Winter's Heart: Chapter 2
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Leora Oldessroth
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Point of View: Verin
Setting: Perrin's Camp
Perrin and the others ride into camp and see the Mayener and Ghealdanin soldiers standing opposite one another, apparently ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Perrin gallops up and finds Berelain, Gallenne, Annoura and Gerard Arganda all standing there—looking upset. Before Perrin can demand to know what happened, Berelain tells Perrin that she and Faile were hunting with Alliandre and they were attacked by Aiel. Berelain managed to escape but no one else has returned yet. She has sent a squad of lancers south to scout and they will return with news by nightfall.
Perrin is shocked—Faile has been captured! He demands to know why they are still here, in the camp, and not out searching for her. Berelain responds that they do not know how many Aiel there are—if they pursue there may be a battle that costs them many soldiers. She says they don’t even know if the Aiel nearby are the ones that have Faile or even if Faile is alive. Berelain insists they must know that first before doing anything else.
Elyas agrees with Berelain. He tells Perrin that they will find Faile. Elyas says that the Mayeners may find traces but he will scout himself and will find more than that. Perrin agrees and tells Elyas to go and to hurry. Elyas leaves and after a moment, Aram follows him. Masuri and Seonid send their three Warders as well, for which Perrin is grateful.
Gerard Arganda, Alliandre’s First Captain, pushes forward and speaks to Perrin, but Perrin does not hear what he’s saying. He reaches out to find the wolves and pleads with them to help him find Faile. The wolves mourn Perrin’s loss but will not get involved; there are so many humans about that the wolves do not know of the Aiel that Perrin seeks. As the wolves fade, Arganda demands to know whether Perrin is listening; Arganda is concerned about finding his Queen. Perrin coldly informs him that they will find Alliandre when they find Faile. Perrin asks Arganda to explain himself—why are the Ghealdanin drawn up and ready to attack? Arganda says it is Aiel that took Alliandre and there are Aiel in the camp; he wants them put to the question. Berelain says that Arganda is overwrought and she has tried to explain to him that these are not the same Aiel. Perrin angrily says that Alliandre swore fealty to him and that makes him Arganda’s lord. Arganda is to question no one and touch no one without Perrin’s permission. He orders Arganda to take his men back to his camp now.
Berelain murmurs that he handled that well and reaches out to touch him. Perrin snaps at her and says he has no patience for her games. Berelain is hurt; she rides off with Gallenne. Annoura calls Perrin a fool but Perrin has no idea what she is talking about. Perrin rides to his tent. Dannil Lewin informs him that he had gathered the Two Rivers folk and the Aiel in at sign of trouble from the Ghealdanin. Dannil says if the Mayeners hadn’t arrived, they probably would have attacked. Perrin tells him he did a good job; Perrin says to tell one in three of the men to stay and guard the camp but the others need to pack up and be ready to ride as soon as there is news of Faile. Perrin goes to Gaul and the Aiel and begs them to find Faile; they relax upon hearing this, as it is clear Perrin does not believe they had anything to do with Faile’s capture. The Aiel say they will find her if she still lives—they will move quickly, even in the snow. The Aiel begin to leave the camp, each pausing to comfort Perrin on their way out.
Grady and Neald offer their services to Perrin as well. They can cover a lot of ground by Traveling. Perrin is tempted to accept their offer but remembers that they were not country men before becoming Asha'man; they know little of tracking and probably would not be able to tell him which direction they had traveled. Perrin tells them quietly just to pack and stay here—they may be needed. Perrin goes to the Wise One’s tent, and finding it tied, is about to rip open the ties when Nevarin comes out. He asks her what will be done with Faile. She doesn’t know—taking wetlanders captive is against custom. Perrin is about to argue but she tells him not to become irrational. She says that if he cannot control his thoughts he should get drunk; but he must not bother them when they are in council. Perrin walks to his tent and finds Basel Gill and Lini setting everything in order to leave. There is nothing for him to do so he walks up to a ridge where he can see the tracks of Elyas and the other scouts. He finds Tallanvor there as well. They stand on the ridge until darkness falls—silent, waiting and watching.