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Darkfriend woman Rand kills


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So on the way to Tear in The Dragon Reborn, Rand decapitates some random woman.  I know she and her companions were actually darkfriends, but my questions is how the heck did Rand know that?  I mean at that point she'd basically just been like "Hi." and he pulls a Queen of Hearts on her.

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Alright, here's the quote, sorry, it is rather large...

 

'Rand sat up out of his exhausted sleep, gasping, the cloak he had used as a blanket falling away. His side

ached, the old wound from Falme throbbing. His fire had burned down to coals with only a few wavering

flames, but it was still enough to make the shadows move. That was Perrin. It was! It was him, not a dream.

Somehow. I almost killed him! Light, I have to be careful!

Shivering, he picked up a length of oak branch and started to shove it into the coals. The trees were

scattered in these Murandian hills, still close to the Manetherendrelle, but he had found just enough fallen

branches for his fire, the wood just old enough to be properly cured but not rotten. Before the wood touched the

coals, he stopped. There were horses coming, ten or a dozen of them, walking slowly. I have to be careful. I

cannot make another mistake.

The horses swung toward his failing fire, entered the dim light, and stopped. The shadows obscured their

riders, but most seemed to be rough-faced men wearing round helmets and long leather jerkins sewn all over

with metal discs like fish scales. One was a woman with graying hair and a no-nonsense look on her face. Her

dark dress was plain wool, but the finest weave, and adorned with a silver pin in the shape of a lion. A

merchant, she seemed to him; he had seen her sort among those who came to buy tabac and wool in the Two

Rivers. A merchant and her guards.

I have to be careful, he thought as he stood. No mistakes.

“You have chosen a good campsite, young man,” she said. “I have often used it on my way to Remen.

There is a small spring nearby. I trust you have no objection to my sharing it?” Her guards were already

dismounting, hitching at their sword belts and loosening saddle girths. “None,” Rand told her. Careful. Two

steps brought him close enough, and he leaped into the air, spinning - Thistledown Floats on the Whirlwind -

heron-mark blade carved from fire coming into his hands to take her head off before surprise could even form

on her face. She was the most dangerous.

He alighted as the woman’s head rolled from the crupper of her horse. The guards yelled and clawed for

their swords, screamed as they realized his blade burned. He danced among them in the forms Lan had taught

him, and knew he could have killed all ten with ordinary steel, but the blade he wielded was part of him. The

last man fell, and it had been so like practicing the forms that he had already begun the sheathing called Folding

the Fan before he remembered he wore no scabbard and this blade would have turned it to ash at a touch if he

had.

Letting the sword vanish, he turned to examine the horses. Most had run away, but some not far, and the

woman’s tall gelding stood with rolling eyes, whickering uneasily. Her headless corpse, lying on the ground,

had maintained its grip on the reins, and held the animal’s head down.

Rand pulled them free, pausing only to gather his few belongings before swinging into the saddle. I have

to be careful, he thought as he looked over the dead. No mistakes.

The Power still filled him, the flow from saidin sweeter than honey, ranker than rotted meat. Abruptly

he channeled - not really understanding what it was he did, or how, only that it seemed right; and it worked,

lifting the corpses. He set them in a line, facing him, kneeling, faces in the dirt. For those who had faces left.

Kneeling to him.

“If I am the Dragon Reborn,” he told them, “that is the way it is supposed to be, isn’t it?” Letting go of

saidin was hard, but he did it. If I hold it too much, how will I keep the madness away? He laughed bitterly. Or

is it too late for that?

Frowning, he peered at the line. He had been sure there were only ten men, but eleven men knelt in that

line, one of them without armor of any sort but with a dagger still gripped in his hand.

“You chose the wrong company,” Rand told that man.

Wheeling the gelding, he dug in his heels and set the animal to a dead gallop into the night. It was a long

way to Tear, yet, but he meant to get there by the straightest way, if he had to kill horses or steal them. I will put

an end to it. The taunting. The baiting. I will end it! Callandor. It called to him.'

 

I always assumed it was a combination of growing paranoia, and the knowledge that now merchant would travel that late at night unless she had a VERY good reason…  But yes, I’ve always wondered the same…

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Im pretty sure Rand Dreamed of the woman and her companions and the Drean told him they were Darkfriends. IIRC we had a Perrin PoV in T'A'R where he sees Rand, and Rand dreamed he was ambushed by the woman and her companions or something similar. The fact that he knew they were Darkfriends combined with that dream, as well as some other stuff, is what makes me think Rand is a Dreamer (but not a Dreamwalker)

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I took it as his complete paranoia. It was added in that he noticed the extra man probably for the reader's benefit so we don't see him as a murderer. Rand dreamed of a lot of dark friends but I don't believe he recognized this merchant since nothing he did suggested it. If he recognized her it would have been noted when he was thinking about how he saw her kind in the Two Rivers.

 

Remember that Rand wasn't getting much sleep at all. His dreams seemed to be fitful in and out of TAR. He was very tired and knew he was being chased. What sleep he did get was full of dreams of being hunted and betrayed by everybody he ever knew. He would have been completely paranoid at this point and likely thinking anybody that comes near him was a darkfriend.

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1. In tDR, when Rand encountered the lady merchant and her soldiers and slaughtered the whole bunch, did he have a good reason for doing so? Were they all really Darkfriends? Was that eleventh man really a grey man, or did Rand just count wrong?

 

He said that it's not supposed to be clear to the reader exactly what is going on. What _is_ supposed to be clear is that there was definitely a grey man in the party. But whether or not Rand knew that before he lopped off their heads, we're _not_ supposed to know. It's supposed to be unclear whether Rand is just very observant, or whether he's on the brink of madness.

 

http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Kevin_Bartlett_Seattle,_29_October,_1998

 

So, I dunno what that does to my comment about the Dream.

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I'll stick with paranoia combined with some base (paranoid) logic, as mentioned above, what merchant would (normally) be out that late (we must assume it is rather late, since Rand has a campfire that was dying, and since he just woke from troubled sleep on a journey that would, in his paranoid state, let him sleep only when completely worn down to the nub...), and then be willing to share it with any stranger (we all know travelers have light fingers after all...)

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I've reread this series many times, but only just really took in that bit about an eleventh man. Is it possible it's a Gray Man?

 

Yep, look two posts up, RJ confirms it is a greyman, but leaves an unknown for why Rand attacked.

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I think Leigh brought it up in her re-read of this book, Rand seemed to go all kinds of mad in the book. It seemed weird and almost accelerated, especially since he seemed to go back to 'normal' following it.

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I'm inclined to side with the paranoia lobby, however if memory serves, can't channelers sense Gray Men?  The scene I'm thinking of is the one from tDR after the Stone of Tear had been taken.  Rand is in his chambers, I believe with either Berelain or Lanfear, and he senses something weird, eventually spotting the Gray Man.  I believe this is right before the Trolloc attack, so It must've been Lanfear in the rooms with him...either way, I'm fairly certain he sensed...something.

 

But that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong.  ;D

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Ooh, didn't think of that...  And yes, there are two occasions where Rand senses greyman, tear with Lanfear, and Caemlyn with Avi...  Add that to the other two points, and it suddenly makes more sense; he wouldn't have known what he was sensing, since he'd only just begun to channel, yet he may have sensed... something...

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I think Rand knew there was a Grey Man for definite. He channeled the fire sword and the Taint from that, I always assumed was what made him go a bit loopy to make the bodies grovel.

 

Whichever way it was, I remember thinking it was just completely out of the blue for him to kill them all, it DID look like he masacred the whole lot because he "thought" they were Darkfriends, but on a reread I remembered that Dream.

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The part I find strange is how this fits in with Rand normally not killing women. In the Gathering storm when he kills Graendal he explains that it was a lie and that he has killed woman in the past he mentioned that he had killed woman in the past even while he was following that "rule" however he mentions the maiden he killed in Shadar Logoth as the first even though this merchant was far before that.

 

For some reason though he never seem to consider that and I don't think we ever spotted her on that list of his? Has he forgotten about that merchant or something? Can't be a exception for dark friends either since he had issues with Lanfear.

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^^ Agh, really man? TGS spoiler?

 

Anyway, I pretty much agree with the paranoia theory. Although, it is interesting to think that he may have sensed the gray man's presence. I always kind of thought that he was afraid that they knew what he was, and that might be another reason for his reaction.

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That always really bugged me, the random merchant woman is never on his list of women he's killed anywhere. It is as if he has forgotten it coz he really was quite mad in those parts of the book? The only other thing I could think of is is that somehow that was all actually in a dream and not real so Rand doesn't consider it as him killing a woman?? Or it was real but Rand was having so many haunting dreams and killing people that he can't tell the difference between reality and dreams at this time so the women isn't included in his list?? Either way it's all quite strange

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I thought it was mentioned in thought at one point in a later book. Anyway, I think Jordan had planned on the series not lasting as long at the time, and thus had Rand a bit further down the road of madness, which he later had to pull him back from.

 

Perhaps part of it was just a feralness that came out of traveling alone in unfamiliar wilderness.

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I'm inclined to side with the paranoia lobby, however if memory serves, can't channelers sense Gray Men?  The scene I'm thinking of is the one from tDR after the Stone of Tear had been taken.  Rand is in his chambers, I believe with either Berelain or Lanfear, and he senses something weird, eventually spotting the Gray Man.  I believe this is right before the Trolloc attack, so It must've been Lanfear in the rooms with him...either way, I'm fairly certain he sensed...something.

 

But that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong.   ;D

 

a couple times the Grey Men show up Rand senses something and smells something like death around. correct me if I am wrong

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For some reason though he never seem to consider that and I don't think we ever spotted her on that list of his? Has he forgotten about that merchant or something? Can't be a exception for dark friends either since he had issues with Lanfear.

who's the "nameless darkfriend" killed in the Murandian hills on his list? I assumed it was this woman...

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry, a bit late to jump back into the discussion, but where does he mention this "nameless darkfriend killed in the Murandian hills"?  I'll keep an eye out for it in this read through, but a book number would help...

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I think Leigh brought it up in her re-read of this book, Rand seemed to go all kinds of mad in the book. It seemed weird and almost accelerated, especially since he seemed to go back to 'normal' following it.

 

Yeah, I believe that Rand's dramatically increasing-then-decreasing madness in books 3 and 4 are due to the fact that RJ thought (while writing book 3) that the series would only be a few books longer, but by the time he started writing book 4, he knew it would last longer, and needed to draw the madness out.

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I think Leigh brought it up in her re-read of this book, Rand seemed to go all kinds of mad in the book. It seemed weird and almost accelerated, especially since he seemed to go back to 'normal' following it.

 

Yeah, I believe that Rand's dramatically increasing-then-decreasing madness in books 3 and 4 are due to the fact that RJ thought (while writing book 3) that the series would only be a few books longer, but by the time he started writing book 4, he knew it would last longer, and needed to draw the madness out.

 

while i can't say for certain that's entirely wrong i will say that it's more likely cause he's struggling with the realization of what he is and what he will do.

and while i can't give a quote on it, but i'm 95% sure i've read that it's supposed to represent his time in vietnam in a way

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I more got that Rand was temporarily insane from the fact that he was the Dragon Reborn, he had the weight of expectation on his shoulders, and he was being attacked on a constant basis so it made him paranoid and suspicious. More like an intense nervous breakdown. I never attributed it to Saidin at all, as it was far too soon.

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