The Wheel of Time Atlas: Almoth Plain & Toman Head

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.

Almoth Plain and Toman Head

A map of Toman Head and Almoth Plain. Please click for a larger version.

History

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.

 

Geography

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.

Falme

A map of the city of Falme. Please click for a larger version.

Government

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.

 

Culture

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.

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