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asuri, Annoura and Masema's Shiny Dragon Man

by Luckers: 2010-09-01 | 8 out of 10 (8 votes)

Recent Categories: Masema - Prophet, Fanatic, Pawn?

Ok, in this thread I'm going to try to offer an answer for two mysteries. Who is the Fake Rand who appears to Masema in tGS, and who are Masuri and Annoura meeting with in Masema's camp throughout KoD. It's somewhat convuluted, so bear with me.

Who are Masuri and Annoura Meeting With?

In KoD Masuri and Annoura (and Masuri's Warder) are seen within Masema's camp by Havier, one of the Cha Faile. The question is--who were they going to meet, and why?

Masema

Perrin believes they went to meet Masema himself, which stands to reason given that (to Perrin) he is the only figure in that camp worth an Aes Sedai's attention--the rest all being rag tag zealots. Yet this seems strange--Masema hates Aes Sedai, and they don't seem too fond of him either. Perrin even notices that they seem to be growing to hate each other even more in spite of the ongoing meetings.

"...a pity you will not let the Seanchan leash all of them." [Masema's] sidelong glance at Annoura and Masuri said he included them, despite the fact that both had visited him in secret more than once. They regarded him with Aes Sedai calm, though Masuri's slim hands moved as if to smooth her brown skirts. She said she had changed her mind and now believed the man must be killed, so why was she meeting him? Why was Annoura? Why did Masema allow them? He more than hated Aes Sedai.

KoD--The Last Knot--629

So, if we are to trust Perrin's assumptions, there are several curiosities here. Let me state them...

1. Both Masuri and Annoura claim Masema must be killed--Masuri having originally believed she could use him has changed her mind--yet even after changing it, both she and Annoura continue to sneak into his camp.

2. Masema allows it, despite his hatred of Aes Sedai.

Or rather, these are the problems Perrin sees based on the idea of Masuri and Annoura meeting with Masema. Yet in truth neither Aes Sedai was seen with Masema. Selende says 'they have been meeting with Masema' but all that happened was that one of her people saw Masuri and her Warder, and occasionally Annoura with them, sneaking into and out of the camp. Her comments are clear on this--they were seen only in transit.

"Masuri Sedai has visited Masema... the Prophet. It is true my Lord; believe me! Havier has seen her more than once. She slips into their camp hooded and leaves the same way, but he has had a good look at her face twice."

They are never actually seen with Masema, and given the apparent hatred cited above that seems very hard to swallow. Of course they could be dissembling, hiding their associations--but that seems difficult. Masema does not have the control to pull this off, and Masuri's gestures--the clenching of her hands, her vocally changed opinion in regards to Masema needing to die--only serve to draw attention to her and Masema.

This of course brings us back to the question of who they were going to meet in that rabble of insanity--but first there is one other question to be asked, and that is why Masuri and Annoura? Or, put another way...

Why not Seonid?

Consider; we have a Green, a Brown and a Grey. The Green and the Brown are both rebels, whilst the Grey is unaffiliated. The Green and Brown are both oathsworn to the Dragon, whilst the Grey serves Berelain. The Green and the Brown are both apprentices to the Wise Ones, the Grey is 'technically' her own woman. Moreover the Grey and the Brown both support killing Masema, whilst initially the Green did not.

So why are the Brown and the Grey colluding, yet not including the Green? Havier has observed Masuri and Annoura entering the camp quite a few times, but Seonid is never present. There is no political or personal reasons for this strange grouping.

Well, no, that's not right. There is a theoretical reason for such a collusion--Annoura and Masuri are Black Ajah, Seonid is not. It's a guess, true, but it's the only thing that allows for those two to be acting together, yet be excluding the third. On every other thing that might bring Aes Sedai together, yet exclude a third, they differ--Ajah, allegiances, history, temperament. If this is true it provides a stepping stone to the original question--'who would Masuri and Annoura interested in meeting with?' becomes instead...

Who Would the Black Ajah be Interested in Meeting With?

The Shiny Dragon Man?

The obvious answer is that they were meeting the fellow who has been manipulating Masema--in tGS Masema references the Shiny Dragon Man.

The Dragon had appeared to him the night before the attack. Appeared in glory! A figure of light, glowing in the air in shimmering robes. Kill Perrin Aybara! the Dragon had commanded. Kill him! And so the Prophet had sent his very best tool, Aybara's own dear friend.

tGS; Prologue, What the Storm Means

Now Brandon has made clear this Dragon was not just a delusion on Masema's part.

Someone asked if Sanderson could reveal who was behind the visions that Masema was having. Sanderson basically said that there definitely was someone involved with Masema having visions--he did not provide any further details other than to say that Masema's visions weren't just from Masema being crazy.

tGS Signing Q&A

So, could this not be who Masuri and Annoura were meeting with? Perhaps. This would imply however that rather than simply dropping in to point Masema at Perrin, and maybe a few other tweaks in the past, the person disguising themself as Rand held permenant residence near Masema, and was disguised as a part of Masema's following, and thus there in order to be met by Masuri and Annoura.

Now people have been suggesting this one for years. One of the Forsaken (usually Demandred, the go-to guy for unexplained plots) is manipulating Masema's rabid followers in order to spread chaos. At first glance it seems reasonable--they have been instructed to let the Lord of Chaos rule after all. The problem with this suggestion is that manipulating a mad man and his zealous mob would take way too much constant attention and subtle manipulation. It would be a full time job even for one of the Forsaken, and for its effects its just not worth their effort--oh, it creates chaos, but not on a grand enough scale to keep one of the big boys occupied full time.

Masema is just not a big enough fish. Yes, to drop in as a shiny figure of doom now and then, but to dedicate oneself to entirely...?

If Not The Fake Dragon, Then Who?

It's possible, of course, that the Fake Dragon is the extent of the manipulation of Masema, and that he was otherwise untouched by the Shadow--and is, in effect, just your average run of the mill religious fanatic... but that doesn't answer who Masuri and Annoura were meeting with. Also there is Masema's success to take into account.

We see in tGS his shock that the Dragon didn't protect his people.

"...The Prophet had been so certain. He had assumed that the Dragon would protect his people, lead them to a powerful victory..."

"...Around him, men died, just as they had earlier. Why, why hadn't the Dragon protected them? Why?..."

tGS; Prologue, What the Storm Means

There is no consideration of tactics there. Masema knows war, knows how the Aiel fight, and should have known the outcome of his rabble versus Aiel spears, yet he is clearly beyond employing any of his knowledge. Beyond even remembering that knowledge--and we know this is not a new delusion. We see his complete break with reality through Nynaeve in tFoH with his marrying people off by the hundreds, and so forth.

He is a genuine fanatic. He believes things will work out well because of the purity of his cause, and thus makes no efforts to ensure they do work out. That's not different from any other religious fanatic, but what is strange is that until Malden they actually did work out--armies fell, kings and queens were dethroned, and no one succeeded in assasinating him or breaking his hold on events.

Why? The luck of a madman? Or because someone behind the scenes was manipulating events? Blunting opposition, spreading misinformation--protecting him, in effect, from his own stupidity.

So, there is the suggestion that there is a more permenant manipulator hanging around Masema than the Fake Rand. But who might that be?

Rianna and Berylla

In tFoH Moghedien takes control of Liandrin's group and gives a various number of tasks to them, tasks that she thinks may 'bear sweet fruit'.

From where she stood, Liandrin could see their faces even if their mouths moved soundlessly for her. Plainly each woman was receiving orders the others knew nothing of. The faces told little, though. Rianna merely listened, a touch of relief in her eyes, bowed her head in assent and went. Marillin looked surprised, and then eager, but she had been a Brown, and Browns could be enthusiastic over anything that allowed them a chance to unearth some moldy bit of lost knowledge. Jeaine Caide donned a slow mask of horror, shaking her head at first and trying to cover herself and that disgustingly sheer gown, but Moghedien's face hardened, and Jeaine nodded hurriedly and fled, if not as eagerly as Marillin, just as quickly. Berylla Naron, lean almost to scrawniness and as fine a manipulator and plotter as there was, and Falion Bhoda, long-faced and cold despite her obvious fear, showed as little expression as Rianna had. Ispan Shefar, like Liandrin from Tarabon, though dark-haired, actually kissed Moghedien's hem before she rose.

tFoH--18--A Hound of Darkness

Three of those number are unaccounted for. Jeaine is unlikely as a candidate for this, because she reacts to her instructions with horror, but Rianna and Berylla react in almost the same manner. Calm acceptance with perhaps a little excitement.

Now consider the situation. Moghedien was perfectly placed to note Masema's appearence in the world and seek to exploit it. She was in Amador looking directly at him whilst she was locating Nynaeve and Elayne, and later, figuring out her backstory for Marigan. It's clearly not something she would have bothered with herself, but sending a few half-trained children to exploit the situation...?

Additionally, Berylla and Rianna's temperments fit this mission. Berylla is cited by Liandrin as being a deft manipulator and plotter. Rianna, a White, was described as cold with an eye that saw deep into you. Those two would be perfect for this, and Moghedien would be exactly the sort of person who would see it. A deft manipulator and a person who could perceive a persons flaws could tweak a growing mob in exactly the right ways to ensure it grows--they also explain Masema's ongoing survival--a mob should not have held up so well, but with two Aes Sedai, deft at politics, hamstringing the opposition....

So, that's who I would suggest Annoura and Masuri went to meet--they either identified themselves without letting Seonid know, or (as I suspect is more likely) Annoura and Masuri were ordered to join with and aid Berylla and Rianna.

Back To the Shiny Dragon!

This seems to be getting a little elaborate, doesn't it? Are we then to suggest two different groups are working their manipulations on Masema seperately of each other?

Well no, that needn't be the case. Firstly, note that after Moghedian gets soultrapped, Moridin takes charge of at least two of the Aes Sedai Moghedien was ordering about--Falion whom he gives to Mili Skane (Lady Shiaine) and Marillin whom he has Moghedien order to help Mili Skane with her work in the Palace. I also wouldn't be surprised if he was the one to order Ispan's assasination--that seemed a little too elaborate for it to be Careane on her own. But who know's.

The point is Moridin clearly pressed Moghedian for her plans, and, where he chose, redirected them. Now consider that the Shiny Dragon Man seemingly was acting in accordance with the orders given by Moridin in [KoD; 3, At the Gardens]. Note, too, that Moghedien has been said to be in charge of trying to act on those orders.

Moridin was gathering the Great Lord's forces for the Last Battle, and his war preparations left him very little time for the south—though his two minions, Cyndane and Moghedien, occasionally showed their faces there. They spent their time rallying the Darkfriends and occasionally trying to follow Moridin's orders that the two ta'veren—Perrin Aybara and Matrim Cauthon—be killed.

tGS; Prologue, What the Storm Means

There is also evidence that someone redirected Masuri--she was adamant that Masema could be used, but then suddenly she wants him dead? Why? To shatter the Dragonsworn with him. In the kind of melee that would follow someone assasinating Masema perhaps there would be an opportunity to slay Perrin--indeed was that not exactly the same method Masema employed, except using the chaos of that attack on Malden instead of the chaos of the Dragonsworn going nuts (and likely attacking Perrin's army)?

Conclusions

So that is my theory. That Moghedien realized the potential for chaos in Masema and set two of the Black Ajah to milk it for all its worth. That Moridin reigned in these Black Sisters along with others of Moghedien's old agents after he bound her, and set them to continue increasing chaos--directing Annoura and Masuri to assist when they came near. Then, when he decided to kill Perrin, he (or Moghedien) thought to use to volatility surrounding Masema to attempt to achieve that end, dressed himself up in Shiny Dragon Robes, and paid a visit to the worlds number one fanatic.

A Few Other Thoughts

Aes Sedai Badasses

Under this theory it seems possible--albeit unlikely in my opinion--that Masuri, Annoura, Berylla or Rianna could be the Shiny Dragon themselves. This would require either that one of the Forsaken trained them in Mirror of Mists, or that they knew it through a 'trick' (not impossible--Moiraine knew Folded Light which is not dissimilar). Nevertheless they would still be acting on Moridin's orders.

Demandred (or insert other Forsaken)

Now I'm not trying to say my theory proves the Demandred one wrong--but I did feel I should address it because it's the most popular out there, which means responses to this would likely be to state the Demandred one.

I do understand why people think of Demandred when this comes up. He is the go-to guy for any unresolved naughty plots, if only because he is so shy. Beyond that though there is nothing to really point to him. Yes, Sammael's comments about events in the south might apply to this--on the other hand Sammael was in Natrin's Barrow, and so the vast majority of the world was to the south of him. It's said, too, that Demandred likes using proxies--but a proxy is an agent, a person you've authorized to act on your behalf. Does that fit with duping an insane man? By that definition all the Forsaken who have seized control using compulsion were using them as 'proxies'.

Honestly though, I'd bite and believe him the perp too if there were the slightest indication of him having an agent in the area. Moghedian's presence at that time in the story, the focus of her attention on Samara, and her access to Rianna and Berylla fit too neatly, which is why I lean to her and Moridin. Although, that being said, I'm not sure if this would fit him anyway--He is a general, direct action is his game--manipulating the fear and hatred of a pseudo-religious following, that’s much subtler.

But, yes... nothing really to point to him, but then nothing to rule him out either.

[rinse and repeat with the other Forsaken, or even Taim. Nothing rules them out, but nothing specifically suggests them. After Moggy and Moridin, Dem has the strongest pull].

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Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2010-09-21

Ok - fun theory for sure, nicely done my friend. I haven't read this idea before and it brings a focus back on some people we've let slip as secondary and unimportant. I'd love to find out that Moghedien was initially involved with those Black Ajah, that Moridin took it over, then gave it back to Cyndane/Moggy (as I too can't imagine Moridin would have the time to mess with Masema.) I'm more inclined to believe Cyndane as the Shiny Dragon over Moghedien or the Black Ajah (that's just my "please let Lanfear matter again" speaking). I too have accepted "Demandred" in the past, simply because I hadn't thought it through as thoroughly - but you've made it more of a compelling mystery. I'll be interested to see how the fans come down on this regarding the suspects you've put forward.

Btw - this is general to Perrin still being alive, why would the Forsaken or the Black Ajah need Masema and not be capable of killing Perrin outright? Of the three, he has the least going for him regarding protection. Wouldn't their discovery as Black Ajah be worth knocking down one of the legs of this three legged stool? He has no ter'angreal, no luck, no real power to stop them, other than the Wheel I guess. The Wheel can account for it...but even I don't like that explanation.

2

greebo: 2010-09-21

As far as the Mirror of Mists goes, didn't Alanna use it to try and intimidate Rand in Caemlyn (not sure which book, as mine are all packed for moving), and for that matter, moiraine used it in the same way in tEotW, so it wouldn't have taken any special training. Although they used it to make themselves appear enormous rather than to alter actual appearance, I still think it was already a known skill.

3

Tamyrlin: 2010-09-22

Luckers - I saw Brandon this evening at a local signing event. And just for you I asked a question that I think will interest you greatly.

Matt: This has to do with the Luckers’ Shiny Dragon theory. Masema mentions having a vision, someone tells him to kill Perrin. So, my question, was the individual telling him to kill Perrin a male or female?

Brandon: He saw a male.

Matt: He did, but was the individual a male or a female?

Brandon: (Laughs appreciatively and pauses)

Brandon: Yes, yes he was a male or a female.

Matt: (Laughs) Was the individual a male?

Brandon: (Thoughtful, deep intake of breath, pause)

Matt: …as classically defined by his physical…(laughter)

Brandon: (Says, yes I get what you are asking)…

Matt: ...I’ll say it this way, does this individual have the soul of a man or a woman?

Brandon: mmmhmm. (pauses looking up for a good twenty or thirty seconds)

Brandon: Female.

4

fbstj: 2010-09-22

Thats cool Mat!! epic theory Luckers :D

5

Luckers: 2010-09-22

Thanks Tam! Of course this doesn't confirm my theory--it rules out Moridin, so I think Moghedian is definately the most likely. Cyndane next, and then a step below are the Black Sisters (Rianna, Berylla, Masuri and Annoura).

I considered Aran'gar based on whether Brandon was reacting to your questions about the soul being a man or a woman, instead of it being male or female, but the word female links back, and Aran'gar just doesn't fit and doesn't have time.

6

First-Selector: 2010-09-23

I agree with Tam. It seems strange that with everything else going on, the Shadow sends somebody to manipulate Masema into killing Perrin instead of just killing him outright. However, I don't think this is a valid reason to rule out nearby Black Ajah, as there could be additional plots other than Masema.

I am undecided on the idea of the Black Ajah knowning enough to create the Shiny Dragon. I find it unlikely that they discovered the weave themselves (regardless how close it is to Folded Light), as they could use such a thing to great effect all throughout history. So, if it is them, one of the Forsaken must have taught them to save themselves the trouble of controlling Masema at all times. This also makes me a bit uneasy, as the Forsaken do not give up their knowledge freely. So, I conclude that Luckers is probably right in thinking that the Forsaken are the most likely candidates.

7

tdwaffle15: 2010-09-23

"..but what is strange is that until Malden they actually did work out--armies fell, kings and queens were dethroned, and no one succeeded in assasinating him or breaking his hold on events.

Why? The luck of a madman? Or because someone behind the scenes was manipulating events? Blunting opposition, spreading misinformation--protecting him, in effect, from his own stupidity.

So, there is the suggestion that there is a more permenant manipulator hanging around Masema than the Fake Rand. But who might that be?"

Could this possibly be due in part to Pedron Niall? I'm a bit hazy on details, but I know that Niall wants to sow discord ~time of TDR, to have Rand be his "rabid lion in the streets." I may be confusing events on Almoth Plain with those in Ghealdan, but early on, when Rand is assumed to be with one of the band of dragonsworn, Niall orders Carridan to protect Rand- which would by extension protect dragonsworn. I'm not sure precisely when the W-cloaks realize Rand is now out East.

8

AK: 2010-09-23

I've always assumed that it was Semirhage. Remember that a rakin was sighted near Masema's camp, and there were rumors in Ebou Dar of an alliance with some "king" of sorts in the north, and most importantly, Masema had that paper signed by Suroth, who was acting directly under Semirhage's orders.

The "figure of light could very well be a vision brought on through compulsion, using techniques from the "Age of Legends".

Of course, it seems likely that Semirhage had an agent to manipulate his visions, very possibly an AS, although not necessarily.

9

Luckers: 2010-09-23

@First Selector & @Tamyrlin
It is a good point about the plausibility of the Forsaken or the Black Ajah not simply killing Perrin--although that being said, we've seen the Forsaken be skittish about acting in the open too near places with a lot of channelers before. Mesaana cites that as the reason she hasn't gone anywhere near Rhuidean or Cairhein. And Moghedien is a coward--if killing Perrin bore the slightest risk of pulling Seonid, the Wise Ones and the Asha'man down on her, would she act?

Beyond that, have the Wise One's let the Aes Sedai out of their sight long enough to kill Perrin?

But yes, I do agree it is somewhat odd. (drat you guys for having good points to use against me!!!) :)

@tdwaffle15 interesting thought--and the Whitecloaks were present at Samara. I still like my thought better though. :D

10

Luckers: 2010-09-25

@AK according to Stephen Cooper's timeline, Semirhage was already a captive when Masema sees the Shiny Dragon in KoD.

11

Myth: 2010-09-28

My thoughts on this are as follows, first, I always assumed that the DO wanted to kill Mat and Perrin since they were kind of a fluke. As far as we know, the Dragon has never had companions like these two, to other traviens(sp, been awhile)and so crucial to his success in the LB. However, most of the Forsaken are busy with their own task so it is extremely plausible they pushed the task off on underlings, we have seen it repeatedly.

As far as Semirhage, I did not know she was already captured at the time, good info. But what I do want to say on the forsaken that may or may not back up Luckers is that not all the Forsaken work together, and they all have individual goals. They all seek a place of prominence and take whatever opportunities they can to advance themselves or take out threats. Maybe they do seek to destroy these two companions that have thus far evaded everything the Shadow has thrown at them, and that are so integral to Rands success. Therefore, Luckers theory is quite plausible and I am excited to see if the theory is valid.

12

AK: 2010-09-29

@Luckers:
According to that timeline, both incidents occurred on the same day, 748 (Aine-25/Apr-09). If the vision was perpetrated using compulsion, it could easily have been prepped hours (or even days) before Masema remembers it occuring (depending on how compulsion was used, it might well never have occurred, Masema may simply have begun to remember it occurring - note that this could be accomplished using real-world hypnotic suggestion, thus anybody skilled with compulsion could probably do it). Thus it's plausible that Semirhage was directly responsible.

However, IMO she left an agent with Masema to direct his compulsions, which may have included many visions (of which the only one we've been told is the one of the Dragon). That agent would have been instructed to accomplish the death of Perrin as soon as Moridin reminds them of his instructions to kill Perrin and Mat (day 739?). When the opportunity arose with the coming battle, the agent would have created the vision (or memory of same). Thus Semirhage didn't need to be physically present at any time close to the battle to be responsible.

This was implicit in my final sentence:

Of course, it seems likely that Semirhage had an agent to manipulate his visions, very possibly an AS, although not necessarily.

13

nae77blis77: 2010-10-02

Great theory! I really like this one, and the BS quote seems to lend creedance to it as well. I thought though that as of tGS, Damandred was Asunawa the Inquisitor. Why else would he be ashamed of reading a basic whitecloak instruction book? I could be wrong though :) Thanks Luckers

14

MatOdin: 2010-10-06

Wasn't Masema flourishing long before Moghedien gave those orders? I believe he was about to unseat his first ruler around tDR, and only prospered after that. Moghedien didn't give those orders until tFoH. I agree with previous arguments that Semirhage could have done it.

But what about Graendal?

15

Lorcin: 2010-10-17

It could have been Taim using a member of the Black Ajah that he captured, one he intimadated when he was a false dragon or one helping volenterally.

This makes sense as he also got the order to let the lord of choas rule but he hasn't openly moved against Rand but he might try to kill Perrin just to spite him but wouldn't consider it a high proity.

This would also explain the sisters going into Masema's camp as they could have been meeting with one of Taim's apprentic's (he said he had trained peolpe in the past) but they would have had to be the ones using ilusions to trick him.

16

gelb: 2010-11-12

as to your thought that Masuri and Annoura are black ajah this i think is wrong.. i believe that senoid is of the black.. i think this because I was reading the knife of dreams and on page 617 Perrin is talking to Seonid Sedai warning her to be careful when she's getting inside the aquaduct "thank you" she said icily.... "I would not have known any of that if you had not told me" which ...a true Aes Sedai could not say even sarcastically

17

ChubbyAiel: 2011-01-05

"I find it unlikely that they discovered the weave themselves (regardless how close it is to Folded Light), as they could use such a thing to great effect all throughout history. So, if it is them, one of the Forsaken must have taught them to save themselves the trouble of controlling Masema at all times. This also makes me a bit uneasy, as the Forsaken do not give up their knowledge freely."

@ First-Selector:

I might be wrong as it's been a while since I read the earlier books, but isn't it Liandrin who Compels Juilin to betray Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne so that they end up being taken to the Stone? And doesn't Mesaana teach Alviarin a weave to help her control Elaida? So Forsaken, although reluctant to share their knowledge, might do so for particular, important tasks.

Despite saying this, I think it unlikely to be a Black Ajah sister purely because at this stage in the series, I'd expect more major characters to be responsible for such a thing, so Cyndane (OK she hasn't done much recently but she's still Lanfear) and Moghedien are more likely in my opinion.

I'd rule out Taim because although he has reason (to set himself up as a hero of the Fourth Age who undoes the chaos supposedly sown by Rand's followers) I don't think he would have the means - i.e. a female channeller. It could be him, but it seems unlikely.

I don't think either that manipulating Masema would be a full-time job either. You could appear to him a few times to give him directions, then leave him to sow his own chaos. That's the thing about chaos: it lacks direction. Then return to him when you've got a specific job for him, like whacking a Taveren. The lands that fell to him were fairly weak states anyway, made weaker by war in the area, recent droughts, the Seanchan presence, etc. I think the point is made a few times that Altara has for years been too weak to eject the Whitecloaks, that Ghealdean and the land of Perrin's pet queen (can't remember the names!) were always a bit fractious because of weak monarchs and relatively powerful nobles.

So I'd go with Mog or Cyndane, without too strong a presence and without too much effort on their part. They may have fingers in other pies as well.

18

ChubbyAiel: 2011-01-07

* Just realised that Ghealdan is the land of Perrin's pet queen.

19

Macster: 2011-03-10

I love this theory! While it does have a few problems, or at least points that still leave unanswered questions, it also is original, fairly brilliant, revisits characters we haven't thought about for a while, and makes a lot of sense.

Regardless whether you are right or not, I am fairly positive both the missing members of Liandrin's coven and the true allegiance of the Aes Sedai with Perrin and Berelain will be revealed. The fact that KoD and ToM both had a bunch of members of the coven show up, get killed or captured, and then escape, shows that those characters haven't been forgotten, so we can expect to see Rianna and Berylla again. (What about Jeaine? Could she be at the Black Tower? That could explain the horror, even BA would be upset about working with insane channeling men...) And the fact we don't know yet whether any of the Aes Sedai with Perrin are in Verin's book, and Rand has just arrived at the Field of Merrilor and thus hasn't had a chance to check all the Aes Sedai there, a revelation of Annoura, Masuri, or Seonid's allegiances could be slated for AMoL.

One point not addressed by your theory: Masuri was the one who has made the Darkhounds a lifelong study, and expounds upon them to Perrin in CoT. (Still wonder who that pack was after...I want to say Mat.) On the one hand, if she is Black this would explain how she knows so much! On the other hand, why would she then reveal this to Perrin? I suppose it could be because of Seonid (not to mention the Wise Ones) watching, and the Black have long been good at hiding their true allegiance. It still seems a bit odd she'd do this though.

Anyway, I think that there are ways to reconcile your theory with some of the points others have raised, and even include everyone's favorite Mystery Forsaken, Demandred.

1) "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" was told to Demandred, and he shared it with...Semirhage, Graendal, and Mesaana. Mesaana did her part by trying to get Rand captured by the Tower; Graendal killed Asmo while hiding it from the other Forsaken (and, I still believe, to hide her own connections to him); Semirhage was with the Seanchan who, even though their own rule is very orderly were causing chaos throughout Randland with the invasion. So what was Demandred doing to help with this?

Well, aside from LoC being the book in with Taim showed up and the Black Tower was started, it also had Whitecloak and Dragonsworn activity continuing from TFoH. So assuming Demandred has been doing many chaotic activities instead of taking only one role (as has been theorized very convincingly I think in the responses to "Demandred's Rule is Secure"), there's no reason one of these activities couldn't be manipulating Masema and the Dragonsworn.

Particularly since, while manipulating a madman may not seem like something a great general like Demandred would be interested in, he would be interested in discrediting Rand's name by having all these atrocities committed by the Prophet. Not to mention getting to impersonate the Dragon would be far too tempting for Demandred. Wish fulfillment, much?

2) Since Semirhage was part of the "Lord of Chaos rule" bit, she could easily have been assisting Demandred, Moghedien, Cyndane, OR Moridin in this Masema scheme. I.e., instead of Compelling Masema or being the one in disguise as Rand, she could have directed Suroth to make the deal with Masema, and give him the letter, to sow further chaos and grant him the power he'd need to establish control of Ghealdan. As to why Annoura and Masuri would then suggest killing Masema and destroying the letter aside from reasons already posited...how about to cover up evidence of all this collusion? Or, since we know the Shadow has schemes within schemes and continued plotting against itself, it could be the BA didn't know that the letter came from Semirhage, or that Suroth was a Darkfriend, so they were just following previous orders from Moghedien or Moridin. Or they were just maintaining their disguise as Lightfriends, not knowing their hidden actions with Masema/the Dragonsworn had been detected.

3) The Masema plan may have been going on for quite a while. He first went nutty in TDR, but we don't hear much about him and what he's doing until TFoH. His growing so powerful, and his luck in battle, could have been due to his original knowledge as a Shienaran soldier coupled with some hidden assistance from Ishamael, Demandred, or Semirhage. Moghedien, being the opportunist she is, as well as a solo act who didn't get involved in others' plans unless there was something in it for her or she was forced to, could have discovered what was going on while in Amadicia and took advantage of it through the BA, and then later when she was mindtrapped Moridin took what she'd already done and incorporated it into his, Demandred, and Semirhage's plans. Or, since she was doing plenty of spying in T'a'R, she could actually have overheard Moridin and Demandred talking about it and decided to either get on the bandwagon or usurp the plot. Of course, other things happened to derail those plans...

4) Who was in disguise? If it the vision was implanted before her capture, it could have been Semirhage--the description of the "Dragon" reminds me in a lot of ways of the disguise she used to meet Suroth. It could have been Berylla or Rianna, since I agree we have seen the Forsaken share certain weaves with Third Agers and the Mirror of Mists seems to be known among Aes Sedai anyway--Moiraine knew it for sure, as did the Salidar delegation that tried to bully Rand in Cairhien after the attack on Demira. Or it could have been Moghedien or Cyndane under Moridin's orders. If it is Moghedien that makes it even more likely Rianna and Berylla were among the Dragonsworn, but even if she wasn't, I suspect they were the ones secretly helping Masema be so successful. And while Brandon's comments seem to imply the fake Dragon was a woman, he seemed to be very cagey about that reply--and Demandred could still be involved through Compelling Masema, or by manipulating the Whitecloaks.

In general, whether all or some of these manipulations are going on, I think something funny is definitely up with how Masema went from what we saw at Falme to this--if for no other reason than that there seems to be nothing about him in the prophecies. It could be we just haven't seen the relevant passages, or that like Fain he is something of an aberration, but it could also be he became what he did and has caused the trouble he has because he was made to, whether directly or indirectly.

One last thing, to Gelb: Jordan has said the First Oath does allow a sister to say something false when she is being sarcastic. So I'm afraid there's no real proof about Seonid's allegiance.

20

teilak: 2012-12-11

Okay, I don't have my books with me cause every time I tried to do this from home on my phone they kept logging me out. I'll try to remember at least chapter names tho.

I think that Masema's actions taken as a whole show someone without direction, meaning the manipulation of him was sporadic, not ongoing. An example of this is in tFoH "Encounters in Samara" in which Masema allows Alliandre, Queen of Ghealdan to just walk out of his presence. That doesn't really seem like the actions of someone directed by a Black Sister, who IMO would grab Alliandre by the scruff of the neck and tell her which decrees to issue. Moghedian gave her instructions to Liandrin’s BA sisters in tFoH chapter “A Hound of Darkness” and Masema allows Alliandre to escape 300 some pages and at least a week later. In addition to this, Masema is totally insane and is clearly not following the directions he was originally given by Shiny Dragon Man (SDM). I propose that SDM told Masema to destroy ta'veren, but Masema being crazy heard tavern and proceeded to destroy all inns, public houses and taverns. (Funny but plausible)

Perhaps Annoura took Masuri into the camp in attempts to convince Masuri that Masema must be killed. A few futile meetings with an insane-o can surely sway even the most determined pacifist towards murderous thoughts. I also think that the presence of the Suroth document is really more a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Suroth hates Galad and his "rebel" Children for being deserters. Masema hates Galad for his actions in securing a boat for Nynaeve and Elayne in tFoH "Leavetakings" and killing dozens of Masema's followers.

Those theories are just possibilities, they may be right, they may not, who knows. But as to the identity of Shiny Dragon Man, I think I have that one correct. Graendal. Let me explain.

In KoD "A Plain Wooden Box" after Semirhage is captured, she explains about Rand being crazy and says "Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty."

As for Graendal's opportunity to have access to Masema to either infect him with madness or take advantage of his already developing madness we need to remember a few things from previous books. Graendal was released from the Bore in 998 NE. The Dragon Reborn starts in the spring of 999 NE so Graendal could have had contact with Masema as far back as that. In the start of tDR, Masema is with Rand, Moiraine and the rest of the Shienarans hiding in the Mountains of Mist east of Falme and Almoth Plain. Everybody keeps saying in their online commentary that Natrin's Barrow is in Arad Doman. This is not supported by the description of its location as given in tGS "A Force of Light" pages 565-566.

“On the map there was a black ink mark at the edge of a small lake to the southeast. Rand had placed it there the morning after Kerb died. It marked Natrin’s Barrow….. ‘It’s just a solitary structure, built long ago to watch the Mountains of Mist and guard against incursion through the passes by Manetheren. It hasn’t been used for military purposes since the Trolloc Wars; there’s hardly need to worry about invasion from Two Rivers people who don’t even remember the name Manetheren….A few centuries back’, Rand said eyes narrowed in thought, ‘the king of Arad Doman seized Natrin’s Barrow back in the name of the throne. For some time before, it had been occupied by a minor noble family from Toman Head who had been trying to set up their own new kingdom. That happens on Almoth Plain occasionally.”

So I highlighted the most important things in that passage but Idk if that will show up when I copy and paste into the Theoryland comment screen so here they are: small lake to the southeast, invasion from Two Rivers people, that happens on Almoth Plain occasionally. Looking at a WoT map, there is only one lake present in the Mountains of Mist, Lake Somal. Comparing its position to Manetheren’s position shows that Manetheren could have invaded from the south side of Lake Somal without leaving their own lands, but to invade around the northern end of Lake Somal, they would have already have entered Safer lands. Yes, Safer, not Arad Doman. If it’s guarding against Manetheren, then it was built at the same time Manetheren was a nation. The capitol of Safer was located at the the modern Domani city of Katar, not Bandar Eban, and their lands included all of Almoth Plain as well as northern Tarabon and southern Arad Doman. This, in conjunction with Rand stating there was now no need to worry about invasion from Two Rivers people, not Baerloners or Andorans, all point to Natrin’s Barrow being located on the southwestern shores of Lake Somal. This is only a few miles from the location Rand and company hung out at the start of tDR and even explains where the Trollocs who attacked them in tDR “Nightmares Walking” came from.

Graendal had the proximity to have encountered Masema while he was with the group of Shienarans in the Mountains of Mist not far from Natrin’s Barrow. She also had the skill to either induce madness in Masema, or the ability to direct a madness that already existed. Personally, I think Masema was already on the road to whacky-town and Graendal just gave him a car ride to finish the journey.

21

Macster: 2013-01-15

@Teilak: Very good point about the location of Natrin's Barrow--I always thought myself, as soon as I learned it was in/near the Mountains of Mist, that that put it quite close to the Two Rivers and Almoth Plain, and you do a great job of explaining proximity using the map and Randland history.

I would say, however, there is one small wrinkle in your suggestion. After the balefiring of Natrin's Barrow, Moridin summons Graendal to punish her in ToM and she, trying to save herself, offers up a plan to bring down Perrin. On the one hand, she notes to herself that she had previously devised various plans before selecting this one, and she tells Moridin that she has "already set some plans in motion regarding him"--this clearly references Byar, but could also refer to Masema and the Shiny Dragon Man. On the other hand, I don't get the feeling from the scene that prior to this Graendal had been doing much of anything related to Perrin, merely planning "just in case" and to satisfy Moridin's command to get rid of Mat and Perrin. Having already appeared to Masema as the Shiny Dragon Man in TGS, before this ToM meeting with Moridin, doesn't feel quite right to me--it feels less like her returning to something she'd already been working on and more like pulling out a desperate backup plan. She may have been plotting what to do if she encountered Perrin or Mat, but I didn't get the impression she had actually already been making any concerted efforts to kill them.

But that could just be me, the fact she had any backup plans related to Perrin at all could act as enough circumstantial evidence she'd been trying to get rid of him before, i.e. through Masema. One thing is clear though, I think: the location of Natrin's Barrow explains how she got to Byar. Because while he was obviously influenced by Fain, it would seem that returning from Falme would have taken Byar past Natrin's Barrow, or at least through a part of Almoth Plain where she could have nabbed and Compelled him.