The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 44

From Tar Valon Library
Jump to: navigation, search

<< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >>
Author: Val a'Shain

Dragon Chapter Icon.png

The Lesser Sadness

Chapter Icon: A Dragon

Points of View: Mat, Rand


Rand's Point of View:

Setting: Near Cairhien

Characters: Rand, Aviendha, Egwene, Sulin, Asmodean, Moiraine

It isn't even noon yet and Rand is already exhausted from channeling for hours at a time. Egwene and Aviendha have taken to channeling in turns to give each other the chance to rest. Rand has no one to share the burden with. Rand sees bands of Aiel fighting everywhere. Mostly they are too closely meshed for him to do anything about it. He has seen the column of Tairen and Cairhienin fighting Aiel a number of times. Appointing Melanril after sending Weiramon to Tear to deal with the Illianers proves to be a mistake. Nothing Rand can do about it now.

Outside the city Rand can see the Cairhienin decided to make a sortie. They are not getting very far though. Rand channels to prevent the Shaido from entering the city. How many of his own did he kill in that action? Rand feels another man channeling. Asmodean is tempted even from his tent it seems. Bolts of lightning plow through the Maidens and hit the base of the observation tower. It slowly slants over. Rand manages to grab Egwene and Aviendha before the tower comes crashing down and Rand loses consciousness.

When he wakes up Aviendha and Egwene are with him. Both look severely shaken but not seriously injured. With them not holding the clouds anymore rain is starting to come down. Rand now realizes Sammael is responsible for this attack. The Maidens have not escaped the destruction either. Many have been killed or are wounded. So much for keeping them safe. His first impulse is to go after Sammael but Aviendha and Egwene talk him out of that. He has other responsibilities today. A messenger comes in saying the four clans who have not chosen sides yet are on the move. He tells the messenger to tell Han to keep them off their backs. Not that the clan chief needs to be told what to do.

If he is going to be of any use in the battle he will have to get closer to the fighting. He calls for his horse and tells Sulin he needs a guard. He gives strict orders to make sure the wounded stay behind and to make sure that they are well guarded. If he had his way all the Maidens would stay behind but that is not going to happen it seems. He has trouble mounting his horse and Egwene comments on that. She has had similar trouble getting in the saddle so Rand suggests she lets Sorilea check her out. That certainly makes her close her mouth.

Mat's Point of View:

Setting: Near Cairhien

Characters: Mat, Estean, Nalesean, Daerid, Talmanes

Rain is pouring down on Mat as he overlooks the surrounding terrain. The three thousand men following him are crammed in the valley behind him. Three times he has seen battle now and three times he has managed to keep them alive. The battles have almost pushed him back to his starting point. He should be able to see Rand's observation tower from here but he can't find it. He should leave the soldiers and move south again. He should but Mat keeps studying the terrain.

Estaen, Nalesean, Daerid and Talmanes ride up to him. Another group of Aiel is approaching. They are heading straight for them and it seems Couladin himself is with this band. Mat would like to avoid another battle but like the previous battles it is catch or be caught.

Mat gives the orders. He will have the horsemen outflank the Aiel. There is no question about who is in charge anymore. He has kept them alive so far. The men have confidence in him. Mat decides to stay with the pikemen this time. When he takes his place Daerid asks him if he means to slay Couladin himself. Daerid respects him as a soldier, some day he would like to hear Mat's story, but he knows young blood is hot. Mat tells him he can keep his head and tries to convince himself that is not the reason why he stayed with the pikes this time. Mat tells them to raise the cry 'Protect the Lord Dragon' as soon as the Aiel are in sight. That should keep their attention fixed on the infantry. It is a big gamble, the biggest Mat has taken so far. The dice rattle in his head.

Rand's Point of View:

Setting: Near Cairhien

Characters: Rand, Sulin, Asmodean, Moiraine

Exhausted and aching Rand is barely able to hold onto the source. Sammael has attacked him twice more, or was it three times? The moon is up now and Egwene and Aviendha seem to have gone. Sulin tells him they do remember they are only flesh and need rest. Rand is confused by what Sulin says. He just replies he has much to do yet. Sulin tries to convince him he needs to see the Wise Ones. The four clans are ready to join him it seems. Rand says others can take care of that. He has to find his people. In the end he lets himself be taken back to the camp.

Lan is there, and Asmodean as well helping with the wounded. Lan tells him the battle is over. He has won. They would have sent him the message sooner if he didn't keep moving. Thoughts from Lews Therin drift to the surface, the only thing sadder than a battle won is a battle lost. Finally Rand releases the Power. Exhaustion and pain crash home and Rand collapses. The last thing he hears is Lan calling for Moiraine.

<< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >>