|Chapter 11: War Council|
"Covenant Ringthane, do you know me?"
Covenant stared at her intensely, with a look of pain as if his forehead were splitting. Several moments passed before he said thickly, "Gay. You're--you were Winhome Gay. You waited on--you were at Manhome."
The Manethrall returned his stare. "Yes. But you have not changed. Forty-one summers have ridden past me since you visited the Plains of Ra and Manhome, and would not eat the food I brought to you. But you are changeless. I was a child then, a Winhome then, barely near my Cording--and now I am a tired old woman, far from home, and you are young. Ah Covenant Ringthane, you treated me roughly."
He faced her with a bruised expression; the memories she called up were sore in him. After another moment, she raised her hands until her palms were turned outward level with her head, and bowed to him in the traditional Ramen gesture of greeting. "Covenant Ringthane, I know you. But you do not know me. I am not Winhome Gay, who passed her Cording and studied the Ranyhyn in the days when Manhome was full of tales of your Quest--when Manethrall Lithe returned from the dark underground, who became a Manethrall, and later heard the word of the Lords asking for Ramen scouts to search the Spoiled Plains between Landsdrop and the Shattered Hills. This requesting word was heard, though these same Lords knew that all the life of the Ramen is on the Plains of Ra, in the tending of the Ranyhyn--yes, heard, and accepted by Manethrall Gay, with the Cords in her watch. She undertook the task of scouting because she hated Fangthane the Render, and because she admired Manethrall Lithe, who dared to leave sunlight for the sake of the Lords, and because she honored Covenant Ringthane, the bearer of white gold, who did not ride when the Ranyhyn reared to him. Now that Manethrall Gay is no more."
As she said this, her fingers hooked into claws, and her exhausted legs bent into the semblance of a fighting crouch. "I am Manethrall Rue--old bearer of the flesh of her who was named Gay. I have seen Fangthane marching, and all the Cords in my watch are dead."