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The Gathering Storm/Chapter 22

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"You truly saw what a person was made of, in more ways than one, when you began to slice into them."
   — Semirhage

External summary

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Setting: Lord Tellaen's manor in Arad Doman, Blight in Saldaea


Point of view: Semirhage

As a master of torture, Semirhage considers torture an art form as well as a scientific pursuit. She was psychologically ready to accept the pain that the Aes Sedai would inflict on her while in captivity. How humiliated she was when the woman in the paralis-net, Cadsuane Melaidhrin, placed her across her knees, and spanked her on her bottom, instead. Semirhage does not understand how these childlike Aes Sedai women suddenly transformed from being frightened by a Forsaken in their midst to regarding her like a child. She is furious that they are not treating her with the respect she deserves.

Alone in her dark room, Semirhage is plotting the torture she would administer to Cadsuane, when Shaidar Haran suddenly appears. After listing all of her failures, Shaidar Haran tells her that the Dark One is giving her one more chance. She feels the return of saidar as her shield is broken. As she walks outside of her cell, she sees the bodies of the three Aes Sedai who were maintaining her shield on the ground. An additional Aes Sedai, Elza Penfell, is prostrating herself before her, revealing herself to be Black Ajah. She relays orders to Semirhage that the Compulsion placed on her was to be removed. In addition, she proffers Semirhage the Domination Band.

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Rand is in Saldaea with Rodel Ituralde and Davram Bashere after moving fifty thousand Domani troops to help defend the Borderlands. Bashere suggested they ride up to view the blight, which is advancing from the north very quickly. He is leaving Ituralde in Saldaea to insure his loyalty since he has no base of support there. Bashere will help Rand in Arad Doman since the Saldaean populace might question Bashere on why he became Dragonsworn. Rand promises Ituralde one hundred Asha'man within the week and lets Bashere know they will be moving to Bandar Eban in four days. As he is riding, Lews Therin suddenly confirms that the Seven Seals must be broken before another seal can be put on the Dark One's prison. Rand tries to get more information on what needs to be done but is not successful.

Rand returns to Lord Tellaen's manor house dissatisfied that Lews Therin does not know or won't tell him how to seal the Dark One away forever. Rand enters his room to find Min reading another of Herid Fel's books while a serving woman tends his room. Rand becomes upset because Min has been taking advice from Cadsuane on what to tell him. Min's eyes widen with shock as something clicks, encircling Rand's neck. The serving woman's image shimmers and becomes Semirhage, with the male a'dam around Rand's neck. Semirhage barely deflects a knife thrown by Min. Min then begins to yell for help from the guards or the Maidens. Elza Penfell enters and takes over the second bracelet of the Domination Band. Rand is unable to move as Min is silenced and tossed off of the bed.

Semirhage begins to use the a'dam to show Rand how much control over him he has and how little he can do that she doesn't allow. Semirhage revels in the pain caused when Rand tries to channel saidin. Then Rand gains control over himself despite the pain that Semirhage continues to inflict on him stating that no more can be done to him. Semirhage forces him to channel saidin to cause pain to Min. Semirhage plans to leave the room, deal with the Aes Sedai that kept her prisoner and then travel to Shayol Ghul for Rand to submit to the Great Lord. Before leaving she is going to have Rand choke Min to death. Rand desperately searches for a way out and suddenly becomes aware of a strange force which he reaches for with his mind. Lews Therin recognizes it as the True Power and tells Rand not to use it since it is the Dark One's power. He channels the power into the Domination Band's destruction, then releases his grip on Min's throat. He channels Balefire and destroys Semirhage, then Elza. He releases the True Power even though it is much more addictive than saidin.

Rand feels that the last that could be done to him has been done. He no longer has laughter or flexibility. Now he will become harder than steel. He could not longer be broken or even bent.









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