The next day Mat rides Pips next to Tuon on Akein. Selucia is with them on a new horse. Metwyn drives the Aes Sedai wagon. Mat sees ravens fly by and tells Tuon they could be spies for the Dark One. Tuon thinks it is a children's tale and asks if Mat believes that, if you sleep on Old Hob's Hill under a full moon, the snakes will give you true answers to three questions, or that foxes steal people's skins and take the nourishment from food so you can starve to death while eating your fill? Mat is startled at these references to the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. Old Hob, Caisen Hob, was a name for the Dark One in Shandalle where Artur Hawkwing was born.
They come to an odd looking village and see a peddler driving his wagon through. Mat recognizes the houses as ancient Shiotan construction. The village starts to melt into the ground. The peddler and his horses scream as they sink into the ground as well. Soon nothing is left but the road. Teslyn, Edesina, Joline, Blaeric and Fen examine the area but find nothing. People are scared to continue. Luca argues that they should continue to Lugard but most want to go back to Ebou Dar, Illian or somewhere west. Thom, Juilin, Amathera, Noal and Olver join Mat. Thom bets Mat that Luca will convince the circus to continue to Lugard and he wins. Luca and Latelle lead the troupe forward at a gallop. Tuon says the dead walking is a sign of Tarmon Gai'don.
That evening Lopin and Nerim serve dinner but no one eats much and Mat sends them to join Harnan and the Redarms. Domon and Egeanin invite Juilin and Amathera to their tent for a drink. They are all changing, becoming more accepting.
Thom reads his letter from Moiraine and Mat finally asks him about it. The letter says Thom should show it to Mat only when he asks. She writes that she will confront Lanfear shortly but she will not die. Thom, Mat and one other must try to rescue her. Mat knows the way. She wishes the best for Lan and Nynaeve. Remember the game of Snakes and Foxes. Mat is not sure; he saw the twisted red doorway melt. Olver says Birgitte told him the Tower of Ghenjei is a way to the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. Draw the Snakes and Foxes sign on it with a bronze knife to open the door. Noal says Jain Farstrider thought it was on the Shadow Coast. He describes it and Mat recognizes the description as the tower he saw after fleeing Shadar Logoth. He says Domon can lead them there. He warns them that the Aelfinn and Eelfinn know what is in his mind and tells them the whole story. Noal offers to be their third. Mat agrees to go and the final set of dice in his head stop.
More Mat POV
Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] She named the horse Rosebud. (KoD,Ch26)
[#2] The letter Moiraine gave to Rand (TFoH,Ch52) to pass to Mat (LoC,Ch33) to pass to Thom. (LoC,Ch40)
[#3] Will the third be Noal or Olver? Noal offers but Olver is the expert in Snakes and Foxes.
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