Just a fun little one-shot. I'm writing a proper response to Asmodean's challenge though. It should be ready soon I hope. Enjoy all.

Disclaimer: Mr. Jordan owns all.


Parable of the Harpist


Rand stalked through the halls of the Sun Palace. He was in a foul mood, and he had every reason to be. Defeating the Shaido was only the tip of the iceberg. A nagging voice in the back of his head said that at least he didn't have to think about the Shaido anymore. Or at least not as much as he had. But then again, nothing was ever easy, was it? A rather sardonic smile that crept onto Rand's face did nothing to make him look in any way happy. In fact, if anyone besides an aiel were to look up on him, one might have considered running in the opposite direction.

He felt quite restless this day, not feeling like doing much and feeling as if he weren't accomplishing anything, which was usually the case in these types of moods. Rand stalked through the wide halls of the palace. Servants scattered as he passed by, but that only served to heighten his bad mood.

It wasn't as if he wanted to scare the living Light out of them, but then again, in his moods he didn't really give them a reason not to fear him. At least Aviendha wasn't tagging along behind him or Moiraine wasn't nagging at him. The thought stopped him in his tracks, had he actually forgotten that the Aes Sedai was dead? Rand ran a hand through his hair and continued his furious stalking. Was he so callous now as to forget what had happened? No, of course not, he just wasn't thinking right today. He didn't even notice that he was almost to his own quarters again.

His thoughts buzzed about inside his skull like a hive of hornets…incredibly angry hornets. He stopped just outside a door and leaned against the cool tiled wall, sighing miserably and closing his eyes…and that's when he heard it. Music floated out from the room and Rand noticed for the first time that it was open slightly, only a crack really.

Rand listened intently to the peaceful music, letting it wash over him pleasantly, changing from peaceful to lively as a morning birds song. It made Rand think of the dances back home in Emonds Field when the sun was shining and everyone was laughing. The green was decorated and his father was talking to Mat's about odds and ends and Rand was running about with Perrin and Mat, planning a way to steal the small hot cakes from the windowsill and not get caught by Nynaeve.

Rand smiled lightly, lost in the pleasant memory. The music changed again, now it was…smooth, that was the only way Ran could put it. Like cold water running over river stones. It brought the memory of the time he and Mat and Perrin had been allowed to spend the night camping at the Waterwood. All day they had fished and swam and at night they lay beneath the stars thinking of ways to embellish their trip to impress the others at home.

Unable to contain a contended smile, Rand crossed his arms over his chest, lost in enjoyable memories. After a moment or two longer, he was incapable of restringing his wonder at who was playing the wonderful music and Rand carefully opened the door wider than its tiny crack. Rand gasped when he saw the sight in front of him. He suddenly realized where he was and that his quarters were only a door away and therefore these rooms must belong to…Asmodean? And that was exactly who Ran saw as he peaked through the barely opened door. The severed forsaken was reclining in a chair, his feet upon the table and his eyes closed. But it was not that that made Rand's eyes widen in surprise. The man was actually smiling! Yes, a small, yet pleased and contented, smile rested on his lips and he plucked at the stings of his gilded harp.

For a long while Rand watched the forsaken, marveling that he could look so tranquil and so…normal. It didn't even register that he was no longer tense or irritated. A genuine smile was a rare thing to see Rand partake of these days, but anyone who might have passed right then in the halls would have see the Dragon doing just that. Rand quietly returned to his own rooms, on his lips there still rested the smile that had been passed on to him by Asmodean and his small musical miracle.