LoC: Heading South

Mat POV#

Mat rides south on Pips. He is juggling and wonders if Thom is still alive. He thinks that Elayne and Nynaeve likely got him killed. He is riding with Daerid, Talmanes and Nalesean. They have been leading the Band of the Red Hand south from Maerone along the Erinin River for eleven days; they are halfway to Tear. Riverboats bring them supplies from Maerone. There are Aes Sedai on the other side of the river heading both ways.[1] They have heard rumors of the Red Ajah setting up Logain and of Dragonsworn in Murandy. Chel Vanin, Mat's head scout, returns with news of a discovery. He takes Mat to the remains of a Tinker camp. The TuathaAn were slaughtered. A note on a wagon reads, "Tell the Dragon Reborn." Mat has the Band make camp avoiding the site. As night falls Mat sits outside his tent. He reads the inscription on his spear, "Thus is our treaty written; thus is agreement made. Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades. What was asked is given; the price is paid." He thinks he got the worst of the deal. Suddenly he hears a noise and sees figures moving. He sees Talmanes approaching and shouts a warning. The dozen Aiel are killed at the cost of half again as many of Mat's men. Mat orders a ditch and palisade around the camp every night. As Mat goes back to his tent he sees that it is sliced open. There are also very cleanly cut ropes and grass indicating that the Aiel came through a gateway. One of the Forsaken sent the Aiel for him.[2] Olver comes up to see if he is okay. Edorion got him some shoes. Mat thought Olver was still in Maerone, but Olver says no one there really wanted him. Olver takes care of Burdin's horses. Talmanes sends his personal servant, Nerim, to tend to Mat's wounds. Olver has a Snakes and Foxes game that his father made. Mat offers him a coin but Olver refuses to take it saying he is not a beggar. Instead, Mat "hires" him as his personal messenger and says he will give him a horse.[3]

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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] Who are they and where are they going?
[#2] Sammael or one of the others?
[#3] Olver will name the horse Wind. (LoC,Ch44)

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