The Great Hunt: Chapter 26

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Author: Estyrien al'Halien


Chapter Icon: A Harp

Point of View: Rand

Setting: The Defender of the Dragonwall and The Bunch of Grapes, Cairhien

Characters: Rand, Loial, Hurin, Zera, Dena and Thom



Rand visits Thom who tells him a little of the Prophecies of the Dragon


Rand hurries back to The Defender of the Dragonwall and tells Loial and Hurin that "Thom Merrilin's alive. And he's here, in Cairhien". Loial wants to meet him but when Rand suggests that they go and see Thom, his enthusiasm decreases, "I really would rather stay here". This is because of the rumours of Ogier in Cairhien and Loial thinks that he will be in trouble if they find him. Rand convinces Loial to go, "Loial, you can't stay cooped up in here forever", and they leave Hurin guarding the Horn.

Rand and Loial go to The Bunch of Grapes, where Thom is staying, and the innkeeper, Zera, tells them to go up to his room to wait. In Thom's room they find a woman called Dena who is Thom's lover. Rand tells her that "I've brought Thom back his harp and his flute", adding that they are there to visit him as well. They learn that Dena is Thom's "apprentice" and that she will be the first female gleeman.

Thom comes back to the inn, complaining about "that lack-wit Seaghan" and the "pack of louts who call themselves 'players'". Thom sends Dena away on the pretence of collecting her knives, "Why don't you go pay Ivon for them?", so he can talk to Rand and Loial. Thom tells them that when he went to Caemlyn "Basel Gill told me you left in the company with an Ogier". He goes on to tell them that Dena will not become a gleeman but a "Court-bard to a king or a queen" since being a gleeman is "no life for a woman". Rand then gives Thom back his harp and his flute.

Rand then tells Thom that they have the Horn of Valere though Thom doesn't believe them, "I can take you to three men who will sell you the Horn". Thom's laughter is cut short when Rand tells him that "Moiraine says it's the Horn"; Thom doesn't want to be caught up with Aes Sedai again. Rand hastily assures him that Aes Sedai do not accompany them. Thom admits that "at least you have sense enough to keep it secret". Rand then tells him that they want to take the Horn back to Fal Dara and asks Thom to accompany them, "you know things I can't even imagine". Thom refuses to go with them and Rand asks Loial to leave them alone.

Rand then asks Thom of The Karaethon Cycle, The Prophecies of the Dragon, and Thom repeats two sections of the Cycle to him:

When Rand hears the part about the heron mark, he hides his hand but "he could feel it... he knew it was there". Thom warns Rand once more that going along with Aes Sedai would mean trouble, "dying somewhere in the Blasted Lands is a high price to pay". Rand once more denies any connection with the White Tower. Thom is curious about why Rand asked him and Rand says that he was curious, having learned many things about the Horn of Valere; including the fact that the dead heroes will "come for whoever blows the Horn, even a Darkfriend".

Thom talks about his nephew that could channel and the fact that "the Red Ajah never gave him a chance". Owyn was gentled and gave up the will to live, something that has caused Thom to mistrust the White Tower, especially the Red Ajah. Rand then asks Thom to accompany them again but he refuses, saying that "I will not get mixed up in it again". Rand leaves as Thom advises "a clean break" but he gives Rand the flute, "you might need to earn your supper again".

After Rand has left, Zera comes up to Thom's room to warn him against playing Daes Dae'mar, The Game of Houses, again; "The Game has grown dangerous in Cairhien". Zera is annoyed that Thom appears to be playing the Game again, despite Thom's protests that he is not, and advises him to marry Dena and forget about Daes Dae'mar. When she leaves, Thom thinks of Rand and how he "was still only a shepherd" and how "he is out of it... and so am I".


Visions and Prophecies

Thom tells Rand two sections of the Karaethon cycle

"Twice and twice shall he be marked,
Twice to live, and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost.
Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay."


"Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed,
Once for mourning, once for birth.
Red on black, the Dragon's blood stains the rock of Shayol Ghul.
In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow."


How will Rand be marked by a dragon?
How will a day dawn twice?


Do people really think the Dragon will fight on the side of the Dark One?


First mention

Dena, Zera, Seaghan, Ihvon, Arilyn

First Meet

Dena, Zera

Character Development


Zera and Dena both take him for a lord


Thom refuses to go with Rand because of Dena

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