"Women are a maze through briars in the night and even they do not know the way."
   — An old saying Mat Cauthon remembers

External summary

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Setting: Tarasin Palace

Point of view: Matrim Cauthon

Matrim Cauthon accompanies Egeanin Tamarath, Seta Zarbey, Renna Emain, and Bayle Domon to the damane kennels. Mat ducks into one of the Sea Folk's rooms and quickly gags Nestelle din Sakura South Star. There he makes a Bargain with her. He will release her if she waits three hours before releasing the rest of the captured Sea Folk in the kennels and then cross the harbor to free more captured Sea Folk. They will then take back their ships and sail back out to sea. Mat opens the a'dam and shows her how to open it a number of times before he is satisfied and sneaks back out of the room. He nearly runs into the der'sul'dam, who is confronting Egeanin and Renna, who has an a'dam around Teslyn Baradon's neck. Egeanin manages to talk her way out of the situation and Mat gets away unnoticed.

He goes back to Queen Tylin Quintara Mitsobar's rooms, to find that she has arrived back from her trip with the High lady Suroth Sabelle Meldarath early. After sharing a passionate kiss, Tylin tells Mat that she knows that he is trying to escape now. She tells him to tie her up and stow her under the bed so that her actions don't look suspicious. After completing the task, he runs to the stableyard. He hears no one inside and is about to walk in when Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag speaks up behind him saying that she will not allow his escape. He then goes to grab her and they have a brief scuffle. She begins to smile as they fight. She stands back out of Mat's range but is caught from behind by Noal Charin, who pins her arms and clamps her mouth before she can scream, even though she didn't try to scream for any help earlier. They then tie Tuon up.

Juilin Sandar arrives with Amathera Aelfdene Casmir Lounault, who has been made da'covale. She prostrates herself in front of Tuon when she sees her and has to be taken out of sight. Finally Egeanin arrives with Edesina Azzedin leashed to Seta Zarbey, Teslyn, Renna, and Domon. Egeanin sees Tuon for the first time and sinks to her knees in fright, exclaiming that it is punishable by death to lay hands on the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Everyone else drops to their knees to push their faces to the floor. Mat realizes that the Aelfinn spoke the truth. Aloud he exclaims that Tuon will be his wife, Egeanin is shocked that Mat would say such a thing and tells him so. Mat repeats that she is his wife, the your bloody Daughter of the Nine Moons is my wife! Selucia enters the room and is afraid of what Mat is doing with Tuon. Mat tries to calm Selucia down. Selucia in turn promises to obey Mat if he doesn't hurt her mistress. Noal asks Mat if he wants to stow both ladies in the hayloft. Mat disagrees and decides to take them with him. Tuon, who showed no expression with the initial exchange finally smiles, as if at some secret only she knows. Mat begins to shiver.