Mat and the Band of the Red Hand have been traveling through Altara for three days. Olver rides the horse Mat gave him. It is still hot despite being less than one month to the Feast of Lights. The second night out Olver tried to kill Aviendha for being Aiel. He seems to make Aviendha uneasy. Mat is worried because he thinks Aviendha intends to kill Elayne. Vanin returns from scouting. Two of his men, Mar and Ladwin, were captured by Warder. He reports that there are maybe three hundred Aes Sedai in Salidar. Mat is angry because Rand told him to expect only fifty. There is also an army twice the size of the Band of the Red Hand. Mat orders Talmanes, Nalesean and Daerid to halt and set up defenses. He leaves Talmanes in charge and heads off with Aviendha, Vanin and two bannermen.
They reach Salidar early that afternoon. There are no flies in Salidar. Mat spots a golden-haired woman who looks familiar. He stops and asks a thin, dark haired Aes Sedai about Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve. She takes him to the Little Tower. Anaiya comes up bringing Nicola to look at Mat. She says she can see a glow around Mat. Anaiya is delighted that she has discovered a Talent, seeing that he is ta'veren. Another Aes Sedai, an Illianer with a bony face and brown hair, asks Aviendha about channeling. Pretty soon she is surrounded by Aes Sedai and looking harried.
Nynaeve comes to the door and leads Mat to a room in the Little Tower where Egwene and Elayne are waiting. Egwene wears the Amyrlin's stole. Mat grabs her and the foxhead medallion goes cold. Egwene looks puzzled, but Elayne and Nynaeve are shocked. He thinks they are playing games and offers to get them out of trouble. He tells them that he knows Egwene can Travel, so she should just make a gateway back to Caemlyn. Rand will send her back to the Wise Ones. Rand will offer protection to the Salidar Aes Sedai if they swear fealty to him. A novice, Tabitha, enters and addresses Egwene as "Mother." Egwene sends her away to fetch Sheriam. Mat stares openmouthed.
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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] Olver named him Wind. (LoC,Ch44)
[#3] Mat's army is six or seven thousand (LoC,Ch39) making Gareth Bryne's army about twelve to fourteen thousand.
[#4] One of them is Verdin. (LoC,Ch40)
[#5] The Blue Ajah has a secret weave for controlling insects (NS,Ch21) and it seems that other sisters may know it as well. (TPoD,Ch3)
[#6] Birgitte. He will finally recognize her in ACoS,Ch21.
[#7] The description is not distinctive enough to do more than guess at who she is.
[#8] Actually it was Egwene who channeled at him. (LoC,Ch39)
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