Rand had tears streaming down his face, both from the memory of the stomach wound and what he had done to that nameless woman, as he continued to fight. Rand could tell that he stood no chance of surviving this fight much longer. His only hope was that Tarien guards would come to investigate the light, or Moraine would sense the amount he had channeled. Light, if she knew it was Balefire, she would probably come running. He could only hope, and keep fighting. For what seemed like hours, but was more probably only a few minutes, Rand continued to use the whole of his ability to avoid receiving more than the occasional scratch. Suddenly, Rand felt Saidar being woven, Much more than he had felt before, excepting Balefire. Out of the corner of his eye, Rand caught a flash of blue light, and then he felt more Saidar. Almost imperceptible flows of water hit each of the Aiel, and they all fell, while flows of earth and water sank into the roof tiles around Rand and caused them to form into a mound of pottery clay around him. Rand smiled inwardly as the Saidar began leaching into him from the tiles, but them he felt a flow of fire, and the flows were released as the tiles melted together into a more permanent prison. Rand to turn his head to see his assailant, but she (unless another male could wield Saidar) was out of his range of vision. Rand prayed to the Light that Moraine was trying to teach him some sort of lesson, but the next words he heard dashed his irrational hopes. “Are you trying to die, Lews Therin?”
“Are you trying to die, Lews Therin?” Lanfear’s voice was cold as she spoke, “I suppose you never thought that there were ways to kill someone without using brute strength,” she lectured, “Take those Aiel women, for example. I used very minor threads of water to saturate their blood, causing the vessels to explode and kill them.” Rand was at the same time horrified and intrigued. He had never thought of using water that way. Lanfear continued her lecture, “Did you even stop to wonder if a Chosen was nearby? Ishamael is scouring the world to find you, I believe he’s in Caemlyn, currently. What about Aginor, or Balthamel? Both of them are within miles of Tear, and had they not know I was here, they would be drawn to this like moths to a flame. You can’t fight them, Lews Therin. Not yet.” She took her first breath in the lecture, “So I ask third time: Are you trying to die, Lews Therin?”
It took Rand almost twenty seconds more to absorb Lanfear’s rant, “No. But I would have,” he hesitated, “Thank you, Lanfear.” If the situation hadn’t been so dire, Rand would have laughed at the absurdity of what was occurring; he was thanking one of the Forsaken, the Daughter of Night, because she had rescued him, because he was supposed to be the reincarnation of her long-lost love. “Don’t expect it will happen again, Lews Therin. I won’t always be in a position to help you.” Something in Rand’s head finally snapped after Lanfear’s most recent statement, ‘Blood and Ashes, if I’m going to converse with fallen Aes Sedai on a regular basis, I may as well get used to it.’ That thought finished, Rand’s demeanor changed to that of someone making casual conversation, “I know you can’t always be around, but I honestly didn’t expect help from you, not to say it isn’t appreciated.” She seemed shocked by his change in tone, ‘may as well press on now,’ he thought dejectedly, “It’s just that ever since Caemlyn I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by what’s happening, especially the meetings with you. I was trained by the Aes Sedai, yes, but breaking into the Stone wasn’t on the syllabus.” ‘There,’ Rand thought, ‘now I just wait for her to crush me into an unrecognizable blob.’ Much to Rand’s shock (but not dismay) Lanfear made no move to kill him. Instead, she released his prison and stepped in front of him, “I have offered to teach you, Lews Therin. Considering your condition, wouldn’t it be prudent for you to ally yourself with a powerful wielder of Saidar?” Rand considered her proposal, he really did, but he couldn’t help but feel somehow wrong about it. “ I can’t.” Her face began to contort with rage, so Rand quickly amended his statement, “I’m not ready. I don’t even know if I am the Dragon Reborn.” That seemed to placate her, “ Very well. I will be back, Lews Therin. But before I go I will do one thing for you,” an archway appeared next to Rand, “Go.” Rand stepped through the portal into a stone room housing a brilliant crystal sword.
“I’m telling you, Egwene, Perrin should be back by now. I’m starting to worry that something may have happened to him!” Mat moved again to block the village’s wisdom-in-training from continuing down the street. “Matrim Cauthon, there is absolutely no reason it should be my responsibility to watch him! He is an adult, you know!” Egwene finally succeeded in moving past Mat’s living roadblock and was hurrying down the street to make up for lost time. Mat followed dejectedly in her wake, few if any of his pleas reaching her ears.
Young-Bull-With-Flashing-Metal-Horn ran through the forest with his brothers and sisters. He belonged here, much more so than he ever had in the gathering place of the two-legs. He was glad his family had found him, taken him away from there, so he could run and hunt freely, as he was now. In a flurry of images from Light-Reflected-From-Dew-On-Spiders’-Webs told him what he needed to know. Their hunt was nearing an end. A final nip from Light-Reflected-From-Dew-On-Spiders’-Webs sent the deer under Young-Bull-With-Flashing-Metal-Horn’s tree, and he leaped down to land on top of it, snapping its back with his weight. This had become a favorite tactic for his family, as Young-Bull-With-Flashing-Metal-Horn was able to climb trees better than them for some inexplicable reason. He and Light-Reflected-From-Dew-On-Spiders’-Webs sent images to the rest of the family letting them know that the hunt had been successful, and where the food could be found. Young-Bull-With-Flashing-Metal-Horn waited until Leaps-Over-Rivers-To-Impress-Mates, the alpha, had finished his meal before tearing into his share, relishing the feeling of the still-warm, bloody meat sliding down his throat.