ToM: Apples First

Almen Bunt POV#

A wind rises above the misty peaks of Imfaral and blows east past thirteen tall, black fortresses.[1] It passes burned ships at Takisrom on the Sleeping Bay and over the Emerald Cliffs. Seanchan is in chaos. The Fields of Peace are burning and the Tower of Ravens is broken. A murderer rules in Seandar.[2] The wind blows across the ocean and eventually reaches an apple orchard below Dragonmount. The leaves are fading to yellow and the apples are shriveled and rotting. Almen Bunt tends the orchard. His wife Adrinne died years ago and his sons are managing his farm near Carysford while he helps his sister Alysa and her sons Hahn and Adim with the orchard. Her husband Graeger vanished in Negin Bridge and only a sulfurous-smelling gray tree was left. Farm hands are Uso and Moor. His sons are not doing well. His potato crop is rotting and full of worms. They consider what to do, perhaps to go to Caemlyn, but he sends them off to do other chores. Almen suddenly feels the warmth of sunlight and the apple tree start to blossom. A young man walks down a path leading toward Dragonmount. Almen asks if he is lost and he replies no, he finally understands the path before him. He looks familiar and Almen recognizes him as one of the boys he took to Caemlyn.[3] He must be the Dragon Reborn. The man tells him to pick the apples quickly. Almen is amazed to see that the trees are now loaded with ripe apples. He wonders if he is going mad but the man tells him it is the whole world that is going mad. The man starts to leave and Almen asks where he is going. With a grimace he says to do something he has put off. She will not be pleased.[4] As he leaves, Almen sees a warp in the air, a lightness around the man.[5] Almen feels better than he has in years. He calls the farm hands to gather people from the villages, even those passing on Shyman's Road, to help pick the apples. He feels something tugging him after the young man, but he will take care of the apples first.

More Almen Bunt POV

Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] These are the Towers of Midnight. (Guide)
[#2] No indication of who this might be or if it is at all important.
[#3] Almen gave Rand and Mat a ride to Caemlyn. (TEotW,Ch34, TEotW,Ch35)
[#4] He is going to the White Tower to meet with Egwene.
[#5] Contrasting the warp of darkness around him in The Gathering Storm.

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