All concepts, characters, and places recognizable from the work of another individual are the property of said individual. This story was written purely for my own enjoyment and was not meant to make profit, or to be offensive to anybody.
Arya Sedai sat on her horse, watching her young charge, not so young anymore, he would be sixteen years that night. The anniversary of his birth, the anniversary of his gentling. Arya had been a novice at when he was assigned to her care fresh from being gentled by the thirteen strongest Aes Sedai in the tower, wielding thirteen Sa'angreal. She hadn't expected him to see the end of that month, and now, ten years later, he still lived. In those ten years, the boy had grown into a man who had bested Hammar Gaiden to become a blademaster. It truly was a fortunate thing that the boy had been gentled, losing this much potential to the madness would have been disastrous. If not for his condition, the boy... the young man would have been bound long ago as a warder. As it was, no weave would touch him, not even healing. The power seemed to flow into him, but lay dormant, without effect... or so the other Ajahs thought. Every morning, Arya and her fellow Greens would take him to one of the lowest rooms in the tower and channel the power into him; then, they would teach him to weave. Yes, Rand Al'Thor had found something to fill the void left by Saidin, Saidar. He couldn't touch the True Source, no. He had been cut off from it. He could, however, wield the power that he absorbed. Arya felt a little badly about dragging him away from his life at the White Tower, btu it would be worth it when he was able to see his parents for the first time in ten years. After two weeks of riding, they had reached Emond's Field.
Tam Al'Thor looked into the fire of the Winespring Inn and sighed. This day marked the tenth year since Rand had been taken from him, and the sixteenth since he had found Rand on the slopes of Dragonmount. Tam let the tears begin to flow, Rand would be dead by now. No man lived long after being gentled. There was a knock on the door and Tam went to answer it. He opened the door and found himself looking into the ageless face of an Aes Sedai. Tam's frown became a snarl as his hand flew to draw his sword, but before he could even remove it from its scabbard, there was a blade at his neck, a heron marked blade, a blade wielded by his son. "Rand!" Rand looked a him, "I'm sorry father, but I cannot let you harm sister Arya." Meanwhile, 'sister Arya' had rented two rooms in the inn for herself and Rand for the week they would be staying. Just then another Aes Sedai and her warder entered. Rand turned from Tam, "Sister Moraine, what a pleasant surprise to meet you here, And you, warder Mandragon." Lan nodded slightly while Moraine gave him a soft smile, "It is good to see you as well, Rand. What brings you here?" Rand frowned, "Sister Arya seemed to think that seeing my home again would bring me some measure of happiness. It appears she was correct." Tam finally seemed to break out of his stupor, " Why don't you come with me, Rand, and we can visit your old friends. They were heartbroken when you were taken, especially Egwene," he shot another glare at the two Aes Sedai. "As much as I would enjoy visiting them, father, I am loath to leave sister Arya in an unknown environment." Arya glided to Rand, "In that case, Rand, I'll accompany you until Lucien gets back from Watch Hill." Rand nodded and looked to his father, "Lead on." As they walked, Rand turned to Tam, "Where's Mom?" Tam stiffened, "She died Rand, one week after you were taken." It was a case of the straw that broke the camel's back. Rand felt the Void he had held for ten years shatter. Sadness, grief, loss, and emptiness pounded into him. Tears filled Rand's eyes and without warning, he sprinted off, his father and surrogate sister in hot pursuit. When they caught him Rand had his blade pressed against his own ribs with two hands. Arya threw a frantic weave of air at the sword and tried to pull it away from him, but Rand's grip was too strong and she only managed to stop him from killing himself. The strain of holding a weave that touched Rand began to show when, in her desperation, she wove flows of fire to make him relinquish the sword. Rand hissed as his blade heated until it burnt his flesh and dropped the blade before collapsing on the ground in tears. The gathering crowd watched in awe as an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah knelt next to a sobbing Rand in the middle of a dirt road and held his head against her breast, stroking his hair. Finally succumbing to the difficulty of channeling around Rand and the sadness of gentling, they both fell asleep.
Arya Sedai woke up in a soft bed to find a pair of strong arms encircling her. 'Rand.' She noticed that his hands were bandaged and immediately cringed at the memory of the day before. Unfortunately, Rand was as immune to healing as he was to the rest of the One Power. Fortunately, he always was an extremely fast healer. There was a knock on the door of the room they were in and Arya called softly, "Enter." The door swung open violently and two women strode in, one bold and one shy. The bold woman spoke loudly, "I am Nynaeve, the village wisdom. I'm here to refresh the bandages on Rand's hands." The young Green nodded and slid out of Rand's arms as Nynaeve began to unravel the old bandages. When the bandages were removed and the poultice was cleared away, Arya gasped and recalled a lecture from part of her training as a Green sister.
"Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live, and twice to die. Once the heron, to set his path. Twice the heron, to name him true."
There, on Rand's palms, were twin burns from where he had grasped his sword. The two herons stood out a stark black against his tan skin. Arya almost groaned aloud. As Nynaeve prepared a new poultice, Moraine entered with Lan. After one glance at Rand's hands, she did groan aloud. The village wisdom glanced over to them, but finished changing Rand's bandages and left. Moraine turned to Arya, "What do we do now?" she practically hissed. "I don't know!" Arya shot back. Both Aes Sedai sat in silence, pondering the same thing. 'Would Rand be persecuted as a false Dragon?' Or worse yet, 'Did we gentle the real Dragon reborn?'
Rand woke to find Arya and Moraine conversing in hushed tones. He could catch only a few words of their conversation, including 'Dragon,' 'Tear,' 'Saidin,' 'Saidar,' 'ter'angreal,' and 'Aelfin.' Rand chose to wait for their conversation to end before he sat up, immediately saying, "I am sorry for my childish behavior this past day, sisters." The heads of the two Aes Sedai present whipped towards him quickly enough that he worried for the condition of their necks. They sat staring at him for almost three minutes before Arya spoke, "Light Rand! Never do something like that again!" Rand nodded, his eyes downcast, "I know sister, I should not have let the Void shatter, it was careless of me." Moraine entered the conversation, "It is past now, Rand, but I do have something to ask of you." "Anything, sister." "I am headed to Tear, and I would like you to accompany me. After all, a blade master could be useful." Rand looked to Arya for permission. "That will be fine, Rand. After all, I have Lucien to protect me." Rand bid her farewell and began to help Moraine prepare for the trip.