As written by the hand of Kheldar
10th Day of Jumara, 1000 NE (continued)
So there we stood, on the shores on the outer side. The captain had
made it clear that he would prefer not to moor at a harbour on the
island, seeing how the current situation was. Having received no further
updates on the status of Tar Valon, this actually accommodated us. It
did not take long for the Initiates to pick up their favourite pastime
once more, when we had departed. Suffice it to say that it took about
half an hour of discuing (neither 'discussing' nor 'arguing' would do
justice) before they finally got round to confisquating horses.
The tension in the hamlet was obvious, which we took as an indication
that affairs had yet to be set in order. Since the area did not resemble
a post-One Power apocalypse - the clue to that being that there still
stood buildings within visible range - it seemed that Egwene al'Vere,
Flame of Tar Valon, had not yet begun the confrontation. Given our
instructions to return to Tar Valon, they would probably have set up a
base camp in the vicinity. To hide a large encampment from the Aes Sedai
who currently held the Tower, a suitable location would have to be
found. The only place where a camp would not stick out as a sore thumb,
would be in the slopes of the Dragonmount.
This, at least, was how we reasoned. Therefore, we set out and made
quite some headway towards that mountain. After a while the grounds
acquired more slope, and a short while later we found ourselves amidst
the hills. I occasionally urged my mount to scale the ever-steeper
inclines for a vantage viewing point, but to little avail. If scaling a
hill and looking around was all it took to find the encampment, then
matters would have probably been settled one way or the other
Just as I was guiding my mount downwards once more, the Accepted left
the route and went straight into the hills. After catching up, they
explained that they had vaguely experienced emanations from the One True
Power. Well, it did beat any alternative I could come up with...
After about half an hour we came upon tracks. Tadra was confident in
her judgement: this path had been taken often and by various small
groups, recently. A promising sign. Naturally, our group followed the
the tracks. Suddenly, a group of four Warders emerged from the
surrounding woodlands and stopped us, demanding to know our
destination. Beh'larah explained, that we had ventured out here to meet
up with the Flame of Tar Valon, to which the response was: "which
It took some constrain not to exclaim "What? They both are here?" or
similar. They are able fighters, I will grant Warders that, but
at such occasions I wonder if the cost for their aptitude with the martial
arts might not have been their intelligence.
Beh'larah explained we had journeyed here to meet Egwene al'Vere.
This apparently satisfied the leading Warder, and we were guided to the
encampment - an apparent rag-tag assembly of tents, people and animals.
However, the astute observer noticed an underlying structure to this
chaotic-seeming mishmash. We were quickly conducted to the Amyrlin Seat,
where Beh'larah started relating the events of late.
The Amyrlin Seat seemed particularly interested in the staff we
acquired from Lord Gaebril's fledgling Sisterhood. She summoned Elayne
Sedai and Nyneave Sedai and asked them to investigate whether this staff
is an Oathrod - a ter'angreal that is used to bind persons to oaths,
instrumental in taking the Oaths that are necessary to become
full-fledged Aes Sedai.
This explained the focus of the Amyrlin Seat on the staff - if it is
truly an Oathrod, then this branch of the Tower could begin to fully
complete the education of Initiates and to allow them to face the trials
necessary to become full members of the Sisterhood. In short, it enabled
the continued existance for this branch of the Tower.
We were all granted the honour of dining with the Amyrlin Seat.
During dinner, an overjoyous Elayne ran in, and silently whispered in
the Mother's ear. The message seems quite clear, but still, when the
Amyrlin Seat acknowledged that we have brought a true Oathrod to our
camp, our Initiates seemed somewhat relieved and anxious at the same
time. The Amyrlin Seat continued to state that in light of our handling
of recent events, she offers the Initiated the possibility to face the
final (extreme) trials - if they feel they are ready. The Keeper seemed
inclined to protest, but a single hush from the Amyrlin Seat made her
keep her peace. After a short pause, all Initates agree to face the
For our parts in those dealings, Egwene announced that Tadra and
myself would be proclaimed Friends of the Amyrlin Seat. I was rather
overwhelmed by this honour. It is not even only a honorific title, it
also bestows upon the bearer the possibility to invoke the aid of
Warders and Sisters, as far as their capabilities allow.
Tadra and myself are also invited as honorary guards during the
trials. This gesture from the Amyrlin Seat means that I can be present
at this grand achievement of my close companions, and therefore this
gesture is at least as important to me as the promised title. The ritual
will take place at about an hour to midnight, in a tent on a nearby
hilltop. Luckily I was quickly able to lend some fine, white clothes,
brush my hair, et cetera. I felt I had done an excellent job given the
circumstances. After a quick polish of my blade and my knifes, I was set
Tadra, the Initiates and myself met up and ascended the hill. The
Initates were all garbed in the traditional white dress of Initiates.
It was hard to read their emotions, although it was easy to imagine
the turmoil inside: apprehension, elation, reservation, doubt, et cetera.
At the tent we encountered Sister Luanine, who was to assist the Amyrlin
Seat in this ceremony, and one Warder. Egwene gave a short introduction:
all three Initiates would take the test simultaneously. They might or
might not be able to assist each other. Egwene and Luanine would
together create a portal. As maintaining this portal would consume most
of both ladies energies, there were guards present.
Hmm, it seemed I had overestimated the symbolicness of my role at
these proceedings. Ah well, so be it, I had brought my weapons after
all. After this, the wielders of the One Power went into the tent, and
Tadra, the Warder and myself took up guard outside the tent. The time
seemed to creep by, and I was somewhat nervous, but nothing out of the
ordinary presented itself.
Then, suddenly, there was an uproar from the direction of the
encampment. I left my post to look down from a vantage point. It was
obvious, the camp was under attack! I bit my lip; as guard I could not
leave the Amyrlin Seat, nor my friends, but there seemed little I could
do here and much that I could have done down there. At first it seemed
our forces would be overrun within minutes, but that did not occur and
we seemed to hold our own pretty well.
As I turned around to inform Tadra and the Warder of this good news,
I heared a death-defying scream from inside. I rushed in and found the
Warder gone, and Luanine Sedai been murdered by two... I still cannot
find accurate words to describe these beings. They seemed less than
human, moving in an all but impossible manner for humans. They also
seemed to have a quality that Warders also have: it was difficult to
recall their looks, they seemed somehow cloaked.
Battle ensued. Tadra was not doing that bad, and since I had learned
quite a bit I felt somewhat confident myself. My mistake. My knife was
more a hinder than a help, so I dropped it after a frighteningly
powerful hit. I fought more cautious then, but still the thing managed
to score a serious hit. The blood was flowing freely from these two
wounds, and I was obviously outclassed in this match. I turned to a
complete defensive stance, which allowed me to evade another couple of
close calls. However, the beast was standing close to the Amyrlin Seat
and as now I was no longer pressuring him, he might attack her.
Luckily, Tadra finished off her opponent and stepped in to wreck
havoc upon mine. I sank to the floor, hardly conscious, and emptied my
wounded stomach. The effort sent pain spasms throughout my body, but I
felt somewhat relieved afterwards. Tadra managed to neutralise this
threat as well, and then told me to guard the tent while she went
looking for more trouble outside. I pushed myself up against the central
pole of the tent, and tightened the grip on my rapier. Should anything
occur, I would at least be ready. Somewhat.
At that moment, the Initiates seemed to fall from the gateway. This
was the first time I realised that the Amyrlin Seat was maintaining the
Gateway all by herself, and became aware of her strained breathing. At
the moment the Initates were expulsed from the gateway, she began to
sink to the floor. One breath later, the gateway whisked out of
To summarize the following: The Initiates attended the Amyrlin Seat
and also saw to my wounds. By the time we left the tent, we could see
that the battle had been all but won by our forces.
11th Day of Jumara, 1000 NE
Today is a special day. The feast to celebrate the new Sisters was
splendid, and after last night's fight I felt there was now some basis
for the medal bestowed upon me and Tadra, proclaiming us Friends of the
Amyrlin Seat. During the festivities I already noted many glances in
various directions, and many a private conversation. The installation of
new Aes Sedai and proclaiming Tadra and myself as Friends most certainly
will upset the delicate political balance that was present. Given our
recent adventures and the events of today, I can only look with
apprehension towards the future. Interesting times are upon us, that
much is for sure.
Kheldar, Friend to the Flame of Tar Valon