|<<< A Cluster of Rosebuds >>>|
|Setting: Great North Road in Altara|
Point of view: Matrim Cauthon
Mat is on the road with Valan Luca's Traveling Show and the group he brought out of Ebou Dar. The show moves slowly though since it rains some every day and sometimes all day. They also stop to perform at every town since Luca is not willing to forego making some coin despite the amount of gold Mat has promised him. The Aes Sedai have been taking excursions despite the risk of them being caught by the Seanchan and the sul'dam have been following them. Mat decides to find out what they are up to. The Aes Sedai have been asking questions in towns, checking for pursuit. His request for caution has no effect on them. Thom and Juilin also go in to the towns to gather information so Mat feels he is well informed of what is going on.
Mat has been trying to court Tuon since the show left Ebou Dar. He tries to use Egeanin to break the ice but it doesn't work. Noal recalls something from the Prophecies of the Dragon: Fortune rides like the sun on high / with the fox that makes the ravens fly. / Luck his soul, the lightning his eye, / He snatches the moons from out of the sky. Mat gives Tuon an expensive necklace, but she just passes it on to Selucia as if it was of little worth. Selucia then to tosses the necklace to Egeanin and orders her to wear it. Egeanin is then named Leilwin Shipless by Selucia and ordered to not let her self be seen again.
He plans out a strategy beginning with nightly visits to play stones. He then starts giving Selucia small gifts each night. They are evenly matched in stones which seems to please Tuon. Finally he brings a beautiful cluster of Rosebuds and sets them down near Tuon and she compliments him on how well he plays. Tuon requests to take walks after dark since she has kept her word to not try to escape. She tells Mat he can accompany her on the walks. During a talk with Egeanin he finds out that naming Tuon his wife three times is half of the Seanchan ceremony. If she says the same to him within a year and a day they will be married. As the show crosses a river between two towns, the dice start up in Mat's head again and he is sure they will come up Dark One's eyes this time. Tuon makes a request and after thinking about it he agrees. She smiles at him and the dice stop.
- Tuon asks to go shopping at the next town.
- Valan Luca
- Bayle Domon
- Egeanin / Leilwin
- Setalle Anan