The Shadow Rising: Chapter 49

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Author: Estyrien al'Halien

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Cold Rocks Hold


Chapter Icon: Spear and Shield

Point of View: Rand

Setting: Cold Rocks Hold, the Aiel Waste

Characters: Rand, Aviendha, Rhuarc, Heirn, Amys, Couladin, Melaine, Bair, Seana, Egwene, Moiraine, Lan, Mat, Lian, Aiel and wagon drivers

Summary

After Rhuarc announces that they have arrived at Cold Rocks Hold Rand looks around, puzzled because he cannot see the hold, "it could have been any piece of the Waste". Rhuarc begins to run towards what Rand thinks is a wall and the other Jindo follow him while the Shaido set up camp. Rand asks Aviendha to ride behind him so that she can give him advice about the Aiel customs; she agrees but warns him not to "make me look the fool before my sisters". Rand heels Jeade'en into a canter so that he can catch up with Rhuarc while Aviendha tells him that he must remove his shoufa, "you must enter a hold with your face clear to be seen". It is also customary to make noise when approaching a hold to show that you do not mean to take it by surprise. When Rand draws level with Rhuarc he notices that Amys and Couladin have joined him. He is puzzled when he notices that Couladin is looking at him with amusement, "hate and disdain Rand had come to expect, but amusement?"

Mat rides up to them and wants to know what is happening and Rand explains where they are. Mat says comments that the hold "isn't a patch on the Stone, or the Tora Harad"; the Tora Harad is something from his memories. He goes on to wonder whether Keille and Kadere will leave soon and Rand replies that "there's a sort of fair whenever clan chiefs meet" and that the merchants will not want to miss it.

Rand gets his first glimpse of the hold and is very surprised by what he sees. The canyon walls are covered with greenery, unlike the rest of the Waste, and the canyon is filled with "small flat-roofed houses of grey stone or yellow clay". The roofs of the house have been converted into gardens growing fruits and vegetables and there are paths winding between the houses. These paths are now lined with women, men and children who are beating pots to welcome the Jindo back. Amys runs into the hold ahead of Rhuarc and the others who have slowed to a fast walk.

Rand notices that Amys has climbed on to a platform at the far end of the hold and is standing with another Aiel woman and realizes that she is "Lian, roofmistress of Cold Rocks Hold". Rhuarc steps forward and asks as a clan chief to enter the hold, "I ask leave to enter your hold", and Lian welcomes him warmly. Heirn then asks as sept chief, "I ask leave to come beneath your roof", and is also welcomed. Couladin then steps forwards and asks as a clan chief to enter the hold. Aviendha cannot believe that he has asked as a clan chief when he is not one and tells Rand that it is within Lian's power to refuse him "and she may, for such an insult". Finally Lian gives her answer and says, "You have my leave... to step beneath my roof. Water and shade will be found for you". Aviendha tells Rand that "she has welcomed him as a beggar" and then pushes Rand forwards.

As Car'a'carn Rand should ask to enter as would a clan chief but he instead asks as a sept chief. Amys has told Lian that Rand is He Who Comes With the Dawn and she welcomes him into the hold, "For the chief of chiefs, there is ever water and shade at Cold Rocks Hold". Couladin glares at Rand before stalking back to the Shaido camp and Mat warns Rand to "watch you back with that one". Rand thinks that Couladin is not his real threat and that Lanfear and Moiraine are.

Amys and Lian climb down from the platform and Rhuarc introduces them both as his wives; both Rand and Mat are shocked at this. Rhuarc is surprised that Rand did not know about the Aiel custom because he thought that Aviendha, as his teacher, should have told him. Aviendha insists that "there were more important matters" and Rand quickly adds that "she has been a very good teacher" and that he wants her to continue teaching him. Amys considers this and agrees that Aviendha should continue to teach him about Aiel customs, though Aviendha seems less than happy at this arrangement.

Lian invites Rand and Mat to "come beneath my roof" for the evening and they walk to her house. Rand notices that it only looks large enough for two rooms but when he steps inside he realizes that other rooms have been created by cutting into the canyon walls. The floors are covered by rugs and carpets in styles from countries such as Tear, Illian and Andor. He notices that many of the objects come from outside of the Aiel Waste and though "it could have had the garishness of Tear", it instead looks very grand. Rand gives Lian a gold lion and Mat gives her a Tairen necklace as guest gifts. By this time the Wise Ones, Moiraine, Egwene and Lan have also arrived but Lian refuses a guest gift from Moiraine, "your very presence is guest gift beyond value". Moiraine comments that more Aes Sedai will visit the Waste soon but the Wise Ones do not look happy about that.

Gai'shain bring in drinks and food for the evening meal and the group begin to eat. Aiel do not sit at a table to eat, they lie on the floor with their "heads together, cushions under their chests, radiating out like spokes in a wheel" and so this is what the group do. Aviendha spends the meal lecturing Rand "in tooth-grinding detail" about more Aiel customs, though it is Amys and Lian who tell him about sister-wives. Aviendha seems angry and Rand tells her that she can refuse to be his teacher, "I'm sure Rhuarc or the Wise Ones will find someone else". She refuses and carries on lecturing him about the Aiel customs.

After the meal is finished Rhuarc gives Rand some news about the other clans. The Goshien and Shaarad clans are already at Alcair Dal and the Chareen are on their way. Rand knows that "something like the Peace of Rhuidean holds at Alcair Dal" but is worried that the Goshien and Shaarad clans might start fighting because they have a feud. Melaine and Bain are emphatic that the clans will not fight at Alcair Dal and Rhuarc explains that he cannot travel to Alcair Dal to make sure that the peace holds. Any clans who arrive after Rand arrives will have lost ji and Rand cannot afford to do that. To be safe, Rand must wait a month before going to Alcair Dal and although Rand is concerned that he cannot wait a month he knows that he has no choice.

Rhuarc goes on to explain who will probably side with Rand. He believes that the Taardad, Reyn and Nakai clans will almost certainly join him while the Tomanelle clan "may move in any direction" and the Shaido may not support him. However he believes that most clans will join him, if not all, because the two dragons prove that he is the Car'a'carn. He thinks that Rand should wear the cadin'sor to show that he has Aiel parentage but Rand refuses, "I will not pretend. I am what I am". Moiraine asks where he means to "lead the spears once more" but Rand doesn't answer. Instead he announces that he is going to walk outside and leaves the house.

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