Written By: Amanda Kate Shuman
Directed By: Uta Briezwitz
Original Air Date: November 19. 2021 on Amazon Prime Video
In the woods there is an encampment of white tents, one of which is emblazoned with a golden sun. In this camp a man dressed in a white robe as clean and crisp as snow is sitting behind a table. A banner with the sun at its center hangs behind his back. The table is sparce, but the place setting is silver and polished to a mirror shine. A young boy delivers a tray and bids him “May you always walk in the Light, sir”. The well-dressed man is speaking to someone off camera.
As he takes a bite into the violent-looking small bird, a single line of blood escapes his mouth. He is careful not to let it dirty his clothes. Still making conversation, he discusses the brutality to the dish he has just eaten. He tells her that sometimes brutality is the only path to mercy. He stands and reveals who he is speaking to. A woman, dressed in yellow, is bound to a stake surrounded by a pile of burning wood. Her arms are tied behind her back and there is a gag in her mouth. The man in white Eamon Valda (Abul Salas) circles behind her to a small table where the woman’s hands lay severed, having been removed from her body. On her left hand he removes an Aes Sedai ring and hangs it at his belt, where it joins six others.
The Wheel of Time animated introduction plays on-screen. Threads of fiber weave across the screen, being woven into fabric. Over time, the colors red, white, yellow, blue, brown, green, and grey form a beautiful tapestry depicting seven female Aes Sedai encircling one another in a ring.
The six companions: Moiraine, Lan, Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene ride through the mountains still being pursued by a hoard of trollocs. They are unable to stop and rest or they will be caught. They reach a large river and tied at its banks is a ferry large enough to usher them across to safety. Extra money convinces the ferryman to move quickly. They are at the center of the river when they look back and see the trollocs gathered. The villagers learn that not even an Eyeless, or Fade as they are also known, can drive trollocs across water where they cannot touch the bottom. When they are safely on the other side the ferryman begs to be let go so that he can go back and save his family. Ignoring his pleas, Moiraine reaches out to the Source and weaves with the One Power, sending the ferry spinning down into the river depths. Unable to simply watch his only means of rescuing his family disappear, the ferryman jumps into the river and goes down with his barge.
That night as they make camp the villagers reminisce about Nynaeve they also express their skepticism that one of them can be the Dragon reborn. While Egwene appears more willing to believe, the idea of one of them saving the world seems unfathomable. When everyone finally drifts off to sleep Moiraine slips in to wake Egwene, but it does not go unnoticed by Rand. Pulling the young woman aside into the night they discuss what it means to be Aes Sedai. Egwene questions the oaths not to lie or kill and Moiraine explains the importance of knowing exactly what the oaths say. The Aes Sedai are bound to the oaths by the One Power, which means that they are unable to break the Oaths.
“Speak no word that is not true, Make no weapon with which one person may kill another, Never use the One Power as a weapon except in the last extreme defense of her life, that of her Warder or of another Aes Sedai”.
It is explained that ‘Listening to the Wind’ is tied to the One Power and that Egwene herself can touch it. “You don’t listen to the wind Egwene. It’s the wind that listens to you.” Through a guided meditation using a small blue stone Moiraine coaxes Egwene to reach out and touch the One Power for the first time, “..like the water of the river, imagine yourself floating in the river, as the water moves let it take you. No thoughts, just let yourself drift. Clear your mind of everything...” The small stone is surrounded by weaves and it flashes with a brilliant light, once, twice and a third time. Moiraine tells Egwene that the third flash of light was hers alone. That the One Power will come to here whether she wants it or not.
That night as they sleep, Rand has a dream. He coughs and chokes and vomits up a dead bat. As his eyes water and he looks off into the distance, a man with eyes of fire stares back at him. Waking up with a jolt Rand is surprised to find a dead bat near his bed. The others had this dream as well. Moiraine warns them that dreams can be dangerous and to tell her if these dreams happen again. The villagers do not fully trust Moiraine and are worried she is using them for a reason they do not understand. They fight among themselves but eventually agree to continue journeying with Moiraine Sedai and Lan.
As they journey on, Lan scouts their path and returns to tell them of Whitecloaks approaching. Moiraine’s quickly slips her Aes Sedai ring from her finger and gives it to Lan for safekeeping. The regiment of Whitecloaks approaches and demands they dismount. Their questions are probing, thorough and with an expectant air, but are not unkind. Geofram Bornhald (Stuart Grahama), the commander of the Whitecloaks, is about to release them when Emon Valda, the man who burned the Aes Sedai at the stake, steps forward. Valda is introduced as one of the Questioners, another sect of the Whitecloaks. Where Bornhald was businesslike with his questions, Valda is arrogant and his questioning borders on threats. Valda encroaches on Moiraine’s personal space and runs his hands along her body, pushing Lan to the edge of his patience. It is through Valda’s touch that Moiraine’s wound is discovered. She is forced to tell the Whitecloaks a limited version of what recently happened to them. Valda makes a request to Bornhald to take some of the Whitecloaks to the South for reasons unknown. Bornhald agrees. He tells Moiraine and the others to be on their way and but reluctantly advises Moiraine to find an Aes Sedai in Whitebridge to treat her wound.
The land that Moiraine and her companions travel through has grown flatter and they have been able to slow their pace, believing that they have left the trollocs and Fade behind. As they ride on, Mat begins to sing a song of Manetheren, the “Mountain Home” and the rest of the Two River folk join in. When they finish singing, Moiraine tells the villagers the significance of the song and the history of Manetheren, which once occupied the land on which they live today. During the Trolloc Wars, Aemon was King and his wife Eldrene their Queen. The nation was small but was a thorn in the Dark One’s hand and so the Dark sent the entirety of their forces south to Manetheren to destroy them. Reaching out for aid, the men and women of Manetheren were told if they could hold off the trolloc hoard for three days that help would come. Against impossible odds, with their backs to the river they fought for three days and did not yield. Yet, no help came. For 8 days, 9, 10 days they fought on alone and still no help came. Queen Eldrene arranged for the children and their minders to find refuge in the mountain keeps, but many of the women, instead of seeking safety went to fight with their men. For 13 days they fought, not giving up an inch of soil until it was completely soaked in blood. Queen Eldrene felt Aemon die. His death caused her to reach out to the Source and draw more of the One Power than any one woman could safely hold. She lashed out with that Power and sent a hurricane of fire to destroy the minions of the Darkness. As they died, so did she, burnt out by the very power that had killed her enemies. There was nothing left of the city or lands that had once been Manetheren, but the children and their minders who had been sent to the mountains returned. They still hold the land that was once Manetheren today, even if they do not remember their own history.
That night the companions make camp in old ruins, close to the fallen city of Shadar Logoth. Egwene confronts Rand in an attempt to break the tension that has grown between them since Egwene choose training to be a Wisdom over a future with him. Perrin is still nursing a hidden wound, but as he wanders alone, he becomes aware of wolves. They approach him, strange behavior for wolves, and stranger still, one reaches out to lick his wound before walking away. Moiraine’s trolloc wound is making her weak, and she is unable to be roused when a Fade and trollocs break their slumber. Lan shoves Moiraine into Perrin’s saddle and directs him east to Shadar Logoth.
As the group draws closer to the massive stone wall, their horses become skittish and the trollocs refuse to follow them a step further. Egwene attempts to urge her horse Bela forward, but they all seem unwilling to proceed. Lan rejoins the group and leads them into Shadar Logoth through a massive break in its high walls. The old city is deteriorating, and as silent as a tomb. As they make camp once again, this time in an empty building Lan regales them with the story of Shadar Logoth, which means Shadow Waiting in the Old Tongue. It was once known as Aridhol. During the Golden Age Aridhol was an ally of Manetheren, but it was Aridhol who promised aid in Manetheren’s fight and did not come. Instead, they built their walls high and shut themselves off from the world. When the wars finally came to an end and people were searching for food and shelter, they went to the walls of Aridhol. No one answered their calls and when they finally broke in, they found the city deserted. It was said that evil itself grew within the city and destroyed everyone and everything within. Lan warns them to touch nothing and to eat only the food they brought with them.
Mat wakes while everyone else still sleeps and wanders out into the city alone. Aimlessly wandering he comes across an old box, dusty but ornate half buried in a pile of rubble. Inside he finds a golden dagger, with a ruby the size of his thumb laid in its hilt. As he crouches examining the dagger one of the horses begins to scream. A black shadow creeps over the animal and the poor creature devolves into dust. That same shadow begins creeping ever closer to the villagers. It separates the group into three. Mat and Rand flee one direction, Egwene and Perrin another, Lan and Moiraine yet another way still. The entire city is slowly being consumed in shadow. Frantic the villagers race through the city. Mat and Rand are able to escape through a drain near the base of the cities wall. Perrin and Egwene are forced to jump from the heights of the wall, landing in the river and swimming to safety. Only Lan and Moiraine make it out with a horse; Lan galloping them free of the shadow and into the woods to safety.
Lan bends over tending to Moiraine and does not hear footsteps approaching until the knife is at his throat. The long, serrated blade rests against his neck. Lan slowly turns, his eyes landing on Nynaeve’s face as she demands “If you do not take me to them right now, I’ll slit your throat”.