A ten-day later, Lan, Moraine, and Rand rode into the crowded city of Caemlyn, just in time to witness the parade of Logain’s prison cart. Rand instantly noticed that only three Aes Sedai held Logain’s shield, where Rand had received the full thirteen. Moraine told Rand that he was free to explore the town until the next morning. Rand simply nodded and walked off into the city. As Rand walked down the street next to a cliff-like wall, he heard a call from the crowd in front of him, “That boy came here with the witch! Get him!” Rand instantly assessed the situation. He counted five whitecloaks in front of him, three behind, and at least two more in the crowd. Rand’s decision: escape. As the whitecloaks began to push through the crowd, Rand leapt onto the cliff-wall and started to scale it. As Rand reached the top of the wall, the whitecloaks had arrived at the base and begun climbing up after him, while two stood with bows drawn. ‘Flaming blood and bloody ashes.’ TWANG! The arrows were fired in unison and Rand was barely able to avoid them by twisting his body in an amazing display of contortion. Unfortunately, in doing so, he fell. Rand’s training kicked in, causing him to roll as he hit the ground below. Instantly, he was on his feet with his blade in hand. Seconds later, eight whitecloaks followed him over the wall. Two died before they could get up. Another two died before their swords left their scabbards. Then there were four. The whitecloaks charged as one, but as Power-wrought blade hit cold steel, they did not fight as one. Rand moved like a whirlwind, so advanced in the art of the blade that the forms were indistinguishable, flowing into a single, deadly dance. Within thirty seconds, the four whitecloaks were dead, and the two bowmen that stood on the wall again drew back their bows for a shot at Rand. Improvising, Rand scooped up one of the dead men’s swords in each hand and hurled that at the bowmen. The whitecloaks fell, each beheaded by one of their companion’s swords, but not before one of them lodged an arrow in Rand’s left shoulder. Rand grimaced but began to climb back to the other side of the wall when he heard a voice behind him, “Light! What did you do?” Rand spun around, sword at the ready, but quickly sheathed it when he saw whom the voice belonged to.
Cursing his luck, Rand knelt before the daughter-heir of Andor. There was the sound of steel being drawn and one of the men, Galad, according to Rand’s reading, drew his sword, “Run, Elayne, this man is dangerous. Gawyn, get the guards.” Without waiting to see if his orders were bring obeyed (they weren’t), Galad stepped towards Rand and swung his sword. In a flash, Rand’s was on his feet and his heron-marked blade had intercepted that of his opponent. Before either could make another move, the daughter-heir’s shrill voice could be heard across the yard, “Stop it! Both of you, or burn me for a liar, I’ll set Gareth on you!” Rand cursed under his breath but sheathed the sword anyway, embracing some of Moraine’s residual Saidar as he did so. The heightened senses of Saidar only served to make the arrow in Rand’s shoulder throb painfully, but one of the things he had learned was to always be prepared. Rand’s decision proved useful only seconds later, when he heard the telltale sound of a bowstring hitting a wrist guard. Rand instinctively wove air into a minor gust that swept through the courtyard. It was enough to disrupt the arrow’s flight, sending it harmlessly into the ground, but not enough to be seen as more than luck. As the guard drew his bow again, Elayne leapt in front of Rand and spread her arms, confusing the poor guard. “Stop firing! This man is my guest!” To say that her statement surprised Rand would be akin to saying the Blight was unpleasant. He was even more surprised when the guard lowered his weapon and bowed to Elayne, “Very well, Milady, your mother wishes to speak with you immediately.” Elayne held her position, “He comes with me.” Galad, his sword still drawn, chose to re-enter the conversation then, “Elayne, this man is dangerous we cannot-” “Enough, Galad! This man is my guest, and has all the privileges entitled to a guest of the royal family.” Without another word, the daughter-heir of the Andoran throne grabbed a still-bleeding-from-the-arrow-lodged-in-his-arm Rand by his uninjured hand and dragged him towards the palace.
As the doors to the throne room opened to admit “Lady Elayne of Andor, Lord Galad of Andor, Lord Gawyn of Andor, and Rand Al’Thor of Tar Valon” Rand released what remained of the borrowed Saidar, figuring that it would not be strange for a queen to have an Aes Sedai advisor. When they had entered and Queen Morgase had bid them to rise, Rand was glad he had released the Power. Sitting next to the queen was one Aes Sedai that Rand would never be able to forget: Elaida Sedai, the woman who had found him to be a wielder of Saidin. Apparently, Elaida remembered him as well, “Rand Al’Thor... Still alive, I see.” “All thanks to you, Elaida Sedai,” Rand replied gratefully. Elaida was startled, something that happened very rarely, but how could she have predicted, even with her ability to foretell, that the man she had captured to be gentled would thank her for it? Elaida was brought back to the room when Morgase turned to her, “You know this man?” Elaida blinked several times, as if getting used to the sights of the room again, before responding, “We have met once before, when I took him to be gentled ten years ago.” “And eleven days.” Everyone looked to Rand, “I was gentled ten years and eleven days ago,” he elaborated. Galad’s hand went to his sword, “But you were gentled, you’re no danger any more?” Rand was about to reply in the affirmative when the stocky man, seemingly a guard captain, next to Morgase laughed, “No danger? That boy carries a heron-marked blade, the mark of a master of the blade. Of course he’s a danger.” Gawyn nodded, “I could see that from what he did to those whitecloaks in the yard.” The captain’s face hardened, “That was you, boy?” “Yes, sir.” ‘Word gets around quickly, here.’ Gareth nodded, “He’s no threat to us. Let him leave, I say.” There was a collective nod from the decision makers in the room, and Rand was escorted out of the palace.
An hour later, Rand met Moraine and Lan at the city gates. The look on his face clearly said that he didn’t want to talk about how his day went, so the rode from the city in silence, their next destination Aringill, where they would apparently take a boat to Tear. As they rode on, Rand changed the bandages on his hands and had to wonder at the irony of it all. A man marked by the twin herons of prophecy, headed to the home of the sword that cannot be touched, and the stone that would fall at the Dragon’s coming. But Rand knew he couldn’t be the Dragon reborn. After all, the Pattern wouldn’t allow the Dragon reborn to be gentled, would it? Rand shivered suddenly as he remembered on of Moraine’s favorite sayings, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.”