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Wheel Of Time - The Ashaman
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Wheel Of Time - The Ashaman

With the world rapidly accelerating towards destruction, Rand al'Thor determines to institute an practice that has not been done for 3,000 years, with good reason. He decides to begin a school where men may learn how to channel and become weapons with which to battle the Dark One at the Last Battle. Rand, the Dragon Reborn, knows that the final confrontation will be coming and he therefore institutes the creation of the Asha'man.

Asha'man means 'Guardian' and Rand al'Thor intends for them to be the Guardians of the world, protecting it from the ravaging hand of the Dark One and his minions. To this end he sets a previous false Dragon named Mazrim Taim up as the leader of Black Tower, posting him in charge of the recruitment and training of men to the cause. Because of the taint which drives men who channel Saidin insane, these men are ones who would be otherwise cast out of society or gentled rather than risking them going mad and killing everyone around them. Rand al'Thor does manage to cleanse Saidin from the taint, but not before it has a chance to infect and begin decaying the minds of those first Asha'man to be recruited.

The Asha'man are arranged into three ranks, similar to Aes Sedai, however in a more militaristic fashion. The lowest rank, Soldier, is given to new recruits. Once a Soldier has proven their mettle through constant training and use of the one power, they may be advanced to the next rank, which is Dedicated. This rank is indicated by a silver pin in the shape of a sword which is fastened to their collar. Then the final rank, Asha'man, is bestowed upon those Dedicated whom distinguish themselves and are shown to be fully capable of the rank. These receive a red and gold dragon pin as the sign of their rank.

The Asha'man, Dedicated, and Soldiers are all meant to be used on the battlefield as elite troops with their channeling abilities. When deployed, they use a variety of techniques to disrupt and eliminate their foes ranging from striking targets with lightning, fireballs, and earthquakes. When on the offensive they can open gates in the air and instantly step through making short leaps and bounds across the terrain to outflank enemies and launch instantaneous assaults. In addition to the arts of war, Asha'man are able to perform a variety of other skills with the One Power on par with the abilities of the Aes Sedai. They have even bonded some Aes Sedai similar to how the Aes Sedai bond warders.

The Asha'man certainly represents the workhorse of Rand's plans concerning the Last Battle. It is this author's sincere hope that the Black Tower will live on long after Rand is gone and the Wheel takes yet another turn through time. Yet the Asha'man will remain to serve as the Guardians of the world.


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