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Zombie Sammael
09-29-2013, 07:06 AM
The last time we see Alanna she is with Rand and Moridin in the Pit of Doom, left stabbed and bleeding to death as a weapon against Rand. Nynaeve asks what she's doing there, but she can't answer, and her last act before final death is to release Rand from his bond.

The mention immediately prior to that is from Rand, stating that she's "somewhere in the Borderlands":

“Rand, Alanna is gone. She vanished earlier today.”
“Yes. I felt her go. Northward somewhere. The Borderlands, perhaps Arafel.”

So the question is how did she get from there to SG, and end up in the predicament she was in?

The previous chapter of TOM has a few tantalising clues. The first mystery is how she even got out of the stone:

“And I’m telling you that I felt nothing,” Corele said. She smiled, tapping the side of her nose. “I don’t know how she got out. Unless you think she somehow invented flying—which I daresay wouldn’t be outside reason, considering some of what has occurred lately.”

Bera said she’d felt Alanna channeling, but nothing demanding. Certainly not enough to create a gateway.

So, it seems Alanna received a message from Verin, then immediately left via means unclear, heading northwards. I am not sure what the explanation can be for her seeming ability to travel without travelling, unless she has Androl's talent, with no other mentions thereof; the simplest explanation is that she wove some sort of disguise and then travelled from elsewhere, where she knew she would not be watched. This would have been more secure and would have prevented both friends and, more importantly, enemies from tracking her. The question is who her enemies were.

As for the letter... what on Earth could it contain? Instructions, perhaps? But why would Verin - who we know was sending the letters in anticipation of her own death, and thus was free from considerations such as maintaining her cover - deliberately send Alanna to her death?

There are a few possibilities. One is that the classic theory is correct and Alanna was under compulsion from Verin the whole time. This doesn't explain how she was able to escape the Stone and get to the Borderlands so quickly without travelling, and nor does it answer Verin's motives. One possibility is that Verin knew what would happen to her, but made the calculated decision that it would be better to send her to a prolonged and painful death rather than an immediate end prior to the Last Battle that might send Rand even further over the edge and cost the light the war. That doesn't seem likely, though; Verin had no need by the time the letter was opened to maintain cover. She could simply have said, "Your life is in deadly danger. Take steps to protect yourself. Trust no-one." That sort of message would not have prompted her to go haring off towards the Blight (as we can conclude she did). Still more if Verin had some sort of compulsion on her which would promote her to do whatever was contained in the letter; if Verin was interested in protecting Rand, "Release the bond," might have been a better instruction.

Unless Alanna's motives were not as pure as they seem. If Alanna were a darkfriend, and Verin one of her three, then that puts Verin in a much more difficult position. Verin cannot include Alanna on her list of Black Ajah members without also including a note saying, "Bound to the Dragon Reborn. Do not execute until after Tarmon Gai'don," a note she might not have had time nor the trust in those who received the notebook to include. She also cannot send Alanna anywhere inconsistent with the known Shadow plans. This makes it easier for Verin to send Alanna into certain peril for Rand's protection, and also explains why Alanna was travelling in stealth. Admittedly, Verin could have sent Alanna off somewhere remote... unless Alanna's bonding of Rand was part of a Darkfriend plot that she was already aware of, and Verin had no choice but to send her in to execute the plot. Verin still then has the problem of warning someone about Alanna leading to her death because they didn't obey the caution about the Dragon Reborn.

On reflection, it seems more likely that Alanna wrote the letter to Rand that made him suspect Weiramon than Verin. If she were Black, Alanna could have been offering Weiramon up as a sacrificial lamb to distract attention from herself. If she weren't, she was legitimately warning Rand about a threat, possibly on instructions from Verin. In any case, that explains the letters she herself was writing and seems more realistic than Verin having apparently invented the postal service.

She then finds herself in the north/the Blight and is taken by Moridin, either as a prisoner or to execute his plan. If she is Black, in the moments prior to her death she has second thoughts and releases the bond; if she's not then why not release it as soon as she realised she'd become a liability (sheer cowardly self-preservation)?

The main problem I see with a non-Black Alanna is if she wasn't Black, why send her into a trap if you're Verin? On the other hand, if she was, she could have been following a plan she already knew of to use the bond against Rand, and Verin was simply hedging her bets.

There is a bit of circumstantial evidence against Alanna too. One of the things that leaps out to me as a little suspect is this:

She had bruised her heel this morning and scraped her hand, and she was in a temper.

Those injuries are, of course, consistent with a simple fall. They might also be consistent with being attacked. We know Sheriam, a known BA who happens to have been a novice with Alanna, was being beaten. Alanna may have deliberately been tripped as a way of establishing dominance by a higher up DF and then questioned, which certainly would have upset her. Or she could have tripped over her own feet.

She was always too interested in the boys, and in the supergirls, and was responsible for the resonance that nearly killed Egwene in the Acceptatron. She immediately then sought penance, perhaps too much penance for a seeming "accident". Was that just her being Arafelin, or was it a deliberate attempt to cover up?

She's a difficult case, because she's so 50-50, and I admit a lot of the evidence is circumstantial at best and even then, weak. But I have trouble explaining just how and why she was in SG at just the right point without concluding that she was an easily manipulated Darkfriend who ended up as a pawn sacrificed to ensure victory when the game had already changed.

GonzoTheGreat
09-29-2013, 09:29 AM
If she were BA, wouldn't she then have notified her superiors in the Tower when she had bonded Rand?
If so, then it is rather mysterious how and why she helped so much getting Rand back at Dumai's Wells, where Mesaana was plotting to capture the Dragon.

Khoram
09-29-2013, 01:15 PM
If Alanna was Black Ajah, could she not have similar reasons to Verin? It may very well be that she was working out certain DF plots.

I'm leaning more towards Alanna being Black Ajah but ultimately coming back to the Light at the end. No one is so far gone in the Shadow that they cannot return to the Light.

Weird Harold
09-29-2013, 03:41 PM
The first mystery is how she even got out of the stone:


“And I’m telling you that I felt nothing,” Corele said. She smiled, tapping the side of her nose. “I don’t know how she got out. Unless you think she somehow invented flying—which I daresay wouldn’t be outside reason, considering some of what has occurred lately.”


Bera said she’d felt Alanna channeling, but nothing demanding. Certainly not enough to create a gateway.

A kidnapping by Sadar Haran, one of the male Forsaken, or Moridin would account for her sudden disappearance.

Zombie Sammael
09-29-2013, 09:20 PM
A kidnapping by Sadar Haran, one of the male Forsaken, or Moridin would account for her sudden disappearance.

But not a small, non-demanding amount of channeling. If she'd been kidnapped I imagine the sisters in the Stone would have felt either a large amount, or none at all. That amount of channeling is really only consistent with a disguise and travelling from another location, given the other circumstances.

Zombie Sammael
09-29-2013, 11:09 PM
If she were BA, wouldn't she then have notified her superiors in the Tower when she had bonded Rand?
If so, then it is rather mysterious how and why she helped so much getting Rand back at Dumai's Wells, where Mesaana was plotting to capture the Dragon.

If she weren't in the hands of Mesaana, but rather part of a more long-term plot on the instructions of Ishamael/Moridin, then this is adequately explained.

GonzoTheGreat
09-30-2013, 03:17 AM
If she weren't in the hands of Mesaana, but rather part of a more long-term plot on the instructions of Ishamael/Moridin, then this is adequately explained.
Well, yes. If one either assumes that Mesaana didn't know about the bonding (which seems unlikely if Alanna had been BA), or if at that time Moridin had had the authority to overrule Mesaana and had done so. We have no reason to think that Moridin had such authority at the time, and if Mesaana had known that her plan had been spoiled by Moridin, then she would have thought about that at some point.

As Moghedien says to Liandrin (in TFoH): "You serve whichever of the Chosen chooses to snap you up."

Zombie Sammael
09-30-2013, 04:02 AM
Well, yes. If one either assumes that Mesaana didn't know about the bonding (which seems unlikely if Alanna had been BA), or if at that time Moridin had had the authority to overrule Mesaana and had done so. We have no reason to think that Moridin had such authority at the time, and if Mesaana had known that her plan had been spoiled by Moridin, then she would have thought about that at some point.

As Moghedien says to Liandrin (in TFoH): "You serve whichever of the Chosen chooses to snap you up."

Surely that then applies to Moridin as well? And how many Mesaana POVs did we get throughout the series? Perhaps not enough for her to be mad about Moridin spoiling a plan she didn't have for a plan she didn't know about. There's also no evidence that Mesaana necessarily knew the identity of every single black sister.

GonzoTheGreat
09-30-2013, 04:34 AM
Actually, Mesaana didn't bother to learn the identity of every Black Sister. But one that had the Dragon as a warder would not be just any one, such a one would be worth noticing.

Zombie Sammael
09-30-2013, 05:17 AM
Actually, Mesaana didn't bother to learn the identity of every Black Sister. But one that had the Dragon as a warder would not be just any one, such a one would be worth noticing.

Only if Mesaana had noticed (and was meant to notice) that she was worth noticing.

GonzoTheGreat
09-30-2013, 06:46 AM
Only if Mesaana had noticed (and was meant to notice) that she was worth noticing.
And why would having bonded the DR as warder not be plenty of reason to make her worth noticing?

Zombie Sammael
09-30-2013, 07:03 AM
And why would having bonded the DR as warder not be plenty of reason to make her worth noticing?

How about because the whole time she was bonded to the Dragon Reborn, Alanna was outside of Tar Avalon, while Mesaana was very much entrenched inside the White Tower? There was little communication even between the Tower AS and the neutrals, and since even Alanna wasn't shouting it from the rooftops, the information may never have reached Mesaana.

GonzoTheGreat
09-30-2013, 07:18 AM
Alanna did tell other AS, and Elza managed to inform Mesaana quite rapidly about the problem that Semirhage had gotten herself into.

I find it rather difficult to imagine that a BA member who had bonded the DR would fail to inform her superiors of that.

Zombie Sammael
09-30-2013, 07:44 AM
Alanna did tell other AS, and Elza managed to inform Mesaana quite rapidly about the problem that Semirhage had gotten herself into.

I find it rather difficult to imagine that a BA member who had bonded the DR would fail to inform her superiors of that.

Well, now we are going round in circles, because the theory that Alanna was Black suggests she not only reported it her superiors, she bonded Rand on their instructions. It's just that "they" in this instance happen to be Moridin, not Mesaana.

The important question is not whether Mesaana knew; she may or may not have. The question is if and what Verin knew. If she did know, was she sending her north to buy time; if she did not, why did she send her north at all?

GonzoTheGreat
09-30-2013, 08:16 AM
If and what Verin knew what?

Verin had been there as a witness when Alanna bonded Rand, so she obviously knew about it. She even actually told Rand what Alanna had done to him.

Weird Harold
09-30-2013, 08:56 AM
But not a small, non-demanding amount of channeling. If she'd been kidnapped I imagine the sisters in the Stone would have felt either a large amount, or none at all. That amount of channeling is really only consistent with a disguise and travelling from another location, given the other circumstances.

That assumes that the "small amount of channeling" is related to her disappearance rather than something mundane -- like snuffing the candles before going to sleep. Then detecting no channeling because she was rendered unconscious or Compelled too quickly to Channel or panic (which Rand would have detected.)

OR

If she was BA, Shadar Haran, Moridin, or one of the male forsaken could just have provided transport -- or she could have been permitted to use TP to Travel undetected.

Zombie Sammael
10-01-2013, 03:24 AM
If and what Verin knew what?

Verin had been there as a witness when Alanna bonded Rand, so she obviously knew about it. She even actually told Rand what Alanna had done to him.

Knew she was Black. Sorry, I should have made that plainer. Of course, Verin would pretty much have had to know she was Black, so the actual question is whether Alanna was Black or not.

That assumes that the "small amount of channeling" is related to her disappearance rather than something mundane -- like snuffing the candles before going to sleep. Then detecting no channeling because she was rendered unconscious or Compelled too quickly to Channel or panic (which Rand would have detected.)

OR

If she was BA, Shadar Haran, Moridin, or one of the male forsaken could just have provided transport -- or she could have been permitted to use TP to Travel undetected.

The explanation that Alanna left the Stone for some other reason than to do with Verin's letter doesn't make sense. If Verin's letter to her was a warning to run, and she was later picked up in Arafel, she escaped alone, and the question is why she ran, of all places, to a Borderland on the eve of TG. If Verin's letter was an instruction to head to the Blight to execute a secret plan relating to the bond under the auspices of Moridin, the only question is why Verin would send such a letter; the only explanation because she had to. If Verin's letter was anything else, it's pointless to the story, because Alanna still winds up captured as the scene where she disappears heavily foreshadows she will. Therefore, Verin's letter must be crucial. The question isn't how Alanna got out with a minimal amount of channeling (the simplest explanation is MOM or some other disguise followed by travelling to Arafel), the question is what was in the letter to make her get out at all, and why?

GonzoTheGreat
10-01-2013, 03:42 AM
The question isn't how Alanna got out with a minimal amount of channeling (the simplest explanation is MOM or some other disguise followed by travelling to Arafel), the question is what was in the letter to make her get out at all, and why?
Perhaps it was not a BA plot at all, but merely a friendly warning to someone who was Verin's friend: "His wife has found out. You'd better avoid her."

Alanna was Green, after all.

Zombie Sammael
10-01-2013, 05:04 AM
Yes, but the point is if the message was as simple as that, why did Alanna go to Arafel, of all places? It wasn't exactly the safest place, and Headstrong and impulsive as she was, Alanna knew that. She would only go there if she believed she had good reason to.

GonzoTheGreat
10-01-2013, 05:46 AM
The south was either too close to Tear, or held by Seanchan. The Aiel Waste probably didn't appeal too much to her, so she had to go north. I doubt she expected the Borderlands to fall as quickly as they did. And even if she had been there during the fall of the Borderlands, that would only have inconvenienced her, no more. She could have Traveled out of the way of any Trolloc horde (after killing a few hundred of them) that came for her, after all. It was only because she was found by someone like Moridin that she wasn't safe, and he could've overpowered her anywhere anyway.

So if Verin had send a note saying "You're probably a target for the Shadow, hide!", then going to Arafel would have made sense too. She knew the area, so she could hide there better than she could have in a place where she would have stood out more. And even the coming war would not have been as dangerous to her as the likelihood of Tairen Darkfriends trying to harm her.

Weird Harold
10-01-2013, 06:05 AM
Yes, but the point is if the message was as simple as that, why did Alanna go to Arafel, of all places?

We don't know that she did go to Arafel, only that she is somewhere north of Tear in the general direction of Arafel.


“Rand, Alanna is gone. She vanished earlier today.”
“Yes. I felt her go. Northward somewhere. The Borderlands, perhaps Arafel.”

The Bond does allow precise location of the Bond Holder. Direction is probably accurate to within a fraction of a degree, but distance is strictly "By guess and by gosh."

FWIW, Shayol Ghul is on the same bearing as Arafel from Tear. It's less than five degrees away from a line between Tear and Shol Arbela, the capitol of Arafel.

Alanna could -- probably did -- go directly from
Tear to the vicinity of Shayol Ghul; whether voluntarily or as a captive.

GonzoTheGreat
10-01-2013, 06:26 AM
Maybe she thought that she was the Dragon Reborn, and had gone to fight the DO.

Zombie Sammael
10-01-2013, 07:36 AM
We don't know that she did go to Arafel, only that she is somewhere north of Tear in the general direction of Arafel.



The Bond does allow precise location of the Bond Holder. Direction is probably accurate to within a fraction of a degree, but distance is strictly "By guess and by gosh."

FWIW, Shayol Ghul is on the same bearing as Arafel from Tear. It's less than five degrees away from a line between Tear and Shol Arbela, the capitol of Arafel.

Alanna could -- probably did -- go directly from
Tear to the vicinity of Shayol Ghul; whether voluntarily or as a captive.

I actually think Gonzo's explanation is more likely; that she fled to Arafel because she knew the area/felt safe there and then discovered she had bitten off more than she could chew, either by falling afoul of Moridin or otherwise being captured. In order for her to go directly to Shayol Ghul, you have to either ignore Verin's letter or assume Verin told her to go to SG. Neither seems likely given what we know of Verin's motives. I still wonder whether Alanna was black, though.

Khoram
10-01-2013, 08:36 AM
Verin could very well have told Alanna that her decision to go to Shayol Ghul could mean either the continued turning of the Wheel or the Dark One's winning. Maybe she realized what Alanna's Bonding of Rand could lead to.

Maybe Verin gave her a timetable for when to go to Shayol Ghul. But then that would imply that Verin knew specifics about the future... :/

GonzoTheGreat
10-01-2013, 10:21 AM
Vermin could very well have told Alanna that her decision to go to Shayol Ghul could mean either the continued turning of the Wheel or the Dark One's winning. Maybe she realized what Alanna's Bonding of Rand could lead to.

Maybe Verin gave her a timetable for when to go to Shayol Ghul. But then that would imply that Verin knew specifics about the future... :/
Good typo.

Anyways, we do know that Verin had meddled a bit in Dreamwalking, but she wasn't good at it. In TDR she considered giving Egwene a bunch of notes from the last real Dreamer the Tower had had, but decided not to do that. What was in those notes?

Weird Harold
10-01-2013, 11:43 AM
...In order for her to go directly to Shayol Ghul, you have to either ignore Verin's letter or assume Verin told her to go to SG. ...

You're missing the point. I'm suggesting that Alanna was snatched, and taken to Shayol Ghul against her will, before she could act on Verin's letter.

Khoram
10-01-2013, 12:11 PM
You're missing the point. I'm suggesting that Alanna was snatched, and taken to Shayol Ghul against her will, before she could act on Verin's letter.

That would imply that she would have to have been snatched almost immediately following her reception of Verin's letter, no? Otherwise she would have had time to act on the letter, depending on what was written in it.

Weird Harold
10-01-2013, 12:31 PM
That would imply that she would have to have been snatched almost immediately following her reception of Verin's letter, no? Otherwise she would have had time to act on the letter, depending on what was written in it.
Perhaps even before she opened Verin's Letter?

Perhaps she was snatched by the person who delivered Verin's letter?

Speculation on why she chose to go to Arafel is unnecessary if we accept that Moridin, or one of his minions, took her directly to Shayol Ghul (or the blight-village)-- which would give Rand roughly the same bearing and strength indications as a voluntary trip to Arafel on her part.

Khoram
10-01-2013, 12:42 PM
Wouldn't Verin bring Alanna the letter herself, though? She handed Mat his letter, no? So assuming that Alanna was taken before she could read Verin's letter is problematic, if we think that Verin delivered the letter herself.

Of course, Verin could very well have dropped the letter off in Alanna's rooms when she wasn't there, not thinking that she could have already been taken north. Would she trust that her letter would not be opened by some prying eyes before Alanna could read and (most likely) dispose of it?

Weird Harold
10-01-2013, 12:56 PM
... Would she trust that her letter would not be opened by some prying eyes before Alanna could read and (most likely) dispose of it?

Perhaps the "light Channeling" sensed just before Alanna's disappearance was a ward Verin placed no the letter so only Alanna could open and read it. Moiraine used such a ward on letters earlier in the series; there's no reason to suspect it's not a weave most Aes Sedai know. (Either placing it, removing it, or it activating against someone else.)

Bottom line is that we can write a complete outlier novel about Alanna's peregrinations between vanishing from Tear and her demise in the Pit Of Doom, but all we really know is that her final appearance was NOT her idea.

Khoram
10-01-2013, 01:17 PM
Heh. I had completely forgotten about the warding of letters. XD Definitely a possibility. And because most Aes Sedai know the weaves involved in placing wards on documents, it's safe to assume that that they would not pay it any mind, especially if there's very little channeling involved. They already pay little heed to the channeling going on at the Travelling Grounds, and that involves a lot of channeling.

And there's also the idea that there is very often some form of channeling going in within the rooms of Aes Sedai.

SauceyBlueConfetti
10-01-2013, 06:40 PM
From the database:

INTERVIEW: Feb 6th, 2013
AMOL Signing Report - Simka (Paraphrased)
SIMKA (FEBRUARY 10, 2013)
ValMar@44—Your remark reminded me that Brandon did specifically say in his answer to me that Alanna was definitely not Black Ajah.

TAGS
alanna, black ajah,
9

INTERVIEW: Feb 12th, 2013
AMOL Signing Report - JeffS (Paraphrased)
BRANDON SANDERSON (PARAPHRASED)
During the personalization signings, someone asked what the deal was with Alanna's move north and Brandon said unequivocally that she was kidnapped. He didn't say by whom, but I figure since the report to Cadsuane said there were not any residues of channeling to read, it must have been Moridin himself using the True Power.


And


INTERVIEW: Feb 22nd, 2013
AMOL Signing Report - Terez (Verbatim)
TEREZ
Was Alanna captured in Tear?

BRANDON SANDERSON
No. She managed to get away from Tear.

TEREZ
Okay. Good answer. (crosstalk)

BRANDON SANDERSON
Good question.

TEREZ
What happened to her Warder, Ihvon?

BRANDON SANDERSON
Her Warder Ihvon um, met...

TEREZ
...(laughs)

BRANDON SANDERSON
It is not happy.

TEREZ
Unpleasant fate, okay

Khoram
10-01-2013, 10:46 PM
Well, I guess that answers that question. XD

Zombie Sammael
10-02-2013, 12:37 AM
Well, I guess that answers that question. XD

It does - and thanks to SBC for posting it - but it doesn't answer the question of what was in Verin's letter and why she went where she did. I am still open on the question of her allegiance.

GonzoTheGreat
10-02-2013, 02:29 AM
Wouldn't Verin bring Alanna the letter herself, though?
No.

She handed Mat his letter, no?
Yes. No. Whatever.
What the heck kind of answer would be accurate to this question?

Anyways, if Verin told Mat the truth, then she did not hand Alanna the letter. She didn't start handing out those letters until she set off on her journey which took her to Mat. And on that journey, she left from somewhere in the countryside while Alanna was in the Stone, and never returned to the Stone at all.

Lupusdeusest
10-24-2013, 08:15 AM
Nearby, he could see Galad Damodred walking toward them, Berelain—as always lately—at his side. It appeared that Morgase had sent a messenger for him. Galad was tucking something into his pocket. A small letter, it appeared, with a red seal. Where had he gotten that?

She [Siuan] opened her mouth, but was cut off as an Aes Sedai pushed through the group. Tiana?
The woman pulled something out of her sleeve and proffered it to Rand. A small letter with a red seal. “This is for you,” she said. Her voice sounded tense, and her fingers trembled, though the tremble was so faint that most would have missed it. Siuan had learned to look for signs of emotion in Aes Sedai, however.
Al’Thor raised an eyebrow, then reached over and took it. “What is it?”
“I promised to deliver it,” Tiana said. “I would have said no, but I never thought you’d actually come to...I mean...” She cut herself off, closing her mouth. Then she withdrew into the crowd.

Just adding this to confirm not all delivered by the Woman Herself.


EDIT: Also, to whom did Alanna write before leaving?

The clothing from the trunk was gone and the writing desk was mostly bare. Only an empty ink bottle remained...

Or am I over-Jordaning this?


In addition to the knowing where people would be thing, how did she know to send Rand's letter to the WT? Was a pooling of the viewings, Foretellings, and prophecies enough? How many did she know? Should we bring out the "magic wand" of foreseeing - the Accepted Test?

GonzoTheGreat
10-24-2013, 09:54 AM
In addition to the knowing where people would be thing, how did she know to send Rand's letter to the WT? Was a pooling of the viewings, Foretellings, and prophecies enough? How many did she know? Should we bring out the "magic wand" of foreseeing - the Accepted Test?
There's also the Dark Prophecies. Support for that idea comes from Rand's dream of going to TV in TEOTW.

Lupusdeusest
10-24-2013, 05:37 PM
There's also the Dark Prophecies. Support for that idea comes from Rand's dream of going to TV in TEOTW.

Point taken. We need a roundup of what Verin knows from each Lightside source, as well as the distribution of the DPs.