The Great Hunt: Chapter 33
Author: Estyrien al'Halien
Chapter Icon: A large leaf with two smaller leaves next to it
Point of View: Rand
The group try to follow Fain through the Ways, but Machin Sin is waiting for them.
Hurin leads Rand "down a cramped flight of stairs" to a garden. Hurin has tracked the Darkfriends to that garden, where "Trollocs joined them, went into the garden with them". They haven't come out of the garden since they entered it yesterday and so they must still be there. While they walk down to the garden, Rand comments that he is glad that Hurin is "talking to me naturally again". Hurin tells him that though Cairhienin servants "pretend to be so proper", they are willing to share their secrets over mugs of ale. Hurin doesn't approve of this, "I know they're Cairhienin, but I never heard of such goings on". He also tells Rand that he didn't fetch Verin or Ingtar because Verin was talking to Barthanes and didn't want to be disturbed and Ingtar "had let himself be cornered" by several Cairhienin nobles.
They meet Loial and Mat in a passage and Loial tells him about the Ogier stonemasons; "the reason all the Ogier stonemasons left is because Galldrian stopped paying them". Mat tells him that he had no trouble leaving the other servants and that he hasn't sensed the dagger, "the only thing I've sensed is that somebody's watching me". Rand explains that since he "put it in the chest with the Horn, maybe that keeps you from feeling it". Hurin then leads them to the gardens and while they walk, Rand thinks of how Hurin won't be able to smell Darkfriends among Barthanes' servants. Hurin points out a walled enclosure in the garden and tells them that it is the place where the Trollocs went. Loial senses that the enclosure is built around a Waygate, "I told you this was all an Ogier grove". Mat seems discouraged that in all probability, the Trollocs have taken the Horn through the Ways, "I just have enough brains not to want to travel the Ways again". Rand then orders Mat to find Verin and Ingtar, "I don't care how", and tell them what they have found and so Mat leaves them.
Loial gives Rand a boost up onto the top of the wall, where he drops on to the other side despite Loial's protests, "Loial gave a low hsst and grabbed at his foot". Hurin and Loial follow him into the garden, where Loial chastises Rand for his impulsiveness, "you are going to get me in trouble". Rand then walks up to the Waygate and tells a nervous Hurin that it is possible to travel the Ways, "I've done it, and Loial, and Mat, and Perrin". To prove this to Hurin, Rand takes "the trefoil leaf of fabled Avendesora", thus opening the Waygate.
However, Machin Shin is waiting at the opening and they are able to hear the mutterings of the wind, "blood so sweet, so sweet to drink the blood". Through the mutterings, there is another whispering, "Al'Thor. Al'Thor. Al'Thor". Rand has dropped the leaf in shock and embraced the void and saidin. Without knowing what he is doing, Rand hurls a weave of the One Power into the Waygate and "the Black Wind shrieked, ten thousand wordless howls". Rand continues to embrace saidin until he sees the Waygate begin to close as Loial puts the leaf back on the gate. After that, Rand "clawed his way out of the void" and let go of saidin. Rand realises that they cannot follow Fain through the Ways and tells the others so. They then leave the walled garden and go to find the others.
When they try to leave the manor, Barthanes joins them and pulls Rand to one side. He tells Rand that he has a message for him from a man who wasn't "the sort for whom I would usually carry message" and from his description, Rand knows that it was Fain. The message is that Fain has taken the Horn to Toman Head and that Rand must follow him there. If he doesn't, Fain will "hound your blood, and your people" until he does. Since the message doesn't actually mention the Horn, Barthanes wants to know what it is that Fain carries. Rand ignores the questions and bids him goodnight and leaves with the others.
Once they are back in the inn, Verin leads Rand, Loial, Ingtar and Mat to their private dining room where Perrin is already waiting. Once there, Rand and Loial explain what happened in the garden to the waiting group, "Hurin followed them right to it". When Rand explained that Machin Shin was standing guard, Verin explains that it can't be possible, "no one can constrain the Black Wind to do anything". Since no body knows what Machin Shin actually is, they cannot do anything to or with it. Ingtar believes that he has lost the Horn forever, "The Horn is lost. I am lost", but Rand contradicts him by explaining the message.
Ingtar believes it is a trick but Rand thinks that it is true and means "to ride as hard as I can" to get to Toman Head. Loial, Mat and Perrin agree to go with Rand, each for their own reasons. Ingtar wants to "get Barthanes alone" and force him to say where the Horn has gone. Verin thinks back to the writing on the wall in Fal Dara and explains that it is likely that the message is true, "I believe we will find the Horn there".
She then explains that she wants them to follow Fain in the Ways and use the Waygate outside Stedding Tsofu so that they can avoid Machin Shin. Although Loial and Ingtar object, she overrules them and the decision is made. When the others go to bed, Rand stays behind to ask Verin why Mat is still ill, "I thought you Healed him". Apparently, the Healing didn't work as well as they had hoped and Mat has only "another few weeks, at most". Rand sees this as another attempt to tangle him in Aes Sedai affairs and tells Verin that after they have found the Horn, there will be "nothing between me and any Aes Sedai".
- Mat frequently talks about how he hopes Rand doesn't go mad. While he has no filter, and little common sense here, it doesn't seem to occur to him to actually turn against Rand.
- Ta'veren Effects
Barthanes decides to give Rand the message from Padan Fain after all.
- Why was the Black wind waiting and why did it try and get out?
The implication is that Fain controlled it, no matter what Verin thinks.
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- Why was the Black wind waiting and why did it try and get out?
The implication is that Fain controlled it, no matter what Verin thinks. As we see the same in the next chapter, this seems almost certain, though it could be an effect of Rand and the others being ta'veren.