Written by Suana Sedai
This page documents the histories of The White Tower at the start of the 4th Age. This information is created by the Weaves of the Wheel Storytelling community, for the purpose creating new characters and stories within a new timeline. This information is a creative effort by all community members and serves to provide a richly detailed world within which we play that adheres to the canon created by Robert Jordan. To find out more about Weaves of the Wheel Storytelling, click here
About The White Tower
The White Tower is both the central structure that houses Aes Sedai in Tar Valon as well as a term that describes the organisation of the Aes Sedai. The tower structure is the tallest building in Tar Valon and resides within a campus complex referred to as the “tower grounds”. The compound is both home and a training facility for Aes Sedai, those seeking to become Aes Sedai, and warders who serve and protect Aes Sedai sisters.
The tower structure is a bone-white spire nearly 100 spans (around 600 feet or 183 meters) in height. Its roof is flat-topped with a waist-high railing.
After the Breaking, a large number of surviving female Aes Sedai sought refuge in Tar Valon. In 98 AB, the group elected as their leader the first Amyrlin Seat, Elisane Tishar, who ordered construction of the White Tower which would be completed over one hundred years later in 202 AB.
The lowest level of the Tower is only used for testing Novices to become Accepted. Located there is a ter’angreal made of three large linked rings, each large enough to walk through unimpeded. The ter’angreal requires the Novice to face her fears, in the past, present, and future.
Novices and Accepted are boarded in a palace-like building attached to the rear of the main tower. The interior consists of stone-railed galleries surrounding a small courtyard consisting of a small garden with only a handful of evergreen bushes. The two Accepted galleries can hold almost two hundred Accepted, while the two Novice galleries can hold nearly four hundred.
The bottom half of the White Tower is dedicated to the Hall. Many of the common rooms are decorated in all the colours of the Ajahs, with some specific to only one Ajah. The Hall is where the Ajahs will meet and discuss Aes Sedai policies and procedures. The Amyrlin Seat presides over Hall meetings.
Consisting of the top half of the White Tower, the Ajah Quarters are home to all fully-raised Aes Sedai. The quarters are divided into seven pie-shaped sections, each belonging to one Ajah. Each Ajah has different styles of decoration that are related to the Ajah’s colours and purpose. The Floors are tiled with a coloured Flame of Tar Valon.
The Green Ajah Quarters
Flamboyant, adorned with impressions of swords and weapons upon the stone floors. The walls are decorated with tapestries of battle scenes from ancient lands. Each door is carved with a sword that points upward. The rooms of sitters have swords that are gilded, and others have swords that are silver or lacquered.
Green warders often live in the same apartments as their Aes Sedai, rather than in the barracks as the others do.
The Yellow Ajah Quarters
Adorned with floral and garden scenery in the common rooms, the Yellow enjoy vibrate colours in their living spaces. Healing murals align the hallways, showcasing the great successes of the Yellow Ajah. Many of the doors are intricately carved with leaves surrounding the inlay of marble set in the shape of the Flame of Tar Valon.
The Brown Ajah Quarters
Due to the unraveling of the pattern, the Brown Quarters switched places with the Novice Quarters for a time, before moving back to the quarters opposite the library. Warm and inviting corridors in rich browns, individual rooms have the air of organised chaos, much like the minds who dwell within.
The Blue Ajah Quarters:
Not as flamboyant as the Green or Yellow, not quite as plain as the White or Brown. Polished and plain doors lead to its interior, brightly coloured winter wall hangings adorn the pale walls of the main hall and common room. The floor tiles are set in a wavy pattern of blues, from pale morning sky to deep violet of twilight.
The White Ajah Quarters
Minimalist, tidy and formal, scenes of snow and other white scenery offer the only form of decor. Silver panels dress the common rooms, where comfortable armchairs and a scatter of cushions are set out for the members to enjoy tea and kaf while brainstorming current projects. Blackboards and paper scrolls are often hung upon empty wall space for collaborative ideas.
The Red Ajah Quarters
Sharing the fifth floor with the Gray, is the Red Ajah Quarters.
Despite their stark walls and little decor, it’s grandiosity can be noted in the architecture. Heavy oak doors adorned with the Flame of Tar Valon, crimson tiles and tapestries.
The Gray Ajah Quarters
Simple in appearance, while still comfortable and inviting. Plants are kept and tended to keep a pleasant atmosphere/ Statues of great Aes Sedai and Heads of State line the hallways.
While welcoming, the internal architecture follows a similar style to that of state buildings.
Location: The city of Tar Valon is located on an island on the River Erinin, within sight of Dragonmount. It is the centre of Aes Sedai power and is also the second largest, most populous city in the Westlands. Tar Valon also controls a small amount of territory directly adjacent to it. The population of the city in 1000 NE is roughly 500,000.
Tar Valon is a vital trade and transport link between the Borderlands and the more populous, richer southern kingdoms of Andor, Cairhien, Illian, and Tear. Multiple major roads meet at the city, directly linking it to the cities of Fal Moran, Shol Arbela, Chachin, Maradon, Cairhien, and Caemlyn, while the River Erinin links the city to Tear, along with many important ports and trading centres along the way.
The island of Tar Valon is eight miles long and more than two miles across at its widest point. The city fills the entire island, bar an Ogier grove, which is the only one within a major city still maintained and kept as a garden. The buildings of Tar Valon are noted for being graceful, tall, and sometimes linked together by unique ‘skybridges’. The White Tower is, in fact, the tallest structure in the known world. The city doesn’t just rely on its island location for defense, but also on its walls, which stretch along the full length of the banks of the island. The city is centered on the White Tower and its grounds.
The city is linked to the mainland by six bridges, each one of which is a mighty feat of engineering in its own right. Even the shortest bridge is still almost a mile long and gracefully arches from the island to the shore. It isn’t said whether or not the Aes Sedai helped to build Tar Valon’s magnificent buildings and bridges as they helped build the White Tower or the Stone of Tear, however much of Tar Valon was definitely built by Ogier stonemasons.
Taxation from all the trade means that the White Tower’s coffers are extremely rich. Of the great cities of the land, Tar Valon is the greatest and most beautiful, with Caemlyn not far behind.
Canon notes to obey in storytelling
Rank among the Aes Sedai is determined by strength in the Power, and ruling positions established by election (Amyrlin Seat. Sitters, Ajah Heads) or appointment to another ruling position (Keeper, Mistress of Novices/Accepted, head of a delegation).
The Amyrlin Seat: The Amyrlin Seat is the leader of the Aes Sedai, along with the Hall of the Tower. She, as the public leader of the White Tower, is considered more powerful than any monarch in the land. The Amyrlin Seat is expected to shed her Ajah affiliation on appointment.
The Keeper of the Chronicles: The Amyrlin’s second-in-command, the duties of the Keeper of the Chronicles include being secretary to the Amyrlin and overseeing the official business of the Tower The Amyrlin chooses her upon being raised. Unlike the Amyrlin, the Keeper does not officially shed her Ajah affiliation; the Keeper wears a stole in the colour of the Ajah she was raised from.
The Hall: The Hall of the Tower is the deliberative body of the White Tower. It comprises twenty-one Sitters , three from each Ajah. The Amyrlin Seat presides over meetings of the Hall. Sitters are highly esteemed sisters who have been chosen by their Ajahs to represent their interests in the Hall of the Tower. Each Ajah has its own method for selecting new Sitters, but the Ajah Heads generally have a significant role. The Sitters also vote to raise a new Amyrlin Seat.
Ajah Head: Each Ajah has its own hierarchy and internal positions of authority, and the women in charge of each Ajah are collectively known as Ajah heads, though the nature of the position differs from Ajah to Ajah. Sitters are answerable to their Ajah heads for their actions in the Hall, and for the most part all Aes Sedai must obey the authority of their Ajah heads in general, especially regarding Ajah matters.
Aes Sedai: Although Aes Sedai enjoy almost unrestricted power among the wider world, they have their own strict hierarchy that allows little room for deviation. The hierarchy is a custom as strong as law, and failure to defer to a higher ranking can lead to the offended sister setting the other a penance.
Though Aes Sedai do not openly recruit, all women found by Aes Sedai who were born with the spark and all other women of appropriate age who can channel and wish to learn how are entered in the novice book to begin training. The Mistress of Novices is in charge of the training, care, and punishment of all trainees, and she has the last word regarding them.
Weaves of the Wheel Histories (1ALB – 150ALB)
(ALB = After Last Battle)
1 ALB – Cadsuane Melaidhrin is raised to the Amyrlin Seat.
1 ALB – The Black Tower allows the Aes Sedai to bond 47 Soldiers and/or Dedicated. The deal was struck between Amyrlin Egwene al’Vere and Rand al’Thor, and upheld by Logain Ablar, the new leader of the Black Tower.
1 ALB – The White Tower recruits the Ogier to start rebuilding in the wake of the damage caused from the attack by the Seanchan. The Tower will also expand to accommodate the increase in novices. It will be several years before the work is completed.
1 ALB – An agreement is struck between the White Tower and the Kin. (See: The Kin)
1 ALB – The Yellow Ajah begin a project to build a hospital on the healing grounds of the city of Etire in Mayene, where the wounded were taken for during Tarmon Gai’don. This project is led by Corele Hovian and her Warder, the Asha’man Damer Flinn. A large structure in the city will become the foundation for the first major public hospital in the Westlands, although it is several years before this structure is fully open. The yellow recruit members of the Kin to work and teach in this hospital. (see: The Kin)
2ALB – The Tower recruits its first “Mistress of Accepted” in order to accommodate for the large increase in trainee numbers. Carisia Dohei from the Green Ajah will serve as Mistress of Accepted for the next 95 years
2 ALB – The first White Tower emissary into Seanchan territory to recruit Sul’dam and Damane for the Tower (as per agreement in the Dragons Peace) recruits 27 Damane and 0 Sul’dam, none of them Seanchan. The Seanchan emissary to the White Tower recruits 2 Novices and 1 Accepted who choose the collar. This sends shockwaves through the Tower.
10 ALB – The agreement to send and receive apprentices to and from the Aiel Wise Ones begins to decay due to prejudices on both sides.
25 ALB – Due to limited numbers of Sul’dam, the Seanchan in the Westlands pass a law that states male channelers will no longer be collared, but instead will be killed when captured. The White Tower are reluctant to involve themselves, due to the agreement they have with the Seanchan, which the White Tower relies on to free female channelers within Seanchan territories.
26 ALB – After much debate, the White Tower declares acting in the interests of the Black Tower would risk breaking The Peace agreement and could lead to a full scale war. Unbeknownst to the Black Tower at the time, the White Tower sends political emissaries to the leaders in the Westlands, convincing them not to lend support to the Black Tower in this matter.
30 ALB – The Brown Ajah begins its process of moving its Ajah Quarters back to the 22nd floor. It’s a painfully slow process that lasts around 70 years.
52 ALB – The relationship between the White and Black Tower, which has suffered tensions for decades, completely breaks down.
54 ALB – Logain demands that the Aes Sedai release all current bonds placed upon channelers of the Black Tower. While only a small number, several bonded Dedicated choose to stay with the Aes Sedai in the White Tower. The White Tower makes a statement by taking them into training.
56 ALB – The White Tower raises its first male Aes Sedai, Angus Stormwind. An Atha’an Miere channeler who initially began his training in the Black Tower, chose the Brown Ajah. This is the first male Aes Sedai since the Age of Legends, The same year, the White Tower officially opened the door to accepting male channeling novices.
93 ALB – Up until now, recruiting channelers within Seanchan ranks has provided little yield. The White Tower has had regular success recruiting from damane captured in the Westlands. But very few numbers have been taken from Seanchan born Damane and lesser still, from Sul’dam. However, this year, the White Tower would succeed in recruiting a total of 104 Sul’dam from Altara, Tanchico and Amadacia, who wish to join the White Tower and learn to channel. This is a huge blow to the Seanchan.
94 ALB – Members from the Black Tower and The Kin are captured smuggling channelers out of Seanchan territories. While the White Tower seek to assure the Seanchan that they were uninvolved in the matter, the Seanchan, still shaken from the loss of Suldam in last year’s emissary, deny the White Tower any opportunity to recruit within their ranks for 1 year.
95 ALB – The White Tower distances itself from the Kin.
96 ALB – Following the death of Cadsuane Melaidrhin, Ida Narsil raised to Amyrlin Seat. Takes Suana el’Sunur as Keeper of the Chronicles.
100 ALB – With the Dragon’s Peace treaty ended, the Seanchan declare war in the Westlands. Previous agreements with the Seanchan are abandoned. Channelers of the White Tower are advised to stay out of the southern lands to avoid being collared.
107 ALB – After Logain Ablar is captured and executed by the Seanchan, the Seanchan attack the Black Tower. The Asha’man scatter and the Black Tower falls and the surrounding village is burnt to the ground (see: The Black Tower). Some of the surviving Asha’man join/are absorbed by the White Tower. They receive the rank of Aes Sedai after passing through the rings and swearing of the Oaths.
125 ALB – Wilders become increasingly common (mostly men, still fearful of the White Tower). The Red Ajah finds a new purpose in the hunting and capturing of rogue channelers and those who misuse the power, bringing them to the Tower for the correct training.
137 ALB – The Seanchan are pushed back within their borders, effectively ending the war. (See: The Seanchan)
140 ALB – Arran Lothyros, the first male channeler to join the Red Ajah is raised.
141 ALB – The Gray Ajah assemble several emissaries, each one consisting of 18 sisters, 12 of the Gray and 1 from each of the remaining Ajah’s. An emissary is sent to every nation to aid negotiations between the ruling parties and the Seanchan to inaugurate a new Peace treaty.
143 ALB – The gates to the Black Tower are opened once again. Some male channelers in training defect from the White Tower to join the new Black Tower.
144ALB – A new Peace Treaty is agreed between the Seanchan and Westlands (see: Dragon’s Peace). The treaty allows both White and Black Tower trained channelers to move freely in Seanchan occupied land, providing they have documentation to be there.