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 11: What Lies Hidden
Egwene sets her twisted stone ring ter’angreal on a bedside table and goes to sleep without it, hoping that she can enter the Worldof Dreams unaided and also hoping, if she does, that she can learn something about Tanchico and the Black Ajah Sisters who might be hiding there. She focuses on a drawing, from a book about Tarabon, to help direct where she will go if she succeeds without the ring. Egwene thinks that Nynave seems afraid. Aviendha is also present, with Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne. She is armed after the shadowspawn attack on the Stone earlier in the day. Egwene thinks to herself that she wishes she had a lightning bolt ready to use, herself, and then thinks about what Rand had done to end the attack, feeling foolish in her prior belief that she might be even close to as strong as he is in the One Power.
She studies the book about Tarabon, and the buildings described in Tanchico, before instructing the others to wake her when the candle has burned for about an hour. SHe marks the place on the candle where she thinks that will be and wishes that she had a clock. Elayne laughs.
Elayne: A clock in a bedchamber? My mother has a dozen clocks but I’ve never heard of a clock in a bed chamber.
Egwene grumpily insists that she wishes she had the clock owned by her father in Emond’s Field – the only one in the entire village – rightin this bed chamber. After reiterating that she wants them to wake her as soon as the candle burns to the point she has marked, Aviendha asks why someone does not accompany her using the Stone Ring ter’angreal. Nynaeve explains that while others might be able to use the ring, none of them know the World of Dreams well enough to not make mistakes while there. Aviendha seems to understand.
Aviendha: A woman can make mistakes where she does not know the ways and her mistakes can kill others as well as herself.
Nynaeve: Exactly. The World of Dreams is a dangerous place. That much we do know.
Egwene wishes to herself that she had allowed Elayne or Nynaeve to use the ring, more than once or twice, so that one of them might now know enough to go with her. She hopes none of them can see the fear in her eyes. She knows that where she is going is dangerous. She also knows that there has not been a Dreamer in the White Tower in almost five hundred years. She has a list of the ter’angreal which had been stolen by the Black Ajah from the White Tower. They recovered two of them from Joiya and Amico, however, eleven others remain unfound and they were all related to entry into the World of Dreams. Egwene worries that the Black Ajah might be waiting for her when she steps through into the World of Dreams. She knows she must go, though, and focuses on picture of the Panarch’s Palace, intending to arrive there. The engraving picture she is looking at includes various displayed shown indistinctly, but also a very clearly rendered image of the skeleton of an animal Egwene has never seen before.
She prepares to sleep and thinks of her recent dreams. Those include one where Rand was as tall as a mountain, walking through cities, crushing buildings beneath is feet, with people screaming like ants before him. She also dreamed of Rand in chains and screaming. She had another dream of Rand building a wall with him on one side and her on the other – her, and Elayne, and others she cannot make out.
“It has to be done,” he was saying as he piled up stones. “I’ll not let you stop me now.”
She has dreamed of Aiel fighting and killing each other and throwing away their weapons as if they had gone mad. She dreamed of Mat wrestling with a Seanchan woman who tied an invisible leash to him. She dreamed of a wolf, that was Perrin, fighting a man whose face kept changing. She dreamed of Galad wrapping himself in white as if putting on his own shroud and she dreamed of Gawyn with his eyes full of pain and hatred. She dreamed of her mother weeping. She knows that all of these dreams mean something but she does not know what they mean.
She fell asleep easily and quickly. She appears in the palace right next to a large skeleton of a huge animal. Egwene embraces saidar, not intending to be vulnerable to an attack for even an instant, and then begins exploring the room. She senses that the skeleton has the feel of great age. Other skeletons and objects in the display have the feel of such great age that by comparison the Stone of Tear feels newly built. As she walks around, she sees an angreal and next to it a finely jointed collar with two bracelets attached by chains. She feels darkness and pain associated with the collar. She also finds a familiar, but broken figurine. It seems to call to Egwene to pick it up, and not until her fingers close on it does she realize that she had climbed over the rope intended to separate viewers from the objects. As her hand grasps it, the Power surges within her, between it and her, back and forth, leaving her in agony and queasy. She wonders if the fact it was broken was the cause of this and decides that she does not want to even think of what it might have been made for.
She leaves the Palace and begins to explore Tanchico, a city larger than Tear and perhaps even larger than Caemlyn. She knows she has a vast area to search but does not know what she is searching for. She thinks about how she needs a teacher, letting her thoughts consider the Aiel Wise Ones who supposedly know how to navigate in the World of Dreams. Suddenly she found herself somewhere else.
She finds herself in the Aiel Waste where a woman dressed as a Maiden is stalking a boar while a lion watches from a crevice. The Aiel woman freezes, having noticed Egwene so she closes her eyes and thinks of the huge skeleton in the Palace in Tanchico. She opens her eyes and she is back in Tanchico.
She returns to searching for indications of the Black Ajah, knowing that her time now is running short before the others wake her up. She doesn’t know what to look and begins running through the city, looking into the doorways of shops, inns and houses. After a while of searching, she encounters rats, and wonders idly if a Wise One might know why the animals are in the World of Dreams, and this thought sends her immediately back to the Waste.
She screams as she is almost run over by the boar-like creature she saw on her last visit. The Aiel woman is still there with her spear raised. She worries that closing her eyes, to return to Tanchico, might lead to her being hit with the other woman’s spear. She also worries that using the One Power to prevent the woman from throwing the spear might anger the woman – causing her to throw it just as Egwene leaves. Egwene thinks the woman should vanish in a few moments and decides to do something to put her off balance in the interim, so she changes her clothing to cadin’sor, the garb worn by the Aiel. Instead of distracting her, this aggravates the Aiel woman who reacts by leaving Egwene naked. Egwene is shocked, but then she draws saidar to change back into her normal clothes. She then makes the Aiel woman naked. Taking advantage of the Aiel woman’s surprise, Egwene closes her eyes and returns to Tanchico. As she goes, she notices another woman, beyond the Aiel woman, watching both of them. The other woman had golden hair and was carrying a silver bow. She chides herself for taking fancies and thinks that Birgitte Silverbow is long dead.
Egwene is now in a big hurry and runs in her search. Suddenly she sees a woman dreaming of flying and decides to try it. She leaps into the air, gains confidence quickly, and begins flying all over the city. Abruptly she realizes that if the Black Ajah is there that she is flaunting herself for them. Egwene drops down to fly slower near the ground. Suddenly a tall woman is standing in the street ahead of her and the woman orders Egwene to stop flying. She is the Aiel woman from before who had been dressed as a Maiden, only now she appears as an older woman, tall, and slim, with white hair held by a folded scarf, a loose white blouse, bulky brown skirt, brown shawl, and many necklaces and bracelets.
Egwene comments to the other woman that she looks different now, and she replies that one can be what she wishes to be here. She introduces herself as Amys of the Nine Valleys sept of the Taardad Aiel. Egwene realizes that this means Amys is a Wise One and introduces herself as an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. The Aiel woman looks only a little skeptical about Egwene’s claimed status. Amys guesses correctly that Egwene is untaught, while admitting that she is strong. Egwene tells her that they are in Tanchico and explains to Amys what she is doing in the World of Dreams. Amys is only a little alarmed to hear confirmation of the Black Ajah’s existence. The Aiel woman tells Egwene that the city they are in is dying, eating itself, and she mentions a darkness, an evil, present in the city, worse than men or women can make.
Amys looks at Egwene and says aloud that she assumes Egwene cannot see or feel this evil. Egwene offers to describe the Black Sisters but rather than help her search, Amys tells Egwene to come to the Three Fold Land, at Cold Rocks Hold, to learn how to Dream. She tells Egwene that she is currently at Rhuidean, but says she will return before Egwene arrives. As Amys is explaining to Egwene how dangerous this place is, Egwene is pulled out of the Dream. As she goes, she can hear the voice of the Aiel woman.
Amys: You must come to me and learn.
A lot happens in this long chapter.
Egwene has several prophetic dreams. Most of her dreams are about Rand – and one of them is of Rand putting a wall between himself and both Egwene and Elayne. (I wonder if this leads Egwene to conclude that Rand’s rebound relationship won’t last.)
Most of those dreams are interesting, though, and will definitely be plot arcs soon.
I cannot remember where Egwene saw the familiar statuette before. Rand saw something similar being dug up in Cairhien – and like Egwene’s experience here – it called to him and made him channel almost against his will. He was with Selene/Lanfear when it happened and she was frightened. Did Egwene ever see something like that before? If so, I don’t remember.
This chapter confirms that Egwene really is a Dreamer. She did it without the ring. She also finds herself a teacher and might need to visit the Aiel Waste sometime soon. I wonder how that will impact the “trip to Tanchico” plans. She definitely can’t pass up a chance to seriously upgrade her abilities, though. Actual skill with Dreaming would be immensely useful against the Shadow.
Should Egwene have so blindly trusted Amys? Probably not. I don’t think it will come back to haunt her, though. Jordan isn’t giving Amys (or any of the Aiel) a “might be secretly evil” vibe.
The items in the museum seemed to include an elephant skeleton, a giraffe, maybe a sabretooth tiger, and a Mercedes hood ornament? See the quoted section below:
A weathered stone figurine of a woman, seemingly unclothed but wrapped in hair that fell to her ankles, was outwardly no different from the others sharing its case, each not much bigger than her hand. But it gave an impression of soft warmth that she recognized. It was an angreal, she was sure; she wondered why the Tower had not managed to get it away from the Panarch. A finely jointed collar and two bracelets of dull black metal, on a stand by themselves, made her shiver; she felt darkness and pain associated with them—old, old pain, and sharp. A silvery thing in another cabinet, like a three pointed star inside a circle, was made of no substance she knew; it was softer than metal, scratched and gouged, yet even older than any of the ancient bones. From ten paces she could sense pride and vanity.
The implication from this is that the Wheel of Time universe exists two ages after the present. We currently live in the First Age. Presumably then the discovery of the One Power starts the Second Age. The Breaking ushers in the WoT’s Third Age.
Does that mean that if I look around hard enough that I can find Portal Stones? Or does it mean that they will soon be constructed?