Summary: A little 'what if?' situation, but no more bizarre than any others I've read...( At least tDotNM is a female!)
Serth progressed quietly through the underbrush, making barely a noise. The woman in front of him made no noise at all. Rist Cobera turned to look at her friend. " There's someone up ahead," she whispered, and Serth nodded in acceptance. She turned to face him, with a face that would have been beautiful had it not been so masculine. Instead, it could be called handsome. "Let's go back to the rest, report, and I'll come back later." He nodded again. " What ever you say, General." Not that there was much of an army left anymore. Just fifty soldiers and twenty some odd trainees. He could not help a feeling of foreboding that she was going on alone.
Mat Cauthon took his wide-brimmed hat off his head and fanned his sweaty face with it, surveying the panorama. " What did I do to get myself into this mess?" he grumbled. He and the Band of the Red Hand were in the border of Kandor and Saldaea, near the Blight. He had no idea of what Rand wanted them to accomplish, except for rumors that the Seanchan were in Arafel.
"The patrols are back." Mat whirled around, startled by the voice, and was face-to-face with Lan. The Warder's face could have been carved form stone, for all it revealed. Mat grunted. "Have Talmanes debrief them." he ordered.
"I did." Lan answered. "There seems to be something... odd that requires your attention."
"Odd?" Mat repeated as he passed the Warder, walking into a large tent. Upon entering, he saw a certainly odd sight. Talmanes was facing a girl bound to a chair, guards flanking her. The bottom half of her apparently think hair was shaved off, shorter than an Aiel's, the top gathered into a slightly curly short tail. The color was extraordinary, a deep midnight black with thin golden streaks racing through it. Freckles were lightly dispersed under her eyes. Her left eye was the deepest blue he had ever seen, and the right one was black with flecks of silver.
Talmanes turned form the sneering girl to Mat.
"She snuck up on one of the scouts, almost killed him when he turned on her, and was captured by another. She refuses to tell us anything." He held out a silver bowl, in which were some metal objects, and a sword. "We found these on her."
Mat took the bowl, looking through the occupants.There was a dagger with an ivory handle, and a thick signet ring, which looked like it would fit on her thumb. It was silver, with crescent moons arranged in a circle. He silently counted them, and his worst fears were confirmed. Nine.
Nine crescent moons. "I recognize that." This came from Lan, who had followed Mat in. "Her father was known as the Nine Moons. That is his ring."
"Cut her loose." Mat threw a glance behind him, where Nynaeve stood angrily, hand clasped tight on her braid. "It is bad enough to keep a woman tied up like a man, but to talk about her like she isn't even here!" Mat gestured with his head at the guards. They severed the rope, and the instant they did, she bolted for her sword, then stopped in midair. His foxhead medallion went cold on his chest as Nynaeve caught the girl in flows of Air.
"Now," the Aes Sedai said, striding forward until the two of them were eye-to-eye. " You will tell me your name."
"General Rist Cobera, commander of the Malkieri army." Nynaeve sniffed. "No need to use that tone with me, girl. I am Nynaeve al'Meara, Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah."
"Aes Sedai." Rist spoke that name as if it were a curse. "I thought I was free of your meddling."
Mat looked the general up and down appraisingly. She was only an inch or two taller than Nynaeve, and was well-muscled under her breeches and jacket, with a rather full chest. Nynaeve glanced at him looking at Rist. When she opened her mouth to speak, Mat cut in, "General, what do you want?" She glared at him. "I will join your service, if you wish it. My army is gone, and what is left of it is in good hands. I do not wish to go back. I offer myself as your bodyguard." She appeared surprised with what she had said. Sometimes being ta'veren had its advantages.
Mat nodded, then turned to Talmanes. "Get her some new clothes, then erect a tent for her next to mine." Nynaeve released the young female general, and she straightened her tattered jacket as she limped past.
Nynaeve turned to him. "What are you thinking?"
He sighed. "You are looking at the woman I am prophesied to marry. The Daughter of the Nine Moons." She gaped; he had not known Nynaeve could gape. Lan's mouth jerked upwards at the corner. "You have lowered yourself into a viper pit, Mat," he said as he left the tent.
"Don't I just bloody know it! Blood and bloody ashes!" he ignored Nynaeve's admonitory glare as he left the tent. "Flaming women."