Egwene sends Siuan to fetch Sheriam to escort her to the Hall meeting. Anaiya thinks Moria may call for a direct assault on the White Tower. Myrelle thinks Malind will propose fleeing and regrouping to fight the Forsaken. Morvrin also gives advice. When Sheriam takes too long, Egwene heads to the Hall with the other three.
It is high noon. Nisao, Carlinya and Beonin join her at the Hall. Akarrin is weaker than Siuan, yet she is still the strongest of the six investigators. The others include Therva - Yellow, Shana, Reiko - an Arafellin Blue and Nisain - Gray. Three too young Sitters arrive, Salita, Kwamesa and Berana. Malind and Escaralde are also too young, but Moria has worn the shawl a hundred and thirty years. Sheriam arrives late and upset. In the Hall the two oldest Sitters get to have their Ajah sit closest to the Amyrlin. After that it is first come first serve. Romanda and Salita are already seated for the Yellow and Lelaine and Moria for the Blue. Kwamesa and Berana are choosing the middle rows for the Gray and White, but Malind for the Green and Escaralde and Takima for the Brown were there ahead of them and oddly chose the back row. Aledrin, Saroiya, Varilin and Magla arrive.
Romanda starts the meeting. She was a Sitter for almost eighty years. Faiselle, Lyrelle and Samalin arrive. The meeting starts as Janya arrives. Lelaine wants to talk about the move to negotiate with Elaida, but Moria calls for the report from Akarrin first. Delana finally arrives out of breath. Aledrin, the second youngest Sitter, calls the investigators to question. Akarrin reports the hole they found where Shadar Logoth used to be and that it was an alien weave. They were chosen because of expertise in reading residues. Nisain is the best. She reports that there was far more saidin than saidar. They have no defense against such an attack. Clearly planned in advance, Moria, Escaralde and Malind propose strengthening circles with men from the Black Tower. Sheriam shrieks. Faiselle, Varilin, Saroiya, Takima and Magla react violently.
Egwene shuts down the near hysteria and calls for discussion and a vote. Moria points out that the Black Tower is the only way they can possibly counter whatever happened at Shadar Logoth. Also, cooperation will give them some slight control over the dangerously unstable Asha'man. Sheriam sobs uncontrolled and Delana looks green. Magla, Faiselle, Varilin, Saroiya and Takima speak against the proposal. Egwene calls for the vote. Janya stands first joining Moria, Escaralde and Malind. Samalin follows, then Salita, Berana, Aledrin and Kwamesa. After a time, Romanda stands. Lelaine stands followed by Lyrelle. Delana stays seated with the five who spoke against the proposal, but twelve carries the lesser consensus. Egwene has to remind Sheriam of her next duty, asking for the greater consensus. Delana stands but the other five refuse. They begin planning for an embassy to the Black Tower.
More Egwene POV
Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] Myrelle gives no hint that she might know more about Shadar Logoth which she should from her bond to Lan. Has she fuzzed the bond so she does not know or is this deliberate deception on her part or an error on Robert Jordan's part?
[#2] Why is she late and upset? Last minute instructions from her tormentor?
[#3] Is there some useful information hidden in all the detail of order of arrival?
[#4] Last minute instructions from Halima?
[#5] The proposed cooperation with the Black Tower is evidently contrary to Sheriam's marching orders.
[#6] The exact same five who proposed negotiating with Elaida. They are also the same five who voted NO on the War Vote. (TPoD,Ch19) In that vote the margin was the same. Romanda voted NO while Delana voted YES. We learn more about the motivations in these votes in TGS,Ch43.
[#7] Tarna Feir also intends to approach the Black Tower with the intent of bonding the Asha'man. (CoT,Ch22)
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