Friday, October 2, 2009

The Storm is Coming! #8: On the frontline between Shadow and Light - the Borderlands

On the frontline of Shadow and Light: The Borderlands, part 1

by Dominic

1. About the map of the Borderlands:

The Borderlands span over 600 leagues from West to East, from World's End in Saldaea to the Eastern Marches of Shienar and Tarwin's Gap, north east of Shienar, in the territory that was once Malkier. Their geography is extremely varied, from mountainous regions to sweeping plains to densely wooded areas. Not a great deal of details are known about the geography of these nations, that Robert Jordan seems to have kept for his finale. We have only briefly visited World End's in Saldaea; New Spring brought us to the area of Chachin and a few towns and villages to the south in Kandor (such as Canluum); the Great Hunt brought us briefly to Tiffan's Wells, a small village at an unknown location in the plains of Arafel (thus likely to the south) where the Namelle sisters had retired. The most that is known concerns Shienar. The map and article devoted to it can be found here. Several location names in Saldaea are known, including: Asnelle, Bashere, Gahaur, Ganai, Kunwar, Shahayni,
Sidona, Tyr. They are known from Lords whose fiefs these are. It is unknown whether they are cities or areas, or even just estates. Mehar is a town at an unknown location, while Irinjavar is the unlocated site where Mazrim Taim and Lord Bashere fought during the events at Falme, which saw Taim unhorsed and captured as the vision of Rand appeared in the sky.

The rest of this article deals with a recapitulation of facts and events from the two main Borderlands story lines: Lan's Golden Crane "crusade" and the expedition of the four rulers of the Borderlands to the South, to find the Dragon Reborn, completed with a Who's Who of the characters. A second article will deal with the main Borderlands men and women involved in various other story lines.

2. The Golden Crane "crusade"

Lan (al'Lan) Mandragoran: Uncrowned King of lost Malkier, Lord of the Seven Towers, now ruins swallowed by the Blight. As Malkier fell in 953 NE when he was still an infant, Lan's parents King al'Akir and Queen el'Leana had him invested as heir and had an oath to avenge the fall of Malkier taken in his name, before he was sent in the care of some of the best Malkieri warriors, who cut him a path to safety to Shienar, most of them dying the process. Lan was raised and trained in Shienar by one of the last of them, Bukama. He spent his youth in fighting expeditions to the Blight, before serving in the Aiel War with Bukama. From 980 NE, he became Moiraine Damodred's warder following the affair with the Black Ajah in Kandor (New Spring) and her ally in her quest to find the Dragon Reborn.

Understanding that Lan's value shouldn't be wasted in a suicidal quest to avenge her or Malkier, Moiraine had arranged in his back for his bond to pass to Myrelle Berengari should she die, something forbidden by custom and not done in hundreds of years. Aware he had fallen in love with Nynaeve, Moiraine intended for the bond to pass to her after she obtained the shawl and seemingly sent additional instructions to Myrelle about it (the passing of bond seemingly occurred shortly before The Eye of the World began and Moiraine left Tar Valon for the Two Rivers), something only Myrelle, Siuan, Moiraine, Nisao Dachen and Egwene and Siuan are presently aware of.

When Moiraine was "lost" in the realms of the Eelfinn and Aelfinn following her fight with Lanfear (TFOH) and her bond to Lan cut, Lan made his way to Myrelle in Salidar and when Egwene discovered his presence there she sent Lan to protect Nynaeve in Ebou Dar, where he rescued her from drowning after Moghedien balefired her boat. Lan and Nynaeve married, and she treats him as her de facto warder, though they are not bonded. Nynaeve even displays the uncanny ability to sense Lan's presence around her (as she does, for everyone she's Healed). Lan hasn't left Nynaeve's side since, accompanying her to Andor with Elayne, then joining Rand's side as he asked Nynaeve to help him cleanse saidin. With the Shadow's attack at the Algarin manor in Tear however, Lan was shaken and highly disgruntled with Rand's plans to deal with the Seanchan, while doing nothing about the Borderlands rulers being out of place and Tarmon Gai'don coming, fearing an attack could come any day now from Tarwin's Gap, as it did many times during the Trolloc Wars and a few years back when Moiraine's party sought the Eye of the World.

Nynaeve surprised him, hiding her fears and deep misgivings, and offered to take him to the Borderlands, in exchange for his formal Oath that he would ride to Fal Moran in Shienar first, and agree to let every man who wished to ride with him follow him. His oath given, Nyaneve then tricked Lan and left him not south in Shienar as he expected but at World's End, the westernmost region of the Borderlands - so his crusade wouldn't be a suicidal and lonely pointless venture, and an army would have the time to grow around him and follow the Golden Crane.

In one of the most beautiful and gripping scenes of the series, Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran then Travelled to the town of Kayacun near the Banikhan Mountains (the Saldean Sea Wall) and had a Malkieri precious stones trader and pigeon owner pledge to send to all the merchants in contact with him the message about Tarmon Gai'don coming and the Uncrowned King of Malkier riding to it. Showing them the ring with the Golden Crane in flight of Malkieri Kings that Lan gave her in The Great Hunt, promising her she could get help from anyone in the Borderlands if she showed it, Nynaeve gained Lan his first three followers, and moved on to visit other towns before returning to Rand in Tear.

TGS (ch1, 2 or prologue) spoiler - click to expand

Several weeks later, at least in Rand's storyline, Lan is probably now in the heart of Saldaea, probably witness like others in the Borderlands of the unnatural storm gathering over the Blight. His wife is back with Rand, now with him in eastern Arad Doman, facing what is perhaps her greatest challenge yet with their prisoner Semirhage.

Weilin Aldragoran: He is the Saldaean (Malkieri-born) dealer in precious stones in Kayacun who agreed to send Nynaeve's message to merchants all the way to Shienar before pledging himself to her to ride with the Uncrowned King. A traditionalist wearing the hadori, he is roughly of an age with Lan himself, being not an infant like him but a toddler when Malkier fell. The man is suspicious of Aes Sedai, and like most Malkieri has turned his back on the White Tower after their failure to come to Malkier's help. He has a Saldaean wife, Alida, who could ride with him according to Saldaean custom.

Managan and Gorenellin: Two other Saldaean traders of Malkieri descent, though not traditionalists. Weilin Aldragoran has convinced them to join Lan's crusade.

TGS (ch1, 2 or prologue) spoiler - click to expand

Thulin: The smith in Oak's River, in the Borderlands. He is of Shienaran descent, seemingly living in another Borderland nation (it's unclear). The unnatural storm some forty leagues (160 miles) up north convinced Thulin he must head north with all his family (his wife Gallanha and his children, including his youthful daughter Mirala) for Tarmon Gai'don. Thulin expects an army to gather in the north and to need smiths – fairly transparent foreshadowing he will end up joining Lan's "army of the people", whether we ever see him again or not. This episode in the prologue suggests Lan's followers could be far more numerous than even Nynaeve hoped., if perhaps desperate and poorly armed and inexperienced.

Renald Fanwar: an old prosperous farmer near the village of Oak's Riverin the Borderlands (nation unknown – the scene in What The Storm Means leaves up in the air whether it's Renald or his friend Thulin, a Shienaran, who is a native of the area. The first names of the characters might suggest Saldaea, but it's not very conclusive.). Renald was convinced by the village's smith Thulin to head north for Tarmon Gai'don, with his wife Auaine and his farmhands Merk, Favidan, Rinnin, Veshir and Adamad.

The bets are now open whether Robert Jordan introduced all these characters as one time witnesses of Lan's journey or of the "gathering storm" from the Blight or if he (or Brandon) intended to re use them further down the line in the book, or the next ones, to show us developments of the situation in the Borderlands and with the Golden Crane expedition.

3. Where is Lan Mandragoran now?

Assuming he is not joined along the way by Aes Sedai/Asha'man who can travel, Lan has a very long distance to go to join Fal Moran, and then Tarwin's Gap: over a 500 leagues, or 2000 miles. But that's assuming Nynaeve left him near the Sea Wall, not at the very tip of World's End. In the second case, an additional 100 leagues has to be added.

His speed of travel is highly speculative. The Band of the Red Hand, travelling from Cairhien to Tear, managed to make 35 miles/day.

Lan could do more, at least on short travels, but riding Mandarb all the time, it's not very likely. Lan will have to spare his horse. An other open question is how Lan intends to honour his oath to his wife. Letting anyone who wants to join his ride is not the same as waiting for everyone who wishes to follow him to get ready, not is it the same as advancing at a sedate pace so the slowest parts of this army he doesn't really want to lead can follow. Lan could advance faster, with a vanguard of "companions" on good horses, while a more and more massive armies trails days behind. In any case it's safe to say that in the present conditions, Lan is anywhere from 2 months to 4 months away from Tarwin's Gap. If his story line is synchronized with Rand's, he should be in the heart of Saldaea as The Gathering Storm starts. Where exactly very much depends on his exact departure point and the speed he could make while getting out of the mountainous area of World's End. Another important point is that spring is arriving in northern Arad Doman and Andor, but may not have reached the coldest parts of the Borderlands yet. Snowed roads and mud could considerably slow down Lan's progress, as it did the Bordermen travelling the country roads north of Caemlyn. We do not know Lan's exact departure point, but it's possibly not far from Kayacun, in the Banakhian Mountains, where Nynaeve went find the first merchant. It is not inland, in any case, because Lan was left on a cliff from which the Aryth Ocean could be seen. A last big unknown is how much opposition Lan might meet on his way to Tarwin's Gap, not only from local Lords who may not want to see their soldiers follow Lan, and from the Shadow itself, darkfriends or shadowspawn. The city of Maradon is named after Marathon, site of a famous battle. Arafel is more ominous. An Hebrew word often translated as "Cloud-Darkness", the word is associated to Armaggedon. Frank Herbert in Dune used it as one of the names he gave to his armageddon: the Blacks Winds of Arafel, the could-darkness at the end of the universe.

4. The Bordermen (presumably) at home:

Here is a list of established Borderlanders, who could in theory cross paths with Lan has he goes across the Borderlands from west to east, even though it's a bit of a long shot for most of them:

Queen Menuki Nachiman: Queen-consort of Arafel.and wife of King Paitar. They are very close to one another. She very likely rules Arafel in his absence.

Lady Jarene: Daughter of Queen Ethenielle and the younger sister of Lord Antol, she is in her early thirties. She has only appeared as a child in New Spring The Novel

Paitar's unnamed favourite grand-daughter: she is married to the son of the Queen of Kandor, presumably Lord Antol, her presumed heir.

Easar's unnamed sons: He has at least three. The third is married to Queen Ethenielle's daughter.

Ethenielle's brother and two sisters: They are married in the Houses of King Easar and King Paitar. One of the two sisters could be Nazelle, married to Lord Ismic, but that is uncertain.

Lord Antol Noramaga: Prince of Kandor, the eldest son and heir of Queen Ethenielle. He is presumably married to a grand-daughter of Paitar of Arafel. Prince Antol is probably the one Queen Ethenielle left in charge of Kandor and its armies in her absence.

Lady Einone: Sister of the Queen of Kandor, she is married to one of the Queen of Saldaea's numerous uncles.

Lady Nazelle: Sister of Ethenielle of Kandor. She is married to one Lord Ismic, her second husband Lord Ismic may be from the House of either Paitar or Easar, or Nazelle could be be a third sister of Ethenielle.

Lord Ismic: Brother-in-law of Queen Ethenielle, he is an old man married to her sister Nazelle. His nationality is unknown.

Lady Amalisa Jagad: Sister of Lord Agelmar, she is the lady of Fal Dara. It is probable that, as he did in The Eye of the World, he left her in charge as he left. Lady Amalisa is probably seconded by Elansu, her brother's shatayan and whoever replaced Ronan, the shambayan who died in the Shadow's attack to free Fain and steal the Horn of Valere. Unless, of course, Agelmar, like his king, brought his shatayan south. Of all the players listed here, she is one of the more likely to make a return.

Maedin Bashere: He is the youngest child of Davram and Deira Bashere, and Faile's brother. He is presumed at home in Saldaea or in Deira's entourage. He must be fairly young, but if he's anything like his sister…

Eran: He is an old soldier Davram Bashere made Faile's footman and who secretly taught her to fight.

Lord Varan Marcasiev: The Lord of the mining city of Canluum, eight days south of Chachin. Lord Varan is possibly dead, but his family most likely still hold Canluum.

Nazar Kurenin: A Malkieri of the second-generation, living in Chachin by the time of New Spring (979 NE). Bukama mentioned that even him would follow Lan should he decide to raise the Golden Crane again.

Lady Kareil: A noblewoman around Canlumm by the time of New Spring. She had recruited an army among her retainers to send to the Aiel War.

Lady Edeyn ti Gemallen Arrel: A Malkieri expatriate of the first generation who lived in Chachin in Kandor by the time of New Spring. She had been Lan's first lover and was plotting to marry him to her daughter Iselle and raise the Golden Crane. Iselle was murdered in New Spring by the Black Ajah. Twenty years ago, Edeyn had a daughter seventeen years old, which suggests she may well be still alive. She is perhaps a likely player to make a return. And interesting detail about her, considering Nynaeve's famous braid, is that in her mourning of Iselle she followed the Malkieri custom and cut her hair short.

5. The Borderland Rulers' expedition to the South:

At the end of 998 NE, the four rulers of the Borderlands secretly left their nations with sizeable forces to reach a pre-arranged meeting (via coded letters to one another) locale near a ter'angreal of ill repute (local legends only, it is actually harmless) in the Black Hills, where they officialized a pact, following an old Borderlands ritual.

These rulers are a fairly close-knit group, bound by their fight against the Shadow as much as by family ties, and their economies – but there are suspicions and swirling currents even among them in these troubled times. In the year after the events of Falme and then the taking of Callandor in Tear, very uncharacteristic social troubles erupted in Shienar and Saldaea. Robert Jordan hinted strongly it has to do with Hurin's return to Shienar and the news he brought. In Saldaea, it is believed to be a combination of many factors, including the war in Arad Doman which has deprived Maradon of a traditional trade route and sparked riots and shook Tenobia's rule; the fact Tenobia eventually left Maradon to hide in the countryside (in appearance/perception only, much the same thing that happened to King Alsalam of Arad Doman, actually not in hiding from the troubles but kidnapped or killed by Graendal), and all the residual troubles caused by Mazrim Taim's ravages and the aftermath of his escape and the fact the Marshall General has gone in pursuit and never returned).

The Borderlands rulers also appear to have been alarmed by events at the Tower and the sudden vanishing, without an explanation, of some of the Aes Sedai advisors (one of those, at least, obeyed Elaida's summons to return to the Tower). Further causes for concern emerged as Elaida (or often Alviarin) began interfering with the rulers and pressuring them, sparking Tenobia and Easar to write to the Tower and ask Elaida to stop meddling in their affairs. Tenobia was sent an advisor (Memara, chosen by Alviarin) who never managed to find her, as Tenobia went in hiding.

As Tenobia finally left Saldaea, successfully evading Memara, she bumped into a party of five Aes Sedai who decided to remain with her. Another group of seven sisters surrounds Coladara Sedai, the advisor of King Paitar of Arafel, who didn't obey Elaida's summons. The seven sisters are presented as her "friends", who were "visiting". It's King Paitar who asked them to follow him, though they needed no convincing. The real allegiances and motives of these sisters are still unknown. Some suspect some of these women may be Black Ajah. Another popular theory is that at least one if not both of these groups are associated with Cadsuane Melaidhrin and that Coladara and her friends followed Paitar to make sure the rulers don't do anything dire to Rand. Yet others believe there may be a secret initiative from the Green Ajah behind this, that would be likely initiated by the Ajah Head Adelorna and kept from Elaida.

These sisters are apparently in contact neither with Elaida's faction nor, as far as has surfaced so far, the Rebels. The group that bumped into Tenobia was in fact quite adamant about secrecy and not warning Memara. The two groups together bring their number to thirteen, a fact the rulers are well aware of, and that they think could be very 'significant'. Their exact influence over the rulers is unknown. All but Paitar are very reserved about Aes Sedai, as are some of their advisors.

An avowed purpose of the rulers' alliance is to meet Rand al'Thor, whom they expected to find in Caemlyn. It is suspected that they came out of their nations because they want to 'do what they have to do' to keep Rand from invading them. The rulers are well aware of all the chaos in the south. Queen Ethenielle, at least, is still undecided whether Rand is the true Dragon Reborn or a False Dragon. Further motives of the rulers are unknown, nor do we know for sure what the Bordermen plan to do when they meet Rand. Ethenielle was very reserved, Paitar spoke of the usefulness of having thirteen Aes Sedai with them and Tenobia is furious about the fact Taim and Bashere follow Rand. One of the advisors, Alesune Chulin, spoke that what they were about to do could put them in history books or get their heads on pikes - by the Tower if not by Rand himself.

As they approached the northern border of Andor, the Bordermen learned that Rand had left and a war of succession was ongoing in Andor. They set camp north of the border, in the vicinity of New Braem (the northernmost on the Tar Valon road). In mid-winter 1000 NE, a meeting with Elayne Trakand (whom they knew to have been with Rand at Falme, confirming that Hurin told a lot to Agelmar and Easar of Shienar) who misled them into thinking Rand was in Murandy. She convinced them to pass through Andor, secretly intending their presence in Andor to bring the Houses behind her, a purpose which Ethenielle immediately puzzled out. The rulers reluctantly agreed, then dithered moving, and finally proceeded with much caution, slowed down further by the states of the country roads in winter. They appear either suspicious of Elayne's true intentions, or feared what the factions she didn't control at the time might do. What the rulers told Elayne Trakand was far more circumspect than what came up in their meeting in the Black Hills, and perhaps deceptive. King Paitar spoke about Rand wasting his time in the South while the real fight will be up north. Queen Tenobia asked Elayne where to find Davram Bashere – and got for answer that he was near Caemlyn, true at the time but he has gone long since – but remained completely silent about Taim or the Black Tower. Ethenielle lied by evasion about Aes Sedai with them, answering Elayne that sisters are everywhere nowadays.

As Knife of Dreams began, the Bordermen armies were finally proceeding slowly through country roads of eastern Andor, about 50 miles north and east of Caemlyn. Elayne's apprisal is that they clearly intend to stay well clear of the city, cross the Aringill road and make their way to Murandy by country roads to the east (coming nowhere close to the main Lugard Road).

Following the timeline of Rand's first scene in The Gathering Storm - weeks later - with the roads finally clearing with spring and the news Elayne now holds the throne eventually reaching them (it will no doubt be proclaimed soon through the nation), the Bordermen could be well be south of Caemlyn by now, unless something happened to delay them...

King Roedran of Murandy, who has managed to mount an army and unite his nobility after a fashion, could find himself squeezed with half the Band of the Red Hand to the North West, the second half with Talmanes to the south west, Perrin's group of 100,000 refugees to the South, and the sizeable Borderlands army approaching to the North East. He could pardonned for feeling... invaded. Of course, nothing guarantees any of these groups won't change path or find opportunities to Travel.

It should be noted that in one of his Blog posts, Robert Jordan has mentioned the fact the Borderlands rulers are out of position among the Shadow's successes. It could, however, be an indirect success rather than the result of schemes by Darkfriends or Forsaken.

6. The Rulers and their inner circle:

Not only the rulers themselves but several people of high standing and importance to their nations and their defenses are part of the expedition to meet Rand:


Her Illumined Majesty, Shield of the North and Sword of the Blightborder, High Seat of House Kazadi, Lady of Shahayni, Asnelle, Kunwar and Ganai, Queen Tenobia si Bashere Kazadi: By far the youngest, most unpredictable and perhaps even volatile of the four rulers - described as a wildfire in a high wind, Tenobia recalls a bit her cousin Faile. Ethenielle judges that only Bashere was able to reason with Tenobia. She is reputed not to listen to advice except from soldiers. She presently bears a deep grudge against her Marshall General who, sent to kill Mazrim Taim, has rather ended up a Dragonsworn following Rand. Also worrying to Tenobia is the news that Taim follows Rand. Even without the fact that attacking the Black Tower would be suicidal, the Andoran armies still near Caemlyn because of the succession make it unlikely that Tenobia will do more than rage. Tenobia is also of interest because of all the hints that there exist between her and Faile a rivalry not completely dissimilar to that between Faile and Berelain. Tenobia's impossible standards for men (not so dissimilar from Deira's, or Faile's) has left her unmarried. What would she think of the fact her younger cousin Zarine found a man before her? There's also the fact that holding his heir would be an asset for Tenobia to bring Davram Bashere to heel. Perrin's group eventually bumping into the Bordermen coming South would certainly open interesting avenues. Should Tenobia die, Davram Bashere is first in the line of Succession, followed by Faile herself.

Lord Kalyan Ramsin: One of Tenobia's uncles and generals. He is probably the leading officer of the forces Tenobia brought with her in the expedition south and by the end of Knife of Dreams he is almost certainly at her side still, some fifty miles northeast of Caemlyn. His relationship to the Marshall-General Davram Bashere is unknown – kin, friend or rival?


King Paitar Neramovni Nachiman: An old man, King Paitar is reputed a wise and competent ruler, like Ethenielle and Easar. He is the only one of the four to have his Aes Sedai advisor with him, Coladara. Paitar's beloved sister is Kiruna Nachiman, a Green of rebel allegiance who has sworn fealty to Rand after Dumai's Wells. Paitar is to be considered the ruler most positive toward Aes Sedai, a result of his deep love for his sister Kiruna. Paitar is the one who remarked in The Path of Daggers that having thirteen sisters with them could prove useful later.

Ishigari Terasian: He is a councilor to King Paitar.

Lord Kyril Shianri: Another coucilor of the King. Queen Ethenielle considers him "a fool in many ways", though one that is more than he appears at first glance. She comments that Kings of Arafel don't pay much mind to their councilors, relying instead on their Queen (and their Aes Sedai advisor). Lord Shianri is convinced of the rightness of their cause going south. If there are darkfriends influencing the rulers, he may be a suspect.


Her Most Illuminated Majesty, Ethenielle Cosaru Noramaga, By the Blessing of the Light, Queen of Kandor, Protector of the Land, Shield of the North, High Seat of House Noramaga: In her middle-years and Queen of Arafel for over two decades, Ethenielle is widowed since the murders of her consort and her son by the Black sister Merean (in New Spring the novel) - a fact kept secret by Moiraine and Lan.

Lord Baldhere: Swordbearer to the Throne of the Clouds and general of the armies of Kandor. He has accompanied his Queen in the expedition South to find the Dragon Reborn.

Lady Serailla: The unflappable First Councilor to the Throne of the Clouds, the second important player with Ethenielle in the South. She appears to have played a role in convincing Ethenielle she must go south. If the Shadow has been involved, she could be one of the Darkfriends.

Lomas: A scout with the army Queen Ethenielle brought south.


King Easar Togita: King Easar is a strong, hard man. Not a great deal is known about him.

Lord Agelmar Jagad: Lord of the city-fortress of Fal Dara in northern Shienar. He has earned the status of Great Captain, and is with his King in the South. Friend of Moiraine and Lan, he is the only one in the inner circle of the rulers to have met Rand al'Thor. Lord Agelmar has first hand knowledge that the Horn of Valere has been found, and (as far as he knows) that at least one seal on the Dark One's prison is broken - something all the rulers may have been told about. Lord Agelmar, of course, also knows Padan Fain. Lord Agelmar's opinion of Rand may not be too positive at all. When they met, Agelmar found him to be an ignorant country oaf with no manners. Not only that, but of his men (actually Ingtar's liegemen, but he was sworn to Agelmar himself) sent after the Horn, only Hurin ever came back. It is unknown if rumours of a "Shienaran Lord" being the Prophet of the Dragon in Ghealdan ever reached him, as it did for instance Elaida. Knowledge about the Horn and what happened in Falme has been shared with the four other rulers.

Alesune Chulin: Shatayan of the Royal Household of Shienar, a position more akin to that of Mayor of the palace than that of head housekeeper. Ethenielle judges her fiery. Alesune Chulin has misgivings about going South. Where others like Ethenielle talk of leaving behind enough to stop anything short of the Trolloc Wars, Alesune rather talks of leaving the Blight "All but unguarded".

Lord Kayen Yokata: Another general of Shienar and Lord of the city-fortress of Fal Eisen. Lord Kayen is with King Easar and was the one who greeted Elayne on her visit to the Borderlands rulers back in Winter's Heart. The fact two of the city-fortresses' Lords are with the King is not a good sign for the future of Shienar: Easar may have most or all of them with him, possibly leaving his city-fortresses is less capable hands.

Hurin: Lord Agelmar's Sniffer. Hurin has personal knowledge of Rand, Perrin, Mat and Loial with whom he travelled during The Great Hunt, and he was much impressed with "Lord Rand". In the aftermath of the events of Falme, Hurin escorted Verin's party back to Tar Valon. He got to know Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne well. Leaving them to return to his liege in Shienar, he promised the three women they could call for him at any time. We know from an explanation by Robert Jordan in Question of the Week that Hurin is responsible for spreading the news about the Dragon Reborn and Falme, the sounding of the Horn etc. in Shienar, and that we should be able to glean the effect this from the news that came out of the Borderlands from the Dragon Reborn onward (the troubles, the unusual skirmishes and riots the Tower's eyes-and-ears heard of, in Shienar etc.). Hurin is presumably with Lord Agelmar.

TGS (ch1, 2 or prologue) spoiler - click to expand

Apparently, Brandon confirmed that he is, at a Q&A, though we couldn't find a quote.

Before Knife of Dreams, Robert Jordan said in one of the Questions of the Week that Hurin would reappear in that book. He did not, in the end, but it's a good sign we're not done with Hurin. There may be at least a second Sniffer with the Bordermen as King Easar also has one. Their skills would have come in handy to avoid any encounters going south.

The 13 Aes Sedai with the rulers:

Coladara and her seven friends: Coladara is another Aes Sedai of unknown Ajah who is the advisor of King Paitar of Arafel. She, and seven sisters who were visiting her in Shol Arbela, have joined the expedition of the rulers to the South. Coladara is very approximately of an age with Siuan and Moiraine, having been an Accepted with them. Most suspect she is Green Ajah and probably on very good terms with Kiruna Nachiman.

Illeisien + four: Queen Tenobia managed to elude Memara, the Red Ajah envoy sent to her by Elaida (chosen by Alviarin, in truth), remaining for months out of Maradon. As she made her way to the Black Hills, she bumped into Illeisien Sedai, leading four other sisters, at the Saldaean border. They insisted on following her, and keep the expedition secret. Their allegiances are unknown.

7. Others players involved/connected to those story lines:

Nianh Sedai : Aes Sedai of unknown Ajah, she was advisor to the Queen of Kandor. She left Chachin without a warning when she heard of the Tower split. Her wherabouts and allegiance are still unknown. Some made the point that all advisors in the Borderlands are likely to be Green Ajah, but that remains only a guess at the moment.

Aisling Noon: Aisling Noon is a Green Ajah Aes Sedai of Tuatha'an origins, with a fierce temper and fierce eyes, and a language peppered with very coarse Borderlands curses that recall Uno's and make even Lan Mandragoran wince. She was the advisor to King Easar of Shienar before she returned to the Tower without warning when she heard about the split. She recalls the radical changes that occured in Aram when he gave up the Way of the Leaf, though with Aes Sedai training her fires to fight the Shadow are probably far better contained and less self destructive. Aisling is approximately of an age with Siuan and Moiraine and was Accepted with them. Part of those who were sent to the Black Tower in Toveine's party, we thus know she isn't Black Ajah (because Alviarin made sure no Black sister would be involved). Aisling was captured and bonded by Arel Marevin, a Cairhienin Asha'man of unknown rank from Logain's faction. Aisling is part of the group that reached Rand at the Agarin manor in tear, participating in the battle against the Shadowspawn there, and in Semirhage's capture.

TGS (ch1, 2 or prologue) spoiler - click to expand

It is unknown at the moment if Aisling is part of the group with Rand at Lord Tellean's country retreat in Arad Doman or elsewhere. As former advisor of King Easar, Aisling could no doubt be an asset if and when Rand decides to contact the Borderlanders.

Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Harkin: Kiruna is an Arafellin statutesque Green sister who joined the Salidar gathering and was sent with her fellow Green Bera Harkin (from Andor) by Sheriam's circle to the Aiel Waste, in a failed effort to find Rand. Finding their way to Rand in Caemlyn instead, they took control of Merana's embassy, sending some of them to Salidar, and ended up leading the nine sisters who fought on Perrin,s side at Dumai's Well, after which the nine were all brought to swear fealty to Rand al'Thor. Bera and Kiruna have been brought to an extent under Cadsuane's influence and were part of her group at Lady Ailil's palace in Cairhien. Bera Harkin was part of the group Alanna Mosvani brought to Tear to negotiate with the Tairen rebels at Rand's order. Bera was last seen in the Stone of Tear in Knife of Dreams, where she presumably still is with Alanna. Kiruna has not been seen since Winter's Heart, and is presumably still in Cairhien. Kiruna Nachiman is of special interest because she is the beloved sister of King Paitar Nachiman of Arafel. She could be a key player in solving the situation with the Borderlands rulers in Andor - or a big load of trouble, depending on how King Paitar takes the fact she's Dragonsworn and if he thinks she's been coerced. Kiruna has four Warders, and Bera has three.

Isam Mandragoran: Isam is Lan's older cousin. He was a toddler when Malkier fell in 955 NE. He was the son of Breyan, the woman who plotted with the darkfriend Cowin Gemallan and ended up causing the fall of Malkier. She disappeared in the attack, with her son. Who raised Isam and how he was merged with Lord Luc Mantear into the creature the wolves and Perrin call Slayer is one of Jordan's 'RAFOs'. Isam was last seen in Winter's Heart in Far Madding, and shortly before in the same book he was spotted spying as Luc in the reflection of the Caemlyn palace in tel'aran'rhiod. By Winter's Heart Isam was still under orders to find and kill Fain, but was momentarily commissioned by a disguised male channeller he was convinced was a Chosen to make an attempt to kill Rand (it turned out the patron's information was incorrect and the man not Rand). The identity of the patron was not revealed, but

TGS (ch1, 2 or prologue) spoiler - click to expand

After what Demandred said about wanting to kill Rand in the field himself in What the Storm Means, it seems to be down to Aran'gar or Osan'gar, if Slayer was right about the man being a Chosen.

Jain Farstrider Charin: Jain Farstrider is with Mat, under the alias of Noal Charin. A man of many mysteries, once used may years ago by Ishamael as a 'fool' to spread his tales about the Eye of the World to the Ogier. Jain still shows signs of recent Compulsion. His connection to Lan and Malkier comes from the fact that as a young man, he was the one to capture the traitor Cowin Gemallan and bring him to Lan's father's justice. It is unknown if Farstrider is or isn't a Malkieri.

Myrelle Berengari: Myrelle's potential connection to these story lines comes from the fact she still holds Lan Mandragoran's bond. She is the one who can eventually puzzle out that Lan is riding steadily from west to east in the Borderlands. What will Myrelle do with this is anyone's guess, but it is well to remember that Myrelle is the Captain-General of the Green Ajah among the rebels. If anyone decides to bring an army of Aes Sedai to Lan's aid, she may be the one.

Moiraine Damodred: Moiraine was of course Lan's former Aes Sedai, currently held in the realms of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and likely about to be rescued. Speculation abounds about what Moiraine might do once released. While most believe she will try to join the Dragon Reborn, there are others who wonder if she's not gonna repay Lan's long years of loyalty to her by joining his cause in return, now that Tarmon Gai'don is coming and he's raised the Golden Crane, especially since Nynaeve can't, as she doesn't want to leave Rand's side. Moiraine is a personal friend of Myrelle. Moiraine has knowledge that Isam Mandragoran may be alive from the dark prophecy, information she has kept from Lan. Should she discuss this with Nynaeve, who's seen Isam, she might learn this is information she should share with Lan now.


Mik said...

It's such a feat how you manage to make posts like these read as if they are a part of the books. Yes, I honestly think they are that good! Teresa Patterson; eat your heart out! (I swear, the only reason RJ picked her for the Big White Book is because of her name; "Ther-is-a Pattern" (one of my big problems; I see patterns everywhere! hehe) ;)

Anyway, back to your post! Ex-ce-lent read! I never ever made the connection between Myrelle still being bonded to Lan and her being the Captain-General of the Greens! I had one of these 'EUREKA!' moments, so thanks for that man! *does a backflip*

I was always in the Moiraine is going to join Lan camp (so to speak), but this settles it! Ace-ace-ace, Dom!

About your map! Like all the others, it looks fabulous! Two pointers though;
1) I can't read some text (the rivers for instance, or the words for the Niamh Passes. I know what it's called so I can make it our, but it;s very very hard to read on my computer)
2) Could you add the Waygates rough locations? Their position might not be as accurate as you'd like your maps to be, but they add so much info, I think.

Dom; thanks for making my day about the Myrelle-connection. This tidbid convinced me; we're going full circle with Lan/ Moiraine/ Malkier!

Woohooo! :)

Anonymous said...

Once again thanks for a very interesting article. This site is certainly easing the pain while waiting for tGS to come out!

I have two small points/queries. Firstly the possible role of the Mera'din. In New Spring the salutation by the Aiel for Lan seemed somewhat excessive and an unnecessary part of the plot line. Is there any chance that the Mera'din might follow Lan - they will surely wish to fight at TG but have cut themselves off from their own clans and now from the Shaido also. IIRC there was an indication in one of the books that the Mera'din were a sizable faction and so even any losses in the battle of Malden would still leave them a significant force.

Secondly, I would also be interested in obtaining any views on Kiruna. Min's viewings of the AS sworn to Rand did not include Kiruna. This may or may not have some signficance as regards her future role or actions.


Goldenking said...

I love the map you guys made and this article is just so nice to read and ease the wait towards TGS!

I hope you guys will make more maps i just love them!

Timmay said...

Thulin must be on the southern edge of the borderlands. Otherwise he would have some weapons in his house and wouldn't have to turn his scythes into weapons.

Linda said...

Anonymous: Those of the Mera'din with Sevanna who were not killed are now da'covale I would think. And that would be a large percentage of them, since Sevanna had ten times more Mera'din with her sept than with any other sept. Several septs joined up with her before Malden.

DH said...

As always, great read.

Phil said...

The Borderlands on the Big Map has always confused me. Where exactly is the Blight's border? Where is Malkier? North of the Mountains of Dhoom? It looks here like its's actually in the Mountains, but in that case, why would Tarwin's Gap be so important if the mountains aren't barriers?
Talking about the Mountains of Dhoom... where exactly are they? The map gives the impression that they take up the whole Blight.

Talyre said...

I've never given much thought to the fate of the Borderlands before. I've vaguely figured that Faile would become queen of Saldaea, and that if the Blight retreats after TG that Lan and Nyneave will become king and queen of a renewed Malkier (as per her Accepted test). But this post made me realize that something quite different could happen: Lan is gathering an army and sweeping across the Borderlands, a natural leader and king...and all the official rulers are in the South, leaving behind their children and heirs to run things. Much like Caemlyn, where Elayne solidified control of some houses because children were in charge, I think that Lan, regardless of his actual wishes, will become the leader of a unified Borderlands. (remember that prophecy about uniting the north?) Never really thought much in this direction, so definitely some great food for thought! Thanks!

Dominic said...

First thanks everyone for the praise and comments - it's very appreciated. Sorry for the late answers, I was out torturing trees instead of books these last days :P

Phil asked:

"Where exactly is the Blight's border?

We don't know exactly how far the Blightborder extends except for Shienar. Look at my local map of Shienar for an idea. The distance from Fal Dara was extrapolated for the time it took to travel to the border from the city on the Malkier road. The Blight begins a little distance (insignificant at the scale of the map) from the ring of fortresses north of Fal Dara. The Seven towers used to be around lakes in the valley below the high passes. The forts line are basically where the Malkier/Shienar border used to stand. On the Borderlands map, the borders of Malkier are marked in yellow. Some of Malkier stood on lower ground (incl. Tarwin's Gap that probably had many cities once) but a lot of it appeared to have been extremely mountainous.

I guess Alpine in the south-east would be a fitting description, but the northwest was probably a lot more like the Himalayas, which is somewhat reflected in the culture.

The strategic importance of Tarwin's Gap would be more obvious if I had included more of the area north of the Aiel Waste, east of the Spine (I'll do a map of the Shayol Ghul/Tarwin's Gap area eventually). Tarwin's Gap is a valley/gap that goes fairly far northeast, then sharply turns north west into the Valley of Thankan'dar. In the rest of the Borderlands, they probably suffer raids from tribes of Trollocs living in the mountains, but from Tarwin's Gap the Shadow has an open path from SG itself. I get the feeling Moridin's fortress is meant to close Tarwin's Gap and protect the mouth of Thankan'dar.

Dominic said...

To conclude for Phil:

The mountains of Dhoom are the chain marking the northern border of Malkier, from what I understand. They'd end (possibly), at the south-east end of Thankan'dar.


I hope you guys will make more maps i just love them!

Thanks! There are at least two more coming before TGS, three if I can manage.

I have at least five more advanced ones that I will publish after TGS (Shaido siege, Illian, Dumai's Wells, the last attack on EF, Fal Dara and the fortress). They were meant to go with the read-troughs, but I couldn't keep pace.

1) I can't read some text (the rivers for instance, or the words for the Niamh Passes.

Sorry. I reduced my original map too much and compressed the jpg a little bit too much, it's why some text became illegible. I will post an updated map soon anyway (the name of the city of Fal Dara shifted out of place by accident) and I'll try to remedy to that at the same time. The real map is about three times as big.

Could you add the Waygates rough locations?

Not at this scale. Too much information!

There will be maps with the Waygates marked eventually - the "historical series" of maps of the individual ten nations of the Second Covenant are those on which I intend to have markers for known Waygates, incl. the stedding. They will also have mortaises showing the New Era nation(s) and Free Years nation(s) they cover.

Dominic said...

To Anonymous:
would also be interested in obtaining any views on Kiruna

My personal view on Kiruna is that she is by this point she is now a plot device to create a conflict/bump road. with her brother Paitar. My view is that it's Perrin who is meant to bring the Borderlanders behind Rand.

So about Kiruna, I'm thinking it's two-folds: first, the news she's sworn fealty to Rand combined with the way the Borderlands rulers see the WO treat others from this group like Masuri will cause grief and ressent from Paitar, worsened by Coladara or someone in her group.. so problems/tangles to smooth out for Perrin. For Easar, the same will come from Agelmar's views that Rand had Moitaine's/Lan's trust and his witnessing the "miracle" of Tarwin's Gap, but that Rand was also just an inexperienced shepherd and troublesome when he met him. And this will play against Easar's other "advisor" (Alesune) and her big misgivings. Tenobia's problems are with the Basheres (her fury at Davram, her rivalry with Faile) and the BT/Asha'man. Ethenielle was not even convinced Rand is the real DR in her POV, and we know what she thinks of women like Faile/Tenobia. One of her advisor seems dubious, too.

Dominic said...

The second role of Kiruna, I believe, may be to become the de facto leader/ruler of the Arafellins, if as I believe Paitar, Tenobia, Easar and perhaps Ethenielle will die in the "big event that launch TG" (Battle of Caemlyn IMHO). I think RJ foreshadowed Perrin and Kiruna having to work together again with the little conflict he set up after Dumai's Wells (it could start with Kiruna being sent by Rand to negotiate, finding Perrin there and all of them getting caught up by the beginning of TG)

My theory is that by the end of ToM, the Bordermen south will be lead by:

- The Wolk-King as Marshall General of Saldaea and consort to Queen Faile, emerging as the most powerful/influent of the whole group, because of how his ta'veren nature works (Perrin wields/unifies, he has that aspect of Hawkwing).
- Queen (or Regent/General, if Paitar's heir north is still alive by then) Kiruna Nachiman, with an army of Aes Sedai, incl. Alanna Mosvani and prob. part of Coladara's group and AS in Caemlyn, and IMHO, Moiraine who will accompany them to join Lan.
- The Shienarans lead by Lord (or King by then?) Agelmar, perhaps Perrin's main military advisor.
- Kandori? Ethenielle, maybe. If she has died? I don't know... The only established pseudo Kandori with ties to Perrin is weirdly enough Birgitte. But it's a really long shot. I always imagined her dead by that point, ready to come back with the Horn.

I think by that point Lan will have arrived to Tarwin's Gap, the invasion from the Blight on the way and this is when Perrin and the Borderlanders are going to Travel North to help Lan hold Tarwin's Gap, after a huge and fairly disastrous battle south (in Caemlyn, IMHO). What makes me believe this is in part the fact Perrin and Lan both have unfinished business with Isam. Also, it seems obvious the wolves will fight in the Blight.

Mat, IMO, is going to remain South and supervise the War that starts all over the place (lead by Demandred and his strike forces of male and female Dreadlords/slaves - he was supposed to get the women from Semirhage and Mesaana - he might have less then planned. Taim will be his male field leader).

Ultimately, IMO, Mat's gonna have several mixed armies incl.Band/Legion/artillery/Seanchan/national armies/Loial and his Ogier, reinforced with damane/ex-damane, Asha'man and most of the Green Ajah/AS armies (and he would have some Elfinn and Aelfinn in the lot that I would not be too surprised!). So basically, Mat could be the top general for Tuon/Egwene/Logain and many others, for Rand. His main foe will be Demandred, leading the Shadow version of the same. Logain will be his saidin advisor/general. Who's gonna be his saidar one? *shrugs*. Cadsuane possibly, or Adelorna. I get the feeling Egwene won't come into play in person before Rand's strike (I'm one who thinks Egwene is a Wheel's wildcard, hidden from the KC to fool the Shadow. Her real role at Rand's side she will understand strictly from her own Dreams)

Mat is going to move north only to lead Rand's strike force, IMHO.

I think Mat's going to arrive at the mouth of Thankan'dar and near Moridin's fortress (travelling or channelling too close to SG itself is "a good way to die" at the Forsaken put it, we also know from RJ that True Power vs. One Power has very unpredictable effects) and sound the Horn of Valere, IMHO. His rear guard, including the channellers will be the hammer on Lan/Perrin's anvil down south-west at the opening of Tarwin's Gap, while his vanguard incl. the Heroes will start fighting it's way to Shayol Ghul, joining by Perrin's forces when the Shadow is destroyed in the Gap.

Where's Rand? Well, personally I believe Rand will be incapacitated, believed dead, after the 'big event', which I'm pretty convinced will be the battle of Caemlyn. Then, Rand will have to figure out what he's gonna do at SG, and with whom. Mat will coordinate the 'War of Shadow phase', then go with Rand north to lead his defense.

Anonymous said...


q said...

Dominic, a minor correction Arafel in Hebrew means mist, not "Cloud-Darkness".
Great read.

Timmay said...

I would think Paitar would be the Border ruler who most clearly understands the need for a speedy resolution of the current difficulties. He is I believe the only highranking Borderman old enough to have been at the Stair of Jehaan where the Trollocs where turned back by the might of Shienar, Arafel and Kandor after the fall of Malkier.

Davram Bashere may never have seen more than 1,000 Trollocs in one place before the attack on Rand, but Paitar surely has. It must have been an enormous battle with at least 100,000 men vs at least as many Tollocs.

Dominic said...

It shouldn't be an issue for Easar and Ethenielle either. They were either were very young at the time or else grew up raised and educated by leaders who had seen one of the Borderlands fall to the Shadow.

Easar and Agelmar were also both at Tarwin's Gap in EOTW.

It sounds to me like the four rulers are looking at things way:

The WT is broken, the AS are at war with one another. Meanwhile we got signs that TG is coming, and Rand al'Thor is either the real DR or he is a third dangerous False Dragon after Logain and Taim. In any case, he's running amok in the South for months, the events of Falme have plunged Arad Doman and Tarabon in chaos, and no one is stopping him. If he's the real Dragon he may not be quite sane (starting the BT and putting Taim in charge isn't exactly a sign of a sound mind to outsiders - even Rand's friends have questionned his sanity over the BT) and then he needs to be brought safely under control and guided. The WT can't seem able to do it, so someone must. The Borderlands are on the frontline, and they will need the Dragon for TG. They think he should lose his time spreading war and chaos in the South, he should be preparing for TG.

And if he is a false Dragon, then he is one of the Guaire Amalasan caliber, and he must be stopped, especially before he plunges the Borderlands too into chaos.

I don't think their minds are fully made up about Rand. They want to see him with their own eyes before they decide between them what to do about him. I think everything from agreeing to 'join' him to gentling him to killing him is on the table. It's gonna depend on their impression of Rand - and it's probably better for the world if they meet his emissaries instead! Rand should have sent Lan Mandragoran and Kiruna Nachiman to them long ago. Even Cadsuane herself joining the embassy may not have been a luxury. It is a major blunder from not only Rand - but Cadsuane, Lan, Kiruna (who should know better) not have made this a priority and not to pressure Rand to resolve this ASAP. Lan instead chose to act on his own, he doesn't trust Rand so much.

I think the Pattern has actually turned this around already, ie: it sent Lan to be the leader north and the presence of the Bordermen in Andor may become crucial in the LB if the Shadow strikes massively there (ta'veren are all well and good, but they'll need armies!), but from what the characters know at this point, it's a great mistake. Rand tends to get obsessive: Sammael, Sammael, Sammael, Seanchan, Seanchan, Seanchan etc. He tends to push problems he could solve aside an dlet them fester. He had the right people to solve the matter of the Bordermen at his disposal - he just didn't use them. He had no time to do it himself, so... It's a bit similar to how Berelain almost had to drag him to the Seafolk ambassador.

Timmay said...

Shouldn't Canlum be closer to the blight than Chachin? I thought it was analogous to Fal Dara in Shienar as the closest major settlement to the Blight.Didn't Lan have to turn around and travel deeper in Kandor to reach Chachin?

I don't have my copy of New Spring on me, but the Wot wiki has a page from the NS comic that speaks on this issue

"If Canluum was a city of hills, Chachin was a city of mountains. The traffic was too great here, and the blight too far away, for the guards to be so diligent as in Canluum." That certainly strongly implies that Canluum is further north than Chachin

- Rurouni_Kenshin

Anonymous said...

I think Linda's map is right (it's been a long time she gave us a new one, I hope some are coming!).

Lan says he means to go on north (to Chachin) when he's in Canlumm in NS.

Also, the only way it could be north of Chachin is if Moiraine and Lan came from Arafel/Shienar from Tar Valon, but Moiraine says she intended to go to Arafel then Shienar once she was done in Kandor, so it's excluded. They were on the TV to Chachin road, so Canlumm is south. Chachin is in the mountains bordering the Blight, I think. It may be harder for Shadowspawn to attack than the hilly region south (the good defensive position is probably why the big city of Kandor is located there).


Linda said...

It is Dominic who does the maps and he looks carefully at all the quotes when doing them.