Added August 01- September 01, 1999
Category: WoT Third Age
Author: Allanon

Destiny

Part 1
Part 2: The Battle Begun


Part 1

Rhodric glared at the dead trolloc in disgust. There was no time for this. And yet it was strange to have made it this far into the Blasted Lands and run into so few Trollocs. Their scouting parties were usually much more frequent and large than this. This was only the third such group that he had come across. They were not very large either, 7 or 8 at most. Strange indeed. Especially with Sightblinder's influence becoming stronger and stronger in this world. He could not be allowed to grow any stronger. It must end now! Ever since he discovered his ability to channel, he knew it was up to him. It was his destiny to stop the growing Shadow by cutting it off at it's root. The responsibility unnerved him, but he would not, could not afford to fail. His eyes searched into the distance and found what they were looking for, Shayol Ghul. He still had a ways to go yet, but he was sure he could make in before sunset. Best to confront the Shadow in the light of day, when it's powers upon the world were weakest. He began to run, but set a steady pace. He could not afford to be too exhausted when he reached the mountain.

The land passed quickly by him, scenery never changing. He had never seen such desolation. The Blasted Lands made even the Three-fold Land look like a lush, damp forest. He doubted that even the best Water Seeker could find water in this place. Good thing he had filled his waterskins before he left the Three-fold Land.

He reached the mountain almost before he knew it, the largeness of it bathing him in shadow. It sent chills threw him. Something else was troubling him as well. He could not see any trollocs or any of the Eyeless anywhere. The slopes seemed to be completely abandoned. But how could this be? Would Leafblighter be fool enough to leave himself unprotected? He did not believe so, but he had no choice but to move on. He knew it had to be a trap, but it was too late to turn back now. The fate of the world lay upon his shoulders and he would not rest until the Shadow was defeated.

Slowly at first, and then more insistently, he began his way up the slope. He sensed where he needed to go. He could feel the pure horror of the place. It was the essense of evil. Suddenly, a shape appeared not twenty feet in front of him. One of the Eyeless, only not like any he had even seen before. It was large, easily larger than almost any man and looked as if it could crush a man without a hint of effort. He reached for saidin. As he took hold, he could feel the blanket of the taint boil over him. He staggered; it had never been so strong before, strong enough to nearly bring him to his knees. And yet, it did not surprise him in the least. This was, after all, the place where the taint originated.

He readied himself for the Lurk's attack, but it never came. It just stood there looking at him, as if daring him to strike. He was tempted, but he did not. That in itself was strange. Normally he would've killed it in a heartbeat, but something held him back. Ah! What was happening to him?

The Eyeless finally broke the silence. "The Great Lord has been expecting you for some time now," it said in a raspy, deadly voice. "Follow me."

He tried to resist, but no matter what his efforts, he slowly followed. It was as if someone or something was forcing his limbs to move. And he could do nothing. He was slowly taken up the mountain towards the peak. As he neared, he could see that the peak seemed to open into a passageway. A long passageway to which he could see no end. The Lurk led him directly in and followed the passageway. There were no side passages or drop offs, just the path strait ahead. It seems as though they walked an eternity, but it finally came to an end. As it ended, it looked as though the world just dropped off into a pit of molten death. Fire and lava boiled and bubbled up in the pit, threatening to boil over. He knew it the instant he saw it; he was standing in the Bore, the Dark One's closest point of contact upon the world of the Light. He could feel his knees trembling but forced himself to stand erect, waiting for whatever whould happen.

Shaidar Haran, strange he did not remember it having mentioned a name, bowed lightly and made his was back through the tunnel. As soon as he disappeared from view, the wall appeared to just close up. Where the passage was before, there was stone wall, smooth and unbroken. He turned bravely towards the pit to fulfill his destiny. He did not know if Sightblinder could be killed, but he would surely find out. He reached out for saidin. He filled himself with it, with the battle for life. He could feel the taint roll over him, buckling his knees again. Once more he forced himself to stand tall. He would face this like a warrior, a true Aiel. As he readied his attack, he broke the silence. "I, Rhodric of the Stone Waters sept of the Shaido have come to do battle with you. Prepare to die!"

Suddenly he heard a booming voice inside his mind. "WHY DO YOU INSIST UPON DESTROYING ME? I CAN READ THE HATRED IN YOUR MIND. YOU BELIEVE IN STRENGTHENS YOU, BUT ALL IT DOES IS ADD TO MY POWER. WHY RESIST WHEN I CAN GIVE YOU SO MUCH? POWER, ETERNAL LIFE, EVEN PROTECTION FROM THE TAINT. EVEN NOW YOU CAN FEEL IT, LIKE A DARKNESS SETTLING UPON YOUR BODY AND EMBEDDING ITSELF IN YOUR BONES. YOUR ALLIGENCE TO ME WOULD ACT AS A FILTER FOR THE TAINT, ALLOWING YOU FREE REIGN TO CHANNEL AS YOU WISHED, WITHOUT FEAR OF MADNESS OR DEATH. YOUR POWER WOULD BE UNPARRALLED."

Hearing those words shocked him. Life everlasting? Protection from the taint that had broken the world? All he had to do was serve. How could he think such a thing! It could not happen! He walked in the Light! But what had the Light ever given him? Nothing but a life of pain. Maybe it wasn't worth it, serving the greater good. It would get him nothing but an early grave. If he served, there would be no grave whatsoever. If only he served.

"I CAN SENSE IN YOU POWER THAT COULD RIVAL EVEN LEWS THERIN KINSLAYER. YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO THREATEN THE ENTIRE WORLD WITH SHADOW. YOU HAVE BUT TO SERVE ME AND ALL THIS IS YOURS. BOW AND PLEDGE YOURSELF TO ME AND THE SHADOW."

Slowly he knelt to the ground. He bowed his to the floor and the words came to him as if he had known them every day of his life. "I pledge myself to the Great Lord of the Dark. He is my Master and most gladly I serve him to the last shred of my soul. My Master is death's Master. Humbly do I serve until the day of his return."

"RISE MY FAITHFUL SERVANT. I HAVE MUCH PLANNED FOR YOU. I HAVE BEEN LONG WAITING THIS DAY. IT WAS NOT BY CHANCE THAT YOU ARE HERE TODAY. IT TOOK MUCH MANIPULATION, BUT IT WAS DONE. YOU ARE MINE, BODY AND SOUL, YOUR PLEDGE BONDED INTO YOUR VERY BEING."

"I live but to serve Master."

"YOU ARE TO BE MY GENERAL, LEADING THE HORDES OF TROLLOCS, MYRDDRAAL, AND OTHER MINIONS OF THE NIGHT IN A BATTLE AGAINST THE ARMIES OF THE LIGHT. IT WILL BE UP TO YOU TO DEFEAT THE DRAGON REBORN BEFORE HE GROWS STRONGER. EVEN NOW MY ARMIES ARE GATHERING TO THE SOUTH. SOON ENOUGH, THE BATTLE WILL BEGIN. RAND AL'THOR WILL NOT HAVE THE CHANCE TO UNITE THE WORLD AGAINST US. HE MUST BE DESTROYED! YET, YOU ARE NOT READY. YOU HAVE MUCH TRAINING TO UNDERGO YET. I HAVE SELECTED A TEACHER FOR YOU. MORIDIN WILL TEACH YOU ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW; KNOWLEDGE FROM THE AGE OF LEGENDS LOST UNTIL NOW. YOU WILL BE THE ULTIMATE WEAPON OF THE DARK."

"I hear and obey Great Lord. I will not fail you. I finally know my true destiny! Rand al'Thor will be annihalated!"


The Battle Begun

Agelmar dodged his horse quickly to the left and felt the trolloc's scythe-like sword pass closely by him. One quick stroke with his blade and it fell without a sound. It was not enough. For every one of his men that were killed, so were five or more trollocs. They killed the enemy by the thousands and yet more flooded through the pass. This time, he thought with dread, Tarwin's Gap would not hold.

"Rally to me men,"he shouted out. Throughout the lines of battle, he heard the soldiers cry out in response. As his men surrounded him, he raised his sword high and spurred his horse forward. "Charge! Kill the bastards, kill them all!"

"For House Jagad and Shienar!" And they rushed forward, the last charge of Fal Dara; to add another thorn in the Dark One's foot. As they closed with the trollocs, the world seemed to explode in fire. Men and horses died in spouts of flames as the ground rose up around them. But they fought on, cutting deeper and deeper into the heart of the trollocs' ranks. They fought while being cut to pieces at the same time.

The One Power, Agelmar thought. The Dreadlords. Light preserve and shelter us. Light save us all. It was his last thought as the power ripped through the last of the men of Fal Dara.

***

He stepped from the gateway directly into the tail end of the battle. Everything was going according to his plans. The Borderlands would be quickly overrun before any help would come and the rest of the world would be wide open to his purposes. Enough trollocs and fades would be sent out to make the Trolloc Wars seem just a simple raid. The Dragon Reborn would not know what hit him.

"You are doing well, Rhodric." He spun around quickly and brought the power to bear, readying his attack.

"You are much to jumpy for your own good." He turned to face a tall, broad-shouldered man with deep, dark blue eyes.

"I am not jumpy, Moridin. I am just cautious. You see, I told you everything was moving just as I wished."

"Even better than we expected," Moridin mused.

"I just checked the battles in Saldaea, Kandor, and Arafel. They are fairing almost as well as the battle here. They were no more prepared than Shienar. They will all be occupied shortly."

"Good. The Great Lord is impressed with your recent progress, especially in using the One Power; as am I. You learn exceptionally well, better than many of my students have."

"I just do my best." And it helps not having to feel the taint roll over me every time I touch saidin. Thank you Great Lord, for this gift you have given me. Just then, he saw a man on a horse, with a banner of three foxes, trying to rally his men. Brave fools. He reached out and embraced the source, the battle for life filling him, and brought that awesome power under his control. Now, after all the training, it came to him almost as easy as breathing. He channeled and huge balls of fire sprung up among the soldiers. Large pieces of earth flew up around them as the ground all but exploded. In little time, all the soldiers lay dead or dying, trolloc food for all he cared. It was time to move on.

"We cannot afford to stay here long. Have the trollocs collect the dead soldiers to feed on. We will rest out the night here and then move on to Fal Dara. You will help me gate a large enough force of trollocs and fades to Fal Dara to keep it under seige until the rest can catch up."

"And where to after the Borderlands?"

"That, my friend, we will just have to wait to see."

Allanon


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