The Great Hunt: Chapter 32
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
Chapter Icon: A Harp
Point of View: Rand
Setting: Lord Barthanes' manor, Cairhien
Rand and Barthanes talk at the manor, Barthanes reading a great deal into everything Rand says.
Rand and the others ride to the manor, which was "covering as much ground as a fortress" and heavily guarded. "Ten Shienarans, under Uno, made an escort" while the rest stayed in the Foregate with Perrin since "every one of them had to be there for a purpose" and these men had no purpose at the manor. Rand was there for the invitation, Ingtar "to lend the prestige of his title", Loial being an Ogier was automatically sought after, Hurin would "sniff out the Darkfriends", Mat would be able to sense the dagger and Verin was there "to keep the rest of you out of trouble". Mat and Hurin were disguised as servants; however, Mat had to be convinced to be a servant, "if Rand can be a lord, I can put on a fancy coat, too".
After introducing themselves very formally to the servants on the door, the group enter the manor and Ashin, another servant, shows them into "a great room filled with nobles". Rand notices that the nobles stand in very small groups dotted around the hall "with careful space between so no one could overhear", undoubtedly an effect of Daes Dae'mar. The Cairhienin nobles dress in dark colors with stripes of colors on the front of their chests, signifying rank and House. The women wear their hair "piled high in elaborate towers of curls" and the skirts of their dresses are impractically wide.
When Ashin announces their names to the nobles, each person is greeted with murmurs and whisperings; Verin being an Aes Sedai, Loial being an Ogier and Rand and Ingtar carrying swords, especially Rand's heron-marked sword. Barthanes welcomes them to the party and speaks quickly to each member of the group, "Perhaps we will have a chance to talk this night", before rejoining his guests. The group mingle in the crowd of nobles but before Loial leaves Rand, he tells him, "there is a Waygate near by. I can feel it". Loial then joins the crowd and Rand is left alone.
Rand has to move quickly to avoid talking to the nobles, "he turned in the other direction and hurried away", but soon he is joined by Barthanes. The lord notices that he is avoiding the other nobles and after this Rand walks purposefully, Cat Crosses the Courtyard that Lan taught him, even though it seems to annoy Barthanes. Rand comments on the guests and Barthanes automatically sees it as part of Daes Dae'mar. Rand denies any connection with the King but Barthanes doesn't believe it, "You just happened to be in that flyspeck village", and assumes Rand was checking on the statue for Galldrian. Thinking back to what Verin had said, Rand warns him "it's dangerous to meddle with things from the Age of Legends". Thinking of this as part of Daes Dae'mar, Barthanes ignores this piece of information and tells Rand, "I did not know Andormen played at the Great Game so well".
When Barthanes questions Rand about his heron-marked blade, his answer suggests to Barthanes that he is "Borderland-trained. Or is it Warder-trained?" He then questions Rand about Andor and his Aiel-like appearance, "I have heard the Andoran royal line has almost Aiel colouring". Rand denies any connection to either of them and Barthanes leaves him, "You have given me much to think on".
While Rand walks amongst the nobles, he thinks of Daes Dae'mar and how "he had no idea at all how it was played" and that he wants to leave quickly. Whilst walking, Rand spots Thom "reciting a tale from The Great Hunt of the Horn". He stops to look but this proves to be a bad move as Alaine Chuliandred, a Cairhienin noble, promptly corners him. She asks him if he can play the flute and Rand remembers his conversation with Caldevwin in the Nine Rings, "Light, everybody does hear everything in Cairhien". She then gives him a veiled invitation to her house, "I would like very much to hear you play", while her husband is "sampling his own vineyards". Before Rand can refuse the invitation, another woman, Belevaere Osiellin, joins them. She gives Rand a less veiled invitation and Alaine immediately dismisses her as having "the subtlety of a tavern wench". Belevaere informs her that "subtlety is but lack of courage" and turns her attention back to Rand. He tries to leave again but yet another lady joins them; she is called Breane Taborwin. She gives him another invitation but Rand finally manages to get away from them under the pretense of talking to Thom.
Rand tells him of his problems; Daes Dae'mar, the Horn, Aes Sedai and the three women though he denies that he wants Thom's help, "I just wanted to get away from those women". He then tells Thom that Barthanes is a Darkfriend and Thom warns him that it's "a dangerous thing to say". He also warns Rand that he has let himself get entangled in the White Tower's manipulations. The conversation is cut short when Hurin comes to tell him "your manservant had a fall" and required Rand to follow him. This is obviously an excuse to leave the room to find the Horn. Rand follows Hurin out of the room, but not before Thom can warn him "Cairhienin may play Daes Dae'mar, but it was the White Tower who made the Great Game".
- First Mention
Ashin, Alaine Chuliandred, Belavaere Osiellin
- First Appearance
Ashin, Alaine Chuliandred, Barthanes, Belavaere Osiellin
Objects to passing himself of as a servant
Barthanes seems to think that Rand is actually Gawyn