ACoS: Lightnings


"There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow, for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone, in pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield. He calls upon the mountains to kneel, and the seas to give way, and the very skies to bow. Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears, and the soul of fire, love.

—From a much-disputed translation of
The Prophecies of the Dragon by the poet
Kyera Termendal, of Shiota, believed to have
been published between FY 700 and FY 800."

Elaida POV#

in her chambers at the top of the White Tower. It is past the Feast of Lights (first of the year). It has been twelve days since she heard of Rand's capture from Galina Casban. She is building a new palace for herself; the chief mason is Master Lerman. She wanted Ogier help, but they are refusing to work. The nearest stedding is Stedding Jentoine in the Black Hills. Her clock was commissioned by Cemaile Sorenthaine, raised from the Gray Ajah three hundred years ago.

Alviarin enters to report. Teslyn was a Red Ajah Sitter for fifteen years before Elaida kicked her out. Joline was a Green Ajah Sitter only a few weeks. Both were sent to Ebou Dar but have not reported. A Gray Ajah agent reported Elayne, Nynaeve, Aviendha, and Birgitte in Ebou Dar.[1] Elaida has heard rumors about Morgase and Whitecloaks but believes that Morgase is dead so Elayne will be crowned. Tarna Feir has reported on Salidar Aes Sedai, that Elayne, Nynaeve, Siuan and Logain are there. Elaida tells Alviarin to send orders to Teslyn and Joline to capture the girls using forkroot, information from Ronde Macura. She wants to cow obstinate rulers such as Tenobia and Mattin Stepaneos. Toveine Gazal is to lead fifty Aes Sedai and two hundred guards to take the Black Tower.[2] She and two other Red Ajah Sitters, Lirene Doirellin and Tsutama, were forced into exile fifteen years ago.[3]

A Green Ajah agent in Caemlyn reports that there are four hundred men in the Black Tower by counting supply carts. Red Ajah sisters found six men in the last ten years, twenty-four in the last twenty, but only sixteen are recorded. Elaida was involved in the unrecorded ones. Alviarin cautions that twenty-four is as dangerous a number to speak of as two thousand.[4] Finally Alviarin reports that the Salidar Aes Sedai are on the move and Egwene is their Amyrlin. Gareth Bryne is leading an army of twenty thousand.[5] Alviarin says High Captain Chubain should increase the Tower Guard. Tarna was a wilder, but is level headed. Tarna reported Bryne's army as only two to three thousand.[5] Elaida wants Sheriam and others such as Lelaine, Carlinya, and Romanda Cassin stilled. Elaida still does not believe the Forsaken are loose. Elaida has her own secret plans working in the Salidar Aes Sedai assuring they will fall apart.[6] Elaida has a Foretelling:

"The White Tower will be whole again, except for remnants cast out and scorned, whole and stronger than ever. Rand al'Thor will face the Amyrlin and know her anger. The Black Tower will be rent in blood and fire, and sisters will walk its grounds. This I Foretell."

Alviarin is shocked. Elaida sends a letter to Lady Caraline Damodred. Elaida is the youngest daughter of a minor House in north Murandy, but she expects to be recorded as the most powerful woman in the history of the world, the savior of humankind.

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Sevanna POV#

She is looking south, preparing for an attack on Dumai's Wells. She is with Efalin, a Maiden, and twelve men who are the leaders of Shaido societies. They include Maeric of the Seia Doon and Bendhuin of the Far Aldazar Din. Two hundred Wise Ones are nearby, as are forty thousand algai'd'siswai. A young Sovin Nai arrives with news that a forward scout escaped. She orders an immediate full attack, and also orders Wise Ones to attack, citing Desaine's death. Therava, Norlea, Dailin, Rhiale, Tion, Meira, Alarys, Someryn, Belinde, and Modarra are among the thirteen who know the truth about Desaine's death and will support her. The army runs five miles south and attacks the Aes Sedai guard. Other Wise Ones with her include Estalaine and Dorailla. A lightning strike stuns many of them and kills Estalaine. A wolf kills Dosera. More wolves arrive to participate in the battle. She learns that Rand's Aiel have arrived from the south, and assumes they were brought by Sorilea. Sevanna is a Jumai Shaido. She hears a boom then sees flickers of light,[7] but does not understand what is going on. Tion and Rhiale tell her that it is men channeling. She thinks it is Rand by himself. She married Suladric at sixteen. She then took Muradin and Couladin. The Shaido are slaughtered. They are overwhelmed and all run away, but she still has the call box.

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Alviarin POV#

Just after leaving Elaida's quarters, she heads back to her own quarters. On the way she passes Danelle, a dreamy Brown, Berisha Terakuni, a Gray, Kera, a Green, and Norine Dovarna, a White who wanted to be Keeper. Alviarin has killed before. She is afraid that Elaida's Foretelling might reveal her. She arrives at her apartment that overlooks the front of the White Tower from a hundred feet up. She keeps a lot of Leane Sharif's stuff as a reminder of the price of failure. She does not believe stilled women ever survive long.

Mesaana appears, disguised and hiding her ability to channel; she appears tall and has a voice of silver chimes. It is clear to Alviarin that Mesaana must be masquerading as someone else in the White Tower.[8] She somehow listened in on their conversation. Other Forsaken had come to Alviarin. Ishamael years ago made her head the Black Ajah. Later, Lanfear, Graendal visited the White Tower. Be'lal yanked her out of sleep to some strange place.[9] Some of Elaida's orders were to kidnap the king of Illian[10] and queen of Saldaea[11], offer kingship of Tear to High Lord Darlin[12]. Laughing at Elaida's political games Mesaana says, "You children almost match the ajah at times."[13]

Mesaana wants Elaida to increase the Tar Valon army. Alviarin became head of the Black Ajah after Ishamael killed her predecessor, Jarna Malari of the Gray Ajah, after learning what she started.[14] It did not end until two years later after the death of Sierin Vayu. Jarna had the Amyrlin Tamra Ospenya questioned and killed. Alviarin does not know how Sierin died and wonders if Elaida had a hand in it because the Black Ajah did not.[15] A Great Council of Thirteen heads the Black Ajah. Alviarin worries about sending sisters to the Black Tower. Mesaana does not seem to care, but Alviarin will send no Black Ajah to go with Toveine for the attack. Mesaana warns Alviarin to serve only her, not Semirhage, Demandred or Graendal.[16] Alviarin thinks she can hardly credit what she just learned.[17] Mesaana teaches Alviarin how to Travel.

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Pedron Niall POV#

Niall plays stones with Morgase in the Fortress of the Light. He has been a widower for many years. He wants to see her as Queen of Andor again even though Rhadam Asunawa wants to try and hang her. She asks him to bring Galad to Amador but he refuses. Abdel Omerna barges in with dire news and Niall sends Morgase away. Omerna is an unwitting decoy for the real master of spies, Sebban Balwer. Omerna reports mostly useless and incorrect information,[18] but Balwer has found Elayne in Ebou Dar and Gawyn in the White Tower. Niall has already sent orders to Carridin. Omerna brought a message from Tarabon, from Faisar, not Varadin. The message confirms the Seanchan invasion. That is why Niall has not already left for Andor. Omerna assassinates Niall, crying that he should have moved against Salidar. Immediately, Eamon Valda enters and kills Omerna for treason. The message gets covered with wine and is lost.

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Eamon Valda POV#

After Valda kills Omerna, Rhadam Asunawa enters. He wants Morgase now. Valda says not till they have Andor, and that must wait until they crush the Prophet. After the assassination, Asunawa planned to use Lord Captain Canvele against Valda, but Valda already has him on his side. Valda wants someone as pliant as Ailron on the Lion Throne. Balwer enters and is shocked to see Niall dead. Valda plans to kick out Balwer.

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Gawyn POV#

North of Dumai's Wells after the battle is over. He wishes he could have killed Rand for his mother and sister, but he cannot because he promised Egwene. He still does not know where she is. He sees an Aes Sedai[19] fall, but does not see her captured. He brought 581 Younglings with him but less than two hundred survive. He is sure there was a plot to kill the Younglings, but not who is responsible. He speaks briefly to Jisao, still a teenager. They have a brief battle with a group of Aiel heading east. The Aiel did not intend to attack; the Younglings were just in the way. Another Youngling is Hal Moir. Gawyn mounts his horse[20] intending to help the fallen Aes Sedai, but cannot find her. They start to make camp, planning to head back to Tar Valon.

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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] Is the Gray Ajah agent acting independently, or does this implicate Merilille as a mole?
[#2] Others sent with Toveine include Jenare, Lemai (TPoD,Ch26), Akoure Vayet, Ayako Norsoni, Carniele, Desandre, Gabrelle (WH,Prologue) Adrielle and Aisling Noon. (KoD,Ch20)
[#3] The exile is most likely associated with the gentling of men without trial. The timing seems to fit with the gentling of Owyn and also with the death of Sierin Vayu. Robert Jordan has confirmed that Marith Jaen exiled them.
[#4] What is dangerous about two thousand? This is never explained.
[#5] Vanin places the size of Bryne's army at twelve to fourteen thousand in LoC,Ch38, something over a month ago. Tarna's estimate from roughly twenty days earlier seems too low since, at that point, Bryne had been building his army for over two months. Is this an error or intentional deception? In CoT,Ch22 Tarna tells Pevara that she was terrified by what she found in Salidar. That seems very much at odds with her report to Elaida.
[#6] Beonin is actually a mole with orders to cause dissention and prevent progress. (KoD,Ch2)
[#7] Rand blowing up the box and the arrival of the Asha'man.
[#8] We finally learn Mesaana's identity in ToM,Ch42.
[#9] This must have been Tel'aran'rhiod.
[#10] We learn more about the plot to kidnap Mattin Stepaneos in ACoS,Ch41 and KoD,Ch2.
[#11] We learn more about what happens to Queen Tenobia in TPoD,Prologue.
[#12] This plot takes an ironic twist. (KoD,Ch21)
[#13] What the ajah was in the Age of Legends is never clarified.
[#14] Setting the Black Ajah to hunt and kill the Dragon Reborn. It is not clear if this also included the Red Ajah illicitly gentling men.
[#15] Chesmal tricked the Red Ajah into killing her, (WH,Ch10) probably because Sierin Vayu was suspicious of her involvement in the death of Meilyn. (NS,Ch18)
[#16] Interesting and curious that Mesaana names the three with whom she has something of a working relationship.
[#17] That the Forsaken have different agendas? That hardly seems to be surprising news.
[#18] Everything in his report is wrong with one exception. In TPoD,Prologue we find out that Tenobia really has left Saldaea.
[#19] This is Galina. She will be captured by Sevanna's group. (ACoS,Ch40)
[#20] His horse is Challenge. (TGS,Ch4)

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