"Almost" is the story of Barid Bel Medar's life. He was born one day after Lews Therin Telamon, almost his age. He was almost handsome, other than his hawk nose. He was the second most acclaimed man of the Age of Legends, holding high offices and wrote books, not quite as high or successful as Lews Therin. For this reason he hated Lews with every ounce of himself, more so than Sammael, thinking him a lucky fool. He also once desired Lews Therin's wife, Ilyena.
Barid Bel turned out to be a great general for the Light. He was a gambler, who played the odds with strategic vision and tactical flair which risks on the battlefield would pay off. When Lews Therin Telamon became commander of the forces of the Light, Demandred could no longer contain his hatred. He turned to the Shadow in the third year of the War of Power, becoming one of the Dark One's best generals.
Since escaping from the seal, he has been scheming with Mesaana and Semirhage. Other than ordering the death of Rand al'Thor at least once, his plans have yet to be revealed. A favorite theory among readers was that he disguises himself as Mazrim Taim, leader of the Black Tower. The theory intuitively fits; Taim knows weaves of the One Power that Rand does not; Taim is, like the Forsaken, scornful of modern Aes Sedai; both Demandred and Taim are second fiddle, are almost, to Rand (for reasons Rand cannot understand, Taim is described as enraged when he is told that he will be the second Asha'man after Rand himself); both have been seen to scheme against him; and when the Chosen met in Winter's Heart it was said that it was the responsibility of both Demandred and Osan'gar (Corlan Dashiva) to watch Rand al'Thor. However, author Robert Jordan has assured his fans that Demandred is not masquerading as Taim, and when Demandred engages Asha'man Damer Flinn in battle during the Cleansing of Saidin in Winter's Heart, Demandred does not recognize Flinn. Mazrim Taim also holds a seal to the prison of the Dark One, and as one of the Chosen he would not be likely to leave it intact unless he has his own secret. Unfortunately, Robert Jordan's disproving of this last, best guess as to Demandred's location means that his whereabouts and cover identity are totally unknown—making him the last Forsaken to retain total anonymity as of the series' final novel, A Memory of Light.
While visiting Graendal in Arad Doman, Sammael comments that events in the South had Demandred's mark all over them. The question is which 'south' he is referring to. Had Demandred been disguised as Mazrim Taim, 'south' could have meant Andor, or the Black Tower; it could mean the Seanchan invasion of Tarabon, or Masema's rabble-rousing in Ghealdan. He could even be behind the actions of the Children of the Light. Furthermore, due to a line of dialogue from Knife of Dreams, many fans believe that, although Taim is not Demandred, Taim is a Darkfriend operating under Demandred's orders.