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he Great Purge

by terez: 2007-01-07 | 8.92 out of 10 (37 votes)

Recent Categories: How Will It End?

The Great Purge

During Egwene's Accepted test, we see some fascinating bits of foreshadowing. Not the least among those bits is the fact that Egwene has somehow been raised to the Amyrlin Seat without having taken the Oaths:

TITLE: The Dragon Reborn, CHAPTER: 22 - The Price of The Ring

"What can you do, Mother?" Beldeine cried. "What can you do?" It was not clear whether she meant for Rand or for herself.

"More than anyone suspects," Egwene said. "I never held the Oath Rod, Beldeine." Beldeine's gasp followed her from the room.

Egwene's memory still played hide-and-seek with her. She knew no woman could achieve the shawl and the ring without pledging the Three Oaths with the Oath Rod firmly in hand, the ter'angreal sealing her to keep those Oaths as if they had been engraved on her bones at birth. No woman became Aes Sedai without being bound to them. Yet she knew that somehow, in some fashion she could not begin to dredge up, she had done just that.

And, of course, we all know that she was eventually raised to Amyrlin without having sworn the Oaths, and how. It is possible that this foreshadowing is merely an aspect of the testing ter'angreal, because Nynaeve experienced a slight bit of foreshadowing in her testing as well:

TITLE: Great Hunt, CHAPTER: 23 - The Testing

Nynaeve felt as if she had been hit in the head, blow after dazing blow. "Queen?" she said hesitantly. "We have babies?"

"Are you certain you're well? I think I had better take you to Sharina Sedai."

"No." She backed away from him again. "No Aes Sedai." It isn't real. I won't be pulled into it this time. I won't!

"Very well," he said slowly. "As my wife, how could you not be Queen? We are Malkieri here, not southlanders. You were crowned in the Seven Towers at the same time we exchanged rings." Unconsciously he moved his left hand; a plain gold band encircled his forefinger. She glanced at her own hand, at the ring she knew would be there; she clasped her other hand over it, but whether to deny its presence by hiding it or to hold it, she could not have said. "Do you remember, now?" he went on. He stretched out a hand as if to brush her cheek, and she went back another six steps. He sighed. "As you wish, my love. We have three children, though only one can properly be called a baby. Maric is almost to your shoulder and can't decide if he likes horses or books better. Elnore has already begun practicing how to turn boys' heads, when she is not pestering Sharina about when she'll be old enough to go to the White Tower."

Sharina, of course, was one of the novices that Egwene picked up on the march to Tar Valon in Murandy, and ironically, she has the potential to become even stronger than Nynaeve. She has amazing talents with administration, and if anyone has what it takes to be an Aes Sedai advisor to Nynaeve and Lan, it would be Sharina.

But still, the foreshadowing in Nynaeve's test seems small in comparison to that of Egwene's test. Could Egwene's experience be due to the resonance of the stone ring ter'angreal?

TITLE - The Dragon Reborn, CHAPTER: 23 - Sealed

"Who knows what happens to those who do not come out of a ter'angreal?" Alanna said as she joined them. The Green sister was known for her temper and her sense of humor, and some said she could flash from one to the other and back again before you could blink, but the look she gave Egwene was almost diffident. "Child, I should have stopped this when I had the chance, when I first noticed that – reverberation. It came back. That is what happened. It came back a thousandfold. Ten thousand. The ter'angreal almost seemed to be trying to shut off the flow from saidar – or melt itself through the floor. You have my apologies, though words are not enough. Not for what almost happened to you. I say this, and by the First Oath you know it is true. To show my feelings, I will ask the Mother to let me share your time in the kitchens. And, yes, your visit to Sheriam, too. Had I done as I should, you would not have been in danger of your life, and I will atone for it."



"It was not your fault, Alanna Sedai," Egwene said. Why is Alanna doing this? Unless maybe to convince me she didn't have anything to do with whatever went wrong. And maybe so she can keep an eye on me all the time. It was that image, a proud Aes Sedai up to her elbows in greasy pots three times a day just to watch someone, that convinced her she was letting her imagination run away with her. But it was also unthinkable that Alanna should do as she said she would. In any case, the Green sister certainly had had no chance to see the list of names while tending the ter'angreal. But if Nynaeve is right, she wouldn't need to see those names to want to kill me if she is Black Ajah. Stop that! "Really, it wasn't."

"Had I done as I should," Alanna maintained, "it would never have happened. The only time I have ever seen anything like it was once years ago when we tried to use a ter'angreal in the same room with another that may have been in some way related to it. It is extremely rare to find two such as that. The pair of them melted, and every sister within a hundred paces had such a headache for a week that she couldn't channel a spark. What's the matter, child?"

Egwene's hand had tightened around her pouch till the twisted stone ring impressed itself on her palm through the thick cloth. Was it warm? Light, I did it myself. "Nothing, Alanna Sedai. Aes Sedai, you did nothing wrong. You have no reason to share my punishments. None at all. None!"

I think it quite likely that the resonance between the two ter'angreal had something to do with it. Either way, though, the bit of foreshadowing that I find most interesting is the bit that inspires the title of this theory:

TITLE - The Dragon Reborn, CHAPTER: 22 - The Price of the Ring

The way back will come but on– This time it ended abruptly.

Thirteen of the Black Ajah.

She stumbled at that. It was a frightening thought, but it chilled her to the marrow beyond fear. It felt – personal. She wanted to scream, to run and hide. She felt as if they were after her. Nonsense. The Black Ajah has been destroyed. That seemed an odd thought, too. Part of her remembered something called the Great Purge. Part of her was sure no such thing had happened.

So, in Egwene's possibly foreshadowing experience in the ter'angreal, the Black Ajah has been destroyed, apparently completely. Though, of course, that thought was belied by the revelations throughout the rest of the episode. But wouldn't it be nice? The Black Ajah, gone forever, and only a memory. But is it possible? Is it anything other than speculation to wish that it might happen?

I think we can do better than speculation.

The Black Ajah Hunters

In A Crown of Swords, Alviarin uses blackmail to close her fist on Elaida, and to use Elaida to sow chaos in the Tower. Needless to say, Elaida is not happy about this, so she seeks assistance from Seaine, apparently based solely on the fact that Seaine was the only Sitter not informed of the Sitting concerning Siuan’s deposition that did not flee to join the rebels. It is not entirely clear whether or not Elaida suspected Alviarin of being Black Ajah, for perhaps obvious reasons:

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight, CHAPTER: 21 - A Mark

But Mesaana's response was a dismissive wave of one now-silver hand. Her face glowed like a moon around eyes blacker than coals. "That is ridiculous. Elaida cannot decide from one day to the next whether she even believes the Black Ajah exists. You are just trying to save yourself a little pain. Perhaps a little more will instruct you in your error." Alviarin began to plead as Mesaana raised that hand higher, and a weave she remembered much too well formed in the air. She had to make the woman understand!

But Elaida was fearful if for no other reason than the possibility of the two debacles of Dumai’s Wells and the Black Tower becoming common knowledge in the Tower, and compromising her position. So, when she asked for Seaine’s assistance, she was very circumspect, dropping only small hints that her main object of investigation was Alviarin. Elaida lays her suspicions on the table quite delicately:

TITLE - A Crown of Swords, CHAPTER: 32 - Sealed to the Flame

"I want you -- I command you -- to undertake an inquiry. And you must indeed hold it in your heart. The wrong ear hearing of it might mean death, and disaster for the whole Tower."

Seaine’s eyebrows twitched. Death and disaster for the whole Tower? "In my heart," she said again. "Will you sit yourself, Mother?" That was proper, in her own apartments. "May I pour you some mint tea? Or plum punch?"

Waving away the offer of refreshment, Elaida took the most comfortable chair, carved by Seaine’s father as a gift when she received the shawl, though of course the cushions had been replaced many times since. The Amyrlin made the country chair seem a throne, all stiff back and iron countenance. Most ungraciously, she did not give permission for Seaine to sit, too, so Seaine folded her hands and remained standing.

"I have thought long and hard on treason, Seaine, since my predecessor and her Keeper were allowed to escape. Helped to escape. Treason must have been at the core of that, and I fear only a sister, or sisters, could have effected it."

"That would certainly be a possibility, Mother."

Elaida frowned at the interruption. "We can never be sure who has the shadow of treason in her heart, Seaine. Why, I suspect that someone arranged for an order of mine to be countermanded. And I have reason to believe that someone has communicated privately with Rand al’Thor; to what end, I cannot say, but that surely is treason against me, and against the Tower."

Seaine waited for more, but the Amyrlin only looked back at her, slowly smoothing her red-slashed skirts. "Exactly what inquiry do you wish me to make, Mother?" she asked cautiously.

Elaida bounded to her feet. "I charge you to follow the stench of treason, no matter where it leads or how high, even to the Keeper herself. Yes, even to her. What you find, whoever it leads to, you will bring before the Amyrlin Seat alone, Seaine. No one else must know. Do you understand me?"

"I understand your commands, Mother."

So, Elaida tells Seaine to search for signs of treason, and she lists three examples: 1) Siuan and Leane’s obviously aided escape, 2) an order of hers that was countermanded, and 3) the possibility that someone entered a treasonous correspondence with Rand. There are definitely hints that Seaine should specifically investigate Alviarin, which gives another reason why Elaida would seek out Seaine specifically (Seaine being a Sitter for Alviarin’s Ajah), but Seaine’s White Ajah logic failed to comprehend those signals. So, she understandably assumed that Elaida meant the Black Ajah, and did not say so outright because of the natural and common Aes Sedai aversion to admitting the Black Ajah’s existence. The assumption was understandable not only because of Elaida’s nervousness, but also because of the implications of “death and disaster for the whole Tower.” So, Seaine seeks out Pevara’s assistance, and the Hunt begins:

Seaine did not press her; she herself had committed something akin to treason by breaking that same seal, and Pevara would have to decide on her own. "Looking at reports will be safer than asking questions with no idea who we’re really asking. Logically, a Black sister must be able to lie despite the Oaths." Otherwise, the Black Ajah would have been revealed long since. That name seemed to be coming more easily with use. "If any sister wrote that she did one thing when we can prove she did another, then we have found a Darkfriend."

Pevara nodded. "Yes. Perhaps the Black Ajah has no hand in the rebellion, but I cannot think they would let this turmoil pass without taking advantage. We must look closely at this last year, I think."

To that, Seaine agreed reluctantly. There would be fewer pieces of paper to read and more questions to ask concerning recent months.
Deciding who else to make part of the inquiry was even harder. Especially after Pevara said, "You were very brave coming to me, Seaine. I’ve known Darkfriends to kill brothers, sisters, parents, to try hiding who they are and what they’ve done. I love you for it, but you were very brave indeed."

Seaine shivered as if a goose had walked on her grave. Had she wanted to be brave, she would have chosen Green. She almost wished Elaida had gone to someone else. There was no turning back now, though.

They are understandably not sure exactly how to begin, so they decide to look for written violations of the first Oath, which leads them to Zerah, which turned out to be a false alarm, concerning the Hunt for the Black Ajah. However, quite fortuitously, Zerah also leads to Talene. Could perhaps the Wheel be playing a part? It seems quite likely. What chance brought the other four Sitters, one of which was Black Ajah, down to the basements at that exact time?

TITLE - The Path of Daggers, CHAPTER: 26 - The Extra Bit

"I vow to obey the two of you absolutely," Zerah said in a tight voice, then shuddered as the oath took hold. It was always tighter at the first. "Ask me about the Black Ajah," she demanded. Her hands shook holding the Rod. "Ask me about the Black Ajah!" Her intensity told Seaine the answer even before Pevara released the flow of Spirit and asked the question, commanding utter truth. "No!" Zerah practically shouted. "No, I am not Black Ajah! Now take this oath from me! Free me!"

Seaine slumped dejectedly, resting her elbows on the table. She certainly had not wanted Zerah to answer yes, but she had been sure they had found the other woman out in a lie. One lie found, or so it had seemed, after weeks of searching. How many more weeks of searching lay ahead? And of looking over her shoulder from waking to sleeping? When she managed to sleep.

Pevara stabbed an accusing finger at the woman. "You told people that you came from the north."

Zerah’s eyes went wide again. "I did," she said slowly. "I rode down the bank of the Erinin to Jualdhe. Now free me of this oath!" She licked her lips.

Seaine frowned at her. "Goldenthorn seeds and a red cockle-burr were found on your saddlecloth, Zerah. Goldenthorn and red cockleburr can’t be found for a hundred miles south of Tar Valon."

Zerah leaped to her feet, and Pevara snapped, "Sit down!"

Right after that, Yukiri, Doesine, Saerin, and Talene enter, and Saerin deduces Seaine and Pevara’s purpose, and Talene is clearly shown to be Black. Now we have a Sitter from each Ajah represented, and a Black Sister revealed. Of course, that was Seaine’s and Pevara’s purpose in taking the Oath Rod to the lower levels of the Tower, but their own efforts produced not a Black, but a nest of ten ferrets that could be used as Hunters, while crazy luck netted them their first Black sister, and also three other Sitters to aid them in the Hunt. In the Prologue of Winter’s Heart, Talene is broken, and further Hunting strategy is discussed. Talene insists that Elaida is Black Ajah, but this defies Seaine’s White Ajah logic, as it was Elaida that gave the order in the first place. But the Black Ajah knows everything that happens in Elaida’s study, every order that Elaida gives, usually before it is made:

TITLE - Winter’s Heart, PROLOGUE - Snow

Pevara frowned. “Before we give her to Elaida, Saerin, I want to dig out as much as we can. Names, places, anything. Everything she knows!” Darkfriends had killed Pevara’s entire family, and Seaine was sure she would go into exile ready to hunt down every last Black sister personally.

Still huddled on the Chair, Talene made a sound, half bitter laugh, half weeping. “When you do that, we are all dead. Dead! Elaida is Black Ajah!”

“That’s impossible!” Seaine burst out. “Elaida gave me the order herself.


“She must be,” Doesine half whispered. “Talene’s sworn the oaths again; she just named her!” Yukiri nodded vehemently.

“Use your heads,” Pevara growled, shaking her own in disgust. “You know as well as I do if you believe a lie, you can say it for truth.”

“And that is truth,” Saerin said firmly. “What proof do you have, Talene? Have you seen Elaida at your….meetings?” She gripped her knife hilt so hard that her knuckles paled. Saerin had had to fight harder than most for the shawl, for the right to remain in the Tower at all. To her, the Tower was more than home, more important than her own life. If Talene gave the wrong answer, Elaida might not live to face trial.

“They don’t have meetings,” Talene muttered sullenly. “Except the Supreme Council, I suppose. But she must be. They know every report she receives, even the secret ones, every word spoken to her. They know every decision she makes before it’s announced. Days before; sometimes weeks. How else, unless she tells them?” Sitting up with an effort, she tried to fix them each in turn with an intent stare. It only made her eyes seem to dart anxiously. “We have to run, we have to find a place to hide. I’ll help you -- tell you everything I know! -- but they’ll kill us unless we run.”

Strange, Seaine thought, how quickly Talene had made her former cronies “they” and tried to identify herself with the rest of them. No. She was avoiding the real problem, and avoidance was witless. Had Elaida really set her to dig out the Black Ajah? She had never once actually mentioned the name. Could she have meant something else? Elaida had always jumped down the throat of anyone who even mentioned the Black. Nearly any sister would do the same yet….

“Elaida’s proven herself a fool,” Saerin said, “and more than once I’ve regretted standing for her, but I’ll not believe she’s Black, not without more than that.” Tight-lipped, Pevara jerked an agreeing nod. As a Red, she would want much more.

“That’s as may be, Saerin,” Yukiri said, “but we cannot hold Talene long before the Greens start asking where she is. Not to mention the …the Black. We’d better decide what to do fast, or we’ll still be digging at the bottom of the well when the rains hit.” Talene gave Saerin a feeble smile that was probably meant to be ingratiating. It faded under the Brown Sitter’s frown.

We don’t dare tell Elaida anything until we can cripple the Black at one blow,” Saerin said finally. “Don’t argue, Pevara; it’s sense.” Pevara threw up her hands and put on a stubborn expression, but she closed her mouth. “If Talene is right,” Saerin went on, “the Black knows about Seaine or soon will, so we must ensure her safety, as much as we can. That won’t be easy, with only five of us. We can’t trust anyone until we are certain of them! At least we have Talene, and who knows what we’ll learn before she’s wrung out?” Talene attempted to look willing to be wrung out, but no one was paying her any mind. Seaine’s throat had gone dry.

“We might not be entirely alone,” Pevara said reluctantly. “Seaine, tell them your little scheme with Zerah and her friends.”

“Scheme?” Saerin said. “Who’s Zerah? Seaine? Seaine!”

Seaine gave a start. “What? Oh. Pevara and I uncovered a small nest of rebels here in the Tower,” she began breathily. “Ten sisters sent to spread dissent.” Saerin was going to make sure she was safe, was she? Without so much as asking. She was a Sitter herself; she had been Aes Sedai for almost a hundred and fifty years. What right had Saerin or anyone to ….? “Pevara and I have begun putting an end to that. We’ve already made one of them, Zerah Dacan, take the same extra oath Talene did, and told her to bring Bernaile Gelbarn to my rooms this afternoon without rousing her suspicions.” Light, any sister outside this room might be Black. Any sister. “Then we will use those two to bring another, until they have all been made to swear obedience. Of course, we’ll ask the same question we put to Zerah, the same we put to Talene.” The Black Ajah might already have her name, already know she had been set hunting them. How could Saerin keep her safe? “Those who give the wrong answer can be questioned, and those who give the right can repay for a little of their treachery by hunting the Black under our direction.” Light, how?

When she was done, the others discussed the matter at some length, which could only mean that Saerin was unsure what decision she would make. Yukiri insisted on giving Zerah and her confederates over to the law immediately -- if it could be done without exposing their own situation with Talene. Pevara argued for using the rebels, though halfheartedly; the dissent they had been spreading centered around vile tales concerning the Red Ajah and false Dragons. Doesine seemed to be suggesting that they kidnap every sister in the Tower and force them all to take the added oath, but the other three paid little attention to her.

So. Seaine’s fear that Elaida might very well be Black is obviously scrambling her brain. She is the only one present that actually knows what Elaida commanded -- all the others in the room think that Elaida commanded her to hunt the Black Ajah specifically, though Pevara knows she was circumspect. But Seaine knows that Elaida specifically mentioned the Keeper. Alviarin. For the others, suspicion of Elaida is enough to balance suspicion of Alviarin, as we learn in the continuation of the plot. We also get another mention of the fact that they dare not try to bring the Black Sisters to trial until they have what they need to completely eradicate the Black. In other words, until they have what they need to bring about The Great Purge. But what they have learned from Talene about Black Ajah security makes their task seem impossible. Also, they cannot even apprehend sisters that they know are Black, because they do not have the official authority to do so…because they dare not go public until they have the means to take out the Black in one blow, because they fear that Elaida is Black:

TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight, PROLOGUE - Glimmers of the Pattern

She shivered, and it had nothing to do with drafts in the corridor. She and every other woman who might reveal the truth would die before that storm ended, by so-called accident or in bed. Or she might just vanish, apparently gone out of the Tower never to be seen again. She had no doubt of that. Any evidence would be buried so deep, an army with shovels could never dig it up. Even rumors would be plastered over. It had happened before. The world and most sisters still believed Tamra Ospenya had died in her bed. She had believed it. They had to have the Black Ajah wrapped up and tied, as near as possible, before they dared risk going public.



The dark stocky Warder following just far enough behind to give them privacy must have belonged to Pritalle Nerbaijan, a green-eyed woman who had largely escaped the Saldaean nose, because Atuan Larisett had no Warder. Yukiri knew little about Pritalle, but she would learn more after seeing her in close conversation with Atuan. In high-necked gray slashed with yellow and a silk-fringed shawl, the Taraboner was striking. Her dark hair, in thin, brightly beaded braids that hung to her waist, framed a face that somehow seemed perfect as it was without being beautiful. She was even fairly modest, at least as Yellows went. But she was the woman Meidani and the others were trying to study without being caught out. The woman whose name they were afraid to speak aloud except behind strong wards. Atuan Larisett was one of only three Black sisters Talene knew. That was how they organized themselves, three women who knew each other, three women who formed one heart, with each woman knowing one more the other two did not. Atuan had been Talene’s “one more,” so there was some hope she could be followed to two others.



When they first learned Talene was a Darkfriend, Talene had been a shielded prisoner. And she still scared us spitless, she admitted to herself. Well, what they did to make her confess had scared them spitless first, but learning the truth turned their tongues to dust. Now Talene was tethered tighter than Meidani, closely guarded even if she did appear to walk free – how to keep a Sitter prisoner without anyone noticing had been beyond even Saerin – and she was pathetically eager to offer up every scrap she knew or even suspected in hope it might save her life, not that she had any choice. Hardly an object of fear. As for the rest…

Pevara had tried to maintain that Talene must be wrong about Galina Casban, and went into a rage that lasted a full day when she finally was convinced that her Red sister was really Black. She still spoke of strangling Galina with her own hands. Yukiri herself had felt a cold detachment when Temaile Kinderode was named. If there were Darkfriends in the Tower, it stood to reason some had to be Grays, though perhaps disliking Temaile helped. She remained cool even after she did the sums and realized that Temaile had left the Tower at the same time that three sisters were murdered. That provided more names for suspicion, other sisters who had gone then, too, but Galina and Temaile and the rest were out of the Tower, beyond reach for the moment, and only the two could be proven Darkfriends.

Atuan was right there, Black Ajah without doubt, walking the Tower as she wished, unrestrained and unbound of the Three Oaths. And until Doesine could arrange for her to be questioned in secret – a difficult matter, even for a Sitter of Atuan’s Ajah, since it had to be secret from everyone – until then, all they could do was watch. A distant, carefully circumspect watching. It was like living with a red adder, never knowing when you would find yourself eye to eye with it, never knowing when it might bite. Like living in a den of red adders, and only being able to see one.

Suddenly, Yukiri realized that the wide, curving corridor was empty ahead as far as she could see, and a glance back showed only Leonin behind. The Tower might have been empty save for the three of them. Nothing in sight moved except the flickering flames on the stand lamps. Silence.

Meidani gave a small start. “Forgive me, Sitter. Seeing her so suddenly took me aback. Where was I? Oh, yes. I understand that Celestin and Annharid are trying to find out her close friends in the Yellow.” Celestin and Annharid were Meidani’s fellow conspirators, both Yellows. There were two from each Ajah – except the Red and the Blue, of course – which had proven very useful. “I fear that won’t be much help. She has a wide circle of friends, or did before the… current situation rose between the Ajahs.” A touch of satisfaction tinged her voice, however smooth her face; she was still a rebel, in spite of the added oath. “Investigating all of them will be difficult, if not impossible.

“Forget her for the moment.” It took an effort for Yukiri not to crane her neck trying to look every way at once. A tapestry worked with large white flowers rippled slightly, and she hesitated until she was sure it was a draft and not another servant coming out of a servants’ ramp. She never could recollect where they were located. Her new topic was as dangerous as discussing Atuan, in its own way. “Last night, I remembered you were a novice with Elaida, and close friends as I recall. It would be a good idea for you to renew that friendship.

“That was some years ago,” the taller woman replied stiffly, lifting her shawl to her shoulders and wrapping it around herself as though she suddenly felt the cold. “Elaida very properly broke it off when she was raised Accepted. She might have been accused of favoritism if I were in a class she was given to teach.”

“As well for you that you weren’t a favorite,” Yukiri said dryly. Elaida’s current ferocity had its precedent. Before she went off to Andor years ago, she had pushed those she favored so hard that sisters had needed to step in more than once. Siuan Sanche had been one of them, strange to remember, though Siuan had never needed rescuing from standards she could not meet. Strange and sad. “Even so, you will do everything in your power to renew that friendship.”

Meidani walked two dozen paces along the corridor opening and closing her mouth, adjusting and readjusting her shawl, twitching her shoulders as though trying to shrug off a horsefly, looking everywhere but at Yukiri. How had the woman ever functioned as a Gray, with so little self-control? “I did try,” she said finally, in a breathy tone. She still avoided Yukiri’s eye. “Several times. The Keeper… Alviarin always put me off. The Amyrlin was busy, she had appointments, she needed rest. There was always some excuse. I think Elaida just doesn’t want to take up a friendship she dropped more than thirty years ago.

So the rebels had remembered that friendship, too. How had they thought to use it? Spying, most likely. She would have to find out how Meidani was supposed to pass on what she learned. In any case, the rebels had provided the tool, and Yukiri would use it. “Alviarin is out of your way. She left the Tower yesterday, or maybe the day before. No one is quite certain. But the maids say she took spare clothes, so it’s unlikely she’ll return for a few days at the soonest.”

“Where could she have gone in this weather?” Meidani frowned. “It’s been snowing since yesterday morning, and it was threatening before.”

Yukiri stopped and used both hands to turn the other woman to face her. “The only thing that need concern you, Meidani, is that she’s gone,” she said firmly. Where had Alviarin gone in this? “You have a clear path to Elaida, and you will take it. And you will keep a close watch to see if anyone might be reading Elaida’s papers. Just be sure no one sees you watching.” Talene said the Black Ajah knew everything that came out of the Amyrlin’s study before it was announced, and they needed someone close to Elaida if they were to find out how it was done. Of course, Alviarin saw everything before Elaida signed, and the woman had taken on more authority than any Keeper in memory, but that was no reason to accuse her of being a Darkfriend. No reason not to, either. Her past was being investigated, too. “Watch Alviarin, as well, as much as you can, but Elaida’s papers are the important thing.”

Meidani sighed and gave a reluctant nod. She might have to obey, but she knew the added danger she would be in if Alviarin did turn out a Darkfriend. Yet Elaida herself still might be Black, whatever Saerin and Pevara insisted. A Darkfriend as Amyrlin Seat. Now that was a thought to pickle your heart.


So, Alviarin is being watched as well, but Elaida is still suspect, hence Yukiri’s orders to Meidani. However, despite all of their efforts, they are getting nowhere fast. They need a way to cripple the Black at one blow, and the task seems insurmountable. But just as the Hunters are approaching that insurmountable wall, RJ provides us with the tantalizing key to the puzzle…who also happens to be the object of Elaida’s original commands to Seaine:

TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight, CHAPTER: 21 - A Mark

Mesaana was the real source of her annoyance. The Chosen taught what she wished and nothing more, hinted at wonders then withheld them. And Mesaana used her like an errand girl. She sat at the head of the Supreme Council and knew the names of every Black sister in every heart, which was more than Mesaana could say. The woman showed little interest in who would carry out her orders, so long as they were carried out, and to the absolute letter. All too often, she wanted them carried out by Alviarin herself, forcing her to deal with women and men who thought themselves her equals just because they also served the Great Lord. Too many of the Friends thought themselves equal to Aes Sedai, or even superior. Worse, Mesaana forbade her to make an object lesson of even one. Repellent little rodents, none able to channel, and Alviarin had to be polite just because some of them might be serving another of the Chosen! It was obvious that Mesaana did not know for sure. She was one of the Chosen, and she made Alviarin smile at the dust of the street for her uncertainty.

And there we have it! A way to cripple the Black Ajah with one blow! But the Hunters, who feel powerless without the Amyrlin’s authority, who are afraid to seek that authority for fear that Elaida is Black herself, are utterly clueless as to this prize that is virtually under their noses. And Alviarin is getting her own clues as to what they are up to:

All three Green Sitters were there, indicating very strong sup¬port among their Ajah, or heavy pressure from the head of the Green. As senior, Talene should have answered Elaida – Greens stuck to their hierarchies in everything – but the tall, golden-haired woman glanced at Yukiri for some reason, then just as oddly, at Doesine, and put her eyes on the carpet and stood plucking at her green silk skirts. Rina frowned faintly, wrinkling her upturned nose in puzzlement, but she had worn the shawl for fewer than fifty years, so it was left to Rubinde to reply. A sturdy woman, Rubinde appeared short and stocky alongside Talene, and almost plain despite eyes the color of sapphires.

“I am instructed to make the same points as Shevan,” she said, ignoring the startled look that Rina gave her. Plainly there had been pressure from Adelorna, the Green ‘Captain-General,’ and plainly Rubinde disagreed if she was willing to make it public. “Tarmon Gai’don is coming, the Black Tower is almost as great a threat, and the Dragon Reborn is missing, if he isn’t dead. We can no longer afford to be divided. If Andaya can talk the rebels back into the Tower, then we must let her try.”

So, Alviarin notices Talene deferring to two Sitters not of her own Ajah, which is most strange…and it was most imprudent of the Hunters to neglect to order Talene not to make such things noticeable in public. But anyhow, the slip was made, and Alviarin noticed. Alviarin was stripped of her position, and while she was reporting to Mesaana, Shaidar Haran interferes, and charges Alviarin with the task of uncovering the threat to the Black:

“You are marked as mine,” the Great Lord rasped. “Mesaana will not harm you, now. Unless I give her permission. You will find who threatens my creatures here and deliver them to me.” He turned away from her, and the dark armor fell from his body. She was startled when it hit the carpeted floor tiles with a crash of steel rather than simply vanishing. He was clothed in black, and she could not have said whether it was silk or leather or something else. The darkness of it seemed to drink the light from the room. Mesaana began to thrash in her bonds, keening shrilly past the gag in her mouth. “Go now,” he said, “if you wish to live another hour.” The sound coming from Mesaana rose to a despairing scream.

Alviarin did not know how she got out of her rooms – she could not understand how she was upright when her legs felt like water – but she found herself running through the corridors, skirts pulled to her knees and running as hard as she could. Suddenly the head of a wide staircase loomed in front of her, and she barely managed to stop from running right out into the air. Sagging against the wall, shaking, she stared down the curving flight of white marble steps. In her mind, she could see her body breaking as it crashed down the stairway.

Breathing raggedly, in hoarse, raw-throated pants, she put a trembling hand to her forehead. Her thoughts tumbled one over another, as she would have down the stairs. The Great Lord had marked her as his. Her fingers slid across smooth unblemished skin. She had always prized knowledge – power grew from knowledge – but she did not want to know what was happening in the rooms she had left. She wished she did not know that anything was happening. The Great Lord had marked her, but Mesaana would find a way to kill her, for knowing that. The Great Lord had marked her and given her a command. She could live, if she found who was hunting the Black Ajah.

Straightening her back with an effort, she hurriedly scrubbed at the tears on her cheeks with the heels of her palms. She could not pull her eyes away from the stairs falling away in front of her. Elaida surely suspected her, but if there was no more to it than that, she could always manufacture a hunt. It just had to include Elaida herself as a threat to be extinguished. Delivered to the Great Lord. Her fingers fluttered to her forehead again. She had the Black Ajah at her command. Smooth, unblemished skin. Talene had been there, in Elaida’s rooms. Why had she looked at Yukiri and Doesine that way? Talene was Black, though she did not know that Alviarin was, of course. Would any mark show in a mirror? Was there something that others could see? If she had to manufacture a scheme for Elaida’s supposed hunters, Talene might be a place to start. She tried to trace the route any message would have taken from heart to heart before it reached Talene, but she could not stop staring down the stairs, seeing her body bounce and break its way to the bottom. The Great Lord had marked her.

Alviarin has not only been given a task, but she has been given a momentous level of desperation, first from her deposition by Elaida, with the fear that Elaida knew she was Black Ajah, to the mark she received from Shaidar Haran, and the order that he gave. So, the Hunters are suspicious of Alviarin, and Alviarin is suspicious of the Hunters. If the Hunters net Alviarin, they can cripple the Black at one blow; if Alviarin nets the Hunters…she gets to live. Who will be successful?

The next point of view for the Hunters is quite bleak. They have reached a dead end, reduced to looking for inconsistencies once again - and, their one reason for believing Elaida was not Black in the first place is turned on its head when Seaine is summoned:

TITLE - Knife of Dreams, PROLOGUE - Embers Falling on Dry Grass

“I know as much about tapestries as a pig knows about blacksmithing, Pevara.” For all her elegance, Yukiri seldom let long pass without revealing her country origins. The silvery gray fringe of her shawl swung as she gathered it around her. “You’re late, so let’s be brief. I feel like a hen being watched by a fox. Marris broke this morning, and I gave her the oath of obedience myself, but as with the others, her ‘one other’ is out of the Tower. With the rebels, I think.” She fell silent as a pair of serving women approached up the hallway carrying a large wicker laundry basket with neatly folded bed linens bulging from the top.

Pevara sighed. It had seemed so encouraging, at the start. Terrifying and nearly overwhelming, too, yet they had appeared to be making a good beginning. Talene had only known the name of one other Black sister actually in the Tower at present, but once Atuan had been kidnapped -- Pevara would have liked to think of it as an arrest, yet she could not when they seemed to be violating half of Tower Law and a good many strong customs besides -- once Atuan was safely in hand, she had soon been induced to surrender the names of her heart: Karale Sanghir, a Domani Gray, and Marris Thornhill, an Andoran Brown. Only Karale among them had a Warder, though he had turned out to be a Darkfriend, too.

Luckily, soon after learning that his Aes Sedai had betrayed him, he had managed to take poison in the basement room where he had been confined while Karale was questioned. Strange to think of that as lucky, but the Oath Rod only worked on those who could channel, and they were too few to guard and tend prisoners.

It had been such a bright beginning, however fraught, and now they were at an impasse unless one of the others returned to the Tower, back to searching for discrepancies between what sisters claimed to have done and what it could be proven they actually had, something made harder by the inclination of most sisters to be oblique in nearly everything. Of course, Talene and the other three would pass along whatever they knew, whatever came into their hands -- the oath of obedience took care of that-but any message very much more important than “take this and put it in that place” would be in a cipher known only to the woman who sent it and the woman it was directed to. Some were protected by a weave that made the ink vanish if the wrong hand broke the seal; that could be done with so little of the Power it might go unnoticed unless you were looking for it, and there appeared to be no way to circumvent the ward.

If they were not at an impasse, then their flow of success was reduced to a creeping trickle. And always there was the danger that the hunted would learn of them and become the hunters. Invisible hunters, for all practical purposes, just as they now seemed invisible prey.

Still, they had four names plus four sisters in hand who would admit they were Darkfriends, though likely Marris would be as quick as the other three to claim she now rejected the Shadow, repented of her sins, and embraced the Light once more. Enough to convince anyone. Supposedly, the Black Ajah knew everything that passed in Elaida’s study, yet it might be worth the risk. Pevara refused to believe Talene’s claim that Elaida was a Darkfriend. After all, she had initiated the hunt. The Amyrlin Seat could rouse the entire Tower. Perhaps a revelation that the Black Ajah truly existed might do what the appearance of the rebels with an army had failed to, stop the Ajahs from hissing at one another like strange cats and bind them back together. The Tower’s wounds called for desperate remedies.



The White Sitter’s composure faded into worry, tightening her mouth and creasing the corners of her eyes. Her hands tightened into fists gripping her shawl. “For us, it is. I’ve just come from answering a summons to Elaida. She wanted to know how I was getting on.” Seaine took a deep breath. “With discovering proof that Alviarin entered a treasonous correspondence with the Dragon Reborn. Really, she was so circumspect in the beginning, so indirect, it’s no wonder I misunderstood what she wanted.

“I think that fox is walking on my grave,” Yukiri murmured.

Pevara nodded. The notion of approaching Elaida had vanished like summer dew. Their one assurance that Elaida was not herself Black Ajah had been that she instigated the hunt for them, but since she had done no such thing… At least the Black Ajah remained in ignorance of them. At least they had that, still. But for how much longer?

“On mine, too,” she said softly.

So…their one bit of certainty that Elaida is not Black has evaporated. And in the next point of view, the race is on as Alviarin struggles to uncover the Hunters:

Still standing, she deciphered the other two messages and learned that Yukiri and Doesine both slept in rooms warded against intrusion. That was unsurprising-hardly a sister in the Tower slept without warding these days-but it meant kidnapping either would be difficult. That was always easiest when carried out in the depths of the night by sisters of the woman’s own Ajah. It might yet turn out those glances were happenstance, or imagination. She needed to consider the possibility.

With a sigh, she gathered more of the small books from the chest and gently eased herself onto the goose-down cushion on the chair at the writing table. Not gently enough to stop a wince as her weight settled, though. She barely stifled a whimper. At first, she had thought the humiliation of Silviana’s strap far worse than the pain, but the pain no longer really faded. Her bottom was a mass of bruises. And tomorrow, the Mistress of Novices would add to them. And the day after that, and the day after… A bleak vision of endless days howling under Silviana’s strap, of fighting to meet the eyes of sisters who knew all about the visits to Silviana’s study.

Trying to chase those thoughts away, she dipped a good steel-nibbed pen and began to write out ciphered orders on thin sheets of paper. Talene must be found and brought back, of course. For punishment and execution, if she had simply panicked, and if she had not, if she had somehow found a way to betray her oaths… Alviarin clung to that hope while she commanded a close watch put on Yukiri and Doesine. A way had to be found to take them. And if they were caught up in chance and imagination, something could still be manufactured from whatever they said. She would guide the flows in the circle. Something could be made.

She wrote furiously, unaware that her free hand had risen to her forehead, searching for the mark.

At this point, it seems the Hunters are screwed. Alviarin is perhaps more desperate than they are, and she is probably more willing to take certain risks in order to accomplish her ends. But the Hunters have something that they do not realize they have. Elaida’s orders, given in A Crown of Swords and reiterated, clarified, in Knife of Dreams. A treasonous correspondence between Alviarin and The Dragon Reborn.


The Treasonous Correspondence

TITLE - The Fires of Heaven, CHAPTER: 51 - News Comes to Cairhien

With respect, I humbly beg to make myself known to the great Lord Dragon Reborn, whom the Light blesses as savior of the world.

All the world must stand in awe of you, who has conquered Cairhien in one day as you did Tear. Yet be wary, I beseech you, for your splendor will inspire jealousy even in those not toiled in the Shadow. Even here in the White Tower are the blind who cannot see your true radiance, which will illumine us all. Yet know that some rejoice in your coming, and will delight to serve your glory. We are not those who would steal your luster for ourselves, but rather those who would kneel to bask in your brilliance. You shall save the world, according to the Prophecies, and the world shall be yours.

To my shame, I must beg you to let no one see these words, and to destroy them when once read. I stand, naked of your protection, among some who would usurp your power, and I cannot know who around you is as faithful as I. I am told that Moiraine Damodred may be with you. She may serve you devotedly, obeying your words as law, as I will, yet I cannot know, for I remember her as a secretive woman, much given to plotting, as Cairhienin are. Yet even if you believe she is your creature, as I do, I beg you to keep this missive secret, even from her. My life lies beneath your fingers, my Lord Dragon Reborn, and I am your servant.

Alviarin Freidhen


He read it through again, blinking, then handed it to Moiraine. She barely scanned the page before giving it to Egwene, who had her head over the other letter with Aviendha. Perhaps Moiraine already knew what they contained?

"A good thing you gave your oath," he said. "The way you used to be, keeping everything back, I might have been ready to suspect you by now. A good thing you're more open now." She did not react. "What do you make of it?"

"She must have heard about your swelled head," Egwene said softly. He did not think he had been meant to hear. Shaking her head, she said more loudly, "This doesn't sound like Alviarin at all."

"It is her hand," Moiraine said. "What do you make of it, Rand?"

"I think there's a rift in the Tower, whether Elaida knows it or not. I assume an Aes Sedai can't write a lie more easily than she can speak one?" He did not wait for her nod. "If Alviarin had been less flowery, I might have thought they were working together to pull me in. I can't see Elaida even thinking half of what Alviarin wrote, and I can't see her having a Keeper who could write it, not if she knew."

This is one of the things that Elaida hinted at when she first recruited Seaine’s assistance, and it is apparently the only point she reiterated when she met with Seaine the second time. Of course, the Hunters have no clue at this point that the treasonous correspondence could be beneficial to their cause. All they can think about is that they can no longer be assured that Elaida is not Black, so therefore Elaida’s agenda is unimportant, relatively.

They are not only disillusioned with their cause, they are disillusioned with their Amyrlin, if they were not already. I find it particularly important that we get the revelation about Elaida in Pevara’s point of view, because Pevara, being a Red, was the most susceptible to trying to find some reason to believe in Elaida’s innocence. We see even her Red Ajah loyalty whittled away to almost nothing. In the same point of view, we hear of Sitters that stood for Elaida ready to depose her for the debacles of Dumai’s Wells and the Black Tower. So, we have two distinct problems: a dead standstill in the Hunt for the Black Ajah, and a grossly incompetent Amyrlin that is possibly Black Ajah. Alviarin is the key to crippling the Black at one blow, but how will the Hunters realize this?

TITLE - Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER: 24 - Honey in the Tea

Egwene caught another oak leaf on the broom and brushed it off into the wooden pail of damp leaves at her feet. “Your loyalty to Elaida isn’t very strong, is it?”

“Why do you say that?” Alviarin said suspiciously. Glancing at the two Reds, who appeared to be paying more mind now to the fish than Egwene, she stepped closer, inviting lowered voices.

Egwene fished at a long strand of grass that had to have come all the way from the plains beyond the river. Should she mention the letter this woman had written to Rand practically promising him the White Tower at his feet? No, that piece of information might prove valuable, but it seemed the sort of thing that could only be used once. “She stripped you of the Keeper’s stole and ordered your penance. That’s hardly an inducement to loyalty.”

Alviarin’s face remained smooth, yet her shoulders relaxed visibly. Aes Sedai seldom showed so much. She must feel under phenomenal strain to be so little in control of herself. She darted a look at the Reds again. “Think on your situation,” she said in near a whisper. “If you want an escape from it, well, you may be able to find one.”

“I am content with my situation,” Egwene said simply.

Alviarin’s eyebrows quirked upward in disbelief, but with another glance at the Reds -- one was watching them now rather than the fish -- she glided away, a very fast glide on the verge of breaking into a trot.

Every two or three days she would appear while Egwene was doing chores, and while she never openly offered help with an escape, she used that word frequently, and she began to show frustration when Egwene refused to rise to her bait. Bait it was, to be sure. Egwene did not trust the woman. Perhaps it was that letter, surely designed to draw Rand to the Tower and into Elaida’s clutches, or maybe it was the way she kept waiting for Egwene to make the first move, to beg possibly. Likely Alviarin would try to set conditions, then. In any case, she had no intention of escaping unless there was no other choice, so she always gave the same response.

“I am content with my situation.”

Alviarin began grinding her teeth audibly when she heard that.

Conclusion

So, how will the Egwene and the Hunters come together? Elaida’s original order to Seaine are helpful: "What you find, whoever it leads to, you will bring before the Amyrlin Seat alone, Seaine. No one else must know." Elaida will not be Amyrlin for long. Callandor’s theory on The Sitters Mystery shows that the Tower Ajah Heads have long been concerned with reuniting the Tower peacefully. Elaida’s conditions are most onerous, and Egwene’s conditions only require Elaida’s removal. The feelings in the Tower are becoming more and more disgruntled with Elaida’s incompetence, and the negotiations at the bridges, which are being carried out by the five planted sisters on the rebel side, and no doubt influenced by the Ajah Heads on the Tower side, will no doubt go in Egwene’s favor quite soon. Ferane, the Head of the White, and Suana, the Head of the Yellow, were among the first to notify Elaida that negotiations would be entered:

TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight, CHAPTER: 21 - A Mark

Elaida studied her for a moment, then gave a satisfied nod. The woman’s eyes still shone with emotion, though. Lifting the lid of one of the three lacquered boxes on her table, she took out a small, age-darkened ivory carving of a turtle and stroked it between her fingers. Fondling the carvings in that box was a habit she had when she wanted to soothe her nerves. “Now,” she said. “You were explaining to me why I should enter negotiations.”

”We were not asking permission, Mother,” Suana said sharply, thrusting her chin out. She had too much chin, a square stone of it, and the arrogance to thrust it at anyone. “A decision of this sort belongs to the Hall. There is strong feeling in favor of it in the Yellow Ajah.” Which meant she had strong feelings. She was the head of the Yellow Ajah, the First Weaver, something Alviarin knew because the Black Ajah knew all the Ajah secrets, or nearly all, and in Suana’s view, her opinions were her Ajah’s opinions.

Doesine, the other Yellow present, eyed Suana sideways, but said nothing. Pale and boyishly slim, Doesine looked as if she did not really want to be there, a pretty, sulky boy who had been dragged somewhere by his ear. Sitters often balked at arm-twisting from their Ajah’s head, yet it was not beyond possibility that Suana had found some way.

“Many Whites also support talks,” Ferane said, frowning distractedly at an ink stain on one plump finger. “It is the logical thing to do, under the present circumstances.” She was First Reasoner, head of the White Ajah, but less likely than Suana to take her own views for those of the entire Ajah. A little less likely. Ferane often seemed as vague as the worst of the Browns – the long black hair that framed her round face needed a brush, and part of the fringe on her shawl appeared to have been dipped carelessly in her breakfast tea – but she could catch the slightest crack in the logic of an argument. She might well have been there by herself because she simply did not believe she needed any assistance from the other White Sitters.



“I see,” Elaida said in a flat tone. But strangely, her color improved, and the hint of a smile even touched her mouth. “Then by all means, talk them back, if you can. But my edicts stand. The Blue Ajah no longer exists, and every sister who follows that child Egwene al’Vere must serve penance under my guidance before she can be readmitted to any Ajah. I intend to weld the White Tower into a weapon to use at Tarmon Gai’don.”

Ferane and Suana opened their mouths, protest painted on their faces, but Elaida cut them off with a raised hand. “I have spoken, daughters. Leave me now. And see to your… talks.”

Also, there are clearly some Sitters that are ready to pull Elaida down because of the disaster with Toviene’s party:

TITLE - Knife of Dreams
PROLOGUE - Embers Falling on Dry Grass

Yukiri took her time getting to her question. The floor tiles turned from green-and-blue to yellow-and-brown as they walked along one of the main corridors that spiraled gently through the Tower, down five floors without seeing anyone else, before she spoke. “Has the Red heard from anyone who went with Toveine?”

Pevara almost tripped over her own slippers. She should have expected it, though. Toveine would not have been the only one to write from Cairhien. “From Toveine herself,” she said, and told almost everything that had been in Toveine’s letter. Under the circumstances, there was nothing else she could do. She did hold back the accusations against Elaida, and also how long ago the letter had arrived. The one was still Ajah business, she hoped, while the other might require awkward explanations.

“We heard from Akoure Vayet.” Yukiri walked a few paces in silence, then muttered, “Blood and bloody ashes!”

Pevara’s eyebrows rose in shock. Yukiri was often earthy, but never vulgar before this. She noted that the other woman had not said when Akoure’s letter arrived, either. Had the Gray received other letters from Cairhien, from sisters who had sworn to the Dragon Reborn? She could not ask. They trusted one another with their lives in this hunt, and still, Ajah business was Ajah business. “What do you intend doing with the information?”

We will keep silent for the good of the Tower. Only the Sitters and the head of our Ajah know. Evanellein is for pulling Elaida down because of this, but that can’t be allowed now. With the Tower to mend and the Seanchan and Asha’man to be dealt with, perhaps never.” She did not sound happy over that.

Pevara stifled her irritation. She could not like Elaida, yet you did not have to like the Amyrlin Seat. Any number of very unlikeable women had worn the stole and done well for the Tower. But could sending fifty-one sisters into captivity be called doing well? Could Dumai’s Wells, with four sisters dead and more than twenty delivered into another sort of captivity, to a ta’veren? No matter. Elaida was Red - had been Red - and far too long had passed since a Red gained the stole and staff. All the rash actions and ill-considered decisions seemed things of the past since the rebels appeared, and saving the Tower from the Black Ajah would redeem her failures.

Of course, this is just before Seaine’s revelation, which caused even Pevara to suspect Elaida was Black Ajah herself. Egwene has had lessons with at least three of the Ajah Heads: Ferane, Serancha, and Adelorna. Surely all three are aware of the rebel’s conditions in the negotiations by now, and all three were very hard on Egwene. Could they have been testing her? Even if they were not, they have seen her spirit and her resolve, and her character. Adelorna was overtly complimentary, however:

TITLE - Knife of Dreams, CHAPTER: 24 - Honey in the Tea

And then there was Adelorna Bastine. The Saldaean Green somehow managed stateliness in spite of being slim and no taller than Egwene, and she had a regal, commanding air that might have been intimidating had Egwene let it. “I hear you make trouble.” she said, picking up an ivory-backed hairbrush from a small inlaid table beside her chair. “If you try to make trouble with me, you’ll learn that I know how to use this.”

Egwene did learn, without trying. Three times she went across Adelorna’s lap, and the woman did indeed know how to use a hairbrush for more than brushing her hair. That managed to stretch an hour lecture to two.

“May I go now?” Egwene said at last, calmly drying her cheeks as well as she could with a handkerchief that was already damp. Breathe in the pain. Absorb the fire. “I’m supposed to fetch water up for the Red, and I don’t want to be late.”

Adelorna frowned at her hairbrush before returning it to the table that Egwene had overset twice with her kicking. Then she frowned at Egwene, studying her as if trying to see inside her skull. “I wish Cadsuane were in the Tower,” she murmured. “I think she’d find you a challenge.” There seemed a touch of respect in her voice.

And last, but not least, Egwene gets a visit from one of the Hunters, Doesine:

On the morning of her ninth day back in the Tower, before first light, Doesine herself came to Egwene’s small room to give her her morning dose of Healing. Outside, rain was falling with a dull roar. The two Reds who had been watching over her sleep gave her her forkroot, frowning at Doesine, and hurried away. The Yellow Sitter snorted in contempt when the door closed behind them. She used the old method of Healing that made Egwene gasp as though doused in an icy pond and left her ravenously eager for breakfast. As well as free of the pain in her bottom. That actually felt peculiar; you could adapt to anything over time, and a bruised bottom already seemed normal. But the use of the old way, the way used every time she had been given Healing since being captured, reaffirmed that Beonin had kept some secrets, though how she had managed it was still a mystery. Beonin herself had only said that most sisters thought the tales of new weaves were merely rumors.

”You don’t mean to bloody surrender, do you, child?” Doesine said while Egwene was pulling her dress over her head. The woman’s language was very much at odds with her elegant appearance, in gold-embroidered blue with sapphires at her ears and in her hair.

“Should the Amyrlin Seat ever surrender?” Egwene asked as her head popped out at the top of her dress. She doubled her arms behind her to do up the buttons of white-dyed horn.

Doesine snorted again, though not in contempt, Egwene thought. “A brave course, child. Still, my wager is that Silviana will bloody well have you sitting straight and walking right before much longer.” But she left without calling Egwene down for naming herself the Amyrlin Seat.

Add these obvious shifts in the minds of the Sitters to the other shifts that we know about, such as the fact that Beonin was reined in, and Egwene’s success with Silviana and Mattin Stepaneos, and it is more than clear that the negotiations will go in Egwene’s favor quite soon. In fact, I will not be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida and raise Egwene while swear the Three Oaths, and it will be a matter of extreme simplicity at that point for the Hunters to approach her with their current findings, and for Egwene to supply what she knows of Elaida’s initial inquiry - the treasonous correspondence.

I don’t expect a great deal of opposition to this theory, not only because it is an obvious and convenient resolution to at least one long-running plotline, but also because Tamyrlin, who reviews the theories, and Callandor, who normally provides the dissent, are already members of the faction. I do hope to recruit some more members, however, so feel free to join.
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Comments

1

Tamyrlin: 2007-02-25

Well done, Terez. Since I am already a member of your faction, I don't have many comments. I can't wait for this to happen, or something very close.

2

Davian93: 2007-02-25

First of all, very impressive theory Terez. I personally believe that the Accepted test rings are very similar to the rings in Rhuidean for viewing possible futures. The key word is "possible" as it always is with any sort of dreaming. Dreams and the ter'angreal present a possibility not a definite future. However, your layout of a possible future has very strong backing by circumstantial evidence. If it were a little earlier in the books I would say that Alviarin might have a chance to succeed but at this point RJ needs to wrap up plotlines not start new ones. Because of that, I can buy it.

3

Myrelle Sedai: 2007-02-26

Just one thing:

*ITLE: The Dragon Reborn, CHAPTER: 22 - The Price of The Ring

"What can you do, Mother?" Beldeine cried. "What can you do?" It was not clear whether she meant for Rand or for herself.

"More than anyone suspects," Egwene said. "I never held the Oath Rod, Beldeine." Beldeine's gasp followed her from the room."

Egwene's memory still played hide-and-seek with her. She knew no woman could achieve the shawl and the ring without pledging the Three Oaths with the Oath Rod firmly in hand, the ter'angreal sealing her to keep those Oaths as if they had been engraved on her bones at birth. No woman became Aes Sedai without being bound to them. Yet she knew that somehow, in some fashion she could not begin to dredge up, she had done just that.*

Then why does she look into a mirror and see herself with the ageless face of an Aes Sedai?

*I personally believe that the Accepted test rings are very similar to the rings in Rhuidean for viewing possible futures.*

I don't think so. Egwene & Nyneave's tests were unusual, and Egwene's probably in some way is connected to Dreaming, but I think that is not what happens for most women who are tested.

4

4Alethinos: 2007-02-26

Good theory, Terez. I gave it a 10.

One tidbit is the relationship between the ring an'greal and the accepted rings. TAR link betweed them seems to be defined by that. Mesaana is a wild card that will likey get dealt with before or during the purge. She cannot sit by.

5

terez: 2007-02-26

”Then why does she look into a mirror and see herself with the ageless face of an Aes Sedai?”

Myrelle, it doesn’t give a perfect Foretelling of the future - just hints. The hints are mixed together with what Egwene knows in her own mind. At the time she took the Accepted test, she believed that the ageless face came with many years of working with the Power, so that’s what she saw. It had nothing to do with the foreshadowing. Which is why a part of her knew that the Great Purge had happened, and a part of her knew it had not.

”Good theory, Terez. I gave it a 10.”Then why don’t you join the faction, 4A? :)

6

mako0424: 2007-02-26

Astonishing.

What an excellent deduction.

I become angered at myself when logic and facts dictate one course of obvious action, and i simply see only one facet when there many to a complicated diamond.

Congratulations Terez, im very impressed, i personally cannot wait, and i found no holes in your logic.

I joined your faction.

7

Marie Curie 7: 2007-02-26

I don't doubt that you're correct and that The Great Purge will happen in some form. It's some of the details of exactly how RJ will work this into the other potential action at the White Tower such as the Seanchan attack that will be fascinating to read.

A few comments/questions:

But Elaida was fearful if for no other reason than the possibility of the two debacles of Dumai's Wells and the Black Tower becoming common knowledge in the Tower, and compromising her position. So, when she asked for Seaine's assistance, she was very circumspect, dropping only small hints that her main object of investigation was Alviarin. Elaida lays her suspicions on the table quite delicately.

Delicately? I don't think that anyone has ever used that term to describe Elaida or any of her actions. :) Really, I think Elaida nearly hit Seaine over the head with what she really wanted. That such a supposedly logical White didn't get that always has bothered me.

At this point, it seems the Hunters are screwed. Alviarin is perhaps more desperate than they are, and she is probably more willing to take certain risks in order to accomplish her ends. But the Hunters have something that they do not realize they have. Elaida's orders, given in A Crown of Swords and reiterated, clarified, in Knife of Dreams. A treasonous correspondence between Alviarin and The Dragon Reborn.

I'd say that Alviarin is much more desperate than the BA Hunters. The BA Hunters are pretty timid about taking any risks in their search. But the fact that Alviarin hasn't acted yet after so many days of seeing Egwene, grinding her teeth over it, and waiting to get access to Doesine and Yukiri, does suggest that everything is being set up for her further demise and spilling of the Black Ajah roster.

In fact, I will not be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida and raise Egwene while swear the Three Oaths, and it will be a matter of extreme simplicity at that point for the Hunters to approach her with their current findings, and for Egwene to supply what she knows of Elaida's initial inquiry - the treasonous correspondence.

So how are the Hunters going to trust Egwene enough to approach her with information about the Black Ajah hunt? Are they just going to ask her straight out whether she's Black Ajah or not? After all, how do they know she's not? What's going to be the catalyst for Egwene to impart her information about Alviarin's "treasonous act" to the Hunters? And how will that get turned into the realization that Alviarin is Black Ajah?

8

Davian93: 2007-02-26

****I don't think so. Egwene & Nyneave's tests were unusual, and Egwene's probably in some way is connected to Dreaming, but I think that is not what happens for most women who are tested.****

We've seen two Accepted tests so far in the course of the books and both have had similarities to possible foretellings/alternate realities. We know that the Accepted ter'angreal is of similar function to the TAR ring ter'angreal due the resonance during Egwene's testing. We also know that a similar triple arched doorway in Rhuidean foretells possible futures for those who enter it. Odds are both Doorways use TAR/Mirror Worlds in a similar way.

9

JakOShadows: 2007-02-27

Nice theory. I agree with you totally on it. And I will join the faction right now.

10

Myrelle Sedai: 2007-02-28

*Myrelle, it doesn’t give a perfect Foretelling of the future - just hints. The hints are mixed together with what Egwene knows in her own mind. At the time she took the Accepted test, she believed that the ageless face came with many years of working with the Power, so that’s what she saw. It had nothing to do with the foreshadowing. Which is why a part of her knew that the Great Purge had happened, and a part of her knew it had not.*

good point.

11

terez: 2007-02-28

Jak:

”Nice theory. I agree with you totally on it. And I will join the faction right now.”

Thanks, Jak. :) But for some reason, I think I hit the wrong button with you, or something. Would you be willing to join it again? I’ll try not to screw it up this time. :)

Mako:

”I become angered at myself when logic and facts dictate one course of obvious action, and i simply see only one facet when there many to a complicated diamond.”

Don’t get angry with yourself…RJ is sometimes a tough nut to crack, and hey, that’s what re-reads are for. And Theoryland, of course. :) There are still a lot of variables with this one, and they mostly center around how, exactly, things will go down. I know that RJ will not give Elaida the satisfaction of getting Alviarin, so I know Egwene will provide the authority. The question is how, exactly, will they get Alviarin? The treasonous correspondence just seems the most likely, because of the way RJ has focused on it, but that still doesn’t mean it can’t happen another way. And how, exactly, will the treasonous correspondence details come together for the Hunters? Also, there’s the matter of the Seanchan attack. How will that factor in? Which will happen first?

Marie:

”Delicately? I don't think that anyone has ever used that term to describe Elaida or any of her actions. :) Really, I think Elaida nearly hit Seaine over the head with what she really wanted. That such a supposedly logical White didn't get that always has bothered me.”

Oh, it’s bothered me, as well. Seaine is rather flighty for a White, apparently…either that, or the fear she’s experienced from the ordeal has made her flighty. What I mean by “delicately” is that Elaida did not say right out that her main concern was Alviarin, nor did she mention, or indeed even appear to think about, the Black Ajah.

”So how are the Hunters going to trust Egwene enough to approach her with information about the Black Ajah hunt? Are they just going to ask her straight out whether she's Black Ajah or not? After all, how do they know she's not? What's going to be the catalyst for Egwene to impart her information about Alviarin's "treasonous act" to the Hunters? And how will that get turned into the realization that Alviarin is Black Ajah?”

I’m really not sure how it will play out. That may sound like a cop-out, but seriously, I don’t think RJ wanted us to be able to figure out everything before he writes it. :) I can think of so many possibilities for how it will happen, and I don’t think there’s really any evidence for any of them. If there had been, I certainly would have included it in the theory. :)

12

Marie Curie 7: 2007-03-01

Terez:
Oh, it's bothered me, as well. Seaine is rather flighty for a White, apparently...either that, or the fear she's experienced from the ordeal has made her flighty. What I mean by "delicately" is that Elaida did not say right out that her main concern was Alviarin, nor did she mention, or indeed even appear to think about, the Black Ajah.

Of course Elaida didn't mention the Black Ajah -- she didn't want Seaine to look for the Black Ajah. :) And Alviarin is the only person she specifically refers to, by title anyway:

--------
TITLE - A Crown of Swords, CHAPTER: 32 - Sealed to the Flame

Elaida bounded to her feet. "I charge you to follow the stench of treason, no matter where it leads or how high, even to the Keeper herself. Yes, even to her. What you find, whoever it leads to, you will bring before the Amyrlin Seat alone, Seaine. No one else must know. Do you understand me?"
--------

If Elaida had simply indicated that Seaine should follow the trail of treason and stopped at that, then it would be a little more understandable why Seaine didn't get it. But Elaida even emphasizes -- twice -- that Seaine should follow the trail even if it leads to the Keeper. That's what I mean by Elaida not being "delicate". She was about as blatant as she could be without stating right out to Seaine that it was Alviarin that she wanted. :)

I'm really not sure how it will play out. That may sound like a cop-out, but seriously, I don't think RJ wanted us to be able to figure out everything before he writes it. :) I can think of so many possibilities for how it will happen, and I don't think there's really any evidence for any of them. If there had been, I certainly would have included it in the theory. :)

Definitely a cop-out. :) I'm sure RJ doesn't want us to figure everything out before he writes it, but he's left so many tantalizing little bits of information here and there that it's so enticing to try. :) And besides, you wrote this in your original theory post:

In fact, I will not be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida and raise Egwene while swear the Three Oaths, and it will be a matter of extreme simplicity at that point for the Hunters to approach her with their current findings, and for Egwene to supply what she knows of Elaida's initial inquiry - the treasonous correspondence.

You seem to indicate that it will be easy ("extreme simplicity") for the BA hunters to approach Egwene, and everything will then fall into place for them to follow the trail to Alviarin. I don't think it will be quite that easy, so I was asking about it to try to understand why you think it will be so easy at that point (once Egwene replaces Elaida and has sworn the Oaths). Please don't misunderstand -- I think that your theory is extremely well done and that you're absolutely right about the "treasonous correspondence" being the key. RJ never would have written the interactions between Egwene and Alviarin if he wasn't planning to do something with that. But yeah, we don't know exactly how it will all fall out -- it just seemed like you had something in mind because of your statements about how easy it would be once Elaida is deposed.

13

Cary: 2007-03-01

I think this is a great theory, Terez. I have no doubts that this or something very similar will occur. I've already joined the faction ;)

14

Davian93: 2007-03-01

****I’m really not sure how it will play out. That may sound like a cop-out, but seriously, I don’t think RJ wanted us to be able to figure out everything before he writes it. :) I can think of so many possibilities for how it will happen, and I don’t think there’s really any evidence for any of them. If there had been, I certainly would have included it in the theory. :)****

Egwene's main intention is to sow dissension and weaken Elaida's support within the Tower. Exposing Alviarin's "faction" as she believes it would only help accomplish this. Egwene would think she's merely pushing the factions further apart but in reality she'll be exposing the Black Ajah instead.

15

terez: 2007-03-02

Marie:

“You seem to indicate that it will be easy ("extreme simplicity") for the BA hunters to approach Egwene, and everything will then fall into place for them to follow the trail to Alviarin. I don't think it will be quite that easy, so I was asking about it to try to understand why you think it will be so easy at that point (once Egwene replaces Elaida and has sworn the Oaths).

I don’t see any reason why the Hunters would suspect Egwene of being a Darkfriend. Since they are all senior Sitters, I think they could get away with asking Egwene whether or not she’s a Darkfriend immediately after she took the Oaths, if they phrased it correctly, which they most assuredly would. I think that, if Egwene is raised in that fashion, they would be at the point of desperation to have the authority of the Amyrlin behind their search, which is something that they have been fearful of trying to acquire ever since Talene was questioned, and they are all correctly under the opinion that their hunt is paramount to the well-being of the Tower. Of course, it’s difficult to envision exactly how Egwene will be raised, since we don’t have too many clues as to how that is most likely to occur. But yes, I do believe it would be extremely simple for them to approach her under those circumstances, and I would be interested in hearing why you think it would not be, other than a simple objection to the idea that they would ask Egwene whether or not she was a Darkfriend.

Also, there is a bit of a glitch in that part of the theory - at the end...some of it was apparently lost when Tam and I were trying to figure out how to fit then end of it in, which got cut off in my original submission. It originally said this:

"In fact, I will not be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida and raise Egwene while Egwene is attending Elaida’s dinner with Meidani. Once Egwene is Amyrlin, she will swear the Three Oaths, and it will be a matter of extreme simplicity at that point for the Hunters to approach her with their current findings, and for Egwene to supply what she knows of Elaida’s initial inquiry - the treasonous correspondence."

Which, of course, is pretty much pure speculation, other than what is supported in the theory itself. :)

16

A-Vron: 2007-03-03

Great theory, I joined your faction right away. However, are we perhaps missing another group that may also be included in the Great Purge. We are all in agreement that the Black Ajah will be erradicated, but will the purge also include the Reds? Just a thought. When the story of the Reds setting up false dragons & gentling men without trial (the vileness that Cadsuane speeks of several times) is proven true will that mark the end of the Red Ajah? Besides, with the source cleansed do we really need a Red Ajah anymore?

17

Wompat: 2007-03-04

regarding the Red Ajah- though i think it would make perfect sense for them to be disbanded, i think we'd see some initial woolheadedness that would keep them around. most AS dont believe the taint is gone and even those at the sitting in KOD that met Jahar Narishma didnt seem convinced. with the imperative nature of the events unfolding i dont think rand or the black tower will be willing to say "heres a few asha'man, test them until your satisfied that the taint is gone" especially since theres no way for a woman to know that, only those bonded to Asha'man have an inkling and thats because of the moods and feelings, i cant think of a better word, of their Asha'man that can be sensed through the bond. because of this i think the reds will stick around even if just for a little while until things cool down.

as for the Logain conspiracy, i think there would just be penances and banishments handed out. whenever the reds get too much power it seems they screw up monumentally, so i dont think that this one time will be the straw that breaks the camels back

18

greatwolf: 2007-03-04

Is the "great purge" limited to the tower? there are wilders who are DFs, and more among seanchan aiel and the BT. Even among AS, i feel the ajah heads have a better chance of eradicating the black than the present hunters. It may be more complicated than we think.

19

Marie Curie 7: 2007-03-04

Terez:
"I don't see any reason why the Hunters would suspect Egwene of being a Darkfriend. Since they are all senior Sitters, I think they could get away with asking Egwene whether or not she's a Darkfriend immediately after she took the Oaths, if they phrased it correctly, which they most assuredly would. I think that, if Egwene is raised in that fashion, they would be at the point of desperation to have the authority of the Amyrlin behind their search, which is something that they have been fearful of trying to acquire ever since Talene was questioned, and they are all correctly under the opinion that their hunt is paramount to the well-being of the Tower. Of course, it's difficult to envision exactly how Egwene will be raised, since we don't have too many clues as to how that is most likely to occur. But yes, I do believe it would be extremely simple for them to approach her under those circumstances, and I would be interested in hearing why you think it would not be, other than a simple objection to the idea that they would ask Egwene whether or not she was a Darkfriend."

The Hunters suspect everyone of being a Darkfriend. Trust is hard to come by -- after she asked Pevara to join in the search, Seaine also considered asking Talene to join in. Since Talene turned out to be Black, they have even less reason to trust even somebody thought of as a friend. Why should it be any different with Egwene? Your scenario assumes that Egwene will swear the Oaths, but what if she doesn't? It's certainly possible that some of the other elements of her Accepted test will be shown to be true, too, such as Egwene being Amyrlin in the Tower without swearing the Oaths. I'm not at all sure that the Hunters would approach Egwene in that situation.

There is a connection, though, that may provide the means to get the Hunters and Egwene to communicate: the ferrets. The Hunters found out about the ferrets and now are using them in the search for the Black Ajah. Beonin betrayed the ferrets to Elaida and Egwene knows about the betrayal. And Egwene will be serving at dinner for Elaida and Meidani, one of the ferrets. Obviously, the specific details would only be speculation, but it seems like these connections have been set up in part to provide the means to forge a link between Egwene and the Black Ajah hunters.

There are a variety of reasons that I don't think it will be simple for the Hunters to approach Egwene in the way that you suggest. I've already mentioned the possibility that Egwene won't swear the Oaths. In addition, though, I don't believe that the scene at dinner will play out quite in the way that you've described. In one of Egwene's dreams she is facing the headsman's axe -- while it is possible that this dream is unrelated, it suggests to me the possibility that the encounter with Elaida might degenerate into something less than pleasant.

Also, you mention that you wouldn't be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida while dinner is being served with Egwene in attendance. This seems unlikely since in that case I don't see how it would matter that a great many of the novices and Accepted are now in support of Egwene. In your scenario, it would only really matter that the Sitters had gained respect for Egwene. It seems to me that the novices and Accepted must have some role to play in Egwene being named Amyrlin of the Tower; otherwise, RJ wouldn't have spent so much time emphasizing their approval of Egwene.

Finally, if the Sitters were to pull down Elaida in the manner you suggest, it might spark open warfare between the Reds and the other Ajahs. While Elaida is not well liked, she is the first Red raised Amyrlin in a long time, so the Reds may attempt to defend their power base against the other Ajahs, especially given the sentiments between the Ajahs lately. And it's important to note that the Reds must have the largest number of sisters remaining in the Tower by far, so they have an advantage there.

"Also, there is a bit of a glitch in that part of the theory - at the end...some of it was apparently lost when Tam and I were trying to figure out how to fit then end of it in, which got cut off in my original submission. It originally said this"

Maybe there was some glitch originally, but the section of the theory that you listed is exactly the bit that I quoted in my previous post, so it was there and I read it. :)

20

Ragner: 2007-03-06

i dont think the red ajah will be destroyed.

think about what the most "level headed" (for lack of a better description)red and even all the other sisters have decided...that the reds should bond ashaman. mazrim taim gave them permission...so becuase of that i dont think the red ajah will be destroyed.

21

Stilicho: 2007-03-06

Nice theory, Terez. Question: do you think that the reason the Black Ajah knows so much about what goes on in Elaida's study is solely due to Alviarin or could it be because one of the rebels with access to TAR and/or TAR-gathered info is reporting to the Tower Balck Ajah? If so, who?

22

Dumai Wells: 2007-03-07

What a great theory. Is this the highest rated theory ever? I'm surprised Callandor hasn't ripped it up and down. Is he on vacation?

23

Davian93: 2007-03-08

****What a great theory. Is this the highest rated theory ever?****

Seems like it. That's what happens when you write a very well thought out theory with tons of supporting evidence.

****I'm surprised Callandor hasn't ripped it up and down. Is he on vacation?****

Something like that. Besides I doubt he would rip it, he'd probably defend it.

Personally I would bet on one of the Salidar Council being Black Ajah. It would be so convienient for one of the Beonin/Sheriam,Carlinya etc to be BA. Of course, at this point thanks to Elayne there are a ton of Dream ter'angrael so almost any sister in the Rebel Camp could have access to TAR and Elaida's Study.

24

: 2007-03-08

There is no chance the Hall will depose Elaida and raise Egwene. Not now. Lets consider a few things.

One: No Red Sitter would agree, and neither would Seaine. I'm fairly certain the greater consensus is needed to depose an Amyrlin, without those four at least it would be nearly impossible to establish a quorum to have the Hall sit. Meaning no cheap tricks like Elaida pulled... she's aware of that one, and is certainly prepared against it. She of all people should be, having pulled it in the first place. The lesser consensus is just as unlikely, if thats the law, as only one more sister needs to resist along with the 4 we know will, and I'm sure one or two Sitters are sufficiently cowed by Elaida to be eager lapdogs.

Second: Despite all else, EVERY sister remaining, by definition, views Egwene as a rebel. Whatever respect for her fortitude they have, they still think she is treasonous. If they didn't, they wouldn't have stayed to let Elaida sit the Amyrlin Seat.

I think the key to remember is that despite whatever grudges and doubts the Sitters hold about Elaida, they still think the rebels are worse. In their mind they are negotiating because the Last Battle is coming and the appearance of Aes Sedai unity is more important in general than squabbles over leadership. SOMETHING will happen when Egwene attends Elaida, I grant you, but I promise it won't be some chick-flickesque deposition of Elaida and raising of Egwene. May as well have Gawyn show up on his white stallion and have Egwene abdicate to be with him.

25

terez: 2007-03-09

A-Vron:

“Great theory, I joined your faction right away. However, are we perhaps missing another group that may also be included in the Great Purge. We are all in agreement that the Black Ajah will be erradicated, but will the purge also include the Reds? Just a thought. When the story of the Reds setting up false dragons & gentling men without trial (the vileness that Cadsuane speeks of several times) is proven true will that mark the end of the Red Ajah? Besides, with the source cleansed do we really need a Red Ajah anymore?”

Ha! You must not be aware of my chosen Ajah. :) (You should go check out the message boards some time.) Thanks for joining the faction, but the Red definitely doesn’t need to be purged. There are a certain few Reds that likely need to be punished, and one of them is certainly Elaida. Elaida is obviously going down, and the other players, such as Javindhra and Barasine…I’m not sure that anything will necessarily happen to them. But you have to remember that the orders for all of these things likely came from Galina, the Highest of the Red, and therefore, at the heart, the Black is primarily to blame. Yeah, the main purpose of the Reds has been made obsolete, but Pevara and Tarna and Co. have already made steps to overcome that obseletion by bonding Asha’man. This is the new purpose of the Red - to ironically lead the way for the Tower to have cordial relationships with male channelers. There may only be a few of them, but two of them are Sitters, and one of them is the Keeper, and their actions are sanctioned by the current Highest, Tsutama, so don’t think that their paltry numbers means that it isn’t a huge and definite shift of purpose for the Red Ajah.

Wompat:

“regarding the Red Ajah- though i think it would make perfect sense for them to be disbanded, i think we'd see some initial woolheadedness that would keep them around. most AS dont believe the taint is gone and even those at the sitting in KOD that met Jahar Narishma didnt seem convinced. with the imperative nature of the events unfolding i dont think rand or the black tower will be willing to say "heres a few asha'man, test them until your satisfied that the taint is gone" especially since theres no way for a woman to know that, only those bonded to Asha'man have an inkling and thats because of the moods and feelings, i cant think of a better word, of their Asha'man that can be sensed through the bond. because of this i think the reds will stick around even if just for a little while until things cool down.”

This isn’t entirely correct, either, because the Reds have already acknowledged that it’s too late to try to do anything about gentling all the Asha’man. That was the whole purpose of the bonding expedition in the first place:

________________________________
TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight
CHAPTER: 22 - One Answer

“Asha’man.” The woman did turn then. Her eyes were still blue ice, but tight. She held her goblet in both hands as if trying to soak in the warmth. “I did not know what they were then, of course, but they were openly recruiting men to follow the Dragon Reborn, and it seemed wisest to listen before I spoke. Well for me that I did. There were six of them, Pevara, six men in black coats. Two with silver swords on their collars were feeling men out about whether they might like to learn to channel. Oh, they did not say so right out. Wield the lightnings, they called it. Wield the lightnings and ride the thunder. But it was clear enough to me, if not to the fools they were talking to.”

“Yes; very well for you that you kept silent,” Pevara said quietly. “Six men who can channel would be more than merely dangerous for a sister by herself. Our eyes-and-ears are full of talk about these recruiting parties – they appear everywhere from Saldaea to Tear – but no one seems to have an idea of how to stop them. If it isn’t too late for that already.” She very nearly bit her lip again. That was the trouble with talking. Sometimes, you said more than you wanted.

Oddly, the comment took some of the stiffness out of Tarna. She resumed her seat, leaning back, though a hint of wariness still clung to the way she held herself. She chose her words carefully, pausing to touch the wine to her lips, but she did not actually drink, that Pevara saw. “I had a long time to think on the rivership coming north. Longer, after the fool captain ran us aground so hard he broke a mast and put a hole in the hull. Days trying to hail another ship, after we got ashore, and days finding a horse. Six of those men sent to one village convinced me, finally. Oh, the district around, as well, but it was not very populous. I . . . I believe it is too late.”

“Elaida thinks they can all be gentled,” Pevara said noncommittally. She had already exposed herself too much.

“When they can send six to one small village, and Travel? There is only one answer I can see. We…” Tarna took a deep breath, fingering the bright red stole again, but now it seemed more in regret than to play for time. “Red sisters must take them as Warders, Pevara.”
________________________________

So, the fact that saidin has been cleansed is no longer even an issue, because Tsutama, Tarna, and Pevara all recognize that it is too late to try to gentle them all, anyway. They will learn soon enough that saidin is clean, but the days of gentling male channelers are over with, regardless.

Greatwolf:

“Is the "great purge" limited to the tower? there are wilders who are DFs, and more among seanchan aiel and the BT. Even among AS, i feel the ajah heads have a better chance of eradicating the black than the present hunters. It may be more complicated than we think.”

I’m not sure why you think the Ajah Heads would have a better chance than the Hunters. The Heads are concerned with re-uniting the Tower, for one thing, and for another, the Sitters involved in the Hunt represent each Ajah, and none of them are the too-young Sitters - in other words, they were all Sitters before the split. They have just about as much power in their Ajahs as the Heads would, or at least, enough as to make little difference. Since Talene is in hiding, they don’t have that power with the Green, but they do have two ferrets from the Green that can be of use there. This plot belongs to the Hunters, however, because RJ has written it that way. The Heads are not involved. Also, there are no wilders that we know of that are Darkfriends - it has just about been concretely determined that there are no Darkfriends among the Kin:

________________________________
TITLE: Winter's Heart
CHAPTER: 8 - The Sea Folk and Kin

"At least they didn't speak to anyone else," she murmured. A blessing, if small. It had been obvious when they found Adeleas and Ispan that their killer must be an Aes Sedai. They had been paralyzed with crimsonthorn before they were killed, and it was all but impossible that the Windfinders knew of an herb only found far from the sea. And even Vandene was sure the Kin numbered no Darkfriends among them. Ispan had run away herself as a novice, and even gotten as far as Ebou Dar, but she had been retaken before the Kin revealed themselves to her, that they were more than a few women put out of the Tower who had decided on a whim to help her. Under questioning by Vandene and Adeleas, she had revealed a great deal. Somehow she had managed to resist saying anything about the Black Ajah itself except for exposing old schemes long carried out, but she had been eager to tell anything else once Vandene and her sister were done with her. They had not been gentle, and they had plumbed her depths, yet she knew no more of the Kin than any other Aes Sedai. If there were any Darkfriends among the Kin, the Black Ajah would have known everything. So as much as they could wish otherwise, the killer was one of three women they had all grown to like. A Black sister in their midst. Or more than one. They had all been frantic to keep that knowledge secret, at least until the murderer was uncovered. The news would throw the entire Palace into a panic, maybe the entire city. Light, who else had been thinking over events in Harlon Bridge? Would they have the sense to hold silence?
________________________________

Also, it has been revealed that there are very few Darkfriends among the Seanchan sul’dam:

_________________________________
TITLE - Knife of Dreams
PROLOGUE - Embers Falling on Dry Grass

Except, she enjoyed owning the former Aes Sedai who once had been so haughty with her. Making her a perfect da’covale in every way would be a great pleasure. It was time to have the woman collared, however. Already irritating rumors buzzed of an uncollared marath’damane among her servants. It would be a twelve-day wonder when the sul’dam discovered she was shielded in some way so she could not channel, yet that would help answer the question of why she had not been leashed before. Elbar would need to find some Atha’an Shadar among the sul’dam, though. That was never an easy task - relatively few sul’dam turned to the Great Lord, oddly - and she no longer really trusted any sul’dam, but perhaps Atha’an Shadar could be trusted more than the rest.
________________________________

And, of course, there would be no damane Darkfriends. That leaves the Wise Ones and the Windfinders, and the odd random wilder, and we haven’t seen any evidence of any Darkfriends among those groups, with the possible exception of the Shaido Wise Ones. Even there, there is no real evidence that even Therava was a Darkfriend. As far as the Black Tower goes...well, hell yes, there are Darkfriends there. About a hundred of them. Logain is well aware of them, and it is obvious which ones they are - those who were there with Taim in the Epilogue of Knife of Dreams were likely all Darkfriends. Logain wants to lead the rest of the Black Tower - between eight and nine hundred men - against Taim and his followers. We can look forward to that in the next book, but it will have to be separate from the Great Purge in the White Tower.

Marie:

“There is a connection, though, that may provide the means to get the Hunters and Egwene to communicate: the ferrets. The Hunters found out about the ferrets and now are using them in the search for the Black Ajah. Beonin betrayed the ferrets to Elaida and Egwene knows about the betrayal. And Egwene will be serving at dinner for Elaida and Meidani, one of the ferrets. Obviously, the specific details would only be speculation, but it seems like these connections have been set up in part to provide the means to forge a link between Egwene and the Black Ajah hunters.”

You’re probably right about the ferrets having some part to do with it, in one way or another. They will certainly play a great part in turning the Tower against Elaida, as per Egwene’s instructions to Beonin.

“Also, you mention that you wouldn't be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida while dinner is being served with Egwene in attendance. This seems unlikely since in that case I don't see how it would matter that a great many of the novices and Accepted are now in support of Egwene.”

I don’t see how the novices will matter much at all, in the long run, other than symbolism, and a passing notice by the Aes Sedai that Egwene has their devotion. They are novices. Yes, they are the future of the Tower, but they are still novices.

“In your scenario, it would only really matter that the Sitters had gained respect for Egwene. It seems to me that the novices and Accepted must have some role to play in Egwene being named Amyrlin of the Tower; otherwise, RJ wouldn't have spent so much time emphasizing their approval of Egwene.”

That just seems weak to me - it truly does only matter what the Aes Sedai think in this, at least for the most part. What are the novices going to do? Revolt? Egwene wouldn’t encourage such a thing, and therefore they wouldn’t do it.

“Finally, if the Sitters were to pull down Elaida in the manner you suggest, it might spark open warfare between the Reds and the other Ajahs. While Elaida is not well liked, she is the first Red raised Amyrlin in a long time, so the Reds may attempt to defend their power base against the other Ajahs, especially given the sentiments between the Ajahs lately. And it's important to note that the Reds must have the largest number of sisters remaining in the Tower by far, so they have an advantage there.”

You seem to be forgetting that certain powerful Reds have no love for Elaida, including the Highest, Tsutama. Tsutama was exiled for twenty years for a crime that Elaida should have also been punished for. Pevara thinks Elaida is Black Ajah. Tarna only humors Elaida as much as is necessary. The important Reds are in a position to see that Elaida is a liability, Ajah or no Ajah.

Stilicho:

“Nice theory, Terez. Question: do you think that the reason the Black Ajah knows so much about what goes on in Elaida's study is solely due to Alviarin or could it be because one of the rebels with access to TAR and/or TAR-gathered info is reporting to the Tower Balck Ajah? If so, who?”

I don’t think that there is any reason to look any further than Alviarin for the source of the knowledge of Elaida’s office. Alviarin had taken more power than any other Keeper in memory, even aside from the blackmail incident. Also, there is no evidence to suggest that there were any Blacks reporting what they found in Tel’aran’rhiod. Why complicate the issue, when it’s simple and straightforward?

Dumai Wells:

“What a great theory. Is this the highest rated theory ever? I'm surprised Callandor hasn't ripped it up and down. Is he on vacation?”

1. Thanks :)
2. It was the highest rated theory ever for a while, but it just dropped to #3 yesterday, I think. I need more 10’s!
3. Callandor is in my faction, and has been since long before the theory was written.
4. He looked over my theory for me before I submitted it, and offered a few suggestions, which I incorporated.
5. Callandor is gone.
6. He signed on to Theoryland a couple of weeks after leaving just to give my theory a 10. :)
7. I miss him. :(

26

Wompat: 2007-03-09

i agree with one of the salidar council possibly being a member of the BA...after all someone was/is controlling sheriam and it would make sense that it be one of the other members, provided of course it is/was not halima. that said, i dont think its sheriam, unless her controller is halima, but if it was, why punish her so, and her pov's dont really suggest shes black. also i would rule out myrelle soley on the basis that i trust moiraine's judgement and lan's cooperation. while not all warders know if they're AS is black, i dont see moiraine giving Lan to someone without being fairly certain she's reliable, not only to keep lan alive but to help rand

as for egwene and elaidas meeting, i also dont think the hall would swap one for the other like that. however, i think elaida will be brought down and the rebels brought back in. since egwene is their lawful amyrlin i think there will be little choice for the rest than to accept her, granted there will be plenty of bickering, as for the red not accepting this, they're not too happy with elaida right now, that doesnt mean they're ready to ditch her, but after all her blunders become common knowledge some will come around.

27

terez: 2007-03-13

The Unnamed Poster (2007-03-08):

“One: No Red Sitter would agree, and neither would Seaine.”

At least one of the Red Sitters, Pevara, would agree, and so would Seaine, although Pevara’s opinion is irrelevant, because she would not be informed of a Sitting to remove an Amyrlin that was raised from her Ajah. Consider this quote (which I already provided):

________________________________
TITLE - Knife of Dreams
PROLOGUE - Embers Falling on Dry Grass

“We heard from Akoure Vayet.” Yukiri walked a few paces in silence, then muttered, “Blood and bloody ashes!”

Pevara’s eyebrows rose in shock. Yukiri was often earthy, but never vulgar before this. She noted that the other woman had not said when Akoure’s letter arrived, either. Had the Gray received other letters from Cairhien, from sisters who had sworn to the Dragon Reborn? She could not ask. They trusted one another with their lives in this hunt, and still, Ajah business was Ajah business. “What do you intend doing with the information?”

We will keep silent for the good of the Tower. Only the Sitters and the head of our Ajah know. Evanellein is for pulling Elaida down because of this, but that can’t be allowed now. With the Tower to mend and the Seanchan and Asha’man to be dealt with, perhaps never.” She did not sound happy over that.

Pevara stifled her irritation. She could not like Elaida, yet you did not have to like the Amyrlin Seat. Any number of very unlikeable women had worn the stole and done well for the Tower. But could sending fifty-one sisters into captivity be called doing well? Could Dumai’s Wells, with four sisters dead and more than twenty delivered into another sort of captivity, to a ta’veren? No matter. Elaida was Red - had been Red - and far too long had passed since a Red gained the stole and staff. All the rash actions and ill-considered decisions seemed things of the past since the rebels appeared, and saving the Tower from the Black Ajah would redeem her failures.
________________________________

Note Pevara’s two main reasons (besides the Ajah thing) for not wanting Elaida removed:

1. With the rebels across the river, she feels this is not the time to make an Amyrlin change. The Tower needs to be mended. However, with Elaida’s leadership being so hotly questioned in the Tower (see Evanellein), and questioned even by Pevara, the simple solution exists for those willing to look at it: the negotiations. Elaida demands that the rebels all be punished; Egwene only demands Elaida’s removal and exile. Pevara has not considered this option for a few reasons - she is not involved in the negotiations (she’s busy with the Hunt) and has no idea how reasonable their demands are, she has no idea at this point what sort of leader Egwene is (probably hasn’t even thought about it), she wants to support Elaida out of Red Ajah loyalty, and she thinks that Elaida has begun the Hunt for the Black Ajah - which brings me to the second reason she thought about:

2. She thinks that Elaida can redeem her failures through the Black Ajah Hunt. This brings me to the dissolution of all three of her main reasons for not wanting Elaida deposed (Red, Black, and Rebels):

__________________________________
The White Sitter’s composure faded into worry, tightening her mouth and creasing the corners of her eyes. Her hands tightened into fists gripping her shawl. “For us, it is. I’ve just come from answering a summons to Elaida. She wanted to know how I was getting on.” Seaine took a deep breath. “With discovering proof that Alviarin entered a treasonous correspondence with the Dragon Reborn. Really, she was so circumspect in the beginning, so indirect, it’s no wonder I misunderstood what she wanted.”

“I think that fox is walking on my grave,” Yukiri murmured.

Pevara nodded. The notion of approaching Elaida had vanished like summer dew.
Their one assurance that Elaida was not herself Black Ajah had been that she instigated the hunt for them, but since she had done no such thing… At least the Black Ajah remained in ignorance of them. At least they had that, still. But for how much longer?

“On mine, too,” she said softly.
________________________________

Now, not only do they think Elaida is Black Ajah, they are even more desperate in their Hunt for the Black. They no longer have any sort of hope that their Hunt will have the authority of the Amyrlin behind it, because Talene told them that Elaida was Black, and their only real reason for disbelieving it was that Elaida had ordered the Hunt. Pevara’s Red Ajah loyalty has also gone out the window. What is it worth, if Elaida is Black? It makes no difference that Elaida is not actually Black - the Hunters now all believe that she is. At the very least, they fear that she is with something close to certainty. And the third reason, the rebels, is easily solved - with Egwene.

I understand your objections concerning Seaine - you think that because Seaine did not leave the Tower - was the only Sitter not informed of the deposition to have stayed - that she will not support a rebel Amyrlin. But remember her words: she did not leave the Tower because the Tower must be whole. In other words, just because she did not contribute to the rebellion by leaving the Tower does not, by any means, indicate that she will not support Egwene in order to make the Tower whole again. Especially considering that she now believes that Elaida is Black, on top of her initial reasons for not liking Elaida.

Also, the other reason that was mentioned was the fact that the Asha’man have to be dealt with. The fact that the rebels have entered into an agreement with the Black Tower that includes 47 Asha’man to be bonded in submission to them makes that a very, very strong point in the rebels’ favor. The Reds have begun on such an agreement of their own, but the numbers they will have are nowhere near the 47 that the rebels have.

“I'm fairly certain the greater consensus is needed to depose an Amyrlin, without those four at least it would be nearly impossible to establish a quorum to have the Hall sit. Meaning no cheap tricks like Elaida pulled... she's aware of that one, and is certainly prepared against it. She of all people should be, having pulled it in the first place.”

How could Elaida possibly prepare against a trick such as she pulled? She wasn’t able to stop the negotiations - the Sitters made clear that they were not asking her for permission to enter negotiations - it is a right of the Hall. The rules for deposing an Amyrlin are clear:

________________________________
TITLE: Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: GLOSSARY

Hall of the Tower, the:

The legislative body of the Aes Sedai, traditionally consisting of three Sitters in the Hall from each of the seven Ajahs. At present, there is a Hall sitting in the White Tower, which contains no Sitters for the Blue, and a Hall among those Aes Sedai who oppose Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan. This rebel Hall contains no Red Sitters. While the Amyrlin Seat is by law the absolute power in the White Tower, in fact her power has always depended on how well she could lead, manage or intimidate the Hall, as there are many ways that the Hall can balk any Amyrlin's plans. There are two levels of agreement that may be required for items to pass the Hall, the lesser consensus and the greater consensus. The greater consensus requires that every sister who is present must stand, and that a minimum of eleven Sitters be present; the presence of at least one Sitter from each Ajah is also required, except when the matter before the Hall is the removal of an Amyrlin or Keeper, in which case the Ajah from which she was raised will not be informed of the vote until after it has been taken. The lesser consensus also requires a quorum of eleven Sitters, but only two-thirds of those present need stand for an item to pass. Another difference is that there is no requirement for all Ajahs to be represented in the lesser consensus except in the case of a declaration of war by the White Tower, one of several matters left to the lesser consensus which many might think would require the greater. The Amyrlin Seat may call for any Sitter to resign her chair, or indeed for all to, and that call must be heeded. This is seldom done, however, as nothing stops an Ajah from returning the same Sitter or Sitters except a custom that sisters not serve again in the Hall after leaving it. As an indication of how serious such a call for a mass resignation would be, it is reliably believed that it has happened exactly four times in the more than three-thousand-year history of the White Tower, and that while two of those resulted in the selection of an entirely, or nearly, new Hall, the other two resulted in the resignation and exile of the Amyrlin involved.
________________________________

So, only eleven Sitters are required for a deposition. There are eighteen Sitters in the Tower Hall. The Reds would not be informed of the deposition, so that leaves fifteen. Talene is in hiding, so she would be replaced by the time the deposition came along. There are four Sitters aside from Pevara involved in the Hunt - all four of whom believe that Elaida is Black. They would stand to depose her, assuredly. Adelorna, Ferane, Suana, Serancha, and Jesse Bilal are all dedicated to reunifying the Tower, and as Heads of their Ajahs, there seems little doubt that they could persuade Sitters in their Ajahs (Ferane and Suana are Sitters themselves) to depose Elaida. Elaida has no known supporters in the Hall aside from the Reds, so the only known possible influence that could prevent Elaida’s deposition would be the influence that Alviarin has over the Hall - and Alviarin wants Elaida brought down more than anybody. It seems very difficult to believe that there are even three Sitters that would not stand against Elaida, much less more.

“The lesser consensus is just as unlikely, if thats the law, as only one more sister needs to resist along with the 4 we know will, and I'm sure one or two Sitters are sufficiently cowed by Elaida to be eager lapdogs.”

I’m fairly sure I already established that we don’t know of any Sitter for sure that would not stand to depose Elaida. It’s possible that she has one or two cowed - but that’s not enough (not to mention being doubtful).

“Second: Despite all else, EVERY sister remaining, by definition, views Egwene as a rebel. Whatever respect for her fortitude they have, they still think she is treasonous. If they didn't, they wouldn't have stayed to let Elaida sit the Amyrlin Seat.”

They view the rebels as treasonous, yes. But Egwene was only Accepted when the Tower split, and by that reasoning, she can not be held accountable for the treason itself. Also, she was raised according to Tower law with the rebels, so she can not be held accountable for the treason of claiming the title of Amyrlin when she was raised to that position by Aes Sedai. It’s all very convenient for the plot, actually - if they had raised someone already Aes Sedai, that Amyrlin probably wouldn’t stand a chance. And then there is the fact that she is gaining their respect. Finally, the view of the rebels as being treasonous, the blame, can easily be shifted to Elaida herself - she is, after all, the reason for the rebellion - especially considering the fact that the rebellion is an obvious problem that everyone knows must be dealt with, and soon. The Tower is divided at a time when it most needs to be whole. The negotiations are an obvious precursor to that easy shift in placing the blame.

“I think the key to remember is that despite whatever grudges and doubts the Sitters hold about Elaida, they still think the rebels are worse.”

Prove it. ;)

Wompat:

“i agree with one of the salidar council possibly being a member of the BA...after all someone was/is controlling sheriam and it would make sense that it be one of the other members, provided of course it is/was not halima.”

We know that Delana is Black Ajah, but we have no real reason to believe that anyone else in the Rebel Hall, or in the original ruling council, is Black Ajah. The fact that the Black knows everything that goes on in Elaida’s office (or did, at the last Talene knew when she stated such) is fully explained by Alviarin - there is no real reason to look any further for an explanation.

“they're not too happy with elaida right now, that doesnt mean they're ready to ditch her, but after all her blunders become common knowledge some will come around.”

Her blunders are already becoming common knowledge as of Knife of Dreams, in the Prologue. See the quote I provided above. At the very least, one Sitter that stood for Elaida is ready to pull her down, and with the Ajah Heads being involved in the negotiations, it seems certain that more will follow very quickly, if they have not already.

28

Marie Curie 7: 2007-03-21

Terez:
"That just seems weak to me - it truly does only matter what the Aes Sedai think in this, at least for the most part. What are the novices going to do? Revolt? Egwene wouldn't encourage such a thing, and therefore they wouldn't do it."

Weak? Weak? :p For essentially every other bit of plot development, you seem to accept that RJ does not generally include superfluous action; almost everything is written in for a reason. If that's so, then what is your explanation of all the time spent showing Egwene winning the support of the novices and Accepted? If all that mattered was what Aes Sedai think, then why does Egwene herself consider that she is winning her battle not only when Aes Sedai show grudging admiration but also when the novices treat her as Amyrlin in "Honey in the Tea"?

I agree that Egwene would never sanction a revolt (and I never indicated that Egwene would encourage such a thing). However, the novices and Accepted can play some role in the action without Egwene's knowledge.

"You seem to be forgetting that certain powerful Reds have no love for Elaida, including the Highest, Tsutama. Tsutama was exiled for twenty years for a crime that Elaida should have also been punished for. Pevara thinks Elaida is Black Ajah. Tarna only humors Elaida as much as is necessary. The important Reds are in a position to see that Elaida is a liability, Ajah or no Ajah."

I'm not forgetting about the attitudes of the Reds who are in power. :) But even Tsutama protected Elaida's reputation by not revealing information about Dumai's Wells and such. And Pevara felt essentially the same way until Seaine revealed that her charge was not to hunt the Black but rather to seek out treason. Now, of course, Pevara has concerns about Elaida being Black, but even when she learned that Galina was Black she didn't really want to believe it of the Highest, though she had no choice but to accept it.

But perhaps you are forgetting about the Ajahs in the Tower essentially living in armed camps? The animosity between the Ajahs is very high, and it seems likely that the Reds will fight hard to protect their own, even someone that nobody likes much such as Elaida. She is the first Red to be Amyrlin in a very long time, and that's something that Tsutama, Pevara, and I'm sure many other Reds have thought about when considering their support of Elaida, regardless of her failings.

Wompat:
"i agree with one of the salidar council possibly being a member of the BA...after all someone was/is controlling sheriam and it would make sense that it be one of the other members, provided of course it is/was not halima. that said, i dont think its sheriam, unless her controller is halima, but if it was, why punish her so, and her pov's dont really suggest shes black. also i would rule out myrelle soley on the basis that i trust moiraine's judgement and lan's cooperation. while not all warders know if they're AS is black, i dont see moiraine giving Lan to someone without being fairly certain she's reliable, not only to keep lan alive but to help rand"

One of members of the Salidar council is not likely to be the person beating Sheriam. From Sheriam's thoughts, it almost has to be a Sitter in the rebel Hall:

-----
TITLE: Path of Daggers, CHAPTER: 16 - Unexpected Absences

A hand stroked her head. "You were supposed to keep me informed, Sheriam. That girl is up to something, and I want to know what."
It took a long time to convince her questioner that she had already told all she knew, that she would never hold back a word, not a whisper. When she was left alone at last, it was to lie curled up and whimpering from her welts, bitterly wishing that she had never in her life spoken to a single sister in the Hall.

29

Terez1: 2007-03-25

Marie:

“If all that mattered was what Aes Sedai think, then why does Egwene herself consider that she is winning her battle not only when Aes Sedai show grudging admiration but also when the novices treat her as Amyrlin in ‘Honey in the Tea’?”

Don’t misconstrue...it’s not that they don’t matter at all. They do. But they will play no part in the decision of the Tower Aes Sedai in accepting Egwene. For one thing, because it is not necessary - Elaida has been digging her own grave for a while now - and for another, they are novices. They have no sway. The absolute most important aspect of RJ’s writing of the novices and Accepted is that Egwene is not seen among them as a novice. She has made them realize that she is not one of them, but only a prisoner.

So, you acknowledged that there will be no revolt, but you still haven’t answered my question. What can they do?

“I'm not forgetting about the attitudes of the Reds who are in power. :) But even Tsutama protected Elaida's reputation by not revealing information about Dumai's Wells and such.”

Marie, just the fact that she kept the information secret shows that she realizes that Elaida does not stand a chance in the face of it. And you know very well that Red Ajah loyalty is the only reason Tsutama protected her - and Red Ajah loyalty isn’t enough to save her. The information was beginning to become common knowledge in Knife of Dreams.

“But perhaps you are forgetting about the Ajahs in the Tower essentially living in armed camps?”

Perhaps you are forgetting the source of that dissension. :)

“The animosity between the Ajahs is very high, and it seems likely that the Reds will fight hard to protect their own, even someone that nobody likes much such as Elaida. She is the first Red to be Amyrlin in a very long time, and that's something that Tsutama, Pevara, and I'm sure many other Reds have thought about when considering their support of Elaida, regardless of her failings.”

Yes, and as I said before, it’s the only thing she’s got going for her. And it’s not enough.

30

Marie Curie 7: 2007-03-31

Terez:
"Don't misconstrue...it's not that they don't matter at all. They do. But they will play no part in the decision of the Tower Aes Sedai in accepting Egwene. For one thing, because it is not necessary - Elaida has been digging her own grave for a while now - and for another, they are novices. They have no sway. The absolute most important aspect of RJ's writing of the novices and Accepted is that Egwene is not seen among them as a novice. She has made them realize that she is not one of them, but only a prisoner."

Yes, Egwene certainly has made the novices and Accepted see that she is not one of them. But what does that matter, really, unless they play some role? After all, some of the novices in the rebel camp had a hard time accepting that Egwene was Amyrlin (particularly those from the Two Rivers), but that was a nuisance more than anything.

"So, you acknowledged that there will be no revolt, but you still haven't answered my question. What can they do?"

You're misinterpreting what I wrote. I stated that Egwene would never sanction a revolt; I didn't state that there would be no revolt. Egwene may not be aware. I don't know that it will really be a revolt, though, just that the novices and Accepted have some role to play beyond simply seeing Egwene as a prisoner.

"Marie, just the fact that she kept the information secret shows that she realizes that Elaida does not stand a chance in the face of it. And you know very well that Red Ajah loyalty is the only reason Tsutama protected her - and Red Ajah loyalty isn't enough to save her. The information was beginning to become common knowledge in Knife of Dreams."

Of course Elaida doesn't stand a chance. I am not suggesting that Elaida will remain Amyrlin -- I do believe that she will be deposed. My original point was that I just don't think that it will be quite so easy as you suggested in your theory. You say, "In fact, I will not be surprised if the Hall shows up to depose Elaida and raise Egwene while swear the Three Oaths, and it will be a matter of extreme simplicity at that point for the Hunters to approach her with their current findings, and for Egwene to supply what she knows of Elaida's initial inquiry - the treasonous correspondence."

You seem to be discounting any sort of conflict. But RJ has written the Tower as a powder keg, seething with animosity. I just think it's going to blow in some way before everything gets resolved.

In part because of Egwene's dream of facing the headsman's axe, I believe that the dinner scene will not go smoothly. Egwene certainly will not act like a meek novice, which Elaida will expect. That may precipitate some rash action on Elaida's part. At some point, in order to stop open conflict between the Ajahs, I'm sure that the Ajah Heads/Sitters will have to step in and the negotiations will form the basis for reuniting the Aes Sedai. There is also the question of what the Black Ajah will do. Though Alviarin apparently has been reduced to a shell of her former self, Mesaana will not want the Aes Sedai reunited; therefore, the Black Ajah also may have some role to play in keeping the dissension and animosity going.

"Perhaps you are forgetting the source of that dissension."

You mean Alviarin? :p We know she was ordered to break the Tower from within. Yeah, I know that all those orders and such appear to come from Elaida, but the source of the dissension doesn't really matter. If it comes down to Ajah vs. Ajah (or Reds vs. the others), nobody is going to think much about the origin of the animosities in the heat of a conflict.

31

irerancincpkc: 2007-07-05

Well, I already joined your faction. Enough said, I think. Good job.

32

AK-Edge: 2008-01-15

I agree totally...unfortunately, it took me so long to read, I don't even remember the finer points of it. Anyhow, joining the faction =)

I always thought the Great Purge would be done with something similiar to what Rand did to the trollocs with The Sword That Aint. Except, female piece, and set on anyone who doesn't walk in the light.

33

Marie Curie 7: 2008-01-18

AK-Edge:
"I always thought the Great Purge would be done with something similiar to what Rand did to the trollocs with The Sword That Aint. Except, female piece, and set on anyone who doesn't walk in the light."

And how exactly could some sort of weave be used to distinguish Black Ajah members from the others? The weave that Rand used in the Stone distinguished non-human Shadowspawn from humans - there's nothing physically different about Black Ajah and non-Black Ajah members, though, even when it comes to the number of oaths sworn on the Oath Rod. The Black Ajah members replace the original three with a new set:

--------
TITLE – Crown of Swords, CHAPTER: 40 - Spears

She would be rescued eventually, of course; she knew that. The Tower would not allow a sister to remain in captivity. Elaida would not allow a Red to be held. Surely Alviarin would send rescue. Someone would, anyone, to save her from these monsters, especially from Therava. She would promise anything for that deliverance. She would even keep those promises. She had been broken free of the Three Oaths on joining the Black Ajah, replacing them with a new trinity, but at that moment she truly believed she would keep her word, if it brought rescue. Any promise, to anyone who would free her. Even a man.
--------

The Forsaken receive a "Chosen mark" so that they can command Shadowspawn, but ordinary Darkfriends, even Darkfriend Aes Sedai, do not. And even then, the Chosen mark can't be sensed by humans. From the Tor Questions of the Week:

--------
Questions from August 17th, 2004 - January 25th, 2005

Week 6 Question: How were the Gholams made? Were they created or bred like the Trollocs? How exactly are they controlled if they are immune to the One Power?

Robert Jordan Answers: The gholam---singular and plural are the same---were created, not bred. Supposedly their creation involved making them so that they would be obedient to the Chosen, whoever they might be at any given time. This was an attempt at copying something that had turned up in Myrddraal, which seem incapable of disobeying one of the Chosen, possibly because of the use of the True Power in creation of the Trollocs, the parent stock of the Myrddraal. Even Aginor, who created the Trollocs, and thus indirectly the Myrddraal, was uncertain about the actual cause. (Becoming one of the Forsaken involves receiving a mark from the Dark One in return for your oaths; this mark is invisible and cannot be sensed by another human being, even another of the Forsaken, but it can be by certain non-human creatures, including Myrddraal and draghkar among others. This may play a part in the Myrddraal's obedience but doesn't explain it completely.) This element in gholam has some flaws, however, as we have seen in a small measure. In any case, if I were you, I wouldn't try giving orders to a gholam unless I were one of the Forsaken.
--------

So how exactly do you think a Great Purge could be carried out with a weave similar to the one that Rand used in the Stone?



34

AK-Edge: 2008-01-28

I didn't make it clear that I 'used' to think that. After this theory, I no longer believe the 'stone of tear weave' idea. Your quotes point to why =p.

Thanks Marie =)