The Black Tower is the headquarters of the Asha'man, the organization of male channelers started by Rand al'Thor and trained by Mazrim Taim. It originated as a converted farmhouse located less than two leagues south of Caemlyn.
History and formation
The Black Tower's name derived from Asha'man themselves, who began calling it such in contrast to the White Tower of Tar Valon, where female channelers are trained. Taim has his students working on an enclosing wall nearly four square miles around the Black Tower, and has built a large manor house where he himself lives, along with most of the full Asha'man. Most of the Soldiers live in barracks, though the Dedicated have started constructing small houses for themselves.
Since Rand surrendered control of Andor, it has been regularly visited by soldiers sent by Elayne Trakand to enforce Andoran law, though this is largely seen as merely a token gesture due to the large size of the Black Tower compound.
Leading up to the Last Battle, two factions emerge within the Black Tower, one led by Mazrim Taim, and the other by Logain Ablar. Taim's faction is larger and appears to be on the Shadow's side. Those on Logain's side have become worried at Logain's continued disappearance and certain worrying developments, whereby some channelers have been changed in some way so it is no longer them there. The details of this are unknown, but are worrying for the inevitable confrontation between Rand and Taim.
Logain's faction eventually discovers that Mazrim Taim is a Darkfriend (actually a new Forsaken) that, along with Graendal, has Turned several channelers to the Shadow, following Moridin's orders. After the discovery, Androl, with help of the Two Rivers men and the other Asha'man loyal to Logain, attack the compound, rescuing Logain (who was at the verge of been Turned by Mazrim Taim's dreadlords) and purging the Black Tower of the evil Asha'man, although the two Forsaken manage to escape along with some of their followers.
The Black Tower was called on to fight in the Battle near Shadar Logoth.
As opposed to female channelers, men are unable to sense the ability to channel in another. Mazrim Taim was the first to claim the ability to test and train men for channeling. Taim grabs Damer Flinn to be the first tested, saying, "The more power that is used the easier it is to detect the resonance. Too big a resonance can do unpleasant things to your mind, maybe kill you, so I'll start small." Taim channeled a tiny flame and commanded Damer to concentrate on the flame. After ten minutes a resonance finally was detected, a tiny echo of the minuscule flow of power pulsing in Taim but seeming to come from Damer. Only time will tell how strong a man will become in the power.
The unmarried members sleep in barracks that get more comfortable the higher ranked they are. The married members live in houses, and there seems to be no pattern in the size of house. Several buildings are in construction that Mazrim Taim claims will rival the White Tower.
For further details, see Asha'man#Organization
- Soldier - The lowest rank.
- Dedicated - Those who have developed some level of skill.
- Asha'man - The highest rank.