Added on December 20, 1999
Category: WoT Age of Legends
Author: Barid, Lanfir

The War of Power

[This story was written in 1998.]

Part one deals with Lews Therin, Lanfear and Ilyena, the second with the War of Power itself. Unlike I expected, it was much more easier to write the first part than the second. Usually, I have a fix starting point, and all the freedom I want to make the end. In this story, I had all the freedom in the start and the middle, only the end I couldn't change. And this I don't like. I asked many time why everything in the Wheel of Time seemed to go only well. Now I know why RJ didn't make tragedies so far, t They are too painful to write. I love this characters, and I haven't sweated on making them so alive. I hate the way this story end, and I mean really hate it. But when I let you choose the stories I also promise that I would write them. So here it is. For your pleasure. I hope you will enjoy it.

As a note: This is the largest story I ever wrote, save my PoD prologue. And I suspect that it can be considered as the best. Or at least I hope so.

Thanks to Lanfir (no, it is not a typo, that is how she named herself.) for writing Lanfear's part. Female point of views are the hardest to do. And her stories were a great help understanding Lanfear. And more than help enough in writing the second part of the story. And of course, I entered the stories she wrote into the story. I truly hope you will enjoy her work, and mine.

~ Barid


Please read this before you will read the story. This is important to the understanding of the story.

Timing:

Lews Therin and Lanfear were lover when they were young, "but he could remember that woman [Lanfear] in his arms, while they were still young and learning what they could do with the power." (The Fires of Heavens, Gateways.) I assumed that both Lanfear and Lews Therin found that they can channel between 10-25. If we'll assume that the training take ten years. The same as in the White Tower. Since I think that in the Age of Legends they taught much faster and better. And that both Lews Therin and Lanfear were good at what they were doing. (Since it usually take ten years to a girl to reach the Shawl. But Elayne could reach the shawl in a year, since she was so strong.) Both Lanfear and Lews Therin are stronger than Elayne by far, they would have study fast. But since they had to learn so much more... I assume it's ten years. From this we can safely assume that they were lovers when they were 20-30. The Guide say that they were lovers for "some years" (The Guide, The Female Forsakens and the darkfriends, Lanfear.) Since people live much longer in the Age of Legends I would have said that it's about 100-200 years. The Guide also state that Lews Therin married Ilyena fifty years before the War of Power. And in the Eye of the World's prologue we see that Lews Therin is in his middle age. For Aes Sedai at his strength, that mean something between 450-550 years. This mean that he spent close to 150 years before marring Ilyena after he left Lanfear. Let assume that he met her 20 years before marrying her. That was what I based about the timing when I wrote the story. I know it's long. But consider that normally, Aes Sedai could live up to 600-700 years. And the strongest they were, the longest they lived. Lews Therin was the strongest man ever save Ishmael who was in the same strength.


Characters: [Most of what is written here came from the Guide. The rest taken from the books.]

Lews Therin: he was a politician, held many offices with great success and wrote many good books.
Barid Bel Medar: Demandred's true name. Always followed Lews Therin, always a step behind. He never bested Lews Therin in anything. And was always angry about it.
Mierin Eronaile: Lanfear's true name. She was a researcher in the Sharom, she was the one who found out how to open the bore in the Dark One's prison.
Duram Laddel Cham: Bel'al's true name. Some kind of a lawyer.
Tel Janin Aellinsar: Sammael's true name. A sportsman.
Elan Morin Tedronai: Ishmael's true name. Great philosopher.
Ared Mosinel: Rahvin's true name. He was a pretty man and did nothing worth mentioning.
Lillen Moiral: Moghedien's true name. She was an investment advisor.
Saine Tarasind: Mesaana's true name. She was a teacher, more than reason enough to hate her.
Nemene Damendar Boann: Semirhage's true name. The best healer of the body.
Kamarile Maradim Nindar: Graendal's true name. The best healer of the mind.
Joar Addam Nessosin: Asmodean's true name. He was a good musician.
Eval Ramman: Balthamel's true name. A historian and a lecher. He was better in the latter.
Ishar Morrad Chuain: Aginor's true name. He was a biologist that couldn't live with the limits that he had to work under.
Latra Posae Decume: Lews Therin's rival in the Hall. Responsible to the lack of female in the attack on the bore. She was the one who came up with the great sa'angreals idea. And didn't approved Lews Therin's plan because she thought it was too dangerous.


Mierin sometimes saw him in the hallways when she went to class for study, in the Great Library or in the Dining Room. And every time she felt that her heart missed a beating. What it was about him, she did not know, but she terribly attracted to him. He seemed a few years older than she was. She just got twenty a few weeks ago, and was very tall and had those intense dark eyes that somehow made her melt inside. He was just wonderful! Sometimes, when she lay in bed, exhausted after a day of intense study of channeling, she thought about how it would be to kiss and hold him and to… to share her bed with him.

His name was Lews Therin, she found out soon after she laid her eye on him, and he was one of the best students the school had had in many years. He was believed to be one of the strongest male channelers ever, maybe even equal to the great philosopher Elan Morin himself. When Mierin noticed that, she got her eye even more fixed on him. There was more than one reason to be interested in him.

He was usually in the company of an other man, in his age, quite short of handsome. The other man was named Barid Bel. He was quite interesting too, he was just below Lews Therin in everything. But Lews Therin was her first choice. He made her feel like a foolish girl when their eyes met. It happened to many times to be coincidence, and he always had that smile on his face when he looked at her. She was used to be looked at, she knew she was pretty, even beautiful, but the way Lews Therin looked at her made her feel weak inside. She thought she was close to fainting when he greeted her once, when they passed each other in a hallway. A red color burnt at her cheeks, and she had difficulties this time with smiling at him in the way that had the most disastrous impact on men. She never had that before, it was the other way around, always!

She had never been shy before, but somehow she just did not dare to speak with him. She had several boyfriends of course, before she found out she could channel, and at the University she had even more boyfriends, and she was always wanted. But somehow, she seemed afraid to be denied by this Lews Therin, he was so perfect. She couldn't survive a denial from him.

"You are really in love with Lews Therin, aren't you?" Lillen teased her often. She shared her room with Lillen Moiral for quite a while now, and although she did not really like the girl, and she supposed it was also the other way around, they often exchanged secrets in the dark, when they were supposed to sleep. "And you do not even know the guy! I mean, you never really talked…"

At that point, Mierin got always angry at herself. Why did she behave like an fool for him! She was a adult now, there was no need to act childish or even girlish anymore! Even as a girl she wasn't that foolish, certainly not because of any man. But him...

Yet, nothing happened for a few months, until Mierin had her exams, and graduated. Graduated with extremely high scores, to be honest. She was more than proud of it, because now she could pass on to other classes - the highest. No single female under twenty-five had ever managed that, and only five male ever did it. Elan Morin Tedronai, Barid Bel, Ishar Morrad, Tel Janin, and Lews Therin, of course. Her teachers called her extremely talented with the One Power, she was supposed to be the strongest female Aes Sedai ever. They all admired her somehow, but she was kind of used to be admired. She was admired since she was the age of five. But most of the time people admired her body, not her power. She was flattered by that. She could have never describe her feeling in the moment of graduation.

At her graduation ceremony, a handsome man suddenly appeared out of the crowd where people congratulated and hugged each other. It turned out to be Barid Bel, the eternal company of Lews Therin, this was only the third time she didn't saw him without Lews Therin. "Yes," he said admirably. "you must be Mierin Eronaile. No other woman fit this description. Congratulations with your passing." She actually blushed. And smiled at him in her sweetest way, and saw contently the disastrous effect on his face when she thanked him. She was used to it, but it amused her every time when a man was out of balance because she merely smiled at her. Barid Bel recovered quickly, and they chatted for a while, nothing important. "Would you like to join our study group? Only the best are allowed to join us, and your score is among the highest ever." The question had surprised her totally. She hadn't expected that, The Study Group was famous in the lower classes, and the higher. She always dreamed to join them, but always thought herself unworthy, she was good, but was she that good?

"I'd be honored. Who are in?" She said, already knowing the answer. Every one knew it. For every other study group you had to ask. But Lews Therin's study group was the Study Group. For those who were truly the best.

"Well, me, Lews Therin… do you know him?" She nodded, and he went on, "Duram Laddel, Tel Janin, Kamarile Maradim, Nemene Damendar, Joar Addam … we are studying hard and intense, but it can be real fun. So, are you in?"

"Of course I am. What are you studying at the moment?" She asked, it didn't matter, had they could have study anything, as far as she was concerned. The chance to meet Lews Therin daily... And it would be more than honorable to join The Study Group.

"Milking of Tears. Lews Therin and I are working on a real good essay. Tel Janin and Nemene Damendar are studying on something that has to do with Healing and muscles… I don't really know exactly what they are planning to find out, but I am certain it is interesting. They have had certainly enough rows and discussions about it already…" Barid Bel smiled faintly, and he looked really handsome smiling, the smile made up for the lack of beauty in his face. Had her attention wasn't already focused on Lews Therin, she might have chosen him. "But anyway, we will be in the Great Library tomorrow night. I'd like it to see you there."

"I'll be there," she promised. "I promise I will." She was surprised the feeling of giggling that bubbled inside her stomach and smiled back at him. "I am already looking forward on it."

As soon as she was alone in her room, she danced it around excitedly, singing and jumping in delight, until Lillen appeared in the room and asked that she was doing for Light's sake. Mierin told it to her, laughing and still dancing with excitement, and Lillen congratulated her, and told her just as excited that she passed her exams too, and that she was allowed to be in the classes Mierin had just left. And because she was three years younger, it was quite a good thing. Mierin was one of the brightest and fastest students, and she had finished those classes in two and a half years. She knew she was stronger in using the One Power than Lillen, so she was very happy for her. They talked the whole night about the things Mierin had learned in the classes she had left, about the wielding of Spirit and about tel'aran'rhiod. Lillen was very curious about it, she just could not wait to enter the Unseen World.

The talking about tel'aran'rhiod gave Mierin an idea; that night she entered Tel'aran'rhiod and looked for Lews Therin's dreams. It took a while before she found it and managed to have a look on it, he had shielded his Dream, although it was not a very strong shield. Only enough to warn people that he don't want others to watch at his dreams. But she ignored it, curiosity overcame her. She spied on his dreams, who were quite blurred and confusing, but found to her surprise that she herself was part of many of them. There was even a dream of she and Lews Therin kissing each other, though he dreamed of kissing another girl too. Kamarile Maradim, to be more precisely. A sudden change in the dream told her that he was aware of what she was doing. And she fled before he could recognize her. Pain and fury burned inside her, she was jealous. Light, being jealous already. He is not even mine yet. But I will… I will make him mine!

There was a determined look on her face when she woke that night. And she barely passed the day without any events. As night fell, she was already in the Great Library for three hours. Ready to join the Study Group.

Within three months, she managed to gain both his respect and eyes. She succeed in making him lose interest in that Kamarile quite quickly. She even got him so far that he left the study about Milking of Tears to Barid Bel, and instead studied with her on Compulsion! Honestly, she had very much impact on him. She made him write an essay on Compulsion and forced him to get his name on it, instead of her, as he suggested. When he protested it was just a work on science and that it did not needed his name on it, she pushed through that it would bring honor on him. She smiled at him, no men could ever resist that, "You'll gain a lot of honor on this school when you publish this, Lews Therin. Don't you want to be honored?"

He did it. He did what she wanted, and gained indeed even more honor than he had before. At that moment, she was sure about it. He liked her, and possibly more than that. Now he was ready for the period of seducing… a period that did not take longer than a few days. He didn't seemed to resist her wishes.

When she woke up on a sunny morning lying in his arms, triumph flooded through her veins and she wanted to scream in pleasure. His arms around her were soft, yet strong, and his smell was all around her. She looked at him, so beautiful in face and in body, and was filled with an other feeling; tenderness and love. Light, she thought amazed. I really love him!

She touched his face softly and murmured to herself: "You are perfect, Lews Therin. Perfect." He was sweet, intelligent and skilled in everything, from channeling to making love… He indeed was a very good lover, she thought with a faint smile. She made it. She actually did it. She could hardly believe it. She laughed in herself, very pleased with herself and the world. Her laugh waked him up. He opened his eyes and looked at her, and his tender, dark brown eyes were softer than she ever seen before... "Good morning, Mierin." he said in that warm, rich voice of him.

"Good morning for you too, Lews Therin," she said with still that faint smile. How she was fond of him!

"You're always more beautiful when you are smiling at me like that," he said and kissed her. The kiss was tender in the beginning, but as it took longer, it became more and more passionate, until they forgot all about the rest of the world and managed to get too late for their classes that day. When they noticed that a while later, a long while later, they decided to skip them entirely and spend the whole day in Lews Therin's quarters. The sunlight fell through the window, shattered in pieces of white, pure light. Dancing all over the room. So beautiful, so peaceful. Mierin had never been so happy and full of love before. He is mine, she thought several times that day. He is finally mine. And he will be mine forever.

***

The man stood erect, the sword in his hand blazed as he drove away his opponent's sword. Saidin pulsed in him, empty off emotion he float inside k'doi, the oneness, only saidin filled him, but it was enough. More than enough. He draw almost as much as he could from the power, his skin tingle, and his bones seemed to be on the point of breaking. But the sword he channeled was held steadily in his hand, shining in blue fire, leaving trail of light in the air as it moved. The red blood sword followed his moves, as fast as he was and faster. No blade touch flesh, but every move was followed by the clash of swords, and blue and red lightning appeared each time the swords touched. The parting of silk met the charging bear, and he attack low, but the other man met his attack with a speed that was more than any human can hope for. He doubled his speed, and doubled it again, and still the other man stood in it easily. He grinned to himself, though emotions was more than distance when he held saidin. His foe attacked, the rose falling, simple attack, easy to defend against. But he didn't defend himself, instead his sword darted forward, all his strength and speed behind it, it sank into the man's chest, where his heart was. It cost him, of course, the red sword slashed across his face, and the trail passed through one eye. He moved back and released saidin, the battle was over.

"A good fight." He said.

The other man simply snorted; his hand touching his chest, where a blue circle began to fade. Lews Therin himself saw through red blood screen, but he had won, and it felt good. The swords were weaves of saidin, fire and air, they could pass through anything, save another sword made by saidin. It was much better that the wooden swords the books said were once in use as a training sword. Now, even those who couldn't channel could use ter'angreal if they wanted to learn how to use a sword.

"In a real battle, Lews Therin," Duram Laddel said, "you would have been dead. I cut open your head."

"There was no real battle for more than seven thousands years, Duram Laddel." He signed, sometimes he though that the man actually wanted to return to those days. Only the books left from that violent age, and only a madman would want to live in that time. If the books were to believe, human fought against Aes Sedai for the entire age. They were not really Aes Sedai, but men and women channeling, whatever the name they called themselves, weren't suppose to enslave the rest of the human race. At the end, after all but constant war that lasted more than two thousands years, they reached an agreement, and the Aes Sedai were established.

It was ironic, actually. The titled itself was honored, he was pride that he was called Lews Therin Telamon Aes Sedai. But the books said that another war almost started for the name alone. What was wrong with Servants for All? He wondered, everybody was a servant, in one way or another. And it was honor to serve, the more you could serve the more honored you were. Maybe it wasn't so in the age before this. No book mention it, so few survived the turning of the Wheel. And seven thousands years was a long time.

"Sometimes I wish..." Duram Laddel's voice faded as he shoke his thoughts off, "Don't you ever wish to live where you can do something interesting for a change?"

Lews Therin blinked at him, "I have my studies, and my duties, isn't this enough? What more can I wish for?"

"Bah," The man sighed, "it's useless to talk with you about it, you know. You're too well tamed."

Lews Therin throw back his head and laughed at that, "Have you talked with Mierin lately, Duram Laddel?" He asked, he could laughed at it, now, "You sound much like her."

He left her more than one hundred and eighty years ago, but it took more than a century until he finally finished regretting about it. Mierin was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, or would see. But from the start he had wondered why she had chosen him, he knew himself good enough to know that he was no more than handsome. She was far more than that. He would have expected her to choose Ared Mosinel, they would be a fine couple. Both were far more beautiful than any human being deserved to be. He had heard several woman complaining about it, Ared Mosinel could make a seven hundred years old Aes Sedai to behave like a girl after her first kiss, and the light know that Mierin did it to him long enough. He wasn't seven hundreds years old, of course, he was barely twenty five when he first knew her, and fifty seven when he left her. After more than ten years of doubts. She always wanted him to be more ambitious, and more than once he suspected her wanting him only to reach a higher power. From the start he was marked as special. His strength in the power was equal by Elan Morin alone. He liked the man, though philosophy wasn't really something he was ever interested in. And he had a variety of talents to amaze his oldest teacher. To rose envy in more than one man, or woman.

The grimace at the thought was so fierce that Duram Laddel took a step back, "You were the one who left her, Lews Therin. And she would have you the instant you would want her. So I talked to her, what is the story? I thought you weren't interested in her anymore. Beside, it was more than one hundred years ago. Even in the way we count time it was long time ago."

"Never mind, Duram Laddel, it wasn't you I was angry about. Come, it's time for dinner." He said, he had done nothing to arose this envy, one could only live with what he was born with, and he was born to be one of the two strongest men in the entire world. And he had talents in almost every known field, from Cloud Dancing to Earth Singing, and from Healing to Compulsation. He had done nothing to gain those talents, he was born with them, why people could never understand this.

"For you, Lews Therin." Duram Laddel said, flows of air took his coat from outside the arena, it was empty now, of course. But anyone who wanted could come here to train himself before the games would started. "For me it's not even time for breakfast." He touched saidin and opened a gateway, a line that resolved to show a dark room, full with open books and papers, all in a mess. He wondered how the other man could find something there when he needed it, it must take him hours each time.

Lews Therin nodded, and open a gateway to his own quarters, his rooms was well lighted, and although he enjoyed reading, there was only a single book open on the desk. And the room was clean and neat. He smile fondly at the room, it wasn't his work, he could have never make the room look so neat. His mother used to say that he created a mess in his rooms even while he slept. He thought he liked it that way, until Saron Faren's grand father was assigned to him, given to him more exactly. The da'shain had simply took over his life entirely, sometimes it was more than irritating, but most of the time he couldn't imagine his life without the da'shain. He sat on a chair and channeled air to pour him some wine, he needed no more thought for this than he needed for breathing. For the like of him, saidin was used to do anything. He leaned back on the chair, putting his feet on the table the goblet of wine floating near his head, held by invisible hand. The book moved at him, but he didn't read it. Instead he let his thoughts wonder. Envy, that was his biggest problem. He never asked to be the strongest Aes Sedai ever to be known to this world. He had never asked to have all those talents. He could do nothing about having them, why people didn't understand it? He was also a ta'veren the strongest to be ever recorded. Everything should have going to his favor. Being a ta'veren was supposed to be a good thing.

"Women are supposed to faint whenever they see me," He muttered darkly, "people who opposed me are supposed to support me." that was what the records said, there was nota single ta'veren in more than millennium. "All I ever get is people hating me for what I am." He hated it, hated what he became to be, and hated more that he had no chance of breaking free of this.

"A honored member of the hall of servants." He snored, "I would have rather spend the night in Collam Daam." The city was said to be hunted, none survived a night there. "But then people would say I've done that only to prove that I can do it." Everything he did would bring those comment. "Nothing that I'll do will ever make them believe I want none of it." He stared darkly at the room. How much he had hated it. He would exchange it all, all the honor, with the simple life he could have. Even the third name he bore was bitter, he brought only more jealously. Barid Bel, reached his third name, Medar, only three weeks after he did, but as always, he wasn't satisfied with this. He thought that he and Barid Bel were friends, of sort, they were at the same age and liked much the same things. "But every bloody thing I do turn out to be better than he does." At first he enjoyed it, but even he thought it reached too far. The Wheel weaves as the wheel will. How many times he had been told that, and its weaving must be accepted. The next who would tell him that was about to have unpleasant surprise.

Barid Bel and he had shared the same interests, and although they didn't always agreed about certain things, they were friends for a long time. Almost since the first time they met each other, more than three hundreds and fifty years in the past. At first they competed each other because it was fun. But as time passed both of them understood that whatever he would do, Barid Bel would never match him. Lews Therin released saidin, catching the cup in mid air, he didn't want to have his emotions blocked away now. Barid Bel was the one who was first interested in taking a position in the Hall of Servants, and he had joined only to make him happy. He was much happier to take another path, a quiet place in the Sharom, before it was destroyed, and time to study the different aspects of the One Power was all he ever wanted. As for now, he had all but abandoned his studies entirely. Even that training battle with Duran Laddel was a stolen moment of pleasure, Duram Laddel might be envious of him, but at least he hid it well. He was glad that Barid Bel had never showed any interested in sword play. At least in this he wouldn't have to best the other man.

He placed the goblet of whine on the table and opened the book, "A study about powers in human and the other races, by Barid Bel Medar." He surrounded himself in k'doi but refused to let himself touch saidin, the power called him, sang to him, tempted him, but he ignored it. Or at least pushed it a little away from himself, one cannot simply ignore the One Power's call. With saidin he felt ten times as alive as without it, hundred times as much, or more. It help him forget his troubles, sometimes, fighting himself not to hold saidin. This time, as it almost always did, it worked. And he could concentrate in the book, it was a fascinating one, as usual with Barid Bel's work. Not at all the style he would, or could, write. His books were much more simpler than Barid Bel's ones. And although they had usually wrote more or less about the same subjects, his books always achieved better critical and higher popularity than Barid Bel's. Always. Even when he thought that Barid Bel's books were better than his. Saying it helped nothing. Barid Bel only saw it as false modesty. And it only made things worse. It didn't take long before he could let himself release k'doi, the book was fascinating. As most of Barid Bel's books were. He grabbed saidin again, and a pen began to scribed notes on a paper that Saron Faren had placed for this purpose exactly. He, his father and his grandfather knew him better than he knew himself.

The only warning he had was the tingling in his skin. He let the pen fall, and embrace as much of saidin as he could draw, jumping out of the chair, he prepared to use the power to defend himself, or to attack. The woman that stepped through the gateway looked surprised, her eyes were wide. But she had never had to face Mierin while the woman was angry. Mierin could never control herself when she was angry, and she was far more than angry about him ever since he left her. She had actually tried to kill him that day. And it had came to a fight between them, something new students sometimes did. She was supposed to be the strongest female ever. As he was the strongest male ever, save Elan Morin, who was equal to him, but there was one fact as hard as the One Power itself. Men, when it came to relative strengths, was far stronger than women. And although it took him more time than he expected it would he had her shielded at the end. It took him nine hours before he was finally convinced that she won't try to kill him again as soon as he would release the shield from her. Nine hours of channeling, with every drop of the power he could draw. He was close to severing himself, or killing himself when she finally stopped trying to break the shield. And she tried it once more, a week later. With the same results. From that point he was constantly aware of female channeling. He had a fair idea how Mierin's mind worked, you couldn't live with someone for more than twenty years without knowing how that someone thought. And he hadn't thought he would enjoy her catching him, even while he was stronger than her. If she would take the weakest angreal she could overcome him. That was one reason he never moved without an angreal of his own. A strong one, he sometimes had nightmares about what she might do. And it was another reason to shield his dreams, he knew as much as she knew about tel'aran'rhiod but there was no point at taking risks. The last time he saw her, five years ago, she seemed to be calm again. At least she didn't tried to rip his throat open with her fingernails. But she made it extremely clear that she meant to have him again. Sometimes he wondered if the woman was insane.

But it wasn't dark and beautiful Mierin who stand in front of him, the woman was different from Mierin in every aspect, save her height and beauty. She was as beautiful as Mierin. He thought he knew her, an Aes Sedai he sometimes saw in the meeting of the hall. "Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar," he said, she was a member of the hall, but not one to remember, she did her duties well and quickly, but that was to be expected, from an Aes Sedai in the hall. He remembered fondly the days where he looked in awe at the members of the hall, now he only felt scorn at them, himself included. Ilyena was simply one of the many members of the hall, he was surprised to find that he envied her, she had nothing to be envied about. And that was the reason he envied her. "why have you come here, if I may ask?" They were in his rooms, but he had always kept on his manners.

He released saidin slowly, he always hated let go of the feeling of life. At the same time the tingling disappeared from his skin. He let his eyes wonder on the woman standing in front of him, she had a waist long hair, in the color of the sun. And clear blue eyes that seem to read his soul. A mouth that was now a tight line, but he distantly remembered that she usually wore a smile on her face. She had a small nose, and a high cheek bones, she was more than beautiful, though this usually had no affect on him. After rejecting Mierin, beauty wasn't really high in his list of qualities he searched in a woman. She wore a green tight dress, and her streith was cool blue.

"Tomorrow they are going to ask you to be the First of Servants, Lews Therin." It was no explanation, but it sent all thoughts about Mierin and women out of his head.

"Are you sure?" He asked with a groan, this was the last thing he needed! There was no refusing to such offer. But he would have given his right hand to avoid it.

She blinked at him, "You don't want it? Any one else would have jumped on the offer." She sounded surprised, but the water in the hall of servants was muddier than the blackness outside the pattern.

"Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar," He snorted, "I have people jealous at me that I've never met, or will ever meet. I once had a friend, Barid Bel Medar," She nodded to the name, Barid Bel was only a bit less famous than he himself was. "now he would be more than happy to walk on my grave." Barid Bel would probably also make a lovely speech, he was good at speeches. "Tel Janin Aellinsar would dance on it. Duram Laddel Cham would probably use my grave as to climb up the scale of rank." He deliberately chose the more famous one, Tel Janin Aellinsar was the world champion in sword for a long time. He had beaten him once, but the man never forgot it. Duram Laddel Cham, he hid his jealously well, but you could feel it, the man was almost hundred years older than himself, but was still lower in rank than he was. "I have more than enough people envying me as it is. I don't need to have to add more to this. Someone of them might decide to take this personally and try to kill me." He saw the shock on her. Fifty or sixty years ago no one would have thought about such thing. Now, it might come true.

"Peace is collapsing, Ilyena Moerelle." He said, "Ever since the destruction of Collam Daam our society is collapsing. I have dedicated as much time as I can to study this, but have found no reason for this." As much time as he could, practically nothing, not the tenth he should have dedicated, but he had other duties too. "Elan Morin Tedronai is working about it ever since the Sharom collapsed, but he said he had no answer yet." Her streith began to darken. And he quickly wove air to drag a chair for her. She looked at him gratefully and sank back.

The streith return to the cool blue slowly. "You still have no other choice, you know it, Lews Therin." She said, "No one can refuse to be -"

He cut her off with sharp motion of his hand, he thought that if he would seat down the strain in his muscles would tear him apart. "I don't care what can be done, I will not be the First of Servants! Who suggested it anyway? I never did anything to hint that I want ed this position." He realize he was quivering with rage. Some people would think that he did want this. And they would hate him more for this. He never asked for this, never wanted this. Ilyena stood in a flash, her eyes blazing like the sword in his before. Her streith become the blood red of fury.

"You dare to shout at me, Lews Therin!" It wasn't a question, she reminded him a she wolf he once saw. Her fangs bare, ready to attack, but he wasn't the rabbit that the she-wolf was after. And here his strength in the power wouldn't help him. Strength wasn't something that was supposed to taken into consideration in the hall. And it was never considered much among the male Aes Sedai. Mainly because they had no fast way to measure that. Among females the situation was different, there strength did play its part. But when it came to female and male Aes Sedai, the female always seem to think that they could more than match the man. Ilyena wasn't different then most of other female Aes Sedai. And she wasn't even as strong as Mierin was. For some reason it disappointed him that she wasn't different. "Are you mad?" This was a question. But certainly not one he expected.

"What?!" He asked, he couldn't believe what he had just heard.

"It was a simple question, Lews Therin. Are you mad?" She said, the streith was now purple, between the blue of calm and the red of fury. "You refuse to take a position every one else would have leap on." She rose one finger, "You insulted more than one member of the hall," she rises another finger, "including me." He was amused to see that she hadn't rose anymore fingers to that. Modesty, even if it was a fake one, wasn't something he usually run into. "You're Aes Sedai for long time," He was Aes Sedai since he was forty, and that was long time ago. "and you turn down every offer to join an ajah or create one. And there were hundreds, if not thousands of such offers."

"Three thousands seven hundred and sixty four." He murmured softly, she rose an eyebrow, obviously surprised, "It give me something to do when I'm bored." And it was nice to know that so many people wanted him, every man had to have something to be pride it. And the things he did, the books he wrote and and offices he performed, all the things that gave him the publicity meant nothing to him. He could have done very well without them.

"You turned down three thousands seven hundred and sixty four offers?" She sounded as if she didn't believe him, no wonder, considering that at best, one might be be asked five or six hundreds times to join ajahs in a lifetime. "And you don't want to be the First of the Servants, and you don't keep your manners with you. Why, one may begin to wonder that you're not interested in power. Or perhaps you have others plans?"

"I've no interest in power, Ilynea." He said, he took a chair and motion her to sit again, she sat calmly, arranging her skirts around her carefully. Not for the first time he wonder why women bother to wear the streith, it reveal too much of what they felt. Green did fit her well, he noticed, then chased the thought out of his head. "You should have understand it already."

"Then why you came here in the first place?" She asked, "Why you don't leave?"

He laughed softly at that, "You can't leave this place, not after the first touch of real power. It's more addictive than the One Power, haven't you ever felt it? Oh, you might convince yourself that this is responsibility that make you stay and duty. But you can't really leave the power after you tasted it." She shift her position slightly, and the streith began to darken again, fear, and confusion. "And the first time I came here was for Mierin," Even before he was famous she found him, maybe she knew even then what would happen, all she had to do was to direct him a little. And once you enter this world you couldn't escape it. "for Mierin and Barid Bel." He saw her head move, startled, golden hair flowing like golden cascade. "You didn't knew that, didn't you?" She didn't like him knowing she didn't know it. But then again, even without the sudden movement, the streith was pure white.

"It's... unlikely to think so. Considering what he thinks of you." She said, "I didn't think that he might be the one that pulled you to politics, he seemed to be the one who would do the contrary."

Lews Therin sighed, "Ilyena, you should have made your homework. He didn't always hate me, we were friends, long ago." Good friends, and he still liked the man, but his success had poisoned their friendship.

"I... see." He didn't thought she saw, but it didn't matter. "You still haven't answered my questions."

"About turning down power? I had, I don't want it, but I can't leave this place." He pointed in a wide motion, this room, this position. As much as he hated them, he could not imagine his life without them. "But I can said that this is all I want, that I want nothing more. I should have said it long ago." Meririn had pushed him to where he was now. And he stick to his place with fingernails, had he wanted, he could have been long ago the First of the Servants. And she knew it.

"I think you're mad, Lews Therin." But her voice was light, and he took no offence. "Or at least the strangest man I've ever seen." She smile at that and stood, "But I must go now, I'll see you in the Hall." His skin tingled as she channeled, and a gateway began to resolve.

He caught her arm, "Why have you came here, Ilyena? Not just to tell me that they mean to offer me to be the First." The hall was considering who would be the next First for so long that he nearly forgot about it.

"To see you," she said, one hand patting on his cheek, "I wanted to see who would be the next First of Servants." With that, she smiled, and the smile changed her entirely. She was beautiful, but smiling, she was far more beautiful than any other woman he had ever seen, including Mierin. The smile seem to make her glow. He noted the view seen from the gateway, a room as clean as his, but in a mess as much as Duram Laddel's was. The gateway closed behind her, and left an empty feeling. Somehow, her leaving made the room look darker.

"Would be the next First?" He whispered to the air, "I think you're about to have a surprise, Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar. A big surprise." Saidin filled him, and the goblet of wine rose from the table, he forgot to offer her to drink something. Never mind, she didn't stay long enough to feel thirst. And she would have pour her a drink by her own, if so. But even as Ilyena filled his mind one cold decision remained intact in him. He would not be the First of Servants, and the Hall can burn for it.

***

Ilyena sat in front of the mirror, giving her hair the final touch, she knew she always looked beautiful in blue. And for that man, for that cause, she took the trouble. She wasn't sure that it could even help with him. A man that could reject Mierin... She was pretty enough herself, no more, but Mierin was more than beautiful.

The gasp behind her was the first sign of him, he stare at her, deep brown wide eyes moving on her body, she felt it almost like a touch. "Light of heaven, Ilyena" Lews Therin murmured in admiration, "you're beautiful." He was very tall, taller than most man by a head or more. He wore light coat and breach in deep scarlet, and he moved like he was about to dance in every move.

She smile at him, "Thank you." It was nice of him to say it, usually men, especially if they were Aes Sedai, kept their emotion under tight control. She rose from the chair and lie the brush on the table. She wore a long blue dress that exposed her shoulders, and her hair was flood of gold. She knew that the contrast between the dress and her hair was stunning.

He gave her a hand to help her rise, she took it, but had to fight with herself not to giggle like a fifteen years old girl. she was more than fifteen time this age. For some reason men never seem to think that such behavior was noble. But it was one thing she didn't mean to tell him, for herself, she thought it sweet.

She led him to the garden, she kept it in endless spring, and it was her favorite place. He followed two steps behind her, his gaze left her to stare at her quarters, she didn't knew what there was there to see. She kept it clean, but no more. She never seemed to have the time to put everything in place. And she had never asked for a da'shain. For some reason she didn't felt comfortable with the idea of someone serving her. At some point he stopped suddenly, she half turned her head, looking at him. He stared at a sha'rah board, she was once quite skilled at the game, little short of a master, but she hadn't touched the board for more than a year and a half. Duty took to much of her time. As it was with every other member of the Hall.

"Barid Bel had been chosen to be the First of the Servants." She said, then bit her lip. She didn't mean to mention it until much later. "And you were the first to refuse that title in history."

He took his eyes off the sha'rah board and looked at her, deep brown eyes that seem to laugh at something. At himself, she thought. "I'm always the first, Ilyena." He said, for some reason his voice was bitter, and there wasn't a shred of pride in him, "No matter what I do, I'm always the first." She thought that he shook his head slightly, but she couldn't be sure. "Do you play?"

"Sha'rah? I didn't know you are playing it." Nothing that she heard indicate it, at least, and she studied everything she could on him, she had to.

"I'm not very good at this, I fear," Lews Therin said, "but it's certainly an interesting game. You on the other hand, are considered as a master in it. Or at least were considered, for some reason you stopped playing. Shortly after joining Latra Posae's ajah. Does she take too much of your time?" Now she was glad she didn't wore a streith, she kept her face blank. But the streith would have become utter black to his words. How did he know? She wondered, It was supposed to be a secret.

That was the reason she was chosen to approach him, she was all but anonymous, one of the many members of the Hall. She hadn't done anything to make people notice her. He sat down and began to arrange the red pieces. She took the opposite side and channeled to arrange her green pieces. She didn't understand this. Why he was doing it? If he thought her a master, while he was merely a beginner. He could win nothing that way.

"How did you found out?" She asked, she was proud in her voice, her surprised was well hidden.

"People talk, and they tend to remember you." He suddenly send her a twisted smile, "After last night, they was more than happy to talk to me."

She could have believe it, no one ever turned down an offer to be the First of Servants. It wasn't even exactly an offer, more a command. "Why you did it? And why did you said that Barid Bel is the one who is fit for that office? He hates you!" Men never seemed to care if what they did ever made sense, but she didn't believe he ever did something out of impulse. Most of what she knew of him came from rumors, and the Hall's records. And his books, of course, he wrote about almost anything. And although she almost always didn't agree with him, he did wrote good books.

"He doesn't hate me," She couldn't say for her life what emotion was that filled Lews Therin's voice. "he envies me. Envies my success." He closed his eyes for a moment, he looked tired to death, "I'm too tired of people being jealous on me. Now he has what he always wanted. To be above me, to have more glory that I had." Irony was heavy in his voice.

"It doesn't bother you?" She didn't wait for his nod to continue, "It wouldn't work, you know. People are not talking now about Barid Bel being the new First."

Lews Therin nodded, "They talk about great Lews Therin, so nobly stepping down to clear the way to a man that hate shim. Anything I do bring this result. I stopped hoping it will ever end." They finished arranging their tools. Lews Therin made the first move. A beginner step indeed, one that could be easily countered. She didn't mean to let herself lose, she hadn't lost in this game for more than hundred years.

"You are a ta'veren you know. You can't escape it." She move a stone, she could end the game in ten moves, and she would. Had he thought that just because he was so successful in so many area he could match her? A little humiliation wouldn't hurt him.

"Then the Wheel choose me to humiliate Barid Bel? Isn't it a noble goal, one that would be remembered forever in stories and songs?" She had to laugh at this, and his eyes lighten in amusement, imitating hers.

They each moved a tool before he talked again, he was a beginner, his style would lead to defeat even faster than she thought. "Do you envy me?" He asked it in a normal tone, as if there was nothing unusual in the question.

"What?!" She must have heard it wrong.

"It was simple enough question, Ilyena." He said, answering her with her own words, the words she used when he was at the same state of surprise she was now. There was questions that you simply didn't ask, she broke that. But never expected him to do so. "Do you envy me? Light know that there are enough people who envy me, do you, too?"

"I don't envy you, I don't think so, at least." It was sometimes hard to know what she really felt, and she sometimes preferred not to know what she felt. It was the same ever since Dejar Roran had died, he was at Collam Daam when the city was destroyed, few survived that disaster. And he wasn't one of them. Since that time she had sealed her feeling under a black wall. They were too painful to be felt. But she didn't think she was envying him. She didn't want to be in his place, she was happy enough where she was.

It was his turn to move again, but he lied his chin on his hand and looked at her, intent on her face. For some reason she felt like it was hot in the room. She had learned to ignore heat or cold long ago. Everyone who wanted could do this, but it didn't help her now. The heat she felt came from him. "Would it surprise you to know that I envy you?" Again, the question was asked in a flat voice, as if it was every day topic. She wondered where exactly she had lost control on the conversation.

Her eyes went wide before she could control them, "You?! In me?! Why? There is nothing in me to be jealous about me." She wasn't famous, or known, to either side. Some Aes Sedai, like Lews Therin, and Barid Bel, and Tel Janin, to count the males, or Kamarile Maradim and Nemene Damendar and Latra Posae to count the females, were famous and well known and respected. They had all received their third name long ago, by right. For deeds that were done for the good of all. Lews Therin, Latra Posae and Barid Bel, of course, specialized in politic and the high offices of the Hall of Servants. Tel Janin was one of the best sportsman the world had ever known. And Kamarile Maradim and Nemene Damendar who were both the best healers in thousand years or more. One of the mind and the second of the body.

Others, like Lillen Moiral, that not a week ago had been disciplined for breaking the ethics of her office,.or Mierin Eronaile that would be remembered forever as the one who destroyed the Sharom and Collam Daam, and Eval Ramman whose tempers had been the main reason he declined to gain the third name of honor were known and famous as well or more, but their reputation wasn't a good one, to say the least.

For herself, she stood in the middle, which was fine with her. She didn't want, or needed to feel famous.

He moved a tool, not really looking at the board, "That is the reason, you've nothing to be jealous about." Their was something in his voice, longing. For the time he was infamous? He was definitely the strangest man she had encountered. She would have laughed at his words if not for that undertone in his voice.

"You can always leave, Lews Therin." She said, she took a look on the board, what he did was something only a fool would do. In five moves she would win. "No matter the reasons that brought you to where you're. You can always leave."

He looked as if he didn't saw the trap closing on him, both in the game and in life. She had agreed to Latra Posae's plans for him, but in life, in the greater game they all played, none who were in the Hall for so long could be taken as a beginner. He has vever been involved in the intrigues in the Hall. He was simply who he was, a man that the power chased after, instead of him chasing power. "Don't you think I tried? I'm a ta'veren, Ilyena." He remind her, "I have less freedom than those tools." With that he rose to his feet.

"You're going? So soon?" She asked, the sadness in her voice was real, she didn't understood why.

"The same as you, Ilyena." He said, every sign of the tiredness in him was gone. "I've learned what I've came for." His face harden to stone. He was so pleasant before, that she could hardly believe it was the same man that stood in front of her. Eyes like cold ice burned into her, "Tell Latra Posae that I know the game she is playing. And tell her that in that game I'm going to win."

"You didn't win this one." She said, pointing at the game. He simply stare at her, and one tool changed places, without a hand touching it.

"But I did." That was all, he flashed her a smile, not a proud or arrogant one, he didn't delight on winning her. It was simply a smile. She couldn't understand why Barid Bel hated him so much. If that was how he was always. She blinked in surprised, he had already left, and she hadn't even felt it.

She was sure that she let him know nothing about the plans Latra Posae made for him, then why he was so pleased suddenly.

I've learned what I've came for, that was what he said. But all he asked her was about herself. It wasn't the plans he came for. She realized suddenly. Just as she did, he came to learn more about herself.

She stared at the board, a master game, disguised as a beginner. And she hadn't seen it until the very end. She didn't even know that he played it, certainly not that he was so skilled. "So you want play, Lews Therin?" She whispered into the empty room, this kind of game she hadn't played close to fifty years, but she thought, that for him, she might want to play that game. It had been long since she had looked at a man as a man. Maybe it was a time for a change.

***

Lews Therin walked through the corridors of the Hall of Servants. As always he had to stop himself from staring, the building was build to the pleasure of the watcher, and it was enough to make his heart ache from the beauty of it, and he was here for more than three hundreds years. He has seen Aes Sedai, at their first visit in the Hall, that had practically forgotten what they have came to do, instead they toured the entire building, moving from one place to another. Their eyes wide and their jaws open wide. He grinned to himself, at his first visit here, he had abandoned his mission and surrendered to the beauty of the building. Many books and songs and poems had been created about this building, but Lews Therin thought that nothing could make you feel how it was in truth. It could took your breath away from you, and it brought tears to the eyes of the watchers often.

Saidin filled him, it always did, in the Hall of Servants he wanted to be aware of anything, and the beauty of the building was only half a reason. A sweet perfume was the other reason, a woman as stubborn as she was beautiful. Or more, why she couldn't understand that he didn't want her anymore? He stopped and waited, he didn't have to wait long.

Mierin had gave a start as she saw him, black hair and eyes, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, even Ilyena wasn't as beautiful as she was. As always, she wore white and silver, she could blind a man with a smile. As always he felt that stab of regret, and had to remind himself all the reasons why he left her. Mierin was also furious, he hadn't seen her like this for a long time. She usually had a good control on her emotions.

"You!" She hissed at him, and he sighed inwardly, she have heard about him and Ilyena. He and Ilyena were... playing a game. He knew that he loved her, loved her with all his heart, as he onced love Mierin, and he was sure she felt the same for him. But, for some reason neither he nor she wanted to admit it, even to their self. They enjoyed this little game too much, and it allowed them to be together without risking being harmed again. As far as he understood, she had lost a man she loved in the destruction of Collam Daam, and Mierin always stood between him and other women. For a long time women had been an amusement for a night or a week. Never more than that. And only part of the reason was Mierin, there was no emotion. Nothing he could love with those women. Ilyena, in more than one way, was different. "I've just heard about that hay hair woman you have taken!" Her voice took a dangerous tone, "You're mine, Lews Therin! No other woman save me can have you!"

He was glad he was holding saidin, Mierin wasn't beyond violence when she was angry. And he knew about five women at least that she had terrorized away from him. He sighed again, loud this time. "I'm not yours, Mierin." He said, keeping his voice cold and calm was an effort, he wanted to slap her till she would understand that he didn't love her anymore. "When you're going to understand that? I loved you, once. It was a long time ago! I love you no more."

He could see that he hadn't reach her, What would it take to convince her? There was a way, but he did not dare to use it."You are mine, Lews Therin. And mine only. When will you understand it? If you will not have me you will have no one!" He had heard her using the same tone, just before she tried to kill him when he told her he was leaving her. He wouldn't, couldn't, let her harm Ilyena, and he could easily believe now that she could do it. Ilyena would be defenseless. She was strong, for a woman, but certainly not on Mierin's level. There was no one in the corridor, a good thing, in that hour not many was in the Hall of Servants. It must be one of those ta'veren twisting the pattern that brought Mierin and him in the same time to the same place.

She hadn't touched saidar, yet, but he still slid a shield between her and the True Source. What he was about to do would have no affect if she would hold even the smallest amount of saidar. "You will not hurt Ilyena, Meririn. Not in anyway. Never!" At the same time he wove Spirit and Air and Fire, placing the command deep inside her, deep enough so she could never break it by her own. He wished he could do the same with her love to him. But what he did was enough. More than enough. Doing it disgusted him, but there was no other way. Compulsation wasn't to be used in this way. But if Ilyena might be hurt because of Mierin...

Meririn stood rigid, not even breathing, staring at him unbelievingly. He had quite a talent in compulsation, and she had that talent only in a small amount only. She wouldn't be able to break it without some help. And she wouldn't do that. What he did, if anyone would ever know about it, would probably led to him being severed. But Mierin wouldn't risk that. She loved him, or so she thought, for himself, he suspected that all she ever wanted was power. She had convinced herself that she loved him, and she had made his life miserable ever since he left her. And that was to say the least. Even after she had left him she continued trying to push him up. Maybe in the thought that he would return to her one day. Her hand moved like lightning, and he barely stepped back in time. "You," she whimpered, "they can sever you for this!" She was still too stunnd to be angry.

"And then I will never be yours, you are trapped, Mierin. If you would turn me in it mean you don't love me. If you don't..." He left it hang in the air, he couldn't continue. He felt like he's about to throw out. He kept his face calm, a small grin on them.

"One way or another," She hissed at him, battering the edge of the shield, "you'll be mine." He was surprised to see tears in her eyes. But she turned away from him before he could do something, not that he had any idea what he could do. And she let both the shield and saidin go. He hit the white wall, accepting the pain gladly. He deserved it. He still have some love in him for Mierin, though not in the way she wanted it. And what he did sickened him. "I had no other choice." He could have lived with compelling her, but not with what he did later. Those words where chosen carefully to hurt her more than anything else. Taking a hold of saidin again he opened a gateway. He didn't care where, only that it would be far away from here, as far as he could. As far as he could get from the abomination he had just done.

***

Mierin stepped though the gateway to the most distant place she knew. A cliff, with a view for the ocean. It always made her calm. Not now, though. She could barely see through the tears that covered her eyes. She could feel the command he left on her, like a scar on her soul. She couldn't even say something that would insult Ilyena! Lews Therin was hers! He can belonge to no other! Tears trickled down her eyes, she didn't bother to wipe them. She had cried many times since he had left her. She loved him. She would have done everything for him. But he left her. She sank to her knees, sobbing, hugging herself desperately. There was nothing she could do, light, he's supposed to be mine! She thought, fury burning inside her. But even the fury was burned beneath the mass on sadness and grief in her. She had no idea how long she had cried. But when she rose her head the skies already began to darken. She had stood on unsteady feet. The sadness and the grief hadn't lessened, but she could endure them, for a little while. They were there ever since he left her.

She stared to the cliff's end, it could be so easy. Just to walk over the end, to fall over to the sea. They would never find her body. And all this would end. All the lives she had killed in the Sharom. All the lives that were lost when Collam Daam destroyed. She barely make it out of the city herself. And she hadn't stopped blaming herself for it, even though everyone else agreed that it wasn't her fault. but she was the one who drilled the open to... they still had no idea what it has been, only that it also caused people to act strange. Crimes, violent crime became common, where they once had all but forgotten.

"You will be mine, Lews Therin!" She whispered into the evening air, "No matter what I have to do to have you, you will be mine." More than that command, his words hurt her. He trapped her, trapped her in her love to him. Fury boiled inside her again. And this time it overcame the sadness. She couldn't break the command he gave her by her own. Nor could she go to anyone that could break it. "A perfect trap, Lews Therin. But there is a way out, and I will find her." But her already trapped her before. When she made her fall in love with him. And there was no way out of that trap!

***

It was more than foolish to be nervous. Lews Therin knew it, but couldn't help it for his life. All he could do was to try to hide it as much as he could. He wore blue and red, with a circle of black and white, divided in sinuous line on the left side of his chest. The cloths were soft against his skin, but not as soft as Ilyena's hand, he held it in his. And he could feel her pulse racing. It was their wedding night, and he could hardly believe it. He thought his heart might burst out of his ribcage. Ilyena must have been nervous too, she hadn't stopped smoothing her dress, and his collar and coat. She wore a blue dress, and was so beautiful his eyes ached only looking at her.

When she tried, for the sixth time, to smooth his collar, he caught her head in his hands and kissed her, there was no better way to calm her, and him. "I love you." He whispered at the woman that leaned against his chest when the kiss ended. "Light help me, I love you more than life itself." She simply signed, and wrapped her arms around him. Hugging him tightly.

They waited to be called, the ceremony was as old as time itself, or so it seemed, and Ilyena insisted that it would be kept. For himself, Lews Therin was just as pleased as she did from this. But he knew better than to tell her. As it was all it took from her was one look and he did as she would have ask. It he would ever let her know how deeply he love her... It wasn't that she would misuse it. Ilyena's face was buried in his chest, that was why she hadn't saw the dark hair woman that enter the room. Today, even Mierin looked pale compared to Ilyena. But her eyes held enough heat to burn the world. And as soon as she saw him, holding Ilyena, that heat seem to be double.

She stared at him, a tall woman, a woman he once loved. And he had to force his body to remain soft. Silently he prayed that the bar he compelled on her, the bar that prevented her from hurting Ilyena would hold. If not, he would have to take action, and the light alone know where it may lead. Fury babbled at him, why couldn't the woman leave him alone?

The compulation held. She straightened, and dark, liquid eyes looked at him. She didn't glare. But the stare had the force of a charging bull. Silently, she mouthed ten words, he knew her enough to read her lips. "You will be mine again! You have always been mine!" With that, she turned back and exited the room. White skirts swiveling without sound.

"What happened, Lews Therin?" Ilyena mumbled softly. Her hands tightened around him.

"Nothing, Ilyena. Nothing that should worried you." He said, caressing her hair softly. But until the moment they were called to enter he failed to chase Mierin out of his head.

***

Mierin entered the hallway silently. The air was cold around her, but it was nothing compared to the chill she felt inside. She heard it only a few minutes ago. Kamarile Maradim Nindar smiled at her in that knowing way that made Mierin always feel as if she knew her thoughts. Kamarile Maradim was a healer of the mind, and she always looked at people if she knew everything about them. Mierin did not want to be understood, she did not want to feel the pain and the void inside. And what she really did not want was Kamarile Maradim to understand these feelings!

"Didn't you know?" Kamarile had said, with that irritating smile on her face. "Lews Therin Telamon and Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar are getting married today." At that moment, Mierin wanted to die. The bubble of pain inside her stomach, where it rested for many years now, came to a terrible explosion and a few moments the world sank away in the pain and the shock. She wanted to scream, to hit the face of the other women. To destroy something. She had to release it, all the pain inside her, all the pain buried for so long.

"What is it, Mierin?" Kamarile asked in a pleasant tone, yet very sly. "Don’t you feel to well?"

In a outburst of fury, Mierin embrace saidar and struck with the power. Then she began to ran through the hallways, leaving Kamarile trembling and almost unconscious behind. She did not see the beauty of the hall, nor was she caught by it, she just ran and ran with a mist of tears blurring her vision. Until she was where she had to be. She knew where he must be.

She opened the door softly and looked into the last hallway, the hallway where the lovers had to wait until they were called. And there, there they stood! Together! And Lews Therin actually hugged her! Memories of him hugging her came to her mind. And she had to fight the tears again.

A few seconds she stood there, gasping for breath and watching how he caressed the blond hair of that.... of Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar. The Compulsion Lews Therin had lain on her, was too strong to get out. She could barely think bad of the other woman. Fury flared up inside of her, in the same instant as Lews Therin looked up from his wife-to-be and stared directly at her.

Mierin understood. A glimpse of a moment, she understood. Lews Therin was lost to her, forever. He loved someone else. She denied the thought before it could fully form in her mind, she pushed it away. The pain did not even had the chance to start. She just stood there, not talking, not moving. Staring. She couldn't even glare at the other woman.

Lews Therin stared back, his dark brown eyes seemed to ask her something. And angry too. He did not want to see her at this moment, when he was going to be married. No! she told herself. Anger because a part of him realizes that what he's doing is a mistake. The biggest in his life. A part of him still loves me, a part of him can't live without me. As I can't live without him.

She felt that her lips were forming the words she always repeated to herself, and to him. The words that kept her alive, that kept her from jumping off that cliff at the end of the world. You will be mine again. You have always been mine.

Lews Therin saw it, and understood. She could not see all his emotions, but he suddenly seemed very confused. Frustrated, hurt. He did still love her.

Mierin turned around and walked away without making any sound. The pain stopped running through her body, it comforted itself under in her stomach again. Where it had been for many years. Since the moment she realized that he would leave her, the pain began to grow. Twice before it had exploded; one time at the moment he told her he is going to leave her, and she, in her outrage, tried to kill him, and failed. Miserably failed. The next time when she noticed he had been with Ilyena and just knew she was loosing him definitely. At that moment, she wanted to kill Lews Therin again, and with him that ... Ilyena and herself too.

She loved Lews Therin more than life itself, more than ... Ilyena would ever be capable of. She loved him too much to let it be healthy. Well, she could not help it. The only thing she wanted in her life was that he would be hers again, and that all the troubles was forgotten. Including the trouble at Collar Daam and the Sharom.

She just wanted them to be lovers again, totally lost in each other, like they were in the beginning. She wanted that everything was like it used to be. A wish. If wishes had wings... A mist of tears blurred her vision. And at that moment. Even saidar couldn't comfort her.


Ishmael never felt so in his life. Saidin flowed in him, sweater than life. And the staff he held in his hands blazed like the sun with dark fire that landed between the defenders of Paran Desen. Flows of saidin race between the armies, carrying death. The air was full of lightnings, and fire and death and beauty. He titled his head back and laughed, today would bring victory. The final victory over the light's forces. They had centered all their armies defending their capital. Winning here would give them the world. Dozen Myradraals stood near him. When ever their gaze touch him he could feel the stab of fear that blazed in them. Myradraal's look entered fear into one's heart. But he was beyond it. Far beyond. He wore simple cloths, in black and red, the colors he made his own.

He stood on an isolated heel, three miles away from the battle, close enough to strike, far enough not to be hurt by the fight. It was easy to see where Demandred, Sammael and Bel'al were. Three spots constantly advancing. Three spots constantly surrounded by fire and lightning. They were fools, risking themselves so.

He felt saidin being woven behind him and spun back, ready to kill the fools that tried to challenge the Naeb'lis. The gateway opened into an utter darkness. And Lews Therin stepped out of it. Cutting the flows of balefire before they could even form themselves. The Myradraals screamed, sound so high it was beyond human hearing, and died in fire.

"Ishmael," Lews Therin said, emotionlessly. He was wrapped in the Oneness. Wrapped in saidin, drawing every drop he could. Drawing as much as Ishmael himself could. "it's time to died." He carried a sword that shone in silver in his fist. A sword that was made of heart stone. But so was the staff he was carrying. He was clad in red and gold and silver,with the symbol of the Aes Sedai, a circle half white half black, divided by a sinuous line, on the left side of his breast. Ishmael promised himself that soon the red would be of blood.

"For you, not for me." Ishmael snarled back at him. And struck, with the One Power and the staff both. Lews Therin didn't even rose his sword. He flow back. Faster than it was supposed to possible. And cut the flows that could rip his soul off his body.

"Why have you betrayed the light, Elan Morin Tedronai? What the Lord of Grave could have possibly offer you that you didn't have already?" There was sadness in Lews Therin's voice. But the sword moved like a serpent tongue, so fast it looked like a blur. And he held as much of saidin as he himself could. Weaves that could destroy his very existence was barely severed in time. And Ishmael answered this flows with weaves of his own, as dangerous as Lews Therin's, if not more.

"Power, Lews Therin. Power beyond your wildest dreams, and immortality. I will live forever!" Lews Therin snarled at that with contempt.

"You're a fool. Selling you soul for this!" He answered, the sword passed a hair width from his chest. And a wall of fire surrounded them. "You already had power, you could have been the First of Servants. Now you are less than a servant. A slave! And immortality? How old are you? Four hundreds? Five?" Ishmael replayed to the fire with earth. And the ground explode beneath Lews Therin's feet. The were moving faster than the eye could see. Half of their strength attacking, with the other half defending themselves, from the other man's action, and their own. "Normal people may need immortality, Ishmael! Not Aes Sedai! We live long enough as it is!"

"That is what you think, Lews Therin." The staff stabbed, like a spear, but Lews Therin's sword slid over it, and Ishmael nearly lost the staff. He abandoned talking, thrown down his staff and looked at Lews Therin's eyes. A storm of weaves landed on the man, stretching his abilities to their border. Lews Therin broke every last one of them, and returned a storm of his own. Fire and Spirit and Water and Air and Earth, flows of all the five powers. Cutting each of the flows was a hard work, but he did it. There was sweat on his face, he couldn't spare the necessary concentration to avoid it. But Lews Therin's face shone with sweat too.

To any woman or a man that couldn't channel, they were just two men, staring at each other with burning hate and fury.

A man that could channel would have known what was happening, and if he had the smallest shred of common sense, would have fled the place. Both men drew the power to the point the sense of life was painful. And beyond it. And the weaves they used weren't used in thousands of years. For a reason, even balefire, with all its might, wasn't truly a weapon in this fight.

The fight wasn't for the body, but for the soul. Somehow, Ishmael knew that it will not do to destroy the body alone. Somehow, the battle would renew itself elsewhere, at another time. Lews Therin knew it too. And accepted it gladly.

Ishmael could have destroyed everything in his sight, in heartbeats, and Lews Therin had as much strength. But neither one of them could bring this battle to an end. The only possible result would be the death of both of them. Lews Therin had a grin on his face, an eager one. But Ishmael wasn't so enthusiastic at the thought of death.

The earth exploded beneath their feet, erasing the heel they stood in, they now stood on air alone. They weren't aware of it. But every man that could channel had stopped fighting. They could see what was happening. But none of them could give aid. To this side or another. Any man that would even try to come close would die instantly. By both men. And none of them wanted to get any closer than they were already. The amount of power those two men draw was enough to level a city. Enough to destroy both armies. Those men knew what would be the result of the battle. Soon, one of those men would fail to counter one of the attacks. But the power he held would be released, uncontrolled, and would destroying everything miles away. No men that could channel strong enough to open a gateway left in the armies of the shadow. Seeing that, and, understanding why, the females that could channel that had betrayed the light had fled too.

The Aes Sedai, men and women, stayed on the battle. Killing in the armies of the dark. Some stayed because of duty. Some for glory, and some because they had no other place to go. If Paran Desen would lost, the light would be lost too. As it was, some of the Aes Sedai did fled, but those were few. With the disappearance of the dread lords and the Forsakens among their ranks, the armies of the shadow where driven back. Killed by saidin and saidar.

Ishmael couldn't see the reason for the sudden change in battle course, but he could see that the armies he commanded at, were being destroyed. With a scream of pure frustration. Ishmael directed all the power he could draw into a shield between him and the other man. Face twisted in hate, he fled.

Lews Therin fell to his knees, exhausted, staring at the place where Ishmael were. "No!" He whispered, "It can't end this way!" Scrambling to his feet slowly, he titled his head back and screamed, "ISHMAAAAEEEL!!!" Hate was burned on his face. He channeled, and his voice was carried across the entire battle field, where the last remnants of the shadowspawns and Friends of t Dark were slaughtered. "This isn't over yet, Ishmael! We will meet again!"

The gateways opened of all sides, making the air look full of holes. The Aes Sedai reached just in time to catch him. He was so exhausted that he had fainted. But Ishmael was even in a worse condition.

***

"Who won?" That was the first thing Lews Therin said, and Ilyena jumped to her feet. She was half asleep in a chair near his bed. He was unconscious for so long that she feared... She will not think about it!

"Are you fine, Lews Therin?" Channeling for so long, to such extent, could sever even him. And no male Aes Sedai could tell her one way or the other! Fool men! Any woman would have known it a moment, if it was another woman. But men couldn't do it. They had to be awake for him to resonance for other men channeling. There was no way to know whatever he had severed himself until he would be awake. And those hours of worry had sent her to the edge.

Lews Therin moved his eyes slowly across the room. It was a large room, but now it looked small. At least fifteen Aes Sedai and about that number normal people, who couldn't channel. All the Aes Sedai were their children, all their children born with the spark, all were quite strong. The others, she thought of as their children too.

"You won Lews Therin, can't you remember?" Shorin Kelal asked. That eternal grin of him returned to his face. He never looked as if he was worried of something. But he was, in those hours. Lord General Shorin Kelal Semar was a tall man, only a hand below Lews Therin. With blonde hair and green eyes. He seemed to have a strange affect of women, grown women who should have known better. He was handsome, no more, but only few women could resist him. She saw him once or twice with Aes Sedai that was more than twenty times his age. Or with women that was barely old enough to be considered so. He spent most of his time hunting, women usually. But seeing him as a lecher was a grave mistake.

He was probably the greatest general in the side of the light, thirty only. He wrote dozen books or so about war. She had read them, and could barely believe he was the one who wrote them. He was practically pushed by Lews Therin into the position of the second in command. Unlike others, he had no wishes for power. But Lews Therin was right, under his command, they won many battle. And although he lost few times, any other general would have taken more losses than him. Lews Therin shaped him to that, in purpose. Pushing him to study weapon and ancient wars, it was twenty years ago when Lews Therin somehow guessed that there would be a need in generals for the wars that would come. And weapons made of steal wasn't the only thing they needed. Lews Therin made weapons out of humans.

Shorin Kelal wasn't the only one he did it to. Almost two dozens men and women, some able to touch the True Source, some not. Had been found by him, between the age of five to the age of ten. All orphans, he told them, and her, what he was about to do. They agreed eagerly. Violence became a common thing in a world where it was unknown completely. And their parents were murdered all.

What he did disgusted him, so he said, but also fascinated him in a way. He wrote several essays about the development of the personality. And with those children, he had the opportunity to test his theories.

He rose them all as if they were their children, both he and she thought about them that way. And made weapons out of them. They adored him, from Shorin Kelal, who could lead a battle from sure defeat to victory, as he did in the battle on Paran Desen. To Teadra, who knew almost as much about battle, but preferred to be a soldier, a thing she was more than good at.

They would follow him to the Pit of Doom and back, if he would ask them. In many ways, she was happy for them, they were happy about themselves. In many other ways, she couldn't see the difference between what Lews Therin did and taming animals.

"I know that Ishmael run away." Lews Therin snapped, trying to seat up. "I asked about the battle. Who won?"

Ilyena put her hands on his shoulders and pushed. It was evidence to his weakness that she could push him back. "You're staying in bed, Lews Therin. Until you have rested enough." He looked at her stubbornly, she put her hands on her hips and lectured him. "You will stay in bed, shielded and tied, if this would be necessary. I will not let you kill yourself! And at the moment, you can't even touch saidin, and certainly not to break a shield!" The first thing he had done, she was sure, was to try to touch saidin, and he would have said something if he couldn't find the source. At the moment, he was too weak to touch saidin, but he would touch it again. Relief surged in her in waves that threaten to drown her.

Shorin Kelal laughed, and the laugher spread all across the room. "I would have suggested to you to stay in bed, Lews Therin. You don't want her angry on you. I will see you again when you're better." With that, he took his ashendri, a weapon he created himself, a spear with a sword blade on it, and left. The others followed him, they all carried weapons, that was the first lesson Lews Therin taught them, never to be unguarded. They had learned well. Every last one of them was almost as famous as Lews Therin. She was more than proud at them, as much as she was in their own children, and for the same reason.

"What happened in the battle, Ilyena?" Lews Therin asked as soon as only them left in the room.

"The dread lords and the Forsakens fled the battle. They knew what was about to happen. If either one of you would have died that day you would have destroyed everything in sight. With them gone, we won." Further explanation would have to wait. "Are you fine, I mean, the power..."

"I'm fine, Ilyena. Only weak as a newborn baby." He muttered, he never liked to be forced into something. And she could understand easily how much he wanted to be out of bed. But she wouldn't let him kill himself.

"Now, Lews Therin, what kind of soup you want?" She asked pleasantly, ignoring his glare.

***

Ilyena sat uneasily on the soft chair in the Hall of Servants. She never liked to be left behind. Especially when there was a battle to fight in outside. Lately, in the Hall, they did nothing save talking. Didn't they understood that there was a war outside the white walls that protected them? They were so blind that sometimes she wanted to scream on them till they would see the truth.

She blocked the disgust away from her face. It was easy, after so much time in the Hall. In the Hall, people could get hurt all too easily from being too open in the Hall. This began before the War of Shadow. Even before the bore was opened. Plots, schemes and lies in order to strengthen your position was common since the beginning or time. Or so she thought sometimes. The Dark Lord of Grave didn't create them. She tried to stop hearing the speaker, a woman dressed in gray, who she remembered only faintly. Her cloths were enough to distinguish her, though. Ilyena ignored every thing the grays did. Gray, the color between the black of shadow and the white of light. The peace factions hadn't died. In this, she fully agreed with her husband, there can be no peace with the shadow. Even if the Forsaken would keep there words, they couldn't let more than half the population of the world to be under the shadow control.

The colors were a new thing, started only a year or two ago. But now there wasn't single Aes Sedai that hadn't wore the distinguishing colors. It was a statement of opinions. For herself, she wore blue. She was pregnant, again. That was the reason she wasn't in green, and took part in the battle of Sharen Mazor. No pregnant woman was allowed to wear green. Most of them moved to the blue. Spying was almost as important as battling. And she had succeed, more than once, to achieve information that had won more than one battle.

In one look on the Hall she could see how it was divided. No one wore green, they were all in Sharen Mazor, fighting, and she longed to be there. But all around her there was blues. Almost all women, almost all pregnant. The few women who weren't pregnant, and the men, wore blue mainly because they were better in spying than fighting. Or because they were afraid of battles. There was no shame in that. For herself, she had more than one nightmare about those battle. The One Power, when used as a weapon, was horrible. They simply saw too much, too much to go back to battle.

Not many were grays, not many wanted a peace with the shadow. By many eyes, there was no real difference between gray and black.

Whites were even fewer, she felt only scorn for them. They refused to take part in the killing, or in the war, pretending that the world hasn't changed. It was a sickness that was worse than the grays. And much deadlier. At least it was limited, and didn't spread. Whites argued about the nature of the Lord of Grave, and about the reasons for the war, they argued about points of pure logic. But they did nothing to help in the war. Useless cowards! She thought in fury, They could be browns if they didn't want to take part in battle. They aren't da'shain who were sworn not to take part in battles. The Aiels not fighting was another things, and any Aiel that was found able to channel and became Aes Sedai took part in the fighting.

Browns, men and women, at least studied useful things. It was the browns who came up with the ideas of sealing the bore. They had dozen or more options. And although only two of them was useful, that had been the greatest help possible they could give. And they at least did something, even if they usually were blind to the outside world. Browns had brought the ideas of the shocklances, and other weapons. They were the ones discovering the affect of balefire. And the reason why it wasn't used anymore. She barely kept herself from shivering.

In the first year of the War of Shadow, reality itself was about to unravel. The browns stopped it, and literally saved the world.

Her eyes landed on a red sphere in the Hall. Women, with not even one man, clad in red blood dresses. The women who signed Latra Posae's concord. She couldn't make her mind about Latra Posae. For herself, she wasn't strong enough to be asked to join if Lews Therin's plan would ever carried out. And Latra Posae knew enough to not even ask. Once she belonged to her ajah, but she left it long ago. When she fell in love with Lews Therin. Light, he survived thousands battles, let him be fine this battle too. She prayed silently, but she had participated in battles, and knew well enough that anything could happen. The armies was led by Demandred. And Lews Therin and the Forsaken would seek each others blood. She knew it for certain. She had seen one of the battles between Lews Therin and Demandred, it was something to remember, almost as much as her husband's battle against the Ishmael, the Betrayer of Hope. There was no way to tell who would win if they would fight. So far, it had always ended even.

The gasp that run through every man in the Hall sent her to her feet, a gateway began to open, and then others. Dozens of them. All around her, women shone with the light of saidar, readying flows that would bring death on anything. By tradition stronger than any law none may travel into or from the Hall. The gateway opened, and Lews Therin stepped through. As always now, he wore green. And the sword that was made for him hanged on his side. His hair began to gray.

But he still carried himself with the same flexibility of the younger men that stepped through their own gateway. They moved like a pack of wolves. Hard faces and grim. The Hundred Companion. Clad in green, the each had a symbol on the left side of their breast, a circle divide by a sinuous line. Half black half white. The symbol for Aes Sedai, as old as the Hall of servant itself. The gray woman near the rostrum barely jumped back from Lews Therin's gateway. He carried a sword in his hand, though his own hanged on his hip. A sword blacker than the night. She blinked at it. It was a Myradraal's sword. There was stains of blood on his coat, but his face was stone hard. And his eyes shone with fury stronger than she ever seen with him. He had an absolute control on his emotions, all the time. But now it was clear that he was furious. The Hundred Companion was as furious as he was, sending dark stares across the Hall. Most of the glares were directed at the reds, and at Latra Posae. The Hundred Companion were more than ready to carry out Lews Therin's suggestion. As it was called now. Latra Posae's concord was the only thing that stopped them from carrying it out.

Lews Therin's gaze swept on the Hall. He might have stopped on Latra Posae, she couldn't be sure. There was no recognition in his eyes when he looked at her. No one moved, or made a sound.

"Sharen Mazor has fallen." He said, fury in his voice. Soft moans of despair run through the Hall. That was the last in the defeats that they had taken lately. "And you sit here, talking! Arguing!" Scorn chimed in his voice.

"There is a war out there!" He roared at them, "And it's a war we're losing. A war we can't afford to lose!"

His gaze turn to the grays' seats. "You! You talk about peace. Peace with those who would rip a child's heart out of his body for the mere reason that they can. And you!" He pointed at the whites, "Who pretend that the war does not happening."

"You hiding here. Refuse to see the truth. Hiding behind walls and pretend that the war wouldn't reach you." He rose the sword he held. Midnight black that reflected no light. "One way or the other you will have to face the war. And if you will not come to face it. It will face you. And then it would be far too late for you to do anything!" He changed his hold on the sword. Holding it with both hands, blade down. And thrust it down into the stand. He must have been channeling, the sword sank through the stone without a sound.

He looked at them, all of them, with such a look that for a moment she thought he would strike with the power. She felt so proud of him that moment that she thought her heart would explode. "This will stay here," He said, stating a fact. "until the war will over. One way or the other. This will stay here, to remind you." His gaze was fixed on Latra Posae's face, "that there is a war outside the Hall. That you cannot hide here and pray that it would end. Or that you have the time to consider what is the best path to choose." His voice faded for a heartbeat.

"And it will stay here also to remind you that I will destroy the world before letting the Lord of Grave have it." With that, he opened a gateway and passed through. Not looking back.

Latra Posae stood, and she started to walk toward the stand. Leon Daern, Lews Therin's second in the Hundred Companion pointed at her, and she stopped on her track. "Lews Therin was right, you know it." Only the emotionless of k'doi sounded in his voice. "You are a fool." The look he gave her was full of disgust. He was her son. "You all are. Do you think that because you don't want to be involve in the war it would not touch you?" He put a hand on the sword on the stand. "Who ever that would draw it would die. You can not allow yourself to forget that there is a war. You can not allow yourself this luxury anymore. You could never do it."

With that, his look moved on the Aes Sedai that sat on the Hall. It looked as if he stared at any one at the Hall in the eye. Few could meet his gaze. "And let me promise you one thing, Lews Therin was right. One way or the other, the Lord of Grave must not be allowed to win."

The gateways opened behind him. And the Hundred Companions left the Hall. Ilyena stood on her feet, and opened a gateway of her own. For skimming, she had no clue where she was about to go. Only that she couldn't stay here. Before closing the gateway, Ilyena stared at Latra Posae, "Do you really believe that you have a chance of succeeding?" Sharen Mazor was the last city before the hiding place where the great sa'angreals were kept. "Should the shadow move any father, all hope for your plan is lost. Yet you refuse to admit it. You claim that Lews Therin's plan is too risky to be carried out. Have you even considered the risks in your own actions?" She channeled, and her voice boomed from every corner in the Hall.

All around her, every man or woman wearing blue went through their own gateways. They were the firsts, but not the lasts. Men and Women, in brown or white or gray opened gateways. Supporting Lews Therin, or maybe escaping from the accusations they knew they deserved. Only the women in red stayed in the Hall left in the Hall. Some, mostly whites, who stuck to the tradition, left the Hall through the huge gilded doors. But none, save those women supporting Latra Posae, remained in the Hall. But it was enough. Without Latra Posae support, Lews Therin's plan would never be carried out.

And Latra Posae believed that she was right, she had never took a risk in her life, and rarely took a part in the battles that surged for the last ten years all over the world. She always took the safest path that there was. Ilyena could remember time when she thought it's logical. Now, with the war, she couldn't see much difference between Latra Posae's behavior and Moghedien's.

***

Lews Therin tightened the sword belt on his hips. Today he abandoned the green he wore usually. And dressed himself in red and brown and gold. Coat and breech that were made before the War of Power, before even the opening of the bore. He wanted to remember how it was in those days. The days when innocence wasn't a sure way to be death before you knew it.

He like those times, he longed for them. Maybe what he was about to do today would help bring them back, yet he didn't believe it. People had gone mad the last one hundred years, struggling for power was a common thing even back on those days, but now those struggles were bloody. And those who had touched violence wouldn't let it go. Society wouldn't regain sanity for a long time. Maybe never. He didn't think he would see it. He sent his look to the bed. Where Ilyena was still sleeping. She would sleep for another hour or two before she would awake, a simple weave took care of that. She would try to stop him, he knew that, she believed him, believed that there was no other choice. But she would try to stop him anyway, because there chances were close to nothing that he would stay alive to see the end of the day. Strange, that didn't seem to worry him any more. He accepted that, now. His only fear was that the plan wouldn't work, that some how he would fail, that somewhere there was a flaw where the Lord of Grave can press on, maybe collapsing the entire plan, but there was no other choice. How long till the final defeat? Months? Weeks? Or was it a matter of days only? What ever the result this day would bring with, it had to be better than not doing a thing.

"You might do mistakes if you do something," He whispered, exiting the room "but it's always a mistake not doing a thing!" It was an old saying he favored.

"You always used to say that." A familiar voice said, Shorin Kelal's voice. The man wore blue and green, as always. And his ashendri was in his hand, also as always. All around him stood all the children he took into his custody so long ago. The fifteen that survived the battle. More than the faces that were presented, he saw the faces that wasn't here. Teadra with that eternal smile of her, that never missed a shot with a bow. And her lover, the most ugliest man Lews Therin ever saw, but Teadra loved him. And... There was too many to list, too many he had lost. Too many friends, sons and daughters he had lost in this cursed war.

"You're going to Shayol Ghul today." Shorin Kelal said, somehow, he became the leader of this band. The other simply stared at him. "We will go with you."

"How under the light you have found out?!" He gasped, no one knew, save the Hundred Companions, he hid it even from Ilyena.

"We know you," Dark Aeral said, black hair and clad in dead black, she stared at him accusingly. "you said, when you first started to train us, that you will use us anywhere you need us. And now you decide you don't, why?"

Lews Therin sighed, he had to hide it better, "You will be no use there, Aeral, you know it. You can't channel and -"

"That is why you're taking ten thousands soldiers? Because of the fun of it? You need soldiers, and we don't need you to protect us anymore. Not now, certainly, if you're going to the Pit of Doom, we will go with you." Shorin Kelal was a general in battles for the last ten years. He knew well the voice of command. It also explained how they found out about it, Shorin Kelal knew just about everything about the armies of the Light. He wouldn't ignore the slightest move of forces.

"You don't have a choice, Lews Therin." Aeral said, "One way or the other, we are going with you." The others simply looked. He could simply tie them up with air. They would stay here until some one would sever the flows. He could, Ilyena would wake in an hour. She would free the, and... he owe them too much. He couldn't do this to them.

Sighing, he glared at them, but they stared at him right back. Nothing showed on their faces, they knew him as well as he knew himself and better. They knew they had won, maybe before he knew it.

Muttering under his breath he opened a gateway. They passed through without a word, there was no need of words between them. Sometimes he thought that they could share their thoughts. He had seen them fighting, it was like they all had one mind controlling them. Dancing in the battle like this.

He had taken them into a distant cliff. So far from the world nether the light nor the shadow battled on it. The Hundred Companions waited, none of them rising an eyebrow to the sight of the fools that insisted on coming along. They knew, but they, also, ignore his glares.

Leon Daern came close, smiling faintly at Shorin Kelal, "We are ready, we have close to ten thousands soldiers here." Lews Therin could see it by himself. Men and Women, carrying shocklances. And Ogiers too. Almost twice as tall as normal man. Waited silently. There would be no cheers today. They knew where they were heading too.

"Open the gateways!" He orders, and the sense of saidin filled the air. And the soldiers charged. The Hundred Companions were the first to pass through.

Later, he could never remember clearly what happened. Only images of trollocs and fades and shadowspawn charging. There were always large numbers of shadowspawn near Shayol Ghul. He killed them with saidin or with a blade. The clash of metals rang all around him. Sweet music to his ears.

He was only faintly aware of breaking through the line of shadowspawns. Only that suddenly he had nothing to stop him. And he moved forward, always forward. His target was a hole in the mountain side, not much different than any other. But it pull at him. That was the opening into the Lord of Grave's opening to the world. Into the Pit of Doom. The Hundred Companions were on his side. Leaving the fight for the soldiers, they had a greater target ahead.

"LEWS THERIN," The voice exploded inside his mind, crushing everything. He held into k'doi with fingernails. Wrapping himself in the soft warm of the power. "DRAGON. YOU HAVE COME AGAIN! COME, IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO DIE FOREVER!" He ignored it, tried to. Centering all his attention at the goal he had come to achieve today.

He moved forward, ignoring everything. All he cared about was the seals he carried in his pouch. And the mission they were here to accomplish.

He focused on placing one foot in front of the other. The air itself seemed to resist him. One corner held Ilyena's image, the way she smiled, moved. He would miss her, but what he was doing today wasn't for the world, it was for her, more than all.

Somehow they reached into the Put of Doom, against air that seem to push them back, against ground that seemed to open holes to trip their feet.

He saw, from the corner of his eyes, Ishmael looking at them, stunned, and beautiful Lanfear, a white drop on the black of Shayol Ghul, and Rahvin, and Asmodean, and Graendel, and Semiharge. And all the Forsakens, he pushed the question about what they were doing here for later, if there would be later for him. In a voice that was as dry as death he gave sharp orders, he could barely hear himself. But he could feel the Hundred Companions responding. None of the Forsakens made a move, or touched the True Source. That was strictly forbidden here for them, and even now they didn't dare to defy their Great Lord's orders.

He pulled out the seals from his belt pouch. Taking them in his hands, Seven seals, half shining white, the other dead black. Balance, the symbol of the Aes Sedai for so long. The balance that the Lord of Grave had broken. The Forsakens overcame their shook. And he could feel them filling themselves with the power, felt the tingle in his skin that said that the female Forsakens channeled. He gave them no time to react.

A net of all five powers appeared around them, waved by every last one of the Hundred Companions, pushing them into that lake of fire. "NO!" It was an order that something inside him longed to obeyed to, "YOU WILL NOT TRAP ME AGAIN, DRAGON! NOT THIS TIME!" Something came out of the bore, something so vile that wasn't even registered. Something that struck not at him. But at the link between him and the source. Something flowed into him, into the Hundred Companions, into the male half of the True Source.

He screamed in agony greater than he thought possible. He knew, he understood. He heard other screams behind him, the Hundred Companions, dying maybe. But the light burn him if he would give up now. The net the Hundred Companion wove was still in the air. Still pressing on the bore. He fought against it, whatever it was, that was pouring into him. He could have tried stopping it. But he ignored it, as much as he could. Shaping the flows the Hundred Companions continued to weave. Despite everything. Exactly as he had planned, as he dreamed so many times. Shaping it into the right pattern. Half way though, he already didn't know what he was doing. Continuing doing so only because of inner impulse. Something that was deep inside him. But then he dropped to his knees. The screams behind him hadn't stopped. If anything they had became stronger. He turned his gaze back. More bodies than he could count lied on the ground. Burned by black fire. But the rest. Saidin pulsed in him, and he struck with the power at the horror he saw. Destroying them one by one. But there were too many of them. Too many to fight with and survived. He fled, to the only place where he would be safe, to the place he called home. But those horror chased him there too. And he struck with the power. Defending his home, he wouldn't run away from this place, he would defend it until his last breath. Destroying horrors beyond belief.

He didn't even heard the screaming, or saw the blue eyes woman that faced him. He channeled Air, and she was thrust away. Hitting in a wall hard enough to bounce back, at the same times, flows of fire and earth stooped her heart. He barely noticed. Already striking at another monster. Another creature that existed in the madness of his actions alone.


Ok, here are the notes for the second part of the story. I don't like this story. Damn it, I had tears in my eyes when I finished it. Anyway, here is the things I had to take into count writing the story.

First, it was said that after three first years the shadow made major advance. And conquered many territories. But in the next four years, Lews Therin was able to drive them back. I had to find some explanation for this. The other piece of information I had was that Lews Therin had met Ishmael in the gates of Paran Desen and somehow won the battle but didn't kill the Forsaken. I had to think of something to explain this. So I made the Paran Desen's battle. Where they lost most of their soldiers, which would explain how they were winning for three years and losing in the next four. This would explain how this happened.

You also might have noticed the ajah I think that they were divided from before the war of powers. Into several factions. Green is now the battle ajah. It seemed logical that they were so in the Age of Legends also. Gray are now negotiating, and according to the Guide, there were some peace factions in the Age of Legends. So I gave them that color. White are utterly useless. Thinking about logic all day helps no body. I assume that they had to origin somewhere, and those people who denied reality seemed to me a good choice. I can prove you that the skies are yellow, logically. But it won't turn them yellow. The same with the whites. What they do is useless. If they wanted to research, they should have joined the browns. The browns job remained the same. The blue dealing with politic, and since they are known to have the largest networks of eye & ears I made them the spies of the Age of Legends. Since I don't think that there was much to deal with politic in the war. In the guide it's said that Rahvin enjoyed politic, and that he gained more than one territory by negotiating only. But if a land was in the hand of the shadow... there was no way back unless in battle. Since in the Age of Legends any one with the talent could heal almost anything, I didn't bother to make a special ajah for healing. There were Aes Sedai that was very strong in healing, Semiharge, before she turned. But they wouldn't devote their life to healing only. I believe that they had joined one of the other factions, and didn't create an ajah of their own. Only after they lost so much of the knowledge they had they had to create another ajah, so the knowledge wouldn't be lost. The reds, Latra Posae's ajah, I believe that Latra Posae was the cause of the breaking between the genders. The breaking in the Hall of Servants was between male and female. Large numbers of them refuse to even speak to one another.And Latra Posae, even when the end was clear, refused to admit that she was wrong. It sound close enough to a certain red we know. Elaida, and even with so little information, it's more than easy to despite Latra Posae as much as we despite Elaida or more.

And about the children Lews Therin had trained, it seemed to fit him. Rand had changed Mat's course of thought, forcing him to acknowledge duty. It seemed reasonable that he might do the same in the Age of Legends, and considering the life span of Aes Sedai, it is more than logical that he could have taken on himself such project. And another thing to consider about it is that in tSR, when Rand is in the ter'angreal he see a soldier, when the war is over. And the man he was then think, "he was taken to learn war from the age of ten." or some such, it means that they did such things. That was also something I thought of when writing this. If they made soldiers that way, why not making comandos?

Again, I'm not RJ, nor planning to be. I think it was much more cooler if RJ would have write News Spring about the Age of Legends and the War of Shadow instead about Lan and Moiraine. But to make the entire war I would have write something the size of New Spring. If you want it, I'm not the place to look for. Go to RJ and bug him. I took the scenes I think are most probable to appear in the War of Power and wrote them. I truly hope you would like it. And again, special thanks to Lanfir, for the great help.

~ Barid Bel Medar, Lanfir

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