An a'dam (pronounced: AYE-dam) is a ter'angreal designed to hold a female channeler captive. It takes the form of a flexible silver collar and bracelet, usually joined by a long "leash" although that convention is not strictly necessary to its functioning. They form a basis for the "leashed channeler" social status in the Seanchan Empire; the leashed woman is called a damane ("Leashed one"), and the women who holds the bracelet a sul'dam ("Leash holder").
The first a'dam was made by Deain Sedai, a Seanchan woman who wanted to assist Luthair Paendrag Mondwin in his consolidation of the continent by giving him an instrument to control female channelers who opposed him. She was later collared herself by an a'dam, and it is said that her screams "shook the Towers of Midnight". While the exact timing of this event is unclear, it must have occurred in Luthair's lifetime, so sometime in the later days of the Free Years calendar.
An a'dam will only work to collar a woman who can channel saidar (called a marath'damane before her capture), and - unknown to most Seanchan - can only be operated by a woman who can be taught to channel; the irony here is that while the damane is viewed by most as dangerous, subhuman property to be controlled, the sul'dam are valued members of society, due to their skill in working with the women who actually wield the One Power. At some point in the past, then, the a'dam's nature as a ter'angreal that required a woman who is capable of channeling to control it was lost. The recent rediscovery of this fact by certain members of Seanchan society (including some sul'dam) has the potential to rock their society to the core.
A man who is collared suffers one of two fates: either nothing happens, or he dies screaming; the interpolation from this is that those who die are men who either have the latent ability or the spark to channel saidin. A man who can channel who touches the bracelet end experiences a shock of pain that is transmitted to the damane as well, if there is one collared, but he can open and close the locking mechanisms.
A'dam can be opened at a distance with the One Power, as discovered by Nynaeve at Falme.
The a'dam includes a number of useful characteristics for maintaining the captivity of the damane:
- It incapacitates the damane if she makes any attempt to open the clasp on the collar, or move an empty bracelet from where it has been placed by a sul'dam.
- It allows the addition of emotional sensations to the damane's worldview; she can thus be punished immediately and unavoidably for any transgressions, a fact used liberally in most training.
- Any pain inflicted on a sul'dam is also felt by the damane twice as severely, effectively preventing a damane from attacking her sul'dam.
- A damane cannot pick up a weapon. If a damane thinks of using an object as a weapon, she will not be able to pick it up until she completely expunges the thought from her mind.
- When the bracelet is not worn by a sul'dam, moving it will incapacitate the damane with pain and nausea. This prevents her from escaping even when unattended.
- A sul'dam can make a damane embrace or release the True Source at will.
- Damane are unable to form circles as other channelers can, because they are already linked with their sul'dam.
Leashless A'dam Edit
Elayne Trakand created a unique a'dam in order to hold Moghedien captive. This example had a few special features allowing it to be kept secret. Most importantly, the bracelet and collar were in separate pieces instead of joined by a leash. Also, it apparently did not restrict Moghedien's movements when unlinked, because she suffered no ill effect when Elayne left the bracelet unattended in her room.
Male A'dam Edit
- Main article: Domination Band
A similar ter'angreal exists to allow control of male channelers. It consists of a collar and two bracelets, in separate pieces, all made of black cuendillar. Though it has been referred to as an "a'dam for men," it should be noted that it dates from the Breaking Of The World, centuries before the a'dam was invented.
Originally only one such set was known. This fell into the possession of the Seanchan, who made at least six copies.