Mat goes to the Great Holding in the basement of the Stone of Tear and finds the twisted red doorway. He steps through and finds himself in a strange room with spiral yellow columns. He hears a voice and turns pulling a knife. The strange figure looks snake-like being very thin and having slit pupils. The snake man asks if he brought a light source, musical instrument or iron despite seeing Mat's steel knife. He then leads Mat on a strange walk though what seems to be a huge building. The view through the windows seems impossible. They finally arrive at a room with three columns. The snake man looks at Mat and slowly inhales through his mouth. He then disappears. There are three more snake people atop the columns. They also breathe deeply and Mat's skin crawls. They tell him to enter and ask. Mat asks if he should go home to his people. They study the air above his head and the woman on the left says, "You must go to Rhuidean." A bell tolls and the three figures sway. The woman says, "He is another. The strain." They tell him to ask. Mat is angry at this strange answer and forgets to ask his other two questions, how to get away from Aes Sedai and how to regain his memories. Instead, he says, "Why should I?" The woman on the right says, "If you do not go to Rhuidean you will die." The bell tolls again louder. Mat asks why he will die and the man replies, "You will have sidestepped the thread of fate, left your fate to drift on the winds of time, and you will be killed by those who do not want that fate fulfilled." The first snake man reappears and tries to pull him away. Mat insists on a clear answer and demands to know what fate. The bell tolls a third time and the room trembles. A dozen snake men appear to take him and he again asks what fate. The room shakes and the three snake people answer, "To marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons! To die and live again, and live once more a part of what was! To give up half the light of the world to save the world! Go to Rhuidean, son of battles! Go to Rhuidean, trickster! Go, gambler! Go!" The snake men pick up Mat, run down the hall with him and throw him through the twisted red doorway.
Mat tries to jump back through, but now the twisted red doorway is just a plain doorway. Suddenly Rand steps out of the twisted red doorway holding his One Power sword. He looks troubled. He asks Mat if he went through and Mat replies that he thinks they are liars. Rand says no, but they were afraid of him. They would not even look at his sword. Moiraine then steps out. She sees the two of them and is angry. She says two ta'veren at once could have torn the connection and trapped them. She asks if Perrin is with them and Mat replies that he went to bed. She asks how they learned of the twisted red doorway. Rand replies that he read about it in two books and Mat hurriedly says he did the same, not wanting to get Egwene in trouble. Moiraine asks about Rand's answers but he will not tell her. He mentions needing an interpreter and Moiraine says they speak only the Old Tongue. Mat's mouth goes dry as he realizes his whole conversation with them must have been in the Old Tongue. He tells them he never got to ask any questions. She offers to help Rand interpret his answers and he replies only if she will tell him hers. Moiraine leaves. Mat asks Rand if he will really let the Whitecloaks have Emond's Field. Rand says Perrin will do what he has to. Rand will also do what he has to. Rand leaves and Mat follows.
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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] These people are the Aelfinn.
[#2] In response to a fan letter Robert Jordan wrote, "The world on the other side of the doorway has a radically different set of natural laws. The odd optical effects witnessed in that other world are not artificially produced artifacts."
[#3] The Daughter of the Nine Moons is Tuon, the favorite daughter of the Seanchan Empress. (WH,Ch14)
[#4] We never learn what Moiraine's three questions and answers were.
- One question was how to cleanse saidin. The answer was a riddle that Herid Fel says "stated sound principles in both high philosophy and natural philosophy." (TPoD,Ch14) All is finally explained in WH,Ch35.
- Another question was, "How can I win the Last Battle and survive?" The Aelfinn told him, "The north and the east must be as one. The west and the south must be as one. The two must be as one. If you would live, you must die." (LoC,Ch26, KoD,Ch18)
- The third question and answer are unknown. They did not mention Rhuidean to him. (TSR,Ch24)
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