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 6: The Hunt Begins
Perrin had not expected to sleep but a stomach filled with stone and bone weariness pulled him down onto his bed. If he had dreamed, he does not remember. He wakes to Lan shaking his shoulders after dawn.
Lan: Rand is gone.
Perrin drags himself up and dresses quickly in the early chill. Outside only a handful of Shienarans are in sight. They are dragging trolloc bodies into the woods. Perrin’s stomach growls and his nose tests the breeze in the hope that someone has already started cooking. He is ready to eat turnip roots raw if need be. There is no smell of food. Moiraine’s hut in the distance is the center of activity. Min hurries inside and then moments later Masema and Uno leave. Perrin starts toward the hut. On the way he meets Masema.
The Shienaran grabs Perrin’s sleeve and asks him why The Lord Dragon abandoned them. He notes that Perrin is from his village and therefore must know.
Masema: What sin did we commit?
Perrin: Sin? What are you talking about? Wherever Rand went, it was nothing you did or didn’t do.
The Shienaran does not seem satisfied. Perrin tells him that whatever the Lord Dragon did, it was according to his plan. He adds that the Lord Dragon did not abandon them. Masema nods slowly.
Masema: Yes, yes, I see that now. He has gone out alone to spread word of his coming. We must spread the word, too. Yes.
Masema moves on muttering to himself. At Moiraine’s hut Perrin knocks. There is no answer so he hesitates a moment before going inside. Loial is inside seated on one end of Lan’s bed. Min sits cross-legged on the dirt floor beside the door that leads to Moiraine’s room. Perrin seems Moiraine pacing and says aloud that he believes Masema is going crazy.
Moiraine rounds on him and asks if Masema is the most important thing on his mind this morning. Perrin makes himself meet her look with one just as level as the one she is giving him. He says that he wants to know where Rand went and if anyone saw him go.
Perrin: Is this of your making Moiraine? Did you reign him in until he’d go anywhere or do anything to stop sitting still?
Loial’s ears go stiff at Perrin’s tone. Moiraine studies him in response and it is all he can do not to drop his eyes. Finally she replies that none of this is her doing. She tells Perrin that Rand left sometime during the night. She adds that she hopes to learn then when, how, and why of his leaving. Loial whispers to himself – though it is audible to everyone – that one should not anger an Aes Sedai.
Loial: Better to embrace the sun than to anger an Aes Sedai.
Min reaches up and hands Perrin a folded sheet of paper. She tells Perrin that Loial went to see Rand after everyone went to bed the night before and she relays that Rand borrowed pen, paper, and ink from the ogier. Loial’s ears jerk and says he did not know what Rand was planning. Moiraine frowns at the paper but does not try to stop Perrin from reading it. Perrin recognizes Rand’s hand-writing.
What I do, I do because there is no other way. He is hunting me again and this time one of us has to die I think. There is no need for those around me to die also. Too many have died for me already. I do not want to die, either, and will not if I can manage it. There are lies in dreams, and death, but dreams hold truth, too.
That is the entirety of Rand’s note and he does not sign it. Perrin does not need to wonder who Rand means by ‘he’ – Ba’alzamon. Min tells Perrin that Rand left the note tucked under the door. She adds that Rand took some old clothes that the Shienarans had hanging out to dry, his flute, and a horse. She says he took nothing else in addition to that except a little bit of food. Min says nobody saw him go before Moiraine cuts in to point out that none of them would have stopped him even if they had seen him.
Moiraine: Masema would have slit his own throat if the Lord Dragon commanded him to.
Perrin studies her and asks if she expected anything else. He points out that they swore to follow Rand and reminds her that Rand never would have named himself Dragon but for her. Perrin asks what she expects of them.
Perrin: Do you believe Moiraine that he is really The Dragon Reborn? Or do you just think he is someone you can use before the One Power kills him or drives him mad?
Loial tells Perrin to go easy and to not be so angry. Perrin replies roughly that he will go easy when she answers him. Moiraine responds sharply that Rand is what he is.
Perrin: You said the Pattern would force him to the right path eventually. Is that what this is or is he just trying to get away from you?
For a moment Perrin thinks he went too far. Her eyes sparkle with anger. She takes a deep breath and says that this may be what the Pattern has chosen but she adds she did not mean for Rand to go off alone. She points out that for all Rand’s power he is as defenseless as a babe in many ways. She adds also that he is ignorant of the world.
Moiraine: He channels but he has no control over whether the One Power comes when he reaches for it and almost as little over what he does with it if it does come. The power itself will kill him before he has a chance to go mad if he does not learn that control.
She tells them that Rand wants to run before he has learned to walk. Perrin snorts and tells her that she splits hairs and lays false trails. He asks if it ever occurred to her that if Rand is what she says that he is that he might know better what he has to do better than she does. Moiraine replies firmly that Rand is what he is and says that she must keep him alive if he is to do anything.
Moiraine: He will fulfill no prophecies dead. And even if he manages to avoid Darkfriends and shadowspawn there are a thousand other hands ready to slay him.
Moiraine says that if this were all that he has to face though, she would not worry the thousandth part of what she does. She tells the room that the Forsaken are to be accounted for. Perrin gives a start and Loial moans. Perrin begins saying by rote that the Dark One and all the Forsaken are sealed before Moiraine cuts him off. She tells him that the seals are weakening and that some of the seals are broken already. She asks him which of the Forsaken might already be free.
Moiraine: Lanfear? Sammael? Asmodean? Be’lal? Rahvin? Ishamael himself, the Betrayer of Hope? There were thirteen altogether Perrin and bound in the sealing, not in the prison that holds the Dark One.
She tells Perrin that there were thirteen Forsaken altogether and that the weakest among them is stronger than the ten strongest Aes Sedai living today. She adds that the most ignorant of them possesses all the knowledge of the Age of Legends. Perrin does not want to think of even one of the Forsaken loose in the world. Perrin’s mother had frightened him with those names when he was little.
Troubled, Perrin studies Rand’s letter and says that Rand was talking about dreams yesterday, too. Moiraine steps closer to him. She peers at his face and asks for more information. Lan and Uno enter but she waves them to silence.
Moiraine: What dreams have you had the last few days Perrin?
She insists that he tell her of any dream he has had that was not ordinary. Perrin looks at the others and they are all watching him, fixedly, even Min. Hesitantly, Perrin tells them about the one dream that seemed unusual to him, the dream that came every night, the dream of the sword he cannot touch. He does not mention the wolf that appeared in the most recent of those dreams.
The Warder looks stunned. Moiraine agrees and says that they must be absolutely certain. She instructs Lan to speak to the others. He hurries out as she turns to Uno and asks him of his dreams. He stammers and says he always dreams about swords but has dreamed about one the last few nights. Moiraine then asks Loial. The Ogier replies that his dreams are always of the stedding. When Moiraine turns back to face Perrin, he tells her that it was just a dream and nothing but a dream.
Moiraine: I doubt it. You described the call called ‘The Heart of the Stone’ in the fortress called the Stone of Tear as if you had stood in it. And the shining sword is Callandor, the Sword that is Not a Sword. The Sword that Cannot Be Touched.
Loial sits up straight.
Loial: The prophecies of the Dragon say the Stone of Tear will never fall until Callandor is wielded by the Dragon’s hand. The fall of the Stone of Tear will be one of the greatest signs of the Dragon’s rebirth. If Rand holds Callandor the whole world must acknowledge him as the Dragon.
Moiraine replies “perhaps” and Perrin is incredulous. She says Callandor will be but one fulfillment of the Karaethon Cycle as Rand’s birth on the slopes of Dragonmount was the first. She points out that he has yet to break the nations or shatter the world. She tells them that scholars who have studied the prophecies for their entire lives do not know how to interpret them all.
Moiraine: What does it mean that he shall slay his people with the sword of peace and destroy them with the leaf? What does it mean that he shall bind the Nine Moons to serve him? Yet these are given equal weight with Callandor in the cycle.
She says there are other signs including healing of wounds of madness, breaking of chains, and placing others in chains. Perrin shrugs uneasily. Moiraine says that even if Rand lives to reach Tear he might never obtain the Stone. She tells them that Tierans have no love for the One Power, that channeling in the country is outlawed, and that Aes Sedai there are tolerated at best so long as they do not channel. She adds that no one enters The Stone of Tear without permission of the High Lords of Tear and that none but the High Lords of Tear enter the Heart of the Stone.
Moiraine: He is not ready for this.
Min bursts out and asks why they are just sitting there. Moiraine puts a hand on Min’s head gently and says that they must be sure before following. Perrin thinks that Min seems almost on the point of tears as Min says again that Rand could be dying while they wait. Perrin finally sits down on Lan’s bed opposite of Loial. Perrin asks aloud how his dream can tell where Rand is going and he points out that it was his dream.
Moiraine tells the room quietly that those who can channel the One Power strongly can sometimes force their dreams on others, particularly those who are susceptible. She says that someone as strong as Rand might be able to seize the dreams of an entire village or even a city. Perrin asks roughly why Moiaine or Lan did not also have the dream. Uno stares straight ahead looking as if he would rather be anywhere else. Moiraine answers calmly that Aes Sedai learn to shield their dreams. She says that Warders are given something similar in the bonding process.
The room is silent as they wait for Lan to return. When he walks through the door, Lan tells her that half of the camp remembers dreaming of swords that last four nights running. He adds that some remember a place with great columns and some say the sword is made of crystal or glass.
Lan: Masema says he saw Rand holding it last night.
Moiraine rubs her hands together briskly saying that she is certain even if she wishes she knew how he left the camp unseen. Lan looks at Uno and the one-eyed man suddenly looks dismayed. He tells Moiraine that he followed the Lord Dragon’s tracks and says that the earthquake created another way into the valley. Uno goes on to say that there is an easy way from there around the mountain.
Moiraine: Good. At least he has not rediscovered how to fly or to make himself invisible or something else out of legend.
Moiraine tells Uno that she will give him and some men enough gold to travel to Jehanna in Ghealdan. She promises to give him the name of someone else in that location who can supply them with more gold. She tells him that she will want them to wait there until she sends word. Uno protests saying that they will go with him and that they have all sword to follow The Dragon Reborn. Moiraine asks Uno to forgive her but points out that they must travel quickly and that they cannot afford to wait until the other Shienarans regain full strength. She says that she will send for him when she can. Uno grimaces but bows in acquiescence. Min says that she is going with them but the Aes Sedai tells her that she must go to Tar Valon instead. When Min protests Moiraine tells her that the Amyrlin Seat must be updated on the situation. She adds that she cannot trust the news to messenger pigeons.
Min argues saying that Uno can take the message. Moiraine tells her that Uno has his duties and that she has her own. Moiraine point out that a man cannot simply walk up to the gates of the White Tower and demand an audience with the Amyrlin Seat.
Moiraine: Even a king would be made to wait days if he arrived unannounced and I fear any of the Shienarans would be left kicking their heels for weeks if not forever. Not to mention that something so unusual would be known to everyone in Tar Valon before the first sunset.
Moiraine tells her that few women seeks audiences with the Amyrlin herself but that it does happen on occasion and that it should occasion no great comment. The Aes Sedai says no one must learn even as much as that the Amyrlin received a message from her.
Moiraine: Her life and ours could depend on it. You are the one who must go.
Moiraine tells Lan that they will rely on his tracking before asking Perrin and Loial if they will come with her after Rand. Loial agrees quickly and Perrin says that it has to be done so he will come. She tells the others that they must ready themselves at once and that she means to be on Rand’s trail before midday. They all go toward the door but Min hangs back with a to sweet smile and asks Lan if he wants a message carried, perhaps to Nynaeve. Lan is caught off guard.
Lan: Does everyone know?
He regains his balance almost immediately and tells Min that if Nynaeve needs to hear anything else from him that he will tell her himself. He closes the door almost in Min’s face.
Loial, Min, and Perrin start down the slope from Moiraine’s hut together. The Shienarans below are gathered around Uno. Min asks the other two how they became privileged.
Min: She asked you. She didn’t do me the courtesy of asking.
Loial shakes his head and says that Moiraine asked because she knew what they would answer. He tells Min that Moiraine seems able to read Perrin and himself but that she is a closed book to the Aes Sedai. Min seems only a little mollified by this. She says that it does not do her much good and that she is still going where Moiraine wants just as much as they are.
Min: You were doing well for a while, Perrin, standing up to her like she had sold you a coat and the seems were popping open.
Perrin is surprised that he had stood up to her. He says it was not so bad as he had thought it would be. Loial starts muttering again about angering an Aes Sedai. Min asks the ogier if he minds that she speaks with Perrin alone. Loial says he does not and lengthens his stride to leave the two of them by themselves. Perrin eyes her warily and asks if she ever sees things about Loial. She tells him that she thinks her gift only works with humans. She then tells Perrin that she has seen things about him that he ought to know about. Perrin starts to protest the shared knowledge but she overrides him.
She tells him that after he said he would go, she saw images that appeared. Perrin asks her what she saw. Min replies that she saw an Aielman in a cage, a Tinker with a sword, a falcon and a hawk perching on his shoulders, both female, and the other images that are always there. Perrin asks if she has any idea what it all means. She tells him that she does not but adds that she knows they are important. Min hesitates and adds one more thing.
Min: If you meet a woman, the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen, run.
Perrin blinks and asks why he should run from a beautiful woman. She asks if he can just take advice. Suddenly it occurs to Perrin that Min might like him romantically. Words begin to sputter from his mouth. He tells her that he thinks of her like a sister. Min, half amused and half irritated, tells Perrin that she loves him but thinks of him as a brother and then she calls him a wooden-headed lummox. She hurries on ahead of him and again tells him that even if he forgets all the rest, he needs to heed the advice about the beautiful woman. Perrin frowns after her before hurrying to catch up. He asks if she likes Rand and she replies that perhaps he is not so wooden-headed after all.
Min: I’m bound to him as surely as a stave is bound to a barrel. But I can’t see if he’ll ever love me in return and I’m not the only one.
Perrin asks if Egwene knows and tells her that he and Egwene have all but been promised to one another since childhood – everything short of kneeling before the Women’s Circle to speak the betrothal. Min replies curtly that Egwene knows, however much good it does either of them. Perrin then asks if Rand knows.
Min: Oh of course. I told him, didn’t I? “Rand, I did a viewing of you and it seems I have to fall in love with you. I have to share you, too, and I don’t much like that but there it is.”
Min tells Perrin that he is a wooden-headed wonder after all before wiping her eyes and saying that if she could be with him she knows she could help somehow. She tells him that if Rand dies she is not sure she could stand it. Perrin promises to do whatever he can to help Rand. Perrin tells Min it is best if she goes to Tar Valon and says that she will be safe there. Min is incredulous.
Min: You think Tar Valon is safe?
Perrin: If there’s no safety in Tar Valon, there’s no safety anywhere.
The two of them go to make preparations for leaving.
For the second book in a row, a cross-country chase begins. Also for the second book in a row, a fantastical item waits at the other end of the chase (this time it’s a sword that isn’t a sword.) For the second book in a row, Rand is probably going to do something that readily identifies him to the public as The Dragon Reborn.
It’s interesting that this is the first time that Rand’s dreams have been an issue for others. HOWEVER, I cannot really remember a time in Book 2 where this would have come up. Rand spent most of that book with Loial, Hurin, and/or in a Portal Stone world. It doesn’t need to be a plot contrivance that this is a new issue only arriving now. We know that dreams are a weird thing in the Wheel of Time universe.
As character developments go, Perrin is really feeling himself the night after he went full Wolf Man in front of the entire camp – including howling. Staring down and angrily telling off an Aes Sedai more than once? It’s kind of funny that Lan puts a stop to that immediately as soon as he finally shares the hut with Perrin and hears him doing it.
I want to be annoyed that Min is fully in love with Rand now… but I guess she has spent the last few months with him in this secluded camp. Maybe this isn’t “insta-love” so much as it is off-screen love. Visions concerning their respective destines, or not, do I believe a young attractive woman can fall hard for a tall young attractive man after they spend weeks together in close quarters? Uh, yes. Is it annoying that I am forced into speculating that it happens off screen? Yes.
The scene with Perrin spluttering to Min that he only likes her as a sister was genuinely funny. To be fair to him, though, she has given him some reason to be confused on that point. That reminds me though… she warns Perrin to run away from the most beautiful woman in the world. Lest we forget Min KNOWS that this woman is Lanfear. She met Lanfear at the end of the last book. Lanfear told Min her name. In this chapter, when Moiraine is talking about the Forsaken being loose, Min does not mention Lanfear. As far as I know, she never mentioned Lanfear to anyone after that whole ordeal happened.
Don’t we think that sharing that information might have been helpful… at least to Rand? Even with Perrin, she couldn’t say outright that she’s talking about Lanfear? She KNOWS it’s Lanfear. Why be vague?
Actually, that Lanfear conversation with Rand might have been entertaining:
“Hey Rand, when I was in bed with you in Falme, something pretty crazy happened…”
“You were what?! Did we? Light, Min! We’re not even betrothed! Light! What will I tell Egwene? She will be so upset.”
“Oh, she walked in on us and she was definitely angry.”
“But that’s not the point. There was this other woman who walked in on us too, and she…”