"Only a battle lost is sadder than a battle won."
   — Rand to himself, or perhaps a memory from Lews Therin

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Setting: Outside Cairhien (city)


Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Rand is weary from channeling on top of the tower to aid his forces in the battle with the Shaido. Egwene and Aviendha are there also but take turns channeling so one can rest. A sortie from the city failed and the Aiel are on the verge of getting through the gates when Rand channels lighting into the Shaido. Some of the defenders are killed also, but it allows enough time for the gates to be closed. Suddenly, a bolt of lighting crashes into the Maidens below, then more bolts which Rand can feel are being channeled by a man. One finally hits the base of the tower which begins to tip over. He grabs Egwene and Aviendha and an upright and rides the tower down. The fall knocks him unconscious and opens up the half-healed wound in his side. When he wakes Aviendha is there. Around him are many dead and injured Maidens so his plan to keep the Maidens safe away from the battle failed and he blames himself.

He realizes it was not Asmodean but Sammael that launched the attack on him. Aviendha and Egwene restrain him and convince him not to seek revenge right then. Rand decides to ride around the battlefield to help if he can and tries to keep most of the Maidens away from battle. Rand seizes saidin and prepares to get involved in the fighting again.

Point of view: Matrim Cauthon

Mat is still with the Tairen and Cairhienin forces and is not sure how he got caught up in the fighting or why he hasn't managed to get away. Estean, Talmanes, Daerid, and Nalesean join him scouting out the area. They expect Mat to find them another fight which they can win. Nalesean tells Mat that another force of Aiel is heading toward them and will be there in thirty minutes or so. Daerid's scouts believe Couladin is leading this group of Shaido. Mat sets out his plans with the pikes to hold position while the cavalry come in from behind. He tells the men to shout that they are protecting the Lord Dragon―this will draw Couladin in. The dice are still spinning in Mat's head.

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

It is night time and Rand is exhausted, not thinking clearly. Sammael has been involved in the battle at times but nothing was resolved between them. He wonders where Egwene and Aviendha went to. Sulin informs him they went to the Wise Ones and Moiraine at dusk. The Maidens finally lead his horse back toward camp. Asmodean comes over with a water bag just as Rand starts rambling about Sammael and battles that occurred during the Age of Legends. Lan comes over to let Rand know the battle is over, the remnants of the Shaido are fleeing. Rand finally releases saidin and collapses from the pain and exhaustion he was not feeling. Asmodean gives Rand a small amount of Healing.