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|<<< The Stone Stands >>>|
|Setting: Stone of Tear|
- Point of view: Rand al'Thor
Rand leaves Lanfear and enters a scene of madness. Aiel litter the ground with dead Gray Men. Defenders of the Stone fight for their lives against Shadowspawn in the anteroom. A gong of alarm alerts the inhabitants of the Stone of Tear that they are under attack. Rand taunts a fade ripping the face from one of the guards and leaps to face it, trying to rally the failing guards to his side. Lightning flashes when the Myrddraal's Thakan'dar forged blade meets Rand's Power-wrought blade until Rand's blade cleaves the Fade's sword and face in two. He urges the Tairen guards to follow him deeper into the Stone.
His group travels deeper and deeper into the Stone where Rand engages Shadowspawn. His companions change from Tairen to Aiel to him alone. He spies Perrin and Faile fighting back to back, Moiraine and Lan fighting with the One Power and blade, darkfriends more afraid of their Trolloc allies than the Defenders and Aiel, and the odd occurrence of Trolloc killing Trolloc.
Rand found himself alone against a trio of Trollocs feasting on a dead noblewoman. Rand kills the first with a sneak attack and uses Lizard in the Thornbush against the other two, but bad luck causes him to stumble and miss the second enemy. before the surviving trolloc could kill him, a fourth trolloc kills it and leaves Rand alone. Further down the hall, a pair of Myrddraal duel.
Lanfear appears, berating him for the foolish risks he has taken thus far. She denying aiding him when he confronts her about the trolloc saving his life. Rand refuses her offer, slamming her against the wall with a weave of Air. He tries to remember how he shielded Egwene and Elayne but cannot. Lanfear sends him flying across the air with the same weave and taunts him about Callandor. Now that it is free, anyone can claim the sword, and any male channeller can use it. He tries to break free of the trap, but Lanfear merely frees him, and destroys his weave with little effort. She gives him a choice, face her or retrieve Callandor. Rand chooses the latter, and races to his rooms.
Rand finds the sword safe and pulls on saidin through the Sword That Is Not a Sword. The Power, and the taint, magnifies through the blade. He dispatches Shadowspawn without thought as he walks back into the anteroom.
Rand creates a construct of lightning that races throughout the Stone and kills all Shadowspawn with lightning strikes. Moiraine appears after the attack completes. She halts her warder from checking on Rand, seemingly afraid. She asks if he is well, but Rand ignores her when he notices a girl sprawled on the floor with blood across her dress...
"With this, I can do anything. Anything!"
"Rand! Rand you cannot do this. Not this!"
Breathe. She has to breathe. Heart. Has to beat. Live. Live, burn you!. I didn't mean to be too late."She has to live! Heal her, Moiraine. I don't know how. Heal her!"
"Death cannot be Healed, Rand. You are not the Creator.""
—Moiraine and Rand al' Thor
Rand withdraws his flows from the corpse and releases saidin. Rand asks after the others, his friends, wondering if he was too late to save them. Moiraine assures him that they are safe. He queries about how the Trollocs got into the Stone. Lan breaks down a plot that had grain barges coming downriver without anyone noticing them- barges filled to the brim with shadowspawn combined with thirty wagons entering Tear from the countryside filled with Shadowspawn. Strength leaves him, and he almost collapses if not for Lan catching him. Moiraine partially Heals him, leaving the fatigue so he can sleep. Rand confesses that Lanfear came to see him and is surprised by Moiraine's lack of surprise. She warns Rand that he does not possess the skill to defeat her unaided, and that Lanfear won't kill Rand without trying to win Lews Therin back.
Rand promises to tell everyone his plans tomorrow.
- At least one edition has the wheel icon for this chapter.