Seekers for Truth
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
The Seekers for Truth are an organization of Seanchan spies, detectives, and questioners. Unlike Listeners, they have a great deal of power and leeway to act upon information they discover (KoD, Glossary). They are commanded by Hands (WH, Ch. 14), who also decide what information to pass on to the Seekers from Listeners (CoT, Ch. 4; KoD, Glossary).
Seekers are generally da’covale (KoD, Glossary). The ones who are da’covale have a raven tattooed on each shoulder to mark their status as property of the Imperial Throne. In addition, Seekers also have a tower tattooed on each shoulder (TSR, Ch. 38; KoD, Glossary). Although Deathwatch Guards enjoy flaunting their raven tattoos, Seekers do not (TSR, Ch. 38), partially because the tattoos expose them (KoD, Glossary).
It is a crime to run away from or in any other way refuse to cooperate with a Seeker (TSR, Ch. 38), and it is treason to lie to (WH, Ch. 20) or betray a Seeker (WH, Ch. 21). In general, people are incredibly nervous around Seekers (CoT, Ch. 4) and will do anything they ask or command (TSR, Ch. 38). A Seekers word is considered to be law, even in the remotest regions of Seanchan (CoT, Ch. 4). Typically, Seekers rarely explain themselves (WH, Ch. 20), and outside of the Imperial family, Seekers are not “rebuked” ( CoT, Ch. 4).
For those who are lowborn, it can take very little to be turned over for questioning by the Seekers (TGH, Ch. 34). Even for the High Blood, the smallest suspicion of being a Darkfriend is enough (KoD, Prologue). Seekers will search as long and hard as needed in order to prove guilt (TGH, Ch. 34), but they are not required to have any proof in order to question someone (WH, Ch. 21). They are allowed to put anyone except for the Empress herself to the question (CoT, Ch. 4), although if a Seeker is incorrect about their suspicions, putting one of the High Blood or the Imperial Family to the question is an executable offense (WH, Ch. 20). If a Seeker is correct about their suspicions, however, great rewards can be granted for discovering treason, even if it requires putting the Empress’s own children to the question (TFoH, Ch. 32). In their questioning, they must avoid killing or spilling the blood of members of the Blood (TGH, Ch. 34). This is not a problem for them, as they have plenty of ways to get what they want without causing blood to be shed (WH, Ch. 21).
Suspicious acts, such as unexplained deaths, are typically investigated by Seekers (WH, Ch. 20; KoD, Prologue). It is seen as suspicious if Seekers are not called in for such investigations (KoD, Prologue).
Despite their license, the Blood do still seem to have some power over Seekers. When Tuon disappears, Suroth commands that one Seeker die each day until she is found, and only changes her mind because it is impractical (CoT, Ch. 4).
- Bethamin finds it difficult to think of Mor as pretty, thinking that “only a madwoman would think of a Seeker for Truth in that fashion” (WH, Ch. 20).
- Seekers are not required to knock on a door before entering (CoT, Ch. 4), and are thought to be able to open locks even if they don’t have a key (TSR, Ch. 38).
- Is is rare for anyone to ask a Seeker what their name is (CoT, Ch. 4).
“There was an old story of a fool young lord and lady who had themselves tattooed while drunk, some three hundred years gone. When the then Empress learned of it, she had them brought to the Court of the Nine Moons and set to scrubbing floors. This fellow might be one of their descendants. The mark of the raven was forever.” (Egeanin; TSR, Ch. 38).
“She was a captain and he property, but he was also a Seeker, and under the law he could have her put to the question on his own authority. By law he had the right to send her out to buy the rope to bind her while he put her to the question right here, and he would expect her to return with it.” (Egeanin; TSR, Ch. 38).
“I myself have put both a daughter and a son of the Empress, may the Light bless her, to the question, and in gratitude for the confessions I wrenched from them she allowed me to gaze upon her. Think you that your minor House stands higher than the Empress' own children?" (Jalindin to Morsa; TFoH, Ch. 32).
“They had people called Seekers, too, and from the little he had heard—even people who spoke freely about the Deathwatch Guard locked their teeth when it came to the Seekers—from the little he had heard, Seekers made Whitecloak Questioners look like boys tormenting flies, nasty but hardly anything to worry a man.” (Mat; WH, Ch. 17)