This week in our read of A Crown of Swords, we’re covering Chapters 17 and 18, in which Mat’s luck features heavily, we get the quote from which our book title comes, and Cadsuane throws her weight around, highly effectively. Also, I get Dolly Parton stuck in my head a lot.
Onward to the recap!
Mat stalks out of the Tarasin Palace, having finally been released by Tylin, feeling like a hunted rabbit.
In the common room of The Wandering Woman he finds a few of his men—Vanin, Corevin, and Harnan. He learns that Nalesean dropped by and left a big chest up in Mat’s room, and that Olver is in the stable doing his lessons, after being spanked by one of the serving girls for pinching her bottom. Mat thinks about how the men are a bad influence on the boy, and orders Harnan to wait there for Thom or Juilin to stop by. He sends Vanin and Corevin to spy around the Chelsaine Palace, and all of them are sobered by the information that Carridin is associating with Darkfriends.
After Corevin and Vanin depart, Harnan cautiously tells Mat about a strange fog that appeared in the Rahad the other day, a fog that contained some creatures in it that appeared to be eating people. Mat tells him not to worry about the Bubbles of Evil until he finds himself in one—that’s the best anyone can do.
Mat’s immediate concern is that Nalesean left a huge amount of money sitting unguarded in his room. He hurries upstairs, worrying about Olver and about how to get Elayne and Nynaeve out of Ebou Dar before anything else happens. As he reaches the door to his room, he hears a floorboard behind him squeak, and turns just in time to block a cudgel blow that would have knocked him unconscious. After a desperate fight with a huge attacker he manages to stab the man to death. They fall through an open doorway and as Mat staggers, he catches sight of a man in the room, bending over an empty chest. The man snatches up weapons of his own, but Mat’s thrown dagger takes him in the throat, and he topples headfirst into the chest.
Mat retrieves his knives and cleans them on the second dead man’s coat. A moment later his manservant Nerim appears and complains about Mat having blood on his coat again. Mistress Anan and her husband Jasfer arrive next, and everyone concludes that the men—who had claimed to be merchants—were thieves who planned to fill the empty chest with whatever they managed to steal.