These words will fade within moments after this leaves your hands – a warding attuned to you – so be careful of it. That you are reading this means that events have fallen out at the docks as I hoped.
Since the first day I reached Rhuidean, I have known – it need not trouble you how; some secrets belong to others, and I will not betray them – that a day would come in Cairhien when news would arrive of Morgase. I did not know what that would be – if what we heard is true, the Light have mercy on her soul; she was willful and stubborn, with the temper of a lioness at times, but for all that a true, good and gracious queen – but each time that news led to the docks on the following day. There were three branches from the docks, but if you are reading this, I am gone, and so is Lanfear.
The other two paths were much worse. Down one, Lanfear killed you. Down the other, she carried you away, and when next we saw you, you called yourself Lews Therin Telamon and were her devoted lover.
I hope that Egwene and Aviendha have survived unharmed. You see, I do not know what happens in the world after, except perhaps for one small thing which does not concern you.
I could not tell you, for the same reason I could not tell Lan. Even given the choices, I could not be sure which you would pick. Men of the Two Rivers, it seems, retain much of storied Manetheren in them, traits shared with men of the Borderlands. It is said that a Borderlander will take a dagger’s wound to avoid harm to a woman and count it fair trade. I dared not risk that you would place my life above your own, certain that somehow you could sidestep fate. Not a risk, I fear, but a foolish certainty, as today has surely proved.
A few final points.
If Lan has not already gone, tell him that what I did to him, I did for the best. He will understand one day, and I hope, bless me for it.
Trust no woman fully who is now Aes Sedai. I do not speak simply of the Black Ajah, though you must always be watchful for them. Be as suspicious of Verin as you are of Alviarin. We have made the world dance as we sang for three thousand years. That is a difficult habit to break, as I have learned while dancing to your song. You must dance free, and even the best intentioned of my sisters may well try to guide your steps as I once did.
Please deliver Thom Merrilin’s letter safely when you meet him again. There is a small matter that I once told him of which I must make clear for his peace of mind.
Lastly, be wary too of Master Jasin Natael. I cannot approve wholly, but I understand. Perhaps it was the only way. Yet be careful of him. He is the same man now that he always was. Remember that always.
May the Light illumine and protect you. You will do well.
My dearest Thom,
There are many words I would like to write to you, words from my heart, but I have put this off because I knew that I must, and now there is little time. There are many things I cannot tell you lest I bring disaster, but what I can, I will. Heed carefully what I say. In a short while I will go down to the docks, and there I will confront Lanfear. How can I know that? That secret belongs to others. Suffice it that I know, and let that foreknowledge stand as proof for the rest of what I say.
When you receive this, you will be told that I am dead. All will believe that. I am not dead, and it may be that I shall live to my appointed years. It also may be that you and Mat Cauthon and another, a man I do not know, will try to rescue me. May, I say, because it may be that you will not or cannot, or because Mat may refuse. He does not hold me in the affection you seem to, and he has his reasons which he no doubt thinks are good. If you try, it must be only you and Mat and one other. More will mean death for all. Fewer will mean death for all. Even if you come only with Mat and one other, death also may come. I have seen you try and die, one or two or all three. I have seen myself die in the attempt. I have seen all of us live and die as captives. Should you decide to make the attempt anyway, young Mat knows the way to find me, yet you must not show him this letter until he asks about it. That is of the utmost importance. He must know nothing that is in this letter until he asks. Events must play out in certain ways, whatever the costs.
If you see Lan again, tell him that all of this is for the best. His destiny follows a different path from mine. I wish him all happiness with Nynaeve.
A final point. Remember what you know about the game of Snakes and Foxes. Remember, and heed. It is time, and I must do what must be done.
May the Light illumine you and give you joy, my dearest Thom, whether or not we ever see one another again.