Hello, and welcome to Chez Wheel of Time Re-read! We’re so pleased to have you here, and we apologize for the wait. Yes, I know 19 years is a little long, but rest assured we are always working to make this a better dining experience for you!
I am your hostess for this evening, won’t you step this way? Excellent. Here, sir, this jacket is for you. Yes, I know, that’s why we’re giving you one. No, shawls are not an acceptable substitute. You can return it before you leave. Thanks so much!
So! Tonight’s specials are Chapters 14 and 15 of The Fires of Heaven, served with a side of reincarnation, interpersonal power dynamics, and marsala wine sauce. The chef recommends the Catsfern & Mavinsleaf chardonnay to accompany your meal, which has a lovely bouquet, reminiscent of ritual humiliation, cherries, and outrage by proxy. I’m sure you’ll just love it!
Restrooms and previous entrees are right past the bar over there. If you have not dined with us before, you may want to have sampled everything on the regular menu before trying the specials. Dining at Chez Wheel of Time is not for amateurs, you know!
All right? Excellent! Your waiter will be with you momentarily. Bon appetit!
Chapter 14: Meetings
Nynaeve stands in the Heart of the Stone in Tel’aran’rhiod, and tells herself that the watching eyes she always feels there are definitely not Moghedien’s. She clothes herself in a dress, and is surprised to see it is silk, in the Taraboner fashion, clinging revealingly; she had thought them indecent in Tanchico, but she supposes she must have gotten used to them. She tells herself she is not there to blather at herself about dresses, and calls for Birgitte. Birgitte steps out from behind a column, and Nynaeve asks if Gaidal is about, as he makes her nervous. Birgitte tells her she has not seen Gaidal for some time, and suspects he has been spun out by the Wheel.
If Birgitte was right, then somewhere in the world a boychild had been born, a mewling babe with no knowledge of who he was, yet destined for adventures that would make new legends. The Wheel wove the heroes into the Pattern as they were needed, to shape the Pattern, and when they died they returned here to wait again. That was what it meant to be bound to the Wheel. New heroes could find themselves bound so as well, men and women whose bravery and accomplishments raised them far above the ordinary, but once bound, it was forever.
Nynaeve asks how long Birgitte thinks she has, knowing that Birgitte was always born soon after Gaidal, but Birgitte answers that time in the Dreamworld does not pass as it does in the waking world, comparing the differences between when she thinks she met Nynaeve last and Nynaeve does as an example. So, she explains, it could be days or months to her here, and yet years in the waking world before she is born. Nynaeve says they mustn’t waste time, then, and asks if Birgitte has seen any of “them” since they last met.
“Too many. Lanfear is often in Tel’aran’rhiod, of course, but I have seen Rahvin and Sammael and Graendal. Demandred. And Semirhage.” Birgitte’s voice tightened at the last name; even Moghedien, who hated her, did not frighten her visibly, but Semirhage was another matter.
Nynaeve shivers, too, and Birgitte assures her that she has not let them know she watches. She says they are mostly concerned with stalking each other. Nynaeve asks her to try and find out what they are up to, but to be careful, and does not understand why the other woman looks amused. She asks then if Birgitte has seen Moghedien, and Birgitte tells her no. Since she can usually detect people who know they are in the Dreamworld, that means either Moghedien hasn’t been in Tel’aran’rhiod since Nynaeve bested her, or she knows Birgitte is looking for her and is actively hiding, something Moghedien is very good at: she was not called the Spider for nothing.
That was what a moghedien had been, in the Age of Legends; a tiny spider that spun its webs in secret places, its bite poisonous enough to kill in heartbeats.
Knowing it was a very dangerous thing to ask, Nynaeve asks if Birgitte can find her even if she is hiding; without hesitation Birgitte answers that she will try, and makes as if to go. Nynaeve stops her and asks again for Birgitte to let her tell Egwene about her, but Birgitte reminds her sharply that she promised; she has already broken too many of the precepts, and will not break any more if she can help it. She disappears, and Nynaeve turns back to contemplating her dress as a way to avoid thinking about how much Moghedien scares her. She creates a standing mirror to admire herself in, thinking of Lan’s reaction should he see her in it, half-heartedly scolding herself for doing so. She thinks of how Domani gowns are even more indecent, and suddenly is wearing one, which makes her redden.
The gown certainly did more than suggest. If Lan saw her in that, he would not gabble that his love for her was hopeless and that he would not give her widow’s weeds for a bridal gift. One glimpse, and his blood would catch fire. He would —
“What under the Light is that you have on, Nynaeve?” Egwene asked in scandalized tones.
Nynaeve jumps a mile and comes down wearing a thick dark woolen Two Rivers dress, which then flickers to the Taraboner and Domani gowns before going back. Mortified, Nynaeve thinks it would have to be Melaine with Egwene this time. Melaine had taunted her about Lan the last time they met, though Egwene claimed it was not taunting to the Aiel way of thinking. Unable to help herself, she asks if Lan is well, and Egwene tells her he is, and worried about her. Nynaeve is embarrassed by her sigh of relief, and hurriedly begins bringing Egwene up to date on her and Elayne’s whereabouts. She tells them about Ronde Macura, too, but alters the story so that Macura had only attempted to drug them, rather than succeeded. Then she wonders why on earth she’s lying to Egwene, though the part about Elayne being a runaway Accepted had to be altered to avoid giving Egwene away to Melaine.
“A good thing the taste of that tea made me suspicious. Imagine trying to feed forkroot to someone who knows herbs as well as I do.”
“Schemes within schemes,” Melaine murmured. “The Great Serpent is a good sign for you Aes Sedai, I think. Someday you may swallow yourselves by accident.”
Egwene tells Nynaeve about Couladin’s move for Jangai Pass and Rand’s decision to follow him, which is bad enough, but Nynaeve is incredulous to hear that Moiraine obeys Rand, now. Melaine puts in that it is not proper, and Nynaeve agrees, to her own surprise; she thinks that she should be glad to hear about Moiraine being taken down a peg or two, but she still doesn’t think it is right. Egwene opines that Rand’s head is getting more swelled every day, and Nynaeve tells her that it is her job to unswell it, then; Egwene is doubtful, but says she will try.
“Do the best you can. Helping him hold on to himself may be the best thing that anyone could do. For him, and the rest of the world.”
Nynaeve then tells them that she thinks the Forsaken are planning something; to protect Birgitte, she makes it seem as if she was the one who had seen them in Tel’aran’rhiod. Melaine grows angry at this, and tells her she has no business wandering the Dreamworld without knowing what she was doing; Nynaeve replies evenly that she had no one to teach her to channel, either, and she managed. Although, she thinks, she’d been told that was the reason she couldn’t channel unless she was angry; she’d hidden her ability from herself, fearing it, and she couldn’t get past that fear unless she was furious. Melaine comments, so she is what the Aes Sedai call wilders, and Nynaeve remembers that Egwene had told her there were no wilders among the Aiel; the Wise Ones claimed they found every last girl who had the spark before it could kill her. Melaine tells her if she truly wants to learn she should come to them like Egwene, and they will “tame her zeal” the way they have Egwene’s.
“I do not need taming, thank you very much,” Nynaeve said with a polite smile.
“Aan’allein will die on the day he learns that you are dead.”
Nynaeve feels a cold stab to her heart, and mutters that Melaine fights dirty. Melaine wants her promise that she will not so anything in the dream unless she asks one of them first; Nynaeve clenches her teeth, and Egwene tells Melaine that she won’t get such a promise from Nynaeve, so she might as well give up. Melaine sighs, and acquiesces, but reminds Nynaeve that she is but a child in the dream. Egwene gives an amused wince, and after she and Melaine disappear Nynaeve realizes her clothes have been changed to a short dress and her hair into two braids. She had forced Egwene to explain last time that this was how the Aiel dressed little girls, and grinds her teeth. She changes back into the Taraboner silk dress.
So she was supposed to ask permission, was she? Go begging the Wise Ones before doing anything? Had she not defeated Moghedien? They had been properly impressed at the time, but they seemed to have forgotten.
She thinks that if she cannot have Birgitte find out what was going on in the Tower, maybe she could do it herself.
Given that Gaidal was not reborn as Olver – and he wasn’t, you guys, the idea never made sense in the first place, and plus Jordan said so – given that, I always wondered at the timing of it. Since less than three years have passed from the beginning of TEOTW to the end of KOD (!!), and presumably not much more time is going to pass in the last three novels, Gaidal’s new incarnation can’t possibly be much more than a toddler when the Last Battle hits, if he was born during TFOH.
So I’d say that’s one fight he’s definitely going to be missing, and since that’s kind of THE fight, well, it seems like a waste of a good hero, if you ask me. *shrug* Oh, well.
The lying to Egwene: first of all, speaking of aphorisms, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, because I DARE someone to claim that they’ve never once at least shaded the truth to save themselves embarrassment or some other negative consequence. Unless you’re Jesus, I won’t believe you. And if you tell me you’re Jesus, I won’t believe that either. Because you’re all a pack of lying liars! Who are not Jesus!
I kid, I kid! Except the part about how everyone lies, because they do. (And the Jesus thing, because none of y’all are Jesus. Sorry.)
Lying (the non-malicious and/or –undercover-agent kind) is about insecurity, which as you may have noticed is something Nynaeve currently has a surplus of, nay, perhaps even a monopoly on at the moment. This is a woman who is scrambling for mental purchase if I ever saw one. And yes, she’s acting like a damn fool, but as someone mentioned in the comments (or at least I thought someone did but I can’t find it so possibly I’m hallucinating), the line goes “I hate growing as a person, but I like the results.” Or something like that.
Insane bravado is more of the same, insecurity-wise. The reason I like Nynaeve is that her flaws do not come from vanity or arrogance or misanthropy, but from a fundamental uncertainty about herself, her power, and her place in the world and how she must therefore relate to it. Overcompensation through immaturity is a condition that can be cured; the other sources of this kind of behavior mostly cannot.
And let’s not forget that even when Nynaeve is head down in wrestling with her inner moppet, she still is right on point regarding Egwene’s most important task with Rand, which is to remind him of who he is and where he came from.
Other random note: the comparison between “wilders in the wetlands” and “no wilders among the Aiel” strikes me as not a very fair one; the Wise Ones don’t have nearly the logistics problems the Tower does in searching out channelers, either politically or geographically (and if I’m not mistaken, nowhere near the population volume to winnow through, either). It’s like boasting that you can find every last left-handed person in a town of ten thousand people, and then being disdainful because someone else can’t do the same in New York City.
Chapter 15: What Can Be Learned in Dreams
Nynaeve visualizes the Amyrlin’s study in order to go there, but nothing happens. Puzzled, she tries visualizing Sheriam’s study instead, and this time it works. Once there, she changes to an Accepted dress, and puts on Melaine’s face so no one will recognize her, and heads out, ignoring the flickering flashes of novices who dream themselves into Tel’aran’rhiod for a split second. Suddenly, though, Elaida appears before her, wearing the Amyrlin’s stole, except with no blue stripe, and a sweaty face.
Those stern dark eyes focused on Nynaeve. “I am the Amyrlin Seat, girl! Do you not know how to show respect? I will have yo—” In midword, she was gone.
Nynaeve exhaled raggedly. Elaida as Amyrlin; that was a nightmare for certain. Probably her fondest dream, she thought wryly. It will snow in Tear before she ever rises that high.
She enters the Amyrlin’s study, and thinks it is no wonder she couldn’t imagine herself here, as it looks nothing like she remembers; everything is rigid, precise, and ornate, whereas Siuan had always affected simple homey furnishings before. Then the door opens and a red-haired Accepted steps into the room; Nynaeve is about to leap back to Sheriam’s study when the woman tells Nynaeve that Melaine would do more than put her in a child’s dress if she saw her using Melaine’s face, and changes to Egwene.
“You nearly frightened ten years out of me,” Nynaeve muttered. “So the Wise Ones have finally decided to let you come and go as you please? Or is Melaine behind—”
“You should be frightened,” Egwene snapped, color rising in her cheeks. “You are a fool, Nynaeve. A child playing in the barn with a candle.”
Nynaeve is astounded that Egwene would berate her, and tries to answer, but Egwene doesn’t let her get a word in edgewise, telling her she ought to have told Elayne not to let Nynaeve use the stone ring; the Wise Ones were not exaggerating when they told her how dangerous the Dreamworld is, and yet Nynaeve ignores them, playing with fire. Nynaeve can’t hardly believe Egwene is dressing her down, and tries again to defend herself, but Egwene again cuts in and tells her there are nightmares in Tel’aran’rhiod, and dreams that could trap her until she died.
Suddenly rough hands enveloped Nynaeve’s arms. Her head whipped from side to side, eyes bulging. Two huge, ragged men lifted her into the air, faces half-melted ruins of coarse flesh, drooling mouths full of sharp, yellowed teeth. She tried to make them vanish — if a Wise One dreamwalker could, so could she — and one of them ripped her dress open down the front like parchment. The other seized her chin in a horny, callused hand and twisted her face toward him; his head bent toward her, mouth opening. Whether to kiss or bite, she did not know, but she would rather die than allow either. She flailed for saidar and found nothing; it was horror filling her, not anger. Thick fingernails dug into her cheeks, holding her head steady. Egwene had done this, somehow. Egwene. “Please, Egwene!” It was a squeal, and she was too terrified to care. “Please!”
The things vanish; shaking and weeping, Nynaeve repairs the damage to her dress, but the scratches remain. Egwene makes no move to comfort her, instead saying that she had made those, and could unmake them, but Nynaeve does not know how, and even Egwene has trouble with the ones she just finds. Nynaeve counters that she could have dreamed herself away, and Egwene tells her to stop being sullen; Nynaeve glares, but Egwene merely raises an eyebrow at her, and Nynaeve decides to change the subject. She observes that this room doesn’t look like Siuan Sanche, and Egwene agrees. She supposes everyone needs a change now and then, but Nynaeve disagrees, and says that the woman who decorated this room does not look at the world the way the woman who decorated it the old way did, and the painting of Rand on the wall indicates that she wants to be reminded he is dangerous. She thinks it means Siuan has changed her stance toward Rand, and Egwene replies perhaps, and tells her to search the papers in here while she checks Leane’s desk outside.
Nynaeve stared indignantly at Egwene’s back as she left. You search in here, indeed! Egwene had no right to give her orders. She ought to march right after her and tell her so in no uncertain terms. Then why are you standing here like a lump? she asked herself angrily.
She stalks over to the desk and starts going through the papers in one of the lacquered boxes on it. She sees a list of approved penances for Joline Sedai which makes her wince, a note that the Marshal-General of Saldaea was still missing, a report that all the eyes-and-ears in Tanchico have gone silent, and has begun reading a report on a suspected gathering of Blues when a cry of dismay from Egwene sends her running into the anteroom. Egwene tells her, horrified, that Elaida is the Amyrlin Seat. Nynaeve scoffs, and Egwene says she had a paper in her hands signed with Elaida’s name and the seal; Siuan must have been deposed, or maybe she fell down stairs and broke her neck or something. Nynaeve mutters about Moiraine being so sure Siuan would put the Tower behind Rand, and Egwene tells her the paper she had seen the seal on was an arrest warrant for Moiraine for charges of treason, evidently the same language being used for Elayne. Nynaeve observes that this confirms Elaida does not support Rand, and concludes from what she saw that the Ajahs must have split over her becoming Amyrlin.
“Yes, of course. Very good, Nynaeve. I did not see that.”
Her smile was so pleased that Nynaeve smiled back. “There’s a report on Siu— the Amyrlin’s writing table about a gathering of Blues. I was just reading it when you shouted. I’ll wager the Blues didn’t support Elaida.” The Blue and Red Ajahs had a sort of armed truce at the best of times, and came near going for each other’s throats at the worst.
They go back into the study, but cannot find the paper again; Egwene tells her to try to remember what she had read already, and Nynaeve tells her she is trying, and suddenly it hits her that she is making excuses to Egwene. Somehow the balance between them had shifted, and Nynaeve realizes it is because of the lie she had told her earlier, and immediately tells Egwene the truth of what had happened in Ronde Macura’s house. She adds that she will box Egwene’s ears if she tells the Wise Ones the truth, expecting Egwene to flare up, but Egwene only gives her an amused smile and says she’d suspected Nynaeve wasn’t being truthful, and that she always tries to make out that every mistake she made she did on purpose. Nynaeve splutters that that is not true, and Egwene stares at her a moment, then forms a cup of something in her hand and asks Nynaeve if she remembers what she made Egwene drink the only time she ever lied to Nynaeve?
Nynaeve took a step back before she could stop herself. Boiled catfern and powdered mavinsleaf; her tongue writhed at just the thought. “I did not really lie, actually.” Why was she making excuses? “I just didn’t tell the whole truth.” I am the Wisdom! I was the Wisdom; that ought to count for something still. “You cannot really think...” Just tell her. You’re not the child here, and you certainly are not going to drink. “Egwene, I —“ Egwene pushed the cup nearly under her nose; she could smell the acrid tang. “All right,” she said hastily. This can’t be happening! But she could not take her eyes off that brimming cup, and she could not stop the words tumbling out. “Sometimes I try to make things look better for myself than they were. Sometimes. But never anything important. I’ve never — lied — about anything important. Never, I swear. Only small things.” The cup vanished, and Nynaeve heaved a sigh of relief. Fool, fool woman! She couldn’t have made you drink it! What is wrong with you?
Egwene goes back to the topic of Elaida as if nothing had happened, saying that obviously Moiraine had to be told, and Rand, but she should probably keep it from general knowledge among the Aiel, so Nynaeve had better not go blurting it to the Wise Ones at their next meeting; in fact it would be better if she didn’t mention this visit to the Tower at all. Nynaeve says stiffly that she is not a fool, and Egwene agrees, as long as she doesn’t let her temper get the better of her. She warns Nynaeve to be careful, especially regarding Moghedien, and disappears. Nynaeve stares at the spot she was for a while, then steps out of the dream herself, grumbling.
Egwene wakes in her tent, and is relieved to see that she got away with her solitary trip into Tel’aran’rhiod without the Wise Ones knowing. She wasn’t worried about punishment, only that they might make good on their threat not to teach her anymore.
But even so, she had to push ahead. As rapidly as they taught, they were not rapid enough. She wanted to know now, to know everything.
As she dresses, she thinks with amazement about what had happened with Nynaeve. She’d been so afraid Nynaeve would find out she was in the Dreamworld without the Wise Ones’ permission and then rat her out, that the only thing she could think to do was not let her talk and focus on what Nynaeve was doing wrong, and somehow had gained the upper hand. Egwene reflects that not getting angry must have been the key, and recalls that Moiraine seldom raised her voice, and the Wise Ones never yelled either, except at each other, in private.
There was an old saying that she had never really understood before: “He strains to hear a whisper who refuses to hear a shout.”
She resolves never to shout at Rand again, nor Nynaeve, especially when it brings such results, and giggles. She heads to Rand’s tent, and after greeting Enaila and Aviendha outside, peers through the crack of the tent flap, to see Rand reading and Natael yawning. Rand laughs at whatever he’s reading and tosses the book to Natael, telling him to check two different pages and see if he agrees it’s a fine joke. Egwene thinks she can’t talk to him in front of the gleeman, and asks Aviendha why she doesn’t join them in the tent, to which Aviendha replies that he wanted to talk to the gleeman, and won’t in front of her. Enaila makes a joke about sons that makes Aviendha stalk off, and Egwene mutters to herself about incomprehensible Aiel humor as she heads to Moiraine’s tent. She tries to sneak past Lan, which works about as well as you’d expect, and asks to come in. Moiraine had been scrying with her blue stone, but puts it away when Egwene enters. Egwene says she thought Moiraine wasn’t going to eavesdrop on Rand anymore.
“I said that since the Wise Ones could watch his dreams, we should allow him some privacy. They have not asked again since he shut them out, and I have not offered. Remember that they have their own goals, which may not be those of the Tower.”
Egwene tells Moiraine the news about Elaida, and Moiraine asks if she knows through her Dreams, which Egwene thinks is her out, and the only useful thing they had been good for lately, as she had been unable to interpret them herself. She tells Moiraine she saw an arrest warrant for her signed by Elaida as Amyrlin in a dream, and thinks that this is technically all true, but is suddenly glad Nynaeve is not there. Moiraine replies that the Wheel weaves, and now perhaps it does not matter as much if Rand takes the Aiel into Cairhien. Egwene is amazed that that’s all she has to say, and says she thought Siuan was Moiraine’s friend.
“I have no time for tears, Egwene. The Dragonwall is not many days distant now, and the Alguenya... Siuan and I were friends, once. In a few months it will be twenty-one years since we began the search for the Dragon Reborn. [...] There is a saying in Cairhien, though I have heard it as far away as Tarabon and Saldaea. ‘Take what you want, and pay for it.’ Siuan and I took the path we wanted, and we knew we would have to pay for it eventually.”
Egwene does not see how she can be so calm, and Moiraine tells her that of course she is not happy that the Ajahs have split; the Tower has been the bulwark of the Light against the Shadow for three thousand years, and she almost wishes all the sisters had sworn to Elaida if it meant keeping the Tower whole. Endeavoring to be just as calm, Egwene asks what about Rand, and Moiraine reminds her that thirteen sisters can capture him no matter how weak they are. Egwene asks what Moiraine intends to do, and Moiraine says she intends to continue talking to Rand; she thinks it will be easier now that she does not have to dissuade him from Cairhien, and she admits that he does listen to her even if he gives no sign of what he thinks of any of it. Egwene brings up Nynaeve’s news about the Forsaken in the Dreamworld, especially Lanfear, and Moiraine says they will have to keep a watch. Egwene worries that it isn’t enough.
Moiraine leaned over to put a hand on her arm, a look of affection on her face. “We cannot hold his hand forever, Egwene. He has learned to walk. He is learning to run. We can only hope he learns before his enemies catch him. And, of course, continue to advise him. To guide him when we can.”
Egwene makes to go, but stops and asks why Moiraine has started obeying Rand, and comments that even Nynaeve doesn’t think it’s right.
“She does not, does she?” Moiraine murmured. “She will be Aes Sedai yet, whatever she wishes. Why? Because I remembered how to control saidar.”
After a moment, Egwene nodded. To control saidar, first you had to surrender to it.
She leaves, and only afterwards realizes that Moiraine had spoken to her the entire time as an equal.
Hindsight being twenty-twenty and all that, I recognize now that this shift of power between Nynaeve and Egwene was not only necessary but inevitable, for both plot- and character-related reasons. However, this does not change the fact that I was INTENSELY indignant on Nynaeve’s behalf here, both the first time I read this and on every subsequent re-read. Including this one.
It’s been observed before (possibly by me, I’ve done so much writing on WOT by now I can’t remember what the hell I’ve said and not said) that Nynaeve was essentially skipped over her “teenage” years, by dint of being made Wisdom so young and having to deal with such authority so early on, and that this whole crisis of character she’s having is basically her making that passage to maturity that she missed before.
Which, okay, fine. It needed to happen, and Nynaeve brought it upon herself, and eventually she becomes a better person for it. But I have to say, the rightness of the lesson is rather undermined by the fact that Egwene precipitated it merely to cover up her own lie. Hypocrisy: it’s what’s for breakfast!
But you know, the thing that really gets me is not that Egwene browbeats, humiliates and then (from a certain point of view) actually physically assaults Nynaeve – it’s that she then giggles about it afterward.
Which, I might add, is a detail I had forgotten about before. And when I read that bit just now I really, really, really wanted to reach into the book and smack her silly.
I don’t think I’m being entirely fair to Egwene here, since it’s not like she set out with the intention of giving Nynaeve a beatdown, more like just kind of fell backwards into it, but still: giggling? Really? Gah.
Anyway. I liked Egwene before, and I’ll like her again later, but right now she is seriously not my favorite.
As far as the ethicality of the “nightmare” assault specifically goes, I’m going to fail to render an opinion on it, because I recognize all the rational arguments that can be made for its necessity. The analogy I remember (from the newsgroup, I think), was that it is better to deliberately let your child touch a hot stove and learn that fire hurts from a small burn on one finger, than to let him learn by pulling a pan off the burner and ending up in an ICU with third-degree burns over sixy percent of his body. I get that.
That being said, the actual nature of the assault pushes some serious buttons for me, and it’s not something I feel I can respond to rationally. So I won’t. Moving on.
Moiraine: I wonder if it’s only because I know what’s going to happen to her that everything she says in TFOH takes on this kind of wistful, sad, que sera sera tone?
I certainly do think that the knowledge of her impending (albeit greatly exaggerated) demise has caused her to – not soften, so much as loosen. Desperation or no, I don’t know that it would honestly even have occurred to her before going through the rings that surrendering to Rand might work better than fighting him. I also don’t know that she would have ever unbent enough to treat Egwene as an equal, as she does here, without Egwene being raised to full Aes Sedai first, either. However, it’s possible I’m not giving her enough credit.
And you know, I forgot that Moiraine had totally been listening to everything Rand and Asmodean said to each other this whole time. Even though I knew she tells him in her letter that she knows who Natael was, for some reason I thought she had just logically deduced it, when here she is eavesdropping on every word. Weird.
Well, I hope everything was to your satisfaction! Here’s your check, and don’t forget that people who stiff on tips are the scum of the earth, mmkay? Okay! Thanks so much for dining with us tonight, and don’t forget to make your reservations for Friday, and to return the jacket! Yes, you, sir. No, now, sir. Thank you!