Jubilation as Suggs gets a Knighthood

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datatime: 2022-10-03 09:18:51 Author:ChsQORMo

Why had Lews Therin tried to take him over? To make him into Lews Therin. He was sure that was who that dark-eyed man with the suffering face had been. Why now? Because he could in this place, whatever it was? Wait. It had been Lews Therin who shouted that adamant "no." Not an attack by Lews Therin. By Rahvin, and not using the Power. If the man had been able to do this back in Caemlyn, the real Caemlyn, he would have. It had to be some ability he had gained here. And if Rahvin had gained it, perhaps he had too. The image of himself had been what held him, brought him back.

"Please." Moghedien caught at Nynaeve's skirt. "I tell you, we must get away." Stark panic made her voice painful. Moghedien's clawing terror mirrored itself on her face. "They are here in the flesh. The flesh"

He fought to picture himself in his own mind, struggled to make the image of what he saw in the mirror every day shaving, what he saw in a stand-mirror dressing. It was a frantic fight. He had never really looked at himself. The two images waxed and waned, the older dark-eyed man and the younger with blue-gray eyes. Slowly the younger image firmed, the older faded. Slowly his arm grew more solid. His arm, with the Dragon twined around it and the heron branded into his palm. There had been times he hated those marks, but now, even enclosed within the emotionless Void, he almost grinned to see them.

No It was not his thought. An image began to coalesce. A tall, dark-eyed man with a worry-creased face and more white in his hair than brown. I am Lews Ther-

Nynaeve hurled herself flat and scrambled along the hall floor as something slashed through the nearest wall. Moghedien slithered as fast as she, but if the woman had not, she would have hauled her by the a'dam. Had that been Rand, or Rahvin? She had seen bars of white fire, liquid light, like that in Tanchico, and she had no wish to be anywhere near one again. She did not know what it was, and she did not want to know. I want to Heal, burn both of these fool men, not learn a fancy way to kill

"We must go," Moghedien insisted, but she did lower her voice. She got to her feet, sullen defiance twisting her mouth. Fear and anger writhed inside her, first one stronger, then the other. "Why should I help you any further? This is madness"

He focused on the nearest rosebush, a thing a span high, and imagined it growing thin, foggy. Obediently, it melted away to nothing, but as soon as the picture in his mind was nothing, the rosebush was suddenly back, just as it had been.

Gaping holes peered down now where windows had. They looked like sockets in some monstrous skull, the ruined balconies like a dozen splintered mouths. If Rahvin had been at any of them, he was surely dead. Rand would not believe it until he saw the corpse. He wanted to see Rahvin dead.

Rand nodded coldly. It had limits, then. There were always limits and rules, and he did not know them here. But he knew the Power, as much as Asmodean had taught him and he had taught himself, and saidin was still in him, all the sweetness of life, all the corruption of death. Rahvin had to have seen him to attack. With the Power you had to see something to affect it, or know exactly where it was in relation to you down to a hair. Perhaps it was different here, but he did not think so. He almost wished Lews Therin had not gone silent again. The man might know this place and its rules.

"Why will you not understand what I tell you? Even if they had only dreamed themselves here, either would be stronger than we. Here in the flesh, they could crush us without blinking. In the flesh they can draw saidin more deeply than we can draw saidar dreaming."

He felt odd. Insubstantial. He raised his arm, and stared. He could see the garden through coatsleeve and arm as through a mist. A mist that was thinning. When he glanced down, he could see the walk's paving stones through himself.

Balconies and windows overlooked the garden, in some places four stories high. Rahvin had tried to unmake him. He drew on the raging torrent of saidin through the angreal. Lightnings flashed from the sky, a hundred forking silver bolts, more, stabbing at every window, every balcony. Thunder filled the garden, erupting chunks of stone. The air itself crackled, and the hair on his arms and chest tried to stand under his shirt. Even the hair on his head began to lift. He let the lightnings die. Here and there bits of shattered stone window frame and balcony broke loose, the crash of their fall muted by the echoes of thunder still ringing in his ears.

"We must go," Moghedien insisted, but she did lower her voice. She got to her feet, sullen defiance twisting her mouth. Fear and anger writhed inside her, first one stronger, then the other. "Why should I help you any further? This is madness"

Stepping through quickly, he loosed the weave and hurried away across the courtyard as the gateway vanished. Rahvin would have felt that gate if he was close enough and trying. The fat little stone man did not mean he could stand and wait to be attacked.

It came to him, as he trotted along another colonnade, sensing for Rahvin, that he had not heard the voice crying over Ilyena since he channeled balefire. Perhaps he had somehow chased Lews Therin out of his head.

"You brainless fool," Moghedien sobbed, shaking Nynaeve's skirt with both hands as if wanting to shake Nynaeve. "It does not matter how brave you are. We are linked, but you contribute nothing the way you are. Not a shred. It is my strength, and your madness. They are here in the flesh, not dreaming They will destroy us if we stay"

"Please." Moghedien caught at Nynaeve's skirt. "I tell you, we must get away." Stark panic made her voice painful. Moghedien's clawing terror mirrored itself on her face. "They are here in the flesh. The flesh"

"We must go," Moghedien insisted, but she did lower her voice. She got to her feet, sullen defiance twisting her mouth. Fear and anger writhed inside her, first one stronger, then the other. "Why should I help you any further? This is madness"

No sign of life, except for himself and one fly. That was the way it had been in Tear, too. Stand-lamps in the hallways stood unlit, with pale wicks that had never seen a flame, yet even in what should have been the dimmest hall there was light, seemingly coming from everywhere and nowhere. Sometimes those lamps moved, too, and other things as well. Between one glance and the next a tall lamp might have moved a foot, a vase in a niche an inch. Little things, as if someone had shifted them in the time his eyes were away. Wherever this was, it was a strange place.

He wove another now. A gateway, an opening at least, a hole in reality. It was not blackness on the other side. In fact, if he had not known the way was there, if he could not have seen the weave of it, he might not have known. There before him were the same arches opening onto the same courtyard and fountain, the same columned walk. For an instant the neatly rounded holes his balefire had made in arch and column wavered, filled, then were holes again. Wherever that gateway led, it was to somewhere else, a reflection of the Royal palace as once it had been a reflection of the Stone of Tear. Vaguely he regretted not talking to Asmodean about it while he had the chance, but he had never been able to speak of that day to anyone. It did not matter. On that day he had carried Callandor, but the angreal in his pocket had already proved enough to harry Rahvin.

Why had Lews Therin tried to take him over? To make him into Lews Therin. He was sure that was who that dark-eyed man with the suffering face had been. Why now? Because he could in this place, whatever it was? Wait. It had been Lews Therin who shouted that adamant "no." Not an attack by Lews Therin. By Rahvin, and not using the Power. If the man had been able to do this back in Caemlyn, the real Caemlyn, he would have. It had to be some ability he had gained here. And if Rahvin had gained it, perhaps he had too. The image of himself had been what held him, brought him back.

He fought to picture himself in his own mind, struggled to make the image of what he saw in the mirror every day shaving, what he saw in a stand-mirror dressing. It was a frantic fight. He had never really looked at himself. The two images waxed and waned, the older dark-eyed man and the younger with blue-gray eyes. Slowly the younger image firmed, the older faded. Slowly his arm grew more solid. His arm, with the Dragon twined around it and the heron branded into his palm. There had been times he hated those marks, but now, even enclosed within the emotionless Void, he almost grinned to see them.

"Be quiet," Nynaeve said absently. "Unless you've lied to me, that is an advantage. For me." The other woman claimed that being in the World of Dreams physically limited your control of the Dream. Or rather, she admitted it, after letting a bit of the knowledge slip. She had admitted, too, that Rahvin did not know Tel'aran'rhiod as well as she. Nynaeve hoped that meant he did not know it as well as she did. That he knew more than Rand, she did not doubt. That wool-headed man Whatever his reason for coming after Rahvin, he should never have let the man lead him here, where he did not know the rules, where thoughts could kill.

No sign of life, except for himself and one fly. That was the way it had been in Tear, too. Stand-lamps in the hallways stood unlit, with pale wicks that had never seen a flame, yet even in what should have been the dimmest hall there was light, seemingly coming from everywhere and nowhere. Sometimes those lamps moved, too, and other things as well. Between one glance and the next a tall lamp might have moved a foot, a vase in a niche an inch. Little things, as if someone had shifted them in the time his eyes were away. Wherever this was, it was a strange place.

He felt odd. Insubstantial. He raised his arm, and stared. He could see the garden through coatsleeve and arm as through a mist. A mist that was thinning. When he glanced down, he could see the walk's paving stones through himself.

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