Author: Alghar Khan
The Forsaken was the name given to Aes Sedai who went over to the Shadow in the War of the Shadow at the end of the Age of Legends (Tor Question of the Week, week 12 2004). Although they preferred to call themselves "The Chosen". They went to Shayol Ghul to give their oaths to the Dark One. Their reasons for pledging allegiance with the Shadow were individual, but certainly the promise of immortality was a major factor. Originally there were many more Forsaken then just the thirteen. Some were killed by the DO because he* suspected they weren't thrustworthy enough. Others were killed by competing Forsaken. The DO actually encouraged them to kill each other off, since he only wanted the strongest and most skillfull to serve him. Only one was promised to become Nae'blis - and that one would be granted to rule the world from a position only one step below the Great Lord himself. Turnover in the upper ranks was high, but several of the 13 that were trapped at Shayol Ghul were always among the ones at the top. Many of the original Forsaken were much weaker in the One Power. Today they would probably have been considered Dreadlords, but at that time they were all titled Forsaken/Chosen.
After their oaths were given they received a mark by the Dark One that gives them a measure of control over Shadowspawn (all except to some extent the Gholam). This mark is different to the mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran. Her mark gives her away as protected by the Dark Lord to all Shadowspawn, but she is not able to control them. The male Forsaken were provided with a filter that sheathed them from the taint. After the Strike at Shayol Ghul and the sealing of the Bore, the Forsaken left behind were no longer protected by the Great Lord. The men went mad from the taint and the females perished because of the Breaking of the world.
Some of the Forsaken were given the ability to channel the True Power, which emanates from the DO himself. The True Power, in contrast to the One Power, can be drawn by males and females alike. Apperantly only 29 of the Forsaken has been granted the ability to use the TP (ACoS:25) during the last 3 000 years or so. After Moridin was named Nae'blis, only he continued to have access to the TP. It should be noted that this comes with a very high price. The Power that comes from The Lord of the Grave makes the wielder go crazy eventually. Moridin's eyes fills with Saa, visible to those around him.
Among the thirteen, Ishamael was free to roam the world in cycles. Whilst back in his prison, he was still aware of what was going on in the world. As were Aginor and Balthamel (Tor Question of the Week, week 14 2004). Those who spent those 3 000 years in dreamless sleep woke up to a world where Common Tongue was spoken, as opposed to the Old Tongue that was spoken when they were trapped. Adapting to these changes was easier than it may seem, because the Common Tongue is actually derived from the more sophisticated Old Tongue.
The title "Lord of the Grave" has proven to be an accurate one. Though several of the thirteen has perished since they were freed from their prison, a number of them were recycled into new bodies. They were also given new names - by their master himself this time. However, his ability to master death is restricted when it comes to Balefire. That is because Balefire burns the souls away from the Great Pattern even before they were balefired. And there's a time-limit that even the Lord of the Grave cannot bridge (Tor Question of the Week, week 3 2004). He has to catch the souls of the deceased within a limited timeframe. And Robert Jordan has also confirmed that Sammael won't be resurrected (CNN chat transcript, 12 December 2000):..."Mashadar killed Sammael. Sammael is toast!". That makes sense, because Mashadar is the evil fog that feeds on souls. Apparently the DO cannot make Mashadar throw up what has been chewed down!
- "he" is here representing the DO, but it is not supposed to be representing any gender as such.
Ishamael = Ba'alzamon = Moridin Alive and at large
Aginor = Osan'gar Believed dead (vaporised by Elza at the end of Winter's Heart). Is his dead final this time?
Balthamel = Aran'gar Alive and at large.
Sammael Dead and gone.
Rahvin Dead and gone.
Be'lal Dead and gone.
Demandred Alive and at large.
Asmodean Dead and gone.
Lanfear = Cyndane Alive but trapped in a Cour'souvra.
Graendal Alive and at large.
Semirhage Alive. Caught by Rand and company (KoD:27).
Mesaana Alive. Has successfully infiltrated the tower. Possible identities: Tsutama Rath, Yukiri...[insert your suspect here]...
Moghedien Alive but trapped in a Cour'souvra.