|The Battle of the Amyrlins
The lights come up on a stage. Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan is sitting on one side, Egwene al’Vere on the other. The audience is filled with just about everyone who’s ever appeared in any of the books, and a fair number who haven’t.
Cadsuane Melaidhrin walks on to the stage.
Cadsuane: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Battle of the Amyrlins! This quiz is designed to test which of these so-called ‘Amyrlin Seats’ is the least clueless –
Elaida (outraged tone): CLUELESS?
Cadsuane: Shut up and listen. As I was saying, this quiz will test the relative intelligence of the two Amyrlins. The prize for the winner is – the White Tower and undisputed leadership of all Aes Sedai!
Cheers from the audience.
Cadsuane: Except me, of course. First question is for Elaida: how long do you think you have before you have to deal with the rebel army marching on Tar Valon?
Elaida: Half a year, at the very least! They can’t possibly get here before then!
Cadsuane: Wrong! Take a look out your window sometime. Egwene: name the people who hate Elaida. (glances down at the answer, which is a very long list) On second thoughts, just name one.
Egwene: Siuan Sanche?
Elaida (sneering): Well, what can she do about it? She isn’t even Aes Sedai any more…
Cadsuane: Back to you, Elaida: name the young Accepted, recently raised to Aes Sedai, who discovered how to heal stilling and gentling.
Elaida: What? That’s impossible!
Siuan (in silken tones): Would you care to say that again, Elaida?
Cadsuane: Save it for after the show. Egwene: which Forsaken ended up on a leash held by which Aes Sedai, due to said Forsaken being the most monumentally stupid mistake ever made by the Dark One?
Moghedien (shouting): I am not! She got lucky! And I paid her back, just like I’ll pay back the rest of you…
Nynaeve (calling from the other side of the audience): Fine words from someone who couldn’t even aim a stream of balefire!
Moghedien: What? You’re supposed to be dead, burn you!
Egwene (grinning): Do I really need to answer that one?
Cadsuane: Replacement question, and keep quiet in the audience this time. Quote the Hall’s least favourite part of the Law of War.
Egwene (bored tone) “She shall seek the advice of the Hall of the Tower, but the Hall shall carry out her decrees with all possible speed, and for the sake of unity, they shall and must approve any decree of the Amyrlin Seat regarding prosecution of the war with the greater consensus.”
(angry mutterings from the Salidar Sitters)
Cadsuane: Yes, I thought you’d know that one. Who killed Ishamael?
Elaida: Rand al’Thor. (scowls)
Cadsuane: Who killed Balthamel?
Egwene: The Green Man.
Cadsuane: Who killed Be’lal?
Elaida: Moiraine Damodred. (scowls again)
Cadsuane: Who’s going to kill Moghedien? Quiet in the audience!
Egwene: Nynaeve al’Meara!
Cheers from everyone. Except Moghedien. Nynaeve stands up and waves to the crowd.
Cadsuane: Who killed Asmodean?
Everyone (except one person, obviously): WE DON’T KNOW! STOP ASKING THAT QUESTION!
Cadsuane (shrugs) Worth a try. Now we have some questions from the audience. (checks her list) First is a question for Elaida from Toveine Gazal.
Toveine (standing up): Which Red sister has every intention of killing you, slowly, as soon as she gets the opportunity?
Elaida (shocked): A Red sister? Kill ME? I have no idea!
Toveine: Me. (smiles) See you after the show, Elaida.
More cheers, and several offers of help.
Cadsuane (looking amused): Question for Egwene from Mazrim Taim.
Taim (standing): Who, other than me, would Elaida most like to see dead?
A voice chimes in from the audience, where a very pretty Domani woman is sitting, wearing a red shawl and not much else.
Taim: Wrong humour series, Shani.
Shani shrugs and disappears.
Taim: The correct answer is Alviarin Freidhen.
Cadsuane: Question for Elaida from (raises an eyebrow) Alviarin Freidhen.
Alviarin (taunting tone): What are you going to do about it?
Elaida: Wouldn’t you like to know?
Alviarin looks worried for a moment. Near the back of the audience, Seaine and Pevara are whispering together.
Cadsuane: Question declared void. Egwene from Siuan Sanche.
Siuan: When you win this, can I have Elaida?
Egwene: Well, if that list’s even half accurate, you’ll have to stand in line…
Cadsuane: Question declared void! That concludes the audience participation section, and leaves us with the last, bonus question! This one is addressed to both of you; five points if you can name and identify the Forsaken in your camp!
Elaida: The WHAT?
Egwene: The – what are you laughing at, Halima?
Elaida (turning to glare at a Brown sister near the front of the audience) Is there something amusing, Danelle?
Aran’gar (looking innocent): Nothing at all, Mother.
Mesaana (looking absent-minded): Hmm? Oh, I’m sorry, Mother, I was thinking of something else.
Egwene and Elaida: Hmph.
Cadsuane: I take it neither of you managed to figure it out. (rolls her eyes) Very well, adding up the total score, the least clueless Amyrlin-candidate is –
Cadsuane: Egwene! Congratulations to Egwene al’Vere, Amyrlin Seat, Watcher of the Seals, Flame of Tar Valon, et cetera, et cetera.
(cheering from Egwene’s friends, of whom there are a fair few, and Elaida’s enemies, of whom there are a whole lot more)
Cadsuane: And the raising ceremony will take place – again – in a few minutes if you care to stick around. In the meantime, Elaida, I think there were some people who wanted to talk to you. (looks down at a list) Let me see, Siuan Sanche, Leane Sharif, Toveine Gazal, Logain Ablar, Rand al’Thor, Moiraine Damodred when she gets back, Thom Merrilin…
The lights go down as Cadsuane continues to read the names.