Knife of Dreams: Epilogue
Author: Cariyad Teridal
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Tuon confronts Suroth and makes her da’covale. Pevara and five other Red sisters arrive at the Black Tower and gain Taim's permission to bond any man who concedes.
Suroth's Point of View:
Suroth is running over the strategy of the defensive in Arad Doman in a room full of clerks at Galgan’s insistence. She would rather not have them there to overhear her conversation, but Galgan assures her that they are all trustworthy men and women.
All of the Blood have cheeks smeared with ashes in mourning for the death of the Empress and the empire is in near ruin in the aftermath. Suroth plans to have Galgan killed as soon as Elbar brings news of Tuon’s death to leave her a clear path to the Crystal Throne.
Suroth, Galgan and Yamada discuss the situation in Arad Doman. The Seanchan are trapped between two Domani forces. Suroth remarks that all the people of Tarabon who are able to fight should have been enlisted, but Galgan opposes her by remarking on Tarabon’s lack of loyalty. He goes on to say that he has promoted Tylee Khirgan whilst Suroth still dithered, and ordered the return of raken to Altara and Amadicia.
This comment leads to Suroth laying claim to the command of the Return, as commander of the Forerunners, and Galgan disputes this. In the middle of their heated argument the room fills with Deathwatch Guards and Suroth’s attention becomes glued to one small dark woman: Tuon. Suroth kneels automatically as Tuon commands Karede to show Suroth what Captain Musenge brought her. The rotting head of Elbar is revealed to Suroth.
Despite attempts to wriggle out of the situation, Tuon has revealed Suroth’s plot to kill her. To her horror, Suroth is made da’covale.
Pevara's Point of View:
Setting: The Black Tower
Pevara arrives in Andor after Traveling from Tar Valon. She realizes that this trip requires the utmost diplomatic skill and the courage of lion: if things go wrong, there could be no returning. With Pevara are five other Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah who she and Tarna have picked out to bond Asha’man – Javindhra (there only at the Highest (Tsutama)’s command), Tarna (as it was her idea in the first place, never mind the difficulties of Elaida’s Keeper having a Warder), Jezrail (she keeps a miniature of the boy she almost married), Desala (who never says no to a dance) and Melare (who continues to pay for her grandnephews’ education). These small clues are what led Pevara and Tarna to approach these women on the controversial idea of a Red sister bonding a man who can channel.
Tarna and Pevara settle for only the six women to begin. After all, how would it look if the entire Red Ajah turned up on the Black Tower’s doorstep?
Reports from eyes-and-ears make the Black Tower easy to find. Unfinished walls surround two crenellated black towers obviously meant to guard a gate – although there is not a gate between them. Three men greet them at this “gate” – Saml al’Seen and Enkazin, two soldiers, and one wearing the sword of the Dedicated. Pevara resists thinking of them as novices and Accepted: their training routine, where they are pushed to their absolute limits as soon as possible, is so different from the safe and steady guidance of the White Tower.
After learning that they want to be taken to see the M’Hael – Mazrim Taim – the Dedicated is startled to realize that they are all of the Red Ajah. He leaves through a gateway to inquire after permission, and the Aes Sedai are left in the care of the two soldiers. Pevara is hesitant to use the word “M’Hael” as it implies that Taim is leader of everything.
Saml al’Seen seems barely old enough to have left home, and Desala addresses the issue to him. Enkazin responds that he’s a fast learner, and as al’Seen's chest swells with pride the Aes Sedai decide that they will bond no children. Definitely no children.
After half an hour of seemingly unconcerned waiting, the Dedicated returns with news that the M’Hael will see them. He does not, however, show them the way. His reason is that “the M’Hael doesn’t associate with the likes of [him]”. Pevara stores this intriguing statement for later thought.
A Tairen Asha’man meets them on the other side of the gateway and leads them to the M’Hael. He takes them into a small palace adorned with tapestries of battles and into what must be the throne room, where a ring of columns supports the palace’s largest dome. Around a hundred Asha’man stand to the sides of the room.
Taim lounges on what can only be called a throne, and his air of physical strength and darkness draws their attention. Instead of wearing the collar pins of the other Asha’man, blue and gold embroidered dragons circle the arms of his coat.
Taim asks the sisters what six Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah want with the Black Tower, and cuts Pevara off when she starts introducing them. He wants reasons, not names. Pevara says that they want to bond Asha’man as Warders, but only with the man’s full permission, unlike the situation of the Red sisters already bonded by Asha’man. One of the Asha’man around the room speaks out against this and Taim hits him over the head with the Power, knocking him to the floor. A fellow Asha’man attests that he still lives, but Melare’s offer of Healing is refused. This is the discipline of the Black Tower.
After further explanation of the bizarre request Pevara is making, Taim curtly grants the Bond of any man who concedes. Pevara is surprised at the brevity of his decision-making, and Taim replies; “Let the Lord of Chaos Rule”. His laugh is echoed by the men standing around the room and makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up.