Welcome back to my chapter-by-chapter read and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. There are spoilers ahead but only through the current chapter.
Chapter 28: Footprints in Air
Nynaeve sees White Bridge ahead. She is disconcerted that the Aes Sedai and Warder do not even seem to notice.
They’ll laugh if they see me gaping like a country bumpkin.
She has not spoken much with her traveling companions. Moiraine has tried to talk her into training in Tar Valon. Nynaeve occasionally thinks of what a Wisdom could do with with the One Power. But she gets angry when allows herself to think of it. When Nynaeve asks how Moiraine will be able to find the two boys who have lost their coins, she replies that she will know when she is close but does not reveal anything else. Moiraine’s calmness infuriates Nynaeve.
Nynaeve does not like how Moiraine makes her feel like a girl who has been caught acting the fool by the Women’s Circle.
She also notices that Lan and Moiraine seem on edge. Moiraine listens for things that Nynaeve cannot see and seems perturbed by what she hears. Lan constantly looks for traps and ambushes.
Lan abruptly advises Nynaeve to return to the Two Rivers, from White Bridge, via the Caemlyn Road. These are the most words he has spoken all day. Moiraine counters to Lan that Nynaeve is part of the pattern. Moiraine is taking over the duty of setting their course from Lan. She seems to be following footprints in air or the scent of memory. Lan only checks her intended route to see that it is safe.
Now at the foot of the Whitebridge, she marvels. If lace were made of glass, she thinks, it would look like this. However, the bridge seems solid like steel. Across the bridge, she notices charred timber and smoke in the air.
Moiraine talks to the people of the town. Mostly they deny that there was a cause for the fire at all. They do learn a little. One of the townspeople imply that they tried to burn a boat. However, the boat cut its moorings and successfully fled down the river only a day before. One towns woman said that a Gleeman had been on the boat as it left.
An Inn remains un-burned in the town square. Inside, a common room is divided by a shoulder high wall. Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve eat while inside. A local militia member enters the Inn and demands from the three why they are in Whitebridge and how long they intend to stay. Lan tells him they plan to leave when they finish eating.
Nynaeve asks Lan where they are going. Moiraine replies that they will now pursue the Two Rivers boy who still has his token, somewhere to the north of them. Moiraine tells Lan and Nynaeve that the other two boys were in this room no more than a day or two earlier. She can somehow feel their presence in the room. Nynaeve asks which two boys but Moiraine does not know. She tells Nynaeve that they must go after the boy they can find, now, because finding the other two without their tokens will be difficult as they could have traveled in any direction. Moiaine says that they know to travel toward Caemlyn and she expects to find them there. Lan interjects that the two boys had reason to be afraid. He tells them quietly a Halfman was in the Inn recently.
Nynaeve chastises Moiraine for never mentioning Egwene and in reply she gets a rare flash of anger from the Aes Sedai. Moiraine tells her that she hopes to find Egwene alive and well with the boys and that she does not give up young women with that much ability easily. Nynaeve feels a cold and wonders to herself if she is herself one of those young women Moiraine will not give up.
The three rode out of Whitebridge and down the Caemlyn Road.
The best line from this chapter was Moiraine putting Nynaeve in her place.
Part of the training you will receive in Tar Valon, Wisdom, will teach you to control your temper. You can do nothing with the One Power when emotion rules your mind.
I suppose we will see about that with Nynaeve.
Not a lot happens in this chapter. The search party has narrowly missed two of the boys (we know them to be Rand and Mat) and thus decides to change targets. There are some subtle things we learned, though.
- Moiraine did not hear anything about anyone dying at the hands of a Halfman the day before. Surely that would have come up. It seems likely that Thom did not die.
- We*did* hear that a Gleeman left on a boat… and that a mob of townspeople blamed said boat for bringing Borderlander type problems to Whitebridge. That sounds very much like Bayle Domon’s boat. Was Thom on board?
- Moiraine can somehow sense the boys when she is close to where they are or where they have been. She told Nynaeve earlier in the book that Nynaeve found them in Baerlon because she had healed either Perrin or Egwene with the One Power at some point. If Moiraine used the one power on the villagers – she did to wash their fatigue away – this might be how she is tracking them.
I continue to like Nynaeve. Yes, she questions everything Moiraine does. She also seems justified in doing so. Moiraine is not telling her much and making all the decisions. I also kind of understand why Moiraine is doing that. If she answered Nynaeve’s questions, that’s all she would have time to do.
Did I detect a hint at the beginning of the chapter of Nyneve having a thing for Lan? She seemed eager to have him to herself.
This chapter seems like another good time to introduce a cast member for the Amazon TV series which will be premiering next years.
Rosamund Pike will be playing Moiraine. This is a big *get* for The Wheel of Time as the British actress is an Academy Award nominee for best lead actress, for her performance in Gone Girl. If any fans had concerns that Amazon Studios was not going to take the show seriously, her casting put that to rest.