Rand rides Tai'daishar through a gateway to Falme. It brings back memories from the time before when he followed Fain, the Horn and the ruby dagger here. Falme was where he first acknowledged who he is. He wears the new sword which also reminds him of Falme. He is accompanied by Nynaeve, three Wise Ones, Corele, Narishma and Flinn. Min stayed behind. He has the access key so he is not worried about an attack. Rand tells Nynaeve that he killed a man, a blademaster, for the first time here. Verin told him not to channel. She says he earned the heron mark, but Rand says there were no witnesses. Mat and Hurin were fighting elsewhere. When Rand seizes saidin Lews Therin struggles for control. The day before Rand woke crying for Ilyena. His eyesight is slowly getting better. They approach the pavilion where the Daughter of the Nine Moons waits.
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Tuon is surprised at Rand's youth, but then Artur Hawkwing was young when he began. He has marath'damane with him. That makes her nervous despite her time with Mat. In Seanchan, Asha'man are known as Tsorov'ande Doon, Black-Souled Tempests. Karede and the Deathwatch Guard grow tense as they approach. She gestures to Selucia to tell them to stay calm. Captain Musenge has archers on a nearby rooftop. She has not declared herself Empress so she can meet with the Dragon Reborn as a near equal. Malai had a Foretelling of no rain, yet there is lightning in the sky. Rand sits and demands peace. The Last Battle is coming and all forces will be needed against the Shadow. In Tuon's mind, the battle will be between the Empire and the Shadow with the Dragon Reborn as a tool against Lighteater. She is surprised that he is not blinded yet. Recalling Tylee's report on the Trollocs, she thinks Rand may be right about the Last Battle being close. She wonders if he blames her for the loss of his hand as Falendre described. Tuon suggests unity by having Rand's people take the oaths, but Rand cuts her off saying he will not let anyone be leashed. She tries to catch him off guard by bringing up Mat. Rand remembers seeing her with him in his visions but Tuon thinks this must be the madness. She asks what Mat is really like; he seemed a bit of a scoundrel. One of the marath'damane then angrily defends him. Tuon is impressed at the loyalty they show to Mat. Rand leans forward and exerts all his will on her. A dark halo surrounds him. Suddenly, she is willing to give him anything he wants but she fights it off and refuses peace. She cannot ally with such a monster. He stands and leaves. After she recovers her composure, she stands and announces that she is now the Empress. As celebration begins, she quietly tells General Galgan to tell General Yulan to prepare his strike against the White Tower immediately.
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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] Further evidence that his new sword is actually Justice.
[#2] Rand thinks it is because she is now afraid of him. In reality, it is because she now sees herself as a liability, not an asset. (TGS,Ch37)
[#3] High Lord Turak
[#4] A misinterpretation of a passage in the Essanik Cycle, the Seanchan version of the Prophecies. (KoD,Epilogue)
[#5] Rand's ta'veren effect on the Pattern has changed since he touched the True Power. Its effect seems to be all negative now. (TGS,Ch29) Is Tuon's failure to respond purely her strength of will or has Rand's touch on the True Power reduced the ability of the Pattern to weave as it chooses? At a signing, Brandon Sanderson stated that this was Tuon's will power.
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