I thought it might be interesting to name a few likely, but currently unexposed, Darkfriends, some of which might be revealed in Towers of Midnight.
The Tairen High Lord who wore “elaborately silver-worked boots” at Ishamael’s Darkfriend social in The Great Hunt is probably Weiramon Saniago, since he is the only one to wear such boots and has been acting suspiciously. (It is remarked more than once that Weiramon’s sigil is very similar to Lanfear’s – not a suggestion that he is her, but a subtle hint that he is also allied to the Shadow.)
Weiramon may have been undermining the effectiveness of Rand's attacks from the inside. His ‘mistakes’ include:
- 1. He grossly flatters Rand, trying to puff up his ego, so that Rand becomes excessively arrogant and dictatorial, judges poorly and repels people. This is happening.
- 2. He tries to make Rand distrust other nations’ forces; he sows disunity and suspicion (The Path of Daggers, Answering the Summons).
- 3. Weiramon encourages Rand spread his forces among too many targets.
- 4. He underestimates the size and effectiveness of enemy attacks. For example, he claimed the forces attacking Tear in The Fires of Heaven were only bandits and pirates (The Fires of Heaven, The Craft of Kin Tovere) and he told Rand that the remnants of Sammael’s Illianer army was only as small force, yet it was not (The Path of Daggers, Floating Like Snow). He and Gedwyn together persuaded Rand to ignore Bashere’s advice and push on to Ebou Dar fighting the Seanchan.
- 5. Weiramon attacks too early with too little forces, often managing to leave behind, divide or lose some of his forces, e.g. against the Shaido in Cairhien (The Fires of Heaven, The Craft of Kin Tovere), and against Sammael in Illian (A Crown of Swords, A Crown of Swords). In Cairhien, if he had his way, he would have lead the core of the Tairen forces Rand had in Tear to utter destruction before even the final battle.
- 6. In battle he leaves his assigned position, opening holes in the defence for the enemy to penetrate, as happened against the Seanchan in Altara. Rand was nearly killed as a result (The Path of Daggers, Fog of War, Storm of Battle).
- 7. He doesn’t push hard enough when in battle. In Altara Weiramon did not even get slightly dirty and the Taraboners in the Seanchan said the Tairens fought less fiercely than expected, unlike Rand’s other troops (The Path of Daggers, A Time for Iron).
Such an extensive list adds up to a deliberate pattern of sabotage, aiming at undermining the effectiveness of Rand’s leadership and armies. It is a wonder he has survived any military engagements at all (we have seen other military incompetents promptly killed in battle, for example Melanril), let alone have any credibility among Tairens. He was particularly stupid about the Shaido, yet is old enough to have fought in the Aiel War. In fact, in New Spring, The Hook, a young Tairen noble with silver worked boots gave Lan orders to position his forces as an anvil against which Tairen forces were supposed to crush Aiel. This did not happen and if the Aiel – in much larger numbers than the Tairen said - had not withdrawn after Laman was killed, Lan and his forces would have been wiped out.
Weiramon’s conversation with Darkfriend Asha’man Gedwyn in The Path of Daggers showed that he is sometimes not so stupid at all:
"I don't care who you are, I won't take more risk without a command direct from the lips of -"When he saw that he was overheard, he looked murderous and then acted stupidly again. Gedwyn apparently tried to pull rank on Weiramon but was ignored. Weiramon was unimpressed by a very high up (dark) Asha’man, which implies that Weiramon was under orders from somebody higher up than Gedwyn, somebody even more impressive - one of the Forsaken, for instance.
- The Path of Daggers, A Time for Iron
I consider Lews Therin’s comments in The Gathering Storm to be a red herring:
I like him, Lews Therin thought.Yep. We could have Taim, for instance! *rolls eyes* Actually a man can choose to be an idiot – or at least appear one. Just as he can choose to appear loyal.
Rand started. You don't like anyone!
He's honest, Lews Therin replied, then laughed. More than I am, for certain! A man doesn't choose to be an idiot, but he does choose to be loyal. We could do much worse than have this man as a follower.
- The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear
We have seen very few Darkfriends among the Aiel. Way too few for the numbers of Aiel. I think Sorilea might be a Darkfriend. It's suggestive that the Shadow burgle Cadsuane the day she shows Sorilea and Bair where the male a'dam was hidden and on the only night that she is out of her room visiting...the Wise Ones. Cadsuane unravelled the weave while Sorilea was in the room. I think it was Sorilea that showed Elza the ‘rarely known weaves’ (as Sanderson put it) required to arm/disarm the box and get the Domination Band since Sorilea was too weak to do it herself. The weaves were inverted, so Sorila couldn’t see them to unweave them as Wise Ones can do to regular weaves. The situation mirrors Sorilea’s demonstration of Travelling to Cadsuane to put her in her debt in the first place, even though Sorilea’s weaves were too weak to open a gateway.
Quite possibly other Wise Ones are also Darkfriends, and, judging by the amount of discord among the clan chiefs, at least one clan chief probably is a Darkfriend.
Evanellein is pretty much a definite since she fled the Tower when the Black Ajah did.
I think Javindhra is Black too. She is supposedly Elaida’s lapdog, yet smirks when she says that news of Dumai’s Wells is spreading to discredit Elaida no matter how hard the Red Ajah leadership works (Knife of Dreams Prologue). It sounds as if she is aware of Alviarin’s order to do this. She wears ‘almost black’ clothing, often a sign of a Black sister. And now she’s at the Black Tower. Desala, a particularly nasty tempered Red (and that says something) is also a possible Darkfriend. She’s now at the Black Tower too.
Men can’t link without women and if the Shadow want to forcibly turn channellers to the Shadow with 13 Dreadlords and 13 Myrddraal, Black sisters would be useful. Not since Liandrin’s group was broken up have there been 13 Black Ajah free and available to link together with 13 Myrddraal to forcibly turn channellers to the Shadow. Of course, the circles of 13 don’t need to be all women, but there does need to be at least 7 women in a circle of 13 - one more woman than the number of men. Even a free and available group of 7 Black sisters hasn’t occurred that often before now.
The rebel Sitter Malind, who worked with Moria in suggesting to the Hall that the rebels make an agreement with the Black Tower is probably a Darkfriend. She also drafted an appeal to nearby nobles that might have turned the whole countryside against the rebels ( The Path of Daggers, Unexpected Absences). If she is Black, Verin failed to identify her, and she might be one of the rebels now at the Black Tower.
Salita, a Sitter who definitely went on the rebels’ expedition to the Black Tower, is another possibility since she proposed to levy a tax on every town and village the rebels passed through, which would have also have had the countryside against them.
Escaralde is another possible Black rebel Sitter since she too promoted the deal with the Black Tower and might now be on the rebels’ delegation there. If she is Black, Verin failed to identify her.
Of the one third of Aes Sedai that stood aside from the Tower schism and listened to Cadsuane, 20 to 25% of them will be Black.
Surely one of the Aes Sedai with Perrin is Black.
Memara, the Red sent to bully Tenobia, is a likely Darkfriend since Alviarin was the one to send her.
At least two Aes Sedai with the Borderlander rulers are probably Darkfriends – at least one each from the group that accompanied Tenobia (led by Illeisien), and the one with Paitar (led by Coladara). Since individually the groups could not have hoped to hold Rand, and combined they total exactly 13 I think the two groups were always working together.
Kyril Shianri, Paitar’s advisor, has the usual characteristics of Darkfriends: dissatisfaction, vanity and arrogance. To make sure all the rulers were committed to what amounts to weakening the Borderlands, he was very quick to pounce on any doubt and scorn it. He actually butted in on exchange between a King and Queen:
She [Ethenielle] made her own greetings just as short, ending with a direct "I hope you've come this far without detection."So eager is Shianri that he seems to be over-reacting. Neither Easar nor Ethenielle were thinking of turning back.
Easar snorted and leaned on his cantle, eyeing her grimly. A hard man, but eleven years widowed and still mourning. He had written poetry for his wife. There was always more than the surface. "If we've been seen, Ethenielle," he grumbled, "then we might as well turn back now."
"You speak of turning back already?" Between his tone and a flip of his tasseled reins, Shianri managed to combine disdain with barely enough civility to forestall a challenge.
- The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances
Lomas, the Kandori scout described as sly by Ethenielle, is another possible Darkfriend.
Covril, Loial’s mother who has been trying to get the Ogier to open the Book of Translation ASAP and leave the world, and thus miss out on the Last Battle. I explained why in this recent post.
We know there are some Darkfriends among the Seekers and/or the Hands controlling the Seekers from Crossroads of Twilight, The Tale of a Doll.
Carridin believed the slender, heavily wrapped Sea folk person at Ishamael’s social was male, but he might have been wrong. I think that this person could be female.
Speaking of Sea Folk women that might be Darkfriends, we have the two sister Windfinders to Clan Wavemistresses. But which one is the Darkfriend? Tebreille or Caire? That is the question. While having the seemingly benign sister a Darkfriend would be more surprising and original, it’s not likely since Caire was crucial in restoring the seasons. While we’ve seen Darkfriends do ‘good’ before, this might be going too far, even allowing for the desire for a great personal achievement. Most Darkfriends have pretty obvious character defects, so I guess Tebreille is the likely Darkfriend.
Taim’s personally trained Asha’man are obviously Darkfriends.
Einor Saren who spread chaos on Almoth Plain for Carridin and was ruthless enough to order a whole village killed
and stupid enough to throw the bodies into the river to float downstream and trumpet their deed from Alcruna to Tanchico.Handy for promoting further division and chaos. He confirmed the existence of the strangers, the Seanchan and baited Bornhald with the possibility of his legion fighting them:
- The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar
”Or are you sliding from the Light?" Saren's smile was a grimace. "If battle is what you seek, -you may have your chance. The strangers have a great force on Toman Head, more than Tarabon and Arad Doman together may be able to hold, even if they can stop their own bickering long enough to work together. If the strangers break through, you will have allBornhald and his legion died doing just that. Saren used reverse psychology; all the Questioners are aware of how the other Children see them. In the light of this, Saren’s suggestions to Asunawa sound like he is promoting division between Niall and the Questioners (and reminding Asunawa that Morgase should be killed).
the fighting you can handle. The Taraboners claim the strangers are monsters, creatures of the Dark One. Some say they have Aes Sedai to fight for them. If they are Darkfriends, these strangers, they will have to be dealt with, too. In their turn."
For a moment, Bornhald stopped breathing. "Then the rumors are true. Artur Hawking's armies have returned."
"Strangers," Saren said flatly. He sounded as if he regretted having mentioned them. "Strangers, and probably Darkfriends, from wherever they came. That is all we know, and all you need to know. They do not concern you now.”
- The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar
And now I come to a tricky one.
I am in two minds about Berelain. There may be good reason why we’ve never had a POV from her and also that Lanfear gave her the letter that claimed Rand. She’s done some good (when she was under the eyes of the Aiel) but has also been a great distraction and time-waster for Perrin and Faile. So I think she very well could be one of the cleverer Darkfriends. Some of her parallels indicate she is (Delilah, for instance, or Nephthys). Her motive? The survival of Mayene. It’s possible she’s one of those unknowingly working for Moridin but if so, who is giving her the orders and why is she obeying them?