Forsaken (Wheel of Time)
In the fictional world of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series, the Forsaken (or Chosen, as they would prefer to be called) are the most powerful and favored servants of the Dark One. Most were formerly Aes Sedai, but became corrupted by the desire for power and immortality, and so pledged their souls to the Dark One. At the beginning of the series there are thirteen Forsaken, though at least twelve more existed during the War of Power before they were killed. The surviving Forsaken were sealed inside Shayol Ghul when Lews Therin Telamon and his Hundred Companions sealed the hole in the Dark One's prison. It was this act that ended the War of Power, but also caused the taint on saidin, the male half of the One Power.
The leader of the Forsaken is named Nae'blis, and is considered to be second only to the Dark One in both power and position.
Aginor (pronounced AGH-ih-nohr), originally known as Ishar Marrad Chuain, was a renowned biologist and Aes Sedai. He was banned from doing any genetic engineering—his true passion—by the Hall of Servants, after conducting some experiments on animals, and so turned to the Shadow where he was allowed to carry out his experiments. He is responsible for creating the Shadowspawn, including Trollocs, Draghkar, Darkhounds, and gholam, among others. It is estimated that in order to do this, some thirty-five to fifty million people were killed, not including those fed to Trollocs. Although he was proud of his achievements, the almost-human throwbacks from the Trollocs made him uneasy. Aginor created Trollocs by mixing human and animal stock; when Trollocs mated, most of the offspring were Trolloc, but sometimes stillborn animal throwbacks were the result, and sometimes the human stock dominated: these became the Myrddraal. It is said that not even Aginor knew how Myrddraal got their dark powers, like the ability to see with no eyes, or to vanish/travel via shadows. Graendal mentions that Aginor has said the Myrddraal are "slightly out of phase with time and reality," which explains why their clothes do not flutter in the wind when they move and several other foibles.
When the Forsaken were sealed in Shayol Ghul, Aginor was closest to the seal, so that while his soul was preserved, his body was subjected to the process of aging. He was one of the first to escape, but he was disfigured, described as being old beyond old. His skin had the appearance of thin parchment, his scalp was covered with scabs and tufts of white hair while his ears looked like old leather, his teeth yellowed, and his eyes sunken. His fingernails had disappeared. Aginor travelled to the Eye of the World with fellow Forsaken Balthamel in an attempt to seize the pure, untainted saidin preserved there. He was killed during the battle with Rand al'Thor when he attempted to handle too much of the One Power.
Despite his death, the Dark One was able to save Aginor's soul, and he was later reincarnated as Osan'gar.
Asmodean (ahs-MOH-dee-an), originally known as Joar Addam Nesossin, was an acclaimed composer during the Age of Legends. A child prodigy, he composed great works at the age of fifteen, but somehow never quite achieved the heights many believed he would and was never considered to be one of the great composers of the Age. He pledged his soul to the Dark One under the promise of immortality, reasoning that if he was immortal, he could achieve the greatness that had eluded him. As one of the Forsaken, he never held any field command during the War of Shadow, and it is implied that he never actually took part in any battles. Instead, he assumed the role of governor, and the territories he ruled over gained a reputation for being "slightly less horrific" than those controlled by the other Forsaken. Nevertheless, he still allowed the children corrupted by Mesaana to do as they pleased, and made men, women and children available as rations for the Trollocs. The only atrocity he was especially notorious for was his persecution of artists of any kind–such as painters, musicians and dancers and others—but he was mostly focused on musicians and composers that had been his rivals before the war, though even then he preferred to just have them permanently maimed so as to be unable to ever practice their arts again, as a form of lifelong mental torture, instead of actually killing them outright.
During the Third Age, Asmodean enters an alliance with Lanfear. Posing as Jasin Natael, a gleeman, he joins Rand's expedition through the Aiel Waste. He plans to have Rand lead him to the Choedan Kal, a pair of ter'angreal that grant access to the two greatest sa'angreal ever constructed. Rand successfully cuts Asmodean off from the Dark One's protection against the taint on saidin before Lanfear permanently shields him from the One Power. Asmodean is forced to align himself with Rand for protection, teaching him how to channel. He participates in Rand's conquest of Cairhien and the raid on Caemlyn. He appeared to wish to change his allegiance only to be killed shortly afterwards by an unknown assailant that was later revealed to be Graendal.
Balthamel (BAHL-thah-mell), originally known as Eval Ramman, was a historian who focused on vanished civilizations. Although a good scholar, Ramman had a much seedier alter-ego; he would fraternise with the lowest criminals in bars, he was a serial womanizer, and was extremely reckless with a short temper. His behaviour did not escape the attention of the other Aes Sedai, who planned to control his temperament by forbidding him to do any violence through the use of an Oath Rod. It has been speculated that his dark side cost him a chance to adopt a third name, a mark of respect within the Aes Sedai fraternity. It was the promise of immortality that lured Balthamel to the Shadow. He made his journey to Shayol Ghul in the middle years of The Collapse, the period between the opening of the Dark One's prison and the outbreak of the War of Power. During the war, he stood high in the councils of the Shadow, running one of the most extensive intelligence networks of the Shadow.
Like Aginor, Balthamel was sealed closest to the surface at Shayol Ghul, and his body was subject to the same ravages of time. His body is in such poor physical condition that he is forced to wear a leather carapace at all times. He is unable to speak as he has lost his tongue, and his face is covered by a mask with a joyous expression that makes his appearance all the more unsettling. His cruelty is evident when he attacks Nynaeve al'Maera and Moiraine Damodred before fatally burning Someshta, the Green Man. Balthamel is killed when Someshta uses his ability to manipulate plant life to cause Balthamel's body to burst with weeds and noxious mushrooms.
Despite his death, the Dark One was able to save Balthamel's soul, and he was later reincarnated as Aran'gar.
Be'lal (BEH-lahl), originally known as Duram Laddel Cham, was one of Lews Therin Telamon's closest friends during the Age of Legends, and served as a general for the forces of light during the War of Power before defecting to the Shadow. Very little is known about his past, except that he was dubbed "the Envious" because he envied not only Lews Therin, but also Ishamael and Lanfear as well. It is said he once beat Lews Therin in a game of stones, and endlessly bragged about it. He also helped Lews Therin rediscover the use of swords in combat, which in the Age of Legends was merely a sport. The exact circumstances behind his defection to the Shadow and his actions during the War of Power afterwards remain unknown, but it may be speculated that his turning was the result of a promise of power to be granted to him, which would allow him to finally pose as an equal amongst those he envied most, if not outright supersede them.
In the Third Age, Be'lal posed as the High Lord Samon, one of the High Lords of Tear. He sought Callandor, a powerful sa'angreal in the form of a sword. As Callandor was warded so that only the Dragon Reborn could take it, Be'lal lured Rand al'Thor into a trap so that he could take Callandor from him. He was killed with balefire by Moiraine Damodred before he could kill Rand, and as his life was burned out of the Pattern, the Dark One was unable to salvage his soul.
Demandred (deh-MAN-drehd), originally known as Barid Bel Medar, was one of the most-acclaimed Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends, and gained a reputation as a brilliant military tactician and field commander. However, he resented Lews Therin Telamon, who was considered to be more successful than Demandred in every regard. Demandred crossed over to the Shadow during the third year of the War of Power when Lews Therin was named commander of the forces of Light, where he lived up to his reputation as one of the best generals of the Age.
Demandred's activities during the Third Age remain largely unknown. He was known to have worked with Mesaana and Semhirage in carrying out several plans, but even they are unaware of his assumed identity. When summoned to Shayol Ghul during the events of Lord of Chaos, he is offered the position of Nae'blis if he can successfully carry out the Dark One's orders to destabilise the world with balefire. It is implied that he played a key role in Rand al'Thor's abduction by the White Tower, and contradictory evidence of his identity is scattered throughout the wider story. Rand initially suspects Demandred of masquerading as King Roedran of Murandy, but upon gaining the ability to see into the souls of those around him, he realises that he is mistaken. If Demandred had been operating in the Westlands in any way, his identity during these times is never revealed.
Demandred's identity is finally revealed in A Memory of Light. He assumes the name Bao, the Wyld, and awards himself the title of "Dragonslayer". He is the leader of Shara — a secretive and isolationist subcontinent beyond the Aiel Waste — having fulfilled their prophecies and thus holds the same rank among them as Rand al'Thor does among the Aiel. He positions himself as an alternative champion of humanity, claiming that salvation lies in letting the Dark One win Tarmon Gai'don so that Demandred, as Nae'blis, can shelter humanity against the Dark One's tyranny. On the eve of Rand's assault on Shayol Ghul, Demandred leads the Sharan forces to attack an army of Aes Sedai led by Egwene al'Vere in eastern Kandor, and later assumes control of all of the Shadow's forces during the battle of the Fields of Merrilor, all the while demanding that Rand challenges him in one-on-one combat. He kills Gawyn Trakand and maims Galad Damodred before being killed by Lan Mandragoran, falsely assuming that Lan sought him out for the glory of victory rather than simply killing him.
Graendal (GREHN-dahl), originally known as Kamarile Maradim Nindar, was once regarded as one of the greatest healers in the world, particularly in the field of mental health, something the One Power and other healing methods could not touch. She was a known ascetic that eschewed worldly pleasure, but a decade after the drilling of the Bore, she went through a complete change of mind and became an extreme hedonist. She dressed only in the latest fashion, and her sensual and sexual pleasures came before all else. The change was not caused by the Dark One but by her own realization that the world could not live up to her own standards. She became one of the first Aes Sedai to join the Shadow, and personally escorted several of the other Forsaken to Shayol Ghul to swear their souls to the Dark One.
Her new affiliation was not known until she herself declared it. This declaration marked in many ways the beginning of the War of the Shadow. Before the end of the same day of her declaration, the city of Devaille had been seized by armies loyal to the Dark One and the first army of Trollocs had been revealed. Although she never held a field command of her own, she was credited with causing widespread civil unrest through subversion that resulted in widespread rioting. During the War of Power Graendal murdered children before enslaving their parents, calling it "an act of kindness".
During the Third Age, Graendal is responsible for plunging Arad Doman and Tarabon into civil war, placing a dreamspike to trap Perrin Aybara in Altara, and the murder of Asmodean. Operating from a secluded palace, she sends out confusing and oftentimes contradictory orders to the Domani armies on behalf of King Alsalam, who is missing. Her palace itself is decadent in the extreme, filled with servants who have been hand-picked for their physical beauty and their former positions of power, and all of them enslaved through Compulsion, the practice of using the One Power to control the mind of another. Graendal's compulsion is so strong that the victim is unable to survive without it. Where all of the Forsaken show disdain for the abilities of Aes Sedai in the Third Age, Graendal is perhaps the most vindictive, which proves to be her greatest weakness.
With the aid of Nynaeve al'Maera, Rand al'Thor locates one of Graendal's messengers and uses him to locate her stronghold. He then Travels to her palace and destroys it with balefire, to the horror of Nynaeve. However, it is later revealed that Graendal anticipated the attack and escaped, leaving Aran'gar to die in the attack. Her actions incur the wrath of the Dark One, who blames her for the deaths of Asmodean, Aran'gar and Mesaana (she is only indirectly responsible for Mesaana's death; Perrin moves the dreamspike placed by Graendal, unwittingly interfering with Mesaana's plans to kill Egwene al'Vere), and she is killed by Shaidar Haran and resurrected as Hessalam as punishment.
During the War of the Third Age, Graendal (Hessalam) sows discord among the allied forces under by Elayne Trakand by subtly instilling a form of Compulsion upon the remaining Four Great Captains, now acting as the allied forces command structure, Rodel Ituralde, Gareth Bryne, Agelmar Jagad, and Davram Bashere, causing the officers to make poor battlefield decisions at critical moments. After being discovered, she relocates to one of the battle fronts at the base of Shayol Ghul and attacks the gathered allied force in acts of subterfuge, deception, and outright power. She is eventually bested by Aviendha, and flees using traveling. Aviendha follows and the two fight to exhaustion, and Aviendha makes a gateway to flee but cannot stand. Graendal attempts to use a weave of Compulsion on Aviendha, who in turn uses her talent of picking apart weaves of power to unravel her gateway, facilitating a grand explosion which sends Graendal's Compulsion back unto herself. This causes Graendal to revere Aviendha and submit herself to be her slave. It is unclear what Greandal's fate is after this, but her weaves of Compulsion are usually absolute and she should have no recollection of her former self.
Ishamael (ih-SHAH-may-EHL), originally known as Elan Morin Tedronai is considered the most powerful of the thirteen Forsaken. He was originally a philosopher and theologian during the Age of Legends, but was often too esoteric for popular appeal as his works mainly concerned the nature of reality. When the hole was made in the Dark One's prison, he looked at events critically, rather than despairingly. Being a theoretician, he came to believe that the struggle between the Creator and the Dark One was not new to this world; it had, in fact, existed since the dawn of time in a cycle, using human pawns as champions. He believed that the Dark One would eventually be the winner and unmake the Wheel of Time, reasoning that as the Dark One only must win once, he can always try again; by contrast, the Creator must win eternally and in losing once, everything would be unmade, thus making it mathematically impossible for the ultimate victor to be the Creator. He therefore became one of the first Forsaken by convincing himself of the logic of such a move. He became the Dark One's champion, being equal in the One Power to Lews Therin Telamon. Following the Breaking of the World, when the male Aes Sedai succumbed to the taint on saidin and destroyed the world in a series cataclysmic upheavals, Ishamael used his power to cure Lews Therin Telamon of his madness so that he could understand that he had killed his entire family.
Unlike the other Forsaken, Ishamael was only partially sealed inside the Dark One's prison at Shayol Ghul (in contrast to Aginor and Balthamel who were merely sealed too close to the edge, and thus susceptible to the passage of time). Ishamael's soul was released into the world from time to time, allowing him to touch the world for specific periods of time. Evidence suggests that he was free to roam the world for periods of approximately forty years every millennium since the end of the Age of Legends. During this time, he variously founded the Black Ajah, marshalled armies of Trollocs to start the Trolloc Wars and break the existing structure of nations, and gained the confidence of Artur Hawkwing, using his influence to turn Hawkwing against the Aes Sedai and lay siege to Tar Valon, and send his armies across the Aryth Ocean. Whereas the other Forsaken believe that they will rule the world forever under the Dark One upon his escape, Ishamael has implied that their rule will only last for a matter of weeks, at which point the Dark One will have destroyed everything in existence.
In the Third Age, Ishamael assumes the name Ba'alzamon and attempts to convert Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara to the Shadow by infiltrating their dreams, letting them believe that he was the Dark One. Ishamael is killed by Rand in the stone of Tear, prompting Rand to finally believe that he could be the Dragon Reborn. Despite his death, the Dark One was able to save Ishamael's soul, and he was later reincarnated as Moridin.
Lanfear (LAN-feer), originally known as Mierin Eronaile, was a researcher at the Collam Daan, epicenter of research into the One Power during the Age of Legends. She was Lews Therin Telamon's lover before he married Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar, which ultimately proved to be Mierin's breaking point, pushing her over the edge to join the Shadow.
Mierin—together with another Aes Sedai named Beidomon—was responsible for creating the Bore into the Dark One's prison, though whether she knew exactly what she was doing at the time is open to debate; she claimed that she was tapping into a new source of the Power, one that could be used by men and women alike, but gave no indication that she was allowing the Dark One to touch the world. Despite being responsible for drilling the Bore, she was far from the first to swear loyalty to the Dark One. She claimed Tel'aran'rhiod as her domain (though Moghedien privately believes that she knows more of Tel'aran'rhiod than Lanfear does) and used it in many ways during the War of the Shadow, such as to strike fear in enemy commanders, to drive people insane, to cause suicides and also for outright assassinations. She was never a field commander but she served as governor, at least once, over conquered territories. People that lived in these territories often feared sleeping and the suicide rate was high.
During the Third Age, Lanfear plots to betray the Dark One. Driven by her love for Lews Therin, she approaches Rand al'Thor under the names Lady Selene and later Keille Shaogi. She encourages him to use the Horn of Valere—a horn that can summon the heroes of Ages long past to return to the world—arranges for Asmodean to teach him to wield saidin, and tries to use the Choedan Kal to challenge both the Dark One and the Creator and rule over everything in existence. Rand rejects her advances, and Lanfear is once again driven beyond breaking point when she learns that he slept with Aviendha, an Aiel Maiden of the Spear. She attacks Rand and his party on the docks in Cairhien, only for Moiraine Damodred to wrestle her through a ter'angrel that transports them to another realm. Rand believes both of them to be dead, as Moiraine's Warder, Lan Mandragoran, can no longer sense her presence. Despite her death, the Dark One was able to save Lanfear's soul, and she was later reincarnated as Cyndane. The name, meaning "Last Chance" in the Old Tongue, demonstrates that the Dark One was aware of her plans to challenge him from the beginning.
Under her alias Cyndane, Lanfear returns to realm of dreams. She tries to unsuccessfully negotiate with Rand and discovers that he is lost to her both as Rand and as Lews Therin. Then, she takes fancy in Perrin, effectively planning on him to be her next lover and tool. She helps Perrin on multiple occasions, even during the Last Battle. Especially important is when she shows him how to use a Dream Spike, allowing Perrin to protect Rand from attacks from Tel'aran'rhiod. Finally, it is revealed that she tried (and succeed) to instrument a situation, where all the rest of Forsaken would be defeated and the Dark One would be on verge of destruction. Her plots of betrayal ever a lie, her desire was to personally free the Dark One and secure her place as his favorite. She reveals her plan to Perrin, who as it turns out has been under her control through Compulsion. She orders him to kill Moiraine Damodred, and moves to kill Nynaeve al'Meara, the two Aes Sedai linked to Rand in his fight with the Dark One. Only through his skill of controlling the dreamworld is he able to break her control. Lanfear meets her end with a quick snap by Perrin's hands.
Mesaana (meh-SAH-nah), originally known as Saine Tarasind, was a researcher during the Age of Legends. Unlike the other Forsaken, she was not considered to be the best in her profession. She applied for a research position at the Collam Daan, but was refused. She instead found herself teaching at the center. During the War of Power, Mesaana was an administrator of conquered territories. Described as a brutal and efficient governor, who founded many schools for children in conquered territories. These schools were designed to immerse children in the teachings of the Dark One, in the hope of making them faithful servants. The children were taught to spy on each other and on their parents, to report any "illegal" activity, and were encouraged to torture and kill anyone who they thought did not believe in the Dark One as strongly as they did. Mobs of these children burned down museums, libraries and research facilities—anything that detracted from the Dark One. People of all ages were tried before courts entirely made of children, then executed. After Lews Therin Telamon sealed the Chosen and the Dark One in the Bore, the children grew into rampant mobs; they were often called "Mesaana's Children" by the survivors of the Breaking, and it was said that they seemed to be in a race with the male Aes Sedai, trying to break and loot the world faster than the deranged men.
During the Third Age, Mesaana poses as Danelle, an Aes Sedai living in the White Tower. She assumes control of the Black Ajah, operating through Alviarin Friedhen to overthrow Siuan Sanche as Amyrlin Seat and install Elaida a'Roihan in her place, allowing her to manipulate the entire White Tower and trigger the dispute between the warring factions of Aes Sedai. She incurred the wrath of the Dark One when she failed to answer a summons to the The Cleansing of saidin, and is punished for her actions. Egwene al'Vere speculates that Mesaana is often relegated to the role of an administrator and teacher, which she considers to be frustrating because of her history before she joined the Shadow.
During the events of The Gathering Storm, Egwene learns of the identities of almost every member of the Black Ajah, including the knowledge that Mesaana remained within the White Tower. After assuming the Amyrlin Seat, she carries out a purge of the Black Ajah and devises a plan to lure Mesaana out of hiding. She stages a meeting in Tel'aran'rhiod to draw the remainder of the Black Ajah into an ambush. Mesaana falls for the ruse and fights Egwene, who overpowers her and ejects her from Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene finds Mesaana alive in the waking world as "Danelle", her body limp and soiling herself, her mind completely broken. Without death, she could not return to the Dark One. Her body is in the care of the White Tower.
Moghedien (moh-GHEH-dee-ehn), originally known as Lillen Moiral, was a financial consultant during the Age of Legends who was disciplined repeatedly for breaking the rules and ethics of her job; Nynaeve al'Maera speculates that Moghedien may have been a confidence artist. She turned to the Shadow in the early stages of the Collapse, although she did not make this public until halfway through the War of Power. Moghedien is named after a spider from the Age of Legends, which spun its web in hidden places. Its bite could kill in seconds. Moghedien takes no risks; she is always cautious, lurking in the shadows until someone displays weakness, then strikes. This is evident during the Third Age, when she poses as Gyldin, a servant to a powerful Darkfriend, as opposed to posing as the ruler of a nation as the other Forsaken do.
During the Third Age, Moghedien assumes control of a contingent of the Black Ajah and uses them to search for items of the One Power. She pays particular attention to the Dominion Band, a ter'angreal that can be used to control a male channeler. She is confronted by Nynaeve in Tarabon, who discovers just how powerful she is when she is able to match Moghedien in raw strength of the Power. Moghedien escapes, but harbours hatred towards Nynaeve and begins hunting her, and assumes the name Marigan. She positions herself with the rebel Aes Sedai, but is identified and captured by Nynaeve and Elayne Trakand before she can act. During her captivity, Moghedien is forced to teach Nynaeve and Elayne various uses of the One Power.
Moghedien is later freed by Aran'gar, but her failures and her captivity mean she has fallen out of favour with the Dark One. She is given to Moridin, her mind trapped within a ter'angreal that makes her a slave to Moridin. She is allowed some degree of freedom, provided that her actions do not interfere with Moridin's plans, and uses it to try and assassinate Nynaeve. The attempt fails, and inadvertently clears Nynaeve of her "block", a mental barrier to channelling at will.
During the Last battle she serves under Demandred's, leading the Dreadlords. Upon Demandred's death she attempts to rally the Sharan forces by assuming Demandred's appearance, only for the Sharan ranks to be decimated moments later by Dragons(cannons). As the Shadow's forces begin to fragment, Moghedien refuses to accept their loss, but is left behind on the battlefield. She is later discovered by Shanan, a Seanchan sul'dam, and is held prisoner with an a'dam, forcing her to serve the Empire. She, along with Graendal and Mesaana, are the only Forsaken to survive after the last battle, but Moghedien is the only one to keep her mind intact.
Rahvin (RAA-vin), originally known as Ared Mosinel, was a politician during the Age of Legends who favoured diplomacy and negotiations to open warfare, though proved to be a capable general when forced into confrontation. He is noted for his patience, being willing to wait out Tarmon Gai'don before moving against his enemies. As powerful as he was during the Age of Legends, he was driven to the Shadow in his quest to amass ever more power. Through his manipulations he convinced several regions to surrender without invasion. He was an efficient Governor, but sufered from a lack of attention to detail.
During the Third Age, he took control of Caemlyn. Using the name Lord Gaebril, he leads the faction in support of Morgase Trakand, the Queen of Andor. Once the city is stabilised, he is taken into Morgase's confidence and becomes her lover, using his newfound position to violently drive her closest allies away from the city, form tenuous alliances with weaker nobles, and populate the city Guards with Darkfriends. He has himself declared King of Andor—the first King in the nation's thousand-year history—claiming that difficult times around the world call for strong leadership. He planned to draw Rand al'Thor out into the open where he could be ambushed by the other Forsaken, but is killed when Rand leads a surprise raid on the city. Rand kills him with Balefire so his soul cannot be salvaged.
Sammael (SAHM-mah-EHL), originally known as Tel Janin Aellinsar, was a world-renowned sportsman, particularly in archery and fencing, though some considered him to be distasteful given his penchant for the most violent games. He was a gifted commander, preferring to defend rather than attack, but joined the Shadow when Lews Therin Telamon was named commander of the forces of Light. Tel Janin believed that Lews Therin's strategy was fundamentally flawed and that a strong defence was humanity's best chance of success. He joined the Shadow to prove Lews Therin wrong, and came very close to doing just that when he betrayed a key defence posting, thereby allowing the Shadow to penetrate lands that had once been a stronghold of humanity.Lews Therin gave him a thick scar across his face, which he wore as a badge of honour. Sammael was a noticeably short man, and resented that the Power could not make him taller, believing that people judged him on his height instead of his abilities.
During the Third Age, Sammael takes control of Illian. Using the name Lord Brend, he consolidates his power by searching for caches of sa'angreal and ter'angreal, believing that by using them he would be more likely to be named Nae'blis. Following the failed abduction of Rand al'Thor by agents of the White Tower in Lord of Chaos, he approaches the Shaido Aiel and scatters them across the Westlands, where they proceed to cause chaos. However, having conquered Tear and Cairhien and liberated Caemlyn, Rand turns his attentions to Illian next to confront Sammael. Sammael escapes to Shadar Logoth, a city corrupted by its own ruthlessness in fighting the Shadow, but is killed by Mashadar, a fog-like entity that has infected the city and consumes the souls of all who touch it. Though Sammael was not described as escaping, neither was his death directly narrated, and readers continued to suspect he was lurking in the shadows until author Robert Jordan announced him unequivocally dead during an interview: "He was killed by Mashadar. Sammael is toast". Given the nature of his death, the Dark One is unable to resurrect Sammael.
Semirhage (SEH-mih-RHAHG), originally known as Nemene Damendar Boann, was once considered to be the greatest healer the world had ever seen, able to cure anything except death. However, she was also a sadist, and subjected her patients to unnecessary pain for her own enjoyment. Most of her victims accepted it as part of being healed, until the Aes Sedai learned of it. Unwilling to execute her because of her abilities, Nemene was instead offered the choice of being cut off from the One Power altogether, or being bound with an Oath Rod to stop her from inflicting her atrocities on hapless victimes. Nemene instead chose to join the Shadow and became Semirhage, the Lady of Pain. She quickly became feared for her cruelty, to the point where even the other Forsaken were apprehensive about working with her. Semirhage's reputation was such that many prisoners, upon learning that she was to be their warden, committed suicide. She was as skilled at turning people to the Dark One as she was at healing, and as such any prominent prisoners were sent to her.
During the Third Age, Semirhage assumes the name Anath Djore, and infiltrates the Seanchan Imperial Family; Demandred notes that she always enjoyed a challenge, hence her choice. Semhirage slaughters the entire Imperial Family of Seanchan, plunging the Empire into a state of constant civil war with over fifty factions vying for the Crystal Throne of Seandar. She positions herself as Tuon's retainer, and later uses high-ranking Darkfriends within the Seanchan nobility to place a bounty on Tuon's head, sending the Empire's attempts at reclaiming the Westlands into further anarchy. She also plans to use the Dominion Band stolen by Moghedien to enslave Rand al'Thor. However, as Mat Cauthon had abducted Tuon before her plan could come to fruition, Semirhage was forced to improvise and disguise herself as Tuon. She was exposed when Nynaeve al'Maera used a ter'angreal to interfere with Semirhage's disguise, and she was captured. Ironically, Semirhage is the only Forsaken to show any degree of respect for the abilities of Aes Sedai in the Third Age; whereas the other Forsaken are contemptuous of them, Semirhage is cautious, knowing that they can do things with the One Power that she had never considered.
Like Moghedien before her, Semirhage is held captive. Unlike Moghedien, she refuses to give in to her captors, often tormenting them with graphic descriptions of the tortures she will inflict on them until Cadsuane Melaidhrin realises that Semirhage's power over the Aes Sedai is rooted in her ability to terrify them. She proceeds to humiliate Semirhage in front of the people she considers beneath her, and Semirhage gradually begins to crack. She is freed by Elza Penfell, an Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah, and the two finally use the Dominion Band to capture Rand al'Thor. She forces him to strangle his lover, Min, and Rand inadvertently taps into the True Power, accessing the Power directly from the Dark One and uses it to kill both Semirhage and Elza with balefire. Semirhage's last thought is one of pure terror as she realises she is about to be killed beyond the Dark One's power to save her.
Aran'gar is the name given to Balthamel upon his resurrection. His soul is placed into the body of a young woman from the Borderlands, and he is openly disgusted by the choice at first, but soon finds pleasure in his newfound ability to manipulate men using only his new body and soon considers himself to be a woman. Despite living in a woman's body, she retains the ability to channel the male half of the One Power. She adopts the name Halima Saranov and poses as a secretary to Delana, an Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah living with the rebel Aes Sedai. She uses this position to cause further divisions among the rebels, drawing out the siege of Tar Valon and murdering several of the most-powerful Aes Sedai in the camp. She is identified as using saidin by Jahar Narishma, an Asha'man sent to the Aes Sedai to prove that the taint on saidin is clear. Aran'gar and Delana escape and join Graendal in Arad Doman. Aran'gar attempts to seduce Graendal, who entertains the notion long enough to leave Aran'gar behind when Rand al'Thor destroys her palace with balefire. Although the use of balefire means that Aran'gar's soul cannot be rescued from death, the Dark One (as Shaidar Haran) made it clear that he would be resurrected if he failed again.
Cyndane is the name used by Lanfear after she is resurrected. Although believed to be dead when she and Moiraine Damodred fell through a ter'angreal on the docks of Cairhien, Towers of Midnight revealed that Lanfear had actually survived for some time afterwards, though she eventually died whereas Moiraine survived. Given Lanfear's duplicity when allowed to act independently, Cyndane is now enslaved by Moridin in the same manner as Moghedien. Her status as a Forsaken is well-known among the other Forsaken, and she is often used by Moridin to summon them or send messages, much to her chagrin. Despite the fact that he will not trust her, Moridin is protective of Cyndane and refuses to let the other Forsaken use her.
Cyndane uses Tel'aran'rhiod in a similar manner to how she used it when she was Lanfear. Her appearance in Tel'aran'rhiod even slowly starts to resemble her old body again; her dress becomes white and later her hair color and face change too. As Cyndane, she is much weaker in the power than in her original body, presumably a trade that she was forced to make in the lands of the Eelfinn.
Cyndane invades Rand's dreamshards, pleading for help and begging for mercy. Despite her new form he still recognizes her as Mierin. She expresses a desire to defect back from the Shadow, but refuses to prove it in the manner Rand requests of her claiming it is because she has been hurt too often by those she should have been able to trust. Rand shows her what he feels are his true feelings and reveals that she means nothing to him, leaving her in shock.
She later aids Perrin Aybara in hunting Slayer in Tel'aran'rhiod, and betrays Hessalam's plans to him, further demonstrating her willingness to re-convert. However, she still harbours dreams of overpowering both the Dark One and the Creator, and intends to have Perrin rule beside her. Perrin breaks her neck and kills her at the entrance to the dark one's prison, before she can wrest control of Callandor from Rand.
Hessalam is the name given to Graendal after she is killed by Shaidar Haran. In contrast to the beautiful woman that she once was, Hessalam inhabits the body of a hideous-looking older woman, though she retains many of the prejudices she held as Graendal. She openly despises Moridin, and plots to overthrow him as Nae'blis. During Tarmon Gai'don, she uses Compulsion on the four Great Captains—the military leaders of the forces of humanity—to manipulate them into inadvertently compromising their armies. She later commands the Shadow's armies on the slopes of Shayol Ghul.
Hessalam is one of only three Forsaken to survive Tarmon Gai'don. During an encounter with Aviendha, she attempts to use Compulsion, but Aviendha uses her talents to pick apart a gateway. This causes a backlash of the One Power and Hessalam has her Compulsion rebounded back onto herself. However, given the strength of her Compulsion—both as Graendal and as Hessalam—it is unlikely that she would be able to recover from it.
M'Hael, originally known as Mazrim Taim (pronounced MAZ-rim tah-EEM), was the first of the "new" Forsaken, born in the Third Age. He originally declared himself to be the Dragon Reborn, and caused civil war in his native Saldaea before being captured moments after Rand al'Thor—the true Dragon Reborn—revealed himself to the world. He escapes Aes Sedai custody, and approached Rand when Rand announced an amnesty for all male channelers. Rand then arranges for him to lead the Black Tower and to train male channelers known as Asha'man. Despite this position, Rand does not trust him. Taim is very strong in the power and also among the most experienced male channelers in the world; only Lews Therin and the male Forsaken surpass him in experience. He has avoided the madness and sickness of the taint on saidin longer than any living non-Forsaken.
Rand's doubts about Taim's loyalty are soon proven to be validated when Taim is revealed to be a Darkfriend. Under the auspices of building an army of male channelers, Taim instead builds an army of Dreadlords — Darkfriends who can channel — to command the Shadow's armies during Tarmon Gai'don. For this, the Dark One promotes him to the ranks of Forsaken and grants him immortality. He assumes the name "M'Hael", his title within the Black Tower, as his own. Unaware of this, Rand places Logain Ablar, another False Dragon, inside the Black Tower in an attempt to control Taim. This has resulted in the Black Tower splitting into two factions: those loyal to Taim and those loyal to Logain. Taim holds Logain prisoner and begins forcibly Turning some of his followers to obey the Shadow, ultimately aiming to Turn Logain himself.
Having been born during the Third Age, Taim is looked down-upon by the other Forsaken, particularly Hessalam, who consider him to be little more than a child. Their contempt for him only grows when he loses control of the Black Tower entirely after Logain's followers rise up and overthrow his rule. During the uprising, it was also revealed that he had secretly stolen three of the seven seals guarding the Dark One's prison at Shayol Ghul. He later lost the seals when Androl, one of Logain's followers steals it from him while disguised as Nensen, a minor dreadlord. He is later killed by Egwene al'Vere when he starts unleashing balefire to destabilise the world. Egwene invents a new weave of the One Power dubbed "the Flame of Tar Valon" that works in opposition to balefire, restoring what it has destroyed and freezes Taim in crystal.
Moridin is the name given to Ishamael upon his resurrection. He was given the title Nae'blis by the Dark One—allowing him to command the other Forsaken—as the Dark One felt that the time for individual schemes was over and that the Forsaken should work together to thwart Rand al'Thor. Despite being Nae'blis, Moridin's position is not secure as the other Forsaken frequently conspire to remove or kill him when their plans to not interfere with his. They believe that he is even madder than was as Ishamael, though he has much more control over himself.
As nae'blis, Moridin is theoretically the only person to have access to the True Power, the source of the power drawn directly from the Dark One. However, during the events of A Crown of Swords, he encounters Rand in the ruins of Shadar Logoth, though Rand is unaware that he is one of the Forsaken. Rand, drawing on the One Power and Moridin, drawing on the True Power, both fire balefire. The two bolts of balefire touch, creating a link between Rand and Moridin. The two are now aware of each other and have unconsciously adopted each other's mannerisms. Furthermore, Rand is now able to access the True Power (though again, he is unaware of the exact nature of it), whilst Moridin is susceptible to the taint on saidin. The connection is so strong that in The Gathering Storm, Moridin unknowingly draws Rand into his dreams and his left hand aches after Rand loses his left hand in an encounter with Semhirage. Despite his knowledge of the One Power, Moridin is unsure of the nature of the bond and personality aspects that are transferring between them, and he has expressed confusion over feeling Rand's tiredness.
Moridin is present during the final confrontation between Rand and the Dark One. He attempts to kill Alanna Mosvani, an Aes Sedai bonded to Rand, as he knows that severing the link between them will drive Rand into an inconsolable rage. Nynaeve al'Maera uses conventional healing techniques to save Alanna long enough for her to release Rand from his bond, ending the threat. Rand then lets Moridin believe that he has control over Callandor, before he, Nynaeve and Moiraine Damodred seize control from him and use both the One Power and the True Power to shut the Dark One out from the world, closing the Bore. Rand and Moridin swap bodies during this process, though it is not clearly stated Rand intended to do so. Moridin, in Rand's body, dies of his wounds, and the world believes the Dragon Reborn to have died.
Osan'gar is the name given to Aginor upon his resurrection. His soul was placed in the body of a man from the Borderlands. Osan'gar used the name Corlan Dashiva to infiltrate the Black Tower, and quickly rose up through the ranks to the consternation of Rand al'Thor, who regarded him as being dim-witted. As Dashiva, Osan'gar stages a split within the Black Tower, leading a small cell of "rogue" Asha'man in an attempted assassination of Rand. Rand escapes and lures the cell to Far Madding, where they are all killed, though Dashiva was not present. He later responds to the summons sent by the Dark One during the Cleansing of saidin, but is killed when Elza Penfell, Jahar Narishma and Merise Haindehl use Callandor to destroy the hill he is standing on (despite being a Darkfriend, Elza believes that Rand must survive until Tarmon Gai'don so that the Dark One may kill him). Although the nature of his death meant Osan'gar's soul could be rescued from death, the Dark One (as Shaidar Haran) makes it clear that Osan'gar would only be reincarnated once, and so he is considered to be dead.
- Jordan, Robert, and Brandon Sanderson. Towers of Midnight. New York: Tor, 2010. Print.
- Jordan, Robert & Patterson, Teresa: The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, page 59-60. 1997.
- Jordan, Robert The Fires of Heaven 1993
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 2.
- Towers of Midnight.
- Robert Jordan chats about his 'Wheel of Time' series. December 12, 2000