Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Rise of the Evil Bubbles in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 4)

Perrin and Faile find the halls of the Stone surprisingly busy with both off-duty Defenders as well as servants making their way to and fro. Perrin keeps his head down unless he is right in the light of a torch, not wanting people to observe his eyes glowing gold in the dim parts of the hall. No one has mentioned his eyes, of course, not now as servants bow as they pass or at other times—not even Faile has asked him about them—but Perrin still feels uneasy whenever someone seems to notice his golden gaze, and when they don’t say anything, it reminds him of how apart he is from other people.

The Defenders mostly bow when Perrin and Faile pass, but they also start or give them suspicious looks before hurrying away as if they are afraid of Perrin, which puts him on edge. He wonders aloud to Faile why all these people aren’t in bed.

Her arm twined through his, Faile glanced at him. “I would say the guards are not supposed to be in this part of the Stone unless they are on duty. A good time to cuddle a maid on a lord’s chair, and maybe pretend they are the lord and lady, while lord and lady are asleep. They are probably worried that you might report them. And servants do most of their work at night. Who would want them underfoot, sweeping and dusting and polishing, in daylight?”

Perrin doubtfully supposes that Faile must know what she is talking about, having grown up in a merchants house, she must have had servants about, and perhaps her father even had guards to protect his property and wares. Perrin is glad at least to see that none of these people have experienced what he just experienced, but that leaves in his mind the questions of why he was singled out, and this thought occupies him as they pass through the corridors and up a winding staircase.

Stepping out into the corridor, he finds himself directly behind a High Lord and two of his personal guards. All three are standing and watching the door to the rooms Rand is occupying, and all three have swords at their hips, even though only Defenders are allowed to go armed inside the Stone.

One of the bodyguards notices Perrin suddenly and whirls around, drawing his sword partly from his sheath and catching the attention of the other two men. All three smell of fear, but the Lord keeps his tightly controlled as he bids them a good evening.

Perrin did not really care for the man’s tone, but the way Torean looked Faile up and down, with a sort of casual interest, clenched his fists. He managed to keep his voice level, though. “The Light illumine you, High Lord Torean. I am glad to see you helping keep watch over the Lord Dragon. Some men in your place might resent him being here.”

Torean’s thin eyebrows twitched. “Prophecy has been fulfilled, and Tear has fulfilled its place in that prophecy. Perhaps the Dragon Reborn will lead Tear to a still greater destiny. What man could resent that? But it is late. A good night to you.” He eyed Faile again, pursing his lips, and walked off down the hall just a bit too briskly, away from the anteroom’s lights. His bodyguards heeled him like well-trained dogs.

Faile tells Perrin off for being rude, and points out that she can defend herself from men like that, but she doesn’t seem entirely displeased at his desire to defend her. Perrin observes that the Lord’s men kept their hands on their swords until they were well clear of Perrin and Faile, and wonders if being the Dragon’s friend is going to remain as much protection as it used to be. Faile looks like she is thinking of asking him to leave again, but she doesn’t.

They encounter Berelain at the end of the hall, exiting the antechamber to Rand’s room, almost at a run. Perrin, trying to prove to Faile that he can be courteous, gives her a deep bow, but she ignores both of them, dashing past and drawing Perrin’s attention with how very badly she smells of fear. As he turns to look after her, Faile accuses him of “filling his eyes.”

Intent on Berelain, wondering what had driven her so near the brink, he spoke without thinking. “She smelled of—”

Far down the corridor, Torean suddenly stepped out of a side hallway to seize Berelain’s arm. He was talking a torrent, but Perrin could not make out more than a handful of scattered words, something about her overstepping herself in her pride, and something else that seemed to be Torean offering her his protection. Her reply was short, sharp, and even more inaudible, delivered with lifted chin. Pulling herself free roughly, the First of Mayene walked away, back straight and seemingly more in command of herself. On the point of following, Torean saw Perrin watching. Dabbing at his nose with his handkerchief, the High Lord vanished back into the crossing corridor.

“I do not care if she smelled of the Essence of Dawn,” Faile said darkly. “That one is not interested in hunting a bear, however fine his hide would look stretched on a wall. She hunts the sun.”

Perrin doesn’t follow her meaning, but Faile merely tells him to go on by himself, and that she is going to go off to bed. She says she is not especially eager to meet the Dragon Reborn after avoiding him for so long, and no doubt they will have a pleasant talk without her.

“You don’t make any sense,” he muttered, scrubbing a hand through his hair. “If you want to go to bed, then fine, but I wish you would say something I understand.”

For a long moment she studied his face, then suddenly bit her lip. He thought she was trying not to laugh. “Oh, Perrin, sometimes I believe it is your innocence I enjoy most of all.” Sure enough, traces of laughter silvered her voice. “You go on to… to your friend and tell me of it in the morning. As much as you want to.” She pulled his head down to brush his lips with a kiss and, as quick as the kiss, ran back down the hallway.

Perrin heads into the anteroom Berelain just left, to find the huge space filled with a ring of fifty Defenders, standing guard against threats to the current Lord of the Stone. They smell of fear and uncertainty, however straight they stand, and how every self-important their commander looks. Perrin strides by them without waiting to be challenged; they know who he is, and they know that Rand’s real guards are standing at the other end of the room.

The Aiel women are so still beside the columns that they almost fade into the stone. One puts herself in front of Perrin, baring his path, and tells him that she can’t let him in. The Dragon doesn’t want to see anyone tonight.

“I am going in, Bain.” Ignoring her spears, he took her by the upper arms. That was when it became impossible to ignore the spears, since she had managed to get a spearpoint hard against the side of his throat. For that matter, a somewhat blonder woman named Chiad suddenly had one of her spears at the other side, as if the two were intended to meet somewhere in the middle of his neck. The other women only watched, confident that Bain and Chiad could handle whatever had to be done. Still, he did his best. “I don’t have time to argue with you. Not that you listen to people who argue with you, as I remember. I am going in.” As gently as he could, he picked Bain up and set her out of his way.

Chiad’s spear only needed her to breathe on it to draw blood, but after one startled widening of dark blue eyes, Bain abruptly took hers away and grinned. “Would you like to learn a game called Maidens’ Kiss, Perrin? You might play well, I think. At the very least you would learn something.” One of the others laughed aloud. Chiad’s spearpoint left his neck.

Perrin declines politely, hoping they can’t see how tense he was under the threat of their spears, and not understanding the way they all chuckle as though sharing a joke.

As he reached for a door handle in the shape of a rearing golden lion, Bain added, “On your head be it. He has already chased out what most men would consider better company by far than you.”

Of course, he thought, pulling open the door, Berelain. She was coming from here. Tonight, everything is revolving around—

When Perrin sees the state of Rand’s room, covered in glass with the furniture overturned or destroyed, and Rand sitting at the foot of the bed covered in blood, he forgets all about Berelain. He snaps at the Aiel to get Moiraine, which causes Rand to stir and tell Perrin, softly, to shut the door.

The Aiel move back at Rand’s command, and Perrin goes over to his friend, tearing a bit of the sheet to press against the bleeding wound in Rand’s side. He asks what Rand did, pointing out that it looks like he nearly killed himself, and that he nearly killed Perrin too. But Rand says that it wasn’t him at all, that it was one of the Forsaken, which prompts a new wave of anxiety for Perrin. And then he worries about Mat’s safety as well. If what happened to Perrin and Rand also happened to Mat, he’d also have come to yell at Rand, unless he was too injured to come. Or if he was dead.

“Or on a horse and halfway to the city gates.” Rand struggled to sit erect. Drying blood smears cracked, and fresh trickles started on his chest and shoulders. “If he is dead, Perrin, you had best get as far from me as you can. I think you and Loial are right about that.” He paused, studying Perrin. “You and Mat must wish I had never been born. Or at least that you’d never seen me.”

There was no point in going to check; if anything had happened to Mat, it was over and done now. And he had a feeling that his makeshift bandage pressed against Rand’s side might be what would keep him alive long enough for Moiraine to get there. “You don’t seem to care if he has gone off. Burn me, he’s important, too. What are you going to do if he’s gone? Or dead, the Light send it not so.”

“What they least expect.” Rand’s eyes looked like morning mist covering the dawn, blue-gray with a feverish glow seeping through. His voice had a knife edge. “That is what I have to do in any case. What everyone least expects.”

When Perrin asks what that is, Rand reiterates that he only knows that he must catch everyone by surprise.

Rhuarc arrives, and as he comes in Perrin catches sight of the Tairen officer arguing with the Maidens. Rhuarc informs them that the officer has sent word to his commander that something has happened, and that rumors are spreading throughout the Stone, everything from stories that the White Tower is trying to kill Rand to claims that the Last Battle is being fought right there in Rand’s room. But Rhuarc ran into Berelain on his way, and what he sees in the room seems to confirm her story.

Rand laughs, remarking that he told her to keep quiet, but apparently even the Lord Dragon “doesn’t rule Mayene.” Rhuarc is confident, however, that she doesn’t intend to tell anyone else, and would probably like to forget it ever happened. Then Moiraine arrives, followed by Lan and demanding to know what, exactly, did happen.

As always when they met, Lan’s and Rhuarc’s icy blue stares nearly struck sparks. A braided leather cord held Lan’s dark hair, gray-streaked at the temples. His face looked to have been carved from rock, all hard planes and angles, and his sword rode his hip like part of his body. Perrin was not sure which of the two men was more deadly, but he thought a mouse could starve on the difference.

The Warder’s eyes swung to Rand. “I thought you were old enough to shave without someone to guide your hand.”

Rhuarc smiled, a slight smile but the first Perrin had ever seen from him in Lan’s presence. “He is young yet. He will learn.”

Lan glanced back at the Aielman, then returned the smile, just as slightly.

Moiraine glances at the two of them and then goes about surveying the room, picking her way across the glass shards covering the floor until she reaches Rand. She looks over his injuries, although she seems to think better of lifting the cloth from Rand’s side, and then instructs Rand to touch the True Source, explaining that much of the strength from Healing comes from the one being Healed, and that if Rand is holding the True Source, the Power can replace the strength that he is losing. Otherwise he’ll be basically incapacitated for a day or two. She tells him to use Callandor if he needs to.

Rand moved the sword from under her hand. “Simply hold it, you say.” He sounded about to “laugh out loud. “Very well.”

Nothing happened that Perrin could see, not that he expected to. Rand sat there like the survivor of a lost battle, looking at Moiraine. She hardly blinked. Twice she scrubbed her fingers against her palms as if unaware.

After a time Rand sighed. “I cannot even reach the Void. I can’t seem to concentrate.” A quick grin cracked the blood drying on his face. “I do not understand why.” A thick red thread snaked its way down past his left eye.

“Then I will do it as I always have,” Moiraine said, and took Rand’s head in her hands, careless of the blood that ran over her fingers.

Rand arches and cries out, his muscles knotting and his entire body shaking. Perrin has seen Healing done before, and other uses of the One Power, but he still feels chilled at the sight of seeing it used. He can smell unease on Rhuarc, too.

It takes only a moment for Moiraine finish, and then Rand slumps, holding himself up by the bedpost. Moiraine tries to take the sword from him but he clings stubbornly to it, so she contents herself with peeling away the cloth at his side and using it to dab away some of the blood. The wound there is a new, tender scar again, while the rest of Rand’s injuries are gone.

Moiraine frowned. “It still does not respond,” she murmured, half to herself. “It will not heal completely.”

“That is the one that will kill me, isn’t it?” [Rand] asked her softly, then quoted, “‘His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.’”

“You read too much,” she said sharply, “and understand too little.”

“Do you understand more? If you do, then tell me.”

“He is only trying to find his way,” Lan said suddenly. “No man likes to run forward blindly when he knows there is a cliff somewhere ahead.”

Perrin is surprised; Lan almost never disagrees with Moiraine. Still, he and Rand have been spending a fair amount of time together in sword practice.

Moiraine replies that Rand needs to be in bed, and tells to Lan fetch washwater and to have a new bedchamber prepared. But Rand insists that he will stay in the room he has, that he won’t be chased anymore, not even out of a bed.

Tai’ shar Manetheren,” Lan murmured.

This time even Rhuarc looked startled, but if Moiraine heard the Warder compliment Rand, she gave no sign of it. She was staring at Rand, her face smooth but thunderheads in her eyes. Rand wore a quizzical little smile, as if wondering what she would try next.

Perrin tries to sneak out, not wanting to hang around if Moiraine and Rand are going to fight, and Rhuarc looks ready to do the same, but Moiraine catches them and orders them to stay, then commands Rand to tell her what happened. She suggests that, while she can’t teach him, she might be able to tell him what he did wrong. She reminds him that he must learn to control his ability before it kills him, prompting defensiveness from Rand.

“I did nothing except survive,” he said in a dry voice. She opened her mouth, but he went on. “Do you think I could channel and not know it? I didn’t do it in my sleep. This happened awake.” He wavered, and caught himself on the sword.

“Even you could not channel anything but Spirit asleep,” Moiraine said coolly, “and this was never done with Spirit. I was about to ask what did happen.”

Rand tells the tale, chilling Perrin to the bone, and finishes by suggesting that it must have been one of the Forsaken, perhaps Sammael, since he is in Illian, or else there is one in Illian. But Moiraine tells them that even if he had Callandor, Sammael could never reach the Stone from so far away. He is only a man, after all, not the Dark One himself.

Only a man? Not a very good description, Perrin thought. A man who could channel, but who somehow had not gone mad; at least, not yet, not that anyone knew. A man perhaps as strong as Rand, but where Rand was trying to learn, Sammael knew every trick of his talents already. A man who had spent three thousand years trapped in the Dark One’s prison, a man who had gone over to the Shadow of his own choice. No. “Only a man” did not begin to describe Sammael, or any of the Forsaken, male or female.

Rand decides that means that one of the Forsaken is in Tear, and declares his intention to find him or her, and not to be chased anymore. Moiraine interrupts, however, saying that she does not think this was one of the Forsaken at all. It is both “too simple” and “too complex.”

Rand calmly asks her what that riddle means, and after a moment of hesitation, Moirane explains.

“As the seals holding the Dark One’s prison weaken,” she said after a time, “it may be inevitable that a … miasma … will escape even while he is still held. Like bubbles rising from the things rotting on the bottom of a pond. But these bubbles will drift through the Pattern until they attach to a thread and burst.”

“Light!” It slipped out before Perrin could stop it. Moiraine’s eyes turned to him. “You mean what happened to … to Rand is going to start happening to everybody?”

“Not to everyone. Not yet, at least. In the beginning I think there will only be a few bubbles, slipping through cracks the Dark One can reach through. Later, who can say? And just as ta’veren bend the other threads in the Pattern around them, I think perhaps ta’veren will tend to attract these bubbles more powerfully than others do.” Her eyes said she knew Rand was not the only one to have had a waking nightmare. A brief touch of a smile, there and gone almost before he saw it, said he could keep silent if he wished to hold it secret from others. But she knew. “Yet in the months to come—the years, should we be lucky enough to have that long—I fear a good many people will see things to give them white hairs, if they survive.”

Perrin immediately brings up Mat, and although Moiraine offers a typically Aes Sedai answers that whatever happened to him is already over, and they’ll find out soon enough whether he is alive or dead, Rhuarc pipes up that he saw Mat on his way to Rand’s rooms.

“Going where?” Moiraine said with an edge in her voice.

“He looked to be heading for the servants’ quarters,” the Aielman told her. He knew that the three were ta’veren, if not as much else as he thought he did, and he knew Mat well enough to add, “Not the stables, Aes Sedai. The other way, toward the river. And there are no boats at the Stone’s docks.” He did not stumble over words like “boat” and “dock” the way most of the Aiel did, although in the Waste such things existed only in stories.

She nodded as if she had expected nothing else. Perrin shook his head; she was so used to hiding her real thoughts, she seemed to veil them out of habit.

Bain and Chiad come in, carrying towels and hot water, as the servant who had brought them refused to come in. Moiraine points out to Rand that the Tairens are becoming used to him, and urges him to make a decision soon about what he is going to do next, before a Forsaken does strike out at him, or another bubble forms in the Pattern. But Rand tells her he will not run for her either. Moiraine demands that he tell her when he makes his decision, this time, and urges that he should accept her knowledge to help him.

“Your help?” Rand said wearily. “I’ll take your help. But I will decide, not you.” He looked at Perrin as if trying to tell him something without words, something he did not want the others to hear. Perrin had not a clue what it was. After a moment Rand sighed; his head sank a little. “I want to sleep. All of you, go away. Please. We will talk tomorrow.” His eyes flickered to Perrin again, underscoring the words for him.

Moiraine goes to speak to Bain and Chiad, and Perrin knows that she is using the Power to muffle their conversation, as he can’t hear anything of it save for a low buzzing.

Moiraine agrees to go, only after reiterating again that they will talk, and that Rand must make a choice. She leaves before he can answer, and Rand only says quietly that they all do what they have to do.

Perrin and Rhuarc follow Moiraine and Lan out of the room, and Perrin hears Rand trying, unsuccessfully, to get the Maidens to stop trying to wash him and leave too. Outside, he addresses Rhuarc.

“You do not treat him the way the Tairens do,” Perrin said quietly. “No bowing and scraping. I don’t think I have heard one of you call him Lord Dragon.”

“The Dragon Reborn is a wetlander prophecy,” Rhuarc said. “Ours is He Who Comes With the Dawn.”

“I thought they were the same. Else why did you come to the Stone? Burn me, Rhuarc, you Aiel are the People of the Dragon, just as the Prophecies say. You’ve as good as admitted it, even if you won’t say it out loud.”

Rhuarc ignored the last part. “In your Prophecies of the Dragon, the fall of the Stone and the taking of Callandor proclaim that the Dragon has been Reborn. Our prophecy says only that the Stone must fall before He Who Comes With the Dawn appears to take us back to what was ours. They may be one man, but I doubt even the Wise Ones could say for sure. If Rand is the one, there are things he must do yet to prove it.”

“What?” Perrin demanded.

“If he is the one, he will know, and do them. If he does not, then our search still goes on.”

Something unreadable in the Aielman’s voice pricked Perrin’s ears. “And if he isn’t the one you search for? What then, Rhuarc?”

“Sleep well and safely, Perrin.” Rhuarc’s soft boots made no sound on the black marble as he walked away.

Perrin looks at the face of the Tairen officer, who is still trying to see what is going on in Rand’s room, and who smells of fear and cannot mask the anger and hatred he is feeling. Perrin doesn’t like the thought of what might happen if the Maidens weren’t standing between this man and Rand, and decides that he must make sure Faile leaves the Stone, and without Perrin.

 

Okay, I was fairly certain that it wasn’t one of the Forsaken attacking the boys, but I did not expect the answer to be evil bubbles in the Pattern. I mean, come on, they don’t have enough Shadowspawn and Darkfriends coming after them, now our three ta’veren have to worry about gaseous emissions from the Dark One, too? I mean, fart jokes aside, that’s just not fair. They’re going to be wishing for the days of Trollocs and Myrddraal soon, at this rate.

I do like how this fits with my theory about the boys’ own anger and hatreds fueling the manifestations they experienced. It seems to me that the Dark One’s power, even in this nebulous, non-targeted form, would use your own weaknesses and foibles against you. Ishamael employed much the same tactic, alternately promising things he thought Rand might want (power, immortality, freeing his mother from afterlife slavery) and playing upon his fears, trying to drive Rand to give in to him, either from greed or from despair. There’s no doubt in my mind Ishamael learned that trick from his master, I mean, he was basically trying to be the Dark One. And now these bits, this essence of the Dark One, are latching onto the same kinds of things.

Moiraine has questioned more than once whether or not the Dark One has become able to touch the Pattern and influence the threads. So far those fears don’t seem to have come to pass, but if these little bits of the Dark are starting to emerge, one can imagine that a more conscious, direct form of contact might not be far behind.

Getting back to the beginning of the chapter, however, I’m curious how much of Perrin’s observations are foreshadowing—the presence of so many off-duty Defenders, for example—and how much is merely Jordan adding texture to the scene. It’s easy to be suspicious of the Tairen, and Perrin certainly is. As far as High Lord Torean is concerned, I cycled through several different suspicions of him before deciding that I didn’t have enough information to know what that guy is up to. At first I thought perhaps he had come near Rand’s room because there had been some commotion or the news of Rand’s fight had gotten out. Then I thought perhaps it was a member of the Forsaken behind the attacks, and Torean was that Forsaken, but even if we hadn’t learned the truth about the miasma, that conclusion feels a little too on the nose.

My next supposition was that he was working with Berelain somehow, that maybe he had put her up to trying to get information out of Rand. But I don’t think Berelain would let herself get used that way, and it seems more likely that he just caught her coming out tried to influence her then. Perhaps he was one of the High Lords responsible for imprisoning her in the Stone in the first place, and is trying to regain some of that control. In any case, it’s weird to think that he was lingering outside Rand’s room with no specific objective in mind. Then again, maybe he was just hoping for an opportunity to learn something that either gives him an in with the Dragon Reborn, or gives him an edge against Rand.

Perrin’s back and forth with Faile here made me a little annoyed, but I’m glad she at least realized that he had no designs on Berelain. If Faile is going to keep priding herself on being the smart one, she needs to not always assume the worst of Perrin, even if that’s what she is used to. I was also interested in the fact that she hasn’t asked Perrin about his unusual eyes, given her nosiness about other aspects of his character and background. She apparently thinks it just has something to do with his association with an Aes Sedai? Even though none of Moiraine’s other companions have had any such effects. Maybe it’s just too weird, and Faile would prefer not to know? She had some of that reaction when she heard about the Darkhounds and about the Forsaken being loose, but she doesn’t seem the type to shy away from interesting questions, generally speaking, and this is her Perrin we’re talking about.

I was amused at the Maidens asking Perrin if he wanted to play Maidens’ Kiss. It was a compliment, too, I think; Bain was impressed with Perrin’s nerve under the pressure of all of those spears. Generally speaking, it’s been fun getting to know the Aiel better, and I’m quite fond of Rhuarc already. His rapport with Lan is fun, and I wonder if Rhuarc will become a similar mentor figure to Rand. After all, Rand is of Aiel descent, so storytelling demands that at some point he’ll have to travel there and learn their ways. And when he does, he’ll need another Lan-type to teach him. It hadn’t occurred to me that He Who Comes With the Dawn might not be the Dragon, but someone else. It doesn’t seem very likely, but I suppose it’s possible. Either way, however the Aiel are still the people of the Dragon, and Rand clearly has Aiel blood.

And Lan has been taking Rand’s side a bit more, as he does in this chapter when he points out to Moiraine that Rand is only trying to find his way, and with the Old Tongue compliment “True Blood of Manetheren” when Rand determines to stay in his room and refuse to be driven from it by anyone. It speaks, I think, to Lan recognizing the inevitability that I’ve commented on before, that sooner or later Rand will surpass Moiraine in power and knowledge of what must be done to fight the Shadow. Moiraine does not like to let go of control, and while she may still be right in this moment, someday she will have to let Rand make his own choices. Some day she may even find herself following his orders.

When they were discussing the possibility of the attacks coming from the Forsaken, it occurred to me to wonder something that I haven’t thought of in a bit; whether there are any other female forsaken besides Lanfear. We have yet to hear of any, as far as I can remember, and although the names of the Forsaken seem to be fairly well known, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning any women besides Lanfear. Here, however, both Perrin and Rand make a point of thinking/saying man or woman, he or she, which implies that they are aware of other female members of the Forsaken. And indeed, given that men and women wield different parts of the One Power, a group of even the most powerful Darkfriends would be incomplete without at least a vague gender balance.

I felt deeply for Rand in this scene. The way that he constantly harps on the idea of being chased reminds us that, even though we spent little time with him in The Dragon Reborn, he spent most of that book on the run, and the experience has clearly left a mark. And then there is this insistence on doing something that nobody expects. Rand has, from the first moment that Trollocs attacked Emond’s Field and Moiraine revealed herself to be Aes Sedai, been pushed along by events he can’t control and doesn’t understand. He’s had her telling him who and what he is, he’s had Ishamael chasing him, both in the real world and in his dreams, telling him that he is a worm, that he knows nothing, that he has failed a thousand times. I think Lan is right, Rand just wants to have some knowledge of his own, some plan that doesn’t rely on Aes Sedai he doesn’t entirely trust, that isn’t just a reaction to the dangers and torments of the Darkfriends chasing him.

The question is, is this desire only his trauma speaking, or is Rand right in thinking that this is the only way to take his place in the Pattern, to step forward and shape the world as the Dragon Reborn is prophecized to do? He obviously has to eventually, but Moiraine seems to think that he’s making the choice too soon.

I suppose only time will tell.

Next week we will cover Chapter 4 and 5, and catch up with Thom as well as Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve. After all, Moiraine has more than one upstart Two River’s channeler to give her a headache.

Sylas K Barrett still doesn’t understand why all the Aiel are redheads, but he thinks Anson Mount would make a good Rhuarc.

citation

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