Aiel, former peddler Padan Fain, and the Forsaken.

Dreadlords

A Dreadlord is a person who can channel and is in the service of the Dark One. Although they can channel, they are not considered to be strong enough to be "Chosen." Their function is either like the sul'dam and damane in Seanchan armies or as the commanders of the Shadow's armies under the Chosen. It is likely that Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah and Darkfriends at the Black Tower will function as Dreadlords in the army of the Dark One in the Last Battle, the latter possibly led by Mazrim Taim.

The Dreadlords originated in the Trolloc Wars. They refused to call themselves the Chosen for fear that, after they won and the actual Chosen were freed, they would be punished for claiming the title.

The Kin

The Kin are a secret group of female channelers hiding from the White Tower. They offered a safe haven for others who had been put out of the Tower due to their failure to measure up to the Tower's standards. Their history dates back to the Trolloc Wars, more than two thousand years ago (circa 1000-1350 AB) when the first group of women upon fearing to return home in the midst of the wars, fled to Barashta (near present-day site of Ebou Dar), as far from the fighting as was possible to go at that time.

The members of the Kin, calling themselves Kinswomen, accept runaways, as well. They made great efforts to keep these girls from learning anything about the Kin until they were sure that Aes Sedai would not swoop down and retake them. After all, everyone knew that runaways were always caught sooner or later, and the Kin knew that unless they held themselves secret, they themselves would be punished severely. Unknown to the Kin, Aes Sedai in the Towers were aware of their existence almost from the very first, but prosecution of the wars left no time for dealing with them. By the end of the wars, the Tower realised that it might not be in their best interests to snuff out the Kin. Prior to that time, a majority of runaways actually had managed to escape, whatever the Tower's propaganda, but once the Kin began helping them, the Tower knew exactly where any runaway was heading, and they began retaking nine out of ten. Thus, the Kin became the Tower's unconventional trap for runaways, and the Tower decided to leave them alone and to keep the Kin's very existence a secret known only to full Aes Sedai.

The Kin do not have laws, but rather rules based in part on the rules of novices and Accepted in the White Tower, and in part on the necessity of maintaining secrecy. As might be expected given the origins of the Kin, they maintain their rules very firmly on all their members. Recent open contacts between Aes Sedai and Kinswomen, while known only to a handful of sisters, have produced a number of shocks, including the facts that there are twice as many Kinswomen as Aes Sedai and that some are more than a hundred years older than any Aes Sedai has lived since before the Trolloc Wars. In Crossroads of Twilight, it is suggested that the reason that the Kin are in some cases much older than any Aes Sedai is because they have not sworn on the Oath Rod which may cut an Aes Sedai life in half. The effect of these revelations, both on Aes Sedai and on Kinswomen, is as yet as a matter for speculation.

The Knitting Circle

The Knitting Circle is the group which leads the Kin. Since no member of the Kin has ever known how Aes Sedai arrange their own hierarchy--knowledge passed on only when an Accepted has passed her test for the shawl--they put no store in strength in Power but give great weight to age, with the older woman always standing above the younger. The Knitting Circle (a title chosen, like the Kin, for its innocuity) thus consists of the thirteen oldest Kinswomen resident in Ebou Dar, with the oldest given the title of the Eldest. By the rules, all will have to step down when it is time for them to move on, but so long as they are resident in Ebou Dar, they have supreme authority over the Kin, to a degree that any Amyrlin would envy.

Younglings

A group of young men led by Gawyn Trakand, the Younglings are mostly former students of Warders in the White Tower. When Siuan Sanche was deposed and a number of Warders attempted to rescue her, Gawyn and several of the Younglings opposed them. Several on both sides were killed in the fighting, and the Younglings pledged their allegiance to Elaida, the new Amyrlin Seat. However, after numerous instances in which it was clear that they were to be disposed of, the Younglings have become extremely distrustful of the Tar Valon Aes Sedai.

Human Ethnicities

Aiel

The Aiel (pronounced "eye-EEL") inhabit an arid, treeless region on the East side of the Spine of the World which they refer to as the Threefold Land, and which is known to "wetlanders" as the Aiel Waste. They are generally pale-skinned, though heavily tanned, with red or blond hair and blue or green eyes. They are deadly warriors, and follow a system of honor and obligation called ji'e'toh. Parallels have been drawn between them and Frank Herbert's Fremen. Later on in the series the Aiel are revealed to be descendants of the Da'shain Aiel ("dedicated to peace"), who were followers of the Way of the Leaf that later split to become the Tuatha'an and the Aiel. They refer to themselves, unknown to outsiders, as the "People of the Dragon."

Atha'an Miere

The Sea Folk make up a nation based on islands far to the south of the main continent of the story. They spend almost all of their lives on their sailing ships, which are the best in the world. They do this because during the Breaking of the World, their people survived by staying aboard ships while the world was torn apart. They are known for their secrecy and disdain toward those who live on land.

Amayar

Not much is currently known about the Amayar except that they are a fair skinned people that reside on Tremalking and the surrounding islands, where they are farmers, laborers in the shipyards and ports, and makers of fine glass and porcelain.

The Amayar are followers of the Water Way and generally ignore the world beyond their scattered islands. They believe that this world is only an illusion, a mirrored reflection of belief. Some of their prophecies speak of the great sa'angreal on Tremalking and the "end of illusions."

It is interesting to note that there is a similarity between their view of the world as an illusion and the Aiel's view of the world as a dream, which raises the question whether the two people are related and maybe both descendants of the Da'shain Aiel. This is supported by the similarities between the Water Way and the Way of the Leaf.

All Amayar---men, women, and children---committed mass suicide by poison after the great female sa'angreal was partially destroyed, when it was used in the cleansing of saidin; according to Amayar prophesies, this signaled the "End of Illusion", when the Amayar must "wake" from this dream and enter a new world. Several are known to have survived, kept from death by the Sea Folk, causing them incredible sadness.

Seanchan

The Seanchan ("SHAWN-chan") are the descendants of Artur Hawkwing and the armies he sent across the Aryth Ocean. The Seanchan have returned after hundreds of years to reclaim the land that was stolen by 'oathbreakers,' rulers who claimed lands after Artur Hawkwing died. The Seanchan believe that any women who can channel (marath'damane - "those who must be leashed") are dangerous and must be captured and controlled.

Damane and sul'dam

Damane, "leashed ones," are controlled by using a ter'angreal called an a'dam, a silver collar and silver bracelet connected by a leash. The a'dam gives the sul'dam ("leash holder") the ability to direct the damane's channeling as well as deal reward or punishment. Damane are treated as animals and property, a weapon in the hands of their sul'dam, to be used and abused as the sul'dam sees fit; Seanchan are quite good at propaganda and psychological subversion, and those in their service tend to embrace their slavery. The Seanchan as a whole remain unaware that sul'dam are women who can channel but do not have the spark.

There seems to be some inconsistency in how saidar is chanelled and manipulated by the sul'dam/damane pair. When Egwene was collared, she had to be told by her sul'dam to possess the power and to blow up the ground, which she did on threat of torture. However, when the Tuon collars Teslyn and Joline, the power is instantly accessed and woven to block the doors and to shield Edesena without a word be spoken nor any threats.

Tuatha'an

Also known as Traveling People or Tinkers.

The Tuatha'an are a wandering people that live in wagons like Gypsies. They follow the pacifist Way of the Leaf and will not attack or kill, or even touch a weapon. They are some of the few people allowed in the Waste by the Aiel, although the Aiel avoid them. The Aiel share the same ancestors as the Tuatha'an, but forsook the Way of the Leaf and took up the spear, as the Tuatha'an gave up the mission entrusted to them by the Aes Sedai.

The most violent thing about the Tuatha'an are their colours. Their wagons are painted in the brightest colours—yellow, green, blue, red, and the colours of their clothing are even brighter. The Tuatha’an are also well known for their singing and dancing. They sing and dance at any opportunity, and Tinker camps are seldom without music. Sometimes the Tinker women will dance the tiganza, a dance capable of bringing mens’ blood to a boil.

The Tuatha'an are continually in search of a song that their ancestors knew, but that is now forgotten. They believe that the song once found will bring a new Age of Legends. It is possible that 'the song' refers to the tree growing song sung by Aiel, Ogier and Nym during planting season in the Age of Legends.

The Tuatha'an are based on the Irish Travellers, also called the Traveling People or Tinkers. Their name is an obvious reference to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology.

People of Unusual Abilities

Wolfbrothers

With the nearing of Tarmon Gai'don, old talents are said to be returning to mankind. One of the cases of these is the Wolfbrothers, men who can communicate with wolves. Two examples of this are Perrin Aybara and Elyas Machera, both of whom have retained their senses of humanity. Other such individuals, however, are known to have become wolf in mentality. One known person to have become a wolf in his state of mind is a man named Noam. Perrin met him in the village of Jarra and let him out of the cage he was kept in. Wolfbrothers are signified by wolf-like golden eyes, in addition to wolf-like behavior when overcome by battlelust.

Sniffers

In the Borderlands, a seemingly new ability has surfaced: people with the ability to "smell" past violent events in a location, the "scent" of which fades with time. The Sniffer Hurin, in the employment of Lord Agelmar, accompanies Rand, Mat, and Perrin from their departure from Fal Dara until the conclusion of events in Falme.

Seeing Auras

Elmindreda Farshaw likes to call herself Min. Since she was a little child she has been able to see images - auras she calls it (or the Aes Sedai do), floating around other people's heads. The images are not always there, and some people never have the images surrounding them, but those who seem to be - or will become, an important role to the great pattern always have them. Min may very well be the only person who has ever been able to see them, and it's understandable to see how the Aes Sedai try to study her, or rather "the gift", as they see it. By her own experience Min has learned to read the auras surrounding other people and is able to tell what will happen to them in the future, though her tellings are often obscure. For instance, an image of a woman's face covered in blood hovering right beside the very person the face belongs to, may tell Min that the woman will die by an act of violence, but will not tell how it's going to happen. Aes Sedai claim her ability to see things has nothing to do with "the one power", and Min can not see the images surrounding herself. She thinks of it as a curse rather than a gift.

Old Tongue

Daes Dae'mar

The Chosen (Forsaken)

Zomara

The Zomara are beautiful, androgynous human-looking creations in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time universe. They are described in Knife of Dreams as always smiling and having golden hair with black eyes. They were created by Aginor in a previous age and are only kept by the forsaken, Moridin (Ishamael). Evidently they are completely useless except as servants and are very trustworthy since they forget everything in a matter of minutes. Their skill as servants is augmented by their supposed ability to know what you need/want before you ask.

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