What if Lan had been too late to save Nynaeve from Moghedien? Personally, I love Lan and Nynaeve and the aspects of their relationship. However, I do not feel that there has been an opportunity to see events through Lan's eyes. I do not own any of the characters. They belong to Robert Jordan. The opening is taken straight from A Crown of Thorns, as well as several comments. There will be more later if the reviews are favorable. If not, it was worth a shot.

"Suddenly she felt weaves of saidar almost atop of her in huge amounts, and... She floundered in salty water over her head, flailing upward to find air, tangled in her skirts, flailing. Her head broke the surface, and she grasped for breath amid floating cushions, staring in astonishment. After a moment, she recognized the floating shape above her as one of the cabin seats and a bit of the cabin wall. She was inside a trapped pocket of air. Not large; she could have touched both sides without stretching her arms out fully. But how.? An audible thud announced the bottom of the river; the upside down cabin, lurched, tilted. She thought the air pocket shrank a little...

Saidar flowed into her, filled her. She was only half-aware of the wood above her suddenly bulging outward, bursting. In rushing bubbles of air she drifted up, out through the hull into the darkness."

Her lungs strained painfully in her chest, aching for air. Her limbs flailed uselessly, her body slowly sinking towards the muck of the riverbed. She felt something tugging at her dress. Fear sparked some memory deep in the recess of her mind. She should do something. Fight somehow, but she found herself drifting into the darkness. It was so cold. "Oh light Lan, I'm sorry." But even as the words formed in her mind they seemed to slip from her grasp, into the cold, into the darkness.

Her head broke the surface, and hands encircled her waist. A hand cupped her chin and she was being towed. She was lifted, rough hands pushing from beneath. Two men reached down from a ship, lifting her gently. Her body hung limp in their arms. They laid her on the deck as one of the men returned to the side of the boat.

"My lord is all right? My lord was down for a very long time."

"Forget me, man," said a deep voice. "Get something to wrap around the lady." Lan crossed the deck quickly, not running, but long strides moving hurriedly.

"My lord," said the second man hesitantly. "I fear the lady may not need a blanket."

Lan dropped to his knees beside Nynaeve. She still had not stirred. He grabbed her by the shoulders pulling her towards him. Her head fell limply to the side. He lifted her head, placing her lips near his cheek. Her skin was so cold. He couldn't feel her breath. He stared at her unmoving chest.

"Nynaeve, breathe." He said, shaking her hard. "Breathe." His voice was quiet but for the first time he could remember Lan felt panic. Pure terror threatened to strangle him. His chest was tight, his body numb.

"Nynaeve breathe!" He laid her quickly but gently on the deck. He knew a fare share of field medicine but it had been unnecessary while traveling with Moraine. He parted Nynaeve's lips with his fingers. He felt the panic rising again when he saw how blue they were. He pressed his lips to hers and breathed slowly but forcefully. He felt her chest rise as he breathed for her. "Please Nynaeve. Please breathe!" He pleaded with her. He pressed his lips to hers again and exhaled. She was so cold.

He stared at her. He had never realized how small and fragile she was before. She was so pale. He breathed again for her, but still she did not move. If he could keep her alive until they reached the Tarasin palace a Sister could heal her. The thought was now frantic in his mind. He tried to find the void, just as he had described it to the al'Thor boy so long ago, but the fear was too strong. Just get her to a Sister and all would be well.

He shook her again, this time much harder. "Nynaeve, don't leave me!" He was unable to keep the panic from his voice. "Please wake up!" He kept shaking her. He felt the tears welling in his eyes but he did not care.

One of the crewmen grabbed him hard. "Let her go man. She is gone." Lan's eyes flared, cold as ice, but at the same time hot as fire. The man stepped back from that gaze.

"She is not gone." His voice was quiet again, but it was this quiet that spoke to the danger that Lan posed. Nynaeve had called him a half tame wolf. There was nothing tame about him now. There was no control. "Get us to shore."

Lan sat unmoving, holding Nynaeve tightly in his arms. When the boat was safely docked, Lan gently gathered her up. He brushed a loose strand of hair from her face and in one smooth motion rose to his feet. Her body lay lifelessly in his arms.

He carried her that way through the muddy streets. Passerby's dodged quickly from his path, his cold eyes seeing nothing but the palace up ahead. The spires rising up in the distance were his beacon of hope.

He walked through the large front doors into the marble entranceway. A liveried servant stopped midway through a sweeping curtsy once her eyes fell on Nynaeve. "Take me to the Aes Sedai at once." Lan said. His voice was flat and even but his eyes pinned the woman to the wall.

She was an older woman, gray staining the dark bun that held her hair in place. She had a motherly face and under normal circumstances was quick to smile. She was a woman who knew her job and the palace well. She had served the queen for most of her life and there was little that went on in the palace that she did not know of.

"I am sorry my lord." Her voice trembled. Before her stood a man on the brink of violence. This man who moved with a deadly grace that she had never seen before in the myriad of soldiers that traveled through the palace, was staring at her with those cold dead eyes. She felt her hands smoothing skirts that did not need smoothing. "Elayne Sedai led the sisters into the Rahad this morning. I do not know when they will return."

She had expected this man to rage out at her, to yell or to strike at her with the sword he wore at his hip. What she did not expect was to see him sag. His shoulders sank. The stony planes of his face seemed to melt. He had been able to hold out hope. He knew that Aes Sedai could not heal death, but somehow he believed that if he got Nynaeve here, that she would be all right. He had to believe that. Now there was no hope. There were no sisters here to heal her, no one to bring her back.

"Take me to Elayne Sedai's room." He was silent as he followed the maid through the maze of hallways and stairs that led to Elayne's room. The servants seemed to be able to sense something in the air for they all steered away from the strange procession.

The maid pushed open the door to expose a room bathed in shadows. She hurriedly lit the lamps that sat to either side of the bed before turning to exit. "See that Elayne Sedai is sent to me immediately upon her arrival." Lan said crossing the room. He did not acknowledge the maids curtsy, he focused entirely on the woman in his arms.

Perched on the side of the bed he pulled Nynaeve closer to his chest. She was so small and cold. He stared into her face. Her hair stuck out in places where it had come free from her braid and her lips were still blue. Her face was deathly white. Even still she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He rocked her slowly back and forth. His Mashiara. He cursed the day he had ever helped her leave the Two Rivers. He had promised to protect her. He was supposed to keep her safe. It was not supposed to be this way. ...............................

Elayne ran down the halls towards her room, Birgette and Aviendha flanking her. One of the Kin followed closely behind. Elayne thought her name might be Sumeko but she was not sure. There were no Yellows in the palace and Elayne was not deluded enough to think that she could heal more than a bruise. Nynaeve was hurt badly, that much she was sure of. The maid had spoken urgently. A dangerous looking man with a face of stone had come storming into the palace, soaking wet. That had to be Lan. He was carrying a woman in a green gown, and her dark braid had hung down, dangling along the floor. The braid had named her Nynaeve even if Lan's appearance had not.

She pushed open the door hard, letting it bang against the wall. She heard someone cry out, but it took her a moment to realize that the cry had left her own throat.

Lan was sitting on the bed across from her, back straight, eyes staring straight ahead, Nynaeve nestled in his arms. His hair was matted to his face. A puddle had formed around his feet, staining the carpet. He was holding onto Nynaeve so tightly, veins stood out on the back of his hands and up his forearms. He had not moved an inch since the maid had left him.

Nynaeve's chin had fallen to her chest. Her lips were slightly parted, and her skin as pale as the bed linens but with a sickly gray hew. Her left arm had escaped Lan's grip and hung as limply to her side as her dripping braid.

Lan rose slowly but gracefully to his feet. "She is dead." The words seemed to echo in the silence that had fallen over the room. Elayne felt tears cascading down her cheeks and she wrapped herself in Birgette's welcome embrace. Birgette did not cry, but Elayne felt the tremor that racked the woman's spine.

Aviendha stepped forward. To the Aiel, death was as natural as life. As a Maiden of the Spear, Aviendha had courted death herself in the harsh Waste. She had come to see Nynaeve as a spear maiden of sorts, fighting a personal war against the shadow, hunting the Black Ajah. A maiden knew the risks, and yet proudly danced the spears.

"You are dripping al'Lan Mandragoran. You should change." Aviendha said reaching towards him, slowly, as she would a wounded animal. "We will tend to Nynaeve al'Mera."

Lan took a jerking step backwards, pulling the body more tightly to his chest. His head swerved from side to side, taking in each woman by turn. His eyes blazed like blue flames. "It was balefire. Her boat..it was ahead of me by fifty paces at least. Then it was fifty paces behind us, sinking." I was too late. The light burn me, I should have been there.

Elayne's head jerked up at the mention of balefire. Her eyes were red and swollen. Her strawberry curls in disarray. "Moghedien." She gasped. It could have been a member of the Black Ajah, or any one of the Forsaken, but she knew. It had been Moghedien. There was a hatred there that Elayne had never understood, and that hatred had only grown while they held Moghedien captive.

"Moghedien." Lan repeated. "Are you sure?"

"As sure as I can be without having seen the flows." Elayne wanted the words back even as they left her lips. Something seemed to shift in Lan. His eyes still blazed but something changed. His back stiffened, and the stony planes of his face seemed to harden.

"Then I will find her. She will pay. I will see to that." ..............................