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PostSubject: Tar Valon   Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:27 pm

Tar Valon




“The Wheel of Time turns around Tar Valon, and Tar Valon turns around the Tower.”
— Axiom of the Westlands, origin unknown


Tar Valon is an island city amidst the River Erinin, within sight of Dragonmount, and the center of Aes Sedai power. Kings and queens fear the political power that Tar Valon holds; though it does not have as much land as it did before the War of the Hundred Years. Tar Valon is a true city-state over which the Amyrlin Seat rules, and the only place where Aes Sedai wield officialized administrative power. The population is roughly 500,000 today, and was built shortly after the Breaking of the World, on the order of the first Amyrlin Seat. It has remained independent ever since.

Tar Valon is both home to the Aes Sedai, The White Tower and the training grounds for those wishing to become Aes Sedai and Warders. It is a bone-white tower nearly 100 spans in height. Its roof is flat-topped with a waist-high railing.

The six bridges leading out of Tar Valon end at villages on both sides of the River Erinin. Darein, Jualde, and Alindaer lie on the west bank, and Luagde, Daghain, and Osenrein sit on the east bank. One small hamlet further inland, Dorlan, is so small that it has no inn.


Geography and significance

Tar Valon resides in almost the geographic center of the Westlands, making it an important trade hub even if it did not have any other advantages. However, more important in most people's minds is that Tar Valon is the home of the White Tower, where the Aes Sedai reside and train. The Tower - and most of the city - was built by the Ogier, so the buildings are frequently reminiscent of waves or growing plants or horses on the run, whether they are palaces or places of business. Great sky-bridges connect the taller towers. At the hub of the city lies the White Tower itself, taller than any building in the land, dwarfed only by nearby Dragonmount. Taxation from all the trade means that the White Tower's coffers are extremely rich. Of the great cities of the land, Tar Valon is the greatest and most beautiful, with Caemlyn not far behind.


The Shining Walls

The Shining Walls of Tar Valon are thought to be impregnable, and it is said that no army has ever breached them, though this is not strictly true. Even discounting the difficulty of taking a city filled with Aes Sedai, only the Stone of Tear can make a similar claim, amongst all the places of the world.


Ogier Grove

Spanning two miles across, the Ogier Grove is the most beautiful in all the land, a distinction formerly applied to the Grove at Manetheren. It is surrounded by an endless series of spiraling stone arches, each 5 spans high and 10 spans wide. It contains a vast array of trees, including oaks, elms, leatherleafs, firs, and Great Trees. Like many Ogier Groves, this one contains a Waygate.


The White Tower

The White Tower is both home to the Aes Sedai, and training grounds for those wishing to become Aes Sedai and Warders. It is a bone-white tower nearly 100 spans in height. Its roof is flat-topped with a waist-high railing.

The bottom half of the White Tower is dedicated to the Hall. Many of the common rooms are decorated in all the colors of the Ajahs, with some specific to only one Ajah. The Hall is where the Ajahs will meet and discuss Aes Sedai policies and procedures. The Amyrlin Seat presides over Hall meetings.

Novices and Accepted are boarded in a palace-like building attached to the rear of the main tower. The interior consists of stone-railed galleries surrounding a small courtyard consisting of a small garden with only a handful of evergreen bushes. The two Accepted galleries can hold almost two hundred Accepted, while the two Novice galleries can hold nearly four hundred.


Southharbor

An ogier-built basin surrounded by high walls of the same silver-streaked white stone that composes much of Tar Valon and located on the southern tip of the island.


Northharbor

The northern counterpart to Southharbor, and similar in description.


Miscellaneous Buildings

Many of the buildings in Tar Valon have been constructed by Ogier, and as such are some of the most striking in the land. Among the more notable are:
  • he Blue Cat - Resembles a blue cat curled up to sleep
  • The Great Fish Market - The largest fish market in the city, it resembles a school of multicolored fish swimming.
  • Kandori Merchants' Guild Hall - Resembles horses running out of the surf
  • Banking House - A three story tall building that resembles a flight of golden marble birds taking wing
  • Tamore Alkohima's Dress Shop - A building that seems to be all curves

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