On This Day in Randland: Dahan
Two thousand years before the birth of the Dragon Reborn, the Shadow laid waste to the Westlands for three and a half centuries in what would come to be known as the Trolloc Wars (c. 1000 AB – c. 1351 AB). Incited by Ishamael, who was never fully bound at Shayol Ghul, the Wars shattered much of what had been built in the aftermath of the Breaking. With armies as large as three hundred thousand men sometimes facing even greater armies of Shadowspawn, the loss of life was astronomical. Entire cities and nations were obliterated: Manetheren fell to betrayal, Aridhol to fear and darkness, and others to fire or to slow decay in the years following the Wars.
Despite the monumental destruction unleashed by the Shadow, the Light eventually prevailed, helping to ensure that no Shadowspawn would venture past the Borderlands for almost two millennia. The day of humankind’s ultimate victory is still celebrated in the Westlands today on a holiday named Dahan, which falls on the 9th day of the month of Saven. In our own world, this translates to roughly the 18th of May.
In all actuality, the exact date of ultimate victory is uncertain. According to The World of Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time,” the majority of historians in the Westlands “believe the date was arbitrarily chosen” (Ch. 31). In large part, this is because the catastrophic losses caused by the Wars engendered enough confusion that dates and records became suspect. By the time two decades had passed after the end of the Wars, a new calendar system had been adopted in response. Given the series’ investment in the fading of memory to legend and myth, it is perhaps fitting that the date of one of the most important victories in history has been lost to the shrouds of time.
It is also not known exactly where or how ultimate victory in the Trolloc Wars occurred or was declared. As it ended “the long push that finally drove the Trollocs back to the Great Blight” (TFoH, Glossary), it can be assumed to have taken place near or within the Mountains of Dhoom, where the former borderland nations of Jaramide and Aramaelle once stood. What is known is that in 1301 AB, a decisive victory for the human armies at the Battle of Maighande turned the tides of war in their favour. Although the Trolloc Wars lasted another fifty long years following the battle, Maighande was the beginning of the end.
There are two principal accounts of the Battle of Maighande within the series: the first is one of Mat’s memories, the second a glossary entry on Rashima Kerenmosa. In The Fires of Heaven, we briefly hear tell of the battle as Mat recollects “leading a flanking attack that turned the Trollocs at Maighande” (TFoH, Ch. 49). Later, from the glossary in Lord of Chaos, we learn of Rashima and her five Warders, all of whom fell at Maighande. Known as the Soldier Amyrlin and remembered as one of the strongest leaders in White Tower history, Rashima and her Warders were responsible for killing at least nine Dreadlords and countless Shadowspawn in the battle that took their lives.
Even after the victory now celebrated at Dahan, chaos existed for another century. Little information remains on the Wars themselves and the people who fell to their wrath. Indeed, much of what does exist, such as the fact that Trollocs and Dreadlords once “plundered and burned a part of the White Tower itself” (ACoS, Ch. 11), is hidden in the Thirteenth Depository of the Tower Library, where even most Aes Sedai cannot access it. Stories and fragments and names are often all that remain, and these can be unreliable, as evidenced by the way in which stories about Barashelle and Anselan are wrong on many counts. Enough information still exists, however, that the Trolloc Wars remain a major marker of time in the Westlands–not only in terms of the holiday that celebrates their end, but as a measure of all that has been lost and gained in the time since.
-  The Toman Calendar designated years following the Breaking of the World as Years AB (After Breaking). Information on the multiple calendar systems used in the Westlands post-breaking can be found in the Glossary to each book, as well as in The World of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time.’
-  Details on the Feasts and Festivals celebrated in various nations are given in The World of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time.’ For information on how the calendar used by the characters in the series matches up with our own, visit our page on the Farede Calendar in the TarValon.Net Library.
- As revealed by Birgitte, Barashelle was an Aes Sedai during the Trolloc Wars. Because she bonded a man while still Accepted, she was forced to release the bond and was punished for three years before being raised to Aes Sedai. After her raising, her new Warder, Anselan, was chosen for her. Two thousand year slater, love stories are told about how Barashelle had to complete some “long, arduous service to earn Anselan’s love,” and make no reference to their being Aes Sedai and Warder (TFoH, Ch. 37).