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Setting: Cairhien (city), Sun Palace

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Aviendha is trying to get Rand to rest, but he wishes to get dressed and head to Cairhien before the time the nobles have planned so he can catch them off guard. Aviendha is sitting on his clothes with her skirts spread out to hide them but he spots a cuff and has her move so he can dress. Asmodean returns, riding his mule and leading Rand's horse. On the way to the city he passes by some of the twenty thousand Shaido prisoners who will become gai'shain. He also notices many Aiel are wearing a scarlet headband, but is unsure what it means. He passes by Kadere's wagons where Moiraine is inspecting the ter'angreal, as usual.

Rand passes through the burned Foregate, then the gates of the city while word of his coming races ahead to the palace. As he rides along, the citizens and refugees cheer wildly. Meilan, the leader of the Tairen nobles arrives and explains the arrangements he has made for Rand at the palace. The nobles from Tear meet him in the courtyard, where he greets some warmly to get them off balance and watching each other. He enters the Grand Hall where the Tairens are grouped in front while the Cairhienin are in back.

Rand asks for a chair rather than sitting in the throne, indicating the throne is meant for someone else. He orders all the nobles to rearrange themselves by rank instead of by nation. The Tairens are unhappy, seeing their power base stripped away. The nobles of both nations then come forward to swear allegiance to Rand. As the procession continues Rand ponders his next step: going after Sammael.