We start off with Rand, Loial and Hurin hanging out in their rooms. Rand gets two more invitations, just happening to be from the two highest people in the city – Barthanes Damodred and King Galldrian. Isn’t Damodred Moiraine’s name or family name? Anyway Rand decides to keep these and heads out to see if Mat and Perrin and all them have come in yet. The guard acts all sketchy but denies seeing them, on the way back they see their inn up in flames. They manage to save Hurin and some of their belongings, but the Horn is gone. Mat and Perrin then just happen to appear. Talk about bad timing.
So Verin takes them to another inn while Hurin rests up and tries to follow the trail to see where the people who took the horn are going. Perrin finally finds out Rand is Shadowkiller, as Rand tells him the story of how they got there. It seems Verin knows a little about Portal Stones, but says most of the knowledge has died a long time ago, making Selene even more mysterious. Hurin finally returns and says that the darkfriends went to Lord Bathanes’ place. Lucky they have an invitation to go there! They then make plans to get in and figure out what exactly is going on. Sure seems like Barthanes is a Darkfriend himself. What does this say about Moiraine? Anyway Verin also talks about the giant statue we saw earlier, the one where Rand went almost crazy near. Apparently it’s a huge male sa’angreal, the most powerful ever. It appears that few are even able to do anything with the amount of power you could pull through it. She mentions Logain would barely be able to hold onto himself if he tried. So first, this makes it seem Rand could be uber powerful if he indeed tapped into that source. It also raises the question of how exactly do you use the statues? Do you have to be near to it, like Rand was?
Anyways the next night Rand and a couple others of the main party, aside from Perrin, attend the party at Barthanes place. Barthanes talks to Rand, and figures everything Rand says is some part of the game, even the simplest of comments. Thom also is at the party, entertaining the guests in one of the rooms. Hurin eventually appears and drags Rand away to Mat, where they had followed the trail of darkfriends to the waygate. Unfortunately as they begin to open it, Machin Shin is blocking the way, and seems to try to get out. They go back in and as they are all about to leave, Barthanes talks to Rand again and basically spills out he is a Darkfriend. He says Fain left a message that he would be waiting on Toman Head. They leave, and the rest of the group refuses to believe he would tell them exactly where they are going. I would too, why the heck would you make all this effort to get away, only to tell where exactly you are going? Has to be for a trap. The group has little other to go on, though, and decides to head to Stedding Tsofu, which is close by, to try another waygate there.
We transfer over to Thom’s POV as he is leaving the party. Seems he was kept pretty late performing for the quest. It looks like Rand/ the horn seem to be leaving an impression on Thom as he stops by their inn, but after they had already left. Unfortunately as he gets back to his room, he finds Dena dead, and barely escapes himself. He kills the two assassins, only to find out that Barthanes and the king had both sent men to find out information. All from a simple conversation Rand had with him at the party. We also find out Barthanes was brutally murdered in the night. Whattt? So either it has to do for letting Rand go, or maybe he wasn't a darkfriend that found out too much information? Confused here but I was pretty positive he was a darkfriend himself. Anyway after Thom finds out the King sent an assassin, Thom gets a look in his eye that speaks revenge all the way. Though it would clearly be suicide. Thom’s growing on my list of badasses, though, so I’m interested to see what happens here.
Unfortunately we then jump to Fain, who has managed to reach Falme. How did he get by the black wind? Can he really control it, or is he just sooo messed up himself it doesn’t affect him. They had to have missed the wind, though; otherwise the rest of the blackfriends/trollocs would have gone crazy. Anyway Fain brings the chest to some High Lord Turak. Seems he leads the “return” of these Seanchan. What is Fain playing at? Why would he give the Horn to them, unless he was hoping they would help him in taking out Rand? Who knows, it seems like Fain really only wants the Dagger, but how is he not being affected the same way Mat is? Unless like mentioned before, he is so mad and messed up already that it doesn’t matter.
We then jump back to Rand and company as they head towards the Stedding. It is a lot different than the stedding we experience in the first book. It must have to do with the presence of Ogiers, and their abilities as gardeners, etc. We meet an Ogier female named Erith, who Loial seems to take a liking too over their time in the stedding. I wonder how exactly the steddings prevent channelers from even sensing the one power. Interesting, but useful concept to the right people. We meet three more Aiel females, who seem to be as deadly as the males. A fight almost breaks out, but is stopped just in time by an older Ogier. It’s amazing how the Ogier are able to keep this pact in their steddings of no violence. When they themselves seem to be very peaceful creatures, much like the Tinkers. Yet the tinkers live in constant fear and are generally disliked, while the Ogier seem to be loved and respected. The group is then led to meet the elders.
Now the elders seem to be the oldest of the old Ogiers, which could be hundreds of years. With as much knowledge as Loial seems to have, these guys/gals must know just about everything there is to know about anything. They discuss their mission, and the elders bring out an Ogier who was consumed by the black wind. I don’t even want to talk about this guy, just a terrible way to live. If you can even call it living. Anyway they stand firm and finally they are led to the waygate just outside the stedding. The black wind is there also! Fain must have had some control over it, or Rand just attracts it or something. Either way they are now stuck with little options, until the find out a portal stone is close by. Verin knows little of the stones aside from recognizing a few of the markings, and is able to point Rand in a general direction you could say.
I’ll start off here with the next blog, because this is one hell of a chapter in itself.
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