Knife of Dreams: Chapter 23
From Tar Valon Library
Call to a Sitting
Chapter Icon: A Serpent twisted through a square
Point of View: Romanda
Setting: Salidar Aes Sedai Camp
Characters: Romanda, Nisao, Bodewhin, Sharina, Gareth Bryne, Siuan, Delana, Halima, Sheriam, Moria, Myrelle, Llyw, Faiselle, Janya, Kwamesa, Salita, Lyrelle, Saroiya, Aledrin, Samalin, Faiselle, Malind, Escaralde, Varilin, Merise Haindehl, Jahar, Aledrin, Malind, Nacelle, Lelaine
Romanda is alone in the tent she shares with Magla and Salita, reading The Flame, the Blade and the Heart. She is trying to take her mind off of the failing Keepings. Bodewhin is in her tent straightening things up, mostly Salita's things; Romanda is annoyed that Salita expects Romanda's maid, Aelmara, to pick up after her. Magla was the one who got Salita elected as a Sitter, over Romanda's choice, Dagdara.
Nisao comes into the tent, interrupting Romanda's thoughts; she asks to speak to Romanda alone. Romanda tells Bodewhin that she should leave or she'll be late for classes. Bodewhin leaves, saying that if she is late Sharina would be very upset. This annoys Romanda as Sharina is so much older than novices should be.
Nisao asks and gets acceptance to make their conversation private. Romanda asks if she has learned anything about the negotiations with Elaida. Nisao knows nothing of the negotiations - she wants Romanda to speak to Lelaine, who has demanded that Nisao stop investigating the deaths of Anaiya and Kairen as the murder of Blues is Blue Ajah business. Romanda questions why Nisao is investigating in the first place; Nisao tells her that Egwene asked her to and she will do it because she believes Egwene may be one of the greatest Amyrlins ever if they manage to get rid of Elaida. Romanda agrees to tell Lelaine that Nisao can investigate as she wishes.
Romanda asks what Nisao has learned of the murders, which is very little. She has learned, though, that Anaiya and Kairen were close friends with Cabriana Mecandes and together, they were called "the Three". Romanda thinks that there is something important to remember about Cabriana Mecandes, but tells Nisao to continue to investigate and report the findings to her in Egwene's absence. Nisao reluctantly agrees and leaves.
Theodrin comes in as soon as the ward is gone and informs Romanda that Lelaine has called for a sitting of the Hall. Romanda begins making her way to the Hall of the Tower. She sees Gareth Bryne and Siuan riding together and wonders at Siuan doing the chores of a maid for the man. She hears a gong sound, another of Sharina's suggestions, which signals the end of a set of novice classes. She sees Sharina talking to Tiana, the Mistress of Novices, and approaches them. Sharina quickly leaves and Romanda asks if Sharina is giving Tiana difficulties. Tiana denies that this is the case; she says most of her problems come from mothers and aunts who are upset that their younger daughters and nieces are learning faster.
Romanda notices Halima and Delana walking and talking together as Tiana tells her that Sharina is particularly skillful in Healing. This causes Romanda to trip as she is walking as she finds it hard to believe that older women would be able to master the new Healing better than her. She questions why Tiana would let novices practice those weaves. Tiana tells her that that is her decision to make as Mistress of Novices. Romanda mocks her and says that Tiana should go see whether Sharina has any further instructions for her, at which Tiana stalks away.
Romanda puts the problem of the older novices with talent for Healing out of her mind and enters the Hall of the Tower. The other Sitters are slowly coming in as well. Faiselle says she has convinced Myrelle to try and save Kairen's Warder, Llyw. Romanda asks Lelaine why she summoned the Hall but Lelaine refuses to say before enough Sitters are present to begin. Once the required number is reached, Lelaine begins the session, although she does not ask for a formal sitting. She does, however, ask that the proceedings be Sealed to the Hall. All but the Sitters depart and Aledrin makes the Hall private. Lelaine announces that a Green sister was brought to her asking for Egwene al'Vere and that she thought it best to put the woman's proposal before the Hall.
Moria brings in the Green sister and her two Warders ; Janya asks the woman if she has come to join the rebellion. She says that she has not and announces that she is Merise Haindehl and that she bears an offer from the Dragon Reborn. She asks one of her Warders, Jahar (who is also an Asha'man), to tell the Sitters what the offer is. He steps forward to speak and demands to speak with Egwene. Romanda tells him Egwene is not available but he may speak with them and they will speak with her as soon as possible.
Jahar suddenly snarls and announces that someone just channeled saidin - a man tried to listen in. Aledrin confirms that someone touched her ward, and whoever it was wasn't channeling saidar. When the Sitters discover that Jahar can channel, they bring in Nacelle, a Malkieri Green, to test a new weave she has worked out to detect the channeling of saidin. Her test is successful; the weave works and can detect when saidin is being channeled and at whom. Nacelle is dismissed and Romanda asks Jahar what Rand's proposal is.
The proposal is that any sister faithful to Egwene may bond a Soldier or a Dedicated as her Warder, up to a total of forty-seven; they cannot bond full Asha'man or Rand but any Soldier or Dedicated who is asked may not refuse. Romanda calls for an immediate vote. Faiselle expresses doubts over the taint on saidin but Jahar announces that it is clean. The Sitters questions Merise over whether his claim is true and she verifies that it is. Romanda again calls for a vote. Everyone but Saroiya and Faiselle vote yes to the proposal to bond and Rand's offer is accepted.
Janya asks why the number is forty-seven. Jahar explains it is because fifty-one of Elaida's Aes Sedai were bonded by Asha'man, that four Asha'man have already been bonded by Aes Sedai and so forty-seven will even the numbers. He tells them that one Asha'man who was bonded, Eben Hopwil, died defending his Aes Sedai. He tells the story of Daigian, Beldeine and Eben being linked at Shadar Logoth; Eben yelled "she's channeling saidin" and attacked a woman with his sword, giving Daigian enough time to drive the woman away. He tells the Sitters to remember Eben's name.
At Jahar's insistence that the woman channeled saidin at Shadar Logoth, and given the earlier attempt to listen into the Hall's session with saidin, something clicks in Romanda's head and she figures out that Delana and Halima are Darkfriends and must be arrested immediately. What she was trying to remember about Cabriana Mecandes earlier is that Hailma was supposedly Cabriana's traveling companion. She calls for their arrest but by the time she convinces the Hall that the two may be guilty, they have already Traveled away from the camp.