The Two Rivers is a region centrally-located in the Westlands which derives its name from the two rivers that mark its boundaries: the Taren River to the north and the White River to the south. It contains the villages of Taren Ferry, Deven Ride, Emond's Field, and Watch Hill, along with many independent farms.
—Pedron Niall regarding the Two Rivers
The Two Rivers is a geographically insulated region in western Andor. The Mountains of Mist stretch along its western limits and in addition to the two major rivers that form its northern and southern boundaries, a treacherous fen known as The Mire blocks travelers who might approach from the east. Just to the west of The Mire is a large forest known as the Waterwood which serves as drainage for the Winespring Water flowing from Edmond's Field. West of the village communities is a dense forest known as the Westwood which extends along the western edge of the district next to the Sand Hills - a geographic anomaly near the foothills of the mountains.
In the years following the Breaking of the World the land that would one day be known as the Two Rivers was the lush and verdant heartland of the storied nation of Manetheren. Manetheren was a staunch and valiant member of the Compact of the Ten Nations and its capital city was located high and secure in the peaks of the Mountains of Mist just to the west of modern day Deven Ride. Manetheren's borders extended well beyond the Two Rivers stretching down into modern-day Ghealdan and north beyond where Baerlon currently exists. During this time period, the Two Rivers area featured several paved highways to allow travelers and commerce to flow throughout the region. Three of these old highways - the North Road, the Old Road, and the Quarry Road - still exist as unpaved dirt throughways and occasionally shards of old Manetheren paving will work their way to the surface.When the Trolloc Wars began circa 1000 AB, Manetheren emerged as an unwavering supporter of the Ten Nations and for years fought valiantly to repulse invasions of Shadowspawn aimed at its allies. For this Manetheren became known as a "Thorn to the Dark One's foot and a bramble to his hand" During the middle years of the wars the nation was ruled by King Aemon al Caar al Thorin and his Aes Sedai queen Eldrene ay Ellan ay Carlan with whom he shared the Bond of a Warder. Aemon had always come to the aid of allies under attack and his final victory occurred circa 1200 AB at a place known as the Field of Bekkar. However, the battle at Bekkar was a ruse premeditated by forces of the Shadow intended to overextend the Army of Manetheren so that a direct assault upon the Manetheren heartland could be achieved. Aemon marched his army back to his homeland and engaged the shadow in a titanic multiple-day struggle that came to be known as the Battle of the Tarendrelle River. Ultimately the shadow overran Manetheren and the nation was destroyed.
In the Free Years following the wars descendants of Manetheren slowly began to return to the Two Rivers area to begin farming the still-fertile land. In time new communities were established amidst the ruins of the once-great nation and the inhabitants began to forget their heritage though they retained a fierce streak of independence. The town of Taren Ferry was founded to provide access to the area and its ferry replaced older Manetheren infrastructure that had previously crumbled and washed away. Watch Hill was established on a dome shaped hill that had once served as a military outpost. Deven Ride was built upon the ruins of an older Manetheren town that had existed near a bridge over the White River that had also become a ruin destined to wash away in time. Emond's Field was initially established as "Aemon's Field" and built on the site where King Aemon fell to overwhelming forces after retreating from the Tarendrelle River. The Winespring in Emond's Field is said to have burst forth on the day of that final battle, and marks the final heroic sacrifice of the last soldiers of Manetheren.. During the New Era the nation of Andor extended its influence into the Two Rivers district in order to access extractable wealth from the Mountains of Mist. In time Andor would come to focus the majority of its attention upon the mining community of Baerlon and the Two Rivers district became mostly forgotten.
All communities in the Two Rivers practice a form of gender-based bicameral government. In each village governance is officially controlled by a Village Council consisting entirely of men who are elected to office by villagers via popular vote. Each council is headed by a mayor who is elected in a similar fashion. Additionally, a second ruling body called the Women's Circle controls matters as well. Members of the circle are always elder females within each village who are chosen by existing members. The Women's Circle is headed by a Wisdom who serves for life. Political control of each community exists as an ongoing willful struggle between Village Councils and Women's Circles though recently each village has fallen under the political manipulations of Faile Bashere Aybara who has guided community leaders towards deference to her husband Perrin Aybara.
—Common wisdom in the Two Rivers
Inhabitants of the Two Rivers typically live a lifestyle centered around farming and tradecraft. Adult women wear their hair in a braid and a young girl from the Two Rivers is allowed to braid her hair only when the local Women's Circle determines that she is of marriageable age. Men are usually farmers or masters of a trade skill. Every spring the people in the three lower villages hold a Bel Tine festival on their village greens where contests are held and unmarried adult villagers are encouraged to dance together around a Spring Pole. Villagers typically marry in their late teens or early twenties. A young woman who is interested in a young man may attempt to show her interest by placing flowers in his hair during Bel Tine or embroidering a feastday shirt for him any time. Two Rivers folk can also be distrustful of outsiders, evidenced when they occasionally refer to Taren Ferry men as "sheepstealers" or by keeping wary eyes on visiting merchant caravans. All inhabitants of the Two Rivers are known for a strong streak of stubbornness, a legacy of ancient Manetheren. As a consequence they are a hardy folk unwilling to give up even when times are tough. While on the surface it may seem to outsiders that the conflict between Village Councils and Women's Circles is forever ongoing, villagers are actually fiercely loyal to each other. As a result they will fight united with every fiber of their being to protect their property and way of life.
Economics and tradetabac farming and wool gathering. Two Rivers Tabac is well known throughout the Westlands and is the largest cash crop of the region. Merchant caravans will journey to the area from Baerlon and Taren Ferry during certain times of the year in order to purchase and return with Tabac and wool. Commerce takes place upon each village's green and, as a function of their offices to ensure a fair marketplace, each village Mayor observes all transactions. In addition to these commodities, the economy also depends upon the tradecraft of various people throughout the area.
For countless generations the Two Rivers has been a quiet and peaceful region but recent events have led to dramatic changes
In the summer of 999 NE, forces led by Padan Fain attempted to lure Rand al'Thor into a trap by threatening the Two Rivers and specifically Emond's Field. Perrin Aybara returned to the area instead with Faile Bashere and ultimately led a heroic defense of the village in a cultural turning-point that would come to be known as the Battle of Emond's Field. The conflict led to a social knitting of Emond's Field with Watch Hill and Deven Ride establishing the foundations of a sovereign power with Lord Perrin Aybara and his wife Lady Faile Bashere Aybara as rulers. Though Perrin does not seek leadership, it is likely that his nature as ta'veren is the driving cause of these social changes.
Economic Expansion and Political Sovereignty
Beginning in the Fall of 999 NE refugees from Almoth Plain, Tarabon, Arad Doman, and Ghealdan began to enter the region in flight from other conflicts and troubles. Initially this caused a population strain on the Two Rivers but in time the economy expanded and began to grow. New houses are now being built in each village that sport superior clay tile roofing, and a new inn, The Archers, is under construction in Emond's Field. By the summer of 1000 NE the inclusion of new cultures and trade skills guided the entire area into economic power with Perrin and Faile Aybara as rulers. With the subsequent swearing of allegiance made by Alliandre Maritha Kigarin - queen of Ghealdan - the Two Rivers further expanded its sphere of influence and began to re-establish the political boundaries of ancient Manetheren. Lately negotiations have occurred with Elayne Trakand to allow Andor to continue to extend its sovereignty into the area, though the future of this relationship remains in doubt given the newly emerged spirit of liberty in the Two Rivers.
References and Similarities
- The Two Rivers is based on Robert Jordan's home town of Charleston, South Carolina.
- The Two Rivers has many similarities to the Shire of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
- Both are geographically isolated from the wider world
- Both can be accessed by a ferry: Taren Ferry for the Two Rivers, and the Buckleberry Ferry for the Shire
- The Shire is bordered by the Brandywine River to the East; The Winespring runs through Emonds Field in the Two Rivers
- Both are major producers of pipe tobacco: Two Rivers Tabac is highly prized throughout the Westlands as is "Pipeweed" from the Shire throughout Middle Earth
- ↑ The Dragon Reborn, Prologue
- ↑ The Great Hunt, Chapter 8
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Eye of the World, Chapter 9
- ↑ TWORJTWOT, Chapter 10 Rise and Fall of the Ten Nations
- ↑ The Shadow Rising, Chapter 29
- ↑ The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 51
- ↑ The Eye of the World, Chapter 1
- ↑ The Shadow Rising, Chapter 6
- ↑ The Eye of the World, Chapter 2
- ↑ The Shadow Rising, Chapter 56
- ↑ Towers of Midnight, Chapter 47