Lord of Chaos begins with Rand trying to juggle ruling both Cairhein and Camelyn and fending off plotting nobles long enough to hand the thrones over to Elayne.
Though he has concerns about the man’s loyalty and ambition, Rand placed false Dragon Mazrim Taim in charge of his school for men who can channel, whom he names “Asha’man.” The school comes to be known by the name “The Black Tower.”
Meanwhile, both the White Tower and the rebels in Salidar have sent emissaries to try to convince Rand that their faction are willing and able to support him. Alanna and Verin, who have not aligned with either faction yet, also arrived in Caemlyn, with a cache of Two Rivers girls who can learn to channel in tow. When Rand met with them, Alanna bonded Rand without his consent, further increasing his distrust of Aes Sedai. Eventually, Alanna and Verin decided to throw their lot in with the Salidar rebels, though Verin appeared to have her own plans for using the embassy.
Egwene, who was still training with the Wise Ones and recovering from the injuries inflicted upon her by Lanfear in Cairhein, discovered that Gawyn had accompanied the Tower Aes Sedai and believing Rand had killed his mother, wanted to kill him. However, Egwene and Gawyn professed their love for each other and Gawyn agreed not to raise a hand against Rand.
Prompted by Siuan’s manipulation of the Salidar Aes Sedai, Egwene was summoned to Salidar to be raised to the Amyrlin Seat. The Salidar Aes Sedai hoped they would be able to control her, but Egwene had other plans and one of her first rebellious moves was to raise her friends Nynaeve and Elayne to full Aes Sedai and send them off to Ebou Dar to search for a ter’angreal that they believed could fix the unnatural heat and drought that was plaguing most of the world. This action also disrupted Rand’s plan to have Matt and his Band of the Red Hand bring Elayne to Caemlyn so she could be crowned and Matt ended up accompanying Elayne and Nynaeve to Ebou Dar instead, along with Thom and Juilin.
Elayne and Nynaeve had gained some notoriety of their own in Salidar, as a result of passing off “discoveries” they had gained by controlling Moghedein via the a’dam Elayne made, as their own. Nynaeve further complicated matters by accidently healing Logain and restoring his ability to channel. She was also able to restore Siuan and Leane’s ability, though they were much weaker in the power than they had been before being stilled.
Egwene took over control of Moghedien when Elayne and Nynaeve left for Ebou Dar and forced her to teach Egwene how to travel, though she merely confirmed what Egwene had already puzzled out on her own. Once Egwene, with the aid of Leane and Siuan was able to manipulate the Salidar Aes Sedai into marching on Tar Valon with their army and Matt’s band in tow, Egwene intentionally freed Logain, hoping that he would join Rand. One of the forsaken, disguised as a camp follower, freed Moghedien that same night.
Back in Caemlyn, someone arranged for one of the Salidar Aes Sedai to be attacked in such a way that it made it look like Rand was trying to send a message. The Salidar Aes Sedai retaliated against Rand and then when the two Aes Sedai who had been sent to look for Rand in the Aiel Waste arrived, bringing the number of Aes Sedai in Camelyn to 13, Rand panicked and fled to Cairhein, taking Perrin, who had been drawn to re-join Rand by ta’veren pulling, Min, who had come with the Salidar Aes Sedai, Faile and Loial with him.
The Tower Aes Sedai set a trap for Rand, disguising several younger Aes Sedai as servants to hide their numbers and trapping him and carrying him out of the palace inside of a chest. They also took Min prisoner. Using Rand’s habit of traveling without alerting his Aiel guards to give them a head start, the Tower Aes Sedai, led by a Red sister named Galina and escorted by Gawyn and his Younglings, set off for the White Tower, with Rand still confined and shielded in a box. They tortured him severely along the way.
Once they determined the Aes Sedai had captured Rand, Perrin organized and led a party of soldiers, Aiel and Wise Ones, along with Loial to rescue Rand from the Aes Sedai. Along the route, Perrin’s band of Two Rivers men encountered the Salidar Aes Sedai, who had been traveling to Cairhien to attempt to approach Rand again and they joined Perrin’s group in their attempt to rescue Rand.
Perrin and his group caught up to the Tower Aes Sedai at Dumai’s Wells and discovered they were already battling with the Shaido. Perrin and his supporters attempted to fight their way through both Aes Sedai and Shaido to get to Rand, but it appeared they would all die in the attempt, when suddenly Rand’s Asha’man began arriving by gateway and joined the battle.
Once the Tower Aes Sedai were distracted enough by the battle, Rand managed to free himself from the shield and the box and rescue Min. Meanwhile, the Asha’man began to turn the tide of the battle in Rand’s favor.
Mazram Taim wanted to take Rand and flee the battle, leaving most of the Aiel and Two Rivers men to their fate, but Rand ordered the Asha’man to continue the battle. The Asha’man gruesomely destroyed the Shaido, until they and the remaining Tower Aes Sedai and Younglings fled the battle.
Rand then demanded and received an oath of fealty from the Salidar Aes Sedai, fulfilling one of the prophecies of the Dragon Reborn.