The Great Hunt: Chapter 25
Author: Val a'Shain
Chapter Icon: Rising Sun
Point of View: Rand
Rand arrives in Cairhien and discovers Thom is alive and performing there.
Rand's company, still being escorted by fifty Cairhienin soldiers, approaches the city of Cairhien. From a distance they can see the strict layout of the city, the city walls forming a perfect square. Within the city walls towers rise up in a strictly ordered grid. Rand can see the famous Topless Towers of Cairhien from the distance. Outside the city walls the Foregate stretches out.
The soldiers clear a way for them as they move through the Foregate. Hurin explains to Rand that most of the people living there moved away from their farms near the Dragonwall during the Aiel War, a subject the Cairhienin are still very sensitive about. They didn't move back when the war ended leaving the city with a huge new population they couldn't accommodate within the city walls and the country with a severe shortage of grain. This is still being imported from the south in large quantities. To keep the population of the Foregate happy the King provides entertainment for free.
When they get to the gate a clerk writes down Rand's name in a ledger and tells them they have to come back the next day to tell him the name of the inn where they are staying. Rand inquires after Selene but at the gate they haven't seen her but they'll keep an eye out for her. Even here the Great Game is being played and it makes Rand uncomfortable.
Tavolin and the soldiers leave them and Hurin takes them to an inn named the Defender of the Dragonwall he remembers from previous visits to Cairhien. The innkeeper is startled at Rand's appearance at first, taking him for an Aiel but as soon as he notices Rand's fine clothes he recovers. They take two rooms with a connecting door. When they have settled in Rand decides to go back to the Foregate for a bit. Loial doesn't want to go, he's afraid of meeting other Ogier, and Hurin settles for a drink in the common room.
When Rand and Hurin go down three invitations from noble Houses have arrived for him. Rand refuses to play Daes Dae'mar and throws them in the fire while proclaiming this to the visitors of the inn. Hurin winces and tries to explain to Rand this will obviously have undesirable effects. A still angry Rand walks out of the inn in the direction of the Foregate.
In the Foregate he sees lots of entertainment in the streets and inns. The Great Hunt of the Horn is recited in many places. It reminds him uncomfortably of Thom. Then he hears a familiar voice retelling a tale from the Hunt of the Horn. Rand moves closer to the dais and sees Thom performing. Thom recognizes him and gestures to a door. Rand goes to meet him in a corridor behind the dais. Thom tells him the Fade wasn't all that interested in him and left him wounded instead of killed. He still limps because of it. He also wants to know if Rand still has his harp and flute. Thom has to go back on stage again so there isn't much time to talk. He tells Rand the name of the inn he is staying in and says he'll be there in an hour. He also tells him to bring his instruments.
Thom is disappointed Moiraine is not with Rand, despite being with Dena at this time.
- How did Thom survive the Myrddraal?
He claims the Myrddraal lost interest when Mat and Rand left, which is probably true. It also suggests he has great skill with knives to even last that long.
- First Mention
Asin Sandair, Cuale, Teva
- First Meet
Asin Sandair, Cuale, Teva
Lion, goat, cat, eagle, bear
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
Later, a couple of weeks in the Stone of Tear with Moiraine is enough for him to want to marry her.