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The Great Hunt/Chapter 35

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"It feels ... good ... to be back in a stedding"
   — Loial

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Setting: Cairhien, Stedding Tsofu

Point of view: Rand al'Thor

Rand, Mat, Perrin, Verin, Loial, Ingtar and the Shienaran soldiers are on their way to Stedding Tsofu. They plan to use the Waygate there to catch up to Padan Fain and take back the Horn of Valere and the Ruby-hilted dagger that he has stolen. A Waygate seems to be the only way they can travel to Toman Head before Mat succumbs to being separated from the dagger.

Perrin wants to know if they will be safe in the stedding.  Loial says shadowspawn are afraid to go in, and Aes Sedai don’t like it, since they cannot touch the Source inside a stedding.  Inside Erith welcomes them and promises to escort them to the Elders.  She asks them to have some of the soldiers with weapons wait outside of the stedding. Loial explains the longing to Perrin, where Ogier begin to weaken and die if they are away from the stedding for a long period. 

As they reach the stump at the center of the stedding they encounter three Aiel Maidens of the Spear.  An older Ogier comes out of the woods, and asks the Aiel if they’ve forgotten the Pact, effectively stopping the fight before it comes to bloodshed. The Ogier says they are safe in the stedding,  just like everyone else.  The Aiel disappear into the trees, and Verin is lead to the meeting place, to see the Elders. The rest of the party is shown to a house by Erith where they can await the decision of the Elders.

While they are waiting, Mat and Perrin tell Rand the Aiel may be searching for him. They met another Aiel on the way to Cairhien who was searching for the Car'a'carn.[1] While they are waiting, many Ogier girls come to the house to provide services. Older Ogier women also stop in to make sure everyone is comfortable. They all take a look at Loial as they leave. Loial worries they may be planning to settle him down by marriage. Finally they are all called to meet with the Elders.

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  1. The Great Hunt, Chapter 28

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