The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 46
Chapter Icon: Ancient Aes Sedai Symbol
Point of View: Rand
Rand is wounded and weak, but still insists on going into conquered Cairhien. Aviendha tries to persuade him to stay and rest, but after failing to do so, she agrees to let him go if he can find his clothes. Rand finds his clothes hidden underneath Aviendha and, true to her word, she lets him ride out, provided that she accompany him.
Rand rides out towards Cairhien accompanied by Aviendha, Pevin (his banner man) and Asmodean. He takes notice of the many Shaido prisoners who have been made gai'shain, and worries about their loyalty to ji'e'toh. He also sees the scarlet-head-banded siswai'aman for the first time.
When Rand arrives in Cairhien, he is greeted with the sight of death: a field swarming with flies, ravens and vultures. The Cairhien Foregate has been burned to ashes, as well. The people of Cairhien, however, cheer him as he enters.
As Rand enters the city beyond the gates, he is greeted by High Lord Meilan and a dozen lesser Tairen lords. They are angered and surprised, since Rand did not let them know he was coming. They accompany him to the meeting at the Royal Palace of Cairhien, together with an escort of twenty Maidens chosen by Sulin.
When Rand gets to the palace, he is greeted by the remaining Tairen High Lords. They get angry at Meilan for going to greet Rand on his own. He puts them off-balance by smiling warmly to some and giving cool, hostile looks to the others.
As Rand enters the Grand Hall of the Sun, he is offered the Sun Throne. He refuses it, saying that it belongs to someone else.
Rand notices that the Tairen lords take up the front rows. He tells the nobles to assemble themselves by rank, so that the Cairhienin nobility can have their rightful place. He then orders that the Tairen flags that fly above the city should remain, but all but one Dragon banner should be taken down and replaced with the banners of Cairhien. After hearing his orders, the Cairhien nobility cheer him as well.
Agreeing with advice that Moiraine has given him, Rand takes oaths of fealty from all the nobles present in the Grand Hall of the Sun, Cairhienin and Tairen alike.
Lews Therin's voice agrees that taking their oaths of loyalty, even if only on the surface, is the best way to be sure that Cairhien is behind him for the strike that he is planning against Sammael.