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1what was the white man's most profitable trading good

datatime: 2022-09-29 03:39:57 Author:HnZknjsC

"My Lord," Balwer murmured as they came abreast of one of those heaps of rubble. He barely waited for Perrin's nod before turning his hammer-nosed mount aside and making his way in another direction, hunched in his saddle with his brown cloak held tight around him. Perrin had no worries about the dried-up little man going off alone, even here. For a secretary, he managed to learn a surprising amount on these forays of his. He seemed to know what he was about.

They made no move to bar passage, just watched, hardly blinking. By what Perrin had heard, all sorts from ladies in silks to beggars in rags came to the Prophet hoping that submitting to him in person might gain added blessings. Or maybe added protection. That was why he had come this way, with only a handful of companions. He would frighten Masema if he had to, if Masema could be frightened, but it had seemed better to try reaching the man without fighting a battle. He could feel the guard's eyes on his back until he and the others were all across the short bridge and onto the paved streets of Abila. When that pressure left, though, it brought no sense of relief.

"Of course you'll pay," Elyas snorted. For a man who had spent most of the last fifteen years afoot, he handled his mouse-colored gelding well. He had acquired a cloak lined with black fox, dicing with Gallenne. Aram, riding on Perrin's other side, eyed Elyas darkly, but the bearded man ignored him. They did not get on well. "A man always pays sooner or later, with any woman, whether he owes or not. But I was right, wasn't I?"

"I don't have time for tears, either, Min," he said gently. "Sometimes the hounds catch the wolf and wish they hadn't. Sometimes he turns on them, or waits in ambush. But first, the wolf has to run."

Off to the left, short of where the road crossed a wooden bridge over a frozen stream that twisted along the town's edge, charred timbers thrust out of the snow atop a large square stone platform with drifts piled around the bottom. Slow to proclaim allegiance to the Dragon Reborn, the local lord had been lucky merely to be flogged and fined all that he possessed. A knot of men standing at the bridge watched the mounted party approaching. Perrin saw no sign of helmets or armor, but every man clutched spear or crossbow almost as hard as he did his cloak. They did not talk to one another. They just watched, the mist of their breath curling before their faces. There were other guards bunched all around the town, at every road leading out, at every space between two buildings. This was the Prophet's country, but the Whitecloaks and King Ailron's army still held large parts of it.

Abila was a goodly sized town, with several tall watch towers and many buildings rising four stories, every last one roofed in slate. Here and there, mounded stone and timbers filled a gap between two structures where an inn or some merchant's house had been pulled down. The Prophet disapproved of wealth gained by trade as much as he did carousing or what his followers called lewd behavior. He disapproved of a great many things, and made his feelings known with sharp examples.

Taim's bow was minuscule. "As you command."

"Of course you'll pay," Elyas snorted. For a man who had spent most of the last fifteen years afoot, he handled his mouse-colored gelding well. He had acquired a cloak lined with black fox, dicing with Gallenne. Aram, riding on Perrin's other side, eyed Elyas darkly, but the bearded man ignored him. They did not get on well. "A man always pays sooner or later, with any woman, whether he owes or not. But I was right, wasn't I?"

Of course, if she let her face be seen too soon, a dose of the strap would be the least she had to fear, as she and the Wise One knew well. Perrin did not have to look back to know the sisters' three Warders, bringing up the rear in ordinary cloaks, were men expecting the need at any moment to out sword and carve a way clear. They had been that way since leaving the camp at dawn. He ran a gloved thumb along the axe hanging at his belt, then regathered his own cloak just before a sudden gust could make it billow. If this went badly, the Warders might be right.

It took only one question, put to a lanky young man with an ecstatic light on his face, to learn where the Prophet was staying, and three more to other folk in the streets to find the merchant's house, four stories of gray stone with white marble moldings and window frames. Masema disapproved of grubbing for money, but he was willing to accept accommodations from those who did. On the other hand, Balwer said he had slept in a leaky farmhouse as often and been as satisfied. Masema drank only water, and wherever he went, he hired a poor widow and ate the food she prepared, fair or foul, without complaint. The man had made too many widows for that charity to count far with Perrin.

The streets were jammed with people, but Perrin and his companions were the only ones on horseback. The snow had long since been trampled to half-frozen ankle-deep mush. Plenty of oxcarts made their slow way through the throng, but very few wagons, and not a single carriage. Except for those wearing worn castoffs or possibly stolen clothes, everyone wore drab woolens. Most people hurried, but like the folk on the road, with heads down. Those who did not hurry were straggling groups of men carrying weapons. In the streets, the smell was mainly dirt and fear. It made Perrin's hackles rise. At least, if it came to that, getting out of a town with no wall would not prove harder than getting in.

Off to the left, short of where the road crossed a wooden bridge over a frozen stream that twisted along the town's edge, charred timbers thrust out of the snow atop a large square stone platform with drifts piled around the bottom. Slow to proclaim allegiance to the Dragon Reborn, the local lord had been lucky merely to be flogged and fined all that he possessed. A knot of men standing at the bridge watched the mounted party approaching. Perrin saw no sign of helmets or armor, but every man clutched spear or crossbow almost as hard as he did his cloak. They did not talk to one another. They just watched, the mist of their breath curling before their faces. There were other guards bunched all around the town, at every road leading out, at every space between two buildings. This was the Prophet's country, but the Whitecloaks and King Ailron's army still held large parts of it.

"You are harder than I thought," Taim muttered.

"My Lord," Balwer murmured as they came abreast of one of those heaps of rubble. He barely waited for Perrin's nod before turning his hammer-nosed mount aside and making his way in another direction, hunched in his saddle with his brown cloak held tight around him. Perrin had no worries about the dried-up little man going off alone, even here. For a secretary, he managed to learn a surprising amount on these forays of his. He seemed to know what he was about.

The streets were jammed with people, but Perrin and his companions were the only ones on horseback. The snow had long since been trampled to half-frozen ankle-deep mush. Plenty of oxcarts made their slow way through the throng, but very few wagons, and not a single carriage. Except for those wearing worn castoffs or possibly stolen clothes, everyone wore drab woolens. Most people hurried, but like the folk on the road, with heads down. Those who did not hurry were straggling groups of men carrying weapons. In the streets, the smell was mainly dirt and fear. It made Perrin's hackles rise. At least, if it came to that, getting out of a town with no wall would not prove harder than getting in.

"You are harder than I thought," Taim muttered.

"You are harder than I thought," Taim muttered.

They made no move to bar passage, just watched, hardly blinking. By what Perrin had heard, all sorts from ladies in silks to beggars in rags came to the Prophet hoping that submitting to him in person might gain added blessings. Or maybe added protection. That was why he had come this way, with only a handful of companions. He would frighten Masema if he had to, if Masema could be frightened, but it had seemed better to try reaching the man without fighting a battle. He could feel the guard's eyes on his back until he and the others were all across the short bridge and onto the paved streets of Abila. When that pressure left, though, it brought no sense of relief.

Perrin nodded. Grudgingly. It still did not seem right taking advice about his wife from another man, even circumspectly, obliquely, yet it did seem to be working. Of course, raising his voice to Faile was as hard as not raising it to Berelain, but he had managed the last quite often and the first several times. He had followed Elyas' advice to the letter. Well, most of it. As well as he could. That spiky scent of jealousy still flared at the sight of Berelain, yet on the other hand, the hurt smell had vanished as they made their slow way south. Still, he was uneasy. When he firmly told her she was not coming with him this morning, she had not raised a single word of protest Among other things, including startled. And how could she be pleased and angry at the same time? Not a scrap of it had showed on her face, but his nose never lied. Somehow, it seemed that the more he learned about women, the less he knew

Taim's bow was minuscule. "As you command."

Abila was a goodly sized town, with several tall watch towers and many buildings rising four stories, every last one roofed in slate. Here and there, mounded stone and timbers filled a gap between two structures where an inn or some merchant's house had been pulled down. The Prophet disapproved of wealth gained by trade as much as he did carousing or what his followers called lewd behavior. He disapproved of a great many things, and made his feelings known with sharp examples.

"Burn you," she breathed. Tangling both hands in his hair, she stared in his eyes. Now blue, now gray, a morning sky just at sunrise. And dry. "You can cry, Rand al'Thor. You won't melt if you cry"

"Dashiva?" Taim snarled, his eyes widening in surprise. "It will be as you say. When next you visit the Black Tower." That quickly, he recovered himself, all polished stone and poise once more. How she wished she could read her viewings of him.

Off to the left, short of where the road crossed a wooden bridge over a frozen stream that twisted along the town's edge, charred timbers thrust out of the snow atop a large square stone platform with drifts piled around the bottom. Slow to proclaim allegiance to the Dragon Reborn, the local lord had been lucky merely to be flogged and fined all that he possessed. A knot of men standing at the bridge watched the mounted party approaching. Perrin saw no sign of helmets or armor, but every man clutched spear or crossbow almost as hard as he did his cloak. They did not talk to one another. They just watched, the mist of their breath curling before their faces. There were other guards bunched all around the town, at every road leading out, at every space between two buildings. This was the Prophet's country, but the Whitecloaks and King Ailron's army still held large parts of it.

As the door closed behind him, Min let out a long breath.

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