The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 9
Chapter Icon: A large leaf with two smaller leaves next to it
Point of View: Nynaeve
Thom and Juilin find a good camping site just outside the town. Juilin loses the toss so Thom goes into town to get supplies. At least the Panarch made sure money wasn't keeping them in Tanchico. Nynaeve ponders how much the world has changed since she left the Two Rivers. Or did she change? Of course not, it's the world around her. Elayne has gotten a bucket of water and she and Nynaeve freshen up a little. They discuss recent events in Tanchico and wonder if they were in fact the Aes Sedai the Whitecloaks mentioned. There is still a lot of tension between Elayne and Nynaeve. The conversation turns to Moghedien, something Juilin knows nothing about so the women discuss it very carefully.
When Thom returns Nynaeve is disappointed at the food he has brought back. Thom says the town isn't prospering with trade to Tarabon drying up. It looks like Thom has ferreted out the state of local politics too but Nynaeve is not interested in that. She and Elayne decide to go into town for a bit to see if the can find fresh vegetables and to have a chance to talk. When Juilin flips a coin to see who will go with them Nynaeve points out they will be quite safe with so many Whitecloaks around.
On the way to the village Nynaeve confronts Elayne with her behaviour towards Thom. The girl is behaving very silly and it turns out to be a touchy subject. Rand is tangled in somehow. Elayne says she should have told him she loved him before he left. Nynaeve points out that he has Aviendha watching over him and that everything will be quite all right. Elayne also seems to know more about Thom's past. He must have been more than a gleeman once. But whatever it is she is not telling Nynaeve.
The town looks very dispirited to Nynaeve. They look around for fresh vegetables but nobody is selling anything worth that name. Nynaeve wonders how these people are going to make it through the winter. Then Nynaeve sees a sign above a seamstress' shop. A bundle of herbs signaling one of the Yellow Ajah's eyes-and-ears is active there. The sign is only used for the most pressing messages. Nynaeve wants to find out what the message is.
The shopkeeper, a graying woman named Ronde Macura, is very surprised when Nynaeve speaks the words to make herself known as Yellow Ajah. She sends her maid Luci to the kitchen immediately to make her best tea. Nynaeve nearly loses her patience with the babbling woman but she and Elayne end up in the kitchen with a cup of tea anyway. The tea has a minty flavor to it. Then Nynaeve finally manages to wring the message out of the woman: "All sisters are welcome to return to the White Tower. The Tower must be whole and strong." Nynaeve waits for more but that is the whole message. Then the effect of the tea kicks in. They have been drugged. Before she loses consciousness Nynaeve manages to ask what was in the tea. She gets no answer of course.