Knife of Dreams: Chapter 37

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Author: Anya Valerin

Prince of the Ravens


Chapter Icon: Five dice, arranged in a ring

Point of View: Mat

Setting: Northern Altara

Characters: Mat, Aludra, Joline, Teslyn, Edesina, Blaeric, Fen, Bethamin, Seta, Musenge, Mandevwin, Hartha

Summary

Mat and the Band prepare to face the Seanchan loyal army. He's hoping to lure them to the Band and away from Karede and Tuon; he has the help of the Seanchan soldiers left behind by Karede. Aludra is preparing her handiwork to be used against the oncoming army. He wishes that she had stayed with the pack animals, but at least Olver is nowhere near the fighting. The Aes Sedai are there too, with the former sul'dam, though they remind him that they will not participate, except when they feel they are in danger.

While waiting, Mat thinks about being married, but vows to himself not to give up gambling and dancing. He wonders how Tuon marrying him will help the Seanchan Empire. He also thinks about the men teaching Olver to fight and Aludra putting herself in harm's way by wanting to light the strikers of her explosives herself. Also there are the three Aes Sedai and two former sul'dam, there more so to view than to actually fight.

Musenge of the Seanchan Guards comes over to Mat and offers Mat his "opinion" on what Mat's men should and should not be doing, because they are idle at the moment. Mat explains that the work that was completed was what Mat had wanted done, because he wanted the approaching army to think that they were caught unprepared. However, Mat has a trap ready for them.

Musenge also comments on the size of Mat's army, wishing that there were more men for the task. However, Mat states that he has what is needed. Before Mat can ask why Musenge is calling him "Highness", the scouts returned and Mat starts staging his men for the battle.

Vanin provides Mat with his report on the approaching army, while Mat views the readying troops. Soon enough they hear the bugle of the approaching army and finalize getting into position. Mat even has the banner unfurled, so the oncoming army can see whom they are fighting this day. He makes sure one last time that Aludra is ready. The lancers on horseback start advancing to face the oncoming army, and then when they are in the last stages of the advance, Mat has Aludra let loose with some of her tricks, and then the horsebowmen start advancing into position and begin to fire their bows and men and horses alike begin to fall. However, the Aes Sedai do not feel they are in danger yet, and so cannot help. The two former sul'dam want to try to help, but are subdued by the Aes Sedai. As arrows keep flying and coming closer to Mat and the Aes Sedai, the men regroup and the slings came out. Then Mat feels the arrows close in on him and one rips each sleeve and one rips the shoulder of his coat. Finally the Aes Sedai feel threatened enough to respond and begin hurling fireballs at the advancing army. Then the fighting dies down and all is quiet. The Seanchan Ogier with Mat begin climbing over the bodies in an attempt to find one Seanchan soldier in the Seanchan led army, because there is a traitor to Tuon and the Empire that they must find. The Aes Sedai advise Mat that he owes them a debt because they helped end this skirmish.

Musenge informs them, none to nicely, that the crossbowmen settled it. Then he asks Mat if what is left of the Band and the losses were all he had, to which Mat replies that he always had enough men for the task. Then Mat responds with his own question of Musenge - Why does he keep calling him "Highness", when he has undoubtedly earned the right to call him Mat through helping in the fight. Abashed, Musenge replies that calling him by his given name would lower his eyes forever because when Tuon completed the marriage ceremony, Mat became Prince of the Ravens. In response, Mat lets out a laugh because he has just realized that he has became the one thing he despises, a Noble.

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