CoT: A Mark

Alviarin POV#

Alviarin returns from Tremalking to a sub-basement of the White Tower library. She knows the name of every Black Ajah sister and their organization. She is ticked at Mesaana for using her as an errand girl. She has been gone nearly a month,[1] so Elaida has probably been running loose. There are rats about, the Great Lord's eyes, because the wardings have failed.[2] She wonders how she might delicately ask Mesaana about the huge flare of the One Power. Alviarin took it upon herself to visit the site, but learned nothing. The Library is divided into twelve Depositories each dedicated to a different branch of knowledge. There is also a secret Thirteenth Depository that houses the White Tower secret records. She runs into one of the librarians, Zemaille of the Brown Ajah. She wonders how Zemaille would react if she knew what was happening on Tremalking.[3] Zemaille consoles Alviarin who wonders why. Aiden, another Brown sister, is nearby so Alviarin quickly leaves. The two of them and Nyein were Sea Folk and normally stay on the upper levels where the secret records are kept.

Alviarin walks from the Library to the White Tower and climbs the levels to Elaida's apartments. Elaida is at her desk with over half the Sitters including Suana, Doesine, Ferane, Shevan, Andaya, Yukiri, Talene, Rubinde Acedone and Rina. The head of the Yellow Ajah is known as the First Weaver. The head of the White Ajah is known as the First Reasoner. Alviarin is shocked to learn that the rebels have rediscovered Traveling and already surround Tar Valon. The Sitters are discussing the possibility of negotiations with the rebels. Suana, Ferane and Shevan support negotiations. Elaida asks Talene what she thinks, but Talene curiously defers to Doesine and Yukiri.[4] As Rina has worn the shawl less than fifty years, Rubinde Acedone replies in the affirmative. It is clear that she personally disagrees but she is carrying out the wishes of Adelorna, the Green Ajah Captain-General. Elaida agrees that negotiations may begin, but non-negotiable points include extinction of the Blue Ajah and all the rebels serving penance and begging readmission to their Ajahs. The Sitters leave.

Alviarin starts to threaten Elaida but Elaida stops her. There are rampant rumors of Aes Sedai obeying Rand, but everyone blames Coiren for that. There are far more men in the Black Tower than supposed, but Toveine will be blamed for any defeat for not scouting appropriately. Elaida then shields Alviarin and slaps her. The Hall replaced her as Keeper[5] because she was absent when the rebels arrived. They assumed she fled and was hiding in the city. Elaida is still looking for proof of treason. She orders Alviarin to serve penance with Silviana and then dismisses her.

Alviarin flees back to her quarters fearing discovery of her true allegiance. She touches a tiny red rod ter'angreal with Fire and Earth to signal Mesaana. In a few minutes Mesaana arrives. Alviarin begs for help, but Mesaana starts to punish her. Suddenly the shadows in the room change. Mesaana now appears as a tantalizingly familiar woman with blue eyes, just short of her middle years.[6] A huge Myrddraal[7] clad in dark armor is in the room and the True Source has vanished. He smiles at her, radiating fear. Mesaana starts to challenge him, but he grows to two spans in height and wraps her in black fire. She was summoned but did not come.[8] Alviarin is convinced that he is the Great Lord incarnate. He touches her on the forehead, marking her as his.[9] The dark armor falls off of him; he is clothed all in black. He then orders her to find who is hunting the Black Ajah and deliver them to him. She flees the room as Mesaana begins to scream. She remembers how Talene looked at Yukiri and Doesine and thinks about channels to contact her. She will make sure that Elaida is at the head of her list of Black Ajah hunters.

More Alviarin POV

Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] This places the timing of this chapter nearly a month after the fourth segment of CoT,Prologue.
[#2] More evidence of things generally falling apart. See the discussion in the FAQ, Section 2.3.17.
[#3] Being one of the Sea Folk, Zemaille would be devastated. (KoD,Ch22) What was Alviarin doing on Tremalking?
[#4] The Black Ajah hunters have Talene fully under control. (WH,Prologue)
[#5] By Tarna Feir (CoT,Ch22)
[#6] She does not look ageless. Thus she is either posing as some sort of noble resident in the White Tower or she is posing as an Aes Sedai with a slight disguise. We learn more in ToM,Ch42.
[#7] Shaidar Haran
[#8] To help out at Shadar Logoth.
[#9] This mark is not the same as the Forsaken receive from the Dark One. Shadowspawn will recognize and not harm her, but they will not obey her and she is not one of the Chosen. (Tor Website Q&A)

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