The Academy in Cairhien, headed by Idrien Tarsin, was set up in the manor that had belonged to Barthanes Damodred before his death, a mile from the Sun Palace. It was one of a number of such schools set up by Rand, others being in Andor and Tear, but as it was the first it was also the largest (LoC, Ch. 18). Though it did teach, the primary purpose was to gather knowledge in one place, so that something would survive Rand's death (LoC, Ch. 18). On Rand's first visit, they give him a display of some of the work going on there, including a new printing press, a new type of plough, a prototype steam engine, a prototype electricity generator and a new loom (LoC, Ch. 18). When he visits again, a short time later, enough progress has been made that some items, such as the new ploughs, are being sold (LoC, Ch. 50). It continues to grow and by the time that Dashiva, Gedwyn and Rochaid attack the palace, its title from School of Cairhien to Academy of Cairhien, possibly in homage to Academies during Artur Hawkwing's time (WH, Prologue). There are a number of people working there who Idrien does not approve of, but Rand simply says to give anyone a reward if their invention does as they claim (TPoD, Prologue). By the time Rand visits Tear after cleansing the taint, Mervin Poel has advanced his work enough that the steam engine was able to travel to Tear.
Demira is impressed by hearing the news that he had started a school (LoC, Ch. 18).
Members of the Academy
- Main article: Academy Character List
"... this school of yours might do some good, if they would stop thinking of new things long enough to make what they have already thought of. "You say give them what gold they ask, but if you would let me hold back unless they actually..." (Berelain, Lord of Chaos, Chapter 17).
"Bad enough I must give space to philosophers and historians and arithmatists and the like, but you said take in anyone who wanted to make anything new and let them stay if they showed progress. I suppose you hoped for weapons, but now I have dozens of dreamers and wastrels on my hands, every one with an old book or manuscript or six, all of which date back to the Compact of the Ten Nations, mind, if not the Age of Legends itself, or so they say, and they are all trying to make sense of drawings and sketches and descriptions of things they’ve never seen and maybe nobody ever did see. I have seen old manuscripts that talk about people with their eyes in their bellies, and animals ten feet tall with tusks longer than a man, and cities where—“ (Idrien to Rand, Winter's Heart, Prologue).