PROLOGUE: By Grace and Banners Fallen
And the Shadow fell upon the Land, and the World was riven stone from stone. The oceans fled, and the mountains were swallowed up, and the nations were scattered to the eight corners of the World. The moon was as blood, and the sun was as ashes. The seas boiled, and the living envied the dead. All was shattered, and all but memory lost, and one memory above all others, of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Dragon.
from Aleth nin Taerin alta Camora,
Bayrd POV � Personal guards Bayrd, Eri, Morear and Rosse accompany Jarid Sarand along with two of his advisors, Lord Karam and Lord Davies. All are loyal to Jarid but he acts increasingly erratic. Bayrd is crafting a stone spearhead as his grandfather Pappil taught him because all the metal in the camp turned soft.1 Jarid blames this on Elayne and the Aes Sedai and he wants her dead. He still thinks Elenia will have the throne. Shiv reports that there are still lots of mercenaries around Caemlyn. Jarid plans to take Whitebridge for supplies then recruit in the Two Rivers. His men finally give up on reasoning with him. They tie him to a tree to keep him from interfering then head north to fight for Andor at the Last Battle. Ghosts begin to move through the camp.
Talmanes POV - Talmanes rides Selfar as he leads the Band to try to save Caemlyn. Elayne took Estean and most of the cavalry to the Field of Merrilor. Refugees pour out of the gates and the whole city seems to be on fire. Talmanes feels more sympathy for the commoners since knowing Mat. His most urgent mission is to save the dragons. Sandip, one of the Band's commanders, and some scouts are among the refugees. Sandip reports that mercenary bands nearby are not helping. Trollocs are attempting to block the gates, trapping all the people.
Isam POV - Isam waits in the inn in the Town2 where he was summoned. The Town, where he grew up, is in the Blight near Thakan'dar and Shayol Ghul. He sees men outside wearing red veils, Samma N'Sei, "Eye Blinders" in the Old Tongue.3 They can channel and will kill on a whim. They flee, though, when a man walks past. Moridin. They challenged him when he first arrived in the Town and he killed a dozen of them. Moridin walks past the inn ignoring Isam, so he was not the summoner. A woman enters the inn. She must be Chosen, but he does not recognize her so she is in disguise.4 He kneels which pains the wound he got from Perrin. Luc and Isam both hate him. The woman tells Isam to kill Rand. He is to take orders from no one else except the Great Lord. Isam sees a coach go by with thirteen women and thirteen Myrddraal. Someone else to be Turned. She reminds him of Luc's previous failure in the Two Rivers. Two of the Samma N'Sei who have been Turned enter. She says they will accompany him on his task. Their veils are down and he can see that their teeth are filed to points.
Talmanes POV - Talmanes and his men drive the Trollocs from the gate and he is wounded by a Fade. He orders Brynt to fire the stable for more light. Talmanes and Sandip wonder how to save the dragons. Talmanes rides Selfar west to the mercenary camps to recruit them. They reluctantly agree to help the Band hold the gate.
Leilwin POV - Leilwin and Bayle are at the Field of Merrilor. They slipped through a gateway from Tar Valon. They are looking for Nynaeve or Elayne. She wonders why she put herself in danger traveling with Mat and Tuon. She wants to right the injustice of damane. Sleete finds them and takes them to Nynaeve. In Seanchan she would be called telarti, a woman with fire in her soul. Nynaeve berates her for giving up the sad bracelets to Suroth who gave them to Semirhage. She then takes Leilwin to Egwene.
Talmanes POV - Melten puts blisterleaf on Talmanes' wound; the taint from the wound is killing him. The Band is now fighting at the southern gate while the mercenaries hold the western gate. They try to figure out how to get to the Palace without being cut off. Talmanes really misses Vanin. Madwin is guiding people towards the open gate. Dennel, one of the dragon captains, has a map to where the dragons are stored. Talmanes insists that they try for the Royal Palace first. They may find Aes Sedai to help them take the dragons to safety. Ladwin and Mar report a fist of Trollocs nearby. They head to the Palace.
Aviendha POV - Using her bond to Rand for the location, Aviendha arrives at the Field of Merrilor and meets with Sorilea, Amys, Bair, Melaine and Kymer in the sweat tent. She reports what she saw in the glass columns in Rhuidean. Dreams show possibilities, not certainties, so they wonder if this vision is true. They agree that they must send another Wise One to try. Amys suggests the apprentice Elenar being trained by Hayde and Shanni. They leave the sweat tent and Kymer goes to speak with her uncle Han. Bair decides that she will go to Rhuidean. Aviendha asks her about Nakomi but Bair only says that it is an ancient name.5 Aviendha makes a gateway for Bair to Rhuidean.
Talmanes POV - Talmanes and his companions including Dennel, Madwin, Melten and Londraed fight their way toward the Palace but there are too many Trollocs. He is growing weak from his wound. Gavid leads crossbowmen from the roofs. Suddenly, the Trollocs break as Queen's Guards from the Palace attack them from behind. Guybon leads them. The Palace still stands, but it is full of refugees. Most of the Kin left with Elayne and of those left all but two were assassinated by Darkfriends. Guybon wants to defend the Palace but Talmanes convinces him to get the refugees out and help defend the gates for escape. Filger brings word from Sandip that Trollocs have taken the walls. The Band still holds the gate for now. Talmanes has to save the dragons. Guybon will come with him.
Androl POV - Androl and Pevara talk while he works on a saddle. Evin told her that Androl came to the Black Tower on his own. Pevara suggests practicing a circle as an advantage against Taim and his lot. Androl suggests Nalaam, Emarin or Jonneth as he is one of the weakest in the Black Tower. Emarin and Canler arrive. They have been trying to find a way to escape. They discuss the Knoks Rebellion in Murandy against a despot Desartin. Androl guesses that Emarin is really Algarin. Fanshir had a book on Tairen nobles that gave him clues. They agree to follow Androl until Logain returns. He will think of a plan.
Talmanes - Jesamyn, one of the Kin cannot help Talmanes; the poison from the Thakan'dar blade is beyond her skill and the wound is turning black. He will be dead soon. She is the only one of the Kin left. Guybon and Dennel argue which way to go. They make their way to the warehouse where the dragons are stored. They find the warehouse burned and the dragons gone. Then they hear a booming down the street and run toward it. They run into more Shadowspawn and attack. Despite his pain Talmanes kills another Fade and all the surrounding Trollocs collapse. They hear human voices ahead and Filger and Mar go to scout. It is Aludra and the townspeople with her. They have hidden the dragons. Aludra seems concerned looking at him and he notices his veins turning black. Filger reports more Trollocs and they begin making their way toward the city wall and the east gate. Aludra tells him they need more supplies from Baerlon. They saved the dragons, but only a few dragon's eggs and powder.
Moghedien POV - Moghedien arrives at Moridin's dreamshard6 in Tel'aran'rhiod, a stone platform floating in an ocean. She is now allowed to carry her own mindtrap so she can now channel without permission. Moridin still carries Cyndane's. Moridin visited Sindhol and killed Lanfear so the Great Lord could give her a new body and name.7 Demandred arrives via gateway. A terribly ugly woman arrives next. Moridin says she is Hessalam, "without forgiveness" in the Old Tongue. From her tone and stance Moghedien recognizes her as Graendal in a new body. Moridin announces that there is a new Chosen. A stone doorway appears and Mazrim Taim walks in, now called M'Hael. He was raised because of his success creating a new generation of Dreadlords. Moridin gives Moghedien a new assignment, to assist Demandred by watching over one of the other side's armies. He tells them that the last days have arrived. This is the end.
Talmanes POV - Talmanes has collapsed from the pain. Dennel and Guybon argue about how to use the dragons while Melten and Jesamyn tend to Talmanes and Aludra measures charges. The Trollocs have cornered them in a square by the city wall. The dragons are in a semicircle facing the Trollocs for a last stand. In an inspired moment, Talmanes realizes that the dragons can blow a wall out as well as in. He orders Ryden to reverse his squad's dragons while the others fire at the Trollocs. The outward-facing squad fires blowing away the wall and the Trollocs on it. Talmanes falls unconscious.
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