Perrin’s group is pushed harder than ever after his dream, though Elyas has no actual idea what they’re running from. Until they see a huge flock of ravens, or Crebain from Dunland if you prefer. But this time I can let it go, because the concept is soon far expanded. These birds don’t just spy and report back, they kill anyone working against the Dark One, plus several animals just to be creepy.
This results in pure High Octane Nightmare Fuel
, and Daylight Horror
to boot, as they’re forced to scamper from one hiding place to another, only for the ravens to always find them again. Egwene gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome
shooting one down before Perrin can get his sling ready, but then he gets flashes of the wolves being attacked, and only being spared because the ravens figure it’s too much trouble when they have bigger targets.
Finally they’re hemmed in, and there’s a quite Tearjerker
passage where Perrin tries to prepare himself to give Egwene a quick death, but then they reach an area called a stedding where the ravens can’t enter. All we learn about these things now is that they have something to do with the Ogier (whoever they are, still), and the One Power doesn’t work in them.
Because Elyas has other exposition to dish out: they’re in a spot where the ancient king Artur Hawkwing (Jordan took out the H and thought we wouldn’t notice) had a statue built, but he died when it was finished, leading to a civil war that wiped the family out, except for a few that escaped across the ocean. There a Chekhov's Gunman
for you, and I’ll try not to think of them as the Targaryens, seeing as this series predates that one. Also, this gives me a spot on the map, showing that they are indeed east of Whitebridge, so Moiraine should run into them soon.
Leaving the Tinkers behind was really good for these guys. First we get the utterly terrifying sequence of them being hunted by ravens, and then a great piece of backstory with hints of future plot complications. Though I do hope we actually meet the Ogier soon, as these oblique references could become irritating fast.