The Shadow Rising: Chapter 29

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Author: Manora al'Sara

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Homecoming


Chapter Icon: Dragon's Fang

Point of View: Perrin

Setting: Westwood, the Two Rivers, Winespring Inn

Characters: Perrin, Loial, Faile, Gaul, Bain, Chiad, Marin al'Vere, Bran al'Vere

Summary

The journey into the Westwood lasts three days. The Aiel had no trouble keeping up and Perrin's wounds itched fiercely as they healed. Perrin is glad that he saw no more ravens. Several times he thought that Faile was going to bring her horse closer to talk to him but she restrained herself each time. Loial is still riding with her at Perrin's request. Perrin is worrying about whether Slayer walks the Two Rivers in the waking world as well as in the Wolf Dream, but suspects that he did both. Perrin thinks about his family and worries that if the Whitecloaks are looking for Aybaras then they would be easy to find.

He could have headed straight for Emond's Field but he goes northward to the Quarry Road instead. Perrin smelled the farm before he sees it, a smell of char, not new, but still strong. He reins in and sits staring before he can make himself ride into what had been the al'Thor farm. Only the stone-walled sheep pen still stands and the tumbled burnt beams of the farmhouse. He realizes that the fire was weeks old and everything is covered in vines. The Aiel search the ruins carefully and Bain returns from the ruins and indicates that there is no sign of anyone inside. Perrin is glad that Tam had not died there and it is all that he could do to stop himself setting Stepper to a gallop and riding all the way to his own family's farm but he knows that the horse would never make it all that way. Gaul reports that whoever did this was long gone but that he thinks two men came back and drove the remaining sheep away north. Faile rides over to him and asks if he knew who lived there. He tells her it was Rand and his father. She is relieved and sympathetic, then asks if his family live nearby. He curtly says no and turns his back on her to speak to Gaul. He says they will have to camp close and that he wants an early start in the morning and that the people in Emond's Field will know what's going on. Gaul hesitates and says to Perrin that he will not be able to drive Faile off, that she is almost Far Dareis Mai and that if a Maiden loves you, you cannot escape her. Perrin quietly tells Gaul that they will leave early, while Faile is still asleep.

Perrin and Gaul set off before first light and one of the Aiel women watches them go. Perrin is thankful that whichever of them it was, they did not wake Faile. Perrin circles around east, wide of the village to avoid most of the people. He notices that the damage he remembers from Winternight is all gone and repaired. They head for the inn and tie the horse at the kitchen door and enter. Perrin peeks in at the common room door and sees Bran and Marin al'Vere cleaning. He thinks they​ both look troubled and the Mayor is frowning as he works. Perrin enters and speaks, making them jump. They are both shocked. Marin asks after Egwene and Perrin tells her that she is fine and in Tar Valon with Nynaeve. Marin says she knows and has received letters and that it seems like she has friends - Elayne and Min - and if Perrin has met them. He says that he has and reassures Marin that they are nice. Then he introduces Gaul. Bran asks Perrin why he has returned and he replies that he had heard about the Whitecloaks. Bran tells him it would be best if he goes away again as quietly as he had come. Perrin says he cannot go and that he intends to give himself up in the hope this will help his family. The hall door bangs and everyone jumps as Faile, Bain and Chiad enter. Perrin wonders where Loial is but he doesn't have too much time to think on it as Faile, quivering in outrage, yells at him about giving himself up and why on earth are the Whitecloaks so interested in him anyway. Perrin says it's because he killed some of them and they think he is a Darkfriend. Faile continues to berate him until Mistress al'Vere quietly asks Perrin to introduce her to his friend. Faile starts to blush and apologizes profusely and introduces Bain and Chiad. In short order Marin has them all sat down at the table and drinking tea. Perrin is surprised that Marin does not mention their weapons as she normally insists they are set aside before sitting at her table. His second shock is when Bran gives him a large cup of apple brandy, not the small tot that men normally drink, which he would never have been offered before he left.

The Mayor tells him that no one believes he is a Darkfriend but Perrin says that the Whitecloaks want him or any Aybara they can find. Mistress al'Vere says that they already know this and Bran tells him that his family is gone. Perrin is surprised that the farm is burned already but maybe he can help the family rebuild and where they are staying. Bran has to come straight to the point and says that they are dead. Perrin is stunned and asks if he is sure. Bran replies that he is, that he helped bury them himself, everyone from the farm, all under the apple trees. Mistress al'Vere tells him it was the Trollocs and that they came back and have been attacking the outlying farms, most of the people have come into the village and that the Whitecloaks have been their only protection. Then Perrin asks if it was the Trollocs at Rand's farm and Bran says that no, the Whitecloaks did that and the Cauthon place and that Abell and Tam are hiding in the Westwood and that Mat's mother and sister are also alive. Marin also tells Perrin that Daise Congar is now the Wisdom. Gaul says to Bran that he can see by his face there is more to tell. Bran tells them that Padan Fain is with the Whitecloaks but he calls himself Ordeith and will not answer to his old name. Perrin replies that he is a Darkfriend and it was him that brought the Trollocs on Winternight. Bran thinks that this is interesting because Fain seems to have some authority with the Whitecloaks and explains that it was Fain that led them to the al'Thor farm and Tam only just got to the Cauthons in time to stop them taking Abell but Natti and the girls and both the Luhhans were captured and being held in their camp at Watch Hill. Bran says that Fain seems to hate the three boys and that Lord Bornhald is always asking after Perrin when he comes down with the Whitecloak patrols. Chiad asks can the village not protect itself rather than relying on the Whitecloaks. Bran says that they are only simple people and that Lord Luc speaks of organising men to fight but that means leaving families unprotected. Perrin asks who this Lord Luc is and they say that he came at about the same time as the Whitecloaks, that he is a Hunter of the Horn, but that he has given up his hunt to help them. Perrin asks Faile if she knows this Lord Luc as she is also a Hunter of the Horn, but she refuses to answer and says that she has had enough and tells him he must grieve for his family. She gets up and goes to Perrin and he suddenly realises that he is leaning against her and crying whilst she comforts him.

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