The Great Hunt


The Great Hunt: Page 124




"He's here," Rand assured him. He hoped he was right. Fain had had time to take ship for anyplace he wanted to go. Time to ride to Emond's Field. Or Tar Valon. Please, Light, he didn't get tired of waiting. If he's hurt Egwene, or anybody in Emond's Field, I'll ... Light burn me, I tried to come in time.
"The larger towns on Toman Head are all west of here," Verin announced loudly enough for all to hear. Everyone was on their feet again, except for Rand and his two friends; she came and put her hands on Mat as she spoke. "Not that there are many villages large enough to call towns. If we are to find any trace of the Darkfriends, to the west is the place to begin. And I think we should not waste the daylight sitting here."
When Mat blinked and stood up - he still looked ill, but he moved spryly - she put her hands on Perrin. Rand backed away when she reached for him.
"Don't be foolish," she told him.
"I don't want your help," he said quietly. "Or any Aes Sedai help."
Her lips twitched. "As you wish."
They mounted immediately and rode west, leaving the Portal Stone behind. No one protested, Rand least of all. Light, let me not be too late.

(FreeBooks.Mobi) Chapter 38
(Flame of Tar Valon)
Practice
Sitting crosslegged on her bed in her white dress, Egwene made three tiny balls of light weave patterns above her hands. She was not supposed to do this without at least one the Accepted to supervise, but Nynaeve, glaring and striding up and down in front of the small fireplace, did after all wear the Serpent ring given to the Accepted, and her white dress had the colored rings encircling the hem, even if she was not allowed to try to teach anyone yet. And Egwene had found over these last thirteen weeks that she could not resist. She knew how easy it was to touch saidar now. She could always feel it there, waiting for her, like the smell of perfume or the feel of silk, drawing her, drawing her. And once she did touch it, she could rarely stop from channeling, or at least trying to. She failed almost as often as she succeeded, but that was only another spur to keep on.
It often frightened her. How much she wanted to channel frightened her, and how drab and dreary she felt when she was not channeling, compared to when she was. She wanted to drink it all in, despite the cautions about burning herself out, and that wanting frightened her most of all. Sometimes she wished she had never come to Tar Valon. But the fright could not make her stop for long, any more than the fear of being caught by an Aes Sedai or by any of the Accepted beside Nynaeve.
It was safe enough here, though, in her own room. Min was there, sitting on the threelegged stool watching her, but she knew Min well enough now to know Min would never report her. She thought she was lucky to have made two good friends since coming to Tar Valon.
tle, windowless room, as all novices' rooms were. Three short paces took Nynaeve from wall to whiteplastered wall; Nynaeve's own room was much larger, but since she had made no friends among the other Accepted, she came to Egwene's room when she needed someone to talk to, even as now when she did not talk at all.
The tiny fire on the narrow hearth handily kept the first chill of approaching autumn at bay, though Egwene was sure it would not serve so well when winter came. A small table for study completed the furnishings, and her belongings hung neatly on a row of pegs on the wall or sat on the short shelf above the table. Novices were usually kept too busy to spend time in their rooms, but today was a freeday, only the third since she and Nynaeve had come to the White Tower.
"Else was making calf's eyes at Galad today while he was working with the Warders," Min said, rocking the stool on two legs.
The small balls faltered for an instant above Egwene's hands. "She can look at whoever she wants," Egwene said casually. "I can't imagine why I w

"No reason, I suppose. He is awfully handsome, if you don't mind him being so rigid. Very nice to look at, especially with his shirt off."
The balls spun furiously. "I certainly have no desire to look at Galad, with or without his shirt."
"I shouldn't tease you," Min said contritely. "I'm sorry for that. But you do like to look at him - don't grimace at me like that - and so does nearly every woman in the White Tower who isn't a Red. I've seen Aes Sedai down at the practice yards when he's working forms, especially Greens. Checking on their Warders, they say, but I don't see so many when Galad isn't there. Even the cooks and maids come out to watch him."
The balls stopped dead, and for a moment Egwene stared at them. They vanished. Suddenly she giggled. "He it goodlooking, isn't he? Even when he walks he looks as if he's dancing." The color in her cheeks deepened. "I know I shouldn't stare at him, but I can't help myself."
"I can't either," Min said, "and I can see what he is like."
"But if he is good -?"
"Egwene, Galad is so good he'd make you tear your hair out. He'd hurt a person because he had to serve a greater good. He wouldn't even notice who was hurt, because he'd be so intent on the other, but if he did, he would expect them to understand and think it was all well and right."
"I suppose you know," Egwene said. She had seen Min's ability to look at people and read all sorts of things about them; Min did not tell everything she saw, and she did not always see anything, but there had been enough for Egwene to believe. She glanced at Nynaeve - the other woman was still pacing, muttering to herself - then reached for saidar again and resumed her juggling in a desultory fashion.
Min shrugged. "I guess I might as well tell you. He didn't even notice what Else was doing. He asked her if she knew whether you might be walking the South Garden after supper, since today is a freeday. I felt sorry for her."
"Poor Else," Egwene murmured, and the balls of light became more lively above her hands. Min laughed.
The door banged open, caught by the wind. Egwene gave a yelp and let the balls vanish before she saw it was only Elayne.
The goldenhaired DaughterHeir of Andor pushed the door shut and hung up her cloak on a peg. "I just heard," she said. "The rumors are true. King Galldrian is dead. That makes it a war of succession."
Min snorted. "Civil war. War of succession. A lot of silly names for the same thing. Do you mind if we don't talk about it? That's all we hear. War in Cairhien. War on Toman Head. They may have caught the false Dragon in Saldaea, but there's still war in Tear. Most of it is rumors, anyway. Yesterday, I heard one of the cooks saying she'd heard Artur Hawkwing was marching on Tanchico. Artur Hawkwing!"
"I thought you did not want to talk about it," Egwene said.
"I saw Logain," Elayne said. "He was sitting on a bench in the Inner Court, crying. He ran when he saw me. I cannot help feeling sorry for him."
"Better he cries than the rest of us, Elayne," Min said.
"I know what he is," Elayne said calmly. "Or rather, what he was. He isn't anymore, and I can feel sorry for him."
Egwene slumped back against the wall. Rand. Logain always made her think of Rand. She had not dreamed about him in months, now, not the kind of dreams she had had on the River Queen. Anaiya still made her write down everything she dreamed, and the Aes Sedai checked them for signs, or connections to events, but there was never anything about Rand except dreams that, Anaiya said, meant she missed him. Oddly, she felt almost as if he were not there any longer, as if he had ceased to exist, along with her dreams, a few weeks after reaching the White Tower. And I sit thinking about how nicely Galad walks, she thought bitterly. Rand has to be all right. If he'd been caught and gentled, I'd have heard something.
That sent a chill through her, as it never failed to do, the thought of Rand being gentled, Rand weeping and wanting to die as Logain did.
Elayne sat down beside her on the bed, tucking her feet up under her. "If you are mooning over Galad, Egwene, you will have no sympathy from me. I'll have Nynaeve dose you with one of those horrible concoctions she's always talking about." She frowned at Nynaeve, who had taken no notice of her entrance. "What is the matter with her? Don't tell me she has started sighing after Galad, too!"
"I wouldn't bother her." Min leaned toward the two of them and lowered her voice. "That skinny Accepted Irella told her she was as clumsy as a cow and had half the Talents, and Nynaeve clouted her ear." Elayne winced. "Exactly," Min murmured. "They had her up to Sheriam's study before you could blink, and she hasn't been fit to live with since."
Apparently Min had not dropped her voice enough, for there was a growl from Nynaeve. Suddenly the door whipped open once more, and a gale howled into the room. It did not ruffle the blankets on Egwene's bed, but Min and the stool toppled, to roll against the wall. Immediately the wind died, and Nynaeve stood with a stricken look on her face.

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