They rode through the night, through the next day, and well into the second night before they stopped to water the horses. The only thought in his head was that Moiraine would die without healing, and the only sister he knew to trust was living in the tower. The horses were both winded, yet he forced them to gallop on. In those three days and nights, they covered more than three quarters of the distance between Cairhien and Tar Valon, but in the fourth night, disaster struck. Carneira fell and broke her leg.
Cursing the horse, Lan slashed its throat to put an end to its screams, and then pushed Moiraine onto Mandarb’s back. The tall man began running alongside the horse, and kept running with them even though his calves began to ache and cramp. When they arrived at the Alguenya, he sighed, and let the horse drink, but before either man or beast quaffed their thirst, he had them running again. As the sun began to set, the bridge town came into view, and hope stirred in Lan’s heart. Moiraine would live. He began to chant to himself: Must Run. Will Live. Must Run. Will Live.
Man and Horse ran straight through the bridge town, over the awe- inspiring span, and through the most beautiful city in the world. They never stopped, not for tower guards, not for sisters asking what was wrong, they even ran through people who traveled too slowly. As Lan’s energy began to fade, they mounted the steps to the main gates of the White Tower. Lan bellowed at the first Guard he saw.
“If you wish to live beyond this day you son of a sheep, you will find Anaiya Sedai NOW.” In mid-bellow, he lifted Moiraine from the saddle, and began making her comfortable. He glared at all others who approached, and kept them all at bay, until Anaiya arrived. As the blue sister arrived, Lan’s vision blurred, and he saw her place her hands on Moiraine. That was the last thing he saw that day.
The warm light from the dawn hit Lan’s eyes, and even as he tried to ignore it, it drew him out of the warm depths of sleep. His eyes fluttered open, and to his surprise, a small Cairhien woman was sitting at his bed’s edge.
“Lan Gaidin, you have more pride than any ten kings. The High Lords of Tear cannot match you for shear egotism. (A/N: I wanted to use chutzpah, but I doubt Moiraine is Jewish… 😉 ) But you are the only man who could run from Cairhien to Tar Valon in four and a half days.” Warmth and love flowed through the bond, not the love of man and wife, but of friends united in their war. “Thank you my Gaidin.”
“I promised to keep you alive. I never said anything about myself.” His voice was weaker than he’d ever heard it. “How long have I been resting?”
She tried not to look at him, “You will just rest until you are healthy again.” His eyes hardened, and she relented. “This is the eleventh day since we arrived in Tar Valon.”
“When do we set out again?” As he spoke, he swung his legs out of the bed, and heard Moiraine muttering.
“More pride than twenty kings, with their armies.” She increased her volume; “We will leave in two days, for Illian. There was a story of a commander from that army who found a boy, and took him to raise as his own. If you are able to ride by then, that is.”
“I will ride whenever you say, wherever you say. If you take me to the pit of Doom, or to the far side of the Aryth, it matters not.” Then, the two warriors began to plan the next years of travel. Two months to Illian, at least another two to hunt down all the mothers on their list, then another month to Caemlyn. Finally, they would search in what used to be Manetheren. Very few lands could claim blood that old.