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The Great Hunt/Prologue

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"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."

   —from the Karaethon Cycle, The Prophecies of the Dragon, as translated by Ellaine Marise'idin Alshinn, Chief Librarian at the Court of Arafel, in the Year of Grace 231 of the New Era, the Third Age

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<<<   In the Shadow    >>>
Setting: near Shayol Ghul
Point of view: The man who calls himself Bors

The man who calls himself Bors is at a gathering of summoned Darkfriend, assembled as though it were a social event. There are a hundred Darkfriends in attendence. They are all masked, but Bors is able to identify an Illianer noblewoman wearing a low cut scarlet dress and golden slippers; a Domani woman wearing a golden bracelet identifying her House; a Shienaran soldier; a Tinker wearing green pants and a yellow coat; a High Lord of Tear; an Andoran Queen's Guard; a Sea Folk man; two Aes Sedai; and people from Kandor, Cairhien, Saldaea, and Ghealdan. Bors is completely disguised so no one can identify him, even taking care to hide his height and build with a slouch.

The door opens and two Trollocs and a Myrddraal enter. The Myrddraal announces to the Darkfriends that their master comes. A red-masked man identifying himself as Ba'alzamon enters; he tells them that the room where they are gathered is near Shayol Ghul. Bors wonders if he really is the Dark One or if one of the Forsaken has been set free.

Ba'alzamon forms images of Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara and tells the Darkfriends that one of them is the Dragon Reborn. The Shienaran asks if they are to be killed, but Ba'alzamon says it would be better if the Dragon were turned to serve him. He gives orders to each of the Darkfriends individually. He commands Bors to return to Tarabon and keep up his good work there. He is to keep a lookout for the three ta'veren, but also to keep quiet about those who have landed on Toman Head. He then sees images of the Shayol Ghul sky, a young woman dressed in white, a raven, a Seanchan soldier, the Horn of Valere, and a wolf.

Escorted by a Zomara, Bors nervously returns to his room and hastily dons his normal clothes; wondering if the promise of immortality was worth a meeting such as this. His garments are that of a Whitecloak Questioner.

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