Monday, July 30, 2001

Shelter From The Shadow

by Linda

The ter’angreal, the gizmos of the Power, have some very interesting and useful functions. The blunt dagger ter’angreal found in the Ebou Dar cache is a good case in point.

It is a small dagger with gold wire wrapped around a hilt of rough deerhorn, and a wide, unsharpened blade. Aviendha says of it:

"I think that if you have this in your possession, the Shadow cannot see you. Not the Eyeless or the Shadowtwisted, maybe not even Leafblighter…This knife makes a kind of warding.

- Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill

She thinks that if you have the ter’angreal in your possession, the Shadow, including Shadowspawn and possibly even the Dark One, cannot see you due to the warding it makes. No channelling is required.

It struck me that the best use for this ter'angreal would be for Rand to carry to Shayol Ghul when he goes to confront the Dark One. Essential even. If Aviendha is right, and the warding is as strong as she thinks, the Dark One won't sense Rand's approach. The advantage with the dagger is that Rand doesn't have to channel or fiddle around with masking his ability and preparing inverted weaves and the like. Instead, he can concentrate on his target and what he has to do.

True, when Lews Therin went to the Pit of Doom in the Age of Legends he got in, sealed the Bore and got out again alive, albeit at considerable cost, but Lews Therin and the Companions caught the Shadow by surprise. The Shadow won’t let that happen again.

This ter'angreal alone would explain the Aiel Dreamwalkers' dream that with the Bowl of Winds is a treasure perhaps as great as the Bowl (Lord of Chaos, Matters of Toh). Yet from among the items found with the Bowl, Aviendha has also identified a white bowl ter’angreal that enables someone to look at things far away, and several ter’angreal (jewellery and figurines) which are long distance communications devices (Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill) all of which would be useful for organising and coordinating the Last Battle. No wonder the Dreamwalkers were keen that those allied to the Light find the Bowl, and the treasure, the cache, with it.

As for the blunt dagger, Aviendha thinks only of protecting Elayne from the Shadow, but it is Rand who will need it more than anyone, since he is going to Shayol Ghul itself. It is because Rand's lovers and friends don’t want certain events to happen that they have blinded themselves to what they could and should be doing – planning how to maximise his chances of success. Rand should take the dagger with him to hide from the Shadow.


Mat said...

I disagree with the statement that there isn't a reason for Elayne to have the blunt dagger. I think Rand will get the dagger when the time for the Last Battle comes, but for the time being I believe it is better to stay with Elayne. It is my personal opinion that she will go on a routine visit to the Black Tower, and realize that Taim and his "special" students cannot see her. She will realize what this means, and that will cause the chain of events that lead Logain to take over the BT and get his glory.

Dominic said...

I do agree with you Mat that it's quite possible the blunt dagger could be useful to Elayne.

I am going to RAFO on this one, as I see possible plot reasons for both Rand and Elayne to use the dagger, and it's so blatantly obvious Rand could use this at SG that I'm not convinced, one way or another, if this is or not a red herring.

One problem is that Rand is ta'veren and even if he is 'unseen', the effects of the Pattern tightening around him would very likely still be perceivable at SG. Yet another problem is that Rand would have to go to Shayol Ghul by himself. The blunt dagger would be fairly useless if the Shadow is forewarned of Rand's presence because he has an army behind him.

I think I totally disagree with your implications about Taim, however. I think this is stretching the features of the blunt dagger. Aviendha said it made you invisible to Myrddraal (Eyeless), Trollocs (Shadowtwisted) and quite possibly Shai'tan himself. I see nothing there to suggest the blunt dagger makes you invisible to Darkfriends and even the Forsaken (which again could further the usefulness of the blunt dagger to Rand). My feeling is that the dagger would be useful against Shaidar Haran and possibly Moridin, because of his True Power addiction. It would be... interesting, as while Rand has it, it might break the connection between him and Moridin. If it actually hide Rand's location in the Pattern from Moridin, he would have to rely on... Cyndane... who has the same skills to locate ta'veren, but whom he can't trust.

I see several other possibilities: If Rand were to have to pass for dead or be totally incapacitated at some point (and thus very vulnerable), before the confrontation at SG, the blunt dagger could be left with him to hide him from Shai'tan and the Shadowspawn. It would be most useful, however, if once the world is 'As One', Rand suddenly stops being ta'veren. I could really see Jordan go this way, because as the LB arrives, the main characters would stop being pulled and pushed and it would now be up to them (and everyone else) to decide completely freely to do what has to be done or not.

And I can't help but think how vulnerable Elayne will soon be. Barely able to channel (and it will get worse as her pregnancy advances), she has much fewer channellers with her now. If she were to lose Birgitte too... All the signs were given to us that Moridin knows very well Elayne is bearing Rand's child(ren)and we know he is scheming all around her - just as he knows first hand how vulnerable the Dragon Soul is to attacks against his soulmate/lover. Ilyena's death has done what the War of Shadow, what the Sealing had not done: it broke the Dragon and lead him to suicide. So the blunt dagger could be most useful to Elayne, and by extension most useful to Rand since if the Shadow killed or captured Elayne, the world would be a giant step closer to its doom.

So... I am personally undecided about the dagger. The fact Jordan placed it with Elayne could very well suggest it's not her who will use it in the end... or that's it's for her and not for Rand. RAFO on this one for me.

Dustin said...

From the time I first read of Aviendha leaving the dagger with Elayne, I thought she would make copies (like the dream ter'angreal), thus providing protection to the forces of Light. The problem with this is that she can't make enough for everyone even if she gets help so only a select few would receive any.

However, I think that there is another purpose in leaving it with Elayne. Elayne has been able to study ter'angreal, figure out how they work, and modify them (E.g. the a'dam). I think that Elayne will study the dagger (despite her pregnancy) and work out how to make it work over a larger area, or even how to weave the one power to reproduce the result without the dagger.

Linda said...

Matt: I didn't make a statement that there isn't a reason for Elayne to have the dagger. I said that Rand has a greater need for it when the time comes.

Logain knows better than anyone that Taim and his cronies are DFs and will be pushed to do something about it. Hence the personal glory he is destined for.

Yep Dom, Elayne's pregnancy will play a big part, linking her to the 'pregnant woman' of Revelation that the dragon chases after.

Your idea, Dustin, is a good one if Elayne could channel enough to make anything. She has a hard enough time now making simple weaves at times and as her pregnancy progresses (she's only in the first trimester) her channelling skills will get worse.

Anonymous said...

I like this idea Linda never really thought about it before, I know there is a lot of talk about how something will happen just prior to the last battle and Rand will become the "fisher" character and this would actually be a perfect way to stay under the radar.Normal people/characters wont recognise him as a beggar and the forces of the Dark one will think he is gone.Wonder though if it will hide him from fain or might that be an integral part to it