The Great Hunt: Chapter 31
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
On the Scent
Chapter Icon: Rising Sun
Points of View: Rand, Perrin
The group trace the Horn to Barthanes' manor. Rand reveals he has an invitation to a gathering the following day.
Rand's Point of View:
Setting: Outside The Defender of the Dragonwall
Rand first notices Verin when she Heals him, "suddenly he felt as if he had been doused with cold water", and then she Heals Hurin. Mat wants to know how they came to be in Cairhien but Rand and Loial are aware of the big crowd watching them, "a few edged closer trying to listen". Rand asks, "How did you find the inn", thinking that it was probably through Verin but Mat explains differently. When the group arrived at the guardhouse, a guard took their names but "a fellow coming out of the guardhouse gave a jump when he heard Ingtar's name". They knew he was lying immediately, "he had a smile that shouted 'lie' a mile off", and Verin was able to persuade him to tell them where Rand, Loial and Hurin were.
Apparently, Uno and the other soldiers are in the Foregate because "they'd rather stay there than inside the walls". Mat asks about the dagger and so Rand admits that "I had the dagger, and I lost it". He also admits that he lost the Horn, though not in so many words, and that Darkfriends took both objects. Mat tells Rand that Perrin is a sniffer too and that "he followed the trail all the way to the Foregate". When Rand looks at Perrin, he hears Perrin mutter 'Shadowkiller' and so it is obvious to us that Perrin now knows whom the wolves speak of. The surrounding crowd realizes that Verin is Aes Sedai and "the words 'Aes Sedai' ran through the crowd". Aware of the crowd, Rand suggests that they find a more private place to talk and Verin suggests the inn called The Great Tree.
As they ride to the inn, Rand asks Hurin if he can follow the trail of "the men who hit you and started the fire". Hurin can but "it won't last long" so he must follow it sooner rather than later. Loial suggests that the Darkfriends were unable to open the chest or "they would just have taken the Horn". Rand agrees and explains that the Darkfriends will soon join up with the Trollocs and so the trail will be easier to follow. He then suggests that Hurin should "rest until you're fit" and then "if we ride hard", they will be able to catch them. Rand then realizes that he is giving orders and apologizes to Ingtar, since Ingtar is supposed to be in charge, "It's just that I've become used to being in charge".
The group arrive at the inn and Tiedra, the innkeeper, shows them to their rooms. Rand gets washed and puts some clean clothes on since the ones he was wearing "had black smears across the red wool". Whilst looking through his coats, he finds Selene's letters and "wondered how he could have been such a fool". He thinks that "if I could marry any woman, it would be Egwene". He then sets fire to the letters and "tossed the burning letters in to the cold hearth", leaving the room shortly after to meet the others in a private dining room.
Perrin's Point of View:
There, Rand is told that Hurin has gone to follow the trail and he apologizes again to Ingtar for trying to take command, "I just didn't think". Verin wants to know "how you vanished from Ingtar's camp without a trace" and so he explains what happened; although in his story, Selene activated the Portal Stones. Perrin once more thinks of 'Shadowkiller' and unconsciously says it out loud, though only Rand could hear. Perrin "found himself wanting to tell Rand about the wolves" because he knows Rand's secret. On the other hand, Verin wants to meet Selene to find out more about the Portal Stones, "even that name is not widely known". Their meal is then served and Perrin has a craving for rare meat, "not even cooked". After the meal, they wait in the room for Hurin to return so they can decide what to do.
When Hurin returns, he gives some very interesting news; "I tracked them to their lair". It appears that the Darkfriends have met up with the Trollocs in Cairhien and are hiding in a manor, "the great manor Lord Barthanes has just finished building". Ingtar doesn't want to believe this but Verin explains "the mighty give their souls to the Shadow as often as the weak". Hurin explains that the best way to get in is if as few people as possible go, "a hundred could do it, but two would be better". Mat suggests that they tell the King that Barthanes is a Darkfriend since Barthanes and Galldrian are enemies. Verin explains that if they tell the King, "Galldrian would never let the Horn of Valere out of his grasp" and so their quest would be pointless. Ingtar elaborates and says that "if we tried to leave with the Horn, he'd cut our honoured heads off".
Verin suggests that she'll "let slip to Tiedra that I would like to see Barthanes' new manor, I should have an invitation in a day or two". Hurin points out that it is unnecessary because Rand already has an invitation. Ingtar is shocked that Rand has the invitation, "what have you been doing?", and Rand explains that "they just sent them to me". Verin burns the King's letter but Rand is not convinced that he can play the part of a lord, "they will know I'm no lord". Verin tells him that he can do it, "people see what they expect to see", and Rand reluctantly agrees.
They decide to go to Barthanes' manor the next day though Ingtar is angry that they must wait, "the Horn could be fifty miles downriver". He also explains that "Cairhienin are very strict in their protocol" and so if Rand doesn't write a letter of acceptance, Barthanes will be so offended that he will not let them in. However, if they do write a letter, "well, Fain, at least, knows him". Verin explains, "We will surprise them" and then asks Rand what Barthanes meant when he wrote that "you took an interest in one of the King's projects". Rand tells her about the statue from the Age of Legends that they saw on their way to Cairhien.
Verin explains that the statue is actually a sa'angreal, "one of a pair, the two largest ever made". She says that the other is on the island of Tremalking and can only be used by a woman; a man can only use the one in Cairhien. Apparently, "together, they might well be powerful enough to Break the World again". Ingtar expresses concern that a man who could channel would find it but Verin is not too concerned. She explains that only people who are very strong in the Power could cope with channeling through these sa'angreal and therefore they must only worry when "the real Dragon Reborn proclaims himself". It is obvious that she is talking to Rand and Perrin hopes that the White Tower won't use Rand. The chapter ends with Perrin thinking, "he did not think Rand knew half what he thought he did".
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- Who are the one or two others that could survive the flow?
Lelaine would be one. Romanda and Cadsuane likely the others, though Verin would not know if they were alive. The three still in training are Nynaeve and either Elayne and Egwene, or Theodrin and Faolain.
- Why does Verin think that Logain is not strong enough to survive?
Logain is stronger than the women Verin named. Verin is either mistaken about the relative strength of men and women, or lying to calm the men's worries.
- Why are there few women strong enough to survive? ‘’Sa’angreal’’ are supposed to protect people
- "I know the Horn is important, but I'm not going to be fighting in the Last Battle"
Considered Ironic foreshadowing, as not only does he fight in the Last Battle, he commands it.