Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Storm is Coming #16: Mired in Altara part 3: Gathering Clouds over the Ravens' Nest




Mat and the others galloped out into the storm, carrying with them three Aes Sedai, two of them escaped damane, and the kidnapped heir to the Seanchan Crystal Throne, while behind them a far worse storm broke over Ebou Dar. Lightning bolts more numerous than blades of grass…
(Mat Cauthon, in Crossroads of Twilight)


And the High Lady Tuon had vanished as if swallowed by the storm.
(Furyk Karede, in Crossroads of Twlight)


"I am the storm,"
(Rand al'Thor wielding Callandor, at the darkest hour against the Seanchan as he was about to kill allies and foes in his taint-induced madness, in The Path of Daggers).


Mired in Altara part 3: Gathering Clouds over the Ravens' Nest

In this third entry in the "Altaran' mini-series, we will turn to a map of the surroundings of Ebou Dar, the present headquarters of the Seanchan's Return and to a Who's Who of the main Seanchan characters.

But before, we'll start with a little detour about the title The Gathering Storm.

When Harriet's choice for the title was announced, I saw quite a few commentaries about its lack of originality (it's the title of the first volume of Churchill's War Memoirs, and all that) and some even commented it sounded very un-Wheel of Time like, probably forgetting Harriet picked it up from chapter 8 of Lord of Chaos, The Storm Gathers, as Nynaeve begins to sense the storm of the Seanchan resuming their campaign in the Westlands by seizing Tanchico.

The coming storm of the Shadow, the winds of Tarmon Gaidon, is a theme that has been around since The Eye of the World. The motifs of clouds, storm winds, storm and lightnings have been extremely present through the series. Some of you might think I took the inspiration for the title of our pre-TGS series "The Storm is Coming!" from the scene from the prologue that Harriet Rigney brought to JordanCon. Well, this was the spark, but the true inspiration came from remembering where we had seen this phrase before: this was the closing sentence to A Crown of Sword. Rand heard the phrase in The Path of Daggers from one of the men who had served Sammael, shortly before his campaign against the Seanchan (during which the man tried to kill Rand).

The associations to clouds, storms and lightings are varied, but many of them seem about to come together in next week's The Gathering Storm. I will look at a few of these motifs, leaving detailed discussion/analysis of them for our TGS read-through later this fall:

  • The main storm, the real storm, is of course that of the Shadow, the storms of the one the Sea Folk call The Father of Storms. The image is getting even more concrete now that this unnatural storm was seen over Caemlyn in Knife of Dreams (another storm, presumably natural this time, hit the city toward the end, giving a very ominous note to the scene in which Elayne gained the throne). The motif of lightnings is also attached to the Shadow's Generals (Sammael and Be'lal at least), now to Mazrim Taim too at the Black Tower. A trolloc tribe has for its sigil lightnings, another has a whirlwind. This is the Storm, the winds, of Tarmon Gai'don.


  • The second main Storm motif is centered around the Seanchan and Rand, and the Seanchan and the White Tower. The storm brewing between the forces of the light, which of course are being worsened, manipulated by the Shadow. The Seanchan are the second "storm that isn't a storm" Nynaeve senses, from Salidar in The Storm Gathers and that finally hit in The Breaking Storm, when the Seanchan took Ebou Dar and attacked the Kin's farm, right after the women used the Bowl of the Winds, bringing rain and stormy weather for months. An associated motif is found in Egwene's dream where she is caught on a cliff, surrounded by mists and clouds that prevents her from seeing below and above, where a Seanchan woman appears out of the clouds and tends her a hand. A nice little touch is Elaida's lacquered box where she keeps the secret reports: it has hawks (a Seanchan sigil) fighting among clouds. Elaida has many reports about the Seanchan in there, which of course she dismisses as nonsense, or not important/urgent.


  • From the same book (The Paths of Daggers) that saw the Breaking Storm came perhaps the most disturbing Storm association of all so far, the association of the storm to Rand himself. This came after his link to Moridin emerged and this is the main theme/motif around which his brief campaign against the Seanchan was built. It is during this dark episode that Rand was taken by insanity while wielding Callandor that magnified the taint, when suddenly he completely lost touch with reality. It was no longer the Seanchan he was fighting, for him it was Shai'tan:
    "Come against me, if you dare! I am the storm! Come if you dare, Shai’tan! I am the Dragon Reborn!" A thousand sizzling lightning bolts hailed down from the clouds."
    But it wasn't the Shadow Rand was killing, it was his foes the Seanchan and his own men alike - at that moment, briefly, he became the terrifying dragon of legend, his mind a storm of insanity, who kills everyone around him. This is one of Rand's darkest scenes so far, a "kinslaying" of a sort. It is made all the more ominous by the fact that originally Brandon Sanderson intended to use as title for the new book the title of the first chapter of this episode: Gathering Clouds. If some of you haven't felt like doing a full re-read, I'm gonna go out of a limb here and predict this string of chapters, Gathering Clouds, Fog of War - Storm of Battle and Time for Iron are basically essential re-read material before embarking on The Gathering Storm. We're gonna see a long of repeating patterns, similar symbolism and themes in the next book, I'm quite sure. The Storms of Insanity, the Storm taking Rand's mind.


  • Another important motif is that of the "Fog of war and Storm of Battle", lightnings, dragon's eggs and the fires of heaven. This one touches not only Rand but also Perrin and Mat as bringers of necessary storm on the world, riders on storms. The Storm and the related clouds and fog aren't only an antagonist force. The storms have hidden the heroes often enough, from foes and from the Shadow itself. Several very important episodes took place during storms/rain/fog: the escape from Emond's Field, the fogs of Falme, the Tairen episodes in TSR including the final taking of the Stone, Mat's escape from Ebou Dar, the fog at Malden, the storm in which Egwene's army appeared at Tar Valon, just to name a few among tons of examples.



  • Let's now turn to the Seanchan:




    About the Map:

    The forces of the Forerunners seized Ebou Dar on Taisham 19 NE, with a fleet that had sailed off Tanchico.

    The High Lady Suroth has established herself and her staff as guests in the Tarasin Palace, not displacing Queen Tylin has she surrended and spoke the oaths of fealty to the Empress. The High Blood and some of the highest ranking military commanders are housed in the Tarasin palace or have rented palaces in the city. High and lower ranking officers have taken rooms at Ebou Dari Inns, favoring those on and close to the Mol Hara square.

    On the morning of the invasion, massive channelling south-east of the city and north of the Rhannon Hills was detected and a strike force of raken and to'raken (carrying soldiers, sul'dam and damane) was sent immediately and fell into what was misinterpreted as a trap: a massive unknown Aes Sedai weapon had been unleashed, destroying much of the forces sent to intercept the female channellers.

    As we know, the massive channelling detected up north had been Elayne and Nynaeve's circle of thirteenth, with some angreal, using the Bowl of the Winds in an attempt to correct the weather. The incident had several repercussions – most of all the misinterpretation of the exploding Gateway has convinced several commanders and High Lords and Ladies that crippling the power of Tar Valon had to be made a priority.

    By Jumara, the Seanchan had began to spread out from Ebou Dar, establishing outposts hidden in the Venir Mountains, establishing lines in preparation for an invasion of Illian. They were however located by Rand's Asha'man scouts and he decided to organize a raid launched on Jumara 12 to destroy them. For six days, Rand's forces advanced (often using short-distance Travelling) from Arran Head near the eastern coast of the peninsula and progressing to the valleys and passes toward Ebou Dar, driving back the Seanchan. On Jumara 18th, following an incident of madness while wielding Callandor in which he mistook everyone for the Shadow and killed foes and allies alike, Rand was convinced to stop and retreat. Both Rand and the Seanchan have interpret this campaign as a defeat.

    Locations

    The cities, towns and villages are established through the text. Mat's speed of travel per day being given in Knife of Dreams greatly simplified the task. Lucas' circus is 2 miles north of the city, above the Silver Circuit.

    The location of the Kin's farm north of the Rhannon Hills is very approximative. The scale of the map (where the roads and the Eldar appear to be leagues-wide) makes it appears to stand on the Illian road. In truth, it more detailed source-map that would show the meandering of the Illian road and would show better the exact course of the Eldar, the Retreat would be shown to stand some miles north of the road, and some miles south of the Eldar. It's quite possible the Retreat is too far east.

    After the arrival of the Return, several more army camps were established around the city, and deployement of forces through Altara greatly picked up pace. The Seanchan now have several camps north and an army north-east watching over the Molvaine Gap (temporarily displaced a few days south). Deployements of forces to invade Illian are also well under way. It is unknown whether Tuon's commanders have re-established outposts in the Venir Mountains, but we know that by now the Seanchan have outposts along the border of Illian, with incursions beyond it, while Rand too has massed forces there, notably in the area of the Nemarellin Mountains, west of the City.




    Short guide to the Seanchan classes:

    The Seanchan have a fairly rigid though complex social hierarchy, where members of the lowest class can sometimes be given power and responsibilities and where the people given the highest privileges are bound to their duties and held to even more exacting standards than their slaves.

    da'covale: Those Who Are Property. The da'covale are the lowest of the low, ranking below free commoners. Everyone above the condition can possess da'covale, who are sold at the block. It seems common even for successful enough commoner crafstmen (eg: weavers) to own da'covale. The condition of da'covale is most often the result of a punishment for various offenses, ranging from the superficial (eg: Bayle Domon was made da'covale for being rude to the High Lady Suroth) from very serious ones (eg: an alternative to capital punishment for treason etc.) The condition can be hereditary or not, it seems to depend on the gravity of the offense committed. The most valued da'covale are the damane. Some of the Empress' da'covale occupy very important and respected positions, such as those selected for the Deatchwatch Guard. While performing his duties, a da'covale Banner-General can thus outrank officers from the Blood.

    so'jhin: so'jhin is a far more elevated form of slavery, in many cases a voluntary one that is more like an extreme form of fealty than slavery as is normally understood, as some of the highest positions in the Empire require one to become so'jhin of the Empress (if the candidate isn't from the High Blood). so'jhin rank below their owners, but above the next full social rank, for example the so'jhin of the High Blood outrank even the lower nobility, and some of the Imperial so'jhin stand above many of the Blood. so'jhin appears to be generally an hereditary status, granted as a privilege, but though the World of Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time implies otherwise, it seems there are non-hereditary so'jhin, for example Egeanin's mother who was raised so'jhin of the Empress when she was made Hand of the Empress at Sea, the highest naval rank in the Empire, while her daughter isn't so'jhin herself. Many so'jhin are raised from the ranks of the da'covale (eg: Egeanin bought Domon as da'covale and made him so'jhin), while for others it is a great privilege granted a free person (eg: Suroth made one of her sul'dam hereditary so'jhin as a reward to buy her silence)...

    The Low Blood: The Low Blood is an hereditary privilege granted to commoner for service to the Empire. It is the lowest degree of the Blood. Traditionally, when someone is raised to the Blood he or she is given a new name(Egeanin Sarna was made Egeanin Tamarath, but Tylee is still called Khirgan in the prologue despite her elevation to the Blood. The Seanchan choose their new name themselves, so it's probable Tylee has not had the time to see to this yet).

    The High Blood: The High Blood is a status that comes either from your ancestor having been a follower of Luthair Paendrag who came with him to conquer Seanchan or by elevation of your family by the Throne as a reward. There are several degrees within the High Blood itself, the highest being the members of the Imperial Family (one can be adopted into it as a great reward) and above them the Empress herself.

    Daughter of the Nine Moons: This is the title of the heiress to the throne as chosen and proclaimed by the ruling Empress. This was the title of the High Lady Tuon until recent events.

    Prince of the Ravens: This titled was granted to Mat upon his marriage to Tuon. What it entails has been a matter of debates among fans. There are those who believe this is a unique title held by a single person, the consort to the Empress. This is however very unlikely. When Musenge explained to Mat, he had no idea that Tuon was now Empress. The most likely explanation is that Prince/Princess of the Ravens is simply the title of the members of the Imperial Family or the children of the Empress, and that by marrying one of them Mat is automatically considered one of them. Others believe it is the title not of the Empress's consort but of that of the heir to the throne's consort.

    A Seanchan Who's Who

    The Empress, (prev. Daughter of the Nine Moons), Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag: The heiress of the Empress Radhanan who was put in charge of leading the forces of the Return. Tuon lived a strange, sad life at the Court of the Nine Moons in Seandar (a kind of Forbidden Palace) where she could never afford to be a child. She was the target of several assassination attempts, the first one at birth, and some of them plotted by her brothers or sisters. The Seanchan court is a path paved with daggers, the extreme cutthroat environment recalling the deadly social darwinism among the Forsaken making the game of houses look tame. Tuon is a survivor, and a dangerous foe. She has the potential to learn to channel, as she learned in Knife of Dreams, but it hasn't changed one bit her opinion of channellers – she simply answered that she chose not to learn, taking pride in her righteousness..

    Following the death of her mother (seemingly at Semirhage's own hands), Tuon legally became Empress immediately (there must not be any gap in supreme authority), though there is a mourning period to respect before she publicly ascends the Crystal Throne (or whatever equivalent they'll need to come up with for the ceremony now) and take her new name that few will be allowed to ever speak aloud. As prophesied by the Aelfinn and by Tuon's damane Lydia, Mat and Tuon married at the end of Knife of Dreams. Tuon returned to Ebou Dar where she cast down the traitor Suroth, made her da'covale and gave her to the Deathwatch Guard until she could be sold at the block. Tuon is certain to be a key player in upcoming events.

    You can find information and speculation about prophecies related to Tuon or the Seanchan at the following links in our Reference Library:

    Prophecies relating to the Seanchan

    Artur Paendrag Tanreall Hawkwing, the High King: The Imperial Family of Seanchan descends in direct line (or so they claim) from Artur Hawking, the incarnation of one of the Heroes of the Horn who lived at the end of the Free Years era and was a strong ta'veren. As a young man, Artur ascended the throne of his native Shandalle (see map) very early, following the death of his parents from a plague (notice here the mirroring with Tuon who ascends the Throne early following the murder of her mother by the perverted Healer Semirhage). Artur began his rise during the War of the Second Dragon, fighting and finally capturing the False Dragon Guaire Amalasan, so infamous in the ravages he caused that he was coined "the Second Dragon". The glory gained by the capture of Amalasan brought upon him the jealousy and hatred of the Amyrlin Seat Bonwhin, raised from the Red Ajah. Followed a murky period, where the exact hand Bonwhin had in the events is uncertain but highly suspected. Shandalle's neighbours declared war of Hawkwing and from defeating one after the other (and having a few nations declare for him) he ended up twenty years later High King of the Westlands. It is more than highly suspected that Hawkwing was for part of his reign under the influence of Ishamael, who had adopted the identity of one Jalwin Moerad and became his prime advisor. For most of his rule, Hawkwing was at war against Bonwhin and the White Tower and his generals were still besieging Tar Valon when he died. In the last years of his life, he organized two conquest expeditions abroad, the first under his son Luthair was sent to Seanchan where he and his descendants spent the next 900 years consolidating their rule, the second under an unnamed daughter tried but failed to conquer Shara. At the time of his death, his daughter's forces had been pushed back to sea and seemingly went to hide in the peninsula where they founded the city-state of Mayene and survived the War of Hundred Years that plagued the Westlands as the nobles, several of which Hawkwing had cast down, fought for his throne or for scraps of his shattered Empire. Bonwhin herself was deposed and stilled for her mishandling of Hawkwing that nearly destroyed the Tower. Much like the Seanchan in the south now, Hawkwing was revered by the common folk and hated by much of the nobility whose privileges he had curtailed.

    Fyr Paendrag: A grandson of Hawking, son of his daughter who lead the expedition to conquer Shara. He is the direct ancestor claimed by the Firsts of Mayene, his current heir Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron.

    Luthair Paendrag Mondwin: Son of Hawkwing who began the conquest of Seanchan and became the first Emperor. He is the direct ancestor claimed by the Seanchan dynasty.

    Emperor Algwyn Paendrag: The last male to ascend the Crystal Throne, circa a thousand years ago, which means he must not have been far removed from Luthair's reign.

    High Lord Matrim Cauthon, Prince of the Ravens: Tuon's husband. Any change of name or details about his privileges, duties or status among the Seanchan are upcoming with the new books.

    High Lady Aurana Paendrag: A younger sister of Tuon. Tuon dismissed her involvement in any plot against her, considering it too young at 14 years old. Aurana is presumed dead in the slaughter of the Imperial Family by Semirhage.

    Late Empress Radhanan Paendrag, may she live.. .ooops, a bit too late for that. Tuon's mother, though genitor may be a more apt description of their relationship – Tuon used to see her only twice a year before her "true name day" at sixteen years old. Semirhage claims to have killed Radhanan, and all the Imperial Family, while she sat on the Crystal Throne itself, plunging Seanchan into chaos and civil war, bringing things full circle from the War of the Hundred Years that bought down the Paendrag High-Kingdom in the Westlands. History repeats itself.

    High Lady Ravashi Paendrag: An older sister of Tuon (one of the few brothers and sisters we have a name for of the Empress' many children). Ravashi was one of the two sisters Tuon suspected to be behind the plot against her, though in truth this was engineered by Suroth at Semirhage's orders. Probably killed by Semirhage.

    High Lady Chimal Paendrag: Another older sister of Tuon, the second one she suspected could be plotting against her to have her killed and be named heir in her place. Also probably killed by Semirhage.

    High Lord Turak Aladon: A member of the Imperial Family, though his exact relationship to Rhadanan and Tuon is unknown. He stood eleventh in the line of succession to the Crystal Throne. Turak was the highly respected Commander of the Hailene, the Forerunners, a post assumed by the High Lady Suroth after his death. He was killed in a duel with Rand at his headquarters in Falme. One of the Seekers assigned to him, Almurat Mor, believes he was killed in a very intricate plot engineered by Suroth and involving the White Tower, an element that may very well resurface in the new books.

    High Lady Suroth Sabelle Meldarath: A Darkfriend with ties to "Ba'alzamon", or as they call themselves in Seanchan, an Atha'an Shadar, the People of the Shadow. Suroth got introduced in the series as far back as The Great Hunt, where she was the darkfriend ordered to meet Liandrin and capture Egwene and Nynaeve to send them as damane to Seanchan. After the debacle of Falme, Suroth took command of the Hailene, a position in which she was confirmed by the Empress. She secretly re-based them out of Cantorin in the Aile Somera, a Sea Folk archipelago west of Falme the Seanchan conquered (see this map for the location of Cantorin). Suroth later headed the Hailene in the conquests of Tarabon, Amadicia and Ebou Dar – before she overstretched her hand moving her troops toward Illian, which brought a preemptive attack from Rand (in the Path of Daggers) that both sides have interpreted as a defeat.

    Important details to remember about Suroth:

    As they escaped Falme, the girls collared two sul'dam with the a'dam, revealing the fact sul'dam are latent channellers. Seta and Renna were later discovered by a third sul'dam, Alwhin who reported this secret threatening the very foundation of the Empire to Suroth. Suroth rewarded her by making her so'jhin (very high ranking property - she was made her Voice) to ensure her silence. Suroth then sent to the mainland several agents, including Egeanin Sarna, to try to recover all the missing sul'dam.

    After the attack on Amador, the High Lady Suroth captured Liandrin who had been neutralized with a complex inverted shield by Moghedien to punish her. Suroth knew Liandrin, and her allegiance to the Black Ajah, from Toman's Head. Rather then properly making her a damane, Suroth made Liandrin one of her da'covale and kept her hidden among her retinue… but not well hidden enough, as we we'll see in Liandrin's entry.

    In Knife of Dreams, Suroth was met for the first time by Semirhage, who ordered her to find and kill Tuon and take the Seanchan Throne herself. A much reluctant Suroth put the orders in motion, sealing her doom. The Seeker Almurat Mor was on her trail and managed to convince Banner-General Karede to mount a secret expedition to find and save Tuon. Captain Musenge of the Deathwatch Guards brought back to Tuon the head of the leader of the army sent to kill her that Mat destroyed near the Molvide Narrows. Suroth was cast out of the High Blood and made da'covale, given to the Deathwatch Guards to do as they please until her hair has grown long enough that she is decent to be sold at the block. As The Gathering Storm begins, Suroth is still probably wishing very hard she were dead.


    The players among the Seanchan Military:

    The Ever Victorious Army: The name of the Seanchan regular Imperial army.

    The Deathwath Guard: The Deathwatch Guard owes its name to the fact their founders swore on Luthair Paendrag's body to protect his son and heir (this suggests Luthair was assassinated). All the humans among them are da'covale, property of the Empire, tattooed with the Imperial Ravens, which they often flaunt with great pride. They are selected among promising candidates among the hereditary da'covale, the descendants of someone who failed the Empire, often rebels and criminals, and was punished by making his whole descendance forever property of the Throne). The Deathwatch Guards are the elite of the Seanchan military, so terrible they make even the High Blood uneasy, and fanatically loyal, to the death, to the Empress and those she puts under their protection (like the commander of the Hailene, and the Daughter of the Nine Moons). No treason among the Deathwatch Guards has ever occurred since their creation. While the Deathwatch Guards are often sent into the fiercest battles (probably in part for the terror they inspire, and to foster it even more), their primary function and duty is not military in nature but to protect the Imperial Family. Ranks among the Deathwatch Guards place them half a rank above their equivalents in the Ever Victorious Army.

    The Ogier in the Deathwatch Guard are called the Gardeners. Even more feared than their human counterparts, unlike them they are not property. The exact nature of the compact tying them to the Crystal Throne is a matter between them and the Empress, as Furyk Karede put it. Robert Jordan promised the Garderners and the Westlands Ogier would meet at some point down the line. The Ogier in Seanchan are not suffering from the Longing.

    Captain-General High Lord Lunal Galgan: One of the highest ranking members of the Blood in Ebou Dar, he appears to be the central military player with the Return. In Knife of Dreams, as Suroth expected him to make a bid for the Throne, Galfan rather gradually folded the Forerunners into the Return, depriving Suroth of her authority over them and countermanding many of her orders, for instance bringing back to Amadicia and Altara all the rakens (9 out of ten) she had assigned to the pursuit of Ituralde. He triumphed with Tuon's return to Ebou Dar, when Suroth was cast down and made da'covale. One might say Galgan has bet on the right horse. Among his concerns during Knife of Dreams was the fact Suroth dismissed as secondary the pursuit of Galad and his seven thousand Children of the Light deserters. It is quite possible General Galgan remedies this soon.

    Banner-General Furyk Karede: A Deathwatch Guard and da'covale. He rose in rank for some achievements in the field during Rand's raid in Altara. He has developed, against custom, a personal attachment to Tuon. He has been assigned her bodyguard several times in the past, sometimes at his request. He is not, at present, part of it or leading it. Karede's attachment to Tuon, known to Seekers, is what convinced Almurat Mor to approach him with his suspicions concerning a plot to kill Tuon. Karede then assembled secretly a task force of the most trustworthy in her entourage to rescue her, eventually finding her with Mat near the Malvide Narrows, and escorting her back to Ebou Dar after she wed Mat. Karede is a character expected to return, perhaps as a key Seanchan player and possibly at an even more elevated rank, given his recent accomplishments. His military skills are highly regarded, and several members of the Blood have submitted to him their plans to get his advice. In Knife of Dreams, he was about to write such a report for Captain of the Air Yulan, concerning plans to cripple the White Tower's power. The plan involved two maps, one of Tar Valon and a second one of a mysteriously undisclosed location – perhaps Caemlyn and the Black Tower…

    Captain Musenge: Deathwatch Guard. Presently the commander of Tuon's bodyguard. He was picked by Karede to be part of the rescue party. He led the Deathwatch Guards temporarily left with Mat to deceive the army sent by Suroth to kill Tuon. He has returned to Ebou Dar since.

    Hartha: the Commander of the Ogier Gardeners with the Return, he also leads the Gardeners among Tuon's bodyguards and he and his men were part of the rescue party.

    Lord Abaldar Yulan, Captain of the Air: He appears to be the highest ranking officer of the Seanchan Air Force. He was the one who ordered the retreat under Rand's onslaught. Captain Yulan is responsible, or highly involved, in the plans to cripple the Aes Sedai powers, the one who sent his plans to Furyk Karede for his advice.

    General Chisen: During Knife of Dreams, General Chisen was posted in North-East Altara in the Molvaine Gap, his mission to watch for and stop any incursion from Murandy or Andor. When Mat began his series of raids, Chisen was ordered to come south and deal with these "armies", which was precisely what Mat hoped to achieve, clearing his way to the Molvaine Gap to exit Murandy with the Band, The plan has succeeded. By the end of Knife of Dreams, General Chisen's army was five days south of the Malvide Narrows. Now that the mystery behind the raids is no longer one, with the return of Musenge, Karede and Tuon to Ebou Dar, General Chisen will probably be ordered to return to the Molvaine Gap, and perhaps to keep an eye for the Whitecloak deserters. This could be bad news to Perrin, if he delays too long, and for Galad. The location of General Chisen will be shown on the map in the upcoming Mired in Altara article concerned with Mat and the Band.

    Banner-General Lord Efraim Yamada: A member of the low Blood with the Return, under Captain-General Galgan. Yamada has a lovely singing voice that won him the heart, and the hand, of the Altaran Lady Riselle, one of Queen Tylin's ladies-in-waiting, the one whose legendary bosom had been a pillow to about half the male cast in Ebou Dar. They were to marry very soon in Winter's Heart. Yamada was last seen reporting to Galgan on the trap General Turan fell into in Arad Doman.

    Banner-General Gamel Loune: An officer with either the Return or the Forerunners, Gamel Loune was posted during Knife of Dreams in central eastern Altara, about four days from the Malvide Narrows. On his search for Tuon, Furyk Karede reached his camp and through their discussion of the raids (Mat's) and General Chisen coming north, Karede puzzled out Mat's plans,

    Commander Gurat: One of Banner-General Famel Loune's commanders. He lost most of his forces after falling into a trap set by the Band of the Red Hand. He has not appeared beside this brief mention in Knife of Dreams.

    Captain-General Kennar Miraj: A former high officer with the Forerunners. Suroth unwisely forced him to try and to wipe out Rand's forces in the Path of Daggers. He was killed by Rand wielding Callandor.

    Banner-General Mikhel Najirah: An officer of the Return under Galgan. He was seen briefly in the Knife of Dreams epilogue, bringing a summons from Galgan to Suroth.

    Captain Tehan: The captain of Tuon's flagship, The Victory of Kidron. Some speculate she might be her Captain of the Gold, or is at least the highest ranking naval military officer assigned to the Return.

    First Lieutenant Tiras: an officer with the Forerunners, under Assid Bakuun. He was seen in Rand's raid in Altara in the Path of Daggers. It is unknown whether his survived or not.

    Captain Assid Bakuun: An officer of thirty years of experience with the Ever Victorious Army, he was one of the officers of the Forerunners facing Rand's raid on Seanchan outposts in Altara. His fate is unknown.

    Lieutenant-General Turan: One of the Seanchan officers based in Tarabon. He is the one who was ordered to pursue Ituralde and bring his head back to Suroth. He is now in southern Arad Doman, having fallen into the first and second of Ituralde's traps.

    Lieutenant-General Lady Tylee Khirgan: Banner-General and not of the Blood during Knife of Dreams, Tylee was raised and promoted for her success against the Shaido. She had been assigned to find and put an end to them. Tylee was the officer who crossed paths with Perrin and made an alliance with him that lead to their common victory against Sevanna's forces at Malden.

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    As she was approaching Ebou Dar twenty days after the battle of Malden, Tylee's forces came under attack from Shadowspawn. Her fate is unknown. She was musing at the time on the wisdom of pursuing the Return instead of seeking an alliance with forces in the Westlands for the Last Battle, but deemed unthinkable to speak of it to her superiors. Tylee has developed a great respect for Perrin. It is notable that she carries her sword on her back, which makes some speculate she could well be Egwene's Seanchan woman (another fan favourite candidate, Egeanin, carries her sword strapped to her chest).


    Anghar: A soldier seen in the Path of Daggers during Rand's raid. Karede sent him to report about their retreat.

    Arrata: She was a soldier under Banner-General Khirgan during the Shaido campaign in north-west Altara.

    Captain Bakayar Mishima: A captain with Tylee Khirgan and her friend and second.

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    Mishima gets killed in the Shadowspawn ambush of Tylee's forces a mile north of Ebou Dar in What the Storms Means.

    Karm: Tylee's long-serving quartermaster. (new character from the prologue)


    Banner-General Chianmai: An officer of the Ever Victorious Army with the Forerunners. He was killed by a damane who lost control of saidar, after the overuse of the Bowl of the Winds had side effects on the One Power around Ebou Dar.

    Captain Blasic Faloun: An officer Perrin and Tylee dealt with at the supply base at Almizar, Amadicia.

    Caban: An soldier of the Forerunners assigned to Egeanin's Spray during The Great Hunt. He has not reappeared since.

    Lieutenant Gueye Arabah: One of the officers under Tylee Khirgan, his fate is currently unknown.

    Captain of the Green Egeanin Sarna (raised to the Blood as Lady Egeanin Tamarath, cast out later as Leilwyn Shipless): A captain with the Forerunners now with Mat's group, we will return to her in the article devoted to Mat.

    Zaired Elbar: A Seanchan officer loyal to Suroth and like her a darkfriend. Suroth charged him with finding and killing Tuon, at Semirhage's order. Elbar lead the army that fell in Mat's trap near the Malvide Narrows and was destroyed. Elbar's head was brought back by Captain Musenge to Tuon in Ebou Dar, as proof of Suroth's treason.

    Jadranka: A commander who lost control of the situation during Rand's raid in Altara and began to issue dangerously stupid orders. Furyk Karede executed him.

    Murel: A soldier with the banner involved in scenes in Jurador in Knife of Dreams. He was one of those who wanted to enter the circus without paying.

    Nadoc : a soldier under Furyk Karede. He was involved in the scenes of Rand's raid in Altara.


    The Seekers for Truth:

    The terrifying Seanchan secret police; none but the Empress is out of their reach. The Seekers answer to an Hand and ultimately to the Throne, even those detached at the Empress's orders to serve All of them are da'covale to the Throne and tattooed with the Ravens. They are based at the Towers of Midnight, the Seanchan's most terrifying prison complex.

    Almurat Mor: A mid-level Seeker attached originally to High Lord Turak and the Forerunners. Almurat Mor has investigated his death since, mistakenly suspecting the High Lady Suroth (the man was killed in fact by Rand), which led him to discover several troubling facts about her and her entourage, developing a theory that Suroth was in league with agents from the White Tower in a conspiracy that involved Egeanin. In Winter's Heart, he ordered the sul'dam Bethamin to spy for him on Egeanin, which sparked Bethamin to tell everything to Egeanin, warning her she must escape. Egeanin sought Mat's help, which in the end brought the escape from Ebou Dar and the kidnapping of Tuon. Mor then went deeper into his theory, concluding that Suroth's goal was to have Tuon assassinated and take the throne. Mor has discovered that Suroth had among her da'covale a mysteriously unleashed marath'damane who is Aes Sedai, a fact that as not yet come into play (the woman is of course Liandrin). Suspecting involvement of Seekers above him (he all but implied that Tuon's Hand was involved), Mor chose to trust Furyk Karede to organize the search and rescue of Tuon. How much influence will Almurat Mor's grand theories have on Tuon? It remains to be seen. It is at least fairly unlikely Almurat Mor leaves the matter of Suroth's (imagined) ties with the White Tower, and the presence of Liandrin among her da'covale, to rest.

    Sul'dam and animal handlers:

    The sul'dam are the damane handlers. The Der'sul'dam supervise the sul'dam and the care and training of the damane. Morat' denotes a beast handler.

    morat'raken Chulein: A raken flyer and handler with the Forerunners. She was the POV character for the scene of the explosion of Elayne's unravelling Gateway at the Farm.

    morat'raken Eliya: Chulein's teamate, she got killed during the raid on the Kin's farm.

    Bethamin Zeami: A former sul'dam, for years an acquaintance of Egeanin, she has deserted with her during Mat's escape from Ebou Dar and is now being trained to channel by some of the Aes Sedai with Mat. Bethamin will be discussed in the upcoming article concerned with Mat's story line.

    Catrona: One of Tuon's six personal sul'dam whom she brought with her to Ebou Dar. She was last seen during Tuon's arrival scene in Winter's Heart.

    Cerandin: A morat's'redit (essentially or literally, an elephant) for the Empress in Seandar. She was chosen to be part of the Forerunners. Stranded after Falme, she was welcomed by Valan Luca's Travelling show, in which she had memorable rows with Nynaeve when she and Elayne hid with the circus. She returned to the Seanchan when Luca stopped in Ebou Dar. Suroth rewarded Luca for sheltering her and her animals by excluding the circus from the horse lottery. She has not appeared since The Fires of Heaven but was mentioned in Winter's Heart.

    Essonde (not to be confused with Essande, a maid of Elayne Trakand): The der'sul'dam in charge of the damane kennels at the Tarasin palace.

    Falendre: One of the sul'dam who were ordered to accompany Tuon (actually Semirhage in disguise) to her meeting with the Dragon Reborn in northern Altara. Falendre was sent back to Ebou Dar with a message from Rand to Tuon, with his offer of a truce.

    Click here to expand the rest of this post


    That scene is now presented from her POV in What the Storm Means and explains why the Seanchan still don't seem to know about Semirhage in the epilogue of Knife of Dreams.


    Ianelle: Another of the six sul'dam personally serving Tuon whom she brought with her to Ebou Dar.

    Iona: A sul'dam in Ebou Dar, she shared Bethamin's room at an inn. She has not appeared in any scene so far.

    Lisaine Jarath: A senior der'sul'dam assigned under Captain-General Miraj. She was seen during the episode of Rand's raid in Altara in The Path of Daggers.

    morat'raken Macu and Tauan: they were killed during the episode of the Seanchan raid on the Kin's Farm

    Melitene: Tuon's personal der'sul'dam. She was part of the rescue with Furyk Karede and it was hinted that her skills extend beyond her function, not out of the ordinary among Tuon's staff.

    Marli Noichin: sul'dam captured in Altara and sent to Elayne. She now admits seeing the weaves but still insists she must stay collared.

    Mulaen: the woman who ran the damane quarters in Falme..

    Nerith: One of the sul'dam captured by Rand in Altara, most likely sent with the others to Elayne but she has not been mentioned since.

    Renna Emain : A sul'dam with the Forerunners. She is the one who tried to train Egwene. She ended up collared by the girls. She was blackmailed by Egeanin into participating in Mat's escape plan. She eventually stabbed Egeanin and escaped, seeking to rejoin the Seanchan in Cormaed and raise the alarm. Mat hunted down and Harnan of the Band killed her. When she noticed Mat's pain at having got a woman killed, Tuon became very angry and forbade him to mourn a traitor.

    Seta Zarbey: A sul'dam with the Forerunners, she ended up collared by the girls like Renna and left to be found. Seta was blackmailed by Egeanin into participating in Mat's escape plan. She is now with Mat and learning to channel. We will return to her in Mat's story line Who's Who.

    Surela: A der'sul'dam in Suroth's entourage back in The Shadow Rising. She has not reappeared afterward.

    Surine: a sul'dam who deserted after Falme. She was mentionned in The Shadow Rising, when Floran Gelb mistook Nynaeve for her. Her fate is unknown.

    Taisa: A minor sul'dam character in Suroth's entourage, she has not reappeared since The Shadow Rising.

    Newly named characters - Minor prologue "spoiler", click to expand



    Tanera: One of the sul'dam who accompanied "Tuon (ie: Semirhage) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name and that she's one of those who died in the confrontation.

    Suryia: One of the sul'dam who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.

    Malian: One of the sul'dam who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.



    Damane

    Dali & Dani: Two sisters owned by Tuon. They are part of the group of six damane she brought with her to Ebou Dar. They were seen in the scene of her arrival in Winter's Heart.

    Alivia: an ex-damane, over four hundred years old. She was used in the defense against Rand's raid in Altara and captured. Sent with the other prisoners to the care of Elayne in Caemlyn, Alivia was the first trusted to be unleashed. She is incredibly strong, the strongest female channeller on the side of the light. Nynaeve decided to bring her with them when she and Lan joined Rand to help him cleanse saidin. Alivia was the soure of a much speculated about (and not just by fans, characters do to) Viewing by Min that she would one day "help Rand to die".

    Click here to expand the rest of this post


    In Tears from Steel, Alivia is still with Rand's forces in Arad Doman and involved in guarding or questionning Semirhage.


    Charral: One of Tuon's six damane whom she brought with her to Ebou Dar. She was last seen during Tuon's arrival scene in Winter's Heart. She is noted for her agility in weaving.

    Gille: Gille was killed during the battle against Rand and the asha'man in the Path of Daggers.

    Jillari: A Seanchan-born damane captured during Rand's raid in Altara. She is prisoner in Caemlyn and by Knife of Dreams it was still unsafe to remove her a'dam or let her close to sul'dam.

    Jinjin: One of Suroth's damane. She appeared during the audience with Morgase in Amadicia but has not shown up since.

    Kara Defane: A former Wise Woman from Toman Head captured and made damane. She was taken by Rand in the raid in Altara and sent to Elayne. Despite her origins, she is one who can't still be trusted to be freed.

    Larie: the damane name of a young Taraboner named Lemore. She was taken during Rand's raid in Altara and is part of the damane and sul'dam sent to Elayne.

    Lidya: One of Tuon's six damane with her in Ebou Dar. Lidya can foretell and she's the one who made the prophecy that guided Tuon in her dealings with Mat:
    "Beware the fox that makes the ravens fly, for he will marry you and carry you away. Beware the man who remembers Hawkwing's face, for he will marry you and set you free. Beware the man of the red hand, for him you will marry and none other."


    Mylen: The damane name of Sheraine Caminelle, and Aes Sedai of unknown Ajah captured on Toman's Head. Brought to Seanchan where she was letting herself die before Tuon bought her, managed to save her and train her. She is now fanatically devoted to Tuon, something Tuon is extremely adept at sparking in her people (from Selucia to Melitene to Mylen and Furyk Karede). She was part of the group with Kadere who went to rescue Tuon. Much to the shock of the Aes Sedai with Mat, she stopped them from freeing her.

    Sera: Another of the six damane Tuon brought with her to Ebou Dar.

    Serrisa: A damane bought by Egeanin Tamarath once she was raised to the Blood. She was left in Cantorin when Egeanin was ordered to Ebou Dar.

    Tessi : This was the damane name of the Aes Sedai Teslyn Baradon, who has since been rescued by Mat.

    Tuli: This was Egwene's name while she was a damane.

    Varek: A soldier under Captain-General Miraj, seen in the episode of Rand's raid in Altara.

    Zakai: A damane assigned to General Chianmai during the battle in Atara in The Path of Daggers.

    Norie: One of the damane assigned to Banner-General Tylee for her mission against the shaido, her fate is now unknown.

    Zushi: A Sea Folk Windfinder captured in Ebou Dar. She presumably escaped after Mat freed one of the Windfinders and let her free the others, but her fate is unkown

    Pura: A yellow named Ryma Galfrey taken at Falme, she is now perfectly broken. She made a few apparitions in the background since The Great Hunt, her last one was when she accompanied Suroth and Tylin in her touring of Altara in Winter's Heart. She is known to Egwene who saw her in the kennels in Falme.

    Marille: A damane taken by Rand's men during the raid in Altara and sent to Elayne. She still can't be trusted enough for her ad'am to be removed. She is Seanchan.

    Newly named characters - Minor prologue "spoiler", click to expand



    Miri: One of the damane who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name and that she's one of those who died in the confrontation.

    Nenci: One of the damane who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.

    Tabi: One of the damane who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.

    Ciar: One of the damane who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.

    Thala: One of the sul'dam or damane who accompanied "Tuon" (ie: Semirhage in disguise) to capture Rand. In What the Storm Means, we learn her name. She was part of the survivors sent back to Ebou Dar.


    So'jhin, da'covale, aides, servants, bureaucrats et al.

    Ajimbura: A servant and aide to Banner-General Karede for close to twenty years, he swore himself to him after being defeated three times. Ajimbura is a tribesman from the Hill forts of Kasenda. The clues are all over the place that the Hill Tribes solve the mystery of what happened to the Dai'shain Aiel on the Seanchan continent).

    Yuril: Outwardly he is Tuon's secretary. In truth, he is also her Hand and the the manager of her Seekers for Truth. Yuril was only briefly seen in the scene of her arrival to Ebou Dar, but he's a background player likely to reappear. It's to him that the Seeker Almurat Mor might eventually report.

    Atal: A background clerk at the Seanchan supply base in Almizar, Amadicia, seen when Perrin and Tylee went there.

    Alwhin: Alwhin was the best of Suroth's sul'dam. When the girls leashed the sul'dam Rena and Seta and left them to be found by the Seanchan, it is Alwhin who came upon them and secretely reported to Suroth, who kept that secret that could shake the Empire, the hegemony of the throne resting largely on its control of damane. To buy her silence, Suroth made her so'jhin and her Voice and grew to intensely dislike the woman. Liandrin took upon herself to poison the woman to "please" Suroth.

    Mantual: a personal servant of Banner-General Loune

    Mehtan: A clerk in Almizar, Amadicia, the one who died horribly, beetles having eaten him from the inside.

    Neferi: She used to be one of Tuon's so'jhin and her Voice of the Blood. She died mysteriously falling down the stairs in the plot to place Semirhage near Tuon.

    Rosala: One of Suroth's da'covale. She is the one in charge of disciplining the others.

    Ronde Macura: An Amadician seamstress from Mardecin who was also once a Yellow Ajah eyes-and-ears. Macura discovered by accident, so she claims, the properties of forkroot. The circumstances of her discovery where never very clear. Following Elaida's orders to capture Elayne, which the Ajahs passed down to their agents, Macura dosed Elayne and Nynaeve with forkroot, but Thom and Juilin rescued them before they were sent to Tar Valon. Macura's report to Tar Valon, revealing forkroot, caused a major commotion. In another of her greatly miscalculated moves - one that must have got a hundred or more women captured by the Seanchan, Elaida ordered Macura flogged for her 'failure'. Macura already sent her reports to another destination, which was never fully confirmed but was probably a Seeker attached to the Forerunners and operating in Tarabon, her flogging turned her into a bitter enemy of the Aes Sedai. Not only did she give the secret of forkroot to the Seanchan, but when the Return arrived to Tanchico, she pleaded for Tuon to take her into her service, which Tuon reluctantly granted her. Her status is unknown. Was she made so'jhin, da'covale or is she simply a servant who isn't property? We do not know. We do know that Tuon brought Ronde Macura to Ebou Dar, where she was last seen in the scene of Tuon's arrival in Winter's Heart, and that Ronde did not have to prostrate herself to the High Lady. Tuon said this of her:
    "She hated Aes Sedai in her bones, for some reason, and despite the rewards already given for her extremely valuable information, she hoped to do them more injury."
    Is this foreshadowing or an elegant conclusion to Macura's role in the series, letting us know at the same time of the consequences of Elaida's actions? Jordan was found of both devices in the series, so only time will tell if we are done or not with Ronde Macura.

    Selucia: One of Tuon's so'jhin. To all eyes, she is one of her maids. In truth, she is an highly trained killer and bodyguard, which the Seanchan refer to as a Shadow. Tom Merrilin puzzled it out when Selucia had to fight in Maderin. This fact could be of minor relevance later on, if the Seanchan's doubts about who Thom Merrilin really is resurfaces. The Seeker Almurat Mor mistakes him for "one of the best agents" of the White Tower.

    Liandrin: One of Suroth's da'covale. Liandrin is Black Ajah and know as such by many, including some Aes Sedai. After the fiasco of her attempt to find the ter'angreal that would allow the Black Ajah to control the Dragon Reborn (a device similar to an a'dam, but for men), the Black Ajah fled to Amador and hid in the house of a darkfriend merchant. They were tracked down by Moghedien who started sending several members of the group to accomplish various tasks. Liandrin made the ill-advised decision to try to Compel Moghedien, getting the arrogant notion that she could capture the woman and give her to another Chosen to curry favour. Moghedien punished her by placing an inverted shield she knotted intrically on her, and by Compelling her to live – pointing out to Liandrin that Compulsion that followed innermost desires like this can hold forever.

    Liandrin was later captured following Suroth's taking of Amador. The circumstances that turned her into one of Suroth's da'covale have never been fully clarified. Suroth and Liandrin both know the other is a darkfriend. Presumably, Suroth found it too risky to leave her to the sul'dam – away from her control - and chose to hide her among her da'covale instead, despite the question her Aes Sedai face and her curious shield might raise (few but the Seekers dare to be too curious about the High Blood, however).

    In Knife of Dreams, we learned that Liandrin poisoned Suroth's Voice Alwhin, supposedly to curry favour as she had heard/seen that she was a problem for Suroth. Suroth feared this might bring the Seekers' attention, but she didn't know the half of it. Rumours of Liandrin's presence, an Aes Sedai's presence, among Suroth' s servants had already reached the Seeker Almurat Mor who was investigating Suroth and suspected her to be a traitor in league with the White Tower to make Tuon disappear.

    Almurat Mor's suspicions are not likely to go away. Where he suspected the White Tower, there actually was the Shadow and a big and imaginative house of cards built around Thom Merrilin and Egeanin. But Tuon and Selucia haven't quite ruled out some mysterious White Tower involvement in her kidnapping. In her last POV, Tuon said Mat had more layers than an onion. Suroth's treason was exposed, but we have yet to see if Tuon, her Hand and Almurat Mor will dig deeper into this plot. The murder of Alwhin may resurface, and presumably Liandrin herself still possesses lethal poison. She cannot use it to commit suicide, because of Semirhage's compulsion. It is unknown what will happen to Suroth's da'covale, whether they'll be sold at the block, seized by Tuon or something else. Liandrin is well known by at least Moridin and Moghedien. We may not be over just yet with mischief by Liandrin…

    A series of unforeseen circumstances could also bring Liandrin the da'covale into the presence of Egwene, bringing this full circle with Egwene confronting the very woman responsible for the fact she was briefly made damane, the woman the girls were supposed to hunt down and bring back to Tar Valon's justice. Better late than never... especially that Elayne already has as prisoners several other members of this group.

    2 comments:

    Fanatic-Templar said...

    We rode on the winds of the rising storm,
    We ran to the sounds of thunder.
    We danced among the lightning bolts,
    And tore the world asunder.

    Adam Whitehead said...

    Fyr Paendrag? Do you mean Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera, the first First of Mayene?

    I thought in the Big White Book it was said his mother was Laiwynde, who didn't go to Seanchan or Shara but died in mysterious circumstances a few days before Hawkwing, supposedly taking Tyrn with her? Then it was a big surprise when Tyrn turned up in Mayene ten years later and was made the first First.

    I know some of the stuff about Tyrn and his daughter Miselle comes from the RPG and the canonicity of that is in some debate, but Laiwynde and Tyrn I think are both fully canon by virtue of being in the BWB.