The Shadow is the generic term given to the Dark One or his followers and creatures. During the Collapse and the War of the Power, the forces of the Shadow were controlled by Dreadlords and later the Forsaken, in response to the Dark One's desires, but since that time, they were largely under their own control, with Darkfriends, Black Ajah and Shadowspawn having little to do with each other and no direct authority, except for those times when Ishamael was free. With the freeing of the Forsaken, there are once again people with the ability to command Shadowspawn and who derive authority directly from the Dark One.
The Dark One
- Main article: Dark One
The source of evil, his prison was breached during the Age of Legends leading to the end of the Age as he gained followers who fought wars. Eventually he was re-sealed, but tainted saidin. His followers believe he will grant them immortality, but it may be that he just wishes to destroy all creation
- Main article: Forsaken
The leaders of the forces of the Shadow during the Age of Legends. Thirteen of them were imprisoned with the Dark One and were released as the seals began to crumble and fail. They are marked in such a way as they can command Shadowspawn
The Black Ajah
- Main article: Black Ajah
Aes Sedai, who for a variety of reasons have sworn to the Dark One. They supposedly arose during the Trolloc Wars and worked in the background ever since until being exposed by Egwene al'Vere and Verin Mathwin. Based on the numbers identified by Verin, it may be as many as one fifth of all Aes Sedai are sworn to the Dark One.
- Main article: Darkfriends
Men and women who have pledged allegiance to the Dark One in the hopes of gaining power after he is freed. Though they have their own councils and ranks and can be set above even Black Ajah, they are generally regarded as being utterly disposable by both the Forsaken and Shadowspawn (This passage needs a reference).
- Main article: Shadowspawn
Creatures created by twisting human and animal stock using the True Power in the time of the Collapse
"Malkier lives so long as one man wears the hadori in pledge that he will fight the Shadow, so long as one woman wears the ki'sain in pledge that she will send her sons to fight the Shadow" (Nynaeve, Knife of Dreams, Chapter 20).