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aCoS 5-7 (FRR-2012)

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Lord of the Morning

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Location: Shanaine, Manetheren

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:41 am
Post subject: aCoS 5-7 (FRR-2012)
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aCoS Ch 5 "A Broken Crown"

"Two fellows in Colavaere's livery, standing before the gilt-covered doors to the Grand Hall of the Sun, frowned at sight of the Maidens, and maybe at the young Cairhienin. Older folk usually looked askance at the younglings' carrying on every bit as much as the Aiel did. More than one parent had tried to put an end to it, had ordered sons or daughters to give over, instructed armsmen and servants to chase off others' like-minded sons and daughters like common vagrants or street ruffians. Perrin would not have been surprised if these doormen slanted their gilded staffs to stop Selande and her friends from going through the open doorways, nobility or not, and perhaps even the Maidens. Few Cairhienin still dared call Aiel savages, not where they could be heard, but most thought it. The pair gathered themselves, drew deep breaths--and saw Rand over the Maidens' heads. Their eyes nearly popped out of their faces. Each man glanced sideways at the other, and then they were on their knees. One stared fixedly at the floor; the other squeezed his eyes shut, and Perrin heard him praying under his breath.
"So I am loved," Rand said softly. He hardly sounded himself."

Seeing all these Cairhienin have strokes at the sight of Rand, because they thought he could never come back, that he was a White Tower puppet forever, is almost worth the price of admission. Interesting note, Dobraine calls Aiel savages to their faces, or at least where they can hear it. Well come to think of it he did call them savages to their faces, :re Rhuarc and the Wise Ones. Dobraine has some balls, that he does. Interesting how the same setting can feel wildly different depending on the events happening there, state of the world, and status of the characters involved. Obviously, we the readers, have been in the royal palace of Cairhien numerous times, but it seems so much more ominous this time around. Perhaps because the "good guys" are on the ropes--the very real sense of impending danger.

"Stepping past the Maidens with Min still close beside him, Rand stopped as first Perrin, then Dobraine and Havien joined him. And Aram, of course, like Perrin's shadow. Rand studied them each in turn, nodding slowly. He studied Perrin longest, and took the longest time to nod. The gray-haired Cairhienin and the young Mayener wore faces like death. Perrin did not know how his own looked, but his jaw was locked tight. No one was going to harm Faile, no matter what she had done, no matter why. No matter what he had to do to stop it."

I think it's intuitively obvious that if Rand hadn't grown up with Perrin, he wouldn't trust him all--as it is, he finds it hard to now, which isn't surprising considering Perrin's opposition and tenacity toward the Aes Sedai. Heck, he even nods to Aram before Perrin, and he's...well we don't know what he is YET, but as far as Rand is concerned, he's just some tinker, companion of Perrin. Perrin's implication is pretty obvious, I think. Though I'm not sure what it is exactly he thinks he'll do. Fight Rand, kill him, kill anyone else? Rand isn't going to do anything to Faile, and I think as the next chapter will show, it's obvious forbearance, not blindness on Rand's part. I'm not sure if that will mean anything to Perrin though, he continually trying to face Rand down, between 'it's all for Faile,' and the Aes Sedai. Perrin should stand up for his wife, but at some point I think he goes way overboard.

"Their boots drummed loud in the silence as they crossed the huge golden mosaic of the Rising Sun in the blue-tiled floor and approached the throne. Hands gripping her skirts, Colavaere wet hr lips, and her eyes darted between Rand and the doors behind him.
"Looking for Aes Sedai?" Rand's voice echoed.. He smiled unpleasantly. "I sent them to the Aiel camp. If the Aiel can't teach them manners, no one can." A shocked murmur rose, and fell raggedly. Fear became stronger than the perfumes in Perrin's nose."

If there is ever a Wheel of Time movie, or a Crown of Swords movie, or a mini series like A Game of Thrones, this would be a perfect scene for it. Rand, Perrin, Aram, Havien, and Dobraine walking in step, boots echoing on the floor like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday striding down the street in Tombstone. It seems a long time since our guys were considered the underdogs--a strange feeling, though one I think will be more than represented in A Memory of Light.

"Rand rested his hand on one heavy arm of the Sun Throne. "You know I mean this for Elayne Trakand." His voice was emotionless.
"My Lord Dragon," Colavaere replied smoothly, "Cairhien had been too long without a ruler. A Cairhienin ruler. You yourself said you have no interest in the Sun Throne for yourself. Elayne Trakand would have had some claim," a small quick gesture dismissed such a claim, "if she were alive. Rumor says she is dead, like her mother." A dangerous thing to say. A good many rumors said Rand had killed both mother and daughter. The woman was no coward."

Goodness, I should say not, she might as well spit in his face. I'm not sure what emboldens Colavaere to the extend to which, she is emboldened. It might be a test to see how far he is willing to act--whether that be the reach of an Aes Sedai tether, or the fact that he is reluctant to move against women. That is a problem now and it will become more of one in the future. Rand's woman problem is patently obvious--even if only to the extent which his treatment of male and female rivals or enemies differs.

" 'My Lord Dragon, what is done cannot be undone. If anything has offended you--"
For all her dignity, all her courage, Colavaere made a visible effort not to flinch as Rand reached out and took hold of the Sun Crown. There was a loud crack of metal snapping, and the crown flexed, hardly disarraying her tower of curls as it pulled away, slowly straightening. A few of the brilliant yellow stones popped from their settings and fell. He held up the stretched arc of metal, and slowly it bent back on itself until the ends met, and....Maybe the Asha'man could see what happened, could understand, but to Perrin, one moment the crown was broken, the next it was whole again. No one among the nobles made a sound, not even a shuffling of boots; Perrin thought they might be afraid to. To his nose, stark terror was stronger than any other scent now. It did not quiver; it spasmed wildly.
"Whatever can be done," Rand said softly, "can be undone.' "

I love that scene. You might consider what Rand says a central theme of the series: Severing, the taint, time after time, Jordan shows us that what was thought permanent, isn't so permanent after all. The rest of the scene in the throne room is quite drawn out. I'm trying to not quote much of it, because if I do, I do, I feel I'll be quoting all of it, which is silly. While it is of some importance to the story, mostly it's just good reading. Evidence is presented, first by Faile--Colavaere told her attendant, Maire, of sweeping changes she would be soon making to Cairhien--erasing all of Rand's laws, the Aiel presence, and if he ever came back he wouldn't dare to change anything (White Tower Puppet). Maire soon disappeared--but that isn't enough to seal Colavaere's doom, even though a word from Rand will do it. Rand is trying to find a way out. He doesn't kill women, and there is Min's vision that Colavaere will die by hanging--he's desperately trying to find away out, while still administering justice. Annoura, Berelain's Aes Sedai advisor, appears from behind the throne. A surprise--since it wasn't even known Berelain HAD an Aes Sedai advisor. She sells Colavaere out by confirming evidence of Meilan and Maringils' murders through Berelain's thief-catchers. Annoura's initial reaction to Rand is quite comical, she calls him master al'thor (all Aes Sedai seem to want to remind themselves that he's an unlettered peasant and a know nothing) and asks him to dispense with the shield placed over her, that if she meant him harm, should would have struck before he knew her there. When he tells her she might have died had she, he's not the one who has her shielded, she and just about every noble in the room practically shoot their pants. Priceless.

Word by word the defiance leached out of Colavaere. She still stood, yet it seemed a wonder; she appeared as limp as a damp rang. "They promised," she mumbled to Rand. "They promised you would never return." Too late, she clamped both hands over her mouth. her eyes bulged. Perrin wished he could not hear the sounds coming from her throat. No one should make sounds like that."

Definitely an oh sh*t moment for Colavaere. Ta'veren Pattern shifting strikes again.

" 'Treason and murder." Dobraine sounded satisfied. Those whimpered screams did not touch him. "The penalty is the same, My Lord Dragon. Death. Except, by your new law, it is hanging for murder." For some reason, Rand looked at min. She returned his gaze with profound sadness. Not for Colavaere. For Rand. Perrin wondered whether a viewing was involved.

I--I demand the headsman," Colavaere managed in a strangled voice. Her face sagged. She had become old on the spot, and her eyes were mirrors of stark terror. But with nothing left, she fought on, for the scraps. "It is--it is my right, I will not be...hanged like some commoner!"
Rand seemed to struggle with himself, shaking his head in that disturbing way. When he spoke at last, his words were winter cold and anvil hard. "Colavaere Saighan, I strip you of your titles." He drove the words like nails. "I strip of you your lands and estates and possessions, of everything but the dress you stand in. Do you own--did you own a farm? A small farm?' "

The plan is, the sentence is to exile Colavaere to her smallest landholding for the rest of her life. It is ironic, that in trying to be merciful--or at least sooth his conscience and avoid killing a woman, he does something that is far more cruel or at least, is perceived that way by the accused. She would have much rather been executed. In Tear, Rand did something similar, nobles attainted with treason were stripped of all their titles and lands--something worse than dying, he, in effect, makes them commoners. Living on as a farmer for the rest of days is a fate worse than death.

"Rand's gaze swept slowly around the hall, over all the nobles waiting silently. Under his stare, none dared move a muscle. The scent of fear far outweighed any other, convulsing sharply. Except for the Hunters, everyone there had given him the same oath as had Colavaere. Perhaps just being in this gathering was treason, too? Perrin did not know.
"This audience is at an end," Rand said. "I will forget every face that departs now."
Those in the front, the highest-ranking, the most powerful, began their progress toward the doors without too much haste, avoiding the Maidens and the Asha'man standing in the aisle, while the rest waited their turn. Every mind must have been turning over what Rand had said, though. What precisely did he mean by "now"? Purposeful strides quickened, skirts were lifted. Hunters, nearest the doors, began slipping out, first one at a time, then in a flood, and seeing them, lesser nobles among the Cairhienin and Tairens darted ahead of the higher. In moments it was a milling mass at the doors, men and woman pushing and elbowing to get out. Not one looked back at the woman stretched out before the throne she had held so briefly."

Similarly to how the Red Ajah were punished for the vileness. Had every person guilty been punished, the Red Ajah would have been decimated, and the same for the Cairhienin (and Tairen) nobility. I could almost feel sorry for Colavaere--that is, if not for all the murders, and the breaking of her oath of fealty.

aCoS Ch 6 "Old Fear, and New Fear"

"Faile's fan slowed to barely moving, and she eyed Dobraine sideways over the crimson lace. "Her death might be best for everyone. That is the prescribed penalty. What will you do, Lord Dobraine?" Sidelong or not, it still managed to be very direct, a very meaningful gaze.
Perrin frowned. Not a word for him, but questions for Dobraine? And there was that undertone of jealousy in her aroma, making him sigh.
The Cairhienin gave her a level look in a return while thrusting his gauntlets behind his sword belt. "What I was commanded to do. I keep my oaths, Lady Faile."
The fan snapped open and shut, faster than thought. "He actually sent Aes Sedai to the Aiel? As prisoners?" Disbelief tinged her voice.
"Some, Lady Faile." Dobraine hesitated. "some swore fealty on their knees. This I saw with my own eyes. They went to the Aiel, too, but I do not think they can be called prisoners."
"I saw it, too, my Lady." Aram put in from his place on the steps, and a wide smile split his face when she glanced at him.
Red lace described a fluttering hitch. What did she did with the fan seemed almost unconscious. "You both saw." The relief in her voice--and in her scent--was so strong that Perrin stared.
"What did you think, Faile? Why would Rand lie, especially when everyone would know in a day?"
Instead of answering immediately, she frowned down at Colavaere. "Is she still under? Not that it matters, I suppose. She knows more than I would say here. Everything we worked so hard to keep hidden. She let that slip to Maire, too. She knows too much."
Dobraine thumbed one of Colavaere's eyes open none too gently. "As if hit with a mace. A pity she did not break her neck on the steps. but she will go to her exile and learn to live as a farmer." A brief, jaggedy, vexed smell wafted from Faile.
Abruptly it hit Perrin what his wife had been proposing so obliquely, what Dobraine had rejected just as indirectly. Every hair on his body tried to stand. From the start he had known that he had married a very dangerous woman. Just not how dangerous. Aram was peering at Colavaere, his lips pursed in dark thought; the man would do anything for Faile.
"I don't think Rand would like it if anything prevented her reaching that farm," Perrin said firmly, eyeing Aram and Faile in turn. "[I] wouldn't like it, either." He felt rather proud of himself. That was talking around the point as well as any of them."

Perrin never fails to amuse when he thinks he's being crafty or discrete, but is really just being blunt with a smaller sized hammer. Faile and her mom, the Saldaean female nobility as a whole, seem to despise Rand, and I'm not sure exactly why. She says to Perrin that he would be harder for an Aes Sedai to control than a man who is simply the Dragon Reborn--which I think is part of the answer. Many people I think see Rand--as just the Dragon, meaning, sure he has this title, but behind that he's not competent, he's a nobody, a commoner, an imbecile--et cetera. That's fine and brings up subject of Aes Sedai control. Faile thinks that almost nothing would be enough to convince her that Perrin is not on Aes Sedai strings, which is another problem, and more collateral damage. Its next to impossible now to convince people, that Rand, and his associates aren't Aes Sedai puppets, once people believe something, especially that, it is nigh on impossible to convince them otherwise.

Perrin is walking Faile back to their rooms when he notices that Selande and her "society" are following them. He, predictably, turns and acts lead wolf with them. Growling at them and threatening to kick them I don't know, I guess they are pretty annoying--but I wish--I wish Perrin could make up his mind. Either order people around, be dominate, be a prick, or don't. Stop all this poo pooing about I'm not a Lord, don't bow to me, I'm just a blacksmith, or stop acting superior and in charge. Back in their rooms they fight (what a surprise) and Perrin gets pissed, grabs her and growls at her--which is EXACTLY the right thing to do. You know they are about to get busy, because Faile is about to start talking about farmgirls, when Rand barges in.

"For a moment Rand stared at him, looked through him. Listening to something else. Perrin folded his arms to stop from shuddering.
"I need to know," Rand said finally. "Are you still unwilling to command the army against Illian? I have to know now."
"I'm no general," Perrin said raggedly. There would be battles in Illian. Images flashed in his head. Men all around him, and the axe in his hands spinning, hewing his way through. Always more men, however many he cut down, in endless ranks. And in his heart, a seed growing. He could not face that again. He would not. "Besides, I thought I was supposed to stay close to you." That was what Min had said, from one of her viewings. Twice Perrin had to be there, or Rand would go down to disaster. Once had been Dumai's Wells, maybe, but there was still another to come.
"We all must take risks." Rand's voice was very quiet. And very hard. Min peered around the doorframe again, looking as if she wanted to come to him, but she glanced at Faile and stayed outside.
"Rand, the Aes Sedai....." A smart man would let this lie, probably. He had never claimed to be particularly smart, though. "The Wise Ones are ready to skin them alive, or near enough. You can't let them be harmed, Rand." In the corridor, Sulin turned to study him through the doorway.
The man he thought he knew laughed, a wheezing sound. "We all have to take risks," he repeated.
"I won't let them be hurt, Rand."
Cold blue eyes met his gaze. "[You] won't let it?"
"[I] won't," Perrin told him levelly. He did not flinch from that stare, either. "They are prisoners, and no threat. They're women."
"They are Aes Sedai." Rand's voice was so like Aram's back at Dumai's Wells that it nearly took Perrin's breath.
"I do what I have to do, Perrin." For a moment he was the old Rand, not liking what was happening. For a moment he looked tired to death. A moment only. Then he was the new Rand again, hard enough to mark steel.
"I won't harm any Aes Sedai who doesn't deserve it, Perrin. I can't promise more. Since you don't want the army, I can use you elsewhere. Just as well, really. I wish I could let you rest longer than a day or two, but I can't. There's no time. No time, and we must do what we must. Forgive me for interrupting you." he sketched a bow, one hand on the hilt of his sword. "Faile.' "

I don't think anyone has ever accused Perrin of being particularly smart, either. This whole Aes Sedai thing is really, really, bewildering. It's not like they are just some innocent defenseless women that Rand just happened to walk along, imprison, and mistreat. They kidnapped him and then tortured him, but now they are "just women" because they are shielded. I don't know, un-shield them and then they turn into Aes Sedai again, so it's ok to kill them? I don't understand at all. Rand didn't hold anything against Faile for being one of Colavaere's attendant, he didn't kill any of the women nobles at the convocation the throne room. Yes, Perrin is bound and determined to be the counter balance to Rand's ruthlessness and defend these Aes Sedai, the least deserving of all women. I think he'll find out very fast that he doesn't have much ground to stand on. I don't know if he thinks he can stand up to Rand and dictate to him because they grew up together or what, but he's about one step away from Sulin or other Aiel just being the abject stuffing out of him as an object lesson. That's not mentioning what Rand will do if Perrin forces his hand, or what the Aes Sedai themselves will do to him for sticking up for them. Telling that Faile tells him right after Rand leaves that he's a freaking idiot.

aCoS Ch 7 "Pitfalls and Tripwires"

It feels good to have a Rand PoV after six Perrin PoVs. RJ always likes to have different characters look at the same events--seeing the same thing from a different angle. Also Perrin--gives the best window into Rand's mental state, his descent into madness. Some things are shockingly apparent, such as Rand listening to "the voice," or seeing things that aren't there. Though some of it is obviously in the mind of the beholder. Everyone, and Perrin most of all, is looking for any and all signs of madness they can possibly find. When that's not good enough, they make things up. It is pretty humorous that every time Rand references Traveling, as in, I can have you there by tomorrow, Perrin thinks he's batsh*t crazy, but other things, that should worry him, aren't even given a second thought.

"Perrin, and Faile. A fierce woman, falcon by name and nature. Had she really attached herself to Colavaere just to gather evidence? She would try to protect Perrin if the Dragon Reborn fell. Protect him from the Dragon Reborn, should she decide it necessary; her loyalties were to Perrin; but she would decide for herself how to meet them. Faile was no woman to do meekly as her husband told her, if such a woman . existed. Golden eyes, staring challenge and defiance. Why was Perrin so vehement about the Aes Sedai? He had been along time with Kiruna and her companions on the road to Dumai's Wells. Could Aes Sedai really do with him what everybody feared? Aes Sedai. he shook his head without being aware. never again. Never! To trust was to be betrayed; trust was pain."

On the surface of things, I think Rand knows Faile better than Perrin does. Not really, but he's only observed her briefly, several times since the Stone, and he has a grasp on things, her temperament, her nature, that Perrin seems to have a hard time grasping. Yes, Rand has suspicions about Faile's true motives in becoming one of Colavaere's attendants. Then there's Perrin and the Aes Sedai, and one of the reasons Rand cannot simply say, you're right Perrin, they're women, let's release them all. Rand has to wonder why Perrin is so adamant about the whole thing. Could he be an Aes Sedai puppet now? could Aes Sedai have turned him, taken his loyalties? What makes it all a trifle bizarre--Rand has the same view of women as Perrin, and in fact, Rand seems to be more extreme about it. Perrin seems capable of hurting or even killing women and he thinks "the list" is crazy. Personally, I think the Aes Sedai is the one thing that Perrin could grasp onto. With so much chaos and savagery, he wants to affirm his own core values and at the same time, he doesn't like the new Rand--the cold, the hard manipulator and ruler. I wouldn't be surprised if subconsciously, at least, Perrin wasn't using the Aes Sedai as some kind of lever to try to force Rand back into being the "old Rand."

"[They must be done away with. You must do it. Don't you remember the last time? That place by the wells was a pittance. Cities burned whole out of the earth were nothing. WE destroyed the world! DO YOU HEAR ME? THEY HAVE TO BE KILLED. WIPED FROM THE FACE....!]"

Hard to think of Dumai's Wells as a pittance, but true. Compared to turning the greatest cities of the world into sheets of glass, or sinking whole landmasses into the sea, and raising up new, thirty-thousand dead is nothing. It might have been a skirmish or perhaps even less than that. Leading up to the Battle of Cairhien in book five, Rand thinks "I have planned battle this size a hundred times, or gave orders that lead to ten times as many."

"[Kill them before it is too late, before they go mad,] Lews Therin whispered. [Kill them, hunt down Sammael, and Demandred, and all the Forsaken. I have to kill them all, before it is too late!]"

This line of thought is one that never sat quite right to me. If the voice is a construct, made up, but with real memories how could it say this? If real, how could it know things, that apparently happened, after he committed suicide and created Dragonmount? Heroes of the Horn do reside in [Ter'aran'rhiod], so it is possible to have learned things from after death. There's nothing to say that real memories have to stop with physical death. On the surface it all seems like rank madness, but maybe it is not. Perhaps the ultimate guilty conscience, is seeking the final solution to stop something like the Breaking from ever happening again.

"[Would I know a clear path if I saw one?] he wondered. [Or have I been at this so long I'd think it was a trap?]
[There are no clear paths. Only pitfalls and tripwires and darkness.] Lews Therin's snarl sounded sweaty, desperate. The way Rand felt."

Now there's a thought to cause despair, if ever there was one. Rand's time in the chest was not good at all. Besides the claustrophobia he now experiences and fear of the dark, it also brought him closer to complete madness. During that time, he considered "Lews Therin" his only companion, his only friend. The memories and voice come on much more strongly now. Rand needed something, needed someone--knowledge--breaking through the shield. Of course, Rand has learned how to "mute" the voice, but that just means the disassociation is worse than before. The scariest part being Lews Therin attempting to "seize" saidin from Rand. Obviously someone else isn't there taking hold of the Source--it will be his undoing, eventually.

Rand Travels to Caemlyn with Sulin and a contingent of Maidens, and three Asha'man: Fedwin Morr, Eben Hopwil, and Jonan Adley. He has three destinations in mind. The first is Caemlyn, the second Tear to drop off Adley and Hopwil, and the third is unspecified, but no one can know, but he--himself. The reasons for the first, Caemlyn, are not specified but conclusions can be drawn. He has himself and Morr escorted, bound and hooded, like prisoners, into Bashere's presence, on the chance that Elayne and Aviendha are in the palace. They aren't of course, so it is all unnecessary. The other reasons--bringing Morr to Bashere to run messages and perhaps for other reasons as well: protection, maybe fighting with the Power, should that need arise.

Bashere is not alone, he is with Bael, clan chief of the Goshien, and all three of their wives are with them. The meeting is strange, not at all cheery, not funny--dark. Bashere's wife, Deira, of course does not like, despises him and makes no effort to hide the fact. She questions him about the Aes Sedai and Rand makes it clear he wants Dumai's Wells to be an end. He doesn't want all out war with the White Tower, and even if he did, that would do nothing to further his own goals. In fact it would play right into the Shadow's hands. Then you'd have the only forces of the Light capable of fighting the Shadow to the fullest degree, killing each other. The Shadow has already enacted a similar conflict, with the split in the Tower. There are operatives on both sides, doing their best to keep the split open, and to drive it wider, to weaken the Tower and the world as much as possible before the Day of Return. Surprisingly, or perhaps not very, Rand's forbearance isn't something all his allies welcome:

" 'The White Tower has put itself against you," Bael said, leaning forward with his fists on his knees. His blue eyes made Deira's voice seem warm. "An Enemy who comes once, will come again. Unless they are stopped. My spears will follow wherever the [Car'a'carn] leads." Melaine nodded, of course; she very likely wanted every last Aes Sedai shielded and kneeling under guard if not bound hand and foot. But Dorindha nodded as well, and Sulin, and Bashere knuckled his mustaches thoughtfully. Rand didn't knot know whether to laugh or weep."

This happy little band is ready to go to war with the Tower, to the knife. I love Bael. I've always thought there were three tiers of Aiel chiefs. There's Rhuarc, of course. He was in the Stone of Tear and he and Rand are almost friends. Then there's the chiefs who were at [al'cair dal] and Rhuidean: Bruan, Erim, Han, Bael, and Jheran. Then there's all the rest that came after. The first six always have seemed the most loyal. The ones left back in Cairhien seem close to breaking and ready to believe the worst about Rand.

Rand ruminates over how far Mat has gotten and where Elayne is while the others talk. He needs Mat since Perrin refuses to go to Illian. He needs Mat, but there is no time. And--he still seems to be under the misconception that Mat is bringing Aes Sedai to him, that any of the Salidar Aes Sedai want protection. The others are apparently discussing Dumai's Wells and his capture and treatment, no doubt Deira wanted to know how Aes Sedai could possibly have sworn fealty, and what she's gotten herself into:

" 'They treated him as [da'tsang,]" Sulin growled, and some of the other Maidens growled wordlessly in echo.
"We know," Melaine said grimly. "They have no honor."
"Will he truly hold back after what you describe?" Deira demanded in disbelieving tones."

To the Aiel, it's not so much the torture that bothers them, but the betrayal of the abduction. That infuriates them to the point of murder. The fact that Deira is shocked is it's own wonder. After this, she treats Rand better--maybe with an ounce of respect, maybe with less contempt. Him holding back in the face of such provocation is a mighty powerful statement. It also might be that Deira accepts that they are firmly allied with Rand now, in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of the White Tower, so there is no turning back. Always before she tried to get Bashere not to follow Rand, and if he died she was going to take the army back to Saldaea. Such is no longer the case, I believe.

A couple more things come out in the conversation. Word of Darlin, Caraline, and Toram has reached Caemlyn. Rand is content to let them be if they are not fighting, and everyone thinks he is a fool and that they should be wiped out immediately. The other topic of conversation is Dyelin. When word of Colavaere's coronation and the rumors of Rand going to the White Tower reached Andor, Naean and Elenia declared for the Lion Throne. Dyelin had the leaders of the insurrection executed and immediately imprisoned Naean and Elenia. She was declared regent for Elayne--presenting the political situation which will prevail until Elayne returns to Caemlyn next book.

"The wine punch tasted of plums. Rand could remember fat sweet plums from the orchards across the river when he was young, climbing the trees to pick them himself...Tilting his head back, he drained the goblet. There were plum trees in the Two Rivers, but no orchards of them, and certainly not across any river. [Keep your bloody memories to yourself], he snarled at Lews Therin. The man in his head laughed at something, giggling quietly to himself."

Amazing how natural the memories are when Rand doesn't fight them. I love the little glimpses into LTT's life, especially the ones of childhood or other non-war memories that humanize him. I find it fascinating how similar life can be no matter where you grow up, or what time period or whatever. The schism in Rand is that he can accept he is the Dragon Reborn, but not that he was and is the Dragon. He can't be blamed really, he's trying so hard to hold on to as much of Rand al'Thor, Tam's son, as he can and every facet of his existence is trying to strip that away.

At the end, Rand gives the order for the spears to move on Illian, the great army in Tear will advance. Bael and Bashere are overjoyed and only wish they could be there. Of course, the original plan was to have Mat (or Perrin) in nominal command to convince Sammael that the army was the real attack--without that, will the plan work as planned?
Carai an Caldazar! Carai an Ellisande! Al Ellisande!
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