The Fires of Heaven: Chapter 53
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Author: Val a'Shain
Chapter Icon: Flame of Tar Valon
Point of View: Rand
Setting: the docks, Cairhien
Characters: Rand, Moiraine, Lanfear, Lan, Aviendha, Egwene, Asmodean, Mat, Sorilea, Sulin
Rand sees Moiraine hurl herself at Lanfear and the white light swallowing both. He gets up and grabs Lan who is staggering past him. Rand tells Lan he can't follow but the Warder already knows. Their bond has been broken. Rand sees Egwene and Aviendha with Mat and Asmodean. Egwene seems to be hurt. Sorilea and the other Wise Ones push their way through the crowds to reach them. They say Egwene will be fine but that she needs rest. She won't go to Caemlyn with him and she won't visit the World of Dreams for a while either.
Rand turns back to Lan and tries to apologize for not saving Moiraine. Lan says Moiraine was as much a soldier as he was and that she accepted the risk. Rand asks Lan if he wants to stay around but the Warder explains Moiraine did something to his bond that forces him to find his new Aes Sedai. He has to go. Lan tells Rand that if he sees Nynaeve he should tell her Lan found someone else. He also tells Rand that if he ever loves a woman he should leave her. That is the best thing he can do for her. With that the Warder leaves.
Rand now takes the time to read the letter Moiraine gave him. It explains Moiraine has known this moment was coming since her visit to Rhuidean. The alternatives were Rand dying or Rand becoming Lanfear's devoted lover. Either was unacceptable. She also knew he might not be able to kill a woman. She leaves a few final warnings for him. One is to tell Lan that what she did was for the best. The second is not to trust any Aes Sedai and last is not to trust 'Natael'. Apparently she found out who he was. It also asks him to deliver the second letter to Thom.
Rand is still contemplating the content of the letter when Sulin approaches him. She is very upset with him for not allowing any Maidens to come with him to Caemlyn. In very blunt terms she explains to Rand that the spear is what she is and that he nor any other man has the right to try to change her. If Rand will not allow the Maidens to carry his honour she'd rather die. Rand explains his reluctance to send women into battle to her but it doesn't seem to impress the Maiden. Rand remarks she doesn't leave him much of a choice. Sulin replies ji'e'toh always leaves you a choice. Rand suppresses his anger at the, in his eyes, ridiculous demands of ji'e'toh and tells Sulin he will allow as many Maidens as the members of the other societies are taking. Satisfied Sulin leaves to gather them.
Mat joins Rand and looks at the Maiden leaving. Rand wants to know why he seems so cheerful. Mat answers that he is because he is alive. He also says it is time to roll the dice. Rand agrees.