The Shadow Rising: Chapter 54
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Elayne's Point of View:
Setting: The Panarch's Palace
Nynaeve, Elayne and Egeanin are on their way to the Panarch's Palace. They are riding in a cart, with Bayle Domon and twenty of his sailors to accompany them. As they ride, Elayne thinks back to the discussion that led them to this in the first place. Upon deciding that she and Nynaeve must get into the Panarch's Palace as soon as possible, Bayle Domon, Juilin and Thom all began to insist that they must be able to go along as well to protect the women. Nynaeve eventually put an end to this: "You all know what you have to do, and you cannot do it trying to watch over us like a pair of geese for market!" Egeanin then offered to accompany them, and after a bit of arguing on Nynaeve's part, it was agreed.
Elayne is jostled out of her reverie when Whitecloaks stop the cart to question Domon. As they are waiting to move on, someone begins shouting that the Panarch is dead. It seems that this is part of some sort of a plan to start a riot, as Elayne thinks that "Thom and Juilin had made a good job of seeding their rumors during the night." Eventually, the cart begins to move again. When they cross the square and depart from the wagon, they bring baskets of ice peppers with them. As they are doing this, Domon walks up and pretends to inspect the peppers. He tells them that the Whitecloaks and the Panarch's Legion are close to blows. He then leads the women towards the palace, announcing that they have ice peppers for the Panarch. They are directed to a storeroom. As they move to store away the peppers, they spot Marillin Gemalphin, who is scratching the ears of a scrawny cat. It is noted that she was once of the Brown Ajah, though she is now Black Ajah. Elayne becomes nervous, knowing that if Marillin were to notice them, she would know that they can channel in an instant. When they reach the storeroom and rid themselves of the peppers, they begin to change from the farm clothes that they are wearing into servant's dresses.
When they leave the storeroom, they find that Marillin Gemalphin is no longer in sight. The chief cook notices them, thinking that they have come for the 'Lady Ispan's' breakfast. Elayne quickly curtsies and picks up a tray. She leaves, with Nynaeve and Egeanin close behind her. They make their way through the hallways, and Nynaeve prepares to part ways from the other two, threatening Egeanin should anything happen to Elayne. As they stand there talking, they hear noises outside and realize that the planned riot has started. Nynaeve disappears around a corner, and Elayne and Egeanin make their way to the Panarch's chambers. Inside, Elayne can feel someone channeling, and knows that there is one or more Black sisters within the room. As they listen, they hear someone - Amathera - singing bawdy songs.
Egeanin throws the doors open, and inside they find that Amathera is wrapped in flows of Air. The Black sister within the room turns out to be Temaile. Appalled, Elayne embraces the Source and lashes out at Temaile with flows of Air, before shielding her. The Black sister goes flying across the room and falls unconscious.
Elayne and Egeanin demand to know if Amathera is alone, and Amathera is hesitant to speak. "You are not...with them? You are Aes Sedai also? But not with them?" When Elayne asks once again if she is alone, Amathera answers that yes, she is. She tells them of how the Black sisters had made her sit upon her throne and speak the words that they told her to. Sometimes they would make her dispense justice, and sometimes they would make her dispense horrible injustice. She adds that Temaile was the one who was set to watch over her, and that the Black sister had hurt her for no reason except to see her cry. Temaile made Amathera eat an entire tray full of white ice peppers and wouldn't let her drink a drop of water until she begged on her knees. In her dreams, she would hold her by her ankles atop the Tower of Morning, and she was forced to learn lewd dances and filthy songs. With this, she jumps at Temaile, beating on her. Elayne weaves flows of Air to draw the two apart.
Amathera is convinced that what she must now do is contact her Legion of soldiers, but Elayne announces that she will do nothing of the sort. "You will listen to me, Panarch Amathera of Tarabon. If you try to walk out to your soldiers, Temaile's cronies may very well tie you up in a bundle and hand you back to her. Worse, they will learn that my friends and I are here, and that I will not allow."
Nynaeve's Point of View:
Setting: The Panarch's Palace
Nynaeve is in the exhibition hall. She moves around, holding a feather duster so as not to cause suspicion should anyone else appear. She looks around, and then hurries over to the pedestal that holds the black collar and bracelets. She climbs over the rope meant to keep viewers away, and touches the collar. What she feels is suffering, agony and woe, so strong that she wants to weep. Thinking of how the Black Ajah wants to control Rand makes her angry enough to channel, and she embraces the Source just as a serving woman enters the hall. Nynaeve tries to look normal, dusting the collar and bracelets. As she looks at the woman's face, she suddenly knows it even though it is not the same face.
Nynaeve channels, weaving a hammer-hard flow of Air to smash the servant's face. The glow of saidar surrounds the woman and she reveals herself to be Moghedien. The Forsaken slices through Nynaeve's weave, causing her to stagger from the whiplash recoil. While Nynaeve is vulnerable, Moghedien forms a complex weave of Spirit streaked by Water and Air; Nynaeve has no idea what the purpose of the weave is. She tries to cut through the weave, and suddenly feels "love, devotion, worship for the magnificent woman who would deign to allow her to?"
Moghedien's weave is destroyed, and Nynaeve remembers wanting to obey and grovel and please, and what happened at their previous meeting. This angers her again, and she forms a knife-sharp shield with which to still Moghedien. She lashes out, but her weave is blocked just short of severing Moghedien from the Source forever. Moghedien retaliates with the same weave, but Nynaeve also blocks it. Nynaeve is using all of her power to battle Moghedien, putting everything into holding off the other woman's attacks while trying to assail her at the same time.
As they face each other off, Moghedien begins to talk. "All my careful planning, ruined. At the very least I shall have to go to untold effort to put everything back as it was. It may not be possible. Oh, I do mean to make you pay for that, Nynaeve al'Meara." She ponders out loud, wondering if she should take Nynaeve with her this time, or give her to Rahvin. The topic shifts to the collar and bracelets, and Moghedien wonders how Nynaeve found out about it, but says that it doesn't matter. She also explains a little about it. "Put the collar on a man who channels, and a woman wearing the bracelets can make him do whatever she wishes, true, but it will not stop him going mad, and there is a flow the other way, too. Eventually he will begin to be able to control you, too, so you end with a struggle at every hour."
As Moghedien speaks, Nynaeve is thinking. She realizes that Moghedien's voice is tight with strain, and that the Forsaken is using all of her power against Nynaeve. As Moghedien continues to ramble on, Nynaeve is desperately thinking of a way to distract her. Finally, Nynaeve lets herself fall to the floor. Moghedien smiles and steps closer. As she does so, Nynaeve grabs the collar and hurls it at Moghedien. It strikes her between the eyes, and though the throw was not hard enough to stun her, it was certainly enough to surprise her.
Moghedien's weaves falter slightly, giving Nynaeve the opening to slide her shield between the other woman and the Source. Nynaeve talks of torturing her, which seems to terrify Moghedien. She puts the collar and bracelets, as well as the seal that is still there, into her pouch. As Nynaeve pauses, Jeaine Caide suddenly appears, and she is carrying a fluted black rod with her - a ter'angreal that can produce balefire. She manages to jump out of the way just in time to avoid being hit with the weave. As the hall starts to fall apart, Nynaeve crawls away from the Black sister as fast as she can. By the time the balefire is over with, both Moghedien and Jeaine Caide have disappeared.