Chapter 5 The Fires of Heaven Chapter 7




Rand awakens from a dream and notices an odd feeling, like a bad smell. He gets up, seizes saidin. He considers using his angreal, but he thinks it won't be necessary. He thinks the enemy is still downstairs, and he decides to choose his own ground, going up to the top floor. He stands in a large chamber, on the sign of the ancient Aes Sedai, and waits.

The stench increases, and out of the shadows come three doglike figures as big as ponies. He summons a sword of flame and slices them to pieces. He lets the sword vanish, laughing in contempt, when the pieces dissolve into shadow and reform back into the hounds. When they attack again, he sweeps them with white-hot flame(which he does not yet known is balefire).

He spins around as Moiraine's voice asks him if the hounds bit or bled on him. She repeats the question with some urgency, saying the things were Darkhounds. Rand responds in the negative, wondering if the Darkhounds mean that the Dark One is free to lead the Wild Hunt. Moiraine says that their blood or saliva is poison, almost certain death, and death cannot be Healed. She notes that they usually appear in larger packs, and Rand realizes that he might not have been their only target. As Moiraine begins to speak about the balefire he used to kill them, Rand is already running down the stairs, leaving the Roof and passing Lan without a word.

He runs all the way to a ruined building on the edge of Rhuidean. Three Darkhounds are clawing at a bronze door, and Rand balefires them, still trying to refine his control over the weapon. He pounds on the door and calls for Mat. Mat opens up, looking exhausted, and Melindhra is calmly wrapping a blanket around herself. Rand tells him about the Darkhounds, and Mat says he was hard put to keep the door closed. He swears that one of the hounds chewed a hole right through the door, but it's not there now; he's scratching a red spot on his arm.

Moiraine runs in at full tilt, Lan and a pack of Far Dareis Mai on her heels. Mat yelps and begins to get dressed. Rand asks about his arm, and Mat says he also thought the Darkhound slobbered all over his arm. Moiraine rushes over to him and tries to Heal him, but Mat only remarks that his amulet is cold. His arm is beginning to swell up. Moiraine is startled, and tells him to take off the amulet, and he does. Then she Heals him, and Mat arches his back in surprise at the intensity of the sensation, complaining how it was only an itch. Moiraine tells Mat to get some rest, and Melindhra assures her that he will stay in bed, much to the Maidens' amusement.

Rand asks the Maidens to leave, but they do not until Moiraine asks them. Rand asks Adelin if the Maidens will obey him in battle, if they do not listen to him now, but she assures him they will. Moiraine says she must speak with Rand, but he puts her off. He says he will not help her get the foxhead medallion away from Mat. Moiraine pleads with him to listen, and Lan upbraids him for his arrogant behaviour. Moiraine says she will not be with Rand forever; she apologizes for her treatment of him, and asks him to let her help him.

Rand says that Moiraine has made it hard to trust her, trying to manipulate him like a puppet. Moiraine says he hasn't been a willing puppet in any case, and she offers to swear an oath not to manipulate him, or to obey him, but she asks humbly to be able to help him. Rand accepts her apology, and makes one of his own.

Moiraine tells him about balefire. She says it has been forbidden since before the Breaking of The World, and even the Forsaken used it reluctantly. She describes how it burns its target out of the Pattern. She says it unravels events which have already happened, like the Darkhound chewing through the door. Rand says it sounds like a good thing, but Moiraine tells of how, in the War of Power, whole cities were balefired before they realized how much damage it was doing to the Pattern. Rand says he can't promise to never use it, but Moiraine says he must be careful.

Rand opens a gateway, and Moiraine gasps in surprise, asking what it is. Rand deflects her question, and elicits a promise that she not try to take Mat's medallion away from him. He steps through the gateway and onto a disc, Skimming as Asmodean taught him. He Skims a short distance through the darkness and opens another gateway to Asmodean's rooms.

Asmodean is there, still asleep. Several Darkhounds have come to his door, but turned away, though he's not sure whether his warding stopped them or not. He channels Earth to erase the Darkhounds' footprints, to avoid drawing attention to "Jasin Natael the Gleeman".

He Skims back to his chambers, then channels to reveal a hidden niche he had carved in the wall. Therein are the ter'angreal to access the most powerful sa'angreal ever made(the Choeden Kal). Rand wonders momentarily about what Moiraine said about not being able to Heal death, and remembers his attempt to reanimate a dead girl with Callandor.

He turns as Lanfear speaks behind him, hastily concealing and warding the niche again. She has seen the ter'angreal, through, and speaks to him of challenging the Great Lord and even the Creator. He responds, calling her Mierin; she calls him Lews Therin in reply, and says that she still loves him. He says he is Rand al'Thor, and she decides that he must merely be repeating things Asmodean has told him.

Lanfear tells Rand that Rahvin sent the Darkhounds after him. Rand asks why, when other Forsaken have more reason. Lanfear says that it's because Rahvin is in Caemlyn, with Morgase under his sway, and he's afraid Rand will move in his direction. Rand says that he doesn't feel any particular concern for Morgase, trying to hide his feelings for Elayne. Lanfear says that Rahvin plans to put Morgase on the Sun Throne as well, and Rand has sent Tairen soldiers to Cairhien.

Lanfear complains that Rand has warded his dreams against her. She says dreams are her province, and she can break through his block, though it will not be pleasant for him. She says she has seen the Wise Ones dreams, since they do not shield themselves well. She says she's seen Egwene's dreams as well. He realizes she's probing for other rivals, and he suggests she look at Isendre's dreams to see how well he's guarded. He says he's spared her and Kadere for Asmodean's sake.

There is a knock at the door. Rand jumps to his feet to hide Lanfear, but she has already opened a gateway out. Enaila comes in, suspicious at the voices she heard, but she finds no one. She says the clan chiefs have gathered to speak with the Car'a'carn. Rand goes to speak with them, and Han says that the other clans are moving--the Shaido towards Jangai Pass, but the Reyn, Shiande and Miagoma are moving as well. Rand says that they must move as well, and even if they cannot beat Couladin to the Jangai Pass, they must be on his heels in Cairhien. They will leave at first light.

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