The Fires of Heaven: Prologue
Author: Val a'Shain
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Elaida's Point of View:
Setting: The White Tower
Elaida is in her study witnessing a meeting of some of the more senior Aes Sedai in the Tower. They are discussing news their networks of eyes-and-ears have gathered. As much as they wish to share anyway. They don't address the really important issues so Elaida doesn't get involved in the meeting. Danelle brings up fighting in Shienar. Between Shienarans even. It is almost unheard of for Borderlanders to fight each other. They have the Blight to fight. Teslyn brings up the Saldaean army on the move to intercept Mazrim Taim. News of his escape must be slipping out. It seems Queen Tenobia of Saldaea doesn't trust the Tower to handle it. Alviarin suggests sending an Aes Sedai advisor to Saldaea to guide Tenobia. The other sisters agree and the matter is decided upon without even a glance at Elaida. This has been happening a lot lately and Elaida has had enough of it. She is the Amyrlin now and they will learn to respect her.
The discussion meanwhile moves on the rumours about the Whitecloaks and the disappearance of Panarch Amathera. Elaida's attention wanders again to some of the decorations she has added after moving in to the office. Elayne is discussed now. Rumour has it that Queen Morgase of Andor is being kept busy by her new lover Lord Gaebril and her claim to the Cairhienin Sun throne. Elaida studies the paintings in the room everybody else ignores. One of the last Red Amyrlin Bonwhin, she was stripped of staff and stole after nearly destroying the Tower in the days of Artur Hawkwing. A reminder of the price of failure. The other is of a more recent scene, two men fighting in the clouds.
Alviarin now closes the meeting again without consulting the Amyrlin. Elaida speaks up for the first time. She didn't permit anyone to leave yet. The furious former Red points the gathered sisters to what is really important, matters they didn't dare mention - finding 'that woman' as Elaida now refers to her predecessor Siuan Sanche. Joline, who is in charge of this, comes up with the usual excuses. Elaida tells her to set a punishment for herself and redouble her efforts. Gathering the sisters who have fled or are scattered across the lands is not progressing very well either. Elaida tells Javindhra to try harder or she will face a punishment too.
Then Elaida moves on to the most important matter of all. Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn. She tells the sisters that they cannot ignore this matter. The Last Battle is coming, there is no doubt about it. Yet the are afraid to even look at his picture. She demands each of them writes down what they did to bring him under the control of the Tower. And now they may leave.
All save the Keeper do. Alviarin still seems to think herself the equal of the Amyrlin, Elaida will have to do something about that as well. But not just now. An Accepted announces a man named Fain. He claims to be from Lugard, but he speaks with several accents. A strange fellow he is but potentially useful. She sends Alviarin away and concentrates on Fain for now.
Padan Fain's Point of View:
Setting: The White Tower
Padan Fain is pleasantly surprised to find Elaida as Amyrlin. She may be easier to break than her predecessor. He notices the tension between Alviarin who is just leaving and Elaida. He thinks about the possibilities this creates for a bit. But he mustn't lose sight of why he is here. The Horn is in the Tower even if not many know it and so is the dagger. Fain can feel its pull. He turns his attention to the Amyrlin now. She wants to know about Rand al'Thor. She may be able to give al'Thor to him.
Rahvin's Point of View:
Setting: The Royal Palace, Caemlyn
Rahvin is just finished giving new orders to the Aes Sedai spy in Caemlyn. It was easy using Compulsion on her. These so-called Aes Sedai are barely more than children in his eyes. When he sends her away Lanfear steps out of a gateway behind him. Holding on to the Power he tells her to send an emissary if she wants to speak with him. None of the Forsaken trust each other. It turns out Lanfear organized a meeting here. She went ahead to make sure he didn't take it as an attack. Graendal and Sammael arrive shortly after.
Exchanging the usual sneers, insults and other pleasantries the four Chosen discuss the situation. Four are dead so far and it seems Asmodean went over to the other side. Not that Rahvin minds al'Thor removing some of the weaker Forsaken. Lanfear proposes a kind of pact between the four. No need to share the spoils between more of them than necessary. She will keep an eye on him until it is time to act. Until then the others are to hold back. Rahvin can see how this could work to his advantage. It might work well indeed.