Prophet was tired. Walking down from Shayol Ghul, a mountain of terror
in the heart of the Blasted Lands, to the great city of Tar Valon, the
city of Shining Walls, the city that has never been taken by any inner
or outer enemy, or so the people talked, the city of Aes Sedai, who controlled
nations and started wars by a single handstroke, the city of those ageless
wielders of One Power, the city where the word of the Amyrlin Seat ruled
supreme, was hard. Prophet was not a channeler, so he couldn't just create
one of those holes in the air they called gateways. Sometimes he rode on
horseback but not now, because he hadn't only looked like a beggar, but
sometimes was the one and Prophet had a prejudice against stealing the
other persons property. The same problem rose when he thought about using
a riverboat to sail down the great river of Erinin, which has flown from
the far snows of the Shienarian north to to the great city of Tear, ending
with a delta known as the fingers of the Dragon and cutting the continent
almost in two halves. So, there was only one logical, obvious solution.
He would have to walk on his two feet. Prophet sighed again and cursed
his bloody, flaming thoughts. Why, why couldn't he have made another decision.
But alas, what is done is done and he was no bloody Creator to change reality.
He looked at Tar Valon again. Well, Hawkwing didn't make it, Trollocs didn't
make it, Aiel didn't make it, so who's going to do it. Rand al'Thor! But
wait, Aiel never intended to take the city of Shining Walls, and Trolloc
hordes really captured part of the great Tar Valon, the fact that some
of those serene-faced women of the White Tower hadn't known and those who
knew- denied it with their whole heart, and speaking about Hawkwing...
Ah, to the Pit of Doom with Hawkwing. Prophet tried to concentrate on his
own problems and made a little note in his mind not to delve in to the
problems of past. He had enough trouble with present or future. He still
had to go a little further so he tried to think about something other than
his aching feet. He tried to remember something of his road to this place.
Blasted Lands were mostely desolate, so he had no trouble passing them,
having a writ of passage from Ariella, The Great Mistress of the Dark.
The Blight was another matter. Most of the things there were absolutely
wild and attacked everyone who looked weaker than they were. Those days
in the Blight were one constant running and hiding and trying not to get
eaten by some brainless jumara.
Prophet avoided Fal Dara, though he had heard that the Lord General of the Light Warriors, Agelmar Jagad lived there. He was unarmed and going from the Blight. And if they would have found a letter from the Great Mistress, he would be in a lot of trouble. Time to leave memories behind.
He rose his head again at Tar Valon. He wouldn't go there. No, the Amyrlin has become to weary of strange people. Or better to say- strange men. Perhaps he could ask for Lady Sundara's help but he has heard that her birthday party still continued and the chances that Ariella told her Sister about him were low.
Prophet shifted his gaze to the mountain. Dragonmount was said to be the highest mountain in the whole world. And somewhere inside that mountain was the fortress of the Light Warriors. Once again he recalled what that skinny little man had told him in the tavern near Erinin. There had to be some crevice in the slope, big enough for two men to enter. Ah, here it is. Prophet looked at the hole in the ground. The darkness looked back at him.
He took a small bead from his pocket. That was something he has found in one of his travels. If you hold the bead and think about the Light it would glow. And it did.
The cavern was long. The palace, he had heard, was the true masterpiece of art. To build a fortress inside of a Dragonmount, it must have taken decades, no centuries, and everything under the noses of Aes Sedai. He smiled at his own thought.
All of a sudden, the cave ended with a flat wall. Prophrt panicked. No, that cannot be. There have to be a way. He suppressed the fear. There have to be a way to enter the palace. He searched the walls. Aha, here it is. As he pushed, the wall started moving...
As the Prophet pushed, the wall started moving. The mechanism must have
been old, very old. The secret door squealed and whined as it continued
opening. Prophet wondered if there had been other entrances into the heart
of the Dragonmount, the Fortress of Light. Of cource, there must have been
some, because this one, perhaps, have not been used for decades, no, for
centuries. He had heard that several Light Warriors were channelers, but
then it seemed that several were not. And if their brothers and sisters
in the Light haven't used gateways to help them to Travel, they have to
use other means of getting into their stronghold. But surely not this one.
If this stonedoor was so old and hardmoving, then what about the rest of
the secret passage. Suddenly, having opened half of the huge portal, the
stone block that had replaced the door stoped. And what was he to do now?
Big as was the opening, Prophet was still unable to get past the boulder.
Oh, yes, this was a little wee bit of a problem! Perhaps if he tried to
push it. If there was someone with him in that cave, and he had uttered
that kind of thought aloud, the person near him would have burst out laughing.
And indeed, what could an old, no ancient, infirm and blind man, long past
his prime age, do to a giant piece of rock, that has blocked his way? To
everyone around him Prophet looked like an Andorman in his late seventies.
The Prophet chuckled at his own thought. Appearances could be deceptive.
People saw only what they wanted to see and what they perceived was sometimes
far from truth. The Dark Sisters were the best examle of that statement.
Yes, people didn't want to see the whole truth and more than once Prophet
had used that kind of unwillingness to His own purpose.
Prophet spied a small boulder laying on the ground. That would do. He used his thick oak staff together with a rock just under the basement of the stoneblock door and pushed. The door started moving again. Aha, done at last. His prediction has proved to be true. The passage ahead of him was old as well. Now, there must be some turn in here that will lead him into one of the marble halls of the Fortress of Light. Then he would meet one of the Light Warriors, or perhaps even Lord General Daylorn himself, and.... Well, what would come then we shall see.
Prophet proceeded walking down the corridor. Here and there lied some stonerubble, pieces of metal, shards of glass. Perhaps among these fragments was situated some powerfull angreal thing. But then, why should he care? He could not channel.
As the Prophet roamed about the passages for about half an hour, a small, tiny worm of a thought crawled into his mind. Yes, that's right, there was something about losing one's way. Prophet stopped. Well, yes, he did loose his way. The question was, how was he going to get out. His last half an hour was constant walking and turning, turning and walking. Was he in a maze, a Labyrinth? Perhaps that ''old passage'' only looked old, perhaps it was a trap for those, who were not serious about their business to the Light Warriors. Well, some strategy would help. He tried remmembering his turns. Perhaps turning always right would help.
In another hour Prophet walked into a side portal, leading to a lightened room. In the distant wall of the room there was an exit. Ah, at last. Having opened the door, Prophet stepped into a high-ceilinged marble hall, shining with grandeur.
Something flickered in the back of his mind. Prophet turned around and saw a lonely figure striding in a remote sidepassage. From this distance he was unable to see that person clearly. Prophet rushed after that figure. It may be so that this man or woman would lead him to someone who would show him somebody who would tell Lord General about the poor, tired Prophet.
Prophet, back on track