Mar 16, 2018
Alar leads the humans to a nearby Portal Stone, and explains that the Ogier had repaired it, but weren't able to move the stone in anyway. We talk about how we think the Portal Stones work, why they can't be moved to anywhere they're not supposed to be, and offer some head-canon on how we imagine the 'Lines of If' are connected and accessed. Verin is not strong enough in the Power to use a Portal Stone, so she explains to Rand in private, that it's all on him to reproduce something like what he had done once before, but this time, she gives Rand some idea of which symbols to use, and how a portal stone works.
This next moment is a Major crux of the series. We see some of our first multiple futures, where the characters near the stone see what could happen should they make certain choices in their lives, hundreds or thousands of variables.
Rand and Tam die on Winternight, because he never threw the tea kettle. Rand never leaves the Two Rivers, Egwene and Nynaeve manage to keep him alive to an old age.
He was a soldier, he was a shepherd, he was a beggar, and a king, a farmer, gleeman, sailor, and a carpenter. He was born, lived, and died Aiel. He died mad, he died rotting, he died of sickness, accident, or age. Sometimes Moiraine comes for him, sometimes she does not. Sometimes other Aes Sedai came for him, sometimes the Red Ajah. Sometimes he marries Egwene, sometimes she kills or gentles him.
But at the end of every life, a voice whispers in his ear.
“I have won again, Lews Therin.”
Is this the Dark One, or Ishamael? We Speculate on that, as well as on how easily everything could go wrong in Rand's life.
When the Party arrives on Toman Head 3-4 months later, they have all lived hundreds of lives, and now have this opportunity to learn from their future mistakes. Masema is weeping openly, Uno vomits, Ingtar is screaming about how he will always walk in the light, Perrin finally accepts his Talent, Mat swears to stay loyal to Rand until the end, Verin gets ideas...and heals everyone. From what?