Author: Tenedos Therwene
NOTE: All un-referenced information comes from The World of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time"
Before the Wars
After the Breaking in 209 AB, the Compact of the Ten Nations was formed. Queen Mabriam of Aramaelle, who is believed to have been Aes Sedai, as were many Queens in this period, played a large part in the making of this Compact, also called the Second Compact. This compact protected all members from the Shadow, and lasted about eight hundred years. In time, the foundations of cultural and social graces began to develop. It was an attempt to re-capture the forgotten memories of the Age of Legends, and the glory it holds.
Eventually, however, their attempts were shattered. In 1000 AB, Trollocs flooded from the Blight in extraordinary numbers, shattering the Compact in a series of wars known as the Trolloc Wars. These wars lasted roughly three hundred and fifty years, and provided chaos across a majority of the continent. The reason for the Trolloc invasion is unknown. The armies of the Dark One were usually commanded by Dreadlords (Shadowsworn who could channel); these were women more often than not. Most of these women were renegade Aes Sedai (or Black Ajah, if you will). However, there was a minority of male Dreadlords; no doubt most of them were Darkfriends. However, the idea that some of them turned to the Shadow to avoid gentling or death is also a possibility.
Stereotypically, Trolloc foot soldiers usually had spears and hook-tipped axes. Trollocs refrain from using projectile weapons, but from time to time there were some Trolloc archers. Myrddraal officers drove the Trollocs into battle until the thirst for killing dominated. Other Shadowspawn, of course, were useful for other purposes, such as assassination. These Trolloc armies could be accompanied by armies of human Darkfriends who may not have had the strength of the Trollocs, but had intelligence and cunning to hinder their foe.
Each country rallied behind the Compact to support the war effort and each other. However, this support was weakened by the fact that each nation wished to maintain its own separate army. Even Aes Sedai supplied by the White Tower, who battled the Dreadlords, were only under the command of the Tower itself.
The superior numbers of the Trollocs completely overwhelmed the defenders. It was clear, even very early in the war, that no human army could withstand the brutal force of the Trollocs head on. It was realized that new tactics had to be developed to try to strike at the more vulnerable areas: their animal-like natures and inability to reason in a tight situation. To begin with, cavalry would harass the Trollocs for a lengthy period of time and then, when the Trollocs engaged, human infantry would take a defensive position in front of the wave. This would allow mounted archers to move in from the sides to pick off more of the enemy from a safe distance. Trollocs that weren’t destroyed in the pincer ran. Infantry and cavalry needed to be quick, and the infantry had to maintain the courage to stand against an onslaught by monsters. In the case of too large a force, the human army would withdraw and let it pass, and then strike it from the rear and sides.
In the Compact, a nation’s survival depended on it allies’ support against the threat. As usual, some were able to take on the responsibility with honour, such as the warriors of Manetheren, who fought with bravery under the Red Eagle banner. The warriors of Manetheren fought so fervently for over two centuries that they became known as the thorn in the Dark One’s foot, the bramble to his hand, and Manetheren herself as the sword that could not be broken. It is a shame, though, that the no one had the honour to aid them, as they aided others, when the shadow sent concentrated forces to destroy their source, the Mountain Home of Manetheren.
Known battles during the Trolloc wars are:
The Fall of Nations
King Aemon and his men, after a forced march from victory at the Battle of Bekkar (known as the Field of Blood), had to fight against an overwhelming force. “Ravens blackened the sky; Trollocs blackened the land. Trollocs and their human allies. Trollocs and Darkfriends in tens of tens of thousands, and Dreadlords to command. At night their cook fires out numbered the stars” (TEotW, Ch. 9). And yet, the brave men of Manetheren knew what had to be done. They knew that they had to keep the army that lay ahead of them away from the Mountain Home. King Aemon was expecting allies to come to his aid on the fourth day of battle; “aid was promised if they could hold out for but three days at the Tarendrelle” (TEotW, Ch. 9).
So against the odds, the men of Manetheren battled against the carnage of the Trolloc army. They fought for three days, but those reinforcements did not come; they fought for four, five days. By the tenth day of this bloody battle, Aemon knew he had been betrayed by his so-called allies and that the battle was lost. To try and protect his people, he destroyed the bridges crossing the Tarendrelle, to delay the opposing army. Eldrene, his queen, organized the flight of her people, but some did not flee; many men turned and joined the battle in a futile attempt to save their ancestors’ home.
The King’s battle cry, “Carai an Ellisande!" (for the honor of the Rose of the Sun!) echoed across the land until Queen Eldrene, the Rose of the Sun, heard it. In the end, thanks to the loyalty of Manetheren’s allies, the dark force crushed the sword that would not break. It is said that Queen Eldrene’s heart shattered the second death took Aemon. Eldrene was an Aes Sedai; she reached out to the True Source, most likely helped by a sa’angreal, to take out the victors. She fired balefire to engulf the Dreadlords, Myrddraal, and Darkfriends faster then an eye could blink. However, the effort required more Power than anyone could wield unaided. “As the enemy generals died, so did she die and the fires that consumed her consumed the empty city of Manetheren, even the stones of it, down to the living rock of the mountains.” (TEotW, Ch. 9).
Unlike Manetheren, some Nations fell from within. This was the fate of Aridhol, at one point Manetheren’s close ally. The capital city that is called Aridhol also was brought down from some other darkness than the Shadow. King Balwen Mayel, known as Balwen Ironhand, in an act of despair over the current wars, welcomed enthusiastically a man called Mordeth into his court. Over time, Mordeth won Balwen’s ear and mind. It is believed that Aridhol festered under the poison that Mordeth spread, becoming hard and cruel. The people spoke as if they walked in the Light, then betrayed and abandoned it. In the end, their suspicion and hate gave birth to an unspeakable evil that began to feed on that which created it. Only the city ruins of Aridhol are left; its nation and people are gone. All that is left of it, along with the ruins, is a new name: Shadar Logoth, the Place Where the Shadow Waits.
Finally, after nearly three hundred years, the Trolloc Wars came to an end when the Trollocs were defeated at the Battle of Maighande. However, despite the fact that this victory eventually led to the Trollocs being forced back into the Blight, no nation in the Westlands emerged from the wars unscathed; much of the civilization of the world had been destroyed. Although the nations of Aelgar, Eharon, Essenia, Jaramide and Safer managed not to fall during the wars, they were considerably weakened and eventually fell to their own internal weaknesses, which finished the destruction that the Trollocs had begun.
Tar Valon was the one exception among the rest of the Westlands; not only did Tar Valon and the White Tower remain whole, but you could say they profited from these wars in some ways, as the Tower actually gained land and influence.
Within fifty years of the Trolloc Wars, new nations began to emerge from the ruins of those which had been destroyed. In addition, the ruins of many of the Ogier-built cities destroyed in the Trolloc Wars became the sites of important cities today. From Mainelle in Aelgar came Tanchico; from Al’cair’rahienallen in Almoren arose the city of Cairhien; from Hai Caemlyn in Coremanda came the modern-day city of Caemlyn; from Barashta and Dorelle Caromon in Eharon came Ebou Dar and Illian, respectively; from Aren Mador and Dalsande in Essenia came Far Madding and Tear; from Deranbar and Allorallen in Jaramide came Maradon and Bandar Eban; from Shanaine in Manetheren came Jehannah; and from Iman and Miereallen in Safer came Katar and Falme.