TFoH: Gateways

Rand POV#

A faint feeling of foulness wakes Rand. Wrapping himself in saidin, he steps into the corridor and feels something evil coming toward him. He reaches for his little fat man angreal in his coat pocket. Rand runs up to the highest level of the building, to lure the danger away from the Maidens below. The center of the floor of the room is made of a mosaic of the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. Part of the Aiel prophecy is "Under this sign will he conquer." The evil feeling grows stronger and a burned sulfur smell fills the air. Three huge black dogs appear out of the shadows. Forming a sword with the One Power, Rand battles the three charging dogs, severing their heads. The dogs seem to melt before his eyes into pools of liquid shadow then the liquid pools flow back together, reforming the dogs. Rand channels a rod of white light to utterly destroy them. In the process, he destroys part of the building as well. Moiraine rushes in and asks if one of the dogs bit or bled on Rand. Rand replied no and Moiraine calls the dogs Darkhound.[1] Moiraine explains that a Darkhound's bite is fatal and can be Healed only if caught in time. The saliva is poisonous and kills slowly and very painfully. Darkhound usually move in large packs of ten or twelve.

Rand becomes concerned that he is not the only target in Rhuidean. Moiraine begins to ask Rand about the weapon he used to kill the Darkhound, when he starts running as hard as possible, past Lan, who is worried about Moiraine. Rand continues running to the edge of Rhuidean. He enters a building and spots three Darkhound, clawing and chewing at a large bronze clad door. Remembering the destruction from the last time he used the weapon, he moves to the side and uses the rod of white light to destroy the Darkhound, trying to control the flow this time. Rand still causes some destruction to the wall. Rand knocks on the door, calling to Mat. Mat opens the door, naked. Melindhra calmly wraps up in a blanket. Rand asks how they are, Mat replies fine, now. Mat is surprised the dogs were Darkhound. Mat begins to scratch at a red mark on his arm, explaining what had happened. Moiraine and Lan come running in with a throng of Maidens following. Mat quickly dresses. Rand notices Mat's arm is getting worse. He says one of the dogs slobbered on it. Moiraine rushes in followed by Lan and several Maidens including Adelin. She tries to Heal Mat. Nothing happens then Mat comments about his foxhead medallion feeling cold. Looking shocked, Moiraine asks Mat to take it off and then proceeds to Heal him. After Mat is Healed, Melindhra states that she will take care of him.

Moiraine takes Rand aside to speak with him, but Rand is rude to her. Lan says so and Moiraine begs him to listen to her and to let her help him. She even swears to obey him.[2] Rand accepts her help and apologizes for his rudeness. Moiraine warns Rand that the white fire weapon he used was balefire, extremely dangerous to use and forbidden since the Breaking. Rand says he saw her use it once.[3] Moiraine is embarrassed, but goes on to tell that when balefire is used, the thing destroyed ceases to exist before the moment of its destruction. She warns Rand to think of the effect on the Pattern, memories remain, but the actions do not. During the Shadow War, several cities where destroyed with balefire before the dangers were known. Moiraine asks that Rand must be careful when using balefire in the future. Rand says he will try.

Making a gateway, he begins to leave. Moiraine is shocked. After Moiraine and Lan leave, Rand enters the gateway to a blackness, standing on a disc, a copy of the ancient Aes Sedai symbol. Asmodean called this Skimming. Traveling was faster but Asmodean was unable yet to teach Rand how to Travel. Rand moves to where Asmodean is located, knowing he would also be a potential victim of the Darkhound. Asmodean is asleep and appears to be fine. Rand sees the tracks of three or four Darkhound but they did not enter the room. Rand wonders what kept them out. Rand uses the One Power to remove the tracks of the Darkhound, so others would not find out about Asmodean.

Back in his bedchamber, before going back to bed, Rand channels and checks on the control statues he has hidden in his room. Rand thinks of how the two control statues could be used along with the giant statue buried in Cairhien. Thinking of that much One Power, Rand remembers attempting to revive a dead child in Tear the last time he used Callandor. He is afraid of using that much One Power again. As Rand resets the traps on the control statues, Lanfear suddenly appears. She sees the control statues and tries to tempt Rand saying they can supplant the Great Lord and challenge the Creator. Rand replies, "You were always ambitious, Mierin. Why do you think I turned from you?...Ambition is all there is to you." Lanfear is shocked and calls him Lews Therin. She says "Graendal said..."[4] "I love you, Lews Therin." Rand recovers, stating, "I am Rand al'Thor!" Lanfear warns Rand that he cannot trust Asmodean, he is there only to teach Rand. Lanfear also says that Rahvin sent the Darkhound. Rand questions this; Asmodean told him that Rahvin looks to his own interests. Why not Sammael or Demandred or Semirhage or Moghedien? Lanfear responds that Rahvin is in Caemlyn and he fears Rand will interfere with his plans for Andor and Cairhien.[5]

Lanfear leaves through a gateway as someone knocks on the door. The clan chiefs have come to speak with him. Rhuarc reports that the Shaido are moving toward the Jangai Pass. Rand decides to move toward the Jangai Pass as well.

More Rand POV

Notes (Possible Spoilers)#

[#1] Moiraine and Lan encountered Darkhound in Illian, sent by Sammael. (TDR,Ch44) Does that imply that he sent these as well?
[#2] The most dramatic change in their relationship when Rand finally takes control.
[#3] Against Be'lal in the Heart of the Stone. (TDR,Ch55)
[#4] Graendal speculated that Rand was Lews Therin in the flesh, not just his spirit recycled. (TFoH,Prologue)
[#5] The plan is to send Rand against Sammael, so why is Lanfear directing Rand toward Rahvin? Did Rahvin really send the Darkhound or is this a lie? Everything else she says appears to be true.

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