The Aes Sedai arose long ago during or just before the Age of Legends. Their name in the Old Tongue means "Servant to All," and in the early years of their existence the Aes Sedai functioned to make their world a better place. Acting as healers, scientists, politicians, and philosophers, they ushered in an almost utopian society. This utopian age, referred to as the Age of Legends, collapsed suddenly and catastrophically when a small group of Aes Sedai accidentally broke into the Dark One's prison, allowing him to touch the world. This resulted in a brutal war between those who had gone over to the Shadow and those who continued to walk in the Light, tearing the society apart. The Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon, and his companions, all male Aes Sedai, were able to seal the crack in the Dark One's prison. However, the resultant backlash tainted Saidin, the male half of the True Source, driving all male Aes Sedai irrevocably insane and causing them to further tear their world apart. The Aes Sedai were able to rebuild themselves as an all-female order who still exercise some power over the rest of the world, but their influence wanes as mistrust for them grows.
The Aes Sedai were created by Robert Jordan for his book series The Wheel of Time, making their first appearance in the first book of the series, The Eye of the World. They are based in part on the aos sí, fairy-like creatures from Irish and Scottish mythology. They made their first appearance in comics in The Wheel of Time: New Spring #1, written by Jordan and Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Mark Miller.
Originally consisting of male and female Aes Sedai, the modern Aes Sedai only accept female initiates. Since the Breaking of the World males who are capable of channeling are Gentled, which severs them from the Source, and usually die soon after. During the Age of Legends the Aes Sedai were headquartered in the Hall of Servants in Paraan Disen, and were lead by the First Amongst Servants. Following the Breaking of the World, the Aes Sedai are headquartered in the White Tower in Tar Valon, and are lead by the Amyrlin Seat.
The Aes Sedai are divided into seven Ajahs who are each dedicated to a specific pursuit. The Red Ajah hunts down men who are capable of channeling and Gentles them. The Yellow Ajah dedicates itself to Healing. The Green Ajah, also known as the Battle Ajah, prepares itself for Tarmon Gai'don. The Blue Ajah is dedicated to justice; it is also notable for its extensive spy network. The Brown Ajah is dedicated to the acquisition and compilation of knowledge. The Grey Ajah deals with mediation and negotiation. The White Ajah is dedicated to logic and the study of philosophy. There is also a secret Ajah, the Black Ajah, the members of which are all Darkfriends. Members of the Black are the only sisters to belong to more than one Ajah save the Amyrlin, who is of all Ajahs and none.
Major Story Arcs
Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche, two of the most powerful women in recent memory, travel to the White Tower to be trained by the Aes Sedai.
The Eye of the World
Moiraine, now a member of the Aes Sedai, travels to the Two Rivers in search of the Dragon Reborn. Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan, a member of the Red, is an advisor to Queen Morgase of Andor.
Powers and Abilities
Aes Sedai all wield the One Power and are well trained in its use. They also wield considerable political power in many of the countries of Randland.
The Wheel of Time
The Aes Sedai were originally created for the Wheel of Time series of books. They appear in all fifteen books of the series.