If you want to go to the very first post on the Atlas of Ice and Fire, click here.
Some other useful links:
If you want to go to the very first post on the Atlas of Ice and Fire, click here.
Some other useful links:
A vast arc of territory unclaimed by any nations is located in the southern and south-eastern part of the Westlands. This territory begins on the Sea of Storms in the narrow buffer zone between Tear and Illian before extending north, across the Plains of Maredo, to the Hills of Kintara. It then turns east, cross the wide River Erinin and extends all the way to the Spine of the World and Maraside Mountains, crossing the vast boglands of Haddon Mirk along the way.
Of old, this region was claimed by Essenia and Almoren, two of the Ten Nations. Essenia’s great capital city, Aren Mador was built on an island in a lake in the foothills of the Hills of Kintara. The region prospered for some ten centuries before it was overrun by Shadowspawn during the Trolloc Wars. Almoren was destroyed but Essenia managed to rally and drive the Shadowspawn back, Aren Mador’s impregnable island location and the second city of Tear with its massive Stone making both impossible to capture or sack.
After the end of the Trolloc Wars the territory became divided between smaller countries. Fergansea dominated the southern plains, whilst Esandara incorporated the highlands and uplands. Esandara inherited Aren Mador as its capital, but for reasons still debated by historians it was renamed as Fel Moreina (the kingdom of Moreina itself lay to the south and east, incorporating much of modern Tear). The kingdom of Talmour was founded in Haddon Mirk, with Khodomar to the north, hard against the Maraside Mountains.
The region prospered again, but during the War of the Second Dragon almost the entire region was conquered by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan. Leaving Talmour and Khodomar engaged in battle (but not fully taken), he moved north to cross the Maraside Mountains and invade Tova, but was instead met and defeated by an army out of Shandalle led by King Artur Paendrag Tanreall. The Battle of the Jolvaine Pass was fought at the foot of the Jolvaine Pass in northern Khodomar, one of the most significant battles in history.
Following Amalasan’s defeat, the region fell into chaos and infighting as Amalasan’s generals fought among themselves and survivors of the former regimes fought to regain their thrones. During the following two decades, the armies of Artur Paendrag, now known as the Hawkwing, swept over the region and conquered it in the name of the High King.
After Artur Hawkwing’s death and the outbreak of the War of the Hundred Years, the region was swept by storm and fire several times. Esmara Getare conquered the Plains of Maredo and the Hills of Kintara in FY 1090 before launching an invasion of Andor which was swiftly defeated. In the aftermath of this assault, the conquered territories revolted, becoming the sovereign kingdoms of Maredo (with its capital at Fel Moreina now renamed Far Madding), Kintara and Mar Haddon.
Over the next thousand years, as the population of the Westlands declined, this region suffered more badly than most. The Plains of Maredo were less inviting and harder to farm than the territory in neighbouring Murandy, Illian or Tear, leading to a gradual migration into neighbouring regions. The Hills of Kintara likewise saw a drain of people as they moved north into Andor. Mar Haddon was particularly badly hit, as the unfavourable soil and marshy conditions made farming difficult and the region was prone to outbreak of disease. Gradually people left, moving north across the Maraside Mountains into Cairhien or south into Tear. All three kingdoms collapsed within a few centuries, with only Far Madding left as an independent city-state and a few isolated villages and towns to be found here and there.
During the Aiel War, the Cairhienin army took refuge in Haddon Mirk, which confounded the pursuing Aiel for some months until the High Lords of Tear, fearing the Aiel horde on its border, convinced King Laman to cross the Erinin and retreat north. The result was a series of battles along the shores of the river and somewhat inland as Laman led the Aiel northwards through Andor and towards his eventual fate at Tar Valon, far to the north.
This region is one of the most varied in terms of geography in the Westlands, consisting of wide, arid and flat plains in the south-west, extending north to the more temperate and tall Hills of Kintara in the north and then across the Erinin into the vast marshes of Haddon Mirk in the east. These geographic features create significant barriers to travel and settlement, and explain the low population in the region despite its vast size.
The Plains of Maredo are large, extending across the borders of both Illian and Tear. Illian maintains hill forts along the Doirlon Hills in the far south-west of the plains to defend against possible Tairen aggression. It is more than 400 miles from the Sea of Storms to the lake on which Far Madding is located at the far northern end of the plains. From west to east the plains measure some 450 miles across in the north, from the headwaters of the River Shal to the banks of the River Erinin. They widen considerably further south.
The plains are large, flat and somewhat dry, with no major rivers passing across them. Tear and Illian have used the plains as battlefields for centuries, but the problems with resupply and foraging have meant that invasions in one direction or the other have usually petered out with no major strategic gains achieved.
The city of Far Madding is the largest major settlement in the entire region. Built by Ogier masons shortly after the Breaking, it is one of the oldest and best-preserved cities in the Westlands. It was originally known as Aren Mador and then Fel Moreina before becoming known as the Far Madding during or after the War of the Hundred Years. The city is considered impregnable, and has indeed never been taken in battle. It is located on an island in a large lake at the feet of the Hills of Kintara. Three narrow and easily-defended (or even collapsed) bridges link the city to the mainland and the lake, fed by winter runoff from the hills, is difficult to poison. The lack of rivers linking the lake to other waterways makes it impossible to bring in naval forces to help besiege the city. As a result, the city has rarely suffered attack. The city’s impregnability has been reinforced by a powerful, ancient ter’angreal known as the Guardian, which prevents channelling within the city or within several miles, preventing Dreadlords from attacking the city during the Trolloc Wars.
Major roads link Far Madding to Caemlyn (some 470 miles to the north), Illian (some 800 miles to the south-west) and Tear (some 520 miles to the south-east).
North of Far Madding and the Plains of Maredo lies a large upland area. The Hills of Kintara dominate this area, ranging from rolling hills to tall peaks on the borderland between hill and mountain. This upland complex consists of several distinct ranges, including the Tunaighan Hills to the north (which extend close to Caemlyn, the capital of Andor) and the taller and more rugged Chishen Mountains to the north-east. There is a large pass through the central portion of the hills (which carries the highway linking Caemlyn to Far Madding).
East of the River Erinin lies one of the largest and least-welcoming regions of wilderness on the entire subcontinent: Haddon Mirk. Almost 700 miles wide, this region consists of forest, marsh, swamp and boglands, occasionally interrupted by rivers, lakes and more stable areas of open countryside. It’s a confusing morass which, due to rivers shifting their courses and the soft ground, defies detailed mapping. The River Iralell, running down from the immense glaciers and valleys of the Spine of the World, feeds the region with constant fresh water.
Despite its much vaster size, Haddon Mirk is not as hostile or uninhabitable as the Drowned Lands to the south-east, on the borders of Tear and Mayene. Various nations have existed in the region for millennia and it is possible to live in the Mirk. Small villages and hamlets still exist there. However, the Mirk also makes an excellent base of operations for rebels, bandits and outlaws, who sometimes use it to strike into Tear to the south. The Tairen High Lords have sometimes swept the Mirk for such outlaws, but have never been able to bring enough force to bear to claim the territory for themselves.
This region has no government, aside from the city of Far Madding. Far Madding is ruled by the Counsels, a council of thirteen women who command all aspects of the city’s organisation, trade and defence. Aleis Barsalla currently serves as First Counsel, the chairwoman of the council and representative of the city in foreign dealings.
Far Madding’s lifeblood is trade. It is perfectly situation on the main trade routes running from Tear and Illian to Caemlyn and Tar Valon. With river transport being more expensive and more easily cut off by war or river pirates, the cheaper option of overland trade is more attractive for some merchants. Far Madding’s relatively southerly location also means that its markets are open all year around, giving the city a constantly bustling, busy feel as it enriches itself.
Military Forces and Population
Far Madding has no standing army, only a City Guard of a few hundred experienced officers and watchmen.
Far Madding is a large and significant city, but it is not counted as one of the great cities of the land. Thus, the city’s population is probably well under 200,000.
Far Madding is an outright matriarchy, with only woman allowed to have and hold positions of power and authority.
Women’s fashion in Far Madding is centred on high-necked dresses which extend right up to the chin, with embroidery of animals such as birds being common.
Much of the rest of the region is made up of hardy, independent and tough-minded folk who rely on themselves first and foremost.
Tear is one of the most powerful of the modern nations, a large kingdom on the far south-eastern coast of the Westlands. It is unusual in being the only nation of the modern era not ruled by a monarchy. It is also a nation famed in prophecy, for it is said that the first sign of the coming of the Dragon Reborn will be the fall of the great Stone of Tear to his armies.
The history of Tear began during the Breaking of the World, when Aes Sedai aware of the Foretelling of the Dragon Reborn used the One Power to create the Stone of Tear. Not as tall as the White Tower but probably greater in volume, the Stone is a huge mountain of stone, riddled with galleries and chambers. In the Heart of the Stone the Aes Sedai secreted Callandor, the Sword That Is Not a Sword, one of the most powerful sa’angreal ever created, and wove around it wards so that none but the Dragon Reborn could touch it.
The Stone became a bulwark during the latter part of the Breaking, people flocking to the protection it offered. A great city took shape around it, also called Tear. As the Breaking ended and new nations arose, the mighty kingdom of Essenia was founded with its capital at Aren Mador (modern Far Madding) to the north-west. Alone among what would become known as the Ten Nations, Essenia was ruled by a council of nobles rather than a single king or queen. Tear joined the burgeoning nation, becoming its largest and most famous city, but not its capital. In 209 AB First Lord Cristol of Essenia brought the nation into the Covenant of the Ten Nations.
During the Trolloc Wars, armies of Shadowspawn penetrated as far south as Essenia, but were unable to take either Aren Mador on its heavily-fortified island, or Tear, defended by the Stone. Essenia survived the conflict but collapsed in its aftermath. The city of Tear became the capital of a new kingdom, Moreina. Relatively little is known of Moreina, save that it was a monarchy and a High Governor who was given responsibility for the Stone of Tear.
In late FY 942, during the War of the Second Dragon, Moreina was invaded by the armies of the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan. His armies overran much of Moreina and besieged the city of Tear, but were unable to breach the Stone. More than thirty Aes Sedai had journeyed from Tar Valon to bolster the city’s defences and prevent the Stone falling to Amalasan. Amalasan, frustrated by the deadlock, led his armies north instead into Talmour and Khodomar, where fate delivered him to Jolvaine Pass just as an army led by the young King Artur Paendrag Tanreall was crossing, resulting in Amalasan’s defeat, capture and gentling and Hawkwing’s rise to power.
A few years later, as the armies of the Westlands marched against Artur “Hawkwing” only to be defeated one after the other, the nation of Moreina chose willingly to ally with Hawkwing and become part of his growing empire. The armies of Moreina bolstered Hawkwing’s own and contributed to his conquest of the continent.
Late in Hawkwing’s reign, the city of Tear was chosen as one of the places where a great fleet was to be assembled and prepared for an assault on Shara, the mysterious land beyond the Aiel Waste. The invasion was launched in FY 993 but was apparently defeated, the Sea Folk reporting that, after some initial successes, the fleet was destroyed and the army either slaughtered or captured. Certainly none ever returned to the Westlands afterwards.
Artur Hawking died in FY 994; almost immediately upon news of his death breaking, Lord Istaban Novares and Lady Yseidre Tirado seized the city of Tear and a stretch of surrounding countryside, declaring the founding of the sovereign nation of Tear. Many lords and ladies in the city supported them, others in the countryside opposed them. Thus Tear became either the first or second nation of the modern era founded (around the same time as Queen Ishara Casalain founded the kingdom of Andor). With none of the Tairen nobles gaining enough support to declare themselves King or Queen, they instead formed a coalition of equals, the Council of High Lords. Over the course of the War of the Hundred Years they pushed the borders back in all directions and secured a significant amount of the former territory of Moreina with a notable exception: the peninsula to the east of the Bay of Remara had been seized by the city-state of Mayene, which firmly held it against every attempt by Tear to take control. Tear could have brought significant superiority of numbers to bear, but border clashes with the nations of Illian to the west, Maredo to the north-west and Mar Haddon to the north meant that Tear could not risk expending the strength required in case they were attacked from another direction.
Since the War of the Hundred Years, Tear has grown rich on trade and fishing, along with its lucrative position at the mouth of the River Erinin, which provides easy access for trade and travel to Andor, Cairhien, Tar Valon, Arafel and Shienar upriver. It has suffered several attempts by false Dragons to take the Stone, all of them defeated.
The most recent major conflict fought by Tear was during the Aiel War. After the initial Aiel armies decimated Cairhien and drove King Laman Damodred’s army from the kingdom in disarray, Laman fought a desperate holding action through the Maraside Mountains and into Haddon Mirk. Aware that Laman was leading the Aiel towards their borders, Tear formed an army and agreed to assist Laman on the condition that he crossed the Erinin (with their ships) and moved away from their territory. Laman agreed and the Aiel followed (despite their fear of water), leading the war instead into Andor and, many months later, to the fateful final engagement near Tar Valon. Tear sent 24,000 troops to the Battle of the Shining Walls under High Lord Astoril Damara.
Tear’s recent history has been dominated by its rivalry with Illian to the west, which has resulted in three major and numerous smaller wars being fought between them, the bloodiest being the six-year war between 970 and 976 NE which was curtailed only by the Aiel War. Tear also has a tense relationship with Mayene to the east, which it claims as a province (and which Mayene denies) and a difficult relationship with the Aes Sedai: channelling is outlawed in Tear and Aes Sedai are discouraged from visiting, although in practice the Tairens find it difficult to stop them if they insist. Tear also has internal tension, with the High Lords dominating the Lords of the Land (the lesser nobility and high-ranking middle class) and the working classes (whom the Tairen nobility considers almost subhuman) with arrogance and near tyrannical contempt. As a result Tear, for all its riches and military power, is an unhappy land.
Tear is located on the Sea of Storms in the south-eastern corner of the Westlands. It stretches for 880 miles from the Plains of Maredo to the Bay of Remara, and for most of its length extends inland for about 240 miles, apart from in the far south-east where a peninsula juts about 250 miles out into the Sea of Storms, forming the western coast of the Bay of Remara.
Tear is the only nation of the modern era which does not share land borders with any other nation; it used to have a direct border with Illian on the Plains of Maredo but some decades ago this was pulled back with a buffer zone of unclaimed territory lying between them to reduce tensions. The northern border is somewhat flexible, lying as it does against the great marshland known as Haddon Mirk.
Most of Tear enjoys a warm climate, comfortably cooled by breezes off the Sea of Storms. Olives grow freely and the nation has vast pastures where large herds of horses are bred.
The capital of Tear, also called Tear, is one of the oldest and largest cities in the Westlands. The city consists of an inner city, walled and paved, and an outer city, unwalled and muddy, with a poor port quarter known as the Maule. The city’s skyline is dominated by the Stone, which is located in the northern part of the city. Heavily fortified, the mountain-like Stone has been attacked and besieged more than a hundred times but it has never fallen in battle.
The city of Tear lies on the eastern banks of the wide River Erinin about 100 miles north of where it flows into the sea. Between the city and the sea lies a vast delta known as the Fingers of the Dragon, consisting of rocky outcroppings, marshes, confusing dead ends and tidal pools. Tairen pilots guide ships through the Fingers (for a price). The High Lords of Tear have ordered that no other port or harbour should be built on the Fingers, lest it threatens the capital’s supremacy.
The same law has discouraged the construction of any town or city within the borders of Tear that might threaten the capital’s position, with the residents of each town taxed according to the population of the town, encouraging people and businesses to live in smaller villages. The exception is Godan, the nation’s major port on the Bay of Remara, located some 720 miles east of Tear itself. Godan was exempted from the law due to the need for a Tairen stronghold in close proximity to Mayene as a staging ground for a possible invasion.
Tear is unique among the modern nations by not having a single ruler. Instead, it is ruled by the Council of High Lords (and High Ladies). This council is made up of the heads of the most powerful noble houses of Tear, although this can vary wildly; the Council has had as few as six representatives and as many as twenty-three. The High Lords are ambitious and scheme against one another, but their ambitions against Illian and Mayene have encouraged a greater degree of cooperation than is seen in Cairhien.
Below the High Lords are the Lords of the Land, lesser nobles with smaller holdings. Below the Lords of the Land are the middle classes and peasantry, but the nobles of Tear hold them to be unimportant and indeed contemptible.
Military and Population
Tear’s military is decentralised, with each noble raising troops as needed. The only long-standing elite military formation are the Defenders of the Stone, who are tasked with holding the Stone of Tear (and, to a lesser extent, the entire capital city). The Defenders are well-trained and formidable, but their military doctrine is based on defending a fortified position rather than taking the offensive in the field.
Tear’s huge population of horses means that the country fields much larger cavalry divisions than other nations, and has led to military commanders dramatically overestimating the effectiveness of heavy horse. Infantry are held in contempt, despite the relatively poor performance of Tear’s heavy cavalry against locked walls of Aiel spears during the Aiel War, the last major military conflict Tear took part in.
Tear’s population is estimated at being comparable to Illian’s, between 5 and 10 million. Tear is said to rival Caemlyn and Illian in size, suggesting a population of around 300,000 in the capital, perhaps more.
Tear has a diversified economy, which has helped it avoid economic distress during times of hardship in any one sector. Tear itself is a great trading port and the gateway to the Erinin. Trading ships from Andor, Cairhien and even the Borderlands of Arafel and Shienar stop regularly at Tear, whilst ocean-going ships head westwards to Illian, Altara and Tarabon. Tear guards the Fingers of the Dragon fiercely, forcing all ships that pass to pay a toll to gain access to the river.
Olive groves provide Tear with tremendous wealth. As well as being a delicacy, Tairen olive oil is used as an ingredient in fine meals across the continent. Tairen oil is also used for lamps and is exported across the Westlands (despite strong competition from Mayene’s oil, which many hold as superior). Tear also enjoys excellent fishing in the Sea of Storms just off the nation’s long coast.
Tear’s countryside is mostly flat and consists of pasture, olive groves and farmland. The nation produces a huge grain surplus every year. Much of this grain is shipped up the Erinin to Cairhien, which is still recovering from the depredations of the Aiel War. Although this sounds generous, the Tairen lords demand a high price from the Cairhienin for this largesse.
The final cornerstone of Tear’s economy is horses. Tairen horses are simply the finest in the known world and are widely admired (if grudgingly, in the case of Illian).
These combined factors have made Tear possibly the richest kingdom in the Westlands, and explains why people do business with the nation despite the overwhelming arrogance of its rulers.
The Tairen nobility are known for their fashion, with men wearing colourful coats and breeches and women wearing silk dresses. The lowborn wear considerably more muted colours and are known to wear straw hats to protect them from the sun. Both commoners and nobles in the city of Tear itself wear clogs, wooden shoe-raisers, to protect their footwear from the thick mud that permeates the outer city.
Mayene is a city-state located to the east of Tear, at the tip of the peninsular forming the eastern and south-eastern shores of the Bay of Remara. Mayene also claims the entire peninsular to the north, as far as the swamp known as the Drowned Lands. Tear claims the entire region as a renegade province, although the Mayeners are quick to note that Tear has never controlled the region and they have always been independent.
It is unclear when Mayene was built, although it existed during the latter part of the Free Years era. It was part of the Kingdom of Moreina (where Tear’s claim to the city dubiously comes from) and then became the south-eastern-most port of Artur Hawkwing’s Empire. When Hawkwing assembled his fleet to invade Shara, Mayene, as the nearest city to Shara (although still more than 2,000 miles from the Sharan coast) was one of the launching points for the invasion.
After the fleets to invade Seanchan and Shara were launched, the only direct heir to Artur Hawkwing left in the Westlands was Laiwynde, a daughter of Hawkwing and his second wife Tamika. In FY 994 Laiwynde and her infant son Tyrn were both reported killed in an accident. Hawkwing himself died a few days or weeks later; the lack of an apparent heir contributed to the outbreak of the War of the Hundred Years.
When Tear was founded, shortly after Hawkwing’s death, the High Lords laid claim to all of the territories of the former Kingdom of Moreina, including Mayene. Mayene, however, had declared itself a sovereign nation as well. As it took many decades for Tear to secure its borders on the Bay of Remara and as the threat from its direct neighbours to the north and west were more pressing, Tear never enforced its claim to Mayene.
In FY 1004, ten years after Hawkwing’s supposed death, a young man appeared in Mayene claiming to be Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera. He had survived the death of his mother and gone into hiding to avoid assassination. His claim was recognised in Mayene and he was made First Lord of the City. This was initially a ceremonial position but over his lifetime, Tyrn’s good advice and governance saw him become effectively the ruler of the city in all but name. In FY 1054 his daughter Miselle succeeded him as the First Lady of Mayene, which was now the formal title for the ruler of the city. A council of other nobles, known as Seconds, was formed to help administer the city and its territories. Over time the title was shortened to the First of Mayene.
Mayene survived the War of the Hundred Years, although it was sacked twice during the conflict. The city was rebuilt even stronger after each assault and was soon surrounded by formidable walls and outlying defences which have been maintained to this day, further dissuading military adventures from neighbouring Tear.
Mayene’s history since the War of the Hundred Years has been one of careful strategic and political manoeuvring, keeping Tear at bay by skilfully employing both negotiation and resolve. Due to its isolation and distance from the rest of the continent, Mayene has not played a major role in affairs apart from the Aiel War, when it sent a small detachment of Winged Guards to the Battle of the Shining Walls.
Mayene is a relatively small city built around a splendid harbour. Although small compared to Tear or Caemlyn, it is very well-defended. Geography and fortifications make attacking the city a formidable task, only achievable with tens of thousands of casualties.
The territory controlled by Mayene consists of the peninsula along the south-eastern coast of the Bay of Remara. This territory extends about 120 miles inland from the city itself to the Drowned Lands, and around 80 miles across the peninsula.
The Drowned Lands are a large saltwater swamp extending across the entire peninsula north-east of Mayene. They are about 160 miles wide. The swamp is murky, with few open waterways, and infested with hostile creatures such as water lizards, nedar (tusked water pigs), soetam (large aquatic rats), swamp cats and varieties of swamp deer, including the spikehorn and forkhorn. The Drowned Lands inhibit overland travel to Mayene. They also discourage travel around the southern end of the Spine of the World to the north-west.
North of the Drowned Lands lies the far south-western extent of the Aiel Waste, although few Aiel live in this region. The most notable location in this area is Stedding Shangtai, the home of some of the Ogier’s finest stonemasons. To the east and north-east lies the hostile, vast desert known as the Termool.
Mayene is ruled by the First of Mayene, currently Lady Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron. The rulers of Mayene claim descent from the High King Artur Hawkwing via his daughter Laiwynde and grandson Tyrn. This claim is not taken very seriously outside of Mayene. The First is advised by a council of Seconds, who each hold responsibility for a different sector of the economy, society or military.
Military and Population
Mayene is defended by the Winged Guards, an elite, permanent military formation numbering in the low thousands. The Winged Guards are tasked with defending the city itself and the person of the First. Although a small army, the Winged Guards have established an impressive reputation for military skill.
Mayene is said to be an impressively-sized city, but is notably smaller than Ebou Dar, Caemlyn or Illian. On that basis, the population of the city is probably not higher than 200,000 and may be significantly less.
Mayene’s economy rests on the oilfish shoals, a type of fish which is both a delicacy and produces an impressive oil which burns with much greater efficiency than that found in neighbouring Tear. Mayener oil is sold across the continent and also to the Sea Folk (the Sea Folk island of Cindaking is located just 150 miles from Mayene). Mayene is also favourably placed on the Sea Folk shipping lanes running south to Cindaking, west along the coast to Tremalking and south-east to one of the Sea Folk archipelagos off the coast of Shara.
Mayeners are straight-talking, no-nonsense people who are known for their bluntness and forwardness. However, to those who prove friends and allies, they are also exceptionally and fiercely loyal. Mayeners have a reputation for personal toughness, with the Firsts of Mayene being trained to defend themselves from Tairen assassins from a young age.
Although they can be uncomfortably honest, the rulers of Mayene are also known for skilful diplomacy, forging key alliances to discourage Tairen aggression and protect their borders.
Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.
Murandy is one of the smallest nations of the modern era, a roughly circular nation squeezed between the larger powers of Andor, Illian and Altara. Like Altara, Murandy is a nation more in theory than fact, divided between bickering nobles who only unify in the face of external threats.
The territory currently occupied by Murandy was originally claimed by Coremanda, one of the Ten Nations of the Covenant. Coremanda was destroyed during the Trolloc Wars, with the nations of Aldeshar and Nerevan claiming the territory now held by the Murandy. During the War of the Second Dragon, Nerevan was conquered by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan and later liberated by Artur Hawkwing, who also conquered Aldeshar in FY 963 to bring the entire continent under his rule.
When Hawkwing died in FY 994, his empire collapsed in the many-sided, confusing conflict known as the War of the Hundred Years. The nation of Andor arose to the north-east, but for generations the Queens of Andor were only able to hold small parts of the former province of the same name. Lugard, an important trading city on the main road from Caemlyn to Ebou Dar, became a much fought-over prize, changing hands with startling regularity. In FY 1047 Lady Katrine do Catalan a’Coralle amassed sufficient manpower to seize Lugard in battle and hold it against all comers. She crowned herself the first Queen of Murandy, but was assassinated only a year later. Her successors managed to hold the small nation together despite repeated attacks, eventually forming a confederation of local lords working together with the ruler in Lugard.
By the time the War of the Hundred Years ended, c. FY 1117, Murandy had secured its modern-day borders, which it has held to the modern day.
Murandy has not played a major role in continental affairs, being much consumed by political infighting. It has been, at different times, influenced by Andor to the north and Illian to the south. In 957 NE, the Children of the Light invaded the kingdom of Altara. Fearing that, if successful, Murandy would be next, the Murandian lords joined with the King of Illian in launching a punitive military expedition to drive the Children out of Altara. Despite a middling (at best) military performance, they succeeded and Altara was liberated.
In 978 NE Murandy sent approximately 4,000 troops to help defend Tar Valon at the Battle of the Shining Walls. Due to a lack of obvious military leadership and political intrigue, the army was commanded by a rotating council of nobles. It did not distinguish itself notably on the battlefield.
Murandy consists mainly of hill and river country, some of the hills large enough to be considered low mountains. Its borders are considered to be the River Cary to the south and east, the Splintered Hills in the north and the Cumbar Hills and the River Manetherendrelle to the west and south-west. Then nation is approximately 480 miles across at its widest point. Its major rivers include the Storn, the Reisendrelle and the Cary.
Murandy’s capital and largest city is Lugard, a trading town where, it is said, there are more inns and markets than private residences. The city is noted for its somewhat battered and rude appearance, with apparently little interest in civic pride. Apart from the Royal Palace, there are no real buildings of note in the capital city. The city’s walls are a crumbling ruin, with no-one willing to stump up the coin to repair them. Lugard has a reputation for licentiousness, rude behaviour and crime, with numerous gangs prowling the back alleys and rooftops in search of easy prey. If it wasn’t for the city’s convenient location between the cities of Illian, Ebou Dar, Jehannah and Caemlyn, it would likely be avoided altogether and left to crumble into ruin.
The known towns and city-states of Murandy include Lugard, Inishlinn and Mindea. Villages include Hinderstap and Trustair near the Andoran border.
Murandy is ruled by a hereditary ruler based in Lugard. The King or Queen of Murandy holds only nominal power; as in Altara, the ruler is merely the most powerful noble in the capital (and sometimes not even then), with other lords or ladies perhaps holding more power in other cities or out in the countryside. The current King of Murandy is Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a’Naloy, a somewhat cunning man who holds the ambition of uniting Murandy properly as a nation under his rule. The success of this remains to be seen.
Military & Population
Murandy’s divisiveness, and the determination of the nobility to keep power out of the throne’s hands, means it lacks any elite military formation as exists in other lands. Each noble instead maintains his own private guard, which vary wildly in quality and discipline. Whenever Murandy has had to muster an army for battle, such armies usually number under 10,000 in strength, often half that. This suggests that the population of Murandy may be just 1 million or less, making it the least-populous nation in the Westlands (bar only city-states like Mayene or Far Madding).
Murandy has sour relations with Andor to the north, due to a history of border skirmishes (skirmishes which Andor, with twenty times Murandy’s population and vastly more in military skill, has invariably won). Murandy has better relations with Illian to the south, with whom it has cooperated in successful foreign ventures (albeit more due to Illian’s forces than Murandy’s) on several occasions.
Murandy’s wealth comes from trade. Lugard, despite being widely regarded as a cesspool of human vice and inequity, is well-positioned for trade between Andor, Tar Valon and Cairhien to the north and Altara, Amadicia Ghealdan and Tarabon to the west and south-west, and Illian to the south. The nation has various natural resources, including mineral wealth under the Cumbar Hills to the west, which add to its relative prosperity despite its small size and population.
Murandians are usually friendly, charming and outgoing…as long as they think you have something they want. They make excellent merchants, well-known for their haggling skills and abilities at negotiation (although Domani merchants are usually known to outwit them). Their dress sense is a hodgepodge of styles, usually in opposition to whatever is in fashion at the time in Andor .
The Kingdom of Illian is a relatively small but extremely powerful nation located on the Sea of Storms, at the mouth of the vast River Manetherendrelle. The city of Illian is one of the largest on the continent. The interior is made up of smaller towns and cities thriving on trade between other powers to the east and west. The nation has a strong sense of national pride, making it almost the inverse of Altara to the west or Murandy to the north.
Illian has a strong, long-running enmity with Tear to the east. The two nations have clashed many times for control of trade along the Plains of Maredo and also control of fishing rights on the Sea of Storms.
The nation of Eharon arose after the Breaking of the World, securing much of the territory currently held by Altara and Illian. Its capital was Londaren Cor and its major ports were Barashta in the west and Dorelle Caromon to the east. During the Trolloc Wars, Londaren Cor was razed to the ground and Barashta mostly destroyed (later being rebuilt as Ebou Dar). The Eharonian government retreated to Dorelle Caromon which, defended by vast marshes extending around the city (apart from a single causeway), resisted several attacks until the Shadowspawn were driven from the region in abject defeat. After the wars, Dorelle Caromon was renamed Illian and became the springboard for the reclamation of much of Eharon, which became a new kingdom named Shiota.
Shiota fell to the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan in the War of the Second Dragon and was then liberated by Artur Hawkwing. Illian became a great trade port and centre of mercantile trade in the Hawkwing Empire. It was also one of the ports responsible for the building of the vast fleet designed to attack Shara in FY 993. After Hawkwing’s death in FY 994, the continent descended into the anarchy known as the War of the Hundred Years.
Circa FY 1090, a powerful noblewoman named Lady Esmara Getare seized Illian in battle. From there she conquered all of Illian and the Plains of Maredo, including the city of Far Madding. If she’d stopped there, she may have survived and left behind a legacy of one of the most powerful nations in the Westlands. Instead, she overreached and launched an invasion of Andor which was defeated. Getare was captured by Queen Telaisien and spent ten years as her “guest” before her death (apparently by assassination).
Lord Nicoli Merseneos den Ballin stepped into the breach in Illian, declaring himself the first King of the nation shortly after Getare’s capture. He was supported by a populace tired of war, but faced opposition from other nobles, nine of whom were powerful enough to offer a real challenge. To placate them, Ballin suggested the founding of a body to advise him, known as the Council of Nine. To maintain the support of the commons, he also founded a body known as the Assemblage, where common people – although in practice more often merchants and ship-builders – could also be represented.
This tripartite system has been applauded for the system of “checks and balances” it places on the rulers, preventing anyone from becoming too powerful or tyrannical (it has often also been criticised for being slow and prone to political logjams). It has also been a notably petty system: when King Nicoli told the Council they could build a palace in the Square of Tammaz opposite his own but it had to be smaller, they built an exact replica of his residence only 2 feet smaller in every dimension.
Since this time, Illian has become a very powerful kingdom. It proved its military mettle during the Whitecloak War of 957 NE, when it helped Altara and Murandy defeat the Children of the Light and Amadicia. During the Aiel War in 976-78 NE it sent armies against the Aiel on several occasions, most notably at the Battle of the Shining Walls when it sent 26,000 troops to help defend Tar Valon (one of the largest troop contributions, behind only Shienar and Andor).
Illian measures approximately 630 miles from north to south and about 570 miles from east to west at its widest point, although it is considerably narrower in the north. Its borders are held to the the Doirlon Hills on the Plains of Maredo in the east (the so-called “East Wall” of Illian), the Damona Mountains to the north-west and the River Cary in the far north.
Illian is dominated by the mighty River Manetherendrelle, which bisects the nation from its north-western corner to where it flows into the sea. The Manetherendrelle and its primary tributary, the Arinelle, form the greatest river network on the continent (although the Erinin is the more impressive single river), forming an inland transport network extending all the way from Maradon in Saldaea, over 2,500 miles to the north. Other tributaries also provide river-bound links to Lugard in Murandy. Two other tributaries – the Shal and the Cary – are also notable rivers within Illian’s own borders, providing both transport and trade for the nation’s citizens and merchants.
The Manetherendrelle flows into the Sea of Storms via a vast, marshy drainage basin. The city of Illian itself is located on one of the few stretches of flat uplands in this area. The surrounding terrain is virtually uncrossable, meaning the city has no need for walls: even during the Trolloc Wars, the hordes of Shadowspawn could find no reliable method of crossing the marshes to attack Dorelle Caromon (as Illian was called at the time). As a result, Illian is one of the oldest cities on the continent, never being razed or destroyed as Barashta (now Ebou Dar) was. Much of the original Ogier construction in the city is still visible. The city is centred on the Square of Tammaz, with the King’s Palace and the Great Hall of the Council located at opposite ends. Both palaces are identical save the Great Hall, as previously mentioned, is 2 feet smaller in every dimension. Illian is a city of grand and small canals, bridges, raucous taverns and merchant houses, with a bustling port (one of the busiest on the continent), known as the “Perfumed Quarter” for its fragrance.
Located to the west of Illian are the Nemarellin Mountains, a relatively low range of mountains running along the coast of the peninsula on which Illian sites. When the kingdom was founded the border with Altara ran along the northern edge of the mountains, hence the range’s nickname as the “West Wall” of Illian. Since that time Illian has seized significant territory from Altara and pushed the border back hundreds of miles to the north-west. The mountain range helps protect Illian from the worst of the ceranos storms which form over the Sea of Storms to the south-west and tend to blow north and east across Kabal Deep and the mountains.
Illian is ruled by a hereditary ruler known as the King or Queen. They wield significant power, particularly in foreign affairs and military matters, but are advised by the Council of Nine. The Council consists of the nine most powerful nobles in the country after the ruler and they act as a check on the their power. Both bodies also have to answer to the Assemblage, made up of merchants and other notable “common people” of the kingdom. The result is arguably the most democratic system of government in the Westlands, but also (even more arguably) the least efficient.
The current King of Illian is Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, who has sat on the Royal Throne for over forty years. He led Illian to victory (despite being captured and ransomed) in the Whitecloak War and also commanded the Illianer army in person at the Battle of the Shining Walls. Despite his age, he is known for his shrewdness and skill at military command. King Mattin enjoys good relations with Tar Valon and the Aes Sedai, but somewhat colder relations with both Amadicia and Tear.
Military and Population
Illian’s army is a source of great national pride. Illian’s army is large, well-disciplined and formidably trained, with great military exercises regularly held on the Plains of Maredo in the east of the country. Great hill forts and castles can be found in the Doirlon Hills and on the borders with Murandy and Altara. Illian’s generals are of a reasonable calibre, including King Mattin himself, although none are considered Great Captains.
Part of Illian’s military success is down to its army’s open-mindedness. Foreigners are welcomed into the military, especially veterans from other kingdoms with knowledge of their ways of fighting. Illian’s army has a tradition of adapting to enemy tactics rather than constantly trying the same thing again and again. Particularly formidable is the military formation known as the Illianer Companions, an elite fighting force known for its bravery and steadfastness. The Companions have been credited with significant victories during the Whitecloak War (where their valour alone allowed the army to escape a trap set by the Children of the Light at Soremaine) and the Aiel War (where a Companion detachment defeated an Aiel force on the very slopes of Dragonmount itself).
Based on the military force Illian sent to the Shining Walls and assuming that was only half of the kingdom’s full military potential, Illian’s population may be roughly estimated at somewhere between 5 and 10 million. The city of Illian is said to be the rival of Caemlyn in physical size and population, putting the city’s population at roughly 300,000.
Illian enjoys mineral wealth from the Damona and Nemarellin ranges, but its lifeblood is trade by land, river and sea. Illianer river boats sail up the Manetherendrelle network all the way to Maradon in Saldaea, stopping at Whitebridge (in Andor), Lugard (in Murandy) and Remen (in Altara) along the way. Illianer ocean traders can be found as far afield as Bandar Eban in Arad Doman. Illian is the greatest naval power of the Westlands, although not as accomplished as the Sea Folk in naval technology.
Illianers come in many shapes and sizes, but most are fiercely proud of their nation and its achievements. They make fine soldiers, excellent merchants and canny politicians.
Illianer fashion consists of long coats with raised collars. Men are known for impressive beards, but leave their upper lip shaved. Women favour wide-brimmed hats held in place by scarves wound around the neck. Both men and women favour elaborate footware.
For reasons that are a subject for conjecture, Illian (and Dorelle Caromon before it) has had a strong historical link to the Horn of Valere, a powerful artefact said to be able to summon the armies of the dead to fight for the wielder. The Horn’s whereabouts have been unknown for thousands of years, so Illian occasionally calls Great Hunts for the Horn, where brave adventurers (or, more usually, bored noble youngsters) gather to take the oath to find the Horn and return it to Illian. Many great adventures have been launched in this fashion, collected together in impressive bardic cycles of heroism, adventure and, the less romantically-inclined may say, foolishness. The last Great Hunt was called 400 years ago, but it is rumoured that the King and Council of Illian are considering calling a new one in the near future.
After the chaos of the Breaking of the World, ten nations arose on the new landmass that had formed between the Aryth Ocean and the Spine of the World. These ten great kingdoms, vast and sprawling, allied together in the Compact of the Ten Nations and sought to regain the beauty, tranquillity and richness of the Age of Legends. They may have succeeded, had they not been overrun in the horrors of the Trolloc Wars. After three and a half centuries of gruelling warfare, humanity survived but the Ten Nations didn’t, splintering apart and collapsing into twenty-nine lesser states, the Free Kingdoms, which would endure for another thousand years until the rise of Artur Hawkwing, the High King.
The Breaking of the World lasted for between 239 and 344 years. The Breaking continued as long as male channellers of the One Power endured. Thanks to the Dark One’s taint on saidin at the end of the War of the Shadow, every male channeller of the One Power went insane and used their powers to devastate the world, triggering volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, tearing the earth apart, plunging entire landmasses into the oceans, causing tidal waves and pulling new lands up out of the depths of the sea.
The female Aes Sedai, and some ordinary people, dedicated themselves to the job of killing male channellers wherever they found them. For the Aes Sedai, they could also still them, leaving them alive but stripped of the ability to channel (although this was scant kindness in such a harsh world as they remained twisted and insane). For every male channeller killed or gentled, the intensity of the Breaking lessened. For the last few years and maybe decades of the Breaking, it was more of a background event with the occasional major earthquake rather than the continuous, world-destroying chaos it was at its height (hence the disagreement about when precisely it ended).
Toma dur Ahmid was a scholar and historian living in what would become the nation of Safer (it is believed that Toman Head was named for him, indicating he was a scholar of some repute, although much of his work has been lost today). Toma devised a new calendar system by backtracking through dates and consulting with other sources, including possibly Brown Ajah sisters of the reconstituted Aes Sedai. From these he was able to discern when the last male Aes Sedai was killed or gentled (almost two centuries earlier) and numbered all subsequent years as After the Breaking. This calendar, the Toman Calendar, had gained widespread acceptance by circa 200 AB.
During the Breaking, all of the high civilisation of the Age of Legends was lost. Most cities were destroyed, drowned or devastated, and the few that survived were abandoned, as their tall buildings were no longer safe. New cities and towns were founded, some of wood, others of stone as people had to rediscover how to build things from scratch. The earliest city founded in the newly-formed Westlands was almost certainly Tear. Aes Sedai took the massive stone hill located where Tear now lies and used the Power to shape it into a fortress known as the Stone of Tear. The city took shape around it, either late in the Breaking or early immediately afterwards. Parts of the Panarch’s Palace in Tanchico date back even further, to the Age of Legends, with friezes and other items depicting now mostly incomprehensible images of life in that Age. These objects are believed to have been saved during the Breaking and installed in the Palace when Tanchico – originally called Mainelle – was built very soon after the Breaking.
Other cities were founded and built, and from these cities new nations arose and spread. When their borders met, skirmishes and even war resulted. The arising of the nation of Safer, on the west coast, and Manetheren to its east, beyond the Mountains of Mist, seems to have been particularly contentious, despite the presence of the mountains as a natural boundary between them. The precise nature of the two nations’ enmity is speculative, but it may have been down to control of Lake Somal, the largest freshwater lake on the continent, and the Manetherenese comfort and skill in navigating mountain ranges, which they found relatively easy to live in and cross (the highway linking the city of Manetheren and Jara’copan, extending through what most would consider impassable terrain today, is a sign of this). King Aedomon of Safer invaded Manetheren, where he was met by King Buiryn at the Battle of Midean’s Ford. Although Manetheren was defeated and Buiryn slain, the battle bled the Saferi army so badly it had to withdraw. It is assumed this war took place during the first two centuries After the Breaking.
In 47 AB the approximately sixteen largest factions claiming to be descended from the Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends met and agreed to form a new, unified organisation. After initial problems with this (including a disagreement that led to a brief civil conflict), construction began of the Aes Sedai city, Tar Valon, in 98 AB. Both human construction workers and Ogier stonemasons were involved, and the One Power was used to strengthen the buildings as they were created. It took over a century for Tar Valon to be completed, with the final buildings completed in 202 AB. During this period the slowly-growing nations had the same idea and commissioned Ogier stedding to help build their own cities as well.
In 209 AB Mabriam en Shareed, Queen of Aramaelle and also Aes Sedai, called a grand meeting of the rulers at Tar Valon. They she proposed an alliance of the ten kingdoms, an end to border wars and disputes and an attempt to strengthen humanity against the still-extant (although quiet) threat of the Shadow. The negotiations were long, complex and difficult, but ultimately prevailed thanks to Aes Sedai mediation. With Aes Sedai ruling several of the kingdoms, or married to their kings or acting as their advisors, it was possible to overcome areas of dispute and finalise borders and responsibilities. By the end of negotiations, the Compact of the Ten Nations (sometimes called the Second Covenant of Tar Valon, the first presumably being the meeting of 47 AB) was established and signed by the following rulers:
The Compact of the Ten Nations endured for over eight centuries. During this time humanity regained some of what had been lost in the Breaking. Other grand cities were built (Londaren Cor, the new capital of Eharon, was built after Tar Valon and was reportedly even more beautiful), new art forms developed and technology improved. Hopes were high that all that had been lost could be regained.
This was not to be. Circa 1000 AB, reports came of a massive Shadowspawn assault on the northern Jaramidian city of Barsine, located in the western Mountains of Dhoom. A horde of Trollocs, larger than anything seen since the War of the Shadow, struck south into Jaramide, burning and destroying everything in its path. A similar horde struck into Aramaelle, via Tarwin’s Gap. The nations rallied to the defence, but the tidal wave of Shadowspawn could not be held back. Three centuries of warfare followed, the Trolloc Wars, of which more will be related elsewhere.
At the end of the wars the Trolloc threat was defeated. The tide turned at the Fourth Siege of Tar Valon in 1290 AB and the Battle of Maighande in 1301 AB, both victories orchestrated by the Soldier Amyrlin, Rashima Kerenmosa of the Aes Sedai (she lost her life in the latter, the largest battle fought since the War of the Shadow). Fifty years later, the last Trolloc horde south of the Blight was destroyed, ending the conflict. Aramelle, Almoren, Aridhol, Manetheren and Coremanda had fallen during the war, and the remaining nations had begun to break apart from the political, social and military stress of such prolonged warfare. Twenty-nine new nations arose in their wake, of which more will be told later.
Aelgar was located in the south-west of the Westlands. It stretched from the mouth of the River Andahar almost to the mouth of the River Eldar, and from the Mountains of Mist to the Shadow Coast. Aelgar contained all of the modern territory of Amadicia and parts of north-western Altara and most of Tarabon.
Its capital city was Ancohima, of which all trace has been lost, and its other Ogier-built cities were Condaris, Mainelle (modern Tanchico) and Shar Honelle.
Relatively little is known of Aelgar, aside from its borders and some of its cities. The location of its capital is unknown. It is known that it was a wealthy country, presumably based on trade (as Tarabon is today), and its early king Ramedan being called “Goldentongued” suggests that the nation may favoured honeyed diplomacy as its way of resolving issues, possibly in light of the more fractious relationship between Safer and Manetheren to the north.
Aelgar survived the Trolloc Wars but collapsed afterwards, being divided between the kingdoms of Balasun and Kharendor.
Almoren was located in the east of the Westlands. Its borders are the River Erinin in the west, the Spine of the World in the east and the River Iralell to the south. Its northern border with Aramaelle was set during the Compact. Almoren contained all of modern Cairhien and significantly more territory to the north, beyond Kinslayer’s Dagger, and south, beyond the Maraside Mountains.
Its capital city was Al’cair’rahienallen, which became modern Cairhien. Its other Ogier-built city was Jennshain.
Little is known of Almoren, except it was a rich and powerful kingdom. It controlled the western end of Jangai Pass, so all merchants and peddlers heading for Shara across the Aiel Waste had to travel through Almoren, and it was also close to Tar Valon. Its capital, Al’cair’rahienallen (“Hill of the Golden Dawn” in the Old Tongue), was famed for its wealth.
During the Trolloc Wars, Almoren was overrun and completely destroyed, although enough of the capital survived to be subsequently rebuilt as Cairhien. Almoren’s territory was divided between the successor kingdoms of Shandalle, Tova (which inherited Cairhien as its capital), Ileande, Hamarea and Khodomar.
Aramaelle was located in the north-east of the Westlands. It was one of the “Borderlands” of its day, although that term was not used at the time. Its borders were the Spine of the World to the east, the Mountains of the Dhoom to the north, the Plain of Lances to the west and the headwaters of the River Haevin to the south. Aramaelle contained all of the territory belonging to Malkier, Shienar and Arafel, and most of Kandor. The Black Hills were also part of the kingdom.
Its capital city was Mafal Dadaranell (modern Fal Dara). Its other Ogier-built cities were Anolle’sanna, Cuebiyarsande and Rhahime Naille.
Aramaelle was one of the first nations to coalesce after the Breaking, allying very early on with the Aes Sedai whilst Tar Valon was still under construction, and also identified the still-extant threat from the Great Blight. It was Queen Mabriam of Aramaelle who, with Aes Sedai help, negotiated the Compact of the Ten Nations.
Despite Aramaelle’s forward-thinking acts, it was the first kingdom to fall during the Trolloc Wars, with its capital city utterly obliterated and the rest of the kingdom overrun. The symbol of the rule of Aramaelle was a signet ring, which was inherited by the rulers of Rhamdashar, one of the nations that arose from Aramaelle’s ruins, and then by its own successor kingdom, Malkier. The fact that the ring of Aramaelle has survived the better part of four thousand years suggests it was created with the One Power.
As well as Rhamdashar, the kingdoms of Oburun, Elsalam and Roemalle also arose on the former territory of Aramaelle after the Trolloc Wars.
Aridhol was located in the central-western part of the Westlands. It was bordered by the River Arinelle to the south, the River Haevin to the east and the foothills of the Mountains of Mist to the west, with a negotiated border with Jaramide to the north. Aridhol was the smallest of the Ten Nations. Aside from a very narrow strip of land along the bank of the Arinelle, which is now part of western Andor, none of Aridhol’s territory intersects with that of a modern nation.
Its capital city was also called Aridhol, located on the banks of the Arinelle in the far south-western corner of the kingdom. It is the most well-preserved city from this period, but no-one dares enter it now. During the Trolloc Wars something bizarre and unnatural happened to the city and it became known as Shadar Logoth, “Shadow’s Waiting”, and both humans and Shadowspawn fear to approach it. It’s other Ogier-built cities were Abor’maseleine and Cyrendemar’naille.
During the Trolloc Wars Aridhol was threatened by invasion from the north-east after Aramaelle’s destruction. King Balwen Mayel despaired, as his nation was small, less well-populated and less militarily powerful than others. Balwen loved his country and would have done anything to save it and to preserve his beautiful city for the future. A counsellor named Mordeth took advantage of this zeal, suggesting they turn the tactics of the Shadow against it. Aridhol became a hard, cold and martial land where any sacrifice and any tactic was worthwhile to gain victory. Aridhol became a land of paranoia and darkness. Aridhol’s old ally, Manetheren, attempted to win the kingdom back to the light and failed.
Exactly what Mordeth did is unclear, although some claim he may have visited the mysterious Tower of Ghenjei that lay within the nation’s borders, and gained a potential weapon to use against the Shadow. The nature of this weapon was unclear, as it consumed the entire city of Aridhol in a blanketing, evil fog known as Mashadar. It is believed every single living thing in Aridhol was killed. This evil was different and indifferent to the evil of the Shadow; a Trolloc army invaded Aridhol and destroyed the other cities of the kingdom, but when it camped in the capital it promptly vanished, every single Shadowspawn apparently slain and their bodies consumed.
King Balwen gained his wish: the city of Aridhol survived…after a fashion. Nature did not overrun the ruins, the stone buildings remained mostly standing and the city’s glory was preserved, but only as a cold, lifeless monument known afterwards as Shadar Logoth, “Where the Shadow Waits” or “Shadow’s Waiting” in the Old Tongue. Those who spend time in Shadar Logoth do not return, and those who have tried to ransack the city have come to horrific ends. It is said that Mashadar and maybe Mordeth himself still haunt the city, somehow.
Aridhol was shunned, but the people outside of the capital eventually rallied and founded a new nation called Masenashar, which arose after the Trolloc Wars.
Coremanda was located in the centre of the Westlands. Its borders were the rivers Haevin and Luan to the north, along with the Black Hills; the River Erinin to the east; the rivers Manetherendrelle, Arinelle and Haeven to the west; and the Hills of Kintara and River Cary to the south. Coremanda contains the modern eastern half of Andor and most of Murandy. The great plain known as Caralain Grass was also located in the kingdom.
Its capital city was Shaemal, of which all trace has been lost. Its other Ogier-built cities were Hai Caemlyn (Old Caemlyn, which survives as the city centre of modern Caemlyn) and Nailine Samfara.
Coremanda was a rich and powerful nation, its capital of Shaemal famed for its great crystal dome. Coremanda, located at the heart of the continent, was a great centre of trade with goods from all over the Westlands passing through its borders.
The destruction of Aramaelle to the north, Aridhol and Manetheren to the west and Almoren to the east eventually led to Coremanda being outflanked and invaded from several directions. It could not stand against such numbers. Shaemal’s great crystal dome was shattered and the city destroyed in such detail that almost no trace of it exists today. Even its location is debatable (although some have pointed to western Caralaine Grass, near the exact centre of the continent where Artur Hawkwing later planned to built a city, as a likely location). Other parts of Coremanda were more fortunate, with the second city of Hai Caemlyn resisting several attacks. After the Trolloc Wars ended, Hai Caemlyn was rebuilt and greatly expanded as New Caemlyn (later just Caemlyn), which became the capital city of Caembarin.
Other nations that arose out of the ruins of Coremanda were Aldeshar, Nerevan and Dal Calain.
Eharon was located in the south-central region of the Westlands. Its borders were the River Manetherendrelle and River Shal to the east; the River Cary and River Storn to the north; the River Eldar to the west; and the Sea of Storms to the south. Eharon’s territory is today claimed by Altara, western Illian and south-western Murandy.
Eharon’s capital city was Londaren Cor, built after Tar Valon by (apparently) the same Ogier stonemasons who built that city. Londaren Cor was built around three hills known as the Dancers, with the seat of the ruler being known as the Palace of the Moon. Its other Ogier-built cities were Barashta (modern Ebou Dar) and Dorelle Caromon (modern Illian).
Eharon was famed for its civility, its dances and lavish ceremonies. As a major centre of trade, controlling two of the largest and richest ports on the south coast, it was rich, powerful and peaceful. The Trolloc Wars ended that. After the fall of Manetheren and Coremanda, Eharon was invaded by Shadowspawn armies. Londaren Cor and Barashta were sacked and destroyed. When the Trollocs reached Barashta, they effectively divided the continent in two. However, in the process they overextended themselves and were driven back with very heavy losses. Eharon, remarkably, survived the destruction of both its capital and largest port, with the surviving nobility and military presumably using Dorelle Caromon as their new capital. As the war wound down, the ruins of Barashta were reclaimed and a new city built over the ruins, Ebou Dar.
When the Free Kingdoms arose, parts of Eharon’s borders were snatched away by the rising kingdoms of Nerevan and Esandara. The rest of Eharon was renamed as Shiota, becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of the period between the Trolloc Wars and the rise of Artur Hawkwing.
Essenia was located in the south-east of the Westlands. Its borders were the River Manetherendrelle and River Shal to the west, the Hills of Kintara and River Iralell to the north, the Spine of the World and Drowned Lands to the east and the Sea of Storms to the south. Essenia contains the entire modern territories of Tear and Mayene, as well as most of Haddon Mirk and the Plains of Maredo.
Essenia’s capital city was Aren Mador (modern Far Madding). Its other Ogier-built cities were Dalsande and Tear.
Essenia is intriguing as the only one of the Ten Nations not ruled by a monarchy. Instead, it was ruled by a council of nobles, the chairman and representative of whom was known as the First Lord. The modern nation of Tear, one of Essenia’s successors, seems to have modelled itself after this system. Essenia’s largest city was Tear, near the south coast, but intriguingly the rulers decided to make Aren Mador (modern Far Madding) their capital. This may have been down to defence, as Aren Mador was located on an island in the middle of a large lake with easily-defended bridges linking it to the surrounding countryside. In addition, Aren Mador was the home of a powerful ter’angreal known as the Guardian, which made channelling within the city impossible. This put the rulers on an even keel with their Aes Sedai advisors and visitors.
Essenia may have been the nation that survived the Trolloc Wars in the best shape: both Aren Mador and Tear survived the war untaken. If so, it did not help: Essenia split apart after the war into the nations of Fergansea, Moreina, Talmour and Esandara.
Jaramide was located in the north-west of the Westlands. Its borders were the Aryth Ocean to the west, the Mountains of Dhoom to the north, the River Dhagon and River Akuum to the south and the Plain of Lances to the east. All of modern Saldaea, parts of far western Kandor and a large part of Arad Doman were located within Jaramide’s borders.
Jaramide’s capital city was Deranbar (modern Maradon). Its other Ogier-built cities were Barsine, Allorallen (modern Bandar Eban), Canaire’somelle and Nashebar.
Jaramide was one of the largest, most powerful and richest of the Ten Nations. It consisted of numerous cities, many of whom may have had a notable degree of autonomy: the ruler of Jaramide was known as the “High King” or “High Queen”, a title not used again until Artur Hawkwing, who ruled over an empire where local governors had a notable degree of autonomous power.
Jaramide, like Aramaelle to the east, was one of the ancestors of the Borderlands. It maintained watchtowers along the Blight, with the city of Barsine located in the Mountains of Dhoom themselves. Barsine, famed for its golden spires, guarded the narrow western passes through the mountains but was also a great trading city in its own right, exporting lace across the continent. Circa 1000 AB Barsine was attacked and destroyed by a vast Trolloc horde. This horde was halted in battle further south, but at the same time an even bigger horde invaded Aramaelle via Tarwin’s Gap and destroyed the capital at Mafal Dadaranell (with some suggesting the Jaramide invasion may have been a feint), thus beginning the Trolloc Wars.
Jaramide was on the front line of the Trolloc Wars, fighting fiercely against the Shadow. This became more desperate after Aramaelle to the east and Aridhol to the south-east both fell, allowing the Shadow to launch constant attacks from several directions. Fortunately, the Shadowspawn were more intent on destroying Manetheren and Eharon in an attempt to split the Ten Nations in two, which allowed Jaramide to survive.
After the end of the Trolloc Wars circa 1350 AB, Jaramide collapsed and splintered into the smaller nations of Abayan, Oman Dashar, Indrahar and Basharande.
Manetheren (“Mountain Home” in the Old Tongue) was located in the central-western region of the Westlands. Its borders were the River Arinelle to the north, the Arinelle and Manetherendrelle to the east, the River Eldar and Damona Mountains to the south and the Mountains of Mist and Lake Somal to the west. The western part of Andor, all of Ghealdan and the northern half of Altara all lay within the borders of Manetheren.
Manetheren’s capital city was also called Manetheren and was located in the lower Mountains of Mist, between the headwaters of the Manetherendrelle to the south and the Tarendrelle to the north. Its other Ogier-built cities were Corartheren, Jara’copan (in the foothills of the Mountains of Mist) and Shanaine (modern Jehannah).
Manetheren is one of the most famous of the Ten Nations, stories and songs from its time surviving even to the present. It was built on mineral wealth, with immense mines springing up in the Mountains of Mist producing gold and silver. Fast-flowing rivers made the land fertile and provided rapid transit across the kingdom. For defence, the capital city of Manetheren was built high up in the hills, in the eastern flanks of the mountains themselves, and was a storied wonder. Even the Ogier seemed speechless at what they had created and the city became a spectacle of the continent. Only Tar Valon and Londaren Cor could rival its beauty.
Also famed was the martial zeal of Manetheren. The kingdom’s mineral wealth was jealously coveted by others. Safer and Manetheren fought numerous wars before the Compact of the Ten Nations ended such struggles. Still, enmity between the two kingdoms endured even to the Trolloc Wars. Manetheren’s foremost military force was the Band of the Red Hand, an elite formation which was famed for its skill, its versatility and its speed. Unusually, membership of the Band was opened to people from other kingdoms so the Manetherenese could learn from the military traditions of other nations. The organisation of the Illianer Companions and the Children of the Light owes something to the Band’s practical but flexible approach to warfare.
Manetheren’s rulers were rich and powerful. The kingdom enjoyed a strong alliance with Tar Valon and several Aes Sedai became queens of the kingdom.
During the Trolloc Wars it would have been easy for Manetheren to seal its borders, fortify the river crossings and hold back, secure that it could always pull back to the near-impregnable capital to ride out the conflict. However, hiding was not Manetheren’s way. The Manetherenese military, with the Band of the Red Hand in the vanguard, took the field and marched to the aid of its allies, fighting on the front lines, retiring to regroup and resupply but always returning to the thick of the fighting. The forces of Manetheren became known as the “thorn in the Dark One’s foot and the bramble in his hand”, the most implacable enemy of the Shadowspawn during the Trolloc Wars. Manetheren became acclaimed as the “sword that could not be broken” for its undefeatable will.
Manetheren’s northern flank was held by its close ally Aridhol. After the fall of Aramaelle, Aridhol came under pressure from the Shadow. Manetheren provided aid where it could, but it appeared that King Balwen Mayel was falling into despair. Under the guidance of the enigmatic counsellor, Mordeth, Balwen put into place harsh laws and merciless discipline, turning Aridhol into a cold and brutal land to better resist the brutal tactics of the Shadow. Concerned at what was happening, King Thorin al Toren al Ban sent his son Prince Caar to swing Aridhol back to the light. Instead, the Manetherenese delegation was killed and Caar imprisoned and tortured. Caar escaped back to the Mountain Home. Furious, King Thorin sent Manetheren’s army against Aridhol, believing the nation had fallen to a fate worse than the Shadow. They found the capital city a cold, abandoned mausoleum. Sensing great evil and danger, King Thorin returned home after leaving orders that the city was not to be approached by anyone. Thus was born the legend of Shadar Logoth.
Several decades later, Prince Caar’s son Aemon became King of Manetheren. His wife was Eldrene ay Ellan ay Carlan, an Aes Sedai of exceptional strength and skill. They led their nation as a formidable team, Aemon as a general and soldier of renown and Eldrene as a statesman and ruler of the home front. The strategic position at this time (c. 1200 AB) was increasingly desperate: Aramaelle, Aridhol and possibly Almoren had fallen; Jaramide and Coremanda were under concerted attack; and Tar Valon had already faced several sieges. Despite this, news of a large Shadowspawn army moving south with its flank exposed to Manetheren was something Aemon could not ignore. He took the bulk of Manetheren’s army and destroyed the Shadowspawn force at the Battle of the Field of Bekkar, the Field of Blood.
But this battle was a feint. Word came from the north of a vast Shadowspawn horde, one of the largest seen in the war, moving south towards Manetheren itself. King Aemon force-marched his army back home. He was unable to gain the Arinelle before the leading elements of the Shadow forces had already crossed the river and secured a bridgehead, so he fell back on the next defensive line: the River Tarendrelle. Two large bridges crossed the Tarendrelle and Aemon resolved to form a new defence here.
Word had been sent for aid, to Safer, Aelgar, Eharon and beyond, and even to Tar Valon where Eldrene’s girlhood acquaintance Tetsuan now ruled as Amyrlin Seat. Several of these kingdoms were close enough to send troops by land, and possibly even small forces and Aes Sedai reinforcements by the Ways (the Aes Sedai-created “tunnels” through reality linking several Ogier Waygates together). But Tetsuan harboured a grudge against Eldrene for their childhood together in the White Tower. Eldrene had been accounted more beautiful and stronger in the Power. If she had remained in the Tower, she would probably have been elected Amyrlin instead of Tetsuan. Burning with jealousy, Tetsuan refused to send aid and encouraged several of Manetheren’s allies to also withhold their strength, warning the attack was a ruse designed to weaken their own borders.
Thus, Manetheren’s army faced the Shadow alone. The Battle of the Tarendrelle was a gruelling nine-day engagement where the Manetherenese threw back wave after wave of Shadowspawn as they tried to cross the river, until it ran red with their blood. Initially Manetheren held the east bank, which allowed them to directly fight the Shadow at full strength for nine days. They then fell back to the west bank, firing the bridges behind them, and used missile fire to slaughter Shadowspawn before they could cross. However, the nine-day action on the east bank, although logical given the expected reinforcements, proved to be a mistake. Too many troops had been lost to effectively hold the west bank despite the defensive benefits of the river.
The action gave time for the city of Manetheren to be evacuated. Civilians were sent south and west in great floods, to seek safety in the southern cities of Jara’copan and Shanaine and, when it became clear they would not hold, then Aelgar, Eharon, Safer and other parts of the Ten Nations.
On the eleventh day of combat, the Shadow gained the southern bank of the Tarendrelle. With reinforcements pouring across, King Aemon gave the order to retreat. A running battle lasted for several days, until his surviving forces reached a crossroads to the east of the city of Manetheren. There he made his final stand, holding the Shadow at bay through another full day of battle before he was finally overwhelmed and slain in what became known as the Battle of Aemon’s Field.
At the moment of his death, his wife Eldrene channelled far more of the One Power than was safe or advisable. The torrent of Power obliterated the Shadowspawn army that stood victorious on Aemon’s Field, killing the Dreadlords and Myrddraal accompanying it. The torrent of Power went on and on, consuming not just the Shadowspawn but also the entire city of Manetheren. Eldrene herself was destroyed by the force she had unleashed, but leaving behind no trace of Shadowspawn south of the Tarendrelle. It would be many, many years before the Shadow dared to venture south again, to begin the invasion of Eharon.
For her part in delaying the relief of Manetheren and for sacrificing hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of lives to her own vanity, Tetsuan was deposed from the Amyrlin Seat. She was stilled and put to work as a scullery maid. She died three years later.
After the end of the Trolloc Wars, Manetheren’s territory was divided between the newly-established kingdoms of Farashelle and Dhowlan.
Safer was located in the central-western region of the Westlands. Its borders were the rivers Akuum and Dhagon to the north, the Mountains of Mist to the east, the Aryth Ocean to the west and a negotiated border with Aelgar to the south. Safer consisted of the southern half of Arad Doman, all of Almoth Plain and Toman Head and the northern half of Tarabon.
Safer’s capital city was Iman (modern Katar). Its other Ogier-built cities were Miereallen modern Falme) and Shainrahien. Modern Falme has no evidence of Ogier construction, as Miereallen was utterly destroyed during the Trolloc Wars it left behind no trace. Falme is merely built in the same vicinity.
Safer rose early in the period after the Breaking. It’s scholar Toma dur Ahmid was the one who created the Toman Calendar. Safer was militarily powerful and ambitious, clashing with Manetheren over control of mines in the Mountains of Mist and of the freshwater Lake Somal. Such enmity ended with the signing of the Compact, but the two nations remained on icy terms for some years afterwards.
During the Trolloc Wars, Safer’s army marched to the relief of several of the other kingdoms, most notably Jaramide who was nearly overrun early in the war. Although Jaramide and Safer both, more or less, survived the wars, they did not do so intact and several of Safer’s cities were destroyed in the conflict. Safer’s forces were too far away to help Manetheren when the latter was invaded and destroyed, and conflicting information from Amyrlin Tetsuan delayed the sending of reinforcements until it was far too late.
After the conclusion of the wars, Safer’s territory broke apart into the kingdoms of Oman Dashar, Elan Dapor and Darmovan.
Notes on the Map
The map is based on the map of the Ten Nations provided in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. This map is very small and lacking in detail, so a few judgement calls had to be made on where to place the borders.
Cities are only placed where we know their exact location or can infer them from information in the text.
Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.
The White Tower is the primary stronghold, training academy and redoubt of the modern Aes Sedai, the wielders of the One Power. It is located in the centre of Tar Valon, the largest city of the Westlands, on an island in the middle of the wide and fast-flowing River Erinin. It is located north-west of Cairhien, north-east of Andor and south of the Borderlands, to the east of the Black Hills.
Apart from the Stone of Tear, the White Tower is the largest artificial structure in the Westlands, and reportedly the world, although the Seanchan claim that the Court of the Nine Moons in Seandar is both larger and more impressive, along with several other structures in the empire. The truth of this remains unknown.
In the Age of Legends the Aes Sedai – “Servants of All” in the Old Tongue – were channellers of the One Power, both male and female. They were loosely organised in a guild, commanded by the Hall of the Servants. The Hall – both the body and the building in which it operated – was located in Paaran Disen, the largest and most beautiful city in the world.
At the end of the War of the Shadow, the Dark One’s curse tainted saidin, the male half of the True Source, driving all male channellers insane on the instant. In their insanity they destroyed civilisation and almost wiped out humanity in a series of tumultuous earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions known as the Breaking of the World. The Breaking lasted for some three centuries and was ended only when the last male Aes Sedai was killed or gentled (cut off from the Power).
In the aftermath of the Breaking, numerous organisations of women able to channel had formed. These had been begun by female Aes Sedai survivors of the Age of Legends, who had found and trained girls. The process had been complicated by the loss of the art of Travelling (able to travel thousands of miles in an instant with the Power), possibly due to the constantly shifting ground making it impossible to “learn” a location in the world and work out how to Travel to another. The groups trained others and so on. By the end of the Breaking it appears that few or no Aes Sedai from before the chaos survived.
How many groups of female channellers emerged from the chaos of the Breaking is unknown. What is known is that these groups soon began jostling for power and influence with one another, sometimes violently. It may well be that the Westlands may have gone the way of Seanchan, a shifting quilt of kingdoms ruled by Aes Sedai warlords, had not reason prevailed.
In 47 AB a grand convocation was held of female channellers. Approximately sixteen factions were represented, possibly more, and the names of twelve representatives are recorded: Elisane Tishar, Mistora Caal, Karella Fanway, Azille Narof, Saraline Amerano, Dumera Alman, Salindi Casolan, Catlynde Artein, Biranca Hasad, Mailaine Harvole, Nemaira Eldros and Lideine Rajan. It appears that each woman represented a separate group or organisation claiming to be Aes Sedai. During this conference it appears there was an agreement to ally these factions into one “true” Aes Sedai organisation. Each one of the separate factions was to become an ajah, a political alliance within the larger organisation. Ajah were a creation of the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends, temporary groups which came together on certain issues. It appears they were prevented from becoming permanent factions due to the divisiveness, factionalisation and tribalism this encouraged (believed by some to have resulted to significant chaos in the period before the Age of Legends began). Groups such as the Hundred Companions and the Fateful Concord were ajah of the War of the Shadow, for example.
Once the agreement was made to ally the Aes Sedai together, it was also decided they would need a base of operations. The wide island on the River Erinin within sight of Dragonmount, the burial mound of Lews Therin Telamon and reportedly the place where he would be reborn, was a natural choice. However, the amalgamation of the Aes Sedai was not smooth. It appears that, at a certain point, Lideine Rajan and Mailaine Harvole rebelled against the way things were being handled and tried to break away from the nascent organisation. At the end of the resulting conflict, circa 77 AB, Lideine was stilled and Mailaine forced to surrender.
In 98 AB construction of both the city of Tar Valon and the White Tower began. Ogier stonemasons were contracted and the One Power was employed in both endeavours. By this year the organisation of the Aes Sedai had become established, with Elisane Tishar listed as the first Amyrlin Seat (a title descended from the First Among Equals of the Age of Legends Aes Sedai, who wore the ring of Tamyrlin). The Hall of the Tower had been established to advise her, consisting of seven advisors: Caal, Fanway, Narof, Amerano, Almoan, Casolan and a newcomer, Kiam Lopiang. This suggests that the earlier twelve ajah had by now amalgamated into seven, with Lopiang perhaps representing Mailaine Harvole’s now-reconciled faction.
During this period the Aes Sedai carried out a purge of other groups claiming the title. This purge was thorough and widespread. During this period the Aes Sedai also established firm influence through the nascent city-states and nations, with several Aes Sedai rising to command these polities as governors and sometimes Queens.
By the time Tar Valon was completed in 202 AB, the current formal organisation of the White Tower had come into being. The Aes Sedai were split into seven permanent Ajah, each represented by a colour: Blue, Brown, Green, Grey, Red, Yellow and White. Each Ajah is represented in the Hall of the Tower by three Sitters, for twenty-one Sitters in total. The Amyrlin Seat is the head of the Tower, the first among equals, with the Keeper of the Chronicles serving as her aide-de-camp.
This organisation remains in place today, despite the numbers of Aes Sedai falling. The White Tower was designed to hold 3,000 women, with room for future expansion, meaning the original number of Aes Sedai was likely between 2,000 and 2,500. That number was approximately 1,250 during the Aiel War, some 3,254 years after Tar Valon’s completion. The reduction in numbers is slow, but steady. Some Aes Sedai believe this is down to the Aes Sedai practice of gentling or killing male channellers “winnowing” the ability to channel out of the human race, whilst others point to the lack of proactive Aes Sedai recruitment: since far more women can learn to channel than have the inborn spark, the majority of these will go undetected unless found by an Aes Sedai. The potential number of Aes Sedai sisters, given the population of the Westlands, is likely in the tens of thousands at least, but the White Tower prefers a smaller, more flexible organisation.
In 209 AB Mabriam en Shareed of Aramaelle, both Queen and Aes Sedai, called a meeting at Tar Valon between the rulers of the ten nations that had arisen. At this meeting was signed the Compact of the Ten Nations, binding them to peaceful coexistence and mutual trade and alliance in face of the Shadowspawn threat. The Aes Sedai likely played a key role in mediating this treaty. The treaty held for eight centuries until the Westlands were invaded by Shadowspawn hordes in 1000 AB, marking the beginning of the Trolloc Wars.
The Aes Sedai proved key in defeating the Shadow during the wars, particularly the leadership and impressive military acumen displayed by Rashima Kerenmosa, the Soldier Amyrlin. Rashima’s bold leadership saw the Fourth Siege of Tar Valon (1290 AB) end in a stunning victory, followed by her planning for the Battle of Maighande (1301 AB), the largest battle fought since the War of the Shadow. The surviving armies of the Ten Nations crushed the Shadow, slaughtering so many Myrddraal and Dreadlords that the Trollocs went out of control and lost all battle discipline. This reduced the rest of the war to a prolonged mopping-up exercise. Rashima gave her life and that of her five Warders in the battle, personally slaying nine Dreadlords in direct combat.
During the Free Year period, Aes Sedai influenced remained key but somewhat dwindled. After Queen Sulmara of Masenashar (c. FY 450) no Aes Sedai are reported as ruling nations and respect for the organisation, although still present, was less all-encompassing. A particular blow to the organisation was the Black Fever, which swept across the continent in FY 937-939 and killed millions of people. Although the Aes Sedai helped where they could, the number of sick people was too high and the number of Aes Sedai (particularly Yellow sisters, who specialised in Healing) too low. This was followed by the opportunistic rise of Guaire Amalasan, a false Dragon. Seizing control of the Kingdom of Darmovan in FY 939, he embarked on a campaign of conquest which, by the spring FY 943, had delivered a third of the continent into his hands. He was defeated by Artur Hawkwing at the Battle of Jolvaine Pass in FY 943, who then delivered him to Tar Valon to be gentled. Hawkwing then had to help defend Tar Valon from a counter-attack by Amalasan’s followers in a fierce battle that reached the White Tower itself. Hawkwing was credited with saving Tar Valon, to the unmitigated fury of the Amyrlin Seat, Bonwhin Meraighdin, who could not countenance the idea of a man saving the White Tower. Bonwhin spent almost fifty years trying to destroy Hawkwing, including manipulating other nations into attacking him and – as certainly Hawkwing believed – arranging the deaths of his wife and children. The latter incident (although doubted by historians and Aes Sedai) inspired Hawkwing to break all ties with Tar Valon and besiege the city in starting in FY 975. In FY 992 Deane Aryman, a Sitter for the Blue Ajah, exposed evidence confirming that Bonwhin had tried to manipulate and control Hawkwing against the Hall of the Tower’s command. Bonwhein was deposed and stilled only two years before Hawkwing’s own death from advanced age.
The War of the Hundred Years was a particular low point for the Aes Sedai, who were unable to bring their influence to bear to mediate an end to the conflict. The war petered out by itself. A combination of the Aes Sedai’s failure and the rise of the Children of the Light, a military ascetic group who believed that the Aes Sedai were Darkfriends for their use of the Creator’s blessed power, saw Aes Sedai influence and respect tumble (along with their numbers) in the subsequent thousand years.
Design & Layout of the White Tower
The White Tower is 600 feet tall and measures 300 feet across at the base, tapering to 200 feet wide at the top. The Tower is connected to two wings which each extend 300 feet from the main tower and are 150 feet tall apiece. At the rear of the White Tower, but a separate building altogether, is the palatial Tower Library. Several other structures are located in the same compound, including quarters for Warders and stables.
The White Tower is divided into 40 distinct levels. The top 20 levels are roughly 12 feet tall apiece, with the bottom 20 levels being about 15 feet tall apiece. The wings contain 15 levels apiece, with ceilings about 8.5 feet tall. The floors are roughly each 1.5 feet thick. The Tower’s structural strength is provided by the cunning stonemasonry of the Ogier combined with the One Power, which effectively fused the entire building into one solid structure. The roof is flat and provides for impressive views over the city and the surrounding countryside. The Tower includes significant subterranean storage, extending hundreds of feet below ground.
The entrance to the White Tower is a wide gateway which leads to a meeting and visitor’s hall. Behind the hall are the kitchens and dining rooms. The novices and Accepted share one dining room and the Aes Sedai another, both two-floor rooms. The ground floor also contains the study of the Mistress of Novices and the testing chamber where novices become Accepted. The 3rd level contains the Amyrlin Seat’s traditional offices and chambers, with the office of the Keeper of the Chronicles located nearby. Some Amyrlins have considering adopting a splendid office on the 40th level at the very top of the Tower instead, but the practicality of climbing such a distance every day makes this a rare occurrence).
The Hall of the Tower, the largest audience room in the Tower itself, is located close to the ground floor, possibly on the 2nd or 3rd floor. A very large room overlooked by a tall window facing towards Dragonmount, the Hall is used by the Hall of the Tower to discuss matters of import, with an audience area which allows the entire White Tower to assemble (if required).
Teaching rooms, classrooms, workshops, audience chambers and administrative offices fill the rest of the lower half of the Tower (Levels 1-20). The relatively small number of Aes Sedai currently in existence means that that many of these rooms and chambers go unused for years at a time. Some staff and servants also have their quarters in this part of the Tower, although most are workers native to Tar Valon who walk in from their homes in other parts of the city.
The upper half of the Tower is the home of the Ajahs. These twenty floors are divided into “pie slices”, with each Ajah possessing one-seventh of the pie. This means that each Ajah effectively has twenty floors of quarters, meeting rooms and dining rooms to themselves. Some Ajahs, such as the Red, object to the equal distribution of space, as they have twice the numbers of the Grey or White Ajah. However, even the Red do not come close to filling their quarters, rendering the matter somewhat moot for now.
The two wings of the Tower are divided into “wells,” fifteen-level circular structures which rise up through the centres of the wings. They are open to the sky, with courtyards in the middle. There are least two wells in each wing. One is home to the novice, another (in the other wing) is home to the Accepted. The numbers are so low at present that the novices only fill two galleries of their particular well. The wings also contain some classrooms, storage and recreation facilities.
The White Tower is run by a complex bureaucracy consisting of gardeners, masons, clerks, cleaners and cooks, all answering to a group of Aes Sedai assigned with the maintenance and running of both the Tower and Tar Valon itself. This council reports directly to the Keeper of the Chronicles, who brings such matters as are relevant to the Amyrlin Seat.
The White Tower and Tar Valon are protected by the Tower Guard, an experienced and well-trained army. The Tower Guard number 12,000 and are responsible for defending Tar Valon and the surrounding bridge towns, as well as patrolling the surrounding countryside for dozens of miles in all directions. They police the city walls and streets, and some can be found at the entrance to the Tower grounds.
The Aes Sedai themselves and their Warders generally consider themselves more than capable of defending themselves and the Tower should it prove necessary.
Note on the Map
The diagram of the Tower – the first ever to be assembled, I believe – is based on the descriptions in the novels, The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and The Wheel of Time Encyclopedia.
Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. I am currently running a History of The Wheel of Time series on Patreon which may be of interest.
Altara is one of the largest nations in the Westlands, extending from the River Manetherendrelle to the Sea of Storms and from the River Eldar to the Damona Mountains. Its capital is Ebou Dar, one of the great cities of the continent, and the kingdom sprawls over a vast amount of relatively densely-populated territory, containing numerous towns, villages and small cities, separated by rich, fertile countryside. Several of the great highways of the Westlands run through Altara, and its sea links are highly favourable as well.
However, both Altara’s size and the stubbornly independent nature of the kingdom works against it. The ruler’s remit runs no more than a few days ride from Ebou Dar. Rather a unified, strong kingdom under a central authority, the nation is instead a hodgepodge of noble fiefdoms, many quarrelling with one another or defiant of the ruler in Ebou Dar and, especially, their taxes. Altara is a land of unfulfilled potential, a potential rival to Andor and Cairhien if only it could unify for one purpose.
Altara’s territory was originally claimed by Eharon, one of the Ten Nations founded after the Breaking of the World. Eharon’s capital city was Londaren Cor, site of the Palace of the Moon, from where rulers such as King Temanin dispensed justice and wisdom. Londaren Cor was built by the same Ogier masons who completed Tar Valon, and it is alleged that the arts they learned in the building of Tar Valon were perfected at Londaren Cor, making it the most beautiful city in the Westlands. It was King Temanin who brought Eharon into the Compact of the Ten Nations.
During the Trolloc Wars, Shadowspawn armies passed through the fallen kingdoms of Aridhol and Manetheren to attack Eharon and drive to the sea in an effort to split the Ten Nations in two. This campaign initially appeared successful, with the Trolloc armies sacking Londaren Cor and its port, Barashta. However, the Trolloc forces overextended themselves and were destroyed. Despite the loss of both its capital and major port, Eharon was able to rally and survived the war, if only barely.
Londaren Cor was abandoned, but Barashta was rebuilt larger than before to become a new city, Ebou Dar. Eharon’s territory was divided between several nations, with most of the kingdom reconstituted as Shiota, with kingdoms such as Nerevan and Esandara arising out of other parts of the territory. The rulers of Shiota counted themselves as the true heirs of Eharon, however, and launched several campaigns to conquer the former territories of Eharon and restore the former nation. These campaigns were finally halted circa FY 500 when Nerevan and Esandara united and invaded Shiota. Although Shiota proved victorious in a gruelling engagement near the ruins of Londaren Cor, the campaign appears to have dissuaded it from further adventures.
During the War of the Second Dragon, Shiota was conquered by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan, who used its territory and military forces to prosecute his campaign further north and east. After Amalasan’s defeat and gentling, the High King Artur Hawkwing invaded and conquered Shiota as part of his empire. The region was reorganised as an Imperial Province, with its capital at Ebou Dar. Towards the end of his reign, Hawkwing used Ebou Dar, Illian, Tear and Mayene as the construction ports for a vast fleet to be used in the invasion of Shara in FY 993; this invasion proved unsuccessful. Hawkwing died the following year, plunging the Westlands into the chaos of the War of the Hundred Years.
During the war, King Maddin secured control of Ebou Dar and kept the city safe during a prolonged period of chaos and uncertainty. He named himself King of Altara, and won the support of a loose coalition of nobles. This coalition appears to have been fragile and more of an alliance of equals, with Maddin as a first among equals, than a capitulation to a higher royal authority. At the end of the war, Maddin’s descendants found themselves ruling a nation in name only.
In the thousand years since then, various rulers have tried to unify Altara more tightly, but with very limited success. This changed in 957 NE when the armies of Amadicia, allied to the Children of the Light, invaded Altara in force. The Altaran nobles in the west of the country rallied under Ebou Dar’s banner to resist the invasion, but the rest of the kingdom was more divided. Fortunately, King Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar of Illian saw the threat for what it was and, aided by Murandian mercenaries, came to Altara’s aid. A series of battles followed, including the Battle of Moisen (a disaster for Amadicia and the Children) and the epic Battle of Soremaine, where King Mattin was captured and held to ransom. Despite winning that battle, the Children had to admit they simply lacked the numbers to hold a country as vast, populous and unruly as Altara and withdrew.
Attempts to unify Altara against the threat of Amadicia and the Children of the Light were successful in the immediate aftermath of the conflict, but soon dissipated once the threat receded. In 978 NE Altara agreed to support the Grand Alliance during the Aiel War, but, as usual, bickering and disagreements saw many lords and nobles refusing to join the effort for one reason or another. In the end, only 3,500 Altaran troops took part in the battle, a rather pitiful number for such a populous nation.
Altara occupies a wide swathe of fertile, temperate countryside in the south-central region of the Westlands. The maximum north-south distance of the kingdom is 1,100 miles and its maximum width approaches 700 miles. Cartographers argue, but Altara’s size appears to rival that of Saldaea, and it is only definitively outsized by Andor and Cairhien.
Altara shares borders with more nations than any other: Amadicia and Ghealdan to the west, Andor to the north, and Murandy and Illian to the east. The Sea Folk island of Qaim also lies about 500 miles to the south-west. Altara’s borders are set as the Sea of Storms to the south, the River Eldar to the west, Garen’s Wall to the north-west, the River Manetherendrelle (and a mutually-agreed border with Andor) to the north, and the River Manetherendrelle, the Damona Mountains and Kabal Deep to the north-east and east.
Northern Altara, lying north of the Jehannah Road and Garen’s Wall, appears to be more remote and sparsely populated, with few major towns and notable roads passing through the region.
The Jehannah Road crosses northern Altara, linking the great capitals of Jehannah and Lugard. A string of Altaran trade towns and prosperous villages line this trade route, enriched by merchants. The most notable is Remen, a major port on the Manetherendrelle just west of the Murandian border.
Bisecting the nation diagonally from south-west to north-east is the Great North Road, which links the capital at Ebou Dar with Lugard and Caemlyn, the rich capitals of Murandy and Andor. This is the spine of Altara, with numerous towns and villages located along its length, including Weesin, Alkindar, Jurador and Coramen. Just off the road, near Runnien Crossing, lie the ruins of Londaren Cor, the ancient capital of Eharon. In the north-east the Great North Road has to cross the Damona Mountains, a low range of jagged peaks created during the Breaking of the World. The Damonas are treacherous mountains, a maze of canyons, hills and abrupt cliff-faces. The five-mile-wide Molvaine Gap carries the road through the mountains, although travellers are wary of the Malvide Narrows, where bold bandits sometimes seek easy prey.
The River Eldar is another major trade artery of the nation, linking Ebou Dar to Amadicia and Ghealdan, as well as providing an impressive defensive bulwark against Amadician incursions. Small towns and villages dot the riverbanks or are located further inland, such as Salidar, Cormaed and So Eban.
There are no cities in Altara to rival Ebou Dar, but there are plenty of large, fortified towns with populations comfortably in the thousands, such as Malden and Maderin. These towns are the home of rich and powerful nobles, some arguably more powerful than the monarch in the capital, who pay little heed to royal decrees issued there.
Ebou Dar itself, located in the far south-western corner of Altara, is one of the great cities of the land, exceeded in size by the likes of Tanchico, Tar Valon and Caemlyn but still formidable in terms of its population and wealth. The city is located on both sides of a wide harbour formed by the mouth of the River Eldar. On the north-western side lies Ebou Dar proper, a city of orderly, wide canals, well-maintained streets and impressive shops. The city is ruled from the Tarasin Palace, located on Mol Hara Square. On the south-eastern side of the bay lies the Rahad, the so-called “low” city which is less well-maintained and mostly inhabited by poorer citizens. The Rahad is regarded as dangerous, with duelling, disorderly behaviour and murders frequent occurrences.
Altara has the misfortune to sit on the unruliest part of the Sea of Storms; vast tempests known as ceranos form far out to sea to the south. In the autumn these storms smash into the south coast of the Westlands between the Shadow Coast and Tear, causing disruption to shipping and trade. Fortunately, southern Altara is protected from the worst of the storms by the Venir Mountains, a coastal range extending from just east of Ebou Dar to Arran Head. East of Arran Head, separating Altara from the north-western coast of Illian, lies Kabal Deep, an impressive bay noted for being extremely deep and dangerous during the ceranos season.
The known towns and settlements of Altara are Ebou Dar, Alkindar, Brytan, Coramen, Cormaed, Ionin Spring, Jurador, Maderin, Malden, Marella, Moisen, Mosra, Nor Chasen, Remen, Runnien Crossing, Salidar, Sehar, So Eban, So Habor, So Tehar, Soremaine and Weesin.
Altara is, in theory, a hereditary monarchy, with the King or Queen ruling from the Throne of the Winds, located in the Tarasin Palace in Ebou Dar. In practice, the King or Queen is actually just the ruling lord or lady of Ebou Dar and sometimes not even the most powerful noble in the kingdom. The current ruler, Queen Tylin Quintara of House Mitsobar, has been more successful than most. Her father was barely the most powerful nobleman in Ebou Dar when he took the throne, and at times did not even fully control the city. Tylin has extended her house’s rule to around 100 miles outside of Ebou Dar, including several notable towns and villages, but her writ does not really extend much further than that.
In practice, Altara is divided into a hodgepodge of petty fiefdoms ruled by nobles who spend most of their time bickering or squabbling with one another. The only reason the nation is not more chaotic and violent is the fear that Amadicia, Murandy or Illian may attempt to annex Altaran territory if they sense weakness.
Military and Population
Altara is, by some counts, the third-largest kingdom in the Westlands and its population is certainly very large, considering the frequency of inhabited towns and villages in the nation. However, its military is risible at best. There is no elite standing formation as in most nations, with the closest being the city guard of Ebou Dar. Some nobles retain companies of elite fighting men, especially those close to the borders with Amadicia, Murandy, Illian and Andor, but these tend to be very small. Altara has not produced a Great Captain in its recorded history. Its military reputation, as shown in the Whitecloak War of 957 NE and the Aiel War of 976-978 NE, is poor.
Altara is a major trade thoroughfare, with merchants heading west to Tarabon and Arad Doman, east to Illian and Tear and north to Murandy and Andor. Three great roads carry merchant traffic to far-off lands, and the Eldar and Manetherendrelle rivers are major transport hubs leading deep into the continental interior. Ebou Dar is also the largest port and waystop on the coast between Tanchico, more than a thousand miles to the north-west, and Illian some 800 miles to the south-east. Altara also exports food supplies and wines from the farms dotted across its vast countryside.
Altara is unusual in that the defining feature of its culture is its lack of a coherent culture which holds sway across the entire nation. Those living in the far north of the kingdom, for example, are more similar in mode, dress and speech to Ghealdan or Andor than to Ebou Dar, and the same for those living close to the border with Illian.
Still, a distinct culture has emerged in Ebou Dar. The society is not exactly matriarchal – the ruler can be King or Queen, with the eldest child inheriting regardless of sex – but it does give significant weight and power to women. Ebou Dari women carry marriage knives as a way of displaying their marital and social status, and if they have had children or not. These knives are not ceremonial, and may be deployed swiftly to answer an insult (perceived or real). Dari women are trained in the art of combat from a young age, due to the frequent duels they expect to fight in their lifetimes. Dari men are also skilled with blades as part of the duelling culture.
Ebou Dar is also known as the home of the Kin, a loose group of unmarried wise women, herbalists and healers who live in and around the city. The Kin are famed for their skills at healing and herblore.
Notes on the Maps
This was a straightforward translation from the book maps, with some changes to have the borders more closely follow the rivers and mountains. This area is heavily forested, so for clarity I have not included forests beyond those directly named in the books; otherwise it can be assumed that this region has significant tree cover.
Towns and villages were placed in accordance with the descriptions in the text (apart from a few, such as Soremaine, which have been placed somewhat arbitrarily). As noted previously, the villages visited by Rand al’Thor in The Dragon Reborn have been moved from their traditional placement in Ghealdan to Altara: Samaha, Tallan and Fyall are all within a day’s ride of each other, three days ride west of Remen, which puts them rather firmly in Altara.
Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. I am currently running a History of The Wheel of Time series on Patreon which may be of interest.
Nestled at the southern feet of the Mountains of Mist is the small but notable kingdom of Amadicia. A landlocked nation which thrives on trade running from the Aryth Ocean nations of Arad Doman and Tarabon eastwards to the rich kingdoms and cities of Tear and Illian, Amadicia should be a land of riches and plenty. Instead, it is a kingdom that exists under virtual occupation by the militant order known as the Children of the Light and where any infringement of their law may lead to someone being dubbed a Darkfriend and punished accordingly.
After the Breaking, the great kingdom of Aelgar arose in the south-west of the Westlands, bordered by Safer, Eharon and Manetheren. Aelgar survived the Trolloc Wars only to collapse in the aftermath. Kharendor was one of several kingdoms that arose its wake, controlling all the lands from the mouth of the Eldar to the Mountains of Mist.
Kharendor was conquered first by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan and then by the High King, Artur Hawkwing, which dissolved the existing nations in favour of new provinces. After Hawkwing’s death and the beginning of the War of the Hundred Years, the region became embroiled in civil strife and violent conflict.
Modern Amadicia arose during the War of the Hundred Years, a powerful nobleman carving a strong territory out from around the capital at Amador and pushing the borders back to their present boundaries. It is known that by the end of the war (c. FY 1135), the kingdom’s current borders and name had been established.
The histories of Amadicia was relatively quiet for almost a thousand years, the kingdom thriving on passing trade. That changed approximately seventy years ago. The wandering ascetic order of militant soldiers known as the Children of the Light, who held that the One Power was evil and all who touched it were Darkfriends, established ties in Amadicia. By 940 NE they had established enough authority that the King of Amadicia granted them permanent residence in his nation and the right to build a new, permanent base of operations, known as the Fortress of the Light, in Amador. The Children effectively annexed Amadicia as their own fiefdom, leaving the king in place as an effective figurehead.
The Children’s rules of living and their code of conduct were harsh, and they imposed this rule on Amadicia with fanatical zeal. Ghealdan to the north, not known for its martial ability, became concerned that they would be next. Fortunately, the Children instead chose to invade Altara in 957 NE: Ghealdan’s resources were not worth the effort of invasion and, although relatively weak, the kingdom was united. Altara was a divided land, a far larger and richer one and, most importantly, one with a major port on the Sea of Storms and territorial links with Illian, Murandy and Andor.
The invasion proved a fiasco: Illian and Murandy rallied to Altara’s aid and, despite winning several major battles, the Whitecloaks realised it would not be possible to absorb a kingdom as large as Altara with relatively limited manpower. They sued for peace and withdrew beyond the borders of Amadicia. Since then, Amadicia has been viewed with much greater suspicion by the surrounding nations, which has effectively ended its military threat. Any attempt to invade one of its neighbours (Tarabon, Ghealdan and Altara) would invite retribution from the others.
In 978 NE Amadicia and the Children attempted to repair their reputation by sending troops to the so-called Grand Alliance, a coalition of nations assembling to meet the threat of the Aiel invasion. Amadicia sent 4,000 troops under Lord Aeman Senhold, whilst Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall led 4,000 troops of the Children of the Light in person.
Since the Battle of the Shining Walls, Amadicia has continued to be a nation avoided by Aes Sedai and treated with caution by its neighbours.
Amadicia occupies a wide swathe of plains, low hills and lightly forested lands at the southern end of the Mountains of Mist. The kingdom stretches for about 550 miles from its far western border with Tarabon to its eastern border with Altara along the River Eldar, and for almost 400 miles from the River Sharia on the nation’s southern border to the River Eldar along the northern border.
Amadicia enjoys a temperate climate, the mountains of the Shadow Coast to the south breaking up the worst of the weather off the Sea of Storms before it strikes the kingdom. The summers are relatively cool and the winters mild, with snow almost unknown.
The capital city is Amador, located in the south-west of the kingdom about a hundred miles from the Tarabon border. Amador is a respectably-sized city, although a far cry from the great cities like Caemlyn, Illian and Tar Valon. It is, however, one of the largest cities not build by Ogier or on the site of a former Ogier-built city. Amador’s landscape is dominated by the Fortress of the Light, a massive castle that is the primary stronghold of the Children of the Light. The Serenda Palace, the residence of the King of Amadicia, used to lie on this site but it was dismantled brick-by-brick and moved two miles out of the city, where it was reassembled, leaving the king isolated from his capital and his people.
The known towns and settlements of Amadicia are Amador, Abila, Bellon, Jeramel, Mardecin and Sienda.
Amadicia is, in theory, ruled by the King who commands a bureaucracy with the support of the noble houses. In reality, Amadicia is controlled by the Children of the Light who effectively organise all aspects of the nation for their benefit. The King, currently Ailron, is a figurehead and liaison between the nobility and the Children. The true power in Amador is Pedron Niall, the shrewd Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light and leader of the Council of the Anointed. Niall himself rarely has to deal with the day-to-day ruling of Amadicia, which is left to under-functionaries answering to the Council.
The Hand of the Light, known as the Questioners (although not to their faces), effectively operates as Amadicia’s secret police and internal intelligence organisation.
Military and Population
Amadicia’s nominally independent armed forces are organised around the Guardians of the Gate, a formerly elite standing military force. Since the Children of the Light took power in Amadicia, the Guardians have become more of a ceremonial formation assigned to defend the King.
The Children, for all their other qualities, are a superbly-trained, tightly-disciplined military force. They are divided into several legions of 2,000 troops each, each commanded by a Lord Captain. The Children operate as mounted infantry, including crossbowmen, and so are capable of moving at great speed. The Children maintain high quality weapons and armour, often allowing them to stand against numerically superior opponents.
Amadicia sent 4,000 troops to the Shining Walls and the Children sent a force of equal number. Assuming both sent less than half of their available military forces, it might be that Amadicia and the Children combined can field some 20,000 troops in total without having to strain too hard. This suggests that the population of Amadicia may be around 2 million at the lower end, probably considerably more than that.
Amadicia maintains some mines in the Mountains of Mist but its main source of wealth comes from its location on the main trade route from the west coast to the south coast kingdoms, along with donations from well-wishers across the continent to the coffers of the Children of the Light.
Amadicians are, perhaps unsurprisingly, a relatively restrained, slightly suspicious people who measure their words carefully and proceed with caution. Their mode of clothing is conservative and they tend to pepper their speech with praise and blessings for the Light and the Creator.
Located north of Amadicia lies the kingdom of Ghealdan. Stretching from the Mountains of Mist to Garen’s Wall and from the Forest of Shadows to the River Eldar, Ghealdan is a relatively poor but also peaceful kingdom, seen by much of the outside world as a backwater.
Ghealdan thrives on trade and the quality of its crafted goods. Although not of exceptional quality, such goods are exported far and wide across the Westlands and are noted for their reliability and affordability.
In the aftermath of the Breaking of the World, the great kingdom of Manetheren took shape along the eastern flanks of the Mountains of Mist. The great Ogier-built city of Jara’copan was built to command the southern reaches of the kingdom, where its borders met those of Aelgar (to the south-west) and Eharon (to the south-east).
Manetheren was destroyed during the Trolloc Wars and several kingdoms took shape from its ashes. One of these was Dhowlan, which claimed all the lands from the Manetherendrelle to the Eldar. Dhowlan endured a thousand years until it was conquered by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan and then liberated in turn by Artur Hawkwing to become part of his empire. The province endured until Hawkwing’s death and the start of the War of the Hundred Years.
During the war, the territory of Dhowlan was restored and the kingdom apparently enjoyed twenty years of relative stability before it collapsed upon the death of its ruler. Many years of strife followed until FY 1109, when the combatants Lord Kirin Almeyda, Lady Valera Prosnarin, Lord Cynric Talvaen and Lady Iona Ashmar agreed to stop fighting and restore stability. They renamed the kingdom Ghealdan and formed the Crown High Council. After some debate, they elected Lord Kirin Almeyda as the first King of Ghealdan.
Despite its small size, Ghealdan resolved to send 5,000 troops to support the Grand Coalition at the Battle of the Shining Walls in 978 NE, under Lord Aleshin Talvaen.
Things remained relatively quiet in Ghealdan until 997 NE, when a minor nobleman named Logan Ablar suddenly declared himself the Dragon Reborn. King Johanin of Ghealdan stripped him of land and titles, but Logain attracted a sizeable following and was threatening the capital when a coalition of nations led by the Aes Sedai engaged and defeated his forces. Logain was taken prisoner, restoring peace to Ghealdan.
Ghealdan is a temperate country with somewhat poor soil. The northern half of the country is heavily forested, giving way to somewhat more open country in the south.
Ghealdan’s borders are held to be: the Mountains of Mist to the west, Garen’s Wall (a massive ridgeline) to the east and the upper course of the River Eldar to the south. Its border in the far north, with Andor, is technically the River Manetherendrelle, but this lies beyond the thick, unruly region known as the Forest of Shadows (or Great Blackwood), which in practice acts as a buffer between northern Ghealdan and the remote western region of Andor known as the Two Rivers.
Ghealdan’s capital city, Jehannah, is located on the River Boern roughly in the centre of the kingdom. The King or Queen of Ghealdan rules the nation from the Jheda Palace.
Ghealdan is bordered by Andor to the north; Tarabon to the west, over the Misty Mountains; Amadicia to the south and Altara to the east. Approximately 400 miles separate the Manetherendrelle from the Eldar in the west. The kingdom is about 550 miles wide at its widest point from east to west.
One of the most famed of Ghealdan’s geographic wonders is Garen’s Wall, a massive ridgeline extending for 500 miles along Ghealdan’s north-eastern border with Altara. Named for General Garen of Dhowlan, who expertly used the ridgeline for military defence during the wars with Farashelle, Ghealdan likewise employ the ridge today for military defence and training.
The Ogier-built city of Jara’copan is said to still exist, located in the foothills of the Mountains of Mist some six days south of the old destroyed city of Manetheren itself. Attempts to find the ruins have been mounted by explorers, adventurers and even Hunters for the Horn, but they have not been located due to the difficult terrain.
The known towns and settlements of Ghealdan include Jehannah, Bethal, Boannda, Cosamelle, Jarra, Sidon and Samara.
Ghealdan’s nobles are represented by the Crown High Council, who in turn advise the king or queen. The throne is inherited, but if a king or queen should die with no issue, or prove incompetent, the Council can arrange for a new ruler to take the throne. The current King of Ghealdan is Johanin.
Military and Population
Ghealdan is not known as a major military power, but its main standing military formation, the Legion of the Wall, is respected and capable.
Ghealdan sent 5,000 troops to the Battle of the Shining Walls. Assuming it sent only a token of its strength, it is plausible that Ghealdan’s population is comparable to Amadicia’s, at around 2 million at the far lower end of likelihood.
Ghealdan maintains alum mines in the mountains which are moderately successful, as well as exporting various goods. Ghealdan’s craftsmen are noted for their skill, honesty and reliability.
Ghealdanin culture is restrained and modest, although also mostly friendly and certainly more welcoming than Amadicia to the south.
Notes on the Maps
Again, this was mostly a straightforward translation from the book maps. Some changes were made to have the borders more closely follow the rivers. This area of the Westlands is heavily forested, so for clarity, I only note specific, named forests on the maps. Otherwise it can be assumed most of this region has significant tree cover.
The towns and villages were placed mostly from clear indications to their location in the text. One major deviation was more closely studying the sequence in The Dragon Reborn were Moiraine leads a party to search for Rand al’Thor, passing through numerous villages on the way. Other maps tend to place the bulk of these villages in Ghealdan, but careful reading confirms that only Jarra and Sidon are in Ghealdan; Willar may be, but certainly the remaining villages (Samaha, Tallan and Fyall) are all in northern Altara instead.
Information on Jara’copan comes from The Prophecies of the Dragon (2002), the expansion to The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game (2001). The canonical placement of the city is unconfirmed, but given it does not contradict established canon, it is included for the sake of completeness.
Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. I am currently running a History of The Wheel of Time series on Patreon which may be of interest.
Tarabon is a large and powerful nation located along the Aryth Ocean in the south-west of the Westlands. Extending inland to the Mountains of Mist and extending from Almoth Plain to the hills and mountains of the Shadow Coast, the nation is noted for its location on the major trade routes leading from Arad Doman and the western Sea Folk islands to the wealthier nations of the east, such as Illian and Tear. It is also known for its strategically precarious position, faced with opposition from both Arad Doman to the north (with whom it frequently skirmishes for control of Almoth Plain) and Amadicia to the east, which is eager for any sign of weakness allowing it to snatch up more of Tarabon’s territory.
Taraboners refer to themselves and their ancestors as being part of the “Tree of Man” and claim to have once held a sapling of Avendesora, the Tree of Life, although if true it has long since been lost. This is reflected by the Tarabon banner, showing a golden tree with spreading branches on a field vertically stripped red and white.
After the Breaking of the World, the southern half of the region currently controlled by Tarabon was claimed by Aelgar, one of the Ten Nations that signed the Covenant. Its capital was Ancohima (location unknown) and its other major cities included Mainelle (on the current site of Tanchico), Condaris and Shar Honelle. The northern half and more (including all of Almoth Plain and the southern half of Arad Doman) was claimed by Safer, whose capital of Iman was located on the site of modern Katar. Aelgar was bordered by Eharon to the east and Manetheren to the north-east. Aelgar was known for its military prowess and ambitions which sometimes defied the Covenant; King Maecine of Eharon defended his nation against Aelgar between the sixth and seventh centuries After the Breaking. It was also known for its beautiful cities (Ancohima and Condaris, at least, were Ogier-built and possessed Waygates) and its wealth, partially mined from the mountains of southern Amadicia. Aelgar survived the Trolloc Wars but collapsed almost immediately afterwards, breaking apart into the smaller nations of Balasun and Kharendor.
Both Balasun and Kharendor were conquered early in the War of the Second Dragon (FY 939-943) by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan. With Amalasan’s gentling at the end of the war, both kingdoms descended into chaos before being saved by Artur Paendrag Tanreall, the Hawkwing, who unified the two nations into a single province.
In FY 1006, twelve years into the War of the Hundred Years that followed Hawkwing’s death, Lord Haren Maseed, Laddy Tazenia Nerenhald and Lord Boral Amadia seized control of Tanchico, fortifying it against attack and gradually expanding to conquer most of the province. Lord Boral was murdered, so Lord Haren was named King of Tarabon and Lady Tazenia became Panarch. The new government system was designed to give balance between the King, the Panarch and the Assembly of Lords.
Tarabon reached its current size, more or less, at the end of the War of the Hundred Years and has endured ever since. It has tried to remain aloof from the conflicts of other nations, not sending troops to the aid of the other nations at the Battle of the Shining Walls and not intervening in the Whitecloak War despite Amadicia apparently being left under-defended during the conflict.
Tarabon is located on the Aryth Ocean in the south-west of the Westlands. It extends inland to the Mountains of Mist, which forms most of its eastern border. However, the border extends south past the end of the mountains into open countryside. The border with Amadicia is located in this area and has moved back and forth over the centuries due to border skirmishes. The kingdom measures some 770 miles from west to east and 630 miles from north to south at its widest.
The capital city, Tanchico, is located on three peninsulas (the Calpene, Maseta and Verana) overlooking a wide bay at the mouth of the River Andahar, the longest and most impressive river in the kingdom. The Andahar flows out of Lake Somal some 900 miles to the north-east (formed in turn by meltwater from the Mountains of Mist) and is the primary river artery of the kingdom, with numerous towns and villages on its banks (including Alcruna near the northern border).
Tanchico is a very large city (about six miles wide) and also a very old one, with some claiming that the Panarch’s Palace was built from stone blocks that somehow survived the Breaking of the World. Certainly some of the stones in the palace show friezes of scenes that appear to date from the Age of Legends. The city is also noted for its museum with artifacts from the Breaking and the Age of Legends (and some say, even before). This suggests that either Tanchico – or Mainelle as it was originally called – was built before the Breaking was even done, or fairly soon afterwards, possibly challenging Tear, Tar Valon and even Rhuidean’s claim to be the oldest city on the continent. However, others have suggested that Mainelle was built much later the artifacts from the Age of Legends were abandoned in the city by refugees and travellers. The truth remains unknown.
The coasts of Tarabon are mountainous, especially in the south where the border gives way to the more jumbled landscape of the Shadow Coast, with Tanchico the only good large harbour on the coast.
The interior is a mixture of flat, rolling countryside, rolling hills and taller highlands, some of them extensive. The northern border region gives way to the much flatter and more fertile landscape of Almoth Plain, whilst in the east the border regions with Amadicia are likewise flatter and fertile, with numerous smaller villages and towns located in this vicinity. Well-maintained trade roads link Tanchico with Bandar Eban and Falme to the north and Amador, Ebou Dar and other cities to the east.
The second city of Tarabon is Elmora, located roughly halfway from Tanchico to Amador. The city is a major site for trade between the two capitals.
The known cities and settlements of Tarabon are: Tanchico, Elmora, Alcruna, Maracru, Nassad and Serana.
Tarabon has an unusual tripartite governmental system. The country’s nobility is represented in the Assembly of Lords. The Lords elect a spokesperson and representative, the Panarch, who represents their views and provides a conduit to deal with the King. The Panarch is also responsible for collecting taxes, customs and duties. The King, who rules from the Throne of Light in the King’s Palace in Tanchico, is a hereditary position and determines how taxes are spent. The Panarch has authority over the Civil Watch and the Panarch’s Legion, whilst the King commands the Tarabon Army. The Panarch is also in charge of all the courts, apart from the High Court of the King.
Typically, the King is male and Panarch is female but on occasion the roles are reversed. The three-stage government provides a system of checks and balances that is meant to inspire consensus and compromise; more frequently it creates a logjam in government that prevents much from getting done. The current King is Andric and the current Panarch is Amathera Aelfdene Casmir Lounault.
Military and Population
Like most nations, Tarabon maintains several elite, professional and permanent military formations which form the core of a larger levy force when necessary. The most notable military forces in Tarabon are the King’s Life Guard, the Panarch’s Legion and the Civil Watch of Tanchico.
We have insufficient information to determine either the size of Tarabon’s military potential or its population. However, given that Tarabon is capable of both skirmishing with Arad Doman and holding off adventurers from Amadicia simultaneously, plus the fact that it is a (somewhat) larger country and appears to have more major settlements than Arad Doman, the population likely somewhat exceeds that of its northern rival, and may be in the region of 10-12 million.
Tarabon is a great trading nation which sees a huge amount of merchant traffic by both foot and sea. Taraboners occasionally learn the ways of the sea, but are more content to allow the Sea Folk to transport goods for them; this arrangement may be down the close proximity of the Sea Folk archipelago known as the Aile Jafar, which lies just 200 miles or so offshore, near Tanchico. Fringed rugs, olive oil, dyes and porcelain are among Tarabon’s primary exports.
Taraboners are a polite people but also a somewhat reticent one. They were veils over their faces which are kept on at all times unless eating or drinking. If discretion is to be emphasised, they put on a veil which masks the entire face. Taraboner men also tend to sport mustaches and dark cylindrical caps on their head. Men tend to wear baggy white trousers and coats, whilst women tend to wear clinging gowns which sometimes rival those of the Domani.
The Guild of Illuminators
Tarabon’s most interesting guild is that of the Illuminators. These are men and women who have discovered how to create illuminations in the sky, formed by exploding rockets. The makeup of these rockets and how they produce their effects are unknown. The Guild ruthlessly protects its secrets, even unto death. The Guild maintains two chapter houses at opposite ends of the continent, one in Tanchico and one in Cairhien. Attempts to found other houses have met with suspicion and reluctance, due to rumours that the Illuminators’ powders and devices can, in some circumstances, explode with tremendous force, injuring and killing bystanders.
The Shadow Coast
Lying to the south of both Tarabon and Amadicia is a vast area of unclaimed wilderness, a land of towering mountains, dreary hill chains and steep cliffs that plunge abruptly into the roaring morass of the ocean.
This stretch of land is known as the Shadow Coast and is vast, extending for almost exactly a thousand miles from the borders of Tarabon to those of Altara. The region is lightly inhabited and the reasons are clear: the land is rocky and hard to farm, and the coast is an absolute nightmare of jagged rocks and treacherous reefs that can tear out the bottom of even a large ship without warning. The most notable landmark on the coast is Windbiter’s Finger, a semi-submerged peninsula that extends out from the shore for around 250 miles. The Finger denotes the place where the Aryth Ocean meets the Sea of Storms.
The entire coast is given a wide berth by seafarers, with even the Sea Folk making sure their vessels stay far out at sea. The region also extends for around 350 miles inland, an area dominated by mountains and hills.
This area was once claimed by Aelgar and later Balasun and Kharendor, but today is unclaimed by any nation (although the occasional ruin from earlier eras can be found). Tarabon and Amadicia simply don’t have the manpower to try to claim this difficult landscape in the present day, especially as the mountains lacks mineral resources and there is no good harbour on the coast all the way from Tanchico in the north-west to Ebou Dar in the south-east.
The Shadow Coast isn’t entirely uninhabited. Occasional, hardy folk (who enjoy isolation and hard living) might be found dwelling here. There are also two Ogier stedding located in the wilderness: Shadoon and Mardoon. The River Sharia rises in the region before flowing east along the southern border of Amadicia to its confluence with the Eldar.
Notes on the Map
This map draws on the colour endpaper map from the novels used from Lord of Chaos onwards, which is generally accepted as the most accurate map created for the books during Robert Jordan’s lifetime.
There weren’t too many changes to the map, aside from the addition to the map of the Taraboner and Amadician towns and villages mentioned in the book. Such settlements have only been added where clear geographic indications are given to their location.
Located along the west coast of the continent, Almoth Plain and Toman Head are two large geographic regions that are not controlled by any central authority, despite the claims of Arad Doman to the north and Tarabon to the south. Caught between these two giants, the people of the region are fiercely independent and resilient.
The history of the Almoth region is interesting, as a series of legends tie it to Avendesora, the Tree of Life. There are indications that the Da’shain Aiel may have migrated through this region, complete with the Tree of Life, and left a sapling with the people of Almoth. If this is true, it means that the ruins of the great Age of Legends city of Comelle may lie in the Aryth Ocean, some distance to the west of Toman Head. However, records of this time are highly garbled.
The nation of Safer arose in this region shortly after the Breaking and fought a series of early border wars with Manetheren to the east. The signing of the Compact of the Ten Nations ended these conflicts and Safer endured in peace until the Trolloc Wars erupted in 1000 NE. During this time Safer gave rise to three great cities: its capital, Iman (located on the site of Katar); Miereallen (Falme); and Shainrahien (site unknown). Safer survived the Trolloc Wars but collapsed almost immediately afterwards.
The nation of Darmovan arose in its wake, controlling most of modern Almoth Plain and Toman Head. This nation’s history may have been unremarkable were it not for its most notorious son: Guaire Amalasan. A false Dragon, Amalasan declared himself the Dragon Reborn in FY 939. Taking advantage of the chaos resulting from the Black Fever, which had wiped out about a tenth of the population of the continent, and expertly reading The Prophecies of the Dragon, Amalasan amassed vast popular support and in an impressive military campaign conquered almost half the Westlands in just four years. However, in FY 943 Amalasan’s advance was halted in its tracks when he was defeated in the Battle of the Jolvaine Pass by the young king of Shandalle, Artur Paendrag Tanreall, already nicknamed Hawkwing. Amalasan was captured, shielded by the Aes Sedai accompanying Hawkwing’s army, taken back to Tar Valon and gentled, despite a massive assault on the city by his forces in an attempt to free him (a battle again won by Hawkwing, to the fury of the Amyrlin Seat).
Darmovan collapsed into chaos and civil war over the succession, but it was saved by Hawkwing himself, who conquered the nation along with the rest of the Westlands in the Consolidation. Subsequently the kingdom was reorganised as the Almoth Province of the Hawkwing Empire. In FY 989 the elderly Hawkwing, apparently re-energised by the massive Battle of Talidar two years earlier, when his armies utterly smashed a Trolloc invasion that some say was on a par with the Trolloc Wars themselves, began massive planning. He expanded port facilities all down the west coast and ordered the construction of a massive fleet of at least 2,000 warships and transports and the assembly of an army and colonisation force exceeding 300,000 people. The farms of Almoth Plain helped feed this vast force, whilst ports such as Bandar Eban, Falme and Tanchico built the fleet. In FY 992 this fleet sailed west to conquer a continent that Hawkwing believed lay on the far side of the Aryth Ocean. That they found something is clear, as a few messages came back via the Watchers Over the Waves, a society in Falme, but beyond a few garbled reports of “Armies of Night,” little other news made it back to the Westlands.
The War of the Hundred Years destroyed Hawkwing’s Empire and saw new kingdoms emerge, including Arad Doman, Almoth and Tarabon along the west coast. These three kingdoms seem to have endured in relative stability until c. 600 NE, when Almoth collapsed due to a declining population. Arad Doman and Tarabon both tried to seize Almoth Plain, but were unable to bring the necessary military force to bear. The two nations both continue to claim the plain and occasionally try to move their borders further into its territories, but have so far failed to annex the region.
The region containing Toman Head and Almoth Plain is located on the far west coast of the Westlands, between the nations of Arad Doman and Tarabon. The region is bordered by the Mountains of Mist in the east, beyond which lies the nations of Andor and Ghealdan. The Almoth Plain region measures approximately 490 miles from north to south by approximately 430 miles, whilst Toman Head extends a further 370 miles or so into the Aryth Ocean to the west. The peninsula of Toman Head averages at around 130 miles or so in width for most of its length.
The region consists mostly of sparsely-settled plains, hills and low mountains, dotted with the occasional small village. The only large settlement of note is Falme, a seaport located at the western tip of Toman Head, with a population of a few thousand. The other major settlement of note nearby is Katar, a much larger city which occasionally makes bids for independence, but technically is part of the kingdom of Arad Doman to the north.
Also of note in this region is the Paerish Swar, the Darkwood, a vast forest stretching for some 300 miles from north to south. The Darkwood is a tangled old woodland which dominates the eastern-most stretch of Almoth Plain. Some believe the forest was once much larger but was deforested for homebuilding and shipbuilding, but, as usual, the histories are unclear. The forest makes an excellent hiding place for bandits and miscreants.
Beyond the Darkwood lies Lake Somal. The largest inland body of water in all of the Westlands, Lake Somal extends for over 150 miles from north to south and is over 90 miles wide. Despite its sheer size, fed by meltwater from the Mountains of Mist, the lake is relatively obscure given its distance from centres of habitation; Arad Doman has some holdings on the far north-western shores, but other than that the lake is mostly unsettled.
The River Andahar is fed by Lake Somal and drains south and west until it meets the Aryth Ocean at the port of Tanchico in Tarabon, some 900 miles away. Although many small rivers and streams extend through the region, the Andahar is by far the largest river on the plain.
According to rumour, there are small goat trails and difficult-to-find passes leading from the far eastern edge of Almoth Plain, along the shores of Lake Somal, into the Two Rivers district of Andor. If so, these have not been found in living memory. A better-known, but still remote, pass leads from the south-eastern corner of the plain into north-western Ghealdan.
Toman Head is similar to the plain, also somewhat rockier and less fertile, and obviously more prone to storms and winds raging in off the Aryth Ocean. There is only one good harbour on the peninsula, at the very western tip where it curls around a north-south bay, with tall cliffs on either side protecting ships at rest from storms. The town or small, unwalled city of Falme is located on this bay. A watchtower looks over the harbour from the cliffs. This is the headquarters of the Watchers Over the Waves (Do Miere A’vron), an organisation founded by Artur Hawkwing before his death to maintain a line of communication over the Aryth Ocean to the invasion forces in Seanchan commanded by his son. With the outbreak of the War of the Hundred Years, the immense resources necessary to send ships many thousands of miles across the ocean were lost. Today the Watchers operate a series of watchtowers all along the coast and help guide ships into Falme Harbour. By tradition, the Watchers believe that one day the armies sent to Seanchan, or their descendants, will return.
Almoth Plain has no unified government. Each settlement is ruled by a Village Council. The precise makeup of each town council varies, with some towns having Mayors and Wisdoms (or Wise Women) similar to western Andor, and others adopting a different system altogether. Some settlements may have some form of militia, especially in areas near the borders of the surrounding nations, but there is no standing military in the region.
The people of this region are somewhat independently-minded, proud and enjoy their freedom from central authority. Other cultural traits tend to vary widely, but the people tend towards conservative dress, with long vests, baggy trousers and long skirts. Those living in remote areas of the plain are suspicious of outlanders, but those living closer to the main trade route from Tarabon to Arad Doman (and down Toman Head) are more welcoming and interested in trade.
Notes on the Map
This map draws on the colour endpaper map from the novels used from Lord of Chaos onwards, which is generally accepted as the most accurate map created for the books during Robert Jordan’s lifetime.
The Thirteenth Depository’s map of Toman Head and Almoth Plain was useful for this article.
The villages of Aturo’s Orchard and Tobin’s Hollow were introduced in The Prophecies of the Dragon (2002), an expansion to The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game (2001). Unlike the core rulebook, which was approved by Robert Jordan and explicitly given new canon material by him, it is unclear to what extent Jordan was involved with the expansion. However, since the presence of these villages does not contradict any other information, I have included them for the sake of completeness.
Arad Doman is a proud nation stretching from the Aryth Ocean to the Mountains of Mist, north of Almoth Plain. Occupying a wide stretch of pleasant countryside and blessed with mineral wealth from the mountains and good fishing from the ocean, the kingdom is populous and strong. It is also notably free from immediate threats: its nearest neighbour to the north, Saldaea, is both distant (most than 400 miles separate their borders) and on friendly trading terms, whilst the wide Almoth Plain separates Arad Doman from its rival to the south, Tarabon. The only nation Arad Doman shares a direct border with is Andor to the east, but the border is located high in the mountains and travel between the two nations is difficult and often cut off by weather.
The people of Arad Doman are well-known for their martial prowess, their mercantile skills and their dress sense, which some of the other nations consider scandalous. However, the nation is also somewhat remote, its distance from the more populous south-eastern part of the continent meaning that it has limited contact and influence with other nations.
After the Breaking of the World, the territory currently occupied by Arad Doman was claimed by Jaramide, one of the Ten Nations of the Covenant. Jaramide established a huge port city, Allorallen, at the mouth of the River Dhagon and linked it by rode to the capital city of Deranbar (modern Maradon, in Saldaea), approximately 1,600 miles away. Allorallen grew rich, benefiting from the fact that there was no good harbour on the coast of the continent further north and closer to the capital.
Circa 1,000 AB, the northern Jaramidian fortress-city of Barsine, located in the Mountains of Dhoom, was attacked and destroyed by a vast Trolloc host, heralding the onset of the Trolloc Wars. Deranbar withstood multiple sieges as the Trolloc hordes outflanked it to strike further south. Allorallen was destroyed after a ferocious battle. Jaramide just about managed to survive the Trolloc Wars, but collapsed in their immediate aftermath.
One of the nations that arose from the ruins of the conflict was Abayan, which claimed all the lands north and west of the River Dhagon as far as the sea. Abayan does not appear to have been a major player in this period, as the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan, whose homeland and first conquest of Darmovan was located just to the south, did not even bother conquering or attacking the kingdom during the War of the Second Dragon. Another nation, Oman Dashar, was founded to the south, located within the triangle formed by the River Dhagon, River Akuum and Mountains of Mist. As with the rest of the Westlands, all three kingdoms were conquered by Artur Hawkwing during the Consolidation (FY 943-963).
It is believed that the modern city of Bandar Eban had been founded (on the site of Allorallen) by at least the end of Hawkwing’s reign, as one of the locations that the immense fleet was constructed for the invasion of Seanchan. Some records suggest that the site may have been occupied in the interim, but these are confused and doubtful.
Modern Arad Doman arose out of the chaos of the War of the Hundred Years. By the conclusion of the conflict the nation had established borders with Saldaea to the north-east, Almoth to the south and Andor through the mountains. Declining population levels have seen the north-eastern border pull back considerably and Almoth collapse some 400 years ago. An attempt to by Arad Doman to annex Almoth Plain was thwarted by Tarabon, and the two nations have remained at loggerheads over the plain ever since.
Arad Doman’s recent history has been unremarkable. During the Aiel War, the kingdom was unable to muster its army in time to march to the aid of Tar Valon. Instead, the famed captain Rodel Ituralde led a small volunteer force which could move quickly and took part in the Battle of the Shining Walls.
Arad Doman is located on the Aryth Ocean on the north-western coast of the Westlands. It extends inland to the Mountains of Mist, which form its eastern border, and Lake Somal and the Paerish Swar forest, which form its south-eastern border. Its southern border is located on the northern Almoth Plain. This border is somewhat fluid, extending north and south as the strength of the kingdom waxes and wanes. The kingdom measures approximately 750 miles from west to east and approximately 400 miles from north to south at its widest extent.
The capital city, Bandar Eban, is located on a peninsula extending into the Aryth Ocean in the west of the kingdom. The capital lies south of the mouth of the Dhagon; the river’s estuary forms a wide marsh extending to the north and west of the city. Bandar Eban is a very large city, one of the few in the west rivalling the great cities of the south and east, and a centre for trade and commerce.
The western and northern coasts are mountainous, dotted with valleys and dales. The interior is flatter and fertile, dotted with towns, holdfasts, villages, farms and small cities, such as Darluna (located close to the southern border). These lands are watered by the Dhagon and its major tributary, the Akuum. Both rivers are fed by numerous smaller streams rising in the mountains.
The Mountains of Mist form the eastern border of Arad Doman and are the location of impressive mines. Silver and gold are mined in the mountains. Clay pits can also be found in Arad Doman, giving rise to a thriving local pottery industry. The foothills of the mountains are a popular spot for nobles to have their mansions and hunting lodges.
Lake Somal is the largest inland lake on the continent, but it is remote and little-known, cut off from the south and west by the immense Paerish Swar, the Darkwood. Arad Doman controls the northern shore of the lake, but this control is somewhat tenuous due to the distance from the capital (about 740 miles).
The second city of Arad Doman is Katar, located almost 100 miles north-west of the lake and a clear 650 miles from Bandar Eban. Katar has a troubled relationship with the capital, which it may predate. Katar was originally Iman, the glorious capital of Safer, one of the Ten Nations. With Jaramide to the north taking the brunt of the Shadowspawn offensive in the west, Safer survived the Trolloc Wars but collapsed in its aftermath, with the nation of Darmovan arising in its wake. Based on its location, Katar would have likely been a major city of Darmovan as well. With the lake providing good fishing and the town controlling numerous mines in the nearby Mountains of Mist, Katar is self-sufficient and has more than once tried to break away from Arad Doman to become an independent city, free to trade with Andor over the nearby passes. However, Arad Doman always reasserts its control in the end.
There are small, narrow passes through the Mountains of Mist, leading from east of Katar to Andor, west of Baerlon. These passes are not conducive to large caravans, so are relatively-little known and are easily cut off during winter. Even rougher passes and tracks are said to lead from the south-eastern shores of Lake Somal to the vicinity of the Two Rivers district in Andor, but again these passes are little-known and very rarely used.
The known cities and settlements of Arad Doman are: Bandar Eban, Coron Ford, Darluna, Kandelmar, Katar, Maseen and Solanje.
Arad Doman is ruled by the Council of Merchants, the body which controls trade, mercantile interests and the economy of Arad Doman. The Council, and indeed Arad Doman’s entire economic sector, is dominated by women, who traditionally enter commerce as a vocation.
The Council elects a non-hereditary ruler from the High Seats of the noble houses, who is granted the title “King.” The King wields supreme authority, but he can be deposed by a 75% majority vote in the Council. Interestingly, this ruler is always male. As of 998 NE, the ruler of Arad Doman is King Alsalam Saeed Almadar.
Military and Population
Traditionally, Arad Doman has not been one of the Westlands’ primary military powerhouses. However, the constant skirmishing with Tarabon to the south and the need to occasionally reassert control over Katar have required Arad Doman to maintain a professional military force. This has been bolstered by the emergence of Rodel Ituralde as general of the nation’s armies. Ituralde has a formidable reputation for military skill, innovation, battlefield command and supplying misinformation to the enemy. He is known as one of the “Five Great Captains” of the modern era (along with Pedron Niall of the Children of the Light, Agelmar Jagad of Shienar, Gareth Bryne of Andor and Davram Bashere of Saldaea).
Arad Doman has no naval forces to speak of, perhaps due to the coastlines which, apart from Bandar Eban, are not good for naval landings or invasions.
Arad Doman can call upon around 100,000 men in times of urgent need, suggesting that the nation’s total population may approach 10 million.
Domani cuisine is dominated by spiced meat dishes and vegetables in a variety of creative sauces. The Domani employ two sticks, known as sursa, to eat their food, deftly working them in a manner outlanders often find baffling.
Arad Doman is noted for its division of roles by gender, although this is not absolute. The overwhelming majority of merchants, traders and shopkeepers are women, famed for their financial acumen and ruthless bargaining streak. Men mostly serve instead as soldiers, farmers and sailors. Domani men are said to have a temper, which some hold is a result of being forced to eat with the sursa. Domani men favour long, thin moustaches whilst Domani women favour clothes that cling to the frame and leave little to the imagination whilst still leaving them fully covered.
Domani can usually be identified by their copper skin, although some Domani are fairer-skinned. Hairstyles and colours change regularly, however, as both men and women in Arad Doman are obsessed with fashion and decoration and make liberal use of hair dyes. Barbers are respected in the kingdom, especially those who create striking new styles.
The Domani have a reputation for self-indulgence and hedonism: they enjoy falconry, hot baths, gambling, sports and mock (and real) combat. However, they also work extremely hard and are known for their tenaciousness and political skills. Oddly for a nation that is enriched by its ocean trade, the Domani are not comfortable sailors and prefer to leave that side of things to the Sea Folk.
Note on the Map
This map draws on the colour endpaper map from the novels used from Lord of Chaos onwards, which is generally accepted as the most accurate map created for the books during Robert Jordan’s lifetime. The main change is the shifting of the border to include Katar.
Another moderate change was also made to the shape of the coast around Bandar Eban. The map in The Gathering Storm suggests that the the city takes up the entire peninsular as shown in the large maps, but the scale makes this improbable (as it would require the city to be dozens of miles across, at least). Resolving this required the addition of an additional “notch” on the edge of the peninsula for the city itself.
The Thirteenth Depository’s map of Arad Doman was useful for this article, although it is now slightly outdated (since it was published prior to The Gathering Storm).