First thereís a few pages of just riding, including another weird bringing up of Egweneís time with Aram. I donít know where this is going, if anywhere, and I really donít care. Finally they reach the city of Fal Dara, in the country Shienar, which is this worldís Gondor equivalent as the military society on the front lines against the Dark Oneís land, the Blight. Though there is one nice difference, as Fal Dara isnít actually the capital city but sort of a suburb of it, going by the map.
The presence of Moiraine, Lan, and Loial all combine to get them a surprisingly warm welcome, a pretty neat twist. This includes more hints to Lanís past as everyone calls him Dai Shan, and he insists that part of his life is over. They meet the cityís ruler, Lord Agelman, who begs them to stay a bit as all signs point to an invasion from the Blight in the next couple weeks, but Moiraine and Lan insist they have their own fight. Itís a complex situation where no oneís really the bad guy, and Iím interested in more of it.
And then, sweet vindication. The man whoís been following them this whole time is caught, and it is indeed Padan Fain. He says thatís not his real identity, but one of several heís adopted in his fight against the Dark One, but his whole spiel is obvious BS and Moiraine demands some time alone with him.
Fal Dara, Gondor similarities and all, offers a completely different kind of city than weíve seen before, and the situation theyíre in is an instantly engaging moral conundrum. Our heroes are basically taking a long shot that theyíll stop the whole war, while leaving all these people to die in the battle to come. And judging by there being thirteen more books after this one, they donít do very well. And of course Iím quite interested to learn what Fainís deal is.