Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Path of Daggers Read-through #7: Attack of the Turncoats

By Linda

According to Kisman, four Darkfriend Asha’man, Gedwyn, Rochaid, Kisman and Torval, were ordered by Taim to kill Rand in the Sun Palace:

"Kill him," the M'Hael had ordered before sending them to Cairhien, but he had been as displeased that they were found out as that they had failed. Far Madding was to be their last chance; he had made that as plain as polished brass. Dashiva had simply vanished. Kisman did not know whether he had run or the M'Hael had killed him, and he did not care.

- Winter’s Heart, Out of Thin Air

They smashed a large hole in the part of the Palace where Rand had his rooms, but missed Rand, who had just left to meet with Cadsuane. Rand felt their weaves coming from different directions. Dashiva knew Rand survived because he felt Rand channel something – probably the shield on Shalon. The other four Darkfriends felt nothing, but then, unbeknownst to them, Dashiva was far stronger and more knowledgeable, so he would sense channelling better. Interestingly, Dashiva did not use balefire when he attacked Rand in the corridor. Perhaps he didn’t want the four Asha'man to learn it, or to know he knew it.

Why did Dashiva join in?

Week 21 Question: One thing that's always confused me is just why Dashiva/Osangar chose to attack Rand (with the turncoat Asha'man) when he did. The last time we saw Rand with Dashiva before that was when they went together (with Flinn, Hopwil and Morr) to confront Cadsuane, and there didn't seem to be any one particular incident that would "set him off."

Robert Jordan Answers: Partly this was guilty conscience working. Even people who don't have a conscience can have a guilty conscience, the sudden conviction - as when Rand came on Dashiva and the others - that somebody knows what they are up to. Add to this that Dashiva was plain getting tired of trailing around after Rand, taking orders. He's one of the Chosen, and the Dark One reclaimed him from death, which is really good, but he's been stuck in a decidedly second-rate body and stuck spying on Rand, fetching and carrying like a servant as he sees it, with hardly even an opportunity to put a spoke in Rand's wheels except in very minor ways. How much better if Rand simply died.

- TOR Question of the Week

The attempt was made to kill Rand because then Taim could do wrong in his name and perhaps take his place. He had been edging in this direction for some time as his clothing and messages show. Even Rand remarked that Taim’s written communications looked as though they might have been sent by Rand:

The paper was snowy white and thick, the seal a dragon impressed in a large oval of blue wax that glittered with golden flecks. It might almost have been thought to come from the Dragon Reborn.

- The Path of Daggers, Message From the M’Hael

If Rand could be impressed and fooled, then anyone could be.

Taim doesn't wear the collar pins which he found so upsetting in Lord of Chaos when they were publicly presented to him by Rand; neither does Rand. Taim does wear the rest of the Asha’man uniform, with dragons embroidered around the sleeves in the same position as Rand’s dragon tattoos, so that he commits evil in Rand's name and in Rand’s uniform.

While the Pattern now prevents Taim from declaring himself the Dragon Reborn, others may yet do so. If Taim does bad things in the Dragon's name wearing the dragons, people will then believe that Rand has ordered them, or at least sanctioned them. Taim doesn't have to say anything; people will believe it anyway.

If the attempt to kill Rand failed, as it did, there was the probability that many people would think Rand insanely did the damage himself. Further distrust between Rand and his allies would be sown. Rand might be jolted into making mistakes and prevented from having time to think, and his plans hopefully would be disrupted.

While it was a good idea to remind everyone how badly the war in Altara went by saying that it made the Asha’man rebel, as a protest vote by Dreadlords the attack was overdone. It would have been more confusing to just quietly go and commit atrocities, but then people might suspect that Taim was involved. So Taim aimed at total confusion so that no one knows what to think.

After the attack failed, Taim personally reported the four Asha’man as deserters to Rand and was surprised and annoyed to learn that Dashiva had participated too – since he knew which men he gave the order to. Taim didn’t want Dashiva getting creative or blowing his cover. The other four were a little more expendable, although, according to Kisman, Taim was as furious that they were found out as that they had failed.

There had been sporadic attempts to kill Rand before, but no less than four figures of the Shadow – Taim, Dashiva, Demandred and even Moridin to a degree – tried to kill Rand at about this time. What had them feeling so murderous?

Well it had finally been brought to their notice that Rand intended to cleanse saidin and, as Moridin also learned, had the means to do it. Dashiva and/or the Black Asha’man reported Rand’s desire to remove the taint after Rand told them during the campaign in Illian and Altara. There might have been Darkfriends or agents among the servants, too. A little investigation by Moridin uncovered Cyndane’s knowledge that Rand had the access keys to the Choedan Kal.

Obviously the taint could not be removed if Rand were dead.

As this quote shows:

And later still, Moridin had said, "Kill him if you must, but above all, bring everything in his possession to me. That will redeem your previous transgressions." The man said he was one of the Chosen, and no one was mad enough to make that claim unless it was true, yet he seemed to think al'Thor's belongings more important than his death, the killing incidental and not really necessary.

- Winter’s Heart, Out of Thin Air

Moridin realised that if he took the access keys from Rand that alone would prevent the cleansing and he would not have to alter his plans. Plus, of course, holding the keys, Moridin would have an extreme advantage over the other Forsaken, and remove the threat of any of them ‘getting above themselves’. Rand’s death is not really desired by Moridin – not until the planned moment.


Anonymous said...

Does Rand know that the turncoats were sent by Taim? And how does Logain eventually know where to find Rand? Thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Rand knew at this time, and I am not sure he finds out before they all end up dead. The full exposure of Taim's betrayal is not revealed until Logain shows up, which occurs while Rand is recovering from cleansing the source. Dashiva was at the cleansing as one of the Forsaken, but I do not know if he was identified there.

Rand has known that Taim was not to be trusted from moment one, when Lews Therin screamed for his destruction at their first meeting. How extensively Rand has relied on Lews Therein's judgment has always been a sticking point for me, as Lews generally seems to be right, even though he jumps the gun.

Rand really didn't have a choice about Taim though. He HAD to have someone to gather, build and train the Black Tower; Rand definitely did not have the time and Logain was gentled and unavailable.

To me this always seemed like a desperation move on the part of Taim and Dashiva. At that time I thought Taim was Demandred, and thought he was beginning to feel the pressure, seeking to be the Na'bils and realizing that he was out of time to act.

As for Dashiva, he had missed his chance once and was seizing the opportunity for glory, knowing full well that this might be his last opportunity to act without direct instruction that he would be obligated to.

Justin Harris

Linda said...

Anonymous: No, only Taim and maybe Moridin knew that Taim ordered the attack. Demandred and a few other Forsaken might have found out later.

Logain went to Bashere and he suggested they go to Cairhien. At Cairhien they cam across the Warders of those Aes Sedai from Elaida's embassy who were at the Cleansing. The Warders were able to track down their Aes Sedai and estimate where the gateways should be made to. They also picked up Samitsu who wanted to report to Cadsuane. It is likely that the Asha'man made the gateways.