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— Aviendha to Rand when she gives him something wrapped in a blanket
|<<< The Gift of a Blade >>>|
|Setting: Spine of the World, Jangai Pass, Taien|
Point of view: Rand al'Thor
The Aiel make camp in the hills near Taien. Rand observes the preparations and notes Melaine is with the Wise Ones even though she just married the clan chief Bael. He decides to get some rest that night and tells Natael that they will not have lessons in channeling that night. Rand puts a ward around the entire Aiel encampment, to give warning if Shadowspawn cross. He enters his tent and Aviendha follows him, with a wrapped package. She hopes the package will cancel the debt between them. Rand continues to deny there is a debt, while Aviendha feels compelled to give him something back for the bracelet he gave her.
She gives him Laman's sword which is elaborately decorated with jewels. Rand believes it must have been costly, but because of the way Aiel feel about swords, no one wants to be its owner for long. Rand examines the blade and finds it is heron-marked and probably also power-wrought so that it does not need sharpening. He gives the begemmed scabbard back to Aviendha saying just the sword is enough to cancel the debt and he will give her the gems from the hilt also when he has that remade.
Rand is distracted as he prepares for bed, as he has every night since leaving Rhuidean, since Aviendha is now sleeping in his tent. Rand believes this to be so she can spy on him, while the Wise Ones are trying to force the two into a relationship. Aviendha hates the situation because she does not want to steal Rand away from Elayne. He goes to sleep and dreams of Min and Elayne helping him with Aviendha to complete a Aiel marriage ceremony.