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 9: Wolf Dreams
Perrin returns to his room and after a while Simion comes up with a tray of food. Perrin lays on his bed staring at the ceiling until the food’s aromas grow cold. Images of Noam run through his head. Ignoring his food, Perrin makes his way down the hall toward Moiraine’s room.
She answers his knock on the door by bidding him to come in. She is alone sitting with an ink bottle on her knee. She corks the bottle without looking at him. She tells him that she has been expecting him for some time. Moiriane tells him that she has not spoken about this because it was obvious he did not want her to but says that after tonight she will tell him what he wants to know.
Perrin: Is that what I can expect, to end like that?
He pleads with her not to give slippery Aes Sedai answers and to tell him whatever she might know. She admits to knowing little but goes on to say that she read a fragment of a book from the Age of Legends which spoke of situations like his own.
Moiraine: That may be the only copy anywhere in the world and it did not tell me much.
Perrin roughly asks her what it did tell her. He tells her that he has been worrying about Rand going mad but did not think he had to worry so much about himself. Moiraine tells him that even in the Age of Legends they knew little of this. She tells him that whoever wrote the book seemed uncertain of whether his condition was truth or legend.
Moiraine: She said that some who talk to wolves lost themselves, that what was human was swallowed up by wolf. Some. Whether she meant one in ten, or five, or nine, I do not know.
Perrin tells her that he can shut them out and asks if doing that will help. She says that it may before going on to say that the book fragment was primarily focused on dreams. Moiraine tells Perrin that dreams can be dangerous for him.
Moiraine: According to her, wolves live partly in this world and partly in a world of dreams.
Perrin asks what that means disbelievingly. She tells Perrin that the way they talk to one another and the way that they talk to him is in some way connected to this world of dreams. Moiraine says she does not claim to understand how. She pauses and says that from what she has read of the Aes Sedai talent called Dreaming, Dreamers sometimes encounter wolves in their dreams – even wolves that act as guides. She tells him that she fears he must learn to be as careful sleeping as waking if you intend to avoid wolves.
Perrin tells her forcefully that he will not end up like Noam. Moiraine tells him that he is speaking as if he can make his own choices and then she reminds him that he is ta’veren. Perrin turns to stare out the window as she continues. She admits that she may have paid too little attention to the two ta’veren she found with Rand due to the fact that she knew what he is and how strongly ta’veren he is.
Moiraine: Three ta’veren in the same village all born within weeks of each other. That is unheard of. Perhaps you and Mat have larger purposes in the Pattern than you or I thought.
Perrin tells her that he does not want any purpose in the Pattern. He tells her that he surely cannot have a purpose in the Pattern if he forgets that he is a man. He asks her to help him. She promises that if he can keep him whole that she will. She tells also that she will not endanger the struggle against the Shadow.
Perrin: And if your struggle means putting me in my grave tomorrow will you do that too?
He is sure that she would. He asks her what she has not yet told him. Moiraine replies coldly that he should not presume too far and to not press her father than she believes is proper. Perrin hesitates before asking the next question.
Perrin: Can you do for me what you did for Lan? Can you shield my dreams?
Moiraine: I already have a Warder, Perrin.
Her lips quirk almost into a smile as she tells him that one Warder is all that she will have. She reminds him that she is of the Blue Ajah and not the Green. He replies that he does not want to be a Warder. She goes on and says it would not aid him anyway. The Warder shielding protects from dreams from the outside. Perrin’s dreams, she says, come from within. She tells Perrin that he should sleep.
Moiraine: Be wary of your dreams but you must sleep sometime.
Perrin leaves and returns to his room. He can still feel the wolves out beyond the edges of the village. He mutters that he needs to be in a city. He lays down fully clothed on his lumpy bed. He hopes that the mattress will keep him from deep sleep and dangerous dreams.
Perrin is in a long hallway. He says “no” aloud, and then louder, declaring that this is a dream and that he needs to wake up. The hallway does not change. Faint and distant, a wolf sends the word “danger” to him. Perrin pounds a fist against the wall until it hurts but he does not wake.
Run, brother. Run.
Wonderingly, Perrin recognizes the wolf who is sending this message as Hopper. Perrin says aloud that Hopper is dead.
Perrin lurches into a run. He has no idea where he is running or why, all the while thinking that Hopper is dead. He cannot ignore the urgency of the sending, though. He runs down a maze of hallways and tunnels. As he comes to a crossing, he skids to a halt. A man stands there uncertainty, blinking at him. The man is strangely dressed and says to himself that this is more than he can stand.
“Not only do I dream of peasants now but foreign peasants from those clothes. Be gone from my dreams, fellow.”
Perrin asks him who he is and the man’s eyebrows rise as if he is offended. A tendril of shadow drops down on the man from the ceiling. Wet drops touch Perrin’s face as a shriek shatters the air. Frozen, Perrin stares at the bloody shape wearing the man’s clothes, screaming and thrashing on the floor. Perrin’s eyes drift upward. He sees the man’s human skin, whole and unbroken, above in the air. Perrin runs pursued by dying screams.
Perrin shouts for his surrounding to change.
Tall colorful tapestries hang on the walls amid golden stands holding candles that illuminate the floor. The ceiling is panted with puffy clouds and fanciful birds in flight. Nothing moves but the candle flames stretches as far as he can see.
Perrin starts down the hall warily and trying to wake himself up. He comes to a huge room furnished as ornately as any palace. A woman stands in the middle of the room staring at a tattered manuscript lying open on a table. She is beautiful, with black hair, black eyes, wearing a white dress belted in silver. She lifts her head and looks straight at him. Her eyes widen in shock and anger.
“You? What are you doing here? How did you? You’ll ruin things you cannot begin to imagine.”
Abruptly the space seems to flatten as if he is staring at a picture of a room. The flat image appears to turn sideways, becoming only a bright vertical line down the middle of blackness. Then it flashes white and is gone leaving only the dark, blacker than black. Just in front of Perrin’s boots the floor tiles come to an abrupt end. He watches as the white edges dissolve into the black like sand washed away by water. He steps back hastily.
Perrin turns and Hopper is there. He is a big gray wolf grizzled and scarred.
Perrin: You are dead, I saw you die. I felt you die.
A sending floods Perrin’s mind.
Run now! You must not be here now! Danger! Great danger! Worse than all the Neverborn! You must go! Go now! Now!
Perrin asks how. Teeth bared, Hopper leaps for Perrin’s throat. With a strangled cry, Perrin sits up on the bed, hands going to his throat. They meet unbroken skin. He swallows with relief but in the next moment his fingers touch a damp spot. Almost falling in his haste, he stumbles to the wash stand. The water turns pink as he washes his face – pink with the blood of that strangely dressed man. More dark spots dot his clothes and britches. He tears them off and tosses them into the furthest corner. He means to leave them there and he thinks that Simion can burn them. A gust of wind blows through his open window. Perrin shivers. He leans back against the bed and decides that the cold wind should be uncomfortable enough to keep him from falling into a deep sleep. He is still shivering when sleep finally comes. He has a shallow half-sleep with thoughts of the room around him, shivering from the cold. The bad dreams that come are better than some others.
Rand huddles under some trees as a heavy-shouldered black dog comes nearer his hiding place. His side aches from the wound Moiraine could not quite heal but he ignores it. The moon gives barely enough light for Rand to make out the dog with its huge head and massive neck. It has teeth that seem to shine like wet silver in the night. It sniffs the air and trots toward him. Rand wants the dog to come closer.
As the dog is only ten paces away, Rand hears a deep growl rumbling in its chest. It bound forwards straight at Rand. The One Power fills him. Something leaps from his outstretched hands. He is not sure what it is but it looks like a bar of white light as solid as steel – liquid fire. For an instant in the middle of that something, the dog seems to become transparent. Then it is gone. The white light fades except for the after-image burned across Rand’s vision. Rand sags against the nearest tree trunk. He shakes with relief and silent laughter.
Rand: It worked! Light save me it worked this time.
It had not always worked. There have been other dogs this night. Now, the One Power pulses in him. His stomach twists with the Dark One’s taint on saidin. He wants to vomit. Sweat beads on Rand’s face and his mouth feels filled with sickness. He wants to lie down and die. However, saidin also floods him with life, energy and awareness through the illness. He thinks to himself that life without saidin is a pale copy. Rand thinks to himself that he has to reach Tear.
Rand: If I find out I’m the Dragon, that’ll be an end to it. And if I am not, if it’s all a lie, there will be an end to that, too. An end.
Reluctantly he gives up contact with saidin. The night seems drab after. In the distance to the west, a dog howls in the night. Rand’s head comes up and he peers in that direction as if he can see the dog if he tries hard enough. A second dog answers the first and then another and then two more together. They are all spread out somewhere west of him.
Rand: Hunt me! Hunt me if you will. I am no easy meat.
Rand pushes himself up, wades across a stream, and then starts a trot eastward. Rand thinks to himself that he can hunt, too.
Perrin talks to Moiraine and finds out that she does not know very much and cannot help him very much. Good talk. What little she does know is that some men who talk to wolves end up like Noam though she cannot give a percentage. Again… thanks for nothing. The scrap of a book that she refers to in this scene is something she read at Vandene and Adeleas’s house back in The Great Hunt.
It’s kind of funny to me that only now here in the third book is it dawning on Moiraine that the other two ta’veren from Emond’s Field might be important too. I mean… really? She even acknowledges in this chapter that three ta’veren in the same village, born within weeks of each other, is completely unprecedented. She also already knows that Mat can unknowingly shout in the Old Tongue sometimes, that Mat blew the Horn of Valere, and that Perrin can talk to wolves. But sure… the wise Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah never really thought much about the other two boys until very recently?
So then Perrin has those dreams. 1) The first guy seems like a noble. We’ll have to see which nobles wear yellow and dress like this to put together a guess about who just died. I’m guessing this guy was important. 2) The beautiful woman in white and silver is definitely Lanfear. Perrin sneaked up on her somehow. Danger, indeed. 3) Hopper the wolf appears to Perrin. He died in The Eye of the World in the scene where Perrin killed two Whitecloaks. He seems to be acting as a guide for Perrin… at least up until he tries to bite Perrin’s throat. Then again, I suppose that helped inasmuch as it pushed Perrin out of the wolf dream. It feels to an extent as if this chapter is setting up the rules for how the “wolf dream” works. Moiraine’s statements seem to link the wolf dream with human Dreaming more generally (which is why a Forsaken is there, probably.) It’s worth remembering also that Egwene is supposed to have the extremely rare talent for Dreaming. Maybe they’ll get to hang out in their sleep someday.
Sidenote on that dream with the noble… yikes. Jordan loves to write horror. That was horrific.
Rand is being hunted by Darkfriend Dogs and he kills one of them by channeling something at it. Based on his internal monologue, he apparently is still not 100% sure that he is actually The Dragon Reborn (despite Ba’alzamon visiting his dreams and telling him that he is Lews Therin, and saying as much again in their fight above Falme, the Heroes of the Horn telling him so, and the fact he found The Horn of Valere and the Dragon Banner, etc., etc.) so he has decided that he needs to get Callandor to find out for sure. But I guess, like, really, for sure, for sure. (I for one might have reluctantly given in on this internal argument after I fought Captain Furnace Face in the sky above Falme… but that’s just me. I understand the reluctance.)