— Mat to himself while Aviendha rides behind him on Pips
|<<< A Sudden Chill >>>|
|Setting: Salidar, Altara|
Point of view: Matrim Cauthon
Mat and the Band are riding toward Salidar in the burning heat of what should be a fall day. Aviendha is walking beside him as she has all three days of the journey since Rand put them through a Gateway from Cairhien. Vanin returns and reports Warders captured two of their scouts and Salidar is only eight to ten miles away. Vanin slipped into the village and figures there are three hundred Aes Sedai, perhaps more, plus an army twice the size of Mat's off to the north.
Aviendha heads off on her own, so Mat gives command of the Band to Talmanes and catches up to her with just a few others of the Band, including the bannermen. To Mat's surprise, Aviendha insists on riding behind him on the horse. In the village, Mat sees Birgitte with a bow, but doesn't recognize her from Falme when he blew the Horn of Valere (or from the memories given him by the Finn). Mat asks after Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve and an Aes Sedai leads him to the Little Tower to meet with the Amyrlin. A crowd begins to gather around. Anaiya brings Nicola who can see a glow around Mat since she has the Talent for seeing ta'veren. The rest of the Aes Sedai are focused on Aviendha, recognizing that she can channel and has enormous strength compared to them. The Aes Sedai begin asking Aviendha questions with the intention of getting her to become a Novice.
Nynaeve appears and asks Mat if he has anything to do with the dragonsworn army nearby and he replies that he is in command, but they are not dragonsworn. Nynaeve leads him to a room with Elayne and Egwene, with Egwene wearing the Amyrlin's stole. Mat snatches it off her shoulders and dresses her down for pretending to be the Amyrlin. The foxhead medallion goes cold when one of the women tries to use the Power to stop him. Mat begins a long string of orders to the three women and won't listen to what they are trying to tell them. A Novice comes in to see if Egwene needs anything and addresses her as Mother.