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 The Horn of Valere

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PostSubject: The Horn of Valere   Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:15 am

THE HISTORY OF THE HORN

The Horn of Valere was known in the Age of Legends but it was considered a matter of myth and as such no serious scholar would waste their time on it. It was an artefact of an earlier, unknown Age and very little study, if any, went into the Horn. In a time of universal peace ignorant of the Dark One's existence, such an artefact as the Horn held little value:

Quote :
The Horn of Valere was known in the Age of Legends, though it was an artefact of an earlier age but it was never used in the Age of Legends. In part, this was because there wasn't any need in an Age that knew universal peace, but also it was because what it could do was considered a sort of myth by most people in that Age. No one who is serious spends time trying to test out whether a myth might be real. (Seen anybody sacrificing a white bull to Jupiter lately?)

- From TOR Question of the Week



The Horn was lost in the immediate aftermath of the Dark One's release, prior to the actual beginning of the War of Shadow. It was thought destroyed in the first rush of mob violence and terrorism which erupted in the chaos that was the Dark One's presence in the World. It was later recovered, sealed up in a chest and stored along with the Dragon banner, because Foretellings, which where the basis for the Prophecies of the Dragon, stated that it must be so (TOR Question of the Week). After the Breaking of the World, knowledge of the Horn survived in the Westlands primarily through the telling of the story from generation to generation. The Horn was later found within the Eye of the World as part of a cache which included the Dragon banner as well as one of the seals (broken) on the Dark One's prison (The Eye of the World, There is Neither Beginning Nor End).

In appearance, it is a curled, golden horn with ‘Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin’, (‘The grave is no bar to my call’ ) inlaid in silver script around the mouth of the bell (The Eye of the World, There is Neither Beginning Nor End). The Horn is remarkably plain aside from the inscription, yet it possesses the property of unusual durability: Mat tossed the Horn over a wall, picking it up on the other side noting; "It isn't even scratched" (The Great Hunt, Blademaster).

The creators of the Horn are unknown, but they were mortal, not gods (see Robert Jordan’s Blog Posts Pre Knife of Dreams FAQ) and the horn certainly dates from an earlier Age than the current. The Horn has been around for a long time and prior to Falme, had not been used since at least the Age prior to the Age of Legends.


THE HORN AND PROPHECY


Long thought only legend, the Horn will call dead heroes of past Ages to fight against the Dark One. The Prophecies say it must be found prior to Tarmon Gaidon (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar), but otherwise the Horn has no known mention within the Karaethon Cycle (The Great Hunt, Watchers). Some interpret the Prophecy as meaning the Horn shall be found just in time for the Last Battle. The common current belief is that the Horn is a herald of the Last Battle and will be used to lead the forces of Light against the Dark One.

There is a "Prophecy of the Horn", though little is known of it. However, it is known that whosoever sounds the Horn must think only of salvation, and not of glory (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar). In addition there is a prophecy of sorts in the telling of the Great Hunt of the Horn as performed by gleeman and court-bards. This is but a minor portion of the complete story, which would take a week or more to complete in a single telling (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters):

Quote :
In the last, lorn fight
'gainst the fall of long night
the mountains stand guard,
and the dead shall be ward,
for the grave is no bar to my call.

- The Eye of the World, Whitebridge



It is in Illian that the Great Hunt of the Horn is called. For the young men of Illian it is a sort of right of passage to declare a personal hunt for the Horn, much as young men of the Borderlands undertake a search for the Eye of the World (The Eye of the World, Strangers and Friends). Officially, for the first time in 400 years, Illian sent out a proclamation across the land to all who would swear their lives to the Hunt. In the Great Square of Tammaz the hunters gathered amid much fanfare and celebration to take the Hunters' oaths and receive blessings. There were over one thousand and perhaps as many as two thousand hunters who participated in the ceremony.

High Lord Turak makes it clear that the Seanchan are aware of the existence of the Horn, at least among the Blood (The Great Hunt, The Wheel Weaves). It is likely that knowledge of the Horn has been passed down from generation to generation, much the same as in Westlands. There is no known Seanchan prophecy tied directly to the Horn, though the Prophecies of the Dragon are known in Seanchan in a modified form.


THE WORKINGS OF THE HORN


The Horn acts as part of a mechanism for control within the Pattern. The souls which are called by the Horn are not only bound to the Horn, but bound to the Wheel as well. While waiting to be spun or called out, these souls reside within Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams. There are strict precepts which have been in place for Ages that govern the conduct of these souls within Tel’aran’rhiod. One of these is, according to Birgitte:

Quote :
”We may speak to none who know they are in Tel’aran’rhiod…It violates the precepts, precepts which have held me for so many turns of the Wheel that in my oldest, faintest memories I know I had already lived a hundred times, or a thousand. Speaking to you violates precepts as strong as law."
- The Shadow Rising, Need


As Birgitte has demonstrated, these precepts are voluntary and can be broken. Normally there are two methods by which these souls are able to touch the real world: either the Wheel spins them out in re-birth, or the Horn calls them forth. When spun out by the Wheel, these souls work the will of the Wheel to its purpose to shape the Pattern, and not their own:

Quote :
Only a few are bound to the Wheel, spun out again and again to work the will of the Wheel in the Pattern of the Ages…The Wheel spins us out for its purposes, not ours, to serve the Pattern.
- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call

Quote :
The Wheel wove the heroes into the Pattern as they were needed, to shape the Pattern, and when they died they returned here [Tel’aran’rhiod] to wait again.
- The Fires of Heaven, Meetings


There is however a third and unnatural way for these souls to touch the world of flesh which is not fully understood. Moghedien used a large amount of the One Power to cause the night of Tel’aran’rhiod to envelope Birgitte in blackness while she was ripped bodily out of Tel’aran’rhiod and deposited in the real world. The intent was to kill her, perhaps destroying her soul completely. It is not known if Birgitte's soul has been unbound from the Wheel or the Horn as a result (The Fires of Heaven, A Silver Arrow). Birgitte herself doubts her status as a hero:

Quote :
"Birgitte Silverbow. Faith of the Light, I'm not sure I still am that woman. So much of what I was and knew has faded like mist beneath the summer sun since my strange new birth. I'm no hero now, only another woman to make my way."
- A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night


She always feels that way though when spun out, and when reborn as a baby is unaware of any of her previous lives. Moreover, Min had a viewing of two strands of Birgitte’s lives:

Quote :
Besides, those multitudes of images and auras flashed by too quickly for her to make out any clearly, but she was certain they indicated more adventures than a woman could have in one lifetime. Strangely, some were connected to an ugly man who was older than she, and others to an ugly man who was much younger, yet somehow Min knew they were the same man.
- Winter’s Heart, A Lily in Winter.


Since both strands of lives are linked to Gaidal Cain, it is likely that Birgitte is still a Hero and Moghedien’s actions part of the Pattern.

There are little more than one hundred Heroes bound to the Wheel (The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call). It may be that a certain number of these souls were bound to the Wheel from the beginning of Creation, while others were added over time. New souls can find themselves bound to the Horn, though it takes very great bravery and accomplishment in the flesh. A soul remains permanently bound to the Wheel, barring an unnatural event:

Quote :
New heroes could find themselves bound so as well, men and women whose bravery and accomplishments raised them far above the ordinary, but once bound, it was forever.
- The Fires of Heaven, Meetings



The reason these souls are bound to the Wheel is to fight the Shadow:

Quote :
We must fight it [the Shadow]. That is the reason we were bound to the Wheel.

- The Shadow Rising, Need


However they are not restricted in terms of which side they follow:

Quote :
"You ride to find the Horn of Valere, and the hope of the world rides with you. The Horn cannot be left in the wrong hands, especially in Darkfriend hands. Those who come to answer its call, will come whoever blows it, and they are bound to the Horn, not to the Light."

- The Great Hunt, Leavetakings


If the Dragon was on the side of the Shadow, then the Heroes called by the Horn would be bound to fight for the Shadow via the Dragon. This was part of the reason why Ishamael wanted to convert Rand to the Shadow early on in the series, as a means of controlling the Heroes of the Horn, knowing from Prophecy it would be used at the Last Battle. The Heroes are restricted to following the Dragon no matter his allegiance, but they do require at least one form of proof - that being the presence of the Dragon banner. In addition Hawking asks for Mat to sound the Horn for the march into battle, though it's not clear that this is necessary for action:

Quote :
"Something is wrong here. Something holds me." Suddenly
he turned his sharp-eyed gaze on Rand. "You are here. Have you the banner?" …
"You are here. The banner is here. The weave of this moment is set. We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."…
"Trumpeter, will you give us music on the Horn? Fitting that the Horn of Valere should sing us into battle."

- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call



In the one battle the Heroes have fought in, their success was tied in some way to the success of the Dragon in his battle against the Shadow. The ability of the Heroes to achieve success independent from the Dragon's success is an unknown. Not only did Hawkwing acknowledge Rand as the Dragon, but he, the spokesman and leader of the Heroes at Falme, bowed to Rand and called him Lord Rand.

These souls are familiar with and know one another and it is the etiquette among the Heroes to refer to one another by their last incarnation. Some of them have formed a link and consistently work together upon rebirth. Birgitte and Gaidal Cain are an example of linked souls who are nearly always reborn together.

Quote :
"He [Gaidal] will need me, Elayne, and I will not be there. He always has more courage than is good for him; I always must supply him with caution. Worse, he will wander, searching for me, not knowing what he is looking for, not knowing why he feels incomplete. We are always together, Elayne. Two halves of a whole."

- The Fires of Heaven, A New Name



The linked souls aside, there is no guarantee that Heroes will always work together during a period of rebirth. There have been times when Heroes have ended up fighting against one another, as the Pattern requires:

Quote :
"I have fought by your side time beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more. I know you, if you do not know yourself."
- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call


When spun out by the Wheel for rebirth, the Heroes typically do not retain knowledge of their past lives or accomplishments. They live each rebirth independent of the others, yet they continue to serve the will of the Wheel. It is only when they are residing within Tel'aran'rhiod or called forth by the Horn that the Heroes have recognition of one another and memories of past lives.

Once sounded, the Horn becomes a simple instrument to anyone other than the Hornsounder (The Great Hunt, The Wheel Weaves). Mat alone, as the current Hornsounder, is able to call forth the Heroes by blowing the Horn. However there has been speculation as to whether Mat remains linked to the horn. If the Hornsounder dies, the link with the Horn is broken, thereby allowing a new link to be formed by a different person (The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat). Mat was killed in Caemlyn (the death foreseen by the Aelfinn according to Jordan), but this death was undone when Rand balefired Rahvin. It is unknown if this event led to a break in the link.

When the Horn is blown by the Hornsounder it emits a clear note which resonates with the surroundings, and which precedes a rising fog that thickens and clouds the land. Out of this fog ride forth the Heroes of the Horn, led by Artur Hawkwing. When called forth by the Horn the Heroes are not in the flesh as they would be upon rebirth and therefore the One Power cannot touch them nor can they be killed by standard weaponry as Birgitte explains:

Quote :
"As for Falme, the Horn had called us; we were not there as you were, in the flesh. That is why the Power could not touch us. Here [Tel’aran’rhiod], all is part of the dream, and the One Power could destroy me as easily as you."
- The Shadow Rising, Need


They do remain vulnerable to the One Power when residing within Tel’aran’rhiod, as Moghedien demonstrated on Birgitte.

The conditions for when the Heroes return to Tel’aran’rhiod are unknown. It is not clear if their return is dependent on a certain amount of time, or if they are released by either the Dragon or the Hornsounder. At most it can be said that the Heroes vanished back to Tel’aran’rhiod sometime after the battle at Falme, prior to the main characters departing east across the Westlands:

Quote :
"I know that you all vanished after the Horn called you...."

- The Shadow Rising, Need
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PostSubject: Re: The Horn of Valere   Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:15 am

WHERE IS THE HORN NOW?

The Horn was last seen at the White Tower, in a private meeting between Verin and Siuan (who was still Amyrlin at the time). They decided to hide the Horn in a place that only the two of them had knowledge of, and it has not been seen or heard since (The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat). There is much speculation regarding the impact of the Horn in the final book, A Memory of Light. The least that can be said is that the Horn of Valere is destined to play an important role in the Dragon's Last Battle against the Shadow.

It is interesting that in Knife of Dreams Verin told those with Rand that the signs were abundantly clear that the Last Battle was imminent, then she announced she had done all she could there and left. Verin has probably gone to Mat to see how he is faring prior to fetching him the Horn, or she has gone to fetch the Horn first. While Fain believed that he had sniffed out that the Horn was in the Tower in The Fires of Heaven Prologue, for all we know, Verin has had the Horn with her since that meeting with Siuan. She showed little trust of the Tower.
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