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|<<< Strings >>>|
|Setting: Stone of Tear|
- Point of view: Thom
Thom completes the forging of a letter in the hand of High Lord Carleon. The letter, intended to be found by High Lord Tedosian, is part of an intricate plot to weaken one of Rand's political enemies, the High Lady Alteima and reads "Be wary. Your husband suspects".
Upon hearing a knock on the door, Thom quickly hides all of his forgery supplies and inspects his room for any signs of incriminating evidence, before opening the door. Answering the door Thom is surprised to see Mat. Mat does not seem like his usual self to Thom, with no joke about his shabby room, nor the mischievous twinkle in his eye. Thom tries to entice Mat into a game of Stones, but Mat refuses, instead asking Thom if anything happened recently.
Mat tells the story of how the playing cards came to life and attacked him. He is convinced that the attack was caused by Rand, and he tells Thom that he has been thinking about leaving Tear immediately.
Thom ponders why he hasn't left yet as well. The thought of leaving Rand in the hands of Moiraine to help him manage the High Lords of Tear troubles him. He thinks himself a fool as bad memories take him back in time to an event that happened fifteen years ago. Shaking loose of the past, he tells Mat that he has been trying to leave Tear since his arrival. Mat tries to convice Thom to leave with him, to go a place where the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One are still gleemen stories; a place where no one is trying to kill them. When prodded by Thom again, Mat explains that the Aes Sedai has him watched. He also speaks of some of the women he's run into, and the gold that can be made with gambling. Thom believes that it is caused by Rand's Ta'veren nature, compelling them to stay, but refrains from telling Mat that after the boy threatens to leave the room.
"I was never much good at helping people with their problems."
—Mat & Thom on leaving Tear...and Rand
Although Thom has thought about doing the very same thing, he advises Mat to talk with Moiraine or Nynaeve before making up his mind. Mat declares that he will absolutely not go to an Aes Sedai, and that Nynaeve will just lecture him. Angered by these suggestions Mat makes up his mind to leave immediately.
Thom convinces him to wait until morning, and gets Mat to play a game of stones with him. While he is setting up the game, Thom considers if Mat will really leave and about how they are all caught by Rand's ta'veren influence.
- At least one edition has the wheel icon for this chapter.