The Shadow Rising: Chapter 57
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Chapter Icon: Spear and Shield
Point of View: Rand
Setting: Alcair Dal
Rand is thinking back on the last few days. Finally, they arrive at Alcair Dal, only to find that Couladin and the Shaido have already arrived. As the men prepare to enter Alcair Dal, Bair warns Rand to be careful. "A tired man makes mistakes. You cannot afford mistakes today." The women will not be entering Alcair Dal at this time, as it is time for the clan chiefs to meet without the Wise Ones. Moiraine approaches him, and says that since she cannot accompany him, to please let Lan take her place. Rand refuses. "Let Lan stay with you, Moiraine. Far Dareis Mai carries my honor." This pleases the Maidens.
As they are about to enter the meeting place, Mat decides to accompany Rand and the clan chiefs, and Rand agrees. As Rand asks Rhuarc if it is time yet, they hear singing - a battle song.
Wash the spears - while the sun climbs high.
Wash the spears - while the sun falls low.
Wash the spears - Who fears to die?
Wash the spears - No one I know!
The song continues and as it does, the Taardad appear, running in time to their song in two wide columns, their spears ready and faces veiled. Before they can enter, they are stopped by another Clan Chief, Mandhuin of the Goshien. They find out that the Shaido arrived at sunrise, and that the Goshien, Sharaad, Chareen and Tomanelle Aiel are also there. Rand, Mat, the Clan Chiefs and the Maidens finally enter Alcair Dal, which is a large, round canyon with a ledge on which the speakers can stand. Sevanna is in the middle of demanding that Couladin be allowed to speak. Han, of the Tomanelle Aiel, argues, saying that only people who have entered Rhuidean may speak; since Couladin was refused entrance to the city, Han concludes, Couladin does not have the right to speak. Bael breaks in, and says that they have gathered to hear an announcement, but only when the other clans arrive. "If all Sevanna wishes to speak of now is letting Couladin speak, I will go back to my tents and wait." Now it is Jheran of the Shaarad who breaks in, saying that he wishes to discuss the water at Chain Ridge Stand.
Suddenly, everyone notices the new arrivals. Han demands to know why Rhuarc has brought Wetlanders to Alcair Dal. Rhuarc replies, saying that Rand has come to speak to the clan chiefs, and asks if the Dreamwalkers perhaps did not inform him of this. Bael says that Melaine has told him many things, such as the fact that He Who Comes With the Dawn has appeared. He stares at Rand, and asks in disbelief if this is what Rand means to speak of.
Sevanna breaks in once again. "If this Wetlander can speak, so may Couladin." Couladin steps forward, announces that he is the Car'a'carn, and shows the assembled crowd his forearms...both are marked with glittering dragons. The Aiel spectators leap to their feet, shouting and cheering, and the Taardad are astounded.
Rand keeps his calm, and simply steps forward to join Couladin. He holds up his arms, and waits until the crowd notices the dragons that are wound around his own forearms. Couladin continues to speak, at first not aware of what Rand has done. When he hears the silence that has descended, he knows that it is because Rand has joined him. He shouts out that Rand is a Wetlander, and therefore cannot be the Car'a'carn.
Rand agrees that he is a Wetlander, but has more to say than that. "What does the Prophecy of Rhuidean say? 'Born of the blood.' My mother was Shaiel, a Maiden of the Chumai Taardad. My father was Janduin, of the Iron Mountain Sept, Clan Chief of the Taardad." He points out that the prophecy reads 'Born of the blood, but raised by those not of the blood.' Reluctantly, the clan chiefs nod their heads in agreement. Couladin only sneers at him, saying that the words of the prophecy have most likely changed over time.
Rhuarc strides to the front of the ledge, and announces that this is all madness, as Couladin has never been to Rhuidean. Couladin replies that he went to Rhuidean without the permission of the Wise Ones. Rand finally decides to end this charade once and for all, and asks Couladin what he saw in Rhuidean. Couladin tells Rand that everyone knows that Rhuidean is not to be spoken of. Erim, Clan Chief of the Chareen, suggests that they step aside to discuss this. Couladin angrily cuts in, saying, "I will speak of it with no one. Rhuidean is a holy place, and what I saw was holy. I am holy!" Rand tells everyone that when he went to Rhuidean, he saw the history of the Aiel through the eyes of his ancestors. Sevanna insists that Rhuarc told him that. Han reprimands her, saying that Rhuarc is a man of honour and would not do such a thing.
Couladin announces aloud that he is not afraid to speak. He tells them that he also saw with the eyes of his ancestors, and that he saw the glory that he will bring back to them. Rand replies: "I saw the Age of Legends, and the beginning of the Aiel journey to the Three-fold Land. I saw the Aiel when they were called the Da'shain Aiel, and followed the Way of the Leaf."
Alcair Dal erupts into cries of denial as the Aiel refuse to believe what Rand has said. People are staring at Rand with stricken looks on their faces. As Couladin eggs them on, insisting that Rand is a liar, Bael speaks, and pronounces Rand the Car'a'carn. His proclamation is followed by ones from Han, Jheran, Erim and Rhuarc. Pandemonium follows, and Couladin hurls a spear at Rand. Adelin leaps in front of him, and is wounded.
Rand has finally had enough of it, and reaches for saidin. In an effort to stop the chaos, he causes it to rain, something that has never happened in the Aiel Waste. Abruptly, someone forms a domed barrier around Rand; it is Lanfear. She berates him for what he has done. Rand says that he hadn't expected Lanfear to reveal herself so soon, and when she seems surprised, he tells her that he knew from the day he left Tear that she was following him. He demands to know where Lanfear's accomplice is. As Lanfear begins to speak again of the two sa'angreal with which they can rule the world, Rand reaches out to saidin again and opens a gateway to Rhuidean. When she asks what is of import in Rhuidean, Rand responds that Asmodean is there, and leaves.