The boat ride from Aringill to Tear had gone without incident thus far, much to the benefit of Rand’s shoulder wound. Rand spent most of the trip practicing the forms with Lan using his good arm and discussing with Moraine the prophecies of the Dragon. This was of great comfort to Rand. Hearing the full prophecies, and the related prophecies by the Aiel and Sea Folk, Rand felt positive that he was correct. The herons on his palms were coincidence, nothing more. He couldn’t be the Dragon reborn. After all, “chains the Shadowsworn to his will?” Rand was exceptionally skilled with the sword, and he could use Saidar somewhat effectively, but a Forsaken? That was suicide.
Rand was now on his way to the room Moraine occupied with Lan, although the warder hadn’t been seen for the majority of the trip. Rand knocked lightly on the door and waited to be called in. After several minutes of waiting, Rand called, “Moraine?” No answer came, “Moraine, are you in there?” Still, there was no answer. Warily, Rand drew his sword and slid into the room. There was a woman there, and it was not Moraine. She was tall, with pale skin, but dark hair and eyes. Even in his current situation, her beauty awed Rand, at least until she threw a web of air meant to bind him. In the space between heartbeats, Rand’s sword was at her throat. The woman, in shock, released the power, and Rand used the Power of her air web to weave a shield. “If you move, or touch that shield, I will kill you,” Rand’s voice was like ice, and the woman nodded. “Who are you?” The woman seemed to consider Rand’s question for a moment before responding, “I am Lanfear.” Rand almost killed her then and there. The forsaken looked Rand in the eye, and he was surprised at what he saw there. He saw fear, of the blade, no doubt, anger, at her situation, and most strangely, love. “Why are you here?” Rand’s voice was shaking now; he was far from his league of things. “I came for you, Lews Therin. I came to- ” “Rand.” “I’m sorry?” “My name is Rand. I am not the Dragon, or the Dragon reborn. I can’t be. I was gentled.” Rand thought he saw a flash of pity in Lanfear’s eyes, then more anger. “Don’t lie to me, Kinslayer! You shielded me! You can channel!” A smirk appeared on Rand’s face, “I never said I couldn’t.” Lanfear look confused, but Rand had no intention of elaborating. “Where are my companions?” “I put them to sleep Lews Th- Rand. I thought you might want to keep them.” Rand let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and removed the sword and the shield, “Leave, Lanfear. I don’t want to have a murder on my hands, even yours.” There was a flash of light behind the Forsaken and a portal opened. With one last glance at Rand, she stepped through and closed it.
Rand immediately left for his own room where he felt the shock of what had happened wash over him. He had not only stood before a forsaken, but he had threatened one of them, and then proceeded to have a perfectly normal conversation whilst holding her under a paper thin shield of Saidar and at the point of his sword. It was insane! While he was raised by Aes Sedai, and thus knew the Forsaken were real, never in his wildest dreams had Rand imagined seeing one, much less talking to one. Worse yet, what was he going to tell Moraine and Lan? Would it be safer for them not to know?
In the end, Rand decided to keep silent about his encounter with Lanfear, although on the inside he was in turmoil. Why had she called him Lews Therin, and if she was correct, why had she left him here? With these thought in mind, Rand fell back to his normal routine of sparring with Lan and intellectual discussions with Moraine regarding the prophecies of the Dragon and what the individual lines could mean. The closer they got to Tear, the more anxious Rand became. He knew what the ter’angreal of the Aelfin was, and dreaded the answers even as he wished to hear them. Finally, after seven days of traveling, the boat arrived in Tear.
The trio disembarked from their chartered boat and set out for the inn they would be staying at. Once two rooms had been purchased, Moraine called Rand to meet in her room. “How do you intend to reach the ter’angreal, Rand?” Rand blinked once, twice, and a third time before responding, “How do I plan on reaching it? I was under the impression that I was guarding you on this trip.” Moraine did not look amused, “this is important, Rand. I know that you’ve figured out our reason for being here, and, being the intelligent person you are, you’ve planned a way into the basement.” Rand conceded the point, admitting that he did have a plan, but maintained that he didn’t want to get Moraine involved.
Six hours later, only minutes before changing of watches on the Stone’s upper battlements, Rand could be found hopping from rooftop to rooftop towards the Stone. As Rand neared the great structure, his danger sense told him to duck. With a mental shrug, figuring that it hadn’t given him poor instructions in the past, Rand dropped into a roll and came up on his feet a few feet away, just in time to see a spear pass through the air where his head had been. Rand’s sword came out and deflected the next spear to his right, even as he leapt out of the way of another spear. The spear throwers seemed to notice that this wasn’t working, and so they ran towards Rand across the roof. As they neared him, Rand weighed his chances. There were ten of them, and they were Aiel. Cursing his luck, Rand grasped hold of the Saidar he had asked Moraine to use on him earlier, without explanation. The Aiel rushed him as a cohesive unit, much more skilled than the whitecloaks Rand had fought in Caemlyn. When they were all within eight feet of him, Rand released some of the Saidar in a wall of air moving outwards at head level. The ten Aiel went down immediately, and Rand used some of his knowledge of the Aiel to capitalize on the opportunity. Rand called another wall of air, this time behind him, to swiftly propel him into a grouping of three Aiel trying to rise. Rand tapped each of them on the shoulder with his sword. Rand was, apparently, wrong. One of the warriors he had touched thrust out with his spear and Rand was forced to abandon all plans of attack to keep himself from being impaled. Instead, he received only a light scratch across his stomach, the pain unnoticeable within Rand’s constant Void. Rand struggled to get a defensive rhythm now, with the ten Aiel attacking him in unison. Suddenly, Rand noticed a hole in the combined defense, and he took it. Rand’s power-wrought sword sliced easily through the muscle in one of the warrior’s wrist, causing them to drop their spear and release a surprisingly feminine cry.
Rand’s morals battled within him. He had been fighting women! Seeing their opponent distracted, said women wasted no time attacking. Rand felt the metal point of a spear enter his body, tearing through his stomach lining and out through the skin of his back. Rand looked into the soft blue eyes of the woman who held the spear, barely visible behind her veil, and choked one word around the blood that filled his mouth, “S..s...or...rr...ry.” Then, harnessing all of the Saidar that remained within him, Rand used one weave that even the battle Ajah had been hesitant to teach him.
Moraine was staring out the window of her room, waiting for Rand to return from Tear, when the night seemed to become day for a brief instant, with the sun centered on one of the rooftops near the Stone. Even almost a mile away, Moraine felt a large amount of Saidar coming from it. As realization dawned on her she spoke one word, “Balefire.”