Things are pretty awkward with the people going after the Horn, as Mat and Perrin still wonít talk to Rand after what a jerk he was, and there are also people from Fal Dara who take a dislike to him, including a one-eyed guy named Uno. His mother must have been psychic.
Ingtar explains that itís because they fought the Aiel, and Rand looks so much like one of them. This lets us hear more tidbits about them, like they have a truce with Cairhien alone for some reason, and donít use swords, but unfortunately it comes with more of Rand being in denial over it. Okay, we already had the big emotional breakdown over realizing the truth, you canít backpedal now! I canít possibly think Jordan was expecting us to not have figured it out by now, so whatís the deal?
For several days, the Trollocs change direction seemingly at random, always leaving a dead body behind. And then our heroes arrive at a village whose whole population has been carted off for food. Jordan sure has the ďpart two has to be darkerĒ thing down. Right after it is a river, causing a pretty bad case of Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer
, seeing as thereís a whole page describing the laborious river crossing afterward. Itís the two dungeon guards, who were flayed alive. Pretty horrific, but I still call BS on not being able to describe it.
Ingtar has a Tearjerker
monologue about how the land theyíre riding through doesnít belong to any nation anymore, with all the legacy of the people who lived there fading away, just like many other areas in the world. Then another empty town, with a High Octane Nightmare Fuel
sequence that even stands out in this particular chapter: Rand goes into a house and sees the family who lived there reacting to something breaking in over and over, with the number of flies in the room increasing each time it ends. And finally they discover the crucified body of a Fade, which of course raises the question of what the hell could do that. Is it too much to hope that things are going a bit better for the girls?
You now, it figures that a chapter like this would fall on the same day that I reread 24 Hours
to keep up with Mark Does Stuff
. Book one had a few scary bits, but the stuff we get here takes it to a whole new level, almost George R. R. Martin
worthy (if Jordan ever kills off a major character in a heartbreakingly random way, weíll talk). The stuff with Rand still denying heís an Aiel is now beyond tiresome, but thankfully it doesnít intrude very much.