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 35: The Falcon
Lan outpaces Perrin back to the inn. Orban is retelling his story about the Aiel attack as Perrin moves through the common room and up the stairs behind Land. Perrin hears voices behind Moiraine’s door and hurries down the hallway to Loial’s room. He notices the sung wood Ogier bed that makes it seem as if the bed has somehow grown where it stands.
Loial is in a chair, reading, as Perrin tells him that they are leaving. The ogier is startled noting that they only just arrived. Perrin tells him to meet them at the stables as quickly as he can. Perrin adds that Loial should not let anyone see him go, saying that there is a back stair that runs down by the kitchen. Loial asks why and Perrin replies that it has to do with the Whitecloaks, before returning to his own room.
Perrin has not unpacked. Once he picks up his things there is no sign within the room that he has ever been there. He leaves down the stair and through the empty kitchen into the night. A single lantern in the stables gives a dim light. The stableman questions Perrin’s instruction to saddle their four horses until Lan arrives with gold and an order to saddle them that is obeyed quickly. Only some moments later, the four are leading their horses toward the river.
At the stone wharves, the ferries lay snug for the night, as do most of the ships. There are signs of life on one ship, though, and Lan locates the captain. The bargaining is over soon and then workers begin making ready to bring the horses aboard. In short order, The Snow Goose is ready to sail. Lan leads Moiraine below as the lines are cast off and Loial follows yawning. Perrin stays at the railing near the bow and wonders if the ship can outrun wolves down the river.
As the last line is tossed ashore and seized by a dockman, a girl in narrow divided skirts bursts out of the shadows between two warehouses, with a bundle in her arms, and a dark cloak streaming behind her. She leaps onto the deck just as the men at the sweeps begin pushing off. She tells the ship’s captain that she will take passage down the river and as far as he is going, nodding toward Perrin. After a few minutes of bargaining, the girl walks over to stand beside Perrin. For a moment he considers tossing her over the side. Finally she speaks, telling him that she never expected her travels to take her back to Illian so soon as this. When she tries to confirm that they are going to Illian, Perrin tights his mouth, causing her to tell him not to sulk, and noting that Perrin and the Aielman left quite a mess back there. She tells him that the uproar was just beginning when she left.
Perrin: You did not tell them?
Girl: The townsfolk think the Aielman chewed through the chain or broke it with his bare hands. They had not decided which when I left.
The girl tells him that Orban is bemoaning that his injuries will prevent him from tracking down the Aielman. Perrin replies that if Orban ever sees an Aiel again that he will soil himself. She says she is not sure about that and tells a story of Orban successfully fighting off four men at once. She also says Orban has peculiar ideas about the Horn and the Forest of Shadows. She tells him the forest is also known as The Great Blackwood and asks if Perrin has ever heard of it. Perrin has never heard of any Great Blackwood but he knows the Forest of Shadows are just south of the Two Rivers. Instead of answering her, Perrin asks if she is following him, telling her also tha he knows she was watching him at the inn.
The girl tells him that an ogier is obviously an ogier, and that the look she got inside of Lady Alys lets her know who she is, and by association, that it means “Andra” is her Warder. She tells Perrin that this left only him and that she does not like things that she cannot account for. Perrin thinks again about tossing her over the side, but more seriously this time. Perrin continues to be silent so she goes on, saying that he appeared to be a countryman at first, however, he then freed a caged Aielman and then had a long talk with him after, before helping him chop a dozen Whitecloaks into sausage. She says that she assumes he does this regularly because it looked as if it was nothing out of the ordinary for him. She concludes by saying that she senses something strange in a party of travelers such as his and that strange trails are what Hunters look for.
Perrin blinks in surprise and tells her that she cannot be a Hunter because she is a girl. She gives him an innocent smile and then makes a flourish with her hands that concludes with two knives in those hands. She tells Perrin that nimble fingers and wits will take one farther than a sword and muscles. After she tells him that she has these things, Perrin murmurs that she has humility as well. The girl tells him she took the oath in the Great Square in Illian.
Perrin asks her what her idea is about where the Horn is, thinking to himself that hopes it is safely in Tar Valon and that he will never see it again. She asks if he has ever heard of Manetheren. He tells her that he has. She explains that every Queen of Manetheren was an Aes Sedai and the King was a Warder bound to her. She goes on sayin that it was a large land covering most of Andor, Ghealdan, and more besides. The girl tells him that the capital was in the Mountains of Mist and that she believes the Horn is there – unless the four of them lead her to it somewhere else. She tells Perrin to think of all the stories about it being bad luck to enter the mountains there. Perrin encourages her to look there and to not waste her time with their traveling party.
He tells her that they are going to Illian and asks her what her name is. She replies that she calls herself Mandarb, which sends Perrin into a laughing fit. She explains that the name means blade in the Old Tongue, just before Perrin points to Lan’s black stallion and shares that the horse is also named Mandarb. Spots of color bloom on her cheeks. She tells Perrin next that she was born Zarine Bashere, but that Zarine is no name for a Hunter. After Perrin tells her that he likes the name Zarine, her eyes fill with heat and he worries that she will produce one of her knives again. Perrin excuses himself to go sleep. Just as he reaches the hatch, she calls out to him saying that she will call herself Faile. She says her father used to call her that when she was little and that it means falcon. Perrin stiffens and almost misses the first step of the ladder. Perrin mutters to himself, wondering why Min has to go seeing things.
Here we meet Perrin’s falcon, Faile. What do we think of Faile? She comes across as a young, well-educated, probably rich, know-it-all. There are worse things to be. At this stage, I do not have a great sense of her character in a good verses evil sense. She is obviously important though… Min sees important things.
The highlights of this chapter are: 1) Loial’s discussion about learning to like adventure and his growing pride in the book he is writing; and 2) Faile initially naming herself “Mandarb” and sending Perrin into a laughing fit.
(As someone with a name that might more commonly be held by a dog than a human, I feel her on this one.)
Will there be any fallout for Perrin for killing all of those Whitecloaks? It doesn’t sound like it. He still has the fallout from killing those other Whitecloaks in The Eye of the World… but at least he did not add to his total with that organization.