The Great Hunt: Chapter 13
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
Chapter Icon: Portal Stone
Point of View: Rand
Setting: An unknown land
Rand, Hurin and Loial are transported to another world in the night through a Portal Stone.
Rand awakes the next morning only to find that everyone except Loial and Hurin have gone, "Loial and Hurin still lay on either side of him". What is even more alarming is that the stone they fell asleep next to is now upright in the centre of the hollow. The floor of the hollow is paved with white stone and there are steps up to the stone cylinder, each coloured in the same colours as the Aes Sedai Ajahs. The land around them is different too, "everything seemed paler than it should be". The land seems solid and so Rand wakes up Loial and Hurin; "Wake up and tell me I'm dreaming".
Immediately both Hurin and Loial sense that they aren't in the same place they went to sleep in. Loial says that he knows what might have happened, "I think I know what it (the stone) is now". When Rand points out the coloured steps, Hurin thinks that Aes Sedai have done something to them, though Rand tries to comfort him, "The Aes Sedai won't hurt you". Loial explains that he read a book that contained a picture of a Stone like that, with emphasis on Stone. The book contained the quote "From Stone to Stone run the lines of 'if', between the worlds that might be". Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends used these Stones somehow, though only the most powerful of the Aes Sedai could use them.
Rand becomes uneasy at the mention of channeling as he went to sleep wrapped in the Void, "Maybe I brought us here". None of them understand the quote but Loial explains that the book had many questions in it about decisions; "If a woman goes left, or right, does Time's flow divide? Does the Wheel then weave two Patterns?" The book also said that there are lots of these Stones scattered around the land "but I never heard of anyone finding one".
Hurin speaks up then and seeks advice from Rand about how they are going to get home. He thinks that because Rand is a 'lord', he will see them out of this place. Rand now thinks that he sent them to this place and since "you got him into this, you have to get him out". He promises Hurin that "I will do my best... by my House and my honour". Hurin cheers up considerably, "Hurin's grin was almost as wide as when Rand first met him". Rand walks up to the Stone, convinced that it will get them back. Forming the void, Rand tries to reach for saidin but only feels the taint. He tries to form a picture of the original hollow outside the void and tries to push saidin into the picture.
Suddenly, the void shatters "into a thousand razor shards" and Rand staggers back from the Stone, much to the puzzlement of Loial. Hurin is still standing confidently, still believing that Rand is going to get them safely home; "as long as Rand was doing something, anything, Hurin would have confidence". Rand says that he will try again in a few minutes but then Hurin suggests that they find the Darkfriends and force them to reveal how to get back. Rand is surprised that Hurin can still smell the trail and so Hurin explains that the trail is fainter, "not old, not fainter like that", and that they can follow that. Rand knows that they must find Fain, the Horn and the dagger and so decides that they will follow the trail. He sends Hurin off to find out if the trail is actually real.
Loial has his doubts about leaving the Stone and wants to know how Rand was going to use the Stone since only channelers could use them. Rand answers that if they were around before the Age of Legends, there was the possibility that there would be another way to use them. Loial and Rand mount their horses and ride up to join Hurin. The world looks even stranger now; "Whenever Rand turned his head, things that appeared distant when seen from the corner of eye seemed to rush towards him". Hurin finds that the trail goes southwards and they begin to follow it, searching for the Horn.
- He actually tried to intentionally channel for the first time. He doesn't manage it, but he feels the taint
- Why did the void shatter?
- Why does the world twist?
- Where are they and how did they get there?
- Is there any significane to the Portal Stone steps having seven colours?
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- Where are they and how did they get there?
Loial reasons it out pretty quickly, in a world through the Portal Stones. Either Rand did it in his sleep, or Lanfear did it. Given that Egwene has a dream of Rand at the Portal Stone with Lanfear present, likely the latter.