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View Full Version : A Different Wheel - Ch.10


st122
09-29-2011, 02:13 PM
Rand lay with open eyes staring at the tent above him. It was gradually growing lighter outside as the sun began to rise. He did not move. A part of him did not want to step out of the tent to face the day and what it would bring. The other, more practical side knew he would need to come to terms with the world at some point.

He was not stiff yet, but he knew if he remained in bed for the remainder of the day the late afternoon's fight with the Trollocs would catch up with him. His head rolled over to the side. Propped against the one pole was his sword. The Heron etched into the blade stood out as a constant reminder of what marked him now.

The mere thought of herons brought with it a new an uncomfortable pain. He raised his hand from under the blankets. There was just enough light to look. With agonising slowness he opened his palm. After keeping it hidden for so long he could not keep his eyes from it now. Burned onto his skin was the clear marking from his sword, a Heron.

If he were an ordinary man then it would not have mattered. Even as a ta'veren or man who could touch saidin it held little importance. Still the Heron on his palm was sign, a constant reminder of what he had figured out just before the battle.

His lips moved in a silent whisper. Words long before uttered by his mother.

Twice and twice shall he be marked,
twice to live and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost.
Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay.

The outline of the Heron was bold and clear. Was that why he had walked so uncaringly into the Trollocs? Had he attempted to get himself killed? Or did he want to prove that he was something different, something monstrous?

With his left hand he traced the outline of the Heron on his palm. What was he going to do now? Elayne was out there in another tent. He would have to talk to her. What would he tell her? The truth was the simple answer, but did he want to scare her?

No, he would not want to frighten her. If she went to the Tower then he would in all probability be dead long before she managed to be raised. And yet, he could not help but feel that she deserved more from him than lies. His mother had done enough to ruin her life. Was he going to destroy it further?

The problem was that he could see no way for him not to wreck everything she held dear.

With an effort he closed his fist and pushed himself upright. He almost groaned. His muscles were not ready for another day. He had no choice. Outside the flaps of his tent people were waiting for him. They did not know it yet, but they would be counting on him.

He was the Dragon, the Dragon Reborn, and he would have to embrace all that he was for the Light to overcome the darkness. He needed to be as strong as the blade of his sword.

With another effort he got to his feet. His saddle bag had been brought to him and within it was a fresh set of clothes. He unpacked the black and blue coats as he tried to decide which to wear. Deciding that he would save his House colours for a more formal occasion he settled on the black jacket with silver threads. He would not be able to wear the red coat again.

Dressed and with his sword around his hip, Rand stepped out of his tent and into the fresh morning air.

"Morning, my Lord." The Guard outside his tent greeted.

"Morning," Rand saluted the man in return. "I hope you did not have too long a watch."

"No, my Lord," the man smiled. He had to be in his early twenties like Rand. "The Captain ensures that we don't overextend ourselves."

Rand nodded, trying to project an aura of calm and control. "Good man, Captain Bawyn. We are fortunate to have a man like him."

The man nodded eagerly in agreement. "But we saw what you did yesterday, my Lord." His eyes shone with awe.

Rand tried not to feel uncomfortable. "Don't forget Galad. I think he killed a fair share more than me."

"I'm not sure, my Lord. The other men and myself think it was pretty even."

"Was it now?" Rand said with a shake of his head. "It does not matter. As long as lives were saved." Rand felt a heavy something in his chest. "How many?"

He did not need to say more for the man to understand. "We did not lose many considering the odds we fought against." The guard tried to sound optimistic.

"How many?" Rand asked again.

"Eight men, my Lord," he answered finally. "The Lady Moiraine and Lady Nynaeve healed most men who were injured." He added hastily. "They must have saved the lives of at least another ten men while ensuring the others were healed from injuries."

"Friends?" Rand asked.

The man shook his head. "Not really, my Lord."

Rand gave another salute. "You men fought bravely."

"Thank you, my Lord." The man replied with pride.

It almost felt like fate dealt him a hand. After only a single stride, Elayne emerged from her tent. She wore a red dress with a divided skirt for riding. Her golden hair framed a beautiful face that took his breath away.

He walked towards her as she made her way to him.

"Morning, Elayne," he greeted awkwardly.

"Good morning, Rand," she said in an equally unsure voice.

They stood in silence until Rand let out a small chuckle. "I'm not really sure how to handle this."

She shook her head with a grin. "Slow is probably a good way to go about this."

"Slow," Rand tested the word. "I might be able to do slow."

"Care for a walk on this fine cold morning?" Elayne asked. "Or is that too much to ask?"

"No, I think a walk would be good. My muscles need some stretching after yesterday."

They began to stroll through the camp. Rand glanced around a bit as they made their way. A few of the soldiers who were on duty saluted and Rand returned each one. The men had fought hard the day before and they deserved his respect.

"You do well with soldiers considering your humble background," she said with a hint of question in her voice.

He sighed. "I think it comes from what my mother used to tell me. All about projecting an aura of yourself even if you don't feel as confident or sure."

Elayne nodded. "I guess she was the Daughter Heir years ago."

"Apparently she was." He shook his head and laughed softly. "I think that means you understand my mother better than I do."

She looked up at him oddly. "Why would you say that?"

"What I knew about my mother was a lie," he began. "I grew up thinking her a rural girl from the outskirts of Caemlyn."

"Her, I mean your family estates are just outside Caemlyn. So it was not a lie, or at least not entirely."

"Maybe, but she grew up in a Palace. She had your life, Elayne."

She nodded. "I can see what you mean."

They stopped outside the camp. The sun, barely above the horizon, began to warm the air with its orange glow.

"A hard day's ride before us," Rand said while staring out at nothing.

"Very," she agreed. "It will be nice to ride with you today."

He faced her. "Hopefully it will be more peaceful."

"A day without Trollocs would be nice." She grimaced. "Light and I had always thought them some wild tale told by Borderlanders and Elaida to scare people."

"They scared me the first time too." He agreed.

"You've been attacked before?" she asked in shock.

He bit down on his tongue. How much could he tell Elayne? He shrugged, she was his wife and deserved some of the truth. "Trollocs attacked Emond's Field and the farm where we lived. I killed a few of them that night." He shivered at the memory and he thanked the Light that Tam had held him back from running blindly into the night.

"Why?"

"They were after me," Rand said slowly. Her eyes widened. "That is why I am with Moiraine. I'm ta'veren, Elayne. I think Mat and Perrin are as well. I guess that is why my mother did what she did."

"The pattern really had been turned upside down in Caemlyn." Elayne whispered in awe. Then she smiled. "Perhaps it means we really are meant to be together."

He grinned. "Perhaps it does."

She was not quite beaming up at him like the night in Caemlyn, but she was happier or at least more at ease than before. "I like you, Elayne Mantear."

"I like you to, Rand Mantear." She replied before turning away. "This might actually work."

"I think it just might," he said.

"What is going on here?" Egwene's voice came from behind them.

Elayne spun round and glared at Egwene. "We are talking," Elayne said sharply.

Egwene's eyes widened. "I'm sorry, my Lady. I wasn't thinking and my words were directed at the fool beside you."

"Good morning, Egwene. I hope you slept well," Rand said.

She shot him a hard look. "I want answers, Rand."

He shrugged and replied. "Egwene, this is my wife, Elayne Mantear Daughter Heir and future Queen of Andor."

"Honestly, Rand, can't you be serious for once in your life?" Egwene huffed.

"He's not lying, Egwene," Elayne said moving to take hold of Rand's hand. Her skin felt soft against his callused hands. "We were married when he was in Caemlyn."

Egwene alternated between staring at Rand and then Elayne. Finally she burst out laughing and walked away. "When you decided to grow up, come talk to me."

Rand did not think on Egwene for much longer. Instead he focused on Elayne's hand still in his. She made to move, but he held on. "Don't go… it's nice."

She relaxed. "It is rather nice to be close to you." They stood for a few minutes in silence. Both equally unsure of what to say or do. "So you are ta'veren?" she broke the silence.

"Yes," he replied.

She shook her head. "I never thought I'd get myself wrapped up in the tangles of a ta'veren."

"I wish I weren't one," he sighed. She gave him an almost hurt look. "I mean, I like you, but my life has been so peaceful. Now within a month I've almost been killed countless times."

He wanted to say more, but what could he say. How do you tell someone you like, care for, that you are the Dragon Reborn and a man destined to destroy the world.

Moiraine came striding serenely towards them. "Elayne, Rand," she greeted with a slight curtsy to each. "We need to talk, Rand."

"Elayne can remain." The Aes Sedai gave him a level look. "She is my wife, Moiraine." Her gaze grew colder, but Rand did not back down.

She sniffed lightly then nodded. "Loial arrived last night."

"What is the ogier doing here?" Rand questioned while looking towards the tents.

Moiraine glanced at Elayne before talking again. "I had Bawyn send for him. We need him Rand. We need to get to the Eye." Rand tensed and he had to will his grip to loosen around Elayne's hand. "Loial has agreed to guide us through the Ways."

"The Ways," Rand said slowly as he tried to remember something his mother told him once. "Aren't they tainted passageways that were once tended by the ogier?"

Elayne's eyes grew wide. "People who enter come out mad. Moiraine, you can't be serious."

The Aes Sedai's eye hinted at nothing. "I am very serious, Elayne. Otherwise I would not have sent for Loial." She stared up at Rand. "He tells me there is a Waygate just inside the forest."

"Where are we going then?"

"The Borderlands. The Eye of the World lies within the Blight."

"Light, Moiraine!" Rand said through clenched teeth. "If I did not know you better I would be sure that you were trying to kill me." His hand ran through his hair nervously. "Even now I'm not so sure."

The edges of her lips quirked into a hint of a smile. "I doubt I could kill you even if I tried."

"Rand, you can't be considering this!" Elayne burst out. "What by the Light makes you even think of going to the Blight through the Ways?"

"It's complicated, Elayne…" he got no more out.

"Complicated! What was all this about trying, Rand? What are you hiding from me now?" He grimaced. Her eyes showed nothing but hurt.

"I…" he stumbled. "Elay…"

"Forget it, Rand!" she shouted. "Light and I thought we were beginning to be honest with each other."

She threw down his hand, which she was holding, and sent a withering stare at Moiraine which would have humbled most kings before stomping back towards the camp. Rand felt a bubbling frustration build within him. The only relief came from pressing his palm against his forehead.

"The women never wanted to join with me," the voice groaned in his head. Not just any voice, Lews Therin Thelamon, the Dragon. A man who it is rumoured killed his entire family and created Dragonmount with his last breaths. "I begged them, but the women abandoned us to seal the Bore ourselves."

"Be still!" Rand groaned aloud.

"They betrayed me," Lews continued to wail in the background. "The taint, the backlash. They betrayed us." Then he cried out and the sorrow flooded into Rand. "I killed Illyena!" He could feel every ounce of the man's loss and pain and it shook him.

"Leave me alone," Rand cried out when he could no longer take the pain and then the voice was silent.

His head throbbed painfully and when his eyes opened, he found Moiraine's hands cupping his cheeks as she studied him with concerned dark eyes. "Rand?" she whispered. No more needed to be said, but she wanted to ask if the taint had already gotten hold of him.

He brushed her hand away roughly. "I'm fine," he said loudly as he half walked, half stumbled away. The taint had not gotten to him yet, had it? As he moved away he could not help but remember the fear in her eyes.

/**/

Egwene watched as Rand strode away weakly from Moiraine. She did not care too much about him at the moment. She wanted to talk with Moiraine. Lifting her skirt she hurried over the grass towards the Aes Sedai.

"Yes, child," Moiraine said when Egwene was still a few feet away. The Aes Sedai did not turn to face Egwene. Instead her gaze lingered on an unseen object far away.

"Morning, Aes Sedai," Egwene tried to sound respectful and patient, but all the unanswered questions were working on her nerves. "What is going on between Rand and Elayne? He only jokes by telling me that they are married."

"They are, Egwene," Moiraine answered and Egwene felt her mouth hang loosely for a moment. "Rand is the son of Tigraine Mantear and he is the heir to the House. He and Elayne were married yesterday evening."

"He's a Lord?" she said in exasperation.

"Yes and at the moment the most powerful man in all of Andor." Moiraine smiled indulgently when she finally glanced at Egwene. "So I would advise staying on his good side for now."

"But, his mother is Elayne…"

Moiraine shook her head fractionally. "Elayne is Tigraine, child."

Egwene felt her anger begin to simmer at being called child for the second time. She had not time to say or ask more as Moiraine made to leave.

"I have arrangements to make. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the journey to the White Tower, Egwene."

With the words out of her mouth the Aes Sedai disappeared leaving a very angry and even more confused Egwene behind.

/**/

Elayne was still furious at Rand even though he was hours behind them with Moiraine, Galad, Lan, Loial and the other two boys from Emond's Field.

She and her escort, Captain Bawyn together with Lieutenant Henren and the remaining soldiers from House Mantear, were already through the forest and back on the open road leading northwards to Tar Valon. Despite the near direct route to the city it would still be a few days ride. The worst being that she would not be able to speak to Rand like she'd wanted to. This made her even angrier at him and Moiraine.

Egwene rode beside Elayne and appeared almost as upset about something. Elayne could not help but feel worried about Rand. What if what Moiraine had said was the truth? Would she really take Rand and Galad through the Ways to the Borderlands before leading them into the Blight?

The rising panic in her chest forced her to talk. "What do you know about Rand?" Elayne asked Egwene finally. They had not said a word to each other all morning.

Egwene ground her teeth for a few moments before letting out a tired sigh. "I'm not sure what I know about him anymore. Light! I grew up with the boy and now he is someone different."

Elayne faced forwards as she rode. "I still find it hard to believe that he never knew who he was."

Egwene let out a strange chuckle. "Trust me, it's even stranger from my side."

"How so?" Elayne asked.

"I can still see Rand working on Tam's farm, covered in sweat and mud. I had thought I would marry him then." She blushed looking at Elayne. "And now he is a lord and married to you, the Daughter Heir of Andor. He is wearing fine jackets with golden and silver threads."

Elayne continued to listen. Some of her anger against Rand dissipated. How could she like and yet hate a man so thoroughly? And now she would not be seeing him for what could be months or even years.

"I was so hasty in being angry with him this morning." Elayne interjected Egwene, but she was not really talking to the girl. "Light, no wonder he said it's complicated." She paused for a few breaths. "His whole life was thrown upside down within the space of a single day and there I am demanding answers he probably hasn't figured out himself."

Egwene shook her head. "What was all this talk of the Eye and the Ways?" she asked. "I'm not sure I garnered a tenth of what they were mumbling about."

Elayne knew little more herself. "I've only heard of the Eye. Elaida mentioned it being some myth associated with the Green Man. No one really knows what it is. The Ways…" she shivered at the mere thought of what it entailed. "I'm sorry, Egwene. I'd rather not say what I know about it. Just ask the Creator to shelter them."

Egwene scowled at Elayne and it appeared for a moment as if she was going to ask more. In the end she only said, "I hope the White Tower will be nice."

Elayne jumped on the opportunity to change the subject. "The White Tower…"

/**/

Rand watched as the large column of soldiers disappeared into the forest. "Will they be safe?" he asked.

"Yes," Lan replied. "I cannot sense shadowspawn for leagues in any direction." Rand could see in the Warder's gaze that he also implied that darkfriends were only after him, not them.

"So we killed them all last night?" Mat asked in a hoarse voice. Lan nodded. "Thank the bloody Light!"

Rand shot a hard look at Mat. "Come on, Rand, I'm aloud a crude tongue a times." Rand merely shook his head and walked away to join Loial. He had not seen him all morning.

"Loial," Rand said with a smile. "It's good to see you again, ogier."

"And you, Rand," the ogier bellowed with his deep voice. "I had thought I would miss out on writing about the adventures of a ta'veren. But all this haste, Rand, is it necessary?" The ogier's ears twitched. "I think we should sit down and talk this through."

Rand tried to laugh. He found the emotion more difficult to release with each passing day. "If you stay with us, you might get more than a tale about a ta'veren."

"Are there more than one of you?" Loial asked with sudden excitement. "I'm not sure if I have enough ink and parchment for a story of more than one." He began to search furiously in his bag.

Rand smiled. "I'm sure we can find you more supplies once we get to Fal Dara." He frowned while thinking. "I think that is the place Moiraine mentioned.

"Yes, that would be the place," Loial murmured still busy counting his ink jars and papers. "The Green Man is rumoured to be around those parts. It has been so many years since even an ogier has gone to visit him." Loial's ears drooped making him appear very sad.

"Green Man?" Rand questioned tentatively.

Moiraine decided it was time to leave and her sharps words cut-off any reply the ogier would've been able to make. Rand mounted his horse and found Galad already seated on his beside him.

"Morning, brother," he said. "I hope you slept well last night?"

"I slept, if that is what you meant," Rand replied. Beneath his riding glove he could feel the Heron burning into his skin despite Moiraine's attempts at healing it.

"I'm surprised you got that much considering." Galad did not need to say more.

"I think I was too tired last night after the battle and the healing," Rand replied. "Tonight might be another matter entirely."

"I hope you find comfort in your dreams," Galad whispered, his dark eyes filled with understanding.

"So where are we going?" Mat asked Moiraine loudly. "And why couldn't we go with Egwene. Not that I'm complaining. Any place where there are fewer Ae…" he cut off his own words. "Well I would like to see some of the world before an Aes Sedai locks me in some bloody Tower."

Moiraine smiled indulgently at him. "You have such a way with words, Matrim."

Mat returned the same look and added a bow. "I try to please."

Moiraine's cheeks twitched as she suppressed a smile. Then she spurred her horse into motion. It did not take long for them to approach a strange object in the forest. Almost like a gate, but it looked like trees covering the entrance.

"This is it, Aes Sedai," Loial said in a rumbling voice. He stepped of his horse as he was not that much smaller. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"We have little choice, Loial," Moiraine answered. "We need to get there as quickly as possible." Beside her, Lan was looking none too pleased. Then again he never looked happy.

The ogier's ears twitched nervously. "This is all very hasty," he mumbled, but he did go to stand before the gateway. With care his large hands' moved across the surface. For short moments his hands would pause over various leaves. Then he stopped and removed one.

Rand watched in fascination as the leaves came to life and moved aside to reveal a grey murky reflection. Almost like the surface of a pond and yet different.

Lan, after a nod from Moiraine, led his horse in first. Rand followed closely behind. His body turned to ice as soon as he touched the surface. The feeling spread as the horse kept walking. Then he was inside. It was darker than the darkest night. If it had not been for the lantern on Lan's horse he would not have seen the Warder in the distance. If it were not for his own, Rand would have thought himself dead. Looking back, everyone outside shimmered and seemed to move in slow motion as they came towards the surface.

Perrin, Mat and Galad came next. The Aes Sedai and Loial came last and then he closed the waygate sealing away the few rays of light it offered. A shiver ran up his spine and Moiraine tensed beside him.

Her lantern, held firmly in her hand, illuminated twin dark eyes that were wide and disturbed. "We best get moving, Loial. I think even an ogier would agree that now is a time for haste."

"Most assuredly, Aes Sedai," Loial replied with an unnatural quiver in his voice. "I think that I do not like this place." Rand could not agree more.

What followed was two days travelling in inky blackness while crossing narrow bridges with falls into a seemingly endless abyss. Even if there were nothing evil lurking within the Ways, just spending time in the place would be enough to turn most men mad within a few days. Thankfully Loial was even more eager than them to leave and so he set a hard pace through the never ending maze of paths.

In the darkness none of them felt like speaking and when they stopped for the night they ate quickly and tried to fall asleep. It was an effort in futility. The time spent in the Ways was not pleasant on anyone. Eventually, however, Loial announced that they had reached the end of their journey.

Outside the Ways Rand took a deep breath. Galad looked paler than Mat and Perrin. Moiraine did as well for an Aes Sedai and Rand wandered if the taint within the Ways affected those who could channel more strongly than those who could not.

Only after they were all outside and the Waygate closed did Moiraine speak. "It is about a day's ride to Fal Dara where we'll rest for the night before riding into the Blight."

Lan came to stand beside her. Even he looked a bit shaken from the trip. As much as rock could look unsettled that is. "We should set camp for the evening. There is not much light left for traveling."

Moiraine made no reply, but Lan took her silence as agreement. They rode for about an hour until they found a suitable place to make camp.

Sitting beside the fire, Mat and Perrin finally managed the courage to begin asking questions. Rand had been worried about them, but they had all been rather silent within the Ways. The darkness darkened their moods and thoughts. Rand for one had not slept peacefully since entering the Ways.

As they sat warming by the fire, Rand began to notice the quick stares and questioning looks between Mat and Perrin. They wanted some answers.

"What was all that about in the camp?" Perrin began. "The soldiers treating you like some lord."

Mat glanced at Galad. "And what about Galad's sister? She seemed rather interested in you."

Rand winced slightly at the mention of her name. He had been trying hard to not let his mind ponder her. She was an enigma, and strangely one that hurt. "Mat, Perrin." He sighed. "You know my mother, Elayne."

They nodded in unison. "What about her?" Mat asked.

"Her name is not Elayne al'Thor." They looked at him with interested eyes. "She is Tigraine Mantear the previous Daughter Heir of Andor."

Mat began to laugh. "Light, Rand! You know how to make up a good story." He kept laughing, but Perrin sat motionless as his mind analysed what Rand had said. "Next…" his laughter died down abruptly when he noticed no mirth coming from Rand.

"It's the truth," Galad spoke up to break the silence. "Rand is my half-brother."

"Blood and ashes!" Mat cried out jumping to his feet. "No, you are a farmer from the Two Rivers, Rand!"

"I am the same man you grew up with, Mat," Rand said softly. "I just happen to have a rich and powerful mother."

"So you really are some Lord then," Perrin stated.

Rand nodded as Loial came to sit by them. The group fell into an uncomfortable silence as they all sat staring at the flames as the rose up into the air.

Rand could not help but slip into the void as he stared unblinkingly into the flames. Saidin came easily something it had not done an hour earlier. With reckless abandon he channelled small flows of what he thought to be fire into the flames. The fire roared to life for a few brief moments. Rand let go of the flows as quickly as he had begun. With the pureness of saidin gone, he was left with only the bitter after taste of the taint.

Mat, Perrin and the ogier nearly toppled over backwards at the sudden flames. Galad alone sat unflinching. For the briefest of moments Rand had felt something radiating from Galad. It was similar, but not as strong as during the battle a few days ago. The man had touched saidin as well and had probably seen the various flows.

Galad turned his dark eyes to Rand. They said nothing, but both knew what the other was thinking. Saidin touched them and the taint would kill them. It was not a comforting thought.

A few moments later Moiraine appeared. "Would you care to join me, Rand?" It was not a question, but a simple demand.

He got to his feet and followed her away from the camp fire. "Was that you or Galad who meddled with the fire?"

"I did," Rand replied with a shrug. "Fire seems to come naturally to me."

"You must be careful and must always remember to surrender to saidin."

Rand let out a hoarse laugh. "Surrender?"

"Yes, Rand," she began in a lecturing tone. "Saidin is a calm, but powerful river and you are the bank which must guide it while keeping calm."

Rand eyed her shrewdly. "That is why Aes Sedai always appear so calm and serene. It is how you must train your mind and bodies to control saidar." She looked slightly uncomfortable, but gave a quick nod. Rand shook his head laughing. "No wonder a woman cannot teach a man to channel."

"And why is that?" she asked.

"Saidin," he began emphasising the name and in so also highlighting that it was not saidar. "Is a force like a crumbling mountain of ice and fire." His voice grew hard. "It is an unruly force that must be controlled and bent towards your will." Then his voice fell into a whisper. "Lose control over it and saidin would crush you in an instant."

Her eyes looked at him considering. "So they really are as different as the say."

"I would not know, but saidin is nothing like the calm river you spoke of."

She nodded thoughtfully. "Whatever saidin is or isn't, be careful, Rand."

"I will try to be." He took a deep breath. "But I must learn to control it if I'm to survive Tarmon Gaidon."

She glanced away in thought. "What is the taint like?"

Rand grimaced. "It is almost like a sickly layer of filth lying on top of saidin, which is pure and life giving. I can feel it touch me when I embrace the source."

Moiraine nodded. "I think that is what I felt when I tried to touch saidar in the Ways." He noticed a very faint shudder run through her body. "Be careful." Then she walked away towards Lan.

Walking back to the camp he found that they had all gone to sleep, including Galad. The lack of sleep in the Ways had exhausted them all. Unrolling his own blanket, Rand tried to find peace in his dreams.

/**/

The sun was beginning to descend when the towers of Tar Valon appeared on the distant horizon. Egwene, who had been growing steadily more impatient, was practically bouncing on her seat in anticipation.

Nynaeve rode in silence as always. Nothing seemed to be troubling the woman at the moment and Elayne had to wonder what kept her mind so occupied.

With Egwene and Nynaeve around her the guards kept their distance. Bawyn and Henren rode at the front of the column and did not seem to have any time for her. Scouts had been riding ahead and behind them throughout each day with one returning routinely only to be replaced by a fresh rider.

At least the Tower was in sight now. Their journey was almost at an end and then her real training could begin. Within those white walls before her she would become an Aes Sedai.

A few hours later they crossed one of the immense bridges that led onto the island of Tar Valon. Only Bawyn crossed the bridge with them. Tar Valon's army would not look kindly upon a foreign group of armed men within their walls.

They made their way slowly through the wide but crowded streets until they reached the inner wall which was the White Tower. People did not come this close to the gate.

Dismounting, they waited for an Aes Sedai. Eventually a serene looking woman approached. "What do be your business?" the woman asked in a heavy accent.

"I am Elayne… Mantear Daughter Heir of Andor and I've come to be enrol as a Novice."

The woman glanced about. "Where do be Elaida Sedai?"

"I was escorted by my husband's guards, Aes Sedai. Elaida Sedai will be traveling to Tar Valon within the next few days." Elayne tried to sound as respectful as possible.

"And the girls?" she asked while looking at Egwene.

"I am Egwene al'Vera," she said with a curtsy. "I too have come to be a Novice."

The Aes Sedai nodded and then her gaze fell on Nynaeve and her eyes widened fractionally. "And you child? A strong woman you do be."

Nynaeve tried her best to remain calm from what Elayne saw. "I am Nynaeve al'Meara, Aes Sedai." Nynaeve fumbled in the pouch she held in her hand. "I have a letter from Moiraine Sedai. She told me to give it to the Mistress of Novices."

"Very well," the woman said finally. "I will take you to Sheriam Sedai, the Mistress of Novices."

She turned and strode away. Elayne, however, walked to where Bawyn stood at attention. "Thank you for escorting us, Captain."

"It was an honour, my Lady," he replied stiffly.

"Do you have orders or are you to return to Caemlyn?"

"I am to ride to Fal Dara, my Lady," he answered.

"Then may the Light go with you and your men," Elayne said. "Good bye."

Bawyn saluted and then rode off into the crowded city.

Elayne only watched for a few moments before she hurried off with the Aes Sedai.

Wide columned passageways led into broad staircases and soon Elayne was lost within the confusing maze that was the White Tower.

"This do be the Novice Wing," the Aes Sedai said sharply before knocking on a door. A motherly voice told them to enter.

The three of them entered quietly. The Aes Sedai before them held a warm smile and tilted green eyes that were framed by fiery red hair. "I am Sheriam Sedai, the Mistress of Novices as you have no doubt heard." Elayne dropped a quick curtsy and the other two followed. "I hear congratulations are in order, child"

"I… thank you, Aes Sedai" she managed to say. "The marriage was a bit hasty, but in the end it will serve Caemlyn well."

"Yes, a union between Trakand and Mantear has always been viewed as an alliance that would end much of Andor's rivalries."

"Yes, Aes Sedai," Elayne replied.

The Aes Sedai turned to Egwene and Nynaeve who quickly introduces themselves. When they were done Nynaeve hastily handed Moiraine's sealed letter to Sheriam. The Aes Sedai sat back down calmly behind her desk and read the letter.

"You are an interesting case, Nynaeve. Too old to be a Novice."

"I can learn just as well as any of these girls," she snapped. "I am not too old to become an Aes Sedai." Sheriam showed the briefest hint of surprise and even then Elayne barely noticed.

"Yes," the Aes Sedai said serenely as ever. "I see what Moiraine meant in her letter." She stood calmly and said. "Well I'll have a Novice show you to your rooms. Nynaeve you are to stay here with me."

The former Wisdom tugged at her long braid slightly. Her face was red, but she did not say anything.

Abbaaddon
02-01-2012, 07:35 AM
I only have to questions and one reproach :
Why pathetic ? You're doing great !
Where is the rest of the story ? =)
It's bloody outrageous to let people in this state. I wanna know what's coming next =D
Keep going, seriousely you're doing a hell of a job here

Abbaaddon
02-01-2012, 07:35 AM
*Two questions, sorry for the double post

Figbiscuit
02-08-2012, 03:24 PM
I agree that it is certainly not pathetic. You have an interesting take on the story, fancy Rand just finding everything out, just like that!! And no pages and pages of description, and Lan and Nyneave kissing in the first book! ;)

I'm worried that the lack of feedback has deterred you from posting more, but please note you now have at least two people who would be interested in knowing where you're going to take this :)

final death
02-13-2012, 10:59 PM
It is unlikely you will read this but your fanfic is awesome and i wish you would continue because for one thing i greatly enjoyed each chapter of a different wheel. For another i was totally prepared for chapter 11 but then i looked at when you wrote chapter 10 and then it hit me you probably weren't going to finish this. I yelled NO really loudly for like 5 minutes and then sulked for another 30 and then tried to convince myself i would continue it if you wouldn't. well i hope you read this and realize that if 3 have spoken its likely dozens if not hundreds have not. Also i'm mostly a lurker who never logs in.

st122
02-14-2012, 12:28 AM
Thanks for the comments. I've been busy and theoryland sort of got lost in the middle of it all.

I'll post the next chapter today and more quickly thereafter. I've got up to chapter 16

final death
02-14-2012, 12:36 AM
Thanks so much i just cried tears of joy. Also another great thing about your fanfic is for some reason it doesn't make me sick up like most fanfics do. I don't know why it doesn't or why others do but it doesn't matter.:D Also your Elayne Rand relationship makes like 300X more sense than the books.