Chapter Eight

Shadar Aman was leaning against a wall in one of the corridors thinking. It wasn't his favorite thing in the world; he preferred to do things instead of thinking about it but he wasn't sure what exactly he should do. Now that he was officially one of the Chosen, he no longer had academic lessons…not with his tutors anyway, sometimes father discussed things with him but that was different.

Anyway, he was distracted by the sound of raised voices. One he recognized immediately as his fathers' the other one he had difficulty placing. The voices were getting louder; obviously the people were coming closer, Shaidar Aman could not yet understand what they were saying but it seemed they were having some sort of argument. Then he identified the second voice, it belonged to Lanfear, at that point he decided that he would walk…in the opposite direction. He did not know what was going on but he could tell that he did not want to get involved. It wasn't because he was afraid of Lanfear or anything, certainly not…even though he still had not figured out why he had been so tongue-tied when they had met.

As he walked he continued thinking. Father had told him that it was very important to make sure the nations of the world could not and/or would not unite to face the shadow particularly now that the shadow was already preparing for the Last Battle. The Seanchan Empire was whole and fairly united but that was part of the plan; the idea was to let the Seanchan attack from the South and then while the people were busy fighting there, the shadow would invade from the north, when the Great Lord decided that the time was right, of course, and crush both. It was a basic divide and conquer strategy but who cared as long as it was effective? The Aiel spent most of their time fighting each other, so that was no concern. Shara had few trained warriors of any kind and thus was unlikely to pose much of a challenge so that only left the lands between the sea and the Spine of the World which Rand suspected would also be where the Shadow struck first, but it went without saying that the decision would be left to the Great Lord.

There were a lot of nations within that area and they fought a lot but they had shown that they could unite when threatened severely enough, something would have to been done about that. One of the few sources of authority which provided some semblance of unity was the White Tower and those so-called Aes Sedai. They were barely half-trained children but there were a lot of them, at least when compared to only fourteen Chosen. He didn't even bother thinking about the Black Ajah, they were no better than their non-black sisters. There was also the Children of the Light but they were oftentimes more divisive than unifying despite their leaders' (some of them anyway) best efforts. No, the White Tower was the group that needed to be dealt with, the only question was how?

Suddenly, it came to him, Logain. If the Tower failed to hold a false dragon after he had been captured, the nations would lose faith in the Tower. Although such a thing would not be enough to discredit the Tower completely it would be a major blow to them. Shadar Aman believed that it would most likely take multiple events to disgrace the White Tower so much that it became completely incapable of doing anything but it would be a good start. Plus, once freed Logain would likely start gathering followers and spreading violence again, not a bad thing for the Shadow, either. The only question was, whether or not Logain was strong enough to make it worth the effort to free him. Well, there was only one way to find out.

Quickly Shadar Aman spun a gateway to the outskirts of Caemlyn. The city was far more crowded that Baerlon had been. Not only was Caemlyn considerably larger than Baerlon, but there were also tons of people who had traveled to the city to see the false dragon. It was so crowded that Shaidar Aman was finding it very difficult to see anything except the back of the people right in front of him.

He tried to maneuver through the crowd to find a spot where he could take advantage of the fact that he was one of the tallest people around. Eventually he noticed a large wall of some sort, he could probably get a decent view from there and since everybody was trying to look at Logain, it was doubtful that anybody would even notice that he was there…besides as far as he could tell, there were no better options. It took a while but eventually he managed to maneuver his way through the crowd and to the base of the wall.

Upon closer inspection he noticed that the wall was covered with roses but he would not let mere flowers stop him. He began to climb the wall, almost immediately he cut his hand on a rose thorn but he continued on anyway, acquiring several more cuts in the process.

Eventually he reached the top of the wall and turned to look at Logain. He was nowhere near close enough to sense Logain's strength in the one power but he could tell just by looking that Logain was probably not worth the trouble of rescuing him. Looking at the self-proclaimed Aes Sedai (in actuality they were more like children dressing up in there parent's clothes if you asked him) he could tell that they were utterly bored and not the least bit concerned about their prisoner either attempting to escape or being rescued. If Logain's spirit was so weak to have been broken so easily, then there was no point in freeing him, because he if he was free the chances were that he would not do anything interesting anyway. Honestly, the man had to know that he was just a human trophy for the Aes Sedai to show off and yet the man was not only, not offering any sort of resistance to them but he was playing right into their hands. He tried to hold himself regally like a king, as if the cage holding him wasn't even there, but Shaidar Aman was not the least bit impressed; all he saw was a puppet on Aes Sedai strings, trying to pretend that he wasn't and not doing a very good job of it either. The crowd however was very impressed; wherever Logain looked they felt silent, awestruck by the false dragons…how pathetic, what a bunch of gullible simpletons. The procession continued with all sorts of banners and music and other things but Shadar Aman ignored them because they weren't worth his attention.

Shaidar Aman would have sighed disappointedly, if such an action had not been beneath his dignity that is, it had seemed like a good idea but oh well; he would simply have to think of something else.

"What are you doing up there?" a girl's voice said from behind him. Shadar Aman was startled, he glanced toward the voice and evidently that had been a mistake. He slipped and fell. Later he wouldn't be certain if he had blacked out or not. He didn't remember the actual fall, it seemed to him that he heard the girl's voice and the next minute he was lying in a patch of grass and he had a massive head ache. He also quickly discovered that he couldn't move his head very quickly or else his vision became all blurry.

Slowly he turned his head and saw that a boy and girl had climbed down from a nearby tree. He pretty much ignored the boy (even though the boy was fingering his dagger) and focused on the girl; she was very beautiful with blonde curly hair and dressed in very elaborate clothes. She made him feel nervous, much like Lanfear had only not quite as much…what was it about pretty girls that made him react like that? Both of them were looking at him like he was some sort of puzzle, that they had to solve, well go ahead and try, you will not succeed Shadar Aman thought.

Then the boy spoke "We will never hear the end of this, Elayne, if mother finds out. She told us to stay inside but you just had to have your look at Logain and now look what it has got us."

"Be quiet Gawyn" the girl, Elayne, ordered and somewhat surprisingly to Shadar Aman the boy did quiet himself although it was plain to see that he was not at all happy about it.

"Are you all right?" She asked Shadar Aman although it took him a moment to realize it.

"Yes, I'll be fine." He barely managed to stand but his legs desperately wanted to give way under him but he was determined not to let that happen. "I'll just –"but his legs gave way under him despite him stubbornly he got back up again "climb back over the wall." Again however his legs gave way under him

The girl put her hand on his shoulder and pressed down, and then he couldn't get up again.

"You are hurt" she said then she knelt beside him to examine the blood-soaked mess on the side of his head. "You must have struck a branch or two coming down. You'll be lucky if you didn't break more than your scalp. I've never seen anyone that could climb as well as you can, but you're not so good at falling."

"You'll get blood on you" Shadar Aman said, drawing back from her. He was getting suspicious in his experience no one ever helped anyone unless they got something for themselves out of it…what was she up too?

"Hold still" she ordered clearly expecting him to obey for some reason. "It does not look to bad, thank the light." Shadar Aman resisted the urge to roll his eyes, thanking the light was for fools. Elayne reached into her cloak pockets and took out a large number of vials and other tools used for healing in this primitive age.

"Give me your water flask Gawyn" she commanded "I need to wash this." The boy, Gawyn, unfastened a flask from his belt and handed it to her. Elayne took it and methodically began to wash his injuries. She held him gently but firmly telling him without words that she expected him to try and pull away again and she would not have any of it.

Once she'd cleaned a spot she put some sort of ointment on it and although the ointment did not remove the injury completely like the one power would have it did help the pain quite considerably. Shadar Aman found that he was impressed, despite himself. It was the first time he had ever been healed without the one power. Usually, when he got hurt father (actually more often one of the black Ajah sisters because father was not very good at healing) used the one power to heal him unless he'd gotten hurt doing something stupid in which case it was left to heal naturally to teach him a lesson.

Gawyn smiled at him, a calming smile meant to help soothe him. "She's always finding stray cats, birds with broken wings and other injured animals. You're the first human patient she has had to work on." A brief pause "Do not be offended, I am not calling you a stray." It did not sound like an apology

"No offense taken" Shadar Aman replied stiffly he wished that the two would stop treating him like a skittish horse

"She does know what she is doing, she had the best teachers. So do not fear, you are in good hands." Shadar Aman did not question the girl's abilities, not anymore at least, he questioned what she would want from him in exchange for this.

She took a very expensive looking cloth and began to wrap it around his head. Again Shadar Aman tried to pull away

"I told you to hold still" her tone was calm but her posture showed that she was beginning to get irritated with him...mostly likely for being stubborn

"Does she always expect everyone to do what she says?" Shadar Aman asked

Gawyn blinked in surprise "Most of the time yes, and most of the time they do." He answered "most people they do exactly what she says. Not mother of course, or Elaida and not Lini, Lini was her nurse; you can't give orders to someone which switched you for stealing figs when you were little, and even not so little" Shadar Aman highly doubted that but didn't speak while Elayne glared at Gawyn who hurried on "and Gareth of course. No one gives orders to Gareth."

"Not even Mother" Elayne added "she makes suggestions and he always does what he suggests but I have never heard her give him a command. Elayne shook her head

"I don't know why that always surprises you." Gawyn told her "even you don't try telling Gareth what to do. He's served three Queens and been Captain-General, and first Prince Regent, for two. I daresay that there are some people who think he's more a symbol of the throne of Andor than the Queen herself is. Rather abruptly Shadar Aman realized that he was in the garden of the Royal Palace and the people talking to him were the Daughter-heir and her brother. He could have kicked himself for not figuring it out sooner; he blamed his slowness on his head injury.

"Mother should go ahead and marry him" Elayne said absently "She wants to; she can't hide it from me and it would solve so many problems"

Gawyn shook his head "one of them has to bend first, mother cannot and Gareth will not."

"If mother commanded him…" Elayne trailed off but Gawyn carried on for her

"He would probably obey. But she won't and you know it."

"Your mother's the queen isn't she?" Shadar Aman asked

"You really didn't know?" Elayne asked "You mean you climbed the walls to look at Logain without even knowing where you were. You could have gotten a better view down in the streets."

Shadar Aman shook his head slowly so as not to get dizzy again "No milady, down in the streets, I couldn't see anything but the butt of the guy in front of me. That's why I decided to climb the wall in the first place. Elayne blinked she clearly was not used to having someone disagree with her. He stood and tried to remove the scarf

"Stop that, you'll start the bleeding again." She still sounded like she expected him to obey her.

"I have to go" he said "My lady, thank you for your care but if you'll pardon. I really should leave-"

"Without even telling us your name?" Gawyn asked "a poor payment for Elayne's care" 'ah there it is' Shadar Aman thought to himself "I've been wondering about you, you do not sound Andoran and you look like…well, you know our names courtesy would suggest you give us yours."

In truth, Shadar Aman couldn't care less about what was courteous or discourteous but if it would get them to leave him alone, he'd give them a name to call him by

"Rand, Rand a'Calian" he told them

"And where are you from Rand?" Elayne asked curiously

"Waterroot's Falls, it's a small village in northern Altara." He actually had no idea if there was a village by that name in Altara but he assumed that they wouldn't know either

"To the west" Gawyn muttered "very far to the west

"What's this?" a new voice interjected "Stand away from him Elayne and you two Gawyn"

"He's a who, not a what." Elayne said irritably "his name is Rand and he is under my protection, Galad"

Galad, if Rand recalled correctly, was Elayne's half brother

"I am aware of your fondness for strays Elayne but this fellow hardly looks reputable. These days we cannot be too careful, why is here where he does not belong?" Galad responded

Galad's opposition seemed to increase Elayne's determination "He is here as my guest, Galad and I vouch for him, or have you appointed yourself my nurse, to decide whom I may speak to and when?" she said scornfully but Galad seemed unaffected

"I make no claim of control over your actions, Elayne…but this guest of yours does not seem proper and you know that as well as I. Our mother would-"Elayne cut him off

"Enough! You are right, you have no say over my actions, nor have you any right to judge them. You may leave me. Now!" Galad exchanged looks with Gawyn just as Elayne opened her mouth again Galad bowed smoothly and left

"I hate him" Elayne breathed "He is vile and full of envy."

"There you go too far, Elayne" Gawyn said "Galad does not know the meaning of envy. Twice he has saved my life with none to know if he held his hand. If he had not, he would be your first Prince of the Sword in my place."

"Never, Gawyn. I would choose anyone before Galad, even the lowest stable boy." Shadar Aman wondered what the boy had done to earn such hatred from his half sister suddenly Elayne smiled a beautiful smile "You say I am fond of giving orders, then I command you to let nothing happen to you. I command you to be my First Prince of the Sword when I take the throne of Andor-the light send that day is far off- and to lead the armies of Andor with the sort of honor Galad cannot dream of."

"As you command my lady." Gawyn smiled and gave a bow that was parody of Galad's

"I really should get going." Rand said

"Yes and quickly." Gawyn added "Galad always does what is right even when he shouldn't. In this case, finding a stranger in the Gardens, the right thing is to tell the Palace guards. Which I suspect he is on his way to do right now."

"Then I'll go back over the wall" rand said but Elayne caught his arm

"Not after the trouble I went to with your hands. You'll only make fresh cuts and then let some back-alley crone put the Light knows what on them. There is a small gate on the other side of the garden. It's overgrown, no one but me even remembers it's there." She was interrupted by the sound of pounding boots

"Too late" Gawyn muttered "he must have started running as soon as he was out of eyeshot." Shadar Aman did not bother to make for the wall; he knew he would not make it before the guards showed up. They did not have very long to wait, the guards arrived almost immediately. Elayne and Gawyn both jumped up and held their arms high between him and the bows.

"My lady, my lord, down quickly" one of the officers said

"You dare bring bare steel into my presence Tallanvor?" Elayne said drawing herself up regally "Gareth Bryne will have you mucking stables with the meanest trooper for this, if you are lucky!" the soldiers exchanged puzzled looks and somewhat reluctantly half-lowered their weapons

Tallanvor (Rand assumed) spoke "My lady, forgive me. Lord Galaderid reported a dirty peasant skulking in the gardens armed and endangering my Lady Elayne and my Lord Gawyn." His voice hardened as his gaze turned on Rand "If my Lady and my lord will please step aside, I will take the villain into custody. There is far too much riff-raff in the city these days."

"I doubt Galad reported anything like that." Elayne snapped back "Galad does not lie."

"Sometimes I wish he would" Gawyn muttered "might make living with him a little easier

Elayne continued as if her brother hadn't spoken "he is here as my guest, you may withdraw Tallanvor"

"I regret that will not be possible my Lady." Although his expression displayed anything but regret "as My Lady knows, the Queen, your lady mother, has given orders regarding anyone on Palace grounds without her Majesty's permission, and word has been spent to Her Majesty of this intruder. Rand suspected that the officer had more than once been forced to obey a command he deemed improper and was thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to refuse to obey one because he had a perfectly good excuse.

Rand glanced at Gawyn and Gawyn told him softly "Prison" he hurried on "but only for a few days, and you will not be harmed. You will be questioned by Gareth Bryne personally, but you will be set free once it's clear you mean no harm. I hope you told the truth, Rand a'Calian from Waterroot's Falls" inwardly Shadar Aman scoffed; he would never allow that to happen. For now though, he restrained himself; he had been lectured numerous times about not drawing any more attention that absolutely necessary. Admittedly he'd done a very poor job of that so far but he had not been forced into revealing himself to be anything but an ordinary young man yet and he would keep it that way until the last possible moment.

Elayne drew herself up regally "You will conduct all three of us to my mother" she announced and Gawyn grinned

Taken aback Tallanvor tried to protest "My Lady I-"but Elayne cut him off and continued

"Or else conduct all three of us to a cell. We will remain together or will you give orders for hands to be laid upon my person?" Shadar Aman was impressed despite himself, the daughter-heir thought quickly on her feet it seemed.

"Mother is viewing Logain" Gawyn told him in voice that although to soft for any of the guardsmen to hear was yet not quite soft enough to be called a whisper. "and even if she was not busy, Tallanvor would never dare troop into her presence with Elayne and me as if we were under guard, Mother has a temper sometimes." Compared to what Shadar Aman had heard about Morgase that was an understatement. Just then a messenger arrived he spoke softly to Tallanvor who adopted a very satisfied expression that Rand did not believe boded well for them.

''The Queen, your lady mother" Tallanvor announced "commands me to bring the intruder to her immediately. It is also the queen's command that my Lady Elayne and my Lord Gawyn attend her also immediately." He was quite smug about it too. Shadar Aman found it very difficult to resist the urge to wipe that insufferable smirk of the puffed-up errand-boy's face.

"If my lady pleases, my Lord" Tallanvor prodded and his men formed a ring around them, their gazes focused on Rand almost daring him to try something. Rand rolled his eyes, if he wanted to do something none of them would have a chance of stopping him but for now he was willing to let the situation play out.

They had not walked very far before Rand abruptly realized that the plants around them were all green and in bloom despite the horrid weather conditions. He began mentally berating himself for being so unaware of his surroundings, he was one of the Chosen such carelessness, could very well lead him to death or worse!

Apparently something must have shown on his face because Gawyn said "The plants are Elaida's work."

"Doesn't she have better things to do than waste her energy on a bunch of useless plants?" Rand asked, he hadn't even met the woman and yet he was already beginning to dislike her. Besides he wasn't an aesthetic person, flowers were completely uninteresting to him…unless they were poisonous or something. The men began to mutter but a sharp command from Tallanvor silenced them

"It's wrong" Elayne said "She asked if I wanted to pick out the one farm she could do the same for, while all around it crops still failed, but it still isn't right for us to have flowers when some Andorans do not have enough to eat." Rand agreed with her it was wrong but not for any silly moral reasons, but for practical political ones. If it became known that the crown had decided that one farm in all of Andor would have crops given to it by virtue of the one power it could very easily trigger anger and resentment among the farmers who had not received such a gift, one of the first things he had learned about politics was to 'befriend' more people than you anger, this was the exact opposite strategy, it was bad politics. Whoever had come up with that idea was an idiot.

"Remember yourself" Elayne told Rand briskly "Speak up clearly, when you are spoken to, and keep silent otherwise. And follow my lead, all will be well." I don't need your help Rand thought irritably. Eventually they stopped before a rather ornate room but it was not the most ornate one in the palace

"At least it isn't the Grand Hall" Gawyn laughed unsteadily "I never heard that Mother ordered anyone's head cut off from here." Somehow that didn't help Rand's mood

"First Rank to accompany me" Tallanvor commanded "Announce the Lady Elayne and the Lord Gawyn to her Majesty also Guardsman-Lieutenant Tallanvor, at her Majesty's command with the intruder under guard."

Elayne glared at Tallanvor but there was nothing she could do about the doors were already opening and their arrival was being announced. Inside the room there Rand saw Queen Morgase sitting regally on her throne, next to her was a man he assumed was Captain-General Gareth Bryne. Just behind the throne there was woman with a seemingly ageless face, sitting on a stool working on some needlework, her face identified her as the Queen's advisor Elaida. The guardsmen knelt in front of the Queen while Rand settled for an awkward bow. Now of course, he knew how to do one smoothly but he did not want to seem too polished, after all he was supposed to be a farmer, his father had taught him that when people tried to pretend be something they were not it was often the little details that revealed the truth so Rand bowed awkwardly to play his part. He had briefly considered kneeling with the guardsmen but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

"You may rise" The queen said

"Mother-"Elayne began

"You have been climbing trees, it seems daughter." Elayne tried to pluck some bark from her dress but Morgase continued on, ignoring her movements "in fact it would seem that despite my orders to the contrary, you have contrived to have your look at this Logain. Gawyn, I have thought better of you. You must learn not only to obey your sister but to be a counterweight for her against disaster." She glanced at Bryne "that Gawyn, is as much the duty of the First Prince of the Sword as leading the armies of Andor. Perhaps if your training is intensified, you will find less time for letting your sister lead you into trouble. I will ask the Captain-General to make sure you do not lack for things to do on your journey north." Ah, so it seemed Elayne would soon be off to train at the White Tower as per Andoran custom.

Elayne grimaced "Mother, Gawyn cannot keep me from danger if he is not with me. It was for that reason and that reason alone that he left his rooms. Mother, surely, there can be no harm in just looking at Logain. Almost everyone in the city was closer to him than we were." Rand began to wonder if he should reconsider his initial assessment of the daughter-heir; did she really think that tired old argument would do her any good?

"Everyone in the city is not the Daughter-heir" Morgase replied sharply "I have seen this fellow Logain from close, and he is dangerous child." Rand began to think Morgase should be sitting on the chicken throne instead of the lion throne, Morgase continued on "Caged, with Aes Sedai to guard him every minute, he is still as dangerous as a wolf." Oh brother, Rand thought wolves tried to avoid people, they weren't very dangerous unless you did something stupid, but then again…there were some very stupid people in this world.

"I wish he had never been brought near Caemyln" Was Morgase the queen of Andor or the queen of drama, because right now Rand wasn't sure.

"He will be dealt with in Tar Valon" Elaida said though she continued knitting "What is important is that the people see that the Light has once again vanquished the Dark and they see you as part of that victory, Morgase." It took every bit of self control that Rand had not to scoff openly; as if that pathetic excuse for a channeler has any connection at all to the Shadow…we do have certain standards, after all.

Morgase waved her hand dismissively and said "I still would prefer that he had never been brought near Caemlyn. Elayne, I know your mind"

"Mother" Elayne tried to protest "I do mean to obey you. Truly I do"

"You do?" Morgase asked in mock surprise but then she chuckled "Yes, you do try to be a dutiful daughter but you constantly test how far you may go. Well, I did the same with my mother. That spirit will serve you well when you ascend to the throne. But you are not Queen yet, child. You have disobeyed me and had your look at Logain, be satisfied with that. On the journey north you will not be allowed within 100 paces of him, neither you nor Gawyn, if I did not know how hard your lessons will be in Tar Valon, I would send Lini along to make sure you obey. She at least, seems to be able to make you do as you must."

Elayne hung her head and Elaida spoke again

"in one week, you will want to come back home to your mother. In one month you will want to run away with the Traveling People. But my sisters will keep you away from the unbeliever, that sort of thing is not for you yet." Rand didn't get why any man that could channel was referred to as an unbeliever? Did these ignorant primitives not realize that the Light and the Creator were not active powers in this world, that people's fates were entirely dependent upon an utterly uncaring and pitiless wheel unless they accepted the Great Lord as their master?

"You have it in you to be the greatest Queen that Andor has seen in more than a thousand years. It is for that we will you, if you have the strength for it." What a pompous little speech, Rand thought, he also began to believe that this 'Aes Sedai' was the most arrogant person he had ever met, and there was a lot of competition for that title. He was also being struck with a powerful urge to put her in her true place.

"Enough Elaida, she was heard that more than enough. The wheel weaves as the wheel wills" Rand really hated that phrase, maybe it was because he had heard it so often growing up, even Black Ajah sisters tossed that phrase around like a farmer sows his crops. "Now there is the problem of this young man and how and why he came here and why you claimed guest-right for him to your brother." Morgase said suddenly Elaida spoke

"The Dark One stirs in Shayol Ghul. The Shadow lies across the pattern, and the future is balanced on the point of a pin. This one is dangerous."

Just as suddenly and unexpectedly Elayne threw herself onto her knees before the throne

"Mother, I beg of you not to harm him." she pleaded "He would have left immediately had I not stopped him. He wanted to go; it was I who made him stay. I cannot believe he is a Darkfriend" He was in fact, much more than a mere Darkfriend, but Elayne was not to know that. Morgase made a soothing gesture towards her daughter but her focus remained on Rand

"Is this a foretelling Elaida? Are you reading the Pattern? You say it comes when you least expect it and goes just as suddenly. If this is a Foretelling I command you to the truth clearly, without your usual habit of wrapping it in so much mystery that no one can tell if you have said yes or no, Speak. What do you see? "

Good luck with that Rand thought skeptically Foretelling was mysterious by nature, so much so, that it was hardly worth all the trouble people went through trying to make sense of it.

"This I foretell' Elaida said "and swear under the Light that I can say no clearer. From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken its blackest and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands. This I Foretell." There was utter silence throughout the room as Elaida continued "This too I Foretell. Pain and division come to the whole world and this man stands at the heart of it. I obey the Queen and speak it clearly."

Rand was unable to hold his tongue any longer "Really, you call that speaking clearly? That was about as clear as a mud puddle. A charlatan from a traveling show could do better."

"Do not speak of what you do not understand, boy" Elaida's tone was icy cold but the glare she directed at Rand was hot enough to melt steel. "I suggest you learn to hold your tongue in the presence of your betters…if you know what's good for you."

"Don't tell me you actually think that you are one of my 'betters'? You are a disgrace; you're less than the meanest pig." Rand countered

The whole room was staring at him, no one had ever spoken to Elaida like that and none of them had any idea how she would react.

"I think it's time some taught you the proper respect due Aes Sedai" Elaida snarled and then Rand felt himself being lifted up by flows of air.

That did it, if there was going to be any manhandling here then he was going to be the one to do. He quickly bound everyone but Elaida with one large flow of air. While Elaida turned his body a bit, she clearly intended to switch him right then and there but Rand was not going to let that happen.

First he slashed away the threads holding him and fell back to the floor, just barely managing to avoid falling on his butt. Then before Elaida could recover from the shock of having her flows cut, he slammed a shield between her and the true source. Soon after he wove some flows of air himself and slammed her to the floor, hard enough to make her grunt.

"Actually you're the one who's going to be taught a lesson. You're going to learn not to annoy people more powerful than you are." He shook his head although Elaida couldn't see it. "Look at you, you dare call yourself an Aes Sedai, you're no Aes Sedai, you're just a spoiled brat playing dress-up with her mother's clothes!" He wasn't entirely sure why, but it seemed everything about Elaida from her pompous, arrogant attitude to her ugly green dress bothered him right then. He was sorely tempted to sever her right then and there, but unfortunately he felt that would draw too much attention…fortunately however, there were other options.

First he altered the shield (and inverted the web as well) so that most of it would fade away over time but she would never be able to channel at the full strength she had once had and he added a couple of minor compulsions. The most important was one that would prevent her from speaking of this incident to anyone and would give her a very nasty headache if she so much as thought about trying to tell someone. The other was quite petty to be honest but he was really angry right then, it was a compulsion that would prevent her from ever holding another stupid knitting needle ever again because that sound was really annoying.

The others he wove a web that would alter their memory. Human memories were not set in stone; they were fluid and changed over time. They could also be altered if one knew how. If Rand had been thinking straight he would have done something similar with Mat and the others but oh well, it wasn't that important. He made it so they simply remembered him as an innocent farm boy who had accidently wondered where he wasn't supposed to. They would also remember that Morgase had determined that he meant no harm and had let him go and then he wove a gateway and returned to the Blight.

AN: I know that it has been forever since my last update so I made this chapter extra long to try and make it up to you all. Also I tried this method of responding to reviews out on one of my other stories and found that it worked pretty well and I will go back and respond to the people who reviewed previous chapters once I find the time.

Aderran- I hope this chapter satisfies you even though Elaida is just too infuriating a woman to be dismissed as a mere gnat and I'm glad you found the previous chapter interesting, I hope the next ones will interest you too.