Welcome back to my re-read, recap, and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. This post will only have spoilers through the current chapter.
You can find my previous chapter recaps HERE.
Chapter 12: The Amyrlin Seat
Suian Sanche paces in her study, occasionally gazing at a carved box at the center of the room. She hopes that she does not have to use any of the carefully drawn documents within it. She has laid a warding on the box so that if any hand but hers opens it, the contents will flash to ash in an instant. The box itself will also likely burst into flame. For the one hundredth time since being told that Verin has returned, she adjusts the stole on her shoulders without realizing what she is doing. It hangs below her waist, broad and striped with the colors of the seven Ajahs.
The room is thousands of years old and ornate. However, Suian herself has only given it simple furnishings – a plain polished table, a Tairen rug, and a single picture of a boat amid reeds. She was born poor, in Tier, in the delta called The Fingers of the Dragon. Even ten years as Amyrlin Seat have not made her comfortable with too much luxury. She thinks to herself that she has worn the stole for ten years and that it has been nearly twenty since she decided to sail the dangerous waters she is in now. She thinks that if she slips now, she will wish she were back in Tier hauling nets.
Suian spins at a sound. Another Aes Sedai has slipped into the room. The Keeper of the Chronicles bows, Leane, just as deeply alone as she would were others present. Leane is tall – as tall as most men – and she is second in the White Tower only to Suian. The Keeper announces that Verin has arrived asking leave to speak with her. Suian tells her Keeper that she is not too busy to speak with Verin and tells Leane that she will speak with the Brown Sister alone. A twitch of Leane’s eyebrows is her only sign of surprise. The Amyrlin seldom sees anyone – even a Queen – without the Keeper present. Leane bows her way out and Verin enters, kneeling to kiss The Great Serpent ring on Suian’s finger.
Verin has a good sized leather sack under her arm. Sher straightens, thanks the Amyrlin for seeing her, and reports that she has urgent news from Falme – and more. Suian tells her that the rooms are warded against eavesdropping. Verin’s eyebrows lift in surprise at the admission as Suian tells her that much has changed since she left. She commands Verin to speak.
Verin begins by telling Siuan that Rand al’Thor has proclaimed himself The Dragon Reborn. Siuan feels a tightness loosen in her chest as she replies that she hoped he was the one the rumors are pointing toward. She tells Verin that she believes that she can name the day it happened. She explain to Suian that two other False Dragons no longer trouble the world. Siuan tells her that Mazrim Taim is in the hands of Sisters in Saldaea. She adds that the man in Haddon Mirk was taken by Tairens and executed on the spot. Suian tells Verin that both men were taken on the same day, and according to rumor, under the same circumstances.
They were in battle, and winning, when suddenly a great light flashed in the sky and a vision appeared, just for an instant. In both cases the False Dragon’s horse reared up and threw him, knocking him unconscious. Siuan tells Verin that some of her reports speak of visions in the sky at Falme. She offers to wager Verin that all of these events across the continent happened simultaneously.
Verin, almost to herself, says that the true Dragon has been reborn. She adds that the Pattern has no room for False Dragons anymore. Verin says that they have loosed The Dragon Reborn on the world and asks the Light to have mercy on them. Siuan replies that they have done what must be done but she thinks to herself that if even the newest novice in the Tower learns of her role in it, she will be stilled before the next sunrise if she is not torn to pieces first.
Siuan notes that at least Rand is in Moiraine’s hands and says that she will guide him to do what must be done. She then asks Verin what else she has to tell her. As an answer, Verin places the leather sack on the table and pulls out from it a curled gold horn with silver script inlaid around its flaring bell mouth. She lays the horn on the table and then looks at the Amyrlin with quiet expectation. Siuan does not have to be close enough to the horn to read the script.
Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin.
The grave is no bar to my call. Siuan gasps at The Horn of Valere. She asks Verin why she brought it all the way to the White Tower, across hundreds of leagues, with the Hunters looking everywhere for it. She adds that it was to be left with Rand al’Thor. Verin tells her that she knows. She tells Siuan that the Hunters all expect to find the Horn on a grand adventure – not in a sack with four women escorting a sick youth. She adds that the Horn will do Rand no good. She tells Siuan that Rand was not first to sound the Horn – Matrim Cauthon did that. She further adds that Mat is now in the Tower dying of his ties to the Shadar Logoth dagger unless he can be healed in the White Tower.
Siuan shivers at the mention of Shadar Logoth. Verin goes on saying that for so long as Mat lives, the Horn is no more than a mere Horn for anyone else. She says that if Mat dies, another can forge a new link between man and Horn. Verin’s gaze is untroubled by what she seems to be suggesting. Siuan says that many will die in service to what they are doing while thinking about who else she might be able to use to sound the Horn. She tells Verin that she will not attempt to return the Horn to Moiraine now. Siuan tells Verin that they will find a place to hide the Horn where no one but they two know. Verin nods.
Siuan asks if that is all that she has for her and Verin tells her that there is the matter of the Seanchan to deal with. The Amyrlin says that all her reports indicate that they fled back across the ocean – or to wherever it is that they are from. Verin agrees but says that she fears they will have to deal with the Seanchan again. Verin pulls a notebook from her belt and explains that the Seanchan in Falme spoke of themselves as the Forerunners, or Those Who Come Before, and talked of The Return and reclaiming this land as theirs. She shares that she has taken notes on everything she heard of them, from those who actually saw them. Siuan tells her that she is worrying about a lionfish a great distance from the shore while the silverpike are chewing their nets. Verin says that the metaphor is apt. She tells Siuan that the Seanchan use the One Power in battle as a weapon. Siuan tells her that rumors of that are already causing them trouble and will cause more as the stories spread. Siuan tells her that she can do nothing about this for now and redirects Verin to the matters they can deal with. Verin reluctantly closes her notebook.
Verin asks Siuan what she intends to do to Nynaeve and the other two girls. Siuan hesitates.
Siuan: Before I am done with them, they will wish they could go down to the river and sell themselves for fishbait.
She tells Verin to seat herself and share what those three have done and said in the time that they were with her.
Why is this chapter even in the book? Other than the info about the two False Dragons, we do not learn anything new… except that we get or first POV inside Siuan’s head. (I think? Was there one before?) We leave this chapter – as the reader – with a “tough but good” Aes Sedai figure in charge of the three Supergirls. We also get a hilariously large number of fish metaphors.
I want Siuan and Bayle Domon to have a long conversation about fishing and sailing. I think he’s an Illianer so there’d be national hostility between the two of them to make it spicier.
Everyone is being extremely lax regarding Mat’s healing. It seems like they are all dragging their feet for as long as possible hoping that he dies so that 1) they don’t have to deal with his connection to the dagger, and so that 2) they can *control* the Horn by forging a new link to it. Mat’s Two Rivers stubbornness will probably keep him alive long enough to force their hand with respect to healing him.