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|Setting: The forest north of the Caemlyn Road|
- Point of view: Perrin Aybara
Perrin is a bound captive of the Whitecloaks chafing against his captivity. He and Egwene share a tent where they sit, back-to-back to preserve their body heat. Egwene sleeps the sleep of exhaustion. Although just as exhausted, he cannot sleep. He aches from the day's travels, walking behind a horse with a halter around his neck.
Because of a lack of remounts, lost back in the stedding, the column cannot move all that fast, and the Whitecloaks blame the Emond's Fielders for their slowness. He recognizes his chance of survival as precarious. Both he and Egwene traveled every day with the knowledge that one misstep could kill them.
He could not sleep because he kept thinking about the things that Byar promised him awaited them in Amador. Byar mentions in an emotionless monotone hot irons, and pincers and knives slicing skin and Perrin just can't believe that people do that to other people, but the way Byar said it so matter-of-factly has finally convinced Perrin that he is telling the truth.
He is guarded by two Whitecloaks, but they look at the two of them as if they are guarding filth-soaked monsters, and they are only doing what every other Whitecloak does. He wonders how he is going to convince them that he is not a Darkfriend, but concludes that in the end he will probably admit to being one just to make the Questioners stop.
Byar comes for him, carrying Perrin's axe which he has appropriated from the boy. Byar kicks him heavily and orders him to wake up even though it is plain that Perrin is not asleep. Perrin replies that he is awake to prevent another of Byar's kicks. As Byar checks to ensure that the ropes that bind him are still tight, Perrin quickly calls for Egwene to wake up before Byar attacks her, though Byar shows no frustration for him doing so. Byar seems to go out of his way only to cause Perrin pain because he killed two Whitecloaks, though Perrin does not remember doing so. Byar accuses them of being Darkfriends, and Egwene denies it "for the hundredth time." For once Byar ignores the denial instead of punishing it with a lecture or worse.
Instead Byar squats and tells Perrin that he is slowing them down and Captain Geofram Bornhald, who needs to reach Caemlyn by a certain date, is caught in a dilemma. He tempts Perrin with escape by words and by tossing a sharpened stone down on the ground--the stone could be used to cut their bonds. Perrin senses a trap and begins to request an audience with someone--probably with Captain Bornhald, but we never find out who, because about then, the thought blossoms in his mind, help comes.
It startles him enough that it derails his train of thought, but leads to the revelation that Elyas is alive, if wounded, and so is Dapple, which makes him grin. Byar asks to know what he is thinking, which causes Perrin's thoughts to cascade one way and the other. Byar watching, decides, Perrin can tell, that death is the only option for the two Darkfriends, and is about to say so when the two guards outside the tent are attacked. Byar is then attacked by someone who resolves himself into Lan. The Warder easily overcomes the Whitecloak and extinguishes the lamp brought in by Byar.
Lan frees them both and pronounces the Whitecloak alive. Perrin reluctantly retrieves his axe from Byar and two white cloaks from the guards. Momentarily losing his way, Lan calls out "here" and Perrin reorients himself on the man's voice. Lan orders the two of them to put the cloaks on with an admonition that they are not out of trouble yet.
Lan orders them to hold hands and then wait. They wait nervously until lightning pours from the sky so closely that the hair on Perrin's arms stand up. This is the cue that Lan has been waiting for and he leads the two forth.
The camp has broken out in pandemonium and the three of them make their way out of the camp at a trot. No Whitecloak stops them because of the purloined cloaks.
The ground becomes uneven and Perrin feels the slap of branches as they move into the forest. They finally meet with Moiraine who comments that Nynaeve has not shown up and may have done something foolish. Lan immediately turns around but is commanded by Moiraine to hold his place. In the end she must speak forcefully to the Warder to keep him from turning back for the young woman, using his full title for the first time in front of Perrin, who marvels.
The tableau does not last long as Nynaeve finally appears, riding one horse and leading another. Egwene immediately recognizes Bela, her horse from home, while Nynaeve confesses that she had trouble finding them. She gets down from Bela and heads toward the Emond's Fielders but Lan stops her by grabbing her arm, she stares up at him.
Moiraine reminds Lan that they have to go. Lan releases her and Nynaeve continues her trip to the two former captives, giving a low laugh that puzzles Perrin. Noticing that Rand and Mat are not with them he asks Moiraine where they are, and she replies, "Elsewhere." Nynaeve swears coarsely at that remark and Moiraine offers up a hope that the Light is taking care of them.
Lan brusquely orders them to get a move on or the Whitecloaks will be upon them. Perrin scrambles up onto the bare back of one of the horses that Nynaeve had obtained. As they start out, Perrin hears in his mind the words, One day again, a thought from Dapple indicating that the pack and Perrin will meet again but for now, they must leave. The idea brings sadness to Perrin, for mixed reasons.
Lan leads them south in the cover of night, leaving them twice and upon return, reporting no pursuit. Egwene and Nynaeve begin a quiet, if convival conversation, Nynaeve sometimes looking back at Perrin who just waves, but more often wonders what is to come.
Close to dawn, Moiraine finally calls a halt and Lan allows them to rid themselves of the white cloaks. Egwene finally insists on being told where Rand and Mat are, and Moiraine says that she thinks they are in Caemlyn, to which Nynaeve makes disbelieving noises. In response Moiraine promises that she will find them.
They have breakfast and Nynaeve doctors Egwene. Then she insists on doing the same to Perrin, ordering him to take off his shirt. What they all see makes her gasp. His chest is a mass of purple, brown and yellow bruises. The pain that had been kept at bay by the wolves comes flooding back. Nynaeve demands to know how he could have disliked Perrin so, to which Perrin replies silently, I killed two men. Aloud he says, "I don't know."
Nynaeve applies the greasy ointment and it feels both hot and cold at the same time. His bruises practically disappear and the pain does indeed disappear. Nynaeve upbraids him for looking surprised and tells him that he can go to her next time. He replies that he wasn't surprised, only glad. Then he asks what happened to Rand and Mat. Obviously brimming with hostility, Nynaeve reports that Moiraine (using the pronoun she) says that they will be found in Caemlyn because they're too important not to be. Perrin grins, assured that although the Wisdom might have changed, Nynaeve was still the same.
Nynaeve suddenly notices the yellow eyes and, feeling his face with the back of both hands protests that it can't be yellow fever because he would not be able to stand. Moiraine has been listening in and asks "yellow?" She, too looks at Perrin's eyes, and mumbles some mystical words about them not being predictable and part of the Pattern. Nynaeve asks if Moiraine can help him. Perrin protests that if they are going to talk about him, they should talk to him. The two women ignore him. Moiraine continues by saying that Perrin is not ill and what has happened will not harm him, but changes her statement to will not harm him directly.
Nynaeve protests that that's not good enough, but Moiraine simply replies with "what is, is." She then bids them get some sleep, telling them that they must be up at first light, finishing her statement that they must reach Caemlyn quickly.
Perrin suddenly realizes that Moiraine knows about his condition, about the wolves and everything, and she thinks that it could be through the hand of the Dark One. As he redresses, that thought chills him to the bone. Lan sits down next to them and they discuss the situation, Lan mentioning that he knows Elyas Machera and revealing that Machera taught him much about the Blight and swordsmanship, before what happened happened, and mumbles the name of the Red Ajah. Perrin notes that for the first time Lan seems unsure of himself. Perrin admits that he has heard of the Red Ajah.
Lan tells him that most of what he has heard about the Red Ajah is wrong. He reveals that in Tar Valon there are factions about how to fight the Dark One and ends the statement with a request about Machera's health. Perrin tells him what he knows and then asks Lan if his yellow eyes are from the Dark One. After some uneasy hesitation, Lan answers that in of it self, it is not. He says that it was old and lost long before the Dark One was found. He continues by discussing the Great Web and the three's part in it and wonders on whose side they fall.
Perrin immediately protests that the Dark One cannot touch them unless they name him and immediately he thinks of the dreams of Ba'alzamon, but insists one final time that he can't. Lan pronounces the Emond's Fielders, "rock-hard stubborn." And then expostulates about the possibility that they may be at the end of an age, or even the end of time. He then speaks reassuringly that Perrin now has friends around him, and that even the Dark One cannot oppose what the Wheel weaves. He will be fine because of his stubbornness and because Moiraine is watching over him. But then he reminds him that they must find his friends (meaning Mat and Rand) because they do not have an Aes Sedai watching over them.
Their conversation and the chapter ends with a back-and-forth about the importance of finding them.
- Perrin Aybara
- Egwene al'Vere
- Jaret Byar
- Dapple (wolf)
- al'Lan Mandragoran
- Moiraine Damodred
- Nynaeve al'Meara
- Bela (horse)
- Mandarb (horse)
- Wilderness north of the Caemlyn Road