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|<<< A Halo of Blackness >>>|
Point of view: Rand al'Thor
Rand arrives in Falme for his meeting with the Daughter of the Nine Moons, Tuon. He is accompanied by Nynaeve, Corele, Narishma, Flinn, three Wise Ones, and unspecified others. Rand reminisces about the Battle of Falme, and notes that Rand the sheepherder had died at Falme, and Rand the Dragon Reborn had risen from his ashes. He and Nynaeve discuss his battle with High Lord Turak, something Rand realizes he had never spoken of with anyone. Tuon awaits their meeting on a pavilion, surrounded by hundreds of damane and sul'dam. Rand preemptively seizes saidin through the Choeden Kal access key as a precaution against an attack or an attempt to shield him. He then sees Tuon for the first time, noting how young she is.
Point of view: Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag
Tuon notes that Rand does not look as old as she had thought. Tuon thinks of how she has still not declared herself Empress, as this would require that she be seated above the Dragon Reborn. The Seanchan are visibly uncomfortable at the presence of unleashed channelers. Tuon notices in the sky a flash of lightning between two clouds, an omen meaning "Tread very lightly and be careful what you speak."
Rand immediately demands that a peace be declared, so that the forces of humanity can fight united against the Shadow instead of among themselves. Tuon thinks of the Seanchan's own prophecies, which state that humanity must be united under the Seanchan before fighting the Shadow, and that the Empress herself will send the Dragon to fight the Dark One. Tuon tells Rand that The Return intended to find the Westlands united, and surrender to the Seanchan for the Last Battle; instead, they found a fractured land, squabbling like children. Rand rebuts that he has united much of the land, and that an alliance need only last as long as he is alive, which he assures Tuon will not be for long. Tuon then suggests that if Rand sees the value of a united humanity, he should also be amenable to his people taking oaths to the Seanchan and seeing their channelers leashed. Rand then grows forceful, saying he will not see another channeler leashed.
Tuon then turns the discussion to Mat, and Rand and Nynaeve are shocked that Tuon knows of Mat. Rand then realized that it was Tuon he had been seeing in the color swirls. Tuon insults Mat, and Nynaeve rebukes her, saying that Mat is a brave and selfless hero, albeit a bit of a carouser. Rand defends him as well.
Rand begins the discussion of a treaty again, demanding it of Tuon. Tuon finds it harder and harder to resist Rand, and observes the chapter's titular "Halo of Darkness" around Rand, and the reader is left to assume he is attempting to exert his ta'veren effect. Tuon manages to resist, and Rand storms off. Tuon, in this moment, decides that she cannot allow Rand, a madman, to grow anymore powerful. She orders the strike on Tar Valon, and then plans to attack Rand himself.
- Rand al'Thor
- Tuon Paendrag
- Nynaeve al'Meara
- Corele Hovian
- Jahar Narishma
- Damer Flinn
- Lews Therin
- Furyk Karede
- Lunal Galgan
- Mat Cauthon
- Padan Fain
- Min Farshaw
- Artur Hawkwing
- Tylee Khirgan
- Abaldar Yulan