Crossroads of Twilight: Chapter 21
From Tar Valon Library
Point of View: Alviarin
Setting: The White Tower
Alviarin has just returned to the White Tower by gateway and is in a storeroom beneath the Tower Library where people rarely go. She has been gone for a month. She is thinking about Mesaana, and how the Forsaken "hinted at wonders then withheld them", and how Mesaana uses her like an errand girl; Alviarin is very put out. However, Alviarin has great hopes of one day wielding power through Mesaana, and so puts up with it.
Alviarin makes her way up into the Tower Library, and on her way out runs into a Brown Aes Sedai named Zemaille, who wants to know what she is doing there. Zemaille also makes a remark about how "it's a sad time for us all and sadder still for you". Alviarin thinks about questioning and disposing of Zemaille, but notices another Brown nearby.
Alviarin makes it out of the library and hurries towards the White Tower, on her way to see Elaida to get some questions answered. Elaida is in her apartments with several of the Sitters, and Alviarin is displeased that Elaida would hold a meeting without her present. Elaida tells Alviarin to stand in one corner until she has time to deal with her, and Alviarin is shocked that Elaida would speak to her in such a way. Elaida then goes back to speaking with the Sitters, who wish to enter into negotiations with the rebels. Elaida finally tells them that they may enter into negotiations, but her edict still stands: "The Blue Ajah no longer exists, and every sister who follows that child Egwene al'Vere must serve penance under my guidance before she can be readmitted to any Ajah." Meanwhile, Alviarin is very worried. She is afraid that Elaida knows that she is Black Ajah, and that is why she dares to act in such a way.
The Sitters leave, and Alviarin begins to speak to Elaida, telling Elaida that she needs Alviarin in order to hold on to the staff and stole. Elaida replies that she is surprised that Alviarin returned. She tells Alviarin that her threats won't work, because the things that Alviarin has been blackmailing her with are no longer effective: the folly with Rand is blamed on Coiren, and if news gets out about Elaida's mistake with the Black Tower, Toveine will be blamed. Elaida then slaps Alviarin and tells her that she can't wait for Alviarin to be tried for treason, though Elaida still needs to gather evidence. Since Alviarin wasn't around when the rebels appeared, Elaida has asked the Hall to remove her as Keeper, and the Hall complied.
Alviarin leaves Elaida's rooms in a panic, certain that Elaida knows that she is of the Black Ajah. When she gets to her own rooms, she pulls out a ter'angreal in the shape of a small, red rod; it can be used to call Mesaana, but only in times of great emergency.
Mesaana appears, and asks Alviarin what is wrong, saying that she will not help her get the Keeper's stole back. Alviarin tells her, "Elaida knows. She knows I am Black Ajah, Great Mistress". Mesaana replies that Alviarin is being ridiculous, because "Elaida cannot decide from one day to the next whether she even believes the Black Ajah exists. You are just trying to save yourself a little pain. Perhaps a little more will instruct you in your error." Mesaana moves to punish Alviarin, but suddenly, the shadows in the room lurch. Mesaana's illusion drops, and her face looks familiar, though Alviarin cannot remember where she has seen her.
There is now a Myrddraal in the room, though he is a head taller than any other Myrddraal Alviarin has ever seen. Alviarin reaches for the Source, and nearly screams when she realizes that it is gone; she is not shielded, the Source is simply gone.
The Myrddraal tells Mesaana that Alviarin can still be useful, and then tells Mesaana that she had been summoned but did not come. He binds Mesaana and gags her, and asks Alviarin if she wishes to watch Mesaana being punished. Alviarin realizes that the Myrddraal is really the Dark One and replies, terrified, that she does not wish to watch. The Great Lord marks Alviarin as his, saying that now Mesaana will not harm her unless he gives Mesaana orders to.
Alviarin flees the room, and nearly goes flying down a stairway before stopping just in the nick of time. She is absolutely petrified because the Great Lord has marked her.