“Rand, wake up.” The six-year-old opened his eyes to see his father leaning over him. “Your mother and I have to go to the Tower today, to see if they can help her. I’ll give you some money. Just stay in the inn, alright?” Tam was not letting the Aes Sedai Near his son, especially seeing as his son was found on the slopes of the Dragonmount. Even still, he had to take his wife to get help. Fortunately, he thought at the time, Rand nodded his head. “Ok, I’ll stay here.” Tam sighed gratefully, handed Rand a whole silver mark so he could get food for the day, kissed his brow, and left the room.
Unfortunately, Rand was six years old, and like most six-year-olds had a tendency toward exploration. He had managed to remain in the inn for a full two hours, but no longer. He wandered the street, the silver mark flashing across his knuckles as he walked. A dexterous child at least, if not educated in the ways of the world. His education came too soon and too harshly. As Rand walked past an alley, an arm wrapped around his head, covering his mouth and muffling the resulting scream. The arm pulled Rand in to the alley, towards the most frightening man he’s ever seen. The hulking beast of a thing, smelling of waste and looking similar, held Rand to his front, ”I think you’ve got something of mine, boy. You know what I do to people that steal from me?” Rand had an idea of what. “Y..Y..ou c..c..c..an have it,” he sobbed, trying in vain to break free. The man cackled, “But then you’ll go and tell the guards about me. No. Sorry, kid.” Rand felt something sharp prick his back and time seemed to slow. The prickling place seemed to be tearing open, but Rand had already retreated to the void his father had taught him. He didn’t want to feel the pain of dying. But then something happened that never had in the void before. Rand felt a soft touch on his mind. The knife had penetrated almost a millimeter now, and Rand felt something else new. His veins flooded with liquid fire. His flesh crawled with pestilence. His would be murderer never screamed as he died, incinerated instantly by a pillar of flame that peaked over the tops of the buildings.
Rand’s body smirked. “Ninte calichniye no domashitsa, Tar Valon.” Rand’s body turned to the exit of the alley. People were gathering, trying to peer into the gloom for the cause of the flame. Water and air bent the light around Rand’s body, starting to blur its lines., when one face locked eyes with it from the crowd. “Aes Sedai” Rand’s body growled, a look of hatred appearing on its face that seemed out of place in a six-year old. One tiny hand began to rise.
Elaida Sedai sensed the danger not an instant too soon. Just as her hasty gust of wind finished pushing the crowd, including Elaida, to the ground, a bolt of lightning streaked through where her head had been. Instantly, all curiosity was stripped away. This was a male channeler. “Tia mi corenne moridin isainde vadin, Aes Sedai.” Elaida wasted no time in opening herself to as much Saidar as she could accept and throwing it at the boy in the form of a shield. She may as well have blocked the tide with a leaf. The boy responded with an assault of stones and boards, courtesy of the nearby buildings. Elaida dodged what she could, blocking what she couldn’t. Barely. The force the boy put behind the objects was immense. Elaida sent a weave of air and fire into the sky, a bright signal for help. A shield snapped between her and Saidar, and she knew despair.
Rand jolted awake in the bed the High Lords had supplied him with. He hadn’t had that dream since before he started training as a blade master. Maybe it was all the forsaken popping out of the woodwork. He’d told Moiraine about his fight with Ishamael in excruciating detail, including his unique condition. He’d survived the preliminary round of Tarian politics. That was probably the cause of the nightmares. The forsaken should just send nobility after him. Even years of diplomacy training with Aes Sedai hadn’t prepared him for that. And hadn’t Lanfear said Ishamael was in Caemlyn? “Do you accept who you are now, Lews Therin?” Speak of the devil, literally. “Lanfear. You saved my life again.” Rand, oddly enough, felt almost at ease conversing with the Forsaken. “Have you considered my offer, Lews Therin?” well, she was feeling abrupt today. Rand was slightly more cautious “I just fought Ishamael, which I wasn’t nearly ready for. Then I negotiated with the Tarians. Then I went to sleep. I really did mean to consider it, but I haven’t had time. I’m sorry.” Lanfear pouted slightly. “Think now, then. Will you let me help you, Lews Therin?” Rand was silent for a moment. Was he really considering accepting help from the daughter of night? “I would like that, Lanfear.” He was. He did. Lanfear actually seemed surprised by this. Maybe she was expecting him to hesitate more. Now that he considered it, he probably should have. She recovered quickly, “Ver-“ “But,” Rand interjected, remembering who he was talking to, “I will not serve the shadow, Lanfear. No matter what.” It was true, even weaving through thirteen Myrddraal, since it used the power, could not turn him. Lanfear looked horrified, “Serve, Lews Therin? Together, we can rule.” Rand was not entirely sure he wanted to rule, but he supposed he already was. He may as well do it with a powerful wielder of Saidar by his side. Now he just had to wonder, “I can’t come out with a Forsaken yet, not just after taking the mantle of Dragon. Is there some alias you can use?” Lanfear looked pensive for a moment, then Rand felt a slight trickle of Saidar, and Lanfear changed. She still looked similar – dark hair and eyes, slender – but she wasn’t Lanfear anymore. The unearthly beauty was gone, and Rand noticed himself feeling almost saddened by that fact. “You may call me Selene, Lews Therin.” Rand nodded, “You’ll have to call me Rand.”