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orilea is a Darkfriend

by terez: 2010-07-03 | 6.27 out of 10 (11 votes)

Recent Categories: The Dark One

This is not my theory - the idea was first mentioned on the 13th Depository forums after the release of The Gathering Storm - but I thought it would be a good idea to get all of the evidence for the theory together in one place for easy linking, and to introduce the theory to those who follow Theoryland but might not have considered it.

I didn't consider it, even after reading the book (and apparently, neither did Cadsuane), but now that the idea has been brought to my attention, I realize that it's probably true. If it is true, then Sorilea is probably the most powerful of the unrevealed Darkfriends; her influence among the Wise Ones is almost unchallenged.

Sorilea is first introduced in The Fires of Heaven, where she takes charge of the Wise Ones at Rhuidean, more or less. There is only one thing in particular about Sorilea's actions in this book that is of interest:

TITLE - The Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 42 - This Place, This Day

The sky began to lighten into gray, and as the log tower came into sight above the trees, he broke the quiet himself. "I didn't expect you to be part of this, Aviendha. I thought you said Wise Ones take no part in battles." He was sure she had. A Wise One could walk through the middle of a battle untouched, or into any hold or stand of a clan that had blood feud with hers, but she took no part in fighting, certainly not with channeling. Until he came to the Waste, even most Aiel had not really known that some Wise Ones could channel, though there were rumors of strange abilities, and sometimes something the Aiel thought might be close to channeling.

"I am not a Wise One yet," she replied pleasantly, shifting her shawl. "If an Aes Sedai like Egwene can do this, so can I. I arranged it this morning, while you still slept, but I have thought of it since you first asked Egwene."

There was enough light now for him to see Egwene flush. When she saw him glancing at her, she tripped over nothing, and he had to catch her arm to keep her from falling. Avoiding his eyes, she jerked free. Maybe he would not have to worry about any needles from her. They started uphill through the sparse woods toward the tower.

"They didn't try to stop you? Amys, I mean, or Bair, or Melaine?" He knew they had not. If they had, she would not be there.

Aviendha shook her head, then frowned thoughtfully. "They talked for a long time with Sorilea, then told me to do as I thought I must. Usually they tell me to do as they think I must." Glancing at him sideways, she added, "I heard Melaine say that you bring change to everything."

It is clear from this passage that Sorilea is the one that thought Aviendha should use the Power in the battle, and that she had to convince all three of the Dreamwalkers to allow it. Even then, they were reluctant to actually condone it, telling Aviendha only to do what she thought she must.

And indeed, Sorilea's next significant action is in Lord of Chaos, when she has a battle of wills with Amys over the issue, when Rand is kidnapped. But first, Sorilea has a short point of view just after Rand is captured, and it is short enough that I can quote the whole thing (this is the only POV we ever get from Sorilea):

TITLE - Lord of Chaos
CHAPTER: 51 - The Taking

Hurrying along the dusk-covered street by the great stone house where the Aes Sedai were, Sorilea could barely sense them still channeling inside. She could only just sense it because she could only just channel at all, but that was not why she ignored it. They had been channeling day and night in there since their arrival; none of the Wise Ones wasted thought on why any longer. Sorilea certainly had more important matters to think of now. Back at the treekiller's palace, the Maidens were beginning to grow itchy over Rand al'Thor, muttering that the Car'a'carn would have some explaining to do when he returned this time. Sorilea had lived a great deal longer than any of those Maidens, longer than any other Wise One, weak in the Power or not, and she was uneasy. Like most men, Rand al'Thor went when he wished, where he wished - men were like cats in that - but this time, at the same time he was flitting off, Min had vanished somewhere between the tents and the palace. Sorilea did not like coincidences, no matter how many surrounded the Car'a'carn. Wrapping her shawl against a sudden feel of chill in her bones, she hurried on toward the tents.

This reveals absolutely nothing about Sorilea's allegiances. A Darkfriend of her stature would certainly be concerned about Rand turning up missing, just as much as a loyal Aiel would be. It is Sorilea that first suggests that they will use the Power to help rescue Rand:

TITLE - Lord of Chaos
CHAPTER: 53 - The Feast of Lights

Sorilea had been studying Perrin. Wise Ones' eyes often made Perrin feel as Aes Sedai's did, that he had been weighed to the ounce and measured to the inch. Sorilea made him feel he had been disassembled like a broken plow, every pin hefted and examined to see whether it should be mended or replaced. "Tell him everything, Rhuarc," she said sharply.

Amys laid a hand on Rhuarc's arm. "He has the right to know, shade of my heart. He is Rand al'Thor's near-brother." Her voice was gentle, her smell quite firm.

Rhuarc gave the Wise Ones a hard look, and Dobraine a contemptuous one. Finally he straightened to his full height. "I can take only Maidens and siswai'aman." By his tone and his smell, he would rather lose an arm than speak those words. "Too many of the others will not dance the spears with Aes Sedai." Dobraine's lip curled in contempt.

"How many Cairhienin will fight Aes Sedai?" Perrin asked quietly. "Six Aes Sedai, and we have nothing but steel." How many of the Maidens and these sis-whatever could Rhuarc gather? No matter; there were always the wolves. How many wolves would die?

The curl went out of Dobraine's lip. "I will, Lord Aybara," he said stiffly. "I and my five hundred, if there were sixty Aes Sedai."

Even Sorilea's cackle was leathery. "Do not fear the Aes Sedai, treekiller." Suddenly, shockingly, a tiny flame danced in the air before her. She could channel!

She let the flame vanish as they began planning, but it remained in Perrin's thoughts. Small, flickering weakly, somehow it had seemed a declaration of war stronger than trumpets, war to the knife.

Even after the allowance for Aviendha in the previous book, the issue of Wise Ones participating in battle was still a sore point for Amys, and it is clear that Sorilea champions those who believe that they should participate, and that Amys fights against it:

TITLE - Lord of Chaos
CHAPTER: 54 - The Sending

Perrin forbore asking what the bleakness was, just as he did not ask how Rhuarc had gotten the Aiel across the Alguenya without ferries when water they could not step across was the only thing in the world that could give an Aiel pause. He would have liked to know, but the answers were unimportant. Six thousand Aiel, five hundred of Dobraine's armsmen, and two hundred Winged Guards. Against six Aes Sedai, their Warders and some five hundred guards apparently, that should be enough. Except. The Aes Sedai held Rand. If they put a knife to his throat, would anyone dare lift a hand?

"There are also ninety-four Wise Ones," Amys said. "They are the strongest in the One Power of those near the city." That came out reluctantly - he had the idea Aiel women did not like to admit they could channel - but her voice picked up. "We would not have brought so many, but all wanted to come." Sorilea cleared her throat, and this time Amys blushed. He was going to have to ask Gaul. Aiel were so unlike anyone else he had ever met; maybe they began blushing when they grew older. "Sorilea leads us," Amys finished, and the older woman gave a snort that sounded extremely satisfied. She certainly smelled satisfied.

...

The Wise Ones always walked alongside the road in groups that varied in size and seemed to shift members constantly. By the end of the first day Perrin realized that all that shifting really centered around two women, Sorilea and Amys. By the end of the second, he was sure the two were urging very different viewpoints; there were too many glares and frowns. Now and then Perrin heard Aes Sedai mentioned; he caught snatches about "custom" and "battle," but never enough to understand. Amys began backing down more slowly, and blushing considerably less. Sometimes Rhuarc smelled faintly anxious when he looked at his wife, but that was the only sign he saw anything. By the third camp out of the city, Perrin half-expected to see Sulin and Nandera's fight repeated between Wise Ones.

Instead, the two women took a waterskin and went off a little distance, where they sat by themselves on the ground and removed their folded scarves so their long hair hung loose. He watched them into moonlit darkness, keeping far enough back that he would not eavesdrop even by accident, until he went to his own bed, but all they did was drink cups of water and talk. The next morning, the rest of the Wise Ones still shifted from group to group, but before the long column had covered three miles, Perrin realized that all centered on Sorilea now. Now and then she and Amys went off to one side of the road by themselves to talk, but there were no more glares. Had they been wolves, Perrin would have said a challenge to the pack leader had been defeated, but by their scents, Sorilea accepted Amys as almost an equal now, which did not fit wolves at all.

Sorilea's mission to bend custom in this particular fashion is certainly not evidence that she is a Darkfriend, despite the fact that most of the custom-bending from the Aiel comes from the Shaido, which began with Couladin, who was almost certainly a Darkfriend. However, in retrospect, it is interesting to consider what her motives might have been as an agent of the Shadow.

Her next significant action is apparently in full concert with Amys, when they demand the care of Rand's Aes Sedai prisoners. Why was Sorilea so particularly satisfied?

TITLE - A Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: 2 - The Butcher's Yard

"The Wise Ones will take charge of the prisoners," Rand said at last, and Sorilea suddenly smelled so satisfied that Perrin knuckled his nose vigorously. Taim shook his head in exasperation, but Rand rounded on him before he could speak. He had tucked a thumb behind the buckle of his sword belt, a Dragon etched and gilded, and his knuckles were white from gripping it; his other hand worked on the dark boarhide of his sword hilt. "The Asha'man are supposed to train - and recruit - not stand guard. Especially on Aes Sedai." Perrin's hackles stirred as he realized what aroma wafted from Rand when he looked at Taim. Hatred, touched with fear. Light, he had to be sane.

It would seem that if anyone should know that Sorilea was a Darkfriend, it should be Verin, and indeed, Verin has some interesting thoughts on Sorilea in the next book:

TITLE - The Path of Daggers
PROLOGUE - Deceptive Appearances

She suppressed a sigh. For one thing, she could not truly like seeing sisters treated so, whatever the reasons or need, and for another, it was obvious that a fair number of the Wise Ones wanted... What? For her to know that being Aes Sedai counted for nothing here? Ridiculous. That had been made abundantly clear days ago. Perhaps that she could be put into a black robe, too? For the time she thought she was safe from that, at least, but the Wise Ones hid a number of secrets she had yet to puzzle out, the smallest of them how their hierarchy worked. Very much the smallest, yet life and a whole skin lay wrapped inside that one. Women who gave commands sometimes took them from the very women they had been commanding earlier, and then later it was turned about again, all without rhyme or reason that she could see. No one ever ordered Sorilea, though, and in that might lie safety. Of a sort.

She could not help a surge of satisfaction. Early this morning in the Sun Palace, Sorilea had demanded to know what shamed wetlanders most. Kiruna and the other sisters did not understand; they made no real efforts to see what was happening out here, perhaps fearing what they might learn, fearing the strains knowledge might put on their oaths. They still struggled to justify taking the path fate had pushed them down, but Verin already had reasons for the path she followed, and purpose. She also had a list in her pouch, ready to hand to Sorilea when they were alone. No need to let the others know. Some of the captives she had never met, but she thought that for most women, that list summed up the weaknesses Sorilea was seeking. Life was going to grow much more difficult for the women in black. And her own efforts would be aided no end, with luck.

...

Her thoughts raced, and none touched Turanna. Irgain's stilling made her belly feel full of rancid grease, the Light knew. But what was the woman doing grinding grain? And dressed like the Aiel women! Had she been put to work just there so Verin could see? Foolish question; even with a ta'veren as strong as Rand al'Thor only a few miles away, there was some limit to the number of coincidences she would accept. Had she miscalculated? At worst, it could not be a large error. Only, small mistakes sometimes proved as fatal as large. How long could she hold out if Sorilea decided to break her? A distressingly short time, she suspected. In some ways, Sorilea was as hard as anyone she had ever met. And not a thing she could say that would stop it. A worry for another day. There was no point getting ahead of herself.

...

Once Aeron departed, Verin allowed herself a sigh of relief. She had been afraid Aeron intended to remain. Gaining permission to be alone with the prisoners had required nearly as much effort as getting Sorilea and Amys to decide they needed to be questioned, and by someone intimate with the White Tower. If they ever learned they had been guided to that decision... It was a worry for another day. She seemed to be piling up a great many of those.

...

Verin continued to lay down the threads of her weaving, eyes flashing from her work to the doorflaps and back. She felt a little like sweating herself. Sorilea might decide she needed help with the questioning. She might bring out one of the sisters from the Sun Palace. Should any sister learn of this, stilling was a very real possibility. "So you were going to deliver him to Elaida neatly washed and well-behaved," she said in a slightly louder tone. The quiet had gone on too long. She did not want that pair outside reporting that she was whispering with the prisoners.

Very interesting thoughts, but they must all be taken in the context of the last bit. Verin 'guided' Amys and Sorilea to allow her to question the prisoners, and it must be assumed that she used the Power in some way. This means that Verin and Sorilea are not working toward the same goals, exactly. Is this the 'safety of a sort' that Verin refers to, in relation to her protection by Sorilea? What of the satisfaction that Verin felt in relation to the shames of the wetlander women? What of the fact that she intended to deliver her list to Sorilea alone? It is difficult to tell much from this, but it is hard to ignore the fact that Sorilea is as hard a woman as Verin has ever met, in some ways, and that Verin seems to fear her in particular.

By far, the most striking piece of evidence pointing to Sorilea being a Darkfriend begins in this book, interestingly in a chapter that is (by virtue of being split between a Forsaken POV and Cadsuane) under the Forsaken chapter icon:

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

"Teaching any of our new apprentices anything has been difficult at best," Sorilea went on. "I do not speak to offend, but you Aes Sedai give oath, it seems, and immediately try to find a way around it. Alanna Mosvani is particularly difficult." Suddenly her clear green eyes were very sharp on Cadsuane's face. "How can we punish her willful failings if it means harming the Car'a'carn?"

Cadsuane folded her hands in her lap. Masking surprise was not easy. So much for the secret of Alanna's crime. But why had the woman let her know that she knew? Perhaps one revelation called for another. "The bond does not work in that fashion," she said. "If you kill her, he will die, then or soon after. Short of that, he will be aware of what happens to her, but he will not really feel it. As far away as he is now, he will only be vaguely aware, at that."

Sorilea nodded slowly. Her fingers touched the golden tray on the table, then came away. Her expression was as hard to read as the face of a statue, but Cadsuane suspected that Alanna would find an unpleasant surprise the next time she let her temper flare, or threw one of her Arafellin sulks. That was unimportant, though. Only the boy was important.

"Most men will take what is offered, if it seems attractive and pleasant," Sorilea said. "Once, we thought of Rand al'Thor so. Unfortunately, it is too late to change the path we walk. Now, he suspects whatever is offered freely. Now, if I wanted him to accept something, I would pretend I did not want him to have it. If I wanted to stay close to him, I would pretend indifference to whether I ever saw him again." Once more, those eyes focused on Cadsuane, green augers. Not trying to see what lay inside her head. The woman knew. Some, at least. Enough, or too much.

Still, Cadsuane felt a rising thrill of possibility. If she had had any doubts that Sorilea wanted to feel her out, they were gone. And you did not feel out someone in this manner unless you hoped for some agreement. "Do you believe a man must be hard?" she asked. She was taking a chance. "Or strong?" By her tone, she left no doubt she saw a difference.

Again Sorilea touched the tray; the smallest of smiles might have quirked her lips for an instant. Or not. "Most men see the two as one and the same, Cadsuane Melaidhrin. Strong endures; hard shatters."

Cadsuane drew breath. A chance she would have scoured anyone else for taking. But she was not anyone else, and sometimes chances had to be taken. "The boy confuses them," she said. "He needs to be strong, and makes himself harder. Too hard, already, and he will not stop until he is stopped. He has forgotten how to laugh except in bitterness; there are no tears left in him. Unless he finds laughter and tears again, the world faces disaster. He must learn that even the Dragon Reborn is flesh. If he goes to Tarmon Gai'don as he is, even his victory may be as dark as his defeat."

Sorilea listened intently, and kept silent even after Cadsuane finished. Those green eyes studied her. "Your Dragon Reborn and your Last Battle are not in our prophecies," Sorilea said at last. "We have tried to make Rand al'Thor know his blood, but I fear he sees us as only another spear. If one spear breaks in your hand, you do not pause to mourn before taking up another. Perhaps you and I aim at targets not too far apart."

"Perhaps we do," Cadsuane said cautiously. Targets even a hand apart might be not at all alike.

Abruptly, the glow of saidar surrounded the leather-faced woman. She was weak enough to make Daigian look at least moderately strong. But then, Sorilea's strength did not lie in the Power. "There is a thing you may find useful," she said. "I cannot make it work, but I can weave the flows to show you." She did just that, laying feeble skeins that fell into place and melted, too poor to do what they were intended for. "It is called Traveling," Sorilea said.

This time, Cadsuane's jaw dropped. Alanna and Kiruna and the rest denied teaching the Wise Ones how to link, or a number of other skills they suddenly seemed to have, and Cadsuane had assumed the Aiel had managed to wring them out of the sisters held in the tents. But this was...

Impossible, she would have said, yet she did not believe Sorilea was lying. She could hardly wait to try the weave herself. Not that it was of much use immediately. Even if she knew exactly where the wretched boy was, she had to make him come to her. Sorilea was right about that. "A very great gift," she said slowly. "I have nothing I can give you to compare."

This time, there was no doubt of the brief smile that flashed across Sorilea's lips. She knew very well that Cadsuane was in her debt. Taking up the heavy golden pitcher with both hands, she carefully filled the small white cups. With plain water. She did not spill a drop.

"I offer you water oath," she said solemnly, picking up one of the cups. "By this, we are bound as one, to teach Rand al'Thor laughter and tears." She sipped, and Cadsuane imitated her.

"We are bound as one." And if their targets turned out not to be the same at all? She did not underestimate Sorilea as ally or opponent, but Cadsuane knew which target had to be struck, at any cost.

Some speculated even before the release of The Gathering Storm about when Sorilea would call in Cadsuane's debt to her, and what for.

In retrospect, it appears as though the only purpose of this meeting, in Sorilea's mind, was to put Cadsuane in her debt. She even felt out the possibility, in the beginning, when she offered a piece of information (that they knew of Alanna's bond with Rand) to see if Cadsuane would be willing to offer another piece of information in return. She was intelligent enough, as Cadsuane observed, to have deduced Cadsuane's intentions with Rand, and her concerns, and the water oath on the subject was also planned as a distraction to cover for her true intent. Sorilea's seeming agreement with Cadsuane seems especially strange in light of this earlier quote:

TITLE - The Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 23 - The Fifth, I Give You

The leathery-faced Wise One nodded as though everything had been settled. "You, young Aes Sedai. You know the Car'a'carn well, it is said. Will he do as he has threatened? Hang even a clan chief?"

"I think... maybe... that he will." More quickly, Egwene added, "But I am sure he can be brought to see reason." She was not sure of any such thing, or even that it was reason - what he had said sounded only just - but justice would do him no good if he found the others turning against him as well as the Shaido.

Sorilea glanced at her in surprise, then turned a gaze on the chiefs around Rand's horse that should have knocked the lot of them flat. "You mistake me. He must show that mangy pack of wolves that he is the chief wolf. A chief must be harder than other men, young Aes Sedai, and the Car'a'carn harder than other chiefs. Every day a few more men, and even Maidens, are taken by the bleakness, but they are the soft outer bark of the ironwood: What remains is the hard inner core, and he must be hard to lead them." Egwene noticed that she did not include herself or the other Wise Ones among those who would be led. Muttering to herself about "mangy wolves," Sorilea strode ahead, and soon had all the Wise Ones listening as they walked. Whatever she was saying, it did not carry.

Sorilea's true intent becomes clear enough later on, but there are a few interesting tidbits along the way. First, Min reveals that Sorilea has heavily questioned her about Rand and her viewings:

TITLE: Path of Daggers
CHAPTER: 27 - The Bargain

Or maybe Sorilea wanted to know whether Rand was suitable for Min; it seemed that way, at times. The Wise Ones accepted Min as one of them, or very nearly, but these past weeks, Sorilea had wrung her out like a laundress's mangle. The leather-faced, white-haired Wise One wanted to know every scrap about Min, and every shred about Rand. She wanted the dust from the bottoms of his pockets! Twice Min had tried balking at the incessant interrogation, and twice Sorilea had produced a switch! That terrible old woman simply bundled her over the side of the nearest table, and afterward told her that maybe that would loosen another scrap in her head. None of the other Wise Ones gave the slightest commiseration, either! Light, the things you had to put up with for a man! And she could not have him for herself alone, at that!

Then, she reveals that she had never seen anything useful about Sorilea until this:

TITLE - The Path of Daggers
CHAPTER: 29 - A Cup of Sleep

Turning on his heel, Rand stalked halfway to the Dragon Throne, where his scepter and the crown of Illian rested atop his gold-embroidered red coat. His face was so bleak that Min wanted to rush to him no matter who was watching, but she continued to study the Aes Sedai. And Sorilea. She had never seen anything really useful around that white-haired harridan.

...

Among all of those images spilling around Rand and the women, suddenly an aura flashed, blue and yellow tinged with green, encompassing them all. And Min knew its meaning. She gasped, half in surprise, half in relief.

"They will serve you, each in her fashion, Rand," she said hurriedly. "I saw it." Sorilea would serve him? Suddenly Min wondered exactly what "in her fashion" meant. The words came with the knowing, but she did not always know what the words themselves meant. But they would serve; that much was plain.

The fury drained from Rand's face as he silently studied the Aes Sedai. Some of them glanced at Min with raised eyebrows, obviously marveling that a few words from her carried so much weight, but for the most part, they watched Rand and hardly seemed to breathe. Even Elza lifted her head to gaze up at him. Sorilea gave Min one quick look, and the faintest nod. Approving, Min thought. So the old woman pretended not to care one way or the other, did she?

...

With the oath, Rand seemed to lose interest. "Find them clothes and put them with your other 'apprentices,'" he told Sorilea absently. He was frowning, but not at her or the Aes Sedai. "How many do you think you'll end up with?" Min almost jumped at the echo of her own thought.

"However many are necessary," Sorilea said dryly. "I think more will come." She clapped her hands once and gestured, and the five sisters sprang to their feet. Only Nesune looked surprised at the alacrity with which they had obeyed. Sorilea smiled, a very satisfied smile for an Aiel, and Min did not think it was caused by the other women's obedience.

We have known for some time that Elza was a Darkfriend, and for the most part, we probably figured she would serve Rand until her death, just because she believed that he must be kept alive until the Last Battle. However, Elza proved that assumption wrong in The Gathering Storm, when her Compulsion was removed and she helped Semirhage capture Rand. Apparently, Min's viewing did not indicate that they would serve forever.

I believe that Sorilea's approval of Min's viewing and her satisfaction are both due to the fact that Min had a viewing that would lead Rand to believe that she was trustworthy. Between that and her agreement with Cadsuane, things were going very well for Sorilea the Darkfriend at this point. Sorilea is not seen again until Winter's Heart:

TITLE - Winter's Heart
CHAPTER: 13 - Wonderful News

The door to the hall opened to admit Verin and Sorilea. The leathery, white-haired Aiel woman handed something small to Verin that the Brown tucked into her belt pouch. Verin was wearing a flowered brooch on her simple bronze-colored dress, the first jewelry Cadsuane had ever seen on her aside from her Great Serpent ring.

"That will help you sleep," Sorilea said, "but remember, just three drops in water or one in wine. A little more, and you might sleep a day or longer. Much more, and you will not wake. There is no taste to warn you, so you must be careful."

So Verin was having trouble sleeping, too. Cadsuane had not had a good night's rest since the boy fled the Sun Palace. If she did not find one soon, she thought she might bite someone. Nesune and the others were eyeing Sorilea uneasily. The boy had made them apprentice themselves to the Wise Ones, and they had learned that the Aiel women took that very seriously. One snap of Sorilea's bony fingers could end their idle morning.

It is at least moderately interesting that Sorilea is the one that gave Verin the herbs for sleeping (especially considering that Verin is one of the few Aes Sedai that is familiar with the use of herbs), but it proves nothing, especially considering that it would seem strange for them to discuss it in front of Cadsuane if they were plotting to kill her together. However, a few paragraphs later, Verin seems to drop a hint to Cadsuane that Sorilea might not be on their side:

The remaining four sisters in front of the fireplace rose with alacrity at her approach, made deep curtsies, and listened carefully to what she told them in a low voice with much finger shaking. Sorilea might think she had much to teach them, but they had already learned that an Aes Sedai shawl offered no protection to a Wise One's apprentice. Toh seemed a great deal like penance to Cadsuane.

"She is ... formidable," Verin murmured. "I am very glad she is on our side. If she is."

Cadsuane gave her a sharp look. "You have the appearance of a woman with something to say that you don't want to. About Sorilea?" That alliance was very vaguely defined. Friendship or no friendship, she and the Wise One still might turn out to be aiming at different goals.

"Not that," the stout little woman sighed.

Of course, Cadsuane is not one for taking hints; she expects people to say what they mean, and if they do not, she presses, as she did here. But Verin deftly changed the subject, because she is not about to tell Cadsuane what she suspects in a straightforward manner. Later in the chapter, Alanna passes out from the bonding that occurred in the previous chapter:

Corele brushed him aside so she could cup Alanna's face in her hands. The glow of saidar surrounded the Yellow, and the weave of Healing settled on Alanna, but the slim Green did not even twitch. Corele drew back, shaking her head.

"My skill with Healing, it may not equal yours, Corele," Merise said dryly, "but I did try." The accents of Tarabon were still strong in her voice after all these years, but she wore her dark hair drawn back severely from her stern face. Cadsuane trusted her perhaps more than any of the others. "What do we do now, Cadsuane?"

Sorilea stared at the woman stretched out on the bed with no expression beyond a thinning of her lips. Cadsuane wondered whether she was reevaluating their alliance. Verin was staring at Alanna, too, and she looked absolutely terrified. Cadsuane had not thought anything could frighten Verin that far. But she felt a thrill of terror herself. If she lost this connection to the boy now...

"We sit down and wait for her to wake," she said in a calm voice. There was nothing else to do. Nothing.

Cadsuane seems to imply here that Sorilea taught Cadsuane Traveling so that Cadsuane could use Alanna to find Rand. In a way, that makes no sense, as there are Wise Ones strong enough to Travel, and Alanna is one of their 'apprentices'. Interestingly, there is only one significant mention of Sorilea in Crossroads of Twilight, and it's to do with using the Warder bond to find Rand yet again:

TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight
CHAPTER: 24 - A Strengthening Storm

"There was nothing I could do, Cadsuane," Samitsu said bitterly. "Half the people I gave an order had begun checking with Sashalle to see if it was right, and the other half told me to my face she'd already said different. Lord Bashere talked her into turning the Warders loose - I have no idea how he found out about them in the first place - and she talked Sorilea into it, and there wasn't the least thing I could do to stop it. Sorilea was behaving as if I had just abdicated! She doesn't understand, and she made it plain she thinks I'm a fool. There's no point at all in me going back, unless you expect me to carry Sashalle's gloves for her."

Sorilea is not mentioned at all in Knife of Dreams; this is the first book since she was introduced where she is completely absent. We are left to wonder what she was doing during that time, and whether or not it might have had something to do with the way the Aiel have begun to reevaluate their relationship with Rand. But in The Gathering Storm, Sorilea's allegiances finally become clear. Almost the entire chapter is relevant, but I will only quote the particularly relevant bits:

TITLE - The Gathering Storm
CHAPTER: 14 - A Box Opens

"If I were to choose," Sorilea continued, "I think that I would have her throat slit and her corpse laid out on the dust to dry. Keeping her alive is like keeping a snapwood blacklance as a pet."

"Phaw!" Cadsuane said, grimacing. "You're right about the danger, but killing her now would be worse. Al'Thor cannot or will not give me an accurate count of the number of Forsaken he has slain, but he implies that at least half of them still live. They'll be there to fight at the Last Battle, and each weave we learn from Semirhage is one fewer they can use to surprise us."

Sorilea did not seem convinced, but she pressed the issue no further. "And the item?" she asked. "May I see it?"

Cadsuane almost snapped a no. But...Sorilea had taught Cadsuane Traveling, an incredibly powerful tool. That had been an offering, a hand extended. Cadsuane needed to work with these women, Sorilea most of all.
Al'Thor was a bigger project than one woman could handle.

...

The trunk was a decoy; she kept some gold and other relatively worthless items in it. Her most precious possessions she either wore–in the form of her ter'angreal ornaments–or kept locked in a dingy-looking document box that sat on her mirror stand. Of worn oak, the stain uneven, the box had enough dings and dents to look used–but wasn't so shabby as to be out of place with her other things. As Sorilea closed the door behind the three of them, Cadsuane disarmed the box's traps.

It was strange to her how few Aes Sedai learned to innovate with the One Power. They memorized time-tested and traditional weaves, but gave barely a thought for what else they could do. True, experimenting with the One Power could be disastrous, but many simple extrapolations could be made without danger. Her weave for this box was one such. Until recently, she'd used a standard weave of Fire, Spirit and Air to destroy any documents in the box if an intruder opened it. Effective, if a bit unimaginative.

Her new weave was much more versatile. It didn't destroy the items in the box–Cadsuane wasn't certain if they could be destroyed. Instead, the weaves –inverted to be invisible –sprang out in twisting threads of Air and captured anyone in the room when the box was opened. Then another weave set out a large sound, imitating a hundred trumpets playing while lights flashed in the air to give the alarm. The weaves would also go off if anyone opened the box, moved it, or barely touched it with the most delicate thread of the One Power.

...

"This is unsettling to see," Sorilea said. "If one of the Shadowsouled, or even one of the Seanchan, captured him with this...

"Light protect us all," Bair whispered.

"And the people who have these are the same people with whom al'Thor wishes to make peace?" Sorilea shook her head. "Creation of these abominations alone should warrant a blood feud. I heard that there were others like it. What of those?"

"Stored elsewhere," Cadsuane said, shutting the lid. "Along with the female a'dam we took. Some acquaintances of mine–Aes Sedai who have retired from the world–are testing them trying to discover their weakness." They also had Callandor. Cadsuane was loath to let it out of her sight, but she felt that the sword still held secrets that could be teased out.

It would seem rather strange indeed for Sorilea to call in the debt that Cadsuane owes her for a small curiosity such as this one. Not only does she ask to see the Domination Band, but she asks Cadsuane about where the others are being held. And then, the very next day, the Semirhage is freed and given the collar to capture Rand. That this could be coincidence stretches credulity.

Brandon was asked on the book tour how it was that Elza learned the weaves to disarm Cadsuane's trap:

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego 15 November 2009 - Freelancer reporting

Q. How did Elza defeat the wards on Cadsuane's plain wooden box?

A. Elza had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran. Not all of it was pleasant for her.

Brandon seems to imply here that Shaidar Haran taught her the weaves, but he very specifically does not actually say that (besides the fact that this is at least slightly paraphrased). How would Shaidar Haran know a weave that Cadsuane invented anyway? How could Shaidar Haran teach weaves to someone? He can't channel, or if he can, it's not saidar. What chance, that Rand would be captured the very day after Sorilea observed Cadsuane disarming the trap? Bair cannot channel, so it had to be Sorilea.

I assume that Elza was involved for one of two reasons: either she was chosen because she was more expendable, and less of a risk in terms of exposure, or she was chosen because the disarming was something that Sorilea is not quite strong enough to do, since she is so weak in the Power.

Cadsuane just happened to be visiting the Wise Ones at the time that Rand was captured. Could that be coincidence also? It seems unlikely, to me:

TITLE - The Gathering Storm
CHAPTER: 23 - A Warp in the Air

Cadsuane nodded crossly. Of all the nights to be out visiting the Wise Ones in their tents! Sorilea and a small group of them followed behind Narishma, and Cadsuane didn't dare slow her pace, lest the Aiel women trample her in their haste to see al'Thor.

...

"Do you recognize that, Cadsuane?" al'Thor said, nodding toward something metallic sitting on the bed, mostly hidden by the sheets.

Hesitantly she walked forward. Sorilea looked over, expression unreadable. Apparently, she didn't wish to be drawn into the conversation when al'Thor was in such a mood. Cadsuane didn't blame her.

Cadsuane pulled back the sheets, revealing a familiar pair of bracelets. There was no collar.

"Impossible," she whispered.

"That is what I assumed," al'Thor said in that terribly calm voice of his. "I told myself that it obviously couldn't be one of the same ter'angreal I relinquished to you. You promised they would be protected and hidden."

"Well, then," Cadsuane said, unnerved. She covered the things back up. "That is settled then."

"It is. I sent people to your room. Tell me, is this box where you were keeping the bracelets? We found it open on the floor of your quarters."

A Maiden brought out a familiar oak box. It was the same one, obviously. Cadsuane turned toward him in anger. "You searched my room!"

"I was unaware that you were visiting the Wise Ones," al'Thor said. He gave a small nod of respect to Sorilea and Amys, which they hesitantly returned. "I sent servants to check on you, as I feared that Semirhage might have tried for revenge on you."

"They shouldn't have touched this," Cadsuane said, taking the box from the Maiden. "It was prepared with very intricate wards."

"Not intricate enough," al'Thor said, turning away from her. He still stood by that darkened window, looking out over the camp.

The room fell silent. Narishma had been asking quietly after Min's health, but he fell silent when al'Thor stopped speaking. Rand obviously felt that Cadsuane was responsible for the male a'dam being stolen, but that was preposterous. She had prepared the best ward she knew, but who knew what knowledge the Forsaken had for getting past wards?

Cadsuane's last thought is probably why Sorilea had little fear that Cadsuane would suspect her. Why should she suspect Sorilea, when no one knows how much the Forsaken can do? Later, Cadsuane approaches Sorilea with her plan:

TITLE - The Gathering Storm
CHAPTER: 31 - A Promise to Lews Therin

Cadsuane made her way to the wing that belonged to the Aiel, and she was not stopped. She enjoyed privileges among the Aiel that none of the other sisters had been given. She found Sorilea and the other Wise Ones in conference in one of the libraries. They were sitting on the floor, of course. Sorilea nodded to Cadsuane as she entered. She was all bone, thin and leathery, yet never could a person think her frail. Not with those eyes, set into a face that, despite being worn by wind and sun, was too young for her age. How was it that the Wise Ones could live so long, yet not obtain the Aes Sedai agelessness? That was a question Cadsuane had not been able to answer.

She lowered her hood and joined the Wise Ones, seating herself on the floor, eschewing cushions. She looked Sorilea in the eyes. "I have failed," she said.

The Wise One nodded, as if she had thought this same thing. Cadsuane forced herself not to show her annoyance.


"There is no shame in failure," Bair said, "when that failure was the fault of another."

Amys nodded. "The Car'a'carn is stubborn beyond all men, Cadsuane Sedai. You have no toh toward us."

"Shame or toh," Cadsuane said, "it will all be irrelevant soon. But I have a plan. Will you help me?"

The Wise Ones shared a look among them.

"What is this plan?" Sorilea asked.

Cadsuane smiled, then began to explain.

Sorilea knows that Cadsuane did fail: she made the mistake of trusting Sorilea.

This is the last we see of Sorilea in the book. In my opinion, the evidence speaks loud and clear: Sorilea is a Darkfriend. However, my main point in writing this was to gather all of the relevant evidence in one place. There is not much of interest that Sorilea does in the entire rest of the series aside from what is quoted here, but there are a couple of things, seemingly insignificant, but perhaps pointing to the dark aspect of Sorilea's character:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos
CHAPTER: 50 - Thorns

The days passed, and every one filled somehow. He had smiling lords and ladies so cordial to one another that he was sure they were scheming against each other beneath the surface. Wise Ones counseled him on how to deal with Aes Sedai, whether from the Tower or Salidar; Amys and Bair made Melaine appear mild; Sorilea made his blood run cold. Young Cairhienin rioted in the streets against Rhuarc's ban on dueling. Rhuarc handled it by giving them a taste of what it was really like to be made gai'shain; sitting naked in the sun all day under guard quenched their ardor somewhat, but Rhuarc was not about to go against custom so far as to put wetlanders in white, and those the Red Shields had caught actually began to swagger over the affair. Rand overheard Selande telling another young woman with a sword and her hair cut short, in a very self-important tone, that the other woman would never truly understand ji'e'toh until she had been captive to Aiel. It was uplifting, whatever that was supposed to mean.

These are small things, but perhaps indicative in the subtle way that RJ favors (read Linda's research on Darkfriends at 13th Depository to see what I mean). And another:

TITLE: Lord of Chaos
CHAPTER: 55 - Dumai's Wells

"Then turn around and ride south," Perrin told her. "I'll not let Elaida have Rand." "Good," Kiruna replied, smiling. "Because I will not either." He wished her smile did not make his skin crawl. Of course, had she seen the malevolent look Sorilea directed at the back of her head, her skin might have crawled too.

'Malevolent' is a very strong word. In an earlier quote, Min refers to Sorilea as a 'harridan', meaning 'a scolding, vicious woman', but Corele takes it a bit further, invoking nightmares:

TITLE: Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: 19 - Diamonds and Stars

"You'll never guess where I found these two," Corele said in her lilting Murandian accent. She tapped the side of her upturned nose, the way she did when about to tell a joke, or what she saw as one. Spots of color appeared in Bera's cheeks, and larger in Kiruna's. "Bera there was sitting meek as a mouse under the eyes of half a dozen of those Aiel wilders, who told me bold as you please that she couldn't come with me until Sorilea –oh, now that woman's a harridan to give you nightmares, she is–I couldn't have Bera until Sorilea was done with her private chat with the other apprentice. Our darling Kiruna, there."

Not only did Verin fear Sorilea, but Sevanna fears her as well:

TITLE: Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: 40 - Spears

Maybe he lied, yet the risk.... Sevanna could imagine all too well being in Sorilea's grip. Not allowing herself to shiver, she sent Rhiale to inform the other Wise Ones. Her voice betrayed nothing!

Sorilea is often associated with torture in the minds of the characters. And finally, there is also foreshadowing of a confrontation between Cadsuane and Sorilea:

TITLE: Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: 36 - Blades
"Be quiet!" Cadsuane roared, slapping her hands together in a thundercrack. "You, girl. He needs his bed. Hop!" Nandera hopped. Rand was stripped and in his bed in a twinkling, with Samitsu and Niande both hovering over him, the Cairhienin chased out and Nandera at the door repeating Cadsuane's instructions that he was not to be disturbed by anyone, all so fast Min felt dizzy. She hoped one day to see the confrontation between Cadsuane and the Wise One Sorilea; it had to come, and it would be memorable.

Eventually, Cadsuane will probably realize that Sorilea betrayed her. It doesn't appear to have occurred to her just yet, but inevitably, it will, and Sorilea will be uncovered. This might even be tied in to what Cadsuane must teach Rand.

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Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2010-07-04

Initially, I wondered if I had missed something this big. So, I searched around the web, along with Theoryland and my hard drive which still contains old Theoryland files from the late nineties and I couldn't find any significant conversation on the issue. I think someone said, if so and so was one, then we'd have to question everyone like Sorilea and so and so. So, in reading the initial quotes I did what most people did, "that's how I expect a Wise One to react to Aes Sedai, after coming to know them". That being said, I have a hard time disagreeing with the connection between Sorilea and the bracelets. It's too much of a coincidence. It didn't hit me at the time - I think I went along the lines that Shaidar Haran broke into the box. Is there any reason for us to discount Shaidar Haran as the individual that acquired the bracelets? That doesn't discount the fact that Sorilea knew where to find them. Thanks for collecting all of the relevant quotes and ideas and putting this together. I'll be interested to see if anyone can make a significant case against Sorilea being a Darkfriend.

2

Tamyrlin: 2010-07-04

I meant - as in that as Brandon suggested, Shaidar Haran was influential in breaking down the weaves, not that he broke through them on his own. (in my previous reply). It is interesting to suggest how she could have been made into a tool, and it does make me wonder if there is the old "dispel magic" weave that has some ability to destroy any weave that isn't protected against a "dispel magic" weave. But regardless, Sorilea's connection to the bracelets and her request prior to the attack is pretty damning.

3

terez: 2010-07-04

@Tam - I'm not surprised that there hasn't been any discussion on the subject previous to now on Theoryland (besides the thread I made after the idea came up on 13thD). I was only just beginning to think of the idea at the time, so I wasn't really able to defend it at the time (nor did I really try that hard or pretend to be trying). It's one of those things that has to be investigated when the idea comes up. Linda and I talked about this; both of us investigated it on our own and came to the same conclusion: we found practically no evidence against her being a Darkfriend, and plenty of evidence to back it up, not least Verin's POV and her hint to Cadsuane.

I'm forced to assume that Brandon's answer is tricky. He has also said that Shaidar Haran's powers are very limited, and he has not given us much clue as to how those powers are limited. However, have we ever seen Shaidar Haran in the presence of non-Darkfriends? We know that he can nullify the Power, and that he did so with Mesaana's Illusion weaves, but Brandon said that Shaidar Haran was simply not physically capable of getting the Domination Band on his own:

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Scottsdale Public Library, Phoenix Arizona 16 November 2009 - kcf reporting

Q: You mention that Shaidar Haran has quite a few limitations on his power. Can you give us a few concrete examples of these limitations?
A: Shaidar Haran needs a minion to do most of his work for him. Elza was essential to Shaidar Haran in getting things done.

This lead to lots of discussion about swearing to the Shadow – basically, it's a very bad idea and you forfeit some very basic protections when you do. Shaidar Haran has special power over those that swear to the Dark One, and the Forsaken in particular. I asked about Alviarin's special mark, and he said Shaidar Haran has similar power over her. The implication is that there are lots of ramifications for swearing to the Dark One. Brandon mentioned that this makes Verin all the more remarkable.

I don't believe that Shaidar Haran could have nullified Cadsuane's weaves because she is a Lightfriend. We have never seen him nullify the Power of someone that is not sworn to the Shadow. Brandon doesn't say that Shaidar Haran taught her the weaves, only that the teaching of the weaves was part of what made her a tool of Shaidar Haran. Sorilea reported the location of the Domination Band to...whoever. Moridin and Shaidar Haran hatch this plot between them on the spot. Sorilea is ordered to teach the weaves to Elza, and Elza fetches the Domination Band for Shaidar Haran. Semirhage removes her Compulsion so that she can wear a bracelet with Semirhage, and I imagine that was not very pleasant at all. In all of this, Elza is Shaidar Haran's tool.

4

terez: 2010-07-05

Another argument that I perhaps should have anticipated in the theory is one that was raised when the issue was discussed after TGS came out: that Sorilea didn't technically call in the debt that Cadsuane owed her. But that is just another reason why Sorilea is better at this game than Cadsuane. She put Cadsuane in her debt, and then, when Cadsuane was in a snit about Semirhage (which Sorilea contributed to), she took advantage of the fact that Cadsuane was off balance, and asked for something that normally Cadsuane would probably have not allowed. If Sorilea had mentioned Cadsuane's debt, then it would have drawn Cadsuane's attention to her interest in it, but Sorilea made it seem as if her interest was casual. She knew that she could count on Cadsuane to think of that debt, knew that she could count on Cadsuane to act accordingly and not actually speak of that debt.

Also interesting to me is that Sorilea contributed to the Semirhage snit by showing Cadsuane just how inept she was at handling someone like Semirhage, and also, she appears to prove herself trustworthy by suggesting that they should kill Semirhage and be done with it. This also sets her up as knowing better than Cadsuane, who thinks it worth the risk to try to get weaves out of Semirhage, and she knows full well that even if Cadsuane agreed that Rand would not allow it. She takes no risk by making these statements, and furthers her own cause on a few different levels.

5

Deadsy: 2010-07-05

I'm agreeing with it mostly because I want her to be a darkfriend. I don't dislike her. It would just be interesting/surprising. And I think you made good points on why Sorilea wasn't the one to use the other bracelet. And also why she couldn't undo the weaves herself.

I suppose my biggest question is why it would do the shadow any good to have Rand's Aiel Wise Ones channeling in battle. They were pretty strongly loyal to him, and it kept him from being captured. But I guess it could just be argued that Sorilea is working for one of the Forsaken who doesn't have an alliance with Mesaana.

6

Linda: 2010-07-05

Good summary Terez.

I was one of those who suggested Sorilea was a Darkfriend on the 13th Depository forums. Too weak to handle the weaves herself, and since they are inverted, not able to unweave them, Sorilea demonstrated Cadsuane's "rarely used" weaves to Elza.

Egwene and others frequently say that Sorilea would slit the throat of any Forsaken she came into contact with...actually so does Sorilea herself, as you quote above. Why does she feel the need to trumpet this? No other Aiel does. Protesting too much?

Sorilea wanted Egwene to remain with the Aiel more than any other Aiel and not go to her duties in Salidar.

The Maidens and the Wise Ones, indeed all the Aiel, might have decided she was not Aes Sedai so long as she studied with Amys and the others, but Sorilea took it further. She seemed to think Egwene had become Aiel.

TFOH, The Fifth I Give You

Sorilea was also one of those who took to Berelain (and Berelain's allegiances are questionable). The other Wise Ones might have taken her lead over that.

"I will tend Cairhien without fear or favor- until you return, my Lord Dragon."

Perhaps, despite Mangin, she really had come this morning just to say that, and be heard by the other nobles. It brought an indulgent smile from Sorilea for some reason. He needed to find out what was going on there; he was not going to have the Wise Ones interfering with Berelain.

LOC, Matters of Toh

The Wise Ones promised Rand and Cadsuane much, but they haven't delivered. They have spent a lot of time soothing angry Clan Chiefs but not a great deal else. And they are under Sorilea's leadership.

Sorilea made sure that Cadsuane took the first crop of Aes Sedai that Verin Compelled with her.

7

terez: 2010-07-05

@Deadsy - I figure it's a simple matter of moar war and bloodshed, with the Wise Ones participating in battle.

8

terez: 2010-07-05

@Deadsy again since I was like half-asleep and couldn't be arsed when I made that comment...it's sort of like wondering why Taim would show up to save Rand. They all want Rand to believe that they are faithful, and in this case, Sorilea has the opportunity to corrupt the peaceful nature of the Wise Ones, to change the Aiel from what they were to something even harder, while increasing her own influence with Rand. Most interesting to me is the way that Taim and the Wise Ones duke it out over the Aes Sedai prisoners after the battle; her particularly satisfied smell might be because she knows Taim's allegiance, or it might be because it was further evidence that Rand trusted the Wise Ones and favored them. He does not trust Sorilea any more than the others, but for Sorilea, it doesn't matter because she has taken charge of all the Wise Ones.

Also, I said earlier that Couladin was almost certainly a Darkfriend, but in honesty I'm not so sure about that. The only thing that makes me think it unlikely that he's not is that he has to know where his dragons came from, or at least suspect...but if he had simply woken up with them one day, he might have convinced himself that he was actually chosen. He definitely lied about Rhuidean - I don't think he's quite that delusional - but he might truly not be aware of where his dragons came from. It just seems really unlikely to me.

9

terez: 2010-07-06

I will make an argument against myself, just to anticipate it in case it comes along. It could be that the comment about Sorilea was another test, trying to determine if Cadsuane was Black Ajah. Verin wasn't sure until later in the book, when Cadsuane babbled about her concerns about Rand (and I suppose Verin felt that they were sincere; she is rather good at reading people). In that scenario, Verin thinks that Sorilea is not a Darkfriend, and thinks that if Cadsuane is Black, that some facial expression might give Verin a hint, when she suggests that Sorilea might not be on their side.

However, considering Verin's thoughts in the prologue of the previous book, I think it more likely that she was trying to give Cadsuane a hint. It seems to me that she was ordered by whoever she is taking orders from (probably Forsaken) to kill Cadsuane. She might have taken this for evidence that Cadsuane was not Black, but considering the things that she revealed about Darkfriends in her conversation with Egwene, it's believable that such an order would not be enough evidence for Verin. I only wonder if she and Sorilea are aware of each other's allegiances, and whether Sorilea was aware of the orders to kill Cadsuane, and gave the poison to Verin for that purpose. Again, strange for them to do it in plain sight, but the way their conversation was phrased did not implicate Sorilea in any way. I imagine that Verin had excuses for why she was unable to slip the stuff in Cadsuane's tea. It was 51 days from the time Sorilea gave it to her to the time she finally left Rand, but it was only 6 days after Sorilea gave it to her that she left with Cadsuane to go to Far Madding. Verin might have even been taking orders from Sorilea.

10

PerrinMcBeardy: 2010-07-07

Terez: Very interesting theory. Great work pulling together quotes and highlighting them here. I think, however, that I disagree with your conclusion. Your excerpts show Sorilea as a character that gets people to trust or respect her, who then uses that respect to get what she wants and, I would argue, to get what she thinks is right. You highlight many quotes that show that she makes the other characters such as Perrin wary or scared. To me all of these references to Sorilea show her as a very strong willed, influential, and somewhat domineering woman, but are not indications that she is a darkfriend. I would argue that if she had been a man, very little, if any, of this would be counted as evidence. I remember reading a similar set of arguments for Cadsuane being a darkfriend a few years ago.

The arguments you make showing Sorilea attempting to gain people's trust and being obviously pleased at gaining that trust does not seem sinister to me. I would think anyone accustomed to power and influence would attempt to gain the trust of those in power when put in a new situation, as Sorilea is with the AS and Rand. She sees Min as a path to gaining Rand's trust, but I don't see anything wrong with attempting to gain trust. Here is the quote from Min's point of view.

From: The Path of Daggers
CHAPTER: 29 - A Cup of Sleep
"They will serve you, each in her fashion, Rand," she said hurriedly. "I saw it." Sorilea would serve him? Suddenly Min wondered exactly what "in her fashion" meant. ... Sorilea gave Min one quick look, and the faintest nod. Approving, Min thought. So the old woman pretended not to care one way or the other, did she?"

To me this quote and the nod she gives Min shows her agreement with what Min said as well as approval. She had brought those women to Rand because she believed them to be ready, and Min confirmed that belief. Sorilea has no way of knowing that Min included her in that viewing. Sorilea had just been presenting these women to Rand, and was not presenting herself. It's only in Min's head that this quote is shown to also include Sorilea, so I don't believe that Sorilea could have understood it also to include herself. After realizing that Sorilea would serve Rand "in her own fashion," Min wonders with surprise what that might mean. We've seen how this vision applied to Elza, so it's easy to imagine that others here could also be darkfriends, but I think Min is surprised and curious simply because, in her experience, Sorilea doesn't serve anyone in any fashion.

Here is one of your examples of the main character's thoughts on Sorilea:

From: The Path of Daggers, Prologue
"How long could she hold out if Sorilea decided to break her? A distressingly short time, she suspected. In some ways, Sorilea was as hard as anyone she had ever met."

Imagine instead that this quote had been about Lan. Would that make you suspect Lan of being a darkfriend? It doesn't say anything to me other than Verin believes Sorilea to be someone to be very wary of, especially now that we all know that Verin could have been outed as a darkfriend and then would have been in a position to be broken by Sorilea.

Here's another quote that you use to highlight Sorilea's potentially dark side. In this quote Perrin thinks on his time in Cairhein:

From: Lord of Chaos
Chapter: 50 - Thorns
"Wise Ones counseled him on how to deal with Aes Sedai, whether from the Tower or Salidar; Amys and Bair made Melaine appear mild; Sorilea made his blood run cold."

This is not a hint about the true sinister character of Sorilea, I believe this is classic Robert Jordan using contrast to highlight how formidable a character is. He is basically saying that all of the wise ones were bossy and domineering, that Amys and Bair were even worse, and Sorilea made them all seem soft in comparison. This is similar to your other quote "He must show that mangy pack of wolves that he is the chief wolf. A chief must be harder than other men, young Aes Sedai, and the Car'a'carn harder than other chiefs." The books are full of comparisons like these, and I don't think it is a hint. Again, if this were describing a man such as Lan, how would you view it?

Now I'll skip forward to the argument that Verin seems to hint to Cadsuane that Sorilea might not be on their side:

From: Winter's Heart
CHAPTER: 13 - Wonderful News
"She is ... formidable," Verin murmured. "I am very glad she is on our side. If she is." On face value that statement implies that Verin believes that Sorilea is on the side of the Aes Sedai and presumably of good. If on the other hand you want to assume that this is a warning meant to imply that actually Sorilea is not on their side, I still don't see any indication that Verin was implying that Sorilea might be a darkfriend. She doesn't say anything about their "side" being the side of light. If you take this is a warning, I would say it's much more likely that Verin is implying (as Cadsuane already suspects) that Sorilea's goals may not match their own. Verin, as we know, is a very good judge of darkfriends, and Verin has also proved in the end that she was on the side of light, and that she is very capable of giving straightforward warnings. As a warning indicating Sorilea as a darkfriend, this is an extremely weak one. When she leaves Rand, she explicitly warns him that he can trust Cadsuane but no other Aes Sedai no matter what oaths they have sworn to him. If she knew or suspected that Sorilea was a darkfriend, why not mention the wise ones here?

Your strongest argument for Sorilea being a darkfriend is the admittedly suspicious circumstantial evidence that makes Sorilea the only person we know of with first hand knowledge of how to access the protected and hidden domination bands. It could very well be Sorilea who told Elza where to find the bands and how to overcome them, that would certainly be a very strait forward explanation. However, it could also very well be a red herring. There are any number of ways that Elza could have learned what she needed to get the domination bands.

The strongest evidence to me against this theory that Sorilea is a darkfriend is that she has been seen working with Cadsuane all along to teach Rand laughter and tears.

From - The Path of Daggers
CHAPTER: 12 - New Alliances
"I offer you water oath," she said solemnly, picking up one of the cups. "By this, we are bound as one, to teach Rand al'Thor laughter and tears." She sipped, and Cadsuane imitated her.

Getting Rand to become harder is the number one goal of the Dark One and of Moriden. If it wasn't abundantly clear before, we saw in the Gathering Storm that Moriden doesn't want to kill the Dragon, he wants to make him hard by causing him enough pain to make him want to destroy the world. Contrary to that, Sorilea approaches Cadsuane on her own and asks her if she sees the difference between hard and strong. Sorilea sees to the heart of the Rand's problem and brings it up herself. If Cadsuane hadn't already been going down that path, we'd have to give Sorilea full credit for bringing it up. If they succeed in teaching Rand laughter and tears (as they may have done at the end of TGS), then a large part of Moridin's plans fail. For that reason alone I can't believe that Sorilea is working on any orders from the Shadow.

Thanks for a very well written and reasoned theory, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and attempting to disprove parts of it!

11

Biskut: 2010-07-08

The strongest evidence against Sorilea is the scene where she asks to see the Domination Band, coupled with the fact that Cadsuane just happened to be visiting the Wise Ones when Semi struck. It's not conclusive by any means, but it does support the possibility.

What I am having trouble with is the part where Sorilea shows Elza how to disarm Cadsuane's ward. I'm just really not sure about that part. Elza showed up in Semi's cell with Compulsion in her mind and the Domination Band in hand. To me, it seems like the person who used Compulsion on Elza is probably the same person who taught Elza how to disarm the ward. Furthermore, Did BS come right out and say that Elza really did disarm the ward? Could it have been someone else who actually disarmed the ward? Graendal or Moghedien, perhaps?

This still leaves the question of who knew where the DB was hidden and that it was warded. While Sorilea probably did know these things, there could have been others who knew, and the information might have been extracted out of someone instead of given freely. It also seems to me that if Sorilea was the only one who knew where the DB was and that it was warded, Cadsuane would probably have started suspecting her of foul play. Instead, she continued to ask for Sorilea's help and let her in on her plans. It is also possible that one of the Forsaken could have just searched Cadsuane's room and deduced where the DB was and assumed that it was warded. They are sometimes known for their craftiness, especially Moghedien.

All that said, it doesn't matter much to me one way or the other. If Sorilea is a DF, then she will be discovered. She is too important a minor character for it not to be revealed. No explicit evidence will probably mean she is not a DF. If she is a DF, then I wonder if the Aiel are going to freak out when they find out or just shrug, kill her and get on with business as usual.

12

terez: 2010-07-08

@PerrinMcBeardy - I think that all of us are aware of the fact that the quotes I used can be interpreted in the way that you indicate. That is, after all, why no one really suspected Sorilea before TGS. And of course, while I was writing the theory I was reminded of Siuan:

TITLE - The Dragon Reborn
CHAPTER: 29 - A Trap to Spring

The Amyrlin shifted her stole again, frowning at the frenzied scurry in the kitchen. "I'll have to set this aright. I needed to speak to you without delay, but Laras is a good woman, and she manages the kitchen and the larders well."

Nynaeve sniffed, and addressed her hands on the spit handle. "Laras is a sour lump of lard, and too handy with that spoon by half." She thought she had muttered it under her breath, but she heard the Amyrlin chuckle wryly.

"You are a fine judge of character, child. You must have done well as the Wisdom of your village. It was Laras who went to Sheriam and demanded to know how long you three are to be kept to the dirtiest and hardest work, without a turn at lighter. She said she would not be a party to breaking any woman's health or spirit, no matter what I said. A fine judge of character, child."

I considered that Cadsuane is perhaps a better judge of character than I am (though, if Sorilea is a Darkfriend, Cadsuane will figure it out quicker than I did, I'm sure). But I also considered that we know from a few different sources that there are quite a few as-yet-unrevealed Darkfriends in the cast, some of whom are close to Rand, some of whom have positions of influence. What makes the evidence for Sorilea being a Darkfriend compelling to me is that there is so much, in retrospect, that is suspect. In particular, a great deal of the clues concerning Sorilea can only now be interpreted in light of the Verin revelation: Verin's thoughts in the TPOD prologue, her possible hint to Cadsuane, the connection with the poison. It could very well be that Sorilea is an icon of virtue, and that Verin simply feared that Sorilea would uncover something about her own dual allegiances, but that is what we have assumed all along (with Verin fearing rather that her true activities with the captives would be uncovered). Again, I had a really hard time believing that Sorilea could be a Darkfriend (which is why I'm only posting this more than half a year after the book was released).

We have known for some time that Cadsuane is not a Darkfriend because we have had multiple Cadsuane points of view. We have only had one short point of view from Sorilea (quoted above), and it did not reveal much. The contrast between Cadsuane and Sorilea, particularly Cadsuane's thought that targets even a hand apart might not be at all alike, gave me a feeling of something ominous the first time I read it, but even then, I didn't suspect Sorilea. I just figured that Cadsuane was being overly paranoid and that she and Sorilea would be BFFs eventually. I get the feeling that RJ originally intended Bair to be his pocket Darkfriend in the high circles of Rand's entourage, but he didn't make her interesting enough in TSR (he put much more detail into Amys and even Melaine). Then he introduced Sorilea in the next book, and made her a sensational character from the beginning, a character to inspire awe and fear and even respect. From the beginning, her character is ambiguous, but no one really felt that they had reason to suspect her overly until TGS, and it is that fact that is most suspicious of all. If RJ intended these events to be a part of the last book, then he didn't intend to give us time to mull over the supposed red herring between books. To me, the plotline has the marks of foreshadowing - foreshadowing that deliberately can be interpreted at least two different ways - that we were expected to miss, planted to make us feel like idiots upon re-read (or even without re-read, for those of us who remember). It's very much like the clues we got where Verin was concerned. If I (or anyone else) had made an argument before TGS that Verin was a Lightfriend that had infiltrated the Black Ajah, the same sort of arguments could have been made against it, but the clues are of similar nature.

As to Min, one of the things that was suspcious to her was that Sorilea didn't seem to mind that Min had implied Sorilea would serve Rand, thinking that Sorilea was pretending not to care one way or another. It doesn't make sense in the context of the captives - why would Sorilea's satisfaction make Min think she was pretending not to care about the fact that they would serve Rand? - so it is implicit that Sorilea should have understood that she was included in the viewing. And then, Min drew attention to the fact that she thought Sorilea's satisfaction was not because of the women's obedience. I think that it makes a great deal more sense with my interpretation, if for no other reason than that Sorilea is clearly one of the more intelligent members of Rand's entourage, and it was made clear enough in TGS that she has the advantage of Cadsuane in that area (which is saying something, I think). In retrospect, that much was made clear in TPOD.

The Lan analogy doesn't really hold up, mostly because we know that Lan is not a Darkfriend, so we know how to interpret things concerning him. Sorilea is still up for grabs, and there is much more to the case against her than the few similarities with Lan. Sorilea's comment about the chiefs being hard is interesting only because it is a contradiction of the picture she presented to Cadsuane in TPOD. The references to torture and other dark things were specifically categorized in the theory as being somewhat trivial as far as evidence goes, and only 'perhaps indicative' (and that only by the fact that there are several examples), so there is little point in giving my own arguments back to me.

Also, there might be 'any number of ways' that Elza could have learned the weaves, but the evidence is stacked against it. Cadsuane invented that ward herself, and she described it as being very intricate, the best ward she knew. We know from the Forsaken that there are wards woven with both saidin and saidar that even they cannot get past, wards guarding caches of 'angreal and such. We know that Shaidar Haran was not physically capable of getting it himself. Elza might have been given temporary access to the True Power, but it has been said that the True Power is restricted to Moridin's use only, now. If the Forsaken are not allowed to use it, then why grant the privelege to a grunt Third Ager? Darkfriends takes these symbols of privelege and power more seriously than anyone else. Also, if the True Power could get past wards in some way that the One Power cannot, then you would think that Moridin would have had his hands on some of Rand's toys a long time ago.

The circumstantial evidence of the water oath between Sorilea and Cadsuane, specifically the gift of Traveling that put Cadsuane in Sorilea's debt, is the key, and don't forget that it was introduced under the Forsaken chapter icon! Sorilea didn't call the debt, but I believe she intended that debt to be open-ended from the beginning. Again, why should she show curiosity about the Domination Band? Why should she ask about where the others were being kept? What chance, that the wards were compromised the very next day? Sorilea gave Cadsuane something so valuable that Cadsuane would never be able to repay that debt, and for Sorilea to betray Cadsuane by passing on weaves to Elza, weaves she was not strong enough to make, makes a very artistic full circle. For Sorilea to be revealed as a Lightfriend after all....again, it's what we've expected all along. RJ likes to do what we don't expect.

Finally, Sorilea has not been seen working with Cadsuane to teach Rand anything at all. They made the agreement, but every bit of the effort has been on Cadsuane's part. Even the Tam plan was Cadsuane's idea, and as usual, Sorilea was informed of the plan, but did little to further it. I suspect that her orders are to stay close to Rand and keep his trust. She is there to pass on information, to perhaps help out in rare circumstances such as the scene in TGS, perhaps to order other Darkfriend Aiel. She has led Cadsuane to believe that she supports the cause, but there is nothing to indicate that this is actually her goal, and plenty to indicate that it is in fact the opposite of her goal.

@Biskut - It was Verin that used Compulsion on Elza, way back in the TPOD prologue (which I quoted in the theory). Cadsuane did not suspect Sorilea because she trusts her. She did not in the beginning, but over time she has come to believe that Sorilea is on her side. As I said, she will figure it out eventually, but if she was in her right mind, then she should have suspected Sorilea no matter how much she trusted her. The thought didn't even occur to her. Her mind immediately went to the Forsaken, and she assumed that they must have some way of getting past her ward....but we have the advantage of Cadsuane in that we know that isn't true.

13

Chang: 2010-07-09

A really well thought out theory and I really like it. The parts where you mention Jordan's use of the language while describing Sorilea are particularly illuminating, because Jordan didn't do these things lightly; he usually had a purpose in it. That said I hope she isn't one because I really like her character.

14

PerrinMcBeardy: 2010-07-11

Terez, your theory is very interesting, and I would be very impressed if it turned out to be true. Like the revalation with Verin, maybe it won't be completely straightforward and simple. I like your reasoning, and as I said above, the scene giving Sorilea the knowledge of how the weaves are made and the fact that she is the only one who we know of that could repeat them is surely intentional. It is funny that as blatant as that evidence is, I never suspected Sorilea, and it's interesting that Cadsuane doesn't either, not even in passing. I agree that it has the feel of subtle hints.

My main argument against your theory is that Sorilea knew exactly what Cadsuane was attempting to do in teaching Rand laughter and tears, and that Sorilea has aided her. I'm sure that Moridin would not order Sorilea to aid Cadsuane in what would be the undoing of his plans. However, a part of my argument was that Sorilea came and proposed the hard vs strong question first, but upon rereading I see that Caduane brought it up first and Sorilea simply saw to the heart of it right away. Supporting my argument that Sorilea is not a dark friend is her promise to Cadsuane: 'I offer you water oath,' [Sorilea] said solemnly, picking up one of the cups. 'By this, we are bound as one, to teach Rand al'Thor laughter and tears.' She sipped, and Cadsuane imitated her."

As for Lan, I only brought him up because I think that we as readers interpret character's actions differently if they are a woman or man. I didn't mean to say that Lan might be a darkfriend too, he is not in question. I was saying that if a tough, hard man were to have been described by someone saying, "... now that [man]'s a harridan to give you nightmares, [he] is.," or Savanna thinking, "Sevanna could imagine all too well being in Sorilea's grip. Not allowing herself to shiver, she sent Rhiale to inform the other Wise Ones. Her voice betrayed nothing!," that we wouldn't have thought twice about it. A woman that is so tough and stern that she makes people shiver is seen as sinister and potentially evil instead of just really tough. Before Cadsuane's loyalty was confirmed, many theorists used character reactions to her and her bullying as arguments that Cadsuane is a darkfriend. I believe the these scenes have little to no value as evidence.

I agree with you that Sorilea has been intentionally left ambiguous, even more so in my opinion (after looking at this evidence) than Verin. I also agree that RJ and BS both love surprises. However I see nothing here that would solidly put her in the DF category, so I'm still going to cast my vote for Sorilea as a light friend. I hope we find out soon, and I give you props for putting seeds of doubt in my head about a character that I previously believed was rock solid in the light-friend column.

15

Philbert: 2010-07-12

Great Theory. I started out pooh-pooh-ing, and yeah-right-ing, but started to have doubts during the middle of the theory. Then the Domination Band scheme nailed it in my head. I believe Sorilea did teach Elza how to open the box, and is thus in league with the Dark One.

Here's why:When I first read the scene of Sorilea teaching Traveling to Cadsuane, I thought: "Really? Someone who is a weak channeler can teach a weave he is too weak for?" This is quite counterintuitive, but apparently true, as it happens on screen. What's more, we learn throughout the books that the ability to learn new weaves is correlated to one's strength in the Power, as the Powergirls learn so very quickly to everyone's amazement. Apparently Sorilea is an exception: she is a weak channeler, but is able to recognizably reproduce a weave that she couldn't have seen often.

I believe this is something that RJ wanted to tell us, just for this occasion.

16

Basel Gill: 2010-07-12

I would simply add that IF Sorilea is a darkfriend, that maybe she is masking part of her ability to channel. The idea has been put out there with other characters, why not her?

17

magirl: 2010-07-12

Most points are flimsy... however I think the one of the male a'dam is notable. I have a really good point to add...

remember when lanfear posed as a merchant and asmodean as a gleeman in the waste? a man was travelling with them. later, this man received a note that said "you are not alone. a way has been chosen" which immediately made him think of darkfriend aiel.

after this, mat is attacked by a darkfriend aiel, so we dismiss the note.

but could it have been sorilea that sent it?

18

terez: 2010-07-12

@PerrinMcBeardy - Again, Sorilea's water oath does not mean anything other than that she wants Cadsuane to believe that they are working together. If Sorilea had actually done something in the interim to actually help Cadsuane, then that would be different...but she has not.

@Basel Gill - None of the Third Agers knew how to invert weaves until the information was coerced from Moghedien, and the Forsaken have been in general very reluctant to pass information to their Third Age minions, like Alviarin. Sorilea was known as a weak channeler long before the Forsaken were freed, so it seems unlikely to me that your idea has any real merit.

@magirl - Supporting evidence is always 'flimsy'. That is why it is supporting evidence. The main evidence comes from the Domination Band; everything else is just supporting evidence, and also passages that should be considered from the perspective of Sorilea being a Darkfriend. Also, Kadere's note might have been from Sorilea, but I'm not aware of any evidence to support it. Melindhra still seems more likely to me.

19

Ann Kalagon: 2010-07-14

Have been rereading the whole series before the next book, and noticed several of these citations. One, the "harridan" tag. Strong language for one of the Wise Ones, most of whom outside of the Shaido are made likeable in the course of events with Egwene at least.

Somewhere I recall there being strong indication that there was indeed uncovered darkfriend(s) among the Aiel, and Sorilea IS the prime suspect by far. There is no other suspect based on any evidence at all; any other df to be exposed there will be without foreshadowing or hints.

As far as "Traveling", where did Sorilea learn the weave? The Aiel did not have this knowledge. Avienda did it by accident, through need. So who showed it to Sorilea? And who wanted Sorilea to show it to Cadsuane and why? Sowing further chaos? Or keeping track of Rand by proxy? The fact that Sorilea cannot use it herself is irrelevant.

Thanks for putting all this together. No doubt it will be of great interest in light of events to come!

20

ZT: 2010-07-15

Couple points:

1. Sorilea has never shown any of the general traits we have seen in most DF's previously, at least those with plenty of screen time (Verin excluded), greed and selfishness. As was pointed out, many of these scenes could indicate a strong willed woman and nothing more. And it many ways, quite a few of the DF's we have seen have been shown to be weak willed.

2. Its not unlikely that SH could have used Elza in someway to get the bracelets. If that is the case, then we have two suspects, Sorilea and Bain. These are Caddy's two prime suspects, they should also suspect each other. Those three alone knew the location. Yet none of them suspects the other in the slightest, as far as we know right now. That's not definitive but its easily as powerful as the evidence you have provided.

If I had to choose anyone being a DF out of those two, I would go with Bair. I am in the camp that SH was able to get to the bracelets in someway so needing to replicate the flow is unnecessary.

21

mandrageron: 2010-07-15

There are really some interesting thoughts listed. I'm also amazed at the attention to detail of everyone taking time to find out the proper quotes from the various text's.

I've been mulling this issue over ever since the first of the year when was on a huge rant on Twitter posting various ideas as the came to me as I was going over the audio books for the 10th time.

Sorilea is one possible person. But I've been in the mindset that the main hidden dark friend in this circle is either one of the other wise one's.

Sorilea would be an interesting choice but I'm really of the mind that impact from a story point of view would be if it was one of the Dreamer's who've been very important in guiding Rand and the other's namely Amys, Melaine or Bair.

Of these three if one or more turn it would be a huge blow. Regardless one of them must be a "shadow runner" or how else could the weave been picked up?

22

terez: 2010-07-18

@Ann Kalagon—The implication is that Egwene has been teaching the Wise Ones some weaves.

TITLE—Winter's Heart
PROLOGUE—Snow

Elayne's eyes went straight to Aviendha, standing on the far side of the room. Naked. She smiled at Elayne nervously. Nervously! Aviendha! Hurriedly throwing off the cloak, Elayne smiled back. Nervously, she realized. Aviendha gave a soft laugh, and after a moment, Elayne did, too. Light, the air was cold! And the floor was colder!

She did not know most of the Wise Ones in the room, but one face jumped at her. Amys' prematurely white hair combined with features that appeared short of their middle years to give her something of the look of an Aes Sedai. She must have Traveled from Cairhien. Egwene had been teaching the dreamwalkers, to repay their teaching about Tel’aran’rhiod. And to meet a debt, she claimed, though she had never made clear what debt.

So, it's not all that strange that Sorilea knows Traveling. Amys would not have kept it secret from her, though Amys would have no reason to believe that Sorilea could make use of it. More likely Sorilea simply witnessed it, if Amys is indeed the source of her knowledge. Of course, there is nothing to say that the Wise Ones knew Traveling before Sorilea taught it to Cadsuane, but the fact that she knows it is not really proof of anything. I doubt that she was ordered to share it with Cadsuane; I think it more likely she did that only to put Cadsuane in her debt, and to make sure that, since Sorilea could not keep an eye on Rand, that someone else was doing so, someone that was in her debt.

@ZT:

1. It would probably be helpful if you could list some traits that previous Darkfriends have all shared, traits that we should be looking for in Sorilea. I don't believe that you are correct about there being a difference between Sorilea and the rest. Some Darkfriends seem predictable, especially those like Liandrin that take themselves so seriously, but some do not.

2. This has already been addressed on the message boards, but it is highly unlikely that Shaidar Haran could have pulled it off without Sorilea's assistance. We know from Brandon that he has far less power over those who are not servants of the Shadow, and we know from the Forsaken that it is impossible to get past a ward that someone else invented, and dangerous to experiment. You have to know the weave(s) to disarm the trap. Brandon confirmed that Elza was necessary to get the Domination Band, and he said that she had been given knowledge of rarely-known weaves, but he did not say that Shaidar Haran taught her those weaves. As was pointed out before, it's highly unlikely that Elza was granted the use of the True Power, and if Shaidar Haran was going to teach her some weaves (which seems unlikely), then it would have had to have been something to do with the True Power. Also, if it was as easy as using the True Power, don't you think one of the Forsaken would have had Callandor? Add all that to the fact that coincidence stretches credulity, and there is a pretty darn strong case against Sorilea, probably enough to convict her in a court of law. Cadsuane believes it was one of the Forsaken, but we know better.

3. As I said before, Bair cannot channel, so she could not have taught the weaves to anyone. She might have tipped them off on its location, but I think the location was already more or less known, since Sorilea asked Cadsuane to see it. I also think that knowing the weaves was necessary to disarm the trap, since Shaidar Haran's power is limited. And again, Sorilea also asked after the others, which is even more suspicious. And the very next day . . .

@mandrageron—There is no evidence for any of the Dreamwalkers being Darkfriends, and there is evidence against. This theory is not about which of them would make a better Darkfriend as a plot device, but about the evidence that Sorilea is a Darkfriend.

23

Paraprosdokian: 2010-07-23

Terez, I must admit this is a most compelling theory. I laughed at first, but there does seem to be very little room to maneouver given that we know it was Elza who removed Cadsuane's wards.

However, your entire theory collapses if we can cast doubt over the central plank of the theory - that it was Sorilea who gave Elza the weave to disarm Cadsuane's warding.

The key question for me is the Compulsion. Adopting the common assumption that Verin cast the Compulsion over Elza, what were the terms of that Compulsion? If you think about it in that way, it becomes very difficult to ratify the events of TGS with what Verin knew at the time in TPoD.

Cadsuane did not have the Domination Bands at the time of the Compulsion. Nor was Semirhage a prisoner.

It is said that Elza is made into a tool of Shaidar Haran, even though Shaidar Haran did not truly make himself known even to the Chosen until later in TPoD. So its not like Elza could be compelled to obey him. (It is true that SH has been around and moving as early as TEotW, but I don't think he would unveil himself to an ordinary Black Ajah like Verin).

And most importantly, Verin herself did not know that Sorilea was a darkfriend. It is probable that she did not even suspect that Sorilea was a darkfriend or it would definitely have been in her notebook.

Therefore the only Compulsion that makes sense is a general order for Elza to obey the nearest high-ranking Darkfriend to come along. But that hardly seems necessary if Elza is already a darkfriend (a fact of which Verin is aware).

So given the impossibility of defining the content of the Compulsion over Elza by Verin and given the fact Verin cast multiple compulsions over both lightfriends and darkfriends, I am going to argue that the Compulsion cast by Verin is not the Compulsion in TGS. It is simply the same Compulsion cast over the other captive Aes Sedai - to be extra supportive of Rand.

This leaves, of course, the question of who did Compel Elza. My suspicion is Messana. She and Semirhage are in a pact, but she is unlikely to want to do the dirty work herself.

The modus operandi fits. Who else but the academic Forsaken would be most likely to know a weave that can dispell weaves? We know that such knowledge existed in the Age of Legends - after all the Gholam was made then, as well as one of the devices in Cadsuane's own paralis net. So why can't a weave do it as well? And Messana in general seems to favour striking from the shadows rather than a frontal assault.

Just as importantly, Brandon's exact words were "Elza had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran. Not all of it was pleasant for her."

Weaves. Plural. What other weaves did Sorilea teach Elza? I'm not sure there's an answer to that. On the other hand, Messana would be a much better source for weaves.

24

terez: 2010-07-23

Verin's Compulsion is the reason why all of the captive sisters swore to Rand. She Compelled them to find reasons to serve him until the Last Battle; this is why Elza needed to have the Compulsion removed in order to wear the other bracelet for the Domination Band. Also, Brandon confirmed that Elza spoke of Verin's Compulsion.

25

Scaw: 2010-08-09

What I read from your quotes is that Sorilea is one of the driving forces to free Rand. How can that be in the interest of a Darkfriend?

Concerning Sorilea breaking Aiel custom: she must do this to strengthen the Aiel. They are in the Wetlands now, they have to follow the Dragon Reborn. They just have to use the One Power in battle. If they stick to their old ways, they will perish.

From all I read I get the impression that Sorilea is simply a very good leader. Of course a very good leader cannot be everyones darling. I totally agree with PerrinMcBeardy on the supposed hints on her dark nature.

So the only really good evidence we have is this coincidence concerning the retrieval of the bracelets. But what of Cadsuane's close followers, some of them could very well be Darkfriends. PerrinMcBeardy also makes a good argument here too.

The weakest point of this argument however is Sorilea herself. If she is a Darkfriend, she is an extremely powerful one, a great manipulator, a trusted leader of almost all Aiel. Why would somebody like that be so stupid and provide Cadsuane with such a good clue that she could have been involved in this? The least she should have done is wait a few days. Cadsuane is no dummy either. She will connect the dots: "Who knew of the Bracelets? Did I not tell Sorilea yesterday about this? OMG she could be a Darkfriend!"

Sorilea being so weak also would have very little protection from Cadsuane. We would need to see an attempted murder of Cadsuane by Sorliea in the next book.

26

terez: 2010-08-09

@Scaw - do you think Taim is a Lightfriend? He was rather essential to Rand's victory at Dumai's Wells. The Shadow had orders out at this time to keep Rand safe. Some of Cadsuane's followers might be Darkfriends, but so far as we know, Cadsuane didn't show the weave for disarming the trap to anyone but Sorilea and Bair, and Bair can't channel. Also, if she's a Darkfriend, then she is following orders, and she wouldn't have any choice about which risks to take or not take. The motive seems to have been to make Rand mistrust Cadsuane, so I doubt Sorilea will try to kill her (even though Verin might have been ordered to do so).

27

Scaw: 2010-08-10

Ok, granted, Darkfriends often help Rand. But do they really try very hard to aid him or do they just do as ordered and as much as is needed to keep their cover?

Because even if Darkfriends are not allowed to kill Rand, Sorilea does seem to be the best leader the Aiel have. I yet need to see any evidence that she intentionally sacrificed her people if it was not for the greater good.

I would like to see a quote where she does something that is not aimed at keeping the Aiel whole or educating Rand.

In this respect she would be quite different from other high level Darkfriends like Taim, who quite obviously do evil deeds.

If she is a Darkfriend, she is closer to Verin than to any other Darkfriend I know. I think it would be interesting to compare the Verin-is-a-Darkfriend evidence before it was actually revealed to see if the evidence was just as weak.

Concerning my argument that it would be a stupid move to steal the bracelets: You do have a point there. If Sorilea acted under order, she cannot really play it safe.

In any case, I think the evidence is fairly weak aside from the bracelet incident. If she is a Darkfriend, I do not see her walking around freely much longer if Cadsuane (and Bair who was also present?) is not silenced somehow.

28

Scaw: 2010-08-10

Sorry for posting twice but I just stumbled over something that should be important although it is a very simple matter: "As Sorilea closed the door behind the three of them, Cadsuane disarmed the box's traps." (TGS, Ch. 14)

So imagine the scene in your head. Where is everybody and what do they do when and how? We can at least assume three things: - while C. is at the box, S. is at the door - C. can shield the box from view with her body which would be the most natural bodily position and also reasonable since she does not fully trust S.

So you are most likely mistaken if you assume the following: "What chance, that Rand would be captured the very day after Sorilea observed Cadsuane disarming the trap? Bair cannot channel, so it had to be Sorilea" Sorilea most likely did not observe what Cadsuane did exactly because she really did not see what Cadsuane did.

There is a second point: Sorilea is very weak in the power. Being weak usually means being a slow learner. Can we really assume she picked up more than one weave (one being one C. invented) by just looking at it once? Even if we assume she did somehow get a good view of the weave? No we cannot.

Yes, Sorilea knew the location of the box. But no, she could not be of help in disarming it!

So my above comments still hold. From what Sorilea has done so far, I would be very surprised if she was a DF. She could be, but since her being able to channel does not really make a difference it is more likely it was somebody else whose motives are less clear. My money would be on Bair right now or one from Cadsuane's team.

29

Vicious Circle: 2010-09-01

I concur with Scaw, that Bair is the Dark Friend among the Dream Walkers. She disclosed the whereabouts of the Dominion Bands. Possibly, she has helped turn Amys, though hopefully, if this is true, Amys will fight for the light as Verin did.

30

kivo: 2010-09-01

Scaw: Not saying Sorilea is a Darkfriend, but she was sharp enough to pick up the weaves for Traveling and show them to Caddy. She's probably not a slow learner.

31

terez: 2010-09-02

The reason why Bair is less believable to me is partly that she is a better-developed character than Sorilea in the ways that are important. She has been seen relaxing with the other Wise Ones and she has consistently shown a good heart in her conversation with them. Practically nothing Sorilea has done has shown a good heart. But even more important is the fact that Sorilea was the one that asked after the location of the Domination Bands. When she was shown the one, she asked after the others. And Sorilea is the one that went out of her way to put Cadsuane in her debt.

And perhaps most importantly, there is the foreshadowing of a confrontation between Cadsuane and Sorilea. None of that with Bair. No thoughts about Bair from Verin, really. All the clues point to Sorilea. I think people just want it to be Bair because Sorilea appears to be one of the most capable people on Rand's side, and Bair appears to be expendable in terms of our affections because she has always taken a back seat to Amys among the Dreamwalkers.

32

Vicious Circle: 2010-09-02

I agree, Bair does seem the most pleasant of the Wise Ones, but I think it's a front. Sorilea is like a bear with a sore tooth, always making waves, getting all the attention. Distracting us from the fact that Bair is privy to almost all the info we know Sorilea has. Bair is "nice". Maybe too nice.

33

Door Number 3: 2010-09-03

I believe Cadsuane kept her box on her mirror stand. Is it possible that Sorilea saw the reflection of the weave in the mirror.

34

RDDK: 2010-09-06

While I think it is possible Sorilea is a darkfriend, I believe it is more likely that these points of contention she has originate elsewhere. Her desire to change custom could easily be one of the things she learned about her future in the three rings when she first went to Rhuidean. As much of the information from the rings goes away until it is relevant, the point where Min has a new viewing on Sorilea and the others could simply be that something has triggered another hint from the Wise One ter'angreal, thus remolding her future.

35

terez: 2010-09-06

Again, it's not any one piece of information that makes her suspicious; it's the combination of all of it. Each bit can individually be explained away, but all of it together is too much to ignore.

36

maroftis: 2010-09-07

Nice job Terez. I also thought this would be a wild theory because it really never occured to me to suspect Sorilea. She seems a solid rock in Rand's corner. After reading your evidence I have to agree with you, and what better person to be a DF than one nobody suspects. I have seen that several people are throwing up the "she swore a water oath" defence to protect her, but if she is a DF she can swear to any oath and not be held by it. As far as helping Cadsuane to teach Rand laughter and tears...there is no evidence that she has done one single thing other that talk a good talk. All the attempts I have seen have come from Cadsuane alone.

The conversation where Cadsuane and Sorilea are discussing the difference between Strong and Hard and yet earlier in the series she was saying that Rand had to be Hard. The poison passing from Sorilea to Verin is also pretty shady too. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Verin was taking orders from Sorilea or that they were both working for the same forsaken. Verin could not give up more than just a little hint without condeming herself and she still had things to accoplish for the light before her death.

37

terez: 2010-09-08

@Maroftis - Thanks! I agree, it is a matter of the many connections, and the fact that there is no real evidence to exonerate her. The foreshadowing of the confrontation between her and Cadsuane is key, too. Hang her high, Cadsuane! :D

Of course, she might turn out to be okay. I just tend to doubt it highly, with the way the evidence runs. No reason to suspect her, really, until that moment with the Domination Band. That is what makes her a perfect Darkfriend - that, and the fact that retrospect uncovers so much foreshadowing.

38

RDDK: 2010-09-14

A few more questions on it:

1)If Verin knew that Sorilea was a darkfriend, you would think she'd have told Egwene. That she didn't gives credence to the argument that she did not know or think that Sorilea was a darkfriend, and that those quotes are not hints of any kind, only normal Verin thoughts.

2)"If I were to choose," Sorilea continued, "I think that I would have her throat slit and her corpse laid out on the dust to dry. Keeping her alive is like keeping a snapwood blacklance as a pet."

This part of the block quote suggests that Sorilea wants Semirhage dead. It would have been easier to have her killed than to free her.

Also, it makes sense that Cadsuane assumed that Semirhage had some knowledge to get around the trap. The trap was inverted so Sorilea wouldn't have seen it when it was dismantled and even if she saw it rewoven, it would be a weave she'd never seen before and had no idea how it worked. How would she know how to not set it off?

I think Sorilea would make a great darkfriend if we give her more credit and knowledge than it shows or hints at anywhere in the books.

Is there something about her we don't necessarily know yet? I think so. Is it that she is a darkfriend? That I'm not sold on.

39

Tenesmus: 2010-09-14

When I read Verin's POV in Deceptive Appearances (TPOD Prologue) in its entirety, I get the impression that Verin is very afraid of being torutred by Sorilea. We also never find out who Verin's "handler(s)" is/are in the Shadow, or who is in her Heart. We do know she had conflicting orders wrt giving Egwene Dreamer info. We also know that she was horrifed that Katerine Alrudin escaped. Which leads to the question of who helped Katerine escape? Darkfriends among Rand's Aiel Wise Ones, thats who; but who among them are Dark? In Deceptive Appearances, Verin worries that she "miscalculated." I think she is worried about who she thinks is a Darkfriend among the Aiel. I conclude (after reading TGS and re-reading TPOD) that Verin believes Sorilea is a Darkfriend. I also think it too much of coincidence that Verin and Graendal both use Compulsion extensively. I think we will see a "flashback" POV of Verin and Graendal together.

40

Nero: 2010-09-14

Thank you Terez, for posting my theory here (and for referencing it!) and adding all the beef.

Fot a long time, I have considered the fact that there is probably at least one notable wise one who is a DF in disguise. After reading chapter 14 of TGS (where Cadsuane reveals where she keeps the male adam) and the events of Chapter 21, Sorilea or Bair look pretty suspicious.

Most of this theory above explains the suspiciousness of Sorilea. It's also worth considering, by the process of elimination, why Bair is probably not a DF. As there is no direct evidence to support that she is not, there is alot of factors that makes her being a DF a little less likely.

Egwene entered her dreams. (Would she be willing to have other people find her out by entering one of her DFish dreams on happenstance.)

She cannot channel. (How much worth is she to the shadow? She could not have opened the box on her own.)

She is a sleepwalker. (The forsaken seem surprised at the sleepwalkers of the third age.) RJ might have made a slip with Bair in LoC Ch51, when Rand thinks that Amys or Bair could detect channeling to save him. As Bair cannot channel, this could either be a slip or Rand simply not knowing Bair can't channel. But if it is a slip, then it is unlikely that Bair is a DF, as RJ would not have made that mistake if she was.

41

wheelsturn: 2010-09-15

I think the biggest clue to Sorilea being a DF (prior to TGS) is the breaking of Aiel custom in allowing the Wiseones to engage in battle. Simply put, that increases chaos in the world thus strengthing the Shadow. The Aiel are desended from the 'ultimate people of peace', for lack of a better term. Several times the Forsaken have noted the changes to the Aiel from what they knew in the Age of Legends. Also Rand in book 4 when walking through the glass columns learns this history, and the tragic steps down from that ideal to the present. I think the last vestage of that hertiage was the Wiseones neutrality from direct combat/conflict. That Sorilea is the culpit, is perhaps the biggest clue of all.

And for the point on Sorilea can't be a DF because shes the source of the whole Rand hard vs strong front: What in any of the books has Sorilea done to help Rand get stronger, rather than harder?

42

RDDK: 2010-09-15

It would make as much sense to say the first Aiel to pick up the spear was a darkfriend, and the first Maiden was a darkfriend. I wouldn't understand how Wise One's willing to partake in battle would add chaos when the only people they have fought are the people who Kidnapped Rand and Shaido Wise Ones who decided to fight irrespective of Sorilea.

From this it would appear that Sorilea was balancing the sides of the battles, not causing more chaos. I read this as just another time of change within the Aiel, as they have been changing for 3000 years.

43

wheelsturn: 2010-09-16

That may indeed be true of those Aiel, however this is about Sorliea's actions, and if she is a Darkfriend or not. It is my position that this conflict with the Shadow can not be won by brute force. If it could, Rand failed the moment he destroyed the Chodean Kal at the end of TGS. On the contrary, its once he comes to his senses, that he destroys it. By breaking that last vestage of the neutrality of the Aiel, Sorliea has forced the Aiel to walk down the path of there own destruction. You could imangine the wiseones away from the direct combat of the Last Battle offering healing, wisdom, strength ect, now I suspect they will be in the thick of it dying. The Shaido broke with what was left for the Aiels customs on wiseones, look what happened to them, there clan broken and all there channelers chained slaves to the Seanchan. It wasn't pretty. Also on Dumai Wells, who saves Rand, Taim - who we know to be a darkfriend. It is my contention the Shadow wanted the Dragon as far from the divided White Tower as it could, so his Taveren nature couldn't heal that rift. Sorliea was also instrumental in preventing that.

44

maroftis: 2010-10-06

Here is further evidence in LoC Ch. 51 The Taking it was Sorliea who kept Min away from being present when the tower Aes Sedai (some of whom were Black Ajah) captured Rand. This could show that Sorliea and the Black Ajah planned the taking of Rand together.

45

maroftis: 2010-10-06

Ok ignore that last post if I had read further into the chapter I would have seen that Sorliea was upset that Min had disappeared.

46

greyfalconway: 2010-10-13

Has anybody considered this may be the "Big Unnoticed Thing" ??

47

greyfalconway: 2010-10-13

RDDK @ 38
I think Egwene didn't decypher the darkfriends sections of Verins books yet, she was just decyphering the black ajah since that was way more important to her situation, and I think Sorilea would be considered a darkfriend, dreadlord or maybe a new 3rd age forsaken to be raised during TG, but certainly not black ajah, so Egwene not freaking out as of TGS isn't really any proof against this (in my opinion awesome) theory. And to my post about this possibly being the "Big Unnoticed Thing" it seems to really fit all the requirements perfectly.

48

Myth: 2010-10-13

I only had time to read half the comments, so for all I know, the points I am going to put forth have already been addressed. If so, apologies.

First, I like the who analogy with Lan but it was simply discredited because we all know Lan isnt a DF. So if you need another male, what if it was said about Rand, or Logain, or even Rhuarc? That person did bring up a good point. Also, what if those things had been said about Suain while she was still Amrylin or about Eladia? (sorry if miss-spelled, been awhile and no time to look up) If the same things were said about them you would accept it, nobody would want to cross those women or doubt their ability to be ruthless. Does that prove they are DFs?

I am not saying I disagree, just that it was a good argument and something to ponder.

Second, it was mentioned that Sorliea could not possibly know how to hide her power since those things were only revealed when the Forsaken got loose. Yet many in the Tower had hidden tricks, Verin herself had a form of compulsion, it might be a stretch but it wouldnt be unreasonable to think that Sorliea had a similar little talent and this was it. Been stronger in the power than you actually are, but being able to hid it, would be a huge advantage.

Anyway like I said I wasnt able to read it all because I am off to work. I like the theory a lot and agree that the most damning evidence is the DB. Not that Sorliea is the only suspect or we know all that happened, but when you look at the evidence as we have it, it does seem suspicious. I look forward to seeing how this turns out. I would love to see she is, but because of this theory, would also now love to see she isnt.

49

Songsinger: 2010-10-23

terez: 2010-09-02

The reason why Bair is less believable to me is partly that she is a better-developed character than Sorilea in the ways that are important. She has been seen relaxing with the other Wise Ones and she has consistently shown a good heart in her conversation with them.

I have a problem with Sorilea as a dark friend. I would say that I also felt that Sheriam had been protrayed as a positive and compassionate person. Bair could still be a DF for me - but why do either of them have to be a DF? Aside from the timing, the rest of the argumaents are pretty thin :-) I think that it IS coincidence that the domination bands were stolen the day after Sorilea asked. There was no need for Sorilea to even tell Shaidar Haran where they were. Cadsuane had been travelling with a dark friend for months. Elza was already shown to be overly curious and trying to evesdrop on Rand, it is possible she watched cadsuane too. Not for the weaves, but just for her possessions. Even if she had never been allowed to spy on cadsuane, Elza should have been able to determine where the domination bands were as soon as she was near them, Egwene felt waves of sadness and pain radiating from them when she saw them in the world of dreams ... I believe that Shaidar Haran wiped the wards away with his magical "no chaneling" blocking powers - he used them on Mesaana, he used them on some of the other foresaken. He needed Elza because he cannot touch the domination bands himself. There is something said about men dying when they touch the adam in the senachen court. Rand had some sort of strange surge when he tried to release the daman when he was in seanchan with aviendah and we know that myrdraal have some manner of linking with trollocs.. even though the average myrdraal cannot truly channel. i suspect that shaidar Haran can channel the TP and THAT was why he needed to have Elza get the domination bands and that the timing was truly just coincidence.

50

Pshaw: 2010-10-28

I must say it's a great theory, and it may just be my fondness of Sorilea shading my opinion but I don't think it likely she's a darkfriend based on the evidence presented here.

As many others have said she is indeed strong willed and 'hard' and that would lead to her somewhat more brutal views on things. In that vein I would honestly say she's no worse than any of the Aiel. They'd all want to slit the throat of a forsaken and leave their corpse to bake in sun. So far as Verin not wanting to get tortured by her I feel this isn't anything noteworthy beyond Verin's own fear of discovery. It seems that more than a few Aiel throughout the series have mentioned torture as a means of finding out information and more than a few have seemed willing and knowledgeable in that area.

The time Verin spent with her seems logical as it is pretty much Verin's MO to manipulate people to her own ends. Add that to the fact that if you want to manipulate wise ones you'd be best off manipulating the wise one at the top of the ladder as steering any other could simply prove fruitless of Sorilea were to disagree with them.

For the Aiel going into battle for the first time I feel that a key point of this is that they're going into battle to save rand, the Carn'a'carn the only person that can ensure that any Aiel survive. They're also going to battle Aes Sedia who've they've lost almost all respect for and these used rather underhanded means to obtain rand, namely coming to negotiate then just stealing him. I mean the Aiel don't really tolerate lies, I don't think this is far from that line of dishonesty. Which is all the more reason for her to smile once the Aes Sedia are given to her for disciple afterwards. She gets the chance to teach honorless wetlanders some honor, Aes Sedia at that, these mysterious figures they'd lived in awe/fear of all their lives.

I agree that evidence for the domination band is stacked highly against her... though really I discount it. I say this only because I'm sure their is probably enough odd occurrence right before something bad happens throughout the series to point to darkfriends everywhere.

That said the strongest evidence in the argument for a fight I've seen is the foreshadowing a fight between her and Cadsuane. I was just reading LoC and sure enough Rand told Min, "I'd cut my arm off before I'd hurt you Min" which is pretty much what happened before he almost killed her. Little bits of foreshadowing like that are more compelling to me than anything else. The only thing I would wonder about is that any fight between them would be easily won by Cadsuane her being so much stronger in the power. So it seems to me that this would probably be a contest of wills rather than an out and out battle.

I agree that both RJ and BS like twists, but too many twists like this would get redundant after awhile and no longer be compelling fiction. I know I for one hope that no more major-middling characters turn into minor darkfriends if only because it's already been enough times to be bordering on tedious. That might not be much of an argument but I think that they're both accomplished enough writers to do the remaining plot twists without simply turning more people into darkfriends. After all their is the matter of what Mat will do to get song iron and fire into the tower, the true nature of the final battle, what is really going on with Noal Charin, who killed Asmodean, Who is Demandred and so forth. As such I doubt in the remaining 2 books they'll be spinning tons more people into darkfriends.

51

iveym: 2010-11-27

I don't want to give too much away, but does anyone know if Rand saw Sorilea in ToM? I can't find it anywhere, but it seems like he would have and that would be conclusive evidence.

52

Glen: 2010-11-28

I figured I'd point out the obvious alternative explanation for how the Domination Band came to be retrieved by Elza.

Simple compulsion would be more than sufficient to get Sorilea to reveal the secret. Elza certainly had reason to find out what Sorilea knew in general, given her standing, and once Elza knew of the Domination Band, she could have easily found out the details of the protection wards. This isn't to say that this is a superior explanation to the one presented in this theory, just a reasonable alternative.

Also, there IS one piece of evidence suggesting that Sorilea may not be a darkfriend - if Verin really had reason to suspect that she was, she would undoubtedly have noted it in her information for Egwene, or warned Rand of it in some way. After all, given all the work Verin did, she wouldn't be willing to allow a darkfriend to be so close to Rand at such a dangerous time, and she would undoubtedly have known that Egwene could at least in some way contact Rand or the wise ones near him. Egwene would not have sat on such information - a Darkfriend wise one so close to Rand, Egwene would have acted immediately, even before purging the White Tower of the Black Ajah.

IVEYM - no, Rand doesn't see Sorilea in ToM. Actually, it's a curious question, what happened to Sorilea. Last we saw, when Rand and his entourage were in Arad Doman, where she was with Cadsuane, presumably discussing the plan to have Tam brought to talk with him. We haven't seen her since.

Actually, this could theoretically be supporting evidence that she's a Darkfriend - it's entirely possible that, knowing the threat that Sorilea poses, Verin addressed the problem as one of her errands to run before facing Egwene. It would definitely explain Sorilea's conspicuous absence. The last time we see Sorilea is Chapter 31 of tGS. Verin meets with Egwene and reveals everything in Chapter 39.

53

Elanor: 2010-11-28

I have read the following in the Aiel section of the Sanderson/Jordan quotes page: http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=372

"Towers of Midnight book tour 5 November 2010, Hanover, MD - Frenchie reporting

I [asked] him if Rand has met with Sorilea since his time on Dragonmount, and he said he thinks that Rand has."

I find it very interesting that Brandon didn't 'RAFO' the question. The answer however does not imply Sorilea cannot be a Darkfriend: albeit unlikely, Rand may have seen her and, with his new 'Darkfriend-radar' recognized her for what she was and decided to keep an eye on her. To paraphrase Elayne, there are advantages to know your hidden enemies.

However, I suspect if the answer to the question of Rand seeing her was really important, Brandon would have RAFO-ed it so I tend to think she might not be a Darkfriend after all, even if I find te theory convincing. Still, there is also the possibility Brandon gave that answer because he didn't want to draw one's attention to Sorilea too much.

I hope fans ask him this question again!

54

rhino2129: 2010-12-02

I do believe that Sorilea is a DF. As for how she came about the knowledge of travelling, did not Messana teach an Aes Sedai DF in the tower how to travel? All of this evidence definitely points to her being a DF, and I believe that Jordan and Sanderson both are devious enough for it to be so. I will believe it until I see otherwise.

55

M: 2010-12-03

@RHINO: Egwene has been teaching Wise Ones in gratitude for her training. I believe the prevailing opinion is that she learned it from Egwene; one could ask if that squares with her secrecy regarding the traveling weave among the Aes Sedai, however she trusts the Wise Ones and that was also prior to Elaida's fall.

56

PerrinMcBeardy: 2010-12-07

@Terez - With regards to your comment:

"we know from the Forsaken that it is impossible to get past a ward that someone else invented, and dangerous to experiment."

From Lanfear we know that it is possible to unravel or break wards, unless she was lying to Rand about breaking through his dream wardings. Now of course, Lanfear was one of the most, if not the most knowledgeable and skilled in the use of the one power, so she may be fairly unique in the ability to break wards. But she is alive again and working for Moridin, so I would say that Elza could have easily been given the knowledge she needed to circumvent the wardings.

However, I think that we are following a red herring. The timing was not a coincidence at all, Shaidar Haran came right out and said that the reason he had come to Semirhage was that he knew that she'd been broken. It had nothing to do with Cadsuane, or Sorilea, or their wards, that was always small potatoes to Moridin and SH. He knew that she could no longer be trusted to remain strong in captivity, so he came to give her this last chance (suicide mission). On that note, I am quite certain that Moridin wanted very much for Rand to use both the True Power and balefire, and sicking the worlds cruelest torturer with a domination band on an already fragile Rand practically guaranteed setting him on the path of darkness.

@GREYFALCONWAY - Re Egwene not freaking out: Verin would have mentioned her suspicions in the book, if she'd had them, and Egwene would definitely have revealed her DF status by ToM, if been told of it. We saw that Egwene will attack dark friends head on and very aggressively. We also saw Egwene have several meetings with wise ones, and nothing was mentioned. However, Sorilea may very well have slipped through Verin's net. She couldn't have gotten to the top the Aiel hierarchy without being crafty, resourceful, and very intelligent. To be there, Sorilea had to have "the most honor among them" as the wise one's say to Egwene about her position in the White Tower during their meeting.

Still, I have to go back to the fact that Semirhage had just been broken. That is the reason for the timing, the other stuff is a coincidence timimg wise and was meant to set Cadsuane up to be blamed when Rand escaped the domination band, as Moridin expected him to do. Cadsuane says that there are other domination bands that the Forsaken could have easily obtained, and she is undoubtedly correct with the Seanchan making them. Moridin knew that Cadsuane was working against his plan to destroy Rand's humanity, so he needed to separate them, which he did by discrediting her.

57

Nocterequiem: 2012-08-31

It's certainly possible that Sorilea could be a Darkfriend, but I don't believe it. Most of the circumstantial evidence shows that Sorilea is a hard woman. The equal of Cadsuane. There is as much said for Cadsuane making people's blood run cold and being a harridan to deal with as there is for Sorilea. I'd throw out most of it based on that.

She wants the Wise Ones who can channel to fight to free Rand and punish Aes Sedai. Insinuating she is doing it to cause more chaos because the DO wants to "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" is a roundabout argument for me. It doesn't hold water for me. You will probably say that it just adds to more circumstantial evidence, and more maybes means she is right? She is 'so satisfied' that she gets the prisoners because she wants to punish Aes Sedai. She nods at Min because she doesn't like Aes Sedai.

Your 'most striking piece of evidence' is Sorilea entering a water oath to accomplish Cadsuane's goal for Rand. Now if she really is a DF this oath means nothing, but taken at face value this makes her basically equivalent to Cadsuane. If she really is a DF then there are hiddn meaning you can glean from it, but I think that that would be reading too much into it. They want the same thing. Cadsuane wants Rand to be human enough to care about the world he intends to save. Sorilea wants to save as many Aiel as she can. I can see how it can be argued that her desire to save her people can be a reason to be enticed into the Shadow similar to what Ingtar did, but that argument can be said for basically everyone on the side of the Light.

The crux of the argument is the a'dam. Everything else can easily be explained away as her being a hard Aiel woman and leader. I think the scene is intended to remind the reader that Cadsuane is still in possession of the item even though she told Rand she'd get rid of it. Sorilea didn't see Cadsuane unravel the weaves of the trap, and Bair can't see weaves. This certainly casts doubt upon these two, but as someone said above, all it would take is for Shaidar Haran to move into the room to be able to sense the ward. It would be a logical thing to assume that Cadsuane would keep the things that they obtained from Semirhage. It's also logical that she would keep them close. Think back to when Moridin tried to get the CK access keys from Rand. They checked his rooms and Dobraine's and Bashere's tent. Maybe Elza was taught weaves that blocked sound and how to knew how to cut bonds of air. She "had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran." A fat lot of good Cadsuane's ward would have been then.

The biggest proof for me that Sorilea is not a DF is Sanderson saying that she HAS met Rand since his transformation and his new vision. If that's the case and she's a DF, surely it would have been included. A bombshell like this would not be kept out. Now if this is untrue or Sanderson misspoke, then I'm 50/50 on her being a DF. But as it stands, I'm thinking that she isn't.