The Brambles And The Cliff

Perrin and a Tinker, frenziedly hacking their way through brambles with axe and sword, unaware of the cliff that lay just ahead. And the brambles screamed with human voices they did not hear.

- Egwene's dream

Do you remember a scene in Lord of Chaos, where Perrin fights the Shaido in an effort to rescue Rand? He does his best not to think of the people he kills as people, because if he did, he wouldn't be able to kill at all. The exact quote is this.

Perrin worked his axe methodically; he was hewing wood, not flesh; he tried not to see the blood that spurted, even when crimson sprayed his face. He had to reach Rand. He was slashing a path through brambles.

Suspiciously similar to Egwene's dream, where Perrin (and Aram) hack through brambles that scream with human voices. Obviously we're not just talking about clearing away some weeds. Since the metaphor has already been established - when referring to Perrin, cutting through brambles means killing in battle - we can assume that this dream refers to Perrin fighting someone, or rather many someones.

And not only fighting, but fighting without caring. Not registering his opponents as human; not hearing the screams. Hacking through obstacles in his path, desperate to reach something - or someone. What's likely to make Perrin that mad? Only one thing that I can think of - danger to Faile.

If I do not free the falcon, I do not care.

Faile is all-important to Perrin, and Faile is currently a captive of the Shaido. Anyone else happen to remember a quotation from the, admittedly not terribly accurate, Path of Daggers jacket text? Right...

Perrin's beloved wife, Faile, may pay with her life, and Perrin himself may have to destroy his soul to save her.

Faile's life is not, currently, endangered. But her situation is hardly stable. Galina, Therava and Sevanna are all potential dangers, and in regard to Ghealdan as a whole, 'peaceful' is not really an adjective anyone would use. So we can probably assume the life-threatening requirement will be fulfilled in due course.

Perrin's managed to resist charging out on his own, and is, instead, charging out with everyone else. Including Masema, surprisingly; I would have thought he would consider Faile to be Perrin's problem. Nevertheless, I doubt they have the forces to take on the Shaido.

This is the point where another power in Ghealdan makes an appearance. Namely the Whitecloaks, or a faction of them, led by - you guessed it - Galad. Berelain swoons over Galad's handsome face, but Galad doesn't notice, and Perrin doesn't care, so that takes a side place to what's happening. The Whitecloaks want to take out the Shaido, for obvious reasons. If this isn't enough, then Tallanvor can reveal who Morgase is, which will definitely bring Galad in. So Galad and Perrin make a deal - join forces for the battle, and sort out their differences once the Shaido are defeated and Faile and Morgase rescued.

The Seanchan probably get in the way. It's the kind of thing they're good at. But Berelain invokes her authority as Hawkwing's descendant to either make them help, or at least make them stand aside - I'm not sure yet. Either way, Galad is quite impressed.

There is, finally, a battle with the Shaido. Perrin, with Aram right behind him, fights like a maniac, hacking through Shaido to get to Faile. The hammer takes a back seat to the axe. The human side gets submerged by the wolf nature. Basically, Perrin goes completely crazy. In danger of losing his soul - or rather his humanity, which he probably sees as much the same thing. He's at the edge of a cliff, and if he takes one step too many, he'll fall - lose his humanity - be past the point of no return.

Fortunately, he doesn't take that one step.

Because he reaches Faile in time, and gradually calms down to sanity. The book will end, I think, with Perrin rescuing Faile, a romantic scene rather like the end of The Dragon Reborn. But sometime before then, Masema gets killed - maybe by the Whitecloaks, maybe by the Seanchan, maybe by Perrin. Maybe by his own army finally getting sick of him. We already know Masema has to die sometime - the dreamwalkers have spoken.

Since Sevanna already escaped from one ferocious battle at Dumai's Wells, I'll be disappointed if she gets away from this one as well. She has to either die (Please?) or be captured. Therava and the other Wise Ones are another matter - it's by no means clear what will happen to them, whether they'll die in fighting, rejoin the 'good' Aiel or go rogue in some way. (And I have my suspicions about Therava.)

With Masema dead, his followers either disperse and return to their homes, or follow Perrin. He'll lead them back to Rand, they'll probably join either the Asha'man or the Legion of the Dragon, and both Rand and Perrin will get credit for solving the situation in Ghealdan.

Galad and Rand almost have to meet at some point, although I'm not sure when, and a budding romance start between Galad and Berelain. Possibly Berelain gets assigned as ambassador to the Seanchan, since once Elayne takes the Sun Throne Cairhien doesn't need a regent any longer. Various other elements of the plot I'm not sure about. But what I've discussed above, I'm fairly certain will happen.

Remember, you read it here.

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