2.6.6: Military Roundup: Situation Report --Revised
This article was originally published at the 13th Depository. It has been republished here with permission from the author.
This article looks at all the military forces on the mainland. These forces are mostly armies: only two nations have naval forces and only one has any air capability (and that mostly scouting and troop deployment). However, the ability of some armies to deploy troops by gateway is a more than adequate alternative to an air force.
There are currently five great generals with the mainland armies: Davram Bashere, Gareth Bryne, Mat Cauthon, Rodel Ituralde and Agelmar Jagad. Six, if you count Demandred, the leading general for the Shadow.
The military forces in the Mainland are currently divided into forces allied to the Dragon Reborn, Seanchan, and Borderland nations. The only significant unallied armies are those of the White Tower, and Murandy.
Many of the armies are, or have been until recently, uselessly locked in combat with each other, rather than uniting against the Shadow. This is no doubt a result of the Shadow’s tactics.
Rand could field about nine hundred thousand soldiers all told.
The seven clans Rand had with him before Cairhien, combined with the four Clans that joined him later initially added up to around four hundred and eighty thousand spears, but casualties—in Cairhien and in Illian—and the bleakness have reduced their numbers. Speculation: four hundred and twenty thousand Aiel are still under Rand’s command.
The Aiel are lead by their Clan Chiefs, who are for the most part hardened warriors who are good generals. Aiel warriors themselves are without equal and their Wise Ones will no doubt take part in the fight against the Shadow, providing the Aiel armies with at least a couple of thousand channelers.
- Five of the clans were last seen in Illian. They were sent to hunt down the Shaido. The boundaries of their hunt were not clarified in the book, but they may have possibly entered eastern Altara and southern Murandy to search for the remaining Shaido, though not as an invading army. These clans numbered over two hundred thousand at the start of Lord Of Chaos, A Sense of Humor, and more were on the way to join them. We do not have a final estimate, nor are we given any information about their casualties.
- Bael’s and Rhuarc’s forces: Bael’s and Rhuarc’s clans went to Arad Doman to restore order and when that mission failed they withdrew to Tear with Rand (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear). Speculation: They should add up to just over seventy thousand spears. Ituralde received reports of over a hundred thousand spears in northern Arad Doman, but thought they were an exaggeration (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac).
- The last four Clans, numbering about one hundred and forty thousand spears, were sent to Kinslayer’s Dagger to hunt the remaining Shaido during A Crown Of Swords, but the Shaido eluded them by ‘using’ Sammael’s traveling boxes. No further information about their location was given. We have no further information about their disposition other than them being annoyed by Rand’s arrogance (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Adrin).
Rand’s “Allied” Nations:
These nations are connected to Rand by various means.
Traditionally Tear’s army is made up of the Defenders of the Stone and the nobles’ armsmen. Tear’s Lords use cavalry most often and despise foot. The Defenders of the Stone are the standard military body of Tear. They are all cavalrymen wearing a black and gold uniform, and their commander is Captain of the Stone Rodrivar Tihera, a minor noble. In The Gathering Storm, before the Stone of Tear, King Darlin and all of Tear’s remaining High Lords and High Ladies, except High Lady Fionnda, were gathered in Tear with a massive army of Tairens and foreigners. Rand told them they will be marching to Shayol Ghul. The sum of Tear’s armies—nobles’ armsmen, Defenders and sell-swords—should reach ninety thousand men, not including Darlin's new recruits.
An army comprising armsmen from many houses led by Semaradrid, was in Illian as of Knife of Dreams. Some of the remainder of Cairhien’s forces were sent to Arad Doman with Dobraine to restore order. At least five hundred of these were camped in Bandar Eban in The Gathering Storm, Into Bandar Eban. Dobraine and his forces are now in Tear ( The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone ofTear).
Speculation: Considering the devastation cause by the Civil War, famine, Tear’s occupation, and the Shaido’s invasion, Cairhien might be able to field as many as twenty thousand soldiers.
Illian’s army is composed of the Companions—who are the Kings’ elite forces—along with nobles and the common army. The army has traditionally been led by the King, but Rand might place a new general over them in the future. The Companions are Illian’s equivalent to the Defenders, but their loyalty is to the King. They wear a green and yellow uniform and are led by First Captain Demetre Marcolin.
During Crossroads Of Twilight , A Chat with Siuan, we hear about the increasing forces being gathered by Lord Gregorin, the Steward of Illian, to face the Seanchan. Gregorin must have recalled the forces Rand scattered around Illian during Path of Daggers , since the Tairen nobles and soldiers among those forces returned to Tear. Speculation: Lord Gregorian will not be able to raise an army as large as Sammael’s, but Illian should be able to raise an army of eighty thousand.
The Queen and her forces (almost a thousand lancers) have not yet arrived back in Ghealdan. Ghealdan itself was badly affected by the Prophet and his Dragonsworn and the condition of its armsmen unknown.
The heart of Andor’s army is the Queen’s Guard, but Rahvin’s creation of the White Lion and decimation of those loyal to Morgase greatly weakened this unit. However, as we saw in Knife of Dreams, many of the old Queen’s Guard soldier loyal to Trakand and Andor are on their way to Caemlyn. Andor’s current Captain General is the legendary Hero of the Horn Birgitte Silver Bow. Gawyn Trakand, First Prince of the Sword, will probably be prevented by events from returning to Andor. However, Matrim Cauthon and his army have Travelled there.
The state of the Succession and the siege of Caemlyn triggered most Andoran houses into mobilizing their forces, thus leading to a highly militarized state. Therefore Elayne’s success in claiming the throne has in effect unified most of Andor’s strength, and the army is prepared for action.
Before the major battle for Caemlyn, Elayne had slightly over twenty thousand men in Caemlyn (Queen’s Guard included) ( Knife of Dreams, To Keep the Bargain and Nine Out of Ten). Yet this was far from all the strength her house and those of her five supporters could lend her; the siege had kept many of her people away from the city. On the other hand, now that the siege is over the rest of her supporters will be free to join her, thus we could expect to see a noticeable increase in size of her original supporter’s forces. Speculation: final numbers for the first six houses to support her should reach over forty thousand, in addition to near ten thousand Queen’s Guards and mercenary companies.
Arathelle, Luan, Abelle, Aemlyn, Pelivar, and Ellorien have close to sixty thousand men between them—although many of these will be drafted village folk who are under trained, inexperienced and lack proper arms and armor (Knife of Dreams, A Bronze Bear, The Importance of Dyelin). Of these six, five are pledged to support Elayne and Ellorien has pledged to send her troops to the Last Battle with the other Andoran troops (Knife of Dreams,The Importance of Dyelin). Lir, Karind, and Sylvase should have fifteen or twenty thousand men left (considering casualties and those taken by Jarid). Arymilla’s, Naean’s and Elenia/Jarid’s forces are currently reduced and unreliable; although Elayne’s coronation should put an end to the fighting.
On a good day Andor could field up to one hundred and thirty to a hundred and fifty thousand men—Queen’s Guard, mercenaries, and noble’s armsmen, and regular draftees many of whom will be elderly or inexperienced and half trained. In Knife of Dreams, The Importance of Dyelin, Elayne said that if they gathered all of Andor’s strength (not all of which are pledged to Elayne yet) they could nearly match the Borderlanders’ numbers (two hundred thousand) but two thirds of their forces would be under-trained.
There are about one hundred and twenty five channellers helping Elayne and none bound by the Three Oaths (Knife of Dreams, House on Full Moon Street).
Saldean Light Cavalry
Lord Bashere, one of the best generals in the land, leads eight thousand light cavalry from Saldaea. These men are all superb horsemen, armed with serpentine swords and light armor (Lord Of Chaos, Connecting Lines and A Crown Of Swords, A Crown Of Swords). Bashere’s army is now in Tear (The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear).
The Legion of the Dragon
The Legion consists of men who wish to follow the Dragon Reborn. They are based on Mat’s ideas, and each man is armed with a steel-armed crossbow and a short-sword. They wear blue coats with the dragon on the breast and wear their breastplate under the coat (The Path Of Daggers,Answering The Summons). They were camped twenty miles west of Caemlyn; it is uncertain if they have moved from there or not.
A few months have passed since recruiting for the Legion started, and their method has been very successful. At the end of A Crown of Swords, we saw fifteen thousand Legion-men armed and trained, and this was in the first month only. The Legion is still inexperienced, but they seem very well trained. Speculation: Their current number should be over seventy thousand soldiers, though many would be new and need weeks of training.
The Band of the Red Hand
The Band is a military group that started after the battle for Cairhien in The Fires Of Heaven, and is led by Mat Cauthon, who is arguably the best general there is. The Band’s original members were from Cairhien and Tear, though they recruited soldiers from Andor, Altara and Murandy ( Lord Of Chaos, A Different Dance, A Crown Of Swords A Morning of Victory). The Band is formed around standard military arrangements set by Mat, according to his memories.
Currently they are in two sections. Seven thousand are with Mat in Caemlyn (The Gathering Storm, On A Broken Road and The One He Lost), where Mat aims to organise the building of Aludra’s dragons and the development of a new crossbow crank that does not require lowering and raising the crossbow when loading (The Gathering Storm, Legends). This group was comprised of three banners of horse and four thousand mounted crossbowmen. They had lost four hundred crossbowmen and five hundred cavalry before their last battle in Altara (Knife of Dreams, Prince of the Ravens) and recruited some Altarans (not many, since the banners with Mat are still under strength) who were fighting the Seanchan. The other section, lead by Estean and Daerid, comprised of three banners of horse, five banners of foot and the Mason’s Banner, is moving north out of Murandy and into Andor (Knife of Dreams, Attending Elaida). According to The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, each banner of horse contains fifteen hundred men and each banner of infantry three thousand, placing the Band’s overall size at over thirty thousand men.
It consists of three to four thousand Two Rivers bowmen (Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot), close to nine hundred Mayener Winged Guards (The Path of Daggers, A Simple Country Woman), and close to a thousand Ghealdan Lancers (Winter’s Heart, The Scent of Madness). There were some Aiel Maidens, six Wise Ones, three Aes Sedai, and two Asha’man with Perrin. At least some of the Aiel with Perrin apparently left this group to join the clans in Arad Doman (and are probably now in Tear). A hundred thousand refugees are also with Perrin.
Galad and his forces have met up with Perrin (The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin) and may have joined him. In The Gathering Storm, Scents Unknown, Perrin was camped near the Jehennah Road.
There used to be close to twenty thousand vagabonds armed with a variety of weapons ( Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot) in the Prophet’s Army, but the battle with the Shaido reduced their numbers considerably: According to Tylee:
“Masema’s men held to the point of suicide—most of them are dead or dying…”
- Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates
Masema left with less than one hundred of his bodyguard and they were all killed by Faile and her group (The Gathering Storm, Prologue).
There must be over seven hundred Asha’man enrolled in the Black Tower by now. While some of the men are located in the Black Tower, south of Caemlyn, more than half of the men in the Black Tower were moved to Arad Doman and Illian, including all the Asha’man with bonded Aes Sedai (Knife of Dreams, News for the Dragon) and less than a dozen with Rand (Knife of Dreams, The Golden Crane). One hundred of these Asha’man were assigned to Ituralde in Saldaea.
Some of the Asha’man are loyal to Logain. Taim also has his own faction. The one hundred men who attend his private classes are certainly his, and are probably all Darkfriends. Some Soldiers and Dedicated would also feel loyal to the M’Hael—although Taim’s harsh behaviour is unlikely to make him very popular. A large portion of the Soldiers and Dedicated do not have any specific loyalty, and we could not assume that they would obey Rand over Taim (or the reverse).
Most of the Sea Folk are gathered in Tear and Illian, including those who escaped Ebou Dar because of Mat, and the twelve Clan Mistresses gathered to name Zaida as the new Mistress of the Ships. We don’t have any numerical estimates, but they are using some Seanchan ships to make up for their losses.
During A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers, the Sea Folk made a Bargain with Rand, whom they formally acknowledge as their Coramoor. The Sea Folk promise such ships as the Dragon Reborn needs, to sail when and where he needs them, for whatever purposes he requires. In return, the Dragon Reborn will not change any laws of the Sea Folk and will give to the Sea Folk a square mile of land to be subject to Sea Folk law at every city on navigable water that he controls or comes to control. The Dragon Reborn will keep an ambassador chosen by the Sea Folk with him at all times. She will be accompanied by her Windfinder, Swordmaster and retinue. Furthermore the Dragon Reborn will go promptly to a summons from the Mistress of the Ships, but not more than twice in any three consecutive years and the Mistress of the Ships must be prepared to attend Rand up to three times in any two years (Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep).
In Knife of Dreams, To Make An Anchor Weep, Rand finally called upon this Bargain. Almost all of the Sea Folks larger ships have been sailing from Tear and Illian to Bandar Eban to take supplies for the populace and Rand’s armies there and have been harassed by Seanchan ships along the way (The Gathering Storm,A Tale of Blood).
The consequence of many Windfinders being taken in Ebou Dar is that many of them are now trained for battle. Knowledge, such as linking and Travelling, gained from Aes Sedai will also be invaluable to them.
In A Crown Of Swords, Deceptive Appearances, we learned that all four Borderland rulers had come south and brought their armies along. Tenobia said that she has close to fifty thousand men behind her, and it is possible that each ruler brought just as many soldiers south. Merilille Sedai believes their numbers to be over two hundred thousand (Winter’s Heart, Expectations) and Birgitte speaks of two hundred thousand soldiers (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know). These are all hardened men with experience fighting Trollocs along the Blight Border.
Shienar’s army, the most heavily armored, is led by Lord Agelmar Jagad, one of the best generals in the land. Lord Baldhere is the general for Kandor; he is a good captain and has had that position ever since Ethenielle’s husband was killed at the end of New Spring. Ishigari Terasian is the general for Arafel. Saldea’s forces in the Borderland army are currently lead by Kalyan Ramsin, one of Tenobia’s uncles. Saldean are famous for their light cavalry.
There are also thirteen Aes Sedai accompanying this army, five with Tenobia and eight with Paitar (The Path of Daggers, Prologue).
The army is currently in Far Madding (The Gathering Storm,Scents Unknown). Rand told Hurin to tell the Borderlander rulers that he will soon ride to battle at Shayol Ghul and offers them transport back to the Blight. Otherwise they will be nowhere near their posts when the Last Battle begins.
The Golden Crane:
Lan has “undertaken” a long journey travelling the entire width of the Borderlands, and Nynaeve contacted prominent Malkieri to ensure men will join him on his journey to the Last Battle. It is likely that there are many men who would join Lan even if they are not from Malkier
In The Gathering Storm, Nynaeve told Rand that Lan would reach Tarwin’s Gap in two or three more months.
Remaining Borderlander armies
We don’t know how many experienced warriors were left to guard the borders: Alesune, King Easar’s shatayan, said ”We have left the Blight all but unguarded,” while Queen Ethenielle said “What I’ve left behind can guard the Blight short of the Trolloc Wars coming again” (The Path of Daggers, Prologue). It is these men who will hear Lan’s call to ride with the Golden Crane for Tarwin’s Gap.
Every Borderman will take up arms once the Last Battle is there—they have no other choice. Some have begun to move north in anticipation (The Gathering Storm, Prologue). A large portion of men in these nations have some experience fighting raids, and once the Trollocs come they must kill or be killed.
Seanchan Mainland Army
It is very difficult to estimate the overall size of the Seanchan military machine. First, we do not know how many Seanchan soldiers came across the ocean with the Forerunners or the Return. Secondly, they have recruited many soldiers from Tarabon, Amadicia and Altara. The Seanchan found it easy to conquer these nations because the neighbouring nations didn’t give any aid (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).
However, a few things have changed. First the Return will receive no further reinforcements from their motherland thanks to Semirhage. That place is in complete disarray. Secondly, they have very little ground left for recruiting local forces. They have spent over a year recruiting in Tarabon and Amadicia and are unlikely to enlist many more men from those nations. Furthermore, the rebel Aes Sedai army and the Band of the Red Hand enlisted what was available in central and northern Altara some time ago.
At the same time Ituralde’s campaign in Tarabon and Mat’s one week escapade in northern Altara has made the Seanchan wary of sudden and unexpected attacks. They do not fully trust the locals either (Knife of Dreams, Epilogue). Thus, they need to leave a lot of relatively large local garrisons to ensure continued control of the lands they have conquered. These camps and patrols have no value in offensive military action. They are bound to the land and immobile; if the Seanchan become desperate enough to use them, then they are already finished. Speculation: the Seanchan could have over a hundred thousand men spread out over their lands in this fashion.
The Seanchan’s known and mobile armies are as follows: One hundred thousand in northern Altara; they are meant to guard against Andor and Murandy (Knife of Dreams, Under an Oak). Turan’s army of nearly three hundred thousand (Ituralde’s estimate, The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts) was shattered in Arad Doman, and many, including Turan himself, killed, but Turan’s replacement is marshalling more than three hundred thousand men and two hundred damane (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). The army gathering close to Illian must also have well over one hundred thousand men.
In addition, there are a few smaller armies hunting for Aiel—between ten or fifteen thousand men in each. Additionally there are sizable military camps near the major Seanchan-held cities.
We also know that Ebou Dar hosts five hundred of the most fearsome Seanchan warriors: the Deathwatch Guard:
Hard-faced men, they and five hundred more like them had been charged personally with Tuon's safety.
- Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides
and a hundred Ogier Gardeners (Winter’s Heart, An Offer). Prior to the Sea Folk damane being freed at the end of Winter’s Heart, Ebou Dar was home to at least two hundred damane (Winter’s Heart, News in a Cloth Sack). Of course the overall number of damane is much higher given that there are damane guards in every city, and each army and major outpost has their own damane. In addition, Tylee captured more than two hundred Shaido Wise Ones in Knife of Dreams, Outside the Gates. The Seanchan raid on the White Tower using at least eighty to a hundred raken and to’raken, two hundred soldiers and fifty sul’dam/damane pairs (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Tuon), gained nearly forty new damane (including an obnoxious Foreteller) and knowledge of Travelling. However at least ten damane were captured, and therefore at least ten sul’dam were killed, along with thirty raken and/or to’raken (The Gathering Storm,
A Fount of Power) and an unknown number of soldiers and damane. It is likely the Seanchan will soon work out how to use Aes Sedai damane as weapons by making them fear for their lives (The Gathering Storm, Gambits).
Seanchan Naval Capabilities
The Seanchan have hundreds of greatships equipped for long distance sailing in Ebou Dar alone and four times as many again in Tanchico (Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides). With their numbers,damane and the element of surprise, they have been able to secure naval superiority in the Aryth Ocean and establish naval bases at Cantorin, Tanchico and Ebou Dar. They have done considerable damage to the Sea Folk and hold the Aile Somera in the west.
The Seanchan have Fists of Heaven – short, lightly armoured male and female soldiers as hard as the Deathwatch guard. They carry crossbows and wear brown breastplates and painted insect-like helmets (The Path of Daggers, Threads). The Fists of Heaven are dropped close to the front, or behind enemy lines, by to’raken, large flying lizards able to carry burdens. Over short distances, to’raken can carry twelve people besides their fliers. These people may be Fists of Heaven or sul’dam and damane.
Morat’raken are scouts that ride the smaller raken two per beast and fly back to base to deliver written reports on the wing.
These are the last unallied forces in the Mainland.
The Aes Sedai Armies:
Tar Valon’s military force is the Tower Guard, and it is led by High Captain Jimar Chubain. Elaida ordered their number to be raised to fifty thousand during A Crown Of Swords, and men were going into the city via ships to join the army during Crossroads Of Twilight, but their current number can only be guessed at. Gareth Bryne estimated that the Tower Guard lost hundreds in the Seanchan raid, but not thousands (The Gathering Storm,The Tower Stands). The Tower Guards have organized ranks and are led according to standard military methods; their captains are chosen according to experience and knowledge rather than being lords.
The rebel Aes Sedai’s Army
Led by Gareth Bryne, former Captain General of the Andor’s Queen’s Guards and one of the best generals in the land, is also now in Tar Valon. The army was over fifty thousand strong in The Gathering Storm, Tears From Steel, and includes a variety of soldiers, from Shienarin-style heavy cavalry to light cavalry ( The Path Of Daggers, Out on the Ice) and infantry. Bryne may be made overall Commander of both armies, with a captain, perhaps Gawyn Trakand, appointed to lead the former rebel army.
Allowing for losses to the Seanchan and the purging of the Black Ajah, there are at most two hundred and twenty Aes Sedai in the re-united White Tower, with the former rebels greatly out-numbering those who stayed in the Tower. There are also an unknown number of Accepted and well over one thousand novices, some of whom are quite strong and not bound by the Three Oaths.
The Younglings, formerly led by Gawyn Trakand, number over three hundred and are in Dorlan on the east bank of the Erinin, although they may be recalled now that Egwene is Amyrlin. However, the Black Ajah may get to them first and lead them elsewhere with phoney orders.
Children of the Light:
There are about seven thousand well trained regular cavalry men and ten Lord Captains led by Lord Captain Commander Galad Damodred. The Children were originally housed in Amador, capital of Amadicia, but they lost their base, the Fortress of the Light, to the Seanchan invasion. They met up with Perrin’s forces (The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin) and may be moving with Perrin on the Jehennah Road. A few thousand Children, including Asunawa and the Questioners, remain with the Seanchan (Knife of Dreams, Prologue).
Recently King Roedran has worked hard on uniting the Murandian forces by paying Talmanes and the Band of the Red Hand to stay in Murandy and appear a threat. According to Talmanes Roedran considered the venture successful (Knife of Dreams, Attending Elaida). Talmanes also stated that Roedran had been ready to turn on the Band, which means that Murandy’s army must have been large enough to be a danger to the Band’s thirty thousand men. Speculation: Murandy’s army must have at least thirty five thousand men.
We have been told that Roedran has been reading up on the Art of Warfare and now fancies himself as a general.
This nation’s permanent army, Arad Doman’s equivalent to the Queen’s Guard or the Defenders, is lead by the great captain Rodel Ituralde and had about ten to fifteen thousand soldiers. In Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers, Ituralde made a pact with the Dragonsworn of Arad Doman and Tarabon, leading as many as twenty thousand men south to raid the Seanchan and draw them north (Knife of Dreams, Prologue). At the same time he had sent messages to the nation’s nobility ordering them to position themselves for a trap:
“Once again he reviewed the orders he had sent, carried by the fastest riders he had, to every noble loyal to the King… They would even hide in the mountains and wait, at his orders.”
- Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern.
As we saw in Knife of Dreams, Embers Falling on Dry Grass and the Epilogue, Ituralde’s raid and trap were an expensive success. His force of one hundred thousand shattered the Seanchan army but suffered fifty percent losses. (The two hundred thousand ‘soldiers’ behind Turan were women, youths and farmers ( The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts)).
Rand promised to keep the Seanchan out of Arad Doman if Ituralde and his force of fifty thousand would go to the Borderlands to protect it against a Trolloc invasion (The Gathering Storm, The Last of the Tabac). He assigned one hundred Asha’man to Ituralde to aid him. So far Ituralde has had only skirmishes with Trollocs (The Gathering Storm,Before the Stone of Tear).
The Shadio have taken great losses. We have not heard any recent news of Aiel raids in Murandy or Illian, which means the clans left in Illian have successfully put an end to Shaido in that area. A few Shaido septs were scattered on the Almoth Plain, but various forces there may take care of them as well.
The Seanchan managed to clear the Shaido out of Tarabon and Amadicia some time ago. While Perrin’s campaign in Altara killed many, there were two groups of Shaido reported approaching Malden in Knife of Dreams, The Last Knot, one of twenty to thirty thousand and one of thirty five to forty thousand with at least three to four thousand spears in each group. These Shaido moved into Malden to investigate it after Perrin left (The Gathering Storm, Questions of Control) and may follow behind Perrin.
Therava is taking the remainder of the Shaido back to the Aiel Waste.
After the Deathgates took thousands of Trollocs away, there were “maybe a hundred thousand Trollocs” according to Rand and also heaps of Myrddraal for Rand’s channellers to incinerate after the attack on Rand at Lord Algarin’s manor in Tear (Knife of Dreams,The Golden Crane).
The Blight has been very quiet ever since Rand destroyed a vast army of Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar at Tarwin’s Gap at the end of The Eye of the World. But as Lord Agelmar said:
“The Shadow never sleeps.”
- The Path of Daggers, Prologue
In The Gathering Storm, Before the Stone of Tear, Ituralde reported skirmishes with Trollocs and large forces of Shadowspawn gathering in Saldaea and no doubt elsewhere in the Borderlands.So the Shadowspawn armies will soon be back, probably with Dreadlords (Black Ajah and renegade Asha’man) as well.
Sixty Black sisters fled the White Tower and twenty from the rebels on the same day. They may all be heading for the one place and may be told to cooperate with Taim’s Black Asha’man. Not since Liandrin’s group was broken up have there been thirteen Black Ajah free and available to link together with thirteen Myrddraal to forcibly turn channellers to the Shadow, and now we have several times that. (Of course, the circles of thirteen don’t need to be all women, but there does need to be at least seven women in a circle of thirteen - one more woman than the number of men. Even a free and available group of seven Black sisters hasn’t occurred that often before now.) Mesaana has dream ter’angreal that she can give to members of this group to command them more easily (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands).
Demandred, the chief general for the Shadow, says his rule is secure and he prepares for war (The Gathering Storm, Prologue). Moridin (currently Nae’blis) is their best overall tactician and is believed to be mostly in the deep northeastern Blight.