The spy's fellow lieutenants – and indeed the Trollocs themselves – were well enough fed. They welcomed the endless corpses the march towards Shayol Ghul had claimed and continued to claim. Their boiling cauldrons were ever full. The rewards of power.

The metaphor made real – I can see my old cynical teachers nodding at that. Here, in the blight, there is no obfuscating the brutal truth. Our rulers devour us. They always have. How could I ever have believed otherwise? I was a soldier, once. I was the violent assertion of someone else’s will.

He had changed, not a difficult truth to recognize in himself. His soul torn by the horrors he saw all around him, the sheer amorality born of hunger and fanaticism, he had been reshaped, twisted almost beyond recognition into something new. The eradication of faith – faith in anything, especially the essential goodness of his kind – had left him cold, hardened and feral.

Yet he would not eat human flesh. Better to devour myself from within, to take my own muscles away, layer by layer, and digest all that I was. This is the last remaining task before me, and it has begun. None the less, he was coming to realize a deeper truth: his resolve was crumbling. No, stay away from that thought.

- from the confession of an group:handofthelight Agent turned Darkfriends

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Darkfriend in the Old Tongue is Atha'an Shadar, which translated more directly to "People of the Dark". They are those who have been tempted with promises of immortality and power by the Dark One, or by other Darkfriends, into serving the Shadow. Although the Black Ajah are Darkfriends, (as are Dreadlords and even the Forsaken) the vast majority of Darkfriends cannot channel.
Being a Darkfriend is considered a crime throughout the Westlands and presumably also in the Seanchan Empire, and in many places is a capital offence. Secrecy is therefore a paramount concern among Darkfriends, and they have devised a number of strategies to limit any Darkfriend's knowledge of the identities or plans of his or her fellow Darkfriends. This ensures that even questioning under torture will produce little useful information to a Darkfriend's captors. To avoid discovery, Darkfriends often commit other, more prosaic crimes, such as Hadnan Kadere, who murdered his sister once she discovered that he was a Darkfriend.

Among Darkfriends, an elaborate system of rank and authority has been established. This hierarchy bears no relation to position or social standing in society. Among Darkfriends, beggars can and do outrank kings and queens. Generally, a higher-ranking Darkfriend has very wide power to give orders and administer punishments to those under his or her command. This power may be extended or circumscribed by others of still higher rank, and so on all the way up to the Chosen.

As the series progressed, and more and more of the Chosen became free, some Darkfriends began receiving direct orders from one or more of the Chosen. Because of the great authority and power of the Chosen, a Darkfriend who is directly instructed by one of the Chosen will typically take those orders very seriously indeed. Failure or disobedience almost always have painful or even fatal consequences, to the Darkfriend himself or to some other person or people he cares about. Because the Chosen work sometimes with and sometimes against one another, a Darkfriend may find himself receiving two conflicting sets of orders; it seems, however, that most Darkfriends try to minimize risk by following their most recent instructions.

Most Darkfriends only follow the Dark One indirectly, as most have never communicated with him directly; very few swore their oaths at Shayol Ghul. Ba'alzamon, a supposed name for the Dark One, is actually an alias of the Chosen Ishamael, for example.
Darkfriends refer to the Dark One as the Great Lord of the Dark, instead of his true name, Shai'tan. Rand al'Thor asks Lanfear why they do this and she replies, "It would be blasphemy."

  • Before the return of Ishamael most Darkfriends live their entire lives without ever encountering the powers that be. Some occasionally get visits from a Myrddraal but most work within their own secret society - reaping the benefits of association.
    • Much similar to secret societies with a evil bent in our own history
  • Being a Darkfriend is not just lip service however. The Oath has power and it gives the Dark One and his more powerful servants a powerful hold over you
    • This is evident by Tomas who want to join the light but describes his inability to escape the darkness

Related Characters

“A Darkfriend?” Selene said mockingly. She sounded amused, not angered. She sounded contemptuous. “One of those pathetic followers of Ba’alzamon who think he will give them immortality and power?”

- Selene, Scholar/Historian

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