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Mat and the Slaughtered Tinkers. 'Tell the Dragon Reborn'

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I've long believed this, but it only recently became aware to me that people havn't really considered this point. I don't know, maybe you have... anyway here are my thoughts.

 

Firstly, in The Lord of Chaos chapter 22 Mat comes across a caravan of slaughtered Tinkers in Altara, and finds one having inscribed a message in his own blood...

 

A man in a coat that still showed a little eye-wrenching blue lay hard against it, one sprawled hand "black with blood. What he had written in shaky letters stood out darker than the wood of the wagon bottom.

 

TELL THE DRAGON REBORN

 

Tell him what? Mat thought. That somebody had killed a whole caravan of Tinkers? Or had the man died before he could write whatever it was? It would not have been the first time Tinkers had come onto important information. In a story he would have lived just long enough to scrawl the vital bit that meant victory. Well, whatever the message, nobody was ever going to know a word more now.

 

So, Jordan makes a big deal out of pointing out this might have been important, but no explanation as to why. And the question is, simply...

 

Tell the Dragon Reborn... what?

 

The answer, to my mind, is simply. Firstly, in the Lord of Chaos Prologue, Niall reigns in Carridan, and assigns him a new mission.

 

 

 

"Then if I am not going to Altara, my Lord Captain Commander, what are my orders?"

 

Niall let his head fall back with a sigh. He felt tired suddenly. He felt all of his years and more. "Oh, you will be going to Altara, Carridin."

 

Rand al'Thor's name and face had been known to him since shortly after the supposed invasion from across the sea at Falme, an Aes Sedai plot that had cost the Children a thousand men and begun 'the spread of the Dragonsworn and chaos across Tarabon and Arad Doman. He had known what al'Thor was and believed he could use him as a goad to force the nations to unite. Once bound together, behind his leadership, they could have disposed of al'Thor and been ready for the Trolloc hordes. He had sent emissaries to every ruler of every land to point out the danger. But al'Thor moved faster than he could believe even now. He had meant to let a rabid lion roam the streets long enough to frighten everyone, but the lion had become a giant that moved like lightning.

 

Yet all was not lost; he had to keep reminding himself. More than a thousand years ago, Guaire Amalasan had named himself the Dragon Reborn, a false Dragon who could channel. Amalasan had conquered more land than al'Thor now held, before a young king named Artur Paendrag Tanreall took the field against him and began his own climb to empire. Niall did not consider himself another Artur Hawkwing, but he was what the world had. He would not give up while he lived.

 

Already he had begun to counter al'Thor's growing strength. Besides emissaries to rulers, he had sent men to Tarabon and Arad Doman. A few men to find the right ears, to whisper that all their troubles could be laid at the feet of the Dragonsworn, those fools and Darkfriends who had declared for al'Thor. And at the feet of the White Tower. Plenty of rumors already came out of Tarabon of Aes Sedai involved in the fighting, rumors to ready men's ears to hear the truth. Now was time to launch the next part of his new plan, to show the fencesitters which side to choose. Time. He had so little time. Yet he could not help smiling. There were those, now dead, who had once said, "When Niall smiles, he is going for the throat."

 

"Altara and Murandy," he told Carridin, "are about to be tormented by a plague of Dragonsworn."

 

 

So, basically, Niall's plan was to have Children of the Light do terrible things in Murandy and Altara, and when the fear was great enough, move in to 'stop the dragonsworn' and so doing unite Altara and Murandy behind him. Of course, he was assasinated before he could follow through.

 

All of which doesn't matter--what matters is his plan. Altara and Murandy are to be plagued by Dragonsworn, whom commit the usual monstrous acts... such as, you know, slaughtering a caravan full of peace-loving Tinkers.

 

The timeline matches--Niall gave this order in the LoC prologue and we see the slaughter in LoC 22. The location matches. Altara--Niall even emphasizes this. The actions match 'Dragonsworn plague' as Niall was requesting equals 'slaughter'.

 

As such, the warning the dying Tinker wanted given to the Dragon Reborn was 'Whitecloaks are pretending to be Dragonsworn and are killing folk' or even just, 'Dragonsworn are killing people.'But I think the former is more likely.

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I kinda thought that was a forgone conclusion. DIdn't he use his Rabid Lion metaphor in that scene too, or what that another one.

 

How would the TInker know they were whitecloaks though? I assumed they would hide their idenity.

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I kinda thought that was a forgone conclusion. DIdn't he use his Rabid Lion metaphor in that scene too, or what that another one.

 

How would the TInker know they were whitecloaks though? I assumed they would hide their idenity.

 

I did too, but someone I trusted in the fandom seemed shocked by the idea, so I figured I'd formalise it.

 

As for how they knew--its evident the killers meant to leave everyone dead. Perhaps they bragged, or joked amongst themselves. Perhaps the Tinker in question was particularily clever--certainly he was strong willed and made a solid effort to fight his killers as he was dying.

 

Or perhaps the Tinker simply wished to warn the Dragon Reborn of the wild Dragonsworn--I don't believe this. I believe they truly did expose themselves as Whitelcoaks... but you never know.

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I kinda thought that was a forgone conclusion. DIdn't he use his Rabid Lion metaphor in that scene too, or what that another one.

 

How would the TInker know they were whitecloaks though? I assumed they would hide their idenity.

 

I did too, but someone I trusted in the fandom seemed shocked by the idea, so I figured I'd formalise it.

 

As for how they knew--its evident the killers meant to leave everyone dead. Perhaps they bragged, or joked amongst themselves. Perhaps the Tinker in question was particularily clever--certainly he was strong willed and made a solid effort to fight his killers as he was dying.

 

Or perhaps the Tinker simply wished to warn the Dragon Reborn of the wild Dragonsworn--I don't believe this. I believe they truly did expose themselves as Whitelcoaks... but you never know.

 

Good point, especially about the bragging and such. We've seen the discipline of the White Cloaks isn't what they make it out to be.

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On the road the Band was taking, they would have been in Cairhien still, or in unclaimed lands south of Cairhien (they left Maerone and were headed directly for Tear, though they obviously didn't make it there), and this happened before Rand gated them to Altara in Chapter 33.. This doesn't mean the killers weren't whitecloaks, but it does alter the circumstances.

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i just recently finished reading this chapter.

 

My initial thinking was that maybe whoever orchestrated the Aiel assasination attempt may have also been responsible for the slaughter of the tinkers. The Tinker slaughter is what made Mat decide to stop and make camp. Then Aiel were brought in via gateway for an attack on his tent. Maybe it was a way for the orchestrator to try and pick the ground for the assasination attempt?

 

I do think your faux-Dragonsworn thoery is possible, but wouldn't they need to cross the river, requiring boats? I thought the Band was travelling on the east bank?

 

There is also talk of lots of refugees travelling up and down the road, not really knowing where to go and I am pretty sure any Dragonsworn sightings would've been passed on to Mat and his army.

 

Also, aren't Altara and Murandy a long ways from where the slaughter takes place? Wouldn't they have to cross the Hills of Kintara or Plains of Maredo?

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I did too, but someone I trusted in the fandom seemed shocked by the idea, so I figured I'd formalise it.

 

 

 

I had never considered this either......I'm glad you decided to formalize it. Thanks Luckers!

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I had assumed it was either White Cloaks, bandits, or Trollocs. The tinkers could've left the message trying to get some important information to the Dragon Reborn and obviously died before he could finish. This wouldn't be the first time that Tinkers had come upon some important information. For all we know, the Tinkers could've found out how to seal the bore

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It would certainly fit in with the texual hints and timing, but the area isn't right.

 

It does not happen anywhere near Altara. It is somewhere near Maredo or Kintara.

 

From the chapter

 

Lord of Chaos: Chapter 22: Heading South

 

A few miles ahead the thickets blended into solid forest again, it would be necessary to drop down closer to the Erinin before they reached that. As they crested a hilltop, Mat could see the river, and the five hired riverboats flying the Red Hand.

 

The Erinin passes from Shienar, Tar Valon, Aringill through to Tear. If Mat can see the river from a hilltop, he can't be more than a few miles from it. Altara and Murandy are hundreds of miles away to the west. http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/River_Erinin

 

Illian and Far Madding are between Mat and Murandy/Altara. It could be that Niall's Whitecloaks may have ranged that far east, but it severely reduces the likelihood of this being the case.

 

Having said that, I am not sure what it could be, I haven't really given it much thought.

 

My immediate thought was of course Sammael and the Shaido.

 

Recently, I have thought that it may be one of the Clan Chief's who are "loyal" to Rand. It has been speculated that there are Darkfriends among the Aiel (since we have only seen the one) such as Sorilea or Amys or even Rhuarc. It would be fitting if the Tinkers (the true Aiel) were trying to warn Rand that one of his chiefs was actually a Darkfriend, going round killing Tinkers (whom the Aiel usually leave alone).

 

I have also thought Demandred, if only for the fact that we don't know what he is doing. Anything unexplained I immediately suspect Demandred. I thought perhaps that it was close to Murandy, the Tinkers warning Rand that Murandy was Shadow controlled, however I doubt they would have reached so far east if Demandred or his lackeys were tracking them down.

 

To me, the Aiel are involved in some way. We have Mat randomly comment on a band of Aiel marching a few miles away, then later that night Aiel attack him through a Gateway, plus the relationship between the Aiel and Tinkers.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar

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I've long believed this, but it only recently became aware to me that people havn't really considered this point. I don't know, maybe you have... anyway here are my thoughts.

 

Firstly, in The Lord of Chaos chapter 22 Mat comes across a caravan of slaughtered Tinkers in Altara, and finds one having inscribed a message in his own blood...

 

A man in a coat that still showed a little eye-wrenching blue lay hard against it, one sprawled hand "black with blood. What he had written in shaky letters stood out darker than the wood of the wagon bottom.

 

TELL THE DRAGON REBORN

 

Tell him what? Mat thought. That somebody had killed a whole caravan of Tinkers? Or had the man died before he could write whatever it was? It would not have been the first time Tinkers had come onto important information. In a story he would have lived just long enough to scrawl the vital bit that meant victory. Well, whatever the message, nobody was ever going to know a word more now.

 

So, Jordan makes a big deal out of pointing out this might have been important, but no explanation as to why. And the question is, simply...

 

Tell the Dragon Reborn... what?

 

The answer, to my mind, is simply. Firstly, in the Lord of Chaos Prologue, Niall reigns in Carridan, and assigns him a new mission.

 

..../ /...

 

As such, the warning the dying Tinker wanted given to the Dragon Reborn was 'Whitecloaks are pretending to be Dragonsworn and are killing folk' or even just, 'Dragonsworn are killing people.'But I think the former is more likely.

The answer, to my mind, is also simple:

 

"Tell the Dragon Reborn... " That's all.

 

The message is "tell the Dragon Reborn...that the Travelling People here were all slaughtered -men, women and children- simply, because we are Travelling People.

The Tinkers wants the Dragon Reborn to know they are targeted by the Shadow for what they represent as a group; the last true holders of the Covenant.

Witnesses -in this case Mat & company- need to tell the Dragon that the only people who truly stuck to the Way of the Leaf through all the turmoil are being killed...and for that reason alone.

 

The only people who would never-ever lift a finger to do harm, regardless of what befals on them, who try very hard to not even to be angry (Adan even resents clenching his fist; a trademark of the Shadow) are wiped out!

The Dragon Reborn needs to know the Shadow finds them a serious threat because of what they can remind the Dragon of.

 

Rand is of the "ancient blood".

Rand knows -through the eyes of Jonai- how important Solinda Sedai thought the Covenant was. Solinda wanted that way of living to reach the Dragon Reborn. Jonai thought that Solinda wanted the items of Power protected -and she did-, but the most important thing was that the Way of the Leaf would survive. (note the smile when Jonai mentiones the items)

 

[solinda's] hand tightened painfully in his hair. “The citizens have already fled Paaren Disen, Jonai. Besides, the Da’shain (note; not the Aiel part) yet have a part yet to play, if Deindre could only see far enough to say what. In any case, I mean to save something here, and that something is you.”

“As you say,” he said reluctantly. “We will care for what you have given into our charge until you want them again.”

“Of course. The things we gave you.” She smiled at him and loosened her grip, smoothing his hair once more before folding her hands. “You will carry the . . . things . . . to safety, Jonai. Keep moving, always moving, until you find a place of safety, where no one can harm you.”

“As you say, Aes Sedai.”

“What of Coumin, Jonai? Has he calmed?”

He did not know any way but to tell her; he would rather have bitten his tongue out. “My father is hiding somewhere in the city. He tried to talk us into . . . resisting. He would not listen, Aes Sedai. He would not listen.

He found an old shocklance somewhere, and . . . .” He could not go on. He expected her to be angry, but her eyes glistened with tears.

 

“Keep the Covenant, Jonai. If the Da’shain lose everything else, see they keep the Way of the Leaf. Promise me.”

“Of course, Aes Sedai,” he said, shocked. The Covenant was the Aiel, and the Aiel were the Covenant; to abandon the Way would be to abandon what they were.

 

So the Dragon Reborn knows and has felt what the Way of the Leaf / Covenant means. The Dragon Reborn is (partly) of the ancient blood of the Da’shain Aiel.

All he needs to hear or otherwise find out, is that it's an important part of how to defeat the Shadow.

If the Dragon hears that the Shadow thinks it's important enough to destroy the Travelling People -like the Tinker wrote-, it should help him figure out why.

 

I think the 'why' is also partly revealed in the trip through the Columns of Rhuidean:

 

“Do you know what happened to the Aiel at Tzora?” He nodded, and she sighed, reaching out to smooth his short hair as if he were a child. “Of course you do. You Da’shain have more courage than . . . . Ten thousand Aiel linking arms and singing, trying to remind a madman of who they were and who he had been, trying to turn him with their bodies and a song. Jaric Mondoran killed them. He stood there, staring as though at a puzzle, killing them, and they kept closing their lines and singing. I am told he listened to the last Aiel for almost an hour before destroying him. And then Tzora burned, one huge flame consuming stone and metal and flesh.

There is a sheet of glass where the second greatest city in the world once stood.”

“Many people had time to flee, Aes Sedai. The Da’shain earned them time to flee. We are not afraid.”

Do not fear evil/ madness, but surround it with joy / goodness (like song & dance in this case). Pure good deeds help remember who you are in the midst of madness. In the end Jaric was too far gone, but it bought precious Time.

 

I think realizing this will help the Dragon in remembering Light in the midst of the total darkness of the Void. It might aid in having clear thoughts in the midst of Chaos and have 'a Memory of Light.'

This is how i envision the Dragon will be Reborn of the Dawn as was prophesized. He will remember Light and wils the sun to rise (a dawn) at the Heart of the Dark. (in TAR @ Shayol Ghul)

Through it, he will -literally- "embrace death" as the Aiel say Rand has learned (embrace/ envelop Shai'tan with Light) and re-seal the Bore.

Edited by Mik

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Umm...

 

Did Mat even tell Rand about that?

 

Interesting theory, although the purpose of the Daishan was to build Rhuiden and populate it with those artifacts which were later instrumental in the story, but if Mat never told Rand, how would he know?

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Umm...

 

Did Mat even tell Rand about that?

Nope. Not 'on screen'. Not yet anyway. Mat might never tell him though. Rand can figure it out on his own, I guess. But hearing it sure helps, because it gives Rand a reason to wonder 'why the Shadow would kill what we view as a totally harmless people'. And exactly therein lies their hidden strenght.

 

Rand might hear it from another person like Egwene who visited the Tinker camp in TGS through Need in TAR; her thoughts there help in a fairly similar way; she thinks life is about more then a single goal, about dreaming, lauging, dancing and loving. If those are the things life is about, then those are the things that harm the 'dark- counterpart'. Egwenes hints come from the opposite angle then what Mat witnessed though, but they may lead Rand to the same conclusion.

 

Interesting theory,...

Thanks. :)

 

although the purpose of the Daishan was to build Rhuiden and populate it with those artifacts which were later instrumental in the story, ...

Can't an action -in this case Solinda sending all the Dai'shain Aiel on their mission- have multiple purposes? Prophesy is hard to predict. The fact remains that Solinda Sedai herself thought less of the artifacts and more of the Way of the Leaf. If her smile and her pause while repeating "...things" aren't decent enough clues, you can hardly miss:

 

“Keep the Covenant, Jonai. If the Da’shain lose everything else, see they keep the Way of the Leaf. Promise me.”

 

A clear message there about the priorities of the Aes Sedai regarding the goals/ purposes the Dedicated were given during the Breaking.

And here we have all Tinkers -men, women & children- butchered.... for no apparant reason then that they exist.

 

but if Mat never told Rand, how would he know?

It might just be a message to the reader. Rand has all the ingredients to figure it out. The Tinker-message...Egwene's visit... they might all just be messages to us. Rand can figure it out on his own. As always... more communication might help. ;) Edited by Mik

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It is mentioned "If only Diendre could see far enough" in regards what part the Aiel have to play in the coming days, yet she could only see so far, and it told her that the Aiel must keep the Way if nothing else if everything was to survive. Likely this meant the establishment of Rhudiean, the glass columns and the rings and all the other Ter'angreal finding it to the square. I still wonder how glass pillars fifty paces wide fit onto wagons along with some of those other Ter'angreal, or if they were made in place. Aes Sedai visions sure seemed to have a lot to do with things. Gitara made a princess give up her husband and newborn babe and run off into the waste, changed the lives of Siuan and Moiraine and many, many others. Aside from those that could see into the future, we have dreamers, foretellings, even non-One Power things such as Min's Viewing of the Pattern, so how did things ever reach the point of social collapse and division among all the factions? Perhaps the pattern needed the CK built, the Eye formed, Callendor created, and gave such visions, vague hints, and foretellings to ensure the division, much like Rand used the Prophecies as a checklist. I never really understood that part, I thought with the way prophesies are fickle and seldom what one expected, him going to Tear and to the Stone sort of forced events and something was up with that.

 

The Tinkers slaughtered I think wasn't in Altara when Mat ran across them, though it seemed like something Whitecloaks might have done while on the way to Altara. A thousand Whitecloaks didn't just appear there, they had to travel there from somewhere and we see in the series that they move around pretty freely, to Tar Valon, then on to Ghealdan, those in Andor winding up facing the Seanchan at Falme...I think it is related, or perhaps the entire point is "Tell the Dragon Reborn" that someone had the stain in their soul so dark and despicable that they killed Tinkers who are akin to children or perhaps more sacred as they will do no harm and have managed to continue on through the ages following the Way of the Leaf through the Breaking, Trolloc Wars, and all these other events that should have destroyed them. A revered people, so to speak.

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I thought it was just done by shadowspawn, and the People were trying to warn about the presence of said shadowspawn. Seems simple enough.

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Why I doubt the theory:

 

1) Too coincidental with the assasination attempt using a gateway and Aiel that night where the slaughter made Mat camp.

 

2) A considerable distance from Altara and Murandy

 

3) I would think Mat would've set Vanin and his other trackers off to track down whoever it was if there was a trail left behind...my guess is a troop of Whitecloacks that far from Amador would leave a significant trail given that they would probably be on horseback, potentially with numerous remounts.

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Why I doubt the theory:

 

1) Too coincidental with the assasination attempt using a gateway and Aiel that night where the slaughter made Mat camp.

 

2) A considerable distance from Altara and Murandy

 

3) I would think Mat would've set Vanin and his other trackers off to track down whoever it was if there was a trail left behind...my guess is a troop of Whitecloacks that far from Amador would leave a significant trail given that they would probably be on horseback, potentially with numerous remounts.

 

1) What does 1 have to do with the other? The gateway was opened right on top his tent, no need to be anywhere near there

2) Point

3) Why? He had a job to do ,and a place to be. He couldn't waste the time.

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Why I doubt the theory:

 

1) Too coincidental with the assasination attempt using a gateway and Aiel that night where the slaughter made Mat camp.

 

2) A considerable distance from Altara and Murandy

 

3) I would think Mat would've set Vanin and his other trackers off to track down whoever it was if there was a trail left behind...my guess is a troop of Whitecloacks that far from Amador would leave a significant trail given that they would probably be on horseback, potentially with numerous remounts.

 

1) What does 1 have to do with the other? The gateway was opened right on top his tent, no need to be anywhere near there

2) Point

3) Why? He had a job to do ,and a place to be. He couldn't waste the time.

 

1) Fair enough. A coincidence can just be a coincidence ;)

 

2) :)

 

3) He isn't in a rush, the quick march is purely to teach the Band how to do it. Although the armies in Tear are waiting for him, there is no rush since the troop buildup is just to hold Sammuel's attention, IIRC this is mentioned somewhere, maybe in the Maerone chapter. Also, if there is a band of hostile troops out there somewhere, a good military commander wants to know, regardless of whether he plans to attack them or not, especially if they are now in your territory. And given there was a message left for Rand, you would think mat would want to investigate who was responsible for the attack for it could be related to the message.

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Why I doubt the theory:

 

1) Too coincidental with the assasination attempt using a gateway and Aiel that night where the slaughter made Mat camp.

 

2) A considerable distance from Altara and Murandy

 

3) I would think Mat would've set Vanin and his other trackers off to track down whoever it was if there was a trail left behind...my guess is a troop of Whitecloacks that far from Amador would leave a significant trail given that they would probably be on horseback, potentially with numerous remounts.

 

1) What does 1 have to do with the other? The gateway was opened right on top his tent, no need to be anywhere near there

2) Point

3) Why? He had a job to do ,and a place to be. He couldn't waste the time.

 

1) Fair enough. A coincidence can just be a coincidence ;)

 

2) :)

 

3) He isn't in a rush, the quick march is purely to teach the Band how to do it. Although the armies in Tear are waiting for him, there is no rush since the troop buildup is just to hold Sammuel's attention, IIRC this is mentioned somewhere, maybe in the Maerone chapter. Also, if there is a band of hostile troops out there somewhere, a good military commander wants to know, regardless of whether he plans to attack them or not, especially if they are now in your territory. And given there was a message left for Rand, you would think mat would want to investigate who was responsible for the attack for it could be related to the message.

 

If his band was small, yes he wants to know, but given the slaughter, if it was a band big enough to harry his troops, he would have acted. There was no need, and he knew it. Plus finding them, with his large band would have taken too long. He wasn't in a rush, as much as he had somewhere to go, and he had to be seen going there, making as much noise as posisble.

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There was no need, and he knew it. Plus finding them, with his large band would have taken too long.

 

He could've just sent out some of his scouts, no need to deviate the whole Band. Esp considering RJ just purposely introduced us to his poachers turned scouts ;)

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Guys... both Vanin and Mat concluded there were no tracks worthy of the name because of the dry ground.

The corpses were rotting for quite some time since Mat smelled the place before he even saw it.

There were loads of vultures and there were lots of burned-out wagons.

 

No tracks + rotting smelly corpses + old fires = whoever did this is days gone.

Mat knew it was pointless to try and find the killers and he felt safe enough to make camp "two hills further and down a winding stream".

 

 

I thought it was just done by shadowspawn, and the People were trying to warn about the presence of said shadowspawn. Seems simple enough.

About the Shadowspawn comment earlier; I doubt that. (edited it in)

I think sprawling "Trollocs"... or "Fades"... or even "Shadowspawn" would have been easier, shorter, better info and faster written, wouldn't you agree?

 

The Tinkers message was very clear and it looks whole:

It was simply to...

 

"TELL THE DRAGON REBORN"

 

The simplest and I think best answer is that that's exactly what the dying Tinker wanted:

Tell the Dragon Reborn ... what you saw here. Simple.

 

I think Mat his initial thought on the matter is correct. And I think the last line I quoted is RJ's sense of humor; this is a story...and the tinker did scrawl the vital bit!

Mat just can't see why.... but everyone in his group expresses surprise anyone would kill the Traveling People. Simple, me thinks.

I tried explaining why the Dragon Reborn need to know and why I think it's vital for the end-game on page 1.

 

 

A man in a coat that still showed a little eye-wrenching blue lay hard against it, one sprawled hand black with blood. What he had written in shaky letters stood out darker than the wood of the wagon bottom.

 

TELL THE DRAGON REBORN

 

Tell him what? Mat thought. That somebody had killed a whole caravan of Tinkers? [bINGO] Or had the man died before he could write whatever it was? It would not have been the first time Tinkers had come onto important information. In a story he would have lived just long enough to scrawl the vital bit that meant victory. Well, whatever the message, nobody was ever going to know a word more now. [LOL. I miss you RJ]

Edited by Mik

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