WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR A MEMORY OF LIGHT
By Linda and Amirebram
This article looks at all the military forces on the mainland up to and during the Last Battle. There were five great generals with the Light’s armies: Agelmar Jagad, Davram Bashere, Gareth Bryne, Mat Cauthon, and Rodel Ituralde. Demandred was the general for the Shadow.
Many of the armies had been uselessly locked in combat with each other, rather than uniting against the Shadow. This is no doubt a result of the Shadow’s tactics. This is why Rand summoned the leaders to the Field of Merrilor and insisted that they must unite. The Seanchan was the only group not to meet with Rand at Merrilor. They were openly antagonistic to the Light’s other forces until A Memory of Light, Older, More Weathered, and even after signing Rand’s peace treaty, Fortuona considered not honouring it.
Rand’s treaty locks the borders of the nations to their current positions and forbids country from attacking country. It requires the opening of a great school in each capital—fully funded and with doors open to any who wish to learn. If a nation is attacked, the other nations are obliged to defend the country attacked. There are to be tariff restrictions to prevent the strangling of economies, barriers on marriage between rulers of nations unless the two lines of rule are clearly divided, and provisions for stripping the land from a lord who starts a conflict (A Memory of Light, to Require A Boon). The peace treaty was void unless the Seanchan signed. All Aiel except the Shaido are to be:
enforcers of the peace and mediators of disputes between nations. Any nation may call upon them if they feel abused, and the Aiel—not enemy armies—will provide redress. They can hunt criminals across national borders. They are to be subject to the laws of the nations in which they reside at the time, but they are not subjects of that nation. The Aiel can call upon other nations to aid them in their enforcement if they decide that their own numbers will not be enough. Give formal methods by which nations can petition the Aiel for redress or for permission to attack a foe.Egwene was to break the Seals at the right moment and Elayne to have overall command of the armies, guided by the Great Captains.
A Memory of Light, A Knack
Rand’s armies are described in alphabetical order, then the Seanchan and final the Shadow.
Aes Sedai Armies
Tar Valon’s original military force is the Tower Guard, and it is led by High Captain Jimar Chubain. Elaida ordered their number to be raised to fifty thousand during A Crown Of Swords, and men were going into the city via ships to join the army during Crossroads Of Twilight, but their eventual number can only be guessed at. Gareth Bryne estimated that the Tower Guard lost hundreds in the Seanchan raid, but not thousands (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands). The Tower Guards have organized ranks and are led according to standard military methods; their captains are chosen according to experience and knowledge rather than aristocratic rank.
The rebel Aes Sedai’s Army led by Gareth Bryne, former Captain General of the Andor’s Queen’s Guards, was fifty thousand strong in Towers of Midnight, The Amyrlin’s Anger, and included a variety of soldiers, from Shienarin-style heavy cavalry to light cavalry (The Path Of Daggers, Out on the Ice) and infantry. It was combined with the Tower Guard at the beginning of Towers of Midnight and Bryne was appointed field commander of the Aes Sedai armies. Gawyn Trakand’s Younglings either became Warders or joined the Tower Guard (Towers of Midnight, The End of a Legend) and Gawyn himself married Egwene and was her Warder.
Allowing for losses to the Seanchan and the purging of the Black Ajah, there were over 400 Aes Sedai in the re-united White Tower at the start of A Memory of Light, more if those sisters who kept apart during the division returned. Some sisters remained with Rand, the Asha’man or Cadsuane, others joined the Dragonsworn. There are also an unknown number of Accepted and well over one thousand novices, some of whom are quite strong and not bound by the Three Oaths.
Egwene united those rulers who were against Rand breaking the Seals, so that, as Faile observed, he only had to persuade her to drop her objections for all opposition to die away. It was Moiraine who convinced Egwene to agree, and she did this by quoting the Karaethon Cycle, as Egwene did to Elaida, and then getting Rand to give the Seals to Egwene for her to break at the right time, and to cede overall command of the armies to Elayne.
The Aes Sedai fought in Kandor and then on the Polov Heights against the Sharan and Shadowspawn armies. They lost over half their numbers to Demandred and his Sharans. Egwene destroyed the Sharan channellers and Taim, but died herself. The Yellows, novices and Accepted Healed troops in Berelain’s palace in Mayene and provided gateways. Cadsuane and those Aes Sedai sworn to Rand fought with Aviendha at Thakan’dar. Moiraine and Nynaeve went into Shayol Ghul with him, while Thom Merrilin kept watch at the entrance and killed at least five Black sisters there.
The seven clans Rand had with him before Cairhien, combined with the four Clans that joined him later, initially added up to around four hundred and eighty thousand spears, but casualties—in Cairhien and in Illian—and the bleakness reduced their numbers. Speculation: four hundred and twenty thousand Aiel were still under Rand’s command at the commencement of the Last Battle.
The Aiel are led by their Clan Chiefs, who are for the most part hardened warriors and good generals. The Wise Ones took part in the fight against the Shadow, providing the Aiel armies with at least a few thousand channelers.
Many of the sis’wai’aman were assigned to Elayne’s army (A Memory of Light, Into the Thick of It) and fought with her in Andor, Cairhien, and the River Mora. The remainder of the Aiel were deployed to guard Rand’s back at Thakan’dar under Lord Ituralde. At least six clan chiefs (including Rhuarc) were killed in the fighting. The Wise Ones, led by Aviendha, contended with Graendal, Black sisters, Compelled Aes Sedai, male Aiel channellers and Shadowspawn.
The heart of Andor’s army is the Queen’s Guard, but Rahvin’s creation of the White Lion and decimation of those loyal to Morgase greatly weakened this unit. However, as we saw in Knife of Dreams, many of the old Queen’s Guard soldiers loyal to Trakand and Andor returned. Andor’s Captain General is the legendary Hero of the Horn Birgitte Silver Bow. Gawyn Trakand, First Prince of the Sword, is with the Aes Sedai.
The Succession and the siege of Caemlyn triggered most Andoran houses into mobilizing their forces. Elayne’s success in claiming the throne unified most of Andor’s strength, and prepared the army for war. In Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin, Elayne said that if they gathered all of Andor’s strength they could nearly match the Borderlanders’ numbers (two hundred thousand) but two thirds of their forces would be under-trained.
Once she had secured the Lion Throne, Elayne promptly and successfully prosecuted her claims to the Cairhien throne. In addition to the Andor and Cairhien, Elayne made an alliance with Perrin (Steward of the Two Rivers) and thus with Mayene and Ghealdan (and to a degree the Whitecloaks and potentially Saldaea).
There were about one hundred and twenty channellers helping Elayne and none bound by the Three Oaths (Knife of Dreams, House on Full Moon Street). The Band of the Red Hand is contracted to man the one hundred dragons (cannon) that Aludra designed (see Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders article) and Elayne commissioned. Mat bargained that the Band can keep a quarter of the dragons as payment for supplying the men to fire them (Towers of Midnight, Talk of Dragons). There were over ten thousand mercenaries outside Caemlyn according to Mat (Towers of Midnight, Talk of Dragons), and Talmanes rallied these to fight the Shadowspawn attacking Caemlyn and rescue the dragons. Caemlyn was lost. Elayne’s removal of forces to Cairhien to press her claims to the Sun Throne preserved them from the Trollocs. The dragons were saved, although their ammunition was lost in the siege and had to be supplied from Baerlon by gateway.
Elayne was given overall command of the Light’s armies until the Great Captains were shown found to be corrupted and command passed to Mat Cauthon. The Andoran forces were deployed to Caemlyn under the leadership of Bashere, and then pushed over to Cairhien. They lost half their troops (A Memory of Light, A Yellow Flower-Spider). When the armies retreated to Merrilor, Elayne’s forces pushed through to fight at the River Mora to prevent the Trollocs from forcing their way into Shienar (A Memory of Light,, Wolfbrother). Gawyn was killed by Demandred in a duel. Birgitte was killed late in the Last Battle by the Darkfriend Hanlon.
This nation’s permanent army, Arad Doman’s equivalent to the Queen’s Guard or the Defenders, is led by the Great Captain Rodel Ituralde and had about ten to fifteen thousand soldiers. In Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers, Ituralde made a pact with the Dragonsworn of Arad Doman and Tarabon, leading as many as twenty thousand men south to raid the Seanchan and draw them north (Knife of Dreams, Prologue). At the same time he had sent messages to the nation’s nobility ordering them to position themselves for a trap:
“Once again he reviewed the orders he had sent, carried by the fastest riders he had, to every nobles loyal to the King… They would even hide in the mountains and wait, at his orders.”As we saw in Knife of Dreams, Embers Falling on Dry Grass and the Epilogue, Ituralde’s raid and trap were an expensive success. His force of one hundred thousand shattered the Seanchan army but suffered fifty percent losses. (The two hundred thousand ‘soldiers’ behind Turan were women, youths and farmers (The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts)).
- Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern
Rand promised to keep the Seanchan out of Arad Doman if Ituralde and his force of fifty thousand would go to the Borderlands to protect it against a Trolloc invasion (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). He assigned one hundred Asha'man to Ituralde to aid him. Ituralde faced enormous odds in Saldaea and lost a fair portion of his forces. They pulled out of Maradon and may have been replaced by Saldaeans. Domani soldiers in Bandar Eban were recruited to help restore order there, and they may not free to fight elsewhere.
The Domani forces were assigned to Thakan’dar under the leadership of Ituralde and then King Darlin. Ituralde was resistant to Graendal’s Compulsion and invasion of his dreams, probably due to extreme self-belief. He was constrained by Elyas and wolves and survived the Last Battle. The Aes Sedai intend him to rule Arad Doman.
There were over seven hundred Asha’man enrolled in the Black Tower. One hundred of these Asha’man were promised to help Ituralde in Saldaea (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). Several Asha’man were with Rand on the Field of Merrilor and continued to help his armies.
Some of the Asha’man are loyal to Logain, others, notably the one hundred Darkfriends who attended his private classes, to Taim. A large portion of the Soldiers and Dedicated did not have any specific loyalty but probably sided with Logain once he was freed.
Male and female channellers were turned to the Shadow at the Black Tower by a circle of thirteen Dreadlords and thirteen Myrddraal (see Black Tower article). The Asha’man freed themselves, killed some Darkfriend channelelrs and drove off others including Taim and Graendal/Hessalam. Logain kept many of the Asha’man separate from the Light’s armies for much of the last Battle. The Asha’man saved Elayne’s army from being crushed in Cairhien, tried to kill Taim, stole back the Seals, fought the Shadow’s forces, trapped Darkfriend channellers in a stedding and provided Healing. Logain was redeemed by the admiration and gratitude of those whose children he rescued, and broke the Seals for Rand when the Light shone.
The Band of the Red Hand
The Band was formed after the battle for Cairhien in The Fires Of Heaven, by Mat Cauthon and is organised from standard military arrangements that Mat remembers from the time of Hawkwing. The Band’s original members were from Cairhien and Tear, though they recruited soldiers from Andor, Altara and Murandy (Lord Of Chaos, A Different Dance, and A Crown Of Swords A Morning of Victory). According to the World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, each banner of horse contains fifteen hundred men and each banner of infantry three thousand, placing the Band’s overall size at over thirty thousand men.
The seven thousand with Mat (comprising of three under strength banners of horse and four thousand mounted crossbowmen) met up with Estean’s and Daerid’s half of the Band (three banners of horse, five banners of foot and the Mason’s Banner) outside Caemlyn (Towers of Midnight, The Seven Striped Lass).
In Caemlyn Mat bargained with Elayne to supply her with the expertise and plans for building the dragons, while she supplies the resources for them. Mat will keep a quarter of the dragons in exchange for supplying the men to operate them.
Some of the members of the Band, mainly the Cairhienin ones, went to Cairhien and then to the Field of Merrilor with Elayne, while the rest, under Talmanes, defended Caemlyn from an attack by the Shadow. Mat himself returned to the main world after rescuing Moiraine from the *Finns, and promptly went to see Tuon.
The Band were part of Elayne’s forces and fought in Braem Wood, Cairhien, Merrilor and on the Polov Heights. Some of the best officers guarded the Horn of Valere that Faile tried to deliver to Mat. Most of the dragons were destroyed in the Last Battle but a few were salvaged and fired through a gateway from a secret cavern to great effect. Hopefully Mat and the Band will get a quarter of the second lot of dragons Elayne builds.
In A Crown Of Swords, Deceptive Appearances, we learned that all four Borderland rulers had come south and brought their armies along. Tenobia said that she has close to fifty thousand men behind her, and it is possible that each ruler brought just as many soldiers south. Merilille Sedai believed their numbers to be over two hundred thousand (Winter’s Heart, Expectations) and Birgitte spoke of two hundred thousand soldiers (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know). These were all hardened men with experience fighting Trollocs along the Blight Border.
Shienar’s army, the most heavily armoured, was led by Lord Agelmar Jagad, one of the Great Captains. Lord Baldhere was the general for Kandor; he is a good captain and has had that position ever since Ethenielle’s husband was killed at the end of New Spring. Ishigari Terasian was the general for Arafel. Saldaea’s forces in the Borderland army were led by Kalyan Ramsin, one of Queen Tenobia’s uncles. Saldaeans are famous for their light cavalry. There were also thirteen Aes Sedai accompanying this army, five with Tenobia and eight with Paitar (The Path of Daggers, Prologue) but some may have returned to the White Tower.
We don’t know how many experienced warriors were left to guard the nations against Shadowspawn incursions. Alesune, King Easar’s shatayan, said “We have left the Blight all but unguarded,” while Queen Ethenielle said “What I’ve left behind can guard the Blight short of the Trolloc Wars coming again” (The Path of Daggers, Prologue). Twelve thousand of these men rode with Lan to Tarwin’s Gap. As Ethenielle’s words foreshadowed, the Borderland nations were overrun with Shadowspawn and Kandor was destroyed. She returned to Kandor prior to Merrilor to organise the evacuation of refugees (A Memory of Light, To Require A Boon) and then later re-joined the Borderlander army (A Memory of Light, Into The Thick Of It).
After the meeting on the Field of Merrilor the army was deployed to Tarwin’s Gap to rescue Lan’s troops and stop the Shadowspawn from pouring through into the southern nations. Agelmar was general for this army and Lan commanded it. Graendal corrupted Agelman’s mind and his erroneous tactics and deployments resulted in the loss of two thirds of the Borderlander army. When his disastrous errors were revealed, Agelmar wanted to suicide and he probably eventually died in battle. Queen Tenobia was killed as a result of one of those errors. The Borderlander army was forced to retreat from Tarwin’s Gap across Shienar burning farmland and towns as they went. The Shienaran people were evacuated to Tar Valon. The army then fought at the rivers, notably moving upriver around the Heights and attacking the Trollocs from behind, and finally on the Polov Heights.
An army comprising armsmen from many houses led by Semaradrid was in Illian as ofKnife of Dreams. Some of the remainder of Cairhien’s forces were sent to Arad Doman with Dobraine to restore order and then to Tear (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear). Speculation: Considering the devastation cause by the Civil War, famine, Tear’s occupation, and the Shaido’s invasion, Cairhien fielded perhaps thirty thousand soldiers. Well over ten thousand from minor houses greeted Elayne when she came to take the Cairhien throne (Towers of Midnight, Boots).
The Cairhien forces were part of Elayne’s army and fought in Andor and Cairhien, and then at the River Mora. Elayne drafted all the Cairhienin forces into her army, leaving the city defenceless and crowded with refugees (A Memory of Light, The Choice of A Patch). Without the Asha’man, Cairhien would have been lost.
Children of the Light
The Children were originally housed in Amador, capital of Amadicia, but they lost their base, the Fortress of the Light, to the Seanchan invasion. Asunawa tried to break Galad’s power with false accusations and was executed, along with a third of the Questioners. There were about ten thousand well trained regular cavalry men, almost ten thousand soldiers, and twelve to fifteen Lord Captains led by Lord Captain Commander Galad Damodred. They met up with Perrin’s forces (The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin) and Galad agreed to accept Perrin as his military commander until after the Last Battle.
The Children were deployed with Elayne’s army in Andor, Cairhien and the River Mora. Galad duelled Demandred and lost his sword arm. Arganda commanded Perrin’s armies including the Whitecloak forces after Perrin left, Bashere was relieved of his command and Galad was wounded. They moved on up to the Heights for the final push where Tam had overall command.
Five to ten thousand independent folk gathered on the Field of Merrilor:
"They came on their own," Gawyn said. "Farmers, mostly. Not really a true army; most don't have swords. Pitchforks, wood axes, quarterstaffs. I assume al'Thor sent them. They started wandering in yesterday."This was the start of the common people’s army, people who felt no allegiance to any nation. It included channellers too, such as Teslyn and Talaan, who felt they did not have a suitable place with the Aes Sedai or the other groups of channellers. Some Dragonsworn were part of Ituralde’s forces at Thakan’dar and guarded the path up to Shayol Ghul. Others were deployed with the Aes Sedai in Kandor, then reinforced Elayne’s army at the River Mora below the Heights and then joined the last push on the Heights. Teslyn made a gateway to transport Mat’s armies onto the northern part of the Heights. Talaan went to Thakan’dar and fought under Aviendha’s command. The channellers also Healed.
"Curious," Egwene said. They seemed a varied bunch, with mismatched tents and little understanding of how to set up an army camp. But there did seem to be some five or ten thousand of them.
Towers of Midnight, Something Wrong
The Queen and her forces (almost a thousand lancers) were part of Perrin’s large army. Ghealdan itself was badly affected by the Prophet and his Dragonsworn but Perrin arranged for Alliandre to send men back to Jehannah to recruit, and to pick up the city guard, and bring them to join Perrin’s army. He wanted to train them as much as possible before the war started (Towers of Midnight, Gateways).
The Ghealdanin fought in Andor, Cairhien and the River Mora as part of Elayne’s forces first under Perrin’s command and then Tam al’Thor’s. Much to Arganda’s alarm, Queen Alliandre insisted on accompanying the troops. They were ordered by Mat Cauthon to join him on the Heights for the final push against the Sharans. Arganda was badly wounded and took on the role of collecting intelligence from the battlefield and reporting it to Mat.
The army has traditionally been led by the King, but now it is led by Lord Gregorin. During Crossroads Of Twilight, A Chat with Siuan, we hear about the increasing forces being gathered by Lord Gregorin, the Steward of Illian, to face the Seanchan. Gregorin must have recalled the forces Rand scattered around Illian during Path of Daggers, since the Tairen nobles and soldiers among those forces returned to Tear. Speculation: Lord Gregorin was not able to raise an army as large as Sammael’s, but raised an army of eighty thousand.
Gregorin brought a large force to the Field of Merrilor at Egwene’s urging despite his original reservations at leaving his nation so exposed to the Seanchan (Towers of Midnight, Something Wrong).
The Companions, clad in a green and gold uniform, are the Kings’ elite forces. The Illianer army was assigned to Egwene’s army on Gareth Bryne’s insistence because she did not have an elite group like the Companions (A Memory of Light, To Die Well). The Companions were led by First Captain Demetre Marcolin until he was killed during the first Sharan attack, then by Haerm and Denhold successively. Lord Gregorin survived the Last Battle.
The Legion of the Dragon
The Legion consists of men who wish to follow the Dragon Reborn. They are based on Mat’s ideas, and each man is armed with a steel-armed crossbow and a short-sword, and led and trained by Bashere. As well as crossbowmen there is a unit of heavy cavalry (A Memory of Light, The Way of the Predator). They wear blue coats with the dragon on the breast and wear their breastplate under the coat (The Path Of Daggers, Answering The Summons). Their original camp was sited twenty miles west of Caemlyn. At the end of A Crown of Swords, we saw fifteen thousand Legion-men armed and trained within a month of the group’s formation. Speculation: With their successful recruiting they numbered over seventy thousand soldiers.
The Legion formed part of Elayne’s forces and fought in Andor, Cairhien and at the River Mora.
Lan “undertook” a long journey travelling the entire width of the Borderlands, and Nynaeve contacted prominent Malkieri and Borderlander nobles to ensure men joined him on his journey to the Last Battle. He gathered twelve thousand men – heavy cavalry - from the Borderlands with which he faced one hundred and fifty thousand Shadowspawn in Tarwin’s Gap, until the arrival of the Borderlander armies by gateway increased the army to a hundred thousand plus Asha’man.
After being forced to abandon Tarwin’s Gap, they fought at the River Mora, and then on the Polov Heights.
Lan was the third ‘knight’ to duel Demandred – there were also two attacks by channellers – and succeeded in killing him.
King Roedran united the Murandian forces by paying Talmanes and the Band of the Red Hand to stay in Murandy and appear a threat. According to Talmanes Roedran considered the venture successful (Knife of Dreams, Attending Elaida). Talmanes also stated that Roedran had been ready to turn on the Band, which means that Murandy’s army must have been large enough to be a danger to the Band’s thirty thousand men. Speculation: Murandy’s army was thirty five thousand men.
We have been told that Roedran has been reading up on the Art of Warfare and now fancies himself as a general. Egwene sent a woman to offer Travelling so Murandy could send forces to the Field of Merrilor, but received no response (Towers of Midnight, Something Wrong). Elayne promised Roedran that if he supported her cause, she'd proclaim that she would not invade Murandy, and offered gateways to the Field of Merrilor (A Memory of Light, To Require A Boon). Roedran was keen not to be left out of the meeting of nations, so he agreed. It is not known where they fought.
The berserkers of the Murandian village of Hinderstap played their part in destroying the Dreadlords at the River Mora.
Inspired by Loial’s arguments, all Ogier able to hold weapons decided to fight in the Last Battle beside the humans. They joined Elayne’s forces and fought in Braem Wood, in Cairhien, notably protecting the dragons, and at Howal Ford where a few Seanchan Gardeners fought alongside them (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle). Loial led them in battle. Ogier were transported along with the Dragonsworn and cavalry of the Band of the Red Hand via Teslyn’s gateway to the northern Heights to stop Sharans and Trollocs from swooping down from the Heights to surround the Light’s armies at the river.
Non-combatant Ogier in Stedding Sholoon captured the Dreadlords that Androl’s group had led there.
Perrin had three to four thousand Two Rivers bowmen (Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot), close to nine hundred Mayener Winged Guards (The Path of Daggers, A Simple Country Woman), and close to a thousand Ghealdan Lancers (Winter’s Heart, The Scent of Madness). There were some Aiel maidens, six Wise Ones, three Aes Sedai, and two Asha’man with Perrin. A hundred thousand refugees were also with Perrin, but some left for their homes. However many refuges decided to join Perrin’s forces and he also recruited mercenaries and other fighters on his march north. Collectively they are known as the Wolf Guard and numbered about twenty five thousand.
Galad and his twenty thousand men have allied with Perrin until the Last Battle is done (Towers of Midnight,). Perrin’s army was almost seventy thousand strong in Towers of Midnight, A Backhanded Request, but he sent men to Ghealdan, Mayene and the Two Rivers to recruit more (Towers of Midnight, Gateways) to join him on the Field of Merrilor. He is living up to his role of the Dragon’s Bannerman.
While as Steward of the Two Rivers Perrin is a member of Elayne’s alliance of nations, he did not follow Elayne in joining Egwene’s pressure group to prevent Rand from breaking the Seals; he thought Rand had the right idea (Towers of Midnight, Gateways).
Perrin’s army fought as part of Elayne’s forces in Andor, Cairhien and the River Mora. The Ghealdanin army, Wolf Guard and Mayene Winged Guard were part of the push on the Polov Heights under Tam al’Thor and then Mat Cauthon late in the Last Battle.
Galenne was killed and Havien Nurelle replaced him as Commander of the Winged Guards (A Memory of Light, A Yellow Flower Spider). Perrin left his army after trapping the Trollocs in Braem Wood (A Memory of Light, What Must Be Done) to find and deactivate the Dreamspike at the Black Tower, to kill Slayer and to protect Rand at Shayol Ghul from within Tel’aran’rhiod with Gaul’s aid. He freed himself from Lanfear’s Compulsion and killed her and then led the Last Hunt against the Darkhounds.
Faile organised supplies to the army headquarters on the Field of Merrilor and then guarded the Horn of Valere when it was sent to the Blight. She gave the Horn to Olver and lured the Trollocs so he could get away. When they tracked him down, he blew it in desperation. Berelain ran the Light’s hospital at her palace in Mayene and organised the search for and evacuation of the wounded, the supply of medical supplies and the return of the Healed to the battlefields.
There used to be close to twenty thousand vagabonds armed with a variety of weapons (Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot) in the Prophet’s Army, but after battle with the Shaido they numbered less than one hundred and were all killed by Faile and her group (The Gathering Storm, Prologue).
Saldaean Light Cavalry
Lord Bashere, one of the Great Captains, led eight thousand light cavalry from Saldaea and reached Caemlyn shortly after Rand killed Rahvin. These men are all superb horsemen, armed with serpentine swords and light armor (Lord Of Chaos, Connecting Lines and A Crown Of Swords, A Crown Of Swords). Bashere recruited and trained the Legion of the Dragon. They helped Rand take back Illian from Sammael and drive the Seanchan out of eastern Altara and Illian. Bashere’s army became part of Elayne’s forces.
Bashere’s mind was corrupted by Graendal and his tactics almost destroyed Elayne’s armies. He refused the crown of Saldaea after Tenobia was killed and told the Saldaeans to fight with the Malkieri under Lan. He and his wife died in an attack against the Andoran pikemen.
The Seanchan killed Nesta din Reas, and the First Twelve elected Zaida din Parede as the new Wavemistress. During A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers, the Sea Folk made a Bargain with Rand, whom they formally acknowledge as their Coramoor. They are using some Seanchan ships to make up for their losses. The Sea Folk promise such ships as the Dragon Reborn needs, to sail when and where he needs them, for whatever purposes he requires. In return, the Dragon Reborn will not change any laws of the Sea Folk and will give to the Sea Folk a square mile of land to be subject to Sea Folk law at every city on navigable water that he controls or comes to control. The Dragon Reborn will keep an ambassador chosen by the Sea Folk with him at all times. She will be accompanied by her Windfinder, Swordmaster and retinue. Furthermore the Dragon Reborn will go promptly to a summons from the Mistress of the Ships, but not more than twice in any three consecutive years and the Mistress of the Ships must be prepared to attend Rand up to three times in any two years (Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep).
In Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep, Rand called upon this Bargain. Almost all of the Sea Folks larger ships transported supplies from Tear and Illian to Bandar Eban and were harassed by Seanchan ships along the way (The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood). Egwene convinced the Empress to renounce her claim on the Sea Folk islands as part of her treaty with the Aes Sedai (A Memory of Light, Considerations).
The consequence of many Windfinders being taken in Ebou Dar and then freed is that many of them are now trained for battle, plus they learned linking and Travelling as part of their bargain with Elayne and Nynaeve in exchange for helping them use the Bowl of Winds.
One hundred of the Sea Folk plus Zaida and all the Windfinders went to Thakan’dar with Ituralde. The Windfinders fought to disperse the Dark One’s deadly storms with the Bowl of Winds. The remainder of the Sea Folk supplied weapons, equipment and food to all the battle fronts (A Memory of Light, To Ignore the Omens). Later in the Last Battle a large force of Sea Folk guarded the Windfinders while they used the Bowl.
Traditionally Tear’s army is made up of the Defenders of the Stone and the nobles’ armsmen. Tear’s Lords prefer to use cavalry and despise foot. The Defenders of the Stone are the standard military body of Tear. They are all cavalrymen wearing a black and gold uniform, and their commander is Captain of the Stone Rodrivar Tihera, a minor noble.
In The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear, King Darlin and all of Tear’s remaining High Lords and High Ladies, except High Lady Fionnda, were gathered in Tear with a massive army of Tairens and foreigners.
The sum of Tear’s armies—nobles’ armsmen, Defenders and sell-swords—were probably about ninety thousand men, not including Darlin's new recruits. Under pressure from Egwene, King Darlin sent forces to the Field of Merrilor, including Aiel, but it is not known if he brought the bulk of his forces as Egwene wished. Darlin was reluctant to do so; he wanted a large portion to remain to protect Tear from the Seanchan (Towers of Midnight, A Call to Stand).
The Tairen forces fought at Thakan’dar under Ituralde, and were chiefly used for defence. The Tairen foot included companies of well-trained pikemen, and a full banner of crossbowmen that had just been supplied with the new crossbow re-loading crank that Talmanes acquired from a Murandian. Darlin took command after Ituralde was incapacitated, with Tihera suggesting tactics. Draghkar took over Darlin’s command post but he survived.
Seanchan Mainland Army
It is very difficult to estimate the overall size of the Seanchan military machine. First, we do not know how many Seanchan soldiers came across the ocean with the Forerunners or the Return. Secondly, they recruited many soldiers from Tarabon, Amadicia and Altara. The Seanchan found it easy to conquer these nations because the neighbouring nations didn’t give any aid (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).
Fortuona will receive no further reinforcements from her motherland because it is in complete disarray thanks to Semirhage. The Seanchan spent over a year recruiting in Tarabon and Amadicia and are unlikely to garner many more men from those nations. Furthermore, the rebel Aes Sedai army and the Band of the Red Hand enlisted what was available in central and northern Altara some time ago.
The Seanchan do not fully trust the locals either (Knife of Dreams, Epilogue). Thus, they need to leave a lot of relatively large local garrisons to ensure continued control of the lands they have conquered. These camps and patrols have no value in offensive military action. Speculation: the Seanchan could have over a hundred thousand men spread out over their lands in this fashion.
The Seanchan’s known and mobile armies are as follows: One hundred thousand in northern Altara; they are meant to guard against Andor and Murandy (Knife of Dreams, Under an Oak). Turan’s army of nearly three hundred thousand (Ituralde’s estimate, The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts) was shattered in Arad Doman, and many, including Turan himself, killed, but Turan’s replacement marshalled more than three hundred thousand men and two hundred damane (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). The army near Illian must also have had well over one hundred thousand men.
In addition, there are a few smaller armies hunting for Aiel—between ten or fifteen thousand men in each. Additionally there are sizable military camps near the major Seanchan-held cities.
We also know that Ebou Dar hosts five hundred of the Deathwatch Guard:
Hard-faced men, they and five hundred more like them had been charged personally with Tuon's safety.and a hundred Ogier Gardeners (Winter’s Heart, An Offer).
- Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides
Prior to the Sea Folk damane being freed at the end of Winter’s Heart, Ebou Dar was home to at least two hundred damane (Winter’s Heart, News in a Cloth Sack). Of course the overall number of damane is much higher given that there are damane guards in every city, and each army and major outpost has their own damane. In addition, Tylee captured more than two hundred Shaido Wise Ones in Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates. The Seanchan raid on the White Tower using at least eighty to a hundred raken and to’raken, two hundred soldiers and fifty sul’dam/damane pairs (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Tuon), gained nearly forty new damane, including an obnoxious Foreteller who gave the Seanchan knowledge of Travelling. However at least ten damane were captured, and therefore at least ten sul’dam were killed, along with thirty raken and/or to’raken (The Gathering Storm, A Fount of Power) and an unknown number of soldiers and damane.
Fortuona commanded that all damane be recalled to Ebou Dar to be taught Travelling. However, not all damane, but only those of above average strength, can make a gateway (see Saidar Strength Ranking article). So far no damane have linked together; nor do we know if the a’dam permits damane to link. Their gateways won’t be large, but, in compensation, there will be a lot of them so they can move troops quickly. The Seanchan planned to attack the White Tower by delivering thousands of soldiers directly into the White Tower through a hidden basement room (Towers of Midnight, A Teaching Chamber) but the Last Battle commenced before they could do so. The sul’dam planned to capture Black sisters as damane. They did not work out how to use Aes Sedai damane as weapons by making them fear for their lives (The Gathering Storm, Gambits), and of course Black sisters are not bound by the Aes Sedai Three Oaths.
The Seanchan have hundreds of greatships equipped for long distance sailing in Ebou Dar alone and four times as many again in Tanchico (Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides). With their numbers, damane and the element of surprise, they were able to secure naval superiority in the Aryth Ocean and establish naval bases at Cantorin, Tanchico and Ebou Dar. They have done considerable damage to the Sea Folk and hold the Aile Somera in the west.
The Seanchan have Fists of Heaven – short, lightly armoured male and female soldiers as hard as the Deathwatch guard. They carry crossbows and wear brown breastplates and painted insect-like helmets (The Path of Daggers, Threads). The Fists of Heaven are dropped close to the front, or behind enemy lines, by to’raken, large flying lizards able to carry burdens. Over short distances, to’raken can carry twelve people besides their fliers. These people may be Fists of Heaven or sul’dam and damane. Morat’raken are scouts that ride the smaller raken two per beast and fly back to base to deliver written reports on the wing.
Fortuona made two bargains. The first with Rand was peace for at least a hundred years with all her current borders ratified. The Seanchan may keep the damane they have, but not take any from the other nations, only those on their land. In exchange the Seanchan work with the other nations to fight the Shadow’s armies (A Memory of Light, Older, More Weathered).
The second with Egwene also ratifies Fortuona’s borders, with the Sea Folk islands confirmed as not part of them. Seanchan emissaries will be allowed to peacefully speak to the westlanders of the benefits of collaring channellers, and the Seanchan will allow any women in their lands with the spark to leave them rather than be collared if she wishes. In exchange the Seanchan will give military aid to Egwene’s forces A Memory of Light, Considerations).
Yet Tuon, despite representing order and justice, was sorely tempted to dishonour her treaty with Rand, and retreat to Seanchan, perhaps with the Aes Sedai as damane, and retake it, then later fight the Shadow with all the forces of her reunited empire (A Memory of Light, To Ignore the Omens).
At first the Seanchan aid was ignored due to Graendal’s corruption of Gareth Bryne’s mind. Then Mat Cauthon insisted on their deployment. The Shadow attacked and destroyed the Seanchan command post, nearly killing Tuon and Mat. Fortuona used this as her reason to stage a withdrawal from the battle, and, apart from Mat and the Deathwatch Guard who failed to protect her, the Seanchan made no further contribution to the fighting until late in the Last Battle. Half their forces joined Elayne's army at the River Mora and the other half were deployed to the western side of the Heights, crushing the Trollocs from behind. To’raken carried archers to fire upon the Shadowspawn from above, and also lanterns and damane making weaves of Light to light the way for their armies.
Moghedien was disguised among them as a servant and had corrupted one of the lesser generals, Yulan. Min exposed her once she noticed that the servant had many images around her like a channeller. After the corruption of the Great Captains’ minds was discovered, Mat Cauthon assumed overall command of the armies because he was protected by his foxhead ter’angreal and had his military memories. Even so, he was only able to win because Lan killed Demandred. To his delight Mat was no longer tied to the Horn of Valere, as either Hornsounder or Hero. Mat took a to’raken to Thakan’dar where he killed Shaisam.
Heroes of the Horn
The Horn of Valere was blown by Olver on the Heights and the Heroes assembled where Mat held the Dragon banner. They numbered one hundred although at least two had been reborn. The Heroes fought the remains of the Trolloc and Sharan armies. Noal went to rescue Olver from the Trollocs.
The Blight was very quiet from when Rand destroyed a vast army of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar at Tarwin’s Gap at the end of The Eye of the World until Towers of Midnight. But as Lord Agelmar said:
“The Shadow never sleeps.”After the Deathgates took thousands of Trollocs away during their attack on Rand at Lord Algarin’s manor in Tear, there were “maybe a hundred thousand Trollocs” according to Rand and also heaps of Myrddraal remaining for Rand’s channellers to incinerate (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane). In Towers of Midnight, hundreds of thousands of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar plus Dreadlords attacked all along the Borderlands and overran large areas notably Kandor.
- The Path of Daggers, Prologue
When the Last Battle commenced, less than a hundred and fifty Black sisters were at large (see The Black Ajah article), their leader Alviarin among them. They have the dream ter’angreal stolen from the rebel Aes Sedai and given them by Mesaana, although these were not in evidence in A Memory of Light. There were well over a hundred Black Asha’man but many were killed when Logain’s faction fought their way to freedom. Moreover channellers were turned to the Shadow at the Black Tower (see Black Tower article). We know of eleven who were so turned.
Demandred, the chief general for the Shadow, won the sa’angreal Sakarnen and with it the rulership of Shara. Even when the Sharans saw that Demandred was allied to the Shadow they still fought for him because it was their role in the Pattern, after which they would be free. The Sharan army was enormous – although no numbers are given - and they had many hundreds of channellers (more than the Aes Sedai and Asha’man combined), all of whom were trained for warfare. They attacked the Aes Sedai camp first then spread out along the Heights. A group attacked the Seanchan command, nearly killing Tuon and Mat. Egwene and the Aes Sedai killed all the Sharan channellers, although taking enormous losses. After Demandred was killed the Sharans lacked direction, although they continued to fight.
Demandred held back from attacking any military headquarters personally because he feared that Rand would trap him. He was obsessed with duelling Rand. Logain and Taim each attacked Demandred but failed to injure him and were soundly punished. Gawyn and Galad duelled Demandred and also failed to kill him. Gawyn was killed and Galad gravely wounded. Lan fought Demandred and killed him.
Moridin went to Shayol Ghul to try and kill Rand, or at least weaken him, and prevent him from fighting the Dark One. He took Alanna there too, and killed her with the aim of sending Rand mad, but she unbonded Rand before she died. Rand, Moiraine and Nynaeve trapped Moridin when he used Callandor as a True Power sa’angreal, bringing him into a ring so that the True Power could be used to coat Rand’s weaves that touched the Dark One to prevent him from tainting saidin or saidar.
Graendal/Hessalam brought more Black sisters to Taim to speed up the Turning of channellers. She corrupted the minds of the Great Captains and took channellers and fighters as her slaves as she fought the forces at Thakan’dar. Her main opponent was Aviendha, and Graendal’s own Compulsion rebounded on her when Aviendha failed to unpick a weave properly due to injury and exhaustion. Graendal brought Aviendha to safety for Healing Moghedien was . Mesaana is now mindless and may have been executed.
Moghedien disguised herself as servant at the Seanchan command post and Complelled Yulan. She reported the Seanchan’s plans to the Shadow. Min exposed her and she fled. After Demandred was killed she took his place for a short while, but was nearly killed by a salvo from the dragons. She was collared as she tried to flee.
Taim recruited Dreadlords for the Shadow as well as Asha’man, and organised the turning of channellers to the Shadow. He also obtained the three unbroken Seals and with these achievements was raised to the Chosen as M’Hael. Logain’s faction freed themselves and drove out Taim’s group. In the Last Battle Taim’s task was to attack the Borderlander army, then the Aes Sedai. He was bested and killed by Egwene even though Demandred lent him Sakarnen. Androl stole the Seals back from him.
Lanfear/Cyndane did not contribute to the Shadow’s war, but pursued her own aims. She aided Perrin in finding and deactivating the dreamspike at the Black Tower and told him that he could enter and leave Tel’aran’rhiod bodily. Back in The Great Hunt she had Compelled Perrin and at Shayol Ghul she wanted Perrin to help her kill Nynaeve and Moriaine. Her aim was to force Rand to bow to her, thereby putting herself into a position where the Dark One himself would be helpless and she could step in to bring him salvation. Perrin shook off her Compulsion by concentrating on his greater love for Faile, and killed Lanfear.
Slayer was commanded to kill Rand at Shayol Ghul but was kept away by the Dreamspike. Perrin drove Slayer off and killed him.
The Dreadlords did considerable damage to the Light’s armies with their attacks but some, notably Alviarin’s group, achieved less than they might due to looking out for their own skins and interests.
Multitudes of Trollocs attacked all four of the armies. Mat realised they all had to be killed, even if Rand won. The Wolves bound to the Horn fought the Darkhounds in the Last Hunt.
Non-Contributors: Shaido Aiel
The Shaido took great losses. There has been no news of Aiel raids in Murandy or Illian, which means the clans left in Illian successfully put an end to Shaido in that area. A few Shaido septs were scattered on the Almoth Plain, but various forces there may take care of them as well.
The Seanchan managed to clear the Shaido out of Tarabon and Amadicia some time ago. While Perrin’s campaign in Altara killed many, there were two groups of Shaido reported approaching Malden in Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot, one of twenty to thirty thousand and one of thirty five to forty thousand with at least three to four thousand spears in each group. These Shaido moved into Malden to investigate it after Perrin left (The Gathering Storm, Questions of Control) and while many have turned east, a few were watching Perrin’s army (Towers of Midnight, Questions of Leadership).
Therava took the remainder of the Shaido back to the Aiel Waste. The Shaido were specifically omitted from Rand’s peace treaty (A Memory of Light, A Knack).
Written by Linda and Amirebram, July, 2004 and updated November 2013