The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 44
Author: Val a'Shain
Chapter Icon: Flame of Tar Valon
Perrin's Point of View:
Setting: Illian, countryside surrounding Illian
Moiraine suggests that unless they want to make the acquaintance of Sammael it is best that they get moving. She offers Faile one more chance to go her own way but after a moment of thought she doesn't take it. Perrin protests again but there is no time for discussion now. The group hurries to the stables where Nieda is already waiting for them. Moiraine arranged for a horse for Faile. Before they leave Moiraine tells them Sammael sent the Darkhound but not the Gray Men she seems to think there is more than one Forsaken at work in Illian tonight. Perrin doesn't understand it. They are all Darkfriends, why don't they work together against Rand, the Dragon Reborn. He immediately realizes he shouldn't have said that. Moiraine tells Faile there is no way back now. The Aes Sedai tells Nieda to leave the city and take everybody she loves with her.
When they leave the city it is raining but the rain turns to a drizzle soon and then stops altogether. Lan says this not a good thing for them as Darkhounds don't like rain. Soon after they leave the city they can hear the Darkhounds calling each other. Moiraine is scanning the hills around them looking for something. Perrin wants to know why they aren't moving. The Darkhounds are a long way off yet. Lan says not even the fastest horse can outrun them. They'll have to face the Darkhounds. Moiraine finds a good spot where they can make their stand and Perrin prepares his bow. Lan says it probably won't do them much good but maybe he can kill one.
The Darkhounds come nearer quickly. Perrin shoots as soon as the pack of ten is within bowshot. It takes him three arrows to kill one though and they are approaching fast. Moiraine kills the remaining nine with the One Power. Faile wants to know what the Aes Sedai did. She only says it was something forbidden. Whatever is going on in Illian tonight, they were not Sammael's main concern. Merely an annoyance. Perrin wonders if the Forsaken was after Rand. Moiraine says it could be Mat as well. He blew the Horn of Valere after all. Faile is shocked to hear the Horn has been found already. Moiraine cuts off the discussion. It is time to get moving. The company rides for Tear.
Mat's Point of View:
Mat and Thom are sitting around a campfire on the road to Caemlyn. Mat is experimenting with the fireworks he got from the banished Illuminator, Aludra. He cuts one of the smaller pieces open to study the content. Thom calls him a fool for trying. He doesn't want to get killed by Mat's stupidity. The fireworks do not explode though. Or even make a big bang when Mat throws them in the fire.
Four people approach their camp. It is too late for any honest travellers to be on the road so Mat is suspicious. The woman who seems to lead the group asks them for directions to an inn. Mat sees one of her companions aim a crossbow at him. Mat jumps away and the three men accompanying the woman are taken out quickly. Mat hesitates killing the woman. He tries to speak to her but before she can reply one of Thom's knives is sticking out of her throat. Mat turns to Thom demanding to know why he killed her. Thom points to the knife which has fallen out of her hand. Mat still feels bad about killing the woman though.
They have to get moving, the Queen's Guard will have a few questions for them if they are found here. Not for the first time Mat curses Elayne for the letter she has him carry and not for the first time Thom tells him there is nothing of interest in that letter. Still Mat will be glad to get rid of it. They ride for Caemlyn.