The Great Hunt: Chapter 21
Author: Val a'Shain
The Nine Rings
Chapter Icon: A Harp
Point of View: Rand
Rand and company spend the night in an Inn, where they attract unwanted attention.
Rand's company enters the Nine Rings Inn and is greeted by innkeeper Madwen. The innkeeper is a bit puzzled by the strange company Rand keeps but she's too professional to let it show. After some polite conversation about where they are from and where they are headed they are shown to a table. The meal they are served is oddly spiced Rand thinks but he definitely enjoys it. Selene on the other hand doesn't seem to have much of an appetite.
After the meal the innkeeper, who has noticed the flute-case asks Hurin if he wants to play the flute for the other guests in the common room. She assumes Hurin to be Rand's servant and is quite convinced that Lords such as Rand don't play. When Rand says the flute is his, Maglin is very surprised. Rand hasn't practiced for a while but he still manages to play somewhat decent. The company of soldiers visiting the inn even join in when he plays a familiar tune. Even if the words are different from the ones he knows.
The captain of the company, Aldrin Caldevwin, gestures to his men to shut up and joins Rand's company at his table. He apologizes for his men but Rand says he didn't mind in the least. Like the innkeeper the captain is puzzled by Rand's company. He notices Rand's heron-marked blade instantly. When Rand tells him he is from Andor the captain makes a false statement about Gareth Bryne to check this. Selene doesn't seem to be too happy by the attention Rand is attracting and goes up to her room. Again she surprises the innkeeper by asking for a room for herself.
After Selene leaves the conversation between Rand and the captain continues. Rand asks about the crystal sphere they saw on their way to the inn. The captain says it is part of a statue left over from the Age of Legends his men are excavating on the King's orders. The captain wants to know how long they will be staying. Rand answers they will leave in the morning. The captain offers to escort them to Cairhien since he is heading that way as well. Rand accepts and the captain retires for the night.
Rand's company decides to follow the captain's example. When Rand tells the innkeeper he will be sharing a room with Loial and Hurin she tells him whatever trouble he is having with his lady, it will certainly look better in the morning. Rand is so surprised by this he doesn't correct the innkeeper.
After the innkeeper leaves them Rand, Loial and Hurin discuss captain Caldevwin's behaviour for a bit. Hurin explains that in Cairhien everybody plays the great game or Daes Dae'mar in the Old Tongue. Hurin doesn't seem to know a lot about it and Loial claims not to understand the ways of humans.
When they get up in the morning Selene is gone. She left Rand a note saying there were too many people around and that she will find him again in Cairhien. Fifty Cairhien soldiers await them outside, ready for the trip to the capital. The captain is very surprised to hear Selene already left. Hurin whispers in Rand's ear he had the inn watched and the captain's men didn't see her leave. The company rides for the city of Cairhien.
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- How did Selene get past the Cairhienin?
She did something with the Power.
- First mention
Magla Madwin, Catrine, Aldrin Caldevwin, Barin Madwen, Elricain Tavolin, Mother Caredwain
- First Meet
Magla Madwin, Catrine, Aldrin Caldevwin, Elricain Tavolin
- Lanfear almost certainly caused Catrine’s twinge.
- Selene's seal is a crescent moon and stars, which has been used as a chapter icon. As we already know Lanfear was called Daughter of the Night and was a former lover of Lews Therin; we really should be suspecting her true identity here.