Elayne and Birgitte go to meet with the mercenary leaders in the Blue Reception Room. Deni Colford leads a new contingent of Guardswomen having replaced Devore Zarbayan and her crew. Mistress Harfor is there with a couple of maids and Halwin Norry, Careane, Sareitha and Doilin Mellar. Elayne no longer feels the need to protect Rand's babes but she still allows the rumor that they are Mellar's. She is now sure he is a villain. The mercenaries are Evard Cordwyn, Aldred Gomaisen, and Hafeen Bakuvun.
Elayne sends Mellar away, clearly annoying him. Bakuvun acknowledges that he knew Mellar years ago. The mercenaries wish the Aes Sedai would leave; they have been badgering the mercenaries about the power of the White Tower. The mercenaries requested the audience because they have been losing men and want more money. Cordwyn pinches the maids. Elayne still needs them even with the men Guybon brought. Even so, Elayne angrily refuses to give in. Sareitha and Careane remind them that the White Tower will back Elayne over Arymilla. Elayne has a hard time believing one of them or Merilille is Black Ajah. The mercenaries leave and Elayne asks the Aes Sedai and Guardswomen to leave also.
Elayne weaves Fire, Air, and a trace of Water to ward against eavesdropping. Mistress Harfor has a report from Jon Skellit. He was a spy for Naean Arawn. Arymilla and the other High Seats plan to ride into Caemlyn soon. Elenia and Naean have pledged to Arymilla. Master Norry has found an accomplished cutpurse to try to follow Mellar. The first five died.
Guardsman Afrim Hansard enters bringing Samwil Hark. Hark claims he inherited his money from an aunt in Four Kings and that he clerked for a recently deceased merchant, Wilbin Saems, but Norry has evidence that he lies. Elayne tries to emulate Morgase as an implacable judge. Instead of hanging, Elayne offers him the job of tailing Mellar then exile to Baerlon. He accepts. She weaves Spirit and lays a Finder on his clothing then sends him away. She is certain Mellar was put in place to either spy on her or arrange her kidnapping and she is determined to get his master. She knows he faked the kidnap attempt that brought him to her attention. Deni Colford returns with news that Lady Dyelin is back. When she is refreshed Elayne will meet her in the Map Room.
More Elayne POV
Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] It is not clear why, though. The last we heard, CoT,Ch11, she disliked him but did not seriously mistrust him.
[#2] But he does not divulge that Mellar is a bad seed and that he is using a false name.
[#3] One of them died in CoT,Ch15.
[#4] We finally learn more about the weave that Moiraine used on the coins she gave Rand, Mat and Perrin in TEotW,Ch2.
[#5] But it is not clear how she figured that out.
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