The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 21

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Author: Val a'Shain

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The Gift of a Blade

Chapter Icon: Rising Sun

Point of View: Rand

Setting: Taien, near the mouth of the Jangai Pass

Characters: Rand, Moiraine, Lan, Kadere, Egwene, Aviendha, Asmodean.


The camp quickly arises around Rand. Moiraine and Lan are seeing to the wagons of Kadere, the Aiel are cutting down the corpses left by the Shaido and the gai'shain are erecting the Wise Ones' tents. Aviendha and Egwene are riding double on Mist. They approach Rand and tell him what happened in Taien is not his fault. Rand agrees. He didn't even know there was a town here until Rhuarc mentioned it a couple of days ago. Rand catches part of a conversation between them about him and thinks they are definitely spending too much time together.

Dismounting, Rand searches for Asmodean. He tells the Forsaken he is too tired for a "discussion" today. Rand tells him to go to his tent and expects to see him in the morning. Asmodean asks if Rand suddenly trusts him when he fails to ward Asmodean's tent. Rand says he trusts the man until he betrays him and that Rand will bury him the moment he does. He also says that it is Rand al'Thor speaking. He immediately regrets that last comment. No need to hint at the voice in his head in front of the Forsaken.

His tent is being put up by a number of gai'shain under Aviendha's direction. In the meantime, Rand sets a ward around the camp that will warn them if any Shadowspawn enters. The Aiel will have to watch for human enemies. Aviendha shows him a dangerous bloodsnake she killed with her belt knife. Rand tells her she shouldn't do dangerous things like that and should kill it with the Power. Aviendha replies that using the Power too often is just as dangerous.

When they settle in the tent Aviendha offers him a sword, carefully wrapped in a blanket so she doesn't have to touch it. She hopes it will cancel the debt she owes him. Initially Rand wants to refuse the gift and says there is no debt. The sword is gaudy at best anyway. Until he notices the heron marks on the blade. It turns out this sword belonged to Laman, the treekiller, and the blade was made with the Power. The sheath and hilt he doesn't accept but he tells her the blade will cancel the debt. He will have another sheath and hilt made.

Over dinner, which turns out to be stew containing the bloodsnake, they discuss Bael and Melaine's marriage. Rand is still unclear on Aiel customs concerning sister-wives and marriage in general. When they get ready for bed Rand asks what it means if a Maiden teaches a man to sing. Aviendha is amused by his question and guesses Rand is thinking of Mat. She tells him that sometimes a man will allow himself to be take gai'shain to be with a Maiden. The first thing these men, fools according to Aviendha, are taught is to sing. Aiel are strange people and the Maidens are the strangest of all. Rand sets a ward on his dreams and goes to sleep. He dreams of Min, Elayne and Aviendha and an Aiel wedding.

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