The Gathering Storm: Chapter 35
Chapter Icon: Insect like Helmet
Rand enters Falme and meets Tuon. The meeting does not go well and Rand leaves, Tuon proclaims herself Empress and orders an attack on the White Tower.
Rand's Point of View:
Rand enters Falme, thinking of his previous visit when he received a wound from Ba'alzamon that will not heal. Min isn't with him and he believes that every time she looks at him, she sees him killing her. His Aiel guard contains many siswai'man, but he does not expect betrayal as they have given their word. He seizes saidin through the access key, feeling the nausea. He sees Tuon ahead and goes to meet her.
Tuon's Point of View:
Tuon is surprised that Rand is so young, wondering where he learned to be so regal if tales of him being raised on a farm were not just stories told so he could connect with the common folk. The sight of Nynaeve with him disturbs her and she thinks she could never be comfortable around a marath'damane, but Flinn and Narishma disturb her even more. She feels she is taking a risk meeting with him, even with all the guards and other protection she has. She considers how this meeting is the reason she has not proclaimed herself Empress, as once she does, she won't be able to meet with anyone, even the Dragon Reborn, on equal terms. Rand addresses her and realizes that Selucia is her bodyguard, which surprises her. He tells her that he must have peace and she wonders which of the prophecies he has yet to fulfill. He tells her that the Seanchan are a distraction for him and that peace need only last until he dies. She suggests he unite his lands beneath the Seanchan banner but he refuses, calling the a'dam "foul leashes." Tuon wonders how he can be bold enough to interrupt her, deciding that it is because he is the Dragon Reborn.
She realizes that she is losing control of the discussion so mentions Mat, disparaging him and is surprised at the vehemence with which both Rand and Nynaeve defend him, again causing her to reconsider just how much she really knew him. Rand leans in and tells her she must call off the attacks and sign a treaty. She finds herself longing to obey, but manages to refuse. She tells him he will bow before her, thinking that he cannot be allowed his freedom. He turns and leaves and she proclaims herself Empress, telling Galgan to instruct Yulan to prepare the raid on the White Tower.