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The Davram Bashere darkfriend theory

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Interestingly enough there is a quote touching on this. BS seems to imply that Rand has been powered up since KoD and that he didn't kill all that many more Shadowspawn than at the manor house.

 

See. I find that hard to swallow too. I mean they had hundreds of soldiers, more channelers and a psuedo defendable position at the "temple" and they still wanted to escape. They had none of that at the manor house. The descriptions of the army at the Temple suggests am Army large enough to overwhelm any country in the borderlands. Plus the Shadowspawn had airsupport here. And perhaps a few channelers (Although weak)

 

Yeah it does seem somewhat odd. Although if you notice the description of the dead for each battle are both "tens of thousands". The Maradon battle mentions "legions" escaping so it could be right.

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While the numbers of casualties the Dark suffers at Maradon and at the manor house may be similar, there still seems to be a qualitative difference in the kind of channeling Rand was doing at Maradon vs. his channeling at the manor house. At the manor house, he was firing off Deathgates and Arrows of Fire, throwing down lightening bolts, and such, in much the same manner as we've seen him fight with the Power before, though of course with better weaves. Whereas, at Maradon, he's standing at the center of a tempest. Moreover, he had all those Ashaman and Aes Sedai with him at the manor house, not to mention Alivia, all in all, some of the most powerful channelers the Light has, and they barely won. But at Maradon, he takes on all those Trollocs, Fades, Drak'har and even Dreadlords completely alone, and is far more resoundingly victorious than he was at the manor house.

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I agree that Rand's channeling was something exceptional at Maradon, I put this down to his full knowledge of Lews Therin's memories, thus he is much more deft and amazing with his weaving.

 

I think that the comparison between the Manor and Maradon was the numbers and brute strength that Rand displayed. He probably killed a similar amount of Shadowspawn.

 

I think it is a case of finesse really.

 

At the Manor he bludgeoned them with a large blunt log.

 

At Maradon he struck them down with precise razor sharp blades of grass.

 

The latter is much more impressive, even if the same results are achieved with both.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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Towers of Midnight, Chapter 13, page 198

 

"I want you to deliver a message for me" Rand said. "To others of your... association. Tell them that they cannot hide among my allies any longer."

 

....

 

"The time for hiding is past, Min. The Shadow made its play for me and lost. It is war, not subterfuge, that turns days now."

 

That pretty soundly crushes the theory that any of Rands' close associates are able to be Darkfriends. Even claiming Rand has to look into someones eyes to tell which of the High Lords and Ladys of Tear were Darkfriends doesn't much matter. Since he only had those Lords and such line up because without doing so he would have probably never even been within a hundred paces of them. But the implication is that not only would Rand immediately be able to tell if any of his close-counsel were Darkfriends but that in the days and weeks following, he can very easily root out any Darkfriends just by looking.

 

Even trying to mince words and nitpick specific phrases to distort Basheres' meanings doesn't do much, because obviously Bashere and Rand speak to each other on a regular basis, and by that point in the book it has been clearly established multiple times that Darkfriends cannot hide from Rand. As early as the prologue ,ToM mentions the aura of light that appears to surround Rand and the other ta'veren, and book states on multiple occasions this light is almost blinding. You may as well be arguing that Galad is a darkfriend for being blinded by the light that surrounds Perrin when he's fighting trollocs. Or the apple farmer from the prologue is for being blinded by Rand. Noticing the light radiating from one of the ta'veren isn't nearly the same thing as the light destroying or harming Darkfriends as ToM clearly mentions.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if a betrayal or twist happens sometime in the last book, but it's safe to say that if it does happen it won't be because some minor character had been masquerading as an ally and been fooling Rand for the past half dozen books. ToM firmly sets the precedent darkfriends can't hide from Rand any longer.

Edited by bustycops1987

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I agree that Rand's channeling was something exceptional at Maradon, I put this down to his full knowledge of Lews Therin's memories, thus he is much more deft and amazing with his weaving.

 

I think that the comparison between the Manor and Maradon was the numbers and brute strength that Rand displayed. He probably killed a similar amount of Shadowspawn.

 

I think it is a case of finesse really.

 

At the Manor he bludgeoned them with a large blunt log.

 

At Maradon he struck them down with precise razor sharp blades of grass.

 

The latter is much more impressive, even if the same results are achieved with both.

 

But even at the Manor house, some of them made it past the channelers. So finesse or not, there was a lot less power used at the Manor house. A lot less power used and what, 2 dozen channelers? Some linked in circles? And I could have sworn, Iturade (spelling) said something along the lines of thinking the borderlands was about to be overrun once he saw the scope of the army. (I have every damn Ebook except the last one, I'm kicking myself right now). Or someone at the city that was under attack thinking that even if the scouts for through to the capital that all they could do was allow citizens to escape and fall back. (I know I'm not imagining that).

 

So yea in my mind, the scope of the battles at the Temple vs the Manor was like The Manor vs Two Rivers.

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I have to ask this.. Have you read this thread? All the way through?

 

I have, much of the 'theory' seems to be based on distorting things Bashere has said or thought.

 

As far back as page 3 it boiled down to back and forth about Bashere being a darkfriend because of the fierceness of Rands' gaze.

 

The fact many of Rands' companions are at times frightened or concerned by his looks or use of the power isn't in the same vein as the way darkfriends are seemingly flushed out and harmed. Besides with regards to most of the viewings and dreams throughout the series it's been painstakingly obvious of their meanings. At least to the point that the reader knows the answer most earlier than the characters. I would put more money on Sanderson botching up his own word choice then I would on jumping on a far-fetched interpretation of certain phrases to implicate Bashere as a darkfriend based on viewings or his observations which required to ignore things Rand has specifically said.

 

If we're going that far-out, you may as well claim Mat Cauthon as the betrayer at Rand's side because of his apparent betrayals during alternate timelines that he saw when they traveled through the Portal stones (which vaguely implies that he at least has the mindset to betray Rand without being a DF), potentially because of the fact that he still might be tainted by the Shadar Logoth dagger enough to be affected by it if in close proximity. There's at least evidence of that being plausible without too much word mincing like the Bashere theory requires and yet it still requires way too much reader creativity.

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Was pointed towards this thread yesterday. Just liked to add some more stuff that certainly adds to the pile, I think.

 

They are actually based on the first few times we see Bashere. Him meeting Rand back in TFoH for the fist time and Bashere/ Rand meeting "Taim" for the first time were both just huge flaming arrows screaming "Bashere is a Darkfriend".... and here's how..

 

(I'm just going to copy this from my old Asmo theory, but it'll do.. original post here: http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/topic/8036-who-killed-asmodean/page__st__3640?do=findComment&comment=1653565.)

 

Why it was obvious Bashere is a Darkfriend from the first times we meet him:

 

Welcome to “Mik’s Warp Dragon Tours”!

 

Today, I’m going to take you on a step-by-step tour on who I think killed Asmodean. I full-well realize you might be very skeptical, considering all the theories and opinions already out there. Regardless, I hope you will give my views on the matter a try. And even if you already have your mind made up, you might as well read on for a good laugh…

 

All the information & quotes I’m going to use only come from TEotW, TGH, TDR, TSR & TFoH.

The only time when I will address later quotes is at the end of my theory, where I’ll try to mix in RJ quotes and hints from later books.

 

Here’s are the steps I’m going to take you through, so it’s easy digestible;

1. The “odd one out” near the crime-scene

2. Investigating our “odd friend”

3. Other important factors

4. Back to the scene of the crime!

5. Adding one and one together; hello killer!

6. Hints from the master himself (hints after TFoH & RJ quotes)

 

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Up front, I’d like to thank you for flying with “Mik’s Warp Dragon Tours”! (..and please don’t forget your pilot on the way-out!)

 

 

 

 

 

1: The Odd One Out

 

 

 

I think that the main problem with most theories concerning Asmodean’s death is that people either merely focused on the Asmodean PoV and the unknown killer, without looking at what happens around the crime scene. (Lanfear-, Moiraine-, Slayer-, Fain-, Black Ajah-, Lan-, Taim-, Sammael- & Graendal-theories). Or that people tried to put a direct link between people close to the crime scene and Asmodean’s death. (Rand-, “Lews Therin”-, Aviendha-, & Bashere-theories).

Knowing that, let’s look at the Chapter with different eyes.

 

One of the first things any good detective would do is, is find out who was near the scene of the crime as the crime took place. Who did RJ show us were around until our mystery killer had Asmodean speak his famous last words? Who were actually there as events unfolded?

Here’s the list of people from Chapter 56 – Glowing Embers, in order of appearance in the first two Point of Views from the Royal Palace:

1. Rand,

2. Aviendha,

3. “a quiet escort of Maidens that Sulin did not think he [Rand] had noticed”,

4. Mat,

5. Asmodean,

6. Enaila and Somara,

7. Davram Bashere,

8. “Too many Aiel [that] had expressed surprise at seeing him [Asmodean], had claimed they had seen him dead”.

 

For completeness' sake, I added Asmodean to the list. Yet, mentioning him also serves another purpose, because it stands to reason that –since he operates as the Gleeman of the Dragon Reborn– he is close to Rand. And as we can read since the end of TSR, Asmodean has been very close to Rand since then, so that’s not out of the ordinary at all. It’s to be expected that Rand is nearby.

But there are others always close to Rand as well; Aviendha, Mat & a decent numbered escort of Maidens –including Enaila and Somara– that carry the Car’a’carn’s honor have been close to Rand a fair part of TSR and all throughout TFoH.

 

In conclusion, we can say that it’s perfectly reasonable and normal –given the end of TSR & all of TFoH- for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 8 to be found near each other.

 

So, only one person on the list really stands out. And the very first thing to realize about that person is that our odd man out isn’t “just” someone who has been near Rand on occasion, like an Aes Sedai, a Wise Woman or a Clan Chief.

It isn’t even just someone Rand has never met, but that belongs at the location like some palace guard, a cook, a clerk, or even a local noble.

Nope, sir. Our “lucky number 7” intruder is none other than Davram Bashere.

 

To me, it just stands out that we have an important character introduced to the Dragon Reborn at the same moment an important murder takes place. At that specific place, at that specific time, in that specific group of people, the introduction of Davram Bashere is oddness in the extreme.

 

What I’m going to do is focus on the “Odd One Out” here without directly linking him to the murder of Asmodean. Let’s just take a closer look at what we know of Davram Bashere up until Chapter 56 and if we can find oddities with what we learn in Chapter 56 itself.

 

By investigating all there is to know about Bashere first, and by combining insights from the crime scene and conclusions about Bashere second, I think we are able to deduct who Asmodean’s killer is.

*whips out a magnifying glass* Here we go!

 

 

2: Investigating our Odd Friend

 

 

 

Again, one of the things a good detective would do, is check the background of people who are possibly somehow involved in the crime. So, let’s be thorough and let’s dig around in the background that RJ set up for Bashere and all other things that are relevant to get a clear picture of the man.

 

I’m breaking this up into what I feel are easily digestible sections too. It is through hard lessons learned in the past, that where *I* think I take baby-steps, they are viewed by most people (well.. all people really) as huge leaps and bounds. So, bear with me as I take you through the following chapters. And just remember that I didn’t write these for my own sake or fun, but ..well…yours.

 

First, we’re going to look at what we know of Bashere’s personal life up until where we actually get to meet him first. After that, we’re going to investigate what happened to Saldaea during the first 5 books.

‘Ere we go!

 

 

2.1: What we know about Davram Bashere up until Chapter 56

 

What did RJ find important enough to have us –readers- known about Davram Bashere until Rand finally gets to meet the man at the end of TFoH? We have the following quotes from TSR & TFoH with information about him;

 

“There do be few great captains living.” Nuhel marked them off on gauntleted fingers. “Agelmar Jagad and Davram Bashere will no leave the Blight, I think, and Pedron Niall will surely no be of use to you. If Rodel Ituralde do be alive, he do be mired somewhere in what do remain of Arad Doman.” He raised his thick thumb. “And that do leave Gareth Bryne.”

“Do you think that we will need a great captain, then?” Sheriam asked quietly.

Nuhel and Arinvar did not look at one another, but Siuan still had the feeling that they had exchanged glances. “It is your decision, Sheriam,” Arinvar replied just as quietly, “yours and the other sisters, but if you mean to return to the Tower, we could use him. If you intend to remain here until Elaida sends for you, then not.” Myrelle gazed at Nuhel questioningly, and he nodded.

“It seems that you were right, Siuan,” Anaiya said wryly. “We have not fooled the Gaidin.”

We learn that Davram Bashere is one of just five Great Captains around! From the context in this scene and in multiple scenes concerning the other Great Captains we see up until the end of TFoH (like Agelmar and Niall), we know they are respected for the military, tactical prowess. It’s very important that we realize just how capable this Davram Bashere is, when it concerns strategy and war.

 

It’s also noteworthy that the warder mentioning him seems to think Bashere wouldn’t leave the Blight.

And from what we learn in quotes below this one is that Bashere is very aware of the dangers of the Blight.

 

[Faile’s] back went very stiff. After a moment she turned with the mug in both hands and an unreadable look in her tilted eyes. Another minute passed before she said, “My father is Davram of House Bashere, Lord of Bashere, Tyr and Sidona, Guardian of the Blightborder, Defender of the Heartland, Marshal-General to Queen Tenobia of Saldaea. And her uncle.”

“Light! What was all that about him being a wood merchant, or a fur dealer? I seem to remember him

dealing in ice peppers once, too.”

“It was not a lie,” she said sharply, then in a weaker voice, “Just not . . . the whole truth. My father’s estates do produce lumber and fine woods, and ice peppers, and furs, and more besides. And his stewards sell them for him, so he does trade in them. In a way.”

…/ /…

“My two older brothers died, Perrin, one fighting Trollocs, the other in a fall from his horse hunting. That made me the eldest, and it meant I had to study account books and trading. While my younger brothers learned to be soldiers, while they were being readied for adventures, I had to learn how to manage the estates! It is the eldest’s duty. Duty! It is dull, dry and boring. Buried in paper and clerks. “When Father took Maedin with him to the Blightborder—he’s two years younger than I—that was more than I could stand. Girls are not taught the sword, or war, in Saldaea, but father had named an old soldier from his first command as my footman, and Eran was always more than happy to teach me to use knives and fight with my hands. I think it amused him. In any case, when Father took Maedin with him, the news had arrived calling the Great Hunt of the Horn, so I . . . left. I wrote Mother a letter explaining, and I . . . left. And I reached Illian in time to take the oath of a Hunter . . . ”

“Rulers have a tendency to believe maps, Perrin.” There was no doubt of the dryness in Faile’s tone.

“When I was a child, there were parts of Saldaea that had not seen a taxman in five generations. Once Father could turn his attention from the Blight for a time, Tenobia made sure they knew who their queen was.”

“Luck,” Abell muttered, but he sounded troubled. “That’s what it is. We’ve been lucky. What else could

it be? What are you getting at, boy [Perrin]?”

“What he’s getting at,” Faile said, closing up beside them, “is that there must be a reason.” Swallow was enough taller than the Two Rivers horses to let her look Tam and Abell in the eye, and she made it a firm look. “I have seen the aftermath of Trolloc raids in Saldaea. They despoil what they do not burn, kill or carry off people and farm animals, whoever and whatever is not protected. Entire villages have disappeared in bad years. They seek wherever is weakest, wherever they can kill the most. My father—”

She bit it off, drew a deep breath, and went on. “Perrin has seen what you should have.” She flashed him a proud smile. “If the Trollocs have not attacked your villages, they have a reason.”

So, Davram is Lord to three regions and family to the Queen! He’s Saldaea’s Guardian against the Blight and the Defender of the Heartland. And apparently, he’s been taking that work serious for –say- 15 years (during Faille’s youth atleast), fighting Trollocs in the Blight. Only when the situation near the Blight allowed it, he turned his attention from the Blight to help Tenobia secure her position on the Saldaean throne, making sure people in Saldaea knew who rules and that they paid taxes. He’s lost at least one son in their defense of the Blightborder , but that didn’t stop him from taking his other sons along, because that’s their duty.

 

The message these quotes spell, is that Davram is a very, very capable General, who knows his enemy well and knows where his priorities lie; he defends & guards the Heartland –Saldaea– against the Blight at all cost. Even at great personal cost (the loss of a son) he protects and guards the country of his own niece and his own estates.

And if Faile is aware of the dangers Trollocs present, we can be more then sure that her father, Great Captain Davram Bashere realizes this ten times over and knows much, much more about it then her.

 

 

2.2: About Saldaea and trouble from the Blight & False Dragons

 

As early as halfway the Eye of the World, it is made clear that Saldaea (and in hindsight from TSR, thus Davram Bashere) has had his hands more than full with very severe Trolloc attacks all throughout last winter.

Thom leaned forward interestedly. “You have had encounters with Trollocs before? Lately?”

Domon hesitated, eyeing Thom narrowly, but when he spoke he merely sounded disgusted. “I wintered in Saldaea, man. Not my choice, but the river froze early and the ice broke up late. They say you can see the Blight from the highest towers in Maradon, but I’ve no mind for that. I’ve been there before, and there always be talk of Trollocs attacking a farm or the like. This winter past, though, there be farms burning every night. Aye, and whole villages, too, betimes. They even came right up to the city walls. And if that no be bad enough, the people be all saying it meant the Dark One be stirring, that the Last Days be come.” He gave a shiver, and scratched at his head as if the thought made his scalp itch. “I can no wait to get back where people think Trollocs be just tales, the stories I tell be traveler’s lies.”

A little later we learn it’s not just Saldaea that is troubled, but that it’s on a much larger scale, not seen since the Trolloc Wars. And this time it isn’t told by some traider/ boat-captain, but by the Lord of Shienar, who –as we find out in TFoH- is also a Great Captain. This man (Agelmar) knows what’s happening in the Borderlands.

 

Agelmar hesitated, pulling a map from the tangle on the table. He stared unseeing at the map for a moment, then tossed it back. “When we ride to the Gap,” he said quietly, “the people will be sent south to Fal Moran. Perhaps the capital can hold. Peace, it must. Something must hold.”

“That bad?” Lan said, and Agelmar nodded wearily.

Rand exchanged worried looks with Mat and Perrin. It was easy to believe the Trollocs gathering in the Blight were after him, after them. Agelmar went on grimly.

“Kandor, Arafel, Saldaea—the Trollocs raided them all straight through the winter. Nothing like that has happened since the Trolloc Wars; the raids have never been so fierce, or so large, or pressed home so hard. Every king and council is sure a great thrust is coming out of the Blight, and every one of the Borderlands believes it is coming at them. None of their scouts, and none of the Warders, report Trolloc massing above their borders, as we have here, but they believe, and each is afraid to send fighting men elsewhere.

Regardless of how this resolved later, the sentiment is clear; never since the Trolloc Wars has it been this bad. And all borderlands – Saldaea included- is afraid to send an army away from the homeland. There is already talk about the Last Battle, due to these attacks.

 

And if that alone wasn’t bad enough, there are also False Dragons about, ‘ravaging’ the land, including a False Dragon that can channel in Saldaea:

 

“Three more false Dragons.” Liandrin bit the words off. “In Saldaea, Murandy, and Tear false Dragons ravage the land.

…/ /…

How great will the wars be this time?”

“It isn’t so grim as that,” Anaiya said. “As far as we know, only the one in Saldaea can channel. He has not had time to attract many followers, and sisters should already be there to deal with him. The Tarens are harrying their false Dragon and his followers through Haddon Mirk, while the fellow in Murandy is already in chains.”

[The Amyrlin Seat talking to Moiraine:] He [Logain] could channel, before the Reds brought him to the White Tower, and we gentled him. So can Mazrim Taim, the man in Saldaea. What if it is him? There are sisters in Saldaea already; he may be taken by now.

As early as the start of TGH, we know that Mazrim Taim can channel. And we read that several Aes Sedai have been send to deal with him (per the Amyrlin Seat).

 

Siuan shook her head wearily. …/ /… “Even the small things are bad. The war in Arad Doman has stopped trade from Saldaea, and the pinch is making unrest in Maradon. Tenobia may even be forced off the throne by it.

Big news! It’s the only info we have on how strong Tenobia’s claim to the throne of Saldaea is. And this info comes from the Amyrlin Seat herself in front of a delegation of Aes Sedai, which at the time is the most reliable source we readers can hope for! Not some farmer…or a rivaling Saldaean Lord. Nope, the Amyrlin Seat herself!

On top of that, we know Trolloc hordes have raided Saldaean farms, towns and even cities all through winter and that a channeling False Dragon has ravaged Saldaean soil. This is not what individual characters throughout the books all know, but we –as readers– can form this mental picture of how unstable Saldaea actually is.

 

(continued in next post)

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3: Other Important Factors

 

 

 

Now that we know who Bashere is and how Saldaea and Tenobia are doing, let’s take a closer look at some other important factors before we head back to the crime-scene.

 

First I’m going to re-cap how RJ did his utmost best to make us realize how close the Maidens watch & protect Rand. Then we’re going to take a close look at male channelers. How male channelers & the role of Aes Sedai in capturing them has been depicted by RJ in the first five books. Last but not least, we’re going to check out (other) Great Captains and their thoughts on male channelers.

After that, we’re going to start tying all this information to Bashere.

 

 

3.1: About Far Dareis May carrying Rand’s honor

 

Let’s just look at the hard numbers first:

TFoH contains a total of 57 Chapters (including prologue) & 89 POV’s. Of those, 25 Chapters (approx 44% of total book) & 38 POV’s (approx 43% of total book) are from Rand or around Rand until the battle in Caemlyn starts in Chapter 54.

 

Now what’s important to note is that each of those Chapters and almost all POV’s mention Maidens of the Spear escorting and protecting Rand:

26 Chapters (104% of Rand chapters + Chapter 9; a Nynaeve PoV) & 31 POV’s (approx 82% of Rand POV’s).

 

All throughout the books –and more then every Chapter somehow involving Rand– it is noted that a group of Maidens protect Rand. This makes a lot of sense, since the Maidens carry the car’a’carn his honor. And if he were to be harmed or worse, that would shame all the Maidens to their very core. It’s the worst thing that could happen to the Maidens of the Spear.

 

The Maidens always escort Rand –prompted, wanted, unprompted, unwanted–, even in the middle of their own camp, surrounded by thousands of other Aiel. The Maidens are always wary of an attack, ready to veil at any moment. To the people around Rand (like Mat, Egwene, Moiraine, Kadere) it’s become the norm and they even expect to see a Maidens escort around Rand, his tent, his house, or wherever he is, at all times.

When there’s a higher risk –a war or strangers around-, the number of Maidens increases drastically from a normal minimum of around 12 to several hundred as maximum. If you won’t take my word for it, right below is just a selection of quotes, from all the Chapters & PoV’s I mentioned above.

 

The important thing to remember is this:

Rand doesn’t go anywhere without at least a dozen Maidens nearby protecting him and his direct surroundings. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the number of Maidens protecting the location of the car’a’carn.

][/u]

 

 

 

 

 

Rhuarc stepped into the light, black veil hanging loose. “The Trollocs were only a diversion for the Draghkar, Rand al’Thor. Too few to be else. Draghkar meant for you, I think. Leafblighter does not

want you to live.”

“The danger grows,” Moiraine said quietly.

The clan chief glanced at her before going on. “Moiraine Sedai is right. Since the Draghkar failed, I fear we can expect the Soulless next; what you call Gray Men. I want to put spears around you at all times. For some reason, the Maidens have volunteered for this task.

The cold was getting to Aviendha. Shoulders hunched, she had her hands shoved into her armpits as far they would go.

“If they wish it,” Rand said. He sounded a touch uncomfortable under all that ice. Mat did not blame him; he would not have put himself in the Maidens’ hands again for all the silk on Sea Folk ships.

“They will watch better than anyone else,” Rhuarc said, “having asked for the task.

…/ /…

After a moment, Rhuarc said, “Perhaps you are right. You bring change, Rand al’Thor. At sunrise, then. I will choose out ten Red Shields for my honor, and the Maidens will provide yours.”

(TSR,Ch50)

 

Yellow-haired Adelin strode easily ahead of the dapple stallion, and nine more sun-dark Far Dareis Mai made a wide ring around him, all with bucklers and spears in hand, cased bows on their backs, black veils dangling on their chests ready to be lifted. Rand’s honor guard. The Aiel did not call it that, yet the Maidens came to Alcair Dal for Rand’s honor. So many differences, and he did not know what half really were even when he saw them.

…/ /…

You have no society, Adelin had told him when he suggested some other than the Maidens of the Spear might provide his escort. Each chief, whether of clan or sept, would be accompanied by men from the society he had belonged to before becoming chief. You have no society, but your mother was a Maiden. …/ /… For countless years Maidens who would not give up the spear have given their babes for the Wise Ones to hand to other women, none knowing where the child went or even whether boy or girl. Now a Maiden’s son has come back to us, and we know him. We will go to Alcair Dal for your honor, son of Shaiel, a Maiden of the Chumai Taardad. Her face was so set—all of their faces were, including Aviendha’s—that he thought they might offer to dance the spears if he refused. When he accepted, they made him go through that ritual of “Remember honor”

…/ /…

Since I [Moiraine] cannot go with you into Alcair Dal, let Lan accompany you. One more pair of eyes to watch your back.” …/ /… “Let Lan stay with you, Moiraine. Far Dareis Mai carries my honor.” Moiraine’s mouth tightened at the corners, but apparently that was exactly the right thing to say so far as the Maidens were concerned. Adelin and the others donned wide grins.

…/ /…

“Shall we go?” He did not wait for Rhuarc’s nod to heel Jeade’en to a walk down the hill, Adelin and the other Maidens falling in around him.

(TSR,Ch57)

 

Jeade’en waited beside the ledge with Mat’s gelding. Motioning Natael to stay close, Rand climbed into the saddle, coat-wrapped bundle secure under his arm. Mouth twisted, the once Foresaken came to stand by his left stirrup. Adelin and her remaining Maidens leaped down to form around them, and surprisingly, Aviendha climbed down to take her usual place on his right.

(TSR,Ch58)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

The strings of beads fell together behind him, and the five Maidens who had been waiting in the wide, empty hall flowed easily to their feet from where they had been squatting on the pale blue tiles. They were all but one tall for women, though not for Aiel women. Their leader, Adelin, lacked little more than a hand of being able to look him in the eyes…

…/ /…

“It is an illness that spreads,” Enaila said heatedly. Her voice was usually as hot as her hair. “One or two Maidens make their bridal wreaths every day since we came to Rhuidean.”

Rand nodded with what he hoped they took for sympathy. It was his fault. If he told them, he wondered how many would still risk staying near him. All, probably; honor would hold them, and they had no more fear than the clan chiefs. At least it was only marriages, so far; even Maidens would think marrying better than what some had experienced. Maybe they would. “I will be ready to go in a moment,” he told them.

“We will wait with patience,” Adelin said. It hardly seemed patience; standing there, they all appeared poised on the edge of sudden movement.

…/ /…

The Maidens asked him no questions. He turned away. The Maidens followed him, spread out and wary as if they expected an attack right there.

…/ /…

[Mat’s PoV]

The street was emptying, the shadows deepening, but he recognized Rand slanting across down the way, pipe clenched between his teeth. He was the only man in Rhuidean likely to be walking with a fistful of Far Dareis Mai. They’re always around him, Mat thought. Guarding him like a pack of she-wolves, leaping to do whatever he says.

…/ /…

“Rand?” The other man walked on with his encircling escort. “Rand?” Rand was not even ten paces away, but he did not waver. Some of the Maidens looked back, but not Rand. Mat felt cold suddenly, and it had nothing to do with the onset of night. He wet his lips and spoke again, not a shout. “Lews Therin.” And Rand turned around. Mat almost wished he had not.

(TFoH,Ch2 & Ch3)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

With his Far Dareis Mai escort, Rand approached the Rhuidean Roof of the Maidens.

…/ /…

“The Maidens,” he had once said, “carry my honor.” Everyone remembered that, and the Maidens were as proud of it as if he had given them all thrones. But it had turned out that they carried it in a manner they chose.

(TFoH,Ch4)

 

[Egwene’s PoV]

“The Maidens cluster about him as though they owe more to him than to their own clans,” Bair added. “For the first time ever, they have allowed a man beneath a Roof of the Maidens.” For a moment Amys looked about to say something, but whatever she knew about the inner workings of Far Dareis Mai she shared with no one but those who were or had been Maidens of the Spear.

(TFoH,Ch5)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

The color faded, but as she opened her mouth again, a knock came at the door. Rand bounded to his feet. No one would recognize Lanfear, yet if a woman were discovered in his room, a woman whom none of the Maidens below had seen enter, questions would be asked and he had no answers.

…/ /…

“The Maidens let you pass? Have you become Far Dareis Mai, Moiraine?”

“They grant me some privileges of a Wise One,” she said in a rush, impatience raw in her usually melodious voice. “I told the guards I had to speak with you urgently.

(TFoH,Ch6)

 

[Egwene’s PoV]

Maidens … darted ahead, and more Far Dareis Mai closed around Rand as a guard of honor, incidentally enclosing Natael. Aviendha strode beside Jeade’en, right at Rand’s stirrup, easily matching the stallion stride for stride even in her bulky skirts. Falling in beside Mat, behind Rand and his escort, Egwene frowned.

…/ /…

[Moiraine PoV]

Aiel streamed by on both sides of their horses, and gai’shain with pack animals. Moiraine was startled to realize that Kadere’s water wagons had already gone by; she had not realized she had been staring at the plaza for so long.

“Like what?” she asked, turning her mare to join the throng. Rand and his escort were already out of the city.

“Worried,” [Lan] said bluntly, no readable expression on that stone-carved face now.

(TFoH,Ch7)

 

 

[Nynaeve’s PoV]

The color in the other woman’s face (Elayne) heightened. “I do love him, but . . . He (Rand) is very far away, Nynaeve. In the Waste, surrounded by a thousand Maidens of the Spear who jump to do his bidding. I cannot see him, or speak to him, or touch him.” She was whispering by the end.

(TFoH,Ch9)

 

[Egwene’s PoV]

She approached Rand’s tent hesitantly. A sliver of light showed along the tent flap. A Maiden seemed to rise out of the ground as she came closer, horn bow on her back, quiver at her waist and spears and buckler in hand. Egwene could not make out any others in the darkness, but she knew they were there, even here surrounded by six clans all claiming loyalty to the Car’a’carn.

…/ /…

“Is he awake, Enaila?” she asked.

Moonshadows shifted on the Maiden’s face as she nodded. “He does not sleep enough. A man cannot go without rest.” She sounded for all the world like a mother fretting over her son.

(TFoH,Ch15)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Some of the Maidens joined them (Rand, Asmodean, Mat & 2 clanchiefs), Enaila and Jolien and Adelin, and wiry, white-haired Sulin, who had been chosen roofmistress of the Roof of the Maidens in Rhuidean. She had told the Maidens who stayed to choose another, and now she led the Maidens here. They sensed the mood, and said nothing, only grounded their spearpoints patiently. An Aiel who wanted to could make the rocks look hasty.

(TFoH,Ch20)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

The camp began to go up quickly, in the mouth of Jangai Pass, if away from Taien, and spreading over the hills around the approaches, among the scattered thornbushes, and even onto the slopes of the mountains. Not that anything was very visible except what was inside the pass; Aiel tents blended into the stony soil so well that you could miss them even when you knew what you were looking for and where. In the hills the Aiel camped by clan, but those in the pass itself grouped themselves by society. They were mostly Maidens, but the men’s societies sent their representatives, too, some fifty each, spreading tents well above the ruins of Taien in slightly separated camps. Everyone understood, or thought they did, about the Maidens carrying Rand’s honor, but all societies wanted to guard the Car’a’carn.

…/ /…

White-robed gai’shain were erecting his tent under Aviendha’s direction, well into the pass mouth, with that huge carved snake rearing above. The gai’shain had their own tents, but those would be the last erected, of course. Adelin and a dozen or so Maidens squatted nearby, watching, waiting to guard his sleep. Even with over a thousand Maidens encamped around him every night, they still put a guard on his tent.

(TFoH,Ch21)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

When Adelin and the Maidens appeared, their soft-booted feet dragged. They stared at the Draghkar being hauled away by white-robed men, and exchanged long looks before approaching Rand.

“There was nothing here,” Adelin said slowly. “The attack was all below, Darkfriends and Trollocs.”

“Shouting ‘Sammael and the Golden Bees,’ I heard,” another added. With her head wrapped in a shoufa, Rand could not make out who she was. She sounded young; some of the Maidens were no

more than sixteen.

Taking a deep breath, Adelin held out one of her spears, horizontally in front of him, rock-steady. The others did the same, one spear each. “We—I—failed,” Adelin said. “We should have been here when the Draghkar came. Instead we ran like children to dance the spears.”

“What am I supposed to do with those?” Rand asked, and Adelin replied without hesitation.

“Whatever you wish, Car’a’carn. We stand ready, and will not resist.”

Rand shook his head. Bloody Aiel and their bloody ji’e’toh. “You take those and go back to guarding my tent. Well? Go.” Looks passed between them before they began to obey, as reluctantly as they had approached him in the first place.

…/ /…

When he finally returned to his own tent, Adelin and the dozen Maidens all sprang to their feet; all of them at once telling him that Egwene was gone and Aviendha long asleep, that she was angry with him, they both were. They gave so many different pieces of advice on handling the two women’s anger, all at the same time, that he could understand none of it. Finally they fell silent, looks passing between them, and Adelin spoke alone.

“We must speak of tonight. Of what we did, and what we failed to do. We—”

“It was nothing,” he told her, “and if it was something, it’s forgiven and forgotten. I would like to have a few hours’ sleep for once. If you want to discuss it go talk to Amys or Bair. I am sure they’ll understand what you’re after more than I do.” That shut them up, surprisingly, and let him get inside.

(TFoH,Ch22)

 

[Egwene’s PoV]

A hundred or so Taardad Far Dareis Mai went trotting by on her side of the road, moving easily, veils hanging but ready to be donned, full quivers at hips. Some carried their curved horn bows, arrows nocked, while others had their bows cased on their backs, spears and bucklers swinging rhythmically as they ran. At their rear a dozen gai’shain in their white robes leading pack mules struggled to keep up. One wore black, not white; Isendre labored hardest of all. Egwene could pick Adelin out, and two or three others who had been guarding Rand’s tent the night of the attack. Each clutched a doll in addition to her weapons, a rough-made doll clothed in full skirts and white blouse; they looked even more stone-faced than usual, trying to pretend that they held no such thing.

She was not sure what that was about. The Maidens who stood that guard had come in a group to see Bair and Amys when their stint was done, and had spent a long time with them. The next morning, while camp was still breaking in the grayness before dawn, they had begun making those dolls.

(TFoH,Ch23)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Sulin approached him, the shoufa around her shoulders so it uncovered her short white hair, and leaned on the railing. The wiry Maiden was armed for battle, bow and arrows, spears and knife and buckler. She had taken command of [Rand] his bodyguard tonight. Two dozen more Far Dareis Mai squatted easily on the bridge ten paces away.

…/ /…

As he swung his feet down, he heard the ring of horses’ hooves walking down the stone-paved street toward the bridge. Every Maiden was upright in an instant, face veiled; half nocked arrows. His hand went to his waist by instinct, but the sword was not there. The Aiel felt strange enough about him riding a horse and carrying the thing at his saddle; he had not seen any need to offend their customs more by wearing it. Besides, there were not many horses, and they were coming at a walk.

When they appeared, surrounded by an escort of fifty Aiel, the riders numbered fewer than twenty, slumping in their saddles dejectedly. Most wore rimmed helmets and Tairen coats with puffy, striped sleeves beneath their breastplates.

…/ /…

“I think I will have something to eat now. And get some sleep.” It could not be much more than two hours to midnight, and sunrise still came early this time of year. The Maidens followed him, watching the shadows warily as if they expected attack, handtalk flickering among them. But then, Aiel always seemed to expect attack.

(TFoH,Ch30)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

It was to one of the merchants’ houses that Rand went, … A chance to sleep in a bed again had been too good to pass up, and he had hopes that Aviendha would choose to remain in a tent; whether his or with the Wise Ones, he did not care,…

The Maidens stopped at the steps, some trotting around the building to take positions on all sides.

…/ /…

Whatever orders he gave about not being disturbed, she (Moiraine) always found a way to make the Maidens let her by, and it always took a direct command for her to go before she would leave.

(TFoH,Ch31)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

“My Lord Dragon, you never asked. A matter of bending light. You always have so many questions, it is hard to find a moment to speak of anything else. You must realize by now that I’ve thrown my lot in with yours completely.” Licking his lips, he (Asmodean) got up. As far as his knees. And began to babble. “I felt your weave—anybody within a mile could have felt it—I never saw anything like it—I didn’t know that anyone but Demandred could block a gateway that was closing, and maybe Semirhage—and Lews Therin—I felt it (Rand blocking the Gateway), and came, and a hard time I had getting past those Maidens—I used the same trick (of bending light)—you must know I am your man now.

(TFoH,Ch32)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Still pretending to study the camps, Rand examined Weiramon, helmetless and iron-spined straight

nearby. Two younger men, minor Tairen lords, hung at the High Lord’s heels…

…/ /…

They were not alone, of course. The hilltop was crowded, really. Sulin had a hundred Far Dareis Mai arrayed around the peak, for one thing, every last one looking even more ready to don her veil than Aiel usually did. It was not only the nearness of the Shaido that had Sulin on edge. In mockery of Rand’s contempt for the suspicions in the camps below, Enaila and two Maidens were never far from Weiramon and his lordlings, and the closer they stood to Rand, the more the three Maidens looked about to don veils.

(TFoH,Ch41)

 

[Mat’s PoV]

“Time to leave Rand in my dust. He’s got a bloody Aiel army and more Maidens than he can count taking care of him. He doesn’t need me.”

That last was not strictly true. In some strange way he was tied to Rand’s success or failure in Tarmon Gai’don, him and Perrin both, three ta’veren all tangled together.

…/ /…

The slopes of the hill were bare, but Maidens’ tents encircled the foot of the hill and spread through the trees up surrounding slopes and down the other side. That was as usual, too, and so was the Wise Ones’ camp within the Far Dareis Mai, dozens of low tents in shouting distance of Rand’s hill, with white-robed gai’shain bustling about.

…/ /…

Only, when he pulled off his hat and ducked into Rand’s tent, no one was there except Natael, lounging on the cushions with his gilded, dragon-carved harp propped against his knee and a gold goblet in his hand.

Mat grimaced, and swore under his breath. He should have known as much. If Rand had been here, he would have had to pass through a circle of Maidens right around the tent. Most likely he was up at that new-built tower. A good idea, that. Know the terrain. That was the second rule, close behind “Know your enemy,” and not much to choose between them.

…/ /…

and then Mat was outside. There was a crowd out there, a good hundred Maidens spread about the hilltop and walking on tiptoe they were so ready to spear somebody, all seven clan chiefs waiting patient and still as stone, three Tairen lords trying to pretend that they were not sweating and the Aiel did not exist.

(TFoH,Ch42)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Maidens made a ring around the tent, shoulder to shoulder, facing inward. A thick ring that spread down the dark shrouded slopes, cadin’sor-clad women jammed so a mouse could not have slipped through.

…/ /…

Sulin stepped forward before he could open his mouth to ask what they were up to. “We have come to escort the Car’a’carn to the tower with Egwene Sedai and Aviendha.”

“Who put you up to this?” Rand demanded. One glance at Lan showed it had not been him. Even in the darkness the Warder looked startled. For a moment anyway, his head jerking up; nothing surprised Lan for long. “Egwene is supposed to be on her way to the tower now, and the Maidens are supposed to be there to guard her. What she will do today is very important. She must be protected while she does it.”

“We will protect her.” Sulin’s voice was as flat as a planed board. “And the Car’a’carn, who gave his

honor to Far Dareis Mai to carry.” A murmur of approval rippled through the Maidens.

…/ /…

“This is ridiculous,” Rand scowled. “Let me through, and go to your assigned place.”

Sulin did not budge. “Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn,” she said calmly, and others took it up. No louder, but from so many women’s voices it made a high rumble. “Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn. Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn.”

“I said let me through,” he demanded the instant the sound died.

As if he had told them to begin again, they did. “Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn.

Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn.” Sulin just stood there looking at him.

(TFoH,Ch43)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

The storm clouds were massed only over the city and the hills to the south, but that did not stop lightning from slashing out of the clear, cloudless sky above the tower, flashing down into the gathered Maidens below with a deafening crack.…

There was no time for thought, though. Like rapid beats on a giant drum, bolt followed bolt, marching

through the Maidens until the last struck the base of the tower (that holds Rand) in an explosion of splinters the size of arms and legs.

…/ /…

Jeade’en stopped on a crest where a dozen trees made a thin topknot, and Rand hunched slightly against the pain in his side. The crescent moon, riding high, cast a pale light, yet even to his saidin -amplified vision anything more than a hundred paces distant was featureless shadow. Night swallowed the surrounding hills whole, and he was only intermittently aware of Sulin hovering nearby, and Maidens all around him. But then, he could not seem to keep his eyes more than half open; they felt grainy

…/ /…

Suddenly he became aware of the Maidens around him, hundreds of them. Some, including Sulin, were staring at him, but many had their eyes squeezed shut. It took him a moment to realize they were trying to preserve night vision.

(TFoH,Ch44)

 

[Mat’s PoV]

He was thinking of how to get rid of Melindhra so he could saddle Pips when Talmanes presented himself with a formal bow, hand to heart in the Cairhienin fashion. “Grace favor you, Mat.”

“And you,” Mat said absently. She was not going to go because he asked. Asking would certainly put a fox in the henyard. Maybe if he told her he wanted to take a ride. They said Aiel could run down horses.

“A delegation came from the city during the night. There will be a triumphal procession for the Lord Dragon, in gratitude from Cairhien.”

“Will there?” She had to have duties of some sort. The Maidens were always flocking around Rand; maybe she would be called off for that. Glancing at her though, he did not think he had better count on it.

Her wide smile was . . . proprietary.

…/ //…

[Rand’s PoV]

A glance at the entrance told him the sun was well up, though all he saw otherwise was two Maidens squatting just outside, spears across their knees.

(TFoH,Ch45)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Maidens leaped to their feet when he ducked out of the tent quickly to hide the unsteadiness of his legs. He was not sure how far he succeeded. Aviendha kept to his side as though she not only intended to catch him if he fell over but fully expected him to. It did nothing for his mood when Sulin, in her cap of bandages, looked questioningly at her—not him; her!—and waited for her nod before ordering the Maidens to be ready to move.

…/ /…

As usual, the Aiel gave little attention to the party as it passed, though the banner marked his presence as surely as the encircling escort of several hundred Far Dareis Mai easily keeping pace with Jeade’en and the mules.

…/ /…

The Maidens let Meilan ride through when Rand nodded, but closed behind him to exclude the rest, a fact the High Lord did not notice at first. When he did, his dark eyes smoldered angrily.

…/ /…

There was a moment of confusion before Rand made Sulin allow the other Tairen lords to bring their horses in behind Asmodean and Pevin’s banner. Meilan would have had the Defenders clear the way again, but Rand curtly ordered that they follow behind the Maidens. The soldiers obeyed, faces unchanging beneath the rims of their helmets, though their white-plumed officer shook his head, and the High Lord put on a condescending smile. That smile faded when it became clear that the crowds opened up easily ahead of the Maidens.

…/ /…

Unprompted, Sulin chose out twenty Maidens besides herself to accompany [Rand] within. On the one hand, he was glad she did not want to keep every last spear around him. On the other hand, he wished Enaila, Lamelle and Somara were not among the twenty. The considering looks they gave him—especially Lamelle, a lean, strong-jawed woman with dark red hair, nearly twenty years older than he—made him grind his teeth while trying to smile reassuringly. Somehow Aviendha must have managed to speak to them, and to Sulin, behind his back. I may not be able to do anything about the Maidens, he thought grimly as he tossed a linen towel back to one of the serving men, but burn me if there isn’t one Aiel woman who’ll learn I’m the Car’a’carn!

…/ /…

[the High Lords] wanted to crowd around him as he climbed the stairs, but except for Meilan to show the way, the Maidens simply made a solid circle around him, and the High Lords brought up the rear with Asmodean and the lesser lords. Aviendha stuck close by of course, and Sulin was on his other side, Somara and Lamelle and Enaila right behind him. They could have reached out and touched his back without stretching. He gave Aviendha an accusing look, and she arched her eyebrows at him so questioningly that he almost believed she had nothing to do with it. Almost.

…/ /…

Aviendha climbed up with him, and Asmodean, as his bard, was allowed up as well, but Sulin quickly arrayed the other Maidens around the dais, their casually held spears blocking Meilan as well as the rest of the High Lords. Frustration painted those Tairen faces.

…/ /…

The chamber erupted in a roar so suddenly that Maidens hefted their spears, a roar that reverberated from wall to wall. In an instant Sulin was flashing Maiden handtalk, but already half-raised veils were being let fall.

(TFoH,Ch46)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

The door opened without a knock, admitting Moiraine, Egwene and Aviendha together, the younger

women’s Aiel garb framing the Aes Sedai’s pale blue. For anyone else, even Rhuarc or another chief still near the city or yet another delegation of Wise Ones, a Maiden would have entered to announce them. These three the Maidens sent on in even if he was taking a bath.

…/ /…

A rap came at the door, and Somara (a Maiden) put her flaxen head into the room. “Matrim Cauthon has come, Car’a’carn. He says that you sent for him.”

(TFoH,Ch51)

 

[Rand didn’t want to take Maidens along to fight Rahvin, keeping them out of harms way –again-]

[Rand’s PoV]

Pulling open the door, he stepped out and stood staring. Mat was leaning on his odd spear with that broad-brimmed hat pulled low, a little apart from Asmodean, but that was not what took him aback. There were no Maidens. He should have known something was wrong when Asmodean came in unannounced. Aviendha was looking around in amazement, as if she expected to find them behind one of the tapestries.

…/ /…

“The Forsaken are not here,” Aviendha snapped. “And neither are the Maidens of the Spear. Where are they? What have you done, Rand al’Thor?”

“Me? There were twenty right here when I came to bed last night, and I haven’t seen one since.”

…/ /…

[Kadere’s PoV]

More importantly, Natael was with them. This was the first time Kadere had been this close to him since crossing the Spine of the World. Natael, who stood high in the Darkfriends. If he could get past the Maidens to reach Natael . . .

Suddenly Kadere blinked. Where were the Maidens? Al’Thor always had an escort of spear-wielding women. Frowning, he realized he could not see a single Maiden among the Aiel on the quay or the docks.

(TFoH,Ch52)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

[Rand] glared at Sulin, standing in the doorway. She was fully accoutered, cased bow on her back, quiver at her belt, round hide buckler and three spears in hand…. What do you want? I thought you had all decided to abandon me and go back to the Three-fold Land.”

“It is not we who have abandoned you, Rand al’Thor.” Shutting the door behind her, she sat on the floor and laid her buckler and a pair of the spears down. “You have abandoned us.” In one motion she put a foot against the last spear between her hands, heaved, and snapped it in two.

…/ /…

He snatched his freed hand back with a curse, shaking off droplets of blood. “I don’t mean any such thing. I thought you understood.” She took up the last spear, set her foot, and he channeled, weaving Air to hold her as she was. She only stared at him wordlessly. “Burn me, you said nothing! So I kept the Maidens out of the battle with Couladin. Not everyone fought that day. And you never said a word.” Sulin’s eyes widened in incredulity. “You kept us from the dance of spears? We kept you from the dance. You were like a girl newly wed to the spear, ready to rush out and kill Couladin with never a thought for the spear you might take from behind. You are the Car’a’carn. You have no right to risk yourself needlessly.” Her voice flattened. “Now you go to fight the Forsaken. The secret is well kept, but I have heard enough from those who lead the other societies.”

“And you want to keep me out of this fight as well?” he said quietly.

“Do not be a fool, Rand al’Thor. Any could have danced the spears with Couladin; for you to risk it was the thinking of a child. None among us can face the Shadowsouled, save you.”

“Then why . . . ?” He stopped; he already knew the answer. After that blood-soaked day against Couladin, he had convinced himself they would not mind. He had wanted to believe they would not. “Those who go with you have been chosen.” The words came like hurled stones. “Men from every society. Men. There are no Maidens, Rand al’Thor. Far Dareis Mai carries your honor, and you take ours away.”

“Sometimes I forget you were raised out of our blood, Rand al’Thor. Listen to me. I am what I am. This is what I am.” She hefted the spear. “Sulin—”

“Listen, Rand al’Thor. I am the spear. When a lover came between me and the spear, I chose the spear. Some chose the other way. Some decide they have run with the spears long enough, that they want a husband, a child. I have never wanted anything else. No chief would hesitate to send me wherever the dance is hottest. If I died there, my first-sisters would mourn me, but not a fingernail more than when our first-brother fell. A treekiller who stabbed me to the heart in my sleep would do me more honor than you do. Do you understand now?”

“I understand, but . . . ” He did understand. She did not want him to make her something other than

what she was. All he had to do was be willing to watch her die. “What happens if you break the last spear?”

“If I have no honor in this life, perhaps in another.” She said it as if it was just another explanation. It took him a moment to comprehend. All he had to do was be willing to watch her die.

“You don’t leave me any choices, do you?” No more than Moiraine had.

“There are always choices, Rand al’Thor. You have a choice, and I have one. Ji’e’toh allows no other.” He wanted to snarl at her, to curse ji’e’toh and everyone who followed it. “Choose out your Maidens, Sulin. I don’t know how many I can take, but Far Dareis Mai will have as many as any other society.” He stalked past her and her sudden smile. Not relief. Pleasure. Pleasure that she would have the chance to die. He should have left her wrapped up in saidin, left her to be dealt with somehow when he came back from Caemlyn. Slamming the door open, he strode out onto the quay—and stopped. Enaila headed a line of Maidens, each with three spears in her hands, a line leading back from the dockmaster’s door, vanishing into the nearest of the gates to the city. Some of the Aielmen on the dockside eyed them curiously, but it was obviously something between Far Dareis Mai and the Car’a’carn, and no business of any other society. Amys and three or four other Wise Ones who had once been Maidens were watching more closely. Most of the non-Aiel had gone, except for a few men nervously righting overturned grain carts and trying to look elsewhere. Enaila stepped toward Rand, then halted and smiled as Sulin came out. Not relief. Pleasure. Smiles of pleasure running back down that long line of Maidens. Smiles on those Wise Ones, too, and a sharp nod for him from Amys as if he had put an end to some idiotic behavior.

(TFoH,Ch53)

 

[Rand’s PoV]

Five hundred of the Maidens behind Sulin accompanied Rand back to the Royal Palace, where Bael waited in the great court inside the front gates with Thunder Walkers and Black Eyes and Water Seekers and men from every other society, their numbers filling the courtyard and crowding back into the palace through every door down to the smallest servants’ way.

(TFoH,Ch54)

 

 

 

3.2: About Male Channeler strength, (False) Dragon strength & Aes Sedai fighting male channelers

 

We readers have seen parts of the destruction Lews Therin brought down on his own palace when he earned the name Kinslayer and saw the sheer power first hand of this famous and very strong male channeler when he died and created Dragonmount. And sure, we’ve read about farmers, soldiers, peddlers, , guards, a gleeman and Third Age Aes Sedai who all go queasy when whispering about male channelers, but a big part of that fear is mostly based on myth, right? Right?

Wrong!

 

Jaric Mondoran

 

The quotes below are timed one generation after the Sealing of the Bore took place. They are from a PoV of one of Rand’s ancestors, straight from the Breaking of the World. The same Breaking that makes men and woman alike shudder when thinking about False Dragons.

 

Jonai hurried down the empty streets, trying not to look at shattered buildings and dead chora trees. All dead. At least the last of the long abandoned jo-cars had been hauled away. Aftershocks still troubled the ground beneath his feet.

…/ /…

No one questioned his entering the Hall of the Servants; there was no one at the great columned entrance to question anyone, or give greeting. Plenty of people darted about inside, arms filled with papers or boxes, eyes anxious, but none so much as looked at him. There was a feel of panic about them, and it grew by increments every time the ground shook.

…/ /…

Half a dozen Aes Sedai stood around the long table, arguing, apparently not noticing when the building trembled. They were all women.

…/ /…

“Peace, sisters.” Solinda was the calmest of them all, …/ /…“The time for contention among ourselves is past. Jaric and Haindar will both be here by tomorrow.

The sense of dread is almost tangible. And it was growing every time the ground shook. Everyone is leaving and packing. And why? Because there are two male channelers on route to the greatest city of the AoL. And the weird thing is, there’s atleast six (female) Aes Sedai right there in that scene, and probably lot’s more in Paaren Disen / The Hall of the Servants! Why are they that afraid?

 

“All is in readiness, Jonai?” she said.

“All, Aes Sedai. Solinda Sedai . . . ” He hesitated, took a deep breath. “Solinda Sedai, some of us wish

to remain. We can serve, still.”

“Do you know what happened to the Aiel at Tzora?” He nodded, and she sighed, reaching out to smooth his short hair as if he were a child. “Of course you do. You Da’shain have more courage than . . .Ten thousand Aiel linking arms and singing, trying to remind a madman of who they were and who he had been, trying to turn him with their bodies and a song. Jaric Mondoran killed them. He stood there, staring as though at a puzzle, killing them, and they kept closing their lines and singing. I am told he listened to the last Aiel for almost an hour before destroying him. And then Tzora burned, one huge flame consuming stone and metal and flesh. There is a sheet of glass where the second greatest city in the world [during the Age of Legends!] once stood.

“Many people had time to flee, Aes Sedai. The Da’shain earned them time to flee. We are not afraid.”

…Wow. Just wow. RJ is telling us one crazy male channeler turned the second greatest city in the Age of Legends (let that sink in for a second or two) into a sheet of glass, with just one huge insanely hot flame. Regardless of the opposition that would have been present in a city that big (other non-crazy male & female Aes Sedai), it was all made toast because of one loon who happened to know how to use saidin. And the nutty male channeler survived. The sheer strength needed is beyond all comprehension, really.

RJ deliberately portrays these male channelers (Lews Therin in the Prologue of TEoTW & Jaric Mondoran in TSR) as WoT-Weapons of Mass Destruction; as unstoppable walking nuclear missile facilities, if you just look at the destruction they caused.

 

Let’s see how RJ describes the male channelers of ‘our’ time in the first five books. How does he portray those (False) Dragons strength-wise? Let’s just focus on Rand, Logain & Taim in that order;

 

 

Rand

 

I’m just going to pick out one single channeling-event that I feel is relevant to this theory later, to show how RJ depicts Rand’s strength when it comes to the One Power. I’m also going to use just two quotes (out of probably a hundred) about how key Aes Sedai –relatively close to Rand and his cause- think or feel about letting him develop his abilities.

 

Staggering, [Rand] turned. The forces of the Dark One filled the other end of the pass, bristling black pikes and spearpoints swelling up onto mountain slopes made blacker still by the great mass of Trollocs that dwarfed the army of Shienar. Fades in hundreds rode across the front of the horde, the fierce, muzzled faces of Trollocs turning away in fear as they passed, huge bodies pulling back to make way. Overhead, Draghkar wheeled on leathery pinions, shrieks challenging the wind. Halfmen saw him now, too, pointed, and Draghkar spun and dove. Two. Three. Six of them, crying shrilly as they plummeted toward him.

…/ /…

The wind rose with his voice, howled with his voice, roared with his voice down the pass, whipping the flames to a wall of fire that sped away from him and toward the Trolloc host faster than a horse could run. Fire burned into the Trollocs, and the mountains trembled with their screams, screams almost as loud as the wind and his voice.

“It has to end!”

He beat at the ground with his fist, and the earth tolled like a gong. He bruised his hands on stony soil, and the earth trembled. Ripples ran through the ground ahead of him in ever-rising waves, waves of dirt and rock towering over Trollocs and Fades, breaking over them as the mountains shattered under their hooved feet. A boiling mass of flesh and rubble churned across the Trolloc army. What was left standing was still a mighty host, but now no more than twice the human army in numbers, and milling in fright and confusion.

“We hear,” Moiraine said as soon as the door shut behind Ingtar, “that you won a great victory in Tarwin’s Gap.”

“Yes,” Agelmar said slowly, his troubled frown returning. “Yes, Aes Sedai, and no. The Halfmen and their Trollocs were destroyed to the last, but we barely fought. A miracle, my men call it. The earth swallowed them; the mountains buried them.

…/ /…

But I saw a man, Moiraine Sedai. I saw a man, and what he did, cannot be, must not be.”

Now try to forget exactly how Rand did what he just did. You can even forget Rand get’s much stronger as the books progress. We know that what Rand just did, he did by channeling and we know –channeling wise– he’s like a baby who’s taking his first wobbly steps. And regardless that Rand is as inexperienced a channeler as they get, he next to annihilated an army that DWARFED the opposing army! Rand did just two “things”, and the army of countless Trollocs, hundreds and hundreds of Fades nearly went up in smoke completely.

Again, RJ shows us the devastation and havoc just one lone male channeler can cause. Not an Age of Legend-experienced Channeler. No, this time it was a totally inexperienced young sheepherder from the Two Rivers.

The devastation might not exactly equal what Lews Therin & Jaric Mondoran showed us they were capable of, but it’s downright terrifying nonetheless and comes close enough.

 

So, how do the Amyrlin Seat, Moiraine Sedai & Verin Sedai feel about Rand channeling…?

 

Sometimes doubt fills me, Moiraine.” She [The Amyrlin Seat] said it musingly, as if wondering at it, and went on in the same tone. “What if Logain was the one? He could channel, before the Reds brought him to the White Tower, and we gentled him. So can Mazrim Taim, the man in Saldaea. What if it is him? There are sisters in Saldaea already; he may be taken by now.

…/ /…

That young man . . . he’s the one we have sought these twenty years.”

There was a hint of question in her voice. Moiraine answered it. “He is.”

“Are you certain? Can he . . . ? Can he . . . channel the One Power?”

Her mouth strained around the words, and Moiraine felt the tension, too, a twisting inside, a cold clutching at her heart. She kept her face smooth, though. “He can.” A man wielding the One Power. That was a thing no Aes Sedai could contemplate without fear. It was a thing the whole world feared.

…/ /…

The Amyrlin shuddered. “Rand al’Thor. It does not sound like a name to inspire fear and set the world on fire.” She gave another shiver and rubbed her arms briskly…

“Necessary,” Verin agreed. She touched her forehead, then peered at the dampness on her fingers. “He is strong. And as stubborn as you said, Moiraine. Much stronger than I expected. We may have to gentle him after all before . . . ” Her eyes widened. “But we cannot, can we? The Prophecies. The Light forgive us for what we are loosing on the world.”

“The Prophecies,” Moiraine said, nodding. “Afterwards, we will do as we must. As we do now.”

“As we must,” the Amyrlin said. “Yes. But when he learns to channel, the Light help us all.”

Again, these powerful women show that same sense of dread that fits so well with the terrible power we saw above. And it’s not just farmers or regular folks who feel about it this way. No, it’s the leader of the female equivalent of those male channelers who sees and feels it this way. And two strong supporters of the Dragon Reborn, who also happen to be the female equivalent of male channelers. RJ specifically picks people who should know these things to convey this message to us readers. It’s not just myth and folklore that the commoners exaggerate.

It’s what everyone believes and what RJ shows for truth in the books, from the beginning of the series (Kinslaying/ Dragonmount) all the way to the end of TFoH.

 

To prove the points above and to show how current-age Aes Sedai try to deal with False Dragons, we’re going to zoom in on Logain first, before we head back to Bashere and Taim.

Logain; a False Dragon that -when just looking from TEotW to the end of TSR- had no other role to play in the Wheel of Time Series, but to be an example of how False Dragons are feared, hunted (by armies with Aes Sedai help) and treated afterwards. I’m mainly going to focus on the fear and hunting part, not on the gentling and aftermath of that, because it isn’t relevant to this case.

 

 

Logain

 

First some quotes concerning battling Logain and Aes Sedai involvement in those battles;

If they’re [Children of the Light] hunting evil, I say why aren’t they up in Saldaea? There’s some kind of trouble up there, I hear. Or down in Ghealdan? There’s been a big battle down there, they say. Real big.”

Moiraine drew a soft breath. “I had heard that Aes Sedai were going to Ghealdan.”

“Yes, they did, mistress.” Avin’s head started bobbing again. “They went to Ghealdan, all right, and that’s what started this battle, or so I hear. They say some of those Aes Sedai are dead. Maybe all of them. I know some folks don’t hold with Aes Sedai, but I say, who else is going to stop a false Dragon? Eh? And those damned fools who think they can be men Aes Sedai or some such. What about them? Course, some say—not the Whitecloaks, mind, and not me, but some folks—that maybe this fellow really is the Dragon Reborn. He can do things, I hear. Use the One Power. There’s thousands following him.”

“Big news, that’s what. Big news.”

…/ /…

The news was just as big as he said it was. Logain, the false Dragon, had been captured after a big battle near Lugard while he was trying to move his army from Ghealdan to Tear. The Prophecies, they understood? Thom nodded, and Bartim went on.

…/ /…

Aes Sedai had been involved in taking Logain, of course. Bartim spat on the floor when he said that, and again when he said they were taking the false Dragon north to Tar Valon.

…/ /…

Logain could do “things,” and the way Bartim’s eyes shifted and his tongue darted across his lips made it clear what he meant. He had seen the last false Dragon, two years ago, when he was paraded through the countryside, but that was just some fellow who thought he could make himself a king. There had been no need for Aes Sedai, that time. Soldiers had had him chained up on a wagon. A sullen-looking fellow who moaned in the middle of the wagonbed, covering his head with his arms whenever people threw stones or poked him with sticks. There had been a lot of that, and the soldiers had done nothing to stop it, as long as they did not kill the fellow. Best to let the people see he was nothing special after all. He could not do “things.” This Logain would be something to see, though.

There has been a big battle with Logain atleast twice. The first time multiple Aes Sedai were involved and they died. The second time, Logain was defeated, with the help of Aes Sedai. Both times, it’s implied by the text that of course Aes Sedai were involved with fighting this False Dragon, since this False Dragon could actually channel. It’s not just logic & common sense from a readers perspective to think that it takes Aes Sedai to defeat a (strong) male channeler. It’s also what RJ wants us to pick up from these quotes; when there is fighting to be done versus a male channeler, you had best bring along Aes Sedai..and even then, you’re not sure of victory at all.

 

Still, these quotes might be just rumors and hearsay. Maybe the above events are exaggerated or untrue? The quotes below prove that they were true, though.

 

Even as [Rand] settled in place, the first part of the procession rounded the final curve before the Palace. Twenty ranks of trumpeters came first, splitting the air with peal after triumphant peal, a fanfare of victory. Behind them, as many drummers thundered. Then came the banners of Caemlyn, white lions on red, borne by mounted men, followed by the soldiers of Caemlyn, rank on rank on rank of horsemen, armor gleaming, lances proudly held, crimson pennants fluttering. Treble rows of pikemen and archers flanked them, and came on and on after the horsemen began passing between the waiting Guards and through the Palace gates.

The last of the foot soldiers rounded the curve, and behind them was a massive wagon. Sixteen horses pulled it in hitches of four. In the center of its flat bed was a large cage of iron bars, and on each corner of the wagonbed sat two women, watching the cage as intently as if the procession and the crowd did not exist. Aes Sedai, he was certain. Between the wagon and the footmen, and to either side, rode a dozen Warders, their cloaks swirling and tangling the eye. If the Aes Sedai ignored the crowd, the Warders scanned it as if there were no other guards but they.

With all of that, it was the man in the cage who caught and held Rand’s eyes. He was not close enough to see Logain’s face, as he had wanted to, but suddenly he thought he was as close as he cared for. The false Dragon was a tall man, with long, dark hair curling around his broad shoulders. He held himself upright against the sway of the wagon with one hand on the bars over his head. His clothes seemed ordinary, a cloak and coat and breeches that would not have caused comment in any

farming village. But the way he wore them. The way he held himself. Logain was a king in every inch of him. The cage might as well not have been there. He held himself erect, head high, and looked over the crowd as if they had come to do him honor. And wherever his gaze swept, there the people fell silent, staring back in awe. When Logain’s eyes left them, they screamed with redoubled fury as if to make up for their silence, but it made no difference in the way the man stood, or in the silence that

passed along with him. As the wagon rolled through the Palace gates, he turned to look back at the assembled masses. They howled at him, beyond words, a wave of sheer animal hate and fear, and Logain threw back his head and laughed as the Palace swallowed him.

Other contingents followed behind the wagons, with banners representing more who had fought and defeated the false Dragon. The Golden Bees of Illian, the three White Crescents of Tear, the Rising Sun of Cairhien, others, many others, of nations and of cities, and of great men with their own trumpets, their own drums to thunder their grandeur. It was anticlimactic after Logain.

[Moiraine talking to two other Sisters:]

The last false Dragon all but tore Ghealdan apart before his army, ragtag rabble or not, was defeated. Yes, Logain is in Tar Valon by now, gentled and safe, I suppose, but some of our sisters died to overpower him. Even one sister dead is more loss than we can bear, but Ghealdan’s losses were much worse.

As we can see above a lot of Aes Sedai (at least 8) were involved in capturing Logain. In addition, a large army made up of men from a lot of different nations, like Andor, Illian, Tear, Cairhien and many others, helped to bring down Logain.

And per Moiraine words and how Anaiya nor Liandrin are shocked about the statement, we know that several Aes Sedai did die to overpower Logain, as Avin said way back in TEotW.

 

“I [Morgase] have seen this fellow Logain from close, and he is dangerous, child. Caged, with Aes Sedai to guard him every minute, he is still as dangerous as a wolf. I wish he had never been brought near Caemlyn.”

“[Logain] has been gentled, Egwene. He is no more dangerous than any other man, now. But I [Elayne] remember seeing him before, when it took six Aes Sedai to keep him from wielding the Power and destroying us all.” She shivered. Egwene did, too.

Again, RJ has everyone –Aes Sedai, a Queen and Townfolk alike- tell us how dangerous a male channeler is.

Now that we realize how RJ wants us readers to view male channellers, let’s try to bring this detour closer to home. Let’s focus more on Davram Bashere’s ‘relationship’ with another False Dragon/ male channeler:

 

 

Taim

 

“Three more false Dragons.” Liandrin bit the words off. “In Saldaea, Murandy, and Tear false Dragons ravage the land.

…/ /…

“It isn’t so grim as that,” Anaiya said. “As far as we know, only the one in Saldaea can channel. He has not had time to attract many followers, and sisters should already be there to deal with him.

Adeleas may think I’m foolish, but I listen to every scrap I hear coming from Saldaea these days. Mazrim Taim can channel, so I hear, and our sisters haven’t managed to corner him yet.

…/ /…

“I do not think you need worry about Taim,” Moiraine said absently. … “He will be dealt with as Logain was. What of Shadar Logoth?”

We know as far back as the start of TGH, that the Aes Sedai are aware that the False Dragon ‘ravaging’ Saldaea can channel and that Sisters have been send to deal with him. Even Vandene –a sister in retreat who lives in the middle of nowhere in Arafel- knows about Mazrim Taim in Saldaea, his channeling ability and that Sisters are hunting him, but haven’t caught him yet.

It’s more than obvious then, that people in Saldaea –especially high up the chain of command- also know these things, so It’s more than obvious that both Tenobia & Bashere had this information, and it’s more than probable that Davram Bashere knew this firsthand from fighting this False Dragon, since he’s the “Defender of the Heartland”. It’s his military duty –as Defender & Great Captain- to keep Saldaea safe.

 

“Yes. Mazrim Taim is in the hands of our sisters in Saldaea, and the poor fellow in Haddon Mirk, the Light have pity on his soul, was taken by the Tairens and executed on the spot. No one even seems to know what his name was. Both were taken on the same day and, according to rumor, under the same circumstances. They were in battle, and winning, when suddenly a great light flashed in the sky, and a vision appeared, just for an instant. There are a dozen different versions of what it was, but in both cases the result was exactly the same. The false Dragon’s horse reared up and threw him. He was knocked unconscious, …, and he was taken.

Finally, Mazrim Taim is caught. Not because he was beaten by Saldaean forces with Aes Sedai help, but because he fell unconscious! Mazrim Taim was actually winning the battle he was taken! It’s important to realize that –regardless of the number of battles and exactly how many Aes Sedai were involved-, Taim always won those battles, despite Aes Sedai help and the fact that Saldaea had a Great Captain defending it’s nation.

 

Joiya shrugged. “As you wish. Let me see. Different words. The false Dragon, Mazrim Taim, who was captured in Saldaea, can channel with incredible strength. Perhaps as much as Rand al’Thor, or nearly so, if the reports can be believed.

Yes yes, Joiya is Black Ajah. But even she wouldn’t be stupid enough to lie about something this trivial, regarding her circumstances and the fact that she mentions her knowledge comes from reports. Reports where it’s easy to verify what she’s saying. Besides, we know Taim was captured in Saldaea already and that he can channel. It’s not that we couldn’t deduct that in order for Taim to outsmart and beat a group of Aes Sedai & a Great Captain and army that Taim had to be an incredibly strong channeler. And again, it stands to reason that Bashere knew this as well, if not from firsthand by doing battle, then from those reports that Joiya mentions.

 

[Mat] caught a snatch of talk from the table to his right, where the lean-faced fellow with the curling mustaches was holding forth in a heavy Lugarder accent. “Now this Dragon of yours [Rand] is a great man no doubt, I’ll not be denying it, but he’s not a patch on Logain. Why, Logain had all of Ghealdan at war, and half of Amadicia and Altara, as well. He made the earth swallow whole towns that resisted him, he did. Buildings, people and all entire. And the one up in Saldaea, Maseem? Why, they say he made the sun stand still till he defeated the Lord of Bashere’s army. ’Tis a fact, they do say.”

Exaggerations in that story? Sure! But the heart of it is true. RJ lets us know here –as we could have deduced ourselves- that of course the “Defender of the Heartland”, the uncle of the Queen and a Great Captain to boot has fought the False Dragon that was ravaging his ‘heartland’ Saldaea. News of those battles have even spread all the way to Tear. And rumor has it –as we already know- that Taim had won.

 

“Nearly as bad as Trollocs, Mother,” she said almost as soon as she began reading. “Mazrim Taim has escaped.”

“Light!” Siuan barked. “How?”

“This only says he was taken away by stealth in the night, Mother. Two sisters are dead.”

“The Light illumine their souls. But we’ve little time to mourn the dead while the likes of Taim are alive

and ungentled. Where, Leane?”

“Denhuir, Mother. A village east of the Black Hills on the Maradon Road, above the headwaters of the

Antaeo and the Luan.”

“It had to be some of his followers. Fools. Why won’t they know when they are beaten? Choose out a dozen reliable sisters, Leane …/ /…. And five hundred of the guards. No, a full thousand.

Here we see how the Amyrlin responds to a False Dragon on the loose; you send a dozen Aes Sedai with a proper guard. As we saw mentioned earlier, this is how you deal with a male channeler on the loose; you send Aes Sedai to deal with the channeler, along with a decent sized army to quell the followers of that male channeler.

 

 

Basically, the conclusion for all four (five if you include LTT) male channelers above is the same;

- They scare everyone witless, regardless of role, occupation or abilities. RJ has queens, Aes Sedai & townfolk –regardless of occupation- react terrified to all male channelers mentioned above.

- You either flee for your life (AoL example), or hunt them down with Aes Sedai help –of course– and an army to counter the followers of the male channeler.

 

 

(continued in next post)

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3.3: Great Captains & evaluating channeler-strenght

 

It’s nice to see how the Amyrlin responds when she hears about a male channeler on the loose. But she has the advantage of being surrounded by hundreds of female channelers. So one could counter it’s easy for her to dispatch Aes Sedai to capture a male channeler, regardless of how logical and smart her decision is. One could argue it’s the Amyrlin’s modus operandi for any threat. So how do Great Captains think about channeler-strenght and how to combat it?

 

As seen earlier, Great Captains are viewed as a breed apart it appears. They’re the elite among Generals, well respected for their keen strategic prowess, cunning and experience that is so outstanding, they’re put on a pedestal by other generals and rulers alike. The Westland knows of five living Great Captains. We –readers- know there is one more in the Westland; The ‘son of battles’ Mat Cauthon.

 

Let’s take a look at what these Great Captains –other than Lord Bashere- have told us in the first five books about Aes Sedai and male channelers. If we know how these military masterminds view these matters, it might put the actions of the Great Captain we’re investigating in perspective.

 

 

Agelmar Jagad

 

Agelmar frowned. “But I thought . . . Moiraine Sedai, I have no right to ask it of you, but you would be worth a thousand lances in Tarwin’s Gap.

…/ /…

People whisper that the world is ending, that the Dark One is loose again. Shienar will ride to Tarwin’s Gap alone, and we will be outnumbered at least ten to one. At least. It may be the last Ingathering of the Lances.

…/ /…

Agelmar sighed heavily. “Moiraine Sedai, will you not come, at least? An Aes Sedai could make the difference.

This Great Captain makes it plain as grass; An Aes Sedai could make the difference, even against impossible odds, when outnumbered at least ten to one, having one strong channeler along might shift the balance. And like we find out just a few chapters later at Tarwin’s Gap, he wasn’t too far from the truth, even though a male channeler wasn’t exactly what Agelmar had in mind. (see Rand’s section above)

 

 

Pedron Niall

 

He let all the signs that foretold disaster swirl through his mind. …/ /…And aside from the false Dragon

somewhere on Almoth Plain, another tore at Saldaea, and a third plagued Tear. Three at once.

…/ /…

Most telling of all, to Niall, the Aes Sedai had apparently come into the open. It was said they had sent some of their sisters to Saldaea to confront the false Dragon Mazrim Taim. Rare as it was in men, Taim could channel the One Power. That was a thing to fear and despise in itself, and few thought a man like that could be defeated except with the aid of Aes Sedai. Better to allow Aes Sedai help than to face the inevitable horrors when he went mad, as such men inevitably did.

I remember actually laughing the first time I read that. I didn’t even know Niall was a Great Captain back then, but I remember thinking it priceless that the Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light –and as we find out in TFoH, a Great Captain to boot!- would accept and allow Aes Sedai help when it concerns hunting down a male channeler/ false Dragon!

It’s oh, so very telling that a man this clever and named ‘Great Captain’ by the rest of the Westlands understands that you need those despised witches to take out a man who can channel.

 

It’s also good to read that Niall thinks that few thought a [channeling false Dragon] could be defeated without the aid of Aes Sedai”! Again, RJ let’s his readers know it’s actually just ‘common sense’ to fight channelers with channelers, really.

 

When the weather warms enough for troops to move . . . Bornhald took only half his legion to their deaths on Toman Head. With the other half, I will hunt this false Dragon to his death. A corpse is not dangerous to anyone.”

 

“And if you face what it seems Bornhald faced? Aes Sedai channeling the Power to kill?”

“Their witchery doesn’t protect them from arrows, or a knife in the dark. They die as quickly as anyone else.” Carridin smiled. “I promise you, I will be successful before summer.”

 

Niall nodded. The man was confident, now. Sure the dangerous questions would already have come, if they were coming. You should have remembered, Carridin, I was accounted a fine tactician. “Why,” he said quietly, “did you not take your own forces to Falme? With Darkfriends on Toman Head, an army of them holding Falme, why did you try to stop Bornhald?”

Even when Niall & Carridin discuss how to defeat channelers, without the so much needed channelers on their own side, the (logical) answer is stealth and/ or distance; “arrows, or a knife in the dark”.

Again, this is basically just common sense, but again, it’s just nice to be able to show a quote from one of the best military leader’s PoV as written by RJ that actually shows it.

 

 

Mat Cauthon

 

The Shaido chief, or whatever the man was, might remember Mat vaguely as somebody hanging about Rand, but Couladin was the reason he was stuck out here in the middle of a battle, trying to stay alive, wondering whether any minute it was going to turn into a personal fight between Rand and Sammael, the kind of fight that might kill everything within two or three miles. That’s if I don’t get a spear through the brisket first…

Mat kind of rolls into the position of General in the battle for Cairhien , but he takes the job and the responsibility serious. Dead serious. He doesn’t play around, no matter how it is perceived by some of the men around him. He realizes that a lot of lives are at stake and he knows exactly what to do to minimize the ‘butchers bill’ and maximize their result. Between battles, he ponders about Rand and Sammael squaring off and realizes that that might kill just about everyone within a two to three mile radius.

 

It was like Cuaindaigh Fords, too, late in the Trolloc Wars, and on much the same scale.

Not much different from the Tora Shan, either. Or Sulmein Gap, before Hawkwing found his stride. The names flickered through his head, the images of bloody fields forgotten even by historians. Absorbed in the map as he was, they did not register as anything but his own remembrances. “ Too bad you don’t have more cavalry. Light cavalry is best for the harrying. Bite at the flanks, keep them running, and never let them settle to fight.

…/ /…

Mat was caught up in it, now. He more than merely liked gambling, and battle was a gamble to make

dicing in taverns a thing for children and toothless invalids. Lives were the stake here, your own and other men’s, men who were not even there. Make the wrong wager, a foolish bet, and cities died, or whole nations.

…/ /…

“With only a few minutes to study the maps, [Mat] laid out close to the battle plan that Rhuarc and the others made. He saw the difficulties and the dangers, and how to meet them. He knows about miners and siege engines, and using light cavalry to harry a defeated foe.

Rand looked at [Lan]. The Warder showed no surprise, not the twitch of an eyelash. Of course, he was the one who had said Mat seemed surprisingly knowledgeable about military matters.

I just wanted to point out, that Mat and Lan both know that light cavalry is best used for harrying a defeated army. Sure, cavalry probably has more uses, but this is one of its main purposes. One that this unit-type is best equipped for.

Also, we see Mat full-well realizing the value of lives and how much impact a ‘wrong bet’, a wrong decision could have; your own life, that of your men and that of civilians are at stake.

 

It’s not just important to realize that a Great Captain knows it, but that RJ knows it and tell us.

Knowing all that I’ve shown above, let’s go back to Bashere…

 

 

 

3.4: About Davram Bashere in TFoH in relation to the previous info

 

And the one [False Dragon] up in Saldaea, Maseem [Mazrim Taim]? Why, they say he made the sun stand still till he defeated the Lord of Bashere’s army. ’Tis a fact, they do say.”

*whistles* Bashere commanded an army that went toe to toe with Mazrim Taim in Saldaea and he lost that battle. Alright, I guess that can happen to the best of us, especially when facing a force (a very strong male channeler) you probably haven’t fought before. Even Great Captains aren’t infallible, but we can be sure of one thing. In battle, if Great Captains make a mistake, they’ll never make that mistake twice. It’s how good and how fast they’re able to adapt to any situation on the battlefield that’s part of why the earned their legendary title of Great Captain.

 

There’s a more then decent chance that Bashere had Aes Sedai help during that battle he lost, since they’ve been hunting Taim for a while there too and they wouldn’t do so on their own. Add what we’ve seen Agelmar, Mat and especially Pedron Niall think about channelers (their perceived strength & how to beat them) and it’s hard to imagine Bashere would fight someone like Taim without Aes Sedai. And even if he had done so once, it’s hard to imagine a Great Captain would make that obvious mistake twice.

 

As we can see from Mat’s PoV, there’s just too much lives at stake to make the wrong decision.

 

 

Teslyn said, her Illianer accent strong. “I did receive a message this morning that the Marshal-General of Saldaea does have an army on the move. No toward the Blight, but in the opposite direction. South and east. He would no ever have done that if the Blight did no seem to be asleep.”

 

“Then word of Mazrim Taim is seeping out.” Alviarin could have been discussing the weather or the price of carpets instead of a potential disaster. Much effort had gone into capturing Taim, and as much into hiding his escape. No good to the Tower if the world learned they could not hold on to a false Dragon once he was taken. “And it seems that Queen Tenobia, or Davram Bashere, or both, thinks we cannot be trusted to deal with him again.”

 

…/ /…

Joline shifted her green-fringed shawl on slender shoulders and smiled, though it seemed a bit forced.

“Yes. [Tenobia] needs an Aes Sedai at her shoulder. Someone able to handle Bashere. He has excessive influence with Tenobia. He must move his army back where it can be used if the Blight wakes up.

Weird. Taim escaped alright, but he’s nowhere near Saldaea. And as we’ve seen earlier, Tenobia’s position was mentioned being tenuous at the same moment that it became known to the Amyrlin Seat that Taim had escaped.

So, about a month after that we readers find out that Taim has escaped and that Tenobia may be forced from the throne (due to her ravaged country –by Trollocs & Taim- and the stopping of trade), the Defender of Saldaea and the Guardian of the Blightborder moves an army south-eastwards.

 

Now we don’t know what this army consists of or where it’s going exactly, but given the circumstances, logic suggests it’s going to stay in Saldaea to protect it against the False Dragon coming back and to prevent Tenobia from losing her throne. Logic –and given all the knowledge in this thread about great captains and what we know of Bashere- also suggests that his army has at the very least a few Aes Sedai tagging along to take care of Taim if he decides to head back to Saldaea.

 

Incidentally (well, not really), we find out just 19 chapters later that Alviarin, the Keeper and the person to name the reason that Bashere’s army is moving south-east to take care of Taim, is actually Black Ajah! (the Tower-basement scene with her and Fain in TFoH – Chapter 19)

 

The rest of TFoH, Bashere and his army –whatever it is made up of– mysteriously drop off the radar completely. All we get are a few reminders throughout TFoH that Bashere and his army can’t be found, but that it’s somewhere. Again, a tad weird, but not much to worry about, right? I mean, the man is a capable Great Captain, the Defender of the Heartland [of Saldaea] and the Guardian of the Blightborder. It’s probably somewhere near the South-east border of Saldaea, well within marching-distance of Maradon (the capital) to protect his niece and queen’s unstable but rightful claim to her throne. And certainly close enough to be able to actually still Guard that Blightborder.

Right?

Wrong!

 

Now is the time to head back to the scene of the crime and see what happens there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

4: Back to the Scene of the Crime!

 

 

 

Let’s start with the opening scene’s of Rand’s & Asmodeans PoV:

[Aviendha] had been more than indignant at first, when he told her she could not go chasing Trollocs through the streets.( A ) In fact, he was not sure she would be down there now if not for a quiet escort of Maidens that Sulin did not think he had noticed.( B ) …Coatless, but wearing his hat against the sun, ( C ) Mat was sitting on the coping of the basin, talking to her. No doubt probing for what she knew of whether the Aiel were preventing people from leaving ( D )…

Enaila and Somara ( B ) did not appear impressed.

Rand let himself down by his fingertips. “Is there news from Bael?”

Enaila shrugged. “The hunt for Trollocs goes on.” By her tone, the diminutive woman would have liked to be part of that. ( A )

“Some of the city people give aid. Most hide. The city gates are held. None of the Shadowtwisted will escape, I think, but I fear some of the Nightrunners may.” ( D )…

“I suppose none of the servants have come back,” Rand sighed. “One of the cooks, maybe? A helper?” Enaila shook her head scornfully.( B )…

Tucking his harp under his arm, Asmodean drifted away from Mat and Aviendha. He enjoyed playing, but not for a pair who did not listen, much less appreciate. ( B ) He was not sure what had happened that morning ( C ), and not sure he wanted to be sure. Too many Aiel had expressed surprise at seeing him ( B ), had claimed they had seen him dead; he did not want details.

 

From the opening scene of the Chapter, it’s clear (let’s call it ‘obvious’) that;

( A ) There is still a battle ongoing in Caemlyn between Trollocs & Fades on one side and Aiel and some city people on the other side.

( B ) The Aiel control the Palace and the Palace entrance. It’s how Rand & the Maidens know none of the servants are in the palace and that none have come back. This is also why Mat, Avi & Asmo relax in one of the many courtyards.

They realize the palace is secured and guarded, regardless of the fact that there’s still fighting in the city. We readers know that they know there’s still fighting, because Aviendha wanted to be part of the fight.

( C ) It’s day-time, just hours after Rand initiated the attack that morning,

( D ) The Aiel control all the city-gates; New City & Inner City.

 

There’s one other point I’d like to make that we can’t directly find in the quotes above:

What we also know from several descriptions throughout the first five books that the Royal Palace is huge! And as if to drive that message home one last time, RJ gives us a detailed map of Caemlyn right before Rand makes him move into Caemlyn, a few pages before this very Chapter (TFoH hc page 642)!

I’ve taken the time to accurately measure the perimeter of the New City, the Inner City, the Palace Grounds and the Royal Palace itself (the buildings) by using AutoCAD and had AutoCAD calculate the areas of the different zones. The actual numbers of these areas don’t mean anything when looking at their absolute values, but the proportion between them is very accurate and tells us just how big the Palace is.

 

New City Wall: Area = 12302,

Inner City Wall: Area = 1745,

Palace Wall: Area = 585,

Palace: Area = 153.

 

What these values tell us is that the Palace Grounds cover well over one third of the Inner City. This means you could add just two palaces like the Royal Palace to fill up the whole Inner City. A total of seven Inner Cities fit inside the New City Walls. Meaning that if you’d add 20 palaces like the Royal Palace, you’d fill up all of Caemlyn that’s within the walls! Counting just the Palace buildings, you could add just 79 others to fill up all of Caemlyn!

 

Add to that, Nynaeve her thoughts right before Chapter 56, as if RJ wanted us to realize just one last time how big the Royal Palace is:

If Moghedien refused to walk, she (Nynaeve) would have to drag her. Not a very quick way to search, with what seemed miles of palace corridors yet to go.

What that means is that it’s next to impossible to be able to navigate through the Palace without knowing it well. It also means, that –regardless of how well you were to know it–, it’s absurd to just go wandering through the courtyards, hallways, corridors, library, whatnot to try and find a person who’s rumored to be inside the Palace somewhere.

 

So, what happens next in Rand’s scene…:

 

The man approaching up the long, red-and-white-tiled floor was certainly no Andorman,… He paused to make a leg and bow slightly, handling the curved sword at his hip gracefully despite the fact that incongruously he carried two silver goblets in one hand and a sealed pottery jar in the other.

 

“Forgive my intrusion,” he said, “but there was no one to announce me.”…

“I am Davram Bashere, Marshal-General of Saldaea. I am here to speak with the Lord Dragon, who rumors in the city say is here in the Royal Palace.

What!? How!? The very first thing Bashere says is actually one of the weirdest and most absurd things! He’s an intruder all right!

 

Let me state it plain and simple; no honest human being Rand knows can get close to the Car’a’carn, without the Maidens knowing –and allowing– it. Everyone has to pass the Maidens first. Certainly no stranger gets close to Rand without an escort as we see all throughout TFoH.. And most certainly not an armed stranger! And here we have a total stranger –to Rand and anyone in the palace & city–, who just strolled his way into the Royal Palace –a huge and complex building stretching miles of ground– and somehow ‘magically’ stumbled his way into the Grand Hall, without encountering anyone, magically finding the guy who was just ‘rumored’ to be in the Palace somewhere and who just picked that very room because it had a good view on one of the many courtyards?

That there was ‘no one to announce Bashere’ at the door to the Grand Hall is a laughable excuse!

 

Just because Enaila and Somara are in the Grand Hall with Rand doesn’t mean there’s not one single Aiel at the Inner City gates to accompany Bashere! Or several at the Palace entrance. Or even several in the corridors. Or several Maidens close to Rand, that are part of the ‘quiet escort’.

 

It’s just as absurd to think that a Great Captain would consider strolling through a part of the city with fighting in the streets between Aiel and Trollocs, carrying a jar of wine and glasses, through held (Inner City & Palace) gates, into a huge palace stretching miles of ground to find a guy who’s –rumored- to be there and actually stumbling in on the guy who chose the room just because he had a good view on one of the many courtyards!

 

Ever since the Maidens carry Rand’s honor (since Alcair Dal in TSR), there have been a ‘grand total’ (note the sarcasm please) of four instances where the Maidens guarding Rand weren’t aware someone got close to him.

Those instances are;

1. Isendre - TFoH Ch4 (Darkfriend, Gateway??)

2. Three Darkhounds - TFoH Ch6 (Shadowspawn in the night. Fact: Maiden guards at the door)

3. Lanfear - TFoH Ch6 (Forsaken by Gateway (note the importance, given the Chapter title))

4. Two Draghkar - TFoH Ch22 (Shadowspawn in middle of the night, flying and a decoy battle)

 

So that’s a Darkfriend under the weirdest of circumstances that reeks of a Gateway drop-off, a Forsaken using a Gateway and specialized Shadowspawn, twice under cover of night once even with a decoy-battle! And. that’s. it!

 

And here we are, deep in the Royal Palace in the middle of a sunny day, while there’s Aiel, ‘some city people’ and Trollocs still fighting in the streets of Caemlyn. With Maidens who carry Rand’s honor in the Palace that know the battle isn’t over yet and who’d all rather die then have the Car’a’carn get hurt. With the Aiel holding all the gates (New & Inner City), with indicated full control of the Palace and the surrounding grounds. How else do Enaila and Somara know there are no servants left and that none have returned to the Palace yet? Knowing that no Aiel would –ever- let a total stranger walk up to the Car’a’carn unescorted as seen in TSR & the rest of TFoH.

 

How did Bashere get passed the Maidens guarding Rand? And I don’t just mean Enaila and Somara. I mean the obligatory Maidens at the Palace entrance and the Maiden escort that always moves with and around Rand –at least a dozen, certainly since there are still Trollocs & Fades about- inside the Royal Palace.

Asmodean certainly met a few, who told him they were surprised to see him alive (see his PoV). And even Rand mentions the ‘quiet escort of Maidens’ he mistakenly thinks are for Aviendha (who would never join the fight, because she knows what Sulin said is right).

So exactly how did Bashere just stroll through the (New- & ) Inner city to the Palace and right to where Rand was, without encountering and having to explain his presence to atleast <i>one</i> Aiel?

 

The conclusion here is that noone in their right mind, and most certainly not a Great Captain, would just go strolling through a city with 10 men– incongruously (understatement) carrying a pottery jar of wine & glasses- where a battle was still being fought in the off-chance of meeting the attacker’s leader (Rand) during said battle, merely based on ’rumors in the city’. It’s absurd.

 

And even if we suppose for a minute it’s not absurd, it’s totally unbelievable said person would;

A: actually find Rand! (The Royal Palace is huge and Bashere is a stranger).

B: find Rand without encountering any Aiel to escort him!

 

The oddness doesn’t stop there.

The very fact that Bashere is in Andor is weird by itself! As pointed out much earlier that, given his past, his duty and his abilities and knowledge as a Great Captain, it would make sense if he’d have protected Saldaea in the south-east of Saldaea against Taim’s return, given the precarious situation of Tenobia and Saldaea. What General in his right mind would take an army that far south, with the chance of conflict with other nations, with the danger of the Blight on the doorstep of his own estates and that of his niece the Queen?

 

Only moments later we find out that he forsakes his duties to his niece and his country to Defend the Heartland, to Guard the Blightborder –totally- just to stay close to the Dragon Reborn! No other noble up to that point in the whole series has done that or even wants to be close to Rand in the first place. And as Bashere himself duly notes; “the Shadow waits in the Blight” and that offering his services and that of his army is not his call to make! Again, this is very strange behavior.

 

And to cap it all, at the end of the scene we find out that Lord Bashere brought an army of “nine thousand Saldaean horse”. This is seriously disturbing, given the mission of that army. No Aes Sedai. No archers. Cavalry? Seriously? A Great Captain? To hunt a male channeler? Laughable, given what we have found out in sections 3.2. & 3.3 about how we see male channelers being hunted, feared and the thoughts of other Great Captains about the subject. There’s nothing in that “army” that can actually take out a male channeler from a distance or sneak up on him.

Sending nine thousand cavalry to capture or kill a male channeler is like putting nine thousand soldiers and horses in a meat-grinder.

 

What we find out in Chapter 56 about the things Bashere has done, does and tells Rand combined with the facts we’ve been given throughout the books about Aiel & Maiden behavior, about Great Captain behavior and about how to deal with rampant male channelers just don’t add up.

So what’s really going on then…?

 

 

5: Adding One & One Together; Hello Killer!

 

 

 

Given the fact that only Darkfriends and Shadowspawn managed to get close to Rand since the Maidens carried his honor is a clue about Bashere’s true allegiance in and by itself. In addition, we know that Lanfear used a Gateway to surprise Rand several times without the Maidens knowing. And the scene where Isendre enters Rand’s room on the third floor of the Rhuidean Roof of the Maidens (loaded with Maidens that Rand has to answer every step of the way) next-to-naked carrying silver tray with a blown-glass flagon of wine without Maidens knowing it, just reeks of Gateway usage too.

 

So to me, Bashere somehow finding Rand in a huge complex building –without Maiden escort–, while there’s still a war going on in the city somehow carrying a jar of wine and glasses also has GATEWAY written all over it.

 

Given all the previous knowledge Bashere reminds me of a mix between Jaichim Carridin and Ingtar Shinowa. A Lord and military leader who has to forsake his own duties because of the other oaths he swore.

He’s been ordered to take an army south-east because of these newer and stronger oaths and so he must obey them. After Rand decided to attack Rahvin, Bashere was hastily given new orders and -since Bashere managed to evade all Maidens & other Aiel and somehow still ends up meeting Rand- was dropped off very close to Rand in the Royal Palace by a Gateway.

 

Now let’s add up one and one: by realizing who dropped of Bashere near Rand, we find who killed Asmodean. Let’s check out Asmodean’s PoV step-by-step right before he bites the dust....

 

 

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I deliberately stopped that old theory here, because this thread is about Bashere and not about Asmo's killer. If you want to read the rest of that theory I suggest you check out the link 2 posts up.

 

One more thing I'd like to add about Bashere is the first time he and "Taim" meet in the Royal Palace (@start of the LoC):

Again, this is just copy/pasting of an old post;

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Let me start by saying that I think the Taim we see in the books is actually Ishamael Transmigrated, with Taim's body "freed" in "The Shadow Rising" (the Shadow Rose allright).

Shai'tan Distilled (think Fain) Taim's mind and Transmigrated Ishy into Taim;s body in that same chapter (Deceptions) and used so much of His Power the Blight retreated for two miles all along it's border.

 

I think there's a good chance that "Taim" actually started conspiring (of a sorts) with Bashere the first moment he meets with Rand and Bashere in the Royal Palace of Caemlyn.

In that first meeting he makes it clear to Bashere he full-well knows that Bashere is a Darkfriend and from the Distilled memories of the original Taim he recalls a meeting during their battle:

 

What does everyone not know, that you and Mazrim Taim will?” Focused on Bashere, he seemed unaware of his guards, or their swords still hovering near his ribs. “I hear you hid what happened to Musar and Hachari and their wives.” The mockery was gone; he was just relating what had happened, now. “They shouldn’t have tried to kill me under a parley flag. I trust you found them good places as servants? All they’ll really want to do now is serve and obey; they won’t be happy otherwise. I could have killed them. They all four drew daggers.”

 

“Taim,” Bashere growled, hand darting for his hilt, “you . . . !” Rand stepped in front of him, seizing his wrist with the blade half-drawn.

 

"Taim" (Moridin actually, totally at ease) just told us that Bashere tried to kill under parley flag and hid it. Nasty, that. On top of that he mentions in between the lines how all Friends of the Dark are to act; they are servants, who do one thing only; they serve and obey. The mantra of Shai'tan.

 

What does 'everyone not know, that you and I know', Bashere? You and I know you bend knee to the Great Lord of the Dark.

It scares the beejeesus out of Bashere who draws his sword in reflex.

 

 

Sorry for just copy/ pasting most of some old posts, but you could say I'm tightly bound by Time.

Cheers,

Mik :myrddraal:

Edited by Mik

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2) The WO dreams, recounted by Egwene to Rand:

"Melaine and Amys dreamed of a man standing by your side with a dagger to your throat, but you did not see him. "

 

This, of course, could apply to anyone closely associated with Rand. Including Taim himself, except that he is not in Rand's immediate vicinity much these days.

Actually, this is the grayman that Rand trapped in air and Taim sent fire through.

Really? I always though tit was Corlan Dashiva/Osangar/Aginor

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Since Rand post-Veins of Gold and Bashere have been in the same room with each other, and Rand hasn't called him out on his darkfriendliness, that kind of puts to bed the theory that Bashere's a darkfriend. Even if Rand had some ulterior motive in keeping a darkfriend or Bashere specifically around, Bashere's witnessed Rand calling out darkfriends and having supernatural effects on them just through being around them, and if he were a darkfriend, he'd be crazy to stick around. Further, Bashere was present when Rand went all super-channeler at Maradon, which also had the effect of Torkumen gouging his eyes out and his wife jumping to her death during the episode. The passages don't read as if Rand intended this effect on nearby darkfriends, but that it was a secondary effect of his righteous anger. If Bashere were a darkfriend, and Rand didn't intend to affect Torkumen and his wife that way, why wouldn't Bashere have been affected in a similar manner?

 

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best. Bashere's a Borderlander and a Saldean, and those guys are just strange and nutty. Now, Deira might be a darkfriend, I don't think we've seen her with Rand post-VOG, and that would be interesting, but Davram's almost certainly not.

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Since Rand post-Veins of Gold and Bashere have been in the same room with each other, and Rand hasn't called him out on his darkfriendliness, that kind of puts to bed the theory that Bashere's a darkfriend. Even if Rand had some ulterior motive in keeping a darkfriend or Bashere specifically around, Bashere's witnessed Rand calling out darkfriends and having supernatural effects on them just through being around them, and if he were a darkfriend, he'd be crazy to stick around. Further, Bashere was present when Rand went all super-channeler at Maradon, which also had the effect of Torkumen gouging his eyes out and his wife jumping to her death during the episode. The passages don't read as if Rand intended this effect on nearby darkfriends, but that it was a secondary effect of his righteous anger. If Bashere were a darkfriend, and Rand didn't intend to affect Torkumen and his wife that way, why wouldn't Bashere have been affected in a similar manner?

 

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best. Bashere's a Borderlander and a Saldean, and those guys are just strange and nutty. Now, Deira might be a darkfriend, I don't think we've seen her with Rand post-VOG, and that would be interesting, but Davram's almost certainly not.

Agree with the exception of one point. Bashere was not in the courtyard in Tear when Rand lined up the High Lords.

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Some time ago I put together some thoughts about Bashere. There follows a combination of three posts I made; hope they're not too confusing!

 

 

Why do I think Bashere might be a DF? There are a number of pointers, especially if - as seems likely - Taim is a DF:

 

1) Firstly, there's Min's Viewing of DB:

 

"And there's something...dark...in the images I saw around Lord Davram." CoT Ch24.

 

2) The WO dreams, recounted by Egwene to Rand:

 

"Melaine and Amys dreamed of a man standing by your side with a dagger to your throat, but you did not see him. "

 

This, of course, could apply to anyone closely associated with Rand. Including Taim himself, except that he is not in Rand's immediate vicinity much these days.

 

3) The incident where Bashere claims not to recognise Taim, and Taim says it's because he shaved off his beard, seems very unlikely, to me. As I've said earlier, you can usually recognise someone by his eyes - and his gait.

 

4) A shared attitude to saidin, considering weapons pointless to a channeller. See Bashere in LoC Ch1, when he throws a dagger at Rand, who stops it with saidin, and DB says 'see? you don't need to learn the sword.' See also Taim in LoC tells Rand he sent the Master of the Sword away because he thinks swords are a waste of time, and Rand orders him to bring the man back and resume training.

 

5) The note Bashere says was found in the thieves' pockets after the attempted theft from his tent. As I mentioned earlier, in CoT Ch24, Bashere tells Rand about the attack. He says that one of the thieves was 'carrying a note I could swear I wrote myself if I didn't know better. An order to carry away 'certain items'.' That could be a piece of misdirection; perhaps he did write it himself, and is anticipating anyone identifying it as being in his hand.

 

None of these is anywhere near strong enough to be called evidence, not even Min's viewing. However, taken as a group, they were enough to make me keep a very close eye on DB.

 

 

 

Later, I added this:

 

CoT Prologue: Deira tells Bashere that she surprised two men ransacking their tent and fought them off, receiving a knife wound in the process, for which she is being treated while they talk (ie listeners present). The two thieves were later found dead, killed almost professionally, so they cannot be made to talk.

 

Then, later in Ch24, Bashere tells Rand about the attack. Now here's an interesting bit.. Bashere says that one of the thieves was 'carrying a note I could swear I wrote myself if I didn't know better. An order to carry away 'certain items'.' That note wasn't mentioned earlier AFAIK.. if there was one, perhaps Bashere did write it!

 

 

And this:

 

I've had a read through both DB's PoVs in tPoD and CoT, and they are as ambiguous as Min's viewing suggests.

 

tPoD Ch23/24:

 

Bashere tried to dissuade Rand from pressing the attack to Ebou Dar at the end of Ch23. The attack goes ahead. DB speaks angrily with Rochaid, apparently for being slow to attack damane, but then he would - he's losing soldiers. He muses to himself that 'today had been costly' and the comment about not wanting 'that sort of man wqndering about loose' may mean channellers, or deserters/potential renegades.

 

The Forsaken aren't exactly bosom pals, and neither would DFs be, I think!

 

CoT prologue:

 

DB is musing about Tenobia wanting his head for 'treason twice over' and calling it a 'neat and thorny problem'. He doesn't seem unduly worried. Odd, that - she's his niece FHS!

 

When he realises his tent has been attacked, he runs there. Seeing his wife, he notes that 'he knew she would die one day - they both would'. They joke with each other about the poor standard of servants they have. Bashere leaves the tent while Deira is being stitched, and muses that he 'had been expecting this, or something like this, for a long time'.

 

No doubt this would be because he's expecting an attempt to steal the seal - though why, when surely no-one knows he has it - but is this because he has given orders for it to be stolen, to remove it from Rand, or to bolster his own credibility?

 

The thieves are found, having been killed by a stab to the back of the head with a narrow blade. I don't think DB had time to do that himself, FWIW - if he was responsible, it's quite likely that he had a third man out there to do the job. He's certainly ready to kill the thieves - 'murder on his face' - but then he would be, whether for attacking his wife or to make sure they're silenced. Or, possibly, both.

 

It's interesting that that was described as murder 'on his face' rather than 'in his heart'.

 

His closing remark is curious. He whispers to Tumad (one of Taim's guards in LoC Ch2) to find 'the man who came to him yesterday', to tell him DB agreed, but 'there will be a few more than we talked about'.

 

In both tPoD and CoT, all very ambiguous.. but then it would be, wouldn't it?

 

One way or another though, it seems we will lose Bashere (see Min's Viewing of Perrin and the broken crown); but whether that is for or against the Light remains to be seen.

 

 

BTW, I've just done a search on Bashere, and the possibility of his being a DF has been suggested by others more than a few times. So has the possibility of fake seals.

 

The man with the dagger could easily be Taim, Rand refused to listen to warnings that he was a darkfriend because he thought he needed him to train the Asha'man.

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I agree that Rand's channeling was something exceptional at Maradon, I put this down to his full knowledge of Lews Therin's memories, thus he is much more deft and amazing with his weaving.

 

I think that the comparison between the Manor and Maradon was the numbers and brute strength that Rand displayed. He probably killed a similar amount of Shadowspawn.

 

I think it is a case of finesse really.

 

At the Manor he bludgeoned them with a large blunt log.

 

At Maradon he struck them down with precise razor sharp blades of grass.

 

The latter is much more impressive, even if the same results are achieved with both.

 

I have a side question (if it's been discussed before if someone could direct me to the thread, I've only really looked at maybe 10 pages of the thread titles). Rand has fought against SS in ridiculous numbers three times that I can think of (please correct me if I'm wrong), at Tarwins Gap, at the Manor and Maradon. At Tarwins Gap and Maradon both, there were (not sure of the words here) shall we say, warning signs. At Tarwins Gap a LOUD VOICE said something like IT IS NOT HERE the meaning of which and the source of the voice both seem open to interpretation. At Maradon Rand says it came close to a confrontation between him and the DO, and he can't do it again. To me there seem to be some similarities. At the Manor, he wields incredible amounts of Power and yet there seem to be few consequences on the same scale. I can think of three possible reasons...

  • The Manor actually had the same ourtcomes but Rand didn't care - not convinved by this, he was on his descent spiral, but not at the stage that the end of the world seemed like a good idea, even if he didn't care about his own life.
  • Location, Maradon and Tarwins Gap are both on the blight, closer to the DOs centre.
  • (Hardest to articulate) To do with Rands state. At Tarwins Gap and Maradon, he's firmly on the side of the light, maybe it shakes the world a little for someone whose meant to be on the side of the Light to use that much destructive energy? At the Manor he wasn't exactly squeaky clean, so maybe it didn't have the same effect.

I think the location is the easiest to explain, and my preferred option, but I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts?

 

Towers of Midnight, Chapter 13, page 198

 

"I want you to deliver a message for me" Rand said. "To others of your... association. Tell them that they cannot hide among my allies any longer."

 

....

 

"The time for hiding is past, Min. The Shadow made its play for me and lost. It is war, not subterfuge, that turns days now."

 

That pretty soundly crushes the theory that any of Rands' close associates are able to be Darkfriends. Even claiming Rand has to look into someones eyes to tell which of the High Lords and Ladys of Tear were Darkfriends doesn't much matter. Since he only had those Lords and such line up because without doing so he would have probably never even been within a hundred paces of them. But the implication is that not only would Rand immediately be able to tell if any of his close-counsel were Darkfriends but that in the days and weeks following, he can very easily root out any Darkfriends just by looking.

 

Even trying to mince words and nitpick specific phrases to distort Basheres' meanings doesn't do much, because obviously Bashere and Rand speak to each other on a regular basis, and by that point in the book it has been clearly established multiple times that Darkfriends cannot hide from Rand. As early as the prologue ,ToM mentions the aura of light that appears to surround Rand and the other ta'veren, and book states on multiple occasions this light is almost blinding. You may as well be arguing that Galad is a darkfriend for being blinded by the light that surrounds Perrin when he's fighting trollocs. Or the apple farmer from the prologue is for being blinded by Rand. Noticing the light radiating from one of the ta'veren isn't nearly the same thing as the light destroying or harming Darkfriends as ToM clearly mentions.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if a betrayal or twist happens sometime in the last book, but it's safe to say that if it does happen it won't be because some minor character had been masquerading as an ally and been fooling Rand for the past half dozen books. ToM firmly sets the precedent darkfriends can't hide from Rand any longer.

 

Although I agree that it's unlikely DF could hide amongst his allies anymore, all that quote (in bold) means is that Rand believes it. That doesn't make it true. I'd say the second part (bolded) rules out any chance of Rand thinking he's a DF and keeping him close, that would be far to much like subterfuge.

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Yes, Brandon has intentionally kept us out of Rand's head in ToM, so we don't really have a lot of info about his new zen state and its effects (except that we've seen him repel -- and even undo -- decay by his mere presence, expose DF under certain conditions, recall seemingly everything he desires from LTT's life, etc.).

 

Dagon Thyne, that's really interesting, and I agree that there's something about Rand channeling in the Blight (whether or not the amounts or purpose are relevant) that approaches a direct confrontation with the DO.

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Meant to say, Mik that's a great post!

*bows*

I live but to Serve.....and Obey the Shadow within..... :myrddraal:

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Hi Mik!

 

Great post, and a lot of stuff I just missed but are definitely worth a headslap. Especially the wine.. and Asmo looking for the pantry..

 

Care to fly the Golden Crane with me? See sig!

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Hi Mik!

 

Great post,...

*Mik bows low while mumbling something about merely serving and obeying*

 

..and a lot of stuff I just missed but are definitely worth a headslap.

Hehe. well, to me Bashere has Darkfriend written all over him from the moment we first see him as I explained above.

And it's not just in Bashere's actions -the part that I focused on in the Asmo theory-, but also in how he is depicted by RJ in just that first scene.

 

I think RJ has worded some little things just so, that in hindsight, people are going to slap their forehead much like people did when they found out about Ingtar..

For instance, Bashere's description with references like 'a hooked beak of a nose' and a mustache described as 'down-curved horns' that hints of RJ tying a string to Bashere and Trollocs.

The same was done with Ingtar, when Perrin notes that 'the crescent crest on the Shienaran's helmet looked like a Trolloc's horns', although with Bashere it is done with a little more care, because -well- because Ingtar went before him.

 

Certainly with all the stuff in my earlier posts, this strengthens my belief that Ingtar served as 'little Bashere' in the earlier books, much like how a lot that happens during the first two to three books were smaller events foreshadowing bigger versions of similar events later in the books.

I hope to read in AMoL, that Bashere will be exposed a Friend of the Dark, that -much like Ingtar- decided to chose the Shadow -and thinking thereby he could preserve what he fought for- for all the right reasons.

 

I'm hoping to read that Bashere will be the Broken Wolf that -like Ingtar- 'death has known' (and that it was Death -Moridin- that dropped Bashere of in the Royal Palace, due to Graendal's plans failing that were described as "a framework of incompetence"...)

 

Especially the wine.. and Asmo looking for the pantry..

I don't try to tie Bashere to Asmo through the wine, actually, because it's such a slippery slope to argue about. I think there are much better arguments to be made that are directly related to what Bashere's said and did.

 

But, what's so funny about the wine is this;

 

Bashere carries a 'sealed pottery jar' and RJ describes opening it by writing that Bashere 'breaks the seal'. Now it's not uncommon per sé to carry wine in a pottery jar, but I think it's more then a funny "coincidence" that Pandora's "Box" in the ancient Greek mythology was described as a large jar, that -like Pandora herself- was most likely made of clay by the Gods, to seal away all evils.

Bashere 'breaks' the seal and offers Rand dark red wine, much like Ishamael has been doing a few times when he tried to tempt or pressure Rand into Shai'tan tying a string to him.

Don't just take my word for it:

The mistranslation of pithos, a large [clay/ pottery] storage jar, as "box"[43] is usually attributed to the sixteenth century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam when he translated Hesiod's tale of Pandora into Latin. Hesiod's pithos refers to a large storage jar, often half-buried in the ground, used for wine, oil or grain..[44]

[43]: The development of this transformation was sketched by Jane Ellen Harrison, "Pandora's Box" The Journal of Hellenic Studies 20 (1900: 99–114); she traced the mistranslation as far as Lilius Giraldus of Ferrara, in his Historiarum Deorum Syntagma (1580), in which pithos was rendered pyxide, and she linked the pithos with the Pithoigia aspect of the Athenian festival of Anthesteria.

[44]: Cf. Verdenius, p. 64.

To me, it's just -so- "RJ".

I realise that those little things -just in and by themselves- could mean absolutely nothing, but when viewed together, I feel it's obvious RJ hid that Bashere is a Darkfriend in plain sight. It's just that.. well.. not many people see it the way I do. (understatement)

 

Care to fly the Golden Crane with me? See sig!

*points down*

I added my own little twist, I think would make you giggle.

Edited by Mik

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Oh it did, it did.. :biggrin:

 

That's really neat about the wine.. dark red, indeed.. and him breaking the seal. Now let me see. What other seals have been breaking lately......?

Edited by FarShainMael

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