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|<<< The Web Tightens >>>|
|Setting: Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn|
Point of view: Rand al'Thor
Rand sits at a table with Logain, the False Dragon, and Moiraine in silence. The room around them fades to gray. The pair vanish, replaced by Ba'alzamon. Rand's body hums, inside his head, louder and louder until...
Rand wakes up with a headache and recalls his fall from wall where he watched the Aes Sedai march Logain through Caemlyn. A girl dressed in rich clothes kneels beside him and he cannot help but compare her beauty to Egwene's. A sound announces the approach of another, a boy around Rand's age dressed as richly as the girl. Through their discussion, Rand learns that their names are Elayne and Gawyn. In a slight panic, Rand tries to stand so he can climb back over the wall when a wave of dizziness strikes him. Elayne treats his injuries as is her hobby with hurt animals. As they talk of personal issues, Rand finally asks who their mother is. Gawyn tells him that she is "Morgase, by the Grace of the Light, Queen of Andor, Defender of the Realm, Protector of the People, High Seat of House Trakand." 
The shock appears to cure his dizziness as he races to his feet and tries to leave. Gawyn asks his name, perplexed by his features and accent, and appears surprised by the answer. A voice interrupts their conversation. Galad appears ready to defend his siblings from the intruder but Elayne and Gawyn defend Rand, granting him guest right. An argument ensues, ending with Elayne's rude dismissal of Galad. Galad leaves, but gains the upper hand when he returns with the Queen's Guards.
The guards surround Rand with swords drawn. Elayne and Gawyn shield Rand with arms raised. Elayne challenges Guardsman-Lieutenant Tallanvor, an officer, but must accept escort to the queen. Rand notices the garden untouched by drought as the guards lead the group through a maze of corridors before reaching an audience chamber. Rand follows behind Elayne, mimicking Gawyn's actions through the introduction, but peeking to see the queen, her general, and Aes Sedai adviser. The queen admonishes the siblings for their disobedience. The Aes Sedai joins her, focusing on Elayne. Rand identifies her as none other than Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan of the Red Ajah.
Elayne gives her mother a premeditated speech about knowing her people. Morgase dismisses the notion with a confession that the Two Rivers probably doesn't even know that they are a part of Andor. The comment about the Two Rivers sparks Elaida's interest as she studies the differences between typical folk from western Andor and Rand. She approaches Rand and is shocked when she notices his Heron-mark sword. Her comments about the sword prompt every man in the audience to reach for swords. The Aes Sedai appears unconcerned and continues to question Rand, intrigued by the list of coincidences that led him here. The Aes Sedai's constant interrogation angers Rand and he begins to conceal the truth from her. Elaida, under command from the queen, Foretells the future of Andor...and of Rand.
Morgase weighs the advice of Elaida and Gareth Bryne in regards to Rand's fate and decides to free him against both their wishes. Morgase dismisses Rand and gathers her advisers to speak about the problem with Whitecloaks in her city.
Rand follows the guard in a thoughtful state and barely notices it when they reach a small sally-port. He says goodbye to the royal siblings but not before receiving two final shocks. The Daughter-Heir admits that she finds him handsome, while Gawyn explains that with a shoufa wrapped around his head that he would look like an Aielman.
- Logain Ablar
- Moiraine Damodred
- Mat Cauthon
- Nynaeve al'Meara
- Egwene al'Vere
- Lini Eltring
- Taringail Damodred
- Hyam Kinch
- Basel Gill
- Emond's Field
- Two Rivers
- Tar Valon
- The Queen's Blessing
- The Crown and Lion
- New City
- Shayol Ghul
- Queen's Man
- First Prince of the Sword
- Great Serpent ring
- Dragon's Fang
- ↑ Many actions and reactions for the rest of the chapter are probably influenced by Rand's ta'veren nature. a) Gawyn's babbling, b) Morgase letting him go, c) Elaida giving part of her foretelling just to him.