The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 22
Author: Cursor Wrathwind
The Price of the Ring
Chapter Icon: Flame of Tar Valon
Point of View: Egwene
Setting: The White Tower
Egwene has her Accepted test and abandons Rand each time.
Leaving Verin's study, Egwene runs into Sheriam. Sheriam asks about the papers she has, and Egwene tries to keep them secret. Sheriam disregards them and tells Egwene she is late for her test to be raised to Accepted. Sheriam leads her to the hall where the testing ter'angreal is located. Elaida snaps at Egwene when she enters for being late. Sheriam explains that novices are given three chances at taking the test, and if they refuse a third time they are permanently put out of the Tower. Elaida states that Egwene should not be given the chance to take the test, and Sheriam reveals that Elaida demanded to be part of the ceremony.
Egwene says she will not refuse, and Sheriam warns her that once you begin you must finish or be put out of the Tower, and that to seek inside the ter'angreal is dangerous, that some women never came out. Egwene accepts the test and the ceremony begins. Egwene removes her clothes and worries about the women in the room reading the papers Verin gave her, or discovering the dreaming ter'angreal. She folds the papers and ring inside her clothes and sets them aside by the testing ter'angreal. As soon as she does, Alanna says that there is some sort of resonance, an echo inside the ter'angreal. Alanna tells Sheriam that it is not a problem, and the ceremony begins. After Sheriam and Elaida give the traditional introduction of the candidate, Egwene enters the first arch, the time for what was.
Inside the arch, she finds herself back in the Two Rivers, married to Rand and with a baby daughter named Joiya and studying to replace Nynaeve as Wisdom. Rand tells Egwene that the peddlers bring news of war, of everybody fighting the Seanchan, a people who use Aes Sedai in battle. Rand begins to get a headache, something that has happened more and more frequently, each time growing in pain and bringing strange occurrences. Egwene walks to Rand to attempt to Heal him, and the arch appears. She heads for it and the headache suddenly brings Rand to his knees in pain. He begins screaming for Egwene to help him ease the pain. Egwene tells herself she cannot help and runs through the arch.
Sheriam pours a chalice of water over Egwene's head, washing her clean of what she may have done. She asks Sheriam if what happens was real, and Sheriam responds that noone truly knows if it is real, but the danger is. Egwene then enters the second arch, the arch for what is.
Inside the arch, Egwene finds herself in a fine dress standing in the ruins of the Royal Palace of Andor. The whole city is in ruin, and band of men are running from patrols of Trollocs. A Myrddraal appears, leading the Trollocs in a hunt for some man. She enters the palace and finds Rand pinned beneath a heavy beam. She tells Rand that if she moves the beam, everything will come crashing down and kill them both. Rand says that he could move it himself, but he can't trust himself. He says that he is holding the madness at bay, but he fears that by letting go to move the beam the madness will take him. He tells her to help him by stabbing him in the heart with his dagger. Egwene asks why, and Rand tells her that if he is still alive when the Myrddraal find him they can turn him to the Shadow. The arch appears and Egwene runs to it as Rand screams for her to help him.
Again, Sheriam and Elaida wash Egwene clean. Egwene asks Sheriam if Myrddraal and Dreadlords really could have turned a person to the Shadow. Sheriam tells her that thirteen Dreadlords weaving flows through thirteen Myrddraal could turn a channeler to the Shadow, and Egwene notes that thirteen sisters, Liandrin and twelve others, left the Tower as she enters the final arch, the arch for what will be.
Inside the arch, Egwene finds herself wearing the stole of the Amyrlin Seat, with a Keeper raised from the Green Ajah. Her Keeper tells her that the Hall is waiting, and leads her to the Hall of the Tower. Elaida calls for a prisoner to be brought in, and twelve Aes Sedai and two Tower Guards drag in Rand. Elaida states that Rand has proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn and has channeled the Power, and calls upon Egwene to pronounce the sentence of gentling.
Egwene refuses to Gentle Rand, and Elaida calls for her to be taken. Her Keeper knocks her unconscious. She awakens in a room full of thirteen Aes Sedai, and thirteen Myrddraal enter the room. Egwene embraces the Source before they can shield her and escapes, noting one of the Black sisters to be Elaida's closest confidante and thus incriminating Elaida as Black Ajah. As she escapes, she comes across her Keeper, stilled, who tells her that Rand has been taken to the Traitor's Court. Egwene is sure that Elaida is now Amyrlin. She tells her Keeper that she never held the Oath Rod and sets off for the Traitor's Court by way of a Tower, noticing Rand about to be Gentled. As she considers what to do, the arch appears. Egwene is still planning to rescue Rand, and she suddenly hears voices shouting they cannot hold it any longer, that it is going wild amidst a woman's orders to hold it. Egwene tears herself away from the balcony and dives through the flickering archway.