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Title: ** Episode V: The Darkfriends Strike Back **
Posted By: Phoenix
Posted On: 6/16/99 1:30:38 PM


[Directorís note: this one is even longer than Episode IV. But if you love WoT and SW, then read on! If I promised you a role and you are not in it, never fear! There are still more episodes to come! If you missed Episode IV: A NEW THREAD, e-mail me]









A short time ago, in a web site close, close by...







(Begin dramatic music)






WHEEL
WARS





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Episode V
THE DARKFRIENDS STRIKE BACK


The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and go, leaving memories that fade to legend, and legend fades to myth even myth is long forgotten by the time the age that gave it birth comes round again. In an age called the third age by some, a wind arose in a web site called DRAGONMOUNT. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

Since the destruction of the dreaded DEATH TERíANGREAL, the AES SEDAI have returned the AMYRLIN to her rightful Seat and offered her rescuers shelter in the WHITE TOWER. Uncomfortable with his new surroundings, but unable to leave, JARRON ALíSKYWALKER is secretly learning the ways of the SOURCE. Meanwhile DEMANDRED, consumed with hatred and determined to find young ALíSKYWALKER, has secretly set up spies all around, and inside the WHITE TOWER...



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Jarron alíSkywalker sat on his horse Bela a few miles outside of Tar Valon to the west and looked around. The sun was sinking and it was almost time to return to the White Tower. He wanted desperately to flee, but he knew he would be tracked down. The Amyrlin knew what he could do. And if she let word out, the Red Ajah would gentle him. The thought made him shiver. Looking up, he saw Dragonmount, the massive and fabulous mountain that had stood there since the breaking of the world. Legend had it that the Dragon, the greatest of the male Aes Sedai, died there 3,000 years ago. Smoke rose from the mountainís broken peak and Jarron wondered just what kind of Power it had to have taken to create such a massive object.

Shaking his head, Jarron came back to reality. He looked to his right and saw Sam dí ma Solo sitting on his horse next to Darksmoon. The three of them had come out looking for some trollocs that had been reported in the area. "Echo 3 to Echo 7, Sam come in old buddy," called Jarron loudly.

"I hear you kid," Sam called back. "And why are you calling me ĎEchoí?"

"I donít know. I just felt like doing it. It seemed right," said Jarron. "Iím going to go look in one more place. You go ahead back to the Tower and Iíll meet you there."

"Sounds good. buddy. Be careful out there."

"I will. Over and out." Sam and Darks turned and galloped back towards the Tower. Jarron turned and cantered down a small hill, heading west. He had a strange feeling that there was something dangerous near here. He could not place it though. Was it evil? Was it Dragonmount? Some said that the mountain was evil. His skin began to tingle and he wondered what that meant.

Suddenly he felt a hard smack across his chest and he was thrown to the ground. He gasped for air and when it finally returned he saw that he was down on his hands and knees. He looked up to see a woman standing there with her arms crossed underneath her breasts. She sniffed at him and gave him a hard stare.

"Serafelle?" he asked. What in the Light was she doing here?

"Iím going to teach you a lesson Jarron alíSkywalker," said the Brown Aes Sedai. "You wrote an entire story last week and it had terrible grammar! I will not tolerate such filth! Youíre coming with me to my study and Iím going to teach you better!"

His skin tingled again and he felt the world darkening. Within a moment, he was asleep.

***
Jarron awoke to find himself hanging upside down inside a small library. Books were everywhere and papers covered a nearby desk. He was very dizzy still. Why was he hanging upside down? In the next room over, he saw a shadow of a woman looking through a book. Jarron closed his eyes. Must be quiet, he though. I canít let her know Iím awake. He looked at his feet and saw that he was tied up very tight. His sword was over on the desk, well out of his reach. Fear began to creep in, but he quickly pushed it away.

He then relaxed and formed a small flame in his mind. He fed it all of his emotions and became one with the room he was in. In the corner of his mind, he sensed a small pulsing glow and he reached for it... It bit back at him, but he grasped at the raging Source. With a final grab, he seized it and the Power filled him. He could not really explain what he did, but he wove Air and tried to attach the weave to his sword. His hand reached for it and the sword wiggled, knocking over an ink bottle.

"Is that you alíSkywalker?" said Serafelle. "Good, let us begin." The shadow rose and began to move towards the room Jarron was in.

Concentrating harder, he reached out to the sword... and suddenly it flew into his hand. He grabbed it and cut the ropes at his feet. With a crash, he landed on the floor and stood up.

"What is going on?" screamed Serafelle. "What are you doing?!"

He felt his skin tingle and he panicked. What he did next he could not remember, but it involved Spirit. He lashed out with it and Serafelleís face went blank with terror. "Merciful Light, youíve shielded me! You can CHANNEL?"

Jarron didnít know what to do. He sent some Air her way and she fell over backwards, now immobilized. He ran towards a nearby window and jumped out. That was his mistake. Down he fell several stories and landed smack in the middle of a garden. The Source left him and so did consciousness.

***
Sam and Darksmoon returned to the White Tower and dismounted. C3P-J0e and RU-Lone-Wolf were there to greet them. "Hello Captain Sam," said J0e. "Welcome back."

Ignoring him, Sam turned to Darksmoon. "Get the Millenium Falcon Carriage ready. We need to go pay off our debts." Darksmoon howled and went to do as he was told.

"How rude," said J0e as he watched Sam walk right past him. RU-Lone-Wolf mumbled something. "What do you mean?" said J0e. "Of course I donít annoy him."

Sam walked through the Tower and up all the many flights of stairs to the floor with the Amyrlinís Study there. At the door, he saw Chissa Sedai, Keeper of the Chronicles. "Hello Chissa Sedai," he said. "I wish to see the Amyrlin."

Chissa looked him up and down a moment. "Only if you correctly answer one of my brain teasers."

Sam looked confused. "Why?"

Chissa looked at him as if he were being completely illogical. "Because, itís only logical that you do."

Sam didnít want to waste any more time. "Fine, ask away."

"One fine summer day, two sons and two fathers went fishing in the Fingers of the Dragon near Tear. By the end of the day, each had caught one fish, with a total of three fish. How could this be?"

Sam thought a moment. "The answer is simple Chissa. Come on... There were actually only three fishermen: a boy, his father and his grandfather." He gave her a cocky smile.

Chissa stamped her foot. "Blood and Ashes!" she cursed. "Foiled again!" With that, she sung the doors open wide. Sam walked in and saw Kathana Justinia Trevalaer, the Flame of Tar Valon, the Amyrlin Seat sitting at her desk. She was writing some silly story at the moment. Seeing him come in, she looked up. "Yes, Sam?"

"Mother, Iíve come to tell you that I need to go. I have some old debts to pay and I canít wait any longer."

Kathana stood up. "But Sam, you canít go. Youíre a male channeler."

"I know who I am, Kathana. But I donít think thatís the reason you want me to go."

"Oh, and so why donít I want you to go?" said Kathana calmly.

Sam smiled a cocky grin. "I donít think that youíre willing to let a great looking guy like myself out of your sight."

Kathana rolled her eyes. "Youíre imagining things."

"Am I?" said Sam. "Come on, admit it. Youíre crazy about me. How about a kiss?"

"Iíd as soon kiss a wolfbrother!" Kathana retorted.

"I can arrange that!" yelled Sam.

Kathanaís face contorted and turned red. "Why Ió" she began, but was cut off by J0e running into the room.

"Oh dear! Mother! Master alíSkywalker has not reported back in yet! Yveva Sedai says that she saw Serafelle stalking out after him earlier and neither of them have returned!"

Sam turned and ran out of the room. "Where are you going Fly-boy?" asked the Amyrlin.

"Thatís my friend out there and Iím not going to let him get lectured by Serafelle." He ran out of the room and went to the stables outside. J0e followed behind him.

"Come on Darks, we need to go rescue Jarron." Darks howled. As Sam was mounting up, a woman in yellow fringed robes came up to him.

"Sam, you can not go out there without a coat on! Youíll freeze!"

"Iíll be fine Therva," replied Sam as he rolled his eyes.

"No you wonít. Lanfir intends to bond you and I wonít have you getting sick."

"Sir," said J0e, "Lone-Wolf tells me that the odds of getting a cold in this night weather are approximately 10 to 1."

Sam spurred his horse to a gallop. "Iíll take my chances!" he called back.

Darksmoon looked at Therva and winked. Letting out a howl, he galloped after Sam.

***
Slowly, Jarron regained consciousness. His head was spinning.

"Jarron," said a deep, voice. The sound seemed to echo in his mind. Jarron looked up and saw a ghostly image of Obi-Wan Connorobi in front of him.

Jarronís eyes bulged. "Connorobi!" he gasped.

"Jarron," said the ghost. "You will go to Haddon Mirk. There you will find Ender Wiggin, the Ashaíman who instructed me."
The ghost began to fade and Jarron reached out to him in pain. "Connorobi!" he called. The ghost vanished and Jarron saw Sam ride up on a horse. His head sagged again and he fell back into unconsciousness.
***

Back at the Tower, Therva Sedai of the Yellow Ajah watched as Jarron slowly woke up. "There, there, youíll be okay. Drink some of this herb-tea and youíll be as good as new."

Jarron drank the nasty tea but he did feel better. As Therva left, Sam, Darksmoon, and Kathana walked into the room. "Hey kid," said Sam. "You look healthy enough to pull the arms off a Trolloc."

"Yeah, thanks to you. Thatís two you owe me, Junior."

Kathana spoke up. "Jarron, thereís something I need to tell you. I was hoping to tell you earlier to give us time, but this is the only chance weíll have. Time is urgent."

Jarron and Sam were both confused. "What is it?" asked Jarron.

The Amyrlin Seat sighed. "The Red Ajah knows about you."

Jarronís mind spun. He became dizzy again. It was a good thing he was already lying down. "What? Why are you telling me this now?" he asked.

"Because Serafelle knows you can channel. Sheís telling everybody else in the Tower. You need to leave now or theyíll gentle you. Worse, they might bond you!"

Samís face was full of sarcasm. "Great time to tell her Your Highness. Lookó"

He was cut off by a large crash. Matalina, one of the head warders came running into the room. "Mother," we are being attacked by darkfriends! Our scouts report that Lord Demandred is with them!"

Kathana looked at Jarron. "He somehow knows who you are. Leave! Go and do whatever you need to do to win the Last Battle!"

Sam frowned down at Jarron and then back at Kathana. "Heíll kill you too, your Highness. Come with me, Darksmoon and I will keep you safe."

Jarron stood up and put the rest of his clothes on. "Iím leaving right now. Iíll take Lone-Wolf with me." With one last look at his friends, he ran out of the room.

Kathana shot Sam a hard stare. "I go where I choose, Fly-Boy!"

Sam blinked. "Why do you call me 'Fly Boy'?"

Kathana stood there a moment. "Never mind. I donít know."

Grabbing her arm, he led her towards the stables. "Letís go! Darksmoon! Get the Falcons lined up! Bring J0e along as well!"

Warders and Aes Sedai were running all over the place. Sam wondered how the Darkfriends actually made it within the Tower walls. He looked around and... there. He sensed it. Over nearby, he saw a gateway from which trollocs were coming out. The gateway was made with saidin and he saw the weaves. Just then, they reached the stables and saw that there were trollocs fighting warders all over the place.

"Sam," said Kathana. "I canít go! I need to stay here and lead the Tower!"

"Donít worry Mother," said a voice. They turned and saw Lanfir standing there with 12 other Aes Sedai. Each were glowing with the light of saidar. Some of them even held small statues that were probably angreals. "We will handle this. They must be here to kill you. Leave with Sam and we will not let the Tower fall! The Battle Ajah stands ready!" With that, Lanfir and her crew charged into the fray and trollocs started to explode left and right.

Sam gave Kathana a pointed look. "Alight, Iíll go with you," she grumbled.

They hopped onto the Millenium Falcon Horse carriage and charged off, out of the gates.

***
Jarron and Lone-Wolf mounted up a few minutes before Sam and the Amyrlin reached the stables. The Amyrlinís servants had already packed supplies for them, so it was just a short amount of time before they left the Tower grounds. As they headed out Jarron could feel a pull from the south. Haddon Mirk. Connorobi had said to go there to find the great Ashaíman Ender Wiggin. He and Lone-Wolf headed south at a fast pace, heading into the unknown.

***
Demandred, the Naeíblis, stood on the far western bank of the river looking at the island city of Tar Valon. His figure was cloaked all in black and his eyes were covered with the sa. Mordib, one of his generals came to him to report. "Master, our forces have been destroyed. The Aes Sedai were too many and too powerful. Every trolloc was destroyed. They had angreals and they formed many circles of 13.

Demandredís temper flared. The sa blazed and he squeezed his fist in rage. "What of the Amyrlin? What of Sam dí ma Solo? More importantly, what of alíSkywalker?" Not getting a response, he looked at his general and saw that he was choking him with the True Power.

"Oops," he said. "Sorry." Releasing the Power, Mordib gasped for breath.

When he could speak again, he did so. "They left together. They rode out of the city and headed south in a large carriage."

Demandred swung around. "Follow them then! I want that carriage!"

Mordib bowed. "It shall be as you command."

***
The Millenium Falcon Carriage rocketed south. Sam was almost completely confident that they had gotten away when suddenly he heard the charge of fast horses behind them. He looked back and saw dozens of black horses being ridden by dark halfmen. "Weíve got company!"

The riders were gaining fast. "Great! What now FlyóI mean... What now, Sam?!" said Kathana.

Sam looked all around. "There," he said pointing to a nearby cliff. Several hundred yards away a large gap had been cut into the earth. It seemed almost like a great giant had walked across the land dragging an axe, carving a deep crevice into the ground. "Weíll go there."

Kathanaís jaw dropped. "WHAT!? Are you crazy? We canít go down there!"

"Theyíd be crazy to follow us, right?" Sam took the reins of the Falcon horses and swung them towards the crevice. Down they plunged the sheer rock cliff. Just before they tumbled down and were about to roll over, Sam channeled Air and they smoothly glided down.

"Smart, Fly Boy," said Kathana.

Sam just grinned at her.

***
Jarron and Lone-Wolf galloped south at a quick pace. After a few hours, they came to rest at a stream. Lone-Wolf mumbled something. "I know, Lone-Wolf," said Jarron. "Weíll take forever if we keep going like this. There has to be a faster way."

Lone-Wolf sighed and said the not-so-obvious. Jarron frowned upon hearing it. "But I donít know how to Travel yet! I donít know how to do anything." Jarron picked up a smooth stone and threw it across the stream. It skipped a few times and then plunged down. Seeing that, something suddenly clicked with Jarron. Like all of his other abilities, he could not explain what was happening. Without thinking, he seized the Source and channeled. In his mind he saw the stone skipping across the water. He could feel it and see how it did that. He watched in amazement as he wove the flows unconsciously and a doorway rotated open. On the other side was nothing but darkness, and a large, flat smooth stone, just like the one he just channeled.

Lone-Wolf whistled and asked a question.

"I donít know, Lone-Wolf," Jarron replied. "I just did what the stone did. I guess you can call this Skipping or maybe... Skimming."

Lone-Wolf shrugged and stepped though the gateway. Jarron joined them. The door behind them closed and the giant stone began to fly into the darkness.

"I sure hope this works," said Jarron with very little confidence.

***
Demandred listened quietly as Mordib gave the report about the Millenium Falcon Carriage descending into the crevice. "...and so you see Master, it will be difficult for the horses to climb down there." Mordib waited for an answer.

Demandred looked at him hard. "Deep crevices in the earth do not concern me, Mordib. I want that Carriage and I want them alive!"

Mordib bowed deeply and turned away to leave. Just then, Demandred felt saidin being channeled. He waited a moment and then a gateway opened up as he expected. Ishamael stepped out. His face was dark and his voice was even more so. "Naeíblis, the Great Lord requests your presence in the Pit of Doom immediately."

Demandred nodded. He called back to Mordib. "On second thought, do not waste any more time. Bring me some bounty hunters. I will return shortly."

He walked right past Ishamael and ripped open his own gateway. This gateway lead to the Pit of Doom. As he stepped though, he felt the heat of the dark mountain against his body. Before him was the path that led down into the heart of the mountain. Closing the gateway behind him, he walked down. Above him, sharp rocks hung near his head. Not close enough to touch though. He knew the Great Lord looked upon him with favor.

He arrived at a ledge that overlooked a huge molten pit of lava. Here he could feel the Great Lordís presence. He knelt before the Pit and a voice boomed in his head.

"THERE IS A GRAVE DISTURBANCE IN THE SOURCE."

"Yes, my Master," Demandred replied.

"WE HAVE A NEW EMEMY. JARRON ALíSKYWALKER. HE MUST BE DESTROYED."

Demandred nodded but then had another idea. "What if he can be turned, my Master?"

The voice in his head was silent for a moment. Demandred wondered if he had angered the Great Lord. If he had, he would not leave here alive.

"DEMANDRED, WOULD YOU BE NAEíBLIS?"

Confused, Demandred answered with: "Master, I already am the Naeíblis."

There was another pause. "OH YES, I FORGOT. VERY WELL THEN. YOUNG ALíSKYWALKER WOULD MAKE A POWERFUL ALLY.

Demandred bowed his head, very pleased. "He will join us or die, Master."

***
Jarron and RU-Lone-Wolf stepped off the stone disc and walked through the door that had opened before them. They stepped out into a heavily wooded forest. Lone-Wolf whistled. "Yup, this must be it," said Jarron. "Haddon Mirk. Now if we can only find this Ender Wiggin." They walked a bit and they felt very odd. The trees were dense and little light made it to where they were.

"I donít like this, Lone-Wolf," said Jarron. "Iíve got the feelingó"

"Looking for something, are you?" said a quirky voice.

Jarron spun around and drew his sword. "ólike weíre being watched," he finished. Before him stood a tiny man, who looked really frail and sickly. His face almost seemed green to Jarron.

The small figure covered his head. "Away put your weapons, I mean you no harm?"

Jarron relaxed after a moment. "Who are you?"

"A friend am I?" replied the man.

"Why are you talking like that?" asked Jarron.

"Why you talk like you, hmm?" was the response.

Jarron nodded and lowered his sword. "I am Jarron alíSkywalker. I am looking for a powerful Ashaíman. He is a man who makes the world shake and kings bow. He is a man who has defeated thousands of darkfriends in his life and is a bane to the Dark One. Do you know where he is?

The little man nodded vigorously. "Ahhh, you seek Ender Wiggin. Know him I do!"

Jarronís eyes lit up. "You know him!"

"Yes, yes I will show him to you! He is here now!" said the man. "Turn around and I will bring him out!"

Jarron looked confused. "Turn around? But why?"

"Do it or I show him I will not," insisted the tiny man as he thumped his small walking stick on the ground.

Rolling his eyes, Jarron turned his back to the small man. He gave Lone-Wolf a glance to reassure himself that he would not be shot in the back with an arrow. A moment passed and then suddenly Jarron felt the little man kick him in the behind. "Ouch! Stop that!" He whilred around to see only the small little man. "Well," said Jarron, rubbing his rear. "Where is he?"

"Here am I" said the man.

"Youíre Ender Wiggin?"

The man nodded silently.

Jarronís jaw dropped. "But youíre supposed to..."

"What am I to be?" said Ender. "A tall grand hero like yourself, hmm?"

Jarron still was shocked. "I was expecting somebody taller. I thought Ender was a great warrior."

"Wars not make one great," replied Ender. "but strong am I with the Source."

Jarron nodded. "Will you train me to channel and become an Ashaíman?" he asked.

Ender looked at him a moment. "No, should I say, yet the world depends on it. Come, we begin now. Your friend, the horses he must care for."

Jarron looked at Lone-Wolf and nodded. The warder nodded back saying he understood. "Lead the way," Jarron said to Ender. "Lead the way, Master Wiggin," he corrected himself.

***
The Millenium Falcon Horse carriage stood at the bottom of the deep crevice, hidden underneath a rock. They had been there for awhile, not daring to move in fear of being caught.

"Do you think we lost them?" asked Kathana. She was sitting in the front with Sam. Darksmoon and J0e had gone to the back to fix a broken wheel.

Sam thought a moment and replied. "I think so. They would have found us by now. Trollocs usually wonít do crazy things like this, but any halfman would follow us down. Especially if a Forsaken was leading them.

There was an uncomfortable silence. Kathana then spoke up. "How long have you been channeling?" she asked quietly.

Sam frowned. "Since I was in my early twenties. It was not pleasant then."

Kathana looked at him a moment. He turned and looked right into her eyes. "You were a darkfriend, werenít you?" she breathed. "A dreadlord!"

Sam held her gaze and then looked away. "Yes."

Kathana sat back in her seat. "But why--?"

"Why did I do it?" Sam snapped back. "Why did I come back then? I did it for somebody that I loved. But they betrayed me. I saw that the Dark One gives lies as promises. I didnít want the power he promised." He stopped and looked at her. "But I am passed that. Iíve dealt with it and Iíve paid my dues. Yes, I should be gentled, but I donít know if I can live without the feel of saidin."

"Thank you," said Kathana.

Sam blinked. "What for?"

"For saving me," she replied. "I never thanked you. And thank you also for confiding in me." She put her hand on his lap and he gazed it a moment before taking it in his hand. "What are you doing?" she asked quietly.

"Holding your hand," said Sam.

"Donít," she responded. "My hands are dirty."

Sam grinned. "My hands are dirty too. Youíre trembling now."

Kathana looked up at him. "I am not," she said, her voice shaking. "I am the Amyrlin Seat. I am the perfect representation of what a calm Aes Sedai should be."

Sam leaned closer. "Youíre afraid of me," he said. "Cause Iím a scoundrel."

"Iím afraid of you cause youíre a darkfriend!" she replied weekly. After a moment she went on. "Well, youíre not a darkfriend. But I happen to like nice men."

"Iím a nice guy," said Sam as he leaned even closer.

"No youíre not. Youíre aó" she was cut off as her lips met his and she melted into his arms.


[Directorís Note: This may be the last edition of Wheel Wars that I write because Jenn is going to kill me for that!]


"SIR!" came C3P-J0eís voice. "Weíve fixed the wheel, sir!"

Sam looked up and gave a hard stare at J0e. "Very good. THANK you!" he said sarcastically. Kathana hopped down from her seat and went to the back.

"No problem, Sir!" said J0e happily. "Glad to have been of service to you!"

***
Aldazar stood in the line of several bounty hunters. Lord Demandred walked back and forth between them, looking at each of them. He did not like the Dark Lord, but you could not argue against such an opponent.

"I want you to capture the Millenium Falcon Carriage and take all the prisoners alive!" Demandred was saying right then. "No balefire! Use any other means necessary. The Great Lord will reward you handsomely."

Demandred came and stood directly in front of Aldazar. "Do not fail me."

"As you wish," he replied.

***
Jarron ran through the forest, jumping over stones and ducking under branches. Saidin blazed through him and he could feel and see more than he normally could. Even as he ran with Ender on his back, he could see fine details in the trees. He could hear the snail moving and see each leaf as it fluttered in the wind. "Yes, yes," Ender was saying. "Feel the Source flow through you. Concentrate on it. Let it flow."

For days now he had been training. He had lost track of time days ago. With Master Wigginís training though, he had learned more of saidin and of himself. He had become confident with his Power. He knew he was strong.

They came now to a halt and Jarron rested. Ender jumped off his back and sat down. "Rest now," said the small man. "Rest. Relax and feel the Source."

Jarron closed his eyes. He was ready. "I am done now right? I am an Ashaíman?" he asked.

"No!" said Ender. "Strong are you in the Source, but ready you are not. I sense much impatience in you. Impatience leads to anger and anger leads to hate. Those are the paths of the dark side of the Source."

Jarron nodded, understanding. "Master Wiggin, is the dark side stronger?" he asked, full of curiosity.

"No!" he replied vigorously. "Easier, more seductive it is. But not more powerful."

"What of the taint?" asked Jarron. "Am I to die?"

Ender hesitated a moment before answering. "The taint covers saidin. Reeks of the dark side it does. Only a master of evil can avoid it. But we all have our destinies. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. Where it spins us, even I can not say. To some, the Wheel makes a pattern around. With a few, all threads are spun around it. Very rare are the taíveren. Very special they are. And very dangerous. The Dragon Reborn: break the world again will he. Pray for your salvation, young one."

There was a long pause and neither said anything. Finally Ender spoke up. "Come, eat we must. Nothing more will I teach you today."

They went then to Enderís home, but all along the way, Jarron was filled with questions.

***
Sam examined the fixed wheel. It looks solid and ready to go. "Well, weíre ready to go," he announced. Kathana and Darksmoon nodded before heading towards the carriage.

Sam sighed. "But weíre not going to go that way," he said.

They looked at him like he was crazy. Sam grinned. "I saw a gateway back at Tar Valon that was made by Demandred or another one of the Forsaken. I think I can re-create one."

Kathanaís jaw dropped. "You mean you know how to Travel? Why didnít you tell us before?"

Sam grinned. "You never asked. Stand aside." He seized saidin and began to weave the flows. Within a few seconds, a semi-large gateway opened up. Just tall enough to get the Falcon horses and Carriage through.

"Where does it lead?" asked Kathana.

"To Tear," he replied. I have an old friend there that will take care of us for a while."

Darksmoon and J0e walked through the gateway, taking the Falcon horses and carriage along.

Kathana smiled. "You have your moments," she said, and kissed him on the cheek. "Not many of them, but you did well this time."

Sam smiled as he led her through the gateway to Tear.

***

Up above, Aldazar saw and overheard the entire conversation. He nodded to himself and began climbing back up to inform Lord Demandred of the events that he saw.

***
The gateway opened right in the middle of Tear. Actually it opened up right next to the entrance to the Stone of Tear. The gateway closed and the companions looked around. "So where is your friend?" asked Kathana.

Before Sam could answer, an arrow flew by and landed right on the side of the Falcon Carriage. A voice called out. "Who goes there?" it demanded. A man dressed in armor stepped out from behind a pillar next to the Stoneís entrance. His coat had the insignia of the Band of the Red Hand on it.

Sam puts his hands up. "Weíre here to see Aldiran. Tell him that Sam dí ma Solo is here to see him."

The man nodded to a second person that showed up next to him. Both were armed with swords as well as bows. "Very well. But until then, youíll have to remain right where you are." The second man hopped on a horse and rode off towards the city.

"Who is this Aldiran guy?" asked Kathana. "He doesnít sound like a welcoming kind of person."

"Donít worry," said Sam. "Aldiran and I go way back. Heís one of the reasons I left my previous... employer. Heís a good man."

Almost a quarter of an hour passed before the guard returned. Behind him two other men walked. One was decked out in military pins and insignias, and the other was a more casual man dressed like a wealthy landowner. Sam smiled at the latter. "Heyyy, howís it going?" he said to him.

The rich man who was obviously the leader of the band, looked Sam right in the eyes. "Why you no-good, double-crossing, bloody son of a Ė" with that he jumped out at Sam.

Darksmoon jumped forward as well but was too late. Aldiran jumped out and hugged Sam. "Hey buddy!" he exclaimed. "How ya doing? Why didnít you tell me you were coming? Come on in! Darksmoon, whatís new? Is this loser still hanging out with you? And who are your--" he cut off as he laid his eyes on Kathana. "Heellloo, what have we got here?" He walked over to the Amyrlin and took her hand to kiss it. "My name is Aldiran and I am the Commander of the Band of the Red Hand. We are the most elite fighting force between the Sea of Storms and Shayol Ghul itself. You are most welcome here with us."

Sam cut in. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you old smoothie," he said. Taking Kathanaís hand he went on. "We need a place to hide out right now. We have some bad people following us and we need a place to be safe."

Aldiran bowed. "The Stone of Tear has not fallen in 3,000 years and will not do so until the Dragon Reborn himself comes to herald in the end of the world. I would not worry about it. You will be safe." He gave them a reassuring smile.

J0e approached Aldiran and offered his hand. "Hello Sir, I am C3P-J0e, Human-warder relations..." Aldiran ignored him and moved towards the Stone.

"How rude," commented J0e.

They went then into the Stone and Aldiran showed gave them a short tour. "As Iíve mentioned," he explained, "the Stone of Tear has never fallen in 3,000 years. Right now, the Band is in charge of defending it. The Defenders of the Stone are off fighting Illian right now. I am very close with the High Lords and so they trust us to take care of things."

He led them deeper into the Stone as he explained more. "Of course, in the Heart of the Stone is the Sword that is Not a Sword. Callandor sits there suspended in air and waits for the coming of the Dragon Reborn."

"Thatís funny," said the Amyrlin Seat to Sam. "I have a servant back at the Tower named Callandor. He pretty much sits around also!"

As they were walking, J0e heard a sound behind a door. The door opened and a warder came walking out. "Oh, hello there!" said J0e.

"Eat a bloody goat," said the other warder.

Shocked, J0e replied "How rude!" He looked inside the room and saw somebodyís feet lying on the ground. "Oh dear," he said.

He walked into the room and looked around the corner. "You!" he cried. The sound still hung in the air as death took him.


[Directorís note: So who killed him huh? Come on people, itís OBVIOUS!!! Jeez, all the evidence is there. Hell it was there in Book 5! It was NOT Moridin, and donít give me this "Aviendha-did-it" or "Moiraine-did-it" stuff. I know that it was... Oops sorry. I got carried away. Letís rewind this video-tape and do it right...]


He walked into the room and looked around the corner. "Oh dear!" he cried. "What are youó" he was cut off as a large paw punched him in the face.

***
Back in the hallway, Aldiran led the companions to their rooms. He bid them to rest and freshen up for dinner later in the evening. While they were doing that, Kathana noticed something. "Whereís J0e?" she asked.

Noticing it now himself, Sam shook his head. "I donít know. Darks, why donít you go see if you can find him." Darks nodded and grunted and left the room to go search for the warder.

When he returned he carried J0e in his arms. J0e had a large bruise on his face and his leg was broken. "What happened!" cried Kathana.

Darksmoon quickly explained where he found their friend. "You found him in an narrow corridor all bruised up?" asked Sam when he heard the story. Darksmoon grunted an affirmative.

Just then, Aldiran walked back into the room. "Dinner is ready and Iíve come to bring you to our table!" he said. Then his eyes fell on J0e. "What happened to your warder? Is he all right? Iíll get a healer..."

Sam stopped him. "No, everythingís fine," he said. "Weíll take care of him." He looked at Kathana and knew that she did not trust this man.

Aldiran looked at him a moment and then nodded. "Have it your way," he said. "Now if youíll just follow me this way," he motioned.

The Commander of the Band led Sam, Kathana, and Darksmoon down some more halls until they came to some large doors. Aldiran was explaining again how wonderful the Band of the Red Hand was and how they serve Tear and no other. "As a matter of fact," said Aldiran as he opened the doors to the banquet hall, "Iíve just made a deal that will assure Tear will never fall." He opened the doors and Sam and his companions looked inside.

Sitting on the far side of the room, dressed all in black, was Demandred. He stood up calmly. Sam instantly reached for saidin, as did Kathana, but both of them found a solid shield slammed into place from the Dark Lord. Sam tried to break it, but it would not budge. He was no match for Demandredís strength in the Power. Kathana did not look like she was having much luck either. Darksmoon howled and drew his sword. Instantly, it flew out of his hands and landed in Demandredís. Within a moment, trollocs and halfmen surrounded Sam and his crew.

Demandred spoke up then. "We would be honored, if you would join us," he said in a dark voice.

Sam looked accusingly at Aldiran. The Commander returned his gaze. "I had no choice," he said. "They arrived right before you did and threatened to take over the Stone if I did not comply."

Sam looked away from him and looked to Kathana. Her Aes Sedai calm was gone and she looked scared.

***
In the heart of Haddon Mirk, Jarron stood balanced on his hands. The Power coursed through his body and we wove no less than twelve weaves at once. Ender was standing on Jarronís feet, perfectly balanced as Jarron supported him with Air. "Yes, yes feel the Source flow through you. Concentrate. Relax. Be one with the flame!"

Jarron watched as the flows he made supported themselves. He had learned to tie off weaves and how to distinguish different flows apart.

Ender continued talking. "Through saidin, you may see other places. Other times and other lives." His voice was soft and quiet, yet Jarron could hear it crystal clear. He could see other places. He looked into the Void and he felt his friends. He felt pain. The sensation was so strong that he began to lose balance. Saidin surged in him and threatened to wipe him out. He quickly released the Source and he tumbled to the ground, bringing Ender right with him.

Ender made it back to his feet and sighed. "Control, control! You must learn control!"

Jarron ignored him. "I saw a Sword that is not a Sword," he said quietly. "I saw my friends and they were in pain."

Ender nodded. "It is the future you see," he said. "Always emotions the future is."

"I must go there," Jarron said. He stood up and went to get his stuff.

Ender grabbed his pant leg as he passed by. "Not finished are you. Not ready for this are you."

Jarron shook him off. "I must go to them. Theyíll die if I donít."

"You donít know that Jarron," said a ghostly voice. Jarron looked up and saw Connorobiís ghost standing there. "Even Master Wiggin can not see their fate. A lot rests on your shoulders and you can not be risked."

Jarron looked at the two of them. "A lot rests on my shoulders?" he said as he shook his head. "The only thing that matters and rests on my shoulders are their lives. I will not risk them! Lone-Wolf! Letís go!"

As soon as Lone-Wolf brought over the horses, Jarron opened up a gateway. He had learned to Travel and so he created a very large door for which they could use. As he buckled on his heron-marked sword, Ender called to him. "Mind what you have learned! Save you it can!"

Connorobi called to him as well. "I can not help you if you go Jarron! You are on your own. Beware the dark side of the Source! You will be tempted by it!"

Jarron nodded to them both. "I will be careful and I will return. I promise." With that, he stepped through the doorway and Lone-Wolf followed him. The door rotated shut and Ender stood there in the forestís shadows with the ghost of Connorobi.

"That boy is our only hope," said Connorobi.

Ender sighed. "Pray we must, that the taint does not get him."

***
Demandred watched with glee, as Sam was tortured. The miserable worm had forsaken the Great Lord and become a Lightfool. He would suffer immensely. After a while, he become bored. He motioned to the halfman who stood there, and the creature stopped his pain infliction.

Sam was then dragged back to his room and dumped on the floor. Kathana, who had been waiting there, went to him and stoked his hair. "What did they do to you?" she asked sadly.

Sam closed his eyes and tried not to move. "They didnít even ask me any questions."

On the other side of the room, Darksmoon whimpered. Kathana looked over and saw that J0e was waking up. "My leg!" he said. "They broke my leg! Trollocs are here, Mother!"

Kathana smiled at him. "We know J0e," she said. "Thank you. Youíll be alright. Darksmoon can carry you on his back for now."

J0e sighed. Just then, the door opened and Aldiran walked in. Darksmoonís hackles rose. Sam sat up and looked at him. "What do you want?"

Aldiran looked really stressed. "Be quiet!" he snapped. "Look, Demandred has agreed to give Sam to the bounty hunter. The rest of you can stay with me."

Sam stood up and moved towards Aldiran. "You bloody son of a goat--!" he said. With that, he planted a hard punch on the Aldiranís face. Immediately, two guards came over and started kicking Sam.

"Assatur, stop it!" yelled Aldiran. Turning back to Sam he said, "Look, Iíve done all I can. I have my own problems."

"Yeah," said Sam. "Some hero you are."

***
Aldiran led Sam, Kathana, Darksmoon, and J0e, who was being carried on the wolfbrotherís back, to the Heart of the Stone. Massive, red column pillars reached to the roof, which was virtually hidden by the deep shadows above. In the center of the room there was a crystal sword that floated above the ground. It hovered there and rotated slowly. Under it, stood Demandred and several halfmen. Aldazar, the bounty hunter stood there as well.

Demandred looked at the new arrivals and smiled. The saa blazed in his eyes. "This is Callandor," he said. "One of the most powerful saíangreal ever to be created in the Age of Legends. It waits for the Dragon Reborn to come and claim it. Tonight, it will be mine!"

Kathana laughed. "Silly Forsaken! The Dragon hasnít been reborn yet!"

Demandred laughed back, imitating her own laugh. "Silly Amyrlin, he has been and you are the bait to bring him!"

Kathanaís heart sank and Samís jaw dropped. Demandred smiled. "Yes, the Dragon walks again, but this time he will join the Great Lord in his triumph!"

"Oh dear," said J0e.

Aldazar walked forward. "Now what of Sam?" he said. Heís worth a lot to me."

Demandred nodded and motioned to one of the halfmen. "Bring him over here by Callandor!" The Eyeless creature pushed Sam over near the Sword.

"No!" cried Kathana. Darksmoon howled and punched another one of the halfmen. Some trollocs drew their evil-looking swords and ran over there.

Sam saw what was about to happen and tried to stop it. "Darksmoon! Stop it!" Darks stopped and let the halfmen tie his arms up. "The Amyrlin," said Sam, "You need to take care of her. Watch her and donít leave her side!"

Darksmoon grunted a sad affirmative.

Forcing himself to look at Kathana then, Sam saw the agony on her face. She looked him in the eyes. "I love you," she said.

"I know," he replied solemnly. He was then roughly pushed underneath the Sword and Demandred turned towards him.

"What if he doesnít survive?" asked Aldazar.

Demandred cracked his knuckles. "Shayol Ghul will compensate you if he dies."

Aldazar nodded. Demandred lifted his hands and channeled. A cold blue beam flew from his hands and slammed into Samís chest. The force of the blast knocked him back a bit and his hands went up in the air. As they did, he became frozen solid. His skin and clothes turned blue and he became a giant form of ice. With a loud crash, his ice form fell to the ground.

Aldazar knelt next to him and listened for a heartbeat. After a long moment, he stood up. "Heís alive."

Demandred nodded. "Good," he said. "You can take the worm to Jonaítha the Hutt now. Take the Amyrlin and wolfbrother to my chambers. I will wait here for Lews Therin. Everyone else must leave.

Aldiran snapped back. "That was not part of our agreement!"

Demandred looked at him. "I donít care. If you speak up again, Iíll balefire you!"

With that, the Amyrlin was led away, Aldazar carried out Sam, and everyone else left, to leave Demandred alone in the Hall of the Stone of Tear.

***
The gateway opened up and Jarron stepped through. Lone-Wolf was right behind him. They were deep in the Stone of Tear. Jarron drew his sword and motioned to Lone-Wolf.

"You go that way," said Jarron. "Iíll go this way." Lone-Wolf nodded and they went in opposite directions. Jarron walked down many hallways but did not see anybody. As he came deeper into the Stone, he began to feel something pulling him in. He followed that calling and finally came to the Heart of the Stone. He walked around the stone pillars and made his way towards the center. As he arrived in the center, he saw what he had seen so many times in his dreams. A crystal sword hung in the air, slowly rotating. It sang to him. It called him. Without knowing it, he grasped saidin. He approached it and began to reach for it...

"The Source is with you, young alíSkywalker," said a deep and deadly voice. Jarron turned to see Demandred standing near the closest set of pillars. "But you are not an Ashaíman yet!"

Demandred held in his hand a sword of black flame. Jarron faced him and held his own sword ready. The two warriors stood there facing each other saying nothing. Finally, Jarron swung his sword as hard as he could at Demandred. The Dark Lord parried with ease and pushed the younger man to the ground. Jarron slowly stood up and faced him again.

This time Demandred attacked and Jarron blocked the blow. The two began to duel, meeting each other blow for blow.


[Directorís note: I know that Demandred doesnít have any sword skill in the books. Just go along with it okay?]

[Editor's note: Demandred has sword skills, Director. He was almost as good as Lews Therin.]


As they fought, Jarron was able to push Demandred back a little bit.

"Impressive," said Demandred. "Connorobi has taught you well."

"Youíll find I am full of surprises!" Jarron shot back.

Demandred then went on the offensive. He pushed Jarron hard and sped up his attacks. Finally, with a final hard push, Demandred knocked Jarron to his feet and channeled the same flows he did earlier for Sam. "All too easy," he said to himself.

Jarron saw them coming and wove his own flows. Demandredís attack was cut in half and the attack was neutralized. "Impressive," said Demandred again. "Most impressive!"

The two continued to fight, moving in a steady path around the Sword. They danced to each otherís blows and met each other blow for blow.

***
Lone-Wolf ran through the Stone of Tear looking for his friends. He ran for a while but finally turned a corner and saw them. J0e was the first to see his warder friend. "RU-Lone-Wolf!" he cried.

The halfmen turned then and looked at the warder behind them. Aldiran looked at Kathana then and nodded. With a cry, he drew his sword and cut off the halfmanís head and then cut Kathanaís bonds.

"Assatur! Khaavren! Get the trollocs!" His two guards obeyed by plunging their swords into the trolloc escorts. When all the shadowspawn were dead, Darksmoon grabbed Aldiran by the throat.

The Commander tried desperately to break free but was unable to break the iron grip of the wolfbrother. "Hhhhi caaaannnn ffffreeeeee Ssssaaaaaaam," he choked.

Kathana looked at him and shook her head. "Why should we believe you?"

"Cccauuussse Iím a gooodddd guuuyyy nowwww!" managed Aldiran.

Kathana nodded. "Good enough for me," she said. "Darksmoon, let him go. Aldiran, show us where to go."

Aldiran recovered his breath and led all of them to the outside stables. There was nobody there. A stable boy looked at them. "Excuse me young man," said Kathana. "Did you see an evil wolfbrother/ bounty-hunter ride away with a frozen ex-darkfriend?"

The boy nodded. "They already left. They went in a large carriage but I donít know which way they went."

Kathana kicked the kid. "Blood and Ashes," she cursed.

Darksmoon mumbled something. Aldiran nodded. "Darks is right. Sam will have to wait. Letís get out of here."

***
Demandred and Jarron continued to battle fiercely in the Heart of the Stone. Jarron concentrated hard on his sword-forms. He got the sense though that Demandred was toying with him. Jarron feinted a stab and Demandred moved to parry it. Moving with lightning reflexes, Jarron changed his attack and landed a deep cut in Demandredís arm. The Naeíblis screamed and the saa blazed like wildfire.

His attacks increased ten fold on Jarron and the young man was forced to his knees. With a mighty blow, the Dark Lord landed a swing on Jarronís right hand, severing it just below the elbow. Jarronís lower arm and sword went flying away. He screamed in pain and looked up at Demandred.

The Naeíblis stood over Jarron and pointed his sword at the young manís throat. "You are beaten!" he said. "It is useless to resist."

Jarron desperately tried to hold onto the Source. It eluded him however and saidin fled from him. The pain increased and shock began to set in as the Void left him.

Demandred looked at the boy in who was in great pain. "Connorobi never told you what happened to your fatherÖ" he began.

Jarron looked up at him and rage boiled in his mind. "He told me enough!" he retorted. "He told me you killed him!"

"No," said Demandred, "Sathinar is your father!"

Jarron screamed out loud in denial and rage. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Thatís impossible! Itís not true!"

Demandred paused and nodded. "Ok, so heís really not," he replied. "But I wanted to give you a scare." The Dark Lord looked up at Callandor and saw that it was within reach of Jarron. "Now young one, take the Sword and join me in the Shadow! Embrace the dark side of the Source and we can rule the world together!"

Jarron glared at him. "I canít!" he replied, almost a whimper. "Nobody can take it!"

"No," said Demandred. "You can. You are the Dragon Reborn!"

Jarronís mind went dizzy. The Hall of the Stone seemed to rock back and forth. The world seemed to rock back and forth. "Search your feelings," Demandred continued. "You know it to be true!"

Jarron hardly heard him. The Dragon Reborn. Destined to break the world again. He did not care anymore. He could die here and the world would burn but he did not care at that moment. Desperately, he stood up and reached with his good hand towards the Sword. Demandredís laughter followed him as his hand wrapped around the hilt.

As soon as he touched it, the pain was gone. The Power rushed into him. Never before had he felt more alive. He held the Sword aloft and felt a near endless Power surge into him. Next to it, a mountain of filth that represented the taint came crashing home. He felt alive, but he also felt as if he wanted to bring up every meal he had ever eaten.

Demandred laughed in triumph and lunged at Jarron. He went to cut him in half with his sword of black flame, but Jarron was ready. With his off hand, Jarron blocked the attack.

"Join me alíSkywalker!" insisted the dark figure. "Join me and I will complete your training!"

"Iíll never join you!" screamed Jarron. The Power raced through him. He could do anything. He knew he could. He raised the Sword high overhead and it began to glow with the light of the sun. Suddenly, he plunged the sword downwards, into the ground. The sword drove deep, and a shock wave of energy shot out. The entire Stone began to rock and vibrate.

Demandred saw this and felt some fear for the first time. "Iím not going to be another Aginor," he mumbled to himself. He ripped open a gateway right there, and vanished through it.

Jarron released Callandor and the Power, and fell to the ground unconscious.

***
Kathana heard and felt the rumble that came from the Stone. She looked back out the back window of the carriage and saw the Stone shaking.

"We need to go back," she said.

Aldiran looked at her. "We canít!" he protested. "What about Sam!" Darksmoon growled and Aldiran put up his hands in defeat. "Alright, alright!"

They swung around and headed back to the Stone. People were fleeing in all directions. They made their way down to the Heart of the Stone and found Jarron lying there.

Kathana ran up to him and held his head. Slowly, he woke up and looked around. She smiled at him and ordered Aldiran to find a healer.

***
A week or so later, Kathana and Jarron sat in a small inn right outside of Tear. They had found a Heron-marked shop and bought Jarron a new Heron-marked hand. Inside the palm of his new right palm there was a heron burned into the skin. "Funny," said Jarron as he looked at his hand, "I never thought that they sold Heron-marked stuff."

Kathana shrugged and walked over to the window. "They were able to order this right from Dragonmount," she explained. "There are shops there that sell anything heron-marked from spoons to... well, hands."

There was a knock at the door. RU-Lone-Wolf came in and handed Kathana a note. She opened it and read it. Smiling, she handed the note to Jarron. "Theyíre on there way to find Sam," she said.

Jarron nodded and walked over to join her at the window. He put his arm around her and nodded. "Donít worry," he said. "Weíll find him."

The two stood there at the window for a while, looking out to the north. Kathanaís mind was with Sam and Jarronís was deep in thought concerning his own destiny.


The end of Episode V. Episode VI: Return of the Dragon will conclude this exciting saga.