We open on a light snow in the woods, where the remaining Aes Sedai camp is burying the dead from the battle. Stepin- extremely emotional- places Kerene into a grave and removes her ring.
ONE MONTH LATER
The Aes Sedai, still with Nynaeve and Logain, are riding up to Tar Valon. Moiraine and Lan discuss how they haven’t been back in a long time and hope the others have made it to the city.
Rand and Mat are approaching the city as well in another location. Mat- who looks very sick- turns on a young boy who runs into him but catches himself. Rand says he recognizes the mountain beyond Tar Valon. They enter the city, full of merchants and people of all cultures, including a camel and a BARBER. They get a room and Mat immediately collapses in bed. Mat has been afraid that he was the one who killed the Grinwell family, but Rand convinces him it was the Fade.
Moiraine sets Nynaeve up in a room in the Warder’s Quarters in the Tower. She tells her when her friends get there, she will let her know. She warns her about trusting the other Aes Sedai. They discuss Nynaeve channeling, and how she will be expected to become a Novice.
The Tinkers and Pegwene walk through the woods, not far from Tar Valon. They are stopped by a party of Whitecloaks, led by Eamon Valda. He spots Pegwene and demands they turn the kids over. The Tinkers link arms to protect them, and Pegwene and Aram run off as the Whitecloaks begin punching their way through the lines. They don’t get far as a group of mounted Whitecloaks knock Aram out and surround Pegwene.
Rand is reading a book in the inn library when a large creature approaches him. He pulls his sword, but it’s just Loial, the sweetest, book loving Ogier this side of the Waste. He calls Rand an Aielman, as much as Rand protests. Rand tries to discuss Egwene with him, but Loial cannot stop talking long enough to listen. Rand runs out as the Logain procession is passing by the window.
Rand and Mat watch the procession. Stepin is leading Kerene’s empty horse, and the crowd seems horrified by her death. Logain looks up at them from his cage, while being pelted with garbage, and begins laughing hysterically. Mat makes Rand promise to kill him if he is the Dragon, before he becomes like that, and Rand asks him to do the same.
Stepin is being dressed in white by Maksim and Ihvon. Stepin discusses his past and how meeting Kerene and becoming her Warder saved his life. The other Warders agree. Lan tries to convince Stepin to bond another Aes Sedai but he refuses. They walk past a row of other Warders and Stepin stops before a fire, placing Kerene’s ring, sans green stone, into it to melt. Lan returns to Moiraine’s room for silent comfort. That’s not as dirty as it sounds.
Valda is sleeveless now, so you know shit is going down. Egwene is stripped naked, washed, and clothed in a white dress by the Whitecloaks in Valda’s tent. She is tied to a chair, as Perrin is brought in gagged and bound. Valda discusses how Aes Sedai use their hands to channel but how it is a crutch, not required. Egwene insists that she cannot channel, then insults Valda and dares him to kill her. Valda says if she channels, he’ll kill her and free Perrin. If not, he’ll kill Perrin and free her. He begins slicing Perrin’s back, during which Perrin’s eyes flash gold, then leaves them to decide.
Stepin comes to Nynaeve for some sleeping tea. He says he can’t sleep because he doesn’t want to forget the pain of losing Kerene.
Nynaeve walks into the hall to look at statues of Warders. Liandrin approaches her and tries to make nice, discussing her Ajah. She tells Nynaeve to enjoy her freedom and shows her the way out to the gardens.
Loial enters Rand and Mat’s room, with Nynaeve. He says he found her in the Tower gardens. Nynaeve checks on Mat, and he is happy to see her, but he quickly snaps at her. Nynaeve tells him to rest.
In the hall, Rand tells Nynaeve that he thinks Mat can channel and he is afraid to bring him to the Tower. Rand tells her is worried about Egwene and Perrin and Nynaeve tells him a story about how Egwene survived a terrible fever when she was a child. She says Egwene is unbreakable.
Alone in the tent, Egwene tries to channel. Perrin says it should be him that dies, and finally stops being a murderer by admitting what he did to Laila. Valda returns and begins torturing Perrin again. Perrin screams and his eyes turn gold again and we hear wolves howling outside. Egwene channels a small spark of flame that passes through Valda and burns Perrin’s bonds. Perrin frees himself with a growl and Egwene comes up behind and stabs Valda in the shoulder. They run outside to some wolfpack carnage happening to the Whitecloaks. The wolves let them pass and they run into the night.
Liandrin and Moiraine manipulate each other… wait… they talk about Nynaeve and which Ajah she will choose.
Stepin is burning candles by a group of wooden figurines of the Forsaken. Lan says that not many people still make offerings to ward them off. Stepin mentions keeping away Ishamael, the Father of Lies, so he can see clearly now. They talk about how the Forsaken were given eternal life by the Dark One, then sealed away by the last Dragon, and wonder if they can still touch our world. Lan says he will stay with Stepin until morning.
Alanna and Moiraine discuss Alanna’s offer to bond Stepin. Moiraine says she discovered a way to release the bond. Alanna tells her the Amrylin- Siuan- has summoned them to the hall over what went down with Logain. She says Moiraine is strong enough to challenge her. Liandrin’s strength is growing and both she and Siuan could be very powerful enemies to Moiraine. Alanna leaves Moiraine’s room and Moiraine reveals a painting on her wall of a woman looking out a window., which I assume will eventually mean something.
Stepin and Lan have tea while talking about Stepin being bonded to Alanna, and all that entails. Stepin tries to get Lan to talk about Nynaeve, and how she is falling for him, but Lan will say nothing.
Lan awakens in the morning and realizes Stepin had given him the sleeping tea. He finds Stepin on the ground, with a sword through his gut, dead. Hell of a way to kill yourself, but you do you, man.
Lan steps up at Stepin’s funeral and is told to relieve them of their grief. Everyone begins beating their chests with a fist as Lan scream cries over Stepin’s body. Moiraine feels his anguish with silent tears.