The Great Hunt: Chapter 41

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Author: Estyrien al'Halien

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Chapter Icon: Ruby Hilted Dagger

Point of View: Rand

Setting: A small village, Toman Head

Characters: Rand, Loial, Hurin, Mat, Perrin, Ingtar, Verin, Masema, Uno and Ba'alzamon.


The group pass through Toman Head and Rand encounters Ba'alzamon in Tel'aran'rhiod.


The group are riding in the rain and Rand is thinking bitterly about the weather, wishing that it would snow so "he would not be soaked to the skin". Though "neither rain nor cold had any effect on a trail", Hurin hasn't been able to locate the Trollocs. The morale of the group is very low but Verin is so "lost in thought to even notice that her hood had slipped back" that she doesn't appear to be miserable. Rand asks her if she can do something about the rain, even though "a small voice told him he could do it himself". Verin admits that she could make the storm lessen, but not stop, where they are, "I couldn't stop a storm this big", but if she did, it would require too much channeling. "Any Aes Sedai closer than ten miles would know someone had channeled" and the Seanchan and their damane would quickly find them.

Rand and the others had found out some information about the Seanchan at a village called Atuan's Mill though the information "hatched more questions than it answered". The villagers told them about the Seanchan and their damane and monsters; the fact that "Aes Sedai were leashed frightened the villagers even more than the strange creatures". The Seanchan had made an example in the village and though the dead had been buried, "they feared to clean away the large charred patch in the village square". Hurin refused to go near the patch, showing that something horrendous had happened there. The village had been quite empty because most villagers had fled to Falme or had gone on to the Almoth Plain to escape.

Perrin wants to know why the Horn was brought here and Ingtar's answer is that "there are always men who see chances for their own advantage in the confusion of war". Verin suggests that the reasons why the Father of Lies acts as he does are "known only in Shayol Ghul". Mat voices his opinions about the Seanchan's monsters and says "They saw some Trollocs, or a Fade". Even though they're Shadowspawn, Mat explains that the Seanchan fight with leashed Aes Sedai so why couldn't they fight with Trollocs on their side.

Mat's explanation is cut short when Masema rides up to the group and points out that there is an abandoned village up ahead, "It's empty. No villagers, no Seanchan". When they arrive in the village, they see that most of the buildings are intact but a few have been destroyed. Uno leads a search of the village while the others take shelter in the abandoned inn. Hurin explains that though neither the Trollocs nor Fain have been in the village, "Whoever did that left a stench" and Ingtar assumes that it was the Seanchan.

Ingtar moans that they "will never find the Horn of Valere this way" and that Fain could have taken it practically anywhere by now. However, Verin and Rand contradict him by explaining that Fain went to Falme and has remained there. Ingtar goes on to ask about the Seanchan but Verin explains "Who they are is not important to us", though she goes on to speculate that the writings in Fal Dara suggested that they really are the descendants of Artur Hawkwing. Ingtar interrupts her by saying that he thinks the writing "could have been a trick as easily as a dark prophecy" and that he must trust his instincts. Rand then admits to the group that if he doesn't find Fain, "he will do something to hurt Emond's Field" and that it was part of Fain's message. Ingtar is disbelieving of this but Loial is willing to follow Rand and Mat, Perrin and Hurin are convinced that Hurin can find the Horn if they get close to Fain. Verin warns Rand about openly walking into Falme since "you may find yourself a prisoner, or worse".

When Uno comes into the room, Ingtar tells them of his plan to disguise the soldiers in clothes found in the village. They will then "swing wide, north and south, until you find the trail". Rand tells Verin that there is something "pulling me to Falme" and that there isn't much time. He then goes to one of the inn's bedrooms to get some sleep. However, Ba'alzamon is there and holds the Dragon's banner. Rand is called Lews Therin by him and is told that he is "set to a course that you cannot change", one of madness and death. He wants to know if Rand will earn the name Kinslayer himself before he dies. Rand denies that he is the Dragon but Ba'alzamon claims that he knows Rand too well since "I have faced you a thousand times". Rand swears that he will die before serving the Shadow but Ba'alzamon claims that Rand will die and has done so over and over again throughout the spinning of the Wheel. He says that this time the Wheel will stop spinning and the Shadow will rule and asks if Rand will choose death or life and power.

Rand seizes saidin and channels the One Power at Ba'alzamon only to watch it disappear "into that black mist". He then drank more and more of saidin while Ba'alzamon told him "You will destroy yourself". Rand thinks about what he must do and how "I can't die yet" and so releases saidin. Ba'alzamon then gives him back the banner before warning him "The Wheel itself holds you prisoner to your fate Age after Age". He then claims that he alone can free him and "teach you how to wield the Power". He offers to help Rand if he joins the Shadow but Rand refuses and Ba'alzamon disappears. Everything in his room was in its place as if it had only been a dream but "on the chair back, tendrils of smoke still rose from the charred impressions of fingers".


Ta'veren Effects
  • Rand feels himself being pulled towards Falme


Can Verin really channel enough of the Power for any Aes Sedai within ten miles to sense?


This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.


Can Verin really channel enough of the Power for any Aes Sedai within ten miles to sense?

She isn't particularly strong and nothing we later see suggests the ability to sense channeling is as strong as this.

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