|The Wheel of Time Collection
Weaponry and Military Compendium
A Compendium of Weaponry and Military Costuming of the Wheel of Time Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, Paul Postuma Allow me to contribute my little bit of scholarship: this first major revision of the Weaponry of the Wheel of Time contains substantial additions and some changes, and follows publication of the Crown of Swords. The weapons and armor of various lands are covered in detail, as is the military costuming. Thanks to those rasfwrj readers who have contributed their comments on previous versions. Note that a hypertext (HTML) version of this document is available on the Web at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Paul_Postuma/WOT.htm. Send your comments to ppostuma@-SPAMSCHUTZ-nbnet.nb.ca. Page references are for the paperback edition, excepting LoC and CoS. ** Tam's heron-mark sword ** The sword was single-edged, slightly curved, and delicate compared to other swords of the time: "The blade, very slightly curved and sharp only on one edge, bore another heron etched into the steel. Short quillons, worked to look like braid, flanked the hilt. It seemed almost fragile compared with the swords of the merchants' guards; most of those were double-edged, and thick enough to chop down a tree." <TEotW: 5, 66-7, Winternight> This makes it likely that the sword is modelled on a Japanese katana or tachi (very few swords of Western origin have a slightly curved blade, even fewer of these are two-handed). The longevity of such blades, and the exquisite skill required in their forging, also suggests a katana or tachi as model. Tam's sword differs from these in that a Western-style crossguard consisting of short quillons is used rather than an oval crossguard in the Oriental style. The "... long, two-handed hilt ..." <TGH: xxiii, Prologue> is leather- wrapped, and referred to repeatedly as "nobby." <i.e. TEotW: 8, 110, A Place of Safety> The approximate overall length of his weapon is probably some 37 to 41", a standard length for two-handed katana or tachi, and for many swords of Western design. Any longer than this, and Robert Jordan would no doubt have described it as such, in comparing it to other swords, and in describing the reactions Rand's blade elicits from various characters. Three herons designate the sword as a blade-master's weapon: "... a long, leather-wrapped hilt inset with a bronze heron. Another bronze heron stood on the scabbard, and yet another was scribed on the sheathed blade." <TGH: 1, 4, The Flame of Tar Valon> Only one side of sword or scabbard is marked: in each mention of the sword, only three herons are present; when Thom later indicates the two herons on Rand's coat, Rand comments that "The sword makes five. Hilt, scabbard and blade." <TGH: 26, 387, Discord> Presumably, each heron is found on the outward-facing surface of hilt, scabbard and blade. My guess is that each heron is of the same size, though this isn't mentioned specifically. The bronze heron on the hilt is probably some 2 to 2 1/2" in size, with a maximum length of 3" - when the heron-mark is branded into his palm, a perfect figure is impressed onto. Rand's a big boy, but nowhere are his hands described as meathooks, which Jordan would surely have done. One can even place the heron on the hilt with some accuracy, if one assumes Rand is right-handed. He must be: a left-handed swordsman cannot make it through six books without comment. During his second confrontation with Ba'alzamon <TGH: 15, 241-5, Kinslayer>, Rand is marked with a heron on his right palm. He'd been holding his sword before him, in both hands. If right-handed, this would put his right hand above his left, closer to the crossguard, and thus would place the heron a few inches from the crossguard, and on the right side of the hilt (the outward-facing side of the hilt when sheathed). In the sword form Heron Wading in the Rushes, the sword is " ... held reversed in both hands over his head ..." <TGH: 44, 617, Five Will Ride Forth>, that is, with blade pointing down toward the ground as the beak of a heron hunting for prey. Rand uses this attack in his first attempt to kill Ba'alzamon, knowing it will likely cause his own death also <TGH: 47, 666, The Grave Is No Bar to My Call>. Ingtar predicts the same: "You will put your sword in the other man with that ... but not before he has his through your ribs." <TGH: 44, 617, Five Will Ride Forth> This tells us much: to have the blade reversed, with edge facing one's opponent now places the left palm over a single heron on the hilt. Heron Wading in the Rushes allows for a single forward thrust or stab, moving the blade from a vertical position through an arc to horizontal. The dominant hand would be placed above Rand's non-dominant left, for greater thrusting power. This places the left palm next to the crossguard, and confirms the heron placement cited above. Curiously, the heron burn would be upside down, an apparent oversight on Jordan's part. Twisting the hand to have the heron burn rightside up leaves the swordsman able to skewer himself, only. Finally, the scabbard is described as black and apparently was unadorned except for the heron. <TEotW: 5, 66, Winternight> ** al'Lan Mandragoran ** Jordan describes the sword of the Malkieri as "... almost a twin of Rand's except for the lack of herons ..." <TGH: 1, 5, The Flame of Tar Valon> Like Tam's sword, it was Power-wrought by Aes Sedai, in times far past, needs no sharpening, and will never rust. 'Nuff said. Except in settings where he might be recognized as a Warder by his clothes, he uses these readily: "... a dark grayish green that would have faded into leaf or shadow, and his cloak swirled through shades of gray and green and brown as it shifted in the wind. It almost seemed to disappear at times ... fading into whatever lay beyond it ..." <TEotW: 2, 29, Strangers> Lan dons his matching armor more rarely, a "... gray-green scaled armor that would make him all but disappear in forest or darkness." <TGH: 9, 147, Leavetakings> In the Blight, he also wears steel-backed gauntlets, though this is the only place where these are mentioned for Lan <TEotW: 49, 753, The Dark One Stirs>. Particular also to Lan is one more outward marker, the ring of the Malkieri kings, "... a signet ring, heavy gold and worn with age, almost large enough for both her thumbs to fit through. On it, a crane flew above a lance and crown, all carefully wrought in detail." <TGH: 8, 135, The Dragon Reborn> ** Laman's sword ** Laman's sword would appear to have a blade identical to that of Tam's sword, including herons, but differs markedly in hilt and scabbard: "... the scabbard so encrusted with rubies and moondrops that it was hard to see the gold except where a rising sun had been inset. The ivory hilt, long enough for two hands, had another inlaid rising sun in gold; the pommel was thick with rubies and moondrops, and still more made a solid mass along the quillons. This had never been made to use, only to be seen ... Etched into the shining steel stood a heron, symbol of a blademaster." <TFOH: 21, 388, The Gift of a Blade> Rand discards the too-gaudy scabbard, and the ivory hilt for functional reasons: "... that ivory hilt would twist in a hand slippery with sweat or blood." <TFoH: 21, 388, The Gift of a Blade> With "... a plain scabbard of brown boarhide, the long hilt covered in the same leather, ..." <TFoH: 23, 412, "The Fifth, I Give You"> sword and scabbard are simply and quickly crafted copies of Tam's heron-mark sword. Herons on scabbard and hilt are omitted: when Rand duels Lord Toram, he's given no outward clues of his blademaster's skill, and as such, Caraline is surprised when Rand shows such proficiency against Toram. ** Perrin's axe ** This axe consisted of "A broad half-moon blade on one side of the head and a curved spike on the other ..." <TEotW: 10, 138, Leavetaking>. "The ashwood shaft was as long as his arm, and smooth ... to the touch." <TEotW: 30, 439, Children of Shadow>. It is likely that it is primarily intended for single-handed use: Perrin uses it from his saddle while standing in the stirrups and moving forward <TEotW: 49, 736, The Dark One Stirs>, i.e. he'd need the other hand to hold the reins. At least once, however, he uses his axe in both hands <TDR: 34, 396, A Different Dance>. Child Byar, an obvious connoisseur of battle axes, lauds it as "Excellently balanced ... Plainly made, but by a very good weaponsmith, perhaps even a master ... Not a villager's weapon, ... nor a farmer's." <TEotW: 30, 450, Children of the Shadow> This "great-bladed" <TEotW: 13, 177, Choices> axe is "By weight of metal ... a good five or six pounds lighter than the hammer..." <TDR: 50, 597, The Hammer>; more specifically, the ten-pound hammer "weighed more than twice as much as the axe blade ..." This axe head, then, weighs some four to four-and-a-half pounds, including *both* blade and spike. Such a "... great, steel half-moon" <TGH: xxiii, Prologue> would feature an 8 to 10" face, likely closer to 10"; larger faces thin the blade excessively, within the weight restraints given above. Many of the larger, two-handed European battle axes had 8 to 9" blade faces, with a rare 10" face; the smaller battle axes very typically had a 5" face ... for those who think that a 10-inch blade isn't very big ... The spike found opposite of the half-blade is described as curved, but far more commonly is described as thick. It is likely that the curve is a slight one; a noticeable curve would have been mentioned in the axe's description far more frequently. Perrin, "... with the spike foremost ... drove the spike into the Trolloc's temple" <TDR: 4, 66, Shadows Walking>, and instantly kills it; to do so would require at least the 5 to 6" length standard for such spikes. An excessive curve to the spike would've made this maneuver very difficult. The larger European war axes often sported a 5 to 6" spike opposite the blade; these were typically slightly curved, or straight. Very commonly, the spike was quadrangular in cross-section, occasionally triangular. Perrin's axe most likely follows this model. Finally, the ashwood haft is defined as "... a pace long..." <LoC: Prologue, 39, The First Message> Jordan defines his pace as 30" long. These figures don't really jive with Perrin's axe shaft being as long as his arm. A length of 26 to 28" derives from the estimated length of Perrin's arm, not including his hand; this represents a standard length for a single-handed battle axe. Tempted to "put a longer handle on his axe," a handle length of 34 to 36" is certainly possible, based on the length of Perrin's arm, including outstretched hand. Given also that Jordan's foot leans towards 12", a 34 to 36" pace is certainly possible; see Aiel weapons further below. However, there are other problems with a pace of that length: it's not compatible with the cited ranges for the Two Rivers longbow; see below. An axe handle that length makes for a more unwieldy weapon; Perrin's axe is easily concealed beneath his cloak, and never described or perceived as long-handled, unwieldy, or clumsy, though he takes it everywhere. Obviously, I personally favor an axe handle of some 26 to 28", though good arguments can be made for 30 through 36" lengths. Plainly made, and presumably lacking the simple ornamentation shown on the cover of TDR; Sweet also lops off the upper tip of the half-moon, but otherwise the TDR cover axe is probably not that far off. Go figure. ** The ruby-hilted dagger from Shadar Logoth ** This strongly curved dagger probably closely resembles a Middle Eastern jambiya; Jordan's description is simple and elegant: "A curved dagger with a gold scabbard worked in strange symbols. Fine gold wrapped the hilt, which was capped by a ruby as big as Rand's thumbnail, and the quillons were golden-scaled serpents baring their fangs." <TGH: 24, 359, Flight Down the Arinelle> Little information is given in terms of size. However, even if slid fully from its sheath, it is small enough that Mat can hide dagger and scabbard both with his body. <TGH: 24, 359, Flight Down the Arinelle> This suggests the dagger's length is at most, say, 12", though this is hardly certain. The curve of the weapon is pronounced: "The bare blade curved like a horn ..." <TGH: 19, 297, Beneath the Dagger>. The ruby is repeatedly referred to as "capping" the hilt, i.e. "... a ruby the size of a pigeon's egg capping the hilt ..." <TDR: 10, 137, Secrets> which likely places it atop the very end of the hilt, rather than being set into the side of the hilt, and is described further as "... dark as a drop of blood..." <TDR: 19, 220, Awakening> Unfortunately, no more information is provided. ** Mat's spear ** This "... odd black-hafted spear with a short sword blade in place of a spearpoint, slightly curved and single-edged ..." <TSR: 26, 437, The Dedicated> follows the design of a basic Western glaive; some such are richly ornamented and a perfect match for Mat's ashandarei. Glaives however can widely vary in appearance; the Japanese naginata has a far more stereotypical form and is also an excellent match. To continue: "A line of some strange cursive script ran its length, bracketed by a pair of birds inlaid on metal even darker than the wood. Ravens ... Another pair were engraved on the blade ..." <TSR: 26, 438, The Dedicated> The blade itself was 2' in length <TFoH: 3, 113, Pale Shadows>, of black metal; the raven markings are at the point of the blade <TSR: 37, 606, Imre Stand>. The "... iron-hard black haft ..." <TSR: 37, 612, Imre Stand> could be either round or oval in cross-section; if modelled on the naginata, it would be oval. The length of the weapon is unclear: Mat standing straight has the sword blade beginning just level with his head <TSR: 26, 439, The Dedicated>. That is, if the blade starts level with the start of his head, the length of the weapon is about 82", if level with the top of his head, about 95". If a length of 20" is assumed for the 2' blade, the overall length becomes either 78 or 91" respectively. Either length is typical for a polearm, though the shorter length seems more likely for a weapon used out of formation, and is more typical of the Japanese naginata. ** The Two Rivers Bow ** Described as "great" and "stout", <LOC: 54, 677, The Sending; TSR: 42, 684, A Missing Leaf>, the Two Rivers bow was fitted with a bowstring made of "... tightly wrapped, waxed cords ..." <TSR: 40, 659, Hunter of Trollocs>, a thin beeswax coating providing some protection against the elements. Horn nocks at either end of a long stave may also be typical of the Two Rivers longbow <TDR: 44, 514, Hunted>. Rand's bow probably defines the maximum dimensions of such a bow, with a "... stave two hands taller than he was ...", or 85 to 88" in length. This is longer than is typical of the Two Rivers, and "... only Lan and Perrin could draw it." <TGH: 2, 17, The Welcome> The Two Rivers longbow is indeed noted for its extraordinary range. In the battle for Emond's field, "... a goose-fletched hail streaked the sky as it arced out, plunged down ..." <TSR: 56, 931, Goldeneyes>; it "... could kill a man at three hundred paces and more." <LoC: 54, 677, The Sending> The bow's draw was unusually heavy; Faile is unable to "... draw a man's Two River's longbow ..." <TSR: 53, 872, The Price of a Departure> This correlates perfectly with the Welsh or English longbow, a yew self bow some 6' long, with a draw weight of 120 to 180 lbs., able to place a heavy shaft through mail at 200 yards or more, with a maximum recorded bowshot of just under 400 yards. Drawn from the chest, it was fired high into the air, in arcing hails into a mass of opponents, as at Emond's Field. It was a weapon of great power and effectiveness; victories at Agincourt and Crecy are reminiscent of the longbow defense of Emond's Field. On one occasion, the Emond's Field defenders sink their arrows into the Trolloc horde at 400 paces <TSR: 56, 931, Goldeneyes>, and 500 paces is said to be "... a long bowshot ..." <TSR 42, 695, A Missing Leaf>. This typical long bowshot nevertheless is longer than any ever recorded with the English longbow, if Jordan's 30" pace is accurate. The distances cited above only fit with a pace of 24 to 26" in length. Perhaps this represents a Jordan oversight, perhaps it intentionally exaggerates Two Rivers archers' ability, or perhaps the pace is a somewhat flexible measure of distance. Note also that the Two Rivers bow is never said to be drawn to the chest. Rand, Perrin and Mat typically draw the bowstring back along the cheek, towards the ear <TEotW: 49, 736, The Dark One Stirs; TGH: 17, 264, Choices; TSR: 40, 667, Hunter of Trollocs>. Perhaps it is drawn back to the ear for greater accuracy when firing at a single target, to the chest when aimed, at greater distances, into a mass of opponents, a change possibly reflected in "... no longer firing in flights but choosing their targets." <TSR: 44, 720, The Breaking Storm> Arrows, finally, were tipped with steel double-edged broadhead points, unbarbed, and fletched with goose feathers tied and glued to the shaft <TDR: 44, 514, Hunted; TSR: 42, 684, A Missing Leaf; TSR: 44, 719, The Breaking Storm; TSR: 45, 728, The Tinker's Sword>. These likely resemble the 36" cloth-yard shafts used with the English longbow. "... points like chisels, designed to drive through Trolloc armor ..." are mentioned elsewhere <TGH: 17, 264, Choices>; these may be the broadhead points referred to above. ** Throwing daggers ** Throwing daggers, secreted up sleeves, in boot tops, under coat, etc., enjoy great popularity in the WOT. Thom, Mat, Min, Faile and Dena all use these weapons, often to great advantage. While their individual preferences undoubtedly varied, a number of traits are likely shared. Of "good steel" <TEotW: 20, 304, Dust on the Wind> and undoubtedly of quality make, given a great reliance on their accuracy, and consistently good results in Thom's and Mat's hands. Balanced for throwing: thrown rapidly with a "whip-like motion" to quickly dispatch Trollocs, Maidens, and mighty morphin' playing cards <TEotW: 20, 304, Dust on the Wind; TSR: 2, 71, Whirlpools in the Pattern; TFoH: 51, 871, News Comes to Cairhien> Dena insists her daggers "... better have the balance right ..." <TGH: 26, 383, Discord>; with Faile's, "... the balance was just right ..." <TSR: 14, 245, Customs of Mayene>. Dena, a performer, would likely be expected to throw hers; Faile's are also balanced for throwing <TSR: 30, 389, Beyond the Oak>, though she uses them hand-held in the battle for the Stone, to good effect <TSR: 10, 194, The Stone Stands> The daggers would have fixed blades, a small or non-existent guard, and very likely resembled a modern boot knife; I've been unable to locate historical examples of throwing daggers. A fairly thin, light hilt seems probable, as more than one might be carried inside a sleeve <TFoH: 3, 102, Pale Shadows>, yet strong and intended also for gripping, during hand-held combat. Blade and hilt would be balanced at the very center of the dagger, for steady rotation when thrown. A likely length is about 10", for a weight of some 6 to 9 oz. Small enough to be hidden within a forearm sleeve or boot-top; these daggers would certainly not cross the elbow joint and interfere with joint function. For hand-held use, a 4" hilt seems a bare minimum, and 5" not inappropriate; given that these daggers are enough to give Trollocs pause, a blade length of 5 to 6" also is likely. One Jordan inaccuracy should be explored: skip this section if such are distressing to you. Throwing daggers require great skill, and are quite impractical. If held at the blade tip, the dagger starts with the hilt foremost, rotates 180 degrees until the tip points forward, and continues to rotate until it strikes its target, or lands. Only for a very small part of its 360 degree rotation is the tip pointing forward. Similarly, if thrown from the hilt, it must complete a 360 rotation before the tip points forward again. The dagger moves tip-first only for about 1/20th part of its overall flight! Distances at which any given blade completes a half turn, a full turn, a turn-and-a-half, etc., are relatively fixed, though can be influenced by grip, stance, and whether it is thrown from blade tip or hilt. Thus, a throwing dagger is only effective at fixed distances; it usually travels some seven to twelve feet before the dagger first points forward. The thrower must accurately estimate this distance within inches! and within the split-seconds available during the melee of an encounter, or forfeit the opportunity. With moving targets, or throwing off a horse, it is impossible to accurately make the throw. Jordan shows no awareness of these problems, and probably assumes a simple, horizontal flight trajectory for these weapons, or assumes that the thrower can accurately vary the rotation of the blade, and place the blade tip into the target regardless of the distance. The former is not true, and the latter requires such great skill that it, also, is virtually impossible. ** Aiel weapons ** The Aiel carry simple weapons, plain and unadorned, with deadly functionality. Rather than describing each individually, it seems best to describe them in relation to each other, and to their bearers, or specifically Urien, of the Reyn Aiel: "... a tall man, with skin dark from the sun and red hair cut short except for a tail in the back that hung to his shoulders. From his soft, laced knee-high boots to the cloth wrapped loosely around his neck, his clothes were all in shades of brown and gray that would blend into rock or earth. The end of a short horn bow peeked over his shoulder, and a quiver bristled with arrows at his belt at one side. A long knife hung at the other. In his left hand he gripped a round hide buckler and three short spears, no more than half as long as he was tall, with points fully as long as those of the Shienaran lances." <TGH: 28, 408, A New Thread in the Pattern> When Morin becomes the first Maiden, a standard spear is shortened, "... leaving four feet, counting nearly a foot of steel point ..." <TSR: 25, 414, The Road to the Spear>; it becomes the Aiel's most important weapon. The point is twice again described as a full foot long <TSR: 37, 604, Imre Stand; TSR: 50, 818, Traps>. It is neither black nor brightly polished, but "... dull so they hardly caught the faint light of the moon at all ..." <TDR: 54, 631, Into the Stone> As mentioned, Jordan defines his WOT foot as 10" in length. This does not jive: Aiel spearpoints are long enough to stick out of either end of an adult victim's chest <TSR: 3, 93, Reflection>. He presumably uses WOT and real-world feet interchangeably, given that 12" is a bare minimum for this generalization. The point must be some 12" in length: much shorter, and it can't span the chest of an average adult; not longer, given that Jordan's foot is certainly not longer than 12". Urien's spearpoint, referred to above, is an oddity, with the two foot length of the Shienaran lances. It is possible that Urien personally preferred a two-foot spearpoint, but this is improbable given that Urien's spear was no more than half his height, that is, likely some 3' to 3' 6" in length. A two-foot point is quite disproportionately long. One must assume that Jordan ignored or abandoned the length he previously assigned the Shienaran lance. Men and Maidens alike carry a pointed, "... long heavy-bladed knife ..." <LOC: 1, 66, Lion on the Hill; TDR: 38, 433, Maidens of the Spear, and many other references> at their sides, the other dominant weapon in the dance of the spears. "A foot or more of steel, it was almost a short-sword ..." <ACoS: 7, 145, Pitfalls and Tripwires> Though many types of knives could legitimately serve as model, I favor the scramasax, a heavy-bladed fighting knife of the Vikings, Saxons and Franks. As with the scramasax, it is likely that Aiel knives varied from individual to individual, bladesmith to bladesmith. Whatever the basic design, I doubt that any model can be rigidly adhered to. One I've seen, with a heavy, inches-wide 12"-long blade and a total length of 18", for me best represents the Aiel knife. The Aiel bow was small and carried in a "... worked leather case with straps that could hold it on her back." <TSR: 11, 202, What Lies Hidden> It was a "... dark, curved bow that had the dull shine of horn ..." <TDR: 38, 433, Maidens of the Spear> and appears to be made entirely of horn, rather than the horn and wood composite bows that have been so effective in human history. Information on size, construction, etc. is unfortunately lacking in the WOT so far ... The buckler, made of layers of cured bullhide <TSR: 27, 447, Within the Ways>, and consistently described as "small" <TDR: 38, 433, Maidens of the Spear, et al.>, probably matches the smaller bucklers in English history in size, some 11 to 14" in diameter. Small indeed: bucklers as a whole ranged from only some 11 to 18" in diameter. Finally, to elaborate on the Aiel warrior's costuming, the cadin'sor, itself: Maidens and men alike wear loose breeches tucked into soft knee-high boots, again in shades of brown, gray and green, and reminiscent of Warder camouflage attire. Differences in cut help mark clan, sept and society. A black veil, or shoufa, lies loosely about the neck, to be raised over nose and mouth when ready to do battle, hiding all but the eyes. Both men and Maidens wear their hair cut short, with only a narrow tail reaching down as far as the shoulders <TGH: 35, 506, Stedding Tsofu; TSR: 3, 92-93, Reflection; TDR: 34, 395, A Different Dance; ACoS: 32, Prologue; etc.>. ** Shienaran lances ** Little can be said about these weapons, except that they were "... tipped with two feet of steel ..." <TGH: 9, 145, Leavetakings>, and presumably unadorned in the usual Shienaran fashion. Again, given the uncertain length of a foot, the point could be anywhere from 20 to 24" long. They were obviously meant for use by mounted cavalry, as Ingtar's twenty demonstrate in the pursuit of the stolen Horn of Valere <TGH: 10, 173-82, The Hunt Begins; 28, 408, A New Thread in the Pattern>. The term "Shienaran lances" also identifies these warriors themselves <TGH: 11, 190-1, Glimmers of the Pattern, and elsewhere>. Instantly recognizable by " ... their bare heads, shaven except for topknots ... " <TDR: 1, 32, Waiting> and typically mounted, they "... usually fought in armor, man and horse alike ..." <TDR: 1, 35, Waiting>, with "... short horsebows at the ready ... A two-handed sword hilt stuck up above each man's shoulder through a slit in his cloak ..." <TDR: 1, 32, Waiting> Elsewhere also, Shienarans are noted to carry two-handed swords slung on their backs, as well as daggers at their sides <TGH: 14, 225, Wolfbrother; TFoH: 39, 610, Encounters in Samara>. Shienaran battle dress consists of "... plain conical helmets and plate-and-mail armor ... golden surcoats bore the Black Hawk on the chest." <TGH: 3, 25, Friends and Enemies; TGH: 9, 145, Leavetakings>; this armor consists of "... steel mail, with pieces of plate armor ..." <TSR: 42, 852, Need>. Out of battle, Shienaran warriors may opt for "... light mail ... under their plain coats ..." <TDR: 1, 35, Waiting>. The plain conical helmets mentioned above are more than simple cones, however. A barred face-guard, a description of eyes that "... peered from his helmet like twin caves inside another cave ..." <TGH: 3, 25, Friends and Enemies> and the statement "The bars of their helmets covered their faces... " <TGH: 9, 145, Leavetakings> suggest that these conical helmets extend down far enough cover the cheeks, and that bars cross the gap between them in a horizontal fashion: a basinet with bar grill visor may be a good model for this helmet. The heavy armoring of the Shienaran extends even to their hands: those of officers and ordinary soldiers alike are protected by steel guantlets. <TGH: 3, 27, Friends and Enemies>. ** Birgitte's bow ** Birgitte's "gleaming silver bow" <TGH: 47, 660, The Grave Is No Bar To My Call> is again presumably of a simple curved design, a self bow, but executed in silver or some material covered in silver. Silver itself is far too soft, though perhaps a Power-wrought silver bow could meet her standards: "Aligning the Matrix made metals stronger ..." <LOC: 39, 511, Possibilities>. Still, the bow is never described as Power-made. It's also improbable that she'd find an Aes Sedai-made bow in each of her lives. If indeed she has a silver bow each time she's spun out, though this is likely: "the stories" consistently mention a silver bow. Some core material could be covered in silver, though silver plating would not last under use, unless again the Power is invoked. Silver wire wrapping might work. None of these explanations really satisfy: Jordan would likely describe a silver-wrapped, plated or covered bow as such. Perhaps, in some or all of her lives outside of Tel'Aran'Rhiod, Birgitte opts for a white-painted bow. Birgitte has an often-mentioned habit of leaning on her bow: if she leans her chin onto the end of the bow, this imposes a maximum length of about 54" or less. This presumes an average height, which is likely, as her height receives no comment in the WOT. The bow could however be much shorter, or longer. With her bow, Birgitte carries silver arrows; "Even the fletchings appeared to be silver." <TFoH: 36, 570, A New Name>. Unless she settles for painted white arrows out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod, the same dilemma remains: how are they made? how could it be made to work? ** The Dragon Scepter ** "A green-and-white tasseled ... two-foot length of spear ... ended as smoothly as any craftsman could have worked it." <TFoH: 32, 526, A Short Spear> The point was long and sharp, the tassel attached just below the sharp head, and the short shaft was carved with Dragons <TFoH: 32, 529, A Short Spear; LoC: 2, 82, A New Arrival> Of Seanchan origin, and abruptly sliced off by a closing gateway, the shaft ends abruptly, smoothly, and likely at an angle: it's probable that it came arcing in, thrown at least somewhat from the side. The colors are odd, but only because Lady Morsa's party, who sent this spear his way, was carrying spears with green and gold tassels <TFoH: 32, 519, A Short Spear>; perhaps another (minor) Jordan oversight. ** Gaidin ** But for their cloaks, the appearance and weaponry of the Gaidin are as diverse as the clothing and characters of Aes Sedai themselves: "No two wore the same kind of armor or carried the same sort of sword ... One and all they wore the color-shifting cloak ... first seen on Lan, the cloak that often seemed to fade into whatever was behind it. It did not make for easy watching..." <TGH: 2, 19, The Welcome>. Even the cloak, however, is not consistently worn by Gaidin: "Half wore the cloaks ..." <TGH: 9, 145, Leavetakings>; Lan himself does not wear it at all times. The armor Lan occasionally dons, closely matches the Warder's cloak, and may be commonplace among the Gaidin. See the description further above. While no Warder is mentioned without a sword, and Gaidin training in Tar Valon focusses heavily on it, a Warder's individual preferences, race and background might conceivably lead some to opt for another weapon suitable to close combat. Tar Valon does indeed offer training in other weapons: Mat chooses a quarterstaff from amidst a wider selection of these, and of "... real swords and axes and spears." <TDR: 24, 280, Scouting and Discoveries> Some Younglings use "... slender lances, ending in a foot-and-a-half of steel with a cross-guard to prevent the head penetrating too deeply ..." <LoC: 52, Prologue>; these had been brought from Tar Valon, and would have been taught by the Gaidin. In addition to the lances, however, all carried swords <LoC: 52, Prologue>. ** Whitecloaks ** Long white cloaks marked with an embroidered golden sunburst on the left breast, over burnished breastplates and mail sleeves (probably part of a complete mail shirt), and this again over a white undercoat, with swords at the waist and brightly polished conical helmets, mark the Children of the Light <TEotW: 15, 222, Strangers and Friends; 30, 447, Children of Shadow; TGH: 5, 71, The Shadow in Shienar; TDR: 10, 139, Secrets; 34, 395, A Different Dance; etc.> Hundredmen, presumably those of higher rank, and possibly those of lower rank, also wear steel gauntlets into conflict <TSR: 1, 41, Seeds of Shadow>. The aforementioned conical helmets are never said to cover the cheeks, unlike those of the Andoran Queen's Guards, or the Shienaran lances. One variation on the breastplate and mail combination exists: Galad once appears simply in a shirt of shining mail <TFoH: 16, 309, An Unexpected Offer>. I suspect that Galad was simply dressed casually, having left his breastplate in the tents, however strange the idea of Whitecloaks being casual about anything. Indeed, the same conical helmets, and the entire above uniform is shared by all officers, the Hand of the Light, and the rank and file, differing only in the insignia on the breast of the cloak. The cloaks of underofficers are marked with a "silver lightning-flash" beneath the sunburst <TEotW: 41, 623, Old Friends and New Threats>. Officers of both the rank and file, and of the Questioners, bear golden knots of rank on their breast, below the golden sunburst, the number of knots denoting their rank <TGH 5, 73, The Shadow in Shienar; TDR: 10, 139, Secrets>. It is likely that these knots are the golden stars described on Child Byar's cloak <TEotW: 38, 569, 576, Rescue>. Lord Captains are denoted by a white-and-gold tabard and white undercoat; burnished armor is strapped over the undercoat when in the field <TEotW: 30, 446, Children of Shadow; LoC: 47, Prologue>. The cloak of Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall, bears a "... sunburst embroidered across the chest of his white tunic ...", or elsewhere, "... large on the chest." <TDR: 14, Prologue; TGH: 5, 72, The Shadow in Shienar> No knots of rank are mentioned; it appears only this larger- than-usual sunburst distinguishes the Captain Commander. To physically mark the Inquisitors of the Hand of the Light, "Behind the sunburst on the cloak's breast [lies] the scarlet shepherd's crook of the Hand of the Light ..." <TDR: 18, Prologue> Except, of course, for the High Inquisitor, whose cloak is marked only with this shepherd's crook, and who eschews the sunburst entirely <ACoS: 48, Prologue>. Typically mounted <TEotW: 30, 444, Children of Shadow; TGH: 5, 71, The Shadow in Shienar, and numerous other references>, the Children carry long lances tipped with long steel heads, the sharp steel heads long enough to go through the chest of a well-muscled blacksmith, or presumably some 16" in length, at least <TEotW: 30, 444-5, Children of Shadow; TSR: 33, 539, A New Weave in the Pattern; TSR: 45, 735, The Tinker's Sword>. Lances are slid into holders along the saddles as Whitecloak cavalry prepares to charge <TSR: 45, 738, The Tinker's Sword>. Some Whitecloaks, however, also carry bows, though it is uncertain whether this is a weapon used by all the Children <TDR: 10, 139, Secrets>; these are likely the short horsebows unlimbered at Emond's Field <TSR: 45, 738, The Tinker's Sword>. We are also told that Child Byar appropriates Perrin's axe as his own <TEotW: 38, 568, Rescue>; this appears not to be a problem, though such flexibility is unusual in the Children of Light, especially given that other weapons are not mentioned for them, in any other context. ** Seanchan ** Egeanin offers us the first view of Seanchan military costume; probably the most detailed such a picture Jordan has painted in the WoT: "The helmet looked very much like some monstrous insect's head, with thin red plumes like feelers; the wearer seemed to be peering out through mandibles. It was painted and gilded to increase the effect, and the rest of the man's armor was also worked with paint and gold. Overlapping plates in black and red outlined with gold covered his chest and ran down the outsides of his arms and the fronts of his thighs. Even the steel backs of his gauntlets were red and gold. Where he did not wear metal, his clothes were dark leather. The two- handed sword on his back, with its curved blade, was scabbarded and hilted in black-and-red leather." <TGH: 29, 421, Seanchan> The armor of the common Seanchan soldier is an "unrelieved black", in contrast with that of their officers, except for those that tend the grolm, as denoted by the addition of "... three eyes painted on the breast of his armor." <TGH: 34, 491, The Wheel Weaves> The common soldier's sword is a "... heavy, curved blade ..." <TGH: 29, 424, Seanchan>, as is Turak's heron-mark blade <TGH: 45, 636, Blademaster>; this may well be typical for Seanchan swords. Elsewhere however, Jordan's description reveals that the common soldier may also wear something other than black: "... men in dark leather, and armor painted green and gold, overlapping plates down their chests and the outsides of their arms and fronts of their thighs. Their spears bore green-and-gold tassels, their long shields were painted in the same colors, and their helmets seemed to be the heads of huge insects, faces peering out their mandibles ... One was clearly an officer, lacking spear or shield, but with a curved, two-handed sword on his back. Silver outlined the plates of his lacquered armor, and thin green plumes, like feelers, heightened the illusion of his painted helmet." <TFoH: 32, 519, A Short Spear> Similarly, gold and black painted armor are worn by common soldiers elsewhere, differing from their commanding officer in that his armor is lacquered, not painted, and the helmet carries thin green plumes <ACoS: 26, 424, The Irrevocable Words>. Use of crossbows is also noted, with these particular Seanchan <ACoS: 26, 427, The Irrevocable Words>. There is certainly significant variability in the colors employed by Seanchans - red and green, with white helmet plumes, are also reported <TSR: 19, 312, The Wavedancer> - likely to help differentiate the various Houses. Separate from all of these, the Deathwatch guard, an elite group of soldiers, is distinguished by "... black-tasseled spears and black-lacquered shields ..." <TSR: 1, 44, Seeds of Shadow> Cavalry carries streamered lances into battle, riding horses or "... creatures that looked almost like cats the size of horses, but with lizards' scales rippling bronze beneath their saddles. Clawed feet ..." <TGH: 29, 428, Seanchan>, "... fluid grace, ... dark skin ..." further mark these creatures <TGH: 34, 490, The Wheel Weaves; also ACoS: 39, 620, Promises to Keep>. Additionally, they make use of flying creatures, each "... a long body that seemed thicker than a man was tall; great ribbed wings like a bat's sweeping down as the creature fell toward the courtyard; a figure, a man sitting just behind a sinous neck ... [and] trailing a long, thin tail." <ACoS: 26, 424, The Irrevocable Words>. Not dragons, it is unclear how these are used in battle. ** Defenders of the Stone of Tear ** Jordan depicts the Defenders of the Stone of Tear as: "... soldiers in breastplates over red coats with wide sleeves ending in narrow white cuffs, and rimmed, round helmets with a ridge over the top. Instead of the baggy breeches other men wore, theirs were tight, and tucked into knee-high boots." <TDR: 50, 590, The Hammer> At their waists are swords <TDR: 54, 630, Into the Stone>, though the spear is the main weapon used against Trollocs invading the Stone <TSR: 10, 188-191, The Stone Stands>. Gleaming breastplates are matched with backplates. Gauntlets are part of the uniform, at least for officers in the field <TFoH: 30, 496, A Wager>. Interestingly, elsewhere the breastplates are worn over black-and-gold coats and breeches <TSR: 10, 190, The Stone Stands; LoC: 4, 96, A Sense of Humor>, not the red coats mentioned above; also, the plump, puffy sleeves of these coats are described as striped, again in black and gold <TFoH: 30, 496, A Wager; TFoH: 41, 646, The Craft of Kin Tovere>. The description of the helmets, above, suggests the morian typically associated with the Spanish conquistadors. However, the ridge mentioned above is only once referred to in other passages <LoC: 4, 97, A Sense of Humor>, and is conspicuous in its absence in numerous other references - it is unlikely to have been the prominent comb on the morian. Similarly, the helmet's rim is never described further, and as such, probably is fairly unremarkable. Presumably, this helmet resembles a toned-down morian, though this is at best an educated guess. High-ranking Tairens are distinguished by their "... ornately gilded cuirasses, and large white plumes attached to the front of their helmets and the stripes on their sleeves had the glisten of satin..." <TFoH: 30, 496, A Wager>; a mere Captain of the Defenders differs from the rank and file only in having two short white plumes on his helmet <TSR: 3, 92, Reflection>. ** The Queen's Guards of Andor ** "Long white collars hung down over their mail and plate, and their cloaks and undercoats were red ... Each man's conical helmet shone like silver ... Thin red streamers fluttered beneath the heads of their lances ... A cage of steel bars masked each face." <TEotW: 33, 489, The Dark Waits> Elsewhere, their cloaks are called "red-and-white" tabards <TEotW: 35, 530, Caemlyn>, or are again described as red coats with long white collars, though this time, "... beneath shining breastplates." <TDR: 39, 459, Threads in the Pattern> This is likely an error, corrected again a few chapters later: "... long, white collars hanging over their breastplates." <TDR: 46, 534, A Message Out of the Shadow> While also, on occasion, red is the only color mentioned <TEotW: 40, 602, The Web Tightens>, it would appear that both red cloaks and long white collars cover burnished breastplates, with mail sleeves presumably protecting the upper arms, as with Whitecloak uniform and armor. A red undercoat is worn under the breastplate. Finally, "... conical helmets with barred face-guards ..." complete the basic description <LoC: 5, 115, A Different Dance>; this again likely in the style of a basinet with barred face guard. Swords, possibly all with the "slightly curved blade" of Guardsman- lieutenant Tallanvor's sword <TDR: 46, 537, A Message Out of the Shadow> and lances appear to be carried by mounted Guards; some of the palace Guards are armed with bows and broadhead arrows <TEotW: 40, 602, The Web Tightens; TDR: 45, 523, Caemlyn>. However, it seems probable that all Guardsmen carry swords at the waist, as does Tallanvor. <TFoH: 1, 68, Fanning the Sparks> Officers bear knots of gold braid on the shoulders as indicator of rank <TDR: 45, 523, Caemlyn>; Guardsman-lieutenant Tallanvor has a single knot of rank. <TDR: 46, 536, A Message Out of the Shadow.> The cloak of Captain-General Lord Bryne is no doubt the usual red, though the cuffs are white and marked with wide golden bands, and the shoulder of the cloak is adorned with four golden knots <TEotW: 40, 608, The Web Tightens>. High officers may also wear spurs bearing golden lion-heads <TGH: xviii, Prologue>, and finally, steel-backed gauntlet at least worn by officers <TEotW: 34, 518, The Last Village> ** Cairhienin ** "The shorter Cairhienin wore plain breastplates and helmets like bells cut away to expose hard faces ... Their lances were unadorned, though here and there Dobraine's con, a small stiff square on a short staff, blue with two white diamonds, marked officers or minor lords of House Taborwin." <LoC: 54, 669, The Sending> Elsewhere, the same helmets are again mentioned; this description fitting that of the Italian barbute, an elegant, bell-shaped, open-faced helmet of the 14th and 15th centuries. The breastplate is ignored in this reference, but dark coats are mentioned, and again the "... small banners called con on short staffs harnessed to their backs ..." used to denote officers in battle <TFoH: 30, 496, A Wager>. More detail comes from the soldiers lounging in The Nine Rings; though these had put off their armor and weapons, they were all dressed in a uniform plain, dark blue coat and breeches, with exception of the officer, whose blue coat is marked with a single slash of red and yellow across the chest, from shoulder to shoulder. He also wears high boots, which presumably the soldiers do not, with the tops turned down, and carries a sword into the common room <TGH: 21, 308, The Nine Rings>. "The soldiers' hair was clipped short, as if it all had been cut under the same bowl." This contrasts with their officer, with the front of his head shaved, but the hair grown long at the back <TGH: 21, 308, The Nine Rings>. On departure from the Nine Rings, the officers are noted to wear steel-backed gauntlets, and gold-worked breastplates over the blue coats; the soldiers, plain armor and the usual helmets <TGH: 21, 318, The Nine Rings>. Lances and pikes appear to be the favoured Cairhienin weapons: cavalry carries lances tipped with "... a foot and a half of steel ..." <TFoH: 43, 684, This Place, This Day>, and infantry carries long pikes in "... thickets of pikes four deep ...", marching in blocks of 200, backed up with 50 archers or crossbowmen in the rear <TFoH: 43, 690, This Place, This Day> ** Mayener Winged Guards ** Clad in "... red breastplates and helmets like rimmed pots that covered the nape of the neck, and their lances bore red streamers." <LoC: 54, 669, The Sending> Their commander, Havien Nurelle, has the same "... red-painted breastplate and helmet ..." though is distinguished from his troops by "... a single slender red plume." <LoC: 54,669, The Sending> ** Ebou Dar, Tylin's guards, and the marriage knife ** Tarasin palace guards "... wore gilded breastplates over green coats and baggy white trousers stuffed into dark green boots. Green cords secured thick twists of white cloth around glittering golden helmets, with the long ends hanging down their backs. Even their halberds and the scabbards of their daggers and short swords shone with gold." <ACoS: 16, 291, A Touch on the Cheek> Officers, or at least the Sword-Lieutenant that escorts Mat into the palace, wear pointed helmets marked with gold and green cord <ACoS: 16, 292, A Touch on the Cheek>; pointed helmets may well be the norm for palace guards and regular soldiers alike, if indeed there is any difference between palace guards and her other soldiers. Though their costume is likely very similar, little more is revealed about Tylin's soldiers, in their last desperate fight with the Seanchan: "... hundred mounted men swung long-pointed lances down. They wore baggy white breeches and green coats, and the gold cords on the officer's helmet glittered." <ACoS: 39, 621, Promises to Keep> Also of interest is the Ebou Dari marriage knife, worn about the neck by women of marrying age, and readily used by the women that carry them. Tylin's is typical: "A collar of woven gold ... supported a white- sheathed marriage knife hanging hilt-down ... The white sheath meant the Queen was widowed and did not intend to remarry. The four pearls and one firedrop set in the gold-wrapped hilt said she had borne four sons and one daughter; the white-enameled setting of the firedrop and the red-enameled of three of the pearls said only one son survived. All had been at least sixteen when they died, and died in duels, or the settings would have been black." Jordan continues to inform that "... women saw a red or white setting as a source of pride, whether her stones were pearls and firedrops or colored glass ... many Ebou Dari women removed the stones of their children past sixteen who refused a duel ..." <LoC: 49, 601-3, Leaning on the Knife> ** Trollocs ** Narg first models the Trolloc uniform, with "... black mail ... against leather trousers, and one of the huge, scythe-curved swords swung at its side." <TEotW: 5, 69, Winternight> This mail hangs "... to his knees, with spikes at wrists and elbows and shoulders ..." <TEotW: 5, 68, Winternight>. Other, numerous descriptions concur: "Black mail and spikes covered it from shoulders to knees ..." <TDR: 5, 75, Nightmares Walking; TSR: 10, 187-192, The Stone Stands; many other references>, though most commonly these spikes are found at shoulders and elbows. These spikes are physically attached to the mail, as "... spikes decorating the black mail that hung to their knees." <TGH: xix, Prologue>, which would thus have sleeves extending beyond the elbow, for Narg and probably most Trollocs. Overall mail length would seem to vary, in that Narg's trousers are easily visible, yet another Trolloc's mail-with-spikes reaches to the knees. The depiction on the cover of ACoS, surprisingly, depicts this accurately, though the Trolloc seems too small relative to Rand al'Thor. Excepting boots for the hoofless, and the black mail noted above, no other form of armor is mentioned, except for a single helmet, with cutouts that allowed the Trolloc's own horns to protrude <TFoH: 22, 397, Birdcalls by Night>. Trolloc clan markings consist of metal badges, small enough to fit on Lan's palm, i.e. "... a blood-red enameled metal trident, from one spiked shoulder of the Trolloc's shirt of black mail." <TEotW: 7, 101, Out of the Woods>. As to Trolloc weapons: "Trolloc weapons are made at forges in the valley called Thakan'dar, on the very slopes of Shayol Ghul itself. Some of them take a taint from that place, a stain of evil in the metal." <TEotW: 8, 108, A Place of Safety> The Takan'dar-made blades of Myrddraal are typically black, though this is consistently NOT mentioned with Trolloc swords; likely, these are of uncolored steel. Thick, massive and curved like a scythe, but with the point curving forward <TEotW: 5, 76, Winternight, etc.; see also the references below>, as shown on the cover of ACoS, though the sword as shown is too small to merit the term massive. Wildly spiked, massive axes, hooked spears, barbed tridents complete the description: "... black-mailed ... oddly spiked axes and hooked spears and scythelike swords that curved the wrong way." <TSR: 10, 187, The Stone Stands; see also TDR: 5, 75, Nightmares Walking; TEotW: 5, 69, 85, Winternight; TSR: 10, 187-192, The Stone Stands; TSR: 56, 930, Goldeneyes; etc., etc.>. Greater detail is rare, though one axe is described in some detail: "... a long-handled axe, with half a dozen sharp spikes and a flaring blade big enough to split a tree." <TFoH: 22, 397, Birdcalls by Night> The shaft of a spear, elsewhere, is described as wrist-thick <TFoH: 55, 954, The Threads Burn>. Trollocs rarely use bows, "... but when they do the arrows are barbed ..." <TSR 41, 676, Among the Tuatha'an>. Perrin takes an "... arrow, the size of a small spear ..." in the Two Rivers campaign; it was shot from a long curved bow, the haft was black-fletched, and the shaft is described as "thumb-thick" <TSR: 40, 667, Hunter of Trollocs>. ** Myrddraal ** "The Fade moved with viperous grace, the serpent illusion heightened by the armor of black, overlapping plates that covered its chest." <TGH: 6, 90, Dark Prophecy> Myrddraal, "... armored in black overlapping scales like a snake's ... night-black cloak hanging still however it darted ...", <TFoH: 22, 397, Birdcalls by Night> and carrying a "... dead black blade ... dark steel forged in Thakandar..." <TSR: 10, 188, The Stone Stands>, are described in no further detail than this. The armor covers its chest only, the cloak hangs undisturbed, and the sword appears a simple, straight blade, all of an unrelieved black. <see also TSR: 40, 668, Hunter of Trollocs> ** Estimating Measurements ** Jordan himself has defined some of the units of measurement in the WOT. As is clear in various preceding sections, it may be that these measures are fairly flexible: foot 10" pace 30" Furthermore, he defines an almost decimal-based system of measures, with "Two paces to the span ... A thousand spans to the mile, four miles to the league ..." <TEotW: 34, 515, The Last Village>, for the following: span 60" or 5' mile 5000' or 0.95 mile league 20000' or 3.8 mile The size of a hand is uncertain, but would be either the standard 4", or possibly 5" to fit his near-decimal system. The heights of Rand, Perrin and Mat are given by Jordan as 6' 5" to 6' 6", 6' 2", and 5' 11" respectively, and are also used to derive estimated measurements.