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The Eye of the World Synopsis Part 2: The Dark One’s Reach

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This is Part 2 of my The Eye of the World synopsis. It holds a lot of essential details that I didn’t want to suffocate, so the post only covers three chapters.

Rand is reeling from the Winternight attack as he takes his father to the Winespring Inn. Moiraine and Lan reveal the cause of Emond’s Field’s troubles, and the boy is drawn into an unwelcome adventure. The villagers are told about their history when Moiraine orates the tragic story of Manetheran.

I recommend you read Part 1 before this installment. Part 2 is called “The Dark One’s Reach.”

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SPOILER WARNING: The Eye of the World Synopsis Part 2, The Dark One’s Reach, has full spoilers through the end of Chapter 9, Tellings of the Wheel.

The Eye of the World Synopsis Part 2

The Dark One’s Reach

A Desperate Dawn

Tam’s eyes are closed as Rand makes it back to the village. His father’s breathing is labored now, and the talking has stopped. The Wisdom will know what to do.

The smell of burning might have cheered Rand, but it is not smoke from village hearths that greets his arrival. Emond’s Field’s thatched roofs are smoldering, and several houses have been burned to a shell. The damage here is random, though, Rand realizes. Despite being bone-weary from his nightlong journey, it’s plain to him that groups of houses have been left undisturbed while others, like the home of Mat Cauthon, are all but destroyed.

Rand finds a friendly face in the muscular form of Haral Luhhan, who confirms that Trollocs are to blame for the damage. The blacksmith’s forge and home were both targets of the raging beasts, but his spirited wife Alsbet had taken their biggest hammer and given the monsters a lesson.

Haral typifies the resilience of Emond’s Field. He knows the villagers will re-muster and rebuild. Mat Cauthon is amongst the living, he confirms, and the Wisdom will see to Rand’s father. He is my father, Rand tells himself, remembering the fever dream.

Egwene finds them while running errands in the village. She carries makeshift bandages for the wounded but hurries for Nynaeve’s help when she sees Tam’s condition. After inspecting the wound, Nynaeve admits there’s nothing she can do for him. Rand feels hollow knowing that his father is dying.

Nynaeve has patients to deal with that she can help and calls for Egwene’s aid. Tearful and apologetic, Egwene gives Rand a bone-crushing hug before she goes with the Wisdom.

Rand draws on his inner determination and resolves to take Tam to The Winespring Inn. The mayor will know what to do.

The Dragon’s Fang

Thom Merrilin is outside the inn, cutting scorched patches from his gleeman’s cloak. He helps Rand with the litter when he sees the situation. Not many, but some people died during the Trolloc attack, Thom explains, including Padan Fain. The peddler was staying at the inn but hasn’t been seen since. He’s likely to have been eaten by Trollocs.

The gleeman praises the Wisdom’s healing abilities, if not her temper. She’ll help Tam, he’s sure. Rand doesn’t have time to say she can’t and isn’t mollified by Thom’s sympathy.

Though The Winespring Inn stands relatively unscathed, a Dragon’s Fang has been charcoaled on its door. This symbol, shaped like a teardrop balanced on its point, is an accusation of evil and bestows misfortune on the recipient. Rand doesn’t know why anyone here would do such a thing.

Bran al’Vere quickly abandons his mayoral duties when he sees Rand’s plight. He was concerned as Bela came galloping into the village soon after the Trollocs left. He demands the gleeman go fetch Nynaeve and sets about preparing a bed for Tam. Thom is miffed when he returns emptyhanded, as Rand hasn’t told him the Wisdom saw Tam already.

Bran is fraught about the Dragon’s Fang. It’s likely the work of a Congar, Coplin, or Taren Ferry folk. Most likely, it’s because of Lady Moiraine and Master Lan. He can’t evict them, though, despite it turning out that she’s an Aes Sedai witch.

Moiraine helped defend the village, calling lightning from a clear night sky. And her Warder, Lan, was quick to dance with his broadsword, laying waste to the wanton Trollocs. Thom gently reminds him that the villagers gave a good account of themselves, too. The mayor stumbles over his prattle, remembering… Aes Sedai can Heal!

A Price Worth Paying?

Bran warns that asking the Aes Sedai to Heal Tam must be Rand’s choice and not a decision he would want to make. Rand knows from the stories that asking an Aes Sedai for aid can make matters far worse, but he has no choice. He can’t let his father die if there’s a chance he can live.

Thom is skeptical of Aes Sedai, too. He warns that they do things for their own reasons, and they might not be the reasons Rand expects. Regardless, the sheepherder is decided and rushes to find Moiraine.

Dead Trollocs are being burned on the Bel Tine fires, and the smell is repugnant. Lan, Moiraine’s Warder, is checking the corpses. He’s counted seven bands of Trollocs so far. The Aes Sedai is weary and worried about the numbers, not seen since the Trolloc Wars.

Rand draws enough courage to speak with Moiraine. She asks the boy to tell her if his dreams begin to trouble him, which Rand finds strange. He blurts out his plea for Tam’s Healing, prepared to pay whatever price it takes that’s within his power. Moiraine Sedai agrees to help Tam if she can, with any talk of cost to be had later.

Back in the inn, the mayor and the gleeman are still at Tam’s bedside. Lan distrusts the gleeman as he wasn’t seen during the night’s attack, but Bran scoffs at that, what with Thom’s patchwork cloak being scorched. Moiraine insists that Thom and Bran leave the room but allows Rand to stay when he asks.

The Healing

Knowing the Aes Sedai is using the One Power on his father gives Rand the shivers. He sits with Lan on a bench and watches Moiraine work soundlessly on Tam. There’s nothing to see, but Rand can tell that his father’s breathing is beginning to ease.

Lan starts asking about the sword Rand still carries. The Warder’s blade is a good match for it but doesn’t bear the heron marks. Rand stresses his father bought it a long time ago and that he didn’t even know about it until last night.

A strange purchase for a shepherd, Lan remarks, since the heron signifies a blademaster in some parts of the world.

Shadowspawn

Rand wants to know if it would have helped if Moiraine and Lan had known about the black rider he saw. Moiraine, taking a break from her Healing, insists it would not, but her stone-faced Warder isn’t impressed. It was undoubtedly a Myrddraal.

Moiraine explains there was another sign that things were amiss. The odd raven Rand and Mat threw stones at the day before was a bad omen. Ravens, crows, and rats are often used as the Dark One’s spies. She didn’t think the Dark One’s reach could have spread so far so fast.

At least one Myrddraal led the Trolloc attack last night, Lan says. They are from the same genesis as Trollocs, though they take on mostly human stock. Also called a Fade, Halfman, Lurk, or Shadowman, the look of the Eyeless is fear. Dreadlords made both Trollocs and Halfmen, and the Myrddraal led their animal-like cousins in battle.

An Angreal

This is irrelevant to Rand, who wants to know whether Moiraine has Healed Tam. The Aes Sedai is growing more and more tired from her use of the One Power. Thankfully, she has an angreal in her possession. Hers is an ivory figurine of a long-haired woman in flowing robes.

The object allows Moiraine to draw more of the One Power than she would otherwise be able to. She’s lucky to have one in her possession since angreal are rare, and the making of them is lost to knowledge. Moiraine needed permission from the Amyrlin Seat, leader of the Aes Sedai, to take it from the White Tower, which was begrudged.

Even so, channeling magic exhausts the user, and Moiraine’s strength wanes. She explains that Trolloc weapons can take on a taint when made in the Thakan’dar valley of Shayol Ghul, where the Dark One’s touch can be felt at its strongest. Tam’s festering wound is the result of this poisonous taint, and it will consume him if it’s not drawn out.

To Rand’s immense relief, Moiraine does enough to save his father from this fate. It will take many days of rest for Tam to regain his strength, though, Moiraine advises, and Rand will have left by then. This last remark dumfounds the sheepherder. They can’t just leave, can they?

Flabbergasted that Moiraine has suggested anyone should leave the village, Rand becomes a bubble of words. He knows things are bad, but Emond’s Field will rebuild. No one ever goes, so they’ll fix what’s broken and be fine. They can’t abandon crops in the ground, and the sheep will be due for shearing soon. Only the Coplins or their like would consider leaving the Two Rivers now.

The Dark One’s Fear

Lan stops Rand from going on. The boy should be listening, not talking.

It’s just Rand, Mat, and Perrin who must go, Moiraine says. Rand doesn’t understand, but Lan starts to explain.

The Trolloc attack wasn’t random, he says, as only two outlying farms were affected by it. Those were Tam’s and the Aybara farm, though Perrin’s family was in Emond’s Field then. Travelers coming to the village for Bel Tine didn’t have a clue about Trollocs until they got there.

In Emond’s Field, the Shadowspawn made straight for Mat Cauthon’s home and the forge where Perrin works as an apprentice. Any other damage done was because the Trollocs’ targeted attacks were disturbed by villagers. They were awake, sharing gifts and ale in the traditional spirit of Winternight. The scouting Myrddraal had no prior knowledge of this Bel Tine custom, so its plans went awry.

The Myrddraal’s focus was on the three boys, Moiraine interjects because they are all the same age, born just weeks apart. The Dark One must fear them, one or all three, for reasons she can’t answer here. She plans to take the boys away that night and escort them to Tar Valon. They can find their answers there.

If they do not, Moiraine suggests, the Dark One will not stop besieging the Two Rivers. Everyone’s lives are at stake.

Rand accepts the logic but wants to speak with his father first. Moiraine doubts there will be time and asks Rand to rest, swearing him to secrecy.

Marin and Bran al’Vere bring Rand food and bedding. The mayor’s account of Winternight aligns with Lan’s story, which is no comfort to Rand. He stays by his father’s bedside, determined to be there should he wake, but sleep takes Rand first.

Dreams

Rand is dreaming, running from the guttural sounds of distant Trollocs. He reaches the edge of a cliff in this desolate landscape, where the air is cold, and the soil is dry and cracking. Mist covers the valley beneath him, but thunder rumbles there, and streaks of lightning sometimes strike towards the sky.

Out of the mist, a vast mountain rises to its peak, black rock ending in a stone spire that is the source of Rand’s emptiness. He has never seen the mountain before, but he knows it.

A familiar voice beckons Rand to serve them, and a cloaked figure looms over him. Rand dares not look at it but curses the Dark One using its proper name, Shai’tan. The smell of death is rank, and Rand throws himself from the cliff as a hand reaches towards him.

An Island City

A sudden shift in the dream stops Rand’s falling. He finds himself in a setting that has a degree of life to it, with leafless trees and bushes scattered about and brown grass. Another mountain seems out of place here, but it doesn’t fill him with dread like the other one had.

A wide river flows by the mountain, split by an island city in its center. The city walls and soaring towers are white and silver, glistening from the warm sun that shines on them, and two high bridges on either side of the island link it to the mainland.

Rand’s contentment doesn’t last. Suddenly, he feels his blood freezing, and the air turns putrid. He must run again, this time from a light-consuming figure that pulls at his cloak with icy fingers. Rand flees from the city, but the fingers grab his collar, and he knows he’ll go mad if they touch him. He falls to the floor and screams.

A White Tower

Another shift, and Rand is on one of the bridges. A happy, colorful crowd makes their way to the city, so Rand follows them, believing this to be a place of safety. The city is beautiful, with every structure a work of compelling art. He knows he’ll be secure in the tallest tower, in the city’s heart, so that’s where he heads.

The surrounding people point him in that direction, towards the white tower, though their faces look like Rand has robbed them of something… hope, perhaps. Children line Rand’s path with flowers, and the crowd begins to sing and dance. Rand wants to dance, too, with someone specific, but he can’t quite recall who.

He reaches a stone stairway that leads up to a marble palace, from which the tower rises. A whisper comes to Rand amidst the crowd’s chorus. It tells him that this is his destiny.

As Rand arrives at the tower doors, he knows he belongs there. The doors swing open for him but crash closed when he enters. A Myrddraal waits for him inside… and Rand bolts awake.

A Farewell

Rand wonders whether calling the Dark One by its real name in a dream is like doing so while awake in that it brings the Dark One’s attention to the speaker. The thought passes as Rand looks at his father, who still sleeps. Mistress al’Vere’s mark of care is evident by the provision of broth, food, and new blankets. Rand touches his father’s brow to check on him, and Tam wakes up.

Rand recounts the last day’s events, leaving out any details his father might not want to hear, such as Tam’s feverish ramblings on the road. When he gets to the part about Moiraine and having to leave, Tam asks for an exact account of the Aes Sedai’s words. He knows Aes Sedai cannot lie, but they have a habit of manipulating the truth.

After listening to the story, though, Tam agrees that the boys need to leave the Two Rivers. They’ll be safer in Tar Valon, he assures, and he’ll catch up to them when he’s able. Rand is disappointed, hoping Tam might have dissuaded him from this hasty departure.

The Heron Marked Blade

Lan bursts in, telling Rand to say his goodbyes as there may be trouble. Before Rand goes, Tam invites Rand to take his sword. He hopes it isn’t needed.

Tam also urges caution around Aes Sedai and their Warders. If Rand says anything to Lan, he may as well be telling Moiraine directly. Warders have a bond with their Aes Sedai that gives them special abilities. They heal faster, can endure much longer, and are thought to sense Shadowspawn. No wonder they are so loyal.

Rand takes the heron-marked blade and leaves with Lan. Mat, who has been waiting outside, joins them. They look under the cover of the inn’s curtains at a gathered crowd outside. The villagers are protesting about Moiraine, and the mayor is trying to calm the situation. Cenn Buie, a thatcher by trade and a notable agitator, voices accusations that Moiraine is to blame for the Trollocs. Bran al’Vere chastens the man, as many of those with their fists raised wouldn’t be able to argue if not for Moiraine’s Healing of their injuries.

It’s the Aes Sedai that silences everyone, though. She raises her staff, spinning it in front of her before magicking white flames that flare from both ends of the thing.

The villagers begin to listen as Moiraine speaks.

Blood of Manetheran

Moiraine derides what has become of King Aemon’s blood, for the farmers and tradespeople standing before her now are from the line of Manetheran, though they do not know it. The Two Rivers lies within that lost nation’s realm, and the great river of Manetherendrelle, where the White River now runs to the south, flowed past its mountain city.

Manetheran was a thorn in the Dark One’s foot. Its Red Eagle banner was always at the forefront of battle during the Trolloc Wars. Perhaps in fear, the Dark One’s forces planned to destroy Manetheran while its army was far afield, but they heard and marched hard. So, when the Shadow’s host arrived, Manetheran’s swords were there to defend their Mountain Home.

They fought Trollocs, Myrddraal, and Dreadlords, knowing aid was coming within three days. They held firm against impossible odds, but days passed, and no help came. On the tenth day, King Aemon knew he was betrayed, and the city lost. No person fighting beneath the Red Eagle survived those last days of Manetheran.

The match between King Aemon and his wife was one of bravery, beauty, and love that death could not challenge. Queen Eldrene knew at once when Aemon died because she felt it.

In grief, Eldrene drew from the One Power and purged the Dreadlords with fire. Queen Eldrene also died. She had drawn so much of the Power that it seared her alive. Her fires took the city, too.

In time, people forgot Manetheran, but its children stayed. They plowed their lands and harvested, and so did their children, and children to come to this day. Weep for Manetheran, Moiraine demands. Weep for what is lost forever.

An Adventure Begins

Moiraine lets the fires from her staff wink out and lowers it to her side, weary. Feelings of shame and remorse are on the villagers now. They may not know the story or what truth it holds, but farmer Paet al’Caar begs Moiraine’s forgiveness. He doesn’t mind if the Aes Sedai wants to stay now, not after she got his son walking again.

Others echo similar thoughts as the crowd gradually disperses. Of course, the Coplins and the miserable Bili Congar leave without apologizing.

Inside the inn, Lan demands the boys make a move for the stable now. It’s time to go.

Rand takes a moment to think, now the reality of leaving Emond’s Field is here. He vows that he’ll return here, no matter how long or harrowing this journey might be. He will come home.

Trying to convince himself that this is just the start of a grand adventure, Rand follows Lan and Mat to the stables.

CONTINUED HERE – The Eye of the World Synopsis Part 3

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The Eye of the World Synopsis Part 3

In Part 3 of my The Eye of the World synopsis, Saidin and Saidar, the party travels quickly to leave the Two Rivers. The Fade has a watcher in the sky and will pursue in earnest to stop them from crossing the Taren River. Lan pays for the services of a shady ferryman, and Egwene discovers a talent that delights her.

Rand, already beaten hollow by the journey, doesn’t share Egwene’s enthusiasm.

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Please put your thoughts and feedback on my The Eye of the World synopsis in the comments section. I’ll reply in all haste and appreciate any input.

Until next time, may the Light shine on you, my friends!

Russell

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