The Great Hunt - Chapters 30 & 31 [#100Days, Day 57]

Adjusting to the Burden (of Command)

    Despite Rand's efforts, he gets pulled into Daes Dae'mar more quickly than he would have preferred.  Keeping a low profile is out of the question as he receives invitations to attend soirees at the King's palace, and that of his chief rival, Lord Barthanes.  To buy time, he makes himself seen in the common room of the inn, with the invitations as yet unopened.  Returning from his daily gate check with Loial to see if Ingtar and the rest arrive, he finds the inn engulfed in flames.  Rand and Loial jump into the burning building to pull out Hurin and the Horn.  They're only half successful - Hurin is alive, barely; but the Horn is gone.  Ingtar and the rest show up as the inn continues to burn.  What would be a joyous occasion is downplayed as Rand focuses on how to regain the Horn.

    "Hurin," Rand said, "how soon can you be ready to follow their trail again?  Can you follow it?  THe men who hit you and started the fire left a trail, didn't they?"

    "I can follow it now, my Lord.  And I could smell them in the street.  It won't last long, though.  There weren't any Trollocs, and they didn't kill anybody.  Just men, my Lord.  Darkfriends, I suppose, but you can't always be sure of that by smell.  A day, maybe, before it fades."

    "I don't think they can open the chest either, Rand," Loial said, "or they would just have taken the Horn.  It would be much easier to take that if they could, rather than the whole chest."

    Rand nodded.  "They must have put it in a cart, or on a horse.  Once they get it beyond Foregate, they'll join the Trollocs again, for sure.  You will be able to follow that trail Hurin."

    "I will, my Lord."

    "Then you rest until you're fit," Rand told him.  The sniffer looked steader, but he rode slumped, and his face was weary.  At best, they will only be a few hours ahead of us.  If we ride hard ... " Suddenly he noticed that the others were looking at him, Verin and Ingtar, Mat and Perrin.  He realized what he had been doing, and his face colored.  "I am sorry, Ingtar.  It's just that I've become used to being in charge, I suppose.  I'm not trying to take your place."

Rand, Hurin, and Loial, The Great Hunt, p. 378

    Despite his earlier objections, Rand has grown into his position and grown comfortable with it.  He's now more decisive and quick thinking, evaluating options and discarding them; selecting the one that is most likely to bring success.   All in the span of a few minutes discussion  with his team.   He's now comfortable with being uncomfortable - not knowing all the facts, or being afforded the time to evaluate all the possibilities.  He's making decisions with the information he has available and leaving himself plenty of room to maneuver when the situation inevitably changes.  For a young man so remarkably opposed to being in charge, he's performed well.

    There was a dignity to him the Perrin did not remember; Rand was looking at the Aes Sedai and the Shienaran lord as equals.

Perrin, The Great Hunt, p. 384

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