The Wheel of Time - The Call of the Horn
Bloodknives are the most elite members of the Fists of Heaven, itself an exclusive group.
Each member of the Bloodknives carries a specialized ter’angreal ring that provides them with strength and speed and allows them to better blend in with the shadows. The ring is activated by touching a drop of the user’s blood to it while wearing it, but the granted attributes come at the cost of the user’s life. Within a matter of days, the life of the user is leeched away by use of the ring. While the user can remove the ring, the process is only slowed due to the irreversible nature of the ring.
The rings are in the shape of a vine with thorns and are worn on the middle fingers of the right hand. After the ter’angreal was activated, the wearer can live for several weeks, at most a month.
Bloodknives are never committed to any battle unless their commander is extremely serious because Bloodknives never return from their missions. The main duty of the Bloodknives is to stay behind after everyone else has withdrawn and cause as much damage as possible.
Five Bloodknives were sent with Seanchan forces which attacked the White Tower by Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag. One of them attacks Siuan Sanche and Gareth Bryne and is killed by Bryne. Other Bloodknives remain in the Tower after the attack and silently kill sisters one by one. Gawyn notices one Bloodknife near Egwene’s room and, unable to kill him, retains his knife. Later, while Gawyn is in Caemlyn, the former damane Marille and the former sul’dam Kaisea recognize that weapon as a Bloodknife and tell Gawyn that Bloodknives are suicide assassins protected by ter’angreal rings, the most expert killers in all of the Seanchan Empire, and that he couldn’t fight one and still live, unless he wasn’t the true target. Gawyn realizes that sisters are killed by Seanchan remaining after the attack and not by Black sisters and sends a warning to Egwene, advising to keep a lot of lights, because Bloodknives can hide in shadows.
When Gawyn finally returns to the White Tower and enters Egwene’s chamber, he finds there two Bloodknives, a third one entering shortly thereafter. Gawyn is able to defeat the assassins only after he puts out the lantern, removing both lights and shadows and thus making their positions equal. Later, before the bodies are inspected and taken away, Gawyn takes off three ter’angreal rings which he later wears on a chain around the neck, refusing to tell Egwene about them.