"Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live, and twice to die."
   — Thom from the Karaethon Cycle

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Setting: Cairhien


Point of view: Rand

Rand gets back to The Defender of the Dragonwall and convinces Loial to come with him to see Thom. They go to the The Bunch of Grapes and the innkeeper sends them up to his room. Dena is waiting there, practicing her juggling. She tells Rand that she will become the first woman gleeman. Thom enters and Dena and he kiss, making Rand uncomfortable. He complains about a group of 'players' that pretend to be different heroes from legend. She introduces Rand and Loial and Thom sends her to collect her knives.

Thom tells Rand that he had word about him from Basel Gill. Rand offers Thom a part in a big adventure and tells him that they have The Horn of Valere. Thom doesn't believe him. When he tells him Moiraine also says it is the Horn of Valere, he stops laughing. He tells him that Trollocs and Myrddraal are after them and tells them about their plans for the Horn. Thom doesn't want any of the glory.

Rand asks Loial to leave he and Thom alone. When he is gone, he asks Thom about the Karaethon Cycle. Thom quotes some of the prophecies and is suspicious about Rand. Rand says that no Aes Sedai are going to use him and that Moiraine is far away. After prompting, Thom tells Rand about Owyn and how Aes Sedai gentled him gave him no chance. Rand tries to convince Thom to come with them once again, but Thom refuses. He is happy enough with life and with Dena. He doesn't want to be tangled up in events and won't even let Rand tell him what inn he is staying in.

Point of view: Thom Merrilin

Thom is tempted to follow Rand with the Horn of Valere, but still decides against it. The innkeeper, Zera, accuses him of getting himself involved in the Great Game again. Thom says that Rand is only a shepherd from the Two Rivers, but she doesn't believe him, thinking that he must be an outlander Lord instead. She warns him that the Game has become more dangerous and that he shouldn't be playing at so many Lords' manors. She urges him to settle down and to marry Dena. Thom thinks it would be unfair to burden the girl with an old husband.