Added June 27, 1999
Category: WoT Third Age
Author: Barid

The Death of the Red Lion

"She was raped and tortured, more than once." Rand's voice held no emotion whatsoever. The voice of a man dead while his heart still beat. He knelt near the crumpled body of the golden hair woman. His face was blank as he forced Elayne's jaw open, the teeth were all broken and cracked, Min saw.

"Whatever they wanted to know, she didn't tell them." Rand continued, still emotionless. That was about all Min's stomach could handle, her knees could support her weight no longer, she fell to the ground, emptying her stomach for what seemed to be enternity. Sobs nearly tearing her body apart.

"No!" Someone whispered, "It can't be!" Distantly Min recognized Nynaeve've voice. There were tears in the woman's voice as well.

"It happened," Rand said. "Where are Birgitte, and Aviendha? I want to get the two of them out of here as soon as I can manage that."

Nynaeve's face were covered with moistness, but she answered still, silent sobs sending shivers through her body. "Birgitte... Birgitte is no longer with us."

"The Bond," Rand said coolly, "With Elayne dead, it affected Birgitte as well. It didn't happened long ago, the body is still worm. Whoever killed her, they couldn't have gone away."

"Is that is all you can think about?" Nynaeve demanded, "Catching those who did it to her, not a single thought about mourning her? She loved you, you damned man!"

"And I loved her," Hearing that, while knowing the truth, Min still founded herself doubting the man's words. A corpse sounded more alive than Rand.

"But she is no longer," He glanced at the body, he arranged the naked body a little, not enough to hide what was done to Elayne. The eyes Rand close didn't wipe the look of pain and terror and horror that was imprinted on Elayne's face. "This is nothing but an empty corpse." He rose to his feet, "I don't think I'll manage to attend the funeral, Nynaeve." His voice was still emotionless, hard, cold, but tears flows down his face.

"I'll find them, who did it, and when I do, they will beg to be given to the Dark One." It wasn't a shout, but it was a cold promise. Min believe it. In a heartbeat, he was gone, leaving her alone, to deal with her greif on her on, while he dealt with his own greif, hunting those who caused it.

Aviendha hated being confined back, away from battle, but she had given her word, and she wouldn't break it. Certainly not when it was Rand al'Thor she promised to keep herself in a safe place. Rand al'Thor, who was and wasn't the man she loved. Min touched her arm, and pointed north, "Look," Was all she said.

Aviendha stared north, her eyes went wide, half in surprise, half in sorrow. Fire, a mountain made of fire, was visible at distance. The Pit of Doom was few thousands miles away from the Blight border, but even so, Aviendha felt the slight warming of the air as soon as that fire appear. It could resource only from Shayol Ghul, where Rand al'thor had went to. Went to die for a world that gave him nothing but sorrow.

"Strangely," Min said slowly, "I don't think that I can grief him."

"He died together with Elayne, Min," Aviendha said, there were tears on Min's face, as well on her own, but there was no point mentioning it, "Our grief ended long ago, he closed his heart with Elayne's death. The body remained, the sense of purpose, but it was nothing but the Dragon. Rand al'Thor died the with the Queen of Andor."

"We should have been able to do something," Min insisted. "We loved him, the Light forsake my soul! There was something we could have done."

"You gave birth to his son, Min." Aviendha reminded the dark woman, "I don't think he had even been aware that he has a son, or that we love him. I don't think he was very much human. All he cared about was the destruction of the Shadow."

"Still," Min argue, then she silenced, the fire at the distance died, "And so it ends, Aviendha."

Aviendha took off her eyes from the horizon, where the fire burned and died. The battle hadn't die, she saw, the Last Battle, a diversition only, and a costly one, she saw Trollocs and Shadowspawn cutting their way through her people, Aiels died in countless numbers. She could not stop the tears, she realized, even while he wove saidar to destroy as much Shadowspawn as she could. Fire and Earth and Water and Air and Spirit, all the five power in endless attack.

She still held to the female half of the One Power when the ground began to tremble and shake. And a rift appeared in the Blight's border, ten miles across, twenty miles deep, following the trail of the Blight border. Unable to do a thing, she watch as half the huge army Rand had gather either fell into that huge rift or been swayed into the Blight, the unreachable Blight, now.

"And a remant of the remant he shall leave of you," She whispered, and left Min on the isolated hill, that was the time to join her people. As few of them as remained.


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