The a'dam is a ter'angreal that is used to control a female channeler of the One Power. They were created and widely used on Seanchan and brought to the Westlands with the Seanchan return. The a'dam serves as the tool that facilitates the Seanchan military dominance as it allows them to use women who can channel as a weapon.
Traditionally, the a'dam consisted of a silvery bracelet attached to a silvery collar by a long silvery chain. The collar would sit around the neck of the damane, or the channeler being controlled. The bracelet would sit on the wrist of the sul'dam, who could force the channeler connected to the a'dam to do most anything they wished.
How It Works
To facilitate the complete control of another's ability to channel, the a'dam creates a link between the two female channelers in which the woman holding the bracelet has control over the woman wearing the collar.
To use the a'dam, a sul'dam must have the ability to channel, whether she knows she can or not. For instance, a sul'dam could be someone who can learn to channel, but otherwise lacks the spark that would cause her to begin channeling against her will.
To be controlled by the a'dam, a damane must have the inborn spark to be able to channel the One Power, or must have been training long enough to be able to access the One Power.
Because the a'dam functions as an involuntary link, it has a number of effects on both the sul'dam and damane.
For the sul'dam, although they are not directly channeling themselves, holding the leash for a long period of time gives the sul'dam a level of familiarity with channeling and they begin to be able to see weaves, even if they are unaware they can channel. The sul'dam has complete control over the damane's ability to channel the One Power and the sul'dam can feel a damane's emotions and feelings, and is able to influence and change them through the use of the a'dam.
For the damane, the a'dam has a buffer which prevents the damane from burning herself out from channeling too much of the One Power. Additionally, the a'dam makes it almost impossible for a damane to escape her captivity. The damane becomes completely incapacitated if she makes any attempt to remove her collar. Additionally, if the damane even tries to move the bracelet from where a sul'dam has left it, she will become equally incapacitated.
The a'dam forces any pain felt by the sul'dam to be felt double by the damane linked to the sul'dam, thus discouraging any harm to the sul'dam. The a'dam will not allow a damane to think of using any object as a weapon as it will cause her to not be able to pick it up until she stops thinking of using the object as a weapon.
One weakness of the use of the a'dam is that damane cannot link as they are already linked to their sul'dam, which makes them significantly less powerful when facing groups of channelers.
Origin of the A'dam
The original a'dam was actually created by an Aes Sedai. Deain Sedai, an Aes Sedai (not associated with the White Tower, but rather the female channelers on the continent of Seanchan), attempted to aid Luthair Paendrag Mondwin in his conquest of the continent. Luthair was the son of Artur Hawkwing and was tasked with conquering Seanchan.
At the time of the invasion, the continent was controlled by many groups of channelers that called themselves Aes Sedai, but were not affiliated with the White Tower. Deain offered Luthair a way to control and use the channelers who opposed him.
Later, she was collared by the a'dam.
The Seanchan retained the ability to make ter'angreal and to replicate them on mass over the centuries. The a'dam is the most frequently used ter'angreal in the Seanchan arsenal, but Bloodknife Rings were created as well.
There are no a'dam specifically created to be used for men by the Seanchan. However, there is a similar ter'angreal called the Domination Band that was created in the Age of Legends that allowed for far greater control over a male channeler. It requires two women to control the male channeler.