|<<< Tendrils of Mist >>>|
|Setting: The Field of Merrilor, Thakan'dar, Tel'aran'rhiod|
- Point of view: Matrim Cauthon
Mat goes looking, Dragon Banner tucked under his arm, for Grady and finds him with Olver. Unexpectedly, but not surprisingly, he sees Noal on a horse next to Olver. The two men exchange smiles and a nod before Mat compliments Grady on his work at the river.
Mat asks him for a gateway to Shayol Ghul but Grady says it can't happen. Not because he's tired, but because Shayol Ghul seems to deflect gateways; it's hardly one place anymore and a gateway can't pinpoint it. The closest he can get him is a scouting camp a days hike from the battle. Mat feels Rand's urgency and knows that isn't long enough. Olver asks if he'll be needed with the Horn.
Then Mat remembers it's a Seanchan scout camp and asks Grady to send him there.
- Point of view: Padan Fain
Padan Fain, no longer serving the light or the Shadow, delights in watching his enemies kill each other. He calls himself Shaisam now, Fain being just a body he inhabits. Really, he is the mist that rolls along the battlefield. The Trollocs he has corrupted on his journey fight other Trollocs and the Forces of the Light and everyone the mist touches fights for his personal cause.
However, the Trollocs are only a distraction, for both Padan Fain and Shaisam want Rand al'Thor, then this world will be theirs.
- Point of view: Gaul
Gaul clings to the rocks outside the Pit of Doom, a tempest of wind threatening to blow him away. Pieces of rock carried in that wind sliced his skin, but he hardly feels it. No worse than anything in the Three-Fold Land. He taunts the Dark One and the wind picks up.
He sees movement near the entrance to the cavern. Slowly moving against the wind, spear in hand, he approaches. As he gets near, Slayer spins and knocks the spear aside. Slayer attacks, but Gaul evaded at the same time the wolves leap at his attacker. Gaul withdraws, whispering a farewell to the wolves who died for him. He may not be able to talk to them as Perrin Aybara can, but they are still spear-brothers.
Slayer appears in front of the rock Gaul is behind. The man has sent decoys before, so Gaul is hesitant to attack. The wolves sniffed at him, and he started killing them. Gaul runs forward and Slayer hurls one of his own spears at him, taking him in the stomach. He falls to his knees.
Slayer laughs as he knocks the remaining wolves away with ease. Slayer befind to taunt Gaul, calling out that he is a king here, more than one of the forsaken, more than the Dark One himself. As he prepares to kill Gaul, the winds die down.
"You are not a king."
Gaul looks up and sees Perrin staring down Slayer. He tells the man Of the Shadow that this place belongs to the wolves. Gaul runs to cover as the two men clash.
- Point of view: Matrim Cauthon
Mat and Olver cling onto the back of a raken, and Mat's hat, as it soars through the air above Thakan'dar. The woman flying, Sulaan, asks if he's sure he wants to be put down in the valley. Taking a look around at the Battle below, Mat decides that's a bad idea. Sulaan agrees.
As they fly around looking for another drop-off point, Mat notices the mist. He thinks he recognises it, then he feels it. A shiver down his spine, followed by whispering in his mind. Olver points out the Darkhounds. Sulaan swoops low to find a better point and an arrow takes her and the raken gets hit in the wing. Below, red-veiled Aiel prepare to fire again.
Mat quickly undoes his straps and attempts to take control of the flying beast, telling Olver to hold on with everything he's got. He pulls the reins as hard as he can and the animal turns, narrowly avoiding a volley of arrows. The raken hits the ground in a heap, Mat and Olver not far behind.
Mat realizes he lost the Dragon Banner somewhere in the flight. Olver tells him not worry, raising the horn to his lips, we're already beneath the banner. Mat follows Olver's eyes towards the clouds and the Horn is sounded.