Eight Years Previous

Arya was both pleased and concerned regarding Rand, then eight years old. He had taken a deep, scholarly interest in the One Power and its workings, and as rare as it was for a gentled man to act passionate about anything, the young Aes Sedai wasn't certain that his research would not worsen his melancholy. After all, he could never channel it himself. The reason for his immunity remained a mystery, although most of the Tower knew of it, none could understand why. Men had been gentled before, even young boys, but none had shown this odd immunity. Now he sat next to her, journal on his knee, "Why can men not feel Saidar?" She sighed and turned her attentions from her musings.


Arya woke in the back of a wagon, having been exhausted the previous night from fending off the trollocs. Without the wolves, they would have fallen. She rose from the bed, resolving to go and talk to their traveling companions. That boy, Mat, seemed to have know the wolf-brother from last night.

Mat was deep in thought, ahead of most of the caravan, when Arya's horse trotted up next to him and the Aes Sedai dismounted, smiling slightly, "Mat, wasn't it?" she asked, carefully modulating her voice to try to put him at ease. It was a lost cause.

"I want nothing to do with your kind, Aes Sedai." His face was blank, completely closed to her. Arya knew that many people in outlying communities were distrusting of the Power, but she hadn't imagined that it would be this bad.

"Mat, whatever you've heard about the Aes Sedai to make you feel this way, it was likely exaggerated if not an outright lie." She had heard many of them, after all, and was prepared to assuage his worries. "I'm not trying to trick you."

He grinned at her, but it was a mirthless sort of grin, "Alright, how about this. I'll tell you the one that worries me, and you can tell me if its false, alright? I've heard that the Aes Sedai can't lie, after all."

Arya was mildly surprised that he knew about that, as it wasn't something they spread about, although it also wasn't exactly hidden, and nodded for him to begin. He took a breath, "A while ago, about ten hears now, a friend of mine went with his father to Tar Valon. His mother was sick, and they wanted a cure." Arya relaxed slightly, his friend had likely just told him some wild story about the trip, "He was attacked in the city, while his father was gone," An Aes Sedai likely stepped in and frightened the boy while rescuing him, easy enough to explain, "He saved himself, but to do it, he must have channeled, because the next time his father saw his, it was surrounded by Aes Sedai." Arya had met a few of these types before, those who had lost someone to the gentling. She knew there was little she could say to convince him that it was necessary but ten years ago...

"Rand al'Thor," Mat stopped short in the next part of his growing tirade, "That's your friend's name, isn't it?" When he didn't deny it, she continued, "Gentling Rand was one of the hardest things the tower has done in recent memory." Let him think she meant morally difficult. The circles sent after the boy had barely been able to subdue him, "But rather than succumb to the melancholy, Rand thrived." The pair was no longer moving forward, and the caravan was catching up, "Rand became a blade-master before his fourteenth birthday. His writings about Saidar have brought us closer than ever to recreating pieces of the Age of Legends." Rand had, possibly because of his entirely academic approach to the power and his unique ability, discovered a means of Unweaving accessible to any channeler, although still requiring a great deal of skill. "Rand thanks us for what was done."

"Because you taught him he should!" Mat had gone red in the face, "He may be accomplished, but with us he would have been happy!" Lucien pulled his horse up next to her, eying the boy warily, but Mat just turned on his heel and stomped off into the forest.

"I don't know why I told him those things, Lucien. I just felt that... that I needed to." She rubbed her head lightly, perhaps I should lay down a while longer.

In a newly emptied room of the great holding, Rand slumped onto the floor, thankful for the break from Lanfear's rigorous instruction. The forsaken sat sedately across from him, "You said that a voice told you how to channel Saidin, correct?" Rand nodded, and Lanfear reached into her pocket, extracting a jeweled earring, "Take this, but do not channel."

Rand did as he was told, and in an instant, he was again swimming in a river of searing refuse. He struggled not to pour the power into the weaves being screamed into his mind. Concentrating, he honed in on Lanfear's spoken instructions, "I know that you don't always hold onto your Saidar, Rand. You should be able to release Saidin as well."

At her words, the voices screams changed from weaves. "THEREISNORELEASEYOUMUST PUSHPUSHBEFOREYOU'REBURNEDBURNIN-" With a colossal effort Rand thrust the offending power away from himself and the taint abated.

Lanfear looked at him, concern etched on her face, "Are you alright, Rand?"

He nodded, "What was that thing?" He eyed the innocent, gaudy even earring that sat on the floor in front of him where it must have fallen.

"That is a well, a ter'angreal used to store the power." She picked the object up, "This one is rare in that it will store Saidin." She stood, and offered him a hand up, "This way you have some to channel should you need it." Taking in his disheveled state, and considering that his traveling was up to her standards, she gently pushed him toward the door, "That's plenty for today. I'll go a few minutes after you." Rand nodded his thanks and left, leaning on the wall as he did so. Lanfear watched him leave, considering a channeler that could weave both Saidin and Saidar simultaneously, her reason for creating the Bore in the Age of Legends. They would do great things together, she decided.