The Wheel of Time
The Great Hunt
“He felt the rage of the wolves, the hate. There were only two things wolves hated. All else they merely endured, but fire and Trollocs they hated, and they would go through fire to kill Trollocs.”
Ba’alzamon presides over a clandestine meeting as Shadow forces plot their actions and Shaitan’s return. In addition to Forsaken and Darkfriends, the meeting includes two Aes Sedai, one of whom we come to know as Liandrin. The prologue shows how deep Ba’alzamon’s influence has gone, even in places the protagonists believe to be safe.
The Hunt Begins
Following the events in The Eye of the World, the protagonists rest at Fort Fal Dara in Shienar, where the White Tower’s Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, visits. Siuan reminisces and plots with fellow Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred and Verin. Rand al’Thor meets Siuan. Siuan tells Rand that he is the Dragon Reborn, which Rand denies. Mat’s condition worsens as he is symbiotically attached to a tainted parasitic dagger. Lan Mandragoran further instructs Rand in swordfighting. Powerful Darkfriend Padan Fain is imprisoned in the Fal Dara dungeon. Darkforces attack the city, freeing their leader Padan Fain and stealing the Horn of Valere and the tainted dagger that Mat needs to survive. Rand, Perrin Aybara, and Mat accompany a Shienaran party southbound in pursuit of the horn and dagger. Shienaran Lord Ingtar heads the group, which includes skilled tracker Hurin. Fain’s fleeing darkforce includes trollocs, myrddraal, and darkfriends.
Nynaeve al’Meara and Egwene al’Vere accompany Moraine to Tar Valon for Aes Sedai training. Andoran Princess Elayne and clairvoyant Min arrive at Tar Valon as well. At Tar Valon’s White Tower, Nynaeve passes the test to become Accepted, a rank in the White Tower below Aes Sedai and above a Novice.
Rand, Loial and Hurin are separated from the Shienaran party and transported to an alternate world via a portal stone, a world similar to their own but where the land appears deserted and distorted. Rand suspects that he activated the portal stone by unconsciously channeling saidin in his sleep, although Egwene dreams that a mysterious woman is responsible. Rand’s struggle to accept his channeling ability is a recurring element in the novel. In the Portal Stone world, Rand meets Ba’alzamon and has a heron branded into his palm in a fight. Later, they find another portal stone with the help of a mysterious woman called Selene. Rand is able to use the Stone to return to their own world, albeit much farther ahead than either Fain’s or Ingtar’s group. By hiding and waiting for the Darkfriends to catch up, they manage to sneak into Fain’s camp and recover both Horn and dagger.
At a loss to explain Rand’s disappearance, Lord Ingtar’s group continues tracking Padan Fain with the aid of Perrin. Perrin pretends to be another sniffer like Hurin, but secretly uses his wolf senses to smell and track and also ask nearby wolves which way Padan Fain’s group went.
Rand’s party journeys to Cairhien, and Selene leaves their party without warning. Arriving in the city, Rand finds gleeman Thom Merrilin, whom he thought dead after an encounter with a myrddraal in The Eye of the World. Rand and Loial are attacked by trollocs and, during their escape, destroy the Chapter House of the Illuminator’s Guild, a society of people who are extremely protective of their knowledge of fireworks. The Horn and dagger are once again lost. Later on Thom’s apprentice and lover, Dena, is murdered for Thom’s involvement with Rand.
To Toman Head
With the aid of Perrin, Ingtar’s group is successfully reunited with Rand, and they learn that the Horn has been taken to Toman Head, at the port city of Falme. Hoping to get there faster, Rand tries to lead them through a portal stone. While successful, during his attempt the stone malfunctions and the group ends up losing time. As these events unfold, action also takes place on the other side of the continent, where the invading Seanchan and their exotic beasts have occupied Falme. Whitecloak Geofram Bornhald, of the zealous religious group Children of the Light, is preparing forces to attack the Seanchan.
At the White Tower, Liandrin tells Egwene and Nynaeve that Rand and his friends are in danger. They, along with Elayne and Min, travel with her to Toman Head via Waygate. When they arrive Min is captured by the Seanchan and Egwene is collared with an a’dam, a device used by the Seanchan to control women who can channel. Nynaeve and Elayne escape.
At Falme, Rand, Ingtar and the others form a small party to reclaim the dagger and Horn of Valere, consisting of Ingtar, Hurin, Rand, Perrin, and an increasingly sickly Mat. Rand sneaks into the building where the Horn is being kept, and slays blademaster High Lord Turak of the Seanchan before escaping with the Horn and dagger. Ingtar reveals himself as a Darkfriend and furthermore, that he was responsible for letting in the attackers during the surprise attack at Fal Dara, but he redeems himself when he dies fighting for Rand’s group.
At the same time, Elayne and Nynaeve rescue Egwene from the Seanchan and attempt to flee the city. At this moment the Whitecloaks also choose to attack, leaving the heroes trapped between the Seanchan and the Whitecloaks. Desperately, Mat blows the Horn of Valere, summoning forth dead heroes who aid Mat’s cause. The resurrected heroes include Artur Hawkwing. The Seanchan easily defeat the Whitecloaks. The resurrected Heroes then overwhelm the Seanchan, who retreat back to their ships and sail off as the resurrected heroes fade away.
Finally, Rand duels with Ba’alzamon, while their images appear in the sky, drawing the attention of all. Rand is initially unable to penetrate Ba’alzamon’s defenses. Rand then leaves himself open while employing a final fighting maneuver Lan had taught him. Ba’alzamon strikes Rand as Rand lands a killing counter-blow slaying Ba’alzamon. Rand is severely wounded. Selene is revealed to be Lanfear, one of the most powerful Forsaken.