Mat and Rand arrive at the fog bank surrounding Rhuidean. They are sunburned and dehydrated. Mat insists that he saw Aviendha running toward Rhuidean. Rand says the Snake people never mentioned Rhuidean to him. They walk through the fog and find themselves in a city. Many of the buildings are unfinished. They walk by a fountain and Rand laughs. He channels and the fountain starts flowing so they both have a good drink. He says there is an ocean of good water deep under Rhuidean. In the center of the city they find a huge plaza. At the center is a tree next to a formation of glass columns. There are also hundreds of items scattered about the plaza. Mat realizes they must be items of the One Power. Rand stops briefly to look at two small statues. They reach the tree and realize it is Avendesora. When Mat sits down against the trunk he feels contentment and peace. They recall the story of Ghoetam who sat beneath Avendesora for forty years to gain wisdom. Rand enters the glass columns while Mat waits. As he walks around, Mat notices another twisted red doorway. Thinking to get better answers to his questions he enters.
Mat finds himself in a different place than what he expected. It smells like a wild animal's lair. One of the fox people approaches and asks if he abides by the treaties, no iron, instruments of music or devices for making light. Mat says he has none of those. Mat wonders if he is speaking the Old Tongue again. The creature leads him through convoluted passageways to a room with several fox people on pedestals. Mat asks about the Daughter of the Nine Moons, dying and living again, and giving up half the light of the world, but they ignore his questions. Mat says he wants the holes in his memory filled and they reply, "Done." Confused, Mat continues talking about what he wants. He says he wants to be free of Aes Sedai and the One Power and he wants to be back in Rhuidean. They reply, "Done," then tell him he is foolish for not negotiating a price. They will set the price. Darkness closes on Mat and he cannot breathe.
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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#
[#1] During his trip through the twisted red doorway in Tear. (TSR,Ch15)
[#2] The *angreal brought by the Aiel during the Breaking.
[#3] The male and female access keys.
[#4] A reference to Gautama Buddha sitting under the bodhi tree to achieve Nirvana.
[#5] They are the Eelfinn.
[#6] 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."
[#7] The Aelfinn and Eelfinn accumulated these memories over the centuries from previous visitors via the twisted red doorways and the Tower of Ghenjei. (Glimmers Q&A)
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