"... until we reach Tar Valon, I suspect everyone. There, I'll suspect only half."
   —Lan Mandragoran

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Setting: The Stag and Lion Inn, Baerlon


Point of view: Rand

The innkeeper leads the group through the kitchen, telling them that the inn is full to bursting due to large numbers of people come down from the mines, telling stories of wolves and worse.

Lan vanishes into the common room looking for news, and Moiraine questions the innkeeper about the presence of the Children of the Light in the town. He assures her they are nothing to worry about, and she asks if Min is still there. The Aes Sedai wants to talk to her for some reason. But the group splits up—to go to their promised hot baths—and Rand hears nothing more of the conversation.

Once settled in for a good soak, Rand asks the attendant if there is any kind of trouble in Baerlon. He answers that there's nothing more than miners fighting, but appears to be hiding something. When he mentions hearing about Trollocs in the Borderlands, Mat begins to tell him about their recent battles in the Two Rivers, but is drowned out briefly by Rand, Perrin and Thom.

Lan arrives then, saying he's been waiting for a good bath, and firmly puts the attendant out of the room. He then gives Mat a sound tongue lashing for telling stories he ought not to be telling, pointing out that the Dark One has spies in many unexpected places.

When the men finally leave the bath chamber, Rand sees Moiraine talking with a slender girl at the end of the hallway. He thinks she's a girl anyway, even though she's wearing a man's shirt and pants.

The group then assembles in a private dining room to eat. When Rand sees Egwene, he goes over to apologize for their earlier argument, but she turns her back on him.

At the table, Moiraine cautions everyone that maids listen at doors and innkeepers like to talk. Talk quickly turns to discussion of news. Lan tells that there apparently was a battle in Ghealdan and Logain's army won. It is not known with any certainty what happened to the Aes Sedai who were involved in the fight. Moiraine tells the group that she intends for them all to stay in Baerlon for two nights, and then leave early in the morning of the second day.

After dinner, everyone adjourns to their rooms; the innkeeper was only able to spare three, one for the women and two split among the men. Rand drops off to sleep as the gleeman leaves for the common room to perform.

Rand finds himself in a dim stone hallway, with no recollection of how he came to be there. There appears to be nothing there except pairs of doors set opposite each other at intervals, so there is nothing to help in choosing which direction to go. Finding himself thirsty, he follows a steady dripping sound until he finds it is growing no closer, at which point he opens a door and walks through.

The room looks out over a balcony onto an impossible sunset and there is a roaring blaze in the hearth. Suddenly Rand notices a man in front of the fireplace that he had not seen before. When the man speaks to Rand, his mouth and eyes appears as empty sockets full of flame, and Rand tries to flee. But when he crashes through the door on the opposite side of the hallway, he finds himself back in the same room. He tries again to flee, only to find that this time, the door no longer leads into the hallway, but directly back into the same room, and now the door is closed and locked.

By now, Rand has concluded that this is a nightmare. The man offers Rand a drink from a jeweled cup, and Rand is very thirsty. But just before he takes a sip, he reconsiders and refuses the beverage. The man is obviously disappointed at this, though Rand cannot discern why. When Rand asks the man to identify himself, he says that some call him Ba'alzamon. Rand flees in terror from the man who has just named himself the Dark One, but is still unable to open the door.

Ba'alzamon taunts Rand, asking if he is seeking power and glory, telling him he will be used by the White Tower like every other False Dragon.

Rand awakens suddenly, gripping the blanket on his bed in the inn. He wonders if he should tell Moiraine about his dream, and it takes a long time for him to fall back to sleep.











One Power

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