The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 43
Chapter Icon: Ancient Aes Sedai Symbol
Rand's Point of View:
Setting: Near Cairhien
Rand is up well before first light. In truth he didn't sleep at all. Aviendha has already slipped out of the tent. When Rand comes outside he meets the clan chiefs. Everything is ready, there is not much to say. They try to make him change his mind about the Maidens but Rand refuses. Lan is up already as well. The Warder wants to know why Rand is wearing the sword again. He guesses Rand means to seek out Couladin today. Rand admits as much. Lan tells him not to be foolish. He may be good with a blade but Couladin was practically born with the spears in his hands. Rand can't risk it all for personal vengeance. Rand promises not to take unnecessary risks.
Egwene and Aviendha meet with them. Both women have decided to help Rand in the battle. Rand thought Wise Ones didn't get involved in battles but Aviendha points out she is not a Wise One yet. The Wise Ones told her to do as she thinks she must. When they are ready to leave a ring of Maidens surrounds Rand. They refuse to let him go anywhere but the observation platform and insist on guarding him there. After a while Rand realizes he is not going to get anything done today if he doesn't give in. The whole party leaves for the observation platform.
Rand, Egwene and Aviendha study the field. The women quietly discuss how to go about it. Rand feels one of them, or both starting to channel and soon lightning strikes down on the field of battle, harrowing the Shaido out. Methodically Rand starts to envelop the hilltops around the city in flames.
Mat's Point of View:
Setting: Near Cairhien
Mat spots a group of Aiel again. They are probably Rand's but Mat is not taking chances. He's been attacked once already. West again, instead of south, the direction he wants to take. Next time he stops to look around he sees a group of Tairen and Cairhienin men. Through the looking glass he won from Kin Tovere he also sees Aiel approaching, these are definitely Couladin's. But the Cairhienin and Tairens can't see them yet. It is obvious to Mat that they won't until it is too late.
Calling himself a fool he rides towards the Tairens to warn them. Before he knows it he is giving orders in the name of the Lord Dragon. The tells the horsemen to divide in several groups and asks the Cairhienin if they can form the formation called hedgehog and gets Talmanes, the leader of the Cairhienin cavalry to agree to his plan, though he only does so on condition that Mat leads half the horse. Especially the Tairens are insulted but Mat's insistence that their cavalry will not stand a chance against the Aiel but in the end they do as he tells them.
When the battle breaks loose some of them decide to follow their own plan anyway and die because of it but most of the group sticks to the plan. He sees the leader of the Tairen horsemen go down though. Good riddance. Mat throws the group of horsemen he held back with him into the battle. The Aiel never see them coming until it is too late. Then the lightning begins to fall and things get really hairy.