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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Aiyen kin Leary

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Everything posted by Aiyen kin Leary

  1. I used to find her annoying, but that's a far cry from wanting her dead. And now that she's gotten kinder and more reasonable (a bit petulant at times but in TGS and TOM she was great) I actually quite like her. Interesting that you like Egwene; I'm fine with her but everyone else on this site seems to hate her the way you hate Nynaeve...
  2. Probably refers to the Veins of Gold sequence. It's been the most pivotal thing to happen in the two thirds of the ending we currently have, and it fits perfectly. Unless something MAJOR happens in the last third (what's now going to be called AMOL), the title seems like just about the most fitting thing to call the end.
  3. 1. How technologically advanced was the AOL? Was black powder ever used for war in the AOL or is this the first time? Same for the steam engine and other projects of Rand's academies. We'd all love to hear Brandon elaborate on the Age of Legends, so definitely ask that. However, we can already answer a lot of the question. The Age of Legends was at least as technologically advanced as our own time (the First Age) in most ways. They had cars (jo-cars), aircraft (sho-wings), elevators (lifts), antigravity (at least if you believe the guide, which calls hoverflies antigravity-powered aircraft) and superb genetic technology (Aginor was a geneticist, as the Nym may have been created that way as well, though we don't know for sure). The AoL equivalent of a rifle was the shocklance, described by RJ as an "energy discharge weapon". Apart from some extremely bulky lasers, we can't build any sort of effective energy discharge weapons even now. Black powder would have been an extremely primitive weapon when the War of the Shadow broke out. On the other hand, your question still stands. We don't know how much low tech the AoL had. They might have gradually regressed, from shocklances to guns, and then to swords, or they might have never thought of something like a black powder cannon. Steam engines might be something not seen since the First Age. Also, it's not clear how much of their tech relied on the Power? Aes Sedai were rare, even then, so most of society was designed to work without active channeling. On the other hand, there was something called the Standing Flows that powered most ter'angreal without the need for a Servant of All, so it's possible that nearly everything they had was Power-reliant, much as the First Age depends on electricity.
  4. Also, channeling and science aren't mutually exclusive. The Age of Legends had both, why not the Fourth Age?
  5. Yup, all the women warriors of the aiel, who are significantly fewer than the male warriors, are in Far Dareis Mai. And yes, you do have toh. But you can't tell someone they have toh without incurring toh yourself! Light, now I have toh...
  6. I ran the test on Rand and he came out 124. Over twice the "It's a Sue! Kill it dead!" threshold. On the other hand I still really like the character.
  7. This. Also Brandon said they're a good example of a healthy relationship in WOT. And it doesn't hurt that Min is actually loving. Most of the others try to, but have issues with the concept...
  8. That's what someone from the Second or Third Ages would say, and that's all we know. But it seems that this may not be true now during the Time of Change...
  9. How did Nynaeve goade him into it? She gave him permission and helped a bit, yes, but I can't say I blame her. Imagine how miserable it would make you, knowing you're not enough to stop your other half wanting to die, knowing he's already completely dead inside and possibly resenting you for trying to keep him alive. On top of all that there's not even a decent, logical reason for all this. You'd end up feeling suicidal as well if things went on like that forever. I have to say though that the general attitude of RJ's characters to death annoys me. Egwene prefers death to being a damane. Pretty much all channellers prefer death to being cut off from the Power. Rand prefers death to hurting the most evil women in the world. Nobles prefer death to being stripped of their titles. Seriously does knowing you're going to be born again do something to people's survival instincts? Technically knowing about rebirth should make one rather less attached to any given life. But I don't think that's why the characters you listed prefer death to *fill in the blank*. Given the description of life as a damane, can you really blame Egwene? Life as an animal, your spirit broken, your will twisted to the point that you live only to serve some woman who treats you like a hound? Death might well be better than that. As for being cut off from the Power, well, life without it can still be pretty good (we ought to know!), but the loss is described as enormous. People suicide in real life over tremendous loss even if what they have left might be considered worthwhile from an outsider's viewpoint, which also explains the nobles. As for Rand, not only was he was raised in a village where protecting women is seen as a sacred duty, but he's carrying the guilt of Lews Therin Telamon around! If you'd killed the love of your life, don't you think you'd be a bit reluctant to kill again? It's admittedly rather perverse to let love of Ilyena get in the way of killing a servant of the one who made the Taint in the first place, but again, I can't blame Rand. I hope we'd be a bit more trigger-happy at the sight of a Forsaken, but none of us are carrying around that kind of guilt (I hope!)
  10. There is no reason to treat the sexes differently. All people are worthy of respect unless they do something to forfeit that right. All people are worthy of a fair shot at their goals and aspirations. However, noticing that on average men tend to be physically stronger and women more physically flexible is hardly wrong. Noticing that on average men tend to be more aggressive and women more emotionally adept is fine too. It's debatable how useful the observation is, since people vary so much that you won't be able to really understand a person without truly knowing them as an individual, but the average differences are real. There is no wrong in acknowledging the truth. Going back to some things you said earlier... In general conversation, sex and gender are used interchangeably. Using the former to apply to the biological distinction and the latter to apply to socially-constructed roles is a particular use of language common in sociology, but less so in daily use. Now, this is a bit of a sociology topic, so I can use those definitions if you want. In that case, gender is derived from a combination of natural sexual dimorphisms and people's reactions to them. Now, it's very easy to take gender too far (if we're using the sociological definitions). Just because you're a man doesn't mean you shouldn't study ballet, for instance. However, if you want to define any acknowledgment of or curiosity about the actual differences (on average; obviously there are very few differences that hold universally) as sexist, we will need a different word for sexual discrimination. It's the discrimination that's bad; curiosity and acceptance of facts are in no way dishonorable.
  11. Why do people keep saying WoT is sexist? Certainly it doesn't slavishly follow the politically-correct line that gender is completely irrelevant, but look at it in context. RJ said somewhere (don't remember the link, sorry) that he got a lot of inspiration for WoT after reading a book about a woman who wanted to become a magic user, but only men were allowed to wield arcane force. He thought that that was an interesting premise, and decided to use it in his story, but with sexes reversed. Hence a gender-divided magic system, the taint on Saidin and the cleansing of the taint, creating a world in which men are fighting for their equality. He also said that he was very interested by the differences between genders, and these do exist, regardless of how unpolitically-correct it is to mention the fact. Sexism is utterly stupid: if a man or woman is qualified for a given role and wants to take it, why stand in their way? But it is not sexist to be interested in how men and women vary, nor to write a story in part about men seeking to be accepted as magic users, nor to attempt to realistically portray the implications of three thousand years of female Aes Sedai and crazy false Dragons.
  12. Books 1-3 felt like one section of the story: questing, after the Eye of the World, Horn of Valere, Shadar Logoth Dagger and Callandor. Books 4-5 felt like another section: the claiming of the Aiel and Rand's rise to power. This is where the story changes from a Fellowship of the Ring-like questing tale to a larger conquest. Suddenly we're following armies instead of small groups. Book 6 is a bit of a turning point: the final plotlines are almost all set up. The Black Tower, Egwene leading the rebellion against Elaida, Rand being put in a box and set firmly on the path to insanity, Mat and the ladies planning to find the Bowl of the Winds. It really feels like the midpoint of the story, the (relative) calm before things start falling apart. Books 7-9 shift the focus from conquest to holding things together. The Seanchan return, Toram Riatin rebels, Dark Asha'man attack Rand and have to be hunted down: the Dragon has to preserve now, not merely annex everything. It ends, of course, with Rand's greatest act of preservation, the Cleansing of Saidin. Books 10-11 are the edge of the Last Battle. Perrin has to face his great challenge with the captivity of Faile, Mat has to court the Daughter of the Nine Moons and Rand gets set up for the devastation he goes through at the climax of the story. Books 12-14 are the climax. Rand goes completely insane before finding his memory of light, Mat rescues Moiraine, Perrin comes to terms with leadership and Egwene reunites the White Tower as the Shadow unleashes Tarmon Gai'don. It doesn't seem too unreasonable to think the story could have been told in around six books, at least, though a trilogy would only work if it was majorly abridged.
  13. Exactly. Lanfear was as strong as a woman could possibly be. As Cyndane, she is still stronger than Graendal. Graendal is not weaker than Moghedien, no chance. Neither is Nynaeve, for that matter. Nynaeve can use it, which means Graendal can, which of course means Cyndane can, even at her significantly reduced strength. Just remember. Significantly weaker doesnt take one from absolute top end to anywhere near the bottom. Alivia is significantly stronger than Nynaeve, and I am not willing to believe Alivia is as strong as a woman can possibly be. Only Lanfear had that in my oppinion. There's also the problem of trust - or lack thereof - when Mierin is involved. When men and women link the woman must initiate the link then pass control to the man. Alivia has proven herself trustworthy. Mierin hasn't; I just can't picture Mierin achieving her ultimate desire, gaining absolute power through LTT/Rand, then voluntarily handing it over. Consider the mindtrap too. Mierin is still bound by the mindtrap until Moridin chooses to let her go, which would make as much sense as shooting his own foot off. Mierin initiates the link and gains control? Daughter of the Night she walks again, the ancient war she yet fights. Her new lover she seeks who will server her and die, yet serve still. Who can stand against her coming? The Shining Walls shall kneel. Sound familiar?
  14. I'm not assuming it's the same story every time, but it seemed fitting that the Breaking be undone at some point. Nearly everything else comes and goes, obviously the Breaking geography could just become "normal" but I thought it might be more interesting this way.
  15. On the topic of Ages, some random guesses First Age: The Age of Discovery Humanity starts with nothing, but gradually rediscovers farming, forging and rudimentary technology. Eventually, the rise of science leads to the development of a very complex society with aircraft, electronics, nuclear weapons etc (our own time). As humanity progresses, eventually scientists discover the driving force behind physics-the One Power. Tamyrlin, the first channeler, and many others begin research into this incredible new source of abilities. Yet all things can be used for destruction as well as creation, and the horror of Power-based war leads to a much stronger emphasis on unity between nations and the creation of a Covenant sworn to global peace and prosperity. The Ones Dedicated to Peace (Da'shain Aiel in the language of the time) help assist the newly-formed order of Servants of All. Second Age: The Age of Legends With the One Power, technology and prosperity increase to the point that poverty is literally forgotten. As material causes of conflict vanish, and global ideology becomes increasingly bent on harmony (due largely to the efforts of the Da'shain Aiel and Aes Sedai, who know humanity is now powerful enough to wipe itself out should war ever again arise), unrest becomes increasingly rare. The world becomes an amazing place, filled with ever-increasing wonders as new works of the Power are created, such as the Nym. When ancient Portal Stones are discovered, even parallel worlds and mirror worlds are accessed, bringing the Ogier to Earth. Things are nearly perfect-but the divided nature of saidin and saidar force men and women to work together, something that is not always convenient. An experiment funded by the University of Collam Daan manages to locate a new source of power, and drills a small bore through the pattern to access it. There's only one catch-this new source is the Dark One, and the Bore just gave him room to affect the world once more. Greed and hatred are inflamed in a world which had all but overcome such things, and eventually enough of humanity is convinced that the Shadow will reward them in a world in which it is triumphant that a new war begins: The War of the Shadow, between Darkfriends and the forces of the Light. Eventually the war is halted by the Dragon Lews Therin Telamon's resealing of the Dark One's prison with saidin, but the backlash from the sealing taints the male half of the Power, driving all male channelers insane and causing them to do what Tamyrlin had originally feared: break the world. Third Age: The Age of Prophecy All but wiped out by the Breaking, humanity struggles to rebuild. While some of the relics of the Age of Legends have survived (notably printing presses, gunpowder and angreal), most of the knowledge has been lost. The seal on the Bore is enough to prevent a full-scale Shadow assault on what remains, but it is imperfect, and the Blight is still a threat. Weakened by the constant struggle against the Dark One's forces, humanity seeks to hold on, but is slowly slipping. When the Dragon is reborn, however, Rand al'Thor forges an alliance across nations and cultures to face the Shadow. He himself faces Shai'tan's avatar in the Pit of Doom, and Sheathes the Sword to destroy both of them. The Bore is unmade using the Light itself, and the forces of the Shadow are gradually swept away into the dust of time. Fourth Age: The Age of the Sun The Shadow is gone, the Morning has come. Freed from the Dark One’s relentless attacks and bolstered by some ta'veren-fueled discoveries, humanity progresses much more quickly as the Fourth Age dawns. Firearms come into common use almost immediately after the rediscovery of "Dragon" artillery at the end of the Third Age, while electricity is brought into common use shortly thereafter. The situation might be rather like that of the First Age, with the Dark One gone and humankind free to advance, but matters are both better and worse. The legacy of the Light, with the Dragon’s Peace and remaining knowledge of Power and science and wisdom paves the way for a much more advanced society in many ways. The aftermath of the Shadow, however, has sown chaos deep into humankind. In this Age, all things are a double-edged sword. Mankind has learned to unify, but tyranny abuses this new-found cooperation in the creation of vast despotic empires. Information is prized above all, as the Dragon’s memories were what saved the world at the close of the last Age, but criminals have easy access to incredible secrets. Inevitably, conflict arises, and non-channelers have almost as much power as their True Source wielding counterparts. The hierarchical structure that characterized the Age of Legends was completely changed by the Shadow’s plots at the close of the Age of Prophecy; now more and more of mankind seeks to gain dominance. This leads to decreased emphasis on the One Power, as most people cannot wield it, and seek to strengthen themselves in other ways. This is an advanced Age in many ways, but the vastly different priorities mean that much that would have been impossible in the Age of Legends is commonplace, while much that could have been done before is disregarded and lost. Fifth Age: The Age of Exploration As the One Power is gradually forgotten, mankind begins to turn to other sources of power more easily acquired. Too little knowledge remains for sparkers to learn to control their gifts, so a genetic alteration program is implemented to wipe channeling out entirely. A wide variety of technologies arise, fueled by nuclear energy, etheric forces, psionic effects and many others. The traditions of cooperation and unity from the Fourth Age are being swept away as technology becomes increasingly individualized, and every person becomes a force in their own right. With global organization lost, there is nothing to prevent Earth from becoming far too crowded, and there is now strong pressure to expand to other worlds. Space travel, newly rediscovered, allows humanity to spread across the galaxy. Empires rise and fall, humans meet aliens and fight and trade and learn and explore. And Earth, damaged and scarred from a forgotten cataclysm, is repaired by immense terraforming. The Breaking is at last undone. Sixth Age: The Age of Harmony Eventually, the cosmos is explored. There are always new worlds, but they fall ever into known categories. Always new species, but none are strange anymore. There is enough space for everyone, and space travel begins to seem unnecessary. More and more, humanity begins to settle down on its countless worlds, away from the endless conflicts between interstellar hegemonies. At first this seems little more than a small cultural shift, but when heads of state or great generals seek to command the isolated worlds, local resentment is kindled. The discovery of the Deflector Shield allows worlds to cordon themselves off, unreachable by any starship, and more and more worlds choose the Shield, hoping at last for peace. Technology becomes anathema, for it was by technology that the ancient wars between the stars were fought, technology that burned whole worlds to ashes. Humanity reverts to a simpler way of life, and soon the Shield is the only piece of advanced engineering known. Then even it is forgotten, save as legends and myths, some of which have persisted into our own time. While mechanical knowledge is lost, however, humankind becomes increasingly in tune with nature, learning to speak with eagles, ravens and wolves. This is an age in which cities are forgotten, and mankind roams as brother to the animals. There is much hardship, but peace is finally established. Seventh Age: The Age of Perfection Universal brotherhood has been the rule from time immemorial, but life is not easy. The primitive existence passed down from generation to generation is a fit life for the Hawksisters and Wolfbrothers, yet it chafes on many others. Legends proclaim technology to be an evil, but Promeatha, a rebellious young woman, disregards the old teachings and begins a movement to expand mankind’s power through artifice. At first she meets great resistance, but when her new medicines save a Ravenbrother named Azusala from liver cancer, her tribe becomes convinced of her wisdom. Promeatha’s people rediscover more effective ways of building shelter and hunting, but their greatest accomplishment is fire. The new discoveries remain isolated for many years, but eventually they spread to a neighboring tribe, whose leader Etherakel helps to publish them more widely. He also attempts to take credit for the discovery of fire, leading to his being called Etherakel Firethief. Gradually humanity turns away from its traditions of simplicity and enters an Age of power and knowledge unsurpassed. In the Seventh Age, the One Power is rediscovered from the memories of the Dreamscape, and the ability to channel is rekindled by use of the Dream’s power. Every single person is given the ability to touch the True Source, allowing for a world where the seemingly miraculous is considered a universal birthright. Eventually, a unified worldwide society forms, more advanced than ever before seen in this turning of the Wheel. The changes that the Power makes to a human body are at last fully understood, allowing virtual immortality. The Age-old separation between saidin and saidar is about the only limitation, and ancient memories from the Dreamscape warn against any attempt to circumvent this fact. While tragedies can happen, such as Aenik’s annihilation by accidentally overdrawing on the Power, the world becomes the safest and happiest it has ever been within this turning. The Portal Stones are created, and travel to other worlds becomes a source of wonder and prosperity, and the Dreamscape itself is explored and as fully understood as any mortal can understand it. Even those who die can be recalled to some degree, though the process is difficult and only three people in the Age were ever considered masters of it: Nekara, Lasal and Valere. Earth become populated with many kinds of beings from many different worlds—the Ogier return first, as their world is the nearest to our own, but many other beings follow. In the towering cities and vast gardens of the world, humans live in peace alongside wisps and dwarves and ketan and dragons. Yet nothing can last forever while the Wheel turns. Eventually, mankind’s exploration of parallel words brings Earth in contact with allies of an ancient and terrible being known as Shai’tan. The Lord of Night, as he is known, has been trying to break free on countless worlds—now, the Night’s Children spread into this one. They move in secret at first, but increasingly openly, until war is kindled once more. Though it had been entirely forgotten by the people of the Seventh Age, war quickly becomes a devastating science honed to perfection. At first humankind tries to fight the Night’s Children directly, but while the servants of Shai’tan are outnumbered, they move in secret, weakening humanity’s will to fight. A series of assassinations and sabotage devastate the Light’s forces until it becomes clear that victory cannot be achieved by conventional means. Emergency research programs go into operation across the world, but the most promising is led by Evangelion of Edyne. She plans to turn the very Earth against the Lord of Night, using her skills as a Leafsister and geneticist to create biological weapons that will affect only those sworn to Shai’tan. Initial tests of the weapons indicate that they can indeed distinguish between good and evil forces, but before they can go into large-scale production Edyne falls to the Shadow. This becomes a disastrous turning point in the war, as the very laboratories that had served the Light are now used to brutal effect, altering food crops to develop as thorns instead, inflicting massive sterility, even crippling large portions of the population to the point where they lose the use of their legs. Yet an even worse threat looms: the Night’s Children are taught by their master a way to damage and destroy the very Pattern itself. If they can breach Shai’tan’s prison, they will be able to receive direct support from the Shadow, rather than relying on what can be brought in by the Portal Stones. Confident of victory, the Night’s Children advance on Atalante itself, the largest city in the world. Located in the center of humanity’s network of cities and constructs, the fall of Atalante would mean almost certain destruction at the hands of the Lord of Night. Defended by the Light’s best, the great city is impregnable to the existing Shadow forces, but opening a breach in the Prison outside the gates will allow the Lord of Night to break the defense of Atalante himself. This plan is foiled, barely, by the work of Pandar Dragonrider, who leads a strike force of the noble lizards in a desperate attempt to keep evil sealed away. Humanity is saved, but the Night’s Children simply fall back to Bar’abel, an idyllic island in a cool sea far to the north, deep within Shadow-controlled territory. There, they begin to weaken the Pattern in an abomination that strikes at the heart of reality itself. Knowing that mankind is lost if the Bar’abel project succeeds, the Light’s agents seek to sow confusion amidst the Shadow’s forces, but it only slows them down. On the brink of losing everything, the Light’s leaders meet in Atalante to discuss plans for ending the war. Three plans are proposed. Valere suggests recalling the greatest warriors from all time for a broad counterattack, Pandar offers to lead a quick strike at Bar’abel to take out the Shadow’s leadership and Evangelion warns that if all else fails and the Night’s Children cannot be defeated by force of arms, the only way to preserve Creation might be to destabilize the Environmental Control Towers of Atalante. Long used to maintain a gentle climate and forestall natural disasters, the Towers could also be used to plunge the world into chaos. The destruction would be almost total, and the glories of the Age of Perfection would become nothing more than memory. It would be the ultimate sacrifice, yet even a world covered in ice would be better than one annihilated by Shai’tan. And so, at the end, humanity makes its final stand. The Battle Horn of the Dreamscape is created by Valere to recall the greatest Heroes who had ever lived and keyed to Pandar and his Dragon Legion. The final attempt is made to push the Night’s Children out of Bar’abel, and it fails. And so another turning of the Wheel of Time comes to a close, as Evangelion calls storm and plague and ruin on the world, willingly laying down her life and the Age of Perfection rather than let the Shadow triumph. The world is plunged into the ice age, and the cycle begins anew.
  16. Maybe. I've kind of thought there would be two potentially pattern-breaking Last Battles per turning. Tarmon Gai'don, and the battle that gave us our legends left over from the Seventh Age. Something ending in the Biblical flood which turned into the Ice Age, from which humanity rebuilt and rediscovered farming in Sumeria...
  17. Oh, and as far as RJ adding an apostrophe to the DO's name-I've seen it written with the apostrophe in Arabic transliterations, nothing to do with WOT. RJ took the exact form.
  18. Anyone else find it ironic that @Beidomon was the one asking about this? Lol completely missed that. Awesome. Anyway, pre-Bore Shayol Ghul was just an island like any other, but the drilling gave the DO vastly increased influence over it (I have a sense it may have opened the tunnel to the Pit of Doom itself, but that's just a theory). As Shai'tan's touch on the world began to twist it, the island lost its idyllic character and became the nightmarish place of today. The Pit of Doom arose at some point during this transformation, either immediately as per my theory or later on. Both of these states of the island would have been three thousand years ago, and both of Demandred's statements are true. The Shayol Ghul Resort was NOT still around post-Bore, or at least not for long. The Forsaken "company meeting" as Beidomon puts it was not at any sort of luxurious resort, it was in a hellhole (literally!). They weren't there for luxury, they were there so they could talk with the Big Guy Downstairs. And then along came some Companions to gatecrash the party...
  19. lol Well, my girlfriend reads it and we've had some conversations about Demandred...
  20. On another note, was Rand's epiphany the "memory of light?" We get two books afterward because there was too much to sort out in a single volume, but I would guess that the Veins of Gold revelation was the inspiration for the title of the last book.
  21. Well, my roommate's girlfriend's roommate's name is Min. I did a bit of a double-take when I found that out
  22. Awesome description. Reading it reminds me so much of Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant and how he becomes the white gold himself.. Could RJ have something similar in mind.. Rand becomes light/One Power itself and creates the barrier to block the dark one..??? Random out of left field theory.. just another one Thanks! It's always fun to guess what the Wheel's going to throw at us next...
  23. Just my two coppers I think Demandred is going to be the main Shadow commander, analogous to Mat (who should get the Ever Victorious Army, alongside or even instead of the Band). His forces will nearly overwhelm the Light, and Rand will have to strike at Shayol Ghul to keep humanity from being overrun. Moridin will be a major opponent, but it would be awesome if Rand and Elan debate as well as just fighting. Rand defeats him in combat and philosophy at once, he's about to turn to the Light, and Shaidar Haran steps in. NO. HE IS MINE. Moridin becomes fully controlled by the Dark One (eyes turn to endless shadows, Shaidar Haran merges with him and the Hand of the Shadow wields the Nae'blis) and Rand is aware that his old foe is somewhere inside this monster, screaming for release. They battle, Light against True Power, Callandor against a dark blade. Rand finally unleashes everything he has. Always, even at Maradon, some part of him was holding back. No longer. The storm he releases dwarfs everything seen previously: saidin and saidar pulled through unbuffered Callandor at levels far beyond the Choedan Kal's capabilities, while Rand draws on the Light itself to steady himself. The entire True Source gets focused into the blade (RJ did say it was finite, only "infinitely reusable"), undergirded by the Creator's own Power. The Dark One responds in kind, trying to warp the Pit of Doom to kill Rand (countered by Ta'veren) and throwing as much True Power at him as will fit through the Bore. As they fight, Rand finally realizes that Light and Shadow are evenly matched, perfect balances. The Creator could ward the Dark One out of his realm the same way that Shai'tan could keep the Creator out of his realm. The Dragon has at last become the full Champion of the Light, but he merely matches the Shadow. Both confident that he will not lose and wondering how to win, Rand is shocked to get hit by the Dark One's avatar. They were evenly matched, but the Dragon was seeking to protect himself and threaten Shai'tan, the Big Bad was just striking to kill. Weakened now, Rand is horrified to see himself driven back, his chance at victory slipping away because of his mistake. Padan Fain slips into the Pit of Doom and strikes ferociously at Shai'tan. "Burn you! Burn you through all darkness! He's mine!!" Focused on Rand, the Dark One's avatar receives a cut from the Shadar Logoth dagger and the Pit of Doom destabilizes. The very air seems to become dancing radiance and clashing shades as the pure evil of the Dark One reacts with Mashadar and is simultaneously threatened by Callandor. Rand understands now. He cannot defeat the Dark One's Champion as such-they are both representatives of eternal powers, and neither is stronger than the other. They can both live, dooming humanity to destruction, or they can both die, giving the Wheel another chance. Rand decides to Sheathe the Sword. Throwing everything he has into his attack, Rand injures the Lord of the Evening with his unbuffered blade. Unbuffered. Suddenly the True Power is pouring into Callandor as well, an infinite void seeking to seize Rand's Light and extinguish it forever. Rand is caught, balanced on the very edge between the two. Slipping and nearly overcome. Then Padan Fain strikes the possessed Moridin again and the darkness slips just enough for Rand to regain his footing. In that moment he saw the horror and agony awaiting him if he goes through with this, if he Sheathes the Sword against the Dark One. He cannot make himself do it. Tired of Fain's distractions, the enemy turns on the former peddler fully as Rand hesitates. Fain is cut down and destroyed. Rand though, gained just enough of a breather to think things through. He can hardly bear the torment to come, but the alternative is to lose everyone he cares about. Forever. He thinks of Mat and Perrin and all his old friends from the Two Rivers. He thinks of Moiraine and Mierin. He thinks of his three lovers. And finally he Sheathes the Sword, cutting down the Lord of the Evening while recieving a fatal wound in return. Trapped in agony, he is eventually released when Alivia arrives to put him out of his misery, and restored when Nynaeve pulls him out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod... Or maybe it goes nothing like that. Just having fun.
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