White Tower Embassy to the Dragon Reborn
Author: Atarah al'Norahn For a full list of the Aes Sedai sent and what became of them, see List of White Tower Aes Sedai at Dumai's Wells.
Knowing what the signs and prophecies tell, Elaida sends a letter to Rand in Cairhien, offering him the protection and support of the White Tower, as well as an escort of Aes Sedai to bring him from Cairhien to Tar Valon. She writes: “There can be no denial that you are the one prophesied, yet many will try to destroy you for what else you are. For the sake of the world, this can not be allowed. Two nations have bent knee to you, and the savage Aiel as well, but the power of thrones is as dust beside the One Power. The White Tower will shelter and protect you against those who refuse to see what must be. The White Tower will see that you live to see Tarmon Gai'don. None else can do this. An escort of Aes Sedai will come to bring you to Tar Valon with the honor and respect you deserve. This I pledge to you.” (TFoH, Ch. 51).
Although Elaida writes of having Rand escorted with “honor and respect,” she means to have him brought to her regardless of his wishes. This is apparent from the fact that she sends thirty-nine Aes Sedai, and more than five hundred men, to accomplish the task. Ten of the Aes Sedai are Green, twelve are White, one is Brown and fifteen are Red (LoC, Ch. 53). Even seeing only two of the Reds, and not knowing how many there really are, Egwene thinks that Elaida is either ignorant or stupid to have sent any at all (LoC, Ch. 25).
Not all of the thirty-nine Aes Sedai arrive in Cairhien together. The official embassy that calls on Rand is comprised of only six sisters: Coiren Saeldain, Erian Boroleos, Galina Casban, Katerine Alruddin, Nesune Bihara and Sarene Nemdahl. Although Elaida would have liked to appoint Galina as the leader of the embassy, putting a Red in charge would make Rand too suspicious; Coiren, therefore, is the official head of the embassy (LoC, Prologue; LoC, Ch. 25). The official embassy is escorted by Gawyn Trakand and his Younglings. More sisters follow a day behind (LoC, Prologue).
On the way to Cairhien, the embassy meets with three Shaido Wise Ones, Sevanna, Therava and Desaine. They make an agreement; the Shaido will act as an escort back to the White Tower, and in return, Sevanna will get to see Rand, and have him see her, when he is defeated (LoC, Prologue).
About two months after Rand receives Elaida’s letter, the six Aes Sedai of the official embassy arrive in Cairhien (LoC, Ch. 24). They stay with Arilyn Dhulaine, thought to be an agent of the Gray Ajah. The five hundred men they brought with them camp less than half a day north of the city (LoC, Ch. 25).
When she learns that Rand is currently not in Cairhien, and that he often appears and disappears from the city, Coiren is vexed. The embassy decides to remain in Cairhien rather than journeying to Caemlyn, since they might end up arriving in Caemlyn only to learn that Rand has left for Cairhien. They are fairly certain that he will, in time, return. While they wait, members of the embassy meet with various nobles who are sworn to Rand to tell them that Rand will be escorted to the White Tower, and to assure them that he will no longer stand in the way of their gaining power. Katerine meets with Colavaere, Nesune with Meilan, and Sarene with Aracome. The Aes Sedai also take turns channelling within the house they are staying in; the constant channelling will make it less likely that they will attract attention in the occasion that they must take Rand by force and shield him within the house (LoC, Ch. 25).
While they wait for Rand to return, the additional Aes Sedai sent by Elaida begin to arrive. Beldeine Nyram arrives and rents a room by the river, and Mayam is due to arrive two days after her (LoC, Ch. 25).
When Rand finally returns to Cairhien, he grants an audience to the embassy, although he will only allow three of them to come to the Palace to see him. Coiren, Nesune and Galina are the three who choose to go. They arrive earlier than expected; Rand, who was visiting with Egwene before their arrival at the Palace, thinks that they mean to catch him off guard, and hides Egwene with weaves of saidin so that the Aes Sedai cannot know she is there (LoC, Ch. 27).
Although Coiren was originally of the opinion that Rand would choose to go to the White Tower willingly (LoC, Prologue), it quickly becomes apparent that it will not be so. Despite the fact that they bring him gifts from Elaida, two chests filled with gold coins, rings, necklaces and gems, he puts them off by telling them that he looks forward to the day he stands in the Tower, but that he has commitments to meet in Cairhien and Andor, as well as elsewhere. Coiren tells him that the embassy is willing to wait for him, and offers him one of the members as an Aes Sedai advisor. Rand turns down her offer, claiming that it would not be safe; he doesn’t want one of the Aes Sedai to take a spear in the ribs by accident. To this, he adds that for their protection, they must not come within a mile of either him or the Sun Palace without his permission. He then sends them away, telling him that he will send word when he can see and speak to them again (LoC, Ch. 27).
Soon after this, Rand Travels back to Caemlyn and stays there for some time (LoC, Ch. 28). However, when he learns that there are now thirteen Salidar Aes Sedai in the city, he returns again to Cairhien (LoC, Ch. 49).
When Rand finally returns to Cairhien once again, worked up about the fact that there are now thirteen Aes Sedai in Caemlyn, Coiren hears of his return and of his sate. She sends him a note to inquire after his health and to ask if she and two sisters can see him, perhaps to offer Healing. His reply is a polite thank you for her good wishes for his health, and a polite refusal of her offer of Healing and her request for an audience. The reason for his refusal of an audience is because he means both the Tower Aes Sedai and the Salidar Aes Sedai to be on an equal footing with one another, and he is waiting for the Salidar Aes Sedai to reach Cairhien (LoC, Ch. 50).
Coiren, however, is persistent in her wishes for an audience. Three days later, she sends another request, and three days later yet another. On the tenth day of his arrival back in Cairhien, she sends another. All of them are politely worded and courteous. Rand finally decides to let Coiren and two sisters see him, since the Salidar Aes Sedai have had three audiences with him, while the Tower Aes Sedai have only had one. He tells Coiren that she may come the next day (LoC, Ch. 50).
Coiren, Galina and Katerine are the three sisters who “officially” go to see Rand. However, they also bring twelve other sisters with them, disguised as serving women carrying more chests. Five of them are women who have not yet gained the ageless face of an Aes Sedai; seeing these five faces, while the others are hidden, Rand does not suspect who they are. Impatient with waiting, and knowing that Rand means to continue putting them off, the Aes Sedai shield him. Galina now takes charge, as the Red Ajah is supposed to be in charge once Rand is in their possession. Binding him, they load him into one of the chests and take him from the Sun Palace (LoC, Ch. 51). They also capture Min, knowing that she will give them good leverage against Rand (LoC, Ch. 53).
Back in their house, the Aes Sedai keep Rand hidden in the basement, on a bed within a cage. Six Aes Sedai stay with him to keep him shielded. The channelling that this requires is not noticed because there has been channelling going on non-stop since the Aes Sedai arrived in Cairhien (LoC, Ch. 51).
With Rand now in their possession, the Aes Sedai leave for Tar Valon. Although Galina would have liked to have taken all the Red sisters and gentled him, she is not allowed to; with this option not open, she thinks to herself that she would have delivered him to the Tower unharmed, so long as he was reasonably polite; as he keeps trying to escape, they keep him bound. Along the way, Rand discovers that Min has also been captured; according to Galina, he goes “mad,” trying to break the shield; in the process, he kills two Warders, both of them Erian’s. She finds release in beating him (LoC, Ch. 53).
One night when they are stopped, Sevanna and some of her Shaido come to see Rand. Sevanna tells the Aes Sedai that they have kept their part of the bargain, and that she has kept hers. Galina tells Gawyn that the Shaido have agreed to provide escort. Apparantly there is a second part of her bargain with them, which is to get rid of Gawyn and the Younglings. Sevanna and the others, however, plan to betray the Aes Sedai; Sevanna wants Rand to herself, so that she can marry him (LoC, Ch. 53).
The Tower Aes Sedai continue to make progress towards Tar Valon. Rand tries to trick the Aes Sedai into thinking that he has been beaten in submission so that they will lessen their guard on him, thus allowing him to find a way to escape. Galina intends to have him beaten into submission to the point that he will kiss Elaida’s ring, speak only when he is spoken to and kneel in the corner when he is not wanted (LoC, Ch. 53).
Rand is treated as little more than an animal. He is often put in a box for the duration of the day. Every night he is beaten, and then fed and doused with a bucket of water before they tie him up to sleep. He is also beaten during the day; Galina, Erian and Katerine are the ones who beat him the most often, although Erian refuses to beat him after the second day (LoC, Ch. 53; LoC, Ch. 55).
The Aes Sedai reach a place called Dumai's Wells. There, a huge battle rages as Rand’s forces, led by Perrin and the Wise Ones, catch up and try to free him. The battle consists of forty thousand Shaido, with two or three hundred Wise Ones who can channel, against six thousand Aiel under Rhuarc, two hundred Cairhienin under Dobraine, two hundred Mayeners under Havien Nurelle, one hundred men from the Two Rivers, almost a hundred channelling Wise Ones, nine Aes Sedai let by Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Harkin, and many Asha’man, led by Mazrim Taim (LoC, Ch. 55; ACoS, Ch. 2).
During the battle, four of the Aes Sedai who are shielding Rand tie off their weaves so as to help. Rand manages to get past the other two, though a third returns when she realizes what he is doing. Nevertheless, Rand manages to break the shield, stilling the three Aes Sedai (Irgain Fatamed, Ronaille Vevanios and Sashalle Anderly) in the process. He finds Min, and then goes on to shield and knock unconscious all of the Tower Aes Sedai he can find, including Erian, Katerine, Sarene and Coiren (LoC, Ch. 55; TPoD, Prologue; WH, Ch. 13).
Twenty-three of the thirty-nine Aes Sedai are captured by the time the battle is over. They include Nesune Bihara, Erian Boroleos, Katerine Alruddin, Coiren Saeldain, Sarene Nemdahl, Elza Penfell, Janine Pavlara, Beldeine Nyram, Marith Riven (ACoS, Ch. 1), Turanna Norill (TPoD, Prologue), Chisaine Nurbaya, Innina Darenhold, Irgain Fatamed, Ronaille Vevanios, Sashalle Anderly, Vayelle Kamsa (WH, Ch. 13) and Fera (CoT, Ch. 24).
Twelve Aes Sedai manage to escape being captured. They include Covarla Baldene (ACoS, Ch. 32), Galina Casban (LoC, Ch. 55) and Lusonia Cole (CoT, Prologue). Katerine Alruddin, who was captured, eventually manages to escape as well (TPoD, Prologue).
Four of the Aes Sedai are killed. Among them are Amira Moselle (Encyclopaedia-wot.org) and Laigin Arnault (TPoD, Ch. 13).
The twenty-three that are captured are given to the Aiel. They are made da’tsang, with the exception of the three who were stilled, Irgain, Ronaille and Sashalle (TPoD, Prologue). Eventually, likely due to Rand’s ta'veren influence, every single one of them swears fealty to him. Beldeine, Elza, Erian, Nesune and Sarene are the first. Beldeine, Elza and Erian swear fealty because they know he has to be at the Last Battle, Nesune swears because she wants to study Rand, and Sarene swears because it is the most logical thing to do (TPoD, Ch. 29). Chisaine Nurbaya, Innina Darenhold, Janine Pavlara and Vayelle Kamsa, all of them Red Ajah, are the last ones to swear fealty (WH, Ch. 13). Irgain Famated, Ronaille Vevanios and Sashalle Anderly, after being Healed, also swear fealty (WH, Ch. 25).
When Elaida learns what has happened, she wants to launch a rescue of the captured Aes Sedai from the Aiel Wise Ones. However, Covarla reports that several hundred male channelers were also present during the battle. This means that there are many more Asha’man than Elaida originally thought, meaning that the sisters she sent to the Black Tower are also doomed (see the section on The Black Tower for more details). Alviarin uses this to threaten Elaida, telling her that the Hall will want to blame someone higher than Covarla. She advises that Elaida abandon the prisoners, as any attempt at rescuing them will only mean that the Hall will discover the failure. Elaida takes her advice (ACoS, Ch. 32).
For quite some time, no word reaches the White Tower from Coiren and her embassy, with the exception of Elaida and a few others (CoT, Prologue). When rumors of sisters obeying Rand do reach the Tower, most sisters blame them on Coiren. Elaida claims that, in the minds of most sisters, Coiren has already been as good as tried and convicted (CoT, Ch. 21).
In order to keep Elaida from undoing the chaos she has caused, Alviarin has the Black Ajah spread the news about the embassy. She has heard sisters who are not Black discussing what happened at Dumai’s Wells in detail, and although this is no longer enough to bring Elaida down what with the rebels laying siege to the Tower, it is enough to make sure that discord and chaos remain within the Tower (CoT, Prologue).