WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT
The circular break in the clouds over Tear is because Min is there. The sun shining on Tear parallels the emotional warmth Min feels through the bond and both have the same cause: changes in Rand after his epiphany. This is the first indication that the sun breaks through the Shadow’s cloud barrier where Rand’s three loves are, as well as where Rand is, and food and the Land are healthier. The symbolism is of Rand as Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, turning the darkness of the Shadow aside. With more power – say having the other two ta’veren with him – he could break the Shadow’s hold altogether.
Rand has been gone for three days. He was “reborn” at his epiphany but this is probably not the parallel with Christ returning from the dead after three days. More correctly, it may be the first and perhaps least of these parallels. I anticipate the main one will be at the confrontation with the Dark One, but for all I know, Jordan may be following his triplicate rule, and there will be three of them. Rand is currently missing but not lost.
Nynaeve wants Min to lead her to Rand because she was concerned Rand was so dark, but Min insists on Rand’s need for privacy. Min knows he has changed outlook (but not personality) but hasn’t told her. Perhaps she thinks Nynaeve needs to see it herself. Or perhaps it is too private a thing to speak of. Or she is just reacting against Nynaeve’s peevishness and bullying.
Min excuses what Rand did at Natrin’s Barrow as “necessary”. Nynaeve still thinks it was monstrous. She fears what Rand had become:
“I knew Rand al'Thor, and the boy still inside him. The man he's become frightens me. I always told him he needed to grow up. And then . . . and then he did." She shivered visibly.The atrocities he was manipulated into committing are not a sign of adulthood, just as his previous ethics were not a sign of childhood. Rand will show her this in the next chapter.
Towers of Midnight, An Empty Ink Bottle
Nynaeve was not going to answer Cadsuane’s summons on principle but was shown it was important. In contrast, she expected Min to do as she asked, but Min balked.
Cadsuane prefers Corele’s flippancy to other Aes Sedai’s self-importance. Corele felt no channelling when Alanna vanished, but Bera felt a small amount. This is an indication that Bera is stronger in the One Power than Corele. Cadsuane was surprised that Bera fetched her tea because there were lower ranked Aes Sedai present (Rafela, Corele).
Nynaeve is not an Aes Sedai in Cadsuane’s eyes, or so Cadsuane maintains, yet she wonders if Nynaeve is Black, rather than a Darkfriend. (This could be an error.) Cadsuane cuts Nynaeve slack over her frustration that Rand is missing.
Cadsuane knows why two Maidens are tailing Min; namely, to let Wise Ones know when Rand returns, and maybe also what Min says about him. Min disregards them because she has bigger things on her mind.
We don’t know who delivered Verin’s letter to Alanna. Its contents made her go to the Borderlands, probably to her native Arafel. The small amount of Power used that Bera sensed could have been to weave a disguise: as a servant, for instance, someone an Aes Sedai could not imagine another disguised as. A servant would be overlooked and could walk out the rear entries of the Stone unnoticed.
Cadsuane reminds Nynaeve that the Shadow can torture or Compel information about Rand and his whereabouts out of Alanna, which makes Nynaeve regret that Alanna was not better watched. Cadsuane agrees privately with Nynaeve, but disputes with her publicly. Yet only the day before Cadsuane herself appears to have coerced information out of Alanna on Rand’s location.
The tea is perfect because Rand has returned. This ties in with Min’s POV above and with Rand’s healing effect in earlier scenes in Towers of Midnight.