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Altara


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Altara’s flag is two golden leopards, one above the other on a field checked four-by-four in red and blue: red is next to the staff on the topmost row. Other symbols include the Throne of the Winds upon which the ruler of Altara sits.

 

Robert Jordan is known for borrowing from the real life cultures and mixing them into a new blend. Altara is thought by many to be based on the Mediterranian cultures and has similar maritime ambience than Renaissance Italy city states. Altara is also as divided as Italy and its people don't have a very strong national identity.

 

Location

 

Southern corner of Randland

 

To the North is Ghealdan, Andor and Murandy

To the East is Illian

To the South is The Sea of Storms

To the West is Amadicia

 

Balance of Power

 

Altara is a country unified only in name. Most of the inhabitants prefer to identify themselves as citizens of a particular town or as subjects of of a particular lady or a lord, rather than a subject of the ruler or a citizen of Altara. Even the nobles seem to care little for their nation and seldom pay taxes and most offer only lip-service to the Queen at best. At worst they plot to sit on the Throne of Winds themselves. But because the ruler of Altara doesn't have as great command of their country as most of the other rulers, many powerful nobles in the history have scorned the opportunity to take the throne. Right now such ambitious contenders exist.

 

Even a common enemy hasn't been enough to unite the land. Altara's Western neighbour Amadicia (or rather the Children of the Light ruling it) wants to control the country to get access to the river trade of Eldar and enforce its position to march to also weak Murandy or even Illian. Altara would already be taken if Illian hadn't intervened during the Whitecloak War.

 

National character

 

One thing common to all Altarans, especially the women, is fierce and bold nature. They are extremely polite, yet quick to answer an insult with steel. All are equal on the dueling ground and this mentality is most evident in Ebou Dar, the capital city.

 

Noble factions

 

 

 

Guilds

 

In Ebou Dar workers must be accredited to a guild, and this is indicated by clothing. Prominent guilds include for example blacksmiths, ferriers, dockmen and fishers. Guilds have political clout. Nobles generally do not want to get in trouble with guilds because otherwise a guild will withdraw all services to them. In a situation like that the nobles would have to trust the work to people who aren't guild trained or guild approved, especially a problem with important occupations such as blacksmiths and ferriers. The guilds also tend to support one another so the other guilds might side with the offended guild and the noble is banned from all services.

 

The guilds are mainly concerned with protecting themselves because if they become too political there is always the chance that the nobles might just decide to break them. They only react when one of their members has troubles and the nobles also avoid stirring the guilds and involving them to the politics. Game wise this means that the guilds don't really matter politically since no one wants to stir the status quo.

 

Economy

 

Tear is the greatest port located in the ‘Sea of Storms’, as well as one of the richest nations in the land. The majority of this wealth comes from the oil produced on the countries many olive farms, there is also a great deal of trade in grain and fish which brings money into the nation as well. They also have excellent horse breeding and they take a lot of pride in this. Unfortunately Tairen lords tax according to their own needs and wants, not taking into account crop failures or other such problems. Some feel that the Tairens rule poorly, as the poor have little dignity or pride and bitterly resent the rich.

 

There is nothing larger than a village in Tear outside of Tear and Godan (See Below). The Tairen High Lords keep towns small by heavily taxing new construction. They allow the city of Godan to thrive on the Bay of Remara to threaten Mayene.

Tear and the White Tower

 

Channelling is outlawed in Tear, though Aes Sedai are tolerated as long as they don’t Channel while within its borders. If a woman known to be associated with the Tower will be watched as long as she’s in Tear. If a Tairen girl displays the ability to Channel, she is shipped off to Tar Valon that very day.

 

Facts and Numbers

 

Military

 

Culture

 

General

 

Wisdoms are referred to as either Wise Women or Mothers. Tairen Wise Women don’t listen to the wind, that is too close to the use of the One Power and would draw negative attention towards them and they advertises her shop by hanging herbs in window. Also, Ogier are not an uncommon sight in Tear.

 

Tairen use woven, dyed straw mats as coasters and low-backed chairs are quite popular and commonplace. The men dance to a clapping rhythm, with their arms around each other’s shoulders and stepping quickly. Tairen women are considered “forward” by some other cultures, (possibly including Saldaea).

Clothing/Appearance

 

| Appearance |

Taller than an average Cairhien (by at least a good head taller), Tairen are not overly tall but have slightly thicker build. They are known for their darker skin hair and eyes. It is rare for a Tairen to have either fair hair or blue eyes.

 

Fashion

 

As in most cultures, the wealthy wear embroidered or brocaded silk often set with jewels, and gold, while the poor and middle-class wear wool or linen, brass and glass.

 

The Ebou Dari take pride in duelling scars and see them as beauty marks.

 

Women: The women wear dresses with a tight bodice and full skirt over brightly contrasting petticoats (often layers of petticoats if they can be afforded). To show off the petticoats, the skirts of noblewomen are raised in the front and may have a long train behind, and those of the commoners are sewn up above one knee. The higher the skirts are raised the more sexually inviting the wearer (Winter’s Heart, Three Women). Necklines are revealing: those of the commoners are deep and narrow and outlined with embroidery or a little lace and those of the nobles are high with an oval or round cut-out (similar to a keyhole neckline) edged with lace or gold embroidery (A Crown of Swords, The Bowl of Winds). Noblewomen also have their cuffs edged with lace, often covering their hands. A belt or sash is worn around the waist of the dress and holds a curved dagger. Outside, a coloured straw hat tied with ribbons may be worn (A Crown of Swords, A Note from the Palace), and nobles also may carry brightly coloured parasols (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes). Multiple finger rings and large hoop earrings are worn by most women.

 

Women soon to marry wear a wide close-fitting metal necklace from which their marriage knife will hang hilt-down once they marry. When they give birth to a child, a stone is set into the hilt of the knife, white for a son, red for a daughter. The stones are pearls or firedrops for the rich, glass for the poor. If their child dies under sixteen years of age, the setting of the stone is enamelled black; if the child is over sixteen and dies in a duel, the setting is enamelled red for a son and white for a daughter. The setting may be enamelled a different colour again for children over sixteen who die of illness or accident. Many Ebou Dari women remove the stones of their children over sixteen who refuse a duel, thus disowning them (Lord of Chaos, Leaning on the Knife). The sheath of a widow intending to remarry is blue, if she is not, it is white.

 

Men: wear tight breeches but "the trademark of an Ebou Dari man is his long, elaborate vest. These vests are often as brightly coloured as a tinker’s clothes, and are worn alone or over pale shirts with wide sleeves. Sometimes the wealthy add a decorative silk coat slung about the shoulders, since it is deliberately too small to be worn conventionally. This “cape” is held with a chain of silver or gold strung between the narrow embroidered lapels. When the cape is worn a long narrow swords (rapier) is usually carried, in addition to the standard dagger." - The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

 

Most men wear finger rings and some wear hoop earrings. Noblemen also wear high-crowned velvet hats (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes).

 

Pretties of either sex have more extreme or revealing clothing. Mat wore tight breeches, very short coat, large quantities of lace and embroidery (and nearly gemstones as well) and very bright colours (Winter’s Heart, In Need of a Bellfounder). The sigil of house Mitsobar was embroidered on the left shoulder of his cloak.

 

Palace Servants wear the commoners’ fashion in a livery of green and white with the sigil of house Mitsobar embroidered on the breast.

 

Guilds: In Ebou Dar workers must be accredited to a guild, and this is indicated by clothing:

 

* beggars - brass ring on the little finger (A Crown of Swords, Festival of Birds), the smallest amount possible of the cheapest metal

 

* bookers – red vest with open book embroidered on the breast (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes)

 

* dockmen - green leather vest (A Crown of Swords, Six Stories)

 

* fishermen – long blue-and-green vest, double earring with two white stones on the lower hoop if the man owns other boats besides the one he captains (A Crown of Swords, The Triumph of Logic)

 

* goldsmiths - blue-and-white silk vest with guild sigil (A Crown of Swords, Mashiara), the silk indicating they are well paid

 

* labourers - plain woollen vest (Winter’s Heart, Another Plan)

 

* printers – vest with horizontal stripes

 

* salt workers – white vest

 

* sedan chair bearers - green-and-red striped vest (A Crown of Swords, Small Sacrifices)

 

* weavers - vests with vertical stripes

 

 

Fools: have a white-painted face and wear jingling brass bells (like a jester) on a black-and-white hat and coat (like a harlequin) (A Crown of Swords, The Triumph of Logic).

 

At some festivals, people wear masks.

 

 

Countryside fashion

 

The mode of dress varies from village to village in a way typical of Europe but is generally of a Mediterranean style.

 

Men: wear short coats embroidered with bright colours, the amount and style depending not just on wealth but also on town (angular scroll work in one town, flowers and birds in Jurador, small amount of embroidery in Maderin), dark baggy trousers tucked into knee high boots and belt knives (Crossroads of Twilight, Something Flickers and Knife of Dreams, Dragons’ Eggs and A Hell in Maderin).

 

Women: Their dress varies from area to area: bright narrow skirts embroidered with flowers in one town (Knife of Dreams, Dragons’ Eggs), dark high-necked dress embroidered across the bosom, and lace cap in Maderin, dark dress with long white apron and lace cap in Maderin (Knife of Dreams, A Hell in Maderin) and high necked embroidered dress in Jurador, with rich women also wearing an embroidered cloak, sheer veil and gold-work or ivory combs (Crossroads of Twilight, Something Flickers).

 

 

Altaran hairstyles

 

Ebou Dari women wear their hair in a variety of hairstyles, long or short as they please (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes). Women living in the countryside wear their long hair up either in coiled braids with gold work or ivory combs (Crossroads of Twilight, Something Flickers) or in a coiled bun on top of their head (Knife of Dreams, Dragons’ Eggs). Ebou Dari noblemen wear their hair shoulder length (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes).

 

| General |

Because of the muddy ground around the city, the people (especially the poor) often wear raised clogs over their shoes. Widows can be spotted by shimmering white clothing. Women usually wear thick curls down the sides of their heads. Although some women like to wear their hair braided and coiled about their heads.

 

| Upper Class |

The Middle and Upper Class men wear heavy coats made of padded silks and brocades with satin strips, the sleeves are often puffy and striped. Breeches are usually worn tighter and are topped off with peaked hats and silver-worked boots (very common with the High Lords).

 

The Women’s dress is usually of bright colors with broad lace ruffles and close fitting caps sewn with pearls or gems and longer skirts. Their cloaks are similar to the Men. They are also known to carry small porcelain bottles of smelling salts and painted silk fans.

 

| Lower Class |

The poor dress similarly to the Upper in style but lack in the fineries like Silks, Satins, and Lace. It is more often that they use ties to fasten their clothing instead of using buttons.

 

| Occupational |

 

Innkeepers are known to wear Blue.

 

The servants in the Stone of Tear are found to where either red and gold livery, or black and gold livery. Outside the Stone servants wear clothes of wool.

 

The Defenders of the Stone wear rimmed helmets, breastplates and plump coat-sleeves striped black and gold. Officers and under-Officers of the Defenders are to wear coloured plumes on their helmets, and the rest of them wear colors of their lords on their sleeves. A Captain of the Defenders has two short white plumes in his helmet to indicate his rank.

 

Officers and nobles both carry gilded cuirasses, and have white plumes on their helmets.

Crime and Punishment

 

Channelling is outlawed in Tear, though Aes Sedai are tolerated as long as they don’t Channel while within its borders. A woman known to be associated with the Tower will be watched as long as she’s in Tear. Justice in Tear usually depends on class, with the lower classes being persecuted where the upper classes wouldn’t be. One of the punishments for criminals would be working the channel dredges in the Fingers of the Dragon.

 

Only the Defenders may go armed within the Stone. No one may enter the Stone of Tear without the permission of the High Lords, and only the High Lords themselves may enter the Heart of the Stone itself. Only foreigners passing through the city, the wealthy and the lords may go armed within the city of Tear. Tairen lords couldn’t be summoned to a magistrate by a commoner but after the Dragon Reborn, this has changed.

Food

 

High Lords have ice packed in sawdust brought from the Spine of the World. You can also find sausage, fruits and vegetables (that are not seen in the north) olives, nuts, and cheese served as snacks in the Stone.

Phrases and Sayings

 

- By the Stone (III: 361)

- or I don’t know a bar knot from a running hitch (V: 596)

- squealing like a spawning grunter (V: 596)

- catch minnows (catch flies - for having one’s mouth hang open) (VI: 265)

- Lurks (Fades) (IV: 189)

- An anchor is not demeaned by being used to hold a boat. (II: 130)

- A full net on the first cast. (III: 179)

- Mudfish don’t school with silversides. (Birds of a feather flock

together.) (III: 566)

- Do not trouble trouble until trouble troubles you. (Maule) (IV: 289)

- A flapping tongue can put you in the net, instead of the fish. (V: 33)

- Caution gets the boat home, but boldness brings back a full hold.

(V: 171)

- as sulky as a fisher-bird in winter (V: 314)

- A fish in the boat is worth a school in the water. (A bird in the hand

is worth two in the bush.) (V: 326)

- An Aes Sedai is ten women in one skin. (VI: 592)

- When there are fishheads and blood in the water, you don’t have to see

the silverpike to know they are there. (???)

- Trust is as slippery as a basket of eels. (???)

- If you are going to gut a fish, no need to wait until it rots. (???)

Tairen Falsehoods

 

Many Tairens think that Trollocs and how many Shienarans become warriors to fight them are stories. Also, Tairens think that Aiel live in “caves”. The general consciences is that anything a Borderland would say, a Tairen would not believe it and consider it a ‘myth’ or a ‘tall Gleeman tale’.

Commonly Used Names

 

| Female |

Ailhuin, Alteima, Anaiyella, Arie, Belyne, Cian, Dara, Fionnda, Ines, Ivara, Leitha, Majhere, Mara, Medore, Meralda, Rasoria, Rosana, Salita, Sareitha, Selame, Siuan


 

| Male |

Alger, Aracome, Astoril, Baran, Bili, Carleon, Carlomin, Cavan, Darlin, Dermid, Edorian, Estean, Estevan, Furen, Guyeam, Harnan, Haviar, Hearne, Huan, Istaban, Juilin, Jurah, Leuse, Lopin, Maraconn, Meilan, Melanril, Nalesean, Perelean, Reimon, Rodrivar, Rovair, Simaan, Surnamon, Tedosian, Tirhira, Tolmeran, Torean, Weiramon

 

| Surname |

Admira, Ajala, Alharra, Domanche, Guenna, Haellin, Haret, Lopar, Mallia, Mandair, Mulan, Novares, Sanche, Sandar, Tarou, Tihera, Tirado, Tomanes, Tomares, Toranes

 

| Nobility |

Andiama, Aldiaya, Annariz, Asegora, Damara, Emares, Medrano, Mendiana, Saniago, Selorna, Sisnera

Side Note

 

- Almost everyone in Tear suffers from nightmares because Be’lal doesn’t shield his dreams.

History

 

More info on the History can be found here

Places of Interest

City of Tear

 

The location of the city of Tear is unclear. At the beginning of Chapter 48 of The Dragon Reborn, the city docks are said to be on the west bank of the River Erinin, but at the beginning of Chapter 50, Perrin, Moiraine, and Lan arrive by ferry from the west. At the beginning of Chapter 22 of The Shadow Rising, Rand leads the Aiel “out of the Stone and eastward.”

 

Tear is Ogier-built, although the Stone is Aes Sedai built, and is the greatest port on the Sea of Storms. Tear is as large as Tar Valon or Caemlyn, built on flat land. Near the warehouse district, the houses are built of wood and stone on muddy streets. Deeper into the city is a wall of dark grey stone, and beyond that towers, balconies and white-domed palaces. The city wall is only a pace wide, but ten spans high, with stone buttresses supporting it. Some houses are built right up against the city wall. The city has an outer wall, with simple stone houses and shops built beyond it. Large numbers of ships moor at the Tear docks near their many warehouses. When docks busy, ships have to anchor and wait their turn at the docks. The streets of Tear are not especially crowded or busy. Tavar is the name of the farmer’s market in Tear, and the Maule is the port district, the Chalm is filled with warehouses and inns. There are hundreds of inns in a city the size of Tear, maybe a hundred more outside the city walls proper. The smallest would have only a dozen rooms.Only foreigners passing through the city, the wealthy and the lords may go armed within Tear. The Ogier stay in the Stone when they come to work in Tear.

 

More info on the City of Tear can be found here

The Stone of Tear

 

The city of Tear is dominated by the Stone of Tear, which towers above the city like a small mountain. It is believed to be the oldest stronghold of mankind, erected shortly after the Breaking of the World. It was built by Aes Sedai using the One Power, Earth, Air, and Fire fusing stones together without joint or mortar.

 

More info on the Stone can be found here

According to Winkipedia

 

Deep within the Stone is the Heart of the Stone. This is where the crystal sword Callandor sits, waiting for the Dragon Reborn to claim it. No one except the High Lords are allowed to enter the Heart, and even they rarely do so: four times a year for the Rite of Guarding there, and also to raise a Lord of the Land to the office of High Lord. Indeed, if the High Lords could manage to forget that the Heart of the Stone and Callandor existed, they undoubtedly would: Tairens of all classes have an avowed fear of anything to do with the One Power. This is due partly to the fact that it is prophesied that the Stone of Tear will never fall until the Dragon has been Reborn. The High Lords like to think that by protecting Callandor, they are protecting the world from the Dragon Reborn.

Ironically, the Stone also houses a collection of angreal and ter’angreal second only to the White Tower. It is unsure exactly why the Tairens have collected such an array; perhaps to prevent their use by Aes Sedai, or maybe to diminish by comparison the knowledge that they possess one of the greatest of them, Callandor, whose drawing by the Dragon Reborn will herald the coming of another Breaking of the World.

Maerone

 

This small town is across the Erinin from Aringill. Maerone is unwalled, an overgrown village with brick and stone buildings, with roofs of wooden shingles, thatch, slate and tile, most of the streets are hardpacked dirt. The village is a transit point of trade between Cairhien and Tear, and has almost as many inns and taverns as it does houses. There are over 17 inns in Maerone.

 

Inns: the Fox and Goose, The Wagoneer’s Whip, the River Gate, the Erinin Inn, the Three Towers, the Silver Horn, and Golden Stag inn. A well-established road leads south out of Maerone, piercing through forest and open country.

 

It’s about 20-22 days from Maerone to Tear.

Godan

 

A coastal town in far southeast Tear on the Bay of Remara.

Bay of Remara

 

A large bay at the far southeast corner of the Westlands at the end of the Spine of the World. The Drowned Lands lie to the east. Tear ends at the western shore at the city of Godan. The city-state of Mayene lies on the peninsula to the southeast.

Artifacts of Note

Redstone Doorway (1)

 

Tairen redstone door ter’angreal - three sinuous lines from top to bottom of each upright. Within the Tairen Redstone doorway, one can get three answers to three questions about the past, present or future. (Two ta’veren within the land beyond the doorway simultaneously could have torn the connection between the two worlds and left both trapped there.)

Rules and dangers of using Tairen doorway:

- Each person can only go through the doorway once. All three questions must be asked and answered before you can leave. Questions of frivolous consequence to the questioner are punished. Questions that touch the Shadow in any way can be very dangerous, with the questioner not returning from the doorway, or going mad. A person stepping through the door sees blinding light and hears the sound of a roar. If you go through the doorway a second time it acts like any ordinary arch.

About the Snakes Within:

The snakes speak in the Old Tongue. When needed, one is brought to interpret, he speaks the way an old book would read. The snakes feed off of people’s sensations and experiences. The answers given by the snake people are true in regards to one’s own future, but they are often obscure in phrasing.

Portal Stones

 

There are 4 known Portal Stones in Tear.

References Used:

 

45.0 TEAR - GENERAL CULTURE - http://www.drosi.de/wot/wt_conco.htm

Winkipedia

Warders.org

Researcher for Tear

 

Andrea Collet (Arie Ronshor)

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Written by Reetta - History and such invented for the sole use of DM

 

 

History of the Factions and Racing

 

Horse racing has been done in of Ebou Dar since the days of old, it is a national sports of a sorts, and each stable has a colour associated with it that its supporters among the spectators wear. Rivarly between the stables can get fierce sometimes with Ebou Dari tempers and it has lead to innumerable duels after the race and sometimes even during the events. The most passionate fans wear their stable's colours even outside the circuits at least in form of a scarf tied to their arm.

 

There are three racing arenas in Ebou Dar, the Silver Circuit, the Circuit or Heaven and the Circuit of the Sun. The Circuit of the Sun (or the Sun Circuit) is considered the best arena and only those who have proved themselves in the other circuits can race there. Stables usually operate in only one of the circuits and as long as anyone can remember the Sun Circuit has had four stables whose colours are the Blue, Green, Red and White. Originally they were just mere stables and their supporters were lovers of racing but nobles soon became patrons of their favourite stables and the sport got mired in politics. In fact, choosing a certain stable became a sign of your political agendas.

 

Today the four best stables racing in the Sun Circuit are in the core of four political factions named after their colours.

 

 

Blue faction (the ruler's faction, colour chosen after the Throne of Winds)

 

This faction's strength waxes and wanes with the power of the monarch of Altara. The current Queen Sarena Mitsobar is the second of her House to sit on the Throne of Winds and if her daughter manages to succeed her in the future, House Mitsobar will be the first one in hundreds of years capable of that steady rulership. The Queen's position is not as strong as she would like, but she and her supporters hold about 2/4 of the lands hundred miles from Ebour Dar. She has also gained more supporters lately.

 

This faction is lead by the Queen's uncle, Baris, who many suspect of plotting against her. And that is exactly the picture they want to give to outsiders.

 

 

Green faction

 

The Greens have been led for a few generations by noble House Elonid with merchant origins. They were rewarded the title of Lords and Ladies due to their successful banking ventures - and because the then ruler of Altara owed them a hefty sum of money. Most truly old blood nobles look them down upon their noses because they deem it below their station to work. But as the estates of these bluebloods haven't produced them enough income to support their lifestyle, some of them have been forced to take loans from House Elonid. All the favours House Elonid gains from them however are forced and they don't really have many allies among the nobility. They compensate this by being in friendly terms with most of the merchant houses of Ebou Dar.

 

 

White faction

 

Whites stand on their own when it comes to noble support. They have fewer Houses than the Blues and Reds but collectively they are quite powerful. Whites are also united under the flag of one house, House Borja and its matriarch Lucretia is the most likely candidate for the throne if the Reds cannot thicken their lines. She is rumoured to utilize poison - a can of worms no one wants to open - to get rid of competition inside and outside the faction but there is no proof of this. She herself is quite paranoid and is surrounded by bodyguards and food tasters.

 

The Whites discovered recently that one of their best horses was sabotaged and all the clues point to the Reds. In reality one of the nobles supporting the Blues arranged it and framed the Reds. The Whites have been rallying their supporters to make the life of Reds difficult which has increased the general level of hostility among all the factions.

 

 

Red faction

 

The Reds are the strongest faction beside the Blue and it has the most nobles although most of them represent minor Houses with large ambitions. Three largest Houses, Asnobar, Berengari & Quintara lead the faction and they do not always see eye to eye on the faction's goals. Should they ever succeed in dethroning the Queen, they most likely couldn't decide peacefully who among them would become the new ruler. But until that point they are willing to work together.

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