TEotW: Whitebridge

Rand POV#

Rand, Mat and Thom are on the Spray. Mat is trying to learn to play Thom's flute. Rand is good at the flute and Mat is good at juggling. They dock at Whitebridge. Captain Domon kicks Floran Gelb off his boat. When Rand looks at the White Bridge he sees a shadow ripple through the structure.[1] There are merchants[2] waiting for Domon on the dock. Domon wants Thom to go to Illian with him. They will be there by the Feast of Sefan when there is a gleeman's contest. Rand, Mat and Thom go to the square where the White Bridge ends and enter an inn, The Wayfarer's Rest. The innkeeper, Bartim, gives them the latest news. The roads in the south are packed with fleeing people. Logain was captured near Lugard while he was trying to move his army from Ghealdan to Tear. The Aes Sedai are taking him north to Tar Valon. They are stopping at every village and town along the way to display Logain. One of the stops will be Caemlyn to show him to Queen Morgase. Logain can channel. Two years ago Bartim saw the previous false Dragon paraded through the countryside. He was just some poor guy who wanted to be king.[3] Bartim then tells them that two days ago, a man from Illian read a proclamation about the new hunt for the Horn. Thom recites a bit from the tale of the Great Hunt of the Horn:

"In the last, lorn fight
'gainst the fall of long night,
the mountains stand guard,
and the dead shall be ward,
for the grave is no bar to my call."

Rand asks about their friends. Bartim asks for descriptions. After Rand gives them, Bartim asks them all to leave. Bartim says about a week previous a crazy man[4] came over the White Bridge and was asking about all of them. He went towards Caemlyn. The next day a hooded man all in black came into town and asked about them. They realize it was a Fade. Bartim leaves them and they discuss what to do next. They discover that Floran Gelb is on the other side of the inn talking about the events on the Spray (TEotW,Ch20). Thom leads Rand and Mat as they sneak out of the inn through a window into an alley. Mat asks Thom why he is helping them. Thom tells them about his nephew Owyn. Thom leaves to get a disguise and then returns. Thom wraps his instruments inside his gleeman cloak. They all leave the alley and enter the square. A Fade is coming toward them. Thom takes his bundle and gives it to Rand. Thom tells them to go to Caemlyn to an inn called The Queen's Blessing. Thom then pushes the boys away and charges the Fade. There is a flash of blue light.[5] Rand and Mat run out of town and down the road.

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Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] This odd effect is never explained. The White Bridge is a remnant from the Age of Legends and was built with the One Power.
[#2] One of the merchants is Howal Gode, a Darkfriend. (TEotW,Ch32)
[#3] Gorin Rogad was captured and killed in Illian, so perhaps this guy was the third false Dragon in the last five years mentioned in TEotW,Ch3.
[#4] The crazy man must be Padan Fain.
[#5] Implying that these knives of Thom's are One Power wrought. The recent correction in TEotW,Ch20 that now has Thom using his "second-best knives" against the Trollocs outside Shadar Logoth makes this plausible.

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