Unlike most nations, Tear is not ruled by a king or queen, but rather a council of High Lords. The number of High Lords has varied over time from six to twenty, as they are chosen by societal rank.
The location of the city of Tear is unclear. At the beginning of Chapter 48 of The Dragon Reborn, the city docks are said to be on the west bank of the River Erinin, but at the beginning of Chapter 50, Perrin, Moiraine, and Lan arrive by ferry from the west. At the beginning of Chapter 22 of The Shadow Rising, Rand leads the Aiel "out of the Stone and eastward." A map of the city appears in The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game, showing the docks to be to the west of the city, and the Stone to be on the north edge. The reference in Chapter 48 appears to be an editing error. A smaller city in the nation of Tear is Godan. Godan is very much an exceptional case, as the High Lords, wary of any other town growing to rival Tear, place stringent restrictions on urban development outside the capital. For example, no villages at all are permitted downstream of Tear, in order to prevent rival seaports. And almost everywhere else in Tear, village taxes are increased with the number of buildings in the village. Godan may have been exempted in order to provide a commercial rival for, and base for military operations against, the small neighbouring state of Mayene.
Deep within the Stone is the Heart of the Stone. This is where the crystal sword Callandor was kept, waiting for the Dragon Reborn to claim it. None except the High Lords were allowed to enter the Heart, and even they rarely do so: four times a year for the Rite of Guarding there, and at infrequent intervals to raise Lords of the Land to the office of High Lord. Indeed, if the High Lords could manage to forget that the Heart of the Stone and Callandor existed, they undoubtedly would: Tairens of all classes have an avowed fear of anything to do with the One Power. This is due partly to the fact that it is prophesied that the Stone of Tear will never fall until the Dragon has been Reborn. The High Lords like to think that by protecting Callandor, they are protecting the world from the Dragon Reborn.
Ironically, the Stone also houses a collection of angreal and ter'angreal in its Great Holding. In the Westlands, this collection is second only to that held by the White Tower. There is uncertainty as to exactly why the Tairens have collected such an array; perhaps to prevent their use by Aes Sedai, or maybe to diminish by comparison the knowledge that they possess one of the greatest of them, Callandor, whose drawing by the Dragon Reborn will herald the coming of another Breaking of the World. One important item is a tall, twisted redstone door frame, once owed by Mayene, leading to the land of the Aelfinn. Rand, Mat and Moiraine have all passed through this doorway seeking answers to three questions.
The most prominent geographical feature of the country is the vast river delta, a maze of waterways and swampland called the Fingers of the Dragon. This lies immediately to the south of the city of Tear and extends for some miles to the Sea of Storms. Tairen pilots board all foreign ships to guide them through the Fingers.