Padan Fain crosses the Wagon Bridge on his wagon and stops in front of the Winespring Inn. He is a pale, skinny fellow with gangly arms and a massive beak of a nose. He has been driving his wagon into Emond's Field for as long as Rand can remember but he first took notice of Rand, Mat and Perrin the year before. The Village Council exits the inn. Perrin joins Rand and Mat. Perrin is half a head shorter than Rand with curly hair, stocky, and thick arms and shoulders. He is an apprentice blacksmith. Fain silences the crowd. He says that spring is late everywhere and there are wolves everywhere as well. There is also war. Armies march to Ghealdan. It seems there is a false Dragon in Ghealdan in the Dhallin Forest. The crowd starts talking. There had been no one claiming to be the Dragon in twenty years and now there are three in the last five years. The last false Dragon started a war and laid siege to Illian. Fain does not know if this is a false Dragon or not but he does know that the man can wield the One Power. He also says that a party of Aes Sedai has already ridden from Tar Valon to take him. Bran al'Vere, at the urging of Tam al'Thor, suggests that Fain come inside the inn and talk to the Village Council. They do and the crowd disperses. Mat, Rand and Perrin gather together. They talk about their knowledge of the Dragon, Aes Sedai and the Dark One. Some believe that the Dragon Reborn will save mankind but few will speak of it because they are afraid of Aes Sedai and Children of the Light. They recall that Bili Congar named the Dark One then had bad luck. Nynaeve approaches them then. She has been tending Mistress Ayellin who has a fever. Egwene is standing a few paces behind her. Nynaeve has been teaching her, sensing that she has the talent. Nynaeve asks the boys why they are talking about those things. Rand explains that Fain arrived and told them all about it. He tells her that they are all in the inn. Nynaeve goes inside the inn. Mat and Perrin move away and let Rand and Egwene talk alone. Egwene shows Rand her braided hair. They continue to talk, have a misunderstanding, and Egwene walks a few steps away. Mat and Perrin return. Mat tells Rand that Moiraine gave Perrin a coin also, and that Perrin also saw the rider, yesterday at twilight. Egwene wants to know what they are talking about, and Mat and Perrin both tell her. Then the door of the inn opens and "a man with shaggy white hair came hurrying out as if pursued."
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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] Having been sent to hunt for the Dragon Reborn.
[#2] The false Dragon is Logain.
[#3] Gorin Rogad laid siege to Illian about two years ago. (LoC,Ch2) The third false Dragon is never identified.
[#4] The rider is a Fade.
[#5] He is Thom Merrilin.
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