"The more women there are about, the softer a wise man steps."
   —Saying in Arad Doman

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Setting: Rhuidean, the Aiel Waste

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Rand is angry at Natael for channeling where Egwene might have seen him. Natael is really the Forsaken Asmodean and has been forced to be tutor to Rand by another Forsaken, Lanfear. Natael explains linking, that men cannot join together without a woman, while women can join together, up to thirteen before a man is needed. He warns Rand that thirteen women linked―even the thirteen weakest―can overpower any man. They discuss the other Forsaken but Natael does not know where they are except that Sammael is in Illian and that Rahvin has a queen as a pet. As sunset approaches, gai'shain bring in food and drink for supper.

Rand channels and ties off a weave that will keep Natael in the room. With the Maidens as a guard of honor, he heads toward his sleeping chamber in the same building where the Maidens have their society.

Point of view: Matrim Cauthon

Mat is singing Jak o' the Shadows while playing a drinking and knife accuracy game with some Aiel. Mat grimaces when he realizes the song is from his memories and has not been sung for a long time. Even though light is fading, Mat wishes to continue the game and boasts he could hit the target blindfolded. When challenged about his boasting, he proceeds to demonstrate that he can hit the target blindfolded. He then sits and muses about the memories of battles that he can recall so clearly even though he was not alive for those battles. Melindhra approaches Mat and ask if he can always hit targets blindfolded. He replies usually, and gives her a necklace. She tells him that she accepts his offer. Mat does not know what offer he made, so he leaves her when he sees Rand walking nearby.

He calls to Rand and gets no answer, so finally he calls to Lews Therin and Rand stops and turns. Mat tells Rand he would like to leave with the peddler wagons when they head for Tar Valon. Rand gives permission but tells Mat to not trust Kadere, not an inch. Mat asks Melindhra as he usually does with women, if "Daughter of the Nine Moons" means anything to her. When she says no, Mat happily goes off with her.







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