Thursday, March 14, 2002

The Military Forces in the Westlands

By Linda and Amirebram

This article looks at all the military forces on the mainland at the start of the Last Battle. These forces are mostly armies: only two nations have naval forces and only one has any air capability (and that mostly scouting and troop deployment). However, the ability of some armies to deploy troops by gateway is a more than adequate alternative to an air force.

There are currently five great generals with the mainland armies: Agelmar Jagad, Davram Bashere, Gareth Bryne, Mat Cauthon, and Rodel Ituralde. Six, if you count Demandred, the leading general for the Shadow.

The military forces in the Mainland are currently divided into forces allied to the Dragon Reborn and Seanchan. The only significant unallied armies are those of the White Tower, and Murandy. All nations except the Seanchan sent forces to the Field of Merrilor to meet with Rand.

Many of the armies have been, until recently, uselessly locked in combat with each other, rather than uniting against the Shadow. This is no doubt a result of the Shadow’s tactics. The Seanchan was the only non-dark nation openly antagonistic to the Light’s other forces until well into A Memory of Light.

Rand’s Forces:

Rand’s Aiel

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 have reduced their numbers. Speculation: four hundred and twenty thousand Aiel are still under Rand’s command.

The Aiel are led by their Clan Chiefs, who are for the most part hardened warriors who are good generals. Aiel warriors themselves are without equal and their Wise Ones will no doubt take part in the fight against the Shadow, providing the Aiel armies with at least a few thousand channelers.

  • Five of the clans were last seen in Illian. They were sent to hunt down the Shaido. The boundaries of their hunt were not clarified in the book, but they may have possibly entered eastern Altara and southern Murandy to search for the remaining Shaido, though not as an invading army. These clans numbered over two hundred thousand at the start of Lord of Chaos, A Sense of Humor, and more were on the way to join them. We do not have a final estimate, nor are we given any information about their casualties.

  • Bael’s and Rhuarc’s forces: Bael’s and Rhuarc’s clans went to Arad Doman to restore order and when that mission failed they withdrew to Tear with Rand (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear). Speculation: They should add up to just over seventy thousand spears. Ituralde received reports of over a hundred thousand spears in northern Arad Doman, but thought they were an exaggeration (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). Some of these are at the Field of Merrilor with Darlin’s forces (Towers of Midnight, Something Wrong).

  • The last four Clans, numbering about one hundred and forty thousand spears, were sent to Kinslayer’s Dagger to hunt the remaining Shaido during A Crown of Swords, but the Shaido eluded them by ‘using’ Sammael’s traveling boxes. No further information about their location was given. We have no further information about their disposition other than them being annoyed by Rand’s arrogance (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Adrin).

Rand’s “Allied” Nations:

These nations are connected to Rand by various means.

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 soldier loyal to Trakand and Andor are on their way to Caemlyn and some have now arrived. Andor’s current Captain General is the legendary Hero of the Horn Birgitte Silver Bow. Gawyn Trakand, First Prince of the Sword, is with the Aes Sedai. However, Matrim Cauthon and his army have Travelled to Caemlyn.

The state of the Succession and the siege of Caemlyn triggered most Andoran houses into mobilizing their forces, thus leading to a highly militarized state. Therefore Elayne’s success in claiming the throne has in effect unified most of Andor’s strength, and the army is prepared for action.

Before the major battle for Caemlyn, Elayne had slightly over twenty thousand men in Caemlyn (Queen’s Guard included) (Knife of Dreams, To Keep the Bargain and Nine Out of Ten). Yet this was far from all the strength of her house and those her five supporters could lend her; the siege had kept many of her people away from the city. Once the siege was over the rest of her supporters joined her. Speculation: final numbers for the first six houses to support her should reach over forty thousand, in addition to the Queen’s Guards.

Arathelle, Luan, Abelle, Aemlyn, Pelivar, and Ellorien have close to sixty thousand men between them—although many of these will be drafted village folk who are under trained, inexperienced and lack proper arms and armor (Knife of Dreams, A Bronze Bear, The Importance of Dyelin). Of these six, five are pledged to support Elayne, and the sixth, Ellorien, pledged to send her troops to the Last Battle with the other Andoran troops (Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin).

Lir, Karind, and Sylvase should have fifteen or twenty thousand men left (considering casualties and those taken by Jarid). Arymilla’s, Naean’s and Elenia/Jarid’s forces are currently reduced and unreliable.

On a good day Andor could field up to one hundred and thirty to a hundred and fifty thousand men—Queen’s Guard, mercenaries, and noble’s armsmen, and regular draftees many of whom will be elderly or inexperienced and half trained. 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.

There are about one hundred and twenty five channellers helping Elayne and none bound by the Three Oaths (Knife of Dreams, House on Full Moon Street). There are also over ten thousand mercenaries outside Caemlyn according to Mat (Towers of Midnight, Talk of Dragons), and also the Band of the Red Hand (see below) which Elayne can draw on to fight and to man the dragons. Elayne built the dragons (cannon) that Aludra designed (see Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders article). Mat suggested fifty dragons to Elayne as a good number for demolishing a city wall, but it is not known how many Elayne had built by A Memory of Light. Mat bargained that the Band can keep a quarter of the dragons and that he supplies the men to fire them (Towers of Midnight, Talk of Dragons).

In addition to the Andor and Cairhien forces, Elayne has 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). However, Perrin does not support Egwene’s alliance of those objecting to Rand breaking the Seals as Elayne does.

Arad Doman:
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.”

- Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern.

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)).

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 have been recruited to help restore order there, and they are not free to fight elsewhere.

There must be nearly a thousand Asha’man by A Memory of Light to “match the Aes Sedai”. While some of the men are located in the Black Tower, south of Caemlyn, more than half of the Asha’men were moved to Arad Doman and Illian, including all the Asha’man with bonded Aes Sedai (Knife of Dreams, News for the Dragon) and less than a dozen are with Rand (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane). One hundred of these Asha’man were promised to Ituralde in Saldaea (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac) and after fighting there were transferred to Tear.

Some of the Asha’man are loyal to Logain. Taim also has his own faction. The one hundred men who attend his private classes are certainly his, and are probably all Darkfriends. Some Soldiers and Dedicated would also feel loyal to the M’Hael—although Taim’s harsh behaviour is unlikely to make him very popular. A large portion of the Soldiers and Dedicated do not have any specific loyalty, and we could not assume that they would obey Rand over Taim (or the reverse).

Channellers have been turned to the Shadow at the Black Tower by a circle of thirteen Dreadlords (of which at least seven must be women) and thirteen Myrddraal (see Black Tower article).

The Band of the Red Hand The Band is a military group that started after the battle for Cairhien in The Fires of Heaven, and is led by Mat Cauthon, who is arguably the best general there is. The Band’s original members were from Cairhien and Tear, although they recruited soldiers from Andor, Altara and Murandy (Lord of Chaos, A Different Dance, A Crown of Swords A Morning of Victory). The Band is formed around standard military arrangements set by Mat, according to his memories.

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). 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.

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 and supply the men to operate them.

Some of the members of the Band, mainly the Cairhienin ones, went to Caeirhien and then to the Field of Merrilor with Elayne, while the rest, under Talmanes, are about to defend Caemlyn from an attack by the Shadow. Mat himself has just returned to the main world after rescuing Moiraine from the *Finns, and awaits a channeller to make a gateway for him.

Borderland Alliance
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 believes their numbers to be over two hundred thousand (Winter’s Heart, Expectations) and Birgitte speaks of two hundred thousand soldiers (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know). These are all hardened men with experience fighting Trollocs along the Blight Border.

Shienar’s army, the most heavily armoured, is led by Lord Agelmar Jagad, one of the best generals in the land. Lord Baldhere is 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 is the general for Arafel. Saldea’s forces in the Borderland army are currently led by Kalyan Ramsin, one of Tenobia’s uncles. Saldean are famous for their light cavalry.

There are also thirteen Aes Sedai accompanying this army, five with Tenobia and eight with Paitar (The Path of Daggers, Prologue).

The army is on the Field of Merrilor (Towers of Midnight, Epilogue). It is possible that a portion of the Borderlander rulers’ forces were returned to their homelands to aid in defending these nations against Shadowspawn incursions (Towers of Midnight, A Testing).

Remaining Borderlander armies
We don’t know how many experienced warriors were left to guard the borders: 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). It is these men who will hear Lan’s call to ride with the Golden Crane for Tarwin’s Gap.

The Borderland nations are being overrun with Shadowspawn and are sustaining heavy losses of troops (Towers of Midnight, Epilogue).

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. Dobraine and his forces went 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 might be able to field as many as thirty thousand soldiers. Well over ten thousand from minor houses greeted Elayne when she came to take the Cairhien throne (Towers of Midnight, Boots). Cairhien is now part of Elayne’s alliance of nations and Elayne is also a supporter of Egwene’s plan to discourage Rand from breaking the Seals.

Children of the Light:
The Children were originally housed in Amador, capital of Amadicia, but they lost their base, the Fortress of the Light, and a thousand or more soldiers (Robert Jordan, Galad notes) 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 are about ten thousand well-trained regular cavalry men, almost seven 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.

Ghealdan’s permanent army, the Legion of the Wall, numbered 2000‒2500 men but was dispersed when the country was overrun by Masema and his Dragonsworn (Ghealdan notes). Alliandre brought 900‒1000 soldiers with her to join Perrin’s large army. 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 wants to train them as much as possible before the war starts (Towers of Midnight, Gateways).

The Golden Crane:
Lan “undertook” a long journey travelling the entire width of the Borderlands, and Nynaeve contacted prominent Malkieri and Borderlander nobles to ensure men will join him on his journey to the Last Battle. He has gathered twelve thousand men from the Borderlands and faces one hundred and fifty thousand Shadowspawn in Tarwin’s Gap.

Humble Folk
Five thousand so far unaligned folk have 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."
"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

They are the start of the common people’s army, people who feel no allegiance to any nation.

Illian Illian’s army is composed of the Companions—who are the Kings’ elite forces—along with nobles and the common army. The army has traditionally been led by the King, but Rand might place a new general over them in the future. The Companions are Illian’s equivalent to the Defenders, but their loyalty is to the King. They number 5000‒6000 men and wear a green and yellow uniform. First Captain Demetre Marcolin leads them. The Companions have a fair number of commoners and also foreigners, even in the officer ranks.

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 Gregorian will not be able to raise an army as large as Sammael’s, but Illian should be able to raise an army of eighty thousand. He sent 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).

Davram Bashere occupied the City (Illian) with 9000 Saldaean light horse (less casualties) and 15,000 of the Legion of the Dragon (less casualties). The Saldaeans were withdrawn, but the LotD remains.

- Robert Jordan, Illian notes

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. They wear blue coats with the dragon on the breast and wear their breastplate under the coat (The Path of Daggers, Answering The Summons). They were camped twenty miles west of Caemlyn; it is uncertain if they have moved from there or not.

Months have passed since recruiting for the Legion started, and their method has been very successful. At the end of A Crown of Swords, we saw fifteen thousand Legion-men armed and trained, and this was in the first month only. The Legion is very well trained and performed well in Illian. Speculation: Their current number should be over seventy thousand soldiers, though many would be new and need weeks of training.

The Winged Guards are the personal guard of the First of Mayene and the elite force of Mayener arms. They number approximately 2000 men and officers in all, and constitutes the only standing armed force in Mayene (Robert Jordan, Berelain notes). They wear red-painted breastplates and helmets like rimmed pots that come down to the nape of the neck in back. Officers at least have wings worked on the sides of the helmet, and slender red plumes. Three plumes mark the Lord Captain, the over-all commander, two plumes mark a captain, and one a lieutenant (Robert Jordan, Berelain notes).

Berelain took 1000 of them, under Lord Captain Bertain Gallenne, with her to Cairhien. She sent 200 of these, under Havien Nurelle, with Perrin to Dumai's Wells, where approximately half of those men died. When Berelain went to Ghealdan with Perrin, she took Gallenne and the roughly 900+ Winged Guards which remained. About 2000 more Winged Guards remain in Mayene. All very well that Tear is, for the moment, behaving in at least a neutral fashion and is under the control of the Dragon Reborn. Berelain doesn't take foolish chances with the country.

- Robert Jordan, Berelain notes

Note that the numbers do not tally. Taking into account the size of Mayenne, I think that the overall total number of guards is 2000, with 1000 guards remaining in Mayene.

King Roedran worked hard on uniting 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 must have at least 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). The Murandian king accepted Elayne’s offer of Travelling to Merrilor.

Perrin’s Army
Perrin has 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 have left for their homes. However, many refuges have decided to join Perrin’s forces and he has also recruited mercenaries and other fighters on his march north. Collectively they are known as the Wolf Guard and number about twenty-five thousand.

Galad and his seventeen 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 has 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, unlike Elayne he does not intend to join Egwene’s pressure group to prevent Rand from breaking the Seals; he thinks Rand has the right idea (Towers of Midnight, Gateways).

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 the battle with the Shaido reduced their numbers considerably: According to Tylee:

“Masema’s men held to the point of suicide—most of them are dead or dying…”

- Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates

Masema left with less than one hundred of his bodyguard and they were all killed by Faile and her group (The Gathering Storm, Prologue).

Saldean Light Cavalry
Lord Bashere, one of the best generals in the land, leads eight thousand light cavalry from Saldaea. 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’s army is now in Tear and on the Field of Merrilor.

Sea Folk
Most of the Sea Folk are gathered in Tear and Illian, including those who escaped Ebou Dar because of Mat, and the twelve Clan Mistresses gathered to name Zaida as the new Mistress of the Ships. We don’t have any numerical estimates, but they are using some Seanchan ships to make up for their losses.

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.

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 have been sailing from Tear and Illian to Bandar Eban to take supplies for the populace and Rand’s armies there and have been harassed by Seanchan ships along the way (The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood).

The consequence of many Windfinders being taken in Ebou Dar and then freed is that many of them are now trained for battle. Knowledge, such as linking and Travelling, gained from Aes Sedai will also be invaluable to them.

Traditionally Tear’s army is made up of the Defenders of the Stone and the nobles’ armsmen. Tear’s Lords use cavalry most often 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—should reach ninety thousand men, not including Darlin's new recruits. Under pressure from Egwene, King Darlin has 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 wished a large portion to remain to protect Tear from the Seanchan (Towers of Midnight, A Call to Stand).

Seanchan Mainland Army
The Forerunners had over 500 ships total (over 200 were seen at Falme alone) and perhaps 60,000 or more soldiers, plus sailors (Robert Jordan, Seanchan notes). Even after losses at Falme, losses in those ships that returned straight home, Suroth has in excess of 40,000 or so Seanchan soldiers, perhaps 50,000. Further, they have 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).

The force that was based at Falme might have had 200 or fewer torm. perhaps two or three dozen each of grolm and corlm, possibly a dozen each of lopar. raken. and to'raken. They had perhaps 100 or so damane aside from the one that is considered a fixture and necessity on most ships.

- Robert Jordan, Seanchan notes

Ituralde’s campaign in Tarabon and Mat’s one-week escapade in northern Altara has made the Seanchan wary of sudden and unexpected attacks. They 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. They are bound to the land and immobile; if the Seanchan become desperate enough to use them, then they are already finished. 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 is marshalling more than three hundred thousand men and two hundred damane (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). The army gathering close to Illian must also have 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 most fearsome Seanchan warriors: the Deathwatch Guard:

Hard-faced men, they and five hundred more like them had been charged personally with Tuon's safety.

- Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides

and a hundred Ogier Gardeners (Winter’s Heart, An Offer).

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). (The Seanchan captured about 100 damane from Toman Head, and then more from the southern nations they invaded.)

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). Nor will the gateways made be large, so moving troops through them will be slow. So far, no damane have linked together; nor do we know if the a’dam permits damane to link. It is likely the Seanchan will soon work out how to use Aes Sedai damane as weapons by making them fear for their lives (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).

Seanchan Naval Capabilities Of the 500 ships brought by the Forerunners, over 300 were greatships equipped for long distance sailing and 200 storeships.

Each greatship has a crew of 200‒300, and can carry a thousand more people, though on a voyage as long as the one across the Aryth Ocean, this number might be cut as much as in half by the need to carry extra stores and water unless storeships accompany all the way. The Return is planned to use upwards of 3000 greatships and some 3000‒5000 smaller vessels. The planning and preparations have been going on for almost a century.

- Robert Jordan, Seanchan notes

With their numbers, damane and the element of surprise, they have been 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.

Air Forces
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.

Independent Forces

These are the last unallied forces in the Mainland.

The Aes Sedai Armies: Tar Valon’s 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 current 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 being lords.

The rebel Aes Sedai’s Army led by Gareth Bryne, former Captain General of the Andor’s Queen’s Guards and one of the best generals in the land, is also now in Tar Valon. The army is fifty thousand strong Towers of Midnight, The Amyrlin’s Anger, and includes a variety of soldiers, from Shienarin-style heavy cavalry to light cavalry (The Path of Daggers, Out on the Ice) and infantry.

Bryne is field commander of the Aes Sedai armies.

Allowing for losses to the Seanchan and the purging of the Black Ajah, there are at most two hundred and twenty Aes Sedai in the re-united White Tower, with the former rebels greatly out-numbering those who stayed in the Tower. 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.

The Younglings, either became Warders or joined the Tower Guard (Towers of Midnight, The End of a Legend).

Egwene is against Rand breaking the Seals and has obtained allies in the rulers of Andor, Illian and Tear.

Shaido Aiel:
The Shaido have 83 septs, each sent to a separate location. Eighty-three septs with an average size of 7000 people, gives a total number of 581,000 who crossed the Dragonwall, with about 93,000 of them algai'd'siswai, an average of about 1120 fighters per sept, or about 16% of the sept. There have been battle losses since. A full 20,000 were made gai'shain at Cairhien. Say the losses there to algai'd'siswai, counting both dead and prisoners, numbers approximately 10,000. At Dumai's Wells, approximately 15,000 of their force was lost, most of them killed. This leaves about 68,000 Shaido fighters, or approximately 820 per sept on average. Most of the septs had on average about 240 of the Brotherless (Mera 'din) attached (a total of about 22,300), though Sevanna kept a much larger number (about 2400) with the Jumai merely to increase the spears under her direct control.

Some 20 septs were sent to the Plains of Maredo in an effort to slow and distract the invasion army. [140,000 people, with 13,980 Shaido algai'd'siswai (factoring in earlier losses, especially at Cairhien and Dumai's Wells), and about 4800 of the Mera 'din.] This number was only expected to be enough to cause problems, to slow down the invasion army and bleed it before it reached the hillforts in Illian, though he also hoped that attacks by Shaido would spread suspicion toward all Aiel and increase discord between the Ail on Rand's side and the non-Aiel. Leaving 63 septs.

Sammael sent fewer than 10 each into Illian and Murandy, certainly, and Altara also would not have gotten more. He wanted them spread out in such a way that it could not be laid definitely at his door, and that meant sending some into Illian and the neighboring countries, but he did not want too many where they could cause immediate problems for him. [Say 5 each in Murandy and Illian (roughly 35,000 people with roughly 3500 Shaido algai'd'siswai and about 1200 of the Brotherless to each), or possibly 10 for Illian and none into Murandy, and 10 for Altara, a much larger country which enable him to spread them out more (70,000 people with about 7000 Shaido algai'd'siswai and about 2400 Mera 'din)] Leaving 43 septs.

Forty-three septs (301,000 Shaido; 30,000 Shaido algai'd'siswai, and about 10,320 Mera'din) were scattered through Tarabon, Amadicia, Ghealdan and Almoth Plain, primarily in the first two, with an especial weight in Tarabon just to make a little trouble for Demandred, as Sammael thought. The reason for the heavier distribution in Tarabon, Amadicia and Almoth Plain was the Seanchan. Sammael was sure that one of the Chosen was "running" the Seanchan, using them to carve out territorial claims, and he wanted to inconvenience whoever it was enough to stop them short of interfering with his own claims, his own intention being to expand from Illian into Altara, Murandy and Tear for starters.

- Robert Jordan, Shaido notes

The Shaidio have taken great losses. We have not heard any recent news of Aiel raids in Murandy or Illian, which means the clans left in Illian have 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 is taking the remainder of the Shaido back to the Aiel Waste.

After the Deathgates took thousands of Trollocs away, there were “maybe a hundred thousand Trollocs” according to Rand and also heaps of Myrddraal for Rand’s channellers to incinerate after the attack on Rand at Lord Algarin’s manor in Tear (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane).

The Blight has been very quiet ever since Rand destroyed a vast army of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar at Tarwin’s Gap at the end of The Eye of the World. But as Lord Agelmar said:

“The Shadow never sleeps.”

- The Path of Daggers, Prologue

In Towers of Midnight, hundreds of thousands of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar plus Dreadlords attacked all along the Borderlands and overran large areas.

Less than a hundred and fifty Black sisters are 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. There are probably well over a hundred Black Asha’man—those of Taim’s faction. Moreover, channellers are being turned to the Shadow at the Black Tower (see Black Tower article).

Demandred, the chief general for the Shadow, says his rule is secure and he prepares for war (The Gathering Storm, Prologue). Moridin (currently Nae’blis) is their best overall tactician and is believed to be mostly in the deep northeastern Blight. Cyndane, Graendal and Moghedien are the other Forsaken still at large; Mesaana is now mindless.


Written by Linda and Amirebram, July, 2004 and updated August 2013 and 2019


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice :P

Reuben Mckeown said...

The best summary of forces in the Wheel of Time I've ever come across!!
A really thorough job :)

Linda said...

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

Reuben Mckeown said...

An update using the Towers of Midnight?

Linda said...

An update is planned, yes. However I have about 70 articles to update. This takes more than two weeks. It will be done when I can get to it.

Ewan said...

Fantastic work as always. A riveting read and a great companion text, especially with the timelines a bit fuzzy as they are now.

Thanks :)

Joey said...

Wow, this is great! Extremely comprehensive.

One thing I noticed was In The Gathering Storm, A Fount of Power. Egwene states that "she could not be stopped save by a full circle, and the Seanchan didn't use circles; the a'dam prevented it." I think there also may be a Jordan quote concerning the matter but I can't recall if it actually exists.

Thanks for all the hard work,


Linda said...

Thanks Ewan and Joey.

It's true that Egwene said that; but that doesn't mean she's right, or that some skilled sul'dam can't figure out something new...

Master Ablar said...

Isn't saying that Tear and Illian are allied with Egwene in stopping Rand a little of an overstatement?

Darlin said he wanted to question Rand, but not necessarily oppose. As for Illian, it's not clear what Gregorin's intentions are either.