Author's Note: First the disclaimer, I own nothing, this is the property of the late Mr. Robert Jordan, JK Rowling and the various publishers and production companies. No money made here, no matter how much I wish differently.
Special thanks to Stargatesg1fan1, whose story 'Inheriting a New Prophecy' inspired this story and made me want to explore Harry being cast in other roles in the Multiverse. The opening sequence is virtually identical to the one in his story, purposefully, and is used with his agreement. If I happen to use material from other fan fiction without giving due credit please let me know as it is unintentional and I will be happy to give credit where due. I have read so much fan fiction it is sometimes hard to remember what is canon, what is from a fan fic and what is my own twisted mind. Hope you enjoy, please be gentle when you review. The Prophecies of the Dragon are lifted directly from the Wheel of Time series and are the property of Robert Jordan estate, and TOR. Enjoy!
Twenty four year old Harry Potter grunted in pain as his body bumped over the hard and unforgiving ground. He was currently being dragged into what had previously been Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It had been eight years since he was last on the grounds of the only place he had ever called home. Ever since that fateful night when Albus Dumbledore was assassinated, he had stayed away.
He had been away that night on a horcrux hunt with Albus and they returned to find the school under attack. Petrified and covered with the invisibility cloak by Albus, Harry had watched helplessly as Draco Malfoy made his threats to the headmaster's life and ultimately as his mentor and friend was killed by Snape. After Snape and Malfoy exited, Harry had pushed hard with his magic and was finally able to free himself. The only thing that kept him from chasing after Snape and killing him then was the blood curdling scream that came from inside the castle. Harry knew the voice and it belonged to someone who he never thought could scream like that. Harry raced toward where he had heard the scream and arrived to find Professor McGonagall crouched, sobbing over the dead forms of all his closest friends.
Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Ron, and even Neville had all fought valiantly as attested by the numerous bodies of Death Eaters littering the area, but in the end they had been overwhelmed by greater numbers and the sheer ruthlessness of the enemy. It was the last body however, that of his beloved wife Daphne that had sealed it and it had finally lit a fire under him. They had met and fallen deeply in love during the whole Tri-Wizard fiasco and had been married in secret just after the end of his fourth year and between her and Hermione, he always had solid counsel. As he surveyed the body of his friends and his wife, Harry finally concluded that he would have to end this war personally. Hermione and Daphne had always been there before to guide him and help him through, but no more, he was all alone now. So, Harry began training, pushing himself to his utter limits, and then beyond.
When he next went to Gringotts, he found that the headmaster had left him a large inheritance, over 20 million galleons. Apparently Dumbledore in his infinite wisdom and as Harry's magical guardian had removed the bulk of the Potter fortune to his accounts but willed it all to be returned upon his death. Apparently he didn't want Harry using the money to escape the Dursleys. Armed with over 20 million galleons (over 100 million pounds sterling) Harry went out and covertly bought everything he would need for training his mind and body.
Meanwhile, the war continued to escalate in the wizarding world as Voldemort and his supporters grew ever bolder in the wake of Dumbledore's murder. Growing desperate in his search for 'the power he knows not' that the prophecy spoke of Harry even branched out heavily into muggle subjects, especially the sciences. It wasn't difficult with the use of some memory transference charms, which while useless for attempting to transfer between magicals, worked perfectly to transfer memories from muggles to magicals. Something about the magic imprinted the memories to a specific magic user. No such thing existed in the muggle memories. This allowed Harry to greatly accelerate his learning, especially in martial skills as he sought experts in martial arts, weapons and tactics and acquired their skills. Once transferred, the skills needed only to be practiced.
In the course of three years, Harry managed to cram over a decade of training in all magical disciplines, acquired the knowledge of several muggle PhDs, and advanced masteries of Special Forces close quarters combat (CQC) techniques, aikido, tae kwon do and the sword, all thanks to a time turner discovered in Dumbledore's office. Harry had also found a philosopher's stone with detailed notes on how to use it and if necessary make more. The old man had kept it in case he had to use it to keep fighting Riddle. He had known since Harry's first year at Hogwarts that Riddle had somehow made himself immortal but wasn't sure of the method until after the confrontation in the Chamber of Secrets in Harry's second year.
Using the stone to slow his aging kept others from noticing the temporal training. Luckily, Harry had been able to remove these artifacts, along with the Sword of Griffindor before Riddle took the castle shortly after Dumbledore's death. He'd also managed to locate and destroy all of Riddle's horcrux soul containers over the years along with gathering the deathly hallows, and becoming the Master of Death. Even with the Hallows, Harry was not certain he could permanently kill Riddle.
Riddle had used the castle to vastly increase his power after taking up residence there which was the wrinkle, but Harry had a plan. Luckily, Hogwarts wasn't located near any Muggle populated areas and Hogsmeade was evacuated shortly after the castle fell.
As Harry was finally dragged in front of Riddle he smiled.
"Why are you smiling Potter? Is it because you are about to meet your wretched parents," Riddle asked with a sneer.
Harry's grin grew wider and he shook his head. "No Tommy-boy, it's because I'm about to send you to hell," Harry replied.
Before Riddle could reply, Harry sent out a magical pulse that called his familiar. Fawkes had come to him shortly after the old man had died and they bonded. As soon as the phoenix landed on his chest Harry quickly chanted a spell in an ancient language that he had found during his studies in the Potter vault.
As he finished his body began to convert itself into pure energy which would result in a massive explosion while at the same time pressing a button on a small cube in his pocket. The cube contained an expanded space in which rested a muggle tactical nuclear weapon. It was small, relatively speaking, but it was big enough to vaporize everything within a mile, and when combined with the explosive conversion of Harry into energy would ensure that nothing magical or mundane would survive the blast.
Given sufficient time and preparation, it is entirely possible for wizards to survive a nuclear blast through the use of wards but no wizard could survive one at point blank range without any warning at all. Riddle's eyes had just enough time to go wide before he was vaporized. Every death eater in the castle met the same fate. The castle itself didn't survive but the wards did hold out just long enough to contain the blast before they gave out as their anchor disintegrated.
As the blast cleared nothing was left of the once great school except a deep crater. Harry could feel his soul being hurtled through time and space as the spell he cast earlier was carried out. His very essence was combined with that of Fawkes due to some of the expected side effects of the ancient spell. It had been specifically modified to accomplish this as it ensured Harry's continued survival.
The spell was designed to transport the caster to another reality where they would then merge with the body/soul of their alternate in that reality. It wasn't too hard to allow additional mergers during the course of the spell.
When Harry felt his consciousness swim into existence in this new reality, he felt a brief shock as he integrated with his new body and absorbed its memories. He could also feel his magical core, still intact, and a second core that felt like Fawkes, ancient and powerful. He could also feel something just at the edge of his mind, something extremely powerful, and he could sense an additional presence in his mind which he quickly overwhelmed and absorbed….. and then he cried out, falling to his knees, hands clutching his skull as he was assaulted by over four hundred years worth of knowledge and skills. Footsteps rapidly approached him and gentle hands rested on his shoulders, "Rand, are you ok lad?"
Harry slowly looked up and recognized the man as his father, Tam al'Thor from his new body's memories, "I'm fine…." He managed, breathing hard. "I suddenly have a really bad headache, would it be ok if I go lie down for a while?"
Tam smiled and helped him up, "of course lad, get inside and rest up a bit, I'll check on you in a while."
Harry nodded and headed into the house, heading into his bedroom on instinct, where he stripped off his boots and shirt and lay down on his bed. He took a deep breath, and started his occlumency, rapidly sorting and integrating all of the knowledge he had just inherited. Time passes differently in the mind and after what seemed like days, he opened his eyes and noticed that it was still light out. He closed his eyes again, going over what he had absorbed. The body he now inhabited was called Rand al'Thor and the second presence, the one that had nearly overwhelmed him was called Lews Therin Telamon and was apparently a tragic hero that had lived nearly 3,000 years earlier and was a major figure in what was now called the Age of Legends, and the War of Power which ended it. From his review of Rand's memories and his own presence here given the nature of the ritual that brought him, Harry gathered that Rand was the modern reincarnation of this 'Dragon', and would be expected to save the world again. 'Nothing new there,' he thought to himself.
Taking stock of his physical condition Harry found himself pleased with his new body, he was 16 years old, fit and around 6'2", rather tall by local standards, with reddish hair and gray eyes. Harry grinned, he could definitely work with this. And if he was this 'Dragon Reborn', which he undoubtedly was (Harry's luck being what it was), someone would be along to find him eventually. Till then, he needed to prepare. With that in mind, he stood, and pulled on his shirt and boots and went to seek out his father. He remembered Rand finding a sword under Tam's bed a few years earlier, but he had been afraid to ask about it for fear of angering his father; it was time to ask for lessons, as this would help cover the rest of his training regimen. He would need to get this body used to martial arts, and he would need to practice his magic, and with the One Power to make sure that he was ready for when destiny came knocking. From his own experiences with the Blood War, and Lews Therin's experience and knowledge from the War of Power, Harry felt confident he could fight the war against the Shadow. He just needed a little time to prepare.
END OF PROLOGUE
The Prophecies of the Dragon (from The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan)
And the Shadow fell upon the Land, and the World was riven stone from stone. The oceans fled, and the mountains were swallowed up, and the nations were scattered to the eight corners of the World. The moon was as blood, and the sun was as ashes. The seas boiled, and the living envied the dead. All was shattered, and all but memory lost, and one memory above all others, of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Dragon.
And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died.
And men cried out to the Creator, praying, O Light of the Heavens, Light of the World, let the Promised One be born of the mountain, according to the Prophecies, as he was in Ages past and will be in Ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs. Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered, and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide…
…Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow, born once more as he was born before and shall be born again, time without end. The Dragon shall be Reborn, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation.
Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath to spit in the Sightblinder's eye on the last day…
And his pats shall be many and who shall know his name, for he shall be bourn amongst us many times in many guises, as he has been and ever will be, time without end. His coming shall be like the sharp edge of the plow, turning our lives in furrows ripping us from out the places where we live in our silence. The breaker of bonds; The forger of chains. The maker of futures; the unshaper of destiny.
Twice and twice shall he be marked; Twice to live and Twice to die. Once a Heron to set his path, twice a Heron to name him true. Once a Dragon for memories lost, twice a Dragon for the price he must pay. Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed ; Once for Mourning, Twice for Birth. Red on Black, the Dragon's blood stains the rock at Shayol Ghul. In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow.
And it was written that no hand but his should wield the Sword held in the Stone, but he did draw it out, like fire in his hand, and his glory did burn the world. Thus did it begin. Thus do we sing his Rebirth. Thus do we sing the beginning.
The Shadow shall rise across the world, and darken every land, even to the smallest corner, and there shall be neither Light nor safety. And he who shall be born of the Dawn, born of the Maiden, according to Prophecy, he shall stretch forth his hands to catch the Shadow, and the world shall scream in the pain of salvation. All Glory be to the Creator, and to the Light, and to he who shall be born again. May the Light save us from him.
Power of the Shadow made human flesh, wakened to turmoil strife and ruin. The Reborn One, marked and bleeding, dances the sword in dreams and mist, chains the Shadowsworn to his will, from the city lost and forsaken leads the spears to war once more, breaks the spears and makes them see, truth long hidden in the ancient dream.
The White Tower shall be broken by his name, and Aes Sedai shall kneel to wash his feet and dry them with their hair.
And when the blood was sprinkled on ground where nothing could grow, the Children of the Dragon did spring up, the People of the Dragon, armed to dance with death. And he did call them forth from the wasted lands, and they did shake the world with battle.
With his coming are the dreaded fires born again. The hills burn and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced and the veil of partings raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.
And the glory of the Light did shine upon him. And the peace of the Light did he give men. Binding nations to him. Making one of many. Yet the shards of heart did give wounds. And what was once did come again …. In fire and storm, splitting all in twain. For his peace… for his peace…. Was the peace… was the peace…. of the sword. And the glory of the Light did shine upon him.
The lions sing and the hills take flight. Moon by day and the Sun by night. Blind man, deaf man, jackdaw, fool; Let the Lord of Chaos rule.
The unstained tower brakes and bends knee to the forgotten sin. The seas rage and the storm clouds gather unseen. Beyond the horizon hidden fires swell and serpents nestle in the bosom. What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up. Order burns to clear his path.
There can be no health in us, nor can any good thing grow, for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn and he is one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone, in pride he conquers forcing the proud to yield. He calls upon the mountains to kneel, and the seas to give way, and the very heavens to bow. Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears, and the soul of fire, love.
As the plow breaks the earth, shall he break the lives of men, and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes. The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice, and he shall wear a crown of swords.
Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm, bearer of the crown of swords, spinner of our fate. Who thinks he turns the Weal of Time may learn the truth too late…
The seals that hold back night shall weaken, and in the heart of winter shall Winter's Heart be born amid the wailing of lamentations and the gnashing of teeth, for Winter's Heart shall ride a black horse, and the name of it is Death.
And it shall come to pass in the days when the Dark Hunt rides, when the right hand falters and the left hand strays, that mankind shall come to the Crossroads of Twilight and all that is, all that was, and all that will be shall balance on the point of a sword, while the winds of the Shadow grow.
We rode on the winds of the rising storm, we ran to the sound of the thunder, we danced among the lightning bolts, and tore the world asunder…
At the end of time, when the Many become One, the Last Storm shall gather its angry winds to destroy a land already dying. And in its heart, a blind man shall stand upon his own grave. There he shall see again and weep for what has been wrought.
-Robert Jordan, 'The Eye of the World'
Book I: The Eye of the World
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
Born below the ever cloud-capped peaks that gave the mountains their name, the wind blew east, out across the Sand Hills, once the shore of a great ocean, before the Breaking of the World. Down it flailed into the Two Rivers, into the tangled forest called the Westwood, and beat at two men walking with a cart and horse down the rock-strewn track called the Quarry Road.
For all that spring should have come a good month since; the wind carried an icy chill as if it would rather bear snow. Harry strode confidently along, the cold not bothering him as he had long since mastered the Aes Sedai method of ignoring heat and cold. It was a technique called the Flame and the Void by his father, which was a training tool for swordsmen and archers, and strangely enough, for male Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends that was called the Oneness. He dwelt constantly in the void, having mastered it to the point that it no longer dulled his emotions. He carried a longbow, and a quiver of arrows at his hip, and the hilt of a sword bearing the herons of a blademaster peeked above his right shoulder, strapped to his back. He had recently defeated his father, a blademaster in his own right, in a duel and had earned the right to wear the sword, and Tam had given it to him as a congratulatory gift.
It had been four years since his arrival in this universe, and he had put it to good use, getting his body fit, and agile, mastering the sword, the bow and training himself back to mastery of his martial arts skills. He had also become quite proficient with saidin, the male half of the One Power, thanks to Lews Therin's vast knowledge, though he was sure that he had yet to reach his peak strength, as he was only 20 and his memories told him that men peaked later than women, usually in their mid to late 20s. Strangely, his strength now, not yet having reached its peak, was already greater, nearly fifty percent higher than his strength during the Age of Legends, and it would only continue to grow.
He had also retained his proficiency with magic and had found that his occlumency shields provided a buffer that protected his mind from the Dark One's taint on saidin, and as such had taken great pains to strengthen them as much as possible. In addition to his training, he taken the opportunity to read every book he could get his hands ontrying to get a feel for the politics and history of the current era. He had also had the great fortune to come across a wonderful surprise on the trader's cart the previous year when he had found a male angreal; it was in the form of a ring that fit his left middle finger perfectly. It wasn't tremendously powerful, but with it he could hold three times as much saidin as he could unaided, a great tactical advantage for when the time came. And he was sure it was coming soon.
Suddenly, he felt the presence of Shadowspawn, and time seemed to slow as, acting on instinct, he seized saidin and in the same instant, spun drawing the arrow he had knocked smoothly to his cheek and preparing to loose it in one clean motion, sighting on what he easily recognized as a Fade, sitting on its mount down the Quarry Road. Also called the Eyeless, and numerous other nicknames, Fades were abominations created by the Forsaken, 13 of the most powerful wielders of the One Power, during the War of Power. Fades were stronger than normal men, faster, and despite having no eyes, could see like eagles, and they were deadly with a blade. It was easy to spot a Fade, as the wind never touches their clothing, and they can easily vanish in shadows.
The Fade suddenly rode off, vanishing soundlessly. Tam had also spun as he saw Harry react. Harry lowered his bow. He was sure the Fade was only an advance scout. He turned to Tam, seeing the question on his father's face, "Fade. The wind never touched it." Most folks in the Two Rivers thought Fades were fairy tales, but Tam knew better, as did Harry.
Tam's eyes widened and he turned to look down the road again. When he turned back to Harry, there was no doubt, or ridicule, simply acceptance, "We'd best keep moving then lad."
Harry smiled, "I know father."
Tam chuckled, "You're a good lad, Rand." His expression turned serious, "We're headed into sad and dangerous times now, lad. Fades in the Two Rivers, I hoped I'd never see this day, sad and dangerous times indeed." Tam shook his head sadly.
Harry nodded, and they turned and continued on their way towards Emond's Field. He knew what it was after, him of course. That was the only explanation. The Shadow had finally figured out he was here it seemed, though they had not yet made their move. He knew that his time in the peace and quiet of the Two Rivers was coming to an end, and it saddened him. The last four years on the farm with Tam, and spending time with his friends when possible, had been among the best of his life. Though luckily, they had also been quite productive, he had even managed to teach hand to hand and knife fighting to both Mat and Perrin, his best friends. Sad and dangerous times indeed, he thought. He had not yet had the heart tell Tam that he was the Dragon Reborn, he had no doubt that the man would believe him, and would still love and support him. He just had no desire to burden his adoptive father before it was necessary.
They continued on, both alert, but they finally made it to the village with no further incidents. As they walked through the village towards the Winespring Inn, Tam would stop occasionally to engage the men of the village in conversation. Harry paid it no mind as he knew his father would fill him in later. He silently watched the preparations for Bel Tine, and nodded or waved to people that greeted him, lost in his thoughts about the Fade, and planning his next move.
When they arrived at the Inn, his friend Mat wound up helping him unload the cart, and in the process of doing so, informed him about the arrival of two strangers the previous night, and together they found out that a Gleeman had arrived as well. Harry also discovered that Mat had also seen the Fade, though of course he had no idea what it really was. If Perrin had also seen it, then that meant the Shadow knew he was here, but not who he was and were obviously scouting all the boys in his age group. Sadly, there were only few within his age group, and only two who were within a month or so of him, Mat and Perrin.
After a brief discussion with a younger boy about the strangers, the Lady Moiraine and Lan her bodyguard, they had a strange encounter with a raven, which Harry was tempted to burn to a cinder, but settled for throwing a rock, which the bird calmly dodged, which confirmed to him that it was a spy for the Shadow, and he was glad he had not let slip his abilities. He watched the bird, considering his options.
"A vile bird," came a woman's melodious voice from behind them, distaste evident in her tone, "to be mistrusted in the best of times."
With a cry, the raven launched itself, and vanished into the sky. Harry turned and was met with a pleasant sight. The Lady Moiraine was stunningly beautiful, petite, and quite obviously an Aes Sedai. Judging by the ageless appearance, she was bound, which made sense as he remembered the so called Three Oaths that the modern Aes Sedai swore upon ascension to the shawl. They must use one of the old binding rods he mused. He wondered if they knew that they were using the same process that had been used to bind criminals in Lews Therin's time?
He gave a small smile and a bow, taking her hand and gently kissing her knuckles. "Good morning to you Lady Moiraine" he said as he straightened. He noticed Mat gaping at him and gave him a head jerk and Mat quickly composed himself and greeted her as well, though fortunately he did not attempt to duplicate the bow and kiss.
She smiled in delight, "Such manners, and you know my name! And please, do call me Moiraine; there is no need for titles. And what are your names?"
Mat jerked slightly as she looked at them expectantly, "I'm, uh, Matrim Cauthon my…uh, Moiraine" he stuttered.
Harry smirked inwardly, smile still firmly in place on the outside, he gave his name. She smiled again and nodded, "Wonderful, I may have some tasks that need doing while I am here in Emond's Field, perhaps both of you would be willing to assist me?"
Both boys readily agreed, Harry shrugged to himself inwardly as he realized she was undoubtedly plotting, he might know what she was and have a great deal of knowledge and experience, but he was also a young hormonal man and as vulnerable to the charms of a beautiful woman as his friend.
She nodded and smiled again, "here" she said as she pressed a coin into each of their hands. While Mat protested that it was unnecessary, Harry was curious and activated his mage sight (he had discovered quite by accident that it allowed him to see female channeling, another huge advantage as male and female channelers normally could not see each other's weaves) and noted she had put a weave on the coins that created a low level link that would allow her to find them, even over great distances. He had to give her credit for subtlety. They exchanged pleasantries for another minute or two and she spun her cover story when questioned about her presence in the Two Rivers, but Harry knew why she was really here. For the same reason as the Fade they had encountered earlier, Harry, and possibly his two friends, Mat and Perrin as well.
As she walked away, a tall man in a fancloth cloak stepped out of the shadows and followed her, with the easy grace of a predator about him, his cloak making him fade in and out of the background which tended to make people queasy if they watched for too long. His eyes when they passed over the boys were cold, hard and were weighing and measuring everything about his surroundings as he constantly searched for potential threats. Harry noted the faintest pause and the slightest widening of the Warders eyes as he noted the Heron mark blade on Harry's back. This must be her Warder then, Harry thought to himself. As they walked off, Mat kept up a running dialog, bringing Harry up to speed on the village happenings.
Harry listened to his friend with half an ear, nodding or answering at the appropriate points. Internally, he was considering recent events. There was at least one Fade and an Aes Sedai and her warder, all arriving around the same time in a village on the edge of nowhere, this could hardly be coincidence. As the three boys walked, they noticed that the peddler, Padan Fain had finally arrived and was driving his wagon slowly into the village. It was certainly going to be an interesting holiday he thought. Hopefully they would all live through it.
After a great deal of excitement over the news brought by Fain of a False Dragon in Ghealdan and the war currently being waged in his name,, the village council had taken Fain and disappeared into the Inn. Harry had not really been paying attention after the announcement of a False Dragon. This news had brought home a particularly sore point, Harry could not fight the Shadow alone and the Aes Sedai would be… reluctant, to put it mildly, to support him when he declared himself. He would need to gather male channelers and train them to use the One Power, but first he needed a way to protect their minds from the taint, or he would unleash another breaking. Harry had a plan to cleanse saidin of the Dark One's taint, though it would greatly depend on finding the access keys to the Choedan Kal (AN: will be explained later if you don't know what they are), assuming that any had survived the Breaking and he would need a powerful female Aes Sedai to help him. He needed a short term solution, a way to duplicate his occlumency shields to protect the male channelers he would have to train. Perhaps he could create a runic amulet of some sort for them?
He was dragged out of his thoughts by an argument between Mat and Perrin regarding the Dragon, he grunted noncommittally when they asked what he thought. They pressed on, Perrin adamantly hoping the Dragon and the Aes Sedai would stay far away, while Mat wanted the excitement that they would bring. If only you knew my friends, Harry thought. Harry was startled again by the sudden appearance of Nynaeve al'Meara, the village Wisdom and her apprentice Egwene al'Vere, the Mayor's daughter, who in the village gossip, was Harry's apparent future wife, though he of course knew that she was not.
Apparently, Nynaeve had overheard Mat telling a story about one of the villagers naming the Dark One and his efforts to get him to repeat that mistake, never a good idea and the young Wisdom had decided to lay into Mat about it. Harry noticed Perrin straighten unconsciously, and fought the urge to do so himself, the woman barely came up to his shoulder and was a slender, pretty little thing, but by the Light was she scary when riled, she actually reminded him a lot of Hermione when she was in her lecture mode, the thought brought a sad smile to his face. Harry looked at Egwene and gave her a brief smile before turning back to watching Nynaeve make Mat squirm. Finally she turned to him, "And you Rand, mind telling me why you three were discussing something you should know to stay clear of?"
Harry smiled at her, "It was natural enough to speak of it Wisdom, after listening to the news brought by Master Fain of war and a False Dragon in Ghealdan. The village council is speaking to him now."
Nynaeve had been busy caring for a sick villager, and had missed much of the morning's excitement. She frowned, "They are probably asking all the wrong questions, fool men, and it will take the Women's Circle to get anything useful." She turned and stalked off towards the inn.
Egwene remained behind, and looked at Harry with disapproving eyes, "You should not let Mat get you mixed up in his foolishness Rand." Then she giggled, "Though the look on Mat's face was priceless, I haven't seen him look like that since Cenn Buie caught you both up in his apple trees."
Harry smiled and nodded, Mat was surely a troublemaker and he reminded Harry of the Weasley twins… Harry forced himself away from those morbid thoughts and looked at Egwene, he noticed that her hair was now braided, indicating that was considered to be of marriageable age by the Women's Circle. "I hope you'll save me a dance tomorrow?" he asked her. Harry had none of Rand's fear and confusion with regard to the fairer sex; he'd been married for a little over two years after all. Sadly though, none of the women in the area would be open to casual sex, or they would take any such advance as a marriage proposal, and Harry knew that if he was to marry, the woman was not to be found here in the Two Rivers.
She smiled and nodded, "Of course, but do try not to let Mat get you into trouble in the mean time" and with that, she moved off.
After she left, talk turned back to events at hand and Harry found out Perrin had also received a coin from Moiraine and that he had also seen the Fade.
A few moments later, the Gleeman burst out of the inn like he was being chased and after some grousing and a brief Q&A with the villagers, they learned his name was Thom Merrilin and he gave a sample performance. Sadly the performance was interrupted by a polite confrontation with Moiraine in which a lot was said in very few words. Harry smiled inwardly, he had always hated politics, but it could be fun to watch sometimes.
Their confrontation was then interrupted by the Village Council exiting the inn, which Thom took as an excuse to leave, heading back into the inn, muttering about strong ale. Harry watched in silent amusement as Nynaeve abused the council, as they differed in opinion with her about the Gleeman, Moiraine and her warder and virtually everything else. It still amazed Harry just how matriarchal the world had become since the Breaking, whereas in Lews Therin's time, the genders had been equal and his own world had been largely male dominated though that trend had been changing. He supposed that the fact that men, male channelers specifically, had broken the world might be explanation enough for the change.
While Harry had been pondering the state of gender relations in the world, his father had come over and was answering questions from Mat and Perrin. They had perked up at the mention of a patrol the village council was going to recommend, both immediately planning to volunteer. Harry looked at his father and raised an eyebrow in question and got a nod. Ok then he thought, they were heading back the farm.
It made sense to him, since Harry was the target the Shadowspawn were seeking; the best course for now was to get themselves away from the village and hope that it would be left in peace, though he wished he could convince Tam to stay, he knew his father would not, his Two Rivers stubbornness and love for his son would not allow for it. No one would believe them anyway except for Moiraine, (and Harry was not yet ready to reveal himself) if they tried to warn them about the Fade, and with Moiraine and her Warder in the village, they would have some protection if Shadowspawn attacked, and Harry would be free to defend himself and his father at the farm. They made their goodbyes, gathered their shaggy mare Bella and their cart and then set out for home.
That night, Harry sat in the living room of their house, reading a book, his sword close at hand; a pack filled with necessities lay on the floor by his bow and quiver near his chair. Harry had long since stopped actually reading as he waited; sensing instinctually that an attack was imminent. His father had updated him on the village council meeting, leaving nothing out as he felt Harry had a right to know, on the walk home. And in return, Harry had told his father about his abilities, and his suspicion that he was the Dragon Reborn. Tam took it well, and seemed more sad than surprised, telling Harry he had suspected as much, hoping against hope that he was wrong, and he told Harry that nothing had changed between them. The discussion had carried them all the way back to the farm where they had busied themselves with the chores that needed doing before finally bathing, eating and settling in. Harry had already had his workout that morning before they set out for Emond's Field. Closing the book, he sat back, closed his eyes and ran through some occlumency exercises, floating in the void, ready to seize saidin if needed. Tam sat across from him, his sword also in easy reach. Not long now, Harry thought, he could sense the Shadowspawn approaching.
"Father, they're coming" Harry said.
Tam didn't question, they both stood, readying themselves. A moment later, there was a loud crash as a Trolloc smashed the front door in. It had a brief moment of surprise before its head was separated from its body by Tam, after which it rolled out into the night, followed by the body. Harry seized saidin through the angreal and felt his senses sharpen immensely. Tam calmly wiped the blade of his sword clean, and the two of them moved quickly, grabbing the packs they had prepared and their bows and quivers. Swords in hand, they raced through the house and Harry moved to the front, channeling briefly he used Air to smash the window ahead of them out and leapt into the night, his bow and pack falling to the ground as he dove, rolled to his feet and moved to engage to very two very surprised Trollocs, he killed them both before they had a chance to raise the alarm. Tam landed quietly nearby, and they both picked up their things and moved quickly for the edge of the forest.
A Fade stepped into view, cutting off their escape, along with two more Trollocs. Harry moved forward swiftly, still full of saidin and engaged the Fade, their blades clashing, both moving in a swift and deadly dance. Between saidin and the rituals Harry had undergone in his last life, he was more than a match for the Fade physically and after a few minutes of pitched battle, Harry swept in, locking the Fade's sword and twisting it out of its hands and viciously drove an elbow into its eyeless face. As the Fade fell, Harry spun smoothly, and separated its head from it neck and then as a precaution removed its legs and hands as well, the Fade, as was typical for its species, continued to twitch and try to move. He squatted and cleaned his blade on the Fade's cloak. Breathing hard, he stood and turned to check on Tam, to find two dead Trollocs and his father on his knees, clutching his side, an expression of great pain on his face. Oh shit, Harry thought and raced to his father.
Tam had been cut by one of the Trollocs cursed blades. His father was already showing the beginning signs of delirium and a high fever. Harry cast a silent featherlight charm on his father and moved him to a secure spot and then cast a light sleeping spell on him. He cast a general healing charm which seemed to help a bit, and would certainly keep Tam alive longer, but was not a fix. Sadly, Lews Therin had not been much of a healer. Harry then cast notice me not and silencing charms on his father and proceeded to stalk the Trollocs that remained, using saidin to kill them quickly, there was no time for swords with his father likely dying. With the remaining Trollocs dispatched, he quickly built a litter, and found that Bella, remarkably, was still in her stall in the barn. He wiped his sword clean on an old cloth, sheathed it and belted the scabbard on his back, no longer sensing any Shadowspawn, though he still held on to saidin. He brought her out, soothing the agitated mare and after placing Tam in the litter, secured it to her. He then strung his bow, secured his quiver to his left hip and knocked an arrow. Then he clucked to the mare, and she set out. He guided her onto the Quarry Road, casting a strong notice me not charm on all of them, hoping that Fades would not be able to see through it, and renewed the silencing charm on Tam who was muttering in his sleep. Harry cast another silent healing charm on Tam every half hour or so. He continued to hold saidin through the angreal, his Power enhanced senses on constant alert. He knew he would pay for these exertions later, but now the most important thing was to get Tam to the village and hope Moiraine was a better healer than Lews Therin. As they trudged along, moving off the road whenever Harry's enhanced senses picked up the distant sound of Trollocs, Harry wondered if the village had also been attacked, deciding that if Mat and Perrin were also targets, it was highly likely. He could only hope everyone was alright and that the Aes Sedai and her Warder were enough to keep Emond's Field safe. In any case, the village was their only hope, as Harry was not sure how long he could keep Tam alive as his healing charms seemed to be barely holding the affliction at bay.
An exhausted Harry saw Emond's Field finally come into view as the sky was just brightening with dawn's first light. The sight did little to raise his spirits as noticed a heavy haze of smoke hung over the village, but he continued placing one foot in front of the other, gently urging the tired mare on as well. As they finally stepped into the village, he released the Source and stumbled and nearly collapsed as his exertions of the previous night caught up to him. Through sheer force of will, he steadied himself and continued on through the village, ignoring calls from the villagers, focused solely on reaching the Inn and the Aes Sedai.
When they reached the Winespring Inn, they encountered a bustle of activity as people rushed about, injured being led into the inn, as the men of the village worked to contain the fires still burning. They stopped out front and the mayor's wife bustled over, Rand asked for the Aes Sedai and was told she was inside, seeing to the wounded. Harry wearily lifted his father, with help from the Mayor and carried him inside.
The cries of wounded people and the antiseptic smells of medicines assaulted him as they entered the inn, which had become a field hospital. It was all too familiar to Harry, both from his own experiences and from Lews Therin's as well. They found Moiraine coming out of one of the rooms.
"Rand! Thank the light you're alive," she said coming towards them. She frowned as she noticed Tam's condition. She looked at Harry, an eyebrow raised in question.
"A Trolloc's blade, it's not a deep wound, but it's tainted. I did what I could for him," Harry said.
She nodded, and guided them through to an empty bed. They laid Tam down, and she stepped forward, and laid her hands on his head. Harry activated his mage sight and watched carefully as she embraced saidar, the female half of the True Source, a bright aura surrounded her as sheDelved his father, Harry was alert for any signs of betrayal on her part. After the Delving, she took a deep breath and wove the flows for Healing and sent them into to Tam. He gasped and shook as she poured the Power into him. Finally, she subsided and released her hold on Tam, who settled back and began easy deep breathing, indicating normal sleep.
Wearily, Moiraine released the Source and turned to Harry, "he will be fine now, though he will need a few weeks to fully recover from the wound."
Harry nodded, "You have my thanks Moiraine Sedai, I will need to speak to you alone later, but for now, I want to sit here with my father and try to sleep a bit."
Moiraine nodded and smiled tiredly, as she left, the Mayor clasped a hand on Harry's shoulder in support before he too turned and left. After quickly checking for himself that his father was now ok, Harry stepped over to the chair by the bed, removed his equipment, propping the sword next to him, he did a few quick Occlumency exercises, and fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
Harry woke the next morning to see his father looking at him, a fond smile on his face. Harry stood, stretching quickly and moved to his father's bedside.
"I'm glad to see your feeling better," Harry said, taking Tam's hand.
"Thanks to you lad, you saved us both, I am so proud of you," Tam leaned back into his pillows, and his brow furrowed for a moment indicating deep thought, then with a slight nod, he turned to face Harry again. "It's time to tell you what I know of your history son, I had hoped this day would never come, that you could live here and raise a family in peace. But it seems the Wheel has another destiny in mind for you. I need you to hear me out and save your questions till I finish, alright?" Tam paused and waited till Harry nodded, then he said, "Your mother, your birth mother, was an Aiel Maiden of the Spear called Shaiel, but she was also called Tigraine Mantear, and was at one time the Daughter Heir of Andor. As she was also the High Seat of her house, this means you are the heir apparent to House Mantear." Tam pulled a leather cord with two rings on it out of his shirt and removed it, handing it to Harry. "Those are the High Seat's ring and the Daughter Heir's Seal, they can't be faked and with your hair, and face, they will prove your claim. Dark times are ahead of us lad, and you stand at the heart of it, if you are the Dragon Reborn, you will need to unite the nations, and I daresay that you may find that task easier if you can unite Andor behind you first, allowing you to start from a position of strength. I would also recommend you make contact with the Borderlands nations quickly, they will be the most likely to accept who and what you are and support you as they battle the Shadow every day. The Warder with Moiraine Sedai would likely be of help to you with that."
Harry sat there, looking at his father, impressed and saddened, the advice was all sound, and Harry intended to take it to heart, "I wish I could have stayed here too, but once I turned 16, I knew I would be leaving someday." Harry examined the rings in his hand, and then took the cord and slid it over his head, and settled it allowing the rings to fall into his shirt, hidden from view. "Thank you for taking care of me, loving and raising me as your own, and for being the best father anyone could hope for." Harry leaned in and hugged his father. "I need to speak with Moiraine Sedai, she is here for me. I hope someday, when this is all over, I will be able to at least come and visit you, and we can reminisce a bit. In the mean time, once you are better, I would highly recommend you begin training the village lads in combat, hand to hand, bows and spears, and for those with the talent, the sword. These dark times won't pass the Two Rivers by, no matter how much we wish it." Harry stood, "I will try to stop by and see you again before we leave, but I can't promise anything."
Tam nodded, "I know lad, go on with you, go find Moiraine Sedai, you've a long journey ahead."
Harry looked at his father for a long moment and then embraced him again, and when they broke apart, stood, gathered his things and left the room. Tam sadly watched the door shut, knowing that it was likely he would never see his son again. "Take care of yourself lad," he whispered.
AN: For those wondering, Mat and Perrin won't really be a part of the story this time around. I like the Mat character, but I want to stick to just Rand/Harry, and not have to bounce back and forth between so many characters, so I am reducing the main cast. And frankly, Perrin and his whole angsty thing with his wife just made me want to vomit. I got so fed up with his whining about his wife that I got in the habit of skimming the Perrin chapters. I can totally understand wanting to protect the ones you love, but from my own experience, my wife would want nothing to do with me if I was willing to let the world burn just to save her. Anyway, this is just Rand/Harry, he's going to be the only ta'veren in my story, and I plan to replace the Mat and Perrin characters with others who will stay in Rand/Harry's immediate party throughout our magic carpet ride. So, on with the story.
Harry walked through the bustle of the inn, finally making it outside, he saw Moiraine speaking with the gleeman, her Warder hovering nearby. Harry walked towards them but halted short, remaining at a respectful distance so as to avoid overhearing their conversation. When the gleeman nodded somewhat reluctantly and turned to walk away, Moiraine turned and moved towards Harry, her Warder following.
Harry nodded to the Warder, then faced the Aes Sedai, "Good day Moiraine Sedai, I think it's time we had that talk, wouldn't you say?"
She studied him for a moment, and then nodded. She turned, walking towards the stables, and when they arrived he felt goosebumps form as she embraced saidar. Activating his Magesight, he watched her weave a privacy ward around them, ensuring they would not be overheard, and an early warning ward that would notify them if anyone approached the stables.
Seizing the initiative, Harry spoke first, "I know why you're here, and it's because of me. You think I am the Dragon Reborn, correct?"
The Aes Sedai and the Warder's jaws both dropped, and hung a moment as they gaped at him shock.
Harry smirked, "Don't be so surprised, you'll find I am not your average country bumpkin."
The others recovered, and Moiraine looked at him, her eyes reflecting the reevaluation going on in her mind. Harry could almost see the wheels turning as she raced to adjust her plans. She nodded, "I can see that, what would you like to know, Rand?"
This earned her a surprised look from the Warder. Harry merely raised an eyebrow. "I already know who I am, and what my duty is, what I want to know is what your plans are, and whether I can trust the two of you. You'll understand I am more than a bit wary given the Aes Sedai stance on men who can channel."
She nodded, "Have you channeled then, can you control it?"
Harry smirked, how typical he thought. "Yes, and yes, but you have not answered my question Moiraine, what are your plans? I believe I have a right to know as I am the key to them I am sure."
The Warder bristled a bit, "Watch your tongue boy."
Harry glanced at him for a second and then he turned back to Moiraine. He could sense the other man tense even further, and seized saidin, his stance relaxed and ready as he prepared to fight if necessary.
Seeing the obvious tension in her Warder, and the deadly stillness exhibited by Rand, she held up her hands, palms out, she glanced at her Warder who had the grace to look a bit abashed, and his stance immediately relaxed as he nodded in deference to her, she turned to Harry, "We are not your enemies Rand, I want to help you, ensure you are ready and able to fulfill your destiny and save the world from the Shadow."
Harry studied her a moment, and then relaxed and released the Source. He nodded, "Very well. But I don't need a mother, or a puppeteer, what I need is an advisor, someone who is familiar with the politics of the various nations. I need to unite them; I can't fight them and the Shadow. I had thought to head for Caemlyn, and claim my heritage first, unite Andor behind me, and then approach the Borderlanders as they will be the most likely to accept who I am and what I must do. Then I will take the sword from the Stone of Tear, to bring that nation in as well. With those allies I would then be able to approach the remaining nations from a position of strength."
Moiraine and her Warder were again studying him, now there was definite respect in those looks. Moiraine nodded, "A sound plan, and I can be of assistance in navigating the politics involved. But, what did you mean about claiming your heritage in Caemlyn?"
Harry smiled and pulled the cord with the rings out of his shirt, holding them out for the Aes Sedai to get a good look.
"By the Light," she gasped. "You are the son of Tigraine Mantear, the former Daughter Heir!"
Harry nodded, "And as such, I am scion of the most powerful of the great houses in Andor. While I have no shot at the throne itself, an alliance with House Trakand, possibly even a marriage contract with the Daughter Heir, would cement my status, and bring Andor firmly behind me. It would also bring an end to the political division over the succession caused by my mother's disappearance."
Moiraine appeared thoughtful, "Indeed it would, a sound plan, and a good place to start. We will depart once it is dark this evening, it will take quite some time to reach Caemlyn, oh and Rand, it may interest you to know that you have a half brother in Caemlyn, my nephew Galadedrid Damodred."
Harry stared at her for a moment, "A brother?" The Aes Sedai nodded, and Harry smiled, "I have always wanted a brother." Harry then smirked, "Oh, and it won't take that long to reach Caemlyn, Moiraine Sedai."
"What do you mean Rand?"
Harry just smiled, "You'll find out later. How many of us are going?"
Moiraine frowned at him, obviously not used to being denied the answers she wanted. "My Warder and I and yourself."
Harry nodded, "Well, then I will see you both at sunset, in the meantime I am going to get something to eat, and make sure I have everything I need."
Moiraine nodded, and embraced the Source again to unravel her wards. She then turned and left, but the Warder remained behind. He studied Harry for a moment.
"You want to know about the blade, and whether I deserve a blademaster's sword, correct?" Harry asked.
The Warder nodded.
Harry shrugged, "The sword was my father's, he became a blademaster and served in the army of Illian before and during the Aiel War. He trained me, and I defeated him recently and he said the blade was mine."
The Warder nodded, "I'd be interested to see what he taught you."
Harry took his things and headed out, he stopped at the stable doors, "You coming?"
The Warder nodded and moved to follow. Outside, they both headed for the Village Green, which was relatively deserted at the moment. There, Harry sat his things down, removed and neatly folded his jacket and unbuckled his belt and scabbard and sat them on top. He walked out onto the Green, sword in hand, and assumed a ready stance. The Warder quickly divested himself of cloak, belt and scabbard and moved to stand across from Harry, sword in hand. Idly, Harry noted that except for the Herons on his sword, the two blades were identical. Without warning, the warder was in motion, his sword a blur as he tested Harry's defenses. Harry easily avoided or parried each strike, moving with an ease and economical grace; he made no attempt to take the offensive at this point, content for now to take the measure of his opponent. After a few minutes, he had a good feel for how the Warder fought and decided he was ready to take the offensive. Back and forth they moved, flowing from form to form, two predators battling for dominance, the swords a blur to the villagers that were gathering to watch this unprecedented spectacle. After another few minutes fighting, Harry swept to the attack, surprising the older man as his speed increased and he found it was all he could do the keep Harry's sword at bay. Finally, Harry locked the other man's sword and spun it up and out of his hands, then in a blink, dropping and spinning, sweeping the other man's feet from under him; he was suddenly standing over the Warder, just out of arm's reach, his blade firmly against the warder's neck.
Suddenly, they both noticed the villagers who were cheering loudly, having seen one of their own defeat the mighty warrior from outside the Two Rivers. Harry smiled and shook his head, dropping the sword away from the other man's neck, he held out a hand. The Warder looked up at him for a moment, and then took the hand, climbing back to his feet. One of the village boys stepped forward, and handed the Warder his sword. They both put their coats, belts, scabbards and cloaks back on, and the Warder stepped over to Harry and extended his hand. Harry reciprocated and the Warder clasped his forearm.
"Lan Mandragoran" he said.
Harry smiled, "Rand al'Thor."
The Warder nodded, "Your father taught you well, your skill with the blade is remarkable."
Harry nodded his thanks, and his stomach chose that moment to growl loudly. Lan laughed out loud, "A blademaster to be sure, but a growing lad as well. Let's get some food my friend."
As they strode off together, to find some food, Harry felt a sense of accomplishment, hopefully he could handle the upcoming political maneuvering as well as he handled his blade.
Sunset found a small group gathering in the stables of the Winespring Inn. Harry entered to find Moiraine and Lan. As they secured their gear on the horses and prepared to leave, they heard a noise and turned to find Thom Merrilin standing there just inside the doors. Harry dropped a hand onto the hilt of his sword and noted the Warder doing the same. Moiraine merely raised an eyebrow at the Gleeman.
"Not really healthy for non-locals around here at the moment, and I don't fancy travelling alone after the events of yesterday, I would like to travel with you if you don't mind." The old man simply stood and waited.
Moiraine glanced at her Warder, and Lan gave the slightest nod and went back to preparing his horse. She then glanced at Harry, who shrugged slightly and gave her a nod as well. Turning back to the gleeman she said, "Very well Master Merrilin. You may join us, but I would caution you that anything you may learn while a part of this group must be kept secret as the Shadow would happily murder you for that information."
The old gleeman's eyes widened, but he nodded, "Agreed."
Moiraine nodded, "Now that's settled, we need to get moving, we are wasting time."
Above them came a noise and Harry and Lan both had their swords out and were in defensive stances, both searching for threats. Egwene al'Vere popped into view and gave a slight squeak at the sight of the two swords, but then her face settled into a determined look, and she said, "Not without me."
Moiraine sighed, "Very well child, but we must hurry."
Egwene bristled slightly at the child remark, but brightened when she realized that she was being allowed to come along without a fight.
Harry frowned slightly and studied the girl for a moment, then shrugged and turned back to his own preparations after sheathing his blade. Once everyone was prepared, they rode out of the village, headed for the Taren, more specifically the crossing at Taren Ferry that led out of the Two Rivers. About a half hour out of the village, Rand called a halt, and climbed down from his horse. Puzzled, the other followed suit, Moiraine and Lan both watching curiously, while Thom and Egwene wore open confusion on their faces.
Harry stepped over to Moiraine, "Directly to Caemlyn? Or do you need to make a way stop?"
Frowning, she studied him for a moment, "A stop in Baerlon would be helpful if you can manage." She was clearly skeptical.
Harry smiled, and turned away seizing saidin he wove a specific set of flows, and a vertical slash of light appeared in front of him, and then rotated open to reveal a four meter by four meter square opening that showed woods on the other side. He heard four gasps behind him, and turned to see open shock on his companions faces.
Moiraine spoke first, in an awed whisper "You've rediscovered Travelling?"
Harry shrugged and nodded, "Apparently, this will deposit us about a half hour outside of Baerlon, an easy ride allowing us to make the city well before dark." He turned and studied Egwene for a moment, there were traces of fear mixed with the awe on her pretty face, and it saddened him. "I am still me Egwene, I would never hurt you."
She looked at him, and after a few moments nodded, the fear vanishing, "Yes, you are still you, woolhead." She smiled, and Harry knew they were ok. He looked at Thom who was studying him carefully.
"You're him aren't you? That why all of this is happening, you're the true Dragon Reborn aren't you?"
Harry allowed his gaze to lock with each of his companions for a moment before he came back to the Gleeman, "Yes. But, there will be time to discuss this all later, for now we need to get moving, the Shadow won't cease its efforts and we need to hold tight to the small advantage we have."
That done, Harry mounted and waited till everyone had ridden through, and then he followed and released the gateway, allowing it to close. Then, after Lan hid his Warder's cloak and removed his armor, he and his companions rode on, heading for Baerlon.
A half hour later, they entered Baerlon, and rode to an Inn called the Stag and Lion where they were greeted like old friends. On the ride in, Egwene and Thom were brought up to speed with regard to Harry being the Dragon Reborn. Both seemed to take it pretty well. Lan left almost as soon as they arrived, off to meet with local informants to catch up on events that had occurred while they were in the Two Rivers. The two women moved off together, speaking quietly, though Harry had a good idea what they were speaking about; odds were Egwene could channel and Moiraine had sensed her ability. Thom took up his instruments and he too left to gather information in own way too. Harry sighed and decided he could use a bath and a nap, while they were to be had.
After a long hot bath, Harry lay down in his room and after running through his occlumency, fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.
Suddenly, he found himself in a strange place… and knew he had been drawn into the World of Dreams. The hallway stretched on, without any crossing corridor and without the slightest change in appearance. The only features at all were the rough doors set at regular intervals in pairs, one on either side of the hall, the wood splintered and dry despite the damp in the air. The shadows receded ahead of him, staying the same, and the dripping never came any closer. After a long time he decided to try one of those doors. It opened easily, and he stepped through into a grim, stone-walled chamber.
One wall opened in a series of arches onto a gray stone balcony, and beyond that was a sky such as he had never seen. Striated clouds in blacks and grays, reds and oranges, streamed by as if storm winds drove them, weaving and interweaving endlessly. No one could ever have seen a sky like that; it could not exist.
He pulled his eyes away from the balcony, but the rest of the room was no better. Odd curves and peculiar angles, as if the chamber had been melted almost haphazardly out of the stone, and columns that seemed to grow out of the gray floor. Flames roared on the hearth like a forge-fire with the bellows pumping, but gave no heat. Strange oval stones made the fireplace; they just looked like stones, wet-slick despite the fire, when he looked straight at them, but when he glimpsed them from the corner of his eye they seemed to be faces instead, the faces of men and women writhing in anguish, screaming silently. The high-backed chairs and the polished table in the middle of the room were perfectly ordinary, but that in itself emphasized the rest. A single mirror hung on the wall, but that was not ordinary at all. When he looked at it he saw only a blur where his reflection should have been. Everything else in the room was shown true, but not him.
A man stood in front of the fireplace. A man he had hoped to never meet again. Once a powerful Aes Sedai, Elan Morin Tedronai, or Ishamael, had become the most feared of the Forsaken along with Lanfear. Nearly as powerful as Lews Therin, he had been the most powerful of the Forsaken, and the most dangerous. Harry knew he would have to tread carefully.
"Hello Elan, it's been a while."
The other man smiled and his eyes became openings into endless caverns of flame for a moment, "So, you remember Lews Therin! Wonderful, that will make the game more interesting."
Harry simply nodded, "I do indeed. I remember everything. And I know that it doesn't matter a bit in the here and now. Have you escaped then? It would seem not as your presence is still…diffuse. I would say you were trapped near the surface and as the seals weaken…you are slowly breaking free."
The other man clapped, "Wonderful, simply wonderful, you were always a worthy opponent Lews Therin."
Harry merely inclined his head bit, "As were you, now…is there a reason you brought me here?"
The other man laughed, "Curiosity I must confess, I wanted to take the measure of your latest incarnation. But, with you remembering, well…the game itself will have to suffice I suppose. Sleep well Lews Therin, the Shadow rises, and your world is doomed. Rest while you may, for the end is at hand."
Harry's face settled into grim lines, "We shall see." With that, he focused and vanished, returning to his body and after carefully warding his dreams, he fell back into a fitful sleep.
The next morning, after breakfast the group gathered together and left the inn, to head out of Baerlon to a secluded area where Harry could make another gateway, this time to Caemlyn. It was time to move ahead with his plan to claim his birthright, and hopefully unite Andor behind him. As they rode, Lan and Thom updated everyone on what they had discovered the previous night. Apparently, a contingent of the Children of the Light was stationed near Baerlon and was currently harassing the local populace with their fanatically narrow-minded views on how people should live, and their determination to find the Shadow lurking around every corner.
After a half hour of riding, they arrived at the spot Lan had chosen for Travelling and Harry seized Saidin and extended his senses out. Noting that they were alone, he wove the flows for a gateway and watched as a slash of light appeared and rotated into a 4 meter by 4 meter opening. The others rode through and Harry led his horse through last before letting the gate close and releasing the Source.
At Moiraine questioning glance he said, "We are about two hours ride from Caemlyn, far enough out to be unnoticed."
She nodded and Harry mounted and they rode on, headed for the Mantear Estate, to claim his birthright and begin his plan to unite the nations for the Last Battle.
Sometime later, they entered the city and Moiraine took the lead as she actually knew the location of the Mantear estate. Eventually they entered a gated courtyard before a magnificent house.
Eyeing the place Harry couldn't help but be impressed, "I assume this is the townhouse and there is a larger estate in the countryside somewhere?"
Moiraine nodded, "Yes, this is the best place to start however as the servants and retainers who knew your mother as well as the family regent should be here."
Harry nodded again and stepped up to the ornate door and knocked. After a wait, the door was opened by a man in his sixties wearing the livery of a servant of House Mantear.
Moiraine spoke, "Hello Avin."
The old man looked at and did a double take, "Lady Moiraine? Is it truly you?"
She smiled and nodded, "Indeed, and I have brought someone of great importance to your house. I have brought you the heir, Avin."
The old man started in shock, "The heir…" he examined them and his eyes quickly settled on Harry and widened almost comically as he recognized Harry's features, "Can it be…"
Without a word, Harry reached up and fished the cord out of his shirt and showed the rings to Avin. The old man studied them closely, then looked up, tears in his eyes, "Oh my… you do favor her, my lord, the Lady Tigraine. We were all so lost when she disappeared, and then the loss of Lord Luc… the House Mantear has been in mourning these many years. Oh this is a great day!" Quickly he rang a bell and several liveried men appeared, "Take care of our guest's horses." Then he turned back them,
"It is you," he whispered in a voice that did not want to believe what it was saying. "Please, come in, my Lord."
"These are some very close friends of mine," Harry announced. "I trust you will take care of all their needs?"
"As you command, my Lord," the man bowed deeply.
"Who is in residence?" Moiraine asked.
"No one, my Lady. They are all out at the country estate."
Moiraine turned to look at him. "That is strange. With all the political unrest in the city shouldn't they be here, to further the House's position?"
The man bowed apologetically, "House Mantear is strong, my Lady. But, the fact remains that we have no lady eligible for the throne. It was deemed unwise for the House to be caught in a power struggle in which there was no gain to be had," His eyes sparkled suddenly.
Harry grinned at the man, "Send out riders. The heir has returned."
The man gave an even deeper bow. "Thank you, my Lord." He straightened and left.
A number of servants entered the room. "My Lord, Lady Moiraine," an older woman said loudly. Tears of joy were running down her face. "Avin said, but I…" she could hardly speak as she bowed before Harry and Moiraine.
"Please, Maigen, rise," Moiraine said. "You've known me since I was a girl. There is no need for such things."
The woman looked up and seeing the nod from her lord stood and younger girls shuffled about, dropping curtsies.
Cautiously, the old woman moved forward studying Harry's face, her hand reached out and stopped just shy of contact, before she hurriedly pulled it back, "Forgive me my Lord… but we are so excited, we loved your mother so much. When she disappeared…"
Harry smiled at her, "There is no need to apologize. I would ask that you please see to my friends comfort, we will be staying for a while."
The old woman beamed and then set about directing the servants. After a two hour meeting with the house regent, Harry found himself in a large, well appointed apartment. He stood in his bedroom, eyeing a wardrobe full of clothing. He was not sure when or how they had taken his measurements, but the clothes and boots were all his size… oh well, he thought. It would be nice to have comfortable clothing. Stepping briskly towards the bathroom, he found a hot bath waiting for him and treated himself to a long soak after he washed up.