Tova was a kingdom of the Free Years. It was founded after the end of the Trolloc Wars, and was established on the former territory of Almoren. It was later absorbed by the growing might of Artur Hawkwing's Empire. The lands it once held are now controlled by Cairhien.
Tova stretched from the River Gaelin to the Maraside Mountains, and from the Spine of the World to the River Alguenya. It was bordered by Shandalle to the west, Khodomar to the south, the Aiel Waste to the east, and by Tar Valon, Ileande, and Hamarea to the north.
Tova's capital is believed to have been the city of Cairhien, since this was where an abortive attempt was launched during the War of the Hundred Years to restore Tova.
Tova was one of the kingdoms of the Free Years that was not ruled by a monarchy. Instead, a group of nobles known as the Counselors ruled the kingdom, meeting in assemblies known as Conclaves (which may or may not have been analogous to parliaments of some kind). Curiously, the Conclaves are recorded as still meeting in the time of Hawkwing's rule, suggesting that they were maintained to ensure order in the kingdom or were possibly exported by Hawkwing to the rest of the Empire due to their efficiency at rule. The truth of this matter remains unclear.
Tova had a history of border wars with neighboring Shandalle, which was likely where Artur Hawkwing, a prince of that kingdom, first learned the arts of war. During the War of the Second Dragon Tova sent armies to fight Guaire Amalasan, sometimes in concert with Hawkwing's own efforts. The Battle of Jolvaine Pass was fought on Tova's southern frontier with Khodomar, and when Hawkwing carried Amalasan to Tar Valon for trial and gentling it was across Tovan territory.
Despite Hawkwing's great victory, Tova launched an invasion of Shandalle at the end of FY 943, apparently at the behest of Bonwhin Meraighdin, the then-Amyrlin Seat. Tova's armies were defeated and thrown back in disarray. Ileande reinforced Tova, but this was not enough to prevent Hawkwing capturing the kingdom during the early part of the Consolidation.
The territories of Tova, Shandalle, and the southern edges of Ileande and Hamarea were combined to form the Imperial Province of Cairhien. When the War of the Hundred Years began, the descendants of the last Tovan Counselors attempted to restore their kingdom, but they were brutally murdered at a ball in the city of Cairhien, sparking off months of assassinations and Daes Dae'mar. Lord Matraine Colmcille emerged as the victor in this civil conflict and became the first King of Cairhien.
The Tovans are noted as being exceptionally dour, prudish people, similar to their descendants, the Cairhienin. Birgitte mentions feeling "like a feather-dancer in a Tovan conclave", a reference to the scantily clad feather-dancers of Shiota and the scandal it would raise if one entered the company of a group of Tovan councillors in the sense that she would feel extremely conspicuous. Birgitte again references a Tovan councillor by saying that Elayne "reaches like a Tovan councilor if I ogle a man for longer than a heartbeat." Mat remembers the Tovans as a "stark and disapproving people, abstemious to the point of pain ."
In the opening words of The Path of Daggers:
Who would sup with the mighty must climb the path of daggers.
The line comes from an anonymous notation found inked in the margin of a manuscript history (believed to date the time of Arthur Hawkwing) of the last days of the Tovan Conclaves.
Aldeshar | Abayan | Balasun | Basharande | Caembarin | Dal Calain | Darmovan | Dhowlan | Elan Dapor | Elsalam | Esandara | Farashelle | Fergansea | Hamarea | Ileande | Indrahar | Kharendor | Khodomar | Masenashar | Moreina | Nerevan | Oburun | Oman Dashar | Roemalle | Rhamdashar | Shandalle | Shiota | Talmour | Tova