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Crossroads of Twilight/Chapter 30

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"I am the Amyrlin Seat... Some decisions only I can make. And some things, I shouldn't ask a novice to do when I can do them better."
   —Egwene al'Vere

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Setting: Rebel Aes Sedai Camp Outside of Tar Valon

SummaryEdit

Point of view: Egwene al'Vere

It is shortly after sunrise. Winter still clings to the land, but its hold is diminishing. The sounds of a busy morning penetrate Egwene's tent. Egwene is at a weevil-tainted breakfast that Chesa, her maid has prepared, and who is present in case Egwene needs anything. Nisao enters, holding saidar while her Warder, Sarin, stands outside. Egwene dismisses Chesa.

Nisao informs Egwene that Kairen Stang is dead and that there is no doubt that she was killed by saidin and fills in the gory details of the murder observing at last that it was at least quick. She also reports that her warder is 'primed for murder' and has been sedated. Egwene observes that both Anaiya and Kairen were Blue Ajah and asks if there were any other connections between them. Nisao reports that she didn't really know of any. Egwene orders her to find out discreetly. She notes that the murders are affecting Nisao and asks if many sisters are walking around holding saidar. Nisao responds in the positive, a little defiantly.

Nisao departs and takes Egwene's appetite with her. Egwene decides that this must be a day when she does not let anything ruffle her routine. She leaves her tent and notices a bustling camp with lots of Novices and Accepted going here and there in their various duties, and is disturbed by the number of Aes Sedai who have wrapped themselves in the power. It reminds her of a season of Illness in Emond's Field, and she recognizes fear in her Aes Sedai.

She enters the warm tent that serves as her study and is shocked to find her first visitor is Theodrin who requests to know if she would see Romanda. Egwene replies with a carefully neutral "Any time she chooses, child." As Theodrin leaves, an Accepted named Emara enters and is harshly rebuked for her lack of courtesy to Theodrin Aes Sedai by Egwene. Emara pales and makes a deep curtsey to Theodrin. A shaken Emara then requests permission for Lelaine to attend Egwene and Egwene replies in kind toward her as she did Romanda.

Only then do we find out that Theodrin deposited a paper on Egwene's desk before departing. She reports that Romanda has dispatched two sisters to Cairhien to track down something. Theodrin does not know what but promises to find out. Egwene despairs that Theodrin signed her name to a spy report. Just then she is surprised by Siuan who has entered the tent and now asks what Egwene is reading. Egwene gives the paper to Siuan, simultaneously asking her if she knows about Kairen, and then, has she made the necessary changes? She observes that she is on edge and that Siuan is not when the woman says "no need until we know about the boats, Mother." Siuan grouses about Theodrin's stupidity.

Egwene confesses worry about her status and the status of Theodrin and Faolain, all three of whom have not sworn on the Oath Rod. Siuan comforts her by comparing her to Deane Aryman and Edarna Noregovna, two of the most successful Amyrlin Seats in the White Tower's history. Egwene dryly observes that Siuan may be right but she still needs to be careful that she does not end up like Shein Chunla, who started out as a strong Amyrlin but ended up a puppet. Siuan ends the conversation by swearing what she is going to do to Faolain and Theodrin because of their missteps.

Sheriam enters and interrupts the tirade and Siuan rebuffs her. She delivers a report on runaways from Tiana. They discuss the report. Then Egwene asks Sheriam of the Aes Sedai reaction to her Dream that the Seanchan will attack the Tower. Sheriam side-steps the question. Egwene responds with a forceful reply and redirects the conversation back to her question about the Dream. Sheriam reports that because the Seanchan are a thousand leagues away the worry is minimal, which tells Egwene that she is not accepted as a Dreamer.

Sheriam is followed by Myrelle and Morvrin, both of whom release the Source once they enter the tent and who leave wary warders outside to keep guard. They discuss Egwene's lack of status as a Dreamer until Maigan enters the tent. Maigan contemptuously requests Egwene to send Siuan on an errand, and Morvrin followed her out. Maigan and Myrelle start a kind of competition for status. Siuan returns followed by Ragan, a Shienar soldier with a message from Gareth Bryne about raiders crossing the river and advisement for Aes Sedai to stay close to the camp. Siuan suddenly requests to be excused, which Egwene allows. Egwene also tells the messenger that "Aes Sedai will go where they will..."

Egwene muses about boats and schemes with Leane and Bodewin Cauthon.

Romanda arrives, acting with appropriate courtesy toward Egwene, but no more. She reports that the talks with the Tower are going badly. They discuss the talks. Then Romanda brings up the Kin, challenging the numbers that Egwene has claimed exists. She and Egwene have a frank conversation concerning the subject, with Egwene landing several well-aimed blows and Romanda landing none. Finally, Egwene points out that the only real difference between Aes Sedai and Kin is that the Kin left the Tower before they could swear on the Oath Rod. Then she reveals her plan to allow Aes Sedai to retire into Kin communities, thus binding the Kin to the Tower.

Romanda reacts badly to the plan and exits. The other two Sisters react almost as poorly.

Lelaine arrives, reporting that Kairen's death will cause problems between them and the Black Tower. They also discuss warders who have lost their Aes Sedai, embarrassing Myrelle into leaving because she has so many warders who once belonged to other Aes Sedai, who are now dead. They continue their conversation about the Black Tower and bonding Ash'aman. At one point in the conversation, Lelaine comes so close to suggesting Compulsion be used that Egwene rebukes her sternly.

Chesa brings lunch, which Egwene hardly touches while musing over the loss of Nicola and other talented Novices.

After an indefinite, but obviously lengthy time, Egwene determines that Leane and Bode have departed and so orders Bela saddled, telling Siuan that she means to take a ride and orders Siuan to tell no one. Egwene departs the tent after removing her stole of office and goes to meet Bela, delivered by a terror-stricken Siuan (who hates to ride horses). While in the camp Egwene rides badly, like Siuan does to disguise who she is. After getting out of the camp, she gets Bela into a gallop and they head toward the river Erinin. She meets a party with Bode accompanying them. She informs Bode that she is staying ashore. Bode protests, but Egwene simply states that she cannot ask a Novice to do what the Amyrlin can do better. Bode does not like the answer but she accepts it.

A boat is eased into the river with her aboard. It makes its way to the massive chain blocking North Harbor. She embraces saidar and changes the whole of the chain to cuendillar. At roughly the same time she feels someone else close by embracing the Source, after which something strikes the boat and her. She sinks into the cold water of the Erinin.

When she comes to, she finds that she has been captured by the White Tower. She suddenly realizes two things; they had been waiting for her and she had been betrayed. The chapter ends with the bitter question, "But by whom?"

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