The Great Hunt: Chapter 37
Author: Ismene Gillandred
Chapter Icon: Portal Stone
Point of View: Rand
Rand takes them through a Portal Stone and seems to live a thousand possible lives. They spend months in the passage.
Alar leads Rand, Mat, Perrin, the Shienaran soldiers and Verin Sedai to the nearest Portal Stone. Verin briskly hints that it is time for Alar and Juin (another Ogier who has been acting as an intermediary between Alar and the Emond's Fielders) to go.
Alar and Juin leave. Ingtar once again raises the idea of riding to Cairhien. Ingtar is eager to find the Horn of Valere and believes that they might find some leads there. He is not happy about trying to use alternate means to travel, and he doesn't see any real proof that Padan Fain has run away to Toman Head. Verin subtly implies that he is a coward. Ingtar hotly denies this, and agrees to travel to Toman Head by whatever means necessary.
Verin calls Rand up to the Stone, implying that he will help her, because he's traveled using a Portal Stone, "more recently than her." In fact, she has never used a Stone, which is why Rand's use is "more recent." Rand is determined that no one will learn that he is able to channel, and he is dreading having to use the One Power again (and looking forward to it as well, in a sick sort of way). They puzzle over the markings for a bit and finally Verin urges Rand to pick a glyph at random. Rand picks a symbol with an arrow which has broken free of a circle; the arrow points in the direction of Toman Head and it has broken free in the same way that he wishes he could break free of the whole situation. He channels, the world flickers and?
...Rand has married Egwene and stayed in the Two Rivers, but is sometimes taken by black moods. They have several children and Tam dotes upon his grandsons and granddaughters. Invading descendants of Artur Hawkwing have long since taken control of the entire continent and completely destroyed all Aes Sedai. Egwene becomes the Wisdom and is well known for her miraculous cures. She is not able to completely Heal Rand from his frequent sicknesses and depression, however. Many years later, Egwene passes away and in his old age, Rand develops a wasting sickness. Trollocs and other creatures from the Blight begin a campaign upon all the lands south of the Blight. During their series of attacks Rand joins the defending forces even though he is old and several of his fingers have fallen off due to his wasting disease. He has a moment in the final battle where he feels completely enraged by the sight of the banner of the forces of darkness and he feels especially called to fight them. While Rand is busy firing arrows at the approaching forces in the distance, a Trolloc (one of many who have cleared the nearby river in the battle) runs him through and Rand dies.
...Rand is inconsolable when Egwene mysteriously dies at a very young age. Rand's father Tam teaches him swordplay and decides to send Rand to Illian to see if he can get work as a soldier there. Rand has his money stolen in Baerlon, meets Min who he is initially attracted to, but he finds that she tells him too many "strange things" and runs away from her to Caemlyn. Rand flounders around until he is able to get a job in the Queen's Guard. Once in a great while, Rand has strange feelings towards the Daughter-Heir Elayne, feelings that are improper coming from a soldier towards a future queen. Rand realizes that he has the ability to channel. He keeps the ability a closely guarded secret but he carefully uses his ability to win on the battlefield, becoming a leader of the Guard. Rand becomes sick with a wasting disease. Descendants of Artur Hawkwing invade and in the massive battle that ensues, Rand hurls lightning and fire and is killed by an errant bolt of lightning.
...Rand "was a soldier, shepherd, beggar, king, farmer, gleeman, sailor, carpenter. He was born, lived, and died an Aiel. He died mad, he died rotting, he died of sickness, accident, age. (...) A hundred lives. More. So many he could not count them."
... and they all land with a thud at their destination. Everyone is disoriented, to say the least. Verin surmises that they have all seen alternate versions of their lives, and guesses that they have spent four months traveling because it now appears to be late fall. Ingtar seems particularly upset saying that he will "Walk in the Light, and find the Horn" and Verin uses a refreshing Healing on him. Mat reassures Rand that he would never betray him, which makes Rand wonder what Mat had seen in his alternate lives. Perrin says that he doesn't feel they had very many choices, and that certain things seemed inevitable. Verin suggests that they all start heading west. Verin offers to Heal Mat and Mat pointedly refuses any Aes Sedai help. Rand hopes that they aren't too late to stop Fain.
- Were they really possible alternate lives?
- What happened to Nynaeve in the world where Egwene was Wisdom?
- Did Egwene die of channeling?
This seems likely.
- What did Ingtar, Perrin, Mat and Verin see?
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- How was it Egwene was known for her miraculous cures?
In the real world Egwene can barely Heal. It is mentioned that many of the people who were village Wise Women before becoming Novices show unusual skill with the Five Power Healing developed by Nynaeve, so it may be that there is some connection between learning to do something as an innate ability and being skilled at it.
- How could Elayne marry a Tairen prince?
There are no Tairen princes, but perhaps Rand just meant a noble, though it wouldn't strengthen the ties between Tear and Andor much.
- What did Ingtar, Perrin, Mat and Verin see?
We later learn that Ingtar never came back to the Light in any of them.
In the first world, Egwene was a miraculous healer, but in the real world, she has little talent for Healing. This may be related to her being a village Wisdom, as later when the Tower begins training older women, the ones who had been village healers or similar roles tend to show a strong talent for the new Healing.