Winter's Heart: Chapter 8
Author: Ilissa a'Nari
Chapter Icon: a'dam
Point of View: Elayne
Setting: The Palace of Caemlyn; the hallways and a small room deep within the palace.
Elayne deals with various matters in the palace. She and Nynaeve decide to free three of the damane sent by Rand.
Elayne meets Reene Harfor on their mutual way to her apartment, and on the way they discuss the search for spies (Mistress Harfor has uncovered two suspects, but both of them ran away from the palace and most likely also Caemlyn) and Elayne's plans for the rest of her day. Halwin Norry, the Head Clerk, wishes to speak to her, and the animosity or, rather, jealousy between the two concerning their jobs is evident to Elayne. Others asking for an appointment including several merchants, and Mistress Harfor advises her on how to deal with them in a way that makes Elayne thinks about how her mother, the former Queen Morgase, used to say that she ruled Andor but thought the Head Maid ruled her. After the two Kinswomen Solain Morgeillin and Keraille Surtovni pass them, Mistress Harfor also mentions that "Mistress Corly" has requested a meeting, and instead of taking the files the Head Maid asked her to sign before they are sent to the Head Clerk into her apartment, Elayne asks that the files be left there and heads out to find the former Eldest of the Knitting Circle, which is, or rather used to be, the ruling body of the Kin.
In the hallways she runs into Vandene, followed closely and meekly by the two elderly novices Zarya and Kirstian. They have, in spite of their rather intensive training and strict discipline, been able to learn that the murderer of Vandene's sister Adeleas must be one of three sisters; Merilille, Sareitha or Careane. Since the only ones who have known the truth of the matter till now have been Nynaeve, Elayne or Vandene, the two will need to be "taken in hand"; given more work and more discipline, which in Vandene's opinion will mean either Nynaeve or Elayne. Nynaeve and Lan appear just in time to hear the brief discussion, however, and because Nynaeve is stronger enough in the One Power that Vandene is supposed to defer to her, Vandene ends up with that chore herself. Zarya and Kirstian, who appear to be quite smug at times in the conversation, are near fainting when they hear that Vandene did indeed teach novices for a time, but that the then Mistress of Novices, later Amyrlin Seat Sereille Bagand, thought she was too hard on her students.
Elayne asks if Nynaeve knows what Reanne Corly would like to talk to her about, and even if Nynaeve hasn't been out of her rooms she knows where the woman is likely to be and "offers" to take Elayne there after the two have been looking at each other for a bit; Nynaeve with first suspicion and then something that Elayne correctly or not thinks might be condescension. Elayne agrees without words, taking the "guiding" - she already knows where Reanne must be, since she is not with Nynaeve - as a penance for her behaviour earlier the same day. On their way Elayne also brings up the news about Elenia, Naean and the spies, and Nynaeve isn't shocked; if anything she appears surprised they were still held when they themselves reached Caemlyn. She also tells Elayne that eighteen of the Kin are no longer in Caemlyn; they have gone deep into Altara, Amadicia and Tarabon to attempt saving the members of the Kin who are still there from the clutches of the Seanchan. The other objective is to keep them from running away, and Nynaeve brings up another problem concerning the Kin, or rather, Egwene's promise to them; that all women with the ability to channel who desire it shall be connected to the Tower in some way.
When they meet Reanne, she tells them that three of the captured damane might be ready to be freed of their collars after closing the ears of the captured sul'dam Marli with Air. The three damane in question are Alivia, Kara and Lemore. Lemore is only nineteen years old; Kara is highly protective and quite obedient to the sul'dam, and despite Alivia's supposed hatred towards the sul'dam they are not sure that she, either, can be trusted. She is, unlike the others, Seanchan, has been a damane for more than four hundred years - and she is more powerful by far than even Nynaeve. After Lan's comment that if they do not set them free after the women in question have told them they wish to be freed they would be no better than the Seanchan themselves, Nynaeve makes a decision which is clearly supported by Alise; that the women shall be set free. However, they will be kept under careful eyes, especially Lemore, who they will put in novice white as soon as it can be arranged because of her young age.