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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

So, where do we stand?


Bob T Dwarf
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With The Gathering Storm only a couple of weeks away, it might be useful to review the situation for the Light both tactically and strategically.

 

Who's where?  With what force level?

 

Gareth Bryne is outside Tar Valon with at least 50,000 troops.  There is a defense force of unknown ( but likely substantial ) strength within Tar Valon.

Perrin and his forces are located not far from where Mat and the Band should be heading, as well as Galad and his portion of the Whitecloaks.  Anybody have an estimate of the size that such a combined force should number?

Ituralde should be heading home to Arad Doman and gathering in his raiding parties as he goes.  Any troop number estimates here?

Rand is apparently joining up with the Aiel that he has sent to Arad Doman.  How many here?

The Borderlanders have been diverted south by Elayne.  Anybody remember exactly where they're headed?  Murandy?  We know they are 200,000 strong.

With the succession assured and fealty sworn and accepted, Elayne should have a substantial force in Caemlyn.  How many?

How many in Illian?  How many in Tear?  What's the status of things in Cairhein?

How big a force is Lan gathering up in his ride through the Borderlands?  Just a reasonable estimate.

 

At a rough first glance, assuming Rand finds some way to gain Ituralde as an ally, there would be a substantial force in the northwest.  A very substantial force with excellent generals in the center and a very tough nut to crack in and around Tar Valon, and a good sized plug about to stopper-up Tarwin's Gap.

 

How likely is there to be an alliance with Seanchan in the near future?

 

Other than a high likelihood of relatively weak and spotty forces in the Borderlands, where else is the Light weak?

 

 

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Wow, reading this, I can't wait to get a POV from someone about logistics.

 

Cause the way the Big Guy is breaking up matter itself, they ain't gonna be fed.

 

Although, I don't see how the Trollocs can stay fed either. They've basically done no raiding for almost two years now, considering how quiet the Blight's been.

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Wow, reading this, I can't wait to get a POV from someone about logistics.

 

Cause the way the Big Guy is breaking up matter itself, they ain't gonna be fed.

 

Although, I don't see how the Trollocs can stay fed either. They've basically done no raiding for almost two years now, considering how quiet the Blight's been.

 

The trollocs can eat people. They don't have to worry about food spoiling =X

 

This is a great idea for a thread, Bob.  I'm heading to bed but I'll definitely poke my head in tomorrow.  We've got some great minds on this board that should give us a really good idea of exactly how the situation stands at the beginning of A Gathering Storm.  I'm really curious to see exactly where all the troops are.  Then we can consider what plan of attack the shadow might make!

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So, if the map is anywhere near accurate, despite what they brought, the Borderlanders left 800,000 troops behind.  The Blightborder is not all that lightly defended.

 

Illian and Tear seem to be OK, too.

 

Cairhien is in surprisingly good shape in terms of troops.

 

Elayne has a goodly force in Caemlyn.

 

Things don't look nearly as bleak as they might.

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Wow..nice find on the Map.  This is also helping job my memory on what happened in the last couple books.  The early books are always fresh in my mind..maybe because I've re-read them so much.  The later ones not so much.  Some times I really need to think of what happens between POD and now.  With no time to re-read all these I've been trying jog my memory with this site and Wiki ;)

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So, if the map is anywhere near accurate, despite what they brought, the Borderlanders left 800,000 troops behind.  The Blightborder is not all that lightly defended.

 

Illian and Tear seem to be OK, too.

 

Cairhien is in surprisingly good shape in terms of troops.

 

Elayne has a goodly force in Caemlyn.

 

Things don't look nearly as bleak as they might.

 

I've been saying that for weeks. In short, the Borderlands collectively sent at least as many troops to Tar Valon during the Aiel War. Their defences are no where near as depleted as many seem to think.

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So, if the map is anywhere near accurate, despite what they brought, the Borderlanders left 800,000 troops behind.  The Blightborder is not all that lightly defended.

 

 

 

There is no way that estimate is accurate. At the very most, I would say that the Borderlanders have as many men left behind as they brought south, ie around 200000, but even that might be stretching a bit.

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Each nation can probably put about 200,000 to 300,000 lances in the field. Shienar and Arafel alone sent 50,000 to the Shining Walls.

 

Malkier alone could probably put 100,000 in the field, and there's no way it was as big as Saldaea, for example. The problem was that they lost their elite with Lan's uncle in the Blasted Lands, at least ten thousand, plus they lost their fortifications, which probably held at least 20,000.

 

Also, remember that Shienar's strength has traditionally been split between the Blightborder and the Marches. Now  essentially the entire military of the Aiel nation on the other side of the Dragonwall, hundreds of miles south.

 

I wrote this in the Set the Horde Loose thread:

 

The borderlands have been stripped.  

 

That's not entirely true. The Borderlanders say they left enough forces to stand against anything short of the Trolloc Wars come again. Admittedly that's what's going to happen, but it's not like there are no forces up there... Lan for instance. And I doubt Lan would allow himself to be wiped out for no point without ensuring warning went south.

 

 

 

In Eye of the World Lord Agelmar accepted that he didn't have enough troops and was going to lose in Tarwin's Gap.  The only reason they won was Rand's intervention using the eye of the world.

 

If they were so short on troops then, and have brought over 50% of their forces south, how do they have enough troops to turn back the sea of trollocs the Dark One must be sitting on?

 

Lan just got there and admittedly he could be a rallying point, but by himself he's insufficient to the task.  If he ran up against Demandred and a horde of trollocs it would go very, very badly for him.

I highly doubt that 50k troops is anywhere close to 50% of their army. After all they have a thoroughly militarized society. Still it's a grievous blow to Shienar's defense since they are likely the most experienced men and could have been used as a mobile reserve.  

 

Considering what they sent to Tar Valon during the Aiel War, 50k doesn't sound like a huge amount more, since it's a collective force.

 

And the problem with Tarwin's Gap was pretty clearly that the Shienarans had "somehow" managed to miss the massing of a force until it was essentially too late to call for reserves from the rest of the Blightborder. The Shadow had been very sly that year, by pushing nasty raids along the entire border, but masking their main concentration point.

 

Essentially, none of the four countries knew who would be the schwerpunkt of the upcoming Shadow offensive, even though the entire Borderlands knew a blow was coming. That meant the other three rulers held back sending anything to Shienar until after the Shadow made its intentions clear. The problem with that strategy was pretty simple. None of the other nations' support would arrive until after the Shadow's blows were already falling. Now, Shienar could have extracted a fearsome price from that Trolloc army, but it still would have been wrecked. That, in turn, would have forced the other three nations to pour their own reserves into stopping the advance.

 

Like Malkier half a century earlier, they probably could have stopped the advance, and probably even reversed part of it, like they did for Malkier - that reversal which Agelmar alludes to is most likely the result of those 100 sisters the Tower sent finally showing up. If you reread Agelmar's history lesson, it's not that the Light couldn't win back some, or even most, of the lost land. The problem is that every mile the Light gives up gets turned into the Blight, *and* the other nations are weakened from having to defend more of the Blightborder with less.

 

It's very clear that Lan is by no means alone - there are thousands of Malkieri left. But that's a far cry from a nation that once could have probably have put 100 thousand lances in the field on its own.

 

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There is no way that estimate is accurate. At the very most, I would say that the Borderlanders have as many men left behind as they brought south, ie around 200000, but even that might be stretching a bit.

 

Hang on a second, Maj.  Maybe it is accurate.

 

If we break it down, we have four rulers and a total force they brought south of 200,000.  That averages to 50,000 per kingdom.

 

If there are only 200,000 total left behind, that also averages to 50,000 per kingdom.  I doubt, however brilliant any of them may be militarily, that they could have successfully defended their kingdoms with only 100,000 troops each.  250,000 each sounds more reasonable, with 200,000 remaining behind and 50,000 taken south.

 

Heck, Elayne is supposed to have 130,000 herself in the relatively safe environs of Caemlyn.  Seems logical that any of the Borderland kingdoms, up on the old front line, would need twice that just to survive.

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It's looking like things could get very congested in Murandy and Altara.  Seems close to a million troops from all sources could end up there.

 

Turan's got himself in deep.  He better hope that Tuon concludes an alliance quick, and that somebody can persuade Ituralde not to wipe him out just because.

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The map is not entirely accurate. The Borderlanders do not have 200,000 men (or 50,000 per country). At most they have 15,000-25,000 each left in their countries. 20 years ago during the Aiel War, Shienar and Arafel could only send a combined force of 50,000 men. However, it is an established fact that the Borderlanders have more men available for defence than they do for attack.

 

The map's numbers of the uncommitted Seanchan forces is also inflated but not by much.

 

Also, as for the larger national armies (Andor, Arad Doman, etc) you must realize that most of the troops are not experienced or really proficient.

 

There used to be a pretty well detailed list of each nation's army sized on wotmania but since the site is dead I'm not sure where the information is.

 

To be honest, the Light's forces are out of place as they are mostly concentrated in Arad Doman, Illian, Tar Valon etc. A large army like the one that attacked Rand in Tear could perhaps take Cairhien (depending on if Rand has moved he remaining Aiel) or Tear (since its entire force is in Arad Doman)

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Here is my old military roundup thread, if it helps. Be aware it's based alot in conjecture--solid conjecture, I think, but its still just guestimations and I'm not trying to claim it ain't.

 

Armed Forces

 

 

Borderlanders

 

Merillile estimated the army in Andor to have 200,000 and we know they left a significant force behind. Depending on what they term to be ‘enough to stop anything short of the Trolloc Wars come again’ that could range from between 50,000 to 200,000. We must keep in mind that to the Borderlanders a big incursion from the blight is a few thousand. Note Bashere’s surprise at the numbers involved on the attack on Algarin’s manor.

 

In any case Lower = 250,000

Upper = 400,000

Lan will likely gather quite a force in his march also... 50,000 or more I’d guess.

 

Rand's Forces

 

Aiel - Based on Mat's force assessment of the Shaido in tFoH, but including losses to the bleakness and battler, between 400,000 and 500,000.

 

Cairhein - A strong nation, but weakened by civil war, and the Aiel invasion. 125,000 to 150,000.

 

Tear - 150,000 to 175,000. Upper limit set by Andor, which is cited as the strongest nation in the Westlands at 200,000.

 

Illian - Given Sammael's heavy recruitment program as Lord Brand... maybe 200,000.

 

The Legion of the Dragon - it was 30,000 in aCoS (15 trained, 15 not) but given Taims... veracious recruiting campaign i wouldn't be surprised if this hadn't tripled. Nevertheless ill place this at 60,000... and if they get their hands on Mat's crossbow bolts...

 

Total = Between 935,000 and 1,085,000

 

Andor

 

Elayne states that fully martialled they could barely match the Borderlander army. 200,000.

 

Interulde

 

He has marshalled two armies numbering altogether 300,000. Wether he will be able to retain that army following the battle with the Seanchan is unknown. Additionally many will be lost in that battle, unless Rand intervenes quickly. I expect his forces will be down to around 200,000 by the time the Last battle begins.

 

The Aes Sedai

 

Gawyn estimates that the Rebels have 50,000 spread in two camps, and Elaida ordered the guard raised to 50,000 long ago. So following reunification 100,000. I suspect maybe 10,000 will die in the seanchan attack. 90,000.

 

The Children of the Light

 

7,000

 

The Band of the Red Hand

 

As of KoD there are 6 banners of horse, and 9 banners of foot plus a banner of masons. Crossbows are a little uncertain--Talmanes brought 4,000 with him into Altara, and said that he'd left the Band 'a little light on crossbows'. That means there are still more with the group that went into Andor, but not a lot. Let's say 5,000 total.

 

Based on Karede's estimates, the full total would be about 13,000. That's consistant with Egwene's estimate in tPoD of 10,000. The band was drawing it's own recruits.

 

Dragonsworn

 

Numerically negligable. Those with Masema got slaughtered, and the rest have been gathered up by either Interulde or Taim, and are thus accounted for elsewhere.

 

The Seanchan

 

This is difficult to calculate. An army of maybe 100,000 has followed a man named Turan after Inturalde, where i suspect it will be decimated. Based on Suroth's comments i suspect that was about half the armed forces the Seanchan had in Tarabon, so another 100,000. Tylee has 15,000 under her. With another large army of around 30,000 wandering about in Altara. Given the frequency of the mention of Seanchan forces, and how spread out they are, with Altaran, Taraboner and Amadacian conscripts present... i'd place their numbers at around 800,000. But that is a very loose guess. Remember too they have the only air force in the world, and the only force literally capable of going toe to toe with a Trolloc, and coming out on top... except for maybe the Ogier.

 

Murandy

 

I think Murandy is underestimated. Due to contentions they have a standing army that is quite large due to the fact that each Lord and Lady has their own force... now all of which is united behind Roedan. I reckon they might even have 100,000 or more. However, I also suspect that Roedan is either Demandred, or under his control... so...

 

Ogier

 

Who knows... i doubt they'd be able to muster a large force... but they could be effective. Lets say maybe 10,000

 

Channeling Forces

 

Black Tower - Around 1000 now, though that may have climbed. 100 Darkfriends and 900 Light.

 

White Tower - 2200. Including all Aes Sedai, and novices. I'd place around 300 Black Ajah... to be kind. The disposition of the novices is unimportant, since they will be used like batteries in circels. 1900.

 

Wise Ones - Based on the Shaido, 5500. Lets be extremely kind and give a third to the Shadow. 1875 Dark and 3625 light

 

Seanchan - Hard to say. They get every sparker, and the Seanchan have a much, much larger population by all accounts. Plus they've taken loads of new damane since arriving (randoms, the shaido, the windfinders, the kin... loads). I'll give them 6,000 and think that’s conservative. It might only be 4,000, or may be as high as 8,000. Not many darkfriends amongst the sul'dam, so i won’t give any to the Shadow.

 

The Kin - Given likely losses to the Seanchan I’ll put them at 1,300. No darkfriends.

 

The Windfinders - Given ship distribution, presence of apprentices and so forth, I’d guess around 3,000. Being kind ill give a third to the shadow. 1,000 dark and 2,000 light.

 

Conclusion

 

Armed Forces of the Light - Between 2,255,000 and 2,555,000

 

Channeling Forces of the Light - 15,725

 

Channeling Forces of the Dark - 3,275

 

Other Considerations

 

Given the disparate amount of Dark Channelers, and RJ's insistence that the Light is in a bad way, there are some other possible considerations.

 

1. Aiel Male Channelers. Have been going north for a very long time. Possibly been turned to the Shadow. I'd suggest around 1000... remember, 1/4 would have died.

 

2. Taim. I believe that Taim was trained a while back by Ishamael (when Ishy first suspect Rand's birth), and sent out to start training men who can channel for the Shadow. Since this must have been done by Ishy for the Trolloc Wars (since we know men fought in those wars, and someone must have gathered and trained them) i think this is very likely. Moreover, i suspect there might be women out there doing the same thing. The Aes Sedai ignored wilders and those channelers that never bothered to come to the Tower, and the Kin never recruited... they only accepted Tower dropouts which leaves a fairly massive (even with recent recruitments) untapped force. This scenario matches Taims comments of his past--he admits to trying to train people, but claims they went insane... if Taim is a darkfriend, as seems likely, then those men would have had the option of joining the dark.

 

Still, a furtive operation at best... even with a whole bunch of people doing it... My guess would put it at around 2,000... but ill be kind and say 4,000, just because.

 

3. The Sharans. They are a massive untapped force... but there are some problems. They are ruled by the channelers from the background, which means a monolithic organization with diffused circles of power. They use compulsion all the time in their ruling, which would make it hard to control them in this manner. Additionally from purely plot perspective it would be hard to swallow... the Aiel Instant Army was hard to swallow, and he spent the better part of two books doing that.

 

4. The Land of the Madmen... this could be where the shadow has been gathering channelers... the stories about the place strike me as a massive smokescreen... but meh. Alternatively it might be a ripe recruitment area for the Shadow. ill given them 4,000 channelers too... male and female.

 

If these are true, it boosts the number of Dark Channelers to 12,275. A much more even number.

 

*sigh*. Thats, near as i can tell, the current distribution of forces. I haven’t speculated on the number of shadowspawn... but it will more them probably be greater than the forces of the Light... maybe 3 million or more. Likely more. Nor have I speculated on the number of Darkfriend soldiers there might be out there, but given the Trolloc Wars, it will likely be in the tens of thousands

 

 

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Luckers, that's why I've thought Demandred's in Shara ever since RJ nixed Taimandred.

 

The Land of Madmen is completely unknown by any of the characters, the only mention coming in the BBWBA.

 

However, Taim could not have been the one to train thousands of channelers, or at least that seems extremely unlikely.

 

RJ said that Taim is in his late twenties, and that Rand misjudged his age when they first met. I don't see how Taim could have done all that in the, say, five years after his own training.

 

I do think that Elan Morin could have trained more than just Taim, however.

 

Also, I think that your estimations of the Shadow contingents from the WO and WF are too generous, but you yourself said they probably are.

 

Shara's the only mentioned place that hasn't been tapped; moreover, I think that there's something else to be said for Shara. It also provides the Shadow with an actual *army* (assuming Murandy's isn't 100% Shadow) that can Travel. Actually, the other benefit of Shara is that if they all think they're following the Dragon Reborn (either Demandred, or perhaps a native Sharan he's controlling, since Demandred's never been described as African-looking, which the Sharans seem to be), they'll fight without what I would call the Gaebril/Brend problem, where the new guys bring in way too many Darkfriends because they themselves just suddenly appeared in the existing power structure.

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Joining the two quotes from the beginning and end of your post.

 

Luckers, that's why I've thought Demandred's in Shara ever since RJ nixed Taimandred.

 

...

 

Shara's the only mentioned place that hasn't been tapped; moreover, I think that there's something else to be said for Shara. It also provides the Shadow with an actual *army* (assuming Murandy's isn't 100% Shadow) that can Travel. Actually, the other benefit of Shara is that if they all think they're following the Dragon Reborn (either Demandred, or perhaps a native Sharan he's controlling, since Demandred's never been described as African-looking, which the Sharans seem to be), they'll fight without what I would call the Gaebril/Brend problem, where the new guys bring in way too many Darkfriends because they themselves just suddenly appeared in the existing power structure.

 

That wouldn't really fix the issues I've presented--especially the ones about the exposition of Sharan culture. It took two whole books to bring the Aiel Instant Army into the game, with specific mention of their presense and intention to join in as early as book two, this would be... very hard to swallow.

 

Also, the country was in upheaval and revolt--revolt AGAINST the Ayyad and their puppets in the name of the Dragon. As such I don't see the Ayyad being in play of their own accord. Especially not given what we know of their nature and beliefs. That leaves only forcing them, and I've commented on that.

 

The Land of Madmen is completely unknown by any of the characters, the only mention coming in the BBWBA.

 

That's not nessasarily a problem. Introducing a new location is not difficult. It's introducing new cultures that creates the problems. Here's an example of how it might be done...

 

"Demandred stalked through the halls of Blah, grimacing as thunder sounded in the distance. This inhospital little continent in the sea of storms may serve an excellent base away from the prying eyes of the Light, but the weather was terrible. One of the recruits, a fellow brought from Tear, dared to meet his eyes. Every now and then one of these fools had the gall to think they were the equal of the Chosen. They soon learned."

 

There. Location is set up, as is purpose--who could possibly think they might equal the Chosen? Clearly darkfriends... channelers? Oh my. Asha'men? But wait, it says this man was recruited from Tear. *gasp*! Dreadlords in the Sea of Storms, how novel!

 

What I can do in a paragraph, Brandon could do far better in a full POV. Five pages--focusing on something other than establishing that this place exists to keep it from being a YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS chapter--and it's done. No fuss, no bother.

 

 

That being said I used to be much more ardent in this idea (and this thread was written in that time). I loved the idea that the madmenian running insane and all that was just a smokescreen to keep people away. Now I'm less enamoured with the idea. It's not that I think it's any less (or more) likely, I just don't really care one way or another. Lol.

 

However, Taim could not have been the one to train thousands of channelers, or at least that seems extremely unlikely.

 

RJ said that Taim is in his late twenties, and that Rand misjudged his age when they first met. I don't see how Taim could have done all that in the, say, five years after his own training.

 

I do think that Elan Morin could have trained more than just Taim, however.

 

Yes, that is what I suggest. That Ishamael began to gather and train men (and women) around sixteen years ago. He would have only personally trained a few--maybe five or ten--and then set them the task of training others, who would in turn train others. We've seen this method work in the black tower--the only requirement being that they have a pool of people to test for the ability to channel. And they do, in darkfriends.

 

Numbers wise, in the Trolloc Wars human darkfriend armies marched in the hundreds of thousands. Even with the general population decline thats indicative of the pool of potential channelers the Shadow can draw from. One percent, remember.

 

But the end line is Tedronai did it before--and did it successfully enough to meet the Tower at its height.

 

Also, I think that your estimations of the Shadow contingents from the WO and WF are too generous, but you yourself said they probably are.

 

And I maintain that. But still, it's better to err on the side of generosity, and RJ DID say that the Light was in a bad way. A complete channeler inbalance is a MASSIVE detriment to the Shadow.

 

So, I'm gonna be nice.

 

 

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Actually, there's one *huge* thing supporting the idea of Demandred being in the Land of Madmen.

 

In LOC, we hear about him stepping out of a Gateway from a place covered in snow. At the time, the Big Guy had already fixed the seasons in place, and the Westlands, meaning the Northern Hemisphere, was stuck in summertime.

 

There're only two places that it could be blizzarding. The south half of Seanchan - where it would make no sense for him to be, since we now know that Seanchan was Semirhage's position - and the Land of Madmen.

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