Winter's Heart: Chapter 4
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Leora Oldessroth
Chapter Icon: Spear and Shield
Point of View: Faile
Setting: The Shaido camp
Three women enter the tent; two are obviously Wise Ones, Therava and Someryn. One is a gai'shain but her robes are made of silk and she is wearing a belt and collar made of gold and firedrops. The women stop in front of Faile and, with a curt gesture, dismiss their captors. Rolan hesitates for a moment and then leaves. Someryn says there are more gai’shain for Sevanna and she tells Therava that Sevanna will not be satisfied until the whole world is gai’shain. Therava says Sevanna has too many gai’shain already. Faile thinks to herself that Therava is a dangerous woman and that she must act meek.
Alliandre rises to her feet and announces herself and her rank. She says that she and her liege lady should be treated well as the Aiel can demand a large ransom for their return. Sevanna rides up and asks Galina, the gai’shain in silk, if it is true that Alliandre is a wetlander queen. She also asks what a liege lady is. Galina explains that the liege lady would have to be a very powerful woman to have a queen swear fealty. She says this woman looks like Alliandre but she has no idea why she’s here and not in Ghealdan. Therava silences Galina before she can ramble on. Faile notices that both Someryn and Therava dislike Sevanna; she thinks to herself that she has a personal claim on Sevanna for almost killing Perrin at Dumai's Wells.
Sevanna asks which of the women is the liege lady and which the liege lady’s maid. Faile and Maighdin identify themselves. Sevanna studies them and finally orders Galina to heal them all so that they can walk—she doesn’t see why they should get to ride on the carts. Therava shoves Galina towards them telling her to do it quickly. Sevanna announces that tonight she and the Wise Ones will camp with the Jonine. Therava says that means a fifth sept has arrived while seventy eight remain scattered. She advises Sevanna to remember her pledge to reunite the Shaido because they will not wait forever. Sevanna tells Therava to remember that she is her advisor; Sevanna is the one who speaks for the clan chief! The Aiel women leave.
Galina heals Faile and wastes no time doing the same to the others. Faile thinks furiously; why would an Aes Sedai be in the Aiel camp and in gai’shain robes and ready to lick Sevanna’s boots? Gai’shain bring in dried meat, cheese and bread for the captives to eat. The food isn’t very good but Faile eats it quickly and thinks it tastes like a feast for she is hungry. She is giving a gai’shain robe and bootes. When an Amadician woman comes forward to put a golden belt on her Faile tells her she doesn’t want it. The Amadician replies it does not matter; she serves Sevanna now and she must do as she is told. Maighdin and Alliandre are trying to fend off the collars and belts as well; Faile sighs and accepts the adornments meekly, prompting Maighdin and Alliandre to do the same. The captives are soon tramping through the snow with the rest of the Aiel. Faile loses sight of Bain and Chiad. Maighdin announces firmly that they will have to find the Maidens tonight and that they are tiring themselves out trying to keep up with the Aiel’s pace. Faile and Alliandre are surprised at the maid’s decisiveness but Faile cannot fault her spirit. Faile agrees that tonight is the night to escape. She tells the two that if they see a chance to escape while they are traveling to take it. Both women say they will stay with her until she escapes or they will not leave at all.
Therava walks up to them and says she knows they are thinking of escaping. Faile attempts to appear meek but Therava is not fooled. Therava says that they will serve as gai’shain the rest of their lives unless they help her. Faile asks how they can do that. Therava wants them to spy on Sevanna and report back to her. Faile does not want to do it but she thinks if she does not agree then Therava will kill them all. She asks Therava if she will protect them if Sevanna finds out what they’re doing. Therava says she will not; she will cook them herself if Sevanna finds out! Therava leaves. Maighdin tells them that Therava likely gives that speech to every gai’shain who serves Sevanna; if they miss any detail, Therava will know and not be pleased. Maighdin reminds them all that they must think of themselves as servants every moment or they will perish. Faile agrees; until they escape they are all servants.
During the travel to the new camp, Faile wonders why an Aes Sedai is with the Aiel. Galina comes to see them again. She asks Faile if she knows what she is, and Faile says she is Aes Sedai but it’s odd to see her in a servant’s position here. Galina responds coolly that her work is very important. Faile demands to know whether Galina will help them escape or what she wants with them. Galina asks Alliandre if Faile is really her liege lady and who she is to have a queen swear to her. Faile says Galina can ask her and announces she is the Lady Faile t’Aybara and that is all Galina needs to know. Galina makes the connection to Perrin and Rand but she promises Faile she won’t tell if Faile obeys her. Faile is angry with herself for giving away her connections but asks Galina what she wants. Galina tells them to fetch a smooth white rod from Therava’s tent and bring it to her. Faile tells her it may take time and Galina says she has her whole life if necessary. As Galina leaves, Faile thinks to herself that she will find a way out of this trap!