The Path of Daggers: Chapter 24
Author: Val a'Shain
A Time for Iron
Chapter Icon: A Dragon
Suroth gives orders for every Asha'man to be killed. It seems she knows the number of Rand's army and that they are using Travelling. The battle continues although the One Power is more difficult to control. Rand uses Callandor and kills a lot of his troops along with the enemy ones. Finally he orders a retreat. Both sides consider the result of the battle a defeat.
Kennar Miraj's Point of View:
Captain-General Kennar Miraj, considers the situation he's in. There have been countless reports of groups of enemy soldiers in the Venir Mountain range, a lot of his outposts have been overrun. Their number is estimated at ninety-thousand. Twice what he can muster. Even if they are spread out like they seem to be they pose a problem. And then there are the damane too. None of the sul'dam will talk but there is something wrong with them.
The High Lady Suroth enters his tent. She is accompanied by her Voice Alwhin and a damane named Liandrin. Having your Voice continue to take care of a damane is unheard of. The damane doesn't seem to be properly trained either. Such a violation of custom shocks Miraj but he hides it of course.
Suroth wants to know if he is ready to march. Miraj says he will be before the enemy has had the chance to combine and move towards Ebou Dar. He thinks they need at least ten days for that. Suroth tells him they could be here tomorrow. And that there are only about five thousand men in the Venir Mountains. With a considerable number of Asha'man. That would explain a lot, but how does Suroth know? Suroth demands the Asha'man be destroyed. Miraj wants to know if she will release the damane to him. Suroth agrees after pointing out the price of failure.
Rand's Point of View:
Despite Bashere's reservations Rand has moved his forces for the final push to drive the Seanchan into the sea. He reminds everybody that the remaining fifty thousand Seanchan are enough to kill a lot of them even if they haven't spotted any damane. Nobody should forget their plan. Dashiva reports saidin is strange somehow, more difficult to control. Rand tells him he is just feeling the taint and tells him to get to his place. Dashiva forces him to really look at a weave. Rand sees what Dashiva means now and wonders what it is. It's no time for such questions now though. He sets his army in motion.
Kennar Miraj's Point of View:
Miraj moves his troops in the hope of catching the enemy by surprise. Scouting without raken is hard in this terrain, he may be lucky. He only has a few men with him, Abaldar Yulan and Varek among them. Reports come in that the enemy has been spotted five miles from their position. So much for luck. Still, with fifty thousand troops and fifty damane he should be able to beat them. If the damane are not sick that is.
Bertome Saighan's Point of View:
Characters: Bertome Saighan
Bertome has by now realized Rand means them to die. Even as battle is approaching the Great Game continues among them. Bertome wonders what Weiramon is up to for instance. Before he can find out though the enemy finds them and a battle breaks loose.
Varek's Point of View:
Varek is carrying an urgent message for Banner-General Chianmai. Varek is disturbed by what he saw. A hundred lances torn to shreds by one man in a black coat. At least the damane left enough of you for a decent burial. When he finds Chianmai the man turns out to be dead. He also finds the men still living severely shaken by what seems to be a damane who channelled out of control. Her sul'dam denies that of course. Varek assumes command over what remains of his forces and gives orders to disengage. The sul'dam's reaction to his message that they will need her further to the south is worrying indeed. She turns quite pale.
Davram Bashere's Point of View:
Bashere overlooks a pasture. Crossing it will be dangerous with so many channelers in the area. The Asha'man seem to grow tired. They are getting slow in responding. Bashere asks Rochaid if he can count on them this time. An angered Rochaid wants to know if they are not killing enough of them for his taste. They are certainly doing that. Still plenty of enemies left though. With nearly half his force dead this is not the time to take chances. Bashere orders them to go around.
Rand's Point of View:
The One Power fills Rand, it somehow seems more difficult to control today but letting it slip is deadly. Adley, the Asha'man next to him had let it slip and men had died. Anaiyella wants to know if it is done. Rand replies he means to drive the Seanchan into the sea. Bashere comes riding up to him. He tells Rand they are done here. Rand is angry with Bashere for ordering the retreat. He tells him that as long as they have him it'll be enough to drive the Seanchan back.
To underline that Rand takes out Callandor. Fear creeps along the outside of the void. Callandor is flawed. Still Rand channels. He is the storm and the world will know it. A hundred lighting bolts rain down around him. Something strikes him down hard but Rand continues to channel. Something strikes him again. Rand realizes that he is on the ground with Bashere on top of him yelling at him to stop. He is killing his own forces as surely as he is the enemy. Rand releases the source and drops Callandor. Bashere gets off him and Rand gets up slowly. The Dragon Reborn suffered his first defeat. Rand orders the retreat.
Abaldar Yulan's Point of View:
Characters: Abaldar Yulan
Yulan cries over the body of Kennar Miraj. The Seanchan army has suffered a devastating defeat. Someone will have to explain this to the Empress.