Hello again. Welcome to another edition of "WoT If?". This week's topic might be a bit out there, but bear with me. I'll explain the method to my madness.
So, the timeline of The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight is a little difficult to get a handle on. Luckily, there are excellent online resources that figure out the timeline of the whole series. On Theoryland.com, I found a tentative timeline for Towers of Midnight by the user morat'corlm. This helps explain where everyone is during each scene along the main timeline.
According to morat'corlm's research, there is a nine day gap between Androl pleading with Pevara for help (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 56, "Something Wrong") and Mat preparing to leave for the Tower of Ghenjei (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 52, "Boots").
This gap seems plausible for the battle for the Black Tower. After Androl asks Pevara for assistance, I don't think they'll just wait around day after day. Pevara is the type to act. When she listens to Androl, I think she and the unturned Aes Sedai and Asha'man will begin their escape or attack (since the dreamspike only negates Traveling/Skimming weaves) the next day. Also, Myrelle's group of Salidar Aes Sedai is still camped outside the Black Tower, as far as we know. Once attack channeling begins inside the grounds, I'm sure they will come and help fight.
Here's a note on the dreamspike. Mesaana thinks to herself:
Towers of Midnight
Chapter 37, "Darkness in the Tower"
…it stopped all forms of Traveling in or out of the area except for those allowed.
What exactly does "except for those allowed" mean? Is the one who activates the dreamspike able to pick and choose who can enter the area? When Graendal activates hers against Perrin, is she still able to Travel into the area? I would assume so, based on Mesaana's statement. But what if the dreamspike's maker, or original user, is currently reborn and in the Black Tower? Would they still have access to Traveling within the area? I think it's possible. My first thought would also be that Androl has some connection to the dreamspike, since he's so skilled with Gateways. But we've already been shown that even his Gateways don't work. However, there could be another person there who is "allowed", even if by accident, to use Traveling within the dreamspike's perimeter.
What does all of this have to do with saving Caemlyn? Well, after the nine day gap, there's still another eight days or so before Caemlyn begins to burn. That's plenty of time for the surviving Asha'man to come to the aid of the city.
There's been a lead up to a fight between the Light and Shadow factions within the Black Tower for at least the past three books. Logain, most assume, will lead the Light side, with Taim leading the Shadow. However, there aren't too many Light characters still at the Black Tower since Logain says:
Chapter 18, "News for the Dragon"
"More than half the Black Tower is in Arad Doman and Illian. I sent all the men with bonded Aes Sedai except those here, as you ordered."
And a little later in the same chapter, Logain talks of Taim's "cronies":
"There are forty-one of those now, by the way. He's given over a dozen men the Dragon pin in the past few days, and he has above fifty more in his 'special' classes, most of them just recruited lately. He's planning something, and I doubt you'll like it."
"But he's made a Tower of his own hidden inside the Black Tower, and the men in it are loyal to him, not you."
This information isn't surprising. We've known for a long time that Taim is up to no good. So, with most of the men at the Black Tower loyal to Taim, not Rand—or even Logain—those Asha'man and Aes Sedai trapped inside are in pretty rough shape.
During that same scene, Rand admits he doesn't have time to deal with Taim at the moment, and Verin says:
"Taim very likely will have to wait on the Last Battle, whatever he's about."
Knowing what we know about Verin and her inability to divulge plots within the Shadow, I think we can assume the opposite is true. That is, Taim will have to act before the Last Battle, so the Asha'man can't help the Light. The Asha'man and Aes Seadi are prisoners in the Black Tower, trapped there by the dreamspike, being picked off one by one and turned to the Shadow by the 13x13 method.
During Towers of Midnight, Rand realizes he can't Travel to the Black Tower, so the dreamspike is still active. This is the day before he wants to go to Merrilor, the same day Olver opens Verin's letter.
Here's the quote:
Towers of Midnight
Chapter 51, "A Testing"
"I have been unable to Travel there [black Tower]," Rand said. "That implies great trouble, worse than I had feared. Use this weave. It can disguise you. Travel to a place a day's ride outside, and ride in, hiding yourself. See what you can discover. Help if you can, and when you find Logain and those loyal to him, deliver him a message for me."
However, we don't know why the dreamspike is still active. Perhaps it's being used by the survivors to make a place of safety for their wives and families. I don't think it necessarily implies that there's still trouble going on there. This quote also implies that Logain is already at the Black Tower. The last we actually saw of him was during the prologue of The Gathering Storm.
Mezar Kurin seems to be another 13x13 turned Asha'man. When Logain's Asha'man talk about Mezar, they say his memories are still present, but something is wrong with his manner, with his eyes, with his smile. This is the same way Bashere responds to Taim in Lord of Chaos, Chapter 2, "The New Arrival". Mezar sends along a message from Logain, but is it true or not?
Towers of Midnight
Chapter 56, "Something Wrong"
When Mezar had returned a few days back—explaining that Logain was well and that all would soon be resolved with Taim—Androl had begun to hope that there was a way out of this mess. But something had seemed off about the man. … And now Mezar—once fiercely loyal to Logain—was spending his time with Coteren and Taim's other lackeys.
Was Mezar turned before his return to the Black Tower or after his arrival? If before, perhaps more of Logain's or Rand's loyal Asha'man were turned, even those sent to Illian or Arad Doman. Either way, I'm sure they have all of Mezar's information about Rand and Logain's current whereabouts and some of their plans.
Since Logain disappeared from Rand's group, where is he, if not at the Black Tower? Perhaps he's doing a little recruiting of his own, to bolster his group before rushing in to take on Taim.
Perrin lends Grady's Gateway abilities to Mat so he can get to the Tower of Ghenjei and back (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 53, "Gateways"). Mat will have at least one Asha'man to help battle the Shadowspawn and Darkfriends destroying Caemlyn. Since I predict the drama at the Black Tower will be finished, Grady can summon the survivors to come help. They have been inspected by Elayne and her guards, and have been made to know that they are on Andoran soil. I think they will feel a debt to help protect the capital.
I'll stop there; we'll save the details of the battles for another time. Please join us next week for the first half of a two week special on the Eye of the World.