Ishara Casalain was the first Queen of Andor, ruling from the founding of the kingdom in FY 994 to her death in FY 1020, during the War of the Hundred Years. Where others tried to seize the whole of Artur Hawkwing's empire and failed, Ishara took a firm hold on a small portion of it and succeeded.
Her date of birth is not recorded, although her bearing of children circa FY 1000 suggests it was after the fall of Aldeshar to Hawkwing's forces.
Ishara's family history
Believing that Aldeshar had something to do with the death of his first wife, Amaline Paendrag Tagora and three of their children, Hawkwing was unusually harsh in his treatment of the kingdom after it capitulated in FY 963, marking the beginning of a period of uncharacteristic ruthlessness called the Black Years. He had the nobility of Aldeshar dispersed to remote corners of the continent and treated the defeated nation with contempt. After Hawkwing met and fell in love with the woman who would become his second wife, Tamika, his stance softened and he allowed Aldeshar's former nobles to return and even appointed King Ramedar's daughter, Endara Casalain, as Governor for the Imperial Province of Andor, which partially included some of the former territories of Aldeshar (although the provincial capital appears to have been Caemlyn, formerly located in the old kingdom of Caembarin).
Ishara's rise to power
In FY 994, Artur Hawkwing was taken ill and died unexpectedly. Within hours, news had started spreading across the Empire and plotting and scheming for control of the throne began. Ishara declared her intent to take control of Andor, and her mother apparently submitted (although later students of Andoran history, including Rand al'Thor, doubted this was as simple a matter as the histories indicated). Ishara rode to Tar Valon with two goals: to secure the loyalty of the large army besieging the city at the order of Hawkwing, and to forge a new alliance with the Aes Sedai.
According to records, Ishara's lover at the time was General Souran Maravaile, who was Hawkwing's commander of the siege. Whilst Maravaile was intent on carrying out Hawkwing's deathbed order to maintain the siege no matter what, Ishara convinced him that the situation was hopeless as the Empire began to pull itself apart. He agreed and was able to take at least part of the army back to Caemlyn intact. The new Amyrlin Seat, Deane Aryman, negotiated an alliance with Ishara. In return for the Tower's blessing and support, Ishara would support Tar Valon's policies, accept an Aes Sedai advisor and send her firstborn daughter to the Tower for political schooling and training and her firstborn son to learn the arts of combat from the Warders.
Ishara returned to Caemlyn with this diplomatic and military triumph achieved, and declared the founding of the sovereign kingdom of Andor.
Ishara's later life
Despite Souran's military prowess and the professionalism of his army, Ishara faced a significant struggle to hold onto Caemlyn and her crown. Andor was little more than just the city itself at the start of her rule and it took five years just for it to expand to the Cary in the west and the Erinin in the east.
Souran and Ishara had several sons and at least one daughter, but Souran was killed by assassins in FY 1017. By the time Ishara died (cause unknown) in FY 1020, her remaining sons were also dead, leaving her daughter Alesinde to take the throne. Alesinde ruled for fifteen years before her own death, by which time none of her sons were still alive, so her eldest daughter Melasune took the throne. This established a pattern which eventually became law: that only Queens can rule in Andor.
As the founding Queen of Andor, Ishara is a figure of immense importance in Andor. Whenever a dispute of succession arises, a key point of debate is how many lines of descendance a claimant can trace to Ishara. The more lines, the stronger the claim. However, proof of these claims is also sometimes disputed, and military power and political support from the other houses is often more decisive than this factor in determining who will be the next Queen.
Ishara's more overt legacy is the tradition that the designated Daughter-Heir of Andor will always seek training and guidance in the White Tower before becoming Queen, even if she cannot channel, and the eldest son of the incumbent Queen (if any) will accept military training in Tar Valon before claiming the post of First Prince of the Sword.
Modern associations and references
Ishara is the Hittite goddess of the oath, and punishes oathbreakers with sickness.
Ishara's policy of eschewing attempts to secure all of Hawkwing's empire in favour of securing her own local power base is reminiscent of a similar approach followed by Ptolemy Soter in Egypt during the wars which divided the empire of Alexander the Great.