The Gathering Storm: Chapter 41
Author Gedhan Audhax
Chapter Icon: A Bull
Siuan, Gawyn, Bryne and company manage to enter Tar Valon, fight Seanchan and eventually find Egwene who is too drowsy to confront Siuan who opens a gateway using the Vora's sa'angreal. Saerin who is formally in charge of the Tower's defense is amazed by Egwene's abilities and the way she lead the novices. Elaida wakes up with a collar around her neck and being carried away by the Seanchan.
Gawyn's Point of View:
Setting: The city of Tar Valon
Approaching the walls of Tar Valon in a series of boats with a picked company of Bryne’s men, Siuan locates the tunnel that Shemerin described to her. The party enters the city and Bryne’s men secure the local area and then produce some mysterious packages that they had brought along. The packages turn out to be a number of white tabards similar to those worn by the Tower Guard. Siuan is not pleased at this and argues with Bryne over the morality of using Tower Guard uniforms. Bryne points out that they are now her enemy and Siuan reluctantly leads the party forward, looking to the entire world like an Aes Sedai and Warders leading the Tower’s soldiers to its defense. They arrive at the Tower itself without incident and are confronted by a nightmare battle complete with flying beasts and both sides wielding the power.
Saerin's Point of View:
Setting: The forward gathering room, The White Tower
Saerin is trying to make some order out of the chaos of battle; she orders Moradri, a Green Sister to mark out the locations of various groups of defenders on a Tower map. Captain Chubain arrives and is directed by Saerin to get himself Healed and to assist Moradri at the map. As this is happening Katerine arrives in company with two other Red Sisters and promptly attempts to take command by virtue of having the worst temper there. Saerin refuses to be intimidated and insists on her rights as Sitter. Saerin then explains the situation to Katerine, during this explanation several huge explosions from outside distract the company. A soldier reports that the blasts are not directed at the Tower, but are being directed at the attackers. Captain Chubain passes on a report to Saerin that there is a second rallying point on the upper levels. The new group is reported on the 22nd floor which at first seems to be the Brown Ajah quarters, but after a second she realise that it’s now the novice quarters and so it must be Egwene leading that fight.
Egwene's Point of View:
Egwene is fighting against the Seanchan killing the to'raken and their masters, each almost seeming to be the sul'dam that had enslaved her. Even with this, Egwene’s rage is controlled and cold. The novices are smashing the various Seanchan incursions at the stairwells and are holding up well in combat. Although she is still suffering the effects of forkroot tea, Egwene is fighting with the help of a very powerful sa'angreal and a circle of novices; with this power available and the skill in battle learned as a Seanchan slave, she is almost death personified.
Gareth Bryne's Point of View:
Setting: The Environs of the White Tower
Bryne is nearly flattened by a falling to'raken, killed by fire from one of the Tower defenders; it is Gawyn’s timely warning that saves him. Bryne’s company is engaged with a smaller Seanchan troop, but the fight is not as easy as the numerical advantage would suggest. As the fighting abates, Bryne finds Siuan missing, although he is reassured of her well being by the warder bond.
Siuan re-appears with a novice in tow. Hashala, the novice tells of how Egwene was released from the cells earlier in the day and is now probably in the novice’s quarters, on the 22nd floor, where the Brown Ajah quarters used to be. She also sees that this is a rescue attempt and asks to go along as she and almost all of the novices are loyal to Egwene. The decision to take her along is a relief to Bryne, who would have rather not left her tied up in the middle of this battle.
When Bryne gets the casualty report from this action he is distracted for a moment by the destruction wrought upon the once majestic structure of the White Tower. The losses are not too serious although he is again saddened by three men who will not survive to receive healing. Siuan picks up this through the bond and Heals the dying men. As the Healing is in progress a Seanchan Bloodknife attacks and is killed by Bryne thanks to his bond enhanced awareness and reactions. The Seanchan pushes Bryne's sword arm away and dies. Siuan is reminded of Min’s viewing about her being in danger if Bryne is not with her. Remembering the viewing properly Siuan delves Bryne and discovers a poisoned needle that the Bloodknife had stabbed him with when he pushed Bryne away. Siuan Heals Bryne and tells him of Min’s viewing.
Egwene's Point of View:
The battle done, Egwene is exhausted. She has sent her circle of novices to bed as they are all as tired as she is. From where she is seated she is able to see the grounds through a rent in the tower and she is pleased to see that the fires in the grounds are being brought under control. Egwene remembers with some pride her actions during the battle, but regrets that some of the Seanchan got away with captured initiates.
While she is trying to focus on putting the Tower back to rights Egwene thinks she sees Gawyn and hears his voice, a very nice dream. Then Gareth Bryne’s followed by Siuan’s voice are added to the conversation, they are upset that she had been left alone in the hallways. Egwene sleepily revels in the pride that she had destroyed the Seanchan attack and is confident that they will not be eager to face her again.
Siuan finds the rod and is pleased that she will be able to travel back to their encampment without chancing the Tower corridors now that the confusion is lessening. Egwene is determined to stay and realises that she is now in a position to unite the Tower under her leadership, but she is just too drowsy to be able to do anything to interfere with Siuan’s plans.
Saerin Asnobar's Point of View:
Setting: The forward gathering room, The White Tower
Saerin is taking stock of the situation after the battle has finished. The Forward Gathering room is now being used as a casualty collection point and Sisters are Healing the wounded. Sitting in the corner of the room, Saerin reads a report on Egwene's activities and marvels at just how effectively she had led the fight. Damane captured, Sisters gathered in and a remarkably low casualty rate and all centered around a girl who was supposed to be “simply a novice”.
Captain Chubain comes over to Saerin with a distraught Accepted in tow. Saerin commands Mair, the Accepted to report and she tells of an attack on Elaida’s quarters, of how a wall was blasted in covering her and Elaida being carried off.
Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan's Point of View:
Setting: The back of a raken, heading for Ebou Dar]
Characters: Elaida, Un-named sul'dam
Elaida wakens on an oddly undulating bed and there is a terrible draft; servants will be made to pay for this lapse. Coming to her senses Elaida realises that she isn’t in a bed, she’s restrained and looking down at the ground passing by a few hundred feet below. She reaches for the source and feels immense pain as if she was being beaten.
There is a collar at Elaida’s throat and she can sense another woman by her side. The sul’dam gives Elaida the damane name of Suffa and when she reacts to this the pain returns this time even more severely. Elaida is still screaming as we leave her heading south into the night.