Monday, October 5, 2009
This week I'm turning my gaze from the Aes Sedai to the Forsaken. They too are a remnant of a remnant: in the Age of Legends about half the Servants went over to the Shadow and became Forsaken, either out of conviction of the Shadow’s cause, or from determination to be on the winning side. The lucky thirteen we know were the ones gathered at Shayol Ghul when Lews Therin and his Companions made the Strike to seal the Bore. The rest were done in by their more ruthless colleagues, or their paranoid overlord, or they perished in the general apocalypse of the Breaking (TOR Question of the Week). Of the thirteen Forsaken made forever infamous for being Sealed in the Bore, only eight are now still alive. What follows is a synopsis of their most recent activities and plans.
Trio number one: the boss and his two side-kicks
As Naeblis, Moridin called a meeting in Knife of Dreams to make sure all Forsaken know what the policy is. He played mind games with them while he was at it: arranging eleven chairs in the room to keep the Forsaken guessing how many of them are still alive, and how many Moridin thinks are still alive; and declaring the Time of Return is near, yet apparently not being unduly worried about the Seals still in Rand's possession. His zomaran secretly read the thoughts of all the Forsaken at the meeting. Moridin made it obvious even to someone as unobservant as Aran’gar that he holds the mindtraps of Cyndane and Moghedien and that Mesaana has been punished.
His current orders are that no Forsaken is to follow their own plans or send Trollocs or Myrddraal out of the Blight. They must report immediately to him if they see any. The Forsaken are not to harm Rand in any way, but Mat and Perrin must be killed (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens) now that the world is in the Last Days.
Ishamael is the only one to use Shai’tan’s name. He believes the end of time will bring him enormous power (The Eye of the World, The Stag and Lion) and that he knows the ‘paths to greater power’ (The Great Hunt, Kinslayer). It is unclear if this power is that of being Naeblis and ruling the world in the Dark One’s name or his belief that when the Dark One kills time (breaks the Wheel of Time) Ishamael will be freed of the Wheel and the cycle of reincarnation and able to ascend to godhood, a belief of eastern religion. This would explain his nihilism. Buddhists, Jains and Hindus believe that people can liberate themselves from the endless cycle of reincarnation by meditation, virtue and distancing themselves from the material world, not in the violent manner Ishamael prefers or expects. Ishamael alone among the Forsaken has not blinded himself to the Dark One’s intent to end time and the world; in fact he has embraced it.
Current Status: Moridin has been linked to Rand since their balefires crossed at Shadar Logoth, with increasing awareness between the two of them. He feels nausea when Rand seizes saidin and Rand feels nausea when Moridin channels (Knife of Dreams, Within the Stone). This is why Moridin was unable to attend the Cleansing of saidin himself while Rand was channelling huge amounts of the Power. Moridin may have had to step outside the Pattern (as he did after watching Sammael disperse the Shaido in A Crown of Swords, Patterns Within Patterns) while the Cleansing was on.
Lanfear/Cyndane and Moghedien
Apart from being mindtrapped as punishment for their failure and for promoting their own plans above those of the Shadow, these two also have in common considerable skill in Tel'aran'rhiod. Not that they appear to have been using this recently. Their current whereabouts and activities are unknown.
Cyndane tells Moridin everything, according to him. She still wants to get her vengeful hands on Rand.
Moghedien followed Moridin's orders to attend the Cleansing of saidin but did nothing except watch. She was raped by Shaidar Haran, but shows fewer after effects than Mesaana. Moghedien also expressed determination to break free of her mindtrap.
The second unholy trio
His location is currently unknown. All that is known of his current plans are that he has been looking for the last three Seals (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens) and that he is probably using proxies to sow chaos and/or amass forces for the Shadow.
She is pale and wan after her punishment by Shaidar Haran for not attending the Cleansing or Forsaken meetings and not following Moridin’s orders (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens). Her plans revolve around tying up the Aes Sedai in useless internal conflict and therefore she was furious Egwene was captured because she assumed the rebellion would then fall apart ( Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens). After being assured otherwise by Aran'gar, she suggested Aran'gar sow dissension among the rebels.
After destroying the entire Imperial Family in Seanchan, Semirhage urged Suroth to kill Tuon and take her place as Empress, because a Darkfriend Empress would make things somewhat easier for Semirhage (Knife of Dreams, Prologue). She finally knows who Mat is (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens).
Semirhage attempted to capture Rand but was herself captured instead. She burned Rand’s hand off and damaged his eyesight in contradiction of Moridin’s orders not to harm Rand (Knife of Dreams, A Plain Wooden Box).
The sexually dynamic duo
While Aran'gar has previously disguised herself as other Forsaken, she didn’t send Shadowspawn after Rand at Algarin's manor in Tear while disguised as Sammael. At the Forsaken meeting in Knife of Dreams, she realised Cyndane and Moghedien are mindtrapped and held by Moridin, but does not know whether Osan'gar is dead. She is mildly interested in killing Mat or Perrin, but is planning to kill Rand, contrary to Moridin's orders, and to kill Moridin himself as well.
Aran'gar demanded Mesaana tell her where Egwene is held, since Egwene is her main tool and she wanted to rescue her, but nothing doing. It's all academic anyway: Aran'gar fled the rebel Aes Sedai with Delana just prior to being exposed by Romanda, and her whereabouts are unknown. Perhaps she visited Graendal. She toyed with Graendal, proposing an alliance between them while planning to use Graendal’s Darkfriend contacts and then kill Graendal when she is no longer useful (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens).
Probably in Arad Doman, she has a wide range of Darkfriend contacts according to Aran’gar. Graendal told Aran’gar that Cyndane was not Lanfear because she is weaker in the Power than Lanfear was (Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens), but Graendal may have figured out more than she told Aran'gar.
At the Forsaken meeting in Knife of Dreams, she allowed Aran’gar to toy with her, when Graendal never lets herself be the lesser of any pair, although she will flirt with someone she intends to kill or who intends to kill her (A Crown of Swords, Patterns within Patterns). It looks like Graendal has Aran’gar sussed out.
Chosen Dead Ducks:
He was burnt by Elza, Merise and Narishma near Shadow Logoth at the Cleansing, and apparently did not survive and was not reincarnated a second time.
Asmodean was killed, probably with balefire, in Caemlyn.
Moiraine balefired Be'lal in Tear.
Rahvin was balefired by Rand in Caemlyn.
He was killed by Mashadar in Shadar Logoth and apparently not reincarnated.
This post is based on an article on all the known past and present deeds and plans of each Forsaken I wrote for Wotmania in October 2007, and which is now republished here. It also looks at the motivations behind each Forsaken and the order in which they joined up.