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The Shadow comes to Tar Valon ..... and does what?


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OK ... as a disclaimer, let me say I hesitated to even throw this out there, at the risk of giving myself a massive headache. Its a subject that touches on several other threads and theories which are not resolved, and are a matter of some contention. But, I'm curious, so here it is:

 

How in the heck is the Shadow going to assault Tar Valon? And if they don't, what are they going to do about the Aes Sedai?

 

Let me explain why I phrased the question so negatively. The Shadow has some massive logistical problems in any contemplated assault on the city of Tar Valon. The main one is the river Erinin. Tar Valon in on an island, and the river on either side is considerable. Shadowspawn have repeatedly shown a ... reluctance ... to cross running water. Boats don't seem to be a problem (see the assault on the Stone via grain barges in TSR) but boats filled with Shadowspawn are, to put it mildly, easy targets for any channeler in Tar Valon. More importantly, they are targets that can be fired at with impunity by Oath-bound Aes Sedai.

 

Shadowspawn cannot go through gateways.

 

There is only one Waygate into Tar Valon, and even assuming that the Shadow can get as many Shadowspawn through the Ways as they want, if the defenders of Tar Valon cannot hold a bottleneck like a single Waygate ... then I'm a radish. Or their leader is.

 

With the way the walls rise right out of the river, and the ease with which the Harbors are blocked, getting into the city will be essentially impossible for Shadowspawn. Sending a Shadowspawn army against Tar Valon is basically chucking it into a meat grinder.

 

I'm pretty sure Demandred would know this. Which is why a third of his cabal (Mesaana) has been solely dedicated to getting the Aes Sedai to take themselves out of the equation. Its also why that initiative was one the only ones to recieve Moridin's continued support (in the form of Halima). I don't think the Shadow can do jack against Tar Valon if the Aes Sedai aren't at each others throats, and they know it.

 

Which leads me to the multiple possible scenario headache.

 

What is going to happen in and around Tar Valon in AMoL? I'm firmly in the "Seanchan will attack" camp. I'm also, of course, firmly in the "Egwene becomes unified Amyrlin" camp. I personally think that the Seanchan attack is the crisis from which Egwene will emerge as the unified Amrylin. However, I'm at a loss as to what happens then.

 

So, I'm asking everyone to throw out ideas, so I can try to pick them apart for my own edification. :D

 

A couple of ideas that have bounced around in my head (and the problems with them):

 

1. A Human Darkfriend army.

 

It is much more possible for humans to take Tar Valon. Gareth Bryne is confident that he can do it. One of the reasons is that Aes Sedai are much more constrained when it comes to using the One Power against humans. Also, humans can use gateways to move directly into the city.

 

Why it won't work: as far as we know, the Shadow doesn't have fifty thousand Darkfriends under arms anywhere. Also, much of Gareth Bryne's strategy lay in cutting off the city's supplies ... but with Egwene in charge they can resupply by Gateway.

 

2. Human shielded assault-craft

 

This is a particularly gruesome idea, but one which would certainly not cause the Forsaken to flinch. The idea is to shield the boats used in the assault with live human prisoners, impairing the Aes Sedai's ability to channel against said transport vessels.

 

Why it won't work: amphibious assaults against a city with Tar Valon's description are ... fraught with problems of their own, to put it mildly. A non-Power-based defense would probably prove more than adequate, and once the Shadowspawn were in the city, or coming up the walls, the Aes Sedai would be perfectly free to slaughter them.

 

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It doesn't seem possible that Semirhage managed to get the Shadow a large number of to'raken ....

 

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Or maybe the Shadow has enough dark channelers to spare a couple hundred? Personally I don't really buy the "male Aiel channeler" theory .... I think the Black Ajah and Taim's group in the Black Tower is about all they have ....

 

I'm just saying the Shadow's muscle plays to date have only been successful in places where they could overrun their opponent on the field. Even hasty fortifications in Emonds field, and two channelers, proved effective against thousands of Trollocs. Rand's coterie with no fortifications proved effective against 100,000 Trollocs. I just don't see any Trolloc based army, even with a million Trollocs dedicated solely to Tar Valon, being able to take the island.

 

It seems to me the Shadow's best ploy (when their division from within plot fails) will be to try to bottle up Tar Valon with a relatively small force that holds the Aes Sedai's attention, but not to try to take the city ... but I know, there are problems with that too.

 

Anyway ...

 

Discuss!

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Guest Barmacral

Personally I could see the Black Ajah playing a large part in stopping the tower. Somehow there will be a showdown between Alvairin and Pevera's group. I think this will result in something big between the Black Ajah and the rest of the tower, and will do so at a critical juncture that will cause the tower to be sent reeling and taking time to recover even before they can go fight the last battle.

 

In this situation a small force of Trollocs and darkfriend channelers should be enough to keep the tower from doing anything further for some time.

 

Thats my 2c IMO anyways...

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I would go with that except for one thing ... if they get Alviarin alive, its all over. And if they kill her, the Black Ajah can't coordinate squat because of how they're set up. Raking her over the coals for even a short period would produce alot of results, and I doubt Pevara and company would take the time to be gentle.

 

Still, it does hold with their "dissent from within" strategy ... hmmmm

 

Truthfully, along those lines, I'm wondering what will happen when Mesaana comes out of the woodwork. I doubt she'll scamper off quietly like Halima ...

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If the showdown between Alviarin and Pevara is forestalled by the Seanchan attack, after which Alviarin disapears then i can see her being live and well to instigate the Black Ajah against the shadow.

 

Ok, here goes. You listed as problems--the bottlenecking of the Way Gate, the Erinin as a land barrier, the inherent defensive nature of Tar Valon as the most easily defended city in the world, the lack of human darkfriends for a purerly human assault, the uneven ratio of light channelers to dark channelers. And i agree. But let me lay out a scenario, and tell me what you think.

 

Essentially the attack would be three-pronged. An assault out of the Ways, and assault from outside, and sabotage from Darkfriends within.

 

Now, the Aes Sedai have their attention turned soulely inward at the Seanchan presense in the Tower. They are distracted, and their forces are already engaged in battle. I believe this will be around when Lan arrives ahead of fifty thousand men. They had been harrowing a Trolloc incursion from Tarmon Gai'don, an army of somewhere around a million. Unable to stop them, they slowed them, and brought warning.

 

So, the Aes Sedai are forewarned. They do have a little time to prepare themselves. Then the Trollocs attack. There are eight bridges to Tar Valon, not to mention the likelyhood of the Shadow having brought barges. Thats 120,000 Trollocs per bridge. Not to mention draghkar in the sky to harrow defenders.

 

Now, given what we see of the wards placed on the harbour, i doubt the Aes Sedai will be able to break the bridges with any sort of ease. That inherent defensibility of Tar Valon about the only reason the defenders dont lose to those odds out of hand. They hold. And likely, without any interference, could have held for some time.

 

But this is when a hundred thousand trollocs (or more... it depends on Machin Shin really) come out of the Ways. Now, you mentioned the danger of bottlenecking... that would require the Aes Sedai to have percieved the threat beforehand. In less then an hour the Ogier Garden would be strongly held, and would be a solid foothold. But you are correct, there is a chance that Egwene DOES realise this... or as is far more likely given that he was there in Tear, Lan. This is where the Black Ajah comes in. Even if the Black do not number more then a hundred in the city (or less) they would be enough to disrupt attempts to contain the Ways.

 

My guess is the latter is what happens. If a hundred thousand Trollocs get into the city unhampered (leaving the Black to make their surprise strike elsewhere) then i dont really see the city surviving that. They would easily be enough to disrupt the forces holding the bridges... one, then two then three and so on would fall.

 

By then the battle would be joined in full. Nine places of entry for the Shadow, held by, at best, a hundred a fifty thousand. One foothold situation. And maybe a hundred or more Black sisters. Then we have your average civillian darkfriend. How many hundreds are there in Tar Valon? How many thousands? Sabotage at the right moment, and the city could fall.

 

And what of your raising of the question of dark channelers. Aside from the Black Ajah within the city, there would be many more without. I'd guess maybe an extra hundred to two hundred could be with the army outside the city. Possibly Aiel Wise Ones, and atha'an miere windfinders too. Given the reality of travelling it wouldn't be that hard. Its possible it wouldn't even expose them, though i personally doubt that. And what of the men Taim gathered and trained prior to the formation of the Black Tower. What if they in turn trained others... and what if there were more men then Taim out there doing that. What if there were women too?

 

Certainly i dont believe that every dark channeler in the world will be directed to this attack. Likely the windfinders and Wise Ones will be involved in the equally important attack that will be launched out of the Shadow's Lance against Rhuarc, or the one out of the Ways against the Seanchan in the south. But there are possibilities for the shadow to draw on. Additional channelers on the side of the dark present a very real risk.

 

But meh. Whatever the dark has i dont think it will assure them victory. There are still two hundred and fifty or so sisters, and a thousand novices to work like batteries for them. And if someone is smart during the Fall of the Tower, possibly angreal and sa'angreal. And maybe 60 or 70 Asha'men, even if some of those are darkfriends, not all would be... given full Asha'men weren't included in the offer to Romanda, at least 47 wont be.

 

So, the situation is desperate, but perhaps not out of hand. They hold--it is hard, but they do, after attack and attack. But it will wear them down. Attacks from within and without will be constant for the next several days, and losses high. Eventually by sheer losses they will begin to be pushed back. One, maybe two bridges will fall. The foothold in the Ogier Garden will escape containment. It will be looking a little dire for a moment--then Tuon and Rand arrive, to bring word of their alliance and for Tuon to command the ceasation of hositilites against the Tower.

 

I do not believe the Seanchan will have continued their attacks on the Aes Sedai when the battle with the Shadowspawn occurs, but nor do i feel they will aid them. I think tht will be Tuon's job--to stir the Seanchan army, and lead them out and that that action will be the fulfilment of Egwene's dream. She and Rand will arrive, and see the situation. Rand will immediately go to the aid of the Aes Sedai, rushing out blindly, Tuon wont. Rand and Egwene will meet, they will be fighting, it will look like they were about to loose... when suddenly lightning and explosions increase amongst the Shadowspawn with a fury.

 

In the face of the extra three thousand channelers the shadow will be driven back. I believe there will be some face to face confrontation between Pevara and Alviarin. The foothold will be destroyed, the Shadow assault broken into a route. The next scene will be in the Tower with Rand, Tuon and Egwene, as well as several others, several hours later, we will hear that the Shadow is still in retreat, for at least the moment, but that once someone thinks to stop that retreat they will still be a massive army, which will present a threat. The Black Ajah have fled with Alviarin maybe escaped, maybe dead, maybe captured.

 

Egwene will learn of why the Seanchan aided the Aes Sedai at the end, and of the treaty, and will be furious with Rand. So on, so forth.

 

So, what do you think? Does that paint a possibility for you?

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There is only one Waygate into Tar Valon' date=' and even assuming that the Shadow can get as many Shadowspawn through the Ways as they want, if the defenders of Tar Valon cannot hold a bottleneck like a single Waygate ... then I'm a radish. Or their leader is.[/quote']

 

And that leader is Elaida (as long as the Tower remains split). Probably the most radishish person in the books.

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Hmm ... well Luckers, I have to say I do have a couple of problems with that picture, the major one being 100,000 Trollocs out of the Ways ... unless that happens when there is no leader in Tar Valon, then the leader who lets that happen is a radish. I would instantly lose any and all respect for that person. I don't think even Elaida could be that incompetent.

 

Moiraine knows wards that kill Shadowspawn. She doesn't use them because the group she was with at the time had to stay mobile, and they give location away to Myrdraal, but the Waygate is the perfect place for one. Even if a few Trollocs get out, they'll be spotted quickly. A delegation of sisters could then ward the Waygate and hunt the other Trollocs that did get through. I can't believe that Moiraine is the only one who knows such a ward. It would take ... hours ... possibly a full day for 100,000 Trollocs to emerge from a Waygate.

 

Plus ... 120,000 Trollocs on each of the bridges presents the same bottlenecking problems, especially with Aes Sedai to man the checkpoints. I mean, if I'm in charge, I tell the Aes Sedai to blast the ends of the bridges off, or if they're too strong, then put up a wooden wall across each one and turn it into cuendillar. As far as barges ... with the walls rising right out of the water, those barges will be nothing but targets, even for a conventional defense, much less the Aes Sedai.

 

If Egwene is in charge of the city, I just don't see how it can happen. Any Trolloc army that gets to Tar Valon is going to have to walk there (ok, or run) so the Aes Sedai are going to know they're coming. Give me one day of unified leadership inside the walls, and those Trollocs are not getting anywhere near the Tower. They're not even getting over the walls.

 

If there is any chance for it to work, it would have to be exquisitely timed with either the Seanchan attack (which I can't see because of the travel time necessary for the Trollocs), or some kind of massive Black Ajah sabotage ... and given the kind of warning the people in the city will have (several days at least) I just don't see it.

 

I agree that it could work ... maybe ... with precisely timed, well executed Black Ajah sabotage and fractured leadership ... but frankly, that would be a big time change from what has been a terribly ineffective group. Especially a group that is very much compromised at the moment, and outnumbered.

 

Frankly, I think the non-channeling human defenders could hold the gates and walls on their own, leaving ONLY the Waygate that would HAVE to be defended by Aes Sedai. Or vice versa. An even mildly fortified perimeter of archers and shield bearers could turn the Waygate exit into a slaughterpath. Not to mention if the Aes Sedai control it even for a few moments, they can lock it from their side.

 

If I'm the Shadow general who gets to attack Tar Valon, I'm seriously considering defection right now. There are an awful lot of ways that it can go horribly wrong for a million or so Trollocs, and only a very small way I could possibly see it going right (from the Shadow's perspective) ...

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Hmm ... well Luckers, I have to say I do have a couple of problems with that picture, the major one being 100,000 Trollocs out of the Ways ... unless that happens when there is no leader in Tar Valon, then the leader who lets that happen is a radish. I would instantly lose any and all respect for that person. I don't think even Elaida could be that incompetent.

 

Moiraine knows wards that kill Shadowspawn. She doesn't use them because the group she was with at the time had to stay mobile, and they give location away to Myrdraal, but the Waygate is the perfect place for one. Even if a few Trollocs get out, they'll be spotted quickly. A delegation of sisters could then ward the Waygate and hunt the other Trollocs that did get through. I can't believe that Moiraine is the only one who knows such a ward. It would take ... hours ... possibly a full day for 100,000 Trollocs to emerge from a Waygate.

 

 

Alright. Assuming that Aes Sedai suddenly change their nature and do show a level of intelligence they've previously denied, and do think to ward the Waygate... whats to stop the Black Sisters from pulling a Sammael and undoing it all? Elaida and her ilk have no reason to ward a waygate. They neither know, nor would be inclined to believe any information that comes from Suine, Moiraine, or anyone in contact with them. Any reaction later on will be just that. A reaction.

 

Seriously. Even if an attempt is made to contain an invasion through the ways with any degree of precedence, with Black sisters, and darkfriend incursions and the limited numbers of the forces on the Aes Sedai's side, in a city as large as Tar Valon, facing an enemy as large as the one they are facing....

 

No Robert, i have no trouble seeing such an attempt at containment fail. Certainly they will hold them. But it will drain resources and strength to do so. Aside from the fact that this is a story, and that the pace needs to rise in the last book, and that the setup resulting of this provides for an epic moment, leading to a situation in which the forces of the light are finally in one place and Tarmon Gai'don is begun... well, frankly, i see it happening anyway because it fits the flow of the story.

 

Also, just a thought, but we have seen the Dark One make wardings fail.... Just a thought.

 

Plus ... 120,000 Trollocs on each of the bridges presents the same bottlenecking problems, especially with Aes Sedai to man the checkpoints. I mean, if I'm in charge, I tell the Aes Sedai to blast the ends of the bridges off, or if they're too strong, then put up a wooden wall across each one and turn it into cuendillar. As far as barges ... with the walls rising right out of the water, those barges will be nothing but targets, even for a conventional defense, much less the Aes Sedai.

 

Well a) Which particular weave would create wood. B) how is wood made into cuendillar? It's iron. By the by.

 

Most significantly though, what the? There will be channelers with the army of the shadow. Where is the contention here. Even with channelers, even with the novice batteries, thats not a bottleneck. Thats an assault. The only reason they will hold is because they will be able to contain the areas of assault. But do not decieve yourself. An army of 1,000,000, able to assault eight different points against an army of at best 150,000 (which, by the way given losses to the Seanchan is unlikely), who are in turn dealing with a hostile presence at the heart of the city, and how many thousands of darkfriends, is not easily ignorable. Its barely sustainable. And thats conservative. We may be facing half the Trollocs in existance. Possibly as high as 2 or 3 million.

 

If Egwene is in charge of the city, I just don't see how it can happen. Any Trolloc army that gets to Tar Valon is going to have to walk there (ok, or run) so the Aes Sedai are going to know they're coming. Give me one day of unified leadership inside the walls, and those Trollocs are not getting anywhere near the Tower. They're not even getting over the walls.

 

A day of unifeid leadership. Oh, and dealing with the Seanchan of course, who would still be aggressive. And then there are the average darkfriend. And Black Ajah? And lets not forget the insane amount of shadowspawn. The presence of enemy channelers.

 

I'm sorry. I fail to see the evidence in your point. How exactly will the Aes Sedai deal with this? Lay out your own projection of such a situation.

 

I agree that it could work ... maybe ... with precisely timed, well executed Black Ajah sabotage and fractured leadership ... but frankly, that would be a big time change from what has been a terribly ineffective group. Especially a group that is very much compromised at the moment, and outnumbered.

 

Ok. I'll admit i dont see how internal sabotage (by channelers and non channelers) of a force grossly outnumbered isn't an issue... but sure.

 

If i were the shadows general i would not concider defection. I would laugh. Maniacally.

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And how is that? Look at the timeline Magicana. Moridin went to investigate, and immediately spoke to the Forsaken with a degree of immediacy. It was not that 'some forsaken has been commendeering the use of trollocs for some time now'. It was that 100,000 trollocs were sent into the ways. The 100,000 were sent at the same time by one man. When exactly did this dribbling occur?

 

Do you think the Ogier at stedding Shang'tai would not have noticed it? Every Ogier of importance was gathered there, and you claim that the Ogier did not notice thousands of trollocs dribbling out of the Waygate over the course of weeks.

 

And it would be weeks. Its made very clear in tSR that it took Isam weeks to gather a few thousand trollocs, and that even the transport of such small groups attracted Machin Shin's attention and fury. How long for a hundred thousand, at around one hundred a day, at best, with losses? How long until Moridin noticed. Do you claim that whoever was behind this has been causing this to happen since PoD on the off chance that Rand would camp out at an obscure Tairen estate?

 

The fact is that yes there is an issue of Machin Shin, and a hundred thousand Trollocs or more should have attracted its attention. The fact that in KoD it did not act against the Trollocs is not evidence in the slow movement of the Trollocs inlight of all the evidence against such, but rather evidence in light of a change in Machin Shin. A change that has been observed to be progressing since the Great Hunt. We have seen in the past year Machin Shin defy the nature it has established over the course of a thousand years. We have seen it waiting at waygates, fleeing from people--recently the source of its creation was destroyed.

 

What we have i no more then another change in the nature of Machin Shin, not evidence suggesting the dribbling of Trollocs.

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I hadn't really considered the fact that Mesaana, Demandred and Semirhage could be working to achieve the same goal. This could be interesting.

 

The Waygates do seem very risky for the shadowspawn. Even if they were to survive Machin Shin, wich is hardly something to rely on, there will be Wardings. And even if these fail, the gaidin and sisters can still sense the shadowspawn.

 

Perhaps the attack will just be a massive assault.

They did this once before in the Trolloc wars and they were quite succesfull too. Perhaps the Black Sisters will just open a gate.

 

then Tuon and Rand arrive, to bring word of their alliance and for Tuon to command the ceasation of hositilites against the Tower

A thruth between Rand and Seanchan doesn't mean that the Seanchan won't stop fighting the WT. In fact, we see that despite the news of a possible truth with Rand, the Seanchan still prepare to attack the WT.

The truth certainly doesn't mean that Rand and Tuon will pop in to announce the news. I don't think Rand or Tuon will ever set foot in the WT.

It's like pr. Bush having tea with representatifs of the gay communitiy in the cafeteria of an abortion clinic. I don't see Tuon doing that.

As for Rand, he doesn't trust the AS. The WT doesn't want him to visit either. They don't want a Ta'veren in their HQ and centainly not the Dragon.

Finally, Rand: "Hey Aes Sedai, bow to me, I'm the Dragon. Oh, and by the way, you know those Seanchan who just attacked the WT,... Well, I'm not fighting with them anymore so you're on your own, now bow to me." :D

 

A final question, will there be an shadow attack on the WT? I can't really remember.

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Luckers, sorry to say but your view on this is terribly shortsighted, normally i agree with you but in this...

 

The way you see it EVERYTHING has to go well for the shadow and EVERYTHING has to go wrong for the light, there is like a 1 to a billion chance of that. Do you think the ashaman wouldnt make a gateway to anywhere where there would be channelers of the light to get reinforcement? And you seem to have forgotten the rebels? their army of 50.000 men with 300 aes sedai. Especially the 300 aes sedai. Do you think they are going to sit any wait until a trolloc comes and kills em?

 

For the ashaman finding help, lets see 100 of the 1000 current ashaman are darkfriends. I am very sure that all the ashaman non-darkfriends would come, that adds another few 100's channelers for our friends, i think with the damane we come on about 2 to 2.500 channelers. Probaly more. Then we also have Rand to worry about, you sure he would'nt come with all he can grab?

 

 

And also, why would the light not send out aes sedai by gateway to get troops from say, Cairhien,Tear,Illian or any other state (exept Seanchan) I am sure troops would come with them adding another few hundred thousand troops of the light. And wouldnt you think when tuons damane and tuon herself learns that the aes sedai can travel, that she wouldnt grab the opportunity to get reinforcements from Seanchan territory? With Suroth gone there will be no more problems with having enough support.

 

Have you even considerd these points?

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Guest LurkingFadeFetcher

Besides rand coming with all the chanellers he can find, doesn't he have the access ter'angreal for the Choedan'kal and Callandor with him in his little group of followers. I think that alone would be enough to decimate any invasion force. Even if he doesn't bring the sa'angreal with him, he could teach the asha'man who show up his new weaves: Deathgates, fire blossom, arrows of fire, or even balefire the trollocs like he did in Caemlyn.

 

Also, when Loial and the asha'man were sent by rand to deal with the waygates, weren't they locking them all? wouldn't it make sense that they went to the waygate in

Tar Valon and at least told someone that the shadow was using the Ways to move trollocs around?

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Guest Barmacral

Bryne's army would help the light, however, it would not make the difference required to break the siege, if anything, I think it will merely slow the shadow down long enough to let the Aes Sedai prepare rather than get slaughtered out of suprise.

 

Machin Shin could have an effect, however, given the recent changes in it (mentioned in an above post) its very possible that it won't have an effect.

 

It would not be very hard for the Black Ajah to cause major issues for the light, and we know that there are other Dark Friends in Tar Valon (Ishmael killed one for letting Mat escape in TDR). They could very easily cause the Light problems, and create a bad situation for the defenders.

 

The waygate... Did Loial have it closed? Or was that one that he was turned away on? He did say that he visited all of them except the one in stedding Shantai.

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I think the Asha'man were only trapping the waygates cuz Rand said they might have to be used. As for the waygate in TV, with Eliada in charge no Asha'man would openly go there and as people have said AS could trap the waygate and then the BA would untrap. My guess is the waygate is not very high on the AS to do list.

I agree that help could be summoned elsewhere but I donot think the AS would go anywhere but andor simply cuz the Dragon rules Tear, Cairhein, Illian and part of Arad Doman.

I suspect to that the Asha'man with the rebels will be underutilized. THe AS WILL NOT believe the taint is gone cuz it's always been there. Pevara's group might be more accepting of the Asha'man but I don't know.

There will be chaos too cuz the seanchan and Shadow attack will most likely occurr within days of each other. The Bridges too will not be cut, a. they were made with the OP and would take more time than the AS have B. with the cuendillar thing again I see too little time.

My thoughts

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Well a) Which particular weave would create wood. B) how is wood made into cuendillar? It's iron. By the by.

 

Yeah ok. So drape a bunch of chains across and turn them to cuendillar. With armorers for Elaida's new army in the city, thats not going to take very long. What I'm saying is there is plenty to scavenge from the city to make an emergency barrier at each bridge, and the means at hand to make such a barrier significant. Assuming the bridges can't be brought down, and don't have gates ...

 

Do you think the Ogier at stedding Shang'tai would not have noticed it? Every Ogier of importance was gathered there, and you claim that the Ogier did not notice thousands of trollocs dribbling out of the Waygate over the course of weeks.

 

Thats no more unlikely than their failure to notice 100,000 coming out all at once. And even if it doesn't take weeks, it still takes about a minimum of a full day ... moving 100,000 of anything takes time, and Trollocs can be unruly. Marching out of a Waygate isn't smooth sailing either. A very small force could cause serious problems for those Trollocs.

 

Several of your arguments discussed Elaida's response. I agree that if Elaida is still in charge when such an attack occurs, then the Shadow's chances of success go way, way up. As Beckon said, Elaida could qualify for radish-hood. If they come once Egwene has a grip on the city, I think they're in for a bad time though.

 

I've had a thought, however ...

 

Shai'tan is probably willing to throw away 1,000,000 Trollocs to keep the Aes Sedai busy. The Dark One has no reason to care about Tar Valon as a location ... he just wants the Aes Sedai out of action when Rand makes his move. So a siege that has no chance of actually taking the city, but keeps the Aes Sedai pinned down, is probably fine with him. Time is on the Shadow's side at this point. The longer things drag out, the more likely it is that Shai'tan breaks out, and at that point, all bets are off. He could sneeze Tar Valon out of existence. So, an attack would not have to be calculated to succeed militarily to be a success strategically.

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I hadn't really considered the fact that Mesaana, Demandred and Semirhage could be working to achieve the same goal. This could be interesting.

 

I'm not really sure their alliance is strong enough to sustain that, but you are right. It does present interesting possibilities if it does.

 

The Waygates do seem very risky for the shadowspawn. Even if they were to survive Machin Shin, wich is hardly something to rely on, there will be Wardings. And even if these fail, the gaidin and sisters can still sense the shadowspawn.

 

I don't disagree... there is risk. But given the Forsaken will know by then that a hundred thousand trollocs made it through intact, i think it likely that the Forsaken will concider it reasonable risk. On the one hand, if the shadowspawn make it through then they have a sizeable force within the city walls. If not... well, there are always more Trollocs.

 

As for wardings, the Shadow has channelers on its side too. Sammael has proven that no warding is without its weaknesses. And channelers sensing shadowspawn? There would be a million shadowspawn around, and from rand we know the sensation feels like bile at the back of the throat, a taint you can feel. It's not specific enough for this to present a massive benefit.

 

Frankly from the Forsakens point of view the risk is tiny and the potential gain massive.

 

This is not to say that it will go off without a hitch. I suspect that it will be Pevara and her ilk that throw the spanner in the works, managing to blunt Alviarin from letting the Trollocs escape into the city. It could as easily be that Egwene thinks to set someone to watch, or guard the gate, or that someone senses the Trollocs, or any of a hundred other things. But they will contain the foothold.

 

A thruth between Rand and Seanchan doesn't mean that the Seanchan won't stop fighting the WT. In fact, we see that despite the news of a possible truth with Rand, the Seanchan still prepare to attack the WT.

The truth certainly doesn't mean that Rand and Tuon will pop in to announce the news. I don't think Rand or Tuon will ever set foot in the WT.

It's like pr. Bush having tea with representatifs of the gay communitiy in the cafeteria of an abortion clinic. I don't see Tuon doing that.

As for Rand, he doesn't trust the AS. The WT doesn't want him to visit either. They don't want a Ta'veren in their HQ and centainly not the Dragon.

Finally, Rand: "Hey Aes Sedai, bow to me, I'm the Dragon. Oh, and by the way, you know those Seanchan who just attacked the WT,... Well, I'm not fighting with them anymore so you're on your own, now bow to me."

 

I think that it does mean exactly that. Rand knows the benefit of Aes Sedai (though to be honest i think he thinks more of them then they are truly worth). He displays this in KoD by sending Narishma to smooth things over by offering the 47 Asha'men. One of his wives is Aes Sedai. His advisors, his guards.

 

Any agreement Rand reached with the Seanchan will envolve the ceasation of all hostilities. Including the leashing of damane. And Tuon displays a willingness to... ignore the freedom of marath'damane in favour of more nessasary tasks. She may not like it, but between the knowledge of Semirhage, and the attack i think the Shadow will launch on Seanchan held lands... she will agree to a ceasing hostilities for a time. She has even displayed a direct awareness of the need for her to deal with Rand--she may think it will involve him kneeling to her, which will doubtlessly throw a spanner in the works, but she is no fool. She will deal. And since prophecy supports that he will get what he wants in that agreement....

 

And whatever else she is, Tuon is honorable. When they reach this agreement, she will reveal the attack on Tar Valon, and will agree to stopping it. I doubt she will agree to unleashing the Aes Sedai already leashed though--and i could see Rand swallowing that, which may be the source of him 'knowing the Amyrlin's anger'.

 

Besides, it provides a nexus. And a nexus is needed at that stage. We will have Egwene, Rand, Tuon, the Black Ajah Hunters, Lan--possibly even Moiraine and Mat, depending on how that timeline plays out--all gathered in one place in preparation for Tarmon Gai'don. And thematically i think RJ will know that that is needed. Its the last book and different rules apply.

 

The way you see it EVERYTHING has to go well for the shadow and EVERYTHING has to go wrong for the light, there is like a 1 to a billion chance of that.

 

I do not see how that is so. Things will go well for the light. They defenders will manage to hold the wall. The Black Ajah will be blunted from whatever acts of sabotage they plan by the Hunters. The foothold will be contained. And eventually the siege will be broken, and the act of breaking it will be a result of the final act of unification of the light, allowing for the light to be whole as it turns it attention to the Shadow.

 

How is that suggesting everything will go well for the shadow, and nothing will go well for the light? Yes, the threat to the light will be dire... it sort of needs to be, this is the last book. Do you really see RJ going 'well, the Trollocs invaded, where they were met at Tarwin Gap and destroyed. Minimal losses were suffered. The Black Ajah was wiped out easily. Peace and love returned to the world.

 

The pace will increase. The assault on Tar Valon by the Shadow is the perfect way for RJ to up the game. It allows him to place the icon that has represented the light in great peril. And its far from being unlikely or blind.

 

Do you think the ashaman wouldnt make a gateway to anywhere where there would be channelers of the light to get reinforcement?

 

Certainly. There are three armies they could go to. Rhuarc in the north will be engaged with the second Trolloc invasion force. The force in Tear will be dealing with the Seanchan, and the attack laucnhed from the Ways in their land. And then there is Elayne. Of course i maintain that Egwene will have called on Elayne much sooner to face the Seanchan, and the three hundred plus channelers and roughly 200,000 soldiers she has with her. But i know people disagree. Whatever. I was trying to play devils advocate.

 

Even with Elayne, however, dealing with the army that will be coming for Tar Valon will not be simple. The only reason they will hold is that they hold a highly defensible position.

 

And you seem to have forgotten the rebels? their army of 50.000 men with 300 aes sedai. Especially the 300 aes sedai. Do you think they are going to sit any wait until a trolloc comes and kills em?

 

I'm sorry... what? My entire theory revolved around the Rebels joining with the forces under Chubain within the city to deal with the Seanchan. The only reason the city will hold is because of those Aes Sedai and the novices, and their armies. How was that in any way unclear?

 

And also, why would the light not send out aes sedai by gateway to get troops from say, Cairhien,Tear,Illian or any other state (exept Seanchan) I am sure troops would come with them adding another few hundred thousand troops of the light.

 

Well, all the forces in Cairhein, Tear and Illian are either with Rhuarch in Arad Domon, where they will be responding to the incursion that will come through the Shadow's Lance, or in Illian with (was it Bael?) responding to orders from Rand in reguards to the Seanchan. So... im not sure what you are suggesting at all.

 

But Andor, certainly.

 

And wouldnt you think when tuons damane and tuon herself learns that the aes sedai can travel, that she wouldnt grab the opportunity to get reinforcements from Seanchan territory? With Suroth gone there will be no more problems with having enough support.

 

Again, I am confused... did you read my theory? Aside from the fact that i find it unlikely the sul'dam will have been able to break the Aes Sedai they've captured enough in the time they have to get the secret of Travelling from them, there is the fact that the Seanchan will not stir themselves immediately, and that it will be Tuon who will cause them to fulfilling Egwene's dream--and when she does the strength of those Seanchan--specifically the damane--in concert with the strength of the Aes Sedai, will be enough to break the assault and turn it into a route.

 

Have you even considerd these points?

 

Yes. In my post. Did you even read it?

 

Besides rand coming with all the chanellers he can find, doesn't he have the access ter'angreal for the Choedan'kal and Callandor with him in his little group of followers. I think that alone would be enough to decimate any invasion force. Even if he doesn't bring the sa'angreal with him, he could teach the asha'man who show up his new weaves: Deathgates, fire blossom, arrows of fire, or even balefire the trollocs like he did in Caemlyn.

 

I dont think Rand will have the Choedan Kal with him for his meeting with Tuon, and they will come directly from there with the immediate need of stopping hostilities between the Aes Sedai and the Seanchan. It will only be then that they learn of the shadowspawn, and react.

 

More in a moment, im being booted off the computer.

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In addition to the above, he would also not have that many of his own channelers with him... Logain, Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Alivia... possibly a couple of others, but not in large numbers. Those channlers will be in Illian or Arad Domon... or possibly at the confrontation at the Black Tower. Certainly they will be effective, but against a million trollocs and who knows how many channelers, it will take the aid of Tuons thousands of damane to break the assault.

 

Also, when Loial and the asha'man were sent by rand to deal with the waygates, weren't they locking them all? wouldn't it make sense that they went to the waygate in

Tar Valon and at least told someone that the shadow was using the Ways to move trollocs around?

 

An ahsa'man travelling to Tar Valon? Besides Rand forbade interaction... no, i dont think the one in Tar Valon is sealed, but even if it was Loial states that an Aes Sedai can cut through a sealed waygate, just like Moiraine did in the Eye of the World.

 

It would not be very hard for the Black Ajah to cause major issues for the light, and we know that there are other Dark Friends in Tar Valon (Ishmael killed one for letting Mat escape in TDR). They could very easily cause the Light problems, and create a bad situation for the defenders.

 

Exactly. Internal saboteurs dont need great numbers to be effective. Its surprise they play with.

 

I suspect to that the Asha'man with the rebels will be underutilized. THe AS WILL NOT believe the taint is gone cuz it's always been there. Pevara's group might be more accepting of the Asha'man but I don't know.

 

LEts not forget, in addition, that the Asha'men with Pevara are very possibly darkfriends themselves, given the pool of selection she had to choose from.

 

Yeah ok. So drape a bunch of chains across and turn them to cuendillar. With armorers for Elaida's new army in the city, thats not going to take very long. What I'm saying is there is plenty to scavenge from the city to make an emergency barrier at each bridge, and the means at hand to make such a barrier significant. Assuming the bridges can't be brought down, and don't have gates ...

 

To construct a chain large enough to make sufficient barrier... im not even sure how they would do that whilst facing a trolloc assault. It seems silly to me anyway... there are much more useful uses for the Power, and they have Power enforced walls already.

 

Don't get me wrong, i am not arguing the success of the attack... for many of the reasons you raised the attack will fail... but i dont see the Shadow realising that, or even thinking there is a risk of it. Yes they are great generals--some at least. But how will they be able to predict the interference of Pevara, for instance? The blunting of the internal sabotage of the Black Ajah will play a massive part in the failure of the Shadow. Or Rand and Tuon arriving... even with the potential alliance in the work, only Semirhage would have any chance of knowing that in light of that alliance Tuon would act. She thought that no such alliance would occur, so i doubt she told anyone.

 

 

 

Of course the bridges have gates. Egwene comments on them in CoT, and the guards that man them. How else would the light manage to stand against the hordes of Trollocs? As ive said several times, if it were just an assault made on the walls it would likely be manageable by the forces within. But it is also a matter of darkfriends, black ajah, the ways, the seanchan, enemy channelers... and even with that im not suggesting that the Shadow wins... im just suggesting that the situation and threat will be very dire for a time....

 

RJ has to do that, you know. If he cant make the threat of Tarmon Gai'don very real for many different people the last book will be very disapointing.

 

Thats no more unlikely than their failure to notice 100,000 coming out all at once. And even if it doesn't take weeks, it still takes about a minimum of a full day ... moving 100,000 of anything takes time, and Trollocs can be unruly. Marching out of a Waygate isn't smooth sailing either. A very small force could cause serious problems for those Trollocs.

 

Obviously they would have noticed. They possibly even attempted to do something about it, but against a hundred thousand trollocs...? Far more likely though, in light of the numbers, they would have simply trusted in the protection of the stedding while the discussed it. And if even a thousand got out before they noticed, then the Ogier wouldn't have been able to contain the waygate anyway. If, however, this took place over time, even the Ogier would send warning. The lack of that warning, combined with Moridin, shows the force moved quickly without giving people time to react.

 

Several of your arguments discussed Elaida's response. I agree that if Elaida is still in charge when such an attack occurs, then the Shadow's chances of success go way, way up. As Beckon said, Elaida could qualify for radish-hood. If they come once Egwene has a grip on the city, I think they're in for a bad time though.

 

I dont disagree. Especially with Egwene's connection to Elayne to draw upon, and her knowledge of the Kins presense. Even 300 weak channelers will prove an aid, and not all the Kin are all that weak.

 

And i certainly dont think this attack will be successful in the end. But it will happen, and for a brief time at least things will look grim.

 

Shai'tan is probably willing to throw away 1,000,000 Trollocs to keep the Aes Sedai busy. The Dark One has no reason to care about Tar Valon as a location ... he just wants the Aes Sedai out of action when Rand makes his move. So a siege that has no chance of actually taking the city, but keeps the Aes Sedai pinned down, is probably fine with him. Time is on the Shadow's side at this point. The longer things drag out, the more likely it is that Shai'tan breaks out, and at that point, all bets are off. He could sneeze Tar Valon out of existence. So, an attack would not have to be calculated to succeed militarily to be a success strategically.

 

Whilst not untrue, i do think that whichever mind plans this attack--and remember, the shadow has likely been planning this for a year or more... it hasn't been so devided against itself that it lost sight of the true enemy, as Merise observes--has a fair degree of reason to think it will be successful.

 

To attack a highly defensible position you want at least twice the numbers of that of its defenders. Check--for whilst, as you say, they dont have enough channlers to equal the light, they have enough to keep them occupied... look at what the Aes Sedai were able to achieve at Dumai's Wells... 36 sisters against at least 200 Wise Ones, possibly more, and they were able to hold them off... for a time at least.

 

Furthermore, having people inside is helpful. Check. Having an entrance into the heart of the city is helpful. Check.

 

I think that whoever planned this had the reasonable expectation of victory. They wont get it, but they its there nonetheless.

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Hmm ... well, your arguments in the last round were more convincing ...

 

Given what Mesaana is telling Demandred, it could look like a reasonable risk. I'm sure Mesaana isn't anticipating a strong Egwene taking control, and given Shaidar Haran's instructions to Alviarin, they know someone is hunting the Black Ajah, but thats all.

 

And certainly, if Demandred says he can do it, Moridin will approve, because for him, its pretty much a no-lose situation. Either Demandred wins, or he loses but keeps the Aes Sedai pinned down.

 

OK. I'll look forward to how it turns out, and I'm a little less skeptical than I was. I still think the Waygate won't get 100,000 through it, but it could be used as a distraction to harry the Aes Sedai at the beginning of an attack.

 

And Elaida is a radish. Thats just fun to say.

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Hmm ... well, your arguments in the last round were more convincing ...

 

Then you concede convincing arguments in regards to the attack? :)

 

My arguments before were on why the attack would occur. It was my understanding that this thread was on what they could achieve. What they might fail to achieve. And what the light could do against them. Was I wrong?

 

Given what Mesaana is telling Demandred, it could look like a reasonable risk. I'm sure Mesaana isn't anticipating a strong Egwene taking control, and given Shaidar Haran's instructions to Alviarin, they know someone is hunting the Black Ajah, but thats all

 

I'm not entirely sure i understand what you said. Are you saying that the Shadow has little knowledge of the strength Egwene could pull from the light? That seems to me to be in favour of them thinking the attack to be favourable. And their awareness that someone is hunting the black Ajah... i dont see the impact. Yes there is a risk the entire black ajah could be uncovered and destroyed. A small risk, and they have taken what efforts they can to prevent it. Why would that impact upon their attack on Tar Valon... worst case scenario, they lose an advantage. As indeed i suspect they will--but in terms of planning, why would that stop them from acting?

 

Are you saying you think the shadow will only act when absolutely certain of victory? They have the reasonable expectation of advantage in this confrontation... from infiltrators amongst every circle of the light, to thousands of potential sabotuers. They outnumber their enemy at best three to one, at worst ten to one. They have the possibility of a method of placing a large force within the walls. And their enemy already has a hostile force at the heart of their city. And what they attain? The destruction of the White Tower by the Shadow would be an iconic victory. Asside from removing thousands of channelers, the Light in Randland irrespective of personal feelings, respect or fear the strength of the White Tower. For it to be struck down... it would be a momentous achievement.

 

Would you as the general of the dark not act on this situation? Yes there are problems... but a war is no war if one side faces no problems.

 

And Elaida is a radish. Thats just fun to say.

 

Yes it is. Though there is a word beginning with C that strikes me as more apt.

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I'm not entirely sure i understand what you said. Are you saying that the Shadow has little knowledge of the strength Egwene could pull from the light? That seems to me to be in favour of them thinking the attack to be favourable. And their awareness that someone is hunting the black Ajah... i dont see the impact. Yes there is a risk the entire black ajah could be uncovered and destroyed. A small risk, and they have taken what efforts they can to prevent it. Why would that impact upon their attack on Tar Valon... worst case scenario, they lose an advantage. As indeed i suspect they will--but in terms of planning, why would that stop them from acting?

 

Yeah. That whole paragraph was basically what I was conceding, that from their perspective it doesn't look as bleak as it actually is.

 

Would you as the general of the dark not act on this situation? Yes there are problems... but a war is no war if one side faces no problems.

 

Would I act? Maybe. It depends on what it takes to get Shai'tan free. If it takes a generalized bloodbath, to reduce the total number of living souls in the world, then maybe. If not, my plan would be entirely different if I were in charge of the Shadow. Totally different from top to bottom. But describing it would take another thread.

 

But do I see that THEY would act? Yes, I concede that I can see it as a possibility now. Tactically, I think its a poor choice, even given the things they don't know, but then, as you say, they're not going to win, are they?

 

Just to make it clear, I do concede that the Shadow attacking Tar Valon with a massive Shadowspawn army is not quite as ludicrous as I originally postulated in this thread. Especially since I don't think that Moridin and Shai'tan care especially if they take the city or not. They probably just want to pin the Aes Sedai down until Shai'tan is out.

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Yeah. That whole paragraph was basically what I was conceding, that from their perspective it doesn't look as bleak as it actually is.

 

Ah, fair enough. Sorry for the rant then.

 

Would I act? Maybe. It depends on what it takes to get Shai'tan free. If it takes a generalized bloodbath, to reduce the total number of living souls in the world, then maybe. If not, my plan would be entirely different if I were in charge of the Shadow. Totally different from top to bottom. But describing it would take another thread.

 

Well, to be fair, part of the stupidity of the Forsaken is in their stupidity regarding their realisation of the intention of the Dark One. Aside from Moridin their intention is political power.

 

Certainly the Dark One seems to need the light destroyed. If not why would the shadow bother? With the War of the Shadow, or Tarmon Gai'don, or indeed any of the events between? Their is an immediacy to their actions that suggests the need for victory... or war.

 

But do I see that THEY would act? Yes, I concede that I can see it as a possibility now. Tactically, I think its a poor choice, even given the things they don't know, but then, as you say, they're not going to win, are they?

 

Just to make it clear, I do concede that the Shadow attacking Tar Valon with a massive Shadowspawn army is not quite as ludicrous as I originally postulated in this thread. Especially since I don't think that Moridin and Shai'tan care especially if they take the city or not. They probably just want to pin the Aes Sedai down until Shai'tan is out

 

Ok, im guessing thats as best as im going to get, so dont hurt me... but do you see no gain for the shadow in the destruction of the Aes Sedai and the fall of Tar Valon? Do you not think that they are working to that.

 

And frankly, i dont see their plan as being as pathetic as you think. They outnumber their enemy at least 3 to 1, and probably more. They have channelers to counter channelers. They have people within the walls--many of them capable of wreaking sabotage, They have a way in through the waygate, and finally they have an enemy that is already engaged in a confrontation with the Seanchan.

 

I mean... thats a generals wet dream.

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