The Wheel of Time Atlas: Andor

Andor is the oldest, largest, most populous, most powerful and most influential of the nations of the Westlands, and one of the richest. It dominates the centre of the continent, stretching from the Mountains of Mist to the River Erinin. It also has a reputation – mostly – for honour, integrity and diplomacy, coupled with military and political strength.

Andor - East

A map of eastern Andor. Please click for a larger version.

 

Andor - West

A map of western Andor. Please click for a larger version.

History

The origins of Andor lie the aftermath of the Breaking of the World, when the great nations of Aridhol, Manetheren and Coremanda arose. All of these cities had Ogier-built cities, most notably Manetheren in the Mountains of Mist, Aridhol on the banks of the Arinelle and Caemlyn (now called Hai Caemlyn, or “Old Caemlyn”). During the Trolloc Wars and their aftermath all three kingdoms were destroyed, but of the three cities only Caemlyn survived (despite enduring multiple sieges).

Before the rise of Artur Hawkwing, the territory now held by Andor consisted of the kingdoms of Farashelle, Aldeshar and Caembarin, which were among the most powerful nations of their day. Artur Hawkwing defeated all three kingdoms and made them part of his empire, but Aldeshar was his most implacable foe. When the kingdom finally fell in the final battle of the Consolidation in FY 963, Hawkwing executed King Joal Ramedar, holding him to blame for the assassination of his first wife and two of his children. Aldeshar and Caembarin were combined into the Imperial Province of Andor, under the rule of Governor Jeorad Manyard, a noted scholar and administrator. Caemlyn, the former capital of Caembarin, was made the provincial capital. By FY 967, following his defeat in the Aiel Waste and his marriage to his second wife Tamika, Hawkwing recanted and appointed King Joal’s daughter Endara Casalain as Governor of the Imperial Province of Andor.

By FY 994 Hawkwing’s rule had turned increasingly sour, with his armies besieging Tar Valon and other forces sent across the sea to invade the lands of Seanchan and Shara. When Hawkwing died unexpectedly with his children dead, missing or far across the ocean, it left a sizeable power vacuum. As the ruler of the most powerful and populous province and with a claim to the throne of Aldeshar, as well as holding the capital of former Caembarin, Endara was urged to take bold action. But she was not the sort of person to do that. Her daughter, the young, fiery and ambitious Ishara, was. She convinced Souran Maravaile, Hawkwing’s finest general this side of the Aryth, to raise the siege of Tar Valon and march to Caemlyn with as many troops as he could rally. This accomplished, Ishara declared herself Queen of Andor, a sovereign nation that would hold fealty to no man or woman. The jockeying for power among other generals and governors erupted into open hostilities: the War of the Hundred Years.

For roughly 123 years the Westlands was torn apart in constant warfare. Nations arose and collapsed within months of one another. The Aes Sedai did their best to mediate a peace, and sometimes negotiated truces that held for a few years, but in the end the chaos always resumed. One of the few constants of the war was Andor, ruled by the Queen on the Lion Throne (a convention not established by Ishara, but adopted within three generations after only women had survived the rigours of warfare to rule). Within a few decades it had expanded to the Cary in the west and the Erinin in the east, and for a long time held these borders, consolidating its power. Towards the middle part of the war four rival kings allied to bring Andor down, but were intercepted on the march and defeated in a bloody battle west of the Cary. The Battle of Four Kings marked a new beginning for Andor’s power, and as the other nations tired of the fighting Andor expanded westwards all the way to the Mountains of Mist, reaching its current borders before the end of the fighting. In the thousand years since then, Andor has seized parts of Murandy in border skirmishes and attempted to expand its borders in the wake of the fall of Caralain to the north and Kintara to the south, but has fallen back to its traditional borders for a lack of resources to hold more territory.

For a thousand years Andor has held firm, strengthened by its strong martial tradition, its firm alliance with Tar Valon (Andor is one of the few nations to openly welcome Aes Sedai advisors) and its strong, diversified economy. It also plays the games of politics and influence well, negotiating tricky border disputes with Murandy, Altara and Cairhien whilst (mostly) avoiding open warfare.

Andor’s recent history has been less steady: in 965 NE Andor and Cairhien went to war for control of trade along the Erinin. After three years of conflict with no clear result, King Laman Damodred of Cairhien and Queen Mordrellen Mantear of Andor made peace and even established an alliance, sealing it with the marriage of Laman’s nephew Taringail to Mordrellen’s daughter, Tigraine. The match proved an unhappy one, with Tigraine’s life made a misery by her rude, arrogant husband, despite the son he gave her (Galadedrid, born in 970). In 971 Queen Mordrellen’s martial eldest son, Luc, left Andor to seek glory by fighting in the Borderlands. He apparently acquitted himself well for several months before being reportedly killed by Shadowspawn. Queen Mordrellen was shocked and her health affected, but she may have rallied had Tigraine not also then disappeared without a trace in 972.

Mordrellen’s death triggered the brief and relatively unbloody Third Succession War, which ended with the noble houses uniting behind the young but utterly formidable Queen Morgase Trakand. Morgase married Taringail to appease Cairhien but made it clear she would not tolerate Taringail’s rudeness, dismissing him contemptuously if he made a scene of himself and not involving him in any affairs of state or diplomacy. How their children, Gawyn (b. 978) and Elayne (b. 981), were even conceived given their parents’ mutual antipathy remains a matter for some speculation.

During this period King Laman Damodred made a devastatingly rash miscalculation and triggered the invasion and near-ruin of his country by the Aiel. The Aiel War raged up and down the Erinin for two years and Andor was forced to commit troops due to its alliance with Cairhien. More than 28,000 Andoran troops under Captain-General Aranvor Naldwinn assembled to face the Aiel at the Battle of the Shining Walls in 978 and acquitted themselves with honour and valour, Naldwinn leading his men from the front and dying valiantly. Command of the army transferred to Captain-General Gareth Bryne, who has commanded the armies of Andor ever since.

In 984 Taringail died in a freak hunting accident, with some believing that his death was less of an accident than it appeared and some even believing that he was conspiring to take the throne. The truth of the matter remains unclear. Some years later, Morgase quarrelled with the noted court bard (and some say her lover) Thomdril Merrilin over a matter related to the Aes Sedai and he left the Royal Palace under a cloud. Surprisingly, given her relative youth, Queen Morgase never took another husband despite suitors from both within Andor and from foreign powers.

caemlyn walls

Caemlyn, the capital city of Andor. Please click for a larger version.

Geography

Andor is a huge country, stretching for almost 1,700 miles from its far western border in the Mountains of Mist to the banks of the River Erinin in the east. Andor is quite narrow, averaging at around 300 miles in width from north to south, but this extends to about 500 miles at its widest point. The edge of Caralain Grass and the banks of the Arinelle define most of the northern border, whilst the southern is more varied, defined by (from west to east) the River Manetherendrelle; a stretch of northern Altara seized in some long, half-forgotten border conflict; the northern edge of the Cumbar Hills; the southern edge of the Splintered Hills; the headwaters of the River Storn; a lower stretch of the River Cary; the northern flanks of the Hills of Kintara; and the southern slopes of the Chishen Mountains.

Aside from the foothills of the various mountain and hill chains, Andor is mostly flat, open countryside, fertile and crisscrossed with farms, smallholdings and villages. There is also one very large woodland area, Braem Wood in the north-east of the country, although this is less one giant forest than a large stretch of frequently forested countryside, broken up by gaps for farms and towns.

Andor is located entirely inland with no sea coast, but it does have the unique advantage of sitting on both of the Westlands’ major river networks. The Erinin defines the border with Cairhien and permits (via the port of Aringill) Andoran traders and travellers fast access to Tar Valon and the Borderlands to the north, Cairhien to the east and Tear and the Sea of Storms to the south. The Manetherendrell-Arinelle network passes through the west of the country, giving Andorans fast access via the port of Whitebridge to Saldaea in the far north-west and the markets of Altara, Murandy and Illian in the south.

Andor’s capital and largest city is Caemlyn. One of the oldest cities in the land, it is also one of the largest, exceeded in size only by Tar Valon and matched only by Illian, Tear and perhaps Cairhien and Tanchico. More than 300,000 people live within and outside Caemlyn’s walls. The city is defended by tall, well-maintained walls and several fortified gates, with a second layer of Ogier-built walls defending the old city at its core. The Royal Palace of Andor rises impressively from a hill in the middle of the city. Caemlyn has been besieged scores of times, including during the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years, but it has never fallen to an enemy. The city is also accounted one of the most beautiful ever built, again arguably only exceeded by Tar Valon and long-destroyed Londaren Cor. A network of roads link Caemlyn to Tar Valon to the north; Cairhien (via Aringill) to the east; Far Madding, Tear, Illian and Lugard to the south; and Baerlon to the west, via the wide length of the country.

Andor’s population outside of the capital is spread relatively thinly, but there are several notable large towns (big enough to be accounted small cities, perhaps) including New Braem, Baerlon (which is the effective capital for the western part of the country), Whitebridge and Aringill. Other known villages and larger towns include Emond’s FieldDeven RideWatch Hill and Taren Ferry in the Two Rivers district; Comfrey in the Mountains of Mist; ArienFour Kings, Breen’s Spring, Market Sheran and Carysford on the Caemlyn Road; Kore Springs and Jornhill in Braem Wood; DanabarDamelienBuryhillForel MarketHarlon Bridge and Cullen’s Crossing to the south of Caemlyn.

Andor matches Altara for the number of nations it shares borders with, with five countries located along its edges: Arad Doman to the north-west, Ghealdan to the south-west, Altara and Murandy to the south and Cairhien to the east. However, the border with Arad Doman lies in the Mountains of Mist and the passes through the mountain are remote and dangerous. The border with Ghealdan is also theoretical, as the large, thick and dangerous Forest of Shadows (also called the Great Blackwood) lies along it. There are no villages on the Ghealdanin side of the border for at least a hundred miles and crossing the fast-flowing, rapid-strewn Manetherendrelle in this region is ill-advised. Nobles have occasionally suggested opening a trade route through the Two Rivers and the Forest of Shadows to Jehannah, but Andor prefers to keep the border closed, perhaps concerned that Amadicia and the Children of the Light further south might be more tempted use it as a way into the “soft underbelly of Andor.”

Andor is divided into two distinct regions by the River Arinelle. The eastern half (closer to two-thirds) of Andor is, by far, the more densely-populated half and the location of almost all of Andor’s towns, villages and cities. The great Caemlyn Road, which runs the entire east-west length of the nation (and, via Cairhien, even further to Jangai Pass and the Aiel Waste), passes through frequent villages and towns between Whitebridge and Aringill, but west of Whitebridge, where the road runs through the rugged Hills of Absher, there are only infrequent and isolated hamlets and inns until the town of Baerlon is reached, in the shadow of the Mountains of Mist.

Western Andor is also noted for the ruins from ancient days that dot the hillsides and riverbanks. Most forbidding of these is the immense ruined city located on the banks of the Arinelle, north and east of Baerlon. This city is called Shadar Logoth (“Shadow’s Waiting” in the Old Tongue) and was once Aridhol, the capital of the kingdom of the same name, destroyed in the Trolloc Wars. However, Aridhol was not defeated by Trollocs. It was instead consumed by an evil unleashed within its walls by a man known to history only as Mordeth. Since that time Shadar Logoth has been avoided by everyone, and the few stupid enough to venture inside its walls in search of treasure have never been seen again. Further downriver is a valley which has had multiple statues carved into the rock on both sides of the water, each statue believed to represent a ruler of a long-ago kingdom (probably Manetheren or Aridhol, or both). Time has worn the faces of many of the statues almost smooth. Much further downriver is a tall, silver tower which can be spotted from the river. Known as the Tower of Ghenjei, the tower is tall, featureless and lacks any kind of entrance. It is generally avoided.

Western Andor would have likely broken away centuries ago to become its own nation or, more likely, a region of independent townships and villages if it wasn’t for the great mines in the Mountains of Mist. Silver, gold, iron and copper are mined in the mountains, sent down to villages like Comfrey for refinement and then shipped in great, well-protected trade caravans via Baerlon to the eastern half of the country. For this reason the Lion Throne treats the western districts with a light touch, taxing rarely if at all and focusing on keeping the much more lucrative mines open and happy with the rule of a city almost two thousand miles away.

One of the largest such districts is the Two Rivers. Remote and bucolic, the Two Rivers is so-named because it lies between the two headwater arms of the Manetherendrelle; the Tarendrelle (or Taren) to the north, flowing out of the mountains via the glorious waterfall of Eldrene’s Veil, and the White River (or Manetherendrelle proper) to the south, so named for its fast-flowing waters and rapids. There are no mines in the Two Rivers, Manetheren having exhausted them millennia ago, and relatively little of value beyond farms and sheep. The Two Rivers have no lord or nobles and Caemlyn has allowed it to go its own way for several centuries. The Two Rivers may define the meaning of the word “backwater”: a sleepy, remote place where nothing of import has happened in over two thousand years, and where it is highly unlikely that anything important will ever happen again.

 

Government

Andor is ruled by a Queen (never a king), who sits on the Lion Throne in the Royal Palace of Andor and wears the Rose Crown. Rule is passed in a matrilineal line of descent from mother to daughter. The oldest daughter is known as the Daughter-Heir and is expected to learn the art of ruling, command and political intrigue. The oldest son is known as the First Prince of the Sword and is expected to command the Andoran armies, advise his sister in military matters and, if necessary, defend her with his life. If there is no son of suitable age, a Captain-General will be appointed commander of the royal armies. If there is no daughter, a Succession may take place, where control of Andor passes from one house to another.

Successions are fraught and tense affairs, but rarely violent; Andor has suffered only three civil wars for the Lion Throne in a thousand years, and for the most part widespread bloodshed is avoided. Andor projects an image of unity and strength at odds with many of its neighbours (particularly Altara, Murandy and Cairhien) and internal divisions are, to the outside world at least, downplayed and forgotten about almost as soon as they arise.

There are nineteen major noble houses in Andor. These are: Trakand, Anshar, Arawn, Baryn, CaerenCandraedCarand, Coelan, Gilyard, Haevin, Taravin, Mantear, Marne, Northan, Norwelyn, Pendar, RensharSarand and Traemane. There are numerous lesser noble houses, but these are only ones with enough power and influence to claim the Lion Throne.

The known ruling Queens of Andor are: Ishara Casalain (FY 994-1020), Alesinde Casalain (FY 1020-35), Melasune Casalain (FY 1035-46), Termylle (FY 1046-54), Maragaine (FY 1054-73), Astara (FY 1073-85), Telaisien (FY 1085-1103), Morrigan (FY 1103-14), Lyndelle (FY 1114 – c. FY 1165/30 NE), Modrellein (c. 300 NE), Mordrellen Mantear (c. 950-972 NE) and the current Queen Morgase Trakand (972 NE – present). The current Daughter-Heir of Andor is her daughter, Elayne Trakand (b. 981).

Andor is also noted for its close alliance with Tar Valon: the Daughter-Heir of Andor is by tradition (even if incapable of channelling) sent to the White Tower for training in politics and many aspects of rule and the First Prince of the Sword is combat-trained by Warders. In return the Aes Sedai provide the Queen with a permanent advisor. The current such advisor is Elaida do’Avriny a’Roihan of the Red Ajah.

 

Military and Population

Andor is reputed to have the most disciplined, well-trained and largest army south of the Borderlands, and easily the largest army that can be fielded by any one nation on its own (Cairhien before the Aiel War may have come within reasonable distance, but it was still fewer). In times of exceptional need Andor can rally over 200,000 men to arms, although gathering them from the kingdom’s remote borders and keeping them supplied whilst they assembled would probably be quite difficult. Since the War of the Hundred Years, Andor has never needed to rally its entire military potential to arms, although it has fought border skirmishes with Murandy and Cairhien which has on occasion required the deployment of tens of thousands of troops. The last major deployment of the Andoran army was during the Aiel War, when 28,000 troops were sent to the Grand Alliance at the Battle of the Shining Walls.

Andor’s military is fronted by an elite unit known as the Queen’s Guard. The Guard is a large formation (numbering in the thousands) consisting of cavalry, missile troops, pike and foot. The Queen’s Guard is barracked in and around Caemlyn and charged with the defence of the capital and the Royal Palace. The Guard recruits from both the nobility and the commons and strives to promote on merit, minimising the politicking and the buying of commissions and ranks which has stymied the military professionalism of nations such as Cairhien and Murandy. The Guard’s commander, if not the First Prince of the Sword (due to there not being a male heir or if he is clearly incompetent), is a Captain-General whose tactical judgement, sword skill and valour in battle must be beyond question. The current Captain-General is Gareth Bryne, accounted as one of the “Great Captains” of the Westlands.

Beyond the Queen’s Guard, most of the noble houses of Andor each maintain a standing formation numbering (varying on the size of the house) of between dozens and the high hundreds of troops. The quality of these troops varies, but the houses who hold land along the Erinin border with Cairhien and the mountainous border with Murandy train their forces to a very high standard to deal with any unwanted border incursions.

The population of Andor is estimated at approximately 20 million, making it the most populous nation in the Westlands.

 

Economy

Andor is a large country with a rich and diverse economy. Since Cairhien lost the right of passage across the Aiel Waste, Andor has overtaken it in terms of riches, and only Arad Doman and Tear are believed to seriously challenge Andor’s economic supremacy.

The kingdom is a known trade centre, with the city of Caemlyn located athwart several lucrative overland trade routes linking cities such as Tar Valon, Cairhien, Illian, Tear, Lugard and Far Madding. The Caemlyn Road also runs down the length of the nation like a spine, allowing trade to move freely. The Erinin provides swift access to the markets of Tear, Tar Valon and the eastern Borderlands, whilst the Arinelle-Manetherendrelle basin provides access to Saldaea, Altara, Murandy and Illian.

In terms of natural resources, Andor is blessed by deep mines in and under the Mountains of Mist, producing everything from tin to silver. Braem Wood is a prime source of lumber, the rivers provide immense bounties of fish and the mostly flat countryside east of the Arinelle is excellent for grazing, for everything from cattle to wool to fine horses (although not as fine as those of Tear). Andor is also prime farming country, growing immense fields of barley and wheat. Other strong exports include ironwork, tabac and wheat (mostly to Cairhien). The Andoran gold mark is also noted for its strong stability, making it the preferred international trade currency for many nations over their own native coinage.

 

Culture

The Andorans are a somewhat serious people compared to many others, sober and with a strong sense of national pride. They engage in political intrigue out of necessity but do not love it and have not made a national sport of it as the Cairhienin have (and the Tairens have – poorly – imitated). They fight bravely and with distinction on the battlefield, but do not have a martial, bloody culture as the Borderlands do. Andoran merchants are successful and canny, but they do not have it in their very lifeblood like the Domani.

All of that said, Andorans are strong, loyal allies and make formidable, impressive enemies. They can be passionate and fierce, but to strangers show a more guarded face until their true worth can be assessed.

Andoran dress is relatively restrained and modest for both men and women.

 

Note on the Maps

There has been a questionable issue with maps of Andor since the release of The Eye of the World, namely the location of Shadar Logoth. In the text of The Eye of the World the characters travel to Shadar Logoth from Baerlon in just two days of flight, over the Hills of Absher. Allowing for the rough terrain, this would put Shadar Logoth at significantly less than 100 miles from Baerlon, and this is achieved (if barely) by placing the ruined city on the river at the closest point to the town. However, this is significantly to the west of the great northern swing of the river; the Arinelle runs from Maradon in Saldaea into Andor, swinging east towards Whitebridge before meeting the Manetherendrelle. The obvious solution means putting Shadar Logoth on a tributary of the Arinelle rather than the Arinelle itself. This would be doable (by calling the river the Upper Arinelle or somesuch) if if wasn’t for the fact that Bayle Domon and Spray had sailed down the river from Maradon and stopped near Shadar Logoth for the night; there’s no logical reason for him to sail a hundred miles or more up a tributary to park up for the night before resuming the trip.

I considered several solutions, but the obvious one – moving Baerlon further north and east and closer to the bend of the river – caused new problems with the travel time from the Two Rivers to Baerlon, not to mention Baerlon’s fixed position on numerous iterations of the official maps. In the end I compromised on moving Shadar Logoth somewhat further east and moving the confluence of the Arinelle with its tributary some distance west. Although not perfect, this solution I believe mostly resolves the issue.

 

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