On the Sharp End of a Dilemma
Suroth restored order six months prior to the start of The Shadow Rising and sent information to the Seanchan Empress. She has all but a handful of vessels under her control and has taken over the Sea Folk islands in the west.
The power of Seanchan is built on controlled damane. Suroth was forced to raise a sul’dam, Alwhin, to hereditary servant of the Blood because she knows the secret of sul’dam. Such a promotion is unprecedented. At this time only four "still live" who know that sul’dam can become damane (eventually), therefore Suroth has had others killed (sul’dam?) who know something. Suroth no longer trusts sul’dam and yet she has to, and to use them. Suroth would like to kill Alwhin and the two ex-sul’dam, Renna and Seta, but she doesn’t dare and Alwhin is aware of it. Suroth needs them as evidence and witnesses. She cannot trust this dire news to messages or messengers, but must deliver it personally and secretly. If the Empress learns of the news that sul’dam can become damane before Suroth tells her Suroth will be killed. In Knife of Dreams, Liandrin kills Alwhin because she thinks this will please Suroth. It will be interesting to see the repercussions now that Tuon knows about sul’dam and investigates the claims. Alwhin’s death could now count against Suroth.
Suroth thinks Aes Sedai control Rand and so she can do the same when she captures him and finds out how. She wonders whether Rand really is the Dragon Reborn and tells herself he cannot be. Therefore she was not one of those Darkfriends at Ishamael’s meeting in The Great Hunt, Prologue. While Ishamael didn’t tell them who the Dragon was, he did talk about the Dragon while showing the Darkfriends images of the three boys. Suroth would have seen Rand fight Ishamael in the sky above Falme, or seen a drawing of the fight. And will she give Rand to the Empress or not? A big question for Suroth, but it turned out to be academic.