The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 31
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
The Woman of Tanchico
Chapter Icon: A Harp
Point of View: Mat
Mat encounters Thom and persuades him to go to Caemlyn with him.
Mat enters The Woman of Tanchico and finds that Thom is there. He is reciting "Mara and the Three Foolish Kings". Thom is so surprised to see Mat there that he pauses his tale; this is unusual because "few things startled Thom enough for him to let it show". Thom also looks sad, something that Mat notes as different from when he last saw him. Mat sits down at one of the tables and orders two drinks, one for him and one for Thom, from the serving girl called Saal.
Thom finishes his tale and joins Mat at his table, muttering that the men wanted to hear his tale in Common and not the preferred High Chant. Thom quickly drinks his mug of wine, "Thom peered into the mug as if surprised to find it empty", and Mat realises that he is drunk. Saal comes back to the table and berates Mat for giving Thom more wine. Her sister Mada also comes over to the table and tries to get Thom to go to bed, as does Saal. Thom talks about Morgase and Dena, "Did I ever tell you that two pretty women have loved me in my life?" Mat orders some chicken and Saal and Mada leave after trying to persuade Thom to eat something.
Mat mentions Rand and Thom is surprised to hear that he is well, "I am not sure I expected that". Thom suspects that Rand is the Dragon Reborn but does not say it out loud. When Mat asks why he isn't in Cairhien. Thom talks about killing a man, presumably King Galldrian of Cairhien, and the balance between good and evil. He goes on to tell Mat that he is in Tar Valon because "it is the worst place I could be, except maybe Caemlyn". Red sisters still remember Thom from the gentling of his nephew Owyn and might turn on him. Thom still blames himself for Dena's death and probably feels he hasn't suffered enough for it.
Mat tells Thom that he is leaving Tar Valon for Caemlyn and invites Thom to go with him. Knowing that "Caemlyn would fit my mood like a glove", Thom agrees to go with him. He says goodbye to Saal and Mada and leaves the inn with Mat. Mat is surprised to see that the corpse of the footpad is no longer there and knows that "the city guard would not have carried a dead man away without asking questions". When Mat mentions footpads to Thom he tells him that there are no footpads in Tar Valon because the Aes Sedai give out harsh punishments. This increases Mat's desire to get out of Tar Valon and he leads Thom to the docks to catch "the first ship sailing, whatever it is".