The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 23

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Author: Val a'Shain

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"The Fifth, I Give You"

Chapter Icon: A Dragon

Point of View: Egwene

Setting: Near Selean, Cairhien

Characters: Egwene, Moiraine, Rand, Aviendha, Sorilea


After four days of travel through the Jangai Pass the Aiel clans following Rand reach Cairhien. The dry land is still a moist paradise for the Aiel, many of whom stop to gape at the streams crossing the land. Moiraine is busy fussing over Kadere and his wagons. Egwene still doesn't understand what is so important about them but Moiraine won't tell her. She can make out a couple of Maidens carrying dolls among the group guarding Rand. She tried to find out what that means but beyond a reminder the Maidens are not children nobody wants to tell her. Every time she thinks she understands Aiel ways something shows up to show she doesn't.

Couladin left a grim reminder of his passage through the Pass behind. He razed the town of Selean to the ground, impaling many of the inhabitants. They found no survivors. Rand is surrounded by a group of clan chiefs and Wise Ones. He makes it clear that he means to save Cairhien, not ruin it. The Aiel can take the customary fifth, as long as it is not food, but no more than that. Rand will have anybody who takes more hanged. The clan chiefs don't understand why he takes pity on the treekillers but it looks like they will obey. Egwene approves of the order if only Rand wasn't so arrogant about it.

Egwene offers Aviendha to ride with her for a bit. She wants to talk. Aviendha refuses to ride though so Egwene dismounts. Aviendha is still very upset with Rand. She is finally at the point where she asks Egwene to talk to the Wise Ones about not having to share his tent any more. Sorilea, the most strong willed Wise One Egwene has met so far, overhears them. She sends the other Wise Ones off so she can have a talk with Egwene and Aviendha.

Sorilea makes it very clear that Aviendha will obey the Wise Ones. Nobody will talk Aviendha out of doing her duty. She is disappointed to hear Rand didn't take an interest in Aviendha after all. She tells Aviendha she knows a suitable husband for her though. Aviendha meekly promises to look at him. Then Sorilea turns to Egwene and asks if Rand will hang even a clan chief if they break the rules he set. Egwene isn't sure but she thinks he might. She adds he can be made to see reason. Sorilea says she thinks he needs to be hard with them if he wants to lead them. She approves of the way he handled it. With that she leaves.

After the Wise One is out of earshot Egwene offers to talk to the Wise Ones anyway but Aviendha says ji'e'toh requires she obeys. She says Egwene doesn't understand and she can't explain. Aviendha will not touch the subject any more.

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