Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Life Changes Direction in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 2)

I was so excited to see that the first chapter of The Fires of Heaven catches up with with Siuan, Min, and Leane, our lovely renegades from the White Tower coup. Siuan has slowly grown on me as a character throughout the series, and her strong-willed determination in the face of her unseating and stilling really heightened my appreciation of her. It’s really cool to see how she refuses to be shaken from her dedication to protecting the world and guiding the Aes Sedai, even if she can’t do it in the same way that she did it before.

Min is deeply enjoyable too, especially now that she has more room to act and isn’t just fuming in her head while playing Elmindreda. The escape from the Tower was one of my favorite chapters in The Shadow Rising, and I’m so curious to learn more about our former false dragon, Logain.

Once again I had more to say than I realized when I made my promises last week, so we’re only covering Chapter One today. Hang on for a wild ride and some light ranting about the Red Ajah.

After a windy beginning, we find ourselves with Min, Siuan, and Leane, who have been imprisoned in a shed in the village of Kore Springs. They are awaiting trial after being discovered sleeping in a farmer’s barn; in the chaos Logain escaped, taking the horses and the farmer’s purse with him, but a fire was also started which burned down the barn. Siuan tells Min that if they’re lucky, they’ll receive a strapping in the village square, and if they’re less lucky, it will be a flogging. (Hanging is unlikely, given what she remembers of Andoran law.)

Min hardly sees a strapping as lucky, but Siuan tells her that it is the punishment that will waste less of their time than any other she can think of. Min counters that time seems to be the one thing they have abundance of, given that they have found no sign of any of the Aes Sedai who left the Tower, despite visiting every village between Tar Valon and their current location. And now they have no horses and are locked in a shed.

Despite this, Siuan has refused to give up the idea of finding the other Aes Sedai who left the Tower during the coup. Siuan’s temper over it, and over the merest suggestion that they abandon the search, has been enough to quell even Logain. Leane, meanwhile, has spent their imprisonment altering her dress to give it a lower neckline and to fit a little more snugly. When she starts to use the makeup in Min’s kit (the one Laras forced her to take) she draws the confused attention of her companions.

Min asks Amaena (Leane’s cover name) what she is doing, joking that Leane means to take up flirting, but is surprised when Leane agrees that this is exactly what she means to do. And if she flirts with the right man, she might be able to get them lighter sentences, or even avoid punishment altogether.

Siuan asks what brought this on, and Leane explains how she used to watch her mother, a merchant, use her Domani skills to sway the men she traded with, and that Leane learned those skills when she was young. Life took her on a different path, but now, since that path is no longer an option, she thinks it’s time to put those old skills to good use. When Siuan presses, Leane also admits that she’s also looking for something to fill the emptiness left by her stilling. She always wanted to be like her mothers and sisters, and wonders if perhaps becoming “who she was born to be” will be what sees her through. She even goes as far as to say that being an Aes Sedai was a bit like putting on a mask, pretending to be someone else and learning to behave that way because there was serious work to be done, but now she is taking the mask off again.

Men come to take them to “stand before the lord.” Min considers running, but sees that it will be futile. They are taken to the common room of the inn called The Good Queen’s Justice, where they find the village assembled to watch and the local lord, Gareth Bryne, seated before the only table. Min is startled to recognize the name; Gareth Bryne is supposed to be the Captain-General of the Queen’s Guards in Caemlyn.

A woman in a gray dress explains the charges, and acknowledges that, while the assault on the farmer and the theft of a purse were the work of their companion, who escaped, they are equally culpable for his actions under the law. The farmer gives a mostly honest testimony, although he embellishes his struggle with Logain and leaves out the fact that his family had been ready to hang the girls before one of the lord’s retainers happened by to discover the situation. Then the three women are given the opportunity to offer their own testimony. Leane goes first, attempting to play on Bryne’s compassion by painting them as three helpless refugees who took shelter in the barn because they were afraid of the night, who took on the man called Dalyn because they needed protection, adding that they made a poor choice. She uses physicality as well as tone to make her plea, throwing herself on Bryne’s mercy, and the lord does seem affected by her performance.

When Bryne asks Min’s name she forgets to offer the fake one at first, and has to correct herself by claiming that her full name is Serenla Min, to which Bryne responds that her mother must have had a premonition. Min and Siuan are both asked for their testimony, Min repeats what Leane said and Siuan only says that she has nothing to add, controlling her tongue although she can’t stop herself from looking proud and defiant in the face of Bryne’s questioning. He pronounces his decision, that he will personally reimburse Nem for his losses, and that the girls will work for him at the normal wages for such duties until they have repaid what he has spent. They are given the option of working in the fields, where the pay is less and they can be guarded, or they can swear an oath to him and work in the manor. Min begins wracking her brain for an oath that will be convincing while not too painful to break, but Siuan kneels on the floor at once and swears;

“By the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear to serve you in whatever way you require for as long as you require, or may the Creator’s face turn from me forever and darkness consume my soul.”

There’s no more binding oath she could swear–Leane follows suit at once and Min is left with no choice but to do the same. Bryne admits that he didn’t expect such an oath, but that it will certainly suffice. He instructs the woman, Caralin, to clear everyone out and to see about reimbursing Nem and getting transportation for the three women to his manor. When the villagers are gone, he observes at the strangeness of their identities, three women from different places, and not all from places that should be producing refugees. Caralin returns and Bryne tiredly tells her to take the girls away and then to come help him with some other matters. She turns them over to a man named Joni, who has a horse and wagon, and promises them that the life will not be hard if they do as they are told.

Once they  are on their way, Leane remarks, apparently delighted, that everything went rather well, and enthuses about how enjoyable it was. Min is furious at her enthusiasm but even more so with Siuan. Siuan calmly tells her that it was the only oath that made absolutely certain that Bryne would not have them watched, and Min realizes with a shock that Siuan means to break the oath. And they’ll have to steal horses, unfortunately.

“You will regret stealing horses?” Min said hoarsely. “You plan to break an oath anyone but a Darkfriend would keep, and you regret stealing horses? I can’t believe either of you. I don’t know either of you.”

“Do you really mean to stay and scrub pots,” Leane asked, her voice just as low as theirs, “when Rand is out there with your heart in his pocket?”

Min wishes she had never let them know about her feelings for Rand, but she can’t bring herself to say that she will stay and honor her oath. Siuan explains that she never swore to serve him immediately; Bryne might not appreciate that technicality, but she intends return to keep her oath once she has done the other things she needs to do. Min points out that he will have their hides if they run off and then return years later, but Siuan only answers that she has already paid a heavy price for doing what she had to do, and she will pay this one too.

Leane adds that she never imagined a servant’s life for her future, but it is still a future, and after a few years practice she’ll be able to manipulate Bryne much better. Min feels like both women are living in daydreams, but she thinks to ask why Bryne remarked on her name. Serenla, Siuan informs her, means “stubborn daughter.”

Suddenly the cart lurches hard and begins to speed up, and when they look into the driver’s seat, Joni is gone. Siuan climbs into the seat and pulls the horses to a stop, and they go back to find Joni sprawled in the road with a gash on the side of his face. Logain emerges from the trees. They are all shocked to see him, but he reminds Siuan that she promised him revenge, though he also insists that he might very well leave them soon, if he doesn’t get what she promised, and that they’ll soon find themselves in trouble without a man carrying a sword by their side. He tells Siuan to hurry up and find what she is looking for.

Siuan did not flinch away from his stare. “I hope to,” she said firmly. “But if you want to go, then leave our horses and go! If you won’t row, get out of the boat and swim by yourself! See how far you get with your revenge alone.”

Logain’s big hands tightened on his reins until Min heard his knuckles crack. He shivered with emotions in strong check. “I will stay a while longer, Mara,” he said finally. “A little while longer.”

And as he answers, Min again sees a halo flaring around his head, signaling glory to come.

It is time to go, and Logain points out that the shepherds coming up the road will get help for Joni, surprising Min with his concern for the man. They discuss whether Bryne will think them important enough to come after them, and Logain decides they will put as much distance as they can between themselves and Kore Springs.

Gareth Bryne does put together a search party, though, as he fields questions and criticism from Caralin about his choices. He thinks about the Domani woman, how interesting she had been and how her charms might have worked on him under different circumstances. Yet it is the other woman, Mara, whose face keeps filling his mind, the challenge in her eyes and the defiance in her expression.

Most of the men he has assembled are old pensioners and soldiers who chose to follow him here, and they all are showing signs of trying to relive the old days of campaigns through this simple search for runaway women. Gareth thinks that he, himself, might be doing the same. Then a man arrives, Barim Halle, who served under Gareth years ago, and he’s excited by the idea that Gareth might have been recalled to Camelyn. Gareth sets him straight, and Barim reports that he has heard news that the Stone of Tear has fallen to Aiel and that a man has taken The Sword That Cannot Be Touched. Gareth is perplexed at the thought of an Aielman touching the sword, but more important is that this news, if true, means that the Dragon Reborn has come and Tarmon Gai’don is near.

“But the leathery fellow was not finished. “Word come down from Tar Valon is near as big, my Lord. They say there’s a new Amyrlin Seat. Elaida, my Lord, who was the Queen’s advisor.” Blinking suddenly, Halle hurried on; Morgase was forbidden ground, and every man on the estate knew it, though Bryne had never said so. “They say the old Amyrlin, Siuan Sanche, was stilled and executed. And Logain died, too. That false Dragon they caught and gentled last year. They talked it like it was true, my Lord. Some of them claimed they was in Tar Valon when it all happened.”

Logain matters little to Gareth, but the news about Siuan being deposed is important, and he remembers meeting her once, years ago. He is surprised that she could be overtaken, and he’s surprised that an execution would come on top of stilling, especially since women were said to endure stilling no better than men survived gentling.

Still, Gareth tells himself that none of this, the disorder the disruption in the Tower might bring or what the arrival of the Dragon Reborn is his affair any longer, except to choose what side his house will take when the time comes. Not that his small house will matter very much to anyone. He gives Barim permission to join the hunt and climbs into his saddle, determined to find Mara and get some answers.

Meanwhile, the High Lady Alteima is arriving at the gates of the Royal Palace of Andor. Rather than obey Rand’s command to travel with the army of Tear into Cairhien, Alteima has decided to seek sanctuary with Queen Morgase. She has used basically all her resources to get this far, but she met Morgase years ago, and hopes to be able to play her enough to gain standing in her court, and perhaps a new and wealthy husband. She leaves her maid (a girl she hired in Camelyn, who Alteima is not at all happy with) behind in the carriage and allows a guardsman to escort her through the corridors, studying the signs of the wealth of Andor and mentally going over her plans as to how she will present herself to Morgase.

She’s startled by how beautiful Morgase is—her memory hasn’t done Morgase justice—but also notices changes from the queen that Alteima remembers. Instead of the prim and proper Andoran style dress Alteima herself has adopted, Morgase is dressed in a tight fitting gown of white silk with a very low neckline. For Alteima, this confirms the rumors that Morgase has a lover, and what’s more, shows that Morgase tries to please this Lord Gaebril, rather than the other way around. There is still a great deal of power emanating from her, but in Alteima’s mind that dress, the fact that Morgase would change so much for a man, diminishes her power.

She also notes Morgase’s serpent ring. Alteima has heard that there is tension between Morgase and the Tower, and she will have to be careful of her words until she knows exactly what’s going on.

Morgase asks about Alteima’s husband, surprising the High Lady with her knowledge, but she turns the conversation quickly to the currency she has brought to Andor, information about Rand al’Thor and his doings in Tear. In the course of the conversation she gleans that Morgase isn’t sure how she feels about the Aes Sedai, but she also notes that, however besotted Morgase might be by Gaebril, she hasn’t lost her sense when it comes to ruling and the safety of her kingdom.

“He is a dangerous man beyond any question of the Power. A lion seems lazy, half-asleep, until suddenly he charges; then he is all speed and power. Rand al’Thor seems innocent, not lazy, and naive, not asleep, but when he charges . . . He has no proper respect for person or position at all. I did not exaggerate when I said he has hanged lords. He is a breeder of anarchy. In Tear under his new laws, even a High Lord or Lady can be called before a magistrate, to be fined or worse, on the charges of the meanest peasant or fisherman. He….”

She assures Morgase that there is much more to tell, and is rewarded by Morgase promising that she will have time to tell it. Morgase asks about the Aiel, admitting that she thought their presence in Tear was the wildest of rumors. She’s even more shocked to learn that the Aiel have left, and Rand with them.

They are interrupted by Lord Gaebril, who announces that he should have been told that Morgase had a guest. Alteima notes the way he dismisses Morgase’s servants without asking her permission, notes his handsomeness and the air of power around him. She adopts a distant air in response—even if she wasn’t worried about Morgase, Alteima wouldn’t want to try manipulating this man unless she absolutely had to.

“You come from Tear?” The sound of his deep voice sent a tingle through her; her skin, even her bones, felt as though she had been dipped in icy water, but oddly her momentary anxiety melted.

It was Morgase who answered; Alteima could not seem to find her tongue with him watching her. “This is the High Lady Alteima, Gaebril. She has been telling me all about the Dragon Reborn. She was in the Stone of Tear when it fell. Gaebril, there really were Aiel—” The pressure of his hand cut her off. Irritation flashed across her face, but then it was gone, replaced by a smile beaming up at him.

Without taking his eyes from Alteima, Gaebril tells Morgase that she works too hard, takes too much on herself, and tells her to go to her bedchamber and sleep, that he will wake her when she has slept enough. Morgase repeats his words and leaves Alteima alone with him.

Gaebril asks her to tell him why she came to Caemlyn, and Alteima tells him everything, about poisoning her husband and Rand setting her up so that Tedosian or Estanda could kill her, about her search for a wealthy husband to manipulate. He cuts her off, and asks for everything she knows about Rand al’Thor and she tells him, desperate to please him better than Morgase ever could.

In her bedchamber, Morgase climbs into her bed, still in her dress, and lies looking up at the ceiling for a time.

Stop being stubborn, she chided herself, then wondered why. She had told Gaebril she was tired, and . . . Or had he told her? Impossible. She was the Queen of Andor, and no man told her to do anything. Gareth. Now why had she thought of Gareth Bryne? He had certainly never told her to do anything; the Captain-General of the Queen’s Guards obeyed the Queen, not the other way around. But he had been stubborn, entirely capable of digging in his heels until she came around to his way. Why am I thinking of him? I wish he were here. That was ridiculous. She had sent him away for opposing her; about what no longer seemed quite clear, but that was not important. He had opposed her. She could remember the feelings she had had for him only dimly, as though he had been gone for years. Surely it had not been so long? Stop being stubborn!

Her eyes closed, and she fell immediately into sleep, a sleep troubled by restless dreams of running from something she could not see.

 

 

Okay, I loved Chapter One. Jordan’s particular hand with dramatic irony works really well in a chapter that, by necessity, has to spend a lot of time on recapping things we already know. But we get to be reminded of those things while we watch Gareth Bryne try to make sense of Siuan’s face, while we watch Morgase struggle against the Compulsion only we (and Rahvin) know is holding her, and while we remember Rahvin’s frustration with Morgase’s strength and her mind’s continual search for escape from his hold. It gave an extra level of tension to everything, and made this chapter exciting all the way from start to finish. Plus Min, Leane, and Siuan are a really interesting trio because they are all no nonsense, practical characters in their own different ways. Min is younger than the other two, so it doesn’t manifest quite the same, but it’s still evident.

I really enjoyed watching Min watch Siuan. There are so many layers to Siuan’s struggle. On the one hand, she’s experiencing a level of vulnerability and fear that she hasn’t had in a long time; she remarked about it back in The Shadow Rising, and you can see it in her anxiety in facing trial. What must it feel like for someone who was basically the most powerful woman in the known world to be brought before the judgement of a local lord, to know that her fate—strapping, flogging, or even something worse—hangs on the laws of another land and on local, provincial feeling? She said she hoped for the strapping because it would get them on their way the fastest, but I can’t imagine the experience of humiliation she would actually feel during such a punishment, even if she concealed every emotion.

On the other hand, we also see her struggle to act appropriately humble in front of Gareth Bryne, even though she’s visibly frightened she can’t stop herself from staring definitely at him, like she might “demand Bryne let them walk away on the instant.” Siuan is practical enough, desperate enough, to accept any consequences that result from her doing what she feels she must, as she has done before now. But even with the loss of her ability to channel, she doesn’t lose a sense of self worth or self determination, she doesn’t think of herself as lesser in any way. And I think that’s remarkable, considering how much Aes Sedai define themselves by the Power.

Compare that with Elaida. Siuan, stripped of power, in disguise and afraid for her safety and her mission, can still barely contain her air of authority. Elaida, recently raised to Amyrlin Seat, has to resort to threats and punishment to get people to remember she’s in the room. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, and perhaps my opinions on the Tower’s corporeal punishments make me a little biased, but seeing the contrast between Elaida’s struggle to be recognized as an authority in one chapter and Siuan’s struggle not to be recognized as one in the next feels significant all the same.

And she left quite an impression on Gareth Bryne, even though he couldn’t recognize her. In his section, he thinks about how he was certain that she would keep her oath, but it’s not clear to me exactly why, exactly, unless it was simply that he was so impressed by Siuan’s determination in the face of her fear. Although it may be that Gareth isn’t sure either. Perhaps the vague familiarity of her face impressed itself somewhere in his subconscious, or the familiarity of her attitude—he remembers Siuan Sanche as being tough as an old boot, with a temper like a bear with a sore tooth. Or, maybe he’s just caught up in the strangeness of the three girls, all from different lands, with a story that doesn’t quite fit.

Whatever it is, I doubt he’ll catch them, and I feel kind of bad about that. It’s different then what Siuan and Leane are going through, but the way Gareth is so clearly drifting at loose ends in this section really moved me. The way he analyzes all the news about the Dragon Reborn in Tear and all the possibilities for trouble in and from the White Tower shows how accustomed he is in thinking like a Queen’s advisor, and it was painful the way he cut that thought off, calling himself an old fool. Like the stilled Aes Sedai, Gareth is clearly in mourning for the life he had, the one where he felt he had purpose and knew what he was doing. You see that in every action he takes, in the way he acknowledges that Caralin can run his lands better than he can and that House Bryne is a small one and of little consequence. In the way his followers are so keen to relieve the old days.

Also, and this is a bit of an aside, I was perplexed by a line amongst Gareth’s thoughts on Logain:

“They said men like that, whether false Dragons or just poor fools the Red Ajah took against, never lived long. It was said they gave up wanting to live.”

The words “poor fools the Red Ajah took against,” seems like a strange way to describe men who can channel and will eventually go mad from the taint. This world is terrified of men who can channel, or so we’ve been told. We saw how Mat reacted to the news about Rand—how he still reacts to Rand. And while Thom had a personal, emotional reason to care more about what the Red Ajah did to his nephew than for the danger posed by said nephew, it’s weird how many others seem to hate the Red Ajah, in particular. I mean, I kind of hate them too; they are presented as a cruel, insular group, and as hating men in general, which is a weird prejudice to have. From a storytelling perspective, I am curious about the choice to present the Red Ajah this way, given that they are performing a rather essential and difficult service for the world in gentling male channelers. No one seems to disagree that this is the best—or at least, the only—approach to handling such men, so it’s not like they should hate the Red Ajah for that, in particular.

Or rather, if they do, we should be addressing the hypocrisy of that hatred. One of the most interesting aspects of the binary of the One Power and taint on saidin is the question of how a world looks with only women having access to this great resource and responsibility. The Red Ajah are a perfect moment to examine this theme, especially given how women in our own world are often looked on for the very work they are asked by society to perform. Where are the Red Ajah members who don’t hate men, who don’t want to have gentle them, but choose that job because they truly believe it is important? Where is the Siuan Sanche of the Red, who is willing to pay the price and be despised by others, because there is this dirty job that someone has to do?

The tensions between the different Ajahs would be more interesting and even-handed in this scenario, too. I’d love to see Bonwhin redefined by this idea, to see her situation and desire for control over Artur Hawking be made more complex by a such a history within the Red Ajah. To see how the stigma of her stilling would affect the Ajah differently through the years.

Now, Leane’s journey is different than Siuan’s. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going on about how annoying I find the concept of Domani women and their man-bewitching ways (Men are the best sport? Really?) because I’ve said as much about similar dynamics in other places in the read, and there’s no reason to belabor the point. So I’m just going to hang a lantern on it and move on, because if I put aside the what of Leane’s new path and focus on the why, her motivations and choices are particularly fascinating.

We’ve seen channelers be conflicted about their abilities before, but so far those feelings have been mostly based in fear. Rand’s fear of the taint, of his fate, of the devastation that the Dragon is prophesied to bring. Nynaeve’s fear of the One Power, the anger at the changes it has made in her life and in the lives of people she feels responsible for. Stuff like that. I suppose Aviendha’s experience is closer to what Leane describes in this section; we’ve seen Aviendha fight against losing the life she chose for herself, her resentment at being forced into a new role because of her ability to channel. I found myself intrigued by Leane’s description of her life as an Aes Sedai as a mask she had to put on, and that she forgot how to take off. We’re told again and again that life in the Tower is Hard-capital-H, and now we see someone who managed to do well within its tight and punishing discipline, who rose to an important rank and significant influence, but who also felt like a fraud, like she was masquerading in the part. Leane still misses her ability to channel, that is still a part of her identity that has been lost, but it’s interesting to realize that the rest of it is not. This isn’t true for Siuan, and it doesn’t feel like it would be true for most of the Aes Sedai we know. And it makes me wonder if Aviendha will eventually grow accustomed to being a Wise One and will be happy in her new life (we know she’s going to marry Rand, after all, which a Maiden couldn’t do) or if she will always wish she could get back to the life her abilities have robbed her of.

I wonder if Amys, Dreaming herself into Maiden’s garb so she can hunt lions in Tel’aran’rhiod, feels that way too.

Perhaps things were different in the Age of Legends. There were so many more channelers then, since men did not have to be gentled and the Aes Sedai weren’t culling the ability out of future generations. Perhaps in that Age it was normal for people to get instruction in channeling but not to necessarily do much with it. After learning basic control, did some people just go back to their old lives? Or maybe since channelers back then used their ability for such a variety of things, people who discovered their connection to the One Power could find lives within it that made them happy, becoming artists, and architects, and gardeners, and who knows what else. Perhaps there was even a use for channeling in the merchant service.

And as much as I dislike the way Leane’s lean into a stereotype of femininity is portrayed, I do like the basic concept of it. Revenge is what fills the empty place in Siuan’s soul, and in Logain’s, but there are other ways to find purpose in life. Softer ways, simpler desires. Siuan herself suggested that Leane could get married and raise a family, if she wanted. The idea of Leane finding happiness in that way makes me happy, too.

Speaking of Logain, I really want more of him. He’s still such a mystery as a character, like Aragorn in the shadows of Frodo’s room before he reveals that he knows Gandalf. But instead of a poem about not all gold having a glitter, we have Min’s vision of Logain’s gold halo and future glory to entice us. I kind of suspect that I will end up liking Logain quite a bit.

I also really really enjoyed Alteima’s section, although there isn’t as much in it that’s plot relevant. It’s just really good writing, a perfect side character just there for you to love to hate her, and Jordan presents all the twists and turns of her plotting mind really well. Moghedien may be the spider in a web of the Forsaken, but I loved watching Alteima plan and pivot and reassess as she figured out the best way to engage with Morgase and with Gaebril. At least until he uses his Compulsion on her, that is.

Also, can we talk about how Rand’s side enemies (Fain would be so mad if he knew I consider him a side enemy) describe him? I was wondering last week how much of Fain’s assessment of Rand was what he really thought, and how much was curated to manipulate Elaida. But I trusted that Alteima was telling the truth (as she saw it) about Rand even before the narration confirmed it. And if you set aside Alteima’s class issues, I think she’s right about him. I loved the way she just trailed off after the words “when he charges.”

And then there is Morgase, who I have so much respect for. I am so rooting for her to break out of Rahvin’s Compulsion. I had a lot of questions about how Nynaeve got out of the one Moghedien put on her, wondered if it was her own strength in saidar, or perhaps the function of the anger since that’s also how Nynaeve breaks through her own block. But last week we had Rahvin’s observation that some people’s minds, strong minds, seek for a way out, even when they don’t know that’s what they are doing. And now we see Morgase’s mind doing exactly that. We see her irritation at Gaebril cutting her off before it’s rolled over by the Compulsion, and when she goes to her bedroom to take the commanded nap, she is struggling with the question of whether Gaebril told her to rest or the other way around, and her desire to have Gareth Bryne back floats to the surface even though the Compulsion is telling her that she sent him away.

The voice in her mind whispering Stop being stubborn! was incredibly creepy.

So, next week I promise we will make it to Rhuidean and to Rand, who is having a devil of a time trying to unite the Aiel, keep Asmodean under control, and get Moiraine and Egwene off his back(side). Join us next week for Chapters Two and Three!

Sylas K Barret is honestly impressed, though not surprised, by Siuan’s ability to get around a promise. She’s not bound by the Three Oaths anymore, but those skills still came in handy today.

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