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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Last ten comments at Theoryland.
by AmaentesIf DO was able to alter reality with power...
by JoramJust wanted to comment on something in reg...
by JoramSorry to necro this thread, but I was just...
by jimbop79I was just thinking that since the Finns l...
by jimbop79This was alluded to early on, but let me s...
by pjrobertsonAlthough the books are over here is what m...
by NaeblisSunshineThis has a lot of spoilers, so please, if ...
by shaihaludWow, found a link to this while purging my...
by MMustafaNow see, Rand isn't the only one who wants...
by WaxerIn the epilogue as rand is carrying Moridins ...
Last ten theories at Theoryland.
Padan Fain, Roommates With the Dark Oneby aNewAge
The Real Slayerby Cabadrin
How the Bore Will Be Sealedby Tremalking
The Bore is in Tel’aran’rhiodby Great Lord of the Dark
Callandor's Purposeby RealAshaman
Rand and the True Powerby Zombie Sammael
Caemlyn's Battleby 1eyedfool
Moghedien Raises the Deadby Truthless
Breaking the Sealsby Kamaul
Let me die forever!by Kamaul
This began as a comment to Fain: Shadowspawn Thief. The discussion had me convinced that Fain was necessary but not sufficient to move the estimated 100,000 Trollocs through the Ways to attack Rand's rest home in Tear. He could perhaps find Rand's location by sensing the direction from several Waygates and triangulating, but that seems far too intellectual for Fain and it would take time, even through the Ways. Time, too, to take control over this massive army, his powers had always been short range.
Imagine if he had shown up at the mansion with 100,000 Trollocs only to find that Rand left yesterday. Fain needed help, so I went looking for his patron. The answer proved more important than the question.
Not much solid evidence here, but the puzzle looks much better if we turn one piece upside down. The ifs, buts and maybes have been left out in the interest of readability:
Jordan devoted 7-8 pages to the Darkhound tracks Perrin found in south Ghealdan. Slayer, hunting Fain, but what was Fain doing that was this important? Spying on Perrin; on his way to reconnect with Pedron Niall; looking for a new patron: king Roedran, or the Seanchan? It does not matter. What made those Darkhound tracks so important is that this is where Slayer caught up with him.
This is where Slayer finally caught Padan Fain.
We know that Slayer did not kill him and let the Hounds feast. Instead the two reached an accommodation: Slayer, DO gofer, has at least some access to the best intelligence in Randland, and knows how to mobilize, say, 100,000 Trollocs without leaving tracks. Fain has the ability to lead Shadowspawn and to use the Ways safely.
Fain had found his new patron.
Slayer knows enough to avoid the Shadar Logoth corruption, as an experienced hunter he studied his prey to gain an understanding of what he was facing. Alviarin caught Fain stealing Mat's knife in Tar Valon and Sheriam took part in Healing Mat, so Slayer could find the vital link between Fain and Shadar Logoth. And Verin knew about Fain and Machin Shin, a little tidbit she had no reason to withhold from her supposed masters.
The next time we meet him he seems his usual self: half DO servant, half harlequin. And talkative. After almost 30 years of fighting his lonely war against Darkness he must be hungry for human companionship - Fain would not count.
Slayer is a mole. Deeply imbedded, he makes Verin look like an amateur.
Gitara Sedai sent Tigraine into the Aiel Waste. The result: Rand, born on the slopes of Dragonmount, as the Pattern required. Coincidence? Of course not, Gitara acted on a Foretelling.
Gitara Sedai sent Luc into the Great Blight. The result: Slayer, with powers the DO had given him, serving the DO. An tragic mistake? Of course not, Gitara acted on a Foretelling.
Sab-7_____Feb-22____WH ch 22_______Slayer does not kill Rand in Far Madding
Sab-21____Mar-07____WH ch 33_______Fain wounded in Far Madding
Sab-22____Mar-08____WH ch 35_______Rand begins cleaning Saidin
____________________COT ch 6-7_____Perrin finds fresh Darkhound tracks
Ain-2______Mar-16____COT ch 23-24___Rand resting in Tear
Ain-22_____Apr-06____KOD ch 19______Trollocs attack Rand
____________________KOD ch 12______Perrin wounded by assassins
If Gitara Sedai did not act wisely, informed by a Foretelling, when she sent Luc into the Blight, I'll eat my hat. IRL she could have had a bad day and made a mistake, but this is fiction.
But what about the Far Madding assassination, this could be a Jack the Ripper POV. Could Gitara have sent Luc off to rid the family of a serial killer?
What we see here is Slayer's cover persona, perfected during nearly 30 years under extreme pressure to the point of schizofrenia. Shame on you, Jordan, this is straining the POV format to the limit. Or am I doing the straining here? Good thing I don't own a hat.
No wonder if Slayer really did want to kill Rand, after all he had gone through for Rand's sake. Min, too, Slayer lived his miserable life while Rand could relax with this lovely young woman.
The story about the Far Madding assassination is bleak, but if you forget the victims and read carefully, it is really hilarious:
- So, a simple knife thrust. The Dragon Reborn, Hero of the Age, is dead. Oops, wrong guy.
- A pity.
- Anything else, sir?
- Maybe later. I'll get back to you.
It's a test. Mystery Man did not think Rand could be killed this easily. A test of Slayer's obedience that Slayer passed because he didn't think so either. This is Slayer on his day job, letting himself be used in Forsaken schemes while keeping the Boss informed. Of course, Mystery Man could be Moridin himself, testing Slayer's loyalty.
Why did Slayer, undercover Pattern agent, launch the unauthorized attack against Rand in Tear? As pointed out in Fain: Shadowspawn Thief there was no real risk that Rand would be overcome by a mere 100,000 Trollocs; anyway at this point Rand is safer than James Bond in a hailstorm of bullets, not only does he have the author on his side, as ta'veren he has chance on his side - before Tarmon Gai'don he will die only if there is no other outcome possible. And Rand had a back door: if things were getting truly desperate, he could evacuate the survivors through gateways.
Slayer saw an opportunity to reduce pressure on the Borderlands, or weaken the planned attack on Caemlyn, by having those Trollocs killed. Of course it did not matter if they were killed by Rand or by Machin Shin, but without Fain he couldn't hope to get a thousand Trollocs inside a Waygate before Machin Shin started a panic.
It would have been easier for Slayer to set his Darkhounds on Fain in The Two Rivers, but Slayer wouldn't pass up an excuse to get some Trollocs killed. He started teaching the villagers how to defend themself, to have more Trollocs killed and to protect bystanders - this was his beloved Andor, even if the villagers didn't know it - but then he found out that Verin was there, so he had to backtrack. He couldn't just leave, Verin might mention "Lord Luc" and his sage advice in her next rapport, he had to play the dilettante Hunter, full of unhelpful help. Necessary, but it must have rankled to see the villagers turn to Perrin. Then Perrin raised the Manetheren flag, no wonder Luc hates him deeply (Isam, TOM ch 37).
How did Slayer find Fain? He may have placed telltale objects at Waygates, then he could jump around in Tel'aran'rhiod looking for a Waygate where the object had moved. Far Madding tells us he can step out of Tel'aran'rhiod at will. The Darkhound tracks seemed to form a circle; in reality there were two packs, one ready to cut off Fain's escape while the other circled to attack him from the other direction.
Timing is very tight here, one day between Far Madding and the tracks, and this is right at the Cleaning time signal so timing should be accurate. Of course, an exhausted Fain with a fresh wound collapsing a short distance from the Waygate would be ideal for Slayer. Fain probably fled through the Far Madding Waygate and got out the next Waygate, so now we know what he was doing: he was fleeing.
Which doesn't explain why he ended up this close to Perrin. No use to Perrin that I can see so it shouldn't be ta'veren chance. Or did Perrin really need that lecture on Darkhounds?
Maybe the assassination attempt on Perrin was Slayers alibi, should anyone check up on him. Not really necessary, nobody suspects the butler. Not Slayer's style either, using assassins, but he may have organized a group effort precisely because he wanted witnesses. Still, I wouldn't suspect Slayer here if it wasn't for the timing.
Does he fake his attacks on Perrin or would he regard Perrin's death a valuable boost to his cover? If what he knows about his real mission does not involve Perrin Slayer may regard him as expendable, or just leave his fate to ta'veren chance. In the dreamspike episode, Slayer says "I should have killed you months ago" suggesting he had been pulling his punches. And that he still did not realize how hard it is to kill a ta'veren?
Prince Luc of Andor, guided by a Fortelling, entered the Great Blight seeking Lord Isam of Malkier who was on a suicidal quest to kill Shadowspawn, atoning for his mother's treason. The two met and decided they must find out more about what the Pattern needed from them, so they went to the Finns. Here they got three cryptic answers and were granted three wishes, one of which resulted in them being melded together in one body, probably not what they had expected.
The second wish would have made them resistant to any oath the DO might require, the third granting them safe return to the their own world. Or the meld may have been what the Finns construed as the agreed price - they would savour the emotions when Luc and Isam realized what had happened - leaving one wish.
The combined person, call him Slayer, resumed Isam's quest. Eventually he was captured and brought before the DO. Here he presented himself as a sociopath killer, drawn to the Blight by the variety of prey. The DO realized he could be useful, so he was sworn into service. Serving well, killing many, Slayer rose to become the DO:s special gofer and killer. The DO gave him powers to increase his usefulnes, beyond whatever he may have been given by the Finns.
By 984 NE he was sufficiently trusted to be able to discover that his unpleasant brother-in-law was a darkfriend.
Slayer is biding his time, maintaining his cover and sabotaging the Dark effort when he is sure he can get away with it. And, in his spare time, harvesting wolf souls to build his own Darkhound army for Tarmon Gai'don. He is where the Pattern needs him to be: working for the DO, with powers given him, in position to play his vital role in the Last Battle. And he volunteered, Gitara could not have forced him. Has any other character in fiction made a sacrifice like this?
Evidence is slim, but I see nothing to conflict with this theory.
Then there is that other theory: at some point Slayer was turned, and now he serves the DO faithfully. I see no evidence for that theory, and some serious stumbling blocks.
Winter's Heart chapter 22 - Out of Thin Air
Isam paced the room, studying by the ever-present light of Tel'aran'rhiod. The bed linens shifted from rumpled to neatly made between one glance and the next. The coverlet changed from flowered to plain dark red to quilted. The ephemeral always changed here, and he barely noticed anymore. He could not use Tel'aran'rhiod the way the Chosen could, but here was where he felt most free. Here he could be who he wanted to be. He chuckled at the thought.
Stopping beside the bed, he carefully unsheathed the two poisoned daggers and stepped out of the Unseen World into the waking. As he did he became Luc. It seemed appropriate.
The room was dark in the waking world, but the single window let in sufficient moonlight for Luc to make out the mounded shapes of two people lying asleep beneath their blanket. Without hesitation he drove a blade into each. They woke with small cries, but he pulled the blades free and drove them in again and again. With the poison, it was unlikely either would have had the strength to be heard outside the room, but he wanted to make this kill his own in a way that poison could not grant. Soon they stopped twitching when he thrust a blade between ribs.
Wiping the daggers clean on the coverlet, he resheathed them with as much care as he had drawn them. He had been given many gifts, but immunity to poison, or any other weapon, was not among them. Then he took a short candle from his pocket and blew away enough ash from the banked coals in the fireplace to light the wick. He always liked to see the people he killed, after if he could not during. He had especially enjoyed those two Aes Sedai in the Stone of Tear. The incredulity on their faces when he appeared out of thin air, the horror when they realized he had not come to save them, were treasured memories. That had been Isam, not him, but the memories were none the less prized for that. Neither of them got to kill Aes Sedai very often.
For a moment he studied the faces of the man and woman on the bed, then pinched out the candle's flame and returned the candle to his pocket before stepping back into Tel'aran'rhiod.
His patron of the moment was waiting for him. A man, he was sure of that much, but Luc could not look at him. It was not as it was with those slimy Gray Men, whom you just did not notice. He had killed one of them, once, in the White Tower itself. They felt cold and empty to the touch. It had been like killing a corpse. No, this man had done something with the Power so Luc's eyes slid away from him like water sliding down glass. Even seen at the corner of the eye, he was a blur.
"The pair sleeping in the room will sleep forever," Luc said, "but the man was bald, the woman gray."
"A pity," the man said, and the voice seemed to melt in Luc's ears. He would not be able to recognize it if he heard it without the disguise. The man had to be one of the Chosen. Few save the Chosen knew how to reach him, and none of the men among those few could channel, or would have dared trying to command him. His services were always begged, except by the Great Lord himself, and more recently by the Chosen, but none of the Chosen Luc had met had ever taken such precautions as this.
"Do you want me to try again?" Luc asked.
"Perhaps. When I tell you. Not before. Remember, not a word of this to anyone."
"As you command," Luc replied, bowing, but the man was already making a gateway, a hole that opened into a snowy forest glade. He was gone before Luc straightened.
It really was a pity. He had rather look forward to killing his nephew and the wench. But if there was time to pass, hunting was always a pleasure. He became Isam. Isam liked killing wolves even more than Luc did.