The Great Hunt (Chapter 28): A New Thread in the Pattern

Welcome back to my re-read, recap, and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. This post will only have spoilers through the current chapter.

You can find my previous chapter recaps HERE.

Chapter 28: A New Thread in the Pattern

Perrin watches the mountains of Kinslayer’s Dagger as he rides. The wolves say that there are people in the mountains. Perrin wonders if they are Fain’s Darkfriends. The wolves do not know or care about the people. They do know that the Twisted Ones are somewhere up ahead – still far ahead though they ride hard. Mat is riding with a seeming unconcern, juggling three colored balls as he rides, but to Perrin he looks paler than he did before. Verin examined Mat two or three times per day, and even tried healing once, but it makes no difference Perrin can see.

Verin seems to be more absorbed in something else, though, and Perrin believes that is Rand. She always rides at the front of the column and she always presses Ingtar to push their column forward, faster, than he will allow. Perrin is sure that somehow she knows about Rand. Perrin receives images from the wolves ahead of small farm houses.

Ingtar falls back beside Perrin. He asks Perrin what the wolves said.

Perrin: I’ve told you ten times… someone or something attacked the trollocs in the night and killed those trollocs we found.[…]The wolves called him, or it, Shadowkiller. I think it was a man but they wouldn’t go close enough to see clearly. They are not afraid of this Shadowkiller. Awe is more like it. They say the trollocs now follow Shadowkiller and they say Fain is with them.

Ingtar murmurs about “Shadowkiller” and says he has seen things in the Blight that might be called Shadowkillers. Ingtar asks if they saw anything else. Perrin replies that they would not come close to him.

Uno joins them and tells them that there is a human in the rocks ahead. Ingtar replies in surprise that they would see someone this far from The Waste. Uno says that he wanted him to see him, or he likely would not have. Uno sounds disgusted at the admission. He also adds that the man’s face was not veiled so the man in the rocks is not out for killing.

Uno: But when you see one bloody Aiel, there’s always more you don’t.

Uno points in surprise. He says the man wants more than to be seen. The Aiel man has stepped into the way ahead of them. Instantly, Masema points his lance and he drops into a gallop. He is not the only one. Ingtar shouts to hold. He shouts it again before they obey. The Aiel man is tall, with red hair cut short except for a tuft in the back that hangs down to his shoulders. His clothes are all in shades of brown or grey.

Aiel: I have no piper’s to play the tune but if you wish the dance…

Perrin catches an air of readiness despite the man not changing his stance. He announces his name as Urien of the Two Spires sept of the Reyn Aiel. He says also that he is a Red Shield. Ingtar dismounts and walks forward. Perrin hesitates only a moment before doing the same.

Mat: He looks like Rand.

Perrins looks around to see that Mat has joined them, also. Mat speculates that Ingtar is right and that Rand really is an Aiel. Perrin nods and says it changes nothing. Ingtar tells Urien that they are both far from home and they at least have not come all this way for fighting. Urien replies “as you wish it, Shienaran.” He sees Verin, next. The Aiel digs his spear points into the ground and holds out his hand, palm up, and bows.

Urien: Wise One, my water is yours.

Verin hands her reigns to one of the soldiers. She studies him as she comes closer.

Verin: Why do you call me that? Do you take me for an Aiel?

Urien: No, Wise One, but you have the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived. The years do not touch the Wise Ones in the same way as other women or as they touch men.

An excited look appears on Verin’s face but Ingtar speaks impatiently. He tells Urien that they are following trollocs and Darkfriends and asks the Aiel if he has seen any sign of them. Urien’s eyes are excited and he says that trollocs this far south is one of the signs the prophecies speak of.

Urien: When the trollocs come out of the Blight again, we will leave the Three Fold Land, and take back our places of old.

Mat asks aloud about The Three Fold Land. Urien replies that Mat calls it The Waste. He says that to Aiel it is The Three Fold Land.

Urien: A shaping stone to make us, a testing ground to prove our worth, and a punishment for the sin.

Mat asks him what sin and Urien shrugs saying that the sin was so long ago, none remember. He says the Wise Ones and Clan Chief will not speak of it. He suggests that it must have been a very great sin if they cannot bring themselves to tell the rest of the Aiel. Ingtar brings the conversation back to trollocs and asks again if he has seen trollocs. Urien says no. He says that he would have killed them if he had.

Verin speaks. She asks him what Rhuidean is and how the girls are chosen to go. His face goes flat and he replies that he cannot speak of it. The manner in which he said it indicates that he will fight before saying more. Perrin and the mounted men put their hands on weapons. Verin approaches him, almost to his chest, and tells him that she is not a Wise One.

Verin: I am Aes Sedai. Tell me what you can say about Rhuidean.

Urien now looks as if he wishes he could escape. He tells her that he can only say what is known to all. He tells her it lies in the lands of the Jenn Aiel, the thirteenth clan. He says he cannot speak of them except to name them. He tells Verin that none may go there except for women who wish to become Wise Ones or men who wish to become Clan Chiefs. Urien suggests that perhaps the Jenn Aiel choose among them. He says he does not know more. He tells Verin that many go to Rhuidean but few return. He says those that return are marked as what they are – Wise Ones or Clan Chiefs. He insists that he can say no more.

Urien asks her if she will slay him now. Verin blinks. Urien tells Verin that one of the old prophecies state that if the Aiel fail the Aes Sedai again that the Aes Sedai will slay the Aiel. Urien says that Verin’s power is greater than that of the Wise Ones. Suddenly the Aiel laughs with a wild light in his eyes.

Urien: Bring your lightnings, Aes Sedai. I will dance with them!

Verin tells him that she does not mean to harm him unless he means to harm her. The Aiel seems astounded.

Urien: You are not a Maiden of the Spear. How could I strike at a woman who has not wedded the spear? It is forbidden except to save life and then I would take wounds to avoid it.

Verin asks him why he is here so far from his home. She points out that he could have remained in the rocks and they would have passed by without noticing. He hesitates and she tells him to speak only what he is willing to say.

Urien says he searches for someone, a man, He Who Comes With The Dawn. Urien says that there will be great signs and portents of his coming. Urien tells Verin that her escort was Shienaran, and that she had the look of a Wise One, so he thought she might have word of great events that might herald him.

Verin asks him what the signs are. He shakes his head and tells her that it is said the Aiel will know them when they see them as they will also know him when they see him.

Urien: For he will be marked. He will come from the west, beyond the Spine of the World but be of our blood. He will go to Rhuidean and lead us out of The Three Fold Land.

Urien takes a spearpoint and draws a circle in the dirt. He draws a sinuous line across the circle. Urien says that it is said that the man he is searching for will conquer under that sign. Ingtar frowns not recognizing the symbol but Mat mutters something coarsely under his breath and Perrin feels his mouth go dry. Urien has drawn the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai.

Verin scrapes the marking away with her foot. She says that she cannot tell him where the man is and that she has heard no signs of portents to guide the Aiel to him. Urien says that he will continue his search. When Verin nods, Urien turns and walks away, vanishing into the rocks.

Ingtar announces that they have wasted valuable time and that they must ride harder to make up the time. Verin, while staring at the smudged ground where her foot had obliterated the symbol, agrees and says that they must.

Mat leans close to Perrin and asks him if he thinks the Aiel was talking about Rand. Perrin says that he does not know and that everything in their lives has been crazy since they got mixed up with Aes Sedai.

Verin speaks quietly to herself.

Verin: It must be a part, and yet how? Does the Wheel of Time weaves threads into the Pattern of which we know nothing? Or does The Dark One touch the Pattern again?

Perrin feels a chill. Verin commands the soldiers around her to hurry.

REACTION:

The first major thing we learn in this chapter is that the wolves have a name for Rand… Shadowkiller. The wolves, of course, are excellent name givers. It’s also extremely cool that Rand is so important to the world that wolves hold him in awe and have a name for him. Perrin does not know they are referring to Rand when they use that name.

The next major thing from this chapter is that we spend our first bit of time with an Aiel who actually knows himself to be Aiel. If you’re paying close attention, Urien tells us that the Aiel have their own women who can channel, that instead of The White Tower, the Aiel channelers go to a place called Rhuidean. The Aiel also have their own prophecies. It sounds as though their Chosen One figure is “He Who Comes With The Dawn,” someone who is Aiel but raised in the lands west of the Spine of the World. The Aiel Chosen One is also out and about involved in signs and portents. It is pretty clear from the clues given that the Aiel are out searching for Rand.

The left side portion, in white, is the current symbol of the Aes Sedai. The portion in black is the Dragon’s Fang. Put them together though and here you go.

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