AUTHOR: Alyssa C
CATEGORY: Missing Scene.
PAIRINGS: Mention of NynaeveLan though no confrontation.
SPOILERS: End of Book 5 – The Fires of Heaven. Book 7 – A Crown of Swords.
STATUS: Done – this is a Stand Alone Fic.
FEEDBACK: Please please please! Will do tricks for reviews. Remember, reading a fic without reviewing it is like watching a movie without paying for it!
DISCLAIMER: The Wheel of Time and all its characters used in this fic is the property of Robert Jordan. I make no money out of this.
AN: I'm currently rereading the series (after finishing book 9 somewhere in 2000) and, couldn't help but see this scene as I finished with book 5. I took very long to read this book, purely because I knew what was coming in the end. I'm still upset every time I think of Moiraine's 'death' and well, thought that I'd give her this. Needless to say, she was my favourite character and I mourned her for weeks! (I still do) So, this is dedicated to Moiraine for her strength and her sacrifice. I'm taking a wild wild guess with Caraline Damodred, although it's quite obvious that they are related I'm not sure to what extent. Please don't flame me if you know more than I do! I've only read up to book 9. (Yes, I do have 10 but I have to reread the series before I can start with it) Hope you enjoy this. Alyss.
"Rest now. Tomorrow will be… difficult for us all."
She left her then.
As she walked down the dim corridors Moiraine held her pose as she allowed herself to think of young Egwene al'Vere. She has turned into a fine young woman, so different from the young child she had pulled out of her village.
A tread the Pattern most definitively had great thing in store for.
Her stomach turned.
"The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills…"
She said it once, but she chanted it over and over in her mind as she neared her chambers. When she left for the Tower, she had never really thought that her journey would bring her back here.
The Royal Sun Palace, her home…
She shook her head, fighting the sudden urge to cry.
She had to be as hard as she could be…
As hard as she could be.
When she rested her hand on the handle of her door the faint echo of children's laughter made her turn her head up the way she came.
Two young girls, no older than six – small for their age – ran down the corridors. The light framed their features and, two stones – one green and one blue – winked at her as they ran past.
Moiraine found herself staring almost longingly after them. Even as their images faded back into the past from which they came did she remain as she was, her small hand white on the door handle.
"What happened today?"
She had not sensed him until he made his presence known.
Moiraine blinked and turned to the great shadow standing over her.
"I suspect you already know." She said simply and opened the door. "By now, even the servants would be whispering it around every corner."
She moved into the room but his hand on her shoulder stopped her. She gave a start, and immediately berated herself. Has she lost her calm so much that she started wearing her emotions on her shirt sleeves?
"You know that that is not what I mean Moiraine."
She turned then to face him.
al'Lan Mandragon's face was as stoic as ever but feelings of distress, worry and desperation shone from his eyes and vibrated across the bond.
This close, it didn't help her to control her own emotions.
"What do you want me to say Lan?"
Her tone was tired, she knew that it wouldn't help to try and hide her feelings from him. Ignoring his hand on her shoulder she pushed the door open and stepped into her apartments.
"Just talk to me Moiraine. That is all that I ask."
His answer surprised her but his tone shocked her so much that she had to turn around and look at him again. She hadn't talked to him in a long time she realized quite suddenly. Not like they use to. Or… The way they didn't need to. Since their time with the Sisters they're relationship has become strained. Whole still but… stretched. So many things pulled them in different directions - Rand, prophecies, Myrelle, Nyneave al'Meara… Her mouth thinned at the name.
She could not think of that. Not now, not yet.
"Tomorrow will be difficult for us all Lan." She chose her words carefully. "Who knows that Morgase's death will bring? Rand marches to face the Forsaken with a Novice Wise One and a fake Aes Sedai. Mere children! Who knows what waits for them there? Is his judgment sane? We can not stop him but we can not follow him…"
Quite abruptly the urge to cry became overwhelming as her stomach lurched and pure blind fear flowed through her heart.
She squeezed her eyes shut and bit her lip to try and keep her jaw from quivering but, she could not stop the tears from flowing out of her eyes.
Lan did not approach her immediately as he laughed bitterly and turned his back on her. That much respect he still had for her, knowing that she didn't like it if he saw her like that.
"Even now you beat around the bush Aes Sedai." The words cut through her. "Even now, you play your games with me. Don't you think I deserve more? Don't you think that at least I, as unworthy as I apparently am, deserve to know your plans?"
She had to fight the urge to sink to her knees.
"By the grace of Light Lan what do you want me to say?" She asked again. "You want to know my plans? I have only one and that is survival. Rand's survival to see him through to Tarmon Gai'don – in which ever frame of mind. He will make it there. And you…"
She had to take another moment.
Lan had turned to look at her again. "You plan to keep me alive so that I can see the Last Battle?" He asked bitterly. "Is that what Myrelle is for?"
Moiraine fought to pull herself together.
"No." She said simply. "I did that to make sure that you live to marry that wretched child. You do not deserve to die in some unending war where one death would be futile or even less, avenging my death. I will not give you time for that. That is the only repayment that I can give you for all these years of loyal service my friend. It is all that I can give you."
He looked at her for a very long time before he finally closed the distance between them. When in front of her he slowly reached out and touched her face, rubbing the tears away with his thumb and tilting her head ever so slightly so that he could look into her eyes.
"And what about you survival?" He asked softly. "Moiraine…"
She shook him off and stepped away.
"My life or death is of no consequence." She said coldly. "Remember that Lan. I do what I must, not for myself but for the Light and all those who walk beneath it. I am an Aes Sedai. Some might have forgotten what those words mean but I certainly haven't."
They faced each other across the distance between them.
Lan's face was hard.
"If you think that I need repayment for twenty year's of service then…" He trailed off, not wanting to say the last and rather turned around. He went to the door but stopped.
Moiraine bit her lip, almost frightened to think of what he might do next.
There was a sound of a sword being unsheathed.
"Then I can at least remind you of this." He finished and turned around to kneel on one knee. His sword lay in his open hands.
"By my mother's name, I will draw as you say 'draw' and sheath as you say 'sheath'. By my mother's name, I will come as you say 'come', and go as you say 'go'."
He kissed the blade as he had done so many years ago but this time there was no expectancy in his gaze.
Moiraine stood very still as she regarded him.
Slowly she walked over to him, took the sword from his hands and put it to one side before she herself went down on her knees and leaned over to wrap her arms around his neck. She didn't sit like that for long before he too wrapped his strong arms around her.
They sat like that for a very long time.
Moiraine finally shifted and kissed him on the cheek.
"Then I bid you to stay here for tonight Lan." She said softly and pulled out of his grasp. "I have somewhere I have to go before tomorrow, someone I must see."
He didn't say anything but kept his gaze locked with hers.
Smiling gently Moiraine ran her hand through his hair and kissed him on the forehead.
"Go and rest Lan." She said softly. "Tomorrow will be difficult for us all."
The knock came as a surprise.
She had heard the horse coming up the path but thought that it had passed. Frowning she stood up, went to the door and opened it without thinking.
When she saw who it was she blinked surprised and took a step back.
The small woman stared at her, her eyes as dark as her face was pale.
"What are you doing here?" Her normally deep voice was harsh and dry with shock.
The other woman shifted, emotions strong in her eyes if not her ageless face.
"I should be asking you the same thing. I would've thought you'd be closer to the palace."
She sniffed softly and made to close the door.
"Lady Colavere did not approve of my being in the palace and made it quite clear what she means to do to Damodred's with a claim to the throne." Her voice was icy. "I'm surprised she let you stay there."
The blue stone winked in the moonlight as the other woman shook her head.
"Lady Colavere has no authority to do that." She said and fidgeted with her skirt. "Now or in the past. Besides, I'm no threat to the Sun Throne."
"You are more a threat than I am Moiraine. If not for your claim then for the man you brought with you."
"He is the Dragon Reborn Caraline."
"Then I take it you found what you were looking for." The last was said with more cold and frost than the whole exchange as Caraline Damodred prepared to slam the door in the Aes Sedai's face but she couldn't move it.
She glared at the door puzzled then, quite abruptly stepped away from it.
The glow from blue stone on Moiraine's head faded, as her face contorted with desperateness.
"Sister, please talk to me. I did not come here for this."
The other woman glared at her, but there was an edge of caution around her eyes.
"Then why did you come here Sister? To preach his cause? To come and tie your Aes Sedai strings around me to manipulate me to your cause or his? I will not stand for it. I won't!"
She turned to leave but the other woman reached out and grabbed her by the arm.
"Enough of this Caraline!" Moiraine exclaimed in a heated tone. "By the Light, what's gotten into you? You must know that I will never do that. Never. I might be an Aes Sedai but I'm still your sister. Doesn't that count for anything?"
As the woman turned around to face her she found herself faced almost with her mirror image.
"It did count something to me." She said, the heat in her tone increasing. "But apparently, it counts nothing for you Moiraine Sedai."
The title came as a blow as Moiraine let go of her arm.
"Are you acting like this because I went to the Tower Caraline?" She asked softly. "By the Light, you knew then as you still know now. I didn't have a choice. I am what I am. You seemed to accept it at the time."
Caraline regarded her for a very long time, the heat never leaving her eyes.
"I'm not angry at you for going Sister. I'm angry because you never came back!"
The two women, same of height, features and build, sat across each other at the table. Each held a cup of tea in slight hands, using it more as a prop to still their hands than anything else.
"Starting a rebellion against Rand being here isn't going to change anything Caraline."
Moiraine's voice was low and tired. For a moment, despite her agelessness she appeared to be the eldest of the two. "He's ta'vern, eventually the pattern will bend this foolish venture for him, not against him."
There was a snort from the opposite side of the table.
"Well thank you for your advice Moiraine Sedai. I will take the thought into consideration, even though I'm planning no such thing."
Moiraine glanced up and met her kin's eyes.
"Don't try to lie to me; I can see it in your eyes Sister."
The other woman sniffed and briefly dropped her gaze before she turned her dark eyes up again.
"Do you want to know what I see in your eyes Sister?"
When the woman didn't answer immediately she took a sip of tea and placed her cup down.
The word hung in the air like a bad odor.
"I see more fear in your eyes tonight; than I had seen that time LLywelyn Sedai took you aside when she found you playing with that stone. Why are you here Sister?"
The last was spoken in a softer tone than had been used up until now.
Moiraine grimaced and took a sip of her tea. She sighed, and looked out of the window towards the Sun Palace. Her lips briefly twitched into a smile as she shook her head.
"He is not asleep yet." She told her sister distracted. "I did not think that he would."
Caraline's eyes narrowed.
"Answer my question."
Moiraine still didn't answer her immediately as she turned her gaze back to her sister and studied the effects that aging should've had on her features.
"Where's your stone?" She asked out of the blue. "I don't remember ever seeing you without it?"
Caraline shifted uncomfortably.
"In my jewelry box." She said off handily. "I have no need for it as you do. Why now Moiraine?"
She couldn't avoid the question any longer.
"Because I wanted to talk to you Caraline." She said softly. "Just talk. Not as an Aes Sedai, just… Your Sister. I've been meaning to come for a long time, but so many things got into the way. After tomorrow… Tonight is all I have for this. To be your Sister again, for how ever brief a time."
Caraline took a deep breath and shook her head as she pushed her cup away as she stood up. She walked closer to her sister and leaned against the table as she folded her arms under her breasts. She did not look at the woman.
"You can never not be an Aes Sedai Moiraine." She said softly. "You were one even before LLywelyn took you aside for testing."
The other woman almost seemed to cringe away from her as she made to stand up but Caraline stopped her by turning towards her and touching the stone on her forehead.
"But, you've also always been my Sister. I have not forgotten that. It didn't break… like this did."
With her other hand she reached to a chain that was hanging around her neck and underneath her bodice.
Moiraine's eyes filled with tears as the small green stone winked in the fire light.
The changing shadows of the increasing light cast strange patterns on the wall.
Lying on a blanket in front of the dead fireplace Moiraine studied them with cool Aes Sedai detachment.
"Today, if all goes well. I will die."
She had not realized that she had spoken out loud untill she felt the arm around her waist tighten.
"That's a morbid thing to say Sis. I hope you're not planning suicide."
Moiraine smiled and brought her sisters hand to her lips to plant a light kiss on her fingers.
"Not suicide sister." She said softly. "Survival."
She had told a lot to her sister before they curled up as they had when they were still young. Not all, not too much, but not enough.
What her Sister thought of it all was a mystery, even to her. She could not deny that Rand could channel, but she could still easily say he was a False Dragon. It did not matter. At least she knew why she had not shown herself in more than twenty years and seemed to accept it, even if Moiraine still sensed that she thought it was a fool's errand.
What will be will be. The Wheel wove as the wheel chose.
The shifting shadows taunted her.
Dawn was approaching.
As if sensing her thoughts her sister held onto her more tightly, if that was possible.
"I have to get back." Moiraine said softly and sat up after she had removed her sister's arm. "I'm sorry Caraline."
The woman stayed down for a second longer as she looked at her.
Not able to see her features clearly Moiraine embraced the saidar and channeled Fire to light a few candles around the room.
Caraline stared at the candles with an expressionless face and sat up slowly.
She rubbed her neck and glanced at the blanket.
"I haven't slept on the floor in ages." She muttered and watched her sister as she stood up.
Moiraine laughed softly as she stretched.
"It feels as if I haven't been doing anything but." She said and glanced at her dress. She grimaced.
Her sister smiled and held her arm to be pulled up.
"You look terrible Moiraine Sedai." She said in a good natured taunt. "I would've expected more from an Aes Sedai. Come on, you can get ready here. I do have some dresses fitting for court. You can drop it off later."
Moiraine turned to look at her.
"Caraline, I told you that…"
The woman made a dismissive gesture as she picked up the cups from the previous night. "Be that as it may." She said. "It doesn't matter. You can give it back to me. When ever. You probably want to try and leave before the servants come right?"
Moiraine didn't say anything as she nodded.
Her sister was avoiding the issue.
She wished that she could.
The blue stone dangled from her hand.
Still holding Aldieb's bridle Caraline blinked and stared up at her. She looked at the stone and shook her head.
"It goes nicely with the sapphires." She said dismissively. "I won't take that shine from you Moiraine. Remember…" She touched her bodice. "I'm getting this one fixed. You have those letters that you wrote?"
The dark haired woman smiled gently.
Without warning she dismounted gracefully and hugged her sister.
Startled at the swiftness of the gesture Caraline returned the hug.
"It's going to be okay." She soothed. "Moiraine, today will be fine."
The woman sighed softly and let go of her. Touching her sister's one cheek she lightly kissed the other.
"I know." She said heavily. "Just, remember to keep safe Caraline. The Dragon is Reborn, the Last Battle is coming. I love you very very much."
The woman looked at her in a strange way and took the stone from her hand. With practiced skill she quickly wove it into her sister's hair.
"I guess that you can't lie can you?"
Moiraine smiled bitterly.
She sighed and squeezed her kin's hand for the last time as she finished with her hair.
"Keep well Caraline. Please. I hope that, in some way we can be Sisters again in the next lifetime."
The woman, unsure of how to handle her sister's mood shook her head.
"Remember, we're still not done with this life time Moiraine." She said. "Good luck."
The Aes Sedai picked up the reins and tried to burn her sister's face into her mind.
"Thank you Caraline. May the Light favor you and the Creator shelter you from the harm this time will bring. Know that whatever happens today… It is my choice."
She did not say anything else, nor wait for another reply as she turned Aldieb around and raced back to the Sun Palace.
Caraline stood at the stables staring after her.
She was standing at the stables, frowning at the smoke coming from the dock.
Mixed feelings of turmoil moved through her, over shadowed by the strange sense that something was missing.
She wondered whether there was a fire at the dock or, somewhere else. She had thought that she heard something that sounded like lighting but, the sky was clear.
She hoped that nobody was hurt.
Despite the heat, the green stone was cold against her breast.
She sniffed and turned her gaze up the road where she heard the frantic hoof beats of a horse. She frowned when she spotted a High Lord Darlin Sisnera riding towards her as if the Dark One himself were chasing him. He had come into Cairhien just before the Aiel savages lay siege to it. They had been keeping contact ever since.
When he spotted her he booted his horse even faster, reigned in just as he entered the yard and jumped off.
"Lady Caraline, thank the Light you are all right!"
He rushed over to her had gave a brief bow.
"I thought for sure that you…"
She grabbed him by the shoulders, shocked at this intrusion.
"What is it Lord Darlin?" She snapped. "What under the Light are you talking about?"
The man grabbed her shoulders right back, a bold gesture he would never have tried to attempt had he been in his right mind.
"There was an attack on the docks." He said. "An attack with the One Power. I was there when it all started happening. Al'Thor was there, and an Aes Sedai in white… She was doing it, I'll swear to that on my mother's name. Everything was such a mess – she had caught two girls and then… You appeared and threw her through a doorway… I…"
She was shaking him.
"Aes Sedai can not use the One Power as a weapon." She said. "And, I wasn't near the docks or al'Thor…" She cut off suddenly as the previous night flashed through her mind.
'The Forsaken are free Caraline. Lanfear, Sammuel…'
Every name had sent a chill through her spine but she distinctly remembered Lanfear bringing an unpleasant twist to her sister's mouth…
She staggered back, feeling the blood drain from her cheeks.
An Aes Sedai in white…
Caraline grabbed Darlin by the shoulders again, this time shaking him as hard as she could.
"What happened to the woman? Did she look like me? What was she wearing?"
Lord Darlin was looking at her as if she had gone mad.
"She… looked almost just like you." He managed confused. "She was even wearing a dress like one of yours. I could've sworn…"
Caraline's grip was so tight on his shoulders that it hurt.
"Where is she? Where is she now?"
He placed his hands over hers and pried them from his shoulders.
"She must be dead Lady Caraline. It was the strangest thing. The doorway… Lady Caraline? Caraline!"
She could feel herself slipping back.
She had felt that something was missing but she had been wrong. It wasn't something.
It had been someone.
Darkness swallowed her.
Know that whatever happens… It is my choice.
The End and the Beginning…