|What Happened To... Asmodean?
by Shadar the Mad
The death of Asmodean at the end of Fires of Heaven was quite a mysterious event. While Jordan has finally confirmed that Asmodean did indeed die in that scene, he steadfastly refuses to tell us who the killer was.
And what's more, he has the cheek to tell us it should be obvious - Raina.
Below, I've listed the possible contenders, bearing in mind that they must fit several criteria:
* They must be someone Asmodean would recognise instantly. Just before his death, he opened a door, then screamed "You? NO!!!!". The implication is that the person he saw was someone he knew, and was terrified of.
* By the same reason, it must be someone he would be terrified of.
* It had to be someone who could get into the palace at Caemlyn, kill Asmodean, and leave unseen. And since no body was found, they must either have taken it with them, or destroyed it without leaving a trace.
So, here are the contenders:
Osan'gar / Aran'gar
Any of the Forsaken could have fulfilled the last criteria, and Aran'gar at least is being used for special missions by the Dark One (rescuing Moghedien.) However, Asmodean has never met either of the 'Gars in their new bodies, so would neither recognize nor fear them.
As with the 'Gars, Moridin fulfills the last criteria, but is again a new face - Asmodean would have no way to recognize him. And unless he saw the saa, he would have no reason to fear Moridin either.
Certainly, Lanfear is someone Asmodean would know and fear, given all she has done to him. Also, he believes that Lanfear doesn't want him to teach Rand too much, and will eventually come to dispose of him for good. Finally, her appearance would come as a terrible surprise, as he, like everyone, is sure she is dead.
Unfortunately, this rules her out on the last criteria. Not a day before, Lanfear appeared at the docks in Cairhien, and after a short battle was last seen being thrown through a ter'angreal by Moiraine. Given also that time seems to run slower on the other side (Mat spent an hour or so in there, which turned out to be almost a week in normal time.) This effectively rules her out. Even if she could have dealt with Moiraine,she still would have had to find another way out - the ter'angreal was destroyed.
Finally, don't you think we'd have encountered her disruptive personality in either Lord of Chaos, or Crown of Swords? As for Path of Daggers, read my next essay in this series - What Happened to... Lanfear.
Demandred fulfils all of the criteria, and assuming he is Mazrim Taim, he has a good reason to want Asmodean out of the way. However, in the prologue to Lord of Chaos, he tells the Dark One that he doesn't know what happened to Asmodean. The DO seems to know more, telling Demandred that Asmodean has payed the price for betrayal.
Moghedien, Mesaana, Semirhage
All of these three fulfil the criteria - all would be recognised, feared, and could have entered and killed Asmodean without leaving a trace. However, Moghedien has an alibi - she was on the end of a leash in Salidar at the time. Semirhage tells us in a point-of-view scene that she does not know what happened to him. And Mesaana is reported not to know either, and is probably too busy maintaining her disguise in the tower. Besides, none of them have an obvious motive.
Like any of the Forsaken, Graendal fulfills all of the criteria. But like the last three, she has no obvious motive for killing Asmodean.
There is a strong possibility though. During a meeting with Sammael, Graendal is thinking about how she was offered Nae'blis by the Dark One. Since she does not appear to have done anything that we know about, it could be that she was ordered to kill Asmodean, and did so.
One circumstantial point lends some weight to this. She tells Sammael that she is sure that Lanfear and Asmodean are dead, and that she believes Moghedien may be as well. If she knows this, she knows more than anyone else in the books. Rand is the only other character who is sure about Lanfear, and he believes Asmodean to have escaped. To me, this implies that Graendal may have had a personal involvement.
One other point. Sammael, Graendal, Lanfear and Rahvin had formed a group to defend against Rand. While Lanfear had already been taken out before Rand attacked Rahvin, either Sammael or Graendal could have been in Caemlyn at the time. Either could have watched while Rand moved into the palace, and perhaps recognised Asmodean. Personally, I consider Graendal to be the more likely - Sammael would almost certainly have attacked Rand while he was weakened.
One new thing, which someone has since pointed out. During Rand's battle with Rahvin, he was attacked by manipulation of Tel'aran'rhiod. In particular, he suffered bites after being surrounded by piranhas. When Rand killed Rahvin with balefire, the bites should have vanished. But they didn't.
The only conclusion from this is that there was someone else in Tel'aran'rhiod. It seems to me that it must have been one of Rahvins allies. Lanfear was gone, so it had to be either Sammael or Graendal. And I can't picture Sammael attacking that way, so that leaves Graendal. Graendal *was* involved in events at the time - it seems likely that she was in Caemlyn after the battle was concluded.
A distinct possibility. Sammael fulfils all of the criteria. And he seems to be constantly working to inconvenience Rand - his attack during the Shaido attack on Cairhien, his dealings with Sevanna and the Shaido. Certainly, eliminating Rands teacher would fit the pattern.
However, during his dealing with Graendal in LoC, he tells her that he doesn't know anything about Asmodeans whereabouts. Of course, this could easily be a lie, like almost everything he said to Graendal. But see the last point for Graendal.