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|<<< The Last of the Tabac >>>|
|Setting: An abandoned stedding in Arad Doman|
Point of view: Rodel Ituralde
Ituralde is reviewing maps with Rajabi for his ongoing campaign in Arad Doman. Two weeks have passed since the battle of Darluna. He wonders if it has been worth it, not having heard from King Alsalam. He is convinced the Taraboners would not come to his aid as promised. The Seanchan are massing a force of over 300,000 men and 200 damane to retake Arad Doman. They have adapted and do not only rely on raken any more. They now know Ituralde's exact force in size and composition. The Aiel Rand has brought to the country are giving him trouble, not knowing their true intentions and making him think back to the Aiel War where he had lost ten of his own men for each Aiel taken down. He remembers the time he spent in Caemlyn, reciting a story about a master Bard juggling for the queen and her daughter. This is obviously Thom Merrilin, performing for Morgase and Elayne. The letter from Alsalam is given as the reason for his offensive against the Seanchan. He is disgusted by having to cut down trees in a stedding, but he has to do what is needed. The stedding is too valuable as a place where the damane can not channel in the coming engagement with the Seanchan. They decide to make their last stand.
A runner warns Ituralde of Rand walking into the stedding requesting a meeting. He gathers his officers while Rand gets there. Rand reminds him of an Aiel, but no Aiel would dress like this, in his fine coat. Rand introduces himself as the Dragon Reborn, to the curses of the officers present. Ituralde is incredulous that this youth is the Dragon. He is ordered to make peace with the Seanchan. The ta'veren effect is obvious as Ituralde finds himself agreeing to the demands. The Borderlands need a general like Ituralde. He is also offered the throne of Arad Doman, citing the death or madness of the King in the hands of Graendal. Securing the Merchant's Council might work to secure the nation according to Ituralde, who answers to his own surprise. One hundred Asha'man are offered to Ituralde to provide him with gateways. Rand proves who he is by leaving the stedding and weaving a gateway. Ituralde wants to wipe out the Seanchan, but Rand wants peace. There is no time for conflicts with the Last Battle approaching. Rand promises to get the Seanchan out of Arad Doman, but wants help in securing the land, and Ituralde's help in the Borderlands. Ituralde agrees.
- Alsalam Saeed Almadar
- Thom Merrilin as court bard
- Elayne Trakand as daughter-heir
- Lady Finndal
- Davram Bashere