The Test

Moiraine’s Test

Moiraine stared at the ter’angreal for what seemed forever. Merean gently nudged her.

“If you don’t want to go…”

“I want to.” And she did. Kind of.

Taking a deep breath Moiraine threw herself through the opening-

~

And found herself on a county road. Something felt wrong, but she couldn’t place her finger on what. Looking into a puddle, a young girl’s face looked back.That’s not right. Of course it was. She was ten after all, wasn’t she? The way back will come but once. Where had that come from?

“MOIRAINE!”

The shout startled her back to the present. She still didn’t know where she was but she knew that voice.

“Khalip, where are you?”

A young boy half her years (but almost her height) came running out of the tall grass. With runaway hair, a front tooth missing, and freckled cheeks, even Moiraine had to admit her little brother was cute.

“Raine, guess what? I was over there, on a hill, and I saw, you won’t believe it! I was up there, and I saw…”

“What, Khalip?”

Horses. Tons of them! And there’s a man on a carriage driving all of them!”

“Horses? You’re excited about horses?”

“Come and see!” With that, Khalip ran off into the grass and out of site.

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast. Not that again! She best not tell Laurela Sedai about these strange thoughts, or people would think she’s lost it. Maybe she had, for right beside her a silver arch had appeared. Moiraine was at the top of the hill now and could see Khalip running for the horses.

“No…Khalip, come back!”

The boy stopped and looked back at his sister. Reluctantly, he started for the hill, and ran four steps before falling down. The horses were coming fast. Surely the coachman would stop?

The way back will come but once.

“Khalip, get up!”

But he couldn’t. Fear had erased all rational thoughts and actions. The first horse was now upon him.

Be steadfast.

“KHALIP!”

She couldn’t watch him die, she just couldn’t. His screams followed her through the door.

~

Drawing a shaky breath, Moiraine crouched on the chamber floor. A Blue Sister came and poured cold water over her, her words a toneless drone. Merean lifted Moiraine and lead her to another arch. Her words were also toneless. She forced herself to listen.

“…for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

~

The halls of the Sun Palace were eerily empty and quiet. A wind, from where Moiraine couldn’t tell, blew across her cheek, carrying with it an awful stench. Not wanting to stand still, she began to walk down the corridor. Memories half understood flashed through her mind as she glanced around; everything seemed so foreign, yet this was home. She knew that much.

Moiraine was now close to her mother’s quarters. Excitement filled her, as she quickly entered the sitting room. The smell was the first thing she noticed. It hit her like a shovel to the loins. Holding a kerchief to her mouth and nose, she proceeded to the main room. Her mother was lying on the four-poster bed, her forehead decaying around the small red kesiera.

Screaming Moiraine turned to run and tripped over Phonia, her former nurse. The woman’s skin was a sickly green, with maggots for eyes. Before she could stop it, bile ran up and out of her mouth, her nose, her pores. Oh Light, what is this?

Moiraine ran. She didn’t know where she was going, and she didn’t care. Eventually, she found herself in the throne room. In the center, leaning on his sword, was Laman. Every time he stirred the stench of death increased tenfold. He stared at her with hate-filled eyes, a smirk crawling his face.

“Don’t you see, my beautiful, beautiful, niece? I am Death. They will all die for me. All of the Westlands will burn for me.”

A silver arch formed itself beside the throne. Moiraine ignored it. “Father always said you were mad. He failed to mention you’re a sick bastard.”

“Tsk, tsk! Such harsh words for such a lovely face.”

The way back will come-

“I’ll kill you!”

The arch began to fade. That scared her even more than Laman’s lust-filled threats. Dashing out of his reach she threw herself through the fading silver.

~

Yet again Moiraine was drenched with cool water and mindless words by the Blue. Standing, she faced Marean.

“I will not force you to go the third time. Will you go?”

A small nod was the only reply.

“The last time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

Drawing on her last bit of will, Moiraine ran through the arch.

~

Leane was crying great waves of tears. Moiraine hugged her making cooing sounds. “What’s wrong, Leane?”

The Domini looked at her in shock. “Have you no idea? Our dear Lelaine has ordered Siuan’s death.”

“What?! A Keeper can’t order an Amyrlin’s death…Can she?”

Leane said nothing, lost in her own sorrow. Lost in mourning.

No, I won’t let Siuan die. I won’t.

By sheer force of will, she was able to bully the knowledge of Siuan’s whereabouts out of Lelaine’s cohorts. The dunguon of all places. She lost count of how many stairs she flew down in her race against time. Knowing all the while that time always won.

Yet prehaps not always. Lelaine was now just entering what must be Siuan’s cell. It was no surprise that Elaida was there.

The way back will come but once.

And there was Siuan. Her wardens made her kneel before a tall Warder with an axe. At that moment their eyes locked.

“Moiraine? Moiraine, you must help me!”

Be steadfast.

Out of the corner of her eye it appeared. She could sense it’s presence, but refused to acknowledge it. “Siuan, I…”

The axe was now high in the air. If she could just channel a diversion.
The way back will come but once.

Moiraine began to edge away from Siuan and her eyes; her big, blue, tear filled eyes.

“Moiraine, don’t leave me! MOIRAINE!”

The axe came down. She didn’t see it. She was already surrounded by the glow.

d.F.