A Different Beginning

Chapter 9 – Arrivals and Departures

Moiraine was outside the city. She sat upon her mare, looking upon the city walls. She knew Rand would be in the city. Alongside Lan, she had traveled slowly making sure she had not missed any signs of a ta'veren passing. Nothing had been found. The boy had probably traveled quickly and had been in Caemlyn for a couple of days.

The false dragon, Logain and her sisters had traveled through the city a couple of days previously. She hoped Rand had avoided them; they would gentle him the moment they discovered his ability to channel. As much as the thought of an all powerful male channeler scared her, the Dragon Reborn could not be gentled. Afterwards, but not before his battle with the Dark One, could the boy be gentled.

However, Moiraine was not too worried. The boy could take care of himself. He was intelligent, clever, and had the ability to stay undercover. Rand would probably be fine. Out of the corner of her eye, Moiraine noticed Lan's shifty eyes glancing all around them, looking for enemies. Nothing unusual there. The man was always on the lookout, even in the White Tower. He was not the Battle King of the Malkieri for nothing.

The tall, concrete walls were impressive. The city would be a great center for defense in the coming battle, if Moiraine could align Morgase with Rand. It would be almost impossible for enemies to enter the city without deceit, and with extra lookouts and spies, darkfriends would have trouble letting shadowspawn in. Even if the walls were breached, the organized city could be protected and the inner-city could hold off the trouble.

Before any chance of the city becoming a center point for the Dragon Reborn, Elaida had to be tamed. She had too much influence over the Queen. If Rand was presented in the wrong way, Elaida would take advantage and assert her control over Morgase and the throne of Andor. Only once Elaida's influence was lessened could Moiraine give Rand's true introduction to the Queen and begin to build ties between the two.

First, she would find Rand and then go to an inn of her choosing. She knew several good ones, but it depended where in the city she found Rand. She would finish the conversation she started with the boy in Shadar Logoth and then tell him to keep to the inn for a couple days, while she worked on Morgase.

If pressed, Lan would stay by the boy's side and learn his true skill with the sword. There was no better individual to give the boy fine tuning, if he needed it, than Lan. Tam al'Thor could have lost some of his skill, and therefore Rand could have beaten him without truly reaching the level of blademaster.

Most importantly, she had to be cautious with the boy. He seemed very confident in his abilities. Moiraine knew that he couldn't grow egotistical or the whole world would perish. Just thinking about another breaking of the world brought shivers down Moiraine's spine. The boy would break the world whether he wanted to or not, and if all went well, he would break the world, which would mean the Dark One didn't break the world.

Thinking all of this, Moiraine and Lan passed through the gates without a second glance. The people of Caemlyn could recognize an Aes Sedai, but Moiraine had woven a disguise about her. She wanted no one to know of her arrival. There were likely few Aes Sedai in the city, after Logain's passage. All of her sisters would be on their way to the tower, with the reds.

It was imperative that Elaida could not take steps against Moiraine before she could speak with the Queen. Moiraine knew things wouldn't always go to plan, but she would be shocked if she knew the state of the palace before she arrived. With her plan running through her head, Moiraine made her through the crowded streets.

Elayne sat in her room thinking of the past couple of days. Three days ago, Rand al'Thor had come into her life. Three days since she developed a crush on the heir of Tigraine. Three days since the heir of Tigraine had returned. Three days since she had nearly died. Three days since she and Rand had talked. And three days since Rand revealed himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Little had happened since there talk. For that Elayne was grateful. Enough had happened in that one day for a decade and yet more was to come in the following days. Very soon Moiraine Sedai would arrive and the wheel would resume its frenzied pace. Elayne hoped she wouldn't get lost in the whirlwind.

While all of the Rand business was important, another important decision had been made. She would not be training in the White Tower, in all likelihood. All of her life, Elayne had looked forward to, and had dreaded making the journey north. Ever since Elaida had told her she had the potential to be the strongest Aes Sedai in centuries, the journey had grown in importance. It was tradition for the Daughter-Heir to train in Tar Valon.

Now, in all likelihood the tradition would be broken. Elayne did not like that she would be the one to break an age old tradition of Andor. Yet, it was thrilling at the same time. She would be the one to change the history of Andor. That was if Moiraine Sedai agreed to this change. Apparently, her mother had known Moiraine from when she was a novice in the tower and Moiraine was related to her father. Hopefully, she would agree, especially since Moiraine would be traveling with Rand.

A servant knocking on the door to her rooms brought Elayne out of her musings. "Come in." Elayne waited patiently as the serving woman entered and dropped into a curtsey. Curious, Elayne asked, "Why are you here?"

The woman answered quickly, "A runner just came. He told me that the Queen has summoned you to the Throne Room." After a nod and another curtsey, the woman scurried out of the room. Clearly, the woman was used to cleaning, not delivering messages. A messenger would have waited for a dismissal from Elayne and would have had an air of confidence and importance. The woman's gown and the fact that Elayne had never set eyes upon her before made this clear.

That was odd, since the palace rarely ran out of messengers. Something important must be occurring, Elayne supposed. It seemed the down time of the past couple of days had finally come to an end. With a quick check in the mirror to make sure she looked her best, Elayne regally exited the room, and headed off towards the Throne Room.

Gawyn sat in his rooms relaxing after his training with Gareth Bryne. The man was unrelenting. Gawyn doubted that he needed to go to Tar Valon to train, with that man hounding him. Gareth Bryne was a bloody menace. He might be a superb general, but he knew how to work the living daylights out of a man. He would be bruised for days. Luckily he was only trained in swordsmanship once a week; otherwise his body wouldn't last to do his duties.

At least the training kept his mind off other matters. The last three days had been hell, ever since Elayne had almost been killed. His mother had blasted him, luckily in private; otherwise Gawyn would never overcome the shame of her words. Then Gareth Bryne gave him another talking to, and Elayne was seemingly avoiding him.

Ever since that day, Elayne had been spending all her time with that Rand fellow. Granted, Gawyn was grateful to him for saving her life, but the few glimpses he had of Elayne, she was acting like a love sick puppy. What was so special about this Rand that had Elayne totally forgetting herself?

Sure, Rand was tall, muscular, and fairly good looking, but what else was there? He did save her life, but that was no reason for her to follow him around, giving him a tour, and acting as if the two of them had known each other forever. Maybe, he would have to have a talk with Elayne, since Rand did not seem the type to coerce Elayne into anything. However, who knew what Rand's real character was, since they only knew that he saved Elayne's life. Most likely Elayne knew exactly what she was doing, and that was the most frightening aspect.

Once Elayne got an idea in her head, she would not budge. If she had decided this Rand, commoner as he was, was the one for her, then he doubted that even their mother could change Elayne's mind. She had a will of iron, and he thought her will had already surpassed that of their mother's.

Just as Gawyn's sighed in annoyance, a messenger knocked on the door. Apparently mother had summoned him to the Throne Room. Bloody wonderful. He just hoped this wasn't related to the incident of three days ago or about Rand and Elayne. However, things had not gone his way recently, so he prepared himself for the worst.

Rand flanked the messenger as he was escorted to the Throne Room. Not that he needed an escort, but the man insisted. Elayne had given him a complete tour of the palace, and after a couple days of guidance, he at least knew where he was going most of the time. Elayne had been a wonderful guide, showing him all of the shortcuts and intricacies of the palace that few knew. The palace itself was amazing. Rand could have never thought of a place with such riches, and expanse. It would be wonderful just to spend a few weeks in relaxation here with Elayne.

However, that was not going to happen. As soon as Moiraine arrived, they would likely be on the road again in a short amount of time. He hoped Moiraine agreed to let Elayne accompany them. Now that he had gotten to know Elayne, his attraction to her had only deepened, and leaving her would be tough. Despite what Morgase said, he was not convinced Elayne felt the same way and he wanted more time with Elayne to figure out what they had together.

Sure, they had flirted the first day, as sparks flew, but that could be attributed to him saving her life. Near death experiences did that to a person. Rand remembered when he had saved Egwene from drowning. That was when her initial obsession with him had begun, although the recent clinginess was nothing compared to her open flirtatiousness after he pulled her out of the river. He needed more time with Elayne to sort their relationship out.

The last few days had been wonderful. They had spent nearly the whole time in each other's company, just getting to know each other. Rand told her stories from his childhood, and in turn he listened to her stories of sneaking around the palace, something she apparently had great practice and skill in. After breaking down, Rand was worried she would look at him differently.

However, afterwards she had not approached the subject and had treated him normally. To say he was surprised, was an understatement, he imaged that of all the people he could have told, none would take the news of him being the Dragon Reborn better. It didn't seem to bother her in the slightest. Instead, she just chatted with him, absolutely glowing in beauty. The temptation to kiss her plump, red lips and run his hand through her glorious red-gold hair grew stronger every second they were together.

Rand shook his head to clear away those thoughts. Undoubtedly, they would lead to Elayne shedding more and more clothing as his deepest fantasies became reality. Needless to say, that was not the way he needed to think during an official meeting, in which he needed his full mental capabilities.

The meeting had come out of nowhere, a messenger just appearing at his door and summoning him before the presence of the Queen. Hopefully, Moiraine had arrived. As much as he wanted to spend time relaxing with Elayne, events would catch up with him. The Forsaken were lose and plotting. Time did not stand still at his call, he was not the Creator.

If anything else serious had occurred, well, he didn't know why he would be summoned, but he would help as he could. However, it had to be Moiraine. As much as the Queen seemed to trust him in their last meeting, she would not ask him for advice about the ruling of Andor. In her eyes, he was a commoner, and in truth, he knew absolutely nothing of the ruling of a nation. The messenger peeled off to the side, and bowed as Rand reached the golden doors. Hoping Moiraine was there, he grasped the handle, which was a lion made of pure gold, and entered.

Gareth Bryne stood by the Queen's side as they waited for the group to arrive. They had a visitor who was currently preparing herself for the meeting. The woman, Moiraine Sedai he was told, had spent several hours locked away with Morgase talking. Now this meeting was called. Elayne and Gawyn would be attending of course, but also for some reason the commoner, Rand, and the ogier would also be attending.

Gareth had a bad feeling about this meeting. Something major was about to occur. Everything had been spinning and changing these last couple of days. First Elaida seemingly lost favor with the Queen and fled to Tar Valon after her fight with Morgase. Not that he missed Elaida, but Gareth was used to someone being his opposite. Now he had no idea what to expect, from this new Aes Sedai, or the others that would be attending the meeting.

Gareth despised change. Things in Andor were good, not perfect, but good. These last three days had torn the status quo to pieces. The lack of control he had was frightening; things were spiraling out of control. However, as always, Gareth would accept that change, as long as it was good for Andor, and he would continue to serve the White Lion.

Zarine Bashere sat in the Tavern of the Ocean's Wave Inn. It was the only place where they didn't serve nasty fish. She must have been through at least half of the blasted city before she found some real meat. Two weeks ago she had picked out the inn and five days previously she had taken the Hunter's Oath. Since then she had spent all of her time cooped up in the inn, planning her journey.

Finally, she was ready to leave. She had made up her mind. Gone was Zarine Bashere and with the name, all of her previous life was put behind her. Now she was just a simple Hunter of the Horn. She had toyed with the name, Mandarb, meaning Blade, but decided it didn't fit her. Instead, she was now Faile Bashere. A true name for a Hunter of the Horn. Her father had called her that growing up, it meant falcon, and she would hunt for the horn like a falcon hunts her prey.

At first she had thought of traveling to the Mountains of Mist, but she overheard other Hunters headed in the same direction. Upon further review, she didn't think the horn was there anyways. Someone from Manetheren would have used it in their hour of greatest need, if it was there. So, she had spent the last couple days thinking about the next possible location.

After a couple days, she had decided. She was Borderland raised, so she would head back to the Borderlands. If the Horn of Valere was to be used in the Final Battle, and not before, it had to be tied to something that had lasted since the Age of Legends. The one place that came to her mind was the Eye of the World. The Eye would be used in mankind's greatest need, which had to be near the Final Battle. Therefore, if the Eye was used right before the Final Battle, it would make sense that the Horn would be there for safekeeping until mankind's hour of greatest need.

The next morning she would make her way towards the Blight. She would head up through Caemlyn, passing by Tar Valon to Shienar. That was wear the Eye of World was near, so it was said in Saldaea. She was lucky to be on the road so fast and she would take advantage of the opportunity to get ahead of other Hunters.

Originally the Hunter's Oath wasn't supposed to be administered until the following year, but so many had responded quickly that they decided to have two Oath Taking Ceremonies with one being just after she arrived. She was anxious to see the world and had just been passing through Illian when she heard the news. The moment she heard, she knew that she would be a Hunter for the Horn. Now she would make her own name, leaving behind the name Zarine, and forever placing the name Faile Bashere in one of the gleeman's tales.

Morgase sat upon her throne waiting for everyone to arrive to the meeting. She had just finished talking to Moiraine and now they would share their plan with the whole group. Actually, it was more of Moiraine's plan, but she would live with it. Normally, she liked complete control over every situation, but the past few days had ruptured every future plan she had.

Ever since Rand al'Thor had saved her daughter's life, everything had been spiraling out of control and it bothered her. A quick glance to the side showed Gareth seemed upset as well. Just like her, the man liked to be in control. However, that control seemed to be slipping out of her hands. Morgase could almost see the torch being passed on to Moiraine, her daughter and Rand al'Thor.

Speaking of Rand al'Thor, the revelations Moiraine brought shocked her. The boy was the son of Tigraine. He was an Andoran noble, not the peasant he claimed to be. So much for the problem of her daughter falling for a commoner. But that was not the most surprising revelation. The light help her and Elayne. The boy was the Dragon Reborn. He could channel, go mad, and break the world once more.

And she had basically given him permission to court her daughter. Light, what had she done? Looking back, she couldn't believe her actions yesterday. Breaking down in front of a subject and basically giving her daughter away, not that Elayne minded from what she could tell. Her daughter was besotted with the man, and she could tell Rand al'Thor felt the same way. There was no stopping her daughter now, but where had her strong will of iron gone? Things were changing, that was for sure. According to Moiraine they would leave tomorrow for Tar Valon.

Moiraine seemed confident that she could convince the Amyrlin to tutor Elayne in private. She said it was extremely important now that she had developed a bond with Rand al'Thor. Then who knows where Elayne would go. But, she would be safe. Morgase remembered the politics in the Tower. Elayne would be free of all of that and would learn much faster. She would have to if she was in love with the Dragon Reborn.

Morgase put away these thoughts as she saw Gawyn shuffle in with. The meeting would start in minutes, and she needed to be devoid of all extraneous thoughts. That was what got her in trouble the day before. Gawyn would stay here when Elayne left. He would not like it, but it was necessary. The people needed proof that things were changing. Morgase was no longer on the strings of Elaida and Tar Valon. She and her daughter would pave their own way towards the future and hold onto the slim chance that Rand al'Thor would save them. It was her only hope.

Hello again. I am back and ready to write. Here is the long awaited Chapter 9. Sorry to all the readers. I know how frustrating waiting can be. I am in the process of planning future chapters and am rewriting my other story, With the Daughter of the Night, to make it easier to write. I will probably spend most of my time getting a couple chapters of that out, but I will continue to work on this story, as it is by far recieved the best reviews. Thank you for your kind reviews and suggestions, I make sure to read every one and take what you say into consideration. I can not promise regular updates, as I am a college student, but I will do my best. Enjoy.