The Ayyad are the people in Shara who can channel the One Power. They live in towns separate from the rest of the Sharan people; other Sharans intruding in these towns are killed. Permission must be granted for the Ayyad to leave these places, although anyone seeing one outside the village would just assume one had permission anyway. They tattoo their faces to allow identification; anyone bearing these tattoos are confined to Ayyad villages.
Male Ayyad are not killed immediately; instead, they serve as breeding stock for female Ayyad. They can feed and dress themselves but are not allowed to read or write. They are used to breed more female Ayyad, and as such their bloodlines are traced like horse breeding stock. Males are communally raised, called simply "the male," instead of "he." When they are of the age of sixteen they are taken from the village and are hooded and cloaked, and are matched with women who desire children. Sometimes several. When he is twenty-one, or shows signs of channeling, he is taken from the village as if again to go breed and is instead killed and cremated. In an effort to sow chaos in Shara, Demandred released them from bondage, and they now call themselves The Freed.
Ties to Sharan rulers
The Sharans are ruled by monarchs who die after seven years in power, which the Sharan people simply accept this as the "will of the Pattern." At this point, the monarch's widow(er) remarries and becomes monarch; the new spouse will be widowed in an additional seven years and reign in turn. Unknown to most, the monarchs are actually killed by the Ayyad, who are the true power in Shara.