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The Fires of Heaven/Chapter 42

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"Not like I was abandoning him. If he can't bloody take care of himself by now, he'll never be able to. I'm not his bloody nursemaid."
   — Mat to himself justifying leaving Rand before the battle with the Shaido

External summary
EWoT
TarValon.net


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<<<   Before the Arrow    >>>
Setting: Cairhien

Point of view: Matrim Cauthon

Mat won't view himself as a hero or a soldier despite the many memories of battles he now has. Mat has decided to leave Rand and his war with the Shaido, find someplace more peaceful and less likely to get stuck by a spear or arrow. He makes his way to Rand's tent to bid farewell, but Rand is out and about right then. He exchanges some comments with Natael, then turns his attention to the two maps set up for the coming battle. Couladin has around one hundred and sixty thousand spears with him. There are also four clans that haven't aligned with Rand coming from behind that have near the same number. Rand and his seven clans have as many as both groups together, enough to successfully fight either group, but not enough to fight both groups at the same time.

Lan enters and prods Mat about his thoughts on the troop dispositions. As Mat gives a synopsis of the strategy he thinks should be used, he recalls similar battles he fought as other men, some back to the time of the Trolloc Wars. After he finishes, he realizes he should have kept his mouth shut and decides to leave, but Rand is standing behind him. Mat tells Rand he is leaving and Rand just says he is sorry to see him go. After Mat leaves he feels much better and he can almost hear the dice spinning in his head.

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Rand and Lan discuss Mat's battle strategy and find it is nearly the same as the plans made with the Clan Chiefs. Rand has his own memories, from Lews Therin, but they aren't as helpful at understanding war when he has no prior experience himself. The Clan Chiefs arrive along with Weiramon representing the Tairen and Cairhienin forces. They make final changes to the plan of battle based on their observations from the tower.

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