Mired in Altara part 4: On the Fox's Trail
This fourth part to Mired in Altara is concerned with the new "Prince of the Ravens" and commander of Shen al Calhar Mat Cauthon and the characters surrounding him.
We will follow the fox's trail from his departure from the Tarasin palace to where we left him at the end of Knife of Dreams.
Mat's travels through Altara are significantly easier to follow than Perrin's. To begin with, Mat gave us the sedate average speed of 2.5 leagues/day (10 miles/day) the circus was making. Secondly, the chronology of his story line does not have the gaps where we lost track of his location for many days as was the case with Perrin's. Thirdly, Mat gives a forcibly very approximate but still useful estimate of how far Talmanes and the Band had travelled into Altara when they met, which helps a lot with the episodes of his story line set after he left Valan Luca's travelling show.
This map also shows the last known location of Perrin as Knife of Dreams ended. Mat was a few leagues south of the Malvide Narrows (7 on the map), we left Perrin has he was heading north from Malden (10, on the map), while Rand's capture of Semirhage took place 150 leagues west of Caemlyn near the northern border of Altara (9).
The chronology contains a few minor spoilers for the advanced material of The Gathering Storm (prologue, chapters 1 and 2), which are hidden by the spoiler tag. The map itself contains no spoiler.
The Fox's Trail, from the conquest of Ebou Dar (day zero) to Tuon's return to the Tarasin Palace (day 108)
A Selected Chronology (all dates in the Year of Grace 1000 of the New Era):
19th of Taisham(day 0) The Forerunners conquer Ebou Dar. The Bowl of Winds is used, and the Seanchan raid the Kin's retreat north-east of the city. Elayne's exploding Gateway is mistaken for a mysterious Aes Sedai weapon.
9th of Jumara (day 18): Egwene meets with Andoran and Murandian nobles. Talmanes Delovinde tells her he's been hired by King Roedran to serve as a decoy threat to Murandy that Roedran will use to unite the nobility behind him. He intends to move south, to eventually join Mat in Altara.
12th of Jumara (day 21) Rand's forces Travel to the Venir Mountains and the raid against the Seanchan outposts begin.
18th of Jumara (day 27) Rand's raid against the Seanchan stops in the Hills north-east of Ebou Dar and he Travels back to his camp north-west of Illian. The Seanchan defeat Ailron at Jeramel.
28th of Jumara (day 37) Faile is captured by the Shaido.
2nd of Saban (day 39) The Return lands in Ebou Dar. Mat and Tuon meet.
9nd of Saban (day 46) Egwene and the rebels Aes Sedai Travel to Tar Valon in the middle of a snowstorm and begin to besiege the city.
16nd of Saban (day 53) In the night, Mat's group escapes from the Tarasin Palace to go hide in Luca's Show two miles north of Ebou Dar. Mat finds out the real identity of Tuon and decides to kidnap her and her so'jhin Selucia.
22nd of Saban (day 59) Rand and Nynaeve remove Shai'tan's taint on saidin. Luca's show departs from Ebou Dar. Perrin's camp is circled by Darkhounds and news come to him of the Shaido settling down at Malden.
26th of Saban (day 65) Banner-General Karede of the Deatchwatch Guard leaves Ebou Dar secretly and joins his assembled search party, a few miles north-east of Ebou Dar on the Illian road. When Almurat Mor visited him that day, he was studying Captain of the Air General Yulan's plans to cripple Aes Sedai power. It involved a map of Tar Valon and a mysterious second map of an unknown location, probably Caemlyn and the Black Tower. Two days later, Egwene has her dream about a Seanchan attack on Tar Valon.
4th-6th of Aine (day 70-72) Perrin visits So Habor. Galad Damodred won his Trial under the Light against Eamon Valda and becomes Lord Captain-Commander. He decides to flee the Seanchan territories to seek allies in the north. The next day, Rodel Ituralde begins his raid on Seanchan outposts and supply trains in Tarabon, facilitating Galad's escape, unknowingly. On the 6th, Suroth orders 9 out of ten raken to be assigned to finding Rodel Ituralde.
10th of Aine (day 76) Luca's show crosses the Eldar at Alkindar and sets camp outside Coramen to give performances.
13th of Aine (day 79) Luca's show reaches Jurador and performs there for a few days. Mat takes Tuon shopping in the town. Renna stabs Egeanin and tries to reach the Seanchan back in Coramen. Tuon places the show under her protection. Mat hunts Renna down and orders Harnan to shoot her. At Northharbour in Tar Valon around the same time her ex-sul'dam dies, Egwene gets captured. Two days later, Mat buys the Domani razor in Jurador.
16th of Aine (day 82) Luca's show leaves Jurador and reaches Runnien Crossing in the afternoon. Moridin summons the Chosen and orders them to find Perrin and Mat and have their followers kill them.
19th of Aine (day 85) Perrin and Banner-General Khirgan meet and agree to unite their forces to battle the Shaido at Malden.
20th of Aine (day 86) Mat gives Tuon the razor and they ride in the countryside, near the ruins of Londaren Cor, ancient location of the Palace of the Moon and capital of the nation of Eharon during the Second Covenant. There is a Waygate there.
21th of Aine (day 87) Mat and the show witness the apparition of a deadly supernatural Shiotan village in the middle of the road (see #1 on the map). That evening, Mat learns the content of Moiraine's letter to Thom and agrees they will eventually attempt to rescue her through the Tower of Ghenjei.
22th of Aine (day 88) Perrin visits Almizar, Amadicia. Mat reaches Maderin and brings Tuon to visit an inn. An unknown Forsaken (perhaps Moridin or Cyndane, given the skills involved) has located both ta'veren and darkfriends attempt to kill them that day. The two attacks fail. The attack on Mat is misinterpreted because of the rumours reaching them that the Seanchan are looking for Tuon to assassinate her. Mat with his soldiers, Thom and Olver, Juilin and Thera, Domon and Leilwyn (Egeanin), Aludra, Setalle Anan, the Aes Sedai Teslyn, Joline and Edesina, the ex-sul'dam Bethamin and Seta, Noal Charin, Tuon and Selucia all leave the travelling show and head north-east into the woods at great speed.
At the Algarin manor in Tear, Rand faces and defeats a massive attack from the Shadow.
23rd of Aine (day 89) Narishma and Merise visit the Rebel Hall near Tar Valon. Aran'gar is exposed and forced to flee. Egwene is asked to attend Elaida that evening. End of Egwene's Knife of Dreams story line
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24th of Aine (day 90): Mat is reunited with Talmanes and his half of the Band, about 300 miles from the Damora mountains (see #2, on the map). Talmanes has been heading south-west for a while, sending many scouting parties ahead locating all Seanchan outposts in eastern Altara to the Malvide Narrows, having Master Roidelle map the area has they progress. He had passed into Altara from Murandy through a smugglers' pass in the Damoras. The location of this pass is unknown. After his passage, a landslide blocked the pass, the only usable one beside the Malvide Narrows, the stretch five-mile through the mountains on which the Lugard-Ebou Dar (also call The Great North Road in the south) stands. Mat learns that the Molvaine Gap, the area north of the mountains that lead to Remen and into the Murandian passes, is guarded by a large Seanchan army of lancers (under General Chisen - see #6 on the map for its original location ion and #5 for its position after Mat's plan succeeded). After the landslide Talmanes had managed to send a messenger back through to blocked pass to order Estean (who has three banners of horsemen, and five banners of infantry under Daerid) to find his way north toward Andor. It remains an open question whether Estean is to the west of Murandy (and would follow the mountains, leagues west from the path the rebel Aes Sedai followed) or rather to the East (a more logical path into the heartland of Andor, especially if the smugglers' pass was to the south of the Narrows). Estean following the eastern border to head north would suggest a meeting with the Borderlanders, who according to Elayne intend to go south using country roads east of Caemlyn, may well happen.
Mat announces he makes Talmanes and Daerid Lieutenant-Generals. Daerid's promotion will have to wait of course (he's in Murandy right now), the forces heading for Andor remaining in the far less competent Estean's hands.
As Tylee Khirgan and Perrin makes the last preparations for Malden, she reports her scouts located Galad and his seven thousand Whitecloaks 50 miles from her camp a few leagues away from Perrin, out of Brytan. Galad is heading north.
25th of Aine (day 91) Rand comes to meet "Tuon" in northern Altara near the border at the manor of Lady Deirdru, which results his the loss of his hand and the capture of Semirhage. Rand releases the sul'dam and damane near Ebou Dar, with a message for The Daughter of the Nine Moons. End of Rand's Knife of Dreams story line)
That evening, Mat scatters the Band and launches with a first ambush (see map) his raid in central eastern Altara meant to draw Chisen's army from the Molvaine Gap to the south, freeing the path through the Malvide Narrows to Murandy for the Band.
26th of Aine (day 92) The various groups from Shen al Calhar launches many attacks against the Seanchan in a perimeter of 40-50 miles around the first ambush (see #3, on the map). Within a week, the perimeter will have extended to 300 miles (see #4, on the map) and the Band's groups will have fought four battles and over sixty skirmishes and raids.
In the morning, Perrin and Tylee fight and defeat the Shaido at Malden (see #10 on the map). Therava and around 200 Wise Ones escape, with the probable intent of heading for the Malvide Narrows or else to the east – they seek to stealthily make their way back to the Three-Fold Land.
Perrin presumably heads north and toward the mountains, to join up his servants he sent in the direction of the Jehannah Road, with orders to turn east and head for the passes into Murandy if he doesn't catch up to them. (End of Perrin's Knife of Dreams story line)
5th of Aidar (day 99) Elayne raids Shiaine's house on Full Moon Street, and ends up captured. She is rescued by Birgitte and Charlz Guybon while Dyelin moves to make a stand against Arymilla's forces at the Far Madding gate betrayed by mercenaries. After the rescue Elayne's army moves behind Arymilla's lines at the Malden Gate and she is defeated (see the map of the last day of the siege of Caemlyn).
6th of Aidar (day 100) Banner-General Karede of the Deathwatch Guard reaches Ban.-General Loune's camp in eastern central Altara (see , four days south and west from the Malvide Narrows. Karede learns of Mat's raid, of Chisen's army coming south to deal with it and figures out Mat's plan. Karede's party head to the Narrows at all speed, hoping Tuon's captors have not already passed into the Molvaine Gap.
7th of Aidar (day 100) Following a meeting with the six Houses still supporting Dyelin at which she manages to convince five to switch their support to her, Elayne manages to win the Rose Crown and the Lion Throne. End of Elayne's Knife of Dreams story line)
10th of Aidar (day 103) Karede reaches Mat's rendezvous camp 2 leagues from the Malvide Narrows. News comes from scouts of an army near a small town five miles away, coming to assassinate Tuon. Mat and Tuon marry, and he release her into Karede's care with the mission to bring her back to Ebou Dar, keeping some of the Deatchwatch Guards with him to give the illusion the Band are Tuon's forces. Mat defeats the Seanchan traitors led by Suroth's man Zaired Elbar near marshlands. Elbar's head is given to Captain Musenge of the Deathwatch to bring back to Tuon. End of Mat's Knife of Dreams story line).
Around the 15th of Aidar (day 108) Tuon reaches Ebou Dar and makes Suroth da'covale.(End of Tuon's Knife of Dreams story line).
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In complement to this article, we have now indexed and published our article The Military Forces of the Westlands in a revised version from the one previously available in the Wotmania FAQ section. It is a guide to military numbers and positions at the end of Knife of Dreams.
We also suggest as refreshers the following articles related to topics/characters from Mat's story line: