[This story was written in 1998.]
I got (slightly) tired of writing about our well know characters, this story takes place about 500 years before the books, and tells the story of the impossible love of two people, Selar and Dal. It took me more than 25 hours of writing, (not in a row, luckily) And I think it's as good story as I ever wrote.
The Aes Sedai opened her eyes carefully, the last memory she had was of pain, seering pain. Claws tearing her flesh, canine teeth sinking into her shoulder. The flash of a black night sword stabbing through her stomach. And the sight of an eyeless fade growling in satisfaction as it pulled out the sword.
She was lying in a bed, and above her a ceiling's dark stone that was smoother than any craftsman could ever do. The bed was soft, and she was covered with three or four blankets. She didn't recognize the fur they were made of, but it was soft and pleasant. Trying to sit up was surprisingly easy, she felt weak, but none of the injuries she'd taken left a scar on her skin. Healing, she thought, only Healing could have saved one from a wound that was caused by a sword that was forged in Thakan'dar. But there was no one to Heal her, she should have been dead. A single lamp gave all the light, surprisingly strong for one, there was no windows.
She rose from the bed, the room that held her was perfectly round, there was a tray with food and wine and water on a small table, and a dress and a shift was neatly folded on the chair nearby. She put on the dress and the shift hastily, red faced. It wasn't any linen she knew, though it was smooth as silk. When she finished dressing, there was no stockings, or shoes, she turned to observe the room. It was certainly comfortable, though small, with no luxury beyond what was necessary. The chair and thetable were the only pieces of furniture in the room, plain pale wood. It took her some time to notice the one thing the room lacked. There was no exit. She calmed herself quickly, if needed, she could carve herself a way out with the Power. How did I come here? That question was the most important. Her stomach rumbled suddenly, and she turned to the table. She didn't think she could touch saidar anyway, she was too weak for it. Later, she decided, first I must eat.
There was enough on the plate for five or six hungry men, whoever made it knew how much energy Healing took. But she was still surprised to see that she ate everything that was on the table and was still hungry. The food, like everything else in this strange room was good but plain. But she was so hungry she would have eaten it even if it had been the worst meal she had had in her life. "Light, I think I could eat a Trolloc right now." she murmured, quite loudly.
"I don't recommend it, Selar. Trollocs aren't really all that tasty. I have a sheep for you, if you're ready to eat something that didn't came from the Dark One," said a mocking voice behind her. She jumped to her feet, her heart racing.
The man behind her was vaguely familiar, maybe two or three inches above average height, with brown hair. His eyes were pale blue, almost azure, and the contrast between his eyes and hair made him look exotic. He had a wide mouth, with a mocking grin on his lips, he also had a hawk nose and high cheek bones. His hair was done in Arafellian style, many thin braids with a bell at the end of each braid. She had never met anyone like him in her life, she would have remembered him, for his eyes if for nothing else, but he was somewhat familiar. Right now she cared nothing about it, he held another plate in his hands, loaded with as much food as the first one. Her stomach rumbled again, as if she hadn't eaten in days. The man arched an eyebrow and put the plate on the table. Seating on the bed, he made a sign for her to eat.
He was obviously amused by the way she attacked the food. She didn't care what he thought of her, light, but she was hungry. "Who are you?" she tried to ask. "How do you know my name?"
"Later, Selar," he said, his smile widening, "Finish eating first." His voice was familiar too, though she didn't knew why. She looked at the table, more than half the food wes gone. But she didn't think she could eat anymore, not in the next hour or so. Then she would be hungry again.
"That is enough," she said, "now we can talk." She tried to make it sound like a fact, she hadn't been Aes Sedai for long, she was risen to the shawl the day heescaped, and she insisted that she would take part in bringing him back. She wanted him to suffer, for all the pain he had given her.
"You know me, Selar," the man said, he folded his hands in his lap and leaned against the wall of the room. She stared at him for a moment, then at the walls.
"There is no way in, how did you enter?" she asked, she would have touched saidar and pry the answers loose from him if she wasn't so weak.
"Have you forgotten me already?" he said, but she had never met him in his life, "Now do you know me?" His voice changed, became slightly higher, in a different accent, a voice she did recognize.
"You!" She gasped, it did explain everything. "Dal!" She didn't care about being too weak to touch saidar, didn't care about him being stronger than her even when it didn't take all of her strength to rise from the bed. She launched herself at him, fingernails searching his eyes.
He caught her hands easily, and forced her back. "Stop this, Selar. I don't know whatyou are so angry about, but -"
"You don't know what I'm angry about? You lied to me, cheated me, and half the White Tower. You killed ten sisters I know about. And ran away when you had all but promised to be my warder." The last had hurt more than the rest, she wanted him to be her warder, more than anything in the world. And he said he would wait for her being Aes Sedai, she knew he had refused offers from several Aes Sedai. But on the day she was tested, while she was still shocked and afraid from the test for being Aes Sedai, he ran away, after murdering ten Aes Sedai. "You are a liar, Dal. And a thief, and a murderer. And there are also half a dozen other things I probably don't know about that you did. By the laws of every nation you are ought to be hanged." The last came as a hiss, she tried to hit him with a fist, but he simply caught her fist in his hand, he showed no sign tht he even noticed it. With him, it was a reflex.
He rose from the bed, "We will talk later, Selar," he said, his face and voice were cold, "You need to rest." With that, he walked to one of the walls, the stone seemed to... vibrate under his hand, and he stepped through the stone. She tried to follow him, but when she tried to walk through the stoneit was only stone, the only result were few bruises.
"You're Aes Sedai," she reminded herself, "you're not a child anymore, Aes Sedai." With that, she took one of the plates and threw it on the wall. It took her time to regain coherency, but when she did, the room, so neatly arranged before, was a mess. She had somehow managed to break the chair, and the table had been thrown at the wall more than once, save the bed, nothing was left untouched.
She felt a stab of guilt, she was never like this. But the truth about Dal had hurt her more than anything else could. And he had shamed the entire White Tower. That a man that could channel had been training to become a warder for more than three years, without anyone once suspecting him was more than shaming. And every one in the Tower knew that she wanted Dal to be her warder, she had became the joke of the Tower. At least he had the courtesy to wait until she was tested for the shawl, and passed. She didn't think that she would have ever become Aes Sedai with this in her past. And the Amyrlin threatened to still her. As if she thought she had had the slightest knowledge about Dal's abilities. She had every reason to be angry with him.
She wanted him back in the Tower, gentled, so he would feel pain as much as she did. Had she not already chosen and had been accepted to the Blue Ajah she would have chosen red, because of him.
She sank to the bed, she didn't know why he had run away, or why he killed those sisters, ten sisters, each was killed with the One Power, none but him could have done it. And the novice guarding the ter'angreal no one knew the purpose of was found unconscious in her position. He stole ter'angreal from the Tower, five of them. None knew what they did, but every sister feared that one of them or more might be an angreal, or even more frightening, a sa'angreal that worked for men that could channel. With this, he might be stronger than thirteen sisters, he would be unstoppable.
The gasp made her rise her head, Dal stood near the wall, and stared at the room wide eyed. "Apparently, it was a good idea to leave," he said, "I brought you some food, if you're hungry again." He was carrying a bowl in his hands, a soup of some kind. He looked around at the ruined room, there was no place to put the bowl save the floor. The table rattled and rose up in the air, without a hand touching it. It turned and settled down on the floor. Dal put the bowl on the floor, ignoring her. She sat frozen, she had never seen him channeling before, and knowing that someone can touch saidin, and actually seeing him touch the tainted male half of the True Source were two different things.
"Now we can talk, Selar," Dal said, "You can clean this mess later, if you want to be a little child I can leave you here until you calm down."
"Why did you kill those sisters?" Selar said, "They did nothing wrong to you. And why that way?" She rose and walked to the table, only then realizing she had no chair. Dal saw her problem, and moved the table so she could use the bed as a chair. He used the power again, and she had to hide a shiver.
"They were reds. And they found out what I really am, so..." He shrugged as ifit was the most natural thing in the world, the Aes Sedai he killed were torn apart, limb from limb.
"How? No one even suspected that you could channel for three years. How could they know? How?!" She was in fury. She didn't believe him, if he had hidden it for so long how did they uncover him? "Did others found out about you before? You killed them also?"
"No one found out about me, ever," he said, angrily. Then shook his head, "It's a long story, why don't you start eating while I'll tell you about it?" She nodded, he never was ready to be pressed, but if she kept the leash loose he usually did what she wanted of him.
"It started when I was nineteen, I lived in a small village in Arafel when Trollocs raided the village. They took us to the Blight. The Myradraal, he meant to take Elar and have the rest of us watch him." There was pain in his voice, "Elar, she and I were supposed to marry that spring. I tried to stop them, but I couldn't. The Myrdraal told the Trollocs to bring me closer so I could see better what he was going to do to Elar. I remember that I reached out and grabbed something, I didn't knew what it was, only that it kept me from going mad." Selar never thought that saidin could keep a man sane. "It was liquid fire in my veins, and I used it to destroy the Trollocs. The Myrdraal I skinned, that was what he promised that he would do to me, after Elar had died." He stopped to take a breath. Selar had to remind herself how much him running away had hurt her. She wanted to take him in her arms and promise him that everything would be fine. There was so much pain in his voice.
"Elar, she didn't even want to look at me afterward. I brought them out of the Blight and left, I went to the White Tower. At first I thought that if I would turn myself in, if they... then I might came back and return to Elar." He took deep, ragged breath. His eyes were closed. "But saidin called to me, and I couldn't refuse its call. After the third time I knew that I couldn't live without the Source."
"But you still came to the White Tower," Selar noted. "Why?" She hadalmost finished the bowl of soup.
"Do you know a better place to learn about the One Power?" He didn't wait for her answer, "I went to the White Tower, and asked to be trained as a warder."
She remembered the day he arrived, a young man that had nothing but skin on his bones. With dead eyes, he said that his village was destroyed in a Trollocs raid. He also said he came from Saldaea, not from Arafel. He wanted to be a warder, to fight the Shadow, as he said. And had almost black eyes, a typical Saldaean. The Tower was ready to accept him, she rememberd the day he came, she saw him when he entered the Tower. Everyone that entered the White Tower was nervous, but that man had enterd the Tower as if he owned the place.
The warders said that they rarely had had such a good student, he knew only little about swords when he arrived, but he learned. And he was very good at learning. After half a year in the Tower he had some flesh on him, but he still had that dead look in his eyes. He wasn't interested in anything save his sword. The One Power fascinated him, but unlike most men, he wasn't afraid of it.
The young men trained to be warders were almost the only place were Novices and Accepteds could talk with men in their age. But Dal never seemed interested in girls, he was just polite enough, nothing more. And he fascinated her, she had never met a man that could simply ignore women. She had made a decision one day, she would make him laugh again.
It had taken her more than a year, but she did it. She thought that if she would have known how hard it would be she would never have made that promise. But the joy she felt when she heard him laughing was worth all the time she spent on it. He had such a lovely laugh, but more than all, her reward was seeing that dead look dissipate from his eyes. Half a year later she was tested for the shawl, and passed, at the same day he left the Tower.
"I learned much there," his voice startled her from the memories, "not only the sword." He smiled, not a pleasant smile, "Earth is a talent men have, and I have a ... trick, I can pass right through stones or metals." She remembered how he had exited the room before, and shivered. "I read everything in the White Tower library about saidin, most of it was just useless garbage about the breaking, and why every man that can touch saidin must be killed." His voice was full of bitterness. "But I found a few books that could help me, mostly about the Age of Legends, but there were few recent essays about..." He caught the look on her face and stopped. "Never mind, you won't be interested in it."
"That was why you stole those ter'angreals?" Selar asked, "Was it worth the life of ten Aes Sedai?"
"It wasn't I who killed those Aes Sedai," Dal said with a sign, "It was an accident."
"And you expect me to believe you?" she asked scornfully, "They were torn apart, they found Lealan's head fifty feet from her body." So the Amyrlin had told her, and no Aes Sedai could lie.
"Those ter'angreal I took, one of them was supposed to give me access to saidar. If I would have known how it will give me this access I would never have used it." He sounded as if he was telling her the truth, on the other hand, he had been lying to everybody for three years, all the time he was in the Tower.
"No man can touch saidar, you fool!" she snapped at him, did he thought her a fool? "That is something even the such of you should know."
He took something from his belt pouch, a wide bracelet, one that belonged to a man. It looked like glass, but nothing could break it. Inside the glass, floating within in, there was the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. "This forces a link between any female that can hold saidar and the man that is using this ter'angreal. I never thought about how it would give men the power to draw saidar." He threw the bracelet at her, she caught it out of instinct. By what she knew of this ter'angreal nothing she could do to the thing would have any affect on it, but she still didn't like to touch it. "I broke the link as soon as I understood what it was doing," Dal continued, "but those Aes Sedai already knew, I had no choice but to kill them. I had taken a sa'angreal from there too, but it was still hard to kill them." He didn't even blink saying it! "And about my methods, Selar. It doesn't matter to the dead how they died."
"Even if we assume that you had to kill them, what was so important to you so you had to steal it?" She glared at him, "You took a sa'angreal, a ter'angreal that created a link between man and women, what more?" She had to know what those ter'angreals that he took did. None of them worked for women.
"The one that look like a flower was supposed to protect me from the taint," he said, he suddenly looked as if he was about to collapse, "It creates the illusion that saidin is clean when I use it. But it's illusion only, the taint is still there, sipping into me, even if I don't feel it." He looked at her then, with eyes that were no longer dead, eyes she almost wished would be dead. All the tiredness in the world, all the pain, all the sorrow were reflected from his eyes. Mixed with that strange,stubborn look he had sometimes, the determination not to surrender. In the Tower she had sometimes wondered what he was so determined about. But the only time she asked him he laughed and said that he was determined not to fall in love with her. She laughed at his answer, she remembered in fondness, and called him a fool for trying to fight the Wheel of Time. Now she knew, and her own words became bitter.
"The others, what do they do?" she asked quietly, it took all the will she had, not going to him and hug him tightly.
"Aes Sedai to the bone," Dal murmured, and she winced, from him, it was more than a curse. Even though he said it in neutral voice, she would have preferred to hear hate, or fear. Something, save this coldness.
"This is a sa'angreal, one that were made for men," his smile was merely showing his teeth, he wasn't amused at all, "with this, I'm more than strong enough, stronger than any thirteen women." He held a small statue, a man, carved in wood or maybe stone, holding one hand in greeting.
"If you can use the sa'angreal to draw enough to be stronger than a circle of thirteen women," she started, it was the Tower's worsed nightmare, it wasn't a surprise for her that she did shiver. On the other hand, she had never been afraid of him, not even when she learned that he could channel, "Why did you have to kill the Aes Sedai?"
"It wasn't this sa'angreal I used to kill the Reds," he empathized the last word, for the like of him, there was a difference, "I found this sa'angreal later. When I killed them I had to use a lesser one, barely a sa'angreal at all, it was more close to angreal's level than to sa'angreal. I left it in the Tower when I found this." This he put back in his pouch, no wonder he didn't trust her with it.
"You need to sleep, Selar," he said suddenly, "I didn't heal you so you would die from exhaustion." He took the table and put it near the wall, with his hands, not with the power. She knew that she could never tell him how reliefed she was for this.
"Do you mean to leave me locked in here, Dal?" she asked, she would refuse to show him how this unnerved her.
He looked at her surprised, "You're too weak to touch saidar now, aren't you?" he said. She didn't mean to let him know that even with saidar in her she couldn't do it, Earth belonged to men, not to women. "I will leave it open, Selar." This time, when he touched the wall, the rock didn't seem to become liquid again, it was ripping open, until it was a door, tall enough for him to pass comfortably. "Sleep well, Selar," he said, "Healing take much of your strength." As if she didn't know that.
He went through, and the lamp's light winked out. The only light that was left came through the door. She rose to her feet angrily, and only then she remembered how weak she was. He was right, she wasn't sure that she could make it to the door, nor that she could even undress by her own. She lied on the bed in her cloths, if he thought that she would ask his help he was wrong. The bed was soft after all those night of sleeping on the ground, chasing him. Or even compared to the bed Accepteds had. She fell asleep almost immediately, not caring where she was or that he was so close to her. Well, she did care about it, he was too far for her to feel comfortable. She wanted him on her side.
Dal stood near Selar's bed, she breathed slowly, he unraveled all the lights save one, and there was almost total darkness in the place he called home. For him, it was no problem. Saidin filled him, and even the darkness that surrounded him was bright as daylight when he held saidin, he could afford himself that moment of pleasure, looking at her. She was the most irritating woman he had ever met, she had a talent to make him do whatever she wanted. No one had ever done such a thing, not even Elar. He chased the thought out of his head, he knew where it might lead. There was no doubt about her being the strangest creature that he had ever met, she had tied a string around his heart, a heart that he guarded better than his secret. Sometimes he wondered about it, and then released it as unimportant, it didn't matter how she did it. Facts were facts, he had toyed with the idea to stay in the Tower more than once, to be her warder. But he couldn't. The taint, burning inside him, was the only reminder he needed. As much as he wanted to, he would never let himself kill her, never be another Kinslayer.
He could never do her any such thing, he was a man that could channel, the future only held madness for him. He couldn't force her to be bonded to him, not ever. Even now, when she knew, he couldn't do it. He had made vast research in the Tower, doors wasn't something that could stop him, nor guards. And he knew how to create a warder bond with saidin, but he would never do it. Not to her, any other Aes Sedai he hated with passion, but her... it was different with her, much different. He was as quiet as death itself as he left the room. The sleeping woman left in the dark, to her dreams. Dreams that he would never allow to become true.
When Selar woke the next morning she woke into darkness, there wasn't even a shred of light. Hastily she opened herself to saidar, she had needed that sleep, even if she would never admit it to anyone save herself. And a globe of white light appeared. She hated the dark. And Dal knew it.
She wasn't in the room she'd awoken in the day before. That was the first thing she noticed. The bed was much larger, though still plain, Did this man have nothing decorated? she wondered, the second thing she noticed was that she was lying on the bed in her skin alone. She had gone to sleep with her cloths she was sure of it. He must have undressed her, her cheeks felt like fire.
"So you're awake," Dal said, he was seating in a chair, watching her with one of those small smiles of his, she threw the pillow at him. He caught it in mid air. "Dress yourself, you're leaving," he ordered, with that he stepped again through the bloody rock and were gone. Her clothes, those she had worn before the shadowspawn attacked.
Twenty-seven sisters, all of them strong in the power, thirteen Reds, five Greens and the rest from her own ajah. The warders had followed him all the way from the Tower. When it was clear that his destination was the Blight the Reds immediately stated that he must be a DarkFriend, Selar didn't believed it. Reds could be as good as Whitecloacks when it came to finding Darkfriend in every man that could channel. She remembered an argument between two of the warders, it was always dangerous to enter the Blight, but even the warders thought it safe when so many of them were Aes Sedai. They were wrong. A message that was left on her pillow, in Dal's hand writing, had warned them that if they would enter the Blight they would die. The warders had been watching, and nothing could escape a warder eye. But Dal did, and to think that he had entered all the way to her tent and got away with this had set every Aes Sedai in fury, but most of all her. He had left a rose there, too. And that angered her more than anything else.
Dal was right, as it turned out. As soon as they were deep enough in the Blight so they couldn't flee in time they were constantly attacked. Trollocs, Fades, other shadowspawn that no one had seen since the Trolloc Wars. They had no other choice but to stand and fight, and all along they could see a tall figure on a horse, watching them. Every sword that had been aimed at her was diverted, and every shadowspawn died in flames. Dal didn't bother to protect the others. Shadowspawns had tried to attack him too, but lightning stroke them down, sometimes they were swallowed in flames or simply exploded. She had gone beyond fury, and with all the amount of saidar she could draw she striked at him, a lightning as wide as a tree strucrk him. He had only an instant warning, not enough to protect himself. And the shadowspawns gathered over his body, they left them. The warders that survived didn't bother to talk, they hit the horses with all their might, and all of them began to flee the Blight. They passed maybe half a mile before the Blight itself started to rise against them, trees tried to catch them, the ground itself seemed to be full of traps to catch a horse's leg. Her horse fell suddenly, and she landed heavily on the ground. In that moment the shadowspawn returned, she remembered facing them with the power, until that Myrddraal put his sword in her ribs. Then it all darkened, but she thought she remembered Dal appearing, pulling his sword out of the Myradraal's back, he scoped her up in his arms, calling her a fool, and then it was only the darkness that swallowed her.
She stared at the riding dress she held, it was the one she had worn, but there were no stains, not even one cut. And no signs of someone fixing them. Saidin again, but she wore them anyway, she couldn't let him think that she was afraid of him. She stared at the room when she finished dressing, she though it was his room. Two swords lied in the corner, even in the Tower, although he was supposed to be a Saldean he insisted on learning the manner of fighting with two swords. There was a pile of books on the floor. She took one of them and opened it, "Saidin after the Breaking of the World" it was titled, by an Aes Sedai that lived more than thousands years ago, according to the date on it.
"Not a good book," Dal said from behind her, "a Red wrote it. But she mentioned certain things that men that can channel did, from walking through stones," he smiled shortly, not a pleasant smile, "to knowing when a woman is holding the True Source." Selar stared at him, if he could tell when she was holding saidar... It wasn't a pleasant thought.
"Come, you are leaving now," Dal said.
"Leaving? To where? Where are we anyway?" she asked, if he thought that she would just follow his orders he was about to have a surprise.
"You're in my home, Selar. And I'm taking you to the Blight border, you should be able to walk safely from there." he said, he smiled no longer.
The swords rose from the floor and floated in the air to him, it made her shiver. He was there instantly, "I will never harm you, Selar, you have my word on it," he whispered, his hand caressing her cheek. She stared at him, it was just like he was before she found out about him. Then he blinked, and moved away, hard and cold all of a sudden. "We need to go now." He took the swords from the floor, where they had fallen, and donned them on his shoulder.
She nodded, she had made up her mind about him, and the laws could go to the Pit of Doom as far as she cared. But there were still few things she needed to know. "Why did you came to the Blight, Dal?" she asked. For a moment or two she thought he might refuse to answer her.
"Do you know a better place for me to be?" he asked. "What can I damage here that isn't worth destroying? Here, there is nothing I care about, here I can go mad without anybody being hurt."
"Dal," she started, then fell silent, unable to continue. "you gave me a note, warning me not to go to the Blight. How did you know? The Reds thought you are a -"
"DarkFriend?" he said in a flat voice. "I'm not, though I don't think you would take my word for it. Anyone who enters the Blight is taking a risk. And anyone fool enough to enter in such a force... you were spotted miles away. And so many Aes Sedai..." He didn't have to continue. "I made sure that they would take none alive, that is the best I could do for them, Selar," he said, seeing her reaction, "I could save none but you." He moved to the wall, and again there was an opening growing wider in the stone. "Any other questions?" He led her during a seemingly endless corridor, at some point he stopped, looking at the wall. "Wait here, Selar. It would take a moment only." He sank through the stone again. She turned her eyes away hastily, it made her want to vomit.
It did take a moment only, and he brought something back, a small sack he hed in his hand. "It's not far anymore, Selar," he said, his voice sounded sad. This time is was far. They walked for an hour or so before the corridor ended. "Here it is," Dal said, "I was hunting while you were asleep. And I got us horses."
"In the Blight?!" she asked unbelievingly, "There are no horses in the blight, you should know that -" Her breath stopped, he opened another hole in the wall. She had almost gotten used to this, almost, she thought that she could never really get used to man channeling. Two horses stood there, skin black as night and fiery eyes. There was only one way to get horses in the Blight, to steal them, and there was only one creature in the blight you can steal a horse from. "Myradraal's horses," she whispered, no one ever rode Myradraal's horses. No one ever thought of trying.
The horses weren't shadowspawn, she could have sensed it, but they were definitely the finest she ever seen. She'd always loved horses, and they were beautiful horses. "Will they let us ride them?" she asked, she wanted to ride them. They looked like they could run faster than the wind.
"They do, they are just horses, the finest you can find, but still horses," Dal said, "I rode them back here," his eyes shined, "it's like riding on the wind, I think that they could run forever." He put a hand on one of the horses shoulder, the animal looked at him, it looked intelligent.
"Help me with the saddles," Dal said. Selar smiled inwardly, and touched saidar momentary, the saddle floated to him. He accepted it without even blinking, she felt disappointment for a moment, if she had to be nervous about him channeling near her she had every right to expect him to be nervous around her. Only he wasn't, he never was, not even back in the Tower.
After he had saddled both horses he offered her a hand, to help her up. She ignored his hand and climb to the saddle herself, he muttered something about stubborn women that she pretended not to hear. She had her plans for him, and she wouldn't let him escape this. You had to let a man think he had some freedom, or else he might simply tear away the leash from you. And she meant to put Dal in a leash, if he would agree to it or not.
This time Dak took a deep breath, he started to sweat, and the entire left wall rose into the air. It was a huge rock, and it floated in the air just enough for them to pass. "I can hold it for a while," Dal said, his horse trotted forward, "but this isn't easy. Are you coming?" With this, the horse he was riding began to run, she heeled her own horse after him. They were as fast as the wind. The huge rock landed softly on the ground behind her, they were in the Blight, she could feel the taint of the place. Her horse was racing after Dal's. "What are you running from?" she shouted at him.
"The Blight, they know me, they won't let me leave," he shouted right back, "Look." He was right, it happened just as she saw it before, when the blight itself tried to stop them. Fire blazed around them, Dal was channeling, and saidar filled her too, she realized. She had never been so afraid in her life, not even when she thought she was going to die, but the display was marvelous. They rode like the wind, her hair flew back, it was almost like flying. They both channeled, and the Blight gave way before them. Fire and lightnings shot to hit trees that moved, or the shadowspawns that seemed to be everywhere. The earth erupted and sent streams of dirt and fire into the air.
"How far?" she shouted at Dal. They couldn't continue doing this for long. But light, it wasn't something she would ever forget.
"An hour, if the horses can keep on in this rate," he shouted back. "Can you channel for that long?"
She groaned, channeling for so long, with all the power she could draw, would bring her near exhaustion. "I think I can." Their life depended on how long those horses could run. She could remember only how long they ran, channeling with every scrap of saidar she could draw. She had learned how to ignore heat and cold, but she couldn't spare the necessary concentration for it, her face was covered with sweat, the Bight may be in the far north, but they were hot. She lost the sense of time, concentrating on burning everything she saw, after some time she stopped using fire, it was hard for her to do so. Now she used air, a club powerful enough to break bones or kill. Their horses raced like two black ghosts, faster than any normal horse could. The cold wave that hit her was the only thing that told her that they were out of the Blight. The sweat on her face began to freeze.
She pulled the reins hard, and the horse began to stop. She saw Dal from the corner of her eye, he drew one of his swords and hit her horse with it, leaving a red trail. "We are too close to the Blight," he shouted, "they might come after us." Her horse launched itself forward, his speed was unbelievable. At least now they didn't have to channel. And although Dal looked back often there was nothing there to fight.
Finally Dal brought the horses to a stop, near a lake, one of the thousands lakes of Malkier. She nearly fell off the horse, channeling took physical strength, and she had channeled for long. Dal looked even worse than she felt, he slid down the horse and emptied his stomach.
She hurried to him, but he pushed her back. "I'm fine, Selar." He looked like he was about to fall off his feet, but he insisted that they would take the saddles off the horses and tie their legs before he agreed to rest.
"You can go to the Tower from here," he said when they finally sat down, neither one of them had the strength to make a camp, they simply lit a fire and let it burn. It was still not noon, but she felt like she had been working all day. "No one would harm an Aes Sedai here. You might also find some sisters in here so you can have your report sent to the Tower by pigeon."
"What are you going to do?" she asked, "You don't mean to go -" He simply stared at her. "Are you mad?" She winced when she understood what she had said, but went on. "We barely survived going out, and you want to go back on your own?"
"I might be mad," he said, "But Selar, the Blight are the safest place in the world for me." As simple as that.
"No it's not!" she shouted at him, "Do you want to die? Do you?" She rose to her feet, it felt like she was trying to lift a mountain. "I'll not let you die," she said, touching saidar was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. He was on the other side of the fire, but it felt like walking a mile. She sat down near him, close enough that she could touch him. "I'll not let you die, Dal. Do you hear me, I will not."
He made no move for a long time, he didn't even seem to notice her seating next to him. "I'm a dead man already, Selar. Can't you see it? I've been channeling saidin for three years, every time I touch saidin I feel the taint sipping into me." His voice was angry, and full of frustration, and he pointed at the place where he had vomited. "At best I have a few more years, but I could go mad tomorrow, or the day after. I can't have this, don't you understand? I can't live in fear that I would go mad and kill you, I can't live like that."
She didn't really listen to him, only to the sound of his voice, was she doing the right thing? She didn't knew, but she did knew that there was no other way. She wouldn't, couldn't, let him go away. She took his hand in hers and stared at him, the flows she readied were the most complex she had ever woven. "I don't care, Dal. I will not let you die. I can't let you die." She blinked hastily, to make the tears go away, but he saw it.
"Selar," he whispered, he put his finger under her chin and titled her head so she would look at him eye to eye. "Can't you see? There is no other way." Saidar made her more than aware of his touch, she had made up her mind, and channeled, flows of Spirit, for a moment she feared that she was too tired. Then she felt it happening, and let go of saidar. Dal snatched his hands off her.
"A warder bond!" he said, she could feel nothing from him, only that awful tiredness that only reflected hers. No emotions whatsoever reached her through the bond. "Are you a fool, Selar?" he seemed to be wanting to shout, but was unable to spare the strength for it.
"I'm no fool, Dal," she snapped at him, and yawned, she was too tired to fight with him now. "I'm too tired to think straight now, and so are you. I'm going to sleep now." She saw the shock on his face. "You go to sleep too, Dal." she ordered, he was her warder, after all. There was not even a blanket, Dal hadn't thought of it. But neither had she. She lied on the ground and closed her eyes. Light, exhaustion was nothing compared to how she felt.
"You never think straight," Dal said, but she did heard him lying on the ground. The emotionless began to fade slowly, but tiredness was still the strongest thing she felt. And anger, at her, she thought. But woven underneath it all, there was something she couldn't recognize, fear and frustration and hate, this time she was sure it wasn't directed to her, but to himself. She couldn't understand why, and was too tired to think about it. Exhaustion took over, and she fell into sleep. The last thing that registered in her mind was that he had already fell asleep.
It was his wakening that woke her, her entire body ached from sleeping on the ground. By the dark sky they had slept almost the entire day. She sensed no anger in Dal, nor fear or frustration or hate. But she could feel his emotions, it wasn't like before, when no emotion reached her from him. "Why did you do it?" Dal asked, "I can't believe it's just to bring me back to the Tower. Not you."
"Of course not," she said, she had entirely forgotten about the Tower. "I don't want you to be gentled, Dal." He arched an eyebrow.
"Don't you? Why?" All emotions drained from him.
"I love you," she said, "I don't want you to die. Or be hurt. Is there any better reason?" Emotion flooded him, he was surprised, pleased and happy. But more than all, stronger than she could believe was love, a feeling she felt in herself, love strong enough to overpower anything.
"It doesn't matter, Selar," he said, there was no evidence in him for the shock he felt inside. Nothing at all. "I will still go mad, I can't let myself hurt you, you must understand that -"
"Shut up," she commanded, she grabbed a handful of his hair, the bells in his hairs chimed as she pulled his mouth to hers and kissed him. She had kissed him before, but never before she could feel what he felt. It was more than strange to feel how he felt her kiss. More than strange, and certainly more than pleasant.
This story is based on a diary that was found in one of the corners of the White Towerlibrary. The diary belonged to the Accepted Selar, and she wrote in it after she became Accepted. The diary simply stopped shortly after Selar bonded Dal. Selar, of course, is a well known name all through the Borderlands. A heroine that lived between the years 541-568 NE. As Aes Sedai can tell or write no lies, the records dated before Selar became Aes Sedai can be doubted, but not those after her swearing the Three Oaths. It's well recorded that Selar and her warder, whose name was Lar, survived things not even Aes Sedai can. If Lar was actually Dal, then it explains how she survived so many battles. Selar, although belonging to the Blue Ajah, had spent all her life in the Borderlands, fighting the Shadow, and it is confirmed that twice at least she was attacked by large numbers of DarkFriends and shadowspawn, and some unconfirmed rumors even claims that she was attacked by the Black Ajah more than once, and survived. While searching in the White Tower archive I've found two records mentioning a warder to be named Dal, one saying that he was accepted as a student of the warders, the second, an order to find him and bring him back to the Tower, dead or alive. The second order was Sealed to the Flame at the time. No reason was given for the second order.
Selar and Lar died in 568 NE, they were known to have left the army of Malkier and Shienar, only two days ahead of a battle with the largest number of shadowspawns ever seen since Arthur Hawkwings time, maybe even since the Trollocs Wars. Their tracks led straight to the Shadow's army. A DarkFriend that had been in this army was caught. According to him Selar and Lar had both came to the camp, and been taken prisoners and brought to the Shadow's general. Soon after that a huge explosion wiped out most of the army, any living creature twenty miles away died. And the explosion was strong enough to be seen in the Borderlands as well. Selar was a strong Aes Sedai, but nothing she could do could cause such damage to the army. An interesting speculation would be that she and Lar, or Dal, whatever his true name was, had learned to link themselves, and then killed themselves together with the Shadow army. The diary was returned to the Tower together with her and Lar's belongings, with all five stolen ter'angreals as well. Whatever the truth really is, Selar will remain a legend in the Borderlands for as long as memory serves.
Selar's Life and Death
Written by: Verin Sedai