The Great Hunt


The Great Hunt: Page 55



"If they are older than the Age of Legends, maybe the people who built them didn't use the Power. There must be another way. The Darkfriends got here, and they certainly couldn't use the Power. Whatever this other way is, I will find it out. I will get us back, Loial." He looked at the tall stone column with its odd markings, and felt a prickle of fear. Light, if only I don't have to use the Power to do it. "I will, Loial, I promise. One way or another."
The Ogier gave a doubtful nod. He swung up onto his huge horse and followed Rand up the steps to join Hurin among the blackened trees.
The land stretched out, low and rolling, sparsely forested here and there with grassland between, crossed by more than one stream. In the middle distance Rand thought he could see another burned patch. It was all pale, the colors washed. There was no sign of anything made by men except the stone circle behind them. The sky was empty, no chimney smoke, no birds, only a few clouds and the pale yellow sun.
Worst of all, though, the land seemed to twist the eye. What was close at hand looked all right, and what was seen straight ahead in the distance. But whenever Rand turned his head, things that appeared distant when seen from the corner of his eye seemed to rush toward him, to be nearer when he stared straight at them. It made for dizziness; even the horses whickered nervously and rolled their eyes. He tried moving his head slowly; the apparent movement of things that should have been fixed was still there, but it seemed to help a little.
"Did your piece of a book say anything about this?" Rand asked.
Loial shook his head, then swallowed hard as if he wished he had kept it still. "Nothing."
pose there's nothing to do for it. Which way, Hurin?"
"South, Lord Rand." The sniffer kept his eyes on the ground.
"South, then." There has to be a way back besides using the Power. Rand heeled Red's flanks. He tried to make his voice lighthearted, as if he saw no difficulty at all in what they were about. "What was it Ingtar said? Three or four days to that monument to Artur Hawkwing? I wonder if that exists here, too, the way the Stones do. If this is a world that could be, maybe it's still standing. Wouldn't that be somet

They rode south.

(FreeBooks.Mobi) Chapter 14
(Wolf)
Wolf brother
"Gone?" Ingtar demanded of the air. "And my guards saw nothing. Nothing! They cannot just be gone!"
Listening, Perrin hunched his shoulders and looked at Mat, who stood a little way off frowning and muttering to himself. Arguing with himself was how Perrin saw it. The sun was peeking over the horizon, past time for them to have been riding. Shadows lay long across the hollow, stretched out and thinned, but still like the trees that made them. The packhorses, loaded and on their lead line, stamped impatiently, but everyone stood by his mount and waited.
Uno came striding up. "Not a goatkissing track, my Lord." He sounded offended; failure touched on his skill. "Burn me, not so much as a flaming hoof scrape. They just bloody vanished."
"Three men and three horses do not just vanish," Ingtar growled. "Go over the ground again, Uno. If anyone can find where they went, it's you."
"Maybe they just ran away," Mat said. Uno stopped and glared at him. Like he'd cursed an Aes Sedai, Perrin thought wonderingly.
"Why would they run away?" Ingtar's voice was dangerously soft. "Rand, the Builder, my sniffer - my sniffer! - why would any of them run, much less all three?"
Mat shrugged. "I don't know. Rand was ..." Perrin wanted to throw something at him, hit him, anything to stop him, but Ingtar and Uno were watching. He felt a flood of relief when Mat hesitated, then spread his hands and muttered, "I don't know why. I just thought maybe they had."
Ingtar grimaced. "Ran away," he growled as if he did not believe it for an instant. "The Builder can go as he will, but Hurin would not run away.
And neither would Rand al'Thor. He would not; he knows his duty, now. Go on, Uno. Search the ground again." Uno gave a half bow and hurried away, sword hilt bobbing over his shoulder. Ingtar grumbled, "Why would Hurin leave like that, in the middle of the night, without a word? He knows what we're about. How am I to track this Shadowspawned filth without him? I would give a thousand gold crowns for a pack of trail hounds. If I did not know better, I would say the Darkfriends managed this so they can slip east or west without me knowing. Peace, I don't know if I do know better." He stumped off after Uno.
Perrin shifted uneasily. The Darkfriends were doubtless getting further away with every minute. Getting further away, and with them the Horn of Valere - and the dagger from Shadar Logoth. He did not think that Rand, whatever he had become, whatever had happened to him, would abandon that chase. But where did he go, and why? Loial might go with Rand for friendship - but why Hurin?
"Maybe he did run away," he muttered, then looked around. No one appeared to have heard; even Mat was not paying him any mind. He scrubbed a hand through his hair. If Aes Sedai had been after him to be a false Dragon, he would have run, too. But worrying about Rand was doing nothing to help track the Darkfriends.
There was a way, perhaps, if he was willing to take it. He did not want to take it. He had been running away from it, but perhaps, now, he could no longer run. Serves me right for what I told Rand. I wish I could run. Even knowing what he could do to help - what he had to do - he hesitated.
No one was looking at him. No one would know what they were seeing even if they did look. Finally, reluctantly, he closed his eyes and let himself drift, let his thoughts drift, out, away from him.
He had tried denying it from the first, long before his eyes began to change from dark brown to burnished golden yellow. At that first meeting, that first instant of recognition, he had refused to believe, and he had run from the recognition ever since. He still wanted to run.
His thoughts drifted, feeling for what must be out there, what was always out there in country where men were few or far between, feeling for his brothers. He did not like to think of them that way, but they were.
In the beginning he had been afraid that what he did had some taint of the Dark One, or of the One Power - equally bad for a man who wanted nothing more than to be a blacksmith and live his life in the Light, and in peace. From that time, he knew something of how Rand felt, afraid of himself, feeling unclean. He was still not past that entirely. This thing he did was older than humans using the One Power, though, something from the birth of Time. Not the Power, Moiraine had told him. Something long vanished, now come again. Egwene knew, too, though he wished she did not. He wished no one did. He hoped she had not told anyone.
Contact. He felt them, felt other minds. Felt his brothers, the wolves.
Their thoughts came to him as a whirlpool blend of images and emotions. At first he had not been able to make out anything except the raw emotion, but now his mind put words to them. Wolfbrother. Surprise. Twolegs that talks. A faded image, dim with time, old beyond old, of men running with wolves, two packs hunting together. We have heard this comes again. You are Long Tooth?
It was a faint picture of a man dressed in clothes made of hides, with a long knife in his hand, but overlaid on the image, more central, was a shaggy wolf with one tooth longer than the rest, a steel tooth gleaming in the sunlight as the wolf led the pack in a desperate charge through deep snow toward the deer that would mean life instead of slow death by starvation, and the deer thrashing to run in powder to their bellies, and the sun glinting on the white until it hurt the eyes, and the wind howling down the passes, swirling the fine snow like mist, and... Wolves' names were always complex images.
Perrin recognized the man. Elyas Machera, who had first introduced him to wolves. Sometimes he wished he had never met Elyas.
ht, and tried to picture himself in his mind.
Yes. We have heard of you.
It was not the image he had made, a young man with heavy shoulders and shaggy, brown curls, a young man with an axe at his belt, who others thought moved and thought slowly. That man was there, somewhere in the mind picture that came from the wolves, but stronger by far was a massive, wild bull with curved horns of shining metal, running through the night with the speed and exuberance of youth, curlyhaired coat gleaming in the moonlight, flinging himself in among Whitecloaks on their horses, with the air crisp and cold and dark, and blood so red on the horns, and...
Young Bull.
For a moment Perrin lost the contact in his shock. He had not dreamed they had given him a name. He wished he could not remember how he had earned it. He touched the axe at his belt, with its gleaming, halfmoon blade. Light help me, I killed two men. They would have killed me even q

Pushing all that aside - it was done and behind him; he had no wish to remember any of it - he gave the wolves the smell of Rand, of Loial and Hurin, and asked if they had scented the three.

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