CoT: Blacksmith's Puzzle

Perrin POV#

Perrin and Aram show the others the Darkhound tracks. Berelain, her maid[1] and Annoura look on. Bertain Gallenne watches. With permission from Carelle, Marline and Nevarin, Masuri inspects the tracks. Perrin notes that the Wise Ones did not allow her to bring Rovair. She is an expert in Darkhound, having studied traces of seven different packs. Many believe there are few packs, seven, nine or thirteen. During the Trolloc Wars, Sorelana Alsahhan wrote that there were a hundred packs. Earlier, Ivonell Bharatiya wrote of 'numbers like unto the nightmares of mankind.' This is a new pack. It is huge, maybe fifty, instead of the normal ten or twelve. There is also a sense of urgency in the trace.[2]

Perrin hears signals from the Two Rivers men nearby. Masema is coming. Gallenne sends a rider back to camp for support. Annoura starts to join Berelain on her own, but Masuri stops and there is a heated discussion between them and the Wise Ones. The five stay together and Perrin wonders if they are now linked. Masema arrives with two or three hundred men. He rides forward with Nengar and Bartu. After some glaring back and forth, Masema announces that his men have found a large town, So Habor, a day to the southwest that has large stores of food. Perrin thinks this is a delaying tactic and says freeing Faile comes first. Gerard Arganda arrives with support bringing the numbers back in Perrin's favor. Masema and his men ride off. Gerard Arganda starts toward Perrin, but changes direction when he sees two of the scouts returning from the east.

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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] This is Rosene or Nana.
[#2] What is going on with this unusual behavior and why the urgency? Who sent them and who is their target? Possibilities include Mat, Noal, Fain or perhaps Rand. See the discussion in the FAQ, Section 1.6.4.

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