"We will be quite all right by ourselves. We could hardly expect trouble of any sort with so many Whitecloaks to keep order."
   — Nynaeve al'Meara about entering Mardecin with Elayne

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Setting: Mardecin in Amadicia

Point of view: Nynaeve al'Meara

Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom, and Juilin set up camp about a mile from Mardecin. Nynaeve levers up a floorboard to get at their money. Besides the gold purse, they have jewelry from Amathera, a box with ter'angreal they recovered in Tear, and one of the Seven Seals. Thom heads to town to get supplies they need. Nynaeve and Elayne talk about the dangers they face: the Black Ajah and the Forsaken Moghedien.

Thom returns with the supplies but what he purchased is not satisfactory to Nynaeve so she and Elayne decide to go into town. When Thom and Juilin start to decide who will go with them, Nynaeve tells them it won't be necessary. Nynaeve wants to talk about the way Elayne flirts with Thom even though she passes messages through Egwene to say she loves Rand. After shopping in town for a bit, Nynaeve spots a flower arrangement that indicates someone in a dress shop is a Yellow Ajah eyes-and-ears with an emergency message.

Nynaeve talks with the seamstress, Ronde Macura, and mentions "heal" and "yellow"―the passwords needed to find out what the emergency message is. Ronde has her assistant, Luci, brew up some of her "best" tea. The message is "All sisters are welcome to return to the White Tower. The Tower must be whole and strong." The message makes no sense to Nynaeve or Elayne and Ronde can not provide any background about the message either. Elayne and Nynaeve are suddenly very weak and sleepy and too late, Nynaeve realizes there was something in the tea.