Chapter 21: Listen to the Wind
The first person we catch up with after the separation is Nynaeve, so there goes that theory. She survived running into a huge group of Trollocs due to them all ignoring her to go after the others, which now forces her to admit that Moiraine was telling the truth. And holy crap, the word “younglings” is in this book, a decade before the Star Wars prequels. That’s unexpected; maybe Lucas has been Misblamed
for that word.
She finds the numerous tracks impossible to follow; what, you were fine with Lan but this is too much? But she does follow the smell of a fire to Moiraine and Lan, and overhears them talking about just how big this situation is, plus a group called the Forsaken who are worse than anything we’ve seen so far. That’s something to look forward to these guys facing. That’s when Moiraine reveals that she’s known Nynaeve was there…because she can sense Nynaeve’s own connection to the One Power.
This becomes quite a Tomato in the Mirror
moment for Nynaeve as she goes into complete denial while Moiraine pours on the evidence, a nicely humanizing moment for her. Moiraine also makes it a handy excuse for why she has to let the group keep going: Nynaeve is one of a small number who can naturally control the One Power without instruction, but Egwene isn’t, and she’ll die within a few years if she doesn’t get to Tar Valon to learn it. Which makes me wonder why she wasn’t part of the group in the first place, unless Moiraine put the idea in her head or something.
Moiraine reveals that the coins she gave the three guys have tracking spells, and for now she’s headed to Whitebridge to meet back up with Rand and Mat, who have a Fade on their tail. Nynaeve insists on going too, vowing to use her newfound power on Moiraine if any of them die. I’m really starting to like her now.
This is largely character development for Nynaeve, and goes a long way to expanding someone who was pretty one-note before this. Her problems with Moiraine remain sympathetic despite being against the others’ interests, and her reaction to the reveal of her powers is quite moving as she slowly crumbles in the face of Moiraine’s gentle showing of the evidence.