"It's not strength that makes me laugh. It's understanding."
   —Egwene al'Vere

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Setting: White Tower


Point of view: Egwene al'Vere

Egwene receives her daily punishment from the Mistress of Novices, Silviana Brehon. After, the two women have a discussion as to Egwene's constant resilience to the beatings. Later, Egwene reveals she has a meeting with Elaida to go to. Silviana expresses surprise at this and questions Egwene as to why she did not mention this beforehand. Egwene calmly replies that it would make no difference.

Egwene leaves the chamber where she is given a dose of forkroot by Katerine Alruddin and Barasine. She has a discussion with the two about the declining situation of the Tower. While one of the Aes Sedai scoffs at the notion, the other takes to heart what Egwene has said. Unexpectedly Alviarin Freidhen doesn't show up for punishment as she usually does at this time. As Egwene,heads to Elaida's apartment, she notices a mural of an ancient Amyrlin. For a moment she sees death and destruction on it, a ripple of the Dark One's work, and then it turns back to normal. As she continues, she notices Alviarin heading toward her punishment session and wonders what caused her delay.

She walks into Elaida's room only to be shocked by the presence of Meidani, one of her spies, being subservient to Elaida. She is enraged over Elaida's treatment to the other sisters and to the increasing outrageous demands set forth by Elaida. Egwene knows she has to keep her emotions in check. Elaida begins discussing having Aes Sedai take a fourth oath, of obedience to the Amyrlin. In order to keep her resolve to not confront Elaida, she drops a bowl of soup offered. Egwene is then sent away with Elaida feeling confident about being in control of Egwene.

Egwene goes to the kitchens to eat before her visit with the Mistress of Novices. Once she is back with Silviana, Egwene has a revelation. The Tower did not need her help to depose Elaida, it was already heading that way. What she needed to do is to keep the Tower together. She begins to laugh as she is beaten, Silviana questions her as to why. Egwene calmly responds that it is foolish to beat her, the pain of it was insignificant to that of the pain of the Tower's situation. After the beating is over, she realizes there is a lot of work to do.