The Shadow Rising: Chapter 30

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Author: Manora al'Sara

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Beyond the Oak


Chapter Icon: Flame of Tar Valon

Point of View: Perrin

Setting: The Two Rivers, The Winespring Inn

Characters: Perrin, Faile, Loial, Bain, Chiad, Marin al'Vere, Bran al'Vere, Tomas, Ihvon, Cenn Buie

Summary

Perrin lost track of how long he had cried but images of his family had flashed through his thoughts and he wept until he had no more tears left. When he finally comes back to himself he and Faile are alone. Faile takes his hands and sits next to him. Perrin wonders how he can make up to her for how he has treated her. She asks him if he has given up the idea of surrendering to the Whitecloaks and he says it seems that it wouldn't do any good if he does and that he has to get the Luhhans and Mat's family free and do what he can about the Trollocs. She says she is glad and if he has any more fool notions about sending her away. He replies no. Then she says that they are five people, six if Loial is willing and if they can find Tam and Abell that will be eight and that is a beginning, maybe others will join them. The she says he will want to go to visit his family's farm and she would go with him if he allows it. But he says he will do that later (as he could not bear to see the graves now) and that the first thing they must do is find Tam and Abell.

Master al'Vere puts his head back in the common room and looking bemused, says to Perrin that there is an Ogier in the kitchen, drinking tea, and that maybe Marin could pretend that Aiel walk in there every day but she nearly fainted when she saw Loial and that he'd given her a double tot of brandy and that he thinks she'd have had another if offered. Perrin asks him if he knows where Tam and Abell are and Bran says that all he knows is that they are in the Westwood. The three go into the kitchen to find Loial and the Aiel sitting cross-legged on the floor and Mistress al'Vere bustling around pretending all this is normal. Loial seems relieved to see Perrin and tells him he is sorry for his loss, and also that he will sing to the apple trees before they leave if Perrin wishes. Bran and Marin look stunned and Perrin thanks Loial and says he would appreciate it, but that he has work to do before he can leave the Two Rivers and tells them of his plans. He says that he will appreciate if they do not want to stay with him and particularly to Loial he says that he will not finish his book here. Loial replies that here or there doesn't matter, that he thinks that it is all the same fight and maybe he will write a chapter about Perrin. Gaul says that he owes Perrin a blood debt and he means to stay with him. Bain and Chiad look to Faile who nods and they also then reply that they will stay. Mistress al'Vere tells them they are all foolish and stubborn and that they will probably all end up on the gallows. When they only look at her she says that if they are foolish enough to stay then she has better show them where to hide. Bran tells her he thought they could hide in the old sickhouse and Marin looks at him startled as though she is surprised that he thought of it and says that it will do for tonight. Then she adds that she will take them there. Bran says there is no need for her to go and that he can take them if Perrin doesn't remember the way. Marin replies that sometimes he forgets he is Mayor and that he attracts attention, maybe he should stay here and pretend that all is normal, and to forget that the old sickhouse exists.

Marin instructs them to travel in smaller parties and that she will cross the village alone and meet them in the woods on the other side. The Aiel assure her they could find the lightning split oak that she described and slip out the back door. Perrin is sure he can find the sickhouse himself but Marin insists on everyone meeting at the oak and she would take them. Marin then asks Loial if he would possibly wear his cloak with the hood up and he says that yes he can, that way he will not be so easily spotted and then they all go out to the stableyard.

Cenn Buie is there examining the horses and then he catches sight of Loial, immediately thinking him a Trolloc. Marin tells him not to be a fool and that Master Loial is an Ogier passing through the village. Then Cenn notices Perrin and says that he's a Darkfriend and that they're after him and last time they had Trollocs was when he'd run off with Aes Sedai, he asks what's wrong with his eyes and if he brought back some sickness to kill them all. Perrin feels Faile drawing her knife and reaches out to steady her. Marin tells Cenn he's to keep this to himself. Cenn says he means to take this up with the Council because they are all in danger as long as Perrin is there. Marin tells him that it is Women's Circle business and if Cenn even dares to call her a liar and flaps his tongue she'll have his wife make him sleep in the barn with no food and if he thinks for a minute that Council takes precedence over Circle she'll send Daise Congar to sort him out. Cenn agrees to keep quiet and slinks away grumbling. Faile says that she might need to take lessons from Marin as she doesn't handle Perrin nearly that well and Marin says that if you let them have their way when it's less important they are unlikely to give you trouble when you check them on important things. Then adds that they had best be on their way.

They all cross the village in their parties and make it to the oak. The Maidens and Gaul are eyeing each other almost as much as they are eyeing the woods around them. Mistress al'Vere insists they go the rest of the way on foot and also that they all stay together. Suddenly Perrin senses someone else ahead and reaches for his quiver. Marin tells them to be at ease and abruptly two men appear both in cloaks that appeared to fade into the surrounding woods. Perrin recognises them as Warders and questions Marin as to why she didn't tell them there was an Aes Sedai and why Bran had not mentioned it. Marin says because Bran doesn't know and that it is Women's Circle business she then turns to the Warders, Tomas and Ihvon and tells them to let her pass. The grey-haired Warder remarks about the Ogier and recognises Perrin as the one the Whitecloaks seek and Ihvon goes to get the Aes Sedai while Tomas waits with the group. Perrin muses on whether he could get the Aes Sedai to help him and they all wait.

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