Winter's Heart: Chapter 26
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Point of View: Elayne
Setting: The Royal Palace in Caemlyn
Elayne and Egwene are in the Tel'aran'rhiod version of Emond's Field, surprised and saddened at the changes they see. Emond's Field is no longer a small village, but a considerable and prosperous town. For an instant, Elayne sees the Red Eagle of Manetheren atop one of the flagpoles, and thinks to herself that she must do something about it. Elayne suggests that Egwene take a few hours to visit Emond's Field in the waking world, but Egwene replies that she is not ready to confront Emond's Field as Amyrlin. Egwene mentions that she is troubled by Rand chaining Aes Sedai to him.
When Elayne leaves Tel'aran'rhiod, it is already morning in the waking world. She awakens Aviendha and is dressed by her maid, Essande, before they eat breakfast. Elayne thinks about her pregnancy.
Captain Mellar tells Elayne that Halwin Norry is waiting for her. Elayne acts very friendly to Mellar, whispering to Aviendha that the more people who believe that her child is his, the better.
Halwin Norry enters Elayne's apartments. He tells her that the city's two most prominent bankers are amenable to loaning her money because of the alum that was found on one of her estates. He goes on to talk about the sewers, the price of grain, the Borderlander army in New Braem, and rumors of Aes Sedai swearing fealty to Rand in Cairhien. When Halwin Norry leaves, Reene Harfor arrives. She tells Elayne that more spies have been found in the palace. After Reene come two delegations of merchants.
Afterwards, Aviendha makes Elayne go for a walk outside. They see Reanne opening a gateway to check if Merilille is ready to return from her meeting with the Borderlands rulers, and Merilille rides through the gateway. Elayne and Aviendha hurry down to Elayne's sitting room, where they find Merilille, Birgitte and Captain Mellar waiting for them.
Merilille tells Elayne that she has spoken to all of the rulers, and observed the camps. There are over two hundred thousand soldiers and, while they are not starving, they don't have a lot of food. There are also ten Aes Sedai with the army, although they try to stay hidden. The rulers want to meet Elayne because they know she has a connection to Rand. Elayne announces that she will meet with them immediately.