New Spring: Chapter 26
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Lan's Point of View:
Characters: Lan, Moiraine, Merean
Lan is making his way through the Aesdaishar Palace, trying his best not to be seen as he is hoping to avoid Edeyn. He ducks behind a statue as Merean and Iselle appear, and then continues sneaking around when they leave. As Lan starts to go down a flight of stairs, he suddenly trips and falls. He goes limp just in time to spare his life. Since no one was close enough to physically push him, he knows that someone just tried to kill him with the One Power.
Servants are everywhere now, helping him up, and exclaiming over his luck. A man appears, skidding to a halt in front of Lan, and asks for Lan to follow him. "Lord Mandragoran! We've been looking for you everywhere, my Lord! It's your man, Bukama! Come quickly, my Lord! He may still be alive!" When they reach Bukama, Lan learns that his friend is dead; Bukama was stabbed in the back with a dagger. Without a word, he takes off.
Moiraine's Point of View:
Moiraine is sitting in her rooms when Lan barges in. He tells her that Bukama is dead and that someone also just tried to kill him with the One Power. He adds that at first he thought it was Merean, but the last time he saw her she was trailing after Iselle. That leaves only Moiraine.
Moiraine is now convinced that Merean is of the Black Ajah, and tells Lan that if he cares at all for Iselle he will keep her away from Merean. Lan replies that all Aes Sedai are dangerous; besides, he just saw Iselle hurrying by with Brys and Diryk.
Moiraine's mind is racing now, thinking of Merean with Iselle, and Iselle with Brys and Diryk. Suddenly, she asks Lan where Brys would go for privacy, and tells him to take her there.
Together, Moiraine and Lan hurry to Brys' private balcony. When they get there, Iselle is speaking to Merean, and Brys and Diryk are standing by the rail of the balcony, wrapped in flows of Air. Moiraine lashes out at Merean with a shield of Spirit, but the shield splinters.
Ryne is also there, and Moiraine now knows that he is a Darkfriend. Merean tells Ryne that he did a good job of killing the spy (Bukama), and tells him to take care of Lan. Merean then wraps Iselle up in flows of Air and turns to take care of Moiraine, attacking with her own shield of Spirit.
As Lan and Ryne begin to fight, Moiraine and Merean are engaged in their own battle with the One Power, each trying to shield the other; at the same time, Moiraine is trying to free Brys, Diryk and Iselle. As they battle, Merean speaks to Moiraine about how if she wounds her, she will Heal her so that she can question her.
After a little while, Merean says, "This is taking too long, don't you think, child?" With that, she lifts Diryk into the air and drifts him over the railing. Moiraine screams as Diryk falls to his death, and white light explodes in Moiraine's head.
When Moiraine opens her eyes, a couple of minutes have passed. She feels very groggy and is shielded by Merean. Lan and Ryne are still fighting, and Brys is staring in hatred at his son's murderess, Merean.
Brys is the next to go over the railing. Moiraine struggles to her feet with determination. As Merean lifts Iselle into the air, Moiraine lunges towards Merean and stabs her in the back with her belt knife. In shock, Merean lets the shield on Moiraine drop, and Moiraine scrambles towards Iselle, who is teetering atop the stone railing, screaming. As Iselle slips and starts to fall, Moiraine grabs her hand, but cannot pull her up. She is also unable to grasp the Source, but she is determined to save at least one person.
However, Iselle's hand slips from her grasp. As Moiraine watches Iselle fall, Lan pulls her away. "Never watch a death you don't have to," he tells her. He is wounded, but alive.
Once Moiraine is able to walk again, she goes over to Merean and sees Ryne lying on the ground dead. Once she is able to embrace the Source, she Heals Lan. She then burns Merean's body, telling Lan that there is no proof that she was Black Ajah, only that she was Aes Sedai.
"You are a very hard woman," Lan tells her. Moiraine replies, "I am as hard as I must be."