Monday, 8 October 2012

The Wheel of Time So Far: Part 15 - Knife of Dreams

Previous instalments of the series:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14.

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 confronts the Forsaken Semirhage.

Follow the break for the summary:

Knife of Dreams

A town in Amadicia, held by the Children of the Light. Eamon Valda and Rhadam Asunawa are holding a meeting when a senior officer approaches to tell them that a Child has brought a serious charge against another Child. In the old ways, this can only be settled by a duel to the death. Asunawa thinks that is stupidity, but Valda is suspicious of Asunawa after he arranged their new alliance with the Seanchan. Valda agrees that the old ways may have to be restored. The accusing child is Galad Damodred: he charges Eamon Valda with murdering Morgase Trakand in cold blood. Valda is amused and agrees to the duel, confident of the outcome since he is a blademaster. After a furious battle Valda is defeated and slain. Asunawa and every Questioner in sight flees. Under the same archaic, old rules Galad is now Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light. Stunned, Galad tells his men that the Seanchan have invaded their lands, killed their comrades and captured their fortress. They are enemies. Galad would ally with anyone who can bring down the Seanchan, should they be Aes Sedai, Asha’man or the Dragon Reborn himself. To his surprise, all of the Children present agree. They move out, heading out of Seanchan territory as fast as possible.

Serana, a town in Tarabon, roughly halfway from Elmora to the Amadician border. General Rodel Ituralde attacks a Seanchan encampment outside the town. He has Taraboner Dragonsworn forces draw out the camp’s sul’dam and damane, who are promptly shot down by hidden archers before they can react. The Seanchan forces flee under heavy arrow fire, allowing Ituralde to destroy the stores. Across Tarabon more than 20,000 Domani, Dragonsworn and Taraboner rebels have launched similar strikes. Hopefully this will be enough to goad the Seanchan into chasing them...headlong into a trap. Ituralde’s forces move on, though most of the Taraboner Dragonsworn remain behind to continue the harrying. Ituralde notes that a group of Taraboner civilians were apparently run down by the Seanchan cavalry but can’t find any trace of the corpses. It’s like they were never there and evaporated like mist. Shrugging, he moves on.

In Ebou Dar Suroth can’t sleep because of nightmares over where Tuon is and what she’s doing. Her da’covale Liandrin arrives, possibly with the intention of killing her, but is nearly slain by Suroth’s pet torm. Liandrin tells her one of the Seanchan generals wants to talk to her. General Galgan, commander of the Corenne’s military, reports Ituralde’s raids from across the border: dozens of supply depots up in flames, hundreds of Seanchan soldiers and dozens of damane and sul’dam slain. Lieutenant-General Turan, in command of Seanchan forces in Tarabon, is already planning a punitive expedition to punish the Domani invaders (which is exactly what Ituralde wants, of course). Suroth commands that nine-tenths of the raken in Amadicia and Altara be diverted to help the pursuit and Galgan agrees. However, he will not divert the to’raken from their pre-planned operation elsewhere. He also tells her he is not ready to move against Illian yet and is still concerned about the missing Whitecloaks. Suroth, not used to being contradicted, returns to her chambers in a rage. Semirhage appears and aks Suroth if she would like to command all the Seanchan forces this side of the Aryth Ocean. Suroth points out that to play Empress would invite reprisals from the real Empress. Semirhage tells her that Empress Radhanan is dead. Semirhage killed her and poured her blood over the Crystal Throne. The entire Imperial Family has been slaughtered and the Court of the Nine Moons turned into a bloodbath. Seandar and the next twelve largest cities of the Empire are in flames as the noble families fight for the throne. The Seanchan Empire is in chaos and will soon fall into civil war. What Suroth does this side of the Aryth Ocean won’t be noticed back in the Empire for a long time to come. News will soon be brought by ship to Tarabon and Suroth must be ready to seize control when that happens. She must find and kill Tuon, the only surviving heir of the Imperial Family. Suroth promises to achieve then and sends out word that an imposter Daughter of the Nine Moons is at large in Altara and must be slain no matter the cost.

In the White Tower Pevara visits Tsutama Rath, a former Sitter for the Red Ajah who was exiled years ago during the ‘vileness’. Tsutama has been recalled and appointed the Highest, the head of the Ajah, following Galina Casban’s disappearance. She has received a letter from Sashalle, one of the Red sisters sent to capture Rand al’Thor and who was stilled at Dumai’s Wells and then Healed again. Sashalle’s report reveals that Healing stilling and gentling is possible, confirming that Logain is with the Asha’man and no longer gentled. Most shockingly, Sashalle reveals that she has sworn loyalty to Rand and means to hold that oath until death. Tsutama compares the letter with another she has, from Toveine Gazal, and notes they support one another. Gazal’s letter confirms that Asha’man are bonding Aes Sedai against their will. Tsutama hates men with a passion but is intrigued by the idea of Aes Sedai bonding Asha’man as a way of controlling them without throwing away a valuable resource for the Last Battle. She orders Pevara and another Red Sitter, Javindhra, to make the arrangements to propose the measures to the Asha’man. Javindhra is dead set against the idea but when the Highest speaks, all Red sisters obey. When they ask her what Elaida will think, Tsutama replies she doesn’t care as they won’t let Elaida know until it’s far too late.

Pevara meets with Yukiri and learns that the other hunters have captured Atuan, a Black Ajah member. Atuan has already revealed the names of the two other Black sisters in her heart: Karale Sanghir, a Domani Grey, and Marris Thornill, an Andoran Brown, but both are out of the Tower at the moment. Until they return, the search for the Black Ajah seems to have reached a dead end. However, Talene has received a summons to appear before the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah. Pevara decides that the risk of exposing themselves will be worth it if they can learn of further Black Ajah sisters. Pevara ponders gathering as many sisters as possible and attacking the Supreme Council directly, but Yukiri shoots that idea down. Bringing in too many people will only alert the Black Ajah that they are on the trail.

Seaine arrives from a meeting with Elaida and notes that the Amyrlin is much more in charge of herself than before. Elaida asked her how the search was going. When Seaine mentioned the Black Ajah, Elaida laughed and merely said that she had asked them to expose a link between Rand al’Thor and Alviarin. The hunters are puzzled by this about-face, but now suspect that Elaida might be Black Ajah after all.

Elsewhere, Alviarin stands in shame amongst the White Ajah. Only twenty sisters from the Ajah are in the Tower at the present time and most have taken a negative stand against her, wondering why she threw away the position of Keeper for no real reason. Word about Dumai’s Wells is spreading thanks to Alviarin, trying to get back at Elaida, although it seems likely that Elaida will succeed in deflecting the blame to the actual sisters involved. Two White sisters are debating that perhaps the Dark One’s growing influence on the world is responsible for food spoiling. Alviarin learns that Talene has disappeared and recalls how close Talene appeared to be to Yukiri and Doesine. She sends out orders to the Black Ajah that Talene is to be found and Yukiri and Doesine are be watched. If they can be isolated, the Black Ajah is to take them for questioning.

 Galina Casban meets with Perrin and his lieutenants.
Galina Casban heads out from the Shaido camp surrounding Malden in north-central Altara for a ride, miserably aware that she cannot channel without Sevanna’s permission and living in fear of Thevara. Suddenly, two men appear and apprehend her. Thevara is blindfolded and taken somewhere else. She overhears people talking about someone (‘She’) being cautious and fearing a trap, but doesn’t understand what they are talking about. When the blindfold is removed, she is in the command tent of a small army. The men who captured her are named Gaul and Neald. Grady, Berelain and the Ghealdanin Captain Arganda are present. Perrin Aybara confronts her, demanding to know about the Shaido camp and Faile’s whereabouts. Galina reveals that the Shaido are uncomfortable inside the walls of Malden and avoid the town where possible. The Shaido Wise Ones are also extremely angry that so many of the spear-carriers, mainly the Brotherless but the others as well, are turning to alcohol to endure their shame and hardships. Galina asks Perrin to delay the attack but he refuses. Galina realises that Faile, Morgase and Alliandre know about a lie she told them which will be exposed if they are rescued, confirming her as Black Ajah. She realises they will have to die before the attack. Berelain knocks her out and Neald carries her back to the camp.

In Tar Valon Egwene is taken to the White Tower where she spots Nicola Treehill, the novice who ran away from the rebel Aes Sedai camp. Nicola was hoping to be able to learn to channel faster in the Tower, but her hopes have been dashed. Egwene’s captors, one of whom is Katerine Alruddin of the Red Ajah, refuse to tell her who betrayed her. Egwene is taken to the Mistress of Novices, Silviana, and is told that Elaida has decided that Egwene is a dupe of the rebels and is not to be held accountable for treacherously claiming the title of Amyrlin Seat. Egwene refuses to be bowed. She does learn that Leane was captured as well and that the Tower Aes Sedai think she is a wilder, laughing at her error in claiming to be of the Green Ajah. Egwene tells them that Nynaeve Healed her and she chose Green. They don’t believe her. Egwene tries to warn them that the Seanchan are planning to attack Tar Valon. Katerine and the others don’t believe it, but Silviana agrees to carry the warning to others. Egwene isn’t to be shielded, but will be fed forkroot to keep her channelling under control.

Egwene contacts Siuan through their dreams and Siuan is able to relay her message to the rebel Hall of the Tower. Egwene is to work at destabilising the Tower from within. The Hall is not to authorise Gareth Bryne to launch an attack on Tar Valon. Egwene believes she can undermine Elaida from within the Tower, as the Ajahs in the Tower are already on tenterhooks around one another. Lelaine is impressed by Egwene’s audacity, but is determined to gain the Amyrlin Seat if Egwene is killed or stilled. She enlists Siuan to her side, having discovered Siuan’s real friendship with Egwene.

Another rebel Aes Sedai, Beonin, Travels to the Ogier grove in Tar Valon and adopts a disguise so she can get into the Tower to see Elaida. Beonin is shocked to see an Aes Sedai who died forty years earlier walking through the grove, only to abruptly vanish. In the White Tower Elaida holds a meeting with Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, the deposed King of Illian. Mattin demands Elaida’s assistance in reclaiming his throne from Rand al’Thor and also an apology for the Aes Sedai abducting him. Elaida gives empty assurances and ends the meeting. She then meets with her new Keeper of the Chronicles, Tarna, who reports that the chain blocking Southharbor has only mostly been turned to cuendillar. They can still slip barges around the edges of it to meet supply ships. It’s slow, wearying business but the city can still be resupplied, if only at a fraction of the rate of normal. Elaida curses the rebels’ resourcefulness, noting that removing the cuendillar chains will require demolishing both harbour walls, which could trigger an attack from the rebels. Tarna also reports that people in the city are reporting sightings of the dead. She is sceptical, but Elaida knows of Foretellings from the earliest days of the Aes Sedai confirming that the dead walking will be one of the signs that Tarmon Gai’don is truly imminent.

Beonin enters and makes her report to Elaida: her attempt to sow dissent amongst the rebels when first they fled to Salidar was partially successful, but the election of the rebel Hall of the Tower and then the raising of Egwene halted that plan. Beonin thought it best to remain amongst the rebels and then return once prudent. Elaida and Tarna are doubtful that Beonin knows anything of value, but Beonin ends that by showing them the weaves for both Travelling and Skimming. Beonin also tells them about the secret rebel Aes Sedai agents in the Tower, to Elaida’s shock.

The Forsaken gather in Tel’aran’rhiod, at a reconstruction of the Ansaline Gardens as they were before they were destroyed in the War of the Shadow. They are bemused at the eleven chairs being present, since surely Asmodean and Osan’gar are as dead as Rahvin and Be’lal? Aran’gar flirts with Graendal and suggests an alliance, which Graendal seems to consider.  Moridin arrives with Cyndane and Moghedien in tow. He is pleased that they have all been brought back into line and disciplined for their disobedience to the Dark One (Mesaana looks ill when he says this). He also announces that Sammael is still alive, having resurfaced and ordered a hundred Myrddraal and many thousands of Trollocs into the Ways on an unknown purpose. The other Forsaken are sceptical, though Demandred allows that they might have been mistaken to have assumed that Sammael was dead. Moridin also suggests that it was another of the Forsaken merely disguised as Sammael. Aran’gar muses on the possibility that Cyndane is a resurrected Lanfear, despite being considerably weaker in the Power. Moridin then orders the others to find and kill Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara, but to leave al’Thor alive. Aran’gar swears to obey, along with the others, but has no intention of taking al’Thor alive.

In the forests of Altara Perrin Aybara meets with Banner-General Tylee Khirgan of the Seanchan Ever-Victorious Army. Berelain accompanies him, and Tylee is startled to learn that a direct descendant of Artur Hawkwing yet lives on this side of the Aryth Ocean. Tylee is also bemused by Perrin’s choice of a hammer as his weapon. She quotes to him words from the Seanchan version of The Prophecies of the Dragon, which state that the Last Battle will be imminent when the Wolf King chooses the hammer and when the fox marries the raven.

Cutting through the prophecies and greetings, Perrin proposes an alliance of convenience. The Seanchan forces in this region have been directed to destroy the Shaido Aiel, but were not expecting the overwhelming numbers present at Malden. Perrin wants the Shaido out of his way so he can rescue Faile and the other prisoners. By pooling their resources, they can achieve what neither force could do alone. Tylee is doubtful, until she realises that Perrin has significant numbers of Aes Sedai, Aiel Wise Ones and Asha’man with him. Tylee’s sul’dam are not happy about working with unleashed channellers, but Tylee sees the tactical value in doing so. She only has a dozen damane with her army and there are more than 400 channelling Wise Ones with Sevanna. Perrin also offers a sweetener by renouncing any claim to the Two Rivers being an independent kingdom, which would complicate the Seanchan’s situation should they ever conquer Andor. Tylee agrees to the alliance, but is uncertain on how they can overcome the still-superior numbers of Shaido: more than 100,000 of them are now gathered at Malden. Perrin proposes ‘poisoning’ the town with forkroot to put the channellers all to sleep and Tylee is impressed by the plan.

The town of Malden in northern Altara, held by the Shaido Aiel.

In the Shaido camp, Faile waits on Sevanna as she meets with Therava. Therava proposes they abandon Malden, as their vast numbers have stripped the countryside bare for miles in all directions. Their scouts have found mountains to the north and east, with easily-defended valleys. Sevanna is not keen on moving, however, counter-proposing that they remain and if necessary take up farming to survive. Therava dismisses Sevanna’s plan to find and marry Rand and unite the Shaido under his banner as foolhardy, to Sevanna’s fury. Therava instead means to claim that Couladin was the true Car’a’carn and with him dead the Aiel have no reason to remain this side of the Dragonwall. Therava also takes delight in telling Sevanna that another Shaido sept chief has received permission to go to Rhuidean and attempt the test to become clan chief. If he succeeds, Sevanna will have to stand aside. Sevanna is furious. Faile and the other servants leave the tent, but Faile is shocked when the entire world seems to ripple around her. The others present feel it as well: another sign that Tarmon Gai’don is imminent, perhaps. Back in her tent, Faile learns that one of her allies amongst the other servants has secured the rod-like device that Galina was looking for. Rolan, Faile’s self-appointed ‘protector’ amongst the Aiel, also tells Faile that he knows she is planning to escape. He and some of the other warriors are sickened by the Shaido’s indolence and plan to desert and return to the Waste. He offers to help her escape when the time comes.

Valan Luca’s travelling show remains at Jurador, despite Mat’s requests that they move on with haste. Luca is making a lot of gold from the stop and is plumped up at having a commission from Tuon. Mat, frustrated, goes shopping in the market and finds a staff of black yew, which is usually only found in the Two Rivers and gives the Two Rivers longbow its formidable draw. Mat buys the staff, noting that the seller was not charging nearly enough for its value. He also buys a horse, a Domani razor (so-called for its black and white markings which meet each other as straight as a razor), as a gift for Tuon. Arriving back at the camp, he discovers that Aludra has been buying up materials for her special project, one that requires the services of a bellfounder (and Mat is starting to guess why she might need one).

Leaving her to get one with it, Mat goes to see Tuon, who is talking with Selucia, Olver and Noal. Noal is telling them stories about the lands beyond the Aiel Waste, Shara. Mat asks Noal if he is a relation of Jain Charin’s and Noal guardedly admits he is a distant cousin. Olver is excited to learn that Noal is related to Jain Farstrider, the most famous explorer in the westlands. Selucia and Tuon, who have no knowledge of the legendary hero, are bemused by the exchange. Tuon is also intrigued when Mat starts calling her ‘Precious’ to balance her insistence on calling him ‘Toy’, seeing it as a game she intends to win.

Juilin warns them that Seanchan soldiers are in town and Mat groans at the risk of discovery. It turns out the soldiers are travelling through, looking for recruits for the Seanchan army, and Luca manages to smooth-talk them into moving on from the show. Mat returns to the show but his foxhead medallion goes cold, indicating that women are channelling nearby. Mat discovers that the two captive Seanchan sul’dam Bethamin and Seta being berated by the Aes Sedai Joline, Teslyn and Edesina to the point of physical violence. Furious that their channelling could be detected by any nearby sul’dam or damane, Mat puts Joline across his knee and demands an explanation. Joline tells him that they saw Bethamin channel the One Power under her own volition. Bethamin, who like all sul’dam has been denying that they can learn to channel, became distraught and refused to repeat the attempt. Mat knows that now she’s started channelling on her own, Bethamin must learn to control it or it will kill her. The Aes Sedai present reluctantly agree to teach her.

Somewhat spooked by the Seanchan encounter, Luca has the show move on. As they travel north-eastwards at a gruellingly slow pace, Mat quizzes Aludra about her bellfounder project. He has guessed that Aludra wants to make lofting tubes, of the kind that launch fireworks into the sky. Aludra confirms this, but has a modified design that will fire explosive powder weapons into the enemy’s ranks from ranges up to two miles: a devastating form of explosive artillery. Mat is impressed, but identifies problems with moving the weapons – Aludra calls them ‘dragons’ – at speed. Aludra agrees but states these problems can be overcome with the right resources. Mat tells Aludra that he knows the Dragon Reborn and Rand will want these dragons for his army (this triggers an image in Mat’s head of Rand talking to Loial, possibly a vision of what Rand is doing at that precise moment). Aludra is startled, but believes him. She agrees to accompany Mat when he leaves the travelling show and strikes out on his own.

Egeanin and Bayle Domon finally marry, which brings some cheer to the march, but it remains a frustratingly slow transit across southern Altara. Mat plays stones with Tuon, and one evening is stunned when Tuon casually asks him what he knows about the Dragon Reborn and the Horn of Valere. He replies nothing, but Tuon goes on to say that the Prophecies of the Dragon require Rand to kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai’don. Tuon is happy with her gift of the Domani razor, to the point of racing off into the woods purely to vex Mat. Mat catches up with her in a collection of ruined statues, all that is left of Londaren Cor, the ancient capital of Eharon before its destruction in the Trolloc Wars. Mat recalls a memory of someone dying in a battle near the ruined city and puzzles over how the Eelfinn managed to get that memory when the man died outside of their world. Feeling sick, he ponders if anyone who visits their world is ‘tainted’ so the Eelfinn can stare through their eyes afterwards and store their memories. Could they be looking through his eyes right now?

Back at the show, Mat talks to Setalle Anan and guesses that she was once Aes Sedai. She confirms it. She went to the Tower and accidentally stilled herself during training. Rather than wasting away and dying, she ran off to Ebou Dar and was taken in by her later husband. Through that relationship she found the strength to live on. Unfortunately, Mat is given more headaches when Teslyn, Joline and Edesina learn that Tuon is a Seanchan noblewoman with ties to the Seanchan high command. They badger her incessantly about negotiating a truce and the release of captured channellers until Tuon and Selucia spring a trap on them, using three secreted a’dam to leash them for a few minutes. Mat intervenes and releases them, taking the a’dam away and burying them. However, the three Aes Sedai avoid Tuon after that.

The show passes a village that was abandoned more than a thousand years ago, bustling with life. The village sinks into the ground, taking a passing gleeman with it. As Luca tries to calm his people, Mat realises the time is close when they must leave the show and move on by themselves. That night, whilst Thom fusses over a letter he’s been reading and re-reading constantly, Mat finally asks what it is. Thom tells him it’s a letter given to him by Moiraine before her ‘death’. And in the letter she asks Thom to give the letter to Mat but only when he asks about it. Puzzled, Mat reads the letter and is shocked to see that Moiraine foresaw that she would become a prisoner of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn in the world beyond the redstone doorways and that Mat, Thom and another man she does not know would rescue her. Mat is bemused about how they will do this, given the doorway was destroyed in Cairhien, but Olver chimes in that Birgitte told him about the Tower of Ghenjei, an alternate gateway to the lands of the foxes and snakes. They don’t know where the gateway is, but Mat recalls a distorted memory from travelling on Domon’s ship along the River Arinelle after the battle at Shadar Logoth (The Eye of the World) that might be a clue. Mat agrees to go once they are out of Altara, with Thom and Noal also volunteering. The dice that Mat hears constantly spinning in his mind, and has done for months, stops dead when he makes the decision.

In Maderin, the next village along the road, Thom learns that the Seanchan have placed an army on the main road across the border into Murandy. They are forcing every passing woman to drink a kind of tea, and those who react to it are taken prisoner. They are also looking for a young, dark woman ‘claiming’ to be the Daughter of the Nine Moons, an imposter who must be dealt with. There have also been reports of strange murders in the villages to the south-west: possible evidence of the gholam on their trail. Mat gives orders for their group to leave Luca’s show immediately, especially after he is jumped by a group of rogues outside the inn. He, Thom, Selucia and Tuon manage to dispatch them

Perrin, General Tylee Khirgan and various attendants Travel (via Asha’man, so the Seanchan damane cannot see or learn the weaves for Travelling) to the Amadician town of Almizar to arrange for the brewing of enough forkroot to take down Malden. Whilst in the town Perrin sees a man vomit up a stream of beetles and die, another sign of the Dark One’s touch on the Pattern. Outside, two assassins armed with bows try to kill Perrin, but he survives. The two assassins commit suicide rather than be taken alive.

In Caemlyn, one of the city gates falls under assault from the besiegers but the attack is quickly repulsed. Elayne lacks the strength to hold all twenty-four miles of the city walls, so instead she has lookouts posted and channellers ready to open Travelling gateways to quickly rush troops to where they are needed. So far this has been successful, but chancy due to Elayne’s lack of manpower. This is at least addressed when Elayne’s supporters outside the city successfully link up with one of Elayne’s channellers scouring the countryside looking for allies and bring ten thousand fresh troops into the city on Elayne’s side, under Captain Charlz Guybon. Many of these troops are men that Gaebril (Rahvin) discharged from the Queen’s Guard due to their loyalty to Elayne’s mother and so are trustworthy. Elayne is also heartened as her various channelling allies continue to bring fresh supplies into the city by Travelling, meaning that the siege is completely ineffectual.

Back in the palace, Elayne is baffled to find that the layout to the place has somehow shifted without anyone noticing. She and Aviendha work on a possible Talent that Aviendha has shown signs of developing: the ability to identify ter’angreal by touch alone. During the work, Aviendha is summoned to rejoin the Aiel: they are departing Caemlyn on the direct orders of the Car’a’carn, and will not tell even Elayne where they are going.

Elayne has grown suspicious of Doilin Mellar, especially after several men she put to follow him all showed up dead. Her First Clerk has found another man to tail Mellar, Hark, whom he believes will be better-suited to the task. Elayne agrees. Elayne goes to the map room to gain an oversight of the overall tactical situation. Caemlyn remains surrounded by the armies under Arymilla Marne, but other forces are nearby: Lord Luan and the other neutral lords, along with more than sixty thousand troops, all undeclared, have set up came several dozen miles to the south. The 200,000 Borderlanders are a similar distance to the north-east, but heading south following false reports of the Dragon Reborn near or in Murandy. The Aiel are packing up and leaving. Elayne is unsure if the Legion of the Dragon and Bashere’s Saldaeans are staying or going, and sends messengers to find out. The intentions of the Black Tower, located not far south of the city, also remain unknown. Dyelin arrives from negotiations with Luan and his faction, but has not managed to sway them to Elayne’s cause. However, they are content to remain neutral for the time being.

Vandene arrives with dire news which she gives Elayne alone: Reanne Corly of the Kin is dead, having been smothered by the One Power, likely by the same person who killed Adeleas. This narrows the number of possible suspects for the murderer to just two, Careane and Sareitha.

At Lord Algarin’s manor house in the Tairen countryside, Rand continues to recover after the Cleansing. Loial has been asking him and Nynaeve for a full account of the event for the book he is writing, but is disappointed by how humdrum they made it sound. Rand is startled when Lews Therin talks to him in his mind, believing that there is a link between the two of them and the man they fought alongside in Shadar Logoth (Moridin), formed when their balefire streams touched (A Crown of Swords). Lews Therin reveals to Rand that the man was using the True Power – a form of the One Power drawn from the Dark One – to create his balefire stream, which might have something to do with the odd situation. Then Lews Therin drifts back into madness and Rand banishes the voice.

Logain arrives with reports: Elayne holds Caemlyn and Arymilla maintains the siege, but they seem to be at stalemate. More than half of the Black Tower has departed for Arad Doman and Illian, including all of those with bonded Aes Sedai, as per Rand’s orders. Rhuarc and Dobraine have taken large contingents of Aiel and Cairhienin into Arad Doman to pacify the country and restore order, with Rhuarc given responsibility for the capital at Bandar Eban. Rand wants the country pacified so as to support his efforts at the Last Battle and also to form a bulwark against the Seanchan who are spreading across Almoth Plain and starting to threaten Arad Doman’s southern borders.
Logain warns Rand that Taim has built a loyal core of Asha’man at the heart of the Black Tower only loyal to him. He has amended the ‘accidental’ list he put up of deserters with the names of Rand’s most loyal Asha’man on it, but Logain is certain it was no accident. However, Rand is not sure he can trust Logain either. Cadsuane warns Rand that the truce he is proposing with the Seanchan will not be popular. Rand agrees, but reveals he was told this in the doorway ter’angreal in Tear: the north and the east must be as one with the west and the south (already held by the Seanchan). Rand believes that he must therefore conquer or win over the north – Arad Doman and the Borderlands – and then he must ally with the Seanchan to fight the Last Battle. Cadsuane agrees this is a valid interpretation of the prophecy, though not the only one.

News arrives that three Ogier, including Loial’s mother and his betrothed, Erith, have arrived. Loial panics, until he is settled by Rand and Cadsuane, and goes to meet with them. They reveal that, having chased Loial halfway across the westlands and back again, they’d given up and been heading back to Stedding Shangtai in the Spine of the World (not far from Algarin’s mansion) only for providence to put Loial right in their path. With no further ado, Elder Haman marries Erith and Loial. Loial’s mother reveals that the Great Stump is meeting to discuss when to open the Book of Translation. When this is done, the Ogier will depart this world, to return tens of thousands of years hence when the Wheel demands it. Loial is aghast that the Ogier are even considering fleeing the Last Battle rather than standing alongside humanity against the Shadow. He decides to address the Great Stump, which his mother laughs at: he is far too young. However, Erith points out that any married Ogier may address the Stump, to his mother’s considerable shock. Loial says that he will raise the point that the Ogier have always fought the Shadow, in the War of the Power and the Trolloc Wars, and have not fled. If the Shadow wins at Tarmon Gai’don, all of time and space will be lost, threatening not just this world but any other that the Ogier might flee to.

Further ruminations are abandoned when he spots an enormous army of Trollocs approaching the house. Everyone is alerted and takes up defensive positions, but the number of attackers is overwhelmingly huge. Rand tries to grasp the One Power but suddenly Lews Therin seizes it away from him and begins creating weaves of a type that Rand has never seen before: war-weaves from the War of the Shadow which have not been seen or used in three and a half thousand years. Blossoms of Fire – air-mines that detonate when Shadowspawn pass near them – are joined by Deathgates, Travelling gatways that suck anything near them into oblivion, and Arrows of Fire, filaments of energy that can strike through multiple ranks of enemies, killing them. The Asha’man see what Rand is doing and copy him, unleashing the One Power on a scale that utterly dwarfs even Dumai’s Wells. Trollocs and Myrddraal are annihilated by the thousands, but they are numerous enough that they still nearly reach the manor house. Only the joining of a channeller not far off Rand’s power – Logain – fully reverses the tide. The remaining Shadowspawn are destroyed. Rand, drawing on Lews Therin’s knowledge, tells the others that Shadowspawn cannot survive passage through a gateway. This explains why the Forsaken simply have not flooded the westlands with them. They can use the Ways, but transit through a gateway destroys them.

The channellers set about disposing of the Shadowspawn corpses, but Rand is sent a note from Verin. She is leaving to pursue a different course. She warns him that he can trust Cadsuane, but the other Aes Sedai are suspect, even those who have sworn fealty to him. Loial then arrives and tells Rand he must go to Stedding Shangtai and address the Great Stump. Rand says farewell, but also points out that he needs Ogier to secure every single Waygate in the westlands. If they do not do this, Shadowspawn could flood into the heart of the land at any time. Elder Haman agrees to perform this task himself. Bashere then arrives with word from the Seanchan setting the time and place for the meeting with the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Rand agrees to the terms.

Nynaeve and Lan watch the corpses being burned and Lan expresses discomfort with the time Rand is taking to settle the Seanchan. This attack may be a harbinger of the Last Battle itself. If so, Shadowspawn armies may be gathering right now to invade the Borderlands. Nynaeve offers to take him to Shienar, but on the condition that he rides to Fal Moran and gathers in as many men who want to follow him as possible. Lan reluctantly agrees. Nyaneve takes him by gateway…to World’s End in Saldaea, almost three thousand miles from Fal Moran. Nynaeve departs before he can stop her, leaving him with the entire length of the Borderlands to ride to get home. Nynaeve Travels ahead of him, hopping from town to castle to village, telling people that the Last King of Malkier is going home and all who wish to ride with him to Tarmon Gai’don can do so.

Rand, Cadsuane, Min, Nynaeve and others of their group arrive in Tear. Rand wishes to inspect the situation there and finds the city thronged with Sea Folk. A vast armada of Sea Folk rakers and other ships lies anchored in the Fingers of the Dragon to the south, ready to fight the Seanchan fleets (or what’s left of them, after Ebou Dar) if necessary. Rand is startled to see a steam-wagon charging through the streets. He saw the same thing in Cairhien being designed at the academy and is impressed by the progress that’s been made, especially when he learns that the steamwagon travelled from Cairhien to Tear doing more than a hundred miles per day.

There are other strangers in the city: Rand sees a man wearing unusual clothes speaking of worms on his ship that spin silk, which he takes for a scam. He also hears a Seanchan voice, but cannot find who it belongs to. Taking a room at an inn, he opens a Travelling gateway into the Heart of the Stone and his party goes through. They locate High Lord Darlin Sisnera, Rand’s Steward for Tear, along with Alanna, the Aes Sedai who bonded Rand as a Warder against his will (Lord of Chaos). To Rand’s fury, High Lord Weiramon is also present, having broken his orders to stay in Cairhien to ride to Tear’s relief. When Rand learns that the other High Lords of Tear are returning home from Illian, despite the Seanchan on their doorstep, he almost explodes in a rage. He is mollified, however, when the Aes Sedai negotiating with the rebel Tairens report that they will put down their arms and swear fealty to Darlin as King of Tear. Rand accepts that, and a dazed Darlin is proclaimed King of Tear, the first in the nation’s history. Rand then orders Darlin to prepare forces to be sent to Arad Doman to get ready for Tarmon Gai’don.

The First Twelve of the Atha’an Miere host a meeting in the harbour of Illian where, as in Tear, vast numbers of Sea Folk ships are gathering. Amongst them are Seanchan warships, captured during the great escape from Ebou Dar. The Sea Folk consider these vessels inferior and are refitting them with better Sea Folk sails for battle. Harine din Togara, former ambassador to the Dragon Reborn, is summoned to the meeting, where the First Twelve are confronting his emissary, Logain. Logain asks the Sea Folk to carry supplies for a million people to Bandar Eban, from where they will be distributed to all of Arad Doman. The Sea Folk are stunned, but agree to the request. Then another Sea Folk Sailmistress arrives with distressing news: the Amayar, the shorebound inhabitants of the Sea Folk islands, have committed mass suicide. Hundreds of thousands of them are dead, apparently in response to the ‘Time of Illusions’ ending, triggered by the statue on Tremalking glowing and then melting (during the Cleansing). The Sea Folk mourn but, as Logain tells them, they must mourn on the march to Tarmon Gai’don.

In the rebel Aes Sedai camp outside Tar Valon, Romanda is summoned to a meeting of the Hall. Lelaine has been contacted by an Aes Sedai not attached to either the rebels or the Tower who wishes to address them. The Aes Sedai, Merise, is one of those sworn to Rand who has taken two Asha’man as Warders. They are here to make an offer on Rand’s behalf. Before they can begin, however, one of the Asha’man angrily says that someone just tried to listen in on the meeting using saidin. The Aes Sedai are confused, and in the moment Delana manages to slip away unnoticed. Another Aes Sedai eagerly requests permission to test a weave that will supposedly tell if a man is channelling and is given it, to the irritation of most of the others. One of the Asha’man Warders, Jahar, then lays the offer on the table: the rebel Aes Sedai may choose forty-seven Asha’man to bond as Warders. As Lelaine and Romanda had been thinking about making that offer themselves, this is providential. Merise also confirms that saidin has been cleansed of the Dark One’s taint, to the wonder of the Aes Sedai present.

Romanda is happy with the bargain…until someone asks Jahar why forty-seven. He replies that the Asha’man have bonded fifty-one of the Tower Aes Sedai who tried to raid the Black Tower, so this restores the balance. The assembled rebels are horrified. Jahar then reveals there was another Asha’man bonded to an Aes Sedai who died during the Cleansing, Eben Hopwil. He reveals that Eben died fighting a woman who could channel saidin, somehow. Romanda suddenly realises that several recent murder victims amongst the rebels were friends or associates of Halima, who in turn is friends with Delana…who just fled the meeting at the news of saidin being used to listen in. The Hall orders Delana and Halima arrested immediately, but find they have already fled by Travelling.

Within the White Tower, Egwene’s defiance against captivity continues. She is sent every day for punishment to the Mistress of Novices, Silviana, but maintains an air of calm and poise. She refuses to give honours or titles to any Aes Sedai, maintains her claim to be the Amyrlin Sea and refuses to take orders from anyone, particularly Accepted. During one-on-one ‘lessons’ Egwene discovers she can use the division and suspicion planted by Elaida and Alviarin amongst the Ajahs to her own advantage, getting some of the Aes Sedai to admit that Elaida is a poor Amyrlin. She is also allowed to see Leane in the White Tower cells and Leane suggests escape, but Egwene thinks she can do more within the Tower than outside it. Egwene is more bemused when Alviarin offers to help her escape, but rejects it. On another day she is stopped by King Mattin Stepaneos, who knows she is a childhood friend of Rand’s. He throws a list of Rand’s ‘crimes’ against her, such as Colavaere’s death and the deaths of Tairen and Cairhienin lords, but is surprised when Egwene throws the truth back at him: Colavaere committed suicide and Rand has made both Tarien and Cairhienin lords Stewards of those lands. Egwene tells him that the Aes Sedai are divided and untrusting of one another, and show contempt in now giving him the truth, only a highly edited version of it. Mattin is escorted away, thoughtful at what Egwene has said.

On another day, Egwene bumps into Beonin and declares her Black Ajah, as Beonin was able to disobey her oaths to Egwene. However, Beonin starts choking on words that she has betrayed nothing, indicating she is still bound by the Three Oaths. It turns out that Beonin evaded her oath to Egwene by logic: with Egwene a prisoner, she cannot be Amyrlin any more and oaths sworn to her do not hold. When Egwene points out she is still Amyrlin and the the rebels remain in the field and in communication with her, Beonin reluctantly admits that she was wrong. She tells Egwene what she has told Elaida. Egwene orders Beonin to find the rebel moles in the Tower and warn them that Elaida knows who they are. Beonin agrees. During her next visit to Silviana, Egwene gets her into conversation about how Elaida enforces penances not in the Tower law on sisters and Silviana expresses her distaste for it.

In the Amyrlin’s study, Elaida meets with Meidani, a girlhood friend but also one of the rebel Aes Sedai sent to infiltrate the Tower. After she leaves, Tarna notes she almost seemed afraid, like she knew that Elaida knew who she was. Elaida dismisses the possibility. They discuss news from the world: the rebellion against the Seanchan in Tarabon seems to have died down, disappointingly. Work on dismantling the harbour towers so they can get rid of the cuendillar chains is underway, but is going ridiculously slowly: the wards on the towers are three thousand years old and as strong now as when they were first created. Elaida asks how Egwene is doing and is amused at reports of her defiance. She orders that Elaida wait on her that night at dinner, which Tarna can see going well.

Mat and his followers are proceeding north-east towards the Damona Mountains, a low range of craggy mountains created in the Breaking of the World that is near to the border between Altara and Murandy. Vanin, the most disreputable of Mat’s allies, knows of a smuggler’s trail that leads over the mountains into Murandy. For once, it looks like things are going Mat’s way. This feeling is reinforced when Talmanes arrives! A large chunk of the Band of the Red Hand are nearby, having been encouraged to ‘leave’ Murandy when King Roedran was done with their services (the rest have gone into Andor to wait for Mat and Talmanes there).

Talmanes’s arrival causes consternation in the camp. The Aes Sedai are confused to learn that the Amyrlin Seat is some girl called Egwene al’Vere they’ve never heard of, or if they have only as an Accepted. Tuon is, for once, left startled at the news that Mat has his own private army and angry by the news that he personally knows Rand al’Thor. She also learns that Mat is ta’veren, but curiously the Seanchan Prophecies make no mention of the term and she dismisses it as a superstition. Mat is stunned to learn that the Band is six times the size it was when he left it in Salidar. Unfortunately, Mat learns that the pass they were planning to use has been closed by a landslide and there is no other way over the mountains. They need another route. Reuniting with the Band, he begins studying maps showing the border and making military preparations. Tuon maintains a calm demeanour, but inside is stunned that she had no real idea who Mat Cauthon is.

Ghealdan, Amadicia and northern Altara, showing the location of Malden and Perrin's army. From the Thirteenth Depository Blog.

Perrin and Tylee’s armies are gathered some distance from Malden. They have started pouring forkroot into the water supply feeding the town and now have to wait for it to become effective. Tylee reports that seven thousand Whitecloaks have been spotted fifty miles from their position, heading north and east. Their intelligence confirms that Galad Damodred has killed and supplanted Eamon Valda before abandoning the Seanchan cause, which is happy news for some of those present. The Seanchan are under orders to destroy the Whitecloaks if possible, but not at the expense of their current mission. In Malden itself Faile makes contact with Galina and tells her she has the white rod. They agree to exchange it the next day, in a desolate part of the town away from prying eyes.

Rand al’Thor and his party arrive at the meeting place with the Seanchan, at a noble homestead in northern Altara. Both Nynaeve and Cadsuane are equipped with a formidable array of ter’angreal from Cadsuane’s large collection, to ensure no trap can be sprung. As they draw close to the house and several Seanchan emerge to meet them, one of the ter’angreal reveals that one of the Seanchan has inverted her weave and masked her ability to channel from other channellers. One of Cadsuane’s ter’angreal then shatters the Seanchan’s weave, revealing her to be Semirhage in disguise. Rand, recognising her, reaches for the Power, only to be stopped by Lews Therin, who grapples for it as well. During the moment of stasis Semirhage launches a fireball at Rand. He takes the impact on his upper arm, losing his hand in the process, before Cadsuane and Nynaeve overwhelm Semirhage and the Seanchan present with the Power. Gateways open and Rand’s forces surround the area. Rand shrugs off his horrendous injury but Cadsuane wants to know how he recognised Semirhage. The Forsaken herself replies, stating that some people who hear voices in their heads are sometimes hearing the voices of their past lives. Those voices are real and the information they have is real, but it is also indicative of a fractured personality. The damage has been done and Rand will now likely go insane and could do so…abruptly. Rand’s allies seem sceptical of Semirhage’s claims, but also seem warier of him now.

Rand orders the other Seanchan sent back to Ebou Dar with orders to offer a real truce to the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Semirhage will remain his prisoner. Nynaeve is horrified when she finds that Semirhage had also come equipped with the a’dam for men that Egeanin had supposedly sent to the bottom of the Aryth Ocean.

Mat's journey from Ebou Dar to the Damona Mountains. From the 13th Depository Blog.

In Altara, Mat has hit upon his strategy. The Seanchan army blocking the way into Murandy is occupying the Molvaine Gap, the central pass through the Damona Mountains carrying the main road. This army is guarding against any attack out of Murandy and is not meant for offensive duties, so Mat hopes he can draw this army out more easily than any other. Once they’ve convinced the Seanchan they are in once place when they are in another, then they can slip past and through the mountains. As the Band launch raids on Seanchan supply camps all along the mountains to the west, Mat hopes to get the Seanchan moving and to get the Band back together fast enough for them to move past. It’s a tricky plan involving complex timing, but it’s the only idea he has. One of the raiding forces pulls a Seanchan pursuit force out behind them, which Mat meets with the Band’s crossbowmen. Using a new hand-crank which can fire seven times a minute, they massacre the Seanchan force with ease.

In Malden Faile and Morgase – still in disguise as ‘Maighdin’ – hand over the white rod to Galina in a derelict building. Galina goes to see if the coast is clear, but the building then collapses on top of Faile and Morgase. They survive, but are trapped. Using her minuscule ability with the Power, Morgase is able to make a nearby scrap of cloth blow, hoping it will attract attention. Galina meanwhile, having caused the collapse, flees out of the area as fast as possible, just in time to see Perrin’s army cresting a nearby rise over the town.

Perrin’s forces – including Masema’s rabble – array for battle, and they are joined by Tam al’Thor and a number of extra troops from the Two Rivers, brought by gateway. Tam reproachfully tells Perrin that Asha’man have visited the Two Rivers recruiting, and they said that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Perrin apologetically says there is no time for that and they must prepare for the fight ahead. Aram, the Tinker who picked up a sword in the Two Rivers, asks to fight at Perrin’s side.

Battle is joined. The Shaido respond to the unexpected appearance of Perrin’s forces and their Wise Ones attack…but only a dozen of them, the rest feeling the effects of the forkroot. Perrin’s channellers easily negate their attacks and the Two Rivers bowmen open fire, their superior range pummelling the Shaido’s ranks from well outside the range they were expecting. The Shaido rush Perrin’s army, only to run into a hail of fire from his lesser-ranged troops and the channellers present. A large Shaido flanking force wheels round to hit the side of Perrin’s army, only to be crushed by the Seanchan forces emerging from the woods behind them.

Perrin’s forces drive into the Shaido camp and gain the upper hand, but Perrin is surprised when Aram turns and attacks him. Aram tells him he had a revelation from the Prophet, that Perrin is evil Shadowspawn and was responsible for the attack on the Two Rivers. Perrin is unable to defend himself, but two Shaido archers kill Aram instead. Perrin, shaken, rejoins the fight.

Rolan helps Faile and her comrades escape the ruin, but is then killed by Perrin, thinking him to be a hostile Shaido. He and Faile are reunited. The battle is won, the Shaido put to rout and the prisoners freed. Tylee arrives and congratulates Perrin on their victory. She has a prize of her own: Sevanna. Sevanna is incredulous that she had the Queen of Ghealdan and a high lady of Saldaea as her captives and knew nothing of it. Faile claims her jewels in order to pay for food for the tens of thousands of former prisoners, ex-gai’shan and other survivors of the battle. Tylee and Perrin shake hands and she hopes not to face him across the battlefield. Comparing notes, Perrin and Faile also realise that Galina must be Black Ajah, which the Aes Sedai present take note of.

Escaping the immediate area, Galina prepares to use the rod to free herself of her oaths…but Therava intervenes, ordering her to hand the rod over. She forbids Galina to touch the rod or to try to escape ever again. She calmly tells her they will gather in every Aes Sedai they can and then return to the Aiel Waste, where they were rebuild the Shaido slowly, over generations if necessary. And Galina will be her gai’shain for life. Satisfied, Therava leads the way eastwards, the former Highest of the Red Ajah and a member of the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah trailing at her heels.

In Caemlyn another Kinswoman has been murdered, making the rest of the chanellers in Elayne’s entourage uneasy. Elayne enforces the command that no-one is alone for long periods, but this is not always practical. A member of the Red Ajah, Duhara Basaheen, barges into the palace and confronts Elayne, telling her she has been sent by Elaida to serve as Elayne’s Aes Sedai advisor, until such time that she can return to the Tower and be properly tested for the shawl. Elayne finds the idea ludicrous and has Duhara ejected from the palace.

Hark returns to the palace and confirms that he was able to follow Mellar to a house in the New City district. The house is owned by one Lady Shiaine Avarhin, about whom little is known. Hark reports seeing two Aes Sedai at the house. From his description, Elayne realises they are Marillin Gemalphin and Falion Bhoda, two of the Black Ajah who fled the White Tower along with Liandrin (between The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn). She decides that she and three other Aes Sedai will enter the house and shield and capture the two Black sisters, whilst their Warders and other soldiers form a perimeter. Unbeknown to the other Aes Sedai, Elayne knows that one of them is Black Ajah as well, and plans to flush them out with this plan.

They arrive at the house and attempt to apprehend the Black sisters and Shiaine, but they are overwhelmed by four other Black Ajah sisters who were hiding nearby. They use a ter’angreal to disable Elayne and her group and prevent them from channelling the One Power. Smugly, they congratulate themselves on Elayne’s capture, and reveal that Careane was the traitor in Elayne’s group. Vandene recovers fast enough to stab Careane through the heart, but is killed in turn by the Black sisters. They also kill Sareitha, leaving Elayne as their sole prisoner.

The dead Aes Sedai’s Warders try to rescue them, but are dispatched. Birgitte manages to escape back to the palace, where she gathers a rescue party consisting of soldiers. With Elayne’s loyal Aes Sedai dead, she has to use the Windfinders to create gateways instead. Aware of Elayne’s location through the Warder bond, she identifies what route the Black sisters are taking and has the Windfinders prepare to open a gateway in their path to lay an ambush. The Windfinders agree, but remind Birgitte that their bargain with Elayne expressly forbids them from intervening in her war. However, word comes of a massed attack on the Far Madding gate from both outside and within, with some of the mercenaries that Elayne has hired trying to seize the gatehouse. Birgitte sends forces to deal with them, realising she cannot lose both Elayne and Caemlyn in the same night.

Birgitte’s forces mount their attack, but the Black Ajah make mincemeat out of them. Birgitte reminds the Windfinder leader, Chanelle, that if Elayne dies or is captured, her bargain with the Sea Folk is null and void. Chanelle reluctantly uses her Windfinders to shield and imprison the Black Ajah, killing one of them, Asne, outright. Elayne is freed. Informed of the attack on the Far Madding Gate, Elayne realises this is Arymilla’s big push and that she will be with the assault so she can fulfil her promise to be one of the first into Caemlyn.

The Battle for Caemlyn. From the 13th Depository Blog.

The Windfinders – reluctantly – open a gateway to near the Far Madding Gate. Elayne sees that the gate still holds. Wasting no time, she has her troops attack Arymilla’s forces as they are pinned against the walls. As the attack is launched, the Elayne’s forces inside the walls open the gates and charge Arymilla’s forces, trapping them between two groups. Arymilla’s army, despite its superior numbers, panics and routs. Arymilla and her senior supporters are captured and brought before Elayne. One of them, Sylvase Caren, swaps sides, swearing her House to Elayne’s support. Two of the other Houses also swap sides, giving Elayne nine of the ten Houses needed to take the throne. The others are imprisoned. Elayne is informed that the neutral Andoran nobles are now approaching the city, and within a few hours she will know if she has to fight another battle.

In Altara, the Seanchan Furyk Karede and his troops – including the elite Ogier shock troops known as Gardeners – are in hot pursuit of Tuon. They come across a staging post for other Seanchan troops and learn that Tuon and her abductors are to the north-east, near the Malvide Narrows, the large pass through the Damona Mountains. The Seanchan have suffered numerous, repeated attacks across a large front by an enemy force capable of putting out thousands of crossbow bolts and creating huge explosions, surely a sign of Aes Sedai involvement. Karede is puzzled, as if Aes Sedai or Asha’man are involved, why has the enemy simply not Travelled away with Tuon? He learns that General Chisen is bringing his entire army back through the mountains, believing it more important to find the ‘impostor’ and kill her and her supporters than to continue guarding the Andoran and Murandian borders. Karede is aware that there is no impostor, and resolves to rescue Tuon before she is inadvertently killed by her own troops.

Luan and the other neutral lords arrive in Caemlyn and present themselves to Elayne. They request an alliance against the Borderlanders, but Elayne stumps them when she reveals she gave the
 Borderlander rulers permission to cross Andor (under her authority as an Aes Sedai, not as Queen of Andor without having won the throne) to search for the Dragon Reborn. She reveals they are leaving Andor via the southern border, having been led to think that Rand is in Murandy. Lords Luan and Abelle are impressed by her diplomacy and declare for her, giving her eleven of the great Houses in support. The others follow, apart from Ellorien Traemane (whom Morgase ordered to be flogged when she was under Rahvin’s influence). Ellorien accepts Elayne’s victory and authority, but will not lend her support or allegiance before Elayne is crowned. Nevertheless, Elayne Trakand has won the Lion Throne of Andor and ended the civil war.

Furyk Karede’s troops locate Mat Cauthon’s army. Karede decides to attempt negotiation to secure Tuon’s return. Though he is confident of his troops’ capabilities, he is concerned that their only damane is a former Aes Sedai who, still held by the Three Oaths, cannot be used as a weapon. Much to Karede’s astonishment, Mat simply agrees to hand Tuon over. He is aware of Chisen’s army pulling back through the gap and in fact planned for it: he means to slip past them and out of Altara. Karede is impressed, and then stunned when Tuon announces three times that Mat Cauthon is her husband, completing the wedding ceremony.

Mat is astonished and wants to know why. Tuon tells Mat that one of her damane had a Foretelling before they reached Ebou Dar, telling Tuon that she would marry the fox that makes the ravens fly, who remembers Hawkwing’s face, who would set her free of his own volition and who would bear the mark of the red hand. Mat tells her that he was told he would marry the Daugter of the Nine Moons by the Aelfinn, but she doesn’t believe that. Scouts report that ten thousand Seanchan troops – actually mostly Amadician, Altaran and Taraboner levies – are ten miles to the west and that Karede will have trouble getting past them. Mat proposes that the Band cause a diversion to allow Karede’s forces to leave.

Mat lures the Seanchan force into an ambush, using Karede’s Ogier troops to make the other force think Tuon is with them. The bulk of the Band stands and fights, using their superior crossbows and Aludra’s latest invention – sling-like weapons that propel splinters of stone and rock through the air using small explosions – to rain destruction on the Seanchan army before it can close. When it does close the distance, the Aes Sedai are able to use the One Power to complete its destruction. The attacking force is killed to the last man. The Ogier Gardeners decapitate the leader of the group and take it back to Tuon as a trophy. Before they depart, the Seanchan salute Mat’s ingenuity and also reveal that, as Tuon’s husband, he now has the title Prince of Ravens and must be addressed as ‘Highness’ by all Seanchan forces, to Mat’s dismay.

In Ebou Dar, the  Seanchan are in mourning. Word has arrived confirming that the Empress is dead and the Empire is in ruins as every noble fights for the Crystal Throne. Suroth is furious to learn that the forces she sent after Ituralde into Arad Doman have run into a trap: thousands of Domani troops moved out of the mountains where they were hiding to block the Seanchan’s retreat, whilst thousands more have joined him to stand and fight. Even with raken and damane, that army is hugely outnumbered and could now easily be destroyed. This news emboldens Galgan to claim command of the all the troops in the Corenne and confirm that the Forerunners – and Suroth – has been subsumed under his command. Suroth begins plotting Galgan’s death, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Karede and Tuon. They display the head of the Seanchan sent to kill her, Elbar, known to be Suroth’s minion. Suroth is arrested, stripped of all her titles, and made da’covale (slave) to the Deathwatch Guard. She will ultimately be sold as a common slave. Suroth screams as she is taken into custody.

Pevara, Tarna and other Red sisters arrive at the Black Tower to carry out Tsutama’s command to find Asha’man for Red sisters to bond as Warders. They are surprised when Mazrim Taim agrees extremely readily to the suggestion. When they ask why, he responds, “Remember the old saying. Let the lord of chaos rule.”


Mark said...

Great re-cap as always Adam. I'd forgotten about the large numbers of Asha’man that had left the Black Tower (I thought it was a much smaller number). This solves a problem I had with the last book (ToM).

Ikigai said...

I discovered in the last 2 years the epic fantasy after watching/reading A Song of Ice and Fire and reading the books from the Wheel of Time. What other great series should I start reading now that I am waiting for the last book of the WoT series?

Anonymous said...

You really can't go wrong with Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy and sequels, or (my personal favourite series) Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy (part of the Second Apocalypse).


Ikigai said...


Brian said...

Adam, can't thank you enough for your 15 recaps. MoL sits on my table, desperate to be read, and it would have taken me months to catch up without your immense work. If we ever meet, I'm buying the drinks!!

Anonymous said...

Are we going to get recaps 16 and 17. Or are we considering the last 3 books to be one as was intended by RJ?