Added March 08-April 05, 1999
Category: WoT Third Age
Author: Garatt Jax

The Journey Begins

Prologue: Shadar Seia
Chapter 1: Traps
Chapter 2: Aes Sedai
Chapter 3: Summons
Chapter 4: Questions...
Chapter 5: ...Answers

Author’s Note: Time Changes Everything!

Well, I must say that this story, the story of Garatt Jax, has turned into something other than what it started out to be; which was just a way for other people, as well as myself, to have a reference for the Role Playing game that is set up at Dragonmount.com. That’s it. That was all that it started as. Now, it seems to have grown somewhat beyond what it was intended to be.

The story will grow and change according to the way the character changes. That is how I write. I basically know how I want the story to begin and end; the real joy of writing for me is figuring out how to connect the beginning to the end and make it a good story, as well as an interesting one.

One thing about this part of the Garatt Jax story is that I’m introducing a character that has been “friends” with the Dark One since the they were both Sealed, one in a prison, the other in an endless sleep. As well as the introduction of the use of both the male and female half of the One Power; thus, I call this the Whole Power. That is what I would think that the Dark One and the Creator use, and if this thing is almost as powerful, if not completely as powerful, as the Dark One, then it should use this Whole Power as well. Neat, eh?

And some changes in the plot setting have happened as well. This story is sort of a behind story to all the other Wheel of Time books... A sort of, story behind the story type thing. Garatt Jax will see the world change by the coming of the False Dragons and then the coming of Rand al’Thor, and everything else for that matter. He will have some part in some of the events - which, I’m not sure yet - and the whole story of Garatt Jax will end in either one of two ways... Which I will not talk about now.

So, I hope that you will continue to read and enjoy, because I know I sure enjoy writing!

--Thanks! And enjoy!


Prologue: Shadar Seia

In the Mountains of Dhoom, the wind that blew was bitterly cold. The trees that were able to have grown for just a little while were now bare and gray. Everything was dead or dying on the slopes of the Mountains of Dhoom.

Yet through the dead Mountain range, a sound reverberated so loud that I must have awoken every living soul on the planet, yet almost none could hear it. It was a sound only a few things could hear; the Creator, the Dark One, a few others, and the thing hiding in the shadows. It was asleep, but that sound, that awful crunching noise brought it awake so fast that it felt as if it never had been asleep.

The shadows around a grouping of rocks seemed to be coming together to form the shape of man about seven or eight feet tall. It had no features; it was just a solid-looking black shape. Soon... It could feel it rushing through it’s body. Soon, everything that had happened to it will be worth it.

As it remembered that unmistakable sound, it almost screamed with glee. It was almost time indeed! That was the sound cuendillar makes when it breaks. It’s thoughts came in a jumble: there was no other way to describe it. It has been such a long time since this creature had thought that it was difficult to tell what it was thinking, despite the fact that it had been freed from his endless sleep over six years ago.

Of course, that didn’t matter to it. As soon as it did what the person that freed it wanted it to do, he went right back to sleep. But not now. No, never again. Cuendillar was breaking! That means that his old friend, the one the mortals named Shai’tan, was breaking free! Oh, if only he could scream with glee!

Without even thinking, he reached out with the Whole One Power, with both saidin and saidar, so he could feel which of the Seals has broken. As soon as he found out, though, he wanted to scream in pain. No! Why him?! Oh, burn me, why him!

He reached out with the Whole Power and touched the Bore, awakening Shai’tan. Without using words, or even thoughts, the shadowy figure talked with Him.

--he’s free--

At first there was nothing, but after a few moments, it heard laughter. High and shrill. OH, YOU ARE TOO AFRAID, SHADAR SEIA!

If Shadar Seia had a face, it would have been in the deepest scowl anyone had ever seen. --you mock me, Shai’tan! I will not be mocked, not even by you--

Another peal of laughter rained out of the Bore and through the bond of the Whole Power that Shadar Seia place between itself and the Shai’tan. YOU FOOL! IF IT WASN’T FOR ME, YOU WOULD BE IN THAT FOREVER SLEEP FOR ANOTHER MILLION YEARS!

That was true. It had to admit that. It was not Sealed away along with Shai’tan, but the Creator didn’t just leave it be; it wasn’t as powerful as Shai’tan, but he wasn’t that close behind. So the Creator placed him in a Forever Sleep. It was so strong that it could only be opened by one as powerful as Shai’tan was, and He was Sealed away. But that just wasn’t enough. The Creator also had to insure that it couldn’t just be freed like that. He could only be freed once every million years. It was blind luck that the Seals on Shai’tan’s prison weakened just enough that he could free Shadar Seia at the exact time that he could he freed.

--true... I apologize... but what are you going to do about this Ishamael? That was his Seal that broke! He’s going to go around pretending that he’s you... that’s my job--

This time no laughter. YES, HE WILL. BUT THAT WILL NOT CONCERN YOU, SHADAR SEIA. HE WILL BE DEALT WITH IN DUE TIME. YOU ARE MY ONLY TRUE VOICE UNTIL I CAN GET OUT.

The shadowy form moved forward a bit before stopping. --it will be soon then--

YES. SOON... I CAN FEEEEEL THE SEALS WEAKENING...

Shadar Seia sighed as he felt the Seals on the Bore stretch, expand. The last time he was able to feel that was when the Bore was first drilled, and both Shai’tan’s and its own prisons were weakened enough to be aware of the world, of the changes. That was the last they were able to speak since he was awaken from his Forever Sleep, and then just for a little while, just enough to order a child found. It seems like just a few seconds ago.

SHADAR SEIA! the voice boomed. I ASK OF YOU A FAVOR.

--ask--

YOU WILL HELP IN THE SEARCH OF THAT HUMAN CHILD THAT I ASKED YOU TO ORDER FOUND.

Shadar Seia hesitated. --you mean they haven’t found him yet--

NO...

Shadar Seia almost laughed out loud. Could it be? Was it possible that the Great Lord of the Grave, of the Dark, Shai’tan, was almost desperate? It couldn’t be, but that is what it sounded like...

--you want me to help find one human in a world were there are billions--

YES. IT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE.

--why-- It was not wise, even for him, to ask such a question from Shai’tan Himself, but it didn’t care. He liked to hear this desperation in His voice. It made him glad he had none.

BECAUSE THIS HUMAN CHILD WILL HELP ME... US... FIND THE REINCARNATION OF LEWS THERIN!

Shadar Seia could have blinked if it had eyes. --who is Lews Therin--

THE REINCARNATION OF THE ONE WHO HELPED FIRST SEAL US!

Without thinking, Shadar Seia took a menacing step forward. --you mean that Ger’thil’dena Mdall curse?! This Lews Therin is his reincarnation--

THAT IS CORRECT. AND NOW HE HAS BEEN BORN AGAIN, THIS TIME IN ANOTHER PERSON.

--I shall do as you ask--

VERY GOOD. NOW--

Without even a care, Shadar Seia cut off the flows of the Whole Power. So what if Shai’tan gets angry. He really doesn’t care. He can’t die, and not even Shai’tan Himself, nor the Creator, could kill him. He had died so often, that he doesn’t even think about it anymore.

So, it thought to himself, That Lews Therin in that same man who helped the Creator Seal us both up, eh? Now, what to do... I can’t very well go walking around like this; I will never find them this way. Those humans have a great knack for hiding well.

He split apart the Pattern and stepped on the other side of the world, looking for a human host so he could walk among the humans and search for this child. As it walked through - if it could be called walking - it stopped as something came to its mind; he had never even gotten what that human looked like...

--oh, well... all the humans look alike to me--

Then the tear in the Pattern folded back and Shadar Seia walked among the living once again, searching for a host, the pure essence of evil reincarnated. It almost made hit want to laugh.

Thus, it began; the greatest adventure time has even seen!

[top]

Chapter 1: Traps

The Wheel of Time turns, Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose on the streets of the Andoran town of Tailman. The wind was not a beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

The man who was standing in that village would have thought that the sky was beautiful to day. He would have said how nice the village was. He would have said that all the women here were the picture of beauty. He would have said that this was the most honorable town he had seen in months. Even though he was almost twenty, he would have laughed like a child at the sight of the multicolored birds as they winged above the town. He would have done half a dozen things if only...

“What have you to say for yourself?” a voice asked.

Garatt sighed deeply. If only I hadn’t walked into the bloody flaming village in the first place! He shook his head. Here he was, locked in an iron cage, guarded by at least four men armed with pitchforks and makeshift swords.

Anyone else might have panicked by now, but not Garatt Jax. He was actually amused. He didn’t much like being called a Darkfriend - true, he had killed men in duels for less - but the reason why he was being called Darkfriend would have amused anyone. It really was funny...

As he walked out of the Winterspring Inn, he looked around and saw that it was going to be a beautiful day. The sun was just now coming up over the roof tops of the nicely made houses. He liked small villages much better than big cities. The people were much nicer out in the country. Especially in lower Andor.

He had just come from a couple of hard days of jogging and running from the Four Kings, and he really was tired. As soon as he got to the Inn, he ordered a room, then sat down at a table and watched as a gleeman told the Great Hunt of the Horn, while local men and women were on the edge of their tables, eager to listen. When he was offered something to drink or eat after such a “long and dangerous trek,” and refused, that Inn keeper looked mightily suspicious of him.

Garatt shrugged his shoulders. It didn’t matter for him. He just wasn’t hungry... nor was he hungry now. That was a thing with him that he never quite understood; he never needed a whole lot of foot nor water. He hardly ate in a week what others could barely live off of for two days, yet have more energy than most men after a full three-course dinner. That was just him.

Oh, well. It didn’t really matter to him. It was as normal as breathing. He never much cared for most of the food that people ate. It all looked... weird. He could live quite happily with just a sack full of good roots and one or two water skins; that should last him at least two months.

As he turned around and started walking towards the main road that lead to the Murandy city of Lugard, he saw that several of the men and only a few women were standing in front of him. They all looked like they were watching a dangerous rabid rat. But that didn’t bother him in the least. He simply smiled and walked on past them.

A few of them looked strangely at his heron-marked sword and torn and dirty color-shifting cloak, but again, he paid it no mind, even though just carrying that sword in the open almost always got him into duels that he wouldn’t have wanted normally.

As he walked around the edge of the building, the rising sun shone into his eyes, and he slightly moaned and then covered his eyes so he could see. That almost always reminds him of fire, no matter how much he loves sunrises and sunsets. He hates fire.

From behind him, he heard gasps and even moans as well, and he just barely caught someone whispering, “You see, I told you.” It sounded like a young man’s voice. Almost ten or eleven years old.

Garatt Jax slowly turned and looked then all in the eye. “You got a problem?” he asked.

“Yeah,” someone said behind him.

As he turned to look, though, he was hit right between the eyes by something and he was out cold.

So there he was, in a cage, awaiting to be hung for being a Darkfriend. If he didn’t like being called a Darkfriend so much, he would have been laughing out loud.

“I said,” that voice yelled again, “what do you have to say for yourself!” Then Garatt felt a stick jab him in the thigh, but he refused to show any emotion. The man who jabbed him snorted, then stalked off into the night.

“It would have been better for you if you answered, Darkfriend,” one of his guards said.

Garatt sighed again. “I’m not a Darkfriend.”

The guard who spoke only snorted. Garatt thought that he recognized him; he was a farmer who was at the Inn listening to the gleeman tell his tale. All of the guards were farmers.

He snorted again. Of course they got farmers to watch over me! Oh, Light, but it was going to be a long night.

A knock came at the door of the barn the cage was in and one of the guards walked to it and peered outside. He seemed to be talking with someone, then nodded and he opened the door further. A man walked in and they closed the door again. The man took off the dark cloak he was wearing and put it on a hay stack, then the man walked into the light and Garatt looked confused.

“That’s right, I am a gleeman!” the man said, flourishing his multicolored cloak.

Garatt snorted. “What do you want, gleeman.”

The gleeman walked up to the cage and gave a slight bow. “Allow me to introduce myself; I am called Jasin Natael.”

Garatt opened his mouth, prepared to tell him to go away when he stopped. That voice! “Have we met before, Jasin Natael?” he asked uncertainly.

Jasin smiled. “No, I’m afraid that I would remember.”

“Then what do you want, gleeman?”

The gleeman shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing but to talk. Its not every day that I can talk to a Darkfriend.”

Garatt sighed. “I’m not a Darkfriend.”

Jasin smiled again. “Of course not. Of course not. Its just that I wouldn’t mind hearing your tales. I hear a great many things that might make for an interesting story, and I wouldn’t mind getting it all down before you hang.”

Garatt leaned his head against one of the bars and sighed again. A long night, indeed...

***

Jasin Natael walked out of the barn with his dark cloak over the gleeman’s cloak, shaking his head in amusement. I almost feel sorry for the lad. He smiled again, but soon the smile faded. He had almost recognized his voice. He had to hide that better with the One Power in the past. Not that he expected Garatt Jax to be in there any more than tonight. He had gotten out of worse scrapes than this; he was almost sure that he could handle this one as well.

Jasin Natael, he thought. What an interesting name. I wonder what caused me to come up with it. Asmodean could remember why he chose it, or why he chose to be a gleeman, but he was stuck now. Oh, well. He didn’t much mind being a gleeman; in fact, he found it quite entertaining.

Asmodean shook his head as he walked up the stairs of the Inn so he could get some sleep. He opened the door to his room and stepped in. He threw down his dark cloak and started to take off his gleeman cloak when he felt that something wasn’t right.

He looked around the room and saw that one corner was much darker that the rest. Something, or someone was there. He quickly reached out for saidin, but he hit a wall. Someone was blocking him! But it wasn’t like anything he ever felt before... The shield was much more powerful than anything he ever felt in his life.

Something moved forward slightly in the shadows, but he couldn’t tell what it is because it was too dark. A wave of power swept through him, of a power so strong that he almost fell to his knees. Such power! Only at one other time in his life had he felt this sort of power; in front of the Bore at Shayol Ghul!

He got on his knees then, saying, “Great Master,” time after time under his breath, while thinking, No! It’s impossible! He can’t be free!

Then a hand moved out of the shadows and directed him to stand. It was a human hand. “Stand,” the voice said. It sounded like it was muffled by the One Power; he could feel saidin being used, but he could also feel saidar, but he couldn’t feel the True Power... He had no idea what was being used.

Once he was on his feet, the voice spoke again, “You are Joar Addam Nesossin - Asmodean - are you not?”

Asmodean had to swallow before he could speak. Why is my mouth so dry?! “Yes... who... who are you? I-if you don’t mind me asking?”

That hand waved away the question like it was a fly. “That is not for you to concern yourself with, Asmodean. You are here... No, you are alive right now for one purpose; to answer my questions. Nothing more.”

Asmodean swallowed again. “I am a Chosen of the Great Lord of the Dark, and until he says so, you will show me some--” Before he could finish, he felt something wrap around his throat and he was lifted off the floor.

“I know of Shai’tan’s Chosen, pig,” the voice rasped.

Asmodean cringed at that name being spoken aloud. No one uses that name! No one! His body shook, and he almost feel to his knees again. “What do you want, then?” He was surprised at how calm his voice sounded.

Then the room shook slightly, and a form of the Power flooded the room; it wasn’t the One Power, nor the True Power... It was almost like the whole True Source! But that couldn’t be... Could it? The voice that sounded seemed to reverberate inside Asmodean’s head, and this time he screamed in pain. “I want you to tell me everything you know about Garatt Jax...”

***

After the gleeman left the room, the so-called guards started to talk up a storm. What was he doing here talking with Darkfriend? they all wanted to know. They never asked him, of course; they would never ask a Darkfriend about a Darkfriend. That almost made him laugh out loud.

They wouldn’t know a Darkfriend if the Dark One himself was walking with him hand in hand.

Garatt sat there in the cage awaiting dawn with nothing to do but think of how he was going to escape. And that lasted only a few minutes. It was very simple for him; he had always been a quick thinker. As soon as the gate door opened, he would kick his jailer out, then climb out and do the same with the other jailers within a few seconds. If all went as planned, he would be free and halfway to the other side of world by the time these idiots found out what happened. And if that didn’t work, he would--

He never had time to think. The barn door burst open and a blinding light flooded the room. All his jailers let out small moans and fell to the ground in heaps.

What under the Light? Garatt thought before he, to fell in a heap, and was surrounded by darkness...

***

When he came to, Garatt was on a hill over looking a deep pound. He got up and quickly looked around. He had no idea where he was, but he knew that he was no longer in village anymore, and if he could go by the stars and by the terrain he was no longer in that Light-forsaken village... In fact, it looks like he isn’t even in Andor anymore.

Shaking his head, Garatt gave a start, then looked around quickly. My sword! My cloak! Then he found that they were both on the ground next to him. He looked confused, but only for a moment, then he strapped the torn and dirty color-shifting cloak and the heron-marked sword on his back and walked off to the south.

Who under the Grace of the Light rescued me? For that matter, how did I get here?

He had no answers, nor did he want any. As he walked through the night, he was reminded of a saying that Gannon had once told him; “Never look at a gift too closely when you don’t know where they came from; you just might find out that there’s a leash inside.”

It was good advice, for if he looked, he might have noticed the eyes that were following him...

***

Shadar Seia’s human form smiled as the boy, the one called Garatt Jax, continued to walk south. It wasn’t an easy decision to free the human. Shai’tan would have just killed the human, but not Shadar Seia. They could use the same Power, they were both evil incarnate, but they were very different. True, he was just as evil as Shai’tan, but he was more than him. Much more.

And that’s what made him better.

Shadar Seia’s idea of fun was tormenting humans, to take the time to play with them. Not Shai’tan, though. Never him. He had no patience, Shai’tan. None at all. After all, they were just human. He was so much more... Nothing could kill him, not even the Creator!

Of course, Shai’tan would say something different. He would say that even humans can do damage. Especially ta’veren!

This time, Shadar Seia did laugh. Shai’tan was a fool. Just because he was stupid enough to let this Lews Therin trap him inside those Seals, he became a coward. A fool. The explanation was simple, of course; they got lucky. It would never happen to him. Never.

Shadar Seia watched the human walk down the hill until he disappeared. Then he embraced the True Source, the Whole Power, and then ripped the Pattern of the Age. He watched the opening widen, then turned back to the hill and smiled.

He could almost feel the traps he laid being pulled together by the turning of events, the traps laid by him, traps that were beyond mortal comprehension. He could almost see the traps springing shut, and he smiled, then walked through the opening as it snapped shut behind him.

Ta’veren or not, you are mine, Garatt Jax!

[top]

Chapter 2: Aes Sedai

“Ah, this is the life!” Garatt sighed as he swam in the deep blue lake that was surrounded by rolling hills and light meadows. He had stripped completely naked only moments after he saw the lake and jumped right in. He wouldn’t care if a thousand veiled Aielmen jumped right out of the bushes and caught him; all his care simply drifted away as soon as his bare flesh hit the cool water.

He looked up at the fading light as he floated peacefully on the lake’s surface. He guessed he was somewhere in Murandy, but he still had no idea where. Not that it really mattered. He was sure that the One Power was used in his rescue; what else could it be? But why would anyone use the One Power to rescue him?

Garatt shook his head. Never ask too many questions. That was one of his few mottoes that he lived by. He thought that it must have been Joar Addam, but he still had no clue if he was even real. He had not heard from him in a while, but he knew he was there. He could feel him there, almost like a hand behind his neck just barely half an inch away... only... not. He always thought that he could channel, even though he never met the guy. He had to, for that was the only explanation for him being able to talk to him like that. That was the only explanation that he could come up with...

Stop thinking about it! he told himself. That was no concern of his, and there was no proof that Joar had anything to with his escape. He did need to stop thinking about it, because it couldn’t be explained, at least not by him. Other men have gone insane thinking too hard on something that they couldn’t explain. Gannon once said that you should never think too hard on things that defy human understanding because you will never be able to explain it.

Garatt smiled. Gannon had always said so many smart things. He wished he was okay, that those Black “sisters” were treating him good. He hoped a million things, but he quickly put a stop to it. There was no use in thinking on the past, because they always clouded the present. Garatt smiled again; that was another saying that Gannon used.

Well, he told himself, I guess its time for me to get out and get something to eat.

He gulped a big breath of air and then dove down in the water. He would have laughed if he could. Even the water looked clear when he was submerged in it. The bottom was all even and sandy, those strange plants waving in the light currents of the small lake, the pebbles were all different colors, and the small fish who swam quickly away when they saw him were colorful as well.

Light! he thought. I love life!

He swam towards the banks of the lake and then jumped out of the water, landing on two small rocks evenly. “Perfect!” he said aloud, then looked up and his heart went straight to his feet and he almost lost his eyes.

There, as he stood on two small rocks with water dripping from every inch of his clotheless form, he was no more than three feet away from the most strikingly beautiful woman he had even seen! She had an expression on her face that must have been a copy of his, only she had something more; it almost looked like amusement.

She wasn’t very tall - only about a few hands above five feet - and she had raven black hair, coppery skin, a well formed face with dark lips that only seemed to intensify her overall beauty. And her riding dress! It was a dark grayish color that almost seemed silver, only not so shiny. Then he was caught by her eyes. They were a strange color; one moment, they seemed to be deep green, then the next they seemed to be deep blue, with both colors meshed with a slight perplexing of pinkish color.

They were breathtaking!

Garatt turned redder than the deepest sun, his mouth hanging open. He had no idea where to start. He just stood there, a surprised look on his face. She had to surpress a smile behind her small, dark, perfect hands, and her face turned as red as he felt.

He looked around quickly and saw that no one else was there, just her horse. He opened his mouth, then gave a start and looked down at his body, at the burn scars all over his front and almost cried from embarrassment. No one was supposed to see his scars! No one! They were his! No one else’s!

She seemed to sense something from him, and here eyes stayed on his and it looked to him to be full of pity - pity! - and then she held out her hand. At the sudden movement - well, it was slow, but that didn’t matter! - his foot slipped on the rock and he fell back with a yelp, landing in the water and slashing it everywhere, even on the woman, who jumped back in shock.

When Garatt resurfaced, the woman was all dry and was looking down at him with tight lips, but she also had slight concern still in her eyes. He looked around again then spit some water out of his mouth. Ah, Light! How do I get out of this one! At least I didn’t get her wet... But I could have sworn that I saw her get splashed! But he said, “I’m sorry... uh...” then looked around again.

Then he lips twitched - that made his eyes widen! - and she nodded her head. “Your apology is accepted, Master...?”

“Jax! Garatt Jax!” he said almost without thinking.

She nodded her head, then said, “Do you need any help?”

“Uh... no... Mistress...?”

She seemed to study him for a moment, then nodded to herself again before answering, an almost sad look coming across her face. “I am Jina Minga Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah.”

Garatt simply nodded, then pointed behind her. “Would you mind turning away, Aes Sedai, so I can get into something?”

Jina Minga just stood there a moment, a shocked look on her face, and didn’t move. He pointed again, and she gave a start, and then quickly turned, red blooming up on her cheeks.

Garatt nodded in satisfaction and quickly jumped out of the water and quickly walked over to where his clothes were, dried himself and then put on his clothes, never taking his eyes off her back. When he was dressed and his cloak and sword strapped on he said, “Okay. You can look now.”

She seemed to gather herself up and slowly turned around and stared at him. She gave a start at his heron-marked sword and an even bigger start at his cloak. “You are a Warder?” she asked incredulously.

“No, I’m no Warder, Aes Sedai,” was all he said.

“Then how did you get that?” She pointed at his cloak.

He looked down and shrugged. “It was... a gift.”

She only shook her head, then looked him in the eyes again - Light, but she has depthless eyes! - and said, “Are you sure you don’t need anything? You are all right? You don’t need to be Healed after that fall?”

He looked down at himself and shrugged. “No thanks.”

They stood there for a few moments in awkward silence, just looking at each other’s eyes. She looked around first and then seemed to catch herself and looked back at him. The staring match ended when he shook his head and asked if she had anything to eat. She smiled and said yes, then they both walked up to her horse and he helped her unload while she made a fire with a few branches and some help from the One Power. After he got the saddle off, she got out some foodstuffs and they sat down and ate a meal of dried meat and bread and some cheese while they talked and watched the stairs.

“So, I guess you haven’t been raised to the Shawl for long?” he asked.

She gave a start while sipping some mint tea and looked at him while cocking her head, which seemed to just make her look even more stunning. “How do you know all these things, Master Jax? If you don’t mind my asking.”

He smiled at that. “I was taught,” was all he said.

She looked perplexed. “And who taught you? From your voice, I would guess you were raised in the Borderlands. Are you some Borderland prince or something?” The last part she said with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes.

Garatt shook his head and then looked her right in the eye and said, “You still haven’t answered my question?”

She smiled at that again. “I like you, Garatt Jax. You don’t seem perturbed by me being Aes Sedai.” He nodded his head slightly at that. “And to answer your question; yes. I’ve only been given the Shawl two years ago.”

“And why are you out here?” he asked, leaning back, trying not to get lost in her eyes.

“Well,” she said, leaning back as well, folding her slim, perfect arms around her breasts, her dark gray riding dress making the curves of her body almost unrealistic, “I was sent out to go to the small nation of Mayene as their ruler’s advisor.”

Garatt snorted. “You’re a long way off then, Jina.”

She blinked. “What do you mean?”

“If you’re going to Mayene, then why are you all the way over in Murandy?”

She blinked again, then looked around, a confused look on her face. “What do you mean? This is only a few days ride south of Aringill...”

Garatt nearly jumped up in shock. “W-what? You mean I jumped... that far?!”

Jina looked just as confused, and worried. “Garatt! Garatt! Please! Put that away! Please! There’s no call for that, now, please, put that away!”

He looked down and gave start when he noticed that he was holding his heron-marked sword in his hands. His face reddened, then he slipped it back into its sheathe and sat back down, muttering apologies for his behavior.

She shook her head and then asked, “What under the Light is wrong with you, Garatt? What do you mean you ‘jumped’? What does that mean? You--” Her breath caught, and she raised a hand to her throat, almost near tears. “You... you can’t c-channel... can you?”

“What??” His eyes widened in surprise, then laughed out loud. “No, no, no. I cannot channel! Trust me! Ha!”

Finally, Jina smiled and laughed as well, looking more than glad and even more than pleased that she was, just this once, proven wrong. “You should have seen your face, Garatt!” she said in between laughs, almost falling over.

Garatt was laughing as well, tears streaming down his face. “Well, you should have seen yours, Jina! What a riot!” Then they both rolled all over the ground, laughing like school children.

Finally, they both settled down and they continued to talk all throughout the night, talking of nothing, and everything - everything from the weather to politics. They both, however, plainly avoided talking of their childhood. They basically just stuck with the what has happened in the past few years in their lives.

They talked of the Aiel Wars, which was no more than ten years to the past, on how the nation of Cairhien is still picking themselves up after the war, and how it almost got to the Shinning Walls. Their talk lasted well after midnight.

Then, they both rolled up in their cloaks and laid down next to each other near the fire, saying their goodnights, and then they both closed their eyes, and, for the first time in the longest time he could remember, Garatt Jax slept with a smile on his face.

He was happy.

***

Jina Minga couldn’t get to sleep as fast as her new friend Garatt Jax could, so she stayed awake for a little while longer. What was he so much a mystery to her? She had never met anyone before that could do this to her. She had been ogled by men almost from the day she was born, but this was the first time any man has never looked at her like he would love to do extremely nasty things with her. He looked interested in her, she could see that right out, but he was not the one who would force himself on her. She liked him almost instantly just because of that.

And he wasn’t afraid of her being Aes Sedai! Everyone else who would look at her who would like to take her to their beds would run away once they found out what she was. Perhaps him being from the Borderlands helped with that part, but he just said that he was raised in the Borderlands.

No matter how many times she tried not to, she kept thinking back on that first time, when he just up and jumped right out of the lake and landed no more than three feet away -- without any clothes on! To get her mind out of that subject, she thought of his old burns. It covered almost every inch of his body from his chin to his knees. It looked like it was done while he was a child. And on his stomach, she could tell that those were knife marks.

Almost near tears, she looked over at his sleeping form. He must have been tortured as a child. And very, very badly. Her heart went out for him, thinking of how hard it must be on him, living his life like that, always being ashamed of his scars - she was sure that is what that expression was when he was standing on those rocks; shame - always being alone. She had to surpress a desire to reach out and hold him close, to tell him that she knew exactly how he felt, if not on the same degree as he.

She quickly wiped the tears that formed on her eyes. She would not do this to herself. She would not live through her past again. She would have to be like him. Strong and firm. She knew that he always looks on the bright side of his situation. She knew it! Plus, he wasn’t all that bad looking; who was she kidding? He’s exactly what she has been looking for all her life! She knew that his good side outweighs anything bad. She just needs to look at the good sides! His body isn’t completely covered with those scars. And the parts that are aren’t that bad. But his skin was completely covered. It looked to her like some parts were smooth scars, while others wasn’t there at all. Just like on his...

She reddened fiercely, thinking that she doesn’t need to be thinking of such things! But she knew she couldn’t help it. Just a light scarring. And besides, his muscles show out good enough. He dose have goo muscles. Nice sized, hard, firm...

Stop that! she told herself. She was Aes Sedai, and she didn’t need to fall head-over-heels in love with anyone. Not now!

But she knew it was too late. She knew that she was forever tied to this man, no matter how far apart she is from him. She had to have him near her! Even though they only have known each other for about eight hours or so, she knew she needed to have him close. It feels to her as if a missing part in her life has come back. She needed him... and she was pretty sure that he needed her as well.

She looked over at him, his face outlined by the soft moon light, making him that much more handsome. His clean-shaven face smooth as silk. She knew at that moment that she was hopelessly in love with this man, that she was going to make him her Warder and then marry him. The Light burn tradition. She had to have him!

Jina Minga smiled as she laid back, thinking that he was hers. She knew that had the same feelings. He had to. But not to worry. Even if he didn’t, she would make him feel those feelings.

Then, with a smile on her face, she fell asleep.

She was happy.

[top]

Chapter 3: Summons

The Pattern of the Age ripped apart and Shadar Seia’s human host walked through the opening and stepped through to the other side of the Pattern and was submerged absolute darkness. For only a moment, he felt at home. This was, after, were he was “born.” Of course, nothing here is like anything on the other side of the Pattern, so there is no birth, no death, not even life. Yet, at the same time, everything that has ever, or will ever exist will finds its origin here. No one really knows what that means; not even the ones who live here. Then again, there is no “ones,” and they do not “live” anywhere. He has lived outside this side of the Pattern for so long, that he can barely think of what life was like here. He has taken up their pathetic ways of “looking” at the universe, so of course he can’t seem to remember.

Shaking his head, Shadar Seia just... stood there. Waiting for what must happen next. It has been too long since he has been here. Far too long. He was summoned here by the “beings” who “lived” here. He had what humans called, “Foretelling.” That was another thing that didn’t much make since to him. He has been out too long, and some of his “memories” of his knowledge was lost as well. He used to know what the connection was with humans and the summons of his “people,” but no more.

So much lost, so little gained. He regretted leaving, but once you left, you can’t come back. Yet now he’s here. He was summoned here. For what purpose, he had no idea, but he didn’t like it. That is what that felling of coming home only lasted a few moments.

He fells what his human host is feeling right now and it almost makes him sick. He would have killed the human, but then it would have been a tad hard to walk around as a dead corpse; after a while, they begin to decompose, and the humans can smell it. He did have complete control of the human, but he could still feel his thoughts.

Then, without warning, these strange... “feelings” - that was as close as its going to get coming from the human mind; and even then, it isn’t even scratching the surface - came at him from all corners. His human host was overcome with feelings and thoughts and emotions that were never once available to humans. Shadar Seia had to fight to maintain control of the Link that held the two together.

Indeed, he had underestimated the effects that those feelings had on the host, but it was too late to turn back now. It was too late the moment he tore open the Pattern of the Age.

Then the “feelings” stopped and the Shadar Seia “heard” what was now being said through the Link. It wasn’t even remotely close to what it truly was, but it was close enough for him to understand what his “people” wanted to “tell” him.

Ashdemon

Shadar Seia shook his head. That was pathetic. That wasn’t even close to what he was once called in this side of the Pattern, but that was what the human brain translated the “feelings” into, and it couldn’t do any better, so he just dealt with it. “I am now called Shadar Seia!” he said out loud.

Shadar Seia! Beware the human with the Box

That made him blink. Box? What are they talking about? They can’t mean... Then he almost lost control again he was so shocked. “You don’t mean the Box?”

Yes... there were several left behind on the other side of the Pattern with witch the first “humans” could “talk” with me

“I know of that! What about the Box! I thought that they were all destroyed with the changing of the First Pattern!”

Then something came through the human host, a sensation; he couldn’t tell if it was or not, but he was almost positive that it was laughter.

Shadar Seia! Ever since you left us, you have become weak... The Box cannot be destroyed any more than the Pattern

“Okay, what about the Box?”

Beware! The one you seek shall find a way to kill you as you now are

Shadar Seia was stunned. Kill him?? “That’s impossible! I can’t die! Nothing from that side of the Pattern can kill me any better than this side! What do you mean?! Answer me!”

But it was silence that answered him. He knew that it was dumb to ask for what will happen in the “future” of that side of the Pattern. They are not allowed to tell anyone. Even Foretelling is an accident; he can’t remember how it happens, or why, just that it does. If anything, they can only give clues.

“Why are you telling me this?” he asked finally.

Then the feelings came again, as well as the struggle. When it faded, Shadar Seia “stood” there thinking on what he was just told. Find the Box. He had no idea where the Box is, or even what it’s called now. He tried to pry the answers from his human host, but he knew nothing.

Find the Box, or I will die... He shook his head again. They had to be mistaken. He can’t die any more than the Creator or Shai’tan himself! Then it hit him. The Creator! He felt the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. He now knew what the Box could do; at least, one thing it can do.

As quickly as he could, he ripped the Pattern and stepped through, snapping it back into place. He had to find it, and now, he just might suffer a fate worse than death!

[top]

Chapter 4: Questions...

A bright light line opened across the sky, then widened. Just a slight hole poked into the Pattern, and then a woman walked through it. She wasn’t a very tall woman, but she wasn’t short either. Some would say that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She stood there and looked around the clearing, thinking of everything that had lead up to this moment. Everything that was lost, everything that was gained. It almost made her want to cry; it almost made her want to laugh out loud.

Despite her beauty, her name would have sent chills down almost every mortal’s spine. She was named something that was meant to be scornful, that was made to put her down, yet she opened herself to that name. She had said it with pride, she had thrust that name out so everyone could see and hear. Her name was Lanfear, the Daughter of the Night.

She looked around once more, thinking that she must have come early. Where was everyone? she thought to herself. They should have been here by now...

“Hello, Lanfear,” a voice called out behind her.

She was momentarily shaken, but she hid it well; she never even flinched. Slowly she turned around and was faced with a man who she would have thought was handsome if she hadn’t have known who he was. “Hello Demandred,” she said. There was once a time when she look at him with longing, but that was before Lews Therin. She never looked at another man the same way she had looked at Lews Therin. Never. He was hers forever.

Demandred looked around, confused. “Is this all?” he asked.

Lanfear looked around as well, then said, “Patience, Demandred. They will be here.” They had to, she almost added, but didn’t. She didn’t much like this, being out in the dark. She never did. She always liked to know what was going on.

Demandred snorted. “It is past the time that the meeting was set. They are late.”

“Be calm. All of the Chosen that are free were called to this meeting. I do not think that any of them will not come.” She sighed. Where were they? They had to be here. She hated not knowing what was going on.

Then another white line opened into a doorway and then Bel’al stepped through and walked out unto the clearing. Almost right after his closed, another one opened and then Mesaana walked out.

Five, Lanfear thought. That was all that were freed now. Not including Ishamael, who was half mad already, despite the gift of the Great Lord, and they all knew that he wouldn’t come. That leaves the fifth. The fifth was the reason why this meeting was called. Asmodean.

They all stood where they were and just looked at each other. Nothing more. It was a battle of wits that they usually had; a battle that Lanfear almost always wins. She hated this game, especially now, when there was something important to talk about, but she wasn’t going to lose. Not even when she wanted to begin this.

Finally, Mesaana said, “So. What is it that we are going to be talking about?”

Lanfear blinked. Mesaana seemed.... almost frightened. She was tensed, and even though she wasn’t holding onto saidar, Lanfear knew that she was ready to embrace it without warning.

“We are to talk about Asmodean,” Lanfear said finally. “And what we are going to do to him.”

***

Asmodean saw stars as another volley of invisible fists hit him again and again. He had never felt so much pain before in his life. He would have blacked out several times since this started, but something that the man was doing to him made him stay awake all throughout the ten hours of torture. He wanted to die.

“Do you still not remember?” a voice said beyond the stars that were now circling around his vision. “Do you still stay stubborn, human?”

Asmodean tried to look up, but another hit slammed his head down, making him see more stars. He sighed. Oh, well. It wasn’t like he would be able to see whoever was doing this anyway. He always stood in the deep shadows. And if there were no shadows, he would make some to stand in.

The something moved in the shadows and Asmodean was lifted several feet off the ground. “Speak!!” the man screamed, then Asmodean was shaken like a rag doll in the air unable to do anything.

“I... I have no... clue what it is that... you... are seeking....” Asmodean answered, his voice coming out shaken and dry.

“Liar!” it screamed again, and Asmodean was thrown clear across the room where he hit the wall with a nasty thud. “Liar...”

Asmodean began to laugh, wiping blood from his mouth. No matter what he said, the torture will continue. Nothing can stop it. He really wanted to die. “Nothing... I.... say will.... convince you... that.... I do not.... know any.... thing.... about....”

Then the man came running out of the shadows and came right up to him, pulling him up and putting his face right next to his. Asmodean tried to see, but to save his life, he couldn’t see! Everything was blurry, nothing was coming into focus.

“Now you hear this, human!” it hissed. “You will tell me everything that you know, or so help me, you will feel pain unlike any other human has before!”

Asmodean couldn’t help but flinch at the words. Its voice sounded worse than a Myrddraal’s. He tried to swallow but was able to say, “I don’t know anything!”

His screams could be heard from a mile away.

***

Jina was waken from her pleasant dreams by hard hands around her throat and on her mouth. She tried to scream out, but nothing came. She tried to reach out to saidar, but she seemed to hit a brick wall. She was Shielded! Oh, Light, no! She should have felt them coming, but she didn’t! Oh, Light, what was going on??

Then she was hauled up and she frantically looked around. Where was Garatt Jax? All around her were Trollocs and one Myrddraal, as well as several dead Trolloc bodies. Garatt must have done that, she thought. Light, where was he?

The one Myrddraal walked right up to her and looked her up and down with that eyeless gaze that froze her blood. It seemed to be looking into her soul. She wanted to scream.

“My,” the Myrddraal hissed, it’s voice was like a snake rustling through dead leaves. “You are not as powerful as I was told. The Trollocs could have taken you all without my help. It makes no sense why I was sent here...”

No! she wanted to scream. That’s impossible! Myrddraal can’t use the Power! They can’t! It must be anything but that!

The Myrddraal almost smiled. “Ah, yes. Didn’t I tell you? I can channel.” He walked up to her and put a hand on her chin. The Trollocs let her go, but she didn’t move. She couldn’t. Not with a Myrddraal that can channel holding her! “In case you are wondering, my pathetic human girl, I am the only one of my kind.”

She couldn’t help but sigh with relief. The only one. There were no more Myrddraal that can channel walking around. “W... what...” she tried to say, but she never got to finish.

The Myrddraal just looked at her a moment, then released her, but the Trollocs quickly grabbed her again. “To answer some questions for a good friend of the Great Lord, human. To answer a few a questions.” Then it did smile.

Her screams could be heard almost as far.

[top]

Chapter 5: ...Answers

The Myrddraal stood there among the dead Trollocs that Garatt Jax had killed, looking at the ground in retrospect. That human moved as fast as anything I have ever seen before, he thought to himself. He shook his head as he saw the bodies. So many. It really made no sense. At least, not to him. The Trollocs came without warning, without sound. The Myrddraal had taken care of that; it was easy for him. The True Power gave its user unimaginable power.

One of the Trollocs came up to him and bowed his head, asking something in its disgusting language. He didn’t understand what it was asking, but he knew what it wanted. It made even him sick. Without saying a word, the Myrddraal shook his head once and the Trolloc barked something out into the night and then three more Trollocs ran out into the open and began to carry their dead towards the camp fires. So they can have something to eat.

The Myrddraal shook his head once more then walked into the nearby tent were the Aes Sedai was kept. As soon as he walked in the Trolloc that stood as a guard stood up and walked out to join its brothers in a meal. The Myrddraal let the Trolloc go without even giving it second glance. The Trolloc wasn’t why he was in here. It was the Aes Sedai.

She slowly looked up as he approached and then quickly put her head back down. Her face was all bruised and battered, splatter of dried blood leaving a trail from her mouth to her chin. She wasn’t wearing much; just her yellow Shawl to cover her body and her small traveling boots. Around her neck was a leather string with a small wooden box around it. It looked like it was made with several small wooden sticks wrapped together.

She had been beaten by Trollocs for a little over three hours before he even asked a single question. Even after that, after he began to ask the questions she had insisted on not answering. That wasn’t good for her. Others might argue that his methods are too deadly, and that there was a chance that the person that he intended to question would die before he even had the chance to ask one.

He bent down and grabbed her chin in his hand and brought her face up into the light. She seemed to bend down lower into herself at his eyeless gaze. He smiled, and that brought a surpressed sob. “Are you ready to proceed?” he asked softly.

She just nodded, which made him smile more.

He stood up and nodded. “Very well, Aes Sedai. Tell me what you know of this Garatt Jax.”

***

Asmodean let out another scream, this time screaming for the death that would end this endless pain. He felt another wave of pain run through his body and he screamed again. Was it ever going to end?

He felt the heat of the other unknown man’s breath on his battered and blooded face. The man was breathing hard, and there was a hint of anticipation in his voice when he asked, “Are you ready to tell me what I want to know?”

Asmodean let out a deep sob as he whimpered. How he wanted to die! “I... do... not know...” He never got the rest out. He was overcome with pain. He was ready to admit anything at this point. He was ready to die happily.

The last thing he heard before everything was drowned out in his endless scream was, “You will tell me everything that I want to know, Chosen. Some how. Some how.”

***

Everyone opened a Gateway to where they were before with the orders that were given to Lanfear by the Great Lord, and she was alone once more. Lanfear looked around the clearing, thinking to herself. What was she to do? How was she to find out where Asmodean was? She knew that he didn’t run away, as the others thought. She had left a lot out of what she told them. She left out the part of Shadar Seia.

Why did she do it? The answer was quite simple. In a small way she hoped that they would find Shadar Seia and then suffer its wrath. That way, there would be one less Chosen. That way she was one less Chosen way from becoming Nea’blis.

She opened her own Gateway and then she stepped through. One less...

It almost made her want to smile.

***

Garatt Jax was tied up hand and foot on a tree when the Myrddraal walked in. He when instantly still as its eyeless gaze fell upon his. Then the Myrddraal smiled. It was a deep, thoughtful smile. A smile that made his heard sink into his gut. It slowly walked up to him and looked him up and down. It was all Garatt could do not to swallow under its gaze.

“Well now,” the Myrddraal said, its voice cold and dry. “I have things I need to ask you...”

This time Garatt swallowed hard before answering. “What have you done with Jina?”

The Myrddraal smiled again. “She asked the same about you, you know. But enough of that. I want to ask you a few questions.”

“Like what?” Garatt was surprised at how calm his voice sounded.

“Like why you are on the lips of so many... people in high places.”

Garatt blinked in confusion, which caused the strange Myrddraal laugh harder.

“Now...... are you going to tell me what I want to know, or,” the Myrddraal grabbed Garatt by the neck, “do I have to make you tell me. But be warned. You are from the Borderlands, so you of all people should know how much fun we Myrddraal, even special ones, have in gaining information.”

Garatt closed his mouth tight and refused to look it in the eye. “Do what you will.”

The Myrddraal smiled again, then Garatt felt... something... go through his body. He couldn’t tell what it was, but it didn’t feel good. His eyes widened in shocked as he realized what was happening. That Myrddraal was using the Power on him! But Myrddraal couldn’t use the One Power! No, he thought. It wasn’t the One Power... it was something more.

The Myrddraal was laughing openly now, the strange feeling was getting stronger. It was going through him.

Then Garatt felt something in him. Something that felt... unusual. It was like something broke in his body. Something just... snapped. One moment the Power was surging through him, not yet causing pain, but getting there, the next, the Power was being drawn from his body with rapid speed. It was like something was pushing it out.

The Myrddraal gave a start, then its brow furrowed, and he appeared to double the effort of its channeling. Yet the harder it tried, the faster the Power was driven from him.

Garatt couldn’t believe what was happening. He knew that he wasn’t channeling, but he hadn’t a clue what he was doing. It was weird; it was just like something was pulling the Power out of his body like a hand.

Then he felt all the Power ripped out of his body and then thrusted out. The Myrddraal was thrown back a dozen feet then hit the ground with a bone shattering crash. The Myrddraal seemed out of focus for a few moments, then he got up and just stood there, looking at Garatt with that eyeless gaze.

Garatt swallowed hard, not knowing what just happened. Nor did he really want to know.

The Myrddraal rubbed its neck for a moment, moving its head from side to side sharply, still looking at him with an amused look on his face. “Now... That’s never happened before.” Then he took a few steps forward. “Lets just see how that happened.”

Garatt didn’t know what was worse, the gaze of that Myrddraal who can channel, or not knowing what it was going to do with him. Yet he knew that he would soon find out.

***

Everything was happening according to the plan. Everything. The Chosen were now given their orders, and everything was set in motion. The pieces were falling into place. Soon, the Chosen were going to fall over each other looking for Asmodean in order to please the Great Lord, thinking that once they find him, they find that Garatt person, and once they do that, they will find the Dragon Reborn. Such nonsense.

The new Myrddraal that I had set loose is something else. It is the only one, but it is the model for all history. Nothing can be made better. No other Myrddraal will come close to that. Of course, he will not be the last. It will die soon. Somehow, it will get killed. Everything does, sooner or later. He would use that Myrddraal as a model for the next one. And as soon as Shadar Seia is out of the way, I will have a need of another to speak my words until I am free...

Soon, if everything goes according to plan, that new Myrddraal will get what I want out of the Garatt human and then will tell it to Shadar Seia, where they will battle it out and kill each other. It really is a nice thing, though, that Box. I really didn’t think that there were any left... Hmm. Most interesting. No one really knows how that Garatt human will get his hands on a Box, or how he will get it to work, but he knew that it would. He will kill that cursed Shadar Seia, and with all of his arrogance and power. Nothing can save anyone of its own arrogance.

It will be sweet to know that Shadar Seia is dead. Sweet.

Soon, if everything goes according to plan, the Chosen that are free will fight each other to death in finding Asmodean. Some times it is necessary to lie in order to get a job done right. The humans cannot handle the truth anyway. Yeah, the Chosen will fight each other and some will die. It is necessary, because the last thing that I need are those who are too weak.

Everything is happening according to the plan. No matter what happens, I cannot go wrong. No matter how it ends, I will win. I will always win. I can never lose.

Inside the Bore at Shayol Ghul the only sound that can be heard is the laughter of Shai’tan.

Michael Hiler II (aka Garatt Jax)


Your input counts. Please take the time to rate this story. If this form does not work, email contest99@dragonlibrary.com with the story name and rating in the subject line.
Story Rating


© 1998-1999 Dragon's Library & Ulrike Großmann