Rand and his party Travel to Stedding Shangtai but all the humans are refused entrance. He then Travels to Tear with Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Min, Alivia and six Maidens including Sarendhra who were selected by Nandera. Rand rides Tai'daishar. They do not try to hide; if the Forsaken found him at Lord Algarin's there is no point.
As they ride into the city they hear a shrill whistle. Two boys, Com and Doni, tell them about the steamwagon from the Academy of Cairhien. Mervin Poel's now travels a hundred miles in a day and can pull many wagons. Tear is cosmopolitan with numerous Outlanders from every nation. Lews Therin is a regular nuisance. Rand has his ta'veren effect on the city. The Stone of Tear can be seen from anywhere in the city, a square mile of stone on the River Erinin River. Rand knows Alanna is there though he is not as sharply aware of her since Elayne, Aviendha and Min bonded him.
The Stone is surrounded by besiegers so Rand and his party stop at an inn newly renamed The Dragon. The innkeeper, Agardo Saranche, tries to redirect them to The Three Moons but Cadsuane badgers him into giving them a room. In the common room an oddly dressed man is trying to sell silkworms. Rand hears a Seanchan accent but cannot catch the man before he leaves. The innkeeper takes them to a room with a view of the Stone. The room is small for the whole party and Rand and Lews Therin get claustrophobia. Rand seizes saidin and Lews Therin lets him hold it. He is dizzy and nauseated. He sees the face of the man from Shadar Logoth furious and also looking sick. He feels like they are almost touching.
Rand weaves Spirit and Fire to form a gateway into the Heart of the Stone. Thinking of Callandor, Rand recalls from the Prophecies that, "Who draws it out shall follow after." He wonders what that means for Narishma but he is otherwise occupied today. There are two Defenders of the Stone standing guard. Iagin Handar offers to take them to Darlin because the corridors have changed. This means the Pattern is loosening and Dark One is touching the world more than since the War of the Shadow. Rand leads the party to Darlin's quarters by the bond to Alanna. He trusts Alanna somewhat because of Min's viewing, but Aes Sedai have their own goals like Nynaeve and Verin. The Stone has gaudy decorations. It held for three thousand years but now with Traveling and Blossoms of Fire it is obsolete.
The Maidens wait outside Darlin's quarters while Rand and the others enter. Darlin, Alanna, Caraline Damodred, Astoril Damara, Weiramon Saniago and Anaiyella Narencelona are there. The women are adopting Min's fashion of coat and breeches. Darlin is still annoyed at Cadsuane for holding Caraline and him captive in Cairhien. Darlin and Caraline are close to engaged. Rand is angry that Weiramon and Anaiyella are there. They were supposed to stay in Cairhien. They brought some armsmen who attacked the rebels and set back negotiations. The rebels hired every mercenary from the Erinin River to the Bay of Remara. Rand shouts at them and Cadsuane spanks him with Air. Darlin tried three times to bring food into the city but the rebels stole it.
Bera Harkin enters with news. Sunamon, Tolmeran and the other High Lords are returning to Tear from Illian against Rand's orders. The good news is an agreement with the rebels, Estanda, Hearne, Tedosian and Simaan. Seanchan were trying to bribe them. Merana and Rafela are preparing the documents. They want their titles back but they will accept Darlin as Steward and as King and swear fealty to him. All Rand's new laws stay. They will pay for feeding the city for a year. Rand is angry at first but Cadsuane reminds him that the agreement meets the requirements he set. Rand agrees. Darlin is incredulous at being named King; Tear has not had a King since Moreina. Min says she knows what his crown should look like. Rand orders Darlin to arrest the Seanchan then to gather an army. Asha'man will take them to Arad Doman to prepare for Tarmon Gai'don. Weiramon and Anaiyella will go with them.
More Rand POV
Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] To drop off Loial, Covril and Erith.
[#2] A Sharan?
[#3] This link between Rand and Moridin creates all sorts of interesting and dire possibilities.
[#4] Note that a saidin gateway adds Fire while a saidar gateway is pure Spirit. (LoC,Ch37)
[#5] On his mission with Merise to the Salidar Aes Sedai. (KoD,Ch23)
[#6] From her viewing of Darlin wearing a crown. (ACoS,Ch35)
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