The First Sparks Fall
"With his coming are the dread fires born again. The hills burn, and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.
fragment from The Prophecies of the Dragon
believed translated by N'Delia Basolaine
First Maid and Swordfast to Raidhen of Hol Cuchone
(circa 400 AB)"
Elaida a'Roihan POV - Elaida, as Amyrlin, meets with her Council in her study. It is less than two months since she was raised. With her are Alviarin, her Keeper, and a Council of other Aes Sedai. Alviarin was made Keeper as part of a deal to have the White Ajah back Elaida. She was the first to join with Elaida. The Council comprises:1
There are no Blue Ajah sisters. The Council members make their reports. Danelle reports that Aiel raids through the Niamh Passes appear to have increased, but the main news is that Shienarans are fighting each other. Alviarin comments that the entire Blight is unusually quiet. Teslyn reports that the Marshal-General of Saldaea, Davram Bashere, is moving an army southeast. This implies that word of Taim's escape has leaked out and Bashere and/or Tenobia no longer trusts the White Tower to deal with him. Alviarin suggests that an Aes Sedai be sent to Saldaea to counsel Tenobia. After some discussion Alviarin suggests Memara of the Red Ajah. Elaida is inwardly furious that they do not even ask her opinion. Everyone on the council has sworn personal allegiance to her. Alviarin asks if there is any news from Arad Doman or Tarabon. She is concerned that Pedron Niall may soon run the entire west coast. Evanellein reports that the Panarch Amathera of Tarabon has apparently vanished, and it seems that an Aes Sedai may have been involved.2 Andaya asks if there is news of Elayne or Galad. There is none. Javindhra has placed a newly raised Red Ajah sister is in the Royal Palace in Caemlyn. Since she is newly raised, she has not taken on the agelessness that came with long use of the Power.3 Morgase is absorbed with Gaebril and making her claim on Cairhien. Alviarin has a clerk forging letters from Elayne to Morgase to keep her calm. Joline comments that at least Gawyn is still around but Teslyn is angry that he and his Younglings skirmish with Whitecloaks. He too often acts on his own. Danelle adds that Pedron Niall is conducting secret negotiations, trying to convince Altara and Murandy to cede land to Illian, and thus keeping the Council of Nine from invading one or both. Elaida is furious that her Council does not give her the respect she deserves. She looks at the two paintings on her wall. One is of Bonwhin, the last Red Ajah to have been raised to the Amyrlin Seat, a thousand years before. Bonwhin was stripped of her stole. The other painting is of Rand. Elaida forces the discussion to the hunt for Siuan Sanche. Alviarin comments that it is difficult as they are promoting the rumor that she was executed. Joline has charge of the search. Elaida orders her to serve a penance because of her lack of progress. On bringing back the sisters who fled, Javindhra reports that there are difficulties. Elaida orders her to submit a full written report. Elaida is torn because she cannot trust any of those who fled, especially the Blue Ajah, yet the White Tower must be whole and strong. Elaida finally forces them to discuss Rand al'Thor. He left Tear, but they do not know where he has gone. She asserts that he is the Dragon Reborn whereupon Shemerin collapses. Elaida thinks that she will do for an example.4 She tells them that finding Rand and bringing him under control of the White Tower is far more important than any of the other items they discussed. She commands them all to focus their efforts on him. Elaida dismisses the council. An Accepted comes in and announces that Padan Fain has arrived. In passing, she mentions that Silviana is the new Mistress of Novices.
Padan Fain POV - Fain enters Elaida's study.5 He notices the tension between Elaida and Alviarin and loves it. Elaida dismisses Alviarin. He has a feeling that Alviarin knows too much about him, but does not know why.6 He knows that the Horn of Valere is in the White Tower and he can sense the ruby dagger. He wants both.7 The ruby dagger will make him feel whole again. If he returned to Shadar Logoth he might be trapped again. They start talking about Rand. He tells Elaida that she must tie a string to one of the few that he trusts if she wants to lead him.8
Rahvin POV - Rahvin is in the Royal Palace in Caemlyn. He receives a report from a young Red Ajah Aes Sedai that he has under Compulsion.3 He debates with himself whether to keep Morgase around or kill her. After the report is finished, he has Lord Elegar, a Darkfriend, take her away. Without warning, Lanfear Travels in from a place of snowy white hangings.9 Lanfear chides him about the Aes Sedai and he replies that someone in the White Tower warned him.10 She tells him that others are coming then Sammael Travels in from a place of marble arches and balconies with gulls in the sky.11 Graendal is the last to arrive, from a palace full of beautiful entertainers. There is a disconsolate lean old man in their midst.12 Rahvin asks if Demandred is coming; he has been lording over the others since Ishamael's death. Lanfear says it will be just the four of them. Sammael asks if Asmodean is truly a traitor and Lanfear confirms it.13 They discuss how to deal with Rand. Rahvin thinks he is stronger than Graendal, but she would link with Lanfear if he tried anything.14 Ishamael tried to control him, then tried to kill him, but he was more than half mad. Lanfear proposes that the four of them work together. She notes that someone else is trying to control him. She suspects Moghedien or Demandred.15 She will stay close to Rand, but the others must keep their distance. Rahvin thinks that he will follow her plan as long as it does not interfere with his own plans.
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