LoC: Chapter 44
The Color of Trust
Mat POV - After Vanin leaves, Mat and his four men1 stay in the stable because all the inns are full of Aes Sedai. Mat goes back to the Little Tower, but a prune-faced Brown Ajah sister2 will not let him in. He searches the village but cannot find Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom, or Juilin. That evening the party for the new Amyrlin continues. Mat dances with Halima. She asks lots of questions and tries to lead. As he leaves, the foxhead medallion goes cold and she looks shocked.3 A plump, pretty young woman2 tells him that Halima is Delana's secretary. Birgitte dances with an ugly guy.4 He winds up standing next to Myrelle who offers to bond him as her Warder. He asks a pretty young woman to dance and is shocked to hear Siuan's voice. He gets another shock when Leane dances with him and gives him a kiss.
The next morning, Vanin is back. He reports that Talmanes will hold. Olver came, too. During the day, Mat gets five offers of bonding; the first is from Delana.
The next day, mid-afternoon, Egwene summons him. She is in her study with Elayne, Nynaeve and Aviendha. She tells him that he is going to Ebou Dar with them, then dismisses him.
The next morning Mat prepares to leave. He tells Talmanes to follow the Salidar Aes Sedai if they leave. Talmanes loans Mat his manservant Nerim. Nerim is readying Pips. Nalesean is also going with his manservant Lopin. Mat also has Vanin and a dozen cavalrymen from the Band of the Red Hand with him.5 Olver is also going. He named his horse Wind. Adeleas and Vandene are there as well as an elderly Warder, Jaem. Thom and Juilin arrive. Thom apologizes for avoiding Mat. Elayne ordered him to. Mat comments on the letter.6 Thom says a woman might be a friend, an enemy or a lover and you do not know until it is too late.7 He gives the example of Aludra who chose not to know him when they met again in the menagerie. Thom tells him that they will open a gateway to a point five or six days' travel from Ebou Dar. There are lots of farms closer and someone might be hurt. Adeleas and Vandene are not strong enough to open a gateway. Egwene arrives with the Sitters and Sheriam and her circle. Elayne opens a gateway and they start their journey to Ebou Dar.
Egwene POV - After the gateway closes Egwene hopes that Elayne and Nynaeve can keep Mat out of trouble. She needed to get him away from the Band of the Red Hand. She tells the Sitters and Sheriam and her circle that it is time to get on with it. Talmanes studies them a minute, then rides off. Romanda and Lelaine agree that they really need to get away from him. She hopes Mat left the right instructions for Talmanes. Siuan left plenty of hints for Vanin to find that they are preparing to move. They are leaving immediately to join Lord Bryne.8
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