TFoH: Before the Arrow

Mat POV#

Mat is in his tent debating whether or not he should leave. Rand's ta'veren pull seems to be weakening. He knows his foxhead medallion will keep him safe from Aes Sedai. He goes to Rand's tent to tell him that he is leaving. On the way, he sees Kadere's wagons in a circle. He stays in his wagon most of the time. At Moiraine's request there is a heavy Aiel guard around them. There is no one in Rand's tent but Jasin Natael. Mat does not like him and wonders how he is always neat and sweat free.

While he waits for Rand, Mat studies the maps on the floor. Couladin has 160,000 spears around Cairhien. All the Aiel clans have now crossed the Dragonwall. The Shiande, Codarra, Daryne and Miagoma are nearby and their intent is not clear. They have about as many spears between them as Couladin. The seven clans with Rand have about as many spears as the other two forces together. Lan enters and asks Mat what he thinks of the situation. He gets Mat to talk and Mat quickly outlines a detailed battle plan. He mentions sites of ancient battles, Jenje, Cuaindaigh Fords, Tora Shan and Sulmein Gap. Natael stares at Mat in amazement and Mat realizes how his tongue has been running. Mat turns and sees Rand at the door. Mat says he is leaving and Rand says okay. Perrin went when he had to go as well. Mat thinks he will go south, but he is not sure what to do about Melindhra. Rand suggests that he not talk to Egwene. It would be the same as telling Moiraine and the Wise Ones. Outside the tent, the clan chiefs and three Tairens pointedly ignore him.[1] The dice seem to be spinning in his head[2] and Mat whistles as he plans his departure.

More Mat POV

Rand POV#

Rand sees Mat enter his tent and sends Lan to ask a few subtle questions.[3] A bit later he goes to his tent and hears the end of Mat's exposition. After Mat leaves, Lan tells Rand that Mat almost exactly outlined the plan that the clan chiefs made. Rand now knows for sure that Mat gained military knowledge from the twisted red doorway. He hopes that Mat enjoys his freedom and that Perrin and Faile are happy, but he knows that he will eventually draw them back. Rand has Lews Therin's memory of planning great battles. Rand has Lan bring in the clan chiefs, Rhuarc, Bael, Bruan, Dhearic, Erim, Han and Jheran, and Weiramon and his two escorts.[1] They discuss the final details of the battle plan.

More Rand POV

Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] One of the two young nobles with Weiramon is Melanril. (TFoH,Ch43) The other is never identified.
[#2] This is the first clear case of dice rattling in Mat's head indicating crucial decisions and events ahead.
[#3] This happens off camera.

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