The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 37

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Author: Atarah al'Norahn

Performances in Samara


Chapter Icon: The Lion of Andor

Point of View: Nynaeve

Setting: Samara

Characters: Nynaeve, Birgitte, Thom, Valan Luca, Juilin, Elayne

Summary

Nynaeve and Birgitte are dressed in their revealing red dresses for Luca's show. Nynaeve is holding her shawl tightly around herself, and Birgitte asks, "If you are going to wear the dress, why cover up?" Birgitte confronts Nynaeve about how she is waiting hand and foot on Birgitte, and Nynaeve tries to explain that everything is all her fault. Birgitte argues that she made her own decisions, and that Nynaeve is trying to make her less by claiming responsibility. Birgitte tells Nynaeve that she used to like her, but that she no longer does with Nynaeve acting the way she is.

After this exchange, they separate. Nynaeve begins to walk through the circus, watching as everyone gets ready for the show. She sees Thom, juggling and eating fire. She also sees a man with a topknot who looks familiar, but she is not paying much attention to him. Finally, she reaches the high rope. She and Luca watch as Juilin staggers forward, looking drunk. He approaches the ladder, and stares up at one of the platforms. With some people urging him on and Luca trying to talk him out of it, Juilin sets a mug down on the ground and begins to climb the ladder. He reaches the platform, swaying back and forth. He reaches out one foot the rope, and then jerks it back, thinks, and then gets an idea. He proceeds to crawl out onto the rope. The whole time, the crowd is roaring with laughter, and Luca is trying to convince him to come back down. Halfway across the rope, Juilin stops. He falls, but catches himself on the rope with one hand and a knee. He then makes his way, hand over hand, to the other platform. Once there, he looks back and seems to realize that he left his drink on the other side. This time, he walks smoothly across the rope and slides down the ladder. Everyone then realizes that it was all an act. The crowd loves it.

Elayne appears and stops next to Juilin. She is dressed in white breeches and a jacket, both of which have sequins on them. She goes up the ladder, and the crowd applauds. Elayne walks across the rope. Whereas she used to weave a platform of air while practicing, Nynaeve knows that this time, she is actually walking across the rope. When she gets to the other platform, she gets even more applause than Juilin did. Going back, she pivots on the rope a few times. She nearly falls once, but manages to make it back to the platform. Next, she cartwheels along the rope. She does some more pivots and a back flip, and one more round of cartwheels before she finishes.

When she gets back to the ground, the crowd rushes towards Elayne. The man with the topknot, who also only has one eye, turns and walks away, muttering something under his breath. Nynaeve suddenly recognizes him and hurries after him.

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