Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The Black Ajah Troubles in Tanchico - Amadaine 999 NE:
As Be'lal died and the the Stone of Tear fell on the ninth day of Saven, Liandrin and her group escaped on a ship bound for her native city of Tanchico in Tarabon, leaving two black sisters prisoners behind.
At their arrival in Tanchico, Liandrin's group seized the opulent house (B) of a Darkfriend merchant, on a hillside at the base of the Verana, the city's easternmost peninsula. Using this house as their headquarter while looking for clues to find to the object of their hunt, a ter'angreal capable of controlling a male channeller, Liandrin's group was infiltrated by the forsaken Moghedien, who pretended to be a servant and adopted the alias of Gyldin.
On the ninth day of Amadaine, the Seanchan infiltrator Egeanin Samarath met one of her agents, Floran Gelb, at the lofty wineshop The Garden of Silver Breezes (A). Gelb tracks down sul'dam deserters for her. Joachim Carridin, Inquisitor of the Hand of the Light, met secretly with the King of Tarabon and some of his advisors at the same time, concluding a deal to help place the King's Mistress, the Lady Amathera, on the Panarch's throne. The shop is located atop a hill centered on the Calpene, below the Great Circle (1). A sheer drop on its south side gives the wineshop a splendid view over the Great Harbour.
In Tear, following the revelations of their Black Ajah prisoner Amico Nagoyin and Egwene's and Amys' information gathered visiting the city in Tel'aran'rhiod , Elayne and Nynaeve, accompanied by Thom Merrilin and Juilin Sandar took passage for Tanchico on the Sea Folk raker Wavedancer, leaving Tear on the first day of Amadaine and docking on the Great Harbour of Tanchico, on the Calpene peninsula, on the eleventh day of Amadaine. They disembarked about a mile South (D) of the Great Circle (1). They met Captain Bayle Domon whose ships also dock nearby and who has a small room in the vicinity. Domon hired sedan chairs to bring them to The Three Plum Court inn, on a hill down the Calpene (E). Thom, Juilin and Bayle Domon and his sailors start looking for signs of Black Sisters, while Elayne and Nynaeve wander the city.
On the fifteenth day of Amadaine, Elayne and Nynaeve are attacked by Floran Gelb, on a narrow street (F) just north of the Great Circle. Gelb mistook Nynaeve for one of the sul'dam Egeanin is looking for. In the ensuing fight, Egeanin comes to the girls' rescue and they befriend her. Back at the Inn, Juilin and Thom find the merchant's house where the Black Sisters were, but they have already left. Moghedien, attracted by Elayne's channelling, comes to the inn and compels Nynaeve and Egwene to follow her orders.
On the sixteenth day of Amadaine, Amathera was invested Panarch against the wishes of the Assembly and with the military support of Joachim Carridin's Questioners who moved to the Panarch's palace (4) in the middle of the Verana, above the Panarch's Circle (5), following a secret deal with the King (but accelerating the timetable, on the orders of Liandrin, who wanted him to secure the palace for her and who put Amathera under Black Ajah control immediately). The Questioners were previously headquartered in a palace on the Verana (C) they had seized from a noble House.
On the twenty first day on Amadaine, Bayle Domon, Thom, Juilin all find evidence that the Black sisters occupy the palace and that Amathera is either their ally, fool or prisoner. Domon also reveals that Egeanin is Seanchan and she becomes the girls' prisoner. The men get rid of the Seeker for Truth Almurat Mor who was spying of Egeanin. In Tel'aran'rhiod, Nynaeve visits the palace where she finds a Seal and the ter'angreal that might control Rand and evidence that Amathera is a prisoner. Plans are made to storm the Panarch's palace,
On the next day, Domon helps the girls infiltrate the palace (4), pretending to bring a bribe of ice peppers for the Panarch through the back gate. Thom, Juilin and Domon's sailors act as agent provocateurs to stir and inflate a riot outside, to draw the Whitecloaks and the Panarch's Legion. Meanwhile in the kitchens area, the girls switch their disguise and put on palace livery. Elayne and Egeanin manages to free Amathera, while Nynaeve moves on to search the exhibition floor for the ter'angreal. She confronts Moghedien and temporarily captures her. As Nynaeve is distracted by an attack by Jeaine Caide wielding a nearly uncontrollable balefire rod, Moghedien escapes her shield and flees. Nynaeve secures the ter'angreal but the Forsaken and Black Ajah all escapes thanks to the chaotic situation.
The girls' party and Amathera escape the rioting mob through sides streets to return to the Three Plum Court down the Calpene (E). The Panarch's Palace is set on fire. It is decided to give the ter'angreal that can bind and control a male channeller to Bayle Domon and Egeanin to throw in a deep area of the Aryth Ocean. Fatefully, the area chosen by Domon is near Cantorin, were the Seanchan have established their secret base. The Black Sisters regrouped and fled to Amador. Hidden at the Three Plum court as a servant, Amathera will manage to contact the Legion and re-establish herself as Panarch of Tarabon. Nynaeve, Elayne, Juilin and Thom leave Tanchico disguised as dye traders, heading unknowingly in the same direction taken by the Black Sisters, and Moghedien...
About the Map:
The map of Tanchico is based on the basic layout created by Elisa Mitchell for the map featured in The Shadow Rising. However, the streets layout of this map is sketchy at best, and not faithful to Jordan's description of the city : several buildings, for instance, are way too huge - Stone of Tear sized, and large areas are not drawn, in order to put text over them. The winding streets described in the book are especially not well represented.
I have attempted to capture Tanchico and its flavour more faithfully on the map, by following Jordan's descriptions a lot more closely than Mitchell's map - which was obviously meant to give the readers just the basic features to follow the action of the book. I kept several of Mitchell's buildings - like the palaces, the circles and several military buildings - adding a maze of winding streets and hills and all those small buildings, mostly whitewashed wooden homes and white stone buildings. The Great Harbour of the Calpene is another addition, as well as roads to Amadicia and Arad Doman, though another problem with Mitchell's map is that it doesn't show well the city's gates. The river trade makes it somewhat unlikely there is a bridge over the river, it's more probably a ferry system that is there - as is used in Cairhien and Tear.
The locations shown on the map are not exact but approximated from RJ's descriptions. The Garden of Silver Breezes is below the Great Circle and above a sharp drop, giving it a view over the Great Harbour. The girls docked a mile south of the Great Circle. Domon rented a room nearby. The Three Plum Court is above the harbour, near the tip of the Calpene. There is no information to narrow down the area of the house rented by Egeanin.
The palace seized by Carridin in 'on the Verana'. Placing it above the Panarch's palace is just an educated guess - he doesn't mention passing the palace and circle going back there from the Calpene. The location of the merchant's house occupied by the Black Ajah is also approximate - it is located at the base of the Verana.
The chronology of the events follows Steven Cooper's Tellings of the Wheel, the best chronology site around.
Here are some of the quotes from The Shadow Rising used to design the map:
Hidden Faces: "The Garden of Silver Breezes was not a garden at all but a huge wineshop, much too large to be called a shop really, atop a hill centered on the Calpene, the westernmost of Tanchico's three peninsulas below the Great Circle. A part of the name, at least, came from the breezes that wafted in where polished green-streaked marble columns and balustrades replaced one wall except on the topmost floor. Golden oiled-silk curtains could be lowered in case of rain. The hill fell away sharply on that side, and the tables along the balustrades gave a clear view, across white domes and spires, of the great harbor, crowded with more ships than ever."
Hidden Faces: "in the narrow streets that wound through the city's hills"
Hidden Faces: "The ragged folk in the twisty streets got out of his way, which was to the good"
Hidden Faces: "At the palace on the Verana he had commandeered for the Children's headquarters, he tossed his reins to one of the white-cloaked guards and stalked inside without returning their salutes. The owner of this ornate mass of pale domes and lacy spires and shaded gardens had put forward a claim to the Throne of the Light, and no one complained at the occupation. Least of all the owner; what was left of his head still adorned a spike above the Traitors' Steps, on the Maseta."
Hidden Faces: "There is no way I can hold against the Panarch's Legion, and against whatever Andric can strip from the Ring forts."
Hidden Faces: "The house she and the others had taken, two sprawling stories of flat-roofed stone and white plaster on a hillside at the base of the Verana"
A Cup of Wine: "Beyond the long wharves the city rose on hills, shining white, domed and spired, with polished weather vanes glittering. Perhaps a mile north she could make out high, round walls; the Great Circle, if she remembered correctly."
A Cup of Wine: "From across the wide street along the row of docks, hundreds of defeated, sunken faces stared at the guards."
A Cup of Wine: "A sign above the gate of the white-plastered inn Domon took them to, below the Great Circle, proclaimed the Three Plum Court. The only court Elayne saw was the high-walled courtyard paved with flagstones in front of the inn, which was three square stories with no windows near the ground and the upper windows grilled with fanciful ironwork."
Veils: "The crowds were thick in the confined winding streets of the Calpene near the Great Circle...From there she could see over the heads of the crowd, Cramped streets ran off in every direction, twisting around the hills. Bends and white-plastered buildings cut her view to less than a hundred paces at best, but Gelb could not have gone farther than that in those few moments... they walked on in silence through the murmurs of the crowd all the way back down the peninsula to the Three Plum Court. All this walking was making Elayne's feet ache."
Veils: "Bayle Domon is mired in that little room down near the docks, tying up his affairs in case he has to run, but he has agreed to provide fifty picked men, tough fellows used to a brawl and handy with knife or sword."
Revelations in Tanchico: "No. They rampage through the streets, pulling people from the carriages, and then burn the Grand Hall of the Assembly. Perhaps the word comes that the army, it has won a battle – or lost one – and the mob rises against those who serve Domani food. Or maybe it burns warehouses on the Calpene docks. Who can say?"
Into the Palace: "Here the street ran into a square behind the Panarch's Palace, a much smaller square than the one in front. Beyond, the palace stood in piles of white marble, slender towers banded with lacy stonework, snowy domes capped with gold and topped by golden spires or weather vanes. The streets to either side were much wider than most in Tanchico, and straighter."
Into the Deep: "The milling mass lasted several streets away from the palace, but once they broke clear the narrow twisting ways were almost empty. Those who were not actually involved in the riot seemed wise enough to stay clear of it. The sailors spread out a little, giving the women more room. Any straggler who looked in their direction got hard stares, though. The streets of Tanchico were still the streets of Tanchico. Somehow that surprised Nynaeve. It seemed that she had been weeks inside the palace. Surely the city should be different."