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et the Lord of Chaos Rule - Through Balefire

by Sporkster: 2005-10-21 | 7.03 out of 10 (33 votes)

Recent Categories: What Has Demandred Been Doing?

In one of the most memorable moments of the Wheel of Time series, Demandred, a Forsaken whose actions, motivations, and whereabouts are shrouded in mystery, is seen briefly at the beginning of Lord of Chaos. There's been a lot of discussion on the Asmodean comments that occurred during his one-on-one with the Dark One, but often overlooked is another important item: the Dark One gave him a mission.

The theory is this: Demandred's mission was to begin to weaken and potentially unravel the Pattern through the use of Balefire.

Demandred's Mission:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"THE CHOSEN DWINDLE, DEMANDRED. THE WEAK FALL AWAY. WHO BETRAYS ME SHALL DIE THE FINAL DEATH. ASMODEAN, TWISTED BY HIS WEAKNESS. RAHVIN DEAD IN HIS PRIDE. HE SERVED WELL, YET EVEN I CANNOT SAVE HIM FROM BALEFIRE. EVEN I CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME. For an instant terrible anger filled that awful voice, and could it be frustration? An instant only. DONE BY MY ANCIENT ENEMY, THE ONE CALLED DRAGON. WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?"

What points do we uncover in the segment above?

1. The Dark One is angry and frustrated.

2. There have been losses among the Forsaken which the Dark One cannot recover.

3. Frustrated and angry, the Dark One asks Demandred to unleash Balefire in his service.

What would the result of Balefire be? Jordan spells it out for us in the next segment:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"Demandred hesitated. A bead of sweat slid half an inch on his cheek; it seemed to take an hour. For a year during the War of Power, both sides had used balefire. Until they learned the consequences. Without agreement, or truce (there had never been a truce any more than there had been quarter) each side simply stopped. Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist. If balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule."

Demandred expresses his obedience to the Dark One. Then:

"SO YOU SHALL. " Great Lord, the Dragon can be destroyed." A dead man could not wield balefire again, and perhaps then the Great Lord would see no need for it. "He is ignorant and weak, scattering his attentions in a dozen directions. Rahvin was a vain fool. I---"

"WOULD YOU BE NAE'BLIS? Demandred's tongue froze. Nae'blis. The one who would stand only a step below the Great Lord, commanding all others. "I wish only to serve you, Great Lord, however I may." Nae'blis.

"THEN LISTEN, AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE. Demandred screamed as the voice crashed home. Tears of joy rolled down his face. Unmoving, the Myrddraal watched him."

Here is the most important point. "Then listen, and serve. Hear who will

die and who live". The Dark One asks Demandred if he would use Balefire in his service. Immediately after, the Dark One gives Demandred a list of who would live and who would die. It doesn't get much plainer than this.

We know the result of using Balefire."The world and universe evaporating like mist." (Does this sound familiar to anyone in light of certain events in Knife of Dreams?). We know that, during the War, both sides stopped using it in fear that the world wouldn't exist. The Dark One believed he would win the battle, and therefore did not feel it necessary to continue using Balefire. He could win the war AND preserve the world to twist to his own image. However, as we know, things didn't turn out that way. He was caught off guard by the Sealing, or, even if he did see it coming and prepared the Taint, the game was up.

This time, the Dark One isn't leaving it up to chance, or up to his Chosen's choices. He needs to have every advantage he can come up with, and so, why not damage or destroy the Pattern? If he can do enough damage, unravel reality enough, and increase the chaos in the world, then perhaps he can counteract the natural advantages the Light has - ta'veren effects.

We know that ta'veren are spun out as "corrective mechanisms" to ensure that the Pattern doesn't deviate too far. If the Pattern is sufficiently damaged and chaotic, it's likely that ta'veren capabilities would be less able to right the wrong. It's easier to nudge a boat back on course in a predictable, flowing stream, but it is much more difficult to control the path of the boat in a raging river, with the currents pulling in every direction.

While some of the "supernatural" effects probably are caused by the Dark One's greater capacity to touch the world, there are a few phenomenon which seem to be caused by something else - the unraveling of the Pattern.

First, we'll examine the nature of Balefire, then we will move into the evidence for its large-scale use.

TITLE: Fires of Heaven, CHAPTER: 6 - Gateways

"Why do you think even the Forsaken feared to use it? Think of the effect on the Pattern of a single thread, one man, removed from hours, or days, that have already been woven, like one thread picked partly out of a piece of cloth. Fragments of manuscripts remaining from the War of Power say several entire cities were destroyed with balefire before both sides realized the dangers. Hundreds of thousands of threads pulled from the Pattern, gone for days already past; whatever those people had done, now no longer had been done, and neither had what others had done because of their actions. The memories remained, but not the actions: The ripples were incalculable. The Pattern itself nearly unraveled. It could have been the destruction of everything. World, time, Creation itself."

(Emphasis mine).

TITLE: Path of Daggers, CHAPTER: 12 - New Alliances

"His black eyes lingered warmly on her as he bowed again, but as soon as he straightened he hurried to the door, boots thudding on the pale yellow marble floor. He did not notice the servants with their eyes fixed ardently on her, or affected not to notice, though he had once been a friend of the young man. Only a touch of Compulsion had been needed to make Nazran nearly as avid to obey as they, not to mention certain that he might yet taste her charms again. She laughed softly. Well, he believed he had tasted them; just a little prettier, and he might have. Of course, he would have been useless for anything else then. He would ride horses to death reaching Ituralde, and if that message, delivered by Alsalam's close cousin, supposedly coming from the King himself and with Gray Men trying to stop it, did not satisfy the Great Lord's command to increase chaos, nothing would, short of balefire"

Graendal is shown here thinking about chaos, and the Great Lord's command. It is extremely important to note that she thinks of Balefire. We know she is aware of Demandred's mission:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"Still Demandred kept silent, stood there studying them. No, not Graendal. Semirhage and her. And when he did speak, half to himself, it was to they two. "When I think where you two have placed yourselves, I wonder. How much has the Great Lord known, for how long? How much of what has happened has been at his design all along?" There was no answer to that. Finally, he said, "You want to know what the Great Lord told me? Very well. But it stays here, held close. Since Sammael chose to stay away, he learns nothing. Nor do the others, whether alive or dead. The first part of the Great Lord's message was simple. 'Let the Lord of Chaos rule.' His words, exact." The corners of his mouth twitched, as close to a smile as Mesaana had ever seen from him. Then he told them the rest."

Graendal, two books later, thinks about Balefire being that which could create the chaos that the Dark One commanded. It's staring us in the face.

According to Mesanna, this plan, these instructions from the Great Lord were quite risky - a gamble that could go wrong:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"Mesaana found herself shivering and did not know whether she did so from excitement or fear. It could work; it could hand them everything. But it required luck, and gambling made her uncomfortable. Demandred was the gambler. He was right about one thing; Lews Therin had made his own luck as a mint made coin. In her opinion it seemed that so far Rand al'Thor did the same."

Hmm. What could be a gamble? We know that both sides stopped using Balefire in the War because the Pattern came close to disintegrating, and both sides had a vested interest in preserving the world. So what kind of gamble could cause Mesaana to shiver? And Demandred to hesitate?

"Demandred hesitated. A bead of sweat slid half an inch on his cheek; it seemed to take an hour."

Balefire. What the Dark One had commanded is a gamble - he needs chaos to be increased, and is willing to risk the Pattern to do so. Why? Two reasons. One is obvious: more chaos equals less opportunity for the Light to get its act together. The second is more ominous. We know the Dark One can affect the pattern from within his prison because of the Bore. But how much? Keep in mind that the Wheel is weaving in an attempt to keep the Pattern on track. If the Pattern is weakened, so is the resistance to the Dark One's touch. This is the gamble - weaken the Pattern enough (via Balefire) to enable the Dark One to more easily manipulate it, but not enough for it to totally disintegrate.

Some evidence of the weakening Pattern:

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight CHAPTER: 21 - A Mark

"A second ramp took her to the highest basement, where she let the glowing ball vanish and released saidar. The shadows here were dotted with pools of wan light that nearly touched one another, cast by lamps sitting in iron brackets along stone walls that were neatly dressed on this level. Nothing moved except for a rat that went scuttling away with a faint click of claws on the floorstones. That almost made her smile. Almost. The Great Lord's eyes riddled the Tower, now, though no one seemed to have noticed that the wardings had failed. She did not think it was anything Mesaana had done; the wards simply no longer worked as they were supposed to. There were . . . gaps. She certainly did not care whether the animal saw her, or reported what it had seen, but she still ducked quickly into a narrow circular staircase. There might be people about on this level, and people were not to be trusted the same as rats."

Wards are failing. There are "gaps". The eyes of the Great Lord can penetrate places they never could before. This is counter to the natural laws of the world.

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight CHAPTER: 26 - In So Habor

"I find it difficult to lie, Lord Perrin," Seonid said dryly when he expressed doubt, but her tone quickly became as serious as her face, and her eyes were so intent that they alone began to make Perrin feel uneasy. "The dead are walking in So Habor. Lord Cowlin fled the town for fear of his wife's spirit. It seems there was doubt as to how she died. Hardly a man or woman in the town has not seen someone dead, and a good many have seen more than one. Some say people have died from the touch of someone dead. I cannot verify that, but people have died of fright, and others because of it. No one goes out at night in so Habor, or walks into a room unannounced. People strike out at shadows and surprises with whatever is to hand, and sometimes they have found a husband, wife or neighbor dead at their feet. This is not hysteria or a tale to frighten children, Lord Perrin. I have never heard of the like, but it is real. You must leave one of us here to do what we can."

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight CHAPTER - Something Flickers

"It was a short walk away from the rising sun to the town, along a hard-packed road through hills that were treeless here, but people dotted the road the way windmills and salt pans dotted the hills. Staring straight ahead, they moved so purposefully they seemed not to see anyone in front of them. Mat dodged a round-faced man who nearly walked right into him, which made him have to jump away from a white-haired old fellow making a good speed on spindly legs. That put him in front of a plump girl who would have run up the front of him if he had not jumped again. "Are you practicing a dance, Toy?" Tuon said, peering up at him over a slim shoulder. Her breath made a faint white mist in front of her cowl. "It isn't very graceful."

He opened his mouth, just to point out how crowded the road was, and suddenly he realized he could no longer see anyone beyond her and Selucia. The people who had been there were just gone, the road empty as far as he could see before it made a bend. Slowly, he turned his head. There was no one between him and the show, either, just the folk waiting in line, and that looked no longer than before... ...He pressed fingers against his chest, feeling the foxhead medallion through his coat. Just a piece of silver on a rawhide cord. He wished it felt cold as ice."

The dead are walking. The Pattern, which is responsible for the orderly progression of life into death, is weakening. Even more telling, time periods themselves and the people in them are getting confused, with disastrous consequences:

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: A Village in Shiota

"Keep going!" Mat bellowed. "They're dead! Keep going!" Behind him, someone gasped, Tuon or Selucia. Maybe both.

Suddenly the peddler's horses screamed, tossing their heads madly. They screamed like animals beyond the ragged edge of terror and kept screaming.

Hat in hand, the round peddler leaped down to see what was the matter with his horses. Landing, he lurched awkwardly and looked down at his feet. His hat fell from his hand, landing on the hardpacked road. That was when he began screaming. The paving stones were gone, and he was ankle-deep in the road, just like his shrieking horses. Ankle-deep and sinking into rock-hard clay as if into a bog, just like his horses and his wagon. And the village, houses and people melting slowly into the ground. The people never stopped what they were doing. Women walked along carrying baskets, a line of men carried a large timber on their shoulders, children darted about, and the fellow at the grindstone continued sharpening his hatchet, all of them nearly knee-deep in the ground by this time."

By the timeframe of Knife of Dreams, the Pattern is so weak that even the rules of physics and reality are in flux.

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: To Make an Anchor Weep

"Abruptly, a strong, icy wind came up out of the north. No, it did not come up; it just suddenly was there full strength, whipping the harbor to choppy whitecaps and carrying a smell of pines and something earthy. She knew little of trees, but much of timbers used in building ships. Though she did not think there were many pines anywhere near to Illian. Then she noticed the mist line. While ships rocked and pitched under that southerly blast, the mist continued its slow drift northward. Keeping her hands on her knees required effort. She wanted very much to wipe the dampness out of her hair. She had thought that after Shadar Logoth that nothing would ever shake her again, but she had seen too many oddities of late, oddities that spoke of the world twisting."

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: A Different Skill

"To Elayne's fury, a quiet, simmering fury that clenched her jaw, she got lost on the way to her apartments. Those rooms had been hers since she left the nursery, yet twice she took a turn only to find that it did not lead where she expected. And a sweeping flight of marble-railed stairs took her in entirely the wrong direction. Burn her, being with child was fuzzing her wits completely! She could feel puzzlement, and increasing concern, through the bond as she retraced her way, climbed a different set of stairs. Some of the Guardswomen murmured uneasily, not quite loudly enough for her to make out the words, until the Bannerwoman in charge, a slim, cool-eyes Saldean named Devore Zarbayan, silenced them with a sharp word. Even Aviendha began looking at her doubtfully. Well, she was not about to have getting lost in the palace flung in her face."

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: Honey in the Tea

"There was one more thing she could do for them; comfort them. Impossible as it seemed at first, the interior of the Tower sometimes changed. People got lost trying to find rooms they had been to dozens of times. Women were seen walking out of walls, or into them, often in dresses of old-fashioned cut, sometimes in bizarre garb, dresses that seemed simply lengths of brightly colored cloth folded around the body, embroidered ankle-length tabards worn over wide trousers, stranger things still."

Time periods, the living and the dead, all are blending together. The Pattern is obviously in rough shape. Recall what is the only human-generated thing that we know of that can damage the Pattern? Balefire.

All of this damage to the Pattern is a sign of the nearness of the Last Battle. And Rand knows it:

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: Within the Stone

"So. The Pattern was truly loosening. That meant the Dark One was touching the world more than he had since the War of Shadow. If it loosened too much before Tarmon Gai'don, the Age Lace might unravel. An end to time and reality and creation. Somehow he had to bring the Last Battle before that happened. Only he did not dare. Not yet."

Finally, the Ripples from Knife of Dreams.

TITLE: Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER 5: Something Strange

"She had just reached Therava's arrival with Galina when everything in front of her eyes rippled. She rippled! It was not imagination. Meira's blue eyes widened as far as they could go; she had felt it, too. Again everything rippled, including herself, harder than before. In shock, Faile stood up straight and let go of her robe. A third time the world rippled, harder still, and as it passed through her, she felt as if she might blow away in a breeze, or simply dissipate in a mist.

Breathing hard, she waited for the fourth ripple, the one she knew would destroy her and everything else. When it did not come, she expelled every bit of air in her lungs from relief."

TITLE: Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER 26: As If The World Were Fog

"Suddenly, everything seemed to ripple in Perrin's sight. He felt himself ripple. Breane gave a cry and dropped the pitcher. The world rippled again, and Berelain clutched his arm. Tylee's hand seemed frozen in that odd gesture, thumb and forefinger forming a crescent. Everything rippled for a third time, and Perrin felt as if he were made of fog, as if the world were fog with a high wind coming. Berelain shuddered, and he put a comforting arm around her. She clung to him, trembling. Silence and the scent of fear filled the tent. He could hear voices being raised outside, and they sounded afraid, too.

'What was that?' Tylee demanded finally.

'I don't know.' Annoura's face remained serene, but her voice was unsteady. 'Light, I have no idea.'"

It has been stated that the ripples may be from the Seals breaking. Possible, but consider the word choice ("mist", "the one she knew would destroy her and everything else", "as if the world were fog with a high wind coming"). This is the kind of description I would expect if there were "hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist." (Look at the similarities between this description of massive Balefire effects and the Ripples! Jordan is throwing us a bone, here!)

The point is that the Ripples were caused by the massive use of Balefire, unraveling the Pattern further, allowing the Dark One to affect the damaged Pattern more easily, and countering the Pattern-strengthening effects of Ta'veren. As the Dark One commanded him in the prologue to Lord of Chaos. What Demandred and the other Forsaken are Balefiring, I can't answer; we can only speculate. (New passes out of the Blight? Removing the remainder of the Borderlander armies still stationed in the Borderlands? Goodbye, Land of the Madmen? Shara?) But it seems "intuitively obvious" that Balefire is the key, the gamble, the plan to weaken the Pattern to the point where the Dark One can break free and destroy the efforts of the Light to stop him.

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Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-26

Excellently done, Sporkster. As you know, I thought this theory had merit, when I heard you originally pose it. But, as you have developed it, I think you have a rather airtight case for what Demandred has been up to over the last four or five books. The Dark One touching the world, something he did with much more strength after the Bore was made three thousand years ago, doesn't explain the unraveling we are witnessing. As you have proved, Balefire, large amounts of it, can create such an effect. And it couldn't have been any more clear, then Jordan spelling it out for us with Lord of Chaos and Demandred sharing his mission with Graendal and Mesanna. Graendal's subsequent thoughts about chaos and balefire, and then what we learn in KoD, makes me think you have a very strong theory on your hands. Well done.

2

Anubis: 2005-10-26

*echos tam*

you have me convinced

3

Ozymandias: 2005-10-26

The only weakness I can think of right now is Demandred's knowledge of balefire and its effects. He is not fool, and he knows this is a huge risk. The Dark One is telling him to balefire X amount of people, and he obviously is gonna do it. But he's not an idiot. He's probably gonna try and balefire them for a matter of seconds, to the point where their disappearance doesn't have too much effect on the Pattern. That just seems to be logical

And one other point. WHO is he balefiring? I agree its someone... but no major characters have gone missing. We have to assume that RJ is showing us the main players in this tale. And yet not one of them has disappeared recently. I doubt the DO cares about random peasant dude walking around enough to balefire him, and if Demandred could balefire anyone, why not Perrin, Mat, Dobriane, Logain, Bashere, Min (maybe not, given proximity to Rand), Elayne, Aviendha... and so on and so forth. People who we know are close to Rand and will cause him to lose if they die. Why not even someone more minor, like Agelmar Jagad, or Tenobia; people who play no specific rule, but will hamper Rand's cause if they kick the bucket.

Thats my two cents. I don't think its possible to clarify those two points, but otherwise, very nice theory.

4

reTaardad: 2005-10-26

I agree with Tamyrlin, this is an amazing theory. The idea that the ripples were the Seals breaking just seemed too preposterous.

Something I was wondering, though:

- THEN LISTEN, AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE.

- What Demandred and the other Forsaken are Balefiring, I can’t answer – we can only speculate.

Perhaps these two are connected? Maybe the list that the Dark One gave Demandred was a hit list of people (or peoples) that he wanted balefired, maybe strategic points in the Pattern that would create sufficient amounts of chaos.

Other than that, you've got all of your points covered, it seems. I never caught all of the connections between the effects of balefire and the recent outcomes. Very interesting.

5

Tristin: 2005-10-27

This is an excellent theory, good job.

In response to WHO is getting balefired, I think that balefiring the little people is actually a great idea. What if he was balefiring the architects of the palace or some such, sure he's not going to cut them out that far back but it would make sense.

I don't think the DO would be balefiring Taveren because he wants Rand there to loose or join. If Rand is the Lord of Chaos then he, Mat and Perrin are all going to be twisting the Pattern around them as the DO is unravelling it. The Pattern is getting twisted back and forth between the two.

6

Callandor: 2005-10-27

**We know that ta’veren are spun out as “corrective mechanisms” to ensure that the Pattern doesn’t deviate too far. If the Pattern is sufficiently damaged and chaotic, it’s likely that ta’veren capabilities would be less able to right the wrong. It’s easier to nudge a boat back on course in a predictable, flowing stream, but it is much more difficult to control the path of the boat in a raging river, with the currents pulling in every direction.**

The Pattern maybe in chaos, but it's not all advantages. After all, there doesn't seem to be any lessening of ta'veren abilities at all -- I'd argue they're still increasing.

**If the Pattern is weakened, so is the resistance to the Dark One’s touch. This is the gamble – weaken the Pattern enough (via Balefire) to enable the Dark One to more easily manipulate it, but not enough for it to totally disintegrate.**

That seems unbased. The Dark One's touch hasn't been seen to increase because the Pattern is weakened -- it's because the seals are weakened or destroyed.

**Wards are failing. There are “gaps”. The eyes of the Great Lord can penetrate places they never could before. This is counter to the natural laws of the world.**

Which could very well be Shadow made, not necessarily done by the Dark One. But, he's as good a source as any.

**The Pattern, which is responsible for the orderly progression of life into death, is weakening.**

Not really. The Pattern is the reality of the world -- the summations of all the threads in the world and their actions until they die. They're movement from death to soul pool and rebirth would be in the Wheel I would say.

**By the timeframe of Knife of Dreams, the Pattern is so weak that even the rules of physics and reality are in flux.**

I still wouldn't say it was the Pattern that's weak, just that the Dark One's influence is stronger.

**Recall what is the only human-generated thing that we know of that can damage the Pattern? Balefire.**

Yes, but we've seen oddities before that were way before the Dark One's order with the freezing of the seasons and bubbles of evil.

Again, I would agree that this is bad for the Pattern -- but the source is the Dark One, and not balefire making him stronger. It's the seals continuing to get weaker.

**This is the kind of description I would expect if there were “hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist.”**

Very similar, and the source is right: the Pattern is close to unraveling. But I don't attribute it to balefire. It's the Dark One stressing the Pattern -- even Rand said that in the quote you gave.

I don't feel it's the seals breaking, weakening sure (but not the actual ripples), just the Dark Ones's power getting stronger and a more direct touch on the world.

**The point is that the Ripples were caused by the massive use of Balefire, unraveling the Pattern further, allowing the Dark One to affect the damaged Pattern more easily, and countering the Pattern-strengthening effects of Ta’veren.**

The ripples I would say are a figure of speech (not quite what I mean though). By that, I don't think Moiraine meant actual physical ripples like we've seen now -- but overlaps of changes again and again caused by balefire, and more balefire, and more balefire of threads and threads. People's actions being done, redone, redone again, and the Pattern always altering for those events.

**New passes out of the Blight? Removing the remainder of the Borderlander armies still stationed in the Borderlands? Goodbye, Land of the Madmen? Shara?**

It would have to be people, so passes I would say aren't an option.

Interesting, and I would agree on the actual source (the Pattern being touched more by the Dark One), but I don't think it's to do with balefire being used by the Forsaken en masse. Just the seals weakening and the Dark One's power growing.

7

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-27

Callandor, c'mon, you didn't even address the main premise of the theory: Demandred was given a task of creating chaos through the use of balefire. Graendal's comment, after learning of the DO's wishes proves this, which Mesanna's reaction helps. There were no seals on the Bore during the hundreds years of war, and we don't hear anything concerning the Pattern falling apart and ripples almost causing the world to break apart. The only reference of anyone considering the Pattern to unravel, even in the height of the destruction caused by the Dark One, unsealed, is attributed to the effects of balefire. Sure, bubbles of evil will occur, but the continual shifting of reality and the ripples and the ghosts such unraveling of the Pattern, which has never been simply associated with the Dark One touching the Pattern.

8

Tristin: 2005-10-27

I agree with Tam--the good thing about this theory is that it provides for those things which we have no evidence for the DO doing...the ghosts and what not. It is fair enough that something like the wind and the ripples could be caused by the DO breaking through the seals...or by bubbles of evil or whatever...but the ghosts thing is definitely explainable by this theory--it seems to me as if when the Forsaken are left offscreen it is because their plans are fairly complex and we just haven't seen them come to be yet...the exception being Graendal...it depends on how involved in the last battle ituralde ends up being really...but we didn't see semirhage forever and it turns out she was influencing the seanchan and all that...as we haven't seen demandred and yet are given clips of his meeting with the dark one in connection with all that "let lord of chaos rule" and all that stuff--this theory seems like it makes good sense.

9

Tristin: 2005-10-27

also i meant to add (computer accidentally sent it early on me) that if you want to completely debunk this theory we need some good alternative explanations for the ghosts along with a theory of where demandred has been and what he has been doing all this time. The seals weakening and the DO's touch may be part of it, and I would argue that you are right to say that, but surely something more is going on regarding Demandred.

10

Callandor: 2005-10-27

**Callandor, c'mon, you didn't even address the main premise of the theory: Demandred was given a task of creating chaos through the use of balefire.**

Demandred got orders for chaos yes. Balefire is a stretch though, and I would say it's more like testing his readiness (like with nuclear launch controllers).

**Graendal's comment, after learning of the DO's wishes proves this, which Mesanna's reaction helps.**

Graendal's comments hardly prove it since they could be off hand comments. I like the usage, but I don't think it fits.

Mesaana's reaction is general to all hell. Sowing major chaos is a gamble as well. Participating in Rand's capture, and then orchistrating his release would be a gamble, too.

**There were no seals on the Bore during the hundreds years of war, and we don't hear anything concerning the Pattern falling apart and ripples almost causing the world to break apart.**

What hundred years of war?

**The only reference of anyone considering the Pattern to unravel, even in the height of the destruction caused by the Dark One, unsealed, is attributed to the effects of balefire.**

Yeah, but look at Rand's reaction again, clearling using Lews Therin knowledge.

**Sure, bubbles of evil will occur, but the continual shifting of reality and the ripples and the ghosts such unraveling of the Pattern, which has never been simply associated with the Dark One touching the Pattern.**

1. The ghosts were strongly pressed for to be caused by the Dark One.

2. The ripples obviously were revealed in Knife of Dreams.

3. The long winter, the even longer summer, the bugs, and the bubbles of evil were all attributed to the Dark One previously.

Don't know why you're saying they haven't been previously associated with the Dark One, when two of them are new events (relatively with the ghosts) which we just got.

Toss in the hallway messings and I can't see how it's more clear that this is the Dark One's hand at work here. Sporkster is saying the same thing. They're just saying balefire is speeding this up. I disagree, since I don't think that was the plan. Chaos for the difficulty of the Light to work towards defeating him, and the seals just getting weaker.

11

itsinthecave: 2005-10-27

Demandred probaly balefired members of the Seanchan Royal Familly. We find out in Knife of Dreams that they are all dead so this seems like it could have happened.

12

Ozymandias: 2005-10-27

Tam, I don't think Callandor is missing the point at all. Sporkster made a few leaps to connect the dots (not unfounded leaps, but nonetheless there is no defintive evidence for them). Rather than attacking that part, which is probably correct but unknowable either way, he's going after the effect part. If we know through repeated reference that it is probably the Dark One's touch doing this to the Pattern... well, why not argue that?

Also, here is a slight point about the balefiring. Why haven't any of the major characters died yet? The Dark One isn't stupid. He doesn't want Rand winning the Last Battle. He may not even condone Moridin's desire to keep Rand alive till then (though I'm sure he's confident in his own victory). Why not order Demandred to kill off someone like Dobraine? I mean, as long as we're thinking logically, thats what makes sense. Kill off people important to the Light, strengthen the Shadow. That makes more sense than killing some random carpenter, right? Right now we have every evidence to believe its not balefiring, and only circumstantial evidence to believe it is. Every character in the books knows its the DO's touch. Not balefire. We have yet to see ANY evidence of balefire being the cause. We have TONS of evidence that its NOT (or at least, that its the seals weakening). Plus, Rand balefires people to a massive degree (Rahvin gets knocked back hours, if not days), and we saw ZERO negative effects. Rand has balefired dozens of things, hundreds (see scene in FoH where he is saving Mat and the Aiel in the streets of Caemlyn) of living things, even, and we saw no effect on the Pattern. Now Demandred goes out and hits a few more (i mean, c'mon, it can't be TOO many, if the DO has a specific list, not just saying go out and balefire random people), and now this? No, I think our past experiences with balefire have shown us two things; a.) Jordan totally underdeveloped and bungled the theory of balefire, and b.) its not whats causing this effect on the Pattern

13

Sporkster: 2005-10-27

***The Dark One's touch hasn't been seen to increase because the Pattern is weakened -- it's because the seals are weakened or destroyed.***

Now THAT seems unbased as well. Yes, the Seals breaking allows the Dark One to touch the world more and more. However, the Seals breaking alone wouldn't give him the traction on the Pattern to accomplish the chaos we see now. Otherwise, we'd have seen AOLers concerned about the Pattern unraveling due to the Dark One's touch.

***By the timeframe of Knife of Dreams, the Pattern is so weak that even the rules of physics and reality are in flux.**

I still wouldn't say it was the Pattern that's weak, just that the Dark One's influence is stronger.***

Hmm. The Dark One "CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME". Isn't that a physical law? The Dark One could be free and dancing the sa'sara with a Saldean farmgirl and he still couldn't step outside of time. I suggest he has trouble violating the laws of physics.

***and not balefire making him stronger.***

The point isn't that Balefire is making him stronger. The point is that Balefire is making the Pattern weaker, and more susceptible to his influence.

Demandred's mission is...what, then?

14

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-27

Balefire is a stretch? Now you are just being needlessly stubborn. It would be a stretch if the Dark One hadn't actually, overtly asked Demandred to use Balefire. Also, you fail to respond to Mesanna's fear. Why would sowing chaos make Mesaana afraid? Chaos is what these guys do for a living. Being evil, killing thou sands of people, torturing cities, that is what these guys are good at. But they fear Balefire and its effects. You can't deny that Balefire, as Graendal knows, is the only real way to create the Chaos the Dark One wants.

Also, here is the quote, which I know you know, but I will quote it anyway, "This period of increasingly dark chaos lasted approximately one hundred years to one hundred ten years after the drilling of the bore, and was referred to as the Collapse by several very early sources. It certainly qualified for the name, as civilization did very nearly collapse, and the order and peace of the world of the Age of Legends certainly did." There were more than a hundred years between the Bore being created and sealed. Yet, no records indicate that the Pattern was falling apart, that reality was unraveling. We have what, a few years since the seals have been breaking, but after the Bore, there were no seals. The Dark One was touching the Pattern without problems.

And no, there is no direct evidence tying the ghost phenonmenon to the Dark One. And you can't deny the obvious references to Balefire unraveling the Pattern, and the most recent occurences as being referred to in those terms.

15

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-27

Ozy, because a character thinks he knows, doesn't make it true. Moiraine and Verin have been wrong a bunch of times regarding things they thought they knew. Of course characters in the book, would think weird things happening must be the Dark One. However, the dismissal of the Graendal quote is the height of hypocrisy regarding this argument. Graendal, after hearing the Dark One's plan, speaks of Balefire being the only way to cause the type of chaos He wants, and the Dark One directly and clearly telling Demandred to use Balefire, and you say there is only circumstantial that utilizing Balefire to create chaos is only a circumstantial case?

Yes, the missing evidence, Demandred killing large amounts of people using Balefire, which is why this remains a theory. Otherwise, we would all know it for fact.

16

Sporkster: 2005-10-27

Ozy, your statement about "Demandred hitting a few more" might be founded on a misinterpretation. The Dark One says "HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE."

Nowhere is it said that this is a small list. The Dark One could have said "RAND WILL LIVE. KILL THE SALDEAN ARMY WITH BALEFIRE" and we would be none the wiser. I don't think that you can claim that the list is "small" without further evidence.

As Tamyrlin states, repeated reference to certain phenomena being caused directly by the Dark One is just what it appears to be - less than hearsay. The idea is that Balefire weakened the Pattern to the point where the Dark One can gain enough traction to work on it, even with some of the Seals intact.

What hard proof do you have that all of the effects we are seeing are caused directly by the Dark One? Show me quotes that indicate that the ripples, the ghosts, the twisting interiors, the harsh winds that don't move mist with them, that all of these are implemented strictly by the Dark One's touch?

17

Khazhul: 2005-10-27

I’m going to have to agree with Callandor on this theory. I don’t believe that Demandred was ordered ‘specifically’ to use balefire to bring about chaos. I think he was more or less ordered to do what was necessary and if that required balefire then he would have to use it.

TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"THE CHOSEN DWINDLE, DEMANDRED. THE WEAK FALL AWAY. WHO BETRAYS ME SHALL DIE THE FINAL DEATH. ASMODEAN, TWISTED BY HIS WEAKNESS. RAHVIN DEAD IN HIS PRIDE. HE SERVED WELL, YET EVEN I CANNOT SAVE HIM FROM BALEFIRE. EVEN I CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME. For an instant terrible anger filled that awful voice, and could it be frustration? An instant only. DONE BY MY ANCIENT ENEMY, THE ONE CALLED DRAGON. WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?"

This isn’t the DO telling Demandred to use Balefire for a specific purpose but the DO getting a confirmation of Demandred’s dedication. If balefire was brought up out of the blue in the conversation I would agree with you more but it was brought up in response to the way in which Rahvin died and the DO’s frustration over his lack of control. The DO liked Rahvin, at least enough to have wanted to transmigrate him if possible. This is explained more in the next quote used.

**Here is the most important point. ”Then listen, and serve. Hear who will die and who live”. The Dark One asks Demandred if he would use Balefire in his service. Immediately after, the Dark One gives Demandred a list of who would live and who would die. It doesn’t get much plainer than this.**

I have to disagree again. Plainer would be the DO saying “Hear who will be ripped from time”, or something to that nature. I don’t see a connection with that quote to balefire just because it was mentioned earlier in the conversation. It is just the DO expressing his wishes on who lives and who dies, as evil beings who want to be in control love to do. It’s an expression of power and indicates that the dark side is taking a different tactic than just to attack Rand outright at every turn. I was left believing that this was going to indicate that since attacks on Rand himself didn’t work, attack Rand’s support structure. Basically, the DO wants to weaken anyone Rand might be able to use against him. Example: the Seanchen royal family is wiped out which causes quite a bit of turmoil in one of the largest and most organized military forces in Randland. It would have been even worse if they succeeded in killing Tuon. To me the DO was tired of directly fighting Ta’veren.

**Graendal is shown here thinking about chaos, and the Great Lord’s command. It is extremely important to note that she thinks of Balefire.**

But she didn’t use it, nor did she indicate any plans to use it even as a back up. I do concede that she does mention it would be a tool for chaos but your theory is that they were all ordered to specifically use it for that. That quote doesn’t even hint that she has any plans to use it or having used it.

**Hmm. What could be a gamble? We know that both sides stopped using Balefire in the War because the Pattern came close to disintegrating, and both sides had a vested interest in preserving the world. So what kind of gamble could cause Mesaana to shiver? And Demandred to hesitate?**

The gamble could be letting Rand make it to the last battle. All of their efforts so far has been to straight out kill Rand, turn Rand, everything focused at Rand. They secured nations for armies to fight Rand and stop him from taking them. They have lost at every turn with that tactic. I think the DO came to the realization that those within the pattern can’t fight the pattern. The only one who can is the DO and he knows it. It’s like that black ajah who is bent on seeing Rand make it to the last battle realized too. I believe she was white (logic) or brown (knowledge) and reasoned it out. The only thing they can really effect is his support structure. The things Rand would/might need to win the last battle. Take away enough of the minor ones that aren’t protected as strongly by the pattern and it might secure victory. Just another way to explain The Gamble because Rand actually making it to the last battle is a big risk to them.

**Some evidence of the weakening Pattern:**

**Wards are failing. There are “gaps”. The eyes of the Great Lord can penetrate places they never could before. This is counter to the natural laws of the world.**

But this can be explained many, many other ways besides balefire having some affect on wardings. The Dark Ones touch is just as effective. He once tainted Saidin. Also this could still be the after effects of the Choedal Kal being used.

**Time periods, the living and the dead, all are blending together. The Pattern is obviously in rough shape. Recall what is the only human-generated thing that we know of that can damage the Pattern? Balefire.**

Human generated being the key word. The weakening of the seals also explains this as the DO isn’t human but a force that exists outside the pattern.

**All of this damage to the Pattern is a sign of the nearness of the Last Battle. And Rand knows it:

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: Within the Stone

“So. The Pattern was truly loosening. That meant the Dark One was touching the world more than he had since the War of Shadow. If it loosened too much before Tarmon Gai’don, the Age Lace might unravel. An end to time and reality and creation. Somehow he had to bring the Last Battle before that happened. Only he did not dare. Not yet.”**

This quote here is evidence more for it being the Dark One’s touch and not balefire repercussions. Granted this is Rand’s POV and not proven fact.

Finally, the Ripples from Knife of Dreams.

TITLE: Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER 5 – Something…Strange

“She had just reached Therava’s arrival with Galina when everything in front of her eyes rippled. She rippled! It was not imagination. Meira’s blue eyes widened as far as they could go; she had felt it, too. Again everything rippled, including herself, harder than before. In shock, Faile stood up straight and let go of her robe. A third time the world rippled, harder still, and as it passed through her, she felt as if she might blow away in a breeze, or simply dissipate in a mist.

Breathing hard, she waited for the fourth ripple, the one she knew would destroy her and everything else. When it did not come, she expelled every bit of air in her lungs from relief.”

TITLE: Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER 26 – As If The World Were Fog

“Suddenly, everything seemed to ripple in Perrin’s sight. He felt himself ripple. Breane gave a cry and dropped the pitcher. The world rippled again, and Berelain clutched his arm. Tylee’s hand seemed frozen in that odd gesture, thumb and forefinger forming a crescent. Everything rippled for a third time, and Perrin felt as if he were made of fog, as if the world were fog with a high wind coming. Berelain shuddered, and he put a comforting arm around her. She clung to him, trembling. Silence and the scent of fear filled the tent. He could hear voices being raised outside, and they sounded afraid, too.

‘What was that?’ Tylee demanded finally.

‘I don’t know.’ Annoura’s face remained serene, but her voice was unsteady. ‘Light, I have no idea.’”

**It has been stated that the ripples may be from the Seals breaking. Possible, but consider the word choice (“mist”, “the one she knew would destroy her and everything else”, “as if the world were fog with a high wind coming”). This is the kind of description I would expect if there were “hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist.” (Look at the similarities between this description of massive Balefire effects and the Ripples! Jordan is throwing us a bone, here!)**

If you’re using the “ripples” quote from the effects of balefire on a massive scale then I think your misinterpreting that. Those “ripples” were not an actual physical force but an analogy to a cause and effect situation. The mist though is interesting, but again I think that is more of an analogy when it is used to describe the effects of balefire, not everything actually turning to mist. I would say I’m 99 percent sure on the ripples part and about 60 percent sure on the mist. Again this could be explained as the DO’s personal touch or a bubble of evil just as easily.

After writing all of that I would still concede to you if you could provide some quote or instance where we witness the most identifiable result of balefire. Memory of events that never happened. Not once in any of these instances did anyone comment that they had some kind of reverse déjà vu. Nothing is ever mentioned of it. With massive balefiring someone had to have some memory affected.

It stands to reason that balefire only affects those who would have been directly or indirectly affected by the actions of those being balefired. So if everyone in Perrins camp and everyone in the Shaido’s camp was affected by it, it had to be people that would have had some effect on them in the past day or two. I don’t have my books with me but I’m pretty sure that even the strongest can only go back that far. Also, according to your theory, that command was given back in LOC. That’s quite a few books ago where they would be using the balefire, and again, no mention of any memory of events that never happened.

18

a dragonburned fool: 2005-10-27

It's really a good written theory even if all my instincts opt against it. Or maybe it's not instincts, but rather a feeling if discontinuity with things I believed to be ovbious until now. Such obvious for me thing was that the "barriers" between realities dissipate even before DO's order in LoC (something marked by Ishamael's reappearance, the first Seals broken, wolfbrothers, sniffers and Min's talent re-appearing and explanation of them by Moiraine as consequence of the ancient barriers weakening, first Bubbles of Evil appearing etc.). That made me to think that the weakening of the Pattern now is natural process and it simply deepens itself because of regular growth.

DO's "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" strategy would be only attempt to use the situation of overall chaotic growth. The creation of chaos would be explained as action in the direction of the main natural trend for this time for to "channel" it in DO's favor like a woman is channeling saidar. The risk of Demandred's orders would be explained by the risk of strategy any relying on chaos. All that doesn't explain DO's words about balefire though.

Sporkster found an unbelievable theoretical potential in that DO's comment about balefire unleashing, something that nobody else explained until now as I recall. It's the strength of his theory. It's crucial for defending this theory. Even the pre-LoC signs of weakening of the Pattern can be integrated in this theory by saying that DO wanted to accelerate further a process that already has begun otherwise. And vice versa, eventual critics against the balefire premise will weaken the whole theory.

One problem is that we have seen other Forsaken refer to some their deeds as aiding to the growth of chaos: Sammael, Graendal, Morridin, Semirhague did so, and in no one of those cases there was a balefire among the means. There were rather schemings causing just social chaos. Maybe it caused something more, but in any case there was no visible balefire inside it. So in Demandred's orders there was orders to aid growth of chaos using means different of balefire. It doesn't mean that there was no command to make chaos via balefire, but at least balefire would be one of the many means to make chaos among many other means, balefire is not the par excellence means to makle chaos.

Another problem is that in the end of LoC we see Demandred coming to Shayol Ghul and seeming to report full success. Demandred's manner of sepaking to DO there implies that he believes to have already have finished at least the main part of his orders from the porlogue of LoC. Demandred wouldn't dare to lie to DO himself, so he believes it. So if his main task was the balefire, Demandred had to do it until the end of LoC. And we have to see something at the end of LoC manifesting the effect. I don't see something special there.

A weak point is explaining the three ripples as balefire using at the same time. We've seen powerful balefire and it never caused so worldwide effects. It was quite local even when Rand used extremely strong balefire against Rahvin. So a balefire to cause the effect of the ripple must be so much stronger compared to any other balefire like the Choedan Kal at the Cleansing is stronger than normal channeling. But strong balefire requires immense power used. This means Demandred had to use at least a sa'angreal (and the books rather indicate that no Forsaken has a sa'angreal) and that the Power would be sensed by channelers located far away (something that hasn't happened).

A weak point is also connecting the balefire to the order to kill a list of people. Balefire level needed to kill a person is not so great. We've seen it lot of times in Rand's performance without anything visibly aiding DO's goals. And just before Demandred reported his success to DO in the end of Loc we've seen a number of people being assasinated, most of them if not all of them by means different of balefire.

19

Lauric: 2005-10-27

Good theory, I like it. If there was a faction i'd join it. Bravo Sporkster!

I believe, I just have difficulties with one part. In the AoL hundreds of thousands of people were balefired before there was a noticable effect on the pattern, causing them to stop using it. What could Demandred be balefiring to cause this to happen so quickly? (Yes, 4-5 books isn't THAT quick, but how long into the War of Power were they using balefire?)

Just a thought, and it might answer my own question, but maybe Semirhage's destruction of the Empire wasn't merely assassinating 90+ members of the Royal Family, but by balefiring the hell out of Seanchan the country.

20

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-27

Khazhul, any effect balefire creates can easily be ascribed to the Dark One. Balefire unravels the Pattern, but anyone can say, "obviously, the Dark One is touching the Pattern again." So, it is impossible to prove the direct effects, since the Dark One is touching the Pattern. However, the specific effects cited, I believe, suggest balefire was instrumental is unraveling the Pattern a bit. My point stands unchallenged, the last time the Dark One, unfettered, touched the Pattern for more than one hundred years, the Pattern wasn't threatened by unraveling, which seems to be occurring with speed, now.

Also, I don't believe Sporkster said every Forsaken was involved. Demandred shared the plan, but Graendal and Mesanna are not under an obligation to create chaos using the balefire. As far as we know, he shared with them, and hoped they would help, and Graendal seems to believe that the only way, while she wants there to be other ways to create chaos as the Dark One commanded Demandred, would be through balefire. It is obvious that Graendal, as with Demandred, wants to believe there are other ways.

21

Ozymandias: 2005-10-27

Sporkster, you showed an awesome capacity to think logically when you made this theory. Keep applying it to this list idea, and it falls in to place.

We KNOW there are no armies disappearing. We KNOW that no important people are dying. We have heard NO rumors of people disappearing and things they did unraveling. Jordan would, at the very least, hint at that.

Secondly, lets apply what we know about the nature of balefire to this whole shifting problem. Had a carpenter who designed the Stone been balefired, then we might see effects on the corridors of the Stone. Someone walking through the Stone, though, would not have an effect on the Stone when balefired. And as I pointed out, sheer volume means nothing. Rand has balefired more things than Demandred, and RJ had none of this happening after that.

So address these points:

1.) WHO is Demandred Balefiring? Its "intuitively obvious" that its not random peasants we wouldn't hear about. And if 100 soldiers in the Borderland army disappears, it would be news, news that Rand would hear. Which he doesn't.

2.) Why should this be the reason, and not, as the book says, a result of the DO's increasing touch? We have never seen an instance where every character agrees so thoroughly on one point. And we do know that the DO's touch is powerful enough to pick apart the Pattern. 6 months ago he could fix the seasons, no mean act. Why not shift the nature of reality.

For that matter think on this as an alternative. Maybe Rand and Nyn "cracked the world like and egg" when they cleansed saidin. We know the Choedan Kal are powerful enough, and even the most experienced channelers of the Age of Legends were afraid to use it for this reason.

Just a thought...

22

Lauric: 2005-10-27

[quote]Rand has balefired more things than Demandred[/quote]

You say this like it's fact, but we have little to no clue where/what Demandred has been doing for...well...ever.

The idea of Nyn & Rand "cracking the world like an egg", though not in the words I would have put it, could have something to do with this, but why would it have taken so long for the ripples? What exactly happened to cause the ripples as a result of the cleansing? (It's been about 2 weeks since the cleansing at this point in the books, IIRC).

I stand by the fact that Seanchan, Land of Madmen, or Shara were recently the recipients of quite a horrible amount of balefire. Ouch.

23

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-27

Lauric, I agree. We don't know what Demandred has been doing, and obviously Jordan isn't showing us. All we see is Demandred showing up later asking if he is not doing a good job? The Dark One doesn't want the Light to know what is happening, so he isn't having Demandred destroy well known cities that would affect Rand. If Forsaken were balefiring main characters, the action might accelerate Rand's plans and attacks against the Dark One.

I think it is apparent that the Dark One wants to pull it a part, unravel it enough to create chaos, while remaining hidden.

24

Sporkster: 2005-10-27

***Had a carpenter who designed the Stone been balefired, then we might see effects on the corridors of the Stone.***

Let me be clear on this - I do NOT believe that the "interior twisting" of buildings is a DIRECT result of Balefire. I do NOT believe that Demandred balefired an architect or a builder somewhere and that the rearrangement of the corridors is a direct result of that.

What I DO believe is that Balefire is being used somewhere to destabilize the Pattern, that Demandred is gambling that he won't use too much balefire and destabilize the Pattern terminally, but that he will weaken it enough to cause certain anomalies and to allow the Dark One to increase his traction, thus making it easier for him to pursue his goals, as well as to hamper the forces of the Light with these "side effects".

To your points:

1. Yes, it is unclear who or what Demandred is balefiring. We know who or what it is NOT - it isn't main characters, and it isn't anyone on-screen (so far). Hence, someone or something off-screen - and by the very nature of it being off-screen, we can only hypothesize on who or what it is. I made a few suggestions...

As an aside, since I don't believe we are seeing DIRECT balefire effects, there is no reason why it HAS to be people who are being hit. (Granted, it's more fun that way, but...). I would imagine that the loss of a mountain, while it isn't going to affect anyone's memories (unless they recently crossed/went around it), would cause a pretty big ripple in the Pattern.

2. I believe that it was the weakening of the Pattern, thanks to Demandred's balefire usage, that ALLOWED the Dark One to have the effects that he has. A weak Pattern is more easily influenced than a strong one. A Pattern that is attempting to repair itself after a breach is more likely to be unable to respond appropriately to the Dark One pulling some strings. A Pattern balanced on the edge of dissolution could easily cause parts of the Pattern to feel that their reality is on the edge, feeling like it is almost to the point of "destroy her and everything else."

The fact that the Dark One asked Demandred about willingness to "UNLEASH BALEFIRE", coupled with Graendal's consideration on how to increase chaos without Balefire, coupled with both Demandred's hesitation, Mesaana's thoughts of "a gamble" that could cost "everything" or hand them "everything", and the lack of any evidence of "Pattern weakness" in the AOL other than in relation to Balefire - THAT is why I believe it to be the case.

25

ShadowbaneX: 2005-10-27

While it is a very well written theory I'm going to have to disagree with the theory. Like Callandor, I believe that the question to use Balefire is just a question of loyalty. Is he willing to risk everything, even the pattern itself to help free the Dark One? To help move things into place so the DO can be freed.

The Fisher King always comes to mind as well. The parallel of a individual that is physically effected by the nature of the land, the environment around he. As an extention to that it is the order vs chaos. Where chaos reigns we see corridors & halls changing. Caemlyn is a good example. However, iirc, once Elayne secures the throne and restores order to Andor, it seems to me that things start improving. Granted, we only have a few pages to look at, but to me at least with the wine, etc. things seem to start improving.

Remember PoD and the game of shah. In tEotW we see the voice talking to Rand:

I WILL TAKE NO PART. ONLY THE CHOSEN ONE CAN DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, IF HE WILL.

The sides of order and chaos, the forces Light and Shadow, are supposed to move the Chosen One around and when the time comes, depending on what's happened he will make his Choice and that will decide the fate of all. It isn't the battle that's going to decide things, it's not going to be a dual of the One Power or even politics. It's going to be Rand doing or not doing. Everything before that is maneuvering as per the shah board...or at least that's how I see it.

26

Khazhul: 2005-10-27

**My point stands unchallenged, the last time the Dark One, unfettered, touched the Pattern for more than one hundred years, the Pattern wasn't threatened by unraveling, which seems to be occurring with speed, now.**

I will attempt to explain my reasoning here and answer your point in my summary…

My points on what we know of balefire.

1. The last time it was used in major all out warfare was in AoL for a full year. Entire cities were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of lives were lost to it. This was done by a lot of Aes Sedai of both sides. Way more than there are now and for a full year. It was at that point they stopped. Destruction on such a scale to recreate the results that they had then to fit with what is happening now would not go unnoticed. It would have to be mentioned somewhere. Some city being gone, mass amounts of people missing etc.

2. When someone is snuffed out like that, it would have to be quite far back to have an unraveling effect. Moiraine’s 2 second knock back is only going to maybe affect the immediate people around whoever was balefired. So now we are talking about powerful Channellers to have an affect on a world wide scale.

3. The effects of someone being balefired is that there is memory of incidents happening, but they didn’t happen. No where is that mentioned. If this is unraveling reality here and affecting everyone in Randland why has there been no mention of it. You should hear something along the lines of: Bob says “Where is Jim?” Chris responds “Not sure, I thought he was right behind me.” Jim isn’t there anymore because someone in Ebou Dar was just balefired 2 days into the past, because of that they never had that conversation with Jack the butcher about doing something for the last battle. Jack the butcher then never got it in his mind to talk his brother Jim the baker into joining an army. The people Jim just killed in battle would be alive again. There is no mention of anything relating to this. No people suddenly alive, no people suddenly finding themselves back in their house when they were just out on the road traveling. Nothing.

In summary, I answer your point by saying that yes, balefire does seem to be a good answer, besides the dark one touching the pattern, for the unraveling but the physical evidence of what we know balefire actually does is not here. All of the effects used here to prove it’s balefire is pure conjecture. An effect of balefire is not dead walking, it is not rippled vision, it is not failing wards. The effects of balefire that we know to be truth are in my points above and none of those things have happened. The only thing that really links this is the ‘mist’ and that just isn’t enough. I also put forward that maybe the DO didn’t need to affect events by touching the pattern when he was free before because he was not trying to get free. The reason he’s doing all of this craziness is to help him escape. The unraveling could be his attack on the seals, maybe he needs to distort reality in order to weaken them. Also, all of these incidences were already somewhat expected as bubbles of evil. These bubbles were happening before LoC and I believe it was Moiraine who explained what the bubbles were to the boys; she also said the closer to the last battle, the more frequent and damaging they would be.

That last sentence leads me to wonder where Moiraine learned of bubbles of evil? Even the Aes Sedai with Egwene in Salidar didn’t know of them. That must have come from research she did in the tattered manuscripts from the AoL. If she was expecting playing cards and reflections attacking the boys, something of that nature must have happened before.

27

Ozymandias: 2005-10-27

I hear a lot of good points from both perspectives... but balefire is just a risky thing to hypothesize about. Jordan did a terrible job with balefire, and the inconsistencies in the effects of its use glare at us every time we see it. I think that Rand *should* have balefire enough people/trollocs in his time to cause this effect, if it was going to be caused at all. And the point about the AoL is a good one; we know almost for a fact more people were balefired back then than have been now, and we heard nothing of this sort...

and I stand by my theory that this is all a result of the Choedan Kal cracking the world.

28

Dumai Wells: 2005-10-27

What about the proof you gave about elayne not being able to find her room in KOD? Werent Rand and Rhavin trying to blow eachother to nothingness with balefire in the andor palace in FOH? That could be proof that the balefire used, even though used in tel'aranriod was affecting elayne's home.

29

silverwolf: 2005-10-28

There actually is a quote that supports the idea that a weakened pattern would be more susceptible to the Dark One--any description of the Bore. Every time it is described as a "thinness in the Pattern", and it is at the Bore that the Dark One's influence is greatest. Given this, I consider neither balefire nor the DO's touch to be the sole cause of the current state of the world--rather, I would consider the...irregularities...in reality to be an effect of both.

And, Callandor, if you want to argue that the DO's touch is responsible for the shifts in reality (I am specifically referring to the changes in the structure of the Stone, the Tower, and the Royal Palace at Caemlyn), you would have to show some sort of precedent; otherwise, asserting that it results from the DO's touch is simply a leap of faith.

30

Tristin: 2005-10-28

ok this is out there. is there any way that the "ghosts" could be actual people who were alive but have since been balefired. The massive problem with that of course would be that when Matt is walking down the road with Tuon we aren't see his memories of the walk but his perspective at the time....hmm...it seems like it would be possible to me but I'm not sure how that would be happening. Maybe this is just a really bad post. oh well :p

31

a dragonburned fool: 2005-10-28

***As an aside, since I don't believe we are seeing DIRECT balefire effects, there is no reason why it HAS to be people who are being hit. (Granted, it's more fun that way, but...). I would imagine that the loss of a mountain, while it isn't going to affect anyone's memories (unless they recently crossed/went around it), would cause a pretty big ripple in the Pattern.***

We have seen usage of balefire on unanimated objects like walls of buildings. Usual balefire doesn't destroy them totally like it does to people, but only burns holes in them. So, to destroy, say, a mountain, Demandred will need balefire of strength incomparable to anything we've seen until know (save the Cleansing). Such use of balefire will need huge amount of One Power. Such use of OP will be sensed by channelers from very distant parts of world (and after LoC there are already male channelers onscreen). Such use of OP will require also a sa'angreal - something that Demandred apparently hasn't. Briefly: Demandred's balefire for to be effective enough will neer excessive OP, and that is problematic because of two major points: need of sa'angreal and difficulty to hide the use of OP from other channelers.

***I believe that it was the weakening of the Pattern, thanks to Demandred's balefire usage, that ALLOWED the Dark One to have the effects that he has. A weak Pattern is more easily influenced than a strong one. A Pattern that is attempting to repair itself after a breach is more likely to be unable to respond appropriately to the Dark One pulling some strings.***

It is a good point, and you can refer also to the infamous "thinness" of the Pattern at Shayol Ghul. The problem as I see it is with the timing: Demandred heard the order in the beginning of book #6 and Demandred reported success to DO (i.e. something Demandred believed to be the main order to him personally is already accomplished by him at this time) in the end of the same book. But there were major events of Shadow's touch to the Pattern (and also of non-Shadow effects of barrier weakening like appearance of neew talents etc.) before Demandred got the orders. And I cannot see hwat is changed specifically during the time of LoC compared to earlier and later periods. So why things like the ghosts and the three ripples occur long time after the supposed Demandred's use of Balefire at the time of LoC, and not in LoC or tCoS?

***I don't believe Sporkster said every Forsaken was involved. Demandred shared the plan, but Graendal and Mesanna are not under an obligation to create chaos using the balefire. As far as we know, he shared with them, and hoped they would help, and Graendal seems to believe that the only way, while she wants there to be other ways to create chaos as the Dark One commanded Demandred, would be through balefire. It is obvious that Graendal, as with Demandred, wants to believe there are other ways.***

If it was only Graendal who referred to non-balefire means of increasing chaos... but it is not only Graendal. Most notably it's Moridin who is speaking about the importance of increasments of chaos apparently in connection to events that doesn't involve balefire. Unless you state that Moridin is totally fooled by DO about the main plan and the true orders are known only by Demandred, this means that in the "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" great strategy the "increasments of chaos" are most often referred to something different than balefire.

32

Callandor: 2005-10-28

**Demandred probably balefired members of the Seanchan Royal Familly. We find out in Knife of Dreams that they are all dead so this seems like it could have happened.**

Semirhage did that. She at least implies a non-balefire killing, since she's always amazed at how much blood is in a human being "enough to cover the Crystal Throne."

**Now THAT seems unbased as well. Yes, the Seals breaking allows the Dark One to touch the world more and more. However, the Seals breaking alone wouldn't give him the traction on the Pattern to accomplish the chaos we see now. Otherwise, we'd have seen AOLers concerned about the Pattern unraveling due to the Dark One's touch.**

How is that unbased? Before Lord of Chaos, all the seals that were destroyed were destroyed. Before Demandred got his orders, the Dark One's control was growing and growing. We see this in the eternal seasons and the bubbles of evil. Furthermore, before Demandred gets his orders, we know the seals are still weakening. Giving even more control. Even Demandred, before his orders, says:

**TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

"Demandred came as close to smiling as he ever did. What fools they were who opposed the Great Lord. Oh, the Bore was still blocked, though more tenuously than when he had wakened from his long sleep and broken free of his own prison in it. Blocked, but larger than when he woke. Still not so large as when he had been cast into it with his fellows at the end of the War of Power, but at each visit since waking, a little wider. Soon the blockage would be gone, and the Great Lord would reach out across the earth again. Soon would come the Day of Return. And he would rule the world for all time. Under the Great Lord, of course. And with those of the other Chosen who survived, also of course."

Again, this is before Demandred's orders -- and he's clearly saying that the Dark One alone is responsible for the sealing weakening.

So, again, how is this unbased?

And, we have seen Age of Legenders worry about this -- look again directly at what Rand is saying in Knife of Dreams, which is clearly using Lews Therin's knowledge.

**Hmm. The Dark One "CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME". Isn't that a physical law? The Dark One could be free and dancing the sa'sara with a Saldean farmgirl and he still couldn't step outside of time. I suggest he has trouble violating the laws of physics.**

He's working within the laws of time in returning his servants to life -- but bugs coming out of a person enough to "collapse and flatten them" is clearly out of the laws of physics. The same with corridors just suddenly being different.

**The point isn't that Balefire is making him stronger. The point is that Balefire is making the Pattern weaker, and more susceptible to his influence.**

Yes, I know -- hence making the Dark One stronger. Or is there another definition you are using for "susceptible"?

**Demandred's mission is...what, then?**

As I said, the same as all the Forsaken: sow chaos.

**Also, you fail to respond to Mesanna's fear. Why would sowing chaos make Mesaana afraid?**

Because it can make her lose her position.

**You can't deny that Balefire, as Graendal knows, is the only real way to create the Chaos the Dark One wants.**

Now that is flat out wrong Tam, and a twisting of what Graendal is saying. Her orders to Ituralde are clearly supposed to be enough of chaos to satisfy the Dark One's order.

**There were more than a hundred years between the Bore being created and sealed. Yet, no records indicate that the Pattern was falling apart, that reality was unraveling. We have what, a few years since the seals have been breaking, but after the Bore, there were no seals. The Dark One was touching the Pattern without problems.**

Yes, point being? That the Dark One had to refer to balefire before he could get more and more power?

A problem with this theory, is if balefire is so beneficial to the Dark One, that he would order his trusted servant(s) to use it at his orders -- why did they stop using it en masse? Why do they fear using it then? They should be overjoyed!

Oh, Sporkster says "The Dark One believed he would win the battle, and therefore did not feel it necessary to continue using Balefire."

But that is flat out contradicted by Demandred's own thoughts:

**TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: Prologue - The First Message

Demandred hesitated. A bead of sweat slid half an inch on his cheek; it seemed to take an hour. For a year during the War of Power, both sides had used balefire. Until they learned the consequences. Without agreement, or truce (there had never been a truce any more than there had been quarter) each side simply stopped. Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist. If balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule.**

The Dark One didn't order it to cease -- the Light and Shadow simply stopped using it.

**And no, there is no direct evidence tying the ghost phenonmenon to the Dark One. And you can't deny the obvious references to Balefire unraveling the Pattern, and the most recent occurences as being referred to in those terms.**

1. Who/what else is going to cause the ghosts appearing?

2. I'm not denying that balefire used en masse would unravel the Pattern -- I'm disagree that because we've seen what is obviously increased control of the world by the Dark One, that it has to be balefire, and not simply the Dark One getting more control by the seals continuing to weaken.

**Ozy, because a character thinks he knows, doesn't make it true. Moiraine and Verin have been wrong a bunch of times regarding things they thought they knew.**

Yes, but we don't know they are wrong until they're proven wrong. We have to go with what information we have until it's contradicted or proven wrong.

We didn't know Moiraine was wrong about Fain spreading his influence to such a degree, until Jordan told us. Before that, we had no reason to suspect she was wrong.

**As Tamyrlin states, repeated reference to certain phenomena being caused directly by the Dark One is just what it appears to be - less than hearsay. The idea is that Balefire weakened the Pattern to the point where the Dark One can gain enough traction to work on it, even with some of the Seals intact.**

But the problem is, there isn't a single reason to thing that the Dark One wouldn't be able to do this on his own.

Look at Demandred talk of the Bore again. He doesn't assert it to any of his actions, or the Forsaken's actions, or balefire. Just the Dark One doing it.

And, again, we know the seals have weakened considerably since the start of the series, and continue to weaken. So, what is against the seals continuing to weaken on their own (which is almost assuredly the actions of the Dark One), adn the Dark One continuing to gain in power?

**What hard proof do you have that all of the effects we are seeing are caused directly by the Dark One? Show me quotes that indicate that the ripples, the ghosts, the twisting interiors, the harsh winds that don't move mist with them, that all of these are implemented strictly by the Dark One's touch?**

Well, it's hard to get "hard proof" by your standards, when you consider all the proof in those statements to be "hersay." It's like saying Taim's comments about "let the lord of chaos rule" isn't indicating he's a Darkfriend -- it's just hersay.

**Just a thought, and it might answer my own question, but maybe Semirhage's destruction of the Empire wasn't merely assassinating 90+ members of the Royal Family, but by balefiring the hell out of Seanchan the country.**

Just the nobles. Most of Seanchan is alive and "well" -- just in its own civil war.

**The Dark One doesn't want the Light to know what is happening, so he isn't having Demandred destroy well known cities that would affect Rand.**

But the battle is for Randland proper -- the rest of the world will only suffer the after effects.

**If Forsaken were balefiring main characters, the action might accelerate Rand's plans and attacks against the Dark One.**

But he would be more and more weakened by the losses. Jordan himself has said that the Shadow is winning, and that the Light needs certain events to happen perfectly to have even a chance. Take away the important events, and the light will lose.

**What I DO believe is that Balefire is being used somewhere to destabilize the Pattern, that Demandred is gambling that he won't use too much balefire and destabilize the Pattern terminally, but that he will weaken it enough to cause certain anomalies and to allow the Dark One to increase his traction, thus making it easier for him to pursue his goals, as well as to hamper the forces of the Light with these "side effects".**

So, the Dark One is unsure now if he can win?

**As an aside, since I don't believe we are seeing DIRECT balefire effects, there is no reason why it HAS to be people who are being hit. (Granted, it's more fun that way, but...). I would imagine that the loss of a mountain, while it isn't going to affect anyone's memories (unless they recently crossed/went around it), would cause a pretty big ripple in the Pattern.**

Why? A thread is the union of a body and a soul, and it's actions from birth to death.

**The fact that the Dark One asked Demandred about willingness to "UNLEASH BALEFIRE", coupled with Graendal's consideration on how to increase chaos without Balefire, coupled with both Demandred's hesitation, Mesaana's thoughts of "a gamble" that could cost "everything" or hand them "everything", and the lack of any evidence of "Pattern weakness" in the AOL other than in relation to Balefire - THAT is why I believe it to be the case.**

But:

1. Why isn't it just Demandred being tested for readiness?

2. Why isn't an off hand comment by Graendal about how her orders should be more than sufficent for causing choas?

3. Demandred is hesitant to use balefire -- so why would the Dark One stop before, when he gets such obvious benefits from it?

4. Why isn't Mesaana's worry that it's a "gamble" about anything else that happened in the course of the book that was an obvious gamble?

5. Look again at Rand's comments you posted in this theory. If you won't accept anything as more than "hersay", what's the point of even arguing this?

**Jordan did a terrible job with balefire, and the inconsistencies in the effects of its use glare at us every time we see it.**

I might disagree with the theory -- but balefire in and of itself I don't think has any major errors.

33

silverwolf: 2005-10-28

Dumai Wells: if the balefire Rand and Rahvin used was affecting the structure of the palace, what balefire in the White Tower is causing the same effect there? I agree that balefire is responsible, but I doubt that it is a direct consequence--rather, the pattern is becoming...less substantial...allowing for such occurances.

And, since my post from last night appears to have been lost (my apologies if it is up before this one--it's not right now), there is a relationship between the DO's ability to touch the world and the state of the pattern. This is implied by the description of the Bore--a "thinness in the Pattern" where the DO's touch is strongest.

Lastly, what evidence is there that DO has any desire/ability to rearrange reality outside of Shayol Ghul (I am specifically referring to the changing layout of the White Tower, the Royal Palace at Caemlyn, and the Stone, but this also applies for the ghosts and random dead cities that appear)? Unless there is a precedent or a concrete goal, or at the very least a quote indicating the DO has such powers, asserting that these occurances must result from the DO's touch is merely blind belief with little basis in fact. (and the argument should be more than "thes things are bad, the DO is bad, so they must be related")

34

Anubis: 2005-10-28

**I think that Rand *should* have balefire enough people/trollocs in his time to cause this effect, if it was going to be caused at all.**

Trollocs are fairly simple creatures. They do two things, obey Myrdraal and kill. Removing them from the patterin is unlikely to affect very many other threads.

Not to mention that Rand used very miniscule ammounts of balefire on the Trollocs.

In the AOL ENTIRE CITIES were wiped out by balefire.... how do a few dozen trollocs a couple darkhounds and a single forsaken even compare?

35

reTaardad: 2005-10-28

Werent Rand and Rhavin trying to blow eachother to nothingness with balefire in the andor palace in FOH? That could be proof that the balefire used, even though used in tel'aranriod was affecting elayne's home.

No, balefire wouldn't affect the Pattern in a centralized manner. What would account for the change in corridors of Tear and the White Tower? If balefire were to affect the Pattern, it would do it over the entire surface of the Pattern.

36

Tamyrlin: 2005-10-28

Callandor, you wrote off the Mesaana fear rather quickly, "Because it can make her lose her position." Mesaana, afraid of using Balefire and unraveling the Pattern, or afraid of losing her position? C'mon, that is a terrible comparison. What position is she going to lose, second to Nae'blis, one of the Forsaken, what? She was fearful of what Demandred said the DO's orders were.

Also, Graendal and Mesaana were told Demandred's plan. As with Demandred, they could hope to use other methods than balefiring to create the chaos. But, and you can try to negate Graendal's word, Graendal is quite clear that she is suspect regarding the potential chaos her plans will create, compared to the type of chaos balefire creates, when considering the DO's wishes.

And, finally, I am confused as to your point. Balefire creates chaos. Are you suggesting that the Forsaken haven't been using Balefire at all?

37

Ozymandias: 2005-10-28

"Trollocs are fairly simple creatures. They do two things, obey Myrdraal and kill. Removing them from the patterin is unlikely to affect very many other threads.

Not to mention that Rand used very miniscule amounts of balefire on the Trollocs.

In the AOL ENTIRE CITIES were wiped out by balefire.... how do a few dozen trollocs a couple darkhounds and a single forsaken even compare?"

I think you missed the point. Lets review what this theory says Demandred is doing. Using miniscule (or very small) amounts of BF on people. He isn't balefiring THAT many; he hasn't had the time (and logically wouldn't have been given the instructions... a huge list is unwieldy) to go around searching people out and balefiring them. And we know he would have to search, since the DO have him a specific list of people to find.

And Demandred HASNT been balefiring entire cities. Please don't try an argue that... please. So that entire point is irrelevant.

And in terms of Trollocs, and their not affecting the Pattern... isn't the point that just removing threads, however small, is what is causing this? Sporkster isnt dealing with the whole erasure effect of balefire, but just removing threads in general. In that sense, a trolloc is just as important as ta'veren.

38

Ashaman Samuel: 2005-10-28

Callandor has missed one point though. Using balefire en masse would unravel the pattern, if you were to destroy the amount of people described. But the premise is that Demandred is using balefire to destroy people. He is one man, and thus is under the limitations that one man has. Demandred by himself could not unravel the pattern without access to a sa'angreal like Callandor or the male Choedan Kal. He is merely unraveling a small part of the pattern that nobody will notice has gone missing. At least nobody that can do anything. I'm not saying that the theory is necessarily the explanation, but one must admit it is a plausible one. There are no flat contradictions to the theory, merely holes based on small leaps of logic, which unfortunately we have to take to theorize is this wonderful universe. We may never know exactly what is going on, though I'd bet good money more excellent theories on this subject are forthcoming.

39

Ozymandias: 2005-10-28

I can settle this once and for, indisuptably. Obviously, our evidence is coming from insane sources.

Source One: Elayne

The whole childbearing process is throwing off her perception. No one else really mentions getting lost, I don't think, only concern that Elayne can't find the way.

Source Two: Defenders of the Stone

The Defender of the Stone we hear give testimony as to the changing passages was slashed in the head during the big fight in the Shadow Rising. That obviously unsettled his wits.

Source Three: Egwene

This one is quite simple. Everyone is distraught over how the Tower has split so far, and Egwene overhears some foolish girls talking about rumors because some Brown got lost while out in la-la land. And novices are foolish girls anyways, and new to the Tower at that. Of course they can get lost!

Basically, we can't trust empirical evidence, because the observer might be insane. So this theory is worthless, because even Demandred could be tripping on acid when he gets his command from the DO. NONE OF IT IS REAL

40

Tristin: 2005-10-28

that actually makes a lot of sense Oz

41

Astra-al: 2005-10-29

**Source One: Elayne

The whole childbearing process is throwing off her perception. No one else really mentions getting lost, I don't think, only concern that Elayne can't find the way. **

Actually, a little bit afterwards, Birgitte mentions that she didn’t know the way either. So... you can’t blame it on her childbearing. Also, with her maid sent to fetch her food and her reluctance to do so. So this is a valid source.

**Source Two: Defenders of the Stone

The Defender of the Stone we hear give testimony as to the changing passages was slashed in the head during the big fight in the Shadow Rising. That obviously unsettled his wits. **

If I remember correctly there were at least two of them guarding, and the other one(s) didn’t say anything against what he said, and I’m sure they would for Rand.

**Source Three: Egwene

This one is quite simple. Everyone is distraught over how the Tower has split so far, and Egwene overhears some foolish girls talking about rumors because some Brown got lost while out in la-la land. And novices are foolish girls anyways, and new to the Tower at that. Of course they can get lost! **

Egwene also mentions that she herself can’t find the way as often, and I believe I remember reading another aes sedai complaining. And also doesn’t the Mistress of Novices mention it? (I don’t quite remember... dang, i need to reread it already lol)

Anyways, point being, changes ARE happening to the hallways.

Also, switching sides here, Demandred would be having to use a heck of a lot of balefire to make changes that weren’t mentioned from the AoL, because balefire was used extensively for almost a year before they stopped, and they merely mentioned that it weakened the pattern, not any ghosts, failing of saidar, etc, that I’m sure they would have.

42

Anubis: 2005-10-29

**And Demandred HASNT been balefiring entire cities. Please don't try an argue that... please. So that entire point is irrelevant. **

I didnt say that. YOU said that if the pattern was going to unravel, it would have already from Rands balefireing of trollocs, or something to that general affect. I refuted that, basicly stating that in the AOL they used much more balefire and the pattern didnt unravel. Demandred wasnt mentioned at all, why are you bringing him up?

43

Callandor: 2005-10-30

**Unless there is a precedent or a concrete goal, or at the very least a quote indicating the DO has such powers, asserting that these occurances must result from the DO's touch is merely blind belief with little basis in fact. (and the argument should be more than "thes things are bad, the DO is bad, so they must be related")**

You see -- there ARE quotes like this. It's just that everyone is discrediting them as "hersay" and shrugging them off.

Look again at Rand's quote:

**TITLE: Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER: Within the Stone

“So. The Pattern was truly loosening. That meant the Dark One was touching the world more than he had since the War of Shadow. If it loosened too much before Tarmon Gai’don, the Age Lace might unravel. An end to time and reality and creation. Somehow he had to bring the Last Battle before that happened. Only he did not dare. Not yet."**

Rand, clearly using Lews Therin's knowledge here, is saying the Dark One is touching the world more than he had in the War of the Power. And people ask IF it's the Dark One doing this??

**Trollocs are fairly simple creatures. They do two things, obey Myrdraal and kill. Removing them from the patterin is unlikely to affect very many other threads.**

What's a bunch of farmers going to do? Don't discriminate -- threads are threads. Of course some others are much more important here, but it's this notion that the Dark One is keeping this "secret" when it seems damn near impossible to do on such levels.

**Not to mention that Rand used very miniscule ammounts of balefire on the Trollocs.**

Numbers make up for strength.

**Callandor, you wrote off the Mesaana fear rather quickly, "Because it can make her lose her position." Mesaana, afraid of using Balefire and unraveling the Pattern, or afraid of losing her position?**

No, Tam, you're completely ingoring my objections.

I said at the beginning, her fear is TOO VAGUE. It's a gamble. That's all it's refered to. Is it Dumai's Wells? An obvious choice -- since it's the key focus of the book. Was it something else? It's a blanket statement that you're trying to use as filler.

You cannot simply say that Mesaana's fear is about balefire compared to causing enough chaos, doing some other thing, or Dumai's Wells that could cause her to lose her position of power in the White Tower.

**And, finally, I am confused as to your point. Balefire creates chaos. Are you suggesting that the Forsaken haven't been using Balefire at all?**

Where the heck are you getting that, Tam? Of course the Forsaken have been using balefire -- but it's only in incredibly rare situations, almost singularly in the defense of their own lives (exceptions would be Osan'gar preparing to attack Rand -- and obviously beneficial time -- and Moghedien trying to balefire Nynaeve for her own desire).

But the link between balefire and chaos is delightfully ignored when it's put onto a mass level. You say it causes chaos Tam -- well, where is it then if entire cities or mass amounts of people have been killed by it?

**Callandor has missed one point though. Using balefire en masse would unravel the pattern, if you were to destroy the amount of people described. But the premise is that Demandred is using balefire to destroy people. He is one man, and thus is under the limitations that one man has.**

But all the Forsaken got the order it seems -- so, what's the point?

And I do get tired of people saying I've missed a point when I haven't.

**He is merely unraveling a small part of the pattern that nobody will notice has gone missing.**

So, he couldn't unravel the Pattern -- but he is? Which is it?

**Anyways, point being, changes ARE happening to the hallways.**

The point was how people are just being ridiculous in flat out denying certain sources as "hersay."

Yeah, we know the hallways are changing -- it's obvious. We wouldn't discredit it because we can see it happening. The obvious source for it -- is the Dark One.

44

Sporkster: 2005-10-30

Lots of good points back and forth. It's interesting how some people can get so invested in disproving a theory...what's YOUR stake? I'm the only one who's reputation is on the line here.... :)

One final point - the argument has been made that "it couldn't be widescale use of Balefire because the One Power usage would be detected."

Not true. We have seen Balefire being created by the True Power. In fact, that's the only familiar weave that we've seen that was True-Power based. And no one can detect usage of the True Power. Isn't it interesting, that the one familiar weave of the True Power was Balefire?

Think about it. I'm standing by this one.

45

terez: 2005-10-30

This is a well written theory, obviously. The argument against it and the defense of it seem to be like this:

Against: Demandred couldn't have possibly used enough general balefire at this point to cause the effects seen thus far, cluminating with the ripples experienced by Faile and Perrin.

Defense: The DO can't accomplish these things without a little help, and there's evidence that at least Demandred has been ordered to use balefire.

"What hundred years of war?"

That was a clever way of sidestepping the evidence, that the Dark One was sealless in the Age of Legends for over a century, the last decade being the span of the War of Power. Anyway, the Collapse began in a utopian society, and was gradual in nature. Slowly men became greedy and indiscriminate in their behavior. At the point of the Sealing, things had not yet progressed to the point they have in KoD, or tEotW, for that matter. That means the DO picked up right where he left off before even the first few seals had been broken.

He was able to do this IMO because his influence had never totally been removed from the world, the Blight and Darkfriends being evidence of that. Chaos in that sense has been brewing for 3600 years.

So, what could give the DO the power to nearly dissolve the Pattern, as it seems he did with Faile and Perrin? If the DO has the power to do this, why didn't the fourth ripple come?

“It has been stated that the ripples may be from the Seals breaking. Possible, but consider the word choice (“mist”, “the one she knew would destroy her and everything else”, “as if the world were fog with a high wind coming”). This is the kind of description I would expect if there were “hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist.” (Look at the similarities between this description of massive Balefire effects and the Ripples! Jordan is throwing us a bone, here!)” (Sporkster)

I agree that the effect is very similar to what one would expect as an effect of balefire. But, since obviously not enough general balefire has been used to create this effect, the balefire of who, or what, might cause this?

“I don't feel it's the seals breaking, weakening sure (but not the actual ripples); just the Dark One's power getting stronger and a more direct touch on the world.” (Callandor)

This belief suggests to me that, one the seals actually do break, the Dark One will immediately have the power to dissolve the pattern. The fourth ripple will come. Do you really think RJ will end the series this way?

TITLE: Knife of Dreams CHAPTER 3, “At the Gardens”

“We can see the signs as clearly as you, Moridin,” Demandred said irritably. ‘The Time is near. We need to find the rest of the seals on the Great Lord’s prison. I’ve had my followers searching everywhere, but they’ve found nothing.”

“Ah, yes. The seals. Indeed, they must be found.” Moridin’s smile was almost complacent. “Only three remain, all in al’Thor’s possession, though I doubt he has them with him. They’re too susceptible to breaking, now. He will have hidden them. Direct your people to places he has been. Search them yourselves.”

So here's the question:

What would happen if either Moridin or Demandred balefired the seals themselves? The DO obviously does not have the power to simply rip apart the Pattern in an instant. What are the implications of the seals being balefired? If the balefire was strong, the inprisonment of the DO would cease to exist a certain amount of time into the past. The first seal that was balefired would do this to a certain extent. The second seal balefired would have a greater effect even with the exact same amount of balefire. The third seal being balefired would cause absolutely severe "rippling." It is the last seal, and marks the last step of freedom for the DO, and its effect would be on top of the other two.

Why did the fourth ripple never come, if the DO wants to dissolve the Pattern? Because there were only three seals.

46

terez: 2005-10-30

It’s like that Black Ajah who is bent on seeing Rand make it to the last battle realized too. I believe she was white (logic) or brown (knowledge) and reasoned it out. (Khazhul)

Khazhul, Elza Pinfell is Red Ajah (wants to gentle Rand) and she wants Rand to stay alive to the Last Battle because Verin (Brown, yes) used Compulsion on her.

47

Callandor: 2005-10-30

**Not true. We have seen Balefire being created by the True Power. In fact, that's the only familiar weave that we've seen that was True-Power based. And no one can detect usage of the True Power. Isn't it interesting, that the one familiar weave of the True Power was Balefire?**

But Demandred only uses the True Power in situations of great need.

**Defense: The DO can't accomplish these things without a little help, and there's evidence that at least Demandred has been ordered to use balefire.**

I don't see any reference to needing "a little help." The Dark One is getting his help in that his powers are growing as the seals weaken.

**That was a clever way of sidestepping the evidence, that the Dark One was sealless in the Age of Legends for over a century, the last decade being the span of the War of Power.**

No, see, it was a a question to be more specific -- hundred years of war would normally be refering to the Hundred Years War, which it obviously wasn't. Clarification of "the Collapse" helps.

**At the point of the Sealing, things had not yet progressed to the point they have in KoD, or tEotW, for that matter. That means the DO picked up right where he left off before even the first few seals had been broken.

He was able to do this IMO because his influence had never totally been removed from the world, the Blight and Darkfriends being evidence of that. Chaos in that sense has been brewing for 3600 years.**

It wasn't removed, but it was severely limited.

**So, what could give the DO the power to nearly dissolve the Pattern, as it seems he did with Faile and Perrin? If the DO has the power to do this, why didn't the fourth ripple come?**

Because the seals are still there. They're weakening but even weak barriers hold stuff back.

**This belief suggests to me that, one the seals actually do break, the Dark One will immediately have the power to dissolve the pattern. The fourth ripple will come. Do you really think RJ will end the series this way?**

No, I don't.

When the seals do break (or have broken) the Dark One's power is where it was at the time of the sealing.

**What would happen if either Moridin or Demandred balefired the seals themselves?**

Presumably -- nothing. Cuendillar survives balefire. But whether they would now, who knows. They'd have to find them first anyway.

**What are the implications of the seals being balefired? If the balefire was strong, the inprisonment of the DO would cease to exist a certain amount of time into the past.**

No, the seals are not threads, at least in the same way people are. If they were destroyed, they'd be just like the hull of a ship or a stone pillar -- they'd be destroyed, but there's no actions for them to undo a certain time back.

Only people have actual thread to be removed backwards.

48

silverwolf: 2005-10-31

Elza is green--she has a warder. Besides, here is the quote: "A moment later the door swung open, and Elza backed into the room, still arguing in a loud voice and trying to hold back two sisters with her spread arms. Erian, her pale face flushed with excitement, was pushing the other Green ahead of her physically. Sarene, a woman so beautiful she made Erian look almost ordinary, wore a cooler expression, as might be expected from a White..."

Elza is green--not white, not brown, not red.

49

mako0424: 2005-10-31

excellent theory well put.

i totally agree that Demandred's mission was to sow chaos using balefire, and these huge shifts in the pattern, time, and the one power are a result of this rather than a "weakening" of the seals.

no new seals have been broken so how would this explain the huge leap in Dark One's influence. it doesnt, but balefire does

the huge shifts in the pattern, ie structural changes, weakening of saidar and saidin (the power driving the wheel that is the pattern and time) is weakening, and the ripples affect huge groups spread out over the land. This isjnt the dark one but shifts in the pattern and a weakening of Reality. balefire explains this.

the dark one may be Lord of the Grave, but showing ghost peoples and ghost towns has no benefits, it instead implies overlapping time frames, ie village in shiota and Mat's run in with busy street. This is very balefire-isk too, think like these peoples and towns were balefired in past and newer balefiring of people cause overlapping.

i think Sporkster did an excellent job, and we may not have to see a bunch of main characters die to prove it, if Demandred balefires even your everyday lame-os, it may not seem to have a drastic affect, but remember that a pebble thrown in pond still causes ripples.

50

CyberFade: 2005-10-31

Elza has a warder, she's obviously not red ;) Iirc, she's green.

I think there's something here to be figured out, though I'm not sure what KoD has revealed on that front except that the Forsaken still do their own thing to some extent even with the Cleansing and Moridin + Superfade reining them in.

Let's look at LoC more: Demandred gets the word from the Dark One, then 1.7 Jordan weeks later talks to Sem, Mes and Graendal. At the end of LoC, Dem feels he deserves kudos from the Dark One. Most of LoC pertains to the split in the White Tower and the beginning of the Black as well as Rand going nuts...but let's look at the individuals involved in this plan.

- Semirhage: Iirc, Suroth came back for round two, and took Tarabon and Amadicia (FoH). At some point, Sem took out the Court (I think this is later, like CoT in the background--when she misses Forsaken teaparties) and possibly got the Return in high gear. Can't dig through this one from memory, but remember parts of Seanchan were already at war in FoH (Far Snows).

- Mesaana: The kidnapping? Elaida sending her fellow coup members to the corners of the land and demoting Shemerin and so forth happened in FoH? Alvianian taking control of Elaida happens later, at a loss for what's new in the Tower.

- Graendal: Arad Doman. I don't think anything to do with Sammael as Dem specifically excludes him.

- Dem: whatever it is he does. The Whitecloaks? Masema?

Typing it out, it seems I (and possibly we) know a lot less than I thought. It seems as though we should be able to put a least some of the plans of the Dark to particular Forsaken at this point, but outside of Sammael who had a hand in nearly everything the Shadow did from tSR until Mashadar ate him, it's not clear what the Shadow is up to except letting Rand make a mess of the world :(

51

Khazhul: 2005-10-31

I’m going to apologize for mentioning Elza in my argument. I didn’t do enough research on her actual ajah. Verin using compulsion on her for the specific purpose of seeing Rand make it to the last battle is acceptable to me. I originally came out of it thinking the whole Da’tsang thing changed her but I like the Verin thing better now that I’ve heard it. If it was specifically stated in the books, I don’t remember it and couldn’t find it. Elza, however, was just a side thought to one of my lesser arguments against the use of balefire. I have not heard anyone attack my main points, which is that we have not seen any of the actual affects of what balefire does that we know for truth. (Read my most recent post besides this one.)

Here is a quick example of what I’m trying to say:

Smell of smoke + burnt rubble + smoke and water damage to surrounding buildings = building is most likely gone because of a fire.

All we have right now is a “missing building”, no evidence of why besides bubbles of evil or the dark one’s touch theory, which I would like to add, we have seen before there was even a command to use balefire. I would agree with the balefire theory if any of what we know for truth about balefire is evident here, especially on the massive scale it would need to be used to recreate what happened in the Aol to what is happening now.

Example:

Memories of incidents that never happened + rumors of mass people missing + rumors of cities destroyed = ghosts + hallways moving + the three blurred visions incident

Don’t show me the missing building and tell me it was fire, show me the smoke and I’ll believe you. Especially when there is another reason for this happening (bubbles of evil) that has caused “missing buildings” before.

52

a dragonburned fool: 2005-10-31

***It's interesting how some people can get so invested in disproving a theory...what's YOUR stake? I'm the only one who's reputation is on the line here.... :) ***

Oh, Sporkster, you are speaking like a newcomer in Cairhien Royal palace wondering why so innocent gestures inflict so stormy reactions. :) Most of us here have lots of theories and positions about many different things, theories that often have already seen fierce discussions, bleeding because of arguments we never expected to have any relation to our theories, and because of that very sensitive to anything that could in any manner inflict any of our earlier theories of vague pet sympathies. You could fail to see the hyperconvoluted knot of incompatible interests and the long history of disageements, nobody can see all of this Great-Game-of-Theories chaos, but it's boiling like inside a volcano before eruption. I think everybody has stakes here, and I don't think it's so interesting to know what excactly everybody's stakes are. At least everybody believes there are stakes. ;) But the most important thing here is that IMO every theory here is to be taken seriously. I mean seriously enough to manifest our insanity and HCFF-ness. We take your theory as if it really matters whether it's true or not. Is THAT what you dislike? ;)

***the argument has been made that "it couldn't be widescale use of Balefire because the One Power usage would be detected." Not true. We have seen Balefire being created by the True Power.*** You mean now that it's Moridin who has to perform the balefire, not Demandred? Because after Moridin appeared he became the monopoly to use True Power. And when was Moridin online for the first time? Exaclty in LoC, i.e. just after Demandred got the order. Therefore if Demandred balefired anything, he did it with One Power, becaue True Power was reserved for Moridin in this period of time.

**Callandor, you wrote off the Mesaana fear rather quickly, "Because it can make her lose her position." Mesaana, afraid of using Balefire and unraveling the Pattern, or afraid of losing her position?**

Callandor answered this well, but I wanted to add something else. Any strategy focussing on geowth of chaos is risky, because it's very essence is to take advantage of the unpredictable state. It's gambling because it's nothing else but relying on pure chance when your opponent has no fixed advantages - exactly the same like the principle of gambling. Making chaos is risky simply because chaos as such is risky. You can die or be seriously damaged in the process. You can also become not the sort of chaos you could use in your favor. Your own interests can be hit by said chaos in unpredictable manner and in unpredictable degree. Chaos is unpredictable by it's very nature. And chaos is never comfortable, chaos is allways dangerous, in chaos you allways can lose anything, just because it's chaos. It's enough to scare a person who doesn't like gambling but preferes full control (like Mesaana). Such person can easily lose everything. And the later events made it clear that Mesaana's fears were very adequate - the progress of Shadow's plans made her into disobeying direct orders - something she wouldn't do if she wasn't already in a very difficult position, and something that made her into a quite painful state.

However I wanted to stress again that most importantly it was Moridin who does often speak about aiding chaos, and my impression is that Moridin every time is meaning scheming not balefire. Moridin is supposed to be the main one who is responsible for DO's strategy since LoC.

53

JamieK: 2005-10-31

not sure if this was said, im too tired to read the whole theory... someone mentioned killing off useful people. what about the kin that are mysteriously dying with no trace except mocking clues to murder. i assumed it was a dark sister, but could be done with balefire, considering the rod they had; or by a forsaken.

54

terez: 2005-10-31

:) I just had a little minor surgery, so now I have to apologize for posting on pain pills. :) ~writes lines~ Elza was Green. Only balefired people go backwards.

But I still have this point to make:

“No, see, it was a question to be more specific -- hundred years of war would normally be referring to the Hundred Years War, which it obviously wasn't. Clarification of "the Collapse" helps.” (Callandor)

So why not just correct the error and address the point? Don't we walk in enough circles?

55

Callandor: 2005-10-31

**the huge shifts in the pattern, ie structural changes, weakening of saidar and saidin (the power driving the wheel that is the pattern and time) is weakening, and the ripples affect huge groups spread out over the land. This isjnt the dark one but shifts in the pattern and a weakening of Reality. balefire explains this.**

1. If saidar and saidin were weakening, it wouldn't be caused by the Pattern. The One Power is outside of the Pattern and Wheel.

2. Again, balefire isn't the cause of these changes -- it's the Dark One. Sporkster is just saying that balefire is causing this increase in power.

**the dark one may be Lord of the Grave, but showing ghost peoples and ghost towns has no benefits, it instead implies overlapping time frames, ie village in shiota and Mat's run in with busy street. This is very balefire-isk too, think like these peoples and towns were balefired in past and newer balefiring of people cause overlapping.**

Changing the hallways doesn't have much of a benefit either, but who is doubting that was the Dark One doing that?

**- Semirhage: Iirc, Suroth came back for round two, and took Tarabon and Amadicia (FoH). At some point, Sem took out the Court (I think this is later, like CoT in the background--when she misses Forsaken teaparties) and possibly got the Return in high gear. Can't dig through this one from memory, but remember parts of Seanchan were already at war in FoH (Far Snows).**

1. They had Tarabon in The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos. Amadicia truely hasn't fallen to Amadicia yet (the northern part of it is still uncontrolled). However, they did attack Amador and take most of it in A Crown of Swords.

2. Semirhage took out the Empress and her family most likely in Crossroads, but because of what Semirhage is, the attack she did could've taken place even the same day she told Suroth.

3. The Seanchan weren't at war per se at the time of The Fires of Heaven. Word of Falme had finally gotten back to Seanchan, and one noble had sought to be above their station and had designs on certain cities.

**- Mesaana: The kidnapping? Elaida sending her fellow coup members to the corners of the land and demoting Shemerin and so forth happened in FoH? Alvianian taking control of Elaida happens later, at a loss for what's new in the Tower.**

The kidnapping was definately Mesaana's work, with possible help from others.

56

Callandor: 2005-11-01

**So why not just correct the error and address the point? Don't we walk in enough circles?**

Cause I thought it was obvious?

Chalk it up to the Bore still being "worked" at by the Dark One, hence the gradual growth in power throughout it. If the ripples happened, it was past the Collapse and into the War of Power. There, we do have references of the Dark One having strong power (if it's not ripples, it's at least the unraveling).

57

Balinor: 2005-11-01

I won't say whether I agree with this theory or not, but it is very interesting. I would like to bring up some points that don't seem to have been discussed yet:

1) Demandred has been doing SOMETHING since LoC. That much is obvious. The DO doesn't have enough Forsaken to be able to waste one with Demandred's ability on some mundane task. At first I thought it was because Demandred was Taim, but since that theory has been laid to rest (Taimandred = dead), I haven't really thought much about it. Sporkster's theory makes me look at it again.

2) Sammael makes the observation (in LoC or TFoH, can't find the exact quote) that Demandred was rumored to be working somewhere to the south. Sammael is based in Illian, which is as far south as you can get on the maps in the books (I haven't seen the BWB, so I don't know if there's a map showing anything south of Randland). What if Demandred IS working on another continent? If he was balefiring people on some other continent, he could be affecting the pattern without anyone in Randland being able to detect what he was doing. Why would he do this? To escape detection for as long as possible. If he showed up in Andor, and started balefiring everyone he sees, Rand or the Aes Sedai would show up and try to stop him. Given Rand's track record against the other Forsaken, Dem might not be too eager for that confrontation.

3) The DO specifically asks Dem if he will use balefire for him. When I first read this, I figured the DO was just testing Dem's dedication. But reading back over all of the books to get ready for KOD, now I am not convinced that this was just conversation filler for the DO. Jordan likes to drop subtle hints in the narrative, he does it time and again. I think the DO's orders may have had something to do with balefire.

Callandor, you say that all of the effects Sporkster mentions are the results of the DO touching the pattern. Sporkster is saying that Dem's use of balefire is weakening the pattern. It seems to me like you guys are singing two-part harmony: if the pattern gets weaker, the easier it is for the DO to touch the world, and make bigger things happen (like the layout of big buildings go all goofy).

One other thing I'd like to mention that no one seems to have pointed out. Both Faile and Perrin (and those close to them) feel the "ripples" across reality. NO ONE ELSE DOES. Apparently, this is a phenomenon that is limited to the vicinity of Malden. Why? Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for that. But each character's reaction makes it pretty clear that this is a very important phenomenon. Some people think that it's because the final seals on the DO's prison are breaking. I think we can reject that right out, because the effect is limited in area, and none of the seals are currently in the vicinity of Malden. Perhaps Demandred has finished balefiring folks in other lands, and has started on Randland, somewhere close to Malden, and the Pattern is rippling from the strain. Probably not.

However, I think it's important that we not lose sight of one thing: WHATEVER DEMANDRED IS DOING, IT'S AIMED AT BRINGING VICTORY FOR THE SHADOW, AND IS PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT TO THE OUTCOME OF THE STORY THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE HAVE READ ABOUT SO FAR. (And it's all happening offstage, that Jordan is so despicable and sneaky, I can't stand it.) Demandred is too important for the DO to let run around and do nothing for 6 books. RJ has consistently stated that we have not seen Dem's role in any of the books so far (which put the final nail in the coffin of Taimandred). I think that Sporkster is on to something, whether it's balefire or not we will have to wait and see.

58

Callandor: 2005-11-01

**Callandor, you say that all of the effects Sporkster mentions are the results of the DO touching the pattern. Sporkster is saying that Dem's use of balefire is weakening the pattern. It seems to me like you guys are singing two-part harmony: if the pattern gets weaker, the easier it is for the DO to touch the world, and make bigger things happen (like the layout of big buildings go all goofy).**

Yes, I know this. As I've been telling everyone, Sporkster isn't saying that the Dark One isn't doing this -- just that balefire is making it easier. I disagree. I think the Dark One is doing this all on his own.

**2) Sammael makes the observation (in LoC or TFoH, can't find the exact quote) that Demandred was rumored to be working somewhere to the south. Sammael is based in Illian, which is as far south as you can get on the maps in the books (I haven't seen the BWB, so I don't know if there's a map showing anything south of Randland). What if Demandred IS working on another continent?**

There is another continent south of Randland called the Land of Madmen, but Jordan said that the story will not be going there or probably even a mention past the BWB.

And, Sammael made that comment while in Arad Doman.

**However, I think it's important that we not lose sight of one thing: WHATEVER DEMANDRED IS DOING, IT'S AIMED AT BRINGING VICTORY FOR THE SHADOW, AND IS PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT TO THE OUTCOME OF THE STORY THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE HAVE READ ABOUT SO FAR. (And it's all happening offstage, that Jordan is so despicable and sneaky, I can't stand it.)**

Dunno about that. Anyway, why would Demandred still be carrying this out if he apparently thought he was successful at the end of Lord of Chaos?

59

Tristin: 2005-11-02

we're to the point where we need two factions, one for and one against.

60

Sporkster: 2005-11-02

Sadly, a Youngling such as myself is unable to create factions...but as soon as I am able, I'll gladly sponsor one.

61

the silent speaker: 2005-11-02

Interesting point about the ripples being local to the Malden area. That argues against both the Balefire Source and the Breaking Seals Source theories; besides, if the ripples were from breaking seals, we should have seen three or four already.

I'm not sold on the theory, but it's innovative, coherent, and balefiring just a few people can still create weather-butterfly type storms if they're just the right people (and Demandred's had half a year to work by now), so it's not impossible. Small increases in chaos can, as Sammael pointed out, be just as important as large. I think Demandred wouldn't be coming back to the DO all proud of his success if his chore was as simple as playing hit man, though.

62

CyberFade: 2005-11-03

Balinor: the effect is limited in area, and none of the seals are currently in the vicinity of Malden.

We have So Harbor nearby that did see more ghosts per capita earlier than anywhere else too. This might be something wonky from the prophet too. About chaos in general--Tarabon and Arad Doman have seen as much chaos as Masema has caused in the lands south of Andor... It's the lack of Demandred actually doing something in LoC (in general let alone something spectacular) yet he gets to share and evil laugh with the Dark One at the end: that's puzzling.

Overall, there has to be some reason for that stupid two page map in KoD ;)

Props to Sporkster for at least something interesting to argue about. Maybe there are other uses for balefire we haven't seen yet--aside from balefire being pretty wonky to begin with (surprised no one uses it to pick winning lottery numbers or horses or something).

63

JakOShadows: 2005-11-03

Nice theory sporkster. While it cannot be proved it is certainly possible. I recently wrote in a theory about how the DO intends to turn the world into his image, and this would fit in nicely. I'll wait a few days and see if it gets posted, but if not I'll put in a reply. But I also agree with the fact that other events could also be included to have caused this, and the ripple in the pattern could have been from the DO touching the pattern. He would need to have a strong touch on the pattern, but by now the seals are very weak. I see how it could have been caused by balefire and not, but way to write a good theory. As to the idea of the choedan kal cracking the world, why hadn't we seen the affects sooner. If anything we would have seen the events sooner. And then that was a good point about how the ripples were only seen around the ta'veren, but we don't really know why it was only around them. Only that it was in their vicinity. Could it be based of the erupting of dragonmount too? I couldn't figure out exactly where that was in the pattern. And do you have any ideas on what caused that that would have happened recently? I do agree that balefire could have an effect though.

64

Saidar Haran: 2005-11-04

Balinor: I thought, when I read the scene in Malden with the Ripples, that it was like a circle that was widening out, not staying localized. Sort of like how ripples in a pond spread out, but not going away. Still, I don't know why they would start in Malden; anyone have an idea?

65

SaladDodger: 2005-11-05

First I want to applaud the OP for a well thought out theory supported by evidence. I have enjoyed the debate on this topic.

Now the bad news: I attended the Robert Jordan book signing here in Charlotte, NC tonight (11/4/05). While he was signing my books, I asked him if he could credit or discredit the theory that the DO charged Demandred with the task of wielding Balefire in an attempt to weaken the Pattern, so that the DO may be have a better chance of victory at Tarmon Gaidon.

He didn't quite understand my point and asked me to explain it again. When I did, alluding to the consequences of Balefire, and quoting the DO's asking Demandred about his willingness to use Balefire for the DO, he quickly shook his head and gave an unequivocal no.

I'm afraid this theory is disproved by the word of Robert Jordan himself.

66

minalth: 2005-11-05

balefiring large ammounts of landmass would account for the random changes in wind direction... the changes in wind would change how people move and what they think and stuff, and that would be affected in the past because its balefire...

Human generated being the key word. The weakening of the seals also explains this as the DO isn’t human but a force that exists outside the pattern.

We have seen usage of balefire on unanimated objects like walls of buildings. Usual balefire doesn't destroy them totally like it does to people, but only burns holes in them. So, to destroy, say, a mountain, Demandred will need balefire of strength incomparable to anything we've seen until know (save the Cleansing). Such use of balefire will need huge amount of One Power. Such use of OP will be sensed by channelers from very distant parts of world (and after LoC there are already male channelers onscreen). Such use of OP will require also a sa'angreal - something that Demandred apparently hasn't. Briefly: Demandred's balefire for to be effective enough will neer excessive OP, and that is problematic because of two major points: need of sa'angreal and difficulty to hide the use of OP from other channelers.

who says he does it all at once????? seems stupid doing it that way to me, you dont try to blast a gouge in a hill with one huge stick of dynamite, you use lots and it takes longer but is easier and more controllable...

And in terms of Trollocs, and their not affecting the Pattern... isn't the point that just removing threads, however small, is what is causing this? Sporkster isnt dealing with the whole erasure effect of balefire, but just removing threads in general. In that sense, a trolloc is just as important as ta'veren.

a ta'veren is a key thread, like pulling the string in a bow, the whole thing comes undone (the web around the ta'veren, in rand's case a significant portion of the pattern) a trolloc would make a big difference, but the pattern isnt neatly arranged in a grid, its more like the fibres in felt, and a single trolloc will loosen things but not do much damage.

67

minalth: 2005-11-05

sorry if i double post

rand and moridin crossing balefire was a massive paradox thing, enough to do the work of many many years of cities being balefired at the end of the AOL?

surely that would explain for the destabilisation in the pattern?

68

congo red jr: 2005-11-05

well i asked mr. jordan about this theory, in brief, at a booksigning in santa cruz. i did this while gettin my books autographed. he said the forsaken are using balefire to help unravel the pattern. that was all he'd say on it, told me the books provide enough evidence for it. at any rate im not sure whether or not this helps anyone's arguements as i havent read all of them, yall write too much. i found mr. jordan to be a good guy overall, patient and quite funny. i went through the line a few times and got my wife to participate as well, so i got all 11 of 1st print hardcovers signed. yay! his wife harriet was downright cool, she and my wife talked extensively on whatever women talk about and seemed to get on fine. well anyway thought i'd fill yall in. take care

69

JakOShadows: 2005-11-06

Thank you Saladdodger. And Minalth, how would the crossing of streams of balefire affect the pattern. I though it would more or less create a link between Moridin and Rand. So it would onl affect them. Yes it is paradox, but the effects are still very local.

70

Sporkster: 2005-11-06

So - one Jordan booksigning against the theory, and one for. Sounds like we can't put this theory in the "Debunked" pile yet...

71

congo red jr: 2005-11-06

I suppose it's possible that Mr.Jordan maynot have fully understood my question and therefore his answer isn't exactly for or against this theory. LOL The question I asked was this, Have the forsaken, Demandred specifically used balefire to destabilize the pattern at all? He said that they've used balefire and the consequences where destabilizing the pattern and that in the books you could see evidence of that. I shouldve been more specific in my question to him and my post here, that was 1st time I've ever commented on a message board, etc. I'm usually just a reader/browser to forums and such. I personally think the other fella's question was more specific therefore the answer probablly more accurate as pertaining to the topic at hand. The answer he gave me upon further reflection could mean any number of things. It's hard to say. Guess we'll all find out when A Memory of Light is published.

72

JakOShadows: 2005-11-07

Allright, so based on what RJ said, Demandred didn't have a specific order to use balefire to weaken the pattern to win the LB. But Demandred and any other forsaken have been using a lot of balefire and that has been destabilizing the pattern. But the catch is that you don't use balefire for just anything. Are there any use to balefire that would be useful besides killing them to where they can't be reborn? Nothing comes to mind right now, but if you just killing Joe Blow randlander, then you wouldn't necessarily need balefire.

We believe he has been behind creating Masema's craziness and the mob. And we also believe he has been manipulating Taim somehow. What about these tasks would require balefire? And what would a third task be that might require this? We know Graendal has been scheming in Arad Doman. Aran'gar has been undercover with the rebels, but we've seen her kill AS before, and she didn't use balefire because the bodies were found. So that can rule her out. Mesaana has been undercover at the WT so she probably wouldn't have much need. Now Semirhage did kill the empress and start a rebellion, I wonder if that would require balefire at anytime? And then Osan'gar was with the BT, I don't think that he would use balefire much either. What about Sammuel? We know that he was scheming with Graendal and the Shaido and hunting for ter'angreal and angreal in Ebou Dar. Judging from what we saw he could of used it some, but probably not much. So that leaves Demandred and Semirhage as our likely candidates. And I have also been looking what the people are doing and would it require that, but if you were careless and took the DO seriously anyone could have done it. Not to mention we might wait and see if another answer is given by RJ. I just don't see any specific answer to the reason why balefire would be used.

73

Saidar Haran: 2005-11-08

Maybe Demandred thought that is what he was ordered to do - RJ's "no" only pertained to the question "Was Demandred ORDERED to use balefire to destabilize the pattern?" (Emphasis mine). It doesn't proclude the possibility that he thought he was ordered to do it, it was the easiest way to do whatever he was ordered to do, etc. especially with the other question which got a yes.

74

SkullOne: 2005-11-10

I agree that Demandred is using an extensive amount of balefire to disrupt the Pattern. We also know that the Pattern releases ta'verans to help balance itself out. What if the ta'verans being woven out of the Pattern are Heroes of the Horn and as they're being released they're being balefired?

75

Fenris: 2005-11-11

Ok....I actually have a Theory about half written up concerning the "Lord of Chaos" but figured I would just comment here. There is a LOT of Irony in this so please appreciate that at least. I am a Scientist by trade and we don’t do a damn thing without plenty of sources….yet here I have no quotes, lovely huh.

As I said this was partially done and I had not gotten to that part yet, but felt the need to post it early.

My apologies.

Great Theory Sporkster but I think you focus way to heavily on Balefire. I think, while important and most effective, Balefire is very rarely used here. Think more in terms of the Chaos itself as being the important factor in what is occurring and Balefire just being the easiest means.

***Snippet from mine***

….

The discussion centers around the Shadow’s need for Chaos. It is constantly mentioned throughout the books in large and small encounters that Chaos is necessary at any cost. There is a theory up here discussing the concept of the “Lord of Chaos” and who it may be and in my opinion it is no one, just a metaphor. The Dark One is simply ordering Chaos formed in any and every way possible. So why is this necessary? Why is Chaos constantly the focus of Servants of the Dark? Causing Chaos is usually as important as the actual missions that we see them in the act of performing.

Lets start at the very beginning: The Dark One’s Prison.

It is my contention that the Dark One is imprisoned within the Pattern itself. It physically wraps around him and encompasses him. Trapped within the perfect cell, existence itself. Interesting huh.

Assuming this Theory I would guess that the Bore was formed while trying to make a “Super Gateway” or while a Woman was attempting to form a Gateway they way a Man does i.e “Boring a Hole” from one place in the pattern to another (Men “Fold and Drill” while women “Make the Two Places the Same” there is a difference). Instead of getting a correct “Fold” in the pattern to bore the hole….they missed. Honestly the actual HOW of the Bore is kind of irrelevant as it doesn’t really support or disprove my concept, just a side note.

……

We know that Balefire burns people out of the Pattern. We know that this, with overuse, caused the Pattern itself to shudder. So the deaths of people, threads in the Pattern, has a direct and significant effect on the stability and structure of the Pattern. We also know that the decisions and paths of people’s lives also have a direct effect on the pattern. For the right person at the right time saying YES or NO to a question may have as great a consequence as the murder of a whole village. The stability of the Pattern comes from the stability of the world, people die, people are born etc… The influx and instigation of Chaos is designed to destabilize the Pattern to a degree that the Dark One can finally shake off the Patch. We can see evidence to this in the weakening of the Seals themselves.

The external Pattern is becoming destabilized and the Patch itself is becoming undone. What good is a Patch if I can just cut another hole around it. Since the Patch is a poor substitute for the Pattern itself it is much easier to undo, simply disturb the right Threads that are anchoring the Seals to the Pattern and off it pops. Causing Chaos is the simplest way to free the Dark One.

***/Snippet***

I guess I should coalesce:

1. The DO is entrapped within the Pattern itself.

1. The Chaos is simply used to disturb the threads of the pattern enough to allow the DO to force its way out.

So lets cover some of the new stuff. Lets look at the “Ripples” and the walking dead. My theories are very simple on this, not much complexity. I honestly believe that the Ripples are simply the DO trying to give the Patch on the Bore the old Heave-Ho. The DO is obviously a very patient entity so one good shot to the Patch every so often would be enough to convince it that it either was or wasn’t time yet. If you follow the idea that he is trapped within the pattern itself it is pretty obvious what the effects of the DO whacking the inside of it would be.

These need not be associated with Balefire either. If you want another (Non DO non Balefire) example lets look at the last big Ripple. What could have cause such a disturbance that it shook the Pattern itself. Well the pattern isn’t (to me) made up of just lives, its everything, Chaos in the living is just as destructive as killing them causing movement of the threads, gaps in the pattern etc… Personally I think that the deaths of the entire Royal Family in Seanchan could have done it, especially given the sorry shape it is in, that’s Chaos on a Continental scale.

The Walking Dead is a little more complicated. If we assume that the DO is simply eliminating threads of the Pattern and causing Chaos to disrupt existing ones the Pattern will always do what it always does, try to correct. Well we are getting down to the wire here, there really isn’t to much more that the Pattern can produce as NEW to correct itself, it is just trying to hold itself together until it reaches its predetermined “Time” for the Last Battle.

Your wool winter sweater is full of holes and falling apart. You have no wool to fix it and keep you warm, but you do have Silk. It wont be as warm but it will get the job done. (yes I AM insinuating that the pattern is using, lets say, residual threads to keep itself together.)

76

Gaidal: 2005-11-12

I like the idea of Rand and Nynaeve "cracking the world like an egg". Maybe not with saidin and saidar though. Consider the taint and the evil from Shadar Logoth. They were fighting against each other during the cleansing of saidin. Two forces that great fighting against each other have to have some effect on the world when one of them "breaks". In this case, I think the SL power lost to the taint and suddenly, there is a mass influx of taint (no longer on saidin) that has to be absorbed somewhere. If you think of it in relativity to physics, the taint is pushing increbily hard, and suddenly theres nothing for it to push against. Hence, massive crater at SL where it "entered" the world/Pattern. From there, it has a ripple effect going outwards like a stone thrown into a pond. The centre is (fairly) clear of ripples, hence not sensed by anyone when they go to read residues, but the effects are deadly to the world on a large scale. With this mass increase of taint, perhaps the DO has enough power to start altering reality (I liked the theory, but im not a mass-balefire-idea supporter, sorry, lol). Thoughts anyone?

77

skennedy: 2005-11-24

I may have an idea about who is being Balefired. In KoD, we find out that the ruling class of the Seanchant are all dead, and the land is in chaos.

78

Anubis: 2005-11-29

**I may have an idea about who is being Balefired. In KoD, we find out that the ruling class of the Seanchant are all dead, and the land is in chaos.**

We also find out, in the same chapter, and I believe the same paragraph, possibly the same sentance, that Semerhage is responsable and that she did not use balefire, at least not on the Empress.

79

Great Lord of the Dark: 2005-12-01

Great thoery! Well Done! I disagree with virtually all of it.

Maybe... just maybe the Keepings and Wards have failed in each camp due to balefiring of them. Though simply unraveling them would be simpler and safer. How balefiring wards and keepings increases chaos enough to produce reality ripples and the like is something you'd have to explain.

No charcter anywhere has died mysteriously by balefire-like means (Black Ajah are not under anyone's orders at the moment and so don;t count) so again there is no cause and effect linking balefire and the reality ripples.

This is all the Dark one's doing, and I might add, not far different from a couple of theories I posted not long ago.

Callandor, you are in the right here. Keep up the good work.

80

vergere6: 2005-12-16

Brilliant, Brilliant! Your theory is so well laid out, it's hard to dispute.

People, help me out here. i have some thoughts, and i'd like ur comments.

In LoC, when Taim presents Rand with a Seal, and Rand is about to break it, does Taim feel shock because of the obvious reason, or because he is surprised that Rand saw through the "lie of the seals"?

If that wasn't coherent, well, what i'm trying to say is, chaos and balefire strengthen the DO in some indirect ways. The only way to stop him from gaining strength is to probably destroy the seals, and bring about TG before the DO is "ready" for it.

Can anyone explain to me the connection(if any) between the using of the Choeden Kal and the Tremalking Propehecy? What is "The time of illusion" exactly? Is it some dumb Athan Miere version of the Aiel "dream", or is it something to do with chaos, the DO and the gradual unravelling of the pattern?

Great theory, brilliant, Sporkster, it seems so obvious now that you put it forth like that.

81

Wompat: 2005-12-23

I have an idea about what/who the Chosen balefired, since I didn't read some of the lengthy thread someone may have already posted this, but I think it's reasonable to assume that since Semmy was at the meeting with Dammy, and we learn in KoD that Semmy has recently destroyed the court in Seanchan, I think the two may be connected.

82

Callandor: 2005-12-25

**I have an idea about what/who the Chosen balefired, since I didn't read some of the lengthy thread someone may have already posted this, but I think it's reasonable to assume that since Semmy was at the meeting with Dammy, and we learn in KoD that Semmy has recently destroyed the court in Seanchan, I think the two may be connected.**

Makes it kind of useless for Semirhage to talk about the amount of blood it took to bathe the Crystal Throne in blood then, if they were balefired.

Not to mention, it would more than likely either be not enough or way too late to really matter if the theory were true.

83

Narianna: 2005-12-27

wompat, as Anubis posted earlier in the same para we find that at least the empress was not balefired. the sadistic style of semi somewhat argues against the use of balefire.

84

JakOShadows: 2005-12-27

Wompat:

Semmy has said in the books that she didn't use balefire for that. So that is out of the question.

85

Aeolus: 2006-01-11

Ozymandias and others - in demanding to know why Demandred hasn't balefired "important" people you miss some crucial points. For starters, the whole theory stems from an original point that balefire is pretty damn scary. It scares the Forsaken. The reason WHY it scares them, why Demandred was reluctant to use it even when commanded by the DO, was because with two sides using it, the inevitalbe escalation leads to irretrievable unravelling of the Pattern. As was nearly the case the last time the Battle was fought. This time, the DO is being more cunning. By using balefire secretly, there is no provocation for Rand and the Asha'man to use it in return. Demandred retains a good degree of control over how MUCH is used. Just enough to weaken the Pattern, just enough for the DO to slip between the threads and break free. Also, RJ has gone to great lengths to create a world that contains more layers than we will ever see. Seanchan and Shara are just two lands that we know little about - yet the Last Battle will be fought there as well. Who knows what ta'veren and other "important" people exist in the world that Demandred could be balefiring? And in any case, the amount of balefire required to unravel the pattern won't be used by just a few assassinations... Demandred needs to be using massive amounts, probably through a sa'ngreal, probably wiping out remote villages, generations of people that cause the ripple effects seen throughout KoD.

86

Callandor: 2006-01-12

**By using balefire secretly, there is no provocation for Rand and the Asha'man to use it in return.**

But Rand and a few others are already using it.

And the point is not so much in both sides using it -- though that's definately a complication -- it's instead that the shear amount of it would destabalize the Pattern.

For the Dark One to take control by this means, would require a lot of balefiring to weaken the Pattern sufficently and that's getting dangerously close to what the Dark One does not want.

**Just enough to weaken the Pattern, just enough for the DO to slip between the threads and break free.**

The Dark One is still imprisoned, however weak; he has to get beyond that first.

**Seanchan and Shara are just two lands that we know little about - yet the Last Battle will be fought there as well.**

No, it won't.

**TITLE: Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: 6 - Threads Woven of Shadow

"Sammael kept his eyes on the people below. Graendal prattled like a fool, but only a true fool took her for one. What she seemed to let slip among her babbling was often planted as carefully as a conje needle. The key was picking out why, and what she meant to gain. Why would she suddenly have snatched pets from so far away? She seldom went out of her way. Was she trying to divert him toward the lands beyond the Waste by making him think she had an interest there? The battlefield was here. The Great Lord's first touch when he broke free would land here. The rest of the world would be whipped by the fringes of storms, even racked by storms, but those storms would generate here."

Randland is the main target; Randland is where the true battle is.

**Demandred needs to be using massive amounts, probably through a sa'ngreal, probably wiping out remote villages, generations of people that cause the ripple effects seen throughout KoD.**

And that's the point -- the sheer amount of people needed to be balefire would be remarked upon eventually. Towns disappearing to balefire get noticed eventually, even in other lands.

87

Aeolus: 2006-01-17

Re: Let the Lord of Chaos Rule - Through Balefire



"But Rand and a few others are already using it."

- I never said they weren't. My point was that were Demandred to use it AGAINST Rand, then the inevitable ESCALATION in its use would be dangerous to the Pattern. The current volume used by Rand and others is small.

"it's instead that the shear (SIC) amount of it would destabalize the Pattern."



- Which simply reinforces my point above.

"The Dark One is still imprisoned, however weak; he has to get beyond that first."

- As per the original post by Sporkster, destabilising the Pattern, however, is utterly consistent with His plan to escape the prison.

"No, it won't."

- Er, yes, it will - your own quotation proves that: "The rest of the world would be whipped by the fringes of storms, even racked by storms..." The definition of "racked" is to be violently affected - so clearly, Shara and Seanchan and other unknown lands will be badly hit by the Last Battle. I never claimed that the Battle would start there - I simply made the unarguable point that there is no evidence that there are no ta'veren in those lands as well.

"Towns disappearing to balefire get noticed eventually, even in other lands."

- No, they clearly would not - not in lands that the folk of Randland have never even discovered in thousands of years of exploring. They hadn't even discovered Seanchan.

88

jak o shadows: 2006-01-18

I think this is a great theory that explains better than most the strange manifestations that have been occuring that don't seem to completely fit with the dark ones touching the pattern.

I think that in KoD we may have seen a passing reference to something serious happening in Shara. It was a scene in an Inn where there was a guy in a coat of an unusual cut with a strange accent talking about silk worms. (an accent and coat we have not encountered before) The merchant he was talking to found this hilarious as everyone knows silk grows on trees. Then they hear a seanchan accent from a guy leaving, Alivia freaks and that is all we get about the silkworm guy. (sorry I don't have the exact quote to hand)

Now silk comes from Shara. We know that they protect the secret of silk very crefully. Sharans do not or are not allowed to leave. It begs the question what major upheaval has happened in Shara, if there is a guy walking around Randland with silkworms. Perhaps Demandred has been busy for the last few book balefiring anything that moves in Shara. We would hardly hear about it, especially as the sea folk are otherwise occupied and the Aiel have gone to the wetlands, the only two groups who consistently deal with Sharans. I also seem to remember a passing reference from one of the sea folk about odd goings on in Shara, odder than usual that is, but again no direct quote. I would put money on us seeing a lot more Sharan refugees in the next book. Also seeing as the sea folk aren't sailing at the moment there is limited escape routes from shara, so it will take time for the trail of refugees to reach randland.

The light only knows what is going on in the land of madmen and Seanchan is in chaos so a few armies being balefired here and there isn't going to cause a major fuss.

Sporkster, I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one, well done.

89

Khazhul: 2006-01-19

**Now silk comes from Shara. We know that they protect the secret of silk very crefully. Sharans do not or are not allowed to leave. It begs the question what major upheaval has happened in Shara, if there is a guy walking around Randland with silkworms. Perhaps Demandred has been busy for the last few book balefiring anything that moves in Shara. We would hardly hear about it, especially as the sea folk are otherwise occupied and the Aiel have gone to the wetlands, the only two groups who consistently deal with Sharans.**

There has already been an explanation to what is going on in Shara if I remember correctly. I remember one of the Aiel talking to Rand about thier dealings with Shara and one of the Sharans asked if the Dragon was going to break the world again. It was at this point that Rand realizes that just the rumor of him was affecting lands and countries he never even visited. That explains why there might be a Sharan in Randland, they are going through an upheavel because they know the Dragon is loose.

I still stick to the fact that we have not seen or heard of anything yet that would unravel the pattern like it did the last time it was used. The last time entire cities were destroyed with balefire. If someone could point out some incident where mass killing was happening I would buy into this theory in a heartbeat because I do like it, I just see no real proof of it yet.

90

Fear: 2006-10-19

One thing I have noticed is only the forsaken actually say the term "let the lord of chaos rule" at the end of KoD, Taim uses this term. RJ's way of saying that Taim is a forsaken. either osan'gar or Dem. I get the feeling its Dem, due the hate he seems to show for Rand. If he is busy building the black tower as well as infiltrating it much the same way the white tower has "always had the black ajah" where did he get time to run around balefireing people. I think undermining Rands master stroke is a more likely use of his time. Using the asha man to undermine much of Rands progress.

also, there are proficies that the dead walking the earth will be a sign of the last battle. Demandreds choice to obey the DO means that it didnt have to happen this way. The dead walking and the thinning of the pattern are unavoidable effects of the dark ones touch, not conscience decisions made by one man. If Dem decided not to use balefire and go his own way now that he is free of the taint, does that mean the last battle cant come until someone else decides to thin the pattern by discriminate use of balefire?

91

Callandor: 2006-10-22

**One thing I have noticed is only the forsaken actually say the term "let the lord of chaos rule" at the end of KoD, Taim uses this term. RJ's way of saying that Taim is a forsaken.**

No, it's Jordan's way of saying Taim is a Darkfriend (aside from the many other things), and quite obviously an important one. Jordan has made it quite clear that there aren't any "new Forsaken" from 3rd Agers due to the Dark One's bias against them in favor of Age of Legend channelers.

**either osan'gar or Dem. I get the feeling its Dem, due the hate he seems to show for Rand.**

Mazrim Taim is not Demandred. This is been very well established and confirmed from multiple Jordan signings.

92

Fear: 2006-10-23

I'm not going to argue my point since it's just a theory, but I find any facts that come straight from RJ suspect. It seems to me that having to deal with overly enthusiastic fans for the last 20 years might just have gotten to him. Has anyone stopped to think that if he is answering all these questions that by all rights are major mysteries in his story that hes just messing with people. It seems to me he put a lot of work into developing a very convoluted story line, I dont see why he would just up and tell people the answers. These are all big mysteries in the story, is it really Sammael, Who is Taim, etc. Why is he just telling people these things.

I'm not saying I'm right, but isn't it a possibility? This is a sight dedicated to theories, yet everything that comes from RJ is pure gold. Am I going to get people jumping on me because I dont think he's telling the complete truth? If I'm right, all these facts you keep throwing out are bogus. Has anyone else thought of this? I know if I was RJ I'd be sick and tired of crazy and slightly annoying people asking questions instead of figuring it out for themselves.

If RJ is telling the truth, then it's not Sammael. Its a pretty rotten thing to do to his readers, take a major villian, have him die in an obscure way (This I can accept), bring almost everyone back at least once, give the possibility that it is Sammael, then say, nope its not him he's still dead, ha ha fooled you. Which is more likely. Everytime a forsaken mutters "let the lord of chaos rule" the darkfriends around them are like "huh?". but taim is the only darkfriend in the whole story that knows what it means and gets the joke? Once again I find it hard to believe. I'd rather use intuition and RJ's writing than some easy answer that contradicts a lot of his work to date.

93

JakOShadows: 2006-10-24

Fear:

Why would RJ lie about what he wrote? Have you ever noticed how many times he uses the phrase RAFO? That is because he doesn't want to divulge something or have to say "sorry I changed something." And actually, I think enjoys answering all our questions and playing the role of "the creator." So I don't think he has any motivation to lie to us. I admit, he does enjoy leading us on, but I don't we have ever caught in a direct and blatant lie that was purposely made. If there were any, it was most likely out of human error. And it is not likely it was that because Sammuel being dead and Mazrim Taim not being Demandred are fairly big plot points. So that being said, let's give the crazy theories a rest here.

94

Callandor: 2006-10-24

**I'm not going to argue my point since it's just a theory, but I find any facts that come straight from RJ suspect. It seems to me that having to deal with overly enthusiastic fans for the last 20 years might just have gotten to him. Has anyone stopped to think that if he is answering all these questions that by all rights are major mysteries in his story that hes just messing with people.**

Of course. When I create a great masterwork of literary fiction, I'm going to piss on all my fans who come to be in appreciation for the series, and further corrupt the hard work I've put into it by giving them nothing but lies.

As well, it's not really a newsbreak: Jordan can have, and DOES have,

95

Ozymandias: 2006-10-25

I agree with Fear. RJ doesn't know... because he didn't actually write the series!!!! WoT is actually an alien creation, written by Jupitoreans (people from Jupiter) who have super-memories and can remember every single plotline (since clearly no human could). In addition to this, they only come to earth every few years, so thats why there is such a massive discrepancy in time between books.

96

ForsakenRahvin: 2006-10-26

**Also, here is a slight point about the balefiring. Why haven't any of the major characters died yet? The Dark One isn't stupid. He doesn't want Rand winning the Last Battle.**

True, The DO still wants Rand to join his side (or he wants him taimed, to be able to control him). He tried to do it from the very first book, and he has said that alive or dead Rand will be his (but preferably alive).

If the DO killed anyone close to him, there would be no chance for Rand to consider going to him. He would just get pissed off and destroy everything (which he'll probably do anyway, but that's not the point lol).

Now you all are much smarter then me with this, I just thought I would try to put in my 2 cents.

97

Darren: 2006-10-27

Callandor, when you create a "great work of fiction" it'll be cut and pasted from the WoT.

98

Fourth Age Historian: 2008-08-22

First let me say: I LOVE this theory. It's well-reasoned, Each piece follows from the one before it, and it has some symmetry and fills some gaps in what's been going on. That said, it isn't without its holes.

To defend it from some of the arguments I've seen so far:

Ozymandias: "WHO is Demandred balefiring? Its 'intuitively obvious' that its not random peasants we wouldn't hear about. And if 100 soldiers in the Borderland army disappears, it would be news, news that Rand would hear. Which he doesn't."

Actually, it makes a twisted kind of sense to BF peasants. One of the presiding concepts is that the pattern will not allow Rand to die before TLB, and the DO either wants Rand to get that far (and lose) or at least accepts that it will happen. So rather than attempting to kill the people instrumental to getting him there, which the pattern will resist, why not kill ENOUGH unimportant people to seriously weaken that very pattern. By that logic, if the pattern is weakened enough by TLB, perhaps it wouldn't be able to make Rand win. Also, the 100 disappearing soldiers wouldn't be news if they disappeared *before* they ever joined the army. Would it be "news" that some soldiers were acting crazy over their memories of people who were never there? Maybe, maybe not.

Khazhul: "...Destruction on such a scale to recreate the results that they had then to fit with what is happening now would not go unnoticed."

I think the point is that they aren't going unnoticed, but that people are misinterpreting them.

The holes I see in this theory are twofold.

First, many have noted that in the 100 years the bore was open, we have no evidence for the DO being able to have such a free hand as to create the effects. There is a flip side to this argument: If the things we're seeing now are direct effects of BF OR if BF is giving the DO the ability to do them through a weaker pattern, then why DIDN'T we see them when the bore was open after a full year of all-out BF war? I suppose it's possile that these things DID happen then, but we just aren't apprised of them.

Second, I would like to see some link between the ghosts we've seen and identified and people who have died by balefire (or even may have died by balefire). Gedwin and Torval's ghosts, in WH, I think are early incarnations of this phenomenon (and this could help debunk the Choedan Kal theory, perhaps) were killed by PAdan Fain with a knife, and Fain in turn is still alive. Lady MAringil was killed by Colavaere, who hung herself. Nelein died a long time ago...the rest of the ghosts are "Random people." There just isn't much of a link between the people who are appearing and the possibility of balefire.

Again, I like the theory...but after some digging I remain unconvinced. IT is compelling, though.

99

Catalyst: 2008-08-28

There's a philosopher (regretfully I don't remember who exactly) who said "Only the weak try to put order in their lives. THE STRONG RULE THE CHAOS."

There is one very, very nasty thing about Chaos, and apparently the Dark One forgot about it. Chaos is neutral and serves both everyone and no one. So Rand can use it as well.

KoD, Ch. 3, I think it was Semirhage who said that now that the Pattern is full of twists, ta'veren are impossible to find.

So, the Shadow hides it's actions in the Chaos. But the Good Guys ® can hide in it, as well. But trusting chaos is, as many people pointed out, a nasty gamble.

Although I can't believe that the Dark One to trust such a weapon when it could be used by everyone.

The strong rule Chaos.

And Cadsuane is trying to make Rand stronger.

If Rand doesn't become strong enough to rule that Chaos, his win would not be much better than his defeat.

I forgot to mention balefire.

What does it have to do with the Pattern unraveling? True enough, it's use damages the Pattern.

But the Pattern's unraveling was predicted in the Prophecies. No need for balefire to do the dirty job.

"What Demandred and the other Forsaken are Balefiring, I can’t answer – we can only speculate."

If they were balefiring anything, it would be the air. It is being destroyed by balefire as anything else. But I don't know whether the balefired air damages the Pattern.

If any land has gone missing, we would have known. Five bloody books have passed since the beginning of the "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" mission and if anything big has gone missing, it would not have gone unnoticed. Shadar Logoth's destruction was confirmed in ten days.

I hope that you can make sense of these chaotic thoughts.

End of the Line.

100

Ozymandias: 2008-08-30

FAHistorian, I don't see the logic in balefiring random peasants. Very little of importance in the books goes on without a hint from RJ. We have a very good clue as to what Demandred is doing; he's stirring up wars and confusion in the south. We're told that it looks like his work.

Its been way too long since I thought about this theory, so I'm not sure where my mind was going at the time, but it seems completely impossible that Demandred is just stopping people on the street to balefire them. Those are the kinds of actions that are not conducive to hiding, which is basically what he's doing.

No, balefire makes no sense. Its much more likely that its some sort of effect from the Seals breaking, or something similar. Balefire has been common throughout the books. As I've said, Rand has balefired hundreds of creatures. With no, repeat, no effect. He's balefired some incredibly influential threads (aka Rahvin) with no effect. And all of a sudden we think that Demandred offing a few random laborers is the straw to break the camels back? Hells no. I mean, go ahead and believe it, but there isn't a shred of evidence for it and ever bit of logic we can muster goes aganst it strongly.

The only proof of the balefire theory is a vague comment from the Dark One about it. And even this is no proof at all, merely a hint.

101

Fourth Age Historian: 2008-09-14

Ozy, I think you're right that the evidence is tenuous at best. I like the theory because it is an interesting idea of what Demandred might be doing, and a lot of work went into its research.

I am not at all sure I believe it is correct, though. This time through the books, I'm just now on LOC, and after reading Demandred's orders in context again I am less inclined to believe the mass BF-ing than I was at first. I still had fun reading both sides of this one.

102

Letsgomets: 2011-07-27

I noticed that nobody has commented on this particular theory since TGS was released; I may be incorrect about the timeline (please correct me if I am), but wouldn't those ripples be the result of Rand's attempt to balefire Graendal? If this has been pointed out on another theory thread, please forgive me, I have not had time to search for it.

103

Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-07-28

I also thought about this today, but I don't think it is. The storyline of Perrin is behind the one of Rand, and Perrin and Faile felt 3 ripples, while Rand only made 2.

104

Kamaul: 2011-07-28

Graendal was balefired in the Towers of Midnight/Gathering Storm. Weren't the ripples in Knife of Dreams, long before Rand is in Arad Doman?

105

Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-08-02

They were. That's another reason I thought it was something else.

106

wantfear: 2011-08-02

I was reading this and i agree that it's suspicious that such powerful ripples were felt in KoD when we haven't heard of anyone missing. However, a light clicked on in my head, is it possible that the Seanchan Imperial family or part of seandar was bale-fired? I was recently kicked out of my house so i don't have any of my books with me to see when the chaos in Seandar began, but i know that a large portion of the imperial family suddenly disappeared.

Could someone look up when the first mention of their death was and compare it with the mention of ripples from Perrin's and Faile's PoV's? And if there was a correlation between these events, it would give much more credibility to the whole "Demandred in is a Seanchan" theory that people tossed around about him.

107

Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-08-05

At least not all of the Imperial family is killed by balefire. Semirhage tells about that there is enough blood in the body of a woman to cover the whole Crystal Throne. So that was not balefire. It also tells us Semirhage murdered them all, and she is a sadist, so she wouldn't just balefire them.

108

Kamaul: 2011-08-05

"However, a light clicked on in my head, is it possible that the Seanchan Imperial family or part of seandar was bale-fired?"

No it can't. Semirhage killed the Empress without balefire and it is likely, based on her personality, to kill the rest of the Imperial Family without balefire as well.

I am under the impression that inanimate objects are being balefired. Destroying, say, a mountain sounds like it will cause a pretty big ripple in the Pattern, since a mountain has billions of threads while a person has only one.

109

wantfear: 2011-08-06

Kamaul, it's great to see that you tossed my idea away without any consideration, didn't look anything quotes up(which was the one thing i asked because i dont have my books), and on the "Fain:shadowspawn thief" thread you blatantly ignored my question that was directed at you. Bravo.

NoW Leyrann pointed out that either the crystal throne was draped in blood or there was enough blood to drape it on the crystal throne, one or the other. looking through the thread i've also found 2 or 3 other places where a Semirhage theory has emerged and instantly been shot down by this same information.

So lets say the empress herself was not balefired. Again, i am going to ask for someone to please find the exact quote.

We know that the Great Lord commanded for chaos to be sown, and it's heavily implied by both his conversation with demandred and the "balescreams"(that word still sounds corny to me) that balefire was the method by which this chaos was to be sown. We have no records on inanimate objects being balefired, and given how meticulous Sanderson and Jordan are and were, we would've heard something. I know that most of the imperial family is gone however. It would fit semirhages personality to the T in my opinion if she was commanded to balefire them and then decided that for the empress it wasnt suiting. Personally i don't think she would be capable of balefiring a higher up like that, it would clash with her personality too much. She liked breaking people and seeing what they were made of far too much to just burn someone from the pattern who had that much power.

Also, the more i think about this, the more i am convincing myself of it. I think it's the intro to the Towers of Midnight where we get the quote "Men weren't saying it was the end of days; they were screaming it" I wish i had my books so that i could finish the passage but from what i remember it was heavily implied that in Seanchan the situation was bad, worse than in Randland. Chaos was everywhere, it ruled. The land was rife with bandits. And Yes, bandits were nothing new to randland but Seanchan isn't randland, it was ordered and disciplined.

It makes sense to me that the pattern would be weaker there and henceforth there would be more chaos; the first places in a pattern to be affected by a burn string would be the places directly adjacent. I'm probably just crazy, and this has no real bearing on what's going on now in the story( I dont think) Considering that now we have bigger issues, like WTF(where) is Demandred, wassup with Fain, who will die in Tarmon Gai'don, and whether or not Moraine will be able to pull the white tower off it's high horse before its too late.

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Kamaul: 2011-08-07

"Kamaul, it's great to see that you tossed my idea away without any consideration, didn't look anything quotes up(which was the one thing i asked because i dont have my books), and on the "Fain:shadowspawn thief" thread you blatantly ignored my question that was directed at you. Bravo."

Actually I did not ignore it, I answered it. I don't just ignore people and their questions.

"It would fit semirhages personality to the T in my opinion if she was commanded to balefire them and then decided that for the empress it wasnt suiting. Personally i don't think she would be capable of balefiring a higher up like that, it would clash with her personality too much. She liked breaking people and seeing what they were made of far too much to just burn someone from the pattern who had that much power."

As far as we know, the Dark One never commanded for anyone specifically to be balefired. Why would the Dark One care who is balefired as long as it is not one of the major characters? If the Dark One did command the deaths, Semirhage would probably not have spared the Empress regardless of her feelings. If he didn't, Semirhage would not balefire the Imperial Family, because of her personality.

"From what i remember it was heavily implied that in Seanchan the situation was bad, worse than in Randland. Chaos was everywhere, it ruled. The land was rife with bandits. And Yes, bandits were nothing new to randland but Seanchan isn't randland, it was ordered and disciplined."

From what I can remember, the land was full of rebellions. They were normally put down swiftly, but that's not the point. If suddenly there was no Empress and no Imperial Family to take the throne, that means ANYONE can now seize the title of Empress, or Emperor, which would throw the continent into Chaos anyway. No balefire needed.

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Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-08-08

I have read a theory (I think it was in "seed singing the pattern shut) that the threads represent the life. So if you go and live in the Blight, life will start again, because there are new threads, and the Blight is the absence of threads. Perfectly fitting in this theory, is that the Pattern is weaker if there is more chaos. And what does the Dark One want? To destroy the Pattern. One way to do this is to use balefire. Another is to cause chaos.

112

wantfear: 2011-08-09

So Kamaul now you are denying that the Great lord even ordered for specific people to be bale fired? You are making obstinate remarks because you dislike me which i think is fair but be realistic and accept the facts, the great lord wants his minions to use balefire to sow chaos he says "WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?"(LoC chapter 6) At the end of his conversation with demandred he says "THEN LISTEN, AND SERVE. HEAR WHO WILL DIE AND WHO LIVE." It's a given that they balefired something.

Seanchan was rigid and organized, highly disciplined. If a disaster of that magnitude woud've somehow happened without the use of balefire, their structure and civil society would'be been maintained by the means of the blood, or more likely the high blood. Or Sul'dam if no one else. More over, since the end of the consolidation they haven't been in a state rebellion. It would be like saying the United States is a land of rebellion because of the civil war.

113

TheGreenMan: 2011-08-09

Hey there! First time post here; jumping on the wagon a little late (one book to go!)

So re-reading the passages pointed out here and re-reading LoC has confirmed, at least in my mind, what "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" means and who the LoC is.

The LoC is no one in particular at the time the DO commands "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule". He is instead suggesting that the LoC, the most chaotic, will be the one to rule. This is further suggested when he asks Demandred "WOULD YOU BE NAE'BLIS?"

It is my theory that the DO is saying that the most chaotic minion will be named nae'blis. As is suggested above, the DO tells Demandred how to go about spreading chaos with Balefire. But look, Demandred was not named nae'blis; Moridin/Ishamael was. So maybe Demandred failed? It could be that the reason none of the main or sub characters have disappeared mysteriously (as though by balefire) is because Demandred failed to spread the designated chaos and missed his chance at being nae'blis; or because Ishamael was resurrected and named nae'blis in his place.

Not sure what you think, or if I've missed some vital posts. Just my $0.02.

114

keemlin: 2011-08-16

everyone...i think something is being overlooked.

one..
someone here says the DO wants to get out of the prison holding him....which is apparently the pattern. but go out where?

oh...and we can certainly be sure that the DO is the antithesis of the creator. in that case why does he need those so-called chosen to balefire the world for him. balefire cuts a thread of the pattern,right?

the essence of the DO is the true power.i remember reading this in the interview database.

the true power makes balefire, same as one power. AND the true power embodies ultimate chaos.

so why doesn't the DO just blast his way out of his prison(pattern) with what will destroy it..?balefire?

i'm sure he can do that. so, i would like an answer for this...if the pattern holds the dark one...why doesn't he burn free with a cataclysmic explosion of balefire???

115

Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-08-16

@Keemlin:
Because BEING True Power does not mean you can use it. The Nae'blis (and maybe other forsaken) can make weaves with it. But the Dark One maybe can't. I think he would have done so otherwise.

116

keemlin: 2011-08-17

But @leyrann,..
Being the True Power will,i think, imply that the Dark one can craft any weave he wishes. People can usually control their body parts.

i grant the analogy is probably a bad one.but its the best i can come up with.

being the true power should give the DO control over it...just as being ourselves gives us control over our body. i believe that the true power EMBODIES the DO and that the intelligence that directs it is distinct from the true power.

One wonders if that is the true import of the DO's imprisonment. maybe the creator cut off The dark one's control over his "body"..i.e true power.perhaps that is what the pattern is...the creator's shield to stop the dark one from using the true power.

i reckon that the DO has been left with just PATHETIC control of the true power. like a paralyzed person has little or no control over his body..so does the DO has little or no control over his.

but one can hold the hand of a paralyzed person and make him paint. this is the reason,i think the DO invests whatever little true power he has with the nae'blis. even a little power the DO has remaining is a lot by the standards of the physical world.

do you remember in LoC..dumai's wells?there the sisters knotted rand's shield ...and eventually rand was able to unravel it.

the creator, i suppose, has knotted the shield on the dark one...so that it can tend to itself. this knot i believe, is the wheel.

the pattern is unraveling. because the DO has to unravel it to get back his power.his complete power.

i know this theory is a long shot...but the nature of the DO is seldom addressed. so i thought i'd throw in a little support in that direction.

117

TheGreenMan: 2011-08-17

Yeah, I don't think the DO can channel per se. It seems he has some strong powers but I don't think there's ever been evidence of channeling.

118

Ashaman Leyrann Gaidin: 2011-08-17

@Keemlin: It looks well. Can you make a theory about it?

119

rav514: 2011-08-17

@ keemlin
You really have complete control over your body? Can you grow an eye on your nose? Expecting the DO to have such complete control over his body as to be able to remake him any way he see's fit is akin to expecting a human being to do the same.

Now the DO may or may not even be human. Since we've never really seen the DO we can't be sure he is or isn't. What i'm getting at is that we lack enough evidence to say we he is capable of.

120

wantfear: 2011-08-18

that debate on whether or not the darkone could channel or not and in turn the creator is rather fruitless . . . both sanderson and jordan basically refuse to answer those sorts of questions.

121

wantfear: 2011-08-19

Both sanderson and jordan refuse to answer questions on whether or not the great lord can channel (and in turn the creator as well) so debate on the subject is fruitless.

122

TheGreenMan: 2011-08-21

Isn't that why it's Theoryland?

123

keemlin: 2011-08-22

@rav514 and @wantfear

let me address the questions you have raised.

1.by control ,rav514,i do NOT mean something out of bound for us. come on,even you have to admit that growing an eye on a nose or something is unnatural. it's not control over body. it is just freakish.

by control,i mean..whatever control we have over our body within reason. it is within reason that the DO might be able to use his body(true power)in powerful ways.

you,however are making the big mistake of assuming that the DO and humans are similar. thus,we can safely conjecture that the DO just might be able to use the TP...that is his substance to affect reality.

2.and @wantfear. you see, the theory about the DO or creator being able to channel is one worthy of further investigation.it might very well be the keystone to the vault of answers.

it is relevant in that it probes issues closely tied to the pattern. goes right to the fundamental level.

and one more thing...just because an answer is refused,does not imply its non-existence.

so,yes...this particular debate is anything but fruitless.

124

rav514: 2011-08-23

@keemlin
I'm not assuming human's and the DO are similar. You are assuming they ARE NOT. Which is what i was trying to point out. I'm assuming we lack enough evidence to determine what the DO is and is not capable of. I believe I said that in the second paragraph of my previous post.

For every ability the DO has currently demonstrated Rand or another HUMAN channeller has some how reversed. Rand and the taint, the Weather, the black strings that tie one to the DO. Nyn and insanity the comes with the taint. The ability to command Shadow spawn by Fain. Heck, all the chosen do that. I'm sure there are more but i'm not going to dig them up.

The DO may be some supernatural being capable of anything; OR.... He may be a scared little boy trapped outside of time who can channel TP.

I'm not suggesting either is correct, i'm say neither can be PROVEN correct. We'll just have to RAFO.

125

wantfear: 2011-08-25

I think that you're wrong but okay i can accept that i spoke too...close-mindedly. Anything is possible.

126

Sporkster: 2012-05-08

Nice to see that something I wrote 6-7 years ago is still "making news" as recently as less than a year ago. The books that have been written since I posted this theory only add more fuel to the fire, if you ask me - and I'll stand by this one until it is conclusively proven wrong. :-)

127

Sporkster: 2012-05-08

Oh yeah, and:

Interview: Apr, 2012 Afternoon Tea with Brandon Sanderson - Luckers (Paraphrased)

Luckers: Are the ripples in Knife of Dreams balescreams?

Brandon Sanderson: *grins* RAFO. And say thats a RAFO with a grin.

I also have a grin, after reading this segment of Lucker's report.

128

Hundred and First Companion: 2012-05-11

I am pretty sure the Great Lords command from LoC wasn't to begin using balefire to sow chaos.

Path of Daggers, Ch 12, New Alliances, Grandal POV

"he would ride horses to death reaching Ituralde, and if that message, delivered by Alsalam's close cousin, supposedly coming from the King himself and with Gray Men trying to stop it, did not satisfy the Great Lord's command to increase chaos, nothing would, short of balefire."

Unless Demandred lied about the message. Yet surely even Demandred would not lie in the Great Lords name.

129

codetoast: 2012-05-14

Love your Theory, I'm just reading it for the first time. I also had some questions. If say I'm a guy who was a general in the age of legends, and i am now reborn as a carpenter. If I get balefired far enough back, could the threads of my previous life be removed from the pattern? I still think its possible that the dark one is responsible for the pattern behaving weirdly, but it could be anything, even Rand's mood.

That being said, there are some things that are happening that can't be explained by people being merely removed from the pattern. There are a lot of different powers working in the pattern right now to create these weird phenomenons.

130

Emma Sedai: 2012-08-03

Interesting, but I do not agree. I think Demandred is Mazrim Taim. I can't remember which book but RJ says that Demandred was always just a step behind Lews Therin and then later, in another book, He says that Taim could hold almost as much Power as Rand himself. I think the final proof is where Demandred says in ToM that he is building an army, I believe that army is his group of Ashaman followers. There are no other armies mentioned that he could be Head of and A hundred Ashaman is definitely an army. Also Taim escaped the Aes Sedai holding him captive after he was declared a false Dragon and we know the Forsaken can break a tied off shield.

131

Kamaul: 2012-08-03

RJ has specifically said nearly a hundred times that Demandred is not Mazrim Taim.

132

Cabadrin: 2012-08-03

Bashere tracked Taim to Andor, so Taim did not Travel. Demandred fleeing, with an army at his heels, of course he would Travel. And, 13x13 is not the only way to change a man. Taim is adept at Compulsion - remember what he did to Basheres assassins: "all theyll really want to do now is serve and obey".

One oddity about Taim, though: supposedly, even in defeat he had supporters lojal enough, brave enough, capable enough, to free him from the Sedai who were transporting him to Tar Valon, and yet he arrived in Caemlyn "alone and friendless". What happened to those supporters? I suspect some of the Forsaken were grooming Taim as a false Dragon to sow confusion (this may be what inspired Asmodean to make Couladin a false Car'a'carn). Taim, finally realizing who his benefactors were, managed to flee, but obviously he sought to keep his previous association with the Forsaken secret. Some of their tastes and expressions linger, though.

As for the main subject of this thread: no, the Dark One is not desperate. Remember, this is "Groundhog Day" - if he fails to break the cycle this time, there will be another chance in 10000 years or so. He has lived through many of these cycles, no reason he would be more desperate now then before. But the simple, logical strategies have all failed, now the DO tries to be unpredictable: "let the Lord of Chaos rule".

133

Spidy: 2012-08-08

@CABADRIN Rather than Forsaken, I believe again it was the Reds of the Aes Sedai. The Forsaken took an opportunity to capitalise on the situation, the rest of your thoughts appear to be about right. Most likely the top Forsaken dog.

134

mooseknuckles: 2012-08-08

I like your theory. I think it explains a lot.

135

Cabadrin: 2012-08-08

@Spidy - I dont see any evidence for Red grooming. The case for Forsaken grooming is flimsy at best, but it could explain Taims occasional forsakenisms, when the observation that Taim couldnt Travel falsifies the theory that Taim came from the Age of Legends. Of course, he could have been groomed by Darkfriends, with the Forsaken taking a hand only in the rescue, if at all. I dont buy Taim being a darkfriend himself, there are several signs of scruples. Just a nasty and ambitious man resenting his demotion from Napoleon to teacher at the War College.

136

naviguessor: 2012-08-09

In TSR, when the wondergirls ares questioning the black sisters, two plots are confessed: the panarch's palace, and the freeing of taim.

137

Cabadrin: 2012-08-09

@Naviguessor:
I had forgotten that; it seemed to make sense to assume that at least one of them was lying. But this would be a Black plot, so it ties in with my theory.

I am troubled by "the shadows seemed to follow him"(WH, Prologue), though. On the other hand, two Forsaken in the Black Tower seems excessive, although Taim may have been taken over after Osan'gar joined Rand.

Still, Taim does not feel right for the dark side. Arrogant and ambitious, yes, but his dream of glory was to be the Dragon Reborn, Saviour of Mankind. Doing something constructive to earn respect is not the dark way.