The Siege of Tar Valon was the plan to retake the city of Tar Valon by the rebel Aes Sedai led by the Amyrlin Egwene al'Vere. The siege was the first direct move against the White Tower to dethrone the usurper Armylin, Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan.
The beginning Edit
Following the chaos in the White Tower after the removal of the current Amyrlin, Siuan Sanche, most of the Blue Ajah and many other Aes Sedai from the rest of the Ajah's fled from the White Tower. Some went because they disapproved of deposing Siuan, others fled because they could not accept Elaida's leadership. Whatever their reasons, they were all reluctant to return to Tar Valon until they fully understood what had happened. They chose to meet in the abandoned village of Salidar and plan their next move. The rebel Aes Sedai in Salidar were vehemently against a direct attack at the White Tower, mainly due to their heavy disadvantage. They had no army with which to breach the nearly impenetrable city of Tar Valon. Furthermore, after the bloodshed during Siuan Sanche's deposition, they were not going to allow the conflict to come to arms again unless there was no other choice. In fact, until Siuan Sanche and Leane Sharif arrived with Logain Ablar and the claim that the Red Ajah had set him up as a False Dragon, the Salidar Aes Sedai were considering returning to the Tower to accept Elaida as Amyrlin, in the name of unity.
Shortly after this, Gareth Bryne arrived, having followed Siuan Sanche, Leane Sharif, and Min Farshaw to Salidar after they fled from their oath to repay a debt they incurred. He was there persuaded by the Aes Sedai to become their general and to marshal an army to siege the city that had never once fallen to an enemy commander.
When Egwene was brought to be raised to the position of the Armylin Seat in Salidar, however, with her she brought the secret of Traveling, with which they could use to transport their army across tremendous distances to strike quickly at Tar Valon.
Even with the element of surprise and the ability to Travel, the rebels found themselves at a stalemate. Unless they were to Travel inside the White Tower itself and begin an unwanted bloody attack, there was no clear way that they could achieve victory. Tar Valon's largest advantage in this skirmish, as it was when Artur Hawkwing besieged the city, was that as long as the rivers into Tar Valon remained open and the gates in control, supply ships would be able to enter the city with no way to stop them, allowing the city to survive as long as it needed.
At a standoff, negotiations were begun with the White Tower Aes Sedai in one of the towns outside the city, although the negotiations were more of a ruse to raise hope among the army then an actual attempt at peace.
Sealing the harbors Edit
During the siege, Egwene rediscovered the method of creating cuendillar. Apart from providing a new and reliable source of income, a plan was created unknown to even most of the rebels. In the dead of night, Leane Sharif and Kairen Stang, the two Aes Sedai with the greatest ability in creating Cuendillar next to Egwene herself would row to the Tar Valon gates and transform the harbor chains into heartstone and defeat the advantage that the tower had against the rebels. However, Kairen was murdered in the camp by Aran'gar, putting the task in the hands of Bodewhin Cauthon. Egwene, not wanting to throw the duty onto a novice decided to do the task herself. Before either Leane or Egwene had finished transforming the chains completely though, they were attacked and captured by the White Tower Aes Sedai. Though their work was unfinished, only small vessels would be able to enter Tar Valon's harbors, giving the rebels higher ground in the war.
After Egwene was captured by the Tower Aes Sedai and demoted to a novice, she forbade a rescue attempt as she decided to undermine Elaida's authority from within. In her absence, the rebel Aes Sedai continued their slow march towards Tar Valon, attempting to delay the need for military action for as long as possible. During this time, they were beset with numerous successful raids against them by a loyalist force including the Younglings, led by Gawyn Trakand. With his familiarity with the strategies of his old mentor and teacher, his forces were able to harry and distract the rebel army despite being heavily outnumbered. The loyalists continued to harass Bryne's force even after the departure of Gawyn. It is unknown if the loyalists were eventually defeated or if they retreated into the safety of Tar Valon, but the rebel Aes Sedai and their army eventually came to camp near the outskirts of the city.
Egwene's rescue - into Tar ValonEdit
During the Seanchan raid on the White Tower, Siuan and Gawyn decided it necessary to rescue Egwene despite her orders. Gareth Bryne reluctantly agreed to help them in order to protect Siuan. They managed to sneak into Tar Valon through a secret entrance used by the Aes Sedai Shemerin to escape the city. After fighting through some of the Seanchan forces, they found Egwene and traveled back to the rebel camp. Egwene had hoped to use the ensuing disorder after the attack as a way to offer her leadership and assume a position of authority in the White Tower. With this option gone, she had no choice but to order Gareth Bryne to begin the siege of Tar Valon.
Her force of over ten thousand surrounding the city of Tar Valon, Egwene delayed the siege for as long as possible. At the very last moment before she was to order the strike, ten sitters from the Hall of the Tower came to inform her that they had decided to raise her as the rightful Amyrlin Seat. Her army was allowed to enter the city and moved quickly to relieve and support the haggard Tower Guards. With this, the White Tower was divided no longer and the Siege of Tar Valon was finally over.