The Eye of the World: Ravens Prologue
Author: Val a'Shain
Point of View: Egwene
Ravens behave oddly when Egwene is nine
A nine year old Egwene al'Vere is filling her bucket with water from the Winespring. Today is the day the sheep are sheared on a field just outside Emond's Field. Her job is to carry water to the men and women at work and she takes it very seriously. While filling the bucket she notices a raven nearby. The raven behaves strangely; it seems to be watching the men. Could this raven be the Dark One's eyes?
Kenley Ahan, a boy two years her senior, tells her she can't play with the children this year. Kenley will be allowed to help the older boys next year and he seems to think that gives him some kind of authority. Egwene gives him the level look she's seen the older girls and women use on the boys and men, but it doesn't seem to work very well. Egwene decides that she needs to work on that.
Making her way through the crowd she hands out water to anyone who asks for it. There are only five days a year when so many people gather in Emond's Field. At Shearing, the day the merchants come to buy wool, the day the merchants come to buy tabac, Sunday and Foolday. Egwene tries to avoid her four sisters in the crowd. They all seem to think she is a baby and usually treat her accordingly. She also tries to keep away from the big sheepdogs. Not that they would harm her but she doesn't really care for them anyway.
On her way back to refill her bucket, she passes the row of trestle tables. She spots Kenley again trying to steal a honey cake from one of the tables. He doesn't get far though, Corin Ayellin catches him quickly. Whatever authority he thought he had over Egwene is now gone.
As she moves away from the tables she spots the village smith Master Luhhan talking to Joslyn and Con Aybara. Their son Perrin is with them, looking shy and blushing. She doesn't quite understand what they were discussing but it involved Perrin. She notices she is not the only one watching Perrin. Cilia Cole, a girl a few years older than Egwene is looking at him too. Egwene grimaces at the sight of Cilia making big eyes at Perrin. Then she spots the raven behind Cilia. And it is not the only one, they seem to be everywhere today...
Perrin's sister Adora asks her why she is staring at Perrin. Egwene is startled by her and she doesn't like the way Adora suggests that she was looking at Perrin in that way. She makes a nasty comment and looks for Perrin again to follow him. Unfortunately he's gone. There is nothing to it but go back to the river to refill her bucket.
When she has refilled the bucket she comes across Mistress Barran, the village Wisdom, with her apprentice, the recently orphaned Nynaeve al'Meara. They are tending a wound Bili Congar inflicted on himself with a pair of wool shears. Behind them Egwene sees dozens and dozens of ravens. None of them are trying to take any food, they are just watching. It looks unnatural to Egwene. Before she can ask the Wisdom about it though, Nynaeve asks her if she doesn't have work to do. Nynaeve is with her back to Egwene, yet she always seems to know when she is there. The only thing she can do is get back to work. Her day doesn't get any better when she overhears her sister Elisa and some other women talking about why her hair isn't braided yet. Elisa takes her frustration out on Egwene.
After she has refilled the bucket again she starts looking for Perrin or Mat. It takes her a while to find the boys. When she finds them, Egwene sneaks up to overhear their conversation. Mat and Perrin are in the company of a few other boys, Rand al'Thor among them. Rand is the boy everybody says she will marry later. Egwene wonders if he will make a good husband, and what, for that matter, a good husband is.
The boys talk about their future; most of them expect to follow in their father's footsteps. A few of them dream of seeing something of the world first though. Egwene vows that she will see some of the lands Jain Farstrider describes in her favourite book. Not a lot of people leave the Two Rivers but she would. The boys get ready to get back to work again so it is time for Egwene to leave. When she is about to leave Dannil Lewin passes her hiding place and tells the boys the Mayor wants them. She decides to follow them to see why her father wants to talk to them.
The Mayor tells the boys they have worked hard today and that he will reward them with a story. Of course the boys want a story about Trollocs and false Dragons. Bran al'Vere doesn't know any stories about that so he asks Tam al'Thor to do the story telling. Tam decides to tell them the story about how the real Dragon led the Hundred Companions to Shayol Ghul to sealed the bore into the Dark One's prison. Cenn Buie, the thatcher, says that isn't a story decent folk should listen to but all the other men seem to approve so Tam tells it anyway. When Tam is done telling Perrin wants to know what a dragon is in the first place. Tam doesn't know the answer to that.
The boys get sent back to work after Tam is done telling his tale. Egwene gets ready to follow them but she suddenly becomes aware of someone watching her. Again she notices the ravens. This time they are not only looking at the boys and men. One of them is looking at her. Determined not to be distracted by silly thoughts Egwene gets on with trying to be the best water carrier ever.
Egwene had to carry water again next year to her disappointment but the year after she got to help with the food. She set herself a new goal then. To be the youngest girl to get her hair braided ever. It wouldn't be easy but easy goals are not really goals at all. She didn't listen to any more stories though, but she still liked to read of distant lands.
Why was Mistress Baran disappointed at what Nynaeve did?
- First Mention
Berowyn, Egwene, Bran, Rand, Tam, Perrin, Cenn, Kenley Ahan, Corin Ayellin, Paetram Aybara, Deselle Aybara, Adora Aybara, Con Aybara, Joslyn Aybara, Haral Luhhan, Cilia Cole, Mat, Loise Dag Coplin, Alene, Jain Fairstrider, Billi Congar, Doral Baran, Nynaeve, Callie Coplin, Jillie Lewin, Paet al'Carr, Dav Ayellin, Lem Thane, Bandry Crawe, Elam Dowtry
- First Appearance
Egwene, Bran, Rand, Tam, Matm Perrin, Cenn, Kenley Ahan, Corin Ayellin, Paetram Aybara, Deselle Aybara, Adora Aybara, Con Aybara, Joslyn Aybara, Haral Luhhan, Cilia Cole, Dag Coplin, Billi Congar, Doral Baran, Nynaeve, Jillie Lewin, Paet al'Carr, Dav Ayellin, Lem Thane, Bandry Crawe, Elam Dowtry
Egwene does not believe in Trollocs
Raven, Sheep, Redcrest, dog, wolf bear