"Cheer the bull, or cheer the bear; cheer them both and you will be trampled and eaten."
   —Saying known in the Two Rivers

External summary

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Setting: Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn

Point of view: Vilnar Barada

Vilnar and ten other Saldaean soldiers are patrolling the streets of Caemlyn. At the Whitebridge gate he finds an odd procession―a long line of farmers with longer bows than he has ever seen before. The leader has a short beard and a wicked axe at his side while a Saldaean woman rides beside him. Then he recognizes Zarine Bashere and wonders what he will tell Deira Bashere, considering the way she is looking at the group's leader.

Point of view: Perrin Aybara

Perrin pauses when the Saldaean soldiers block the gate. Aram is eager to fight his way through, but Perrin calms everyone down and talks to Vilnar. Perrin can only bring a few soldiers into the city, so he has Dannil take everyone to a meadow to set up camp. Gaul, Bain, and Chiad head into Caemlyn without Perrin, to meet with other Aiel in the city. Faile appears to be very concerned that her father and probably her mother are in Caemlyn and she will have to face them for having run away and also gotten married. Perrin is worried about meeting Lord Davram Bashere as a father-in-law. Perrin also feels a ta'veren pull from Rand, which is what has led him to Caemlyn. They are finally taken by Aiel and Maidens to meet with Rand.

Rand greets Perrin and Faile very warmly, congratulating them on getting married. Min is there and Perrin greets her with a big hug, which stokes Faile's jealousy―until Faile realizes that Min is besotted with Rand. The women go off to have a talk, leaving Rand and Perrin to discuss the state of the world. Rand wants Perrin to go to Tear, to take over the fake invasion of Illian since Mat is no longer there. However, Perrin declines. Perrin berates Rand when he learns that he is playing the two Aes Sedai factions against each other. Rand tells him that the Aes Sedai were never going to leave him alone and this way they are too preoccupied with each other to fully interfere with his plans.