Chapter 43: Decisions and Apparitions
Last chapter, our intrepid heroes discovered that they had to go and save the Eye of The World because of Destiny or something. This chapter, we discover how they’re going to do that.
“During the Time of Madness, while the world was still being broken, the earth was in upheaval, and humankind was being scattered like dust on the wind. We Ogier were scattered, too, driven from the stedding, into the Exile and the Long Wandering, when the Longing was graven on our hearts.”
“We were suddenly compelled to make everything into a Proper Noun.”
The Ogier had magical ways of travelling between Steddings (called Ways) that bypassed the chaos gripping the rest of the world during the Breaking, but the parallel dimension that the Ways consist of was infested with a being of darkness named Machin Shin, which kills anyone who enters.
Moiraine insists that they should risk a trip through the Ways and hope that her presence will be enough to keep Machin Shin at bay. The other characters are understandably not thrilled with this idea, but she convinces them by pointing out that between the Trollocs and the Whitecloaks they have no other way out of the city, and a journey to the Eye via normal means could take weeks, by which time whatever vague threat is about to befall it will already have happened.
Rand and Egwene have another stupid argument over pointless bullshit, which is followed by Rand shaking his head and declaring that he doesn’t understand women. If I remember correctly, this happens about fifty times per book.
From the first he knew it was a dream, one of those dreams that was not entirely dream.
Before our heroes set off for adventure we need to sit through yet another tedious spooky dream sequence where Ba’alzamon shows up to go a-booga-booga at Rand and spout vague mysterious nonsense. This one is basically the same as all the rest: Rand wakes up in a strange place, Ba’alzamon shows up and is all “You will be mine worm” and Rand is like “no way” and Ba’alzamon is all “Actually yes.”
“You worm, you know nothing at all. As ignorant as a beetle under a rock, and as easily crushed. This struggle has gone on since the moment of creation. Always men think it a new war, but it is just the same war discovered anew. Only now change blows on the winds of time. Change. This time there will be no drifting back. Those proud Aes Sedai who think to stand you up against me. I will dress them in chains and send them running naked to do my bidding, or stuff their souls into the Pit of Doom to scream for eternity. All but those who already serve me. They will stand but a step beneath me. You can choose
He goes on like that for a while.
Rand wakes up to find Mat also thrashing around and shouting, which is a vain attempt to try to obfuscate the fact that Rand is clearly the one Ba’alzamon is actually after.
“He knows who I am,” Mat said. “The Dark One knows my face.” Rand held up his hand wordlessly, palm toward her. Even in the shadowed light from the one candle the blood was plain.
Rocking the Christ imagery already, I see.
I know this was a short post, but next chapter is where The Real Shit starts (80% of the way through the book!) and in my defence I’ve been doing job training all week. Look forward to some spooky stuff next time.