|Sherlock Holmes Examines the Death of Asmodean
Author: Lorendiac PM
Sometime after the eighth book of "The Wheel of Time" was published, Holmes and Watson analyze the ongoing mystery of who killed Asmodean.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Fantasy - Words: 5,584 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 2 - Published: 04-07-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4975913
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Author's Note: I wrote this for fun many years ago, probably around the year 2000, well after the eighth volume of the Wheel of Time had been released. It's in the form of a conversation between Holmes and Watson, but it will make no sense if you aren't already familiar with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series—fit a WoT fanfic, then fans might have complained about false advertising because none of Jordan's characters "appear onstage." If I posted it as a regular Sherlock Holmes fanfic, then fans of his stories might feel cheated when they saw Doyle's Great Detective just talking about another author's works in a way that was incomprehensible if they weren't already familiar with Jordan's books and the rules of magic, et cetera, in that universe. It felt like a Catch-22. But now that we've got these new crossover options, I decided to dust off this old flight of fancy and post it as a crossover between the two categories.
P.S. Please don't ask me how and when Holmes and Watson, who were grown men in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, survived into modern times to read and discuss Robert Jordan's novels. I never bothered to create a rationale for it when I wrote this (about nine years ago).
Sherlock Holmes Examines the Death of Asmodean
"I say, Holmes! Isn't it about time you applied your peerless deductive abilities to the mysterious death of Asmodean?"
"Perhaps you're right, Watson. The only thing that seems clear about this case is that no one else has managed to present a clear analysis sufficient of converting the majority of his fellow WoT fans to his point of view."
"Don't you mean 'his or her,' old chap? After all, a great many WoT fans are female!"
"My dear fellow, surely you have not forgotten your grammar lessons as a schoolboy, when we were taught that the masculine pronoun is always to be employed when referring to a hypothetical individual of unknown gender? I deplore this modern tendency to pander to those person who try to split hairs in their burning desire to change everyone else's speech patterns 'for our own good,' and I have no intention of using the plural pronoun 'them' when referring to a single human being of unknown identity either!"
"Terribly sorry, Holmes. But about Asmodean's killer . . ."
"Well, I suppose I may as well take a few minutes to share my musings with you, old boy. But please recall that it hardly makes any difference at whom I point the accusing finger, even if I somehow find a way to travel to the world of the Wheel of Time and inform everyone of my conclusions, and (more importantly) persuade them of my correctness."
"Why is that, Holmes?"
"There seems to be a high probability that Asmodean was killed by one of his fellow Forsaken (remember, Lanfear had reported to the others that he was a voluntary turncoat), and since each of those loveable persons has been responsible for appalling amounts of death and suffering in the Age of Legends, and several of them have been doing more of the same within the last two years, I hardly think that laying one more trifling charge of murder at a Forsaken's door is going to be the item which causes his downfall."
"A cogent point, Holmes! But what if he was killed by someone else? Padan Fain for instance, or even someone we think of as heroic. Why, at different times in my meandering about the Internet, I have seen accusations leveled at Rand (specifically his Lews Therin persona), Moiraine, Lan, Mazrim Taim (though that accusation normally involves the idea that he is actually a Forsaken), Bela, and I don't know what all!"
"None of those names strike me as terribly likely, Watson. But even if one of them did kill Asmodean—so what?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"What applied to his fellow Forsaken applies to him too. Responsible for many murders in days of old, quite possibly responsible for more since his awakening in recent times, incredibly powerful by modern standards in his channeling of the One Power (only a few people were aware that Lanfear had done something tricky to reduce his effective strength to a shadow of its former self), a man who voluntarily sold his soul to the Dark One . . . anyone who killed him could plausibly argue that it was a legitimate act of self-defense when confronted with a known mass murderer face-to-face, and an act of war, killing a man who stood high in the councils of what is unquestionably the Evil side of the current unpleasantness."
"Ah, but Rand al'Thor was getting valuable lessons from him!"
"So what? Anyone who managed to identify him as Asmodean could plausibly state that coming face to face with a mass murderer seemed a very threatening situation, and required self-defense without bothering to consult Rand and seek his opinion on the matter first. And Rand may have taken it upon himself to forgive past transgressions of any male channeler who will agree to serve him henceforth, but that does not create a legal or moral obligation in every other human being in the known world to feel the same way about it."
"I see what you mean, Holmes. Asmodean's death could be called a legitimate killing for self-defence, or an act of war. or an outburst of temporary insanity at facing such a terrible person (this is part of the argument that's been raised for Lews Therin having possibly done the deed without Rand's recalling it now), or he could have been killed by some fellow mass murderer who isn't likely to be tracked down and arrested just for that particular bit of bloodshed above all others. So it scarcely matters (from a standpoint of punishing the guilty) whether or not this mess is ever cleared up! But what about the abstract value of Truth? Shining the light of inquiry into the dark morasses of sin, or however it goes? Aren't people justified in wanting to know who did it, if only for their private satisfaction?"
"Yes, yes, you've made your point, Watson. Now, let us examine first the scene of the crime, insofar as it has been described to us. We must bear in mind the three points of Method, Motive, and Opportunity."
"Scene of the crime . . . er, yes, he died in a wine pantry, didn't he?"
"This may go faster if you stop echoing me like a Grecian Chorus, dear fellow. The final paragraph of Asmodean's life said:
"He pulled open a small door, intending to find his way to the pantry. There should be some decent wine. One step, and he stopped, the blood draining from his face. 'You? No!'
"The word still hung in the air when death took him.'"
"So he was stepping into a wine pantry when he died!"
"NO! He was only commencing a spirited search for a pantry which must exist somewhere in the palace! Please recall that he had just arrived in this Palace, for the first time in his life as far as we know, earlier that same day! An hour or two earlier, perhaps. He had scarcely had opportunity to memorize every detail of the floor plan, but had a vague idea that if he opened a certain door, it would take him in the right general direction. The pantry itself might be another hundred yards away from his present location, for all we know. That door may actually have led to a quiet corridor, a kitchen, a storeroom, or just about anything else you care to name. A trivial point, but I despise inaccuracy, and this mystery has inspired a wild amount of loose and inaccurate thinking among a great many of its investigators."
"Now let us concern ourselves with Method. The way Asmodean's last word still hung in the air when he died naturally invites comparison with the death of Be'lal, in the final pages of the third volume, when Moiraine balefired him. If memory serves, he cried 'No!' and then the relevant sentence said, 'Before it, Be'lal became a shape of shimmering motes, specks dancing in the light for less than a heartbeat, flecks consumed before his cry faded.'"
"I say, Holmes, I don't think 'balefire' is a proper verb. Jordan invented the word—or at least he revived the word (previously very obscure in the English language) and gave it a brand new meaning—but I don't believe he has ever employed it as a verb. And you were going on about grammar earlier . . ."
"Watson, a petty inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. As I was saying, the only clear reason for Jordan to give us that odd comment about the word hanging in the air is to hint at balefire. Combined with this thought, we have the fact that Rand al'Thor does not know where Asmodean is now, which suggests there were not even bloodstains left at the scene of the crime, or someone might have recalled seeing Asmodean meandering through that part of the palace a bit earlier, and Rand might have put two and two together. Watson, how eager would you be to carry the dead body of an adult male out of a palace on your back? Even inside a sack to avoid unfavorable comment from spectators?"
"Not terribly eager, Holmes. I mean, what's the point? If I'm caught, it's a great risk. Even if I'm not caught, why should I bother to take the trouble? Physical exertion, and all that. Of course, I could lighten the load by channeling supports of Air underneath, if I were a powerful channeler . . ."
"Yes, but if you met any of the Wise Ones, they would instantly know you were doing it (if you were female) and would be interested. Even using saidin (if you were a Male Forsaken, for instance) would be problematic if Rand happened to come within eyesight of you during the trek outside. And you are correct—it scarcely seems worth the trouble."
"Wait, Holmes! If I were a powerful channeler, I could open a Gateway at the scene of the crime and just shove the body right through! Only take a minute!"
"You could, assuming you had any reason to bother taking the body with you. But that raises another point on the question of Method. As of the last pages of TFOH, the entire list of human beings who knew how to Travel (Gateway or Skimming) can be summed up in two categories: Rand al'Thor and all surviving Forsaken. No one else. Egwene independently rediscovered female Travelling in LOC and began teaching it to the Salidar rebel faction, and in the same book Rand taught it to Taim so he could teach it to the other Asha'man as they appeared on the scene, but that all happened after Asmodean was dead and gone. The list of people who could consciously weave balefire at the drop of a hat without artificial aids was almost exactly the same list of suspects as the ones who could Travel—with the single addition of Moiraine, whom we will deal with later—so if we assume that our murderer was anyone on that list, wouldn't he be likelier to use balefire to dispose of a Forsaken-level enemy as quickly as possible, instead of killing the fellow by less powerful (and thus less likely to succeed) measures, and then dragging off the body to who-knows-where for who-knows-what-reason?"
"I suppose that would be simplest. Of course, Holmes, there were two other people who had previously created balefire under somewhat unusual circumstances. Nynaeve al'Meara and Jeaine Caide, the Black sister who wielded a balefire-making ter'angreal in a battle in Tanchico."
"That's true enough. However, Nynaeve only did it once in TDR by sheer instinct without even knowing what the name for it was, and besides she would seem to have been very busy in Salidar explaining to Elayne that she had just captured Moghedien at the same time that Asmodean would have died, shortly after Nynaeve blindsided Rahvin and gave Rand the opening that let him win the battle. Also, she didn't know how to Travel in the waking world at that time and she had never met Asmodean/Natael before, so she would have no reason to attack him on sight. That last point also applies to Jeaine—though I admit that, unlike Nynaeve, she could consciously generate balefire (albeit only with the help of the ter'angreal she was using for that purpose in TSR) if she wanted to. But why would she want to? There has never been any hint that the Dark One ever ordered his Forsaken to show copies of Asmodean's face to every low-level Black Ajah member they encountered. I rather suspect that Asmodean's defection was kept a tight secret in order to preserve the mystique of the high-and-mighty Forsaken in general."
"Very well, Holmes! I never took Nynaeve or Jeaine seriously as suspects! I only wished to tie up a few loose ends from the Method standpoint!"
"Quite right, old fellow. Attention to detail is the hallmark of the true detective! Now, on the basis of Method, we seem to have narrowed it down to Rand and the Forsaken. Rand I think we can dispose of. For one thing, he appears to have been having a little chat with Davram Bashere at the same time, and there is no evidence to suggest that Rand has ever, before or after the death of Asmodean, done anything of which he was unaware while 'sleepwalking,' his own mind sound asleep while Lews Therin dominates every action. Moving on now to the Forsaken . . . originally there were 13 of them. Ignoring Asmodean himself for obvious reasons, we have: Aginor, Balthamel, Be'lal, Demandred, Graendal, Ishamael, Lanfear, Mesaana, Moghedien, Rahvin, Sammael, and Semirhage. Suppose you take a turn, my dear Watson—which of those twelve should we strike off the list on the basis of the next point, Opportunity?"
"Well, Holmes, Rahvin and Be'lal had both perished from balefire prior to Asmodean's death, which eliminates them. And Moghedien had just recently been captured by Nynaeve, which ended her own ability to cause trouble in the waking world of Caemlyn thereafter."
"So far, so good."
"Aginor, Balthamel, Ishamael, and Lanfear had also died in one book or another prior to Asmodean's death, but none of them died by balefire. All four of them have returned in later books—Aginor as Osan'gar, Balthamel as Aran'gar (aka Halima), Ishamael as Moridin, and Lanfear as Cyndane."
"But they have always returned in the same order they died—Aginor and Balthamel together in LoC Prologue, Ishamael in CoS, Lanfear in PoD. It appears that it takes quite some time for the Dark One to restore their souls to new bodies, and the earliest of these new arrivals only occured in LoC Prologue, and the entire Prologue evidently occurs after Asmodean had already died."
"So presumably they were still dead at the time of Asmodean's death (Lanfear 's return as Cyndane being the item that finally made it clear that she had in fact died in her original body at the time she and Moiraine went through that redstone doorway together). That lets us strike seven names off the list and leaves us with five who were definitely alive and at liberty at the crucial time, and thus are at least theoretically possible from the Opportunity viewpoint. They are Demandred, Graendal, Mesaana, Sammael, and Semirhage."
"Your arithmetic is flawless. What data do we have about each of those five names on the Short List, as it relates to the matter at hand?"
"Demandred, Mesaana, and Semirhage had never appeared onstage in any way, shape, or form in the first five books. Dramatically speaking, it is extremely unsatisfying to suppose that one of those three made his or her first appearance in the series by anonymously killing Asmodean and not even receiving due credit for it. Fair play would seem to require that, at the end of TFOH, we at least had been introduced to each of the major suspects who might have done it 'just now.' Myself, I was rooting for Lanfear at the time! We knew all about her! But since she must have died to come back in a new body as Cyndane, I had to abandon that idea."
"Literary convention and dramatic impact are your forte, Watson. I concern myself solely with the bare facts. With regard to Demandred, let us examine his first appearance onstage, to wit: the opening scene of the LoC Prologue. We have here the bit where Demandred is giving the Dark One a status report on the Forsaken. Rahvin dead, Lanfear vanished, Asmodean vanished, and Moghedien recently missed an appointment with Graendal. The Dark One's reply makes it clear that Asmodean is already dead, ditto for Rahvin. Of course we already knew that too, since we had read the previous volume, but then comes the fascinating part. Demandred reflects, "The Great Lord already knew how Rahvin had died. And seemed to know more of Asmodean than he."
"Yes, I see. This nails down the point that Demandred, at least, was not Asmodean's slayer!"
"Moving along to other possibilities, in LOC:6:141:hb, we have Semirhage thinking, 'If the Great Lord had moved her here secretly, might he not be moving Moghedien or Lanfear, or even Asmodean?'"
"Ah. This makes it crystal clear that Semirhage thinks Asmodean went renegade and vanished, but isn't sure, and suspects it might all be some trick to cover up whatever the Dark One has him doing now! Of course, if she had killed him in the previous book, that wouldn't be a possibility!"
"Right you are. Now, when we try to eliminate Sammael the evidence is not quite so certain, but still interesting, yes indeed, most interesting! Earlier in that same chapter I referred to a moment ago (LoC:6), the first scene was from Sammael's viewpoint. He does mention Asmodean a few times in his charming little chat with Graendal. One paragraph reads:
"There were unsettling implications in these claims [ones Ishamael had formerly made about the Dragon], ramifications Sammael did not want to consider, but the thing that shoved itself to the front of his mind was the possibility that the Great Lord might really want to make al'Thor Nae'blis. It could not happen in a vacuum. Al'Thor would need help. 'Have you learned where al'Thor is hiding Asmodean? Or anything of Lanfear's whereabouts? Or Moghedien's?'
"A moment later, in response to Graendal's response to his queries about the missing Forsaken (she claims to be of the opinion that Rand killed all three of them, if you accept her words at face value), Sammael bursts out with, "And why would he kill Asmodean?"
"But he could have been lying to her to confuse the issue!"
"Conceivable but highly unlikely. For one thing, his thoughts about al'Thor requiring help seem to have led directly to his query about Asmodean's location, and Robert Jordan usually does an excellent job of letting us know when the viewpoint character is lying through his teeth to confuse someone else. For example, when Siuan Sanche told the Salidar rebels that Logain had been trained by the Red Ajah to make him a more impressive threat, Jordan made it clear that she was very glad she could lie now, and that they didn't realize she had that capability. This was what you might call a strong hint that her story was sheer slander."
"Gosh. It was?"
"Trust me, my dear fellow. You can reread it on your own time. Try Chapter 27 of TFOH. The point is that there is no such indicator in what we see of Sammael's thoughts during his comments on his own ignorance of the Asmodean Disappearance, thus (by the rules Jordan traditionally follows) we may take it as read that Sammael knows no more about it than anyone else."
"That would seem to leave Mesaana and Graendal on the short list."
"Indeed. Waving aside the literary question of whether or not it is appropriate to only have the murderer make her first explicit onstage appearance in the volume following the one in which the murder occurs—Mesaana would be disqualified if we decided Jordan would never do such a thing—Method and Opportunity (as well as considerations of those who simply do not know what happened anyway) have brought us down to a mere pair of suspects. We move along now to Motive. First we should note that not only did the killer have a motive for slaying Asmodean, but that Asmodean instantly recognized this person as someone who would indeed have such a motive and who would know who Asmodean was when suddenly encountering him! If those things were not true, Asmodean would have had no reason to panic as he did at a chance encounter with whomever he found beyond that door he opened. Can you list for me those characters whom he might actually have recognized and feared so quickly?"
"As far as recognition is concerned, Holmes, we are handicapped by never having encountered him onstage until he was part of that peddler caravan Rand encountered near Rhuidean in the fourth book. Asmodean would recognize the other members of that caravan and the various Aiel who were traveling in the bands led by Couladin or Rhuarc during the remainder of that book. After Rand was accepted as the Car'a'carn by seven clans out of twelve at the end of that book, Asmodean had the next couple of months to become familiar with the faces of any member of the seven clans who was frequently in Rand's presence. However, his reaction seems extreme if he only opened that door and suddenly saw an Aiel whom he regarded as one of Rand's loyal followers."
"Quite right! The palace was full of such Aiel; Asmodean would scarcely scream at the sudden sight of one of them."
"Nor do I think a previously obscure member of that caravan had somehow managed to teleport himself to Caemlyn after Rand left them behind in Cairhien. Aside from Lanfear and Asmodean himself, the most significant members of the caravan were already dead at that point."
"True enough. We can dismiss the remainder of that caravan as literary nonentities of no importance."
"The only other people in the entire series whom we know Asmodean could easily recognize would be his fellow Forsaken, whom he had known long and well in the old days of the War of Power, before they were all bound in Shayol Ghul for awhile."
"Quite so! And by the same token, only they (aside from Rand and Moiraine) could be counted upon to recognize Asmodean for what he was. We move along now to another aspect of the knotty problem of the Motive for this sudden assassination. Why was Asmodean killed in the Royal Palace in Caemlyn?"
"Because he had gone renegade and tutored Rand in the ways of saidin, making himself a natural enemy to all other Forsaken?"
"Er, yes. Watson, you have always had a gift for stating the obvious. Permit me to make my question more precise: Given that it had been at least two months since Asmodean began teaching Rand (and Lanfear had rushed back to the other Forsaken to tell them so), why did a Forsaken suddenly decide the time had come to find and kill Asmodean at that particular juncture, instead of several weeks earlier?"
"Why . . . I really don't know."
"This, my dear fellow, strikes me as being the key matter that has not received sufficient attention from many of the other 'detectives' who have tried to untangle this knotty problem over the past few years. The timing of the murder. We know Where, we know When, and we think we know How, but in order to deduce Who, we must answer the question of Why it suddenly occurred at that particular time and place! Consider—which of the Forsaken would you 'normally expect' to find lingering about the Royal Palace in Caemlyn during TFOH?"
"First and foremost, Rahvin. He had seized the throne and made that palace his own. Except he died an hour or two before Asmodean did, of course."
"Quite right. Failing that, who else would be especially likely to be visiting that edifice?"
"At the start of TFOH, second scene in the Prologue, it was established that Rahvin, Lanfear, Graendal, and Sammael were all part of a clique making its own plans for joint operations without consulting the other Forsaken. And . . . and . . ."
"And they were meeting in Rahvin's chambers in the Palace!"
"Quite so. Doesn't it seem to you that a Forsaken who was on reasonably cordial terms with Rahvin would be likelier to suddenly Travel to his lair in Caemlyn than a Forsaken who had not established an alliance with him? A channeler who came as an entirely unwelcome intruder might end up on the wrong end of a bolt of balefire, after all."
"But Holmes, that doesn't apply to the Asmodean thing, because Rahvin was already dead when the Killer did the dirty deed in the Palace!"
"That's not the point, Watson."
"No. The point is, did the Killer already know that Rahvin was dead at the time she Traveled to the Palace?"
"Bear with me. Rahvin had only been dead an hour or two—perhaps a little more than that, but the precise number of minutes does not signify. He was killed by Rand (with considerable help from Nynaeve) in Chapter 55, and then the first scene in Chapter 56 shows Rand standing in the throne room later in the same day, and Davram Bashere enters, meeting Rand for the first time. While they are still conversing, the scene ends and we immediately switch to Asmodean, elsewhere in the Palace, who promptly gets killed. Bear in mind, Watson, that Randland does not have the equivalent of CNN broadcasting news worldwide every hour of the day. It is folly to think that the moment Rahvin died, every other Forsaken instantly knew this had occurred! After all, the arguments in LoC about the fates of Asmodean and Moghedien make it clear that the Forsaken do not have the inherent ability to know how many of their number are still alive at any given time."
"That's true, Holmes. Also, it seems clear as crystal that the return of Aginor, Balthamel, Ishamael, and Lanfear in new bodies is something that none of the other Forsaken ever 'sensed' had occurred, given such items as Graendal's total ignorance of the original identities of Cyndane or Moridin. Which confirms your point that the Forsaken only know if their colleagues have lived or died from hearsay."
"Of course it does. So the logical surmise is that any Forsaken who came by Gateway to the Royal Palace that day was expecting to find Rahvin still in charge. Moving around the Palace, she would note Aiel were running all over the place, and would soon discover that Rand al'Thor had just taken over and Rahvin was reportedly dead. But before she learned all that, she might be wandering through the corridors and suddenly see Asmodean coming through a doorway."
"But couldn't she take him alive, Holmes? He's only a shadow of his former self, after all. A full-strength Forsaken could easily cut him off from the True Source, tie him up with Air, and drag him back to Shayol Ghul as a gift for the Dark One's amusement. An excellent way to improve one's chances of being named Nae'blis!"
"Once again, Watson, we must consider that the Killer didn't know that. Only Lanfear knew Asmodean's channeling strength had been vastly reduced, since she contrived that herself. What she told her colleagues was that he had defected voluntarily to the Lord Dragon for reasons unknown. Accordingly, any other Forsaken unexpectedly confronting him would assume that Asmodean was ready, willing, and able to use balefire to defend himself, and would want to get the first blow in, since with balefire at close range in broad daylight, the only way to survive is to do unto others before they can do unto you."
"Oh . . . so on the question of the sudden motive for killing Asmodean on that particular day instead of sooner, the answer is that there was no motive for it beyond spontaneous self-defense when suddenly coming face to face with him, much to the surprise of both parties?"
"Quite! Several clever analyses have been constructed on this matter, but most of them seem to assume that the fundamental question is, 'Who would probably be willing and able to track down Asmodean at that time, and kill him and make the body disappear as part of a carefully premeditated plot?' The assumption entirely misses the point, which is that Asmodean was killed in a place which had been Rahvin's residence until bare hours earlier, and the Killer would seem to have had every reason to arrive thinking it still was. Anyone seeking to kill Asmodean at that time would have been much likelier to go prowling around in the Sun Palace in Cairhien rather than the Royal Palace in Caemlyn. Hence, many hopeful detectives imagine complexity upon complexity where there is no reason to assume anything more than the simplicity of an accidental encounter and the natural reaction to the face of a powerful traitor. Never underestimate Occam's Razor, Watson, it cuts exceeding well."
"Then just to make it final, the Killer's name was . . .?"
"Graendal, of course. Of the four who habitually met together in that Palace, only she and Sammael were still alive at that time, and Sammael (as we have seen) knows nothing of this. Also, Sammael would be far likelier to boast of his great victory over a renegade in order to add weight to his silly claim of being designated as the next Nae'blis, whereas Graendal is not so overt. She prefers to stay back out of the line of fire, and keep aces up her sleeve for a rainy day. She might very well withhold her knowledge of the fate of Asmodean in order to keep Sammael worried about the imaginary danger the renegade might still present. I have not been able to find any passage (told from her own Point of View) which demonstrates her ignorance of Asmodean's fate. She certainly knows Traveling and balefire, and Asmodean would undoubtedly recognize her at a glance. She had even appeared in other scenes in that book and the previous one, so it satisfies your idea that a murderer ought to be someone we already encountered in another context and know something about."
"One last point, Holmes. You mentioned that you would deal with Moiraine later. Aside from Rand and the Forsaken, she was the only channeler who definitely knew how to generate balefire whenever she chose."
"Ah yes. The matter was so trivial it had eluded my attention for the moment. First, there seems no clear reason why Moiraine would tolerate Asmodean's presence for perhaps several weeks (depending upon how soon she uncovered his identity) and then only kill him after she somehow miraculously returned from her tribulations beyond the redstone doorway. Second, it is exceedingly unlikely that she would make such a total lack of impact on the plot in the subsequent three books. She had finally established a much better relationship with Rand by throwing herself into the line of fire to rescue him from the enraged Lanfear. Even if she kept her survival secret from anyone else, she would surely communicate with the Most Important Man in the World, both to ask for favors and to offer her advice on strategy. Third, the prophecy relating to Thom Merrilin dragging her blue stone out of a fire, as well as the other incidents of hints being dropped as to how to successfully penetrate the Tower of Ghenjei and make it out alive, strongly indicate that Thom is scheduled to rescue her from that place, which only makes sense if she is still trapped in it. Fourth, the fact that Lan thinks he felt her die as the bond snapped over to Myrelle strongly suggests that she lost her channeling ability, at the very least. In the wake of Dumai's Wells, it was established that Warders of sisters who have lost their channeling react just as suicidally as Warders whose sisters have actually been slain, suggesting that the sensation is precisely the same for the poor Warder in either circumstance. A Moiraine who could not channel would be no match for Asmodean, and would have great trouble getting in and out of a palace without any of Rand's Aiel friends seeing and recognizing her."
"Elementary, my dear Watson."
Author's Note: To keep it simple, I had Holmes restrain himself to examining such evidence as was actually provided within the books (those available around the year 2000), without depending on any statements Jordan had allegedly made on the subject in face-to-face talks with fans at conventions and book signing sessions and so forth. A proper murder mystery should be susceptible to solution based solely on the clues written in the book or books in question, without needing hints provided in other forums by the author.