Sunday 26 August 2012

The Wheel of Time So Far: Part 10 - Lord of Chaos

Previous instalments of the series:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Spoilers for those who are unfamiliar with the series. Note that this summary is designed to help people who have already read the books get back up to speed before the release of the final volume in January. First-timers are advised to read the books directly, as in some cases these summaries may spoil things that are not revealed in the books until much later.

Rand al'Thor wins many new allies to his cause and wins a great victory.

 Follow the break for the summary:

Lord of Chaos

The Forsaken Demandred is summoned to Shayol Ghul where he stands in the Pit of Doom and hears the voice of the Dark One. Asmodean and Rahvin are dead. Lanfear and Moghedien are missing. The plan to bring al’Thor to Illian continues under Sammael and Graendal’s guidance, but too much of the plan has been ruined. Yet the Dark One is amused: it has touched the world and summer now lingers past its end into the autumn. An unusual Myrddraal called Shaidar Haran is now meeting those who come to Shayol Ghul and he even commands the Forsaken with no fear. The Dark One tells Demandred exactly what he must do if he wants to be named Nae’blis, the Dark One’s regent on Earth.

In Salidar Nynaeve continues her attempts to Heal Siuan and Leane’s stilling, using an a’dam that Elayne has made to control Moghedien and then getting Siuan and Leane to try and control Moghedien’s channelling. Nothing happens, but they can dimly sense what Moghedien is doing and feeling. Elayne arrives with news that the rebel Aes Sedai are sending a delegation to Caemlyn, but they have refused her permission to go as well. However, Min will accompany them, a friendly face to ease Rand’s discontent. Elayne refuses to believe her mother is dead, though all the evidence indicates that it is so. Min agrees to carry letters from Elayne to Rand, but is confused because she too loves Rand.

Over the last few months the village of Emond’s Field in the Two Rivers has expanded into a virtual fortified town, with its own wall and now a manor house being built for Lord Perrin and the Lady Faile. Refugees have come from across the Mountains of Mist, fleeing chaos in Tarabon, Almoth Plain and Arad Doman and Faile and the Women’s Circle have been helping them settle in the town and the surrounding farms. But then Perrin feels something, the pull of ta’veren to ta’veren across a thousand miles. Rand needs him and he must go. Perrin, Aram, Loial, Faile, Gaul, Bain, Chiad and numerous Two Rivers bowmen assemble for the eastwards march to Caemlyn and set out, leaving Tam al’Thor, Abell Cauthon and Bran al’Vere in charge (with the Women’s Circle, of course).

Elaida’s delegation are on their way to Cairhien from Tar Valon, escorted by Gawyn Trakand and the Younglings, but near the northern border they meet a delegation of Shaido Aiel. Sevanna is now chief of the Shaido after Couladin’s death and agrees to assist the Aes Sedai when they take Rand al’Thor prisoner, but secretly she and the other Shaido Wise Ones plan to seize Rand themselves and force him to wed Sevanna, giving her the ultimate power she has always craved.

Morgase and her companions find themselves honoured ‘guests’ of King Ailron of Amadicia. Ailron agrees in principal to help her retake Caemlyn form Gaebril, but is unable to do much at the moment given the growing chaos across the border in Tarabon and the movements of the Prophet of the Dragon, who has struck across the border into Amadicia and is causing mayhem in the north. Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall of the Children of the Light visits Morgase and offers her Whitecloak support in return for letting the Children establish a chapter house in Caemlyn itself. Morgase balks at the idea and promises to consider it, especially after Niall tells her that Gaebril is dead and Rand al’Thor now rules in Caemlyn. Niall then meets with Jaichim Carridin of the Hand of the Light (The Great Hunt, The Shadow Rising). Carridin thinks he is to move against the gathering of Aes Sedai in Salidar across the River Eldar, but Niall sets him right. Murandy and Altara are about to be plagued by Dragonsworn...

In a room somewhere, somewhen, the Forsaken Demandred, Mesaana, Graendal and Semirhage meet and discuss orders from the Dark One. A plan has been arranged, a plan that will give them al’Thor and the world itself. Meanwhile, in a dark room somewhere near Shayol Ghul a man and a women awaken from a dark, horrifying sleep. Shadar Haran confronts them and tells them they have failed the Dark One once, but have been given a second chance. He names them Osan’gar and Aran’gar, after the left- and right-handed daggers in a fatal game of duels fought before the War of the Shadow. Osan’gar can channel saidin and is amused when he feels that Aran’gar can as well, though she is a woman. Obviously she is really a man in a woman’s body...

In Caemlyn Rand practises the sword, having to deal with the headaches of a whole new group of politicians and lords vying for power and influence. Despite his announcement that Elayne Trakand will take the Lion Throne, many noble houses believe her dead or a prisoner of Elaida’s in the Tower and now offer themselves as replacement rulers. Only Lord Davram Bashere of Saldaea and the noble Houses who supported Morgase on the Throne remain silent. Then Mazrim Taim arrives at the palace and swears fealty to Rand. He offers Rand the last seal on the Dark One’s prison as a token of his sincerity. Rand accepts his word and places him in charge of the men he has been gathering, men who can channel the One Power. With his fifteen years experience channelling the Power and evading the madness, Taim will make a useful leader. These men have been gathered at an abandoned farm twenty miles south of Caemlyn. Taim is intrigued that Rand has learned how to Travel, puzzling it out from Skimming and what he did when he entered Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh to kill Rahvin. Leaving Taim to his charges, Rand then Travels to the Plains of Maredo between Tear and Illian. Here a vast army of Aiel, Tairens and Cairhienin is gathering, ready to smash into Illian like a demolition ball. Almost 300,000 men are gathered here already and more are coming, from Tear and Mayene and Cairhien and elsewhere. Mat Cauthon and his Band of the Red Hand are on the march south from Cairhien City with orders to take command of the army and prepare it for the primary assault on Illian, but it will be many weeks before they arrive.

At that moment Mat’s forces are in Maerone, the Cairhienin village opposite Aringill across the River Erinin. The Band has forced all Andoran forces out of Cairhien; those who remained even when the noble houses in Caemlyn commanded them to retreat, Gaebril’s White Lions mostly. Now the Band is on the move southwards to join the armies west of Tear. Much to Mat’s surprise a Sea Folk raker passes upriver. He tries to flag it down to provide transport south but fails. The Band sets out on foot, heading south as fast as possible. Unbeknown to Mat, a serving boy from an inn in Maeron, Olver, has stowed away with them.

Sammael visits Graendal in her palace in Arad Doman and is amused by her attempts to make him think she has an interest in Shara, the lands beyond the Aiel Waste. Sammael is more interested in what happened during her meeting with Demandred and the others. Meanwhile, Semirhage has taken an Aes Sedai and her Warder prisoner and is experimenting new torture methods on them, though unfortunately to the point of killing the Warder...

Elayne, Siuan and a group of rebel Aes Sedai visit the reflection of Elaida’s study in Tel’aran’rhiod and learn new things from her notes. Elaida has made a proposal which King Stepaneos of Illian has accepted, King Roedran of Murandy is still fudging and Queen Tylin of Altara and Queen Alliandre of Ghealdan are considering. An arrest warrant for Moiraine Damodred has been reinforced, indicating that Elaida is still unaware of her death. The fighting in the Borderlands has died down, though there is still no indication of what they were fighting about. There are still no reports out of Tarabon, no news of any kind, and barely anything getting through from Arad Doman. It seems that news is only coming from Arad Doman via Saldaea and the other Borderlands. There are odd goings-on in Illian and Cairhien and almost all of the Children of the Light have by now assembled in Amadicia, with only a few hundred more troops to come from far-flung assignments. Rumours persist that Morgase is alive and doing anything from raising an army in western Andor under the flag of Manetheren to hiding in the Fortress of the Light in Amador! The rebel Aes Sedai learn that Elaida has sent an embassy to Cairhien, not knowing that he is in Caemlyn, and also that there are specific orders for Elayne to be recaptured and kept safe. Most useful is the news that there are only 294 Aes Sedai in the White Tower supporting Elaida, not even one-third and even less than there are in Salidar. However, the remaining one-third of the Aes Sedai, those out in the world when the Tower split, seem to be leaning towards making the White Tower whole again and only a few have come to Salidar, most apparently favouring Tar Valon. The Aes Sedai then get caught in some sort of nightmare which Siuan and Elayne, more experienced in the ways of Tel’aran’rhiod, break them free of. The rest return to the real world, but Elayne goes to Caemlyn and sees that new banners are being raised there, the Dragon’s Banner among them. Wondering how she can help Rand, Elayne returns to Salidar, unaware that Demandred has been watching her.

In Salidar several Altaran nobles have arrived to hear the charges against Elaida and hear Logain’s testimony. One the newly-chosen Sitters for the Blue Ajah in Salidar, Lelaine Akashi, is in charge of the audiences. Lelaine also has an interest in the Dragon Reborn and many believe she has her eye on the position of the rebel Amyrlin Seat. Meanwhile, the Accepted Theodrin Dabei has been assigned to Nynaeve to help her break down her block which prevents her channelling except when she is angry. Tarna Feir, a Sister of the Red Ajah from Tar Valon, arrives with an offer of amnesty from Elaida, but the rebel Aes Sedai are unconvinced.

In the Fortress of the Light Pedron Niall receives reports from his spymaster, Lord Captain Abdel Omerna. Omerna reports that a large number of Illuminators have crossed the border into Amadicia and wish to establish a chapter house of their guild in Amador. Niall is incredulous at Omerna’s disobedience not to let anyone cross the border from Tarabon and has them sent back. There are rumours of Dragonsworn uprisings in both Altara and Murandy (as Niall planned) and apparently there are indications that King Stepaneos of Illian wants Niall’s help in some matter, but it is unclear what. The only reliable reports are that al’Thor is not consolidating his hold of Andor and has so far restricted himself and his troops to Caemlyn. Omerna thinks he is stalled, but Niall knows about the army gathering along Tear’s western border, probably aimed at Illian. Omerna is dismissed so that Niall can talk to his real spymaster, Sebban Balwer, his supposed secretary. Balwer is suspicious of everything and believes almost nothing. Maybe Illian will come over to the Children, but Stepaneos has also been talking to the Aes Sedai and has agreed to something from them. The truth of the matter in the Borderlands has finally be revealed: there are not uprisings at all, merely people arguing over whether al’Thor is the true Dragon Reborn or another false Dragon. Curiously, the arguments seemed to begin before most of the world knew about the fall of the Stone of Tear, when al’Thor’s name was still unknown in the world at large. Balwer has also learned that Lord Bashere is in al’Thor’s service with roughly 10,000 Saldaean cavalry. Meanwhile, Carridin’s stirring up of chaos in Altara and Murandy goes well and Niall considers extending it into Illian and Andor. In Tear the High Lords Tedosian and Estanda have joined the High Lord Darlin Sisnera in open rebellion against the Dragon Reborn, taking their armies into Haddon Mirk to gather strength. And Lord Captain Eamon Valda is on his way to Amador and will be there in a month, two at most. Then almost the entire strength of the Children will be in one spot, ready to pacify Tarabon or drive the Prophet from the north, whatever Niall thinks is more important come that time. A message arrives from Tarabon, from a Whitecloak agent in Tanchico. Niall thinks the man is crazed, talking of flying beasts and Aes Sedai unleashing the Power and something garbled about the Hailene, and destroys the note. Balwer completes his report: Sea Folk ships are gathering at the southern ports, not trading or meeting, just waiting. The Ogier stedding are sending representatives and messengers between them, holding discussions of great importance. Naturally it is impossible to know what they are discussing. More oddly, al’Thor has been seen in Cairhien, Caemlyn and Tear all on the same day, an indication that his Tar Valon mistresses have doubles set up to sow confusion and discord among his enemies. The last piece of news is about Logain’s claims to have been set up by the Red Ajah. Niall orders rumours started that Tar Valon lies in the hands of the Black Ajah and that the witches in Salidar are considering renouncing their status as Aes Sedai and throwing themselves on the Children of the Light’s mercy

In Caemlyn Rand finds the waiting chafing on everyone’s nerves, but it is too soon to move against Sammael and Illian. There have been incidents in the city, someone hanged for doubting Rand is the Dragon Reborn, plus the usual bending of chance that is always around a ta’veren. The only good news is that Lady Ellorien of House Traemane, Lord Pelivar of House Coelan and Lady Dyelin of House Taravin have entered the city or are staying at estates nearby. Three of the five powerful houses that supported Morgase for the Lion Throne, Rand wants them to control Andor until Elayne can get here and take the crown, but they have so far refused to meet with him. Rand has new invitations sent. Apparently two Aes Sedai have arrived in Caemlyn and are staying at an inn in the city. Rand decides to pay them a visit. Entering the inn, Culain’s Hound, he is shocked to meet Bodwhin Cauthon, Mat’s sister, and a dozen other girls from the Two Rivers, all going to Tar Valon to become Aes Sedai. The two Aes Sedai with them are Verin Mathwin and Alanna Mosvani. After helping Perrin defeat the Trollocs and Whitecloaks in the Two Rivers they gathered as many women able to channel as they could find and headed east (The Shadow Rising). They are now divided over the news of the split in the Tower, uncertain whether to carry on to Tar Valon, head to the rebel base (the whereabouts of which they refuse to disclose to Rand) or remain here. Rand is wearied and Alanna offers to Heal him, but then she does something odd to him with the Power and Rand shields both her and Verin. It seems that Alanna has bonded him as she would a Warder, but the bonding is different with a man who can channel. She is unable to control or compel him. Rand, enraged, tells them they are staying in Caemlyn until he can find a suitable task for them and storms out.
Rand visits the farm where the students are practising and learns that Taim has a new recruiting method, using Travelling to visit multiple places in a single day, bringing back as many as can learn to channel. Those who can’t channel he will send on to Caemlyn. It is about time that Rand beings raising his own army rather than rely on others. Rand reluctantly agrees.

In Salidar the rebel Hall of the Tower continues to consult with Elaida’s emissary, Tarna, but what exactly they are discussing remains a mystery. Janya and Delana, two of the rebel Sitters, grill Nynaeve for information on Rand but are unable to discover anything she hasn’t told other Aes Sedai ten times before. Passing the ‘Little Tower’, the inn that has been converted into the rebel HQ, Nynaeve overhears the Aes Sedai giving their final answer to Tarna: that they need more time to consider her offer. The rebels are waiting for someone to arrive, a ‘biddable child’, but Nynaeve has no idea who they are talking about. Theodrin catches her eavesdropping but doesn’t say anything, instead continuing her lessons on how to overcome blocks on channelling. Tarna visits both Nynaeve and Elayne, offering to take them back to the Tower, but they refuse. That night both Nynaeve and Elayne journey into Tel’aran’rhiod in search of something, anything, that will help the rebel Aes Sedai, or Rand, or themselves in their current difficulties. Their need eventually brings them to the city of Ebou Dar, the capital of Altara and a port on the Sea of Storms. Here they find a large ter’angreal shaped like a bowl. Elayne, recalling her time studying under a Sea Folk Windfinder (The Shadow Rising), realises the bowl can be used to affect the weather, perhaps restore it to normal. When she and Nynaeve return to the real world they find Salidar in chaos, a storm of malevolent energy that hurls chairs at people and wraps sheets around necks, trying to kill. They realise it is a ‘bubble of evil’, a ball of chaos that has slipped out of the Dark One’s prison, like the one in Tear that almost killed Mat, Perrin and Rand (The Shadow Rising). The next day Tarna departs from Salidar with the rebels’ decision to watch and wait. Romanda Cassin, one of the Sitters for the Yellow Ajah, makes the announcement. It is no secret that Romanda also seeks the Amyrlin Seat and is a rival of Lelaine’s. Nynaeve and Elayne tell Sheriam about the bowl ter’angreal and lie by saying it needs a man channelling also to work, but just as Sheriam is about to agree to send them to Ebou Dar Nynaeve’s anger about the rebels’ inaction explodes. Elayne and Nynaeve end up washing out the cauldrons and stoves in the kitchen. Sheriam and her comrades (those who ran Salidar before the rebel Sitters were elected) consider sending them anyway, but are worried about something secret in Ebou Dar.

In Caemlyn Dyelin and Ellorien arrive in response to Rand’s invitation, bringing Lord Abelle of House Pendar and Lord Luan of House Renshar with them, the fourth of Morgase’s five most powerful supporters. They frankly disbelieve that Rand had nothing to do with Morgase’s disappearance and alleged death and are dubious about Elayne as well. Ellorien believes that both Elayne and Morgase have abdicated all responsibility for Andor if they are still alive and that Dyelin, the next in line for the throne as cousin to Elayne and Morgase, should make her claim. She refuses, supporting Elayne instead. After the others leave, Dyelin remains and tells Rand that he has a strong resemblance to Tigraine Mantear, the Daughter-Heir of Andor who fled in the night some twenty-three years ago now. Rand puts two and two together and realises that Tigraine was really Shaiel, his mother, and that Galad is his half-brother. Dyelin departs but Rand then receives a messenger from Sammael in Illian. Sammael proposes a truce. Rand can do what he likes, but will leave Illian, Murandy, Altara, Ghealdan and Amadicia for Sammael. In return Sammael will not do battle with him. Rand refutes the proposal totally and the messenger dies on the spot.

Rand Travels to Cairhien and learns that the Lady Berelain sur Paendrag, First of Mayene, has arrived as he requested. Berelain and Rhuarc will manage Cairhien City whilst Rand is away. Berelain is curious about how Perrin is faring but Rand evades her questions. He learns that young Cairhienin noblemen and noblewomen have been emulating the Aiel, adapting the ways of ji’e’toh, much to Rhuarc’s disgust. More worrying is the news that Caraline Damodred and Torin Riatin, the leaders of the two most formerly powerful Houses in Cairhien, have been stirring up rebellion against Rand in the foothills of the Spine of the World. Apparently Andorans have joined them as well. More interesting, but also less useful, is word of war raging in Shara, the land beyond the Aiel Waste. The Sharans are apparently battling one another over whether the Dragon Reborn has truly come forth or if it is merely another false Dragon. Rand is incredulous that a land thousands of miles away could be torn apart by his appearance. In the meantime merchants have started to come to Cairhien again, coming from Andor and Tear and the Borderlands. Even a Sea Folk raker put in that morning at the docks, much to the bemusement of many in the city. The school of learning that Rand idly suggested a few months back (after seeing the battle-tower in action during the Second Battle of Cairhien) has been founded and new students are arriving. On the spur of the moment Rand decides to visit the school (ironically located in the manor house of the late Lord Barthanes Damodred) and discovers many odd things being worked on (including a makeshift balloon, a more deadly version of the ballistae used to defend Cairhien from the Shaido, new and improved plows and a powerful telescope for looking at the stars). Rand is more interested in Herid Fel, a philosopher who has been studying the Karaethon Cycle and its depiction of the Last Battle in depth. Fel is unable to come up with an answer to Rand’s questions. Back at the Sun Palace Rand asks Egwene where Elayne is; he needs Cairhien and Andor united behind him as soon as possible, but Egwene refuses to answer; that isn’t her information to tell.

Frustrated by the intrigue in Cairhien, Rand returns to Caemlyn and Aviendha accompanies him. In the Royal Palace he learns that three Ogier have come to meet with him: Elder Haman and Speaker Covril, both of Stedding Shangtai, and Erith, of Stedding Tsofu, whom Rand has met before (The Great Hunt). Covril is Loial’s mother and wants to know where her son is. Erin wishes to marry him and Haman could not let Covril and Erin travel to Caemlyn unescorted. Erith and Covril made unseemly haste, exchanging letters and then departing from Stedding Tsofu with unseemly haste (though it was over a year ago that Rand visited Stedding Tsofu!). A startled Rand is forced to admit that Loial is in the Two Rivers with Perrin, but then realises he can use the Ogiers’ help. Shadowspawn are using the Ways to travel about in secret. Rand asks for and gains the locations of all Waygates in the Western Nations from the Ogier and prepares to lock them all, but then notes where one of the Waygates is located: Shadar Logoth, the haunted city on the River Arinelle near Baerlon (The Eye of the World). Rand decides to shut down the Waygate immediately and gathers a force of Maidens. He asks the Ogier to go with him in return for being deposited in the Two Rivers that very day. After some debate they agree. Rand with his escort visits Shadar Logoth and locks the Waygate, but one of his Maiden escorts, Liah, disappears. After searching a full day for her night falls and Rand reluctantly calls off the search. He Travels to the Two Rivers, swiftly deposits the Ogier, and then returns to Caemlyn.

Mat Cauthon, commander of the Band of the Red Hand.

Mat and his Band of the Red Hand are well downriver now, on towards Tear, and have secured riverboats which can ferry back up the river to Maerone or downriver to Tear for supplies for the troops, of which there are now more than 6,000. The camp is raided in the night by Shaido Aiel who had apparently fled south rather than north after the Second Battle of Cairhien. The Shaido are defeated and Mat is annoyed when Olver turns up and attaches himself to Mat as his page boy.

Graendal visits Sammael in Illian and is shocked to see that he has recovered a stasis box and its contents. He hints that the Dark One has already named him Nae’blis and demands to know where the other Forsaken are. Graendal believes that Lanfear, Asmodean and Moghedien are dead. She doesn’t know where Demandred or Semirhage is, but knows that Mesaana has established herself in the White Tower in Tar Valon itself.

Egwene is out in Cairhien City when she spots Elaida’s embassy arriving in the city. She tells Berelain and Rhuarc, who prepare a reception, whilst the Wise Ones suggest that Egwene hide amongst the tents until the embassy leaves. The next day Egwene learns that there are a total of six Aes Sedai in the embassy, including two Reds, though they are apparently led by a Grey. More disturbing are the 500 ‘honour guard’ the Aes Sedai have left camped some twelve hours’ ride from the city. Egwene warns the Wise Ones that they must make sure that there are only six Aes Sedai; thirteen can shield a man from channelling the One Power at all. She returns to the city and runs straight into Gawyn! Gawyn believes that Rand murdered Morgase and Elayne and is not placated by Egwene’s claims that he didn’t, though he seems to believe that Elayne is safe when Egwene tells him. Egwene tells Gawyn that she loves him and he will be her Warder. He agrees to keep her presence in Cairhien a secret from the Aes Sedai. Meanwhile, the Tower Aes Sedai meet with people of interest, including the High Lord Meilan of Tear and Lady Colavaere of House Saighan in Cairhien.

Rand is watching the Saldaeans practise military manoeuvres in the Tunaighan Hills south of Caemlyn with interest; he has a plan for the Saldaeans but won’t say what. He returns to Caemlyn but someone tries to assassinate him with a crossbow. Four men are captured; three are hanged and the fourth is sent back to Amador with a message for Pedron Niall. Back in the palace Rand learns there is an embassy of Sea Folk to see him, but he delays any such meeting until later in the day. However, he becomes distracted by a lesson in Andoran history by Lady Erien which darkens his mood; he was only listening to see if he and Elayne are distantly related. When it turns out that any such common ancestor is more than eleven centuries in the past, he feels relief and is then disgusted with himself for thinking such things. He Travels to Cairhien and meets with Egwene. A Sea Folk raker is here in the docks and the Wavemistress wishes to see him. Then the Aes Sedai arrive to talk to him and he hastily has to use the Power to make Egwene invisible. The Aes Sedai invite him to go to Tar Valon with him and he makes them think he will accept, but asks them to stay away from the palace until it is time for him to go. After they leave he tells Egwene how he Travels and Egwene begins to get an idea of how saidar might accomplish the same thing, but working in the opposite fashion.

Rand receives word that the Sea Folk here wish to see him again but decides not to involve them just yet. He also receives a message from Queen Alliandre of Ghealdan: she will willingly swear fealty to him if he removes the Prophet from her kingdom. Rand decides that something has to be done about that and soon. Mazrim Taim visits and saves Rand from being killed by a Grey Man. He has word of an impressive find: Jehar Narishma, a man from Arafel and the first Taim has found with the spark to channel inborn like him and Rand, as opposed to those who can learn. Meanwhile, in a farm outside the city Padan Fain is watching, and waiting for his opportunity to strike.

In Salidar Nynaeve is continuing her attempts to Heal stilling. Not getting very far with Siuan and Leane she tries Logain instead. Her experiments suddenly prove successful when she manages to Heal him! The other Aes Sedai frankly disbelieve her until she Heals Siuan and Leane as well. Siuan returns to the Blue whilst Leane switches to the Green, but there is something wrong: Logain is at full strength, but Siuan and Leane are at only half. Repeating the Healing doesn’t help. The Aes Sedai debate what to do with Logain. They should gentle him again, but what message will that send to Rand? News of the Tower Aes Sedai’s arrival in Cairhien has been relayed to the rebels via Tel’aran’rhiod, though given the mutual dislike between the Aes Sedai and the Wise Ones not many details are being relayed. Egwene has finally recovered from the injuries sustained at Lanfear’s hands (The Fires of Heaven) and will attend the next meeting, making the situation simpler. Meanwhile, a woman named Halima Saranov arrives in Salidar, apparently an associate of Delana Mosalaine, one of the Blue Sitters. But Halima is really Aran’gar is disguise and Delana is a sister of the Black Ajah. Aran’gar commands Delana to set her up as a serving woman so she can spy on events in Salidar for the Dark One.

Eamon Valda finally reaches Amador after months on the road. He meets Dain Bornhald, returned a few months from the Two Rivers, and is disgusted to see him drunk on duty. He then encounters Rhadam Asunawa, High Inquisitor of the Hand of the Light. Asunawa is desperate to put Morgase to the Question as she was trained in the White Tower, though her channelling abilities are inadequate even to light a candle. Valda listens to Asunawa’s suggestions with interest. Pedron Niall watches on, knowing they are probably conspiring against him, but is unfazed. He has received another crazed message from his agent in Tanchico, but is startled that this agent has met up with another and made arrangements to smuggle him out of the city; the two agents shouldn’t even know about each other. ‘The Forerunners keep such a guard that not a whisper can pass the walls.’ Niall sends another agent to Tanchico to find out what the hell is going on there. Morgase watches an execution of men suspected to be Darkfriends (they were in fact Andorans planning to rescue her) and finally gives in and signs an alliance with Niall. Niall tells her that once the Prophet is settled, and another matter he has just become aware of, his legions will ride for Caemlyn.

In Cairhien Egwene is annoyed when Sevanna and other Shaido Wise Ones come amongst their fellows: despite the current disfavour the Shaido are in, they may go among the others and be treated with respect for their status as Wise Ones. She avoids the Aiel camp, spending a lot of her time with Gawyn. Several Aiel Maidens try and spy on the palace where the Aes Sedai are staying but are severely punished for their crime. Egwene tries to get to see the Wavemistress of the Sea Folk raker in the harbour, but forgets she is dressed like an Aiel Wise One (since she is an acting apprentice to the Wise Ones) and the Windfinder senses her ability to channel; thinking she is an Aes Sedai trying to sneak aboard in disguise, they dunk her in the water. Egwene retaliates by throwing the Windfinder, Wavemistress and two other crew-women into the river. Realising she is being petty, she returns to the city. Eventually, after several days, she is pronounced ready to return to Tel’aran’rhiod and meets with the rebel Aes Sedai in the reflection of the Stone of Tear. However, before she or the Wise Ones can say anything she is summoned before the Hall of the Tower, a summons that cannot be disobeyed. The Aes Sedai tell her to enter Tel’aran’rhiod physically to accomplish the journey at speed but the Aiel refuse to tell her how it is done; however, from her talk with Rand she thinks she knows how to do it anyway. The Aes Sedai create a map showing where Salidar is in relation to Cairhien and all then depart. Rand steps out from behind a pillar, having come here to check up on Callandor. Now he knows where the rebels are as well. Back in Cairhien the Wise Ones accept Egwene’s decision; the second she was summoned she stopped being their apprentice. However, Egwene admits lying to them, about going into Tel’aran’rhiod in secret and claiming to be Aes Sedai when she was only Accepted. The Wise Ones punish her, though lightly, and she is sent on her way.

Rand Travels to the camp of the Band of the Red Hand, now only three days’ north of Tear. He commands Mat and the Band to go to Salidar and escort Elayne, and Egwene, Nynaeve and whatever rebel Aes Sedai who want to go as well, to Caemlyn. Andor will be in chaos soon unless there is a Queen on the Lion Throne. High Lord Weiramon can command the army on the Plains of Maredo until Rand replaces him with someone more suited to the mission at hand. Mat reluctantly agrees and Rand opens a gateway to the Altaran forests, twenty miles out from Salidar. Aviendha will go with Mat as well as she matters to discuss with Elayne. Rand also gives Mat a letter from Moiraine, a letter meant for Thom Merrilin. Mat leads his troops through.

Egwene enters Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh and travels a third of the way across the continent, emerging just outside Salidar within hours of leaving Cairhien. She is taken before Sheriam and her unofficial ‘council’, the ones who first organised the rebels in Salidar and now the ones running the day-to-day business of the town, leaving the Hall for more urgent matters...though the rumour is that Sheriam and her fellows are the real power here. They tell an astounded Egwene that they want her to be their Amyrlin Seat! More to the point, she is to be raised that very night. The Sitters aren’t pleased by the idea - only nine, half of those present - agree at first, but eventually they come round. Lelaine of the Blue Ajah and Romanda of the Yellow are the last to stand, both candidates for the Amyrlin Seat themselves, but they decide that unity is better than disagreement, for the time being at least.

The next day celebrations are held and Egwene names Sheriam as her Keeper of the Chronicles. She unexpectedly names Nynaeve and Elayne full Aes Sedai, as well as two Accepted, Theodrin and Faolain Orande. Romanda and Lelaine complain, in private, but they cannot undermine the Amyrlin, though they can certainly get rid of her if she does anything else unexpected. Egwene meets with Nynaeve and Elayne and they swap notes on what has occurred. Egwene then demands to see Moghedien. She orders Moghedien to teach her in the ways of the One Power from the Age of Legends, starting with Travelling. Moghedien starts trying to misdirect her, but then Egwene opens a gateway to the Aiel Waste right then and there, having figured it out from her jaunt into Tel’aran’rhiod. She warns Moghedien not to trifle with her, since she won’t know when Egwene is testing her and when she wants something done for real. A stunned Moghedien capitulates. Egwene ‘suggests’ to the Hall that Elayne and Nynaeve be allowed to go to Ebou Dar to search for the bowl ter’angreal and they agree, if reluctantly. Egwene also gets Siuan Sanche to agree to teach her what it means to be Amyrlin, but warns her not to try to manipulate her as these others are doing. Meanwhile, Lelaine and Romanda are already forming factions opposed to Sheriam’s group and Aran’gar commands Delana to support both simultaneously, much to Delana’s horror.

Mat’s army approaches Salidar and Mat and Aviendha journey into the town. Mat is startled to find Egwene as the Amyrlin Seat and finds himself stumped when Elayne refuses to go to Caemlyn yet. Egwene does have a cunning idea and uses the proximity of Mat’s forces to begin stirring up the rebels into preparations to leave. They should begin the march on Tar Valon to liberate the city from Elaida as fast as possible, and staying put will only increase the likelihood of a confrontation between Lord Bryne’s army (already 15,000 strong) and the Band of the Red Hand. The Hall of the Tower reluctantly agrees. Mat meets with Thom and gives him the letter from Moiraine. Thom tells Mat that Elayne, Nynaeve and other Aes Sedai will be off to Ebou Dar soon, another complication that Mat doesn’t like. Yet when Egwene asks him to go with them as escort he caves in. The other Aes Sedai who will accompany them are Vandene and Adeleas Namelle, who have only recently come to Salidar having made an epic journey all the way from Tifan’s Well in Arafel (The Great Hunt). Aviendha tells Elayne that she slept with Rand, but the only way for them to overcome this and remain friends is if they become first-sisters in the Aiel way, and it will take time for their friendship to grow to this point. Elayne tells her that another woman, Min, also loves Rand. Aviendha agrees to meet her at the first opportunity.

Min and the rebel Aes Sedai delegation (led by Merana, of the Grey Ajah) finally reach Caemlyn and Min meets with Rand, who is overjoyed to see her, a plain and simple friend, not someone who can channel or wants to use him. She agrees to effectively ‘spy’ on him for the rebel delegates. Min also hits it off with the Aiel Wise Ones when she has a viewing that one is pregnant with twin girls. Rand visits the farm where the male channellers are being trained and learns that it is being called the Black Tower, an omen he doesn’t like. He decides that the time has come to name his fighters: the Asha’man, meaning dedicated to the last, even when all hope is gone. The Asha’man will have three ranks: soldier or novice, Dedicated and full Asha’man, similar to the Aes Sedai. Rand is startled to find the numbers of Asha’man swelling at an impressive rate: well over a hundred men are now training here, also learning the sword from an Andoran blademaster and unarmed combat from a Red Shield of the Goshien Aiel.

Merana and the other rebel delegates meet with Verin and Alanna and convince them to join the rebel faction. However, Merana feels her authority is in jeopardy, since Verin and Alanna are not part of her delegation and not under her command. They agree to work together to convince Rand that they represent the real Tower, though they have a slight problem that with Verin and Alanna they are eleven in number, too close to thirteen for Rand’s comfort.

In Salidar the party for Ebou Dar sets out: Elayne, Birgitte, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Thom, Juilin, Adeleas, Vandene, Mat, Nalesean, Vanin (one of the Band’s scouts) and Olver. Talmanes is left in command of the Band and Egwene begins making plans on how she can use the ‘threat’ of the Band to strengthen her hand in Salidar.

Perrin, Faile and the force from the Two Rivers arrives in Caemlyn and meets Rand. Perrin also meets his father-in-law, Lord Davram Bashere, who accepts him as son-in-law only after testing his mettle. Rand is amused to learn that Loial is with them, but following a few days behind since he stopped in an abandoned stedding along the way to rest. It seems that Covril, Haman and Erin will face another long walk to find him. Rand asks Perrin to take Mat’s place in command of the armies in Tear but Perrin doesn’t really feel up to it. Meanwhile, Demira, one of the Aes Sedai in Merana’s delegation, is attacked, apparently by Aiel.

Nynaeve and her party arrive in Ebou Dar. The Aes Sedai accept rooms at the Tarasin Palace whilst Mat and his men stay at a nearby inn. Nynaeve and Elayne begin their search for the bowl ter’angreal, but it seems it will be a long task. Queen Tylin is at a loss to help them, though the view from the window in the Tel’aran’rhiod reflection indicates the Rahad, the poor quarter of the city across the river. Elayne and Nynaeve also learn that Jaichim Carridin is in the city as an embassy to Queen Tylin from Pedron Niall, and also that there is a Tower embassy here, though only two Aes Sedai, Teslyn and Joline.

Loial reaches Caemlyn and is shocked to learn his mother is looking for him. Perrin hears from Min about a viewing that Rand will be hurt and may die if Perrin is not there to save him. He turns down Rand’s offer to command the armies in Tear - which are now reaching monstrous proportions - and resolves to stick close to him for the time being. Then seven of the rebel Aes Sedai come to see him in the wake of the attack on Demira. They overturn Rand’s restrictions on entering the Inner City and demand that the Aiel spies around their inn are removed, but Rand shatters one of their Power-wrought illusions, telling them they are playing with fire by defying him. They do not tell him they suspect his hand in Demira’s attack. Min goes to their inn and is horrified to see Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Hawkin are there, having come to Caemlyn from Cairhien; it seems they were bound for the Aiel Waste, having crossed the Erinin when they head of Rand in Caemlyn and turned back. That makes thirteen Aes Sedai in Caemlyn. Coupled with Min’s viewing it is too much. Rand, Perrin, Faile, Loial, Min and numerous Aiel immediately depart the city by Travelling to Cairhien. Rand leaves a message, commanding that no more than six come after him. In the inn Kiruna takes command, ordering Demira and three others to take the Two Rivers girls to Salidar to join the rebels. The others - all nine of them - will go to Cairhien and try again talking to him there.

In Cairhien Rand learns that the Shaido are stirring again in Kinslayer’s Dagger and he orders Rhuarc to stop sending troops south. The Cairhienin will also have to stop stripping their army. Sammael must see the biggest hammer in the world coming at him, but not at the cost of sacrificing Cairhien to the Shaido. Berelain is pleased to see Perrin and begins again the chase, though Faile is not prepared to put up with it and Rhuarc is intent on both stopping acting like idiots. The Tower Aes Sedai propose a meeting with Rand and Rand agrees, but when the Tower embassy arrives there are more than they are supposed to be: additional Aes Sedai have slipped in, disguised as servants, and they shield Rand from the Power, bind him and place him in a small chest. They also take Min captive. When they leave they tell the Maidens that Rand Travelled away before they arrived. The Maidens are puzzled, but it is not an unprecedented situation.

In Ebou Dar the search for the bowl continues. Nynaeve and Elayne encounter a local Wise Woman - the equivalent of a Two Rivers Wisdom - and see her using the One Power to Heal someone. They are puzzled, but their search takes precedence for now.

The rebel Aes Sedai are on the move, heading north and east across Altara towards the Murandian border. Both Bryne’s army and the Band of the Red Hand continue to gather in new recruits as they move. Egwene meets Elayne in Tel’aran’rhiod and updates her on what she has learned from the Aiel Wise Ones in Cairhien. Meanwhile, Myrelle of the Green Ajah rendezvouses with Lan outside the camp: he has finally found her, having come all the way from Cairhien since Moiraine died. She Heals him and ponders what to do next.

In Cairhien Perrin becomes anxious over Rand’s disappearance. Lord Dobraine of House Taborwin, the only Cairhienin lord Rand even begins to consider loyal, tells them that the High Lord Meilan of Tear and Lord Maringil of Cairhien are both dead and that the Lady Colavaere has laid claim to the Sun Throne. The Tower Aes Sedai also seem to have vanished. Then Berelain arrives with the Dragon Sceptre and Rand's sword. Perrin realises what has happened and gathers a pursuit force: Dobraine and 500 Cairhienin troops, Rhuarc and 6,000 Maidens and siswai’d’aman (‘Spears of the Dragon’, Aiel who have actually sworn to the service of the Car’a’carn), ninety-four Wise Ones, including all of those able to channel the One Power in Cairhien, and more than 200 Mayener Winged Guards under Lord Lieutenant Havien Nurelle. Rhuarc would send more Aiel, but he needs the others to deal with a Shaido incursion in the north. Perrin also uses wolves as scouts to locate the Aes Sedai and find out how far ahead they are. Seven days north of Cairhien they run into the nine rebel Aes Sedai and the 300 Two Rivers bowmen who had been heading to Cairhien to join them. Alanna’s bond allowed the Aes Sedai to locate Rand, heading north, and they alter course to follow.

The Battle of Dumai's Wells.

The Tower Aes Sedai reach the watering hole of Dumai’s Wells, not far beyond the northern border of Cairhien. But then Aiel surround them...not Rhuarc’s, but 40,000 Shaido warriors and more than 100 Shaido Wise Ones. Perrin’s force arrives a little later and with absolutely no choice at all they attack, joined by thousands of wolves from the surrounding countryside. As the chaotic battle rages and the death toll escalates into the thousands most of the Aes Sedai maintaining Rand’s shield are called away, until Rand lets the voice of Lews Therin Telamon in his head guide him into channelling in an unusual way, inverting the shield totally, stilling three Aes Sedai. As Rand emerges he sees multiple gateways open as more than 100 Asha’man enter the fray. Rand creates a shield that keeps his enemies out. He lets the Asha’man in and together they create a rolling fireball that eradicates any Shaido nearby. With no choice the Shaido flee, a large proportion of their number dead.

Afterwards they count the cost of the battle. Of the 30 Tower Aes Sedai almost two dozen have been captured, the others fleeing. Most of the Younglings and Warders were captured or killed, though Gawyn Trakand escaped. Only a couple of Asha’man perished, compared to heavy losses sustained by Perrin’s troops. Rand confronts the nine rebel Aes Sedai and gives them a simple choice: swear fealty to him or join their fellows as prisoners under the Asha’man’s watchful eyes. With no choice at all they bend knee and submit, the first Aes Sedai to swear fealty to the Dragon Reborn.

In Cairhien Herid Fel is assassinated by someone - something - that can slip though a crack under a door. In Ebou Dar a man staying at the same inn as Mat rides out of the city, mystified as to Mat’s reference to ‘The Daughter of the Nine Moons’. Still, it matters not for the Seanchan will soon be here and maybe the Daughter will come with them. In the rebel camp Moghedien is rescued by Aran’gar and told she must go to Shayol Ghul to face the Dark One’s wrath. And, at the Pit of Doom, the Dark One gives its approval to Demandred’s action: the Lord of Chaos has been unleashed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These posts are great! When you are finished you should create a separate Wheel of Time blog and post them all there. Too goo to get buried and forgotten!