The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 42
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Val a'Shain
Easing the Badger
Chapter Icon: Dragon's Fang
Point of View: Perrin
The group are attacked by gray men, but kill them all.
They ride through Illian to a part of the city called the perfumed quarter. Faile tells Perrin a bit about Illian. The Hunt for the Horn started out here. People seem to be familiar with Ogier but Loial doesn't seem at ease anyway. Nor for that matter are the people in Perrin's company. Something seems wrong with Illian but Perrin can't say what it is. Perrin asks Loial if there will be Ogier in the city. Loial says he fears there may be. Ogier from his own stedding even. Perrin tries to comfort him by saying Moiraine wouldn't let the Ogier take him. Loial seems to agree since she may need to travel the Ways again. Perrin notices Faile is paying close attention and he tries to warn the Ogier not to say anymore. The Ogier doesn't seem to notice but the only thing he adds it that he feels there is something wrong with Illian.
They go to an inn called Easing the Badger. Perrin has no idea what is meant by that. Must be a story he doesn't know. There is music in the inn and a girl with a very low-necked blouse singing and dancing on one of the tables. The song is familiar to Perrin but the words are not. The innkeeper, a woman named Nieda, knows Moiraine as Mistress Mari. She and Moiraine seem to know each other and Nieda tells her some things that have been going on. There haven been an unusual number of fights in the inn, which is why Nieda hired the singer. A new lord has been installed in the Council of Nine. Nobody seems to know much about him. Strangely enough Nieda has had some disturbing dreams about him. The council have also forbidden ships to leave the port for Tear, a traditional enemy of Illian. Moiraine is disturbed by what she hears. Perrin can even smell fear on her.
They take rooms in the inn and a little while later they are all having dinner in the common room. Loial heard the Ogier in the city suddenly left during the winter but nobody seems to know why. Again nobody seems to feel comfortable in Illian. Perrin is tense, excited. After a moment he realizes he feels like a wolf just before a fight. During the dinner Perrin smells wrongness. He has smelled it before in Remen but he can't identify it. The Aes Sedai and Warder don't seem alarmed though. They can sense Shadowspawn if they get too close. Then he sees six ordinary looking man enter the inn. He realizes the smell is coming from them and that the carry knives. Perrin yells out a warning to the others and tears the leg of a chair to defend himself. The men seem to be after him. The Warder, the Ogier, Faile, they are all obstacles for them. The fight is over in seconds and all six lie dead on the floor. Lan and Moiraine recognize them as Gray Men.
Moiraine has given away she is Aes Sedai in the fight. While the innkeeper gets rid of the body Moiraine sees she has ignored the ta'veren Perrin and Mat too long in favour of Rand. She makes a decision to go out into the city to get information. She tells Lan to stay with the others much to his disliking.