The Gathering Storm: Chapter 37
Chapter Icon: A Dragon
Point of View: Min
Setting: Arad Doman
Rand destroys the fortress where Graendal should be with balefire. Examining Ramshalan Nynaeve determines the person who put Compulsion over his mind is dead. Nynaeve decides to cooperate with Cadsuane and Sorilea in order to help Rand and they agree they need to find Perrin first.
Min sees an aura around Rand, of Dragonmount with a tiny prick of light coming from the clouds. She has realised that Rand was right that she couldn't defend herself against his enemies, so she avoids him and studies. He tells her that Arad Doman will have to deal with the Seanchan without him but that he will remove Graendal from their land first. He tells his Maiden guards that he goes to battle and that they should bring no more than twenty. While they are going to get the twenty, he sends a servant to fetch Nynaeve and Ramshalan. He tells Min about Natrin's Barrow. When Ramshalan arrives, Rand asks him what he would do if he had an enemy cleverer than he was. Ramshalan says he would make an alliance. Min doesn't trust him, and worries that he would turn against Rand if it suited him. Nynaeve asks Rand why he had her there, if he is so sure and he says it is because what he is about to do should frighten him. Rand opens a gateway and goes through, Natrin's Barrow visible. He sends Ramshalan down, telling him to determine who the inhabitants are and to negotiate with them to try and win them to Rand. He tells Nynaeve that he expects Graendal will use compulsion on Ramshalan and try and use him.
Some time later, Ramshalan returns and Rand has Nynaeve examine him, to determine if he is under compulsion. She tells Rand he is. The sun sets, and Rand draws saidin through the access key, terrifying Min before weaving balefire and destroying the fortress and all within it. The forest seems to groan and the substance of the world feels close to breaking. Nynaeve is furious, but Rand has her test Ramshalan and she determines the compulsion is gone, the balefire having killed the person who set it, before they did. Rand tells Ramshalan that he has been a help and that as a reward, he will not execute him for claiming to his friends that he could manipulate Rand. Rand sends him south, telling him there is a village a day or so that way, before opening a gateway and returning.
Min and Nynaeve discuss what has happened, worried that Rand may have gone too far, but also worried that it might be the only way and that if he had been that hard from the beginning, many lives might have been saved. Nynaeve decides that if Rand faces the Dark One as he is, his victory might be a terrible thing. She says she wishes Moiraine were there, but as she is not, she decides that Cadsuane was right and goes to see her. Merise tries to turn them away, but Nynaeve tells them she saw Rand balefire a fortress and Cadsuane tells Merise to let them in. Sorilea is inside and tells them they felt the world warp and asks what happened, so Nynaeve tells them the details, after which Sorilea dismisses them, but Cadsuane persuades them to let Nynaeve stay, on condition that Nynaeve can be obedient. She says Nynaeve might be the only one of the current crop that is salvageable, but Amys says that Egwene has much honour. Nynaeve agrees to be obedient in the plan. Cadsuane tells Nynaeve that they need to find Perrin.
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
Visions and Prophecies
- Min's Viewings
- (About Rand) "The air shimmered above Rand, and a mountain appeared there. Viewings were so common around Rand that Min usually forced herself to ignore them unless they were new - though she did spend time some days trying to pick them all out and sort through them. This one was new, and it caught her attention. The towering mountain was blasted out on one side, making a jagged hole down the slope. Dragonmount? It was cloaked in dark shadows, as if shaded by clouds high above. That was odd; whenever she'd seen the mountain, it had reached higher than the clouds themselves. Dragonmount in shadows. It would be important to Rand in the future. Was that a tiny prick of light shining from the heavens down onto the point of the mountain?" (TGS, Ch. 37).