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TPoD: Prologue

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Deceptive Appearances


"Who would sup with the mighty must climb the path of daggers.

—Anonymous notation found inked in
the margin of a manuscript history
(believed to date to the time of Arthur
Hawkwing) of the last days of the
Tovan Conclaves."

"On the heights, all paths are paved with daggers.

—Old Seanchan saying."


Ethenielle POV - Ethenielle, queen of Kandor, is riding through the Black Hills with her advisor, Lady Serailla, her Swordbearer, Lord Baldhere, and fifty men. They are going to meet the rulers of the other Borderlands nations near a spire from the Age of Legends. Her ancestor was Surasa. Baldhere carries the sword of Kirukan, a fabled warrior queen of Aramaelle. A scout, Lomas, returns with news the meeting place is near. Despite rumors, her Aes Sedai advisor, Nianh, said the spire is harmless. Paitar Nachiman, king of Arafel, is there with Ishigari Terasian and Kyril Shianri, and Easar Togita, king of Shienar, is accompanied by Agelmar Jagad and Alesune Chulin, his shatayan. Paitar's wife is Menuki. The Blight is very quiet lately. Tenobia Kazadi, queen of Saldaea, arrives with her uncle Kalyan Ramsin. Ethenielle's sister, Einone, is married to another of Tenobia's uncles. Tenobia is not likely to marry and Davram Bashere is next in line for the throne.1 Nianh and Easar's Aes Sedai advisor, Aisling, left abruptly when the White Tower split but Paitar's advisor, Coladara, is with them along with seven other Aes Sedai who were visiting her. Tenobia left Memara behind but met up with five other Aes Sedai led by Illeisien at the Saldaean border. They all note the total of thirteen! Ethenielle's sister, Nazelle, is married to Lord Ismic. She has not thought of remarrying since her husband, Brys, died. The four rulers take a blood oath that they are one, to the death. They will find Rand al'Thor and "do what needed to be done. Whatever the price."2

Verin Mathwin POV - Verin is in the Aiel camp near Cairhien questioning Turanna Norill of the White Ajah, one of the captured Aes Sedai. They have all been declared da'tsang. She has seen Coiren Saeldain and Sarene Nemdahl laboring. She is willing to help the Wise Ones shame the prisoners because it will help her.3 Verin does not understand the Wise Ones' power structure except that no one gives orders to Sorilea. This morning Sorilea asked Kiruna and the others in the Sun Palace what shames wetlanders the most. The others did not understand but Verin made a list. The tent is guarded by Coram and Mendan. She is keeping secrets from her Warder, Tomas. She tells the guards that she is done with Turanna and wants Colinda to send Katerine next. She only wants sisters without Warders. It has been seventy-one years since her last serious mistake.4 She sees Irgain Fatamed of the Green Ajah. She is the third Aes Sedai stilled by Rand.5 She is working with other Aiel women and not in black. Verin wonders why she is treated differently. Two Wise Ones enter, Daviena and Losaine. They are linked. Verin is certain the Wise Ones did not know linking even a few days ago and wonders who taught them.6 They take away Turanna. Cadsuane appeared three days ago; Verin only knows her vaguely. Aeron, another Wise One who cannot channel, enters. Verin's job is to question the prisoners about the White Tower's plan for Rand. Two Maidens, Carahuin and another, with another Wise One, Tialin, enter bringing Beldeine Nyram instead of Katerine. A Wise One and two Cor Darei were poisoned and she escaped. Verin thinks about getting around truth in her statements. Verin went to a lot of effort to convince Sorilea and Amys to let her question the prisoners. Beldeine thinks Verin taught the Aiel to link.6 Rand's ta'veren effect caused Verin to swear fealty. Verin has had a small flower brooch angreal for forty years. Weaving Spirit with Wind and Water, Fire and Earth, Verin uses a form of Compulsion on Beldeine! She learned it by piecing together information from wilders.7 Verin quizzes her about Rand's supporters in the Tower but learns nothing. Rand is certain he has supporters but Verin does not understand why.8 Verin gives Beldeine instructions.9 Verin will not use Compulsion on men because it works poorly on them. Verin grew up in Far Madding and would have married Eadwin if her curiosity had not led her to the White Tower. She tells the guards she is done with Beldeine and asks them to have them bring Irgain Fatamed next. Verin thinks she has to keep Rand alive till it is time for him to die.

Moridin POV - Moridin is in a room with no doors or windows studying a game of sha'rah.10 Sha'rah, tcheran and no'ri (now known as stones) were played in the Age of Legends. He wears two mindtraps. A servant with blank eyes brings him wine.11 The key piece in sha'rah is the Fisher, a man with a blindfold and wounded side. "Only nine people living even remembered the game."12 Recollection of a disaster brings him to fury and he seizes the True Power nearly crushing the mindtraps and the Fisher piece. Moridin is playing both sides of the board in the Westlands.


  1. And after Davram is Faile.
  2. We finally learn the exact nature of their mission in ToM,Ch51.
  3. Verin's mission is not at all clear.
  4. This mistake began her "project" of the last seventy years. (LoC,Ch11) We learn about them in TGS,Ch39.
  5. The other two being Ronaille and Sashalle. (WH,Ch25)
  6. Most probably it was Egwene who is teaching the Wise Ones in return for their help. (WH,Prologue)
  7. Such as Theodrin. (LoC,Ch8)
  8. It is not clear why, but Rand still believes Alviarin's note. (TFoH,Ch51)
  9. The exact details of her instructions are not known, but Beldeine and four others shortly will swear fealty to Rand, all of them coming up with reasons that Rand must reach the Last Battle alive. (TPoD,Ch29)
  10. The game of sha'rah is a not so subtle metaphor for the struggle - Rand and the Light vs. Moridin and the Dark One. It is also the clearest reference to the Fisher King legend. See the discussion in the FAQ, Section 3.06, local FAQ, Section 3.06.
  11. A zomara
  12. This statement, apparently identifying the number of Forsaken still around, is very difficult to rationalize. See the discussion in the FAQ, Section 1.2.5, local FAQ, Section 1.2.5.

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