Actually, that was more Mr. Jordan filling space. The series kept doing so well that the publisher kept changing his contract for 'one more book', or so the rumour went at the time, I have no evidence. Either way, until about book... 6? I loved the series, but that's when I realized the story rambled with no real direction. Make no mistake, it rambled really well and in engaging ways, but it just dragged on, and on.
Glad people still enjoy it, but I've left it behind a long time ago. I still love the swordmaster 'crane marked' symbology, though.
I've read all the books 2x and I can assure that it wasn't "Mr. Jordan filling space." If the books are read while thinking about the details it can be seen very clearly that every detail has meaning.
Now I'm not saying that normal setting material all has meaning. However, when he's describing the color and bands on a woman's dress it does have meaning. Usually he's telling you something about where they come from, who they follow, and what they believe in. Which in terms of the books, can tell you if they are lying, if they are a darkfriend, if they have loyalties to specific royal houses, or to other interests. It can even give a foreshadowing of things to come.
He even takes great pains into going into details about "Daes Dae'mar" known as the game of houses and the politics behind it just to show how important the details are. Then he shows you with character examples how each of the empires play off of one another. This is further reflected in the Hall of the White Tower and the Ajahs. Which also gets reflected in the Black Tower and every other part of the book.
There is even a point in the prequel book where he points out that the Amyrlin sealed every envelope to every Ajah with a wax seal the same color as the Ajah. Then later in the book she sends out letters and one of them has a different colored wax seal on it. It was there to tell you something (I won't spoil it.)
Then to further that point even more the next Amyrlin who is a mean spirited battleaxe intentionally doesn't use the proper colors, just to insult all the Ajahs but her own. Which is a foreshadowing of repercussions that ripple throughout the White Tower right up until the time of the currents books timeline.
Reading further in the books reveals it all. However, I understand why you gave up on reading it - many people did. It's just not some peoples thing. (Just like I can't stand the way George RR Martin kills off every main character.)
Robert Jordan was a well known author before he created The Wheel of Time so after he proposed the trilogy to his publisher they accepted. However because of his fame they gave him freedom to do as he wished as an author (his name alone sold books). When it became clear he was going to take longer to finish the series they gave him all the room/books he needed to write.
Even his last book was meant to be one large volume and when Brandon Sanderson got his hands on it, he had to tell them that there was no way he could fit it all into one book. So it became 3.
Plus, every story line that you read gets wrapped up in the last several books. The reason the books are so big is because it's not a typical Epic Fantasy with one or two hero's instead there are half a dozen main stars. It would be like as if Tolkien had incorporated the story of the Aragorn, and Gandalf fully into the books - it would have taken him several more books to complete the tale. Robert Jordan just didn't hold it back from us, he let us have it all. Unfortunately for many it meant that they didn't have the patience to make it through the story.
One last quick note.. It was a Heron-Mark sword
. You were close.
"Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true."