Welcome back to another entry in my read through Lord of Chaos. I'm pretty much caught up now, but I do hope I can keep it that way. Today, some big developments in Salidar, but there's still even more to come, I'm sure.
Chapter 26: Connecting Lines
Rand surveys the gallop of Bashere’s cavalry while wondering where Sulin has been since Shadar Logoth. Upon returning to Caemlyn, he is nearly killed in a Whitecloak ambush, which claims the life of a Maiden. Rand hangs all of the surviving Whitecloaks save one, to send a message to Pedron. Rand adds Desora’s name to the list of Maidens who died for him.
In the palace, he is alerted of the presence of a Sea Folk Wavemistress seeking audience, and decides to meet with them in the afternoon. Rand meets with Elenia to discuss Andoran history. He learns the right to the throne of Andor is determined by bloodline to the original Queen Ishara, who was married to Artur Hawkwing’s general Souran.
Elenia consistently pushes her and Dyelin’s claim to the throne. Rand is concerned with the relation between Morgase and Tigraine, who were royal cousins. He is secretly relieved he’s not actually related to Elayne. Rand decides to go to Cairhien, but without Aviendha.
So much back-and-forth between cities in this book… Well, I liked the Andoran history lesson, it’s quite interesting. And also it seems established there won’t be any incest between Rand and Elayne. Well, it’s not like it would’ve been Jaime-Cersei insanity, they would’ve just been cousins, but still. It puts at Rand ease, at least.
Oh, and Whitecloak ambush. Again, I almost forgot those guys had it in for Rand. So many enemies! Move on Sammael already, so you can focus on Pedron…or the Shaido…or the Aes Sedai…or the Seanchan…or the Dragonsworn…or god, you have a lot to accomplish.
Chapter 27: Gifts
After another morning with Gawyn at the inn, Egwene returns to the Wise Ones, where she joins the apprentices for a day off, as the Wise Ones are meeting with the Aes Sedai. A dream about Elayne and Nynaeve shattering or dropping things every time they spoke unnerves Egwene about her meetings in Tel’aran’rhiod. She is also concerned when she learns Rand has returned to Cairhien, as although he distrusts Elaida, he seems far too willing to believe in Alviarin’s support.
She seeks Rand out and repeats her warning about Elaida, which Rand accepts, promising to be humble. The Aes Sedai suddenly arrive. Rand talks to himself (which disconcerts Egwene) and then shields Egwene from visibility when the Aes Sedai enter. They are Coiren, Nesune, and Galina. Several other women haul in heavy chests filled with gold. Rand warns the three about channeling in his presence once he determines the servants aren’t Aes Sedai.
Coiren introduces herself and the others, announcing they intend to escort him to the White Tower. She also offers to have one of them replace Moiraine as advisor. Rand is hardly as humble as he promised, but assures them he will accompany them once he attends to some matters. Galina is startled when Rand mentions Alviarin, as he knows she is her friend.
Egwene is doubtful about Alviarin’s support when she speaks with Rand following the Aes Sedai’s departure. Rand explains how he Travels by bending the Pattern and boring a hole. Egwene doesn’t believe the same technique would function with saidar. As she leaves, Rand starts talking to himself again.
Nesune and the others leave the Sun Palace, and she remains fascinated by Rand. Galina declines being a friend of Alviarin’s, and disbelieves that Rand could sense them channeling. Nesune has doubts, however. She sensed another Aes Sedai in the room, and Galina thinks it Moiraine, while Coiren the Green sister they heard of. The three agree they have time enough to wait for Rand.
These Aes Sedai really seem clueless, if they thought they could bribe Rand with gold. Seriously, first Sammael, and now these idiots? Do they know anything about Rand? You do not bribe the Dragon with gold… He did seem to handle the situation well, bluffing about accepting the escort for later. He was bluffing, I presume.
However, it’s still pretty idiotic for him to trust Alviarin. From what I remember of that woman, she is not his friend, especially if she’s friends with Galina, who I believe is of the Black Ajah, right? Does that mean Alviarin is Black too? Hmm, not good. I’m curious what these bumbling bitches are scheming, though. It’s going to end in disaster for all involved, I’m sure.
Chapter 28: Letters
Rand remains in a dark mood after Lews Therin makes his presence concrete in his head. As Rand prepares to leave for Caemlyn, Berelain’s messenger announces the Sea Folk still seek his audience. He proceeds to the Royal Palace regardless and feels Alanna in his head strongly. Rand has his first official conversation with Lews Therin, who flees when he learns he is trapped in Rand’s head.
While looking at various letters, including some from Sea Folk, Sulin appears as a servant, apparently paying her toh for addressing a gai’shain incorrectly earlier. Rand embarrasses Aviendha with questions about ji’e’toh, and reads a letter from Queen Alliandre offering support but fearful of the nearby Prophet and Whitecloaks. Rand resolves to handle Masema.
A Gray Man suddenly assaults, but Taim kills him the moment he appears in the room. Rand is irritated, as he wished to question him. Taim explains he appeared to discuss a recruit he discovered, Jahar Narishma, who held much potential. Rand believes Sammael dispatched the Gray Man, and then has Taim return to the farm. Aviendha lectures him on ji’e’toh.
Padan Fain and an obsequious Fade abuses a family of Darkfriends he stays with. His bond with Rand feels peculiar. Fain is proud of setting the Whitecloaks and White Tower further against Rand in his interactions with Elaida and Pedron. Fain is infuriated when he learned somebody tried to kill Rand first with the Gray Man. His Whitecloak ambush was merely a test, and he believes he has few allies. To alleviate his anger, Fain decides to rape the Darkfriend mother.
Well, this chapter started with consistently annoying ji’e’toh drama. Sometimes I understand it, but here it was a little confusing to follow. I get why Sulin is a servant all of a sudden, but I couldn’t exactly follow Aviendha’s whole lecture. Thankfully, this chapter got more interesting when a lovely Gray Man attacked. That’s a really effective assassin, when you’re compelled to ignore him when he’s literally attacking you. Whoever created them (might be Aginor, he seemed to be the mechanic of all things Shadowy) was clever.
But who sent the Gray Man? It’s easy to blame Sammael on literally everything, and we know it’s not Fain, but could it have been Taim? Cause I’m seriously expecting him to start wreaking havoc here, now that Rand doesn’t have him on a tight leash anymore. But apparently, he’s doing just what he promised: looking for potential students. It’s rather convenient he popped in right when the Gray Man appeared, though. And did finding a new student really necessitate a visit? Was there something else he wanted?
And I practically completely forgot about Padan Fain. We haven’t seen him since TSR, really, right? It’s been ages since I’ve read EoTW and TGH, the novels he’s most prominent in, so I really forgot what his deal is. I mean, he hates Rand, he’s a particularly messed up servant of the Shadow (no shit, the dude’s got some problems), I remember him manipulating Whitecloaks and Aes Sedai, but on the whole, I need to Wikipedia him, or something.
But we do have a confirmation it wasn’t Pedron who sent the Whitecloaks, but actually Fain. I wonder what this nasty little man’s plan is. He hasn’t been doing much since TGH, outside of his little visit to the Two Rivers, but he presumably has a scheme to officially kill Rand. With the amount of enemies Rand has, Fain better move quick if he wants the kill.
Chapter 29: Fire and Spirit
Elayne and Nynaeve labor over pots for the eleventh day. Nynaeve is embarrassed about her drunken behavior when working on her block with Theodrin the previous night. Thom and Juilin return from their mission in Amadicia. Elayne continues to act like a child with Thom. Thom reports that Pedron is pulling Whitecloaks back, save at the border of Tarabon. He has also heard rumors of Morgase alive in Amador, but Elayne disregards them as false. Elayne and Nynaeve reconcile over the latter’s drunkenness. With Thom and Juilin returned, Nynaeve wishes to leave again, but Elayne still refuses.
Nynaeve decides to idly work on Logain, probing him and detecting a hole. She, on a whim, patches it with Fire and Spirit. She suddenly hollers for Sheriam when she Heals Logain.
Nice, Nynaeve. Logain… Healed. Awesome. Okay, I sort of knew this was gonna happen, but still, awesome moment. I know the dude isn’t exactly moral, but I’m happy for Logian nonetheless, because gentling sucks as much as stilling. And Nynaeve just healed the impossible. Bravo.
Nothing else of note in this chapter, outside of Thom and Juilin’s return, which is cool, because I missed them. Hopefully Thom particularly has more to do, because he’s just been Elayne’s bodyguard and flirt for the last 2 books. And Elayne, dem rumors about your mom? They’re right. She’s alive, and she’s probably going to do something really stupid soon. So get the hell out of Salidar. Whether it’s to Ebou Dar, Caemlyn, or wherever, just start moving.
Chapter 30: To Heal Again
Nynaeve frantically shields and binds Logain while Elayne fetches Sheriam. Logain is only mildly surprised and seemingly amused, although frustrated with Nynaeve’s precautions. Logain mentions sighting a glowing man in Caemlyn who would truly shake the world. Sheriam and several sisters enter, and Nynaeve accompanies them to the Little Tower. Countless Yellow sisters crowd around them. Siuan and Leane are dragged inside.
Nynaeve immediately tries her technique on Siuan, and the latter bursts into tears once she is Healed. The Aes Sedai are overwhelmed and immediately delve into applying the technique. After Nynaeve heals Leane, she notices few congratulations and must still toil away in the kitchen for a few days more. The Aes Sedai contemplate gentling Logain again, but the hypocrisy of supporting Rand and his students while punishing another man for channeling is pointed out. Nynaeve is quickly surrounded by various Yellows seeking her secret.
Siuan celebrate with two of her close friends before finding Gareth and revealing her Healing. Gareth remains unfazed, and admonishes her on the quality of her servitude. To prove she’s no longer a servant, Siuan attempts to lift Gareth with Air, but cannot, her powers diminished. Gareth believes her restoration changes nothing concerning her oath. Siuan retreats to her room and cries once the pain of her dead Warder returns to her. Leane consoles her, and Siuan decides to confront the others about restoring her status as both Aes Sedai and Amyrlin.
Nynaeve returns miserably after a day with pestering Yellow sisters. Elayne commiserates with her, and Siuan and Leane approach, acting peculiarly kindly. They have been reinstated as Aes Sedai, but obviously refused to have Siuan Amyrlin again. Nynaeve sees through their ruse and is hesitant about Healing them again to fully restore their skill with the Power. Siuan comments that she will have little influence in Aes Sedai hierarchy without strength. Although Nynaeve agrees to Heal them the following day, it has no effect.
Siuan speaks with her friend Delana, wanting her aid in being permitted to attend the next Wise One meeting. Delana consents, but after Siuan departs, a novice announces the arrival of a woman, dispatched by Anaiya. The woman, calling herself Halima, presents a Black Ajah signal and claims to be a friend of Cabriana Mecandes before she died. Halima proclaims that she will be Delana’s associate and also mentions her name as Aran’gar, which quells any of Delana’s protests.
My, this was an eventful chapter. Just when things should be looking up, Aes Sedai idiocy depresses everyone. So while I sorta knew Logain would be healed, Siuan and Leane being un-stilled (?) was more surprising. They can be bitches, but for all the shit they’ve been put through, they totally deserve this. I mean, how much longer would they’ve lasted? Stilling is a practical death sentence, after all.
But of course, things still aren’t exactly back to normal. Despite everything, both Siuan and Nynaeve still have to do menial labor. I mean, really? The way the Aes Sedai treated Siuan from the beginning was wrong, but now that she’s back, it still seems she’s lost all influence and independence. Our lesson on Aes Sedai hierarchy explains a little more of that, and doesn’t make the Salidar Aes Sedai any more tolerable, in my opinion. And Nynaeve just made a historical breakthrough, and instead of accolades, she has more chores to do and a busier schedule. Wonderful. And, of course, Siuan is still Gareth’s little servant, which makes for the most backward romance in the series, I think.
I’m curious what exactly went wrong with Nynaeve’s healing of Siuan and Leane. I mean, Logain seemed as dangerous as ever, but the other two seem weakened enough to cause problems down the road. By the way, it’s good that Logain didn’t try to make a break for it, cause that wouldn’t have ended well either. It was pretty insipid of Siuan to think Sheriam and her wonderfully competent friends would’ve let her become Amyrlin again. And I still don’t know what she’s planning, because I know she and Leane have been doing some serious manipulating recently. Meh, so much happening.
But ARAN’GAR! Ermagerd. I almost forgot about our two new Forsaken, what with the Sammael drama. Just what is Shaidar Haran scheming about? He obviously has Aran’gar and Osan’gar in his clutches. So there’s a Forsaken in Salidar. Well, two, counting Moghedien (whose been doing surprisingly little this novel, I expected a bigger dynamic there), but Aran’gar is definitely gonna mess things up, especially with Siuan’s secret Darkfriend buddy. And Cabriana was the Aes Sedai Semirhage tortured, right? My god, this is a clusterfuck.