Welcome back to my chapter-by-chapter recap and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. There are spoilers through the current chapter in this post but nothing beyond the current post.
Chapter 27: Shelter From the Storm
Perrin frets over the slow speed of traveling with the Tuatha’an. The Traveling People see no need to hurry. They never do. Elyas does not share Perrin’s feelings about their slow speed.
Perrin has now been with The People for long enough to know that they are hiding worry over their own safety while traveling with his group. Perrin notices that the Tinkers watch Elyas openly, when he is not looking, as if unsure what he might do. Elyas is not comfortable with them, either. Yet, Elyas does not want to leave their camp too quickly, reminding Perrin that both he and Egwene had hard days before meeting him. He tells Perrin not to be in such a hurry to put himself back in Aes Sedai hands. When Perrin tells him that he worries their presence will endanger the Tinkers, too, Elyas responds that something tells him to wait.
Perrin presses him on what he means by something, and Elyas shrugs and tells him it is a feeling. Perrin struggles to relax in large part because no one around him seems to have any cares at all. Perrin wants to talk to Egwene about all of this but he finds it hard to get an opportunity. She spends her time talking privately with Ila or dancing with Aram.
Perrin recognizes some of the songs that the Tinkers play but the songs often have different names among the Traveling People. The music they play seems almost hypnotic and spurs him to more dancing than he has ever done before.
One of the Tinker dances, performed exclusively by women, is to slow music and the rhythmic hips movements cause him to blush. They notice his embarrassment and make a game of dancing in front of him. When Perrin closes his eyes they laugh. Raen, the leader of the Tinker band, tells Perrin the first time that Perrin sees this dance that the girls do not dance that particular dance often. Elyas tells Perrin, subsequently, that it is because of his blushes that the Tinker girls and women dance that dance every night thereafter. Elyas thanks Perrin for that.
Egwene begins learning the dance, too. Perrin decides it is wise to not say anything to her about it. Aram looks at Egwene hungrily as she does this dance and Ila, his grandmother, notices. These looks seem to worry her. Perrin decides to keep an eye on Aram.
Perrin finally gets a chance to talk to Egwene privately. She rebuffs his concern about embracing too strongly the Tinker way of life and tells him to enjoy himself with the Tinkers because it might be the last chance they ever have to enjoy themselves. Perrin worries that he and Egwene are falling under the spell of The People. He thinks that they do not have to try to convert you. Instead, he thinks just being around them converts you.
Perrin continues to have normal dreams. He has occasional nightmares about Fades and Trollocs but nothing like his Baerlon dreams. He continues to feel the wolves outside the camp. His awareness of the wolves continues to grow sharper. The wolves that Perrin can feel are growing impatient with their slow travel.
One night, Perrin is having a dream. He is in Edmond’s Field at the Luhhan home. Abruptly a wolf in his dream began to growl and Ba’alzamon steps into the yard. Perrin scrambles to his feet. Ba’alzamon focuses on the wolf, instead. Ba’alzamon crooks his finger and fire bursts from the wolf. Alsbet Luhhan does not notice. Perrin grabs his ax and shouts at Ba’alzamon to leave him alone.
The Eye of the World will consume you. I mark you mine!
A raven flies from Ba’alzamon’s hand and pecks at Perrin’s eye. He screams in agony and sits up in his bed among The Traveling People. He puts his hands to his face. There is no pain and no blood. Suddenly Elyas shakes Perrin as if to wake him. Beyond the trees Perrins hears the wolves howling. Perrin can feel their sensations and he shares them. Fire. Pain. Hate. HATE. KILL.
Elyas tells them it is time for them to leave the Tinker camp. The sun has not yet risen. Raen also emerges from his wagon and tells them that his camp must change the direction they are traveling. He asks if they will come with them and is told no. Raen suggests that the Tinkers will move their camp to the east and possibly find a stedding. He invites Elyas and Perrin to breakfast so that they can discuss things and Elyas tells him they do not have time. Raen seems to have an ominous feeling about the day.
Elyas and Perrin tell Egwene that it is time to leave. She nods thoughtfully and gathers her things without hesitation or complaint. Raen is frustrated that someone might leave his camp without a farewell feast. He pleads to at least let The People say goodbye. Elyas tries to protest even that but Raen quickly goes from wagon to wagon to alert the people. By the time a Tinker leads Bela to Egwene and Perrin, the entire camp has turned out. Perrin endures handshake after handshake, and hugs from the dancing women who made him blush. Aram draws Egwene aside and seems to plead with her to stay. Ila eventually rescues Egwene from his argument and Aram abandons the rest of the farewell. Perrin decides that Ila is relieved that Aram does not want to leave with Egwene.
Raen and Elyas perform the formal Tinker farewell ritual.
Raen warns Elyas as they leave that they must take care. He feels that there is wickedness in the world. The wolves, Dapple, Wind, and Hopper, greet Elyas and relay thoughts to him outside of their camp. Perrin picks it up.
Fire Eyes. Pain. Heart Fang. Death. Heart Fang.
Perrin knew that they were telling him about Perrin’s dream. Their dream. Perrin thinks to himself that he had thought his dreams were safe with the wolves. He hears a reply from them. He will not be completely safe unless he accepts.
Perrin is surprised. He did not know he could communicate with them this way.
Perrin asks Egwene why she spent so much time in the Tinker camp talking with Ila.
“Ila was giving me advice on being a woman,” Egwene replied absently. He began laughing, and she gave him a hooded, dangerous look that he failed to see.
“Advice! Nobody tells us how to be men. We just are.”
“That,” Egwene said, “is probably why you make such a bad job of it.” Up ahead, Elyas cackled loudly.
The Tuatha’an are based in part on “people/gods” from Irish/Celtic myth – the Tuatha Dé Danann. You can read about them at the link.
We get another good toe-dip into Tinker culture in this chapter. In Jordan’s telling, they are not gods, but they are nomadic pacifists, who seem to like leisure, mending the occasional pot, and dancing above all. Sounds great. But we also learn especially in this chapter that there is a wariness beneath their colorful and cheerful exterior. Aram embodies more of that wariness than his grandparents might prefer.
I wish we had been given a bit more about what tipped Raen off that something dangerous is afoot. Maybe it was just the wolves howling in the distance. Maybe something else. Alas. We will not find out today. It is fun to imagine, though, that there is more to being Mahdi than meets the eye.
This chapter advances Perrin’s relationship with the wolves. He has psychic communication with them for the first time. They also begin the process of explaining their place in his dreams, too. If I thought “The Dark One” was sending ravens to peck my eye out in my dreams, I might just get to that “full acceptance” as quickly as possible. That’s just me, though.
Speaking of, the circumstance leading to this first direct communication is a shared dream of Ba’alzamon killing one of their dream brethren. It is interesting that the wolves had the same dream as Perrin. They seem to refer to Ba’alzamon as Fire Eyes and Heart Fang. Wolves are great at naming things, apparently. Is there a Wheel of Time “wolf brother” name generator out there somewhere? I cannot find out. It should exist.
That exchange between Egwene and Perrin at the end of the chapter was great. This series plays into the “battle of the sexes” quite a bit. Egwene got a mic drop moment on Perrin. Yo love to see it.
Overall, this chapter feels like a prelude to life going very sideways for these two Emond’s Fielders. Like the chapter title suggest, “the storm” is coming. Ba’alzamon marks Perrin in some way in Perrin’s dream. I am guessing that we will see some bad guys again real soon.