—Ishamael to Lews Therin Telamon
Ishamael (ih-SHAH-may-EHL; Old Tongue: Betrayer of Hope), previously known as Elan Morin Tedronai, was the most powerful of the Forsaken and their de facto leader. He was incredibly intelligent, and had profound insight into the nature of the Wheel of Time and the struggle between the Dark One and the Dragon. He was unique among the Forsaken in that he was the only member of the group who did not join for the promise of power or immortality (at least not per se), but because his logic concluded that the Dark One must inevitably win against the Dragon, and therefore the only path was to join him and rule for a time. All of the other Forsaken believe he was insane, though some of Ishamael's statements, which were taken to be mad, were in fact simply esoteric beyond what the other Forsaken were capable of understanding (his brief talk on Chaos Theory for example). He was also fairly disdainful of the other Forsaken, regarding them all as fools for not understanding the nature of the Dark One, and for believing that he would hold to his promise of giving them power and immortality. As Ishamael, he was utterly insane during his last years, though he retained his intelligence and insight. As Moridin, it was said of him that, though he had much more control over himself than before, this self-control hid a greater madness than before. Also, Moridin tended to have violent mood swings; for instance going from curious to murderously enraged to calm all in the span of a few seconds when he saw Aviendha unravel her gateway. Several comments from Graendal suggest that, before his conversion to the Shadow, he may have been much like Rand al'Thor.
Age of LegendsEdit
Elan Morin Tedronai was a noted philosopher and theologian who wrote several influential books, among them Analysis of Perceived Meaning, Reality and the Absence of Meaning and The Disassembly of Reason. Elan Morin was often considered too esoteric for popular appeal. He also believed that the war between the soul of Lews Therin and the Dark One had occurred since the beginning of time, recurring in cycles of the Wheel of Time. However, after his descent into madness through sustained use of the True Power, he seemed to believe that he himself was part of the eternal conflict between the Dragon and the Dark One.
He was one of the first in the Age of Legends to publicly declare himself for the Shadow. He announced his betrayal at a conference of Aes Sedai in the Hall of Servants, informing them of what it was they faced. His announcement sparked massive riots. He was given the name Ishamael by the people: Betrayer of Hope. He was the Dark One's greatest champion and the only one equal to Lews Therin in the One Power. Although he never held a field command, he was defeated by Lews Therin at the gates of Paaran Disen. At some stage, he was humbled by Lews Therin in the Hall of Servants.
When the Dark One's prison was sealed, it is thought that Ishamael was only partially sealed behind it, (in contrast to Aginor and Balthamel who were merely sealed too close to the edge, and thus susceptible to the passage of time), and his soul was allowed to be released in the world from time to time. In fact, Ishamael may not have been initially bound at all, since he visited Lews Therin Telamon (apparently in person) after the seals on the Dark One's prison had been placed (as Ishamael spoke of the sealing in past tense, and Lews Therin was already mad).
After the seals were placed and saidin was tainted, Ishamael arrived at Lews Therin's home and discovered to his surprise and delight that Lews Therin had murdered his entire family. After having a mostly one sided conversation with the insane Lews Therin, Ishamael Healed him so that he understood what he had done. This realization caused Lews Therin to commit suicide, leaving a furious Ishamael to wait for him to be reborn.
Aran son of Malan son of Senar (born roughly 50 AB) had a theory based on Ishamael being thrown out and touching the world for specific periods of time. Aran had heard claims that people had encountered him as long as forty years after the sealing of the Bore. Using lost manuscripts, Aran concluded it might have taken some time for Ishamael to be brought into the prison with the remainder of the Forsaken, and might possibly have been "thrown out" in a regular cycle. There is ample evidence to now support this hypothesis such as interviews from Darkfriends saying that as early as 983 NE they were receiving instructions from someone calling himself Ba'alzamon. It's possible the cycle lasts a thousand years, as the Trolloc Wars, War of the Hundred Years and the events of the current time are all a thousand years apart and Ishamael is known to have played a significant part in all of them.
Possibly due to his own madness, Ishamael started calling himself Ba'alzamon ("Heart of the Dark" in the Trolloc tongue) and was revered by Trollocs and feared by Myrddraal and widely believed to be the Dark One himself. He ravaged the world when he sent the Trollocs forth, causing the Trolloc Wars, and is known to have played a significant part in the War of the Hundred Years as well.
The long years and the strain of being torn between the world and a possibly endless sleep seem to have driven Ishamael insane; in addition, he was one of the privileged few that the Dark One allowed to touch the True Power, a raw source of energy akin to the One Power but emanating directly from the Dark One, and in some ways more powerful. Use of this gift is even more addictive than saidar or saidin however, and it drives users mad before they die. In any case, Ishamael came to believe that he was part of the eternal struggle between the Dragon and the Shadow, and that he had been a part of that struggle not only in the Age of Legends, but throughout time. He may have honestly believed that he was the Dark One somehow; in any case, due to his appearance and leadership of the Shadow when all of the Forsaken were supposed to be bound and sealed, the world came to believe that Ba'alzamon was the Trolloc name for the Dark One as well.
Ba'alzamon implies on many occasions that he could easily kill Rand al'Thor at any time. Despite having an enormous advantage in both strength, experience, and opportunity, he fails to kill Rand and ends up being bested. It is fairly safe to assume that, until the point where Rand became strong enough to defeat him, he could have easily squashed Rand like an insect at any time.
In FY 973, Ishamael came to Artur Hawkwing's court as Jalwin Moerad. He became Hawkwing's highest counselor by summer FY 974, and held that position until Hawkwing's death in FY 994. He set about wrecking that which Hawkwing had built, advising him to dismiss all Aes Sedai from his service, lay siege to Tar Valon, send his armies across the Aryth Ocean, and refuse Healing on his deathbed.
Jalwin Moerad had a volatile temper, and was half mad. He was frequently absent for long periods (which led Tamika, Artur's wife, to distrust him) and anyone who inquired about him closely died. He was openly contemptuous of Aes Sedai. Days after Artur's death, he became counselor to, and then ordered killed, the three closest contenders for the throne (Marithelle Camaelaine, Norodim Nosokawa, and then Elfraed Guitama), one after another. Jalwin disappeared after forty years, never having aged a day.
After his permanent release from the Dark One's prison in 997 NE, he hunted Rand al'Thor relentlessly through his dreams (he also pursued Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara until he was certain Rand was the Dragon Reborn), attempting to turn him to the Shadow. He battled Rand twice, once somewhere near the Eye of the World, and again in Falme, the second time wounding Rand's side. He was finally killed when Rand stabbed him with the sa'angreal sword Callandor in the Heart of the Stone of Tear; it was only at that time that Rand learned that Ba'alzamon, his sworn enemy and persecutor, was not in fact the Dark One but Ishamael, and that his battle against the Shadow had only just truly begun.
-"Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn't it?" - Rand al'Thor
Appearance as Moridin Edit
Moridin was very tall and broad-shouldered (as tall as Rand al'Thor) and was handsome. He had blue eyes and a deep voice, and he looked to be in his mid-twenties, with black hair and a square chin.
The Watcher and the Wanderer Edit
As the Watcher, he watched as both Sammael and Graendal spread chaos among the Shaido Aiel. He seemed amused with Sammael's boasting of a truce with Rand al'Thor and that he would be Nae'blis. Moridin was given the title of Nae'blis by the Dark One, effectively naming him his regent on the Day of the Return, the coveted position that set him above the other Forsaken. He mostly channeled the True Power at that point, using it to detect both saidar and saidin, and therefore had the saa in his eyes. As Nae'blis, he was the only person allowed to use the True Power extensively.
As the Wanderer, he pulled Rand out of a cavern in Shadar Logoth when Rand was fighting Sammael. Moridin shot a beam of balefire at a tendril of Mashadar the same time as Rand did and their beams crossed over each other and touched. Perhaps as a consequence of this, they seemed to have formed a connection: Rand then often saw Moridin in his mind when he channeled. The link worked both ways as Moridin was also aware of Rand. The sensation Rand had was of them each touching the other, but not physically. Rand then suffered nausea when he first reached for saidin and, through his link, felt Moridin also suffer the same nausea (this appears to have stopped after Rand's melding with Lews Therin). Moridin seemed to be furious with this apparent side-effect.
He later watched Nynaeve al'Meara, Elayne Trakand, and the rest of their group Travel from Ebou Dar. He became concerned when he found out that they had a ter'angreal that could change the weather back to normal. He was amazed and furious when Aviendha unraveled the weave for her gateway without it exploding.
He controlled Cyndane and Moghedien through the use of cour'souvra, and started to consolidate the power of the Shadow under his command, as he once did as Ba'alzamon. He reluctantly rescinded the order to kill Rand as Rand was planning to cleanse saidin. He ordered Raefar Kisman, Manel Rochaid, Charl Gedwyn, and Peral Torval to take the access keys for the Choedan Kal from Rand. He did not participate in the Battle near Shadar Logoth.
He set up a meeting in Tel'aran'rhiod, which was made to look like the Ansaline Gardens, where he told the other Chosen to leave Rand for him alone. Mat and Perrin were to be found and killed however. He also wanted to find out who was masquerading as Sammael and sent tens of thousands of Trollocs into the Ways. Later he set up a meeting between Mesaana and Demandred, and rewarded Graendal by allowing her to overhear this meeting. During the meeting Graendal spotted that his left hand seemed stiff and causing him pain, the same hand Rand lost recently. He forbade any rescue attempt for Semirhage as her punishment for trying to kill Rand.
Unscheduled meeting Edit
While dreaming one night, Rand found himself in Moridin's dreamshard, their link to one another attracting him there without either of them willing it. This was the first Rand knew of his resurrection. While there, Moridin had a fairly genial chat with Rand, informing him that the only way to ensure one of the Dark One's servants remained dead was to kill them with balefire and that there was a link between the two of them that he did not understand. The two of them discussed the timelessness of Rand's struggle and Moridin's belief in its ultimate futility. He also revealed that he was feeling exhausted, and wondered out loud whether the exhaustion he felt was Rand's or his own. He also mentioned to Rand that he believed that he knew the truth about the Dark One's intentions - that the Dark One intended to destroy creation forever. He went on to cite his contempt for the other Forsaken, mocking them for believing that they would receive eternal life and power. However, the idea of the end of creation seemed to actually please him, as he gave a laugh that had "true pleasure in it," as opposed to his other humorless laughs. Before leaving, Moridin asked Rand why he had come to his lair, but then speculated that it was their link that somehow drew Rand to Moridin's dream.
When Moridin found Graendal hiding on a desolate island in the Aryth Ocean, he chastised her for her failure and for causing the death of another Chosen. She promised the death of Perrin to redeem herself, and Moridin agreed to allow her to attempt to kill him, loaning her a dreamspike and the services of Slayer. He also showed her a prophecy of the possible death of Perrin. In doing so, he revealed that a chamber within his palace appeared to be full of powerful relics from the Age of Legends. Graendal seemed to have a very difficult time controlling her fear of him during this meeting as opposed to the last time she met with him. She also made an observation that Moridin would understand Rand's feelings of guilt for destroying her lair and its inhabitants, but did not elaborate much. During the meeting it appeared that he could directly hear the commands of the Dark One without being at Shayol Ghul. He also may have been be responsible for horribly torturing Lanfear, apparently at a whim.
The final plan Edit
Moridin gathers the last of the Chosen within one of his dreamshards. Moghedien is given back her cour'souvra with the warning to not fail again. Moridin reveals two unfamiliar looking Chosen, one of whom is Mazrim Taim, now renamed M'Hael. The unfamiliar female Chosen present is named Hessalam, who is actually Graendal in a new body. Moghedien is placed under Demandred's command. Moridin then demands that all other plots and plans by the Chosen are to be concluded and that they are to unite for the Last battle against the forces of the Light.
Parallels and triviaEdit
Ishamael's alias, Ba'alzamon, may be a reference to and combination of Beelzebub, one of the seven princes of Hell, and Ba'al, also one of the seven princes of Hell as well as a name given to several Demons in Christian mythology. Ba'alzamon may also be a reference to the Carthaginian supreme god Ba'al Hamon.
The name Moridin may be an allusion to Mordred, the bastard son and patricide of King Arthur.
Ishamael is master of the board game sha'rah.
As Moridin, it appears that he can hear the commands of the Dark One without being at Shayol Ghul. This may not be unique however, as it would seem that Ishamael as Ba'alzamon could communicate with the Dark One in a similar fashion; he appeared to beseech the Dark One for aid in combating Callandor, and he apparently received it. This ability may be connected to his overuse of the True Power, since as Moridin he seems to have only just recently gained the ability, if indeed he has it at all.
Ishamael appears to be something of a nihilist, considering his belief in the futility of mankind's struggle against the Dark One and the titles of his books. However, believing there is no hope is not the same as having no belief at all, a common misconception. A nihilist needn't be negative at all, their (self perceived) realistic logic or philosophy merely makes people think so.