"Advice! Nobody tells us how to be men. We just are."

"That is probably why you make such a bad job of it."

   —Perrin Aybara and Egwene al'Vere

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Setting: On the road with the Traveling People


Point of view: Perrin Aybara

Perrin frets about the leisurely pace the Tuatha'an take as they travel from one place to another. His suggestions that they move faster are met with gentle rebuffs. He is surprised that Elyas does not share his impatience. Instead the wolfbrother walks along with the caravan, never suggesting a faster pace, or leaving. Perrin notes that there is such a contrast between Elyas and the Tinkers: he moves like a wolf, radiating danger, while the Traveling People move with delightful grace, devoid of danger, dignified and exuberant at the same time. They all seem to be on the verge of dancing, even when there is no music in the camp, which is rare.

The people are always open and smiling, but Perrin senses that deep-down, they are like half-tame deer, putting on an open, public face, but ready to bolt at the slightest hint of trouble, their wariness directed at both the Emond's Fielders and also at Elyas, only more so. With regard to Elyas, the feeling seems mutual, yet when Perrin suggests leaving, Elyas demurs. He gently chides Perrin for wanting to leave, considering the hard times he and Egwene have had and will have. When Perrin challenges his decision with "What if the Fades find us?", Elyas' answer is simply "Something tells me to wait..." When Perrin tries to question him more closely, Elyas evades, but when Perrin will not relent, Elyas finally repeats, "Something," and then explains that he has learned to trust his gut when he gets a feeling. Perrin continues to bother him about leaving, and Elyas responds with calming words, and with orders to relax.

Perrin, however, cannot relax. He is in the middle of a group of people who demonstrate not a care in the world. He itches to get away before they (presumably meaning he and Egwene) bring trouble to these gentle people.

He has trouble getting a word with Egwene, who participates wholeheartedly in the life of the caravan, including the dancing and music. Perrin recognizes some of the tunes, though the Tuatha'an call them by different names. He notes how the tunes the Tuatha'an play make him want to dance, even though he is only an adequate dancer. Perrin remembers the second evening with the Tinkers when the whole caravan participated in the music of one dance while a young female is the only dancer, and who seems to dance solely for Perrin. She is later joined by a second dancer who, too, seems to dance solely for Perrin. The behavior makes him blush and feel like everyone knows exactly how he is reacting to the sensual dance. He attempts to evade the dance by getting up and turning away, but the two dancers have become three as they dance their way into his view, one winking at him, causing him to remark silently, "what would Rand do... he knows about girls." A fourth, older woman joins the three, and Perrin groans, and shuts his eyes. He can still see them dancing, however, behind his eyelids. Raen, the Tinker leader informs him some time later that the dance is rarely danced, but because of his blushes, it was danced every night thereafter. Even Elyas banters with him regarding his reaction to the sensual dancing.

Perrin never really learns to control his blushes, but out of a sense of survival he does learn to look and contain his blushes.

Egwene then decides to learn the dance. Perrin considers protesting, but decides that it would be better if he did not. Egwene is awkward, but determined to master the dance. Aram watches on hungrily as Ila, his grandmother begins to worry after first being pleased with the attention he paid Egwene, partly because Aram gave Egwene a necklace of blue beads, which she wears all the time.

Perrin does chide her about her behavior, but she just dismisses his worries with a scalding attack on his personal stoicism. He reminds her that she is going to Tar Valon to become Aes Sedai and she reminds him that he doesn't want her to do so. When he finally protests that Fades could attack any time, she simply tells him fatalistically that what will happen, will happen, and he should enjoy himself while he can. She then joins Aram for a dance, and the Tinker gloats at Perrin because Egwene has chosen him instead of Perrin.

Perrin considers that they are falling under the spell of the People and muses that the Tinkers don't have to convert someone; it seeps into the visitor.

About that time Ila notes how cold he is and gives him a green wool cloak, but then notices the axe and makes a remark about how the cloak could fit better, obviously indicating that the axe makes it not fit. All Tinkers are like that, he remarks silently. They look at his axe and recognize a tool of violence, and not of the leaf. He wants to shout back that the world is full of Trollocs and Fades who don't hesitate to practice violence. He stubbornly keeps wearing his axe. He even goes so far as to make sure it is always visible, even in the wind, despite the discomfort pulling it aside in the wind causes. Elyas sees this and smiles, as if he knows what Perrin is doing. It almost makes Perrin want to relent.

His dreams are fairly normal; some nightmares, to be sure, but they are normal nightmares, and Ba'alzamon does not inhabit them.

He can sense the wolves nearby, and he can sense that they hold the dogs in contempt. Dapple grows impatient with each sunset. Because Elyas wants to travel with humans, it must be done, but do it quickly, get it over with, Dapple seems to think. Wind also is impatient for a number of reasons, but keeps his thoughts to himself when Dapple or Hopper are around.

Perrin wishes for Caemlyn and Moiraine, and for an end to this.

He dreams a dream where he is in Alsbet Luhhan's kitchen, sharpening the axe, which is strange in itself, because Mistress Luhhan would not allow such business to be conducted in her kitchen, when in walks a wolf, who lays down on the floor, without Mistress Luhhan even raising an eyebrow. Then Ba'alzamon shows up. Again, Mistress Luhhan does not notice. Perrin stumbles to his feet, but Ba'alzamon does not notice him. Instead the Forsaken addresses the wolf by deriding it for the weakness of what it has for protection. He snaps his fingers and the wolf bursts into flame. Mistress Luhhan does not notice. Perrin tries to pat out the fire, but the wolf crumples to ash on the floor. Perrin shouts at Ba'alzamon to leave him alone. Mistress Luhhan is oblivious.

Ba'alzamon tells Perrin that he cannot run from him, that if he is the one, he is Ba'alzamon's, and that the Eye of the World will consume him and then he says that he marks him, releasing a raven, which flies to Perrin's face and pecks at his left eye, piercing it, which wakes him up. He finds to his relief that his eye is fine.

Elyas is suddenly there, shaking him as if trying to wake him. Nearby the wolves are sending sensations of fire and pain, hate and killing. Elyas then says that it is time for them to go. While Perrin is gathering his stuff, Raen stumbles out of his cabin and notices the sky with a start, listening and smelling the air. He then informs that the Travelers will be taking a different road this day and asks Elyas if they will be joining them. Elyas says no. Then Raen says that they will travel east to the Spine of the World and look for a stedding, observing that stedding never have trouble. Elyas mentions the possibility that Ogier might not be open to them, and Raen responds that everyone is open to the People. He then cordially invites them to breakfast, but Elyas demurs, saying that there is no time. Raen presses, joined by Ila, though not as fervently as her husband. When Egwene shows up, she is informed by Perrin that they are leaving. Expecting her to announce that she is staying with the Tinkers, she surprises him by immediately going to collect her belongings.

Raen finally gives in, but insists on a proper goodbye. They are hugged and hands are shaken by everyone. Even the young dancers who loved to taunt Perrin hug him fiercely, making his cheeks rosy red. Aram has a private conversation with Egwene, where he first pleads and then argues with her, but about what, Perrin does not know. He then leaves the goodbye gathering when Ila rescues Egwene from him. After an extremely robust goodbye, the Tinkers make a little space around the three, Raen and Ila. What follows is a short ceremony of leave-taking during which Elyas offers this encouraging word: "I will find the song or another will find the song, but the song will be sung..." This surprises Raen and flabbergasts Ila. Raen accompanies them to the edge of the camp, where he strongly encourages Elyas to take care. Elyas' words and moods are so at odds with his advertised views on Tinkers that Egwene and Perrin are looking at him when he finishes and he explains, unconvincingly, that he did not want to mess up the ceremony. Egwene agrees with him gently,indicating that she is not fooled in the least.

Dapple, Wind and Hopper show up radiating images of the Dark One. Perrin recognizes the essence of his dream--their dream. They start out, Elyas leading, Egwene riding, and Perrin walking alongside. He does not want to think about the dreams, musing that he thought the wolves would protect him in the dreams. The wolves indicate that he will not be protected until he fully accepts what he is. He forces the wolves out of his head, and then in a surprise realizes that he can force them out of his head. He resolves never to let them back in. The question arises in his thoughts, Even in dreams? and he does not know if the thought is his or from the wolves.

Egwene fingers the beads that Aram gave her, and Perrin observes that he is glad she did not give in and stay with Aram. He then asks her what she talked about all that time with Ila. She replies that Ila was giving her advice about being a woman, which causes him to laugh heartily, and which generates a dangerous look on Egwene's face. Perrin replies that no one tells men how to be men, and Egwene replies acerbically that is why men do such a bad job of it. Elyas cackles when he hears the response.





  • In the forest on the way to Caemlyn






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