Cadsuane and her party arrive at the Hall of the Counsels in the central square of Far Madding. A clerk at the Hall greets them and Cadsuane sends him to find the First Counsel, Aleis Barsalla. She orders Verin and Kumira to accompany her at Merise to keep everyone else together. She has to order Alanna to stay with the others. Shalon notes that Jahar is not with the other men. Tomas is leading his horse. Sarene explains that the First Counsel used to be advisor to the Queen of Maredo. Since Maredo fell apart, the First Counsels took over the whole job.
Cadsuane adds Shalon and Harine to her retinue, then leads them to the central dome. Cadsuane was last in Far Madding twenty years ago during the Aiel War. While Cadsuane and Verin wait, Kumira takes Shalon and Harine to see the guardian. It comprises three clouded crystal discs a span wide. Each disc has a clear crystal wedge that points to the center. The women of the Counsel arrive. Aleis Barsalla welcomes Harine and the others. Verin announces that a man just channeled. The wedges on the guardian are now black and now point in roughly the same direction, allowing one to triangulate the position of the channeler. Kumira adds that the wedges would be red for a woman channeler.
The First Counsel asks Verin's name and she identifies herself as Eadwina. Verin brings up Guaire Amalasan's conquest of Far Madding that took just three weeks. She then notes that the Dragon Reborn has huge armies nearby and that the Seanchan are not far to the west. Clearly distressed, the First Counsel asks two of the other Counsels, Cumere Powys and Narvais Maslin, to escort Harine and Cadsuane to her palace. Shalon admits to Harine that she is afraid. Harine comforts her, telling her that she will not leave her alone. Shalon never left Harine alone when she raised her little sister. Harine again orders Shalon to spy on Cadsuane and learn her plans. Shalon considers confessing to Harine.
More Shalon POV
Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] From the text, it seems clear that Jahar stayed behind and channeled. However, at Winter's Heart signings Robert Jordan stated that it was Damer Flinn channeling outside the male shielding zone. If that is the case, then where did Narishma go and why did Shalon not notice that Flinn was missing? Did Jordan just make a mistake at the signing?
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