A Memory of Light: Chapter 31
Chapter Icon: Trolloc Skull and Fist
Egwene's Point of View:
Egwene arrives at the command tent, hoping to speak to Bryne, only to find it empty. She learns that Mat is leading a Seanchan cavalry giving the Sharans a hiding on the left flank. She sees Uno clambering out of the river. He tells her his force was instructed to attack the Trollocs and that Gareth Bryne would send in a reserve cavalry to defend their flanks, but that it never came. He says they must have been tricked by some traitor.
Egwene leads the Aes Sedai fighting Trollocs. They fight for what seems like hours, but even with the Aes Sedai, the Trollocs have the advantage. They see Min, who they at first take for one of the Blood, riding towards them. Egwene asks if there is a problem and Min says it depends on how much she trusts Mat. She says she trusts him to find trouble. Min says Mat thinks Gareth is a Darkfriend. Gawyn laughs and says Mat should stay out of the royal brandy. Egwene tells Min to tell Mat that she appreciates the warning. Min tells her Mat seems certain and that Tuon has given him control of the Seanchan armies. Egwene accepts that Mat is a good tactician, but says giving him the armies is beyond possibility. Min asks her to at least consider what Mat is saying, but she dismisses it as laughable.
Rodel's Point of View:
At the mouth of the pass to the valley of Thakan'dar, Rodel's army is fighting a Trolloc onslaught. His sleep has been troubled by nightmares. He has split his army into groups of around three thousand, using pikes and crossbowmen to break up the Trollocs and the Aiel to finish them. On three occasions, he has felt himself wanting to send in a direct assault, abandoning the square formations and go for blood, but he always reminds himself that they are not there for blood, but to hold. A storm rumbles overhead, but the Windfinders with the Bowl of the Winds are preventing it from getting severe enough to wipe his men out. The Trollocs withdraw and an army of hundreds of Myrddraal appear. He thinks he should send the cavalry in to draw pressure from the infantry, but a voice in his head is telling him to withdraw. He refuses to say it and tries to give the command to Tihera. He knows that if he orders the retreat, the Trollocs will surround them. He begins to give the order when wolves come out of the fog. A man in furs leaps for Rodel and shoves him off the rocks, knocking him into a grateful unconsciousness.
Egwene's Point of View:
Egwene is in her tent, thinking of Mat and how he is a blowhard, leering at every pretty woman he meets. She thinks of how he saved Jer al'Hune from drowning and had rescued her from the Stone of Tear. She asks herself the question, how much does she trust him and realises that she does, and that while he is often wrong, when he is right he saves lives. She learns there has been no word from the other battlefronts and tells Gawyn to send a messenger to Cairhien to see how Elayne is doing. She goes for a walk until she finds Silviana, who tells her Bryne is in the mess tent. Egwene instructs Silviana to fetch the Hall. She realises she can't accuse Gareth, but she can't ignore Mat. Gawyn returns and tells her that Davram Bashere turned against Elayne and that the battle would have been lost if not for the Asha'man. Egwene questions Gareth on some of the poor orders he sent, and on orders he didn't send. She pressures him, telling him that if not for Mat, the relief force would still be there. Bryne tells her he doesn't know what is wrong, that he keeps making mistakes and it is more than just being tired. He has been giving orders and seeing the holes afterwards. Egwene realises he has been under compulsion and proposes the Hall relieve him of command. Bryne suggests relinquishing command to one of his commanders, but Doesine says they may also be compromised. Egwene realises there is only one man they can trust not to be under compulsion and tells them they will have to put the armies under the command of Matrim Cauthon.
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- How is Bryne compulsed?
Moiraine previously said that being a Warder gave someone's dreams protection. Was she wrong about this? It seems likely that she was saying what she thought to be true, but that she was misinformed.
Even after all that she knows Mat has done, her first reaction to what he says is to dismiss it and him.
Is even worse than Egwene, possibly because he sees Mat as a commoner and thinks himself superior.