Winter's Heart: Chapter 16
Author: Kyria d'Oreyn
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Point of View: Mat
Setting: Ebou Dar
Mat is attacked by a gholam and meets Noal Charin.
Mat and his party walk back to Ebou Dar from Valan Luca's menagerie. The dice are tumbling in Mat's head; he knows something bad is going to happen.
Despite the conquest of the Seanchan, the white-walled city has taken little damage, because of the too-fast and too-strong force. Everyone had to take the oath to obey, wait and serve, and so did Mat and the others, lest they have to work in the Rahad.
Beside the gates into the city the heads of law-breakers are displayed, among them Nesta din Reas Two Moons, the former Mistress of the Ships, and Baroc, her Master of the Blades. Sul'dam and damane patrol to see that no outlander with the ability to channel walks into or out of Ebou Dar.
Thom observes that all the Seanchan in the streets must have arrived with the Corenne, the Return. Mat is not ready to go back to the Tarasin Palace and wants Thom and Beslan to take Olver to his reading lessons with the Lady Riselle. He also warns them not to get in trouble with whatever they might have in mind.
All the inns and taverns are overcrowded, so Mat cannot find the game of dice he is looking for. He decides to head back to the palace, but takes the alleys criss-crossing the whole city rather than the streets. In one alleyway he trips and falls before the attacking gholam can land in front of him. Mat takes out his foxhead medallion to keep the gholam from him. When a man shouts into the alley from the streets the gholam flees through a hole in the wall to avoid another pair of eyes.
The man walks up to Mat and introduces himself as Noal Charin. He tells Mat that he was thrown out of his sleeping place at The Golden Ducks because of the Seanchan, and Mat in turn offers him a room in the Tarasin Palace for saving him.