CoT: Something Flickers

Mat POV#

Early the next morning the dice in Mat's head start rolling again. Mat promised to take Tuon into town to shop for dress material. Mat sent Thom and Juilin into Jurador last night to make sure there were no Seanchan. Domon thinks it is madness, but Egeanin reminds him that Tuon gave her word not to try to escape. Mat thinks that it does not matter. His ta'veren-ness will either keep them safe or bring him face to face with Suroth, whichever the Pattern wants. He does not think they will be safe until they cross the Damona Mountains into Murandy.

Mat goes to Tuon's purple wagon, passing the four Chavana brothers including Brugh Chavana, Taeric Chavana and Barit Chavana on his way. Tuon waits with Selucia while Gorderan stands guard. Mat refuses to honor her with a title as long as she continues to call him "Toy". They walk out of the camp while Luca and Latelle ready the show for performance. As they walk to the town, Mat has to dodge a number of people who seem to walk right at him.

A moment later, the road is empty.[1] The guards at the town gate are local. Lady Aethelaine swore the Oaths of the Return so the Seanchan have left the town alone. Salt is the major commerce of Jurador and the salt merchants really run the town. They pass Aludra talking with a salt merchant.[2] Thom walks by yawning. Lopin and Nerim told Mat that he stays up late every night rereading the letter Mat delivered.[3] Mat spots Edesina and is furious that she is careless showing her face. Two cloaked women follow her. Mat watches them, wondering if they are two of the sul'dam[4] and where Teslyn and Joline are.

He turns back and Tuon and Selucia are nowhere to be seen. In a panic, Mat spins in a circle then walks straight ahead to a shop. Tuon and Selucia are there. He is just in time to stop the angry shopkeeper from sending her assistant, Nelsa, for the town guards. Nevertheless, the dice do not stop. Tuon buys yards of silk and linen then they head back to the show.

Juilin runs up with news that Egeanin is injured. They all run to Mat's wagon where Domon is holding Egeanin. Luca tries to shoo away onlookers such as Miyora, the leopard trainer, but they ignore him. Domon says that Renna stabbed her in the back and fled. Vanin and the Redarms, Lopin, Nerim and Olver are looking for her but the crowd is too thick. Teslyn arrives. Joline is better at Healing, but there is no time so she Heals Egeanin.[5] There is no way to know who might have seen what and what tales might spread. Egeanin says that Renna stabbed her because she is the only one who knows her secret. She tells the others that the a'dam works on sul'dam as well as damane. The sul'dam must be able to channel. Teslyn is shocked. Selucia is furious and steps toward Domon until Tuon stops her.[6] Mat realizes that he is destined to marry a woman who can channel.[7]

Harnan, Gorderan, Metwyn and Fergin arrive on horseback with Pips. They report that Renna stole a horse and is headed to Coramen. Vanin is following. She is bareback so they can probably catch her. Mat tells Luca to pack up the show and get moving as fast as he can. Juilin questions whether they should leave Tuon and Selucia behind, but Mat says everyone goes. The five of them head out and soon catch up to Vanin. Mat thinks of those who will die if they do not catch Renna: Luca and Latelle, Petra and Clarine. They follow the road, pacing the horses, and catch up to Renna as she is climbing a rise. Before they can reach her she will be over the rise and in sight of the Seanchan camp at Coramen. Mat feels something flicker and die inside him as he orders Harnan to shoot. Harnan kills her with a crossbow dart. She rolls downhill and into a stream that connects to the Eldar River.[8] Mat thinks to himself that he will never kill a woman again, even if it is his life.[9]

They return to Jurador to find that the show has not yet left. At Luca's wagon Tuon and Selucia are waiting with Luca and Latelle. Tuon ordered them to stay and gave Luca a warrant putting his show under her personal protection. Mat reports that Renna is dead. Tuon orders him not to mourn her; she was a traitor who deserved to die. Tuon tells Mat that his name is not on the warrant, but he notes that she is wearing the cluster of rosebuds. Not knowing what else to do, Mat just laughs.

More Mat POV

Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] The fourth appearance of ghosts, this time on a road in the early morning. For a discussion on this new development see the FAQ, Section 1.6.3.
[#2] Why is an Illuminator interested in salt? The salt mines may also be a source of saltpeter, a critical ingredient for gunpowder.
[#3] The letter from Moiraine. She promised to reveal the names of the Red Ajah who gentled Owyn. (TSR,Ch17, LoC,Ch40) Why is Thom moping so over the letter?
[#4] They must be Bethamin and Seta.
[#5] By the way, where is Joline?
[#6] Probably with the intent of killing Egeanin and her imputed threat to Tuon.
[#7] This must be a most interesting revelation for Tuon as well!
[#8] If the Seanchan ever find her body it does not apparently help in their hunt for Tuon.
[#9] Plenty of foreshadowing here.

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