The Black Ajah of the Aes Sedai is a secret Ajah, consisting of Darkfriend Aes Sedai who masquerade as sisters of other Ajahs and who have forsaken their Three Oaths in order to serve the Dark One. Reports of its existence have been vehemently denied by the White Tower for millennia, however the mass execution of most Black sisters among the rebel Aes Sedai proves the Black Ajah does indeed exist. The leader of the Black Ajah is a very powerful woman, who sits at the head of the Supreme Council and answers directly to the Forsaken.
Although they are channelers, the Black Ajah does not stand higher than non-channeling Darkfriends. They have tried to assert their superiority before, but failed; despite the One Power, many Black Sisters fell to assassins, and they were forced to publicly admit they were merely the equal of other Darkfriends.
Due to the secretive nature of the Black Ajah, its exact size is unknown to all except its leader. However, Verin Mathwin spent decades compiling a coded list of Black sisters, including their Ajahs:
- Red: forty-eight (making at least 24% of all Red sisters actually Black, best guess is that they hunted the future Dragon)
- Green: thirty-eight (21%)
- Gray: thirty-two (22%)
- Brown: twenty-eight (21,5%)
- Yellow: twenty-one (17,5%)
- Blue: twenty-two (23% best guess is that they have the greater and more efficient eyes-and-ears system)
- White: seventeen (17,5%)
- Unknown Ajah: 4
- Total: 210
During the Great Purge, Egwene al'Vere commented that six more Black sisters were found outside of Verin's list, however, the former Ajah of four of them is unknown (this means that Verin missed at least two Black Ajah hearts).
Among the Rebel Aes Sedai the majority of Black sisters, around fifty, was captured and sentenced to death, nonetheless twenty were able to flee. Instead, the very day of reunification the majority of the Black sisters inside the Tower, around sixty, were able to flee before the Great Purge started. Adding the eighty escaped to the seventy Blacks among the Unaligned sisters it can be calculated that around one hundred and fifty Black sisters where able to join the Shadow during the Last Battle. To them we have also to add the many Aes Sedai captured and Turned in the Black Tower.
The demographics of the Black Ajah put them across all nationalities:
- Four Andoran
- Four Domani
- Three Saldaean
- Three Taraboner
- Two Kandori
- One Arafellin
- One Cairhienin
- One from Far Madding
- One Ghealdanin
- One Illianer
- One Malkieri
- One Shienaran
All remaining Black nationalities are unknown.
Most sisters who join the Black Ajah were not Darkfriends before they did so. They worked for years as ordinary sisters until members of the Black Ajah suspected that they may be susceptible to swearing allegiance to the Shadow. Liandrin was a Darkfriend before she came to Tar Valon and sought out the Black Ajah from the day she arrived, but we know that Galina Casban was a Red sister for longer than she has been Black.
Those who might be willing to become a member of the Black Ajah are likely those who find the Three Oaths chafing and who delight in the power an Aes Sedai has over non-channelers, even having been known to abuse it. The Black Ajah allows them to exploit their power free of the restrictions of Tower Law and the Oaths, but at the price of swearing to the Shadow. Like most Darkfriends, they probably did not feel the truth of their fealty to the Shadow until the arrival of Ishamael a few years after the Aiel War.
The position of teachers of the novices and the Accepted makes it easier for the Black Ajah to know every student very well before they even become Aes Sedai. Thus are women groomed for the Black Ajah, or perhaps singled out as possible candidates, from very early on in their training.[verify] As the Black Ajah does not recruit from among Tower initiates, having a Black sister as Mistress of Novices is a very handy way of keeping tabs on those girls when they are raised to the shawl. Previous Mistresses of Novices who were also Black Ajah include Merean Redhill, Sheriam Bayanar, and Katerine Alruddin.
Aes Sedai who show suitability are watched and tested. However, if a woman locates a trace of the Black Ajah, she is immediately kidnapped and brought before the Supreme Council. She is asked if she wishes to join; if she says no, she is tortured and drained of all information before being killed. If she says yes, she is sworn in at once, though she would still be tested for a year. Many of a Black Sister's chances for advancement were determined in that first year.
The Black Ajah is administered by a Supreme Council, alternatively called the Great Council, which consists of thirteen sisters who meet while hooded so that none may know the identity of another. If one member of the council dies, then another is raised in her place, thereby keeping a constant number in the leadership of the Black Ajah. The Great Council is headed by one woman, who knows the identity of every sister in the Ajah.
Within the Black Ajah, sisters are organized into "hearts," groups of three women who know each others' identity and who in turn each know one sister from another heart. Only the head of the Great Council knows the full structure of the Ajah concerning how all the hearts are interlinked and which sisters they contain. It is unlikely the division of sisters into hearts survived the Great Purge as the purpose was to help maintain secrecy in the Tower, no longer necessary with the remaining members relocated from the Tower.
The head of the Great Council of Thirteen is Alviarin Freidhen, who was raised to the position by Ishamael. Not all the remaining twelve members of the council are known, among them Galina Casban who used to be on the council and also Sheriam Bayanar was on the council, since Egwene says that Verin mentioned her as "a leader among the Black Ajah." 
Known members of the Council:
- Jarna Malari, former head of the Black Ajah, killed atrociously by Ishamael for being responsible for The Vileness
- Tesien Jorhald, former Highest of the Red Ajah before Galina, she was killed by Ishamael along with Jarna and others in the Council
- Alviarin Freidhen current Ajah Head
- Galina Casban, second to the current Ajah Head
- Sheriam Bayanar
- Velina Behar
- Sedore Dajenna
Known hearts include:
Replacing the Three OathsEdit
1) I shall obey all commands given by those placed above me in service to the Great Lord
2) I shall prepare for the day of the Great Lord's return
3) I shall hold close the secrets of the Black Ajah, unto the hour of my death.
Involvement with the ChosenEdit
It is thought that the Black Ajah was founded by Ishamael, who was not bound completely into Shayol Ghul as the rest of the Forsaken were.[verify] Since the release of the other Forsaken, Mesaana, Be'lal, Lanfear and Graendal have all come to the White Tower and spoken with Alviarin.
The Black Ajah is nominally controlled by Mesaana, who is undercover in the White Tower. This is because she controls Alviarin Freidhen, the head of the Black Ajah, who knows the identities of all Black Sisters.
During the Battle in Tel'aran'rhiod, Egwene al'Vere mentally overpowered Mesaana. Her mind was destroyed, and a Brown sister called Danelle was then found as a non-sentient invalid. This led the White Tower to conclude that Mesaana had either been Danelle the entire time, or had been impersonating the original Danelle.
The truth is, however, that the Black Ajah are as subject to the whims of the Forsaken as any other Darkfriends and know they have no choice but to obey any of the Chosen should they command it. Not only that, but they would have to obey any non-channeling Darkfriend that may stand higher than them in Darkfriend circles.
Among the aims of the Black Sisters the primary one was surely to undermine the authority of the White Tower in the face of the world.
Another one was to dwindle the number of initiates aligned to the light. Surely the Blacks favoured the Aes Sedai policy to not search about new Novices, but instead to wait candidates to come spontaneously to the Tower. Also to keep the Book of Novices open only to a narrow age range of channelers. So if the Tower was built to host three thousand Sisters, there where less than one thousand at eve of the Last Battle.
Because also the medium strength in the power of the Aes Sedai dwindled dramatically during the time (but not among other female channeler groups), it can be guessed that the Black Sisters eliminated systematically with false accidents every candidate to the shawl who showed a great potential; the same also against candidates with some particular Talent as dreamwalking.
As did Alviarin while Keeper of the Chronicles, it can be guessed also that the Blacks fostered every conflict and quarrel to keep high the rivalry and discord between the Ajah and the other Sisters.
- Involvement in the so called "Vileness"
- The murder of all sisters involved in the search for the Dragon Reborn after his birth.
- The murder of two Amyrlin Seats.
- Be'lal and Mesaana sent a group of thirteen Blacks to Tear, in the hopes of capturing the Dragon Reborn. They fled the Tower with several ter'angreal, murdering a score of people along the way.
- The murder of the Novice Sahra Covenry.
- Involvement in the deposition of Siuan Sanche and election of Elaida as new Amyrlin Seat
- The attempted assassination of Egwene, in both the real world and the World of Dreams.
- To foster division between the rebel Aes Sedai and loyalist Aes Sedai, for instance with the election of a new Hall and a new Amyrlin among the rebels and voting in favour of every divisive act as the declaration of war against Elaida or the alliance with the Asha'man
- To foster division between the Ajah inside the White Tower
With the existence of the Black Ajah having been proven, and with the subsequent persecution of all Black sisters in the re-unified White Tower, it seems the Black may be on the brink of extinction. But more than 140 Black sisters evaded capture and have fled the White Tower; they remained hidden until the Last Battle.
After the Dark One's defeat, many Black Sisters are dead or captured, and, with no more of the Forsaken free and Alviarin captured, they are leaderless.
List of current Black sistersEdit
- See also Category:Black Ajah
|Name||White Tower Ajah||Status and Saidar strength||Faction / Group / Association||Darkfriend Controller|
|Alviarin Freidhen||White||Held captive in Stedding Sholoon17(5)||White Tower||Mesaana|
|Amico Nagoyin||Yellow||Dead: Killed by Slayer27(15)||Liandrin's group||Moghedien|
|Asne Zeramene||Green||Dead: Killed during kidnapping of Elayne Trakand18(6)||Liandrin's group||Be'lal, Moghedien|
|Atuan Larisett||Yellow||Unknown: Possibly executed||White Tower||None|
|Berylla Naron||Blue||Presumed dead following the Last Battle
|Birlen Pena||Unknown||Alive: Escaped after the Battle of Tar Valon||White Tower||Moghedien|
|Careane Fransi||Green||Dead: Killed by Vandene Namelle 27(15)||Salidar Rebels||Unknown|
|Brown||Alive: Escaped after the Battle of Tar Valon||White Tower|
|Chesmal Emry||Yellow||Dead: Killed by Elayne Trakand
|Dagdara Finchey||Yellow||Presumed Dead: Executed in White Tower Purge
|Delana Mosalaine||Gray||Dead: Killed at Natrin's Barrow18(6)||Salidar Rebels||Aran'gar|
|Duhara Basaheen||Red||Dead: Killed by Aviendha at the Last Battle23(11)||White Tower|
|Eldrith Jhondar||Brown||Dead: Killed during escape from Caemlyn16(4)||Liandrin's Group||Moghedien|
|Elza Penfell||Green||Dead: Killed by Rand al'Thor25(13)||Sworn to Rand||Semirhage|
|Evanellein||Gray||Dead: Killed by Egwene al'Vere
|Falion Bhoda||White||Dead: Killed by Aviendha at the Last Battle
|Sworn to Rand|
|Galina Casban||Red||Gai'shain of the Shaido Aiel 14(2)||White Tower||Unknown, possibly Mesaana|
|Ispan Shefar||Blue||Dead: Killed by Careane Fransi during the murder of Adeleas Namelle17(5)||Liandrin's Group||Moghedien|
|Jarna Malari||Gray||Dead: Killed by Ishamael||White Tower||None|
|Jeaine Caide||Green||Dead: Killed by Thom at the entrance to the Pit of Doom18(6)||Liandrin's Group||Moghedien|
|Joiya Byir||Gray||Dead: Killed by Slayer (with Amico)
|Karale Sanghir||Gray||May have been executed in purge OR escaped||White Tower||None|
|Katerine Alruddin||Red||Dead: Killed by Egwene al'Vere in Tel'aran'rhiod15(3)||White Tower||Mesaana|
|Larissa Lyndel||Yellow||Dead: Purged
|Liandrin Guirale||Red||Alive: Permanently Shielded
|Leader of twelve other Black Members||Moghedien|
|Marillin Gemalphin||Brown||Presumed dead following the Last Battle
|Marris Thornhill||Brown||May have been executed in purge OR escaped
|Merean Redhill||Blue||Dead: 979 NE. Killed by Moiraine Damodred14(2)||White Tower||None|
|Mestra||Unknown||Dead: Killed by Egwene in the Battle of Tel'aran'rhiod|
|Miyasi||White||May have been executed in purge OR escaped||White Tower|
|Moria Karentanis||Blue||Dead: Executed (Rebel Camp Purge)
|Nacelle Kayama||Green||May have been executed in purge OR escaped 36(24)||Salidar Rebels|
|Nalaene Forrell||Yellow||Alive||Sworn to Rand al'Thor|
|Nesita||Red||May have been executed in purge OR escaped||White Tower|
|Notori||Unknown||Dead: Killed by Nynaeve al'Meara in the Battle in Tel'aran'rhiod|
|Rianna Andomeran||White||Held captive in Stedding Sholoon
|Sedore Dajenna||Yellow||Dead: Killed by Egwene a'Vere in the Battle in Tel'aran'rhiod 19(7)||White Tower|
|Sheriam Bayanar||Blue||Dead: Executed (Rebel Camp Purge)
|Salidar Rebels||Aran'gar, Mesaana|
|Talva||Yellow||Dead: Killed by mistake by Alviarin Freidhen in the Battle in Tel'aran'rhiod]||White Tower|
|Talene Minly||Green||Alive: Escaped before the Battle of Tar Valon
|Temaile Kinderode||Gray||Dead: Killed by Jaq Lounalt, failing to escape Caemlyn dungeon
|Verin Mathwin||Brown||Dead: Suicide to allow betrayal of Black Ajah
|Zanica||Unknown (surely she is not Blue Ajah because she is a loyalist, and also she is not Red Ajah as she has a Warder)||May have been executed in purge OR escaped||White Tower|