Crossroads of Twilight: Chapter 7
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Serenla Tamowith
Chapter Icon: Two Crows
Point of View: Perrin
Setting: Ghealdan on the trail of the Shaido
Perrin, Berelain, Wise Ones, Annoura, Masuri and the Mayener guards gather around the Darkhound tracks. Each seems lost in their own thoughts as they study the prints. Masuri dismounts to get a closer look, but stops and waits the Wise Ones permission. This makes some of the Mayeners uneasy, and Annoura tries to pretend that she doesn't see. Nevarin nods at Masuri and gives her a warm smile. Masuri approaches the stone and begins channeling while passing her hands over the stone. The Wise Ones watch closely, but Annoura backs her horse away.
The Mayener soldiers smell very afraid, and Gallenne is unable to stem their fear. He assures Berelain that the men will keep their nerve, but advises that they abandon their quest. Berelain makes a speech stating that she will not turn back until Faile is found. The Winged Guards cheer and Perrin notes that she smells very determined.
Masuri finishes her investigation and explains at Nevarin's prompting. Masuri says that she has studied Darkhounds. She has come across seven packs in her studies. She explains that this is not a pack she has encountered before and that Darkhounds are extremely rare this far South of the Blight. There may have been as many as fifty in this pack, also rare. She says they seem extremely impatient and that they have been on their hunt a long time. The Darkhound's purpose, or prey, is unknown and she doubts they will return.
The lookouts alert Perrin that Masema is coming. The assembled guards and others turn to await Masema and Gallenne sends a rider back to camp. Annoura moves to join Berelain, but is summoned by Masuri. During a muffled conversation Annoura tries to leave. Masuri stops her with a few words that make her shoulders slump. Perrin asks Annoura what they plan and is sharply reprimanded by Nevarin. He begins to doubt the wisdom of waiting for Masema so far from camp, even with Aes Sedai and Wise Ones.
Masema and two followers ride ahead of the others with a glow of madness in their eyes. He alludes to Perrin's "affair" with Berelain. Perrin angrily informs him of the Darkhounds. Masema and Masuri spar verbally briefly, then Masema says his followers have found a town where supplies can be purchased. The town is called So Habor and Masema thinks that they will part with their grain cheaply.
Masema and Perrin face off as a long line of lancers, Mayeners and Ghealdanan, appear and the Two Rivers men appear in the trees. With a final verbal taunt, Masema leaves with his men. The First Captain of Queen Alliandre's bodyguard spurs his horse forward from the lancers. He passes the group already there and heads toward a single horseman and an Aiel shuffling towards them.