The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 55
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Chapter Icon: A Dragon
Moiraine balefires Be'lal and Rand takes Callandor, chasing after Ba'alzamon, killing him. Egwene stills Amico, but the shield on her, Elayne and Nynaeve holds. Mat lets them out of the cell and once they knock Amico unconscious, the shield fails. Perrin rescues Faile.
Rand's Point of View:
Setting: The Stone of Tear
Rand enters the Heart of the Stone and sees Callandor, shining as brightly as the sun. There is another man in the chamber, one whom Rand recognizes from his dreams; the man refers to Rand as "Lews Therin" and "Kinslayer". Rand accuses him of capturing Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve, and Be'lal tells him that he didn't think Rand would care about them enough to fall into the trap. The man asks Rand if he remembers who he is, and if he remembers anything. Rand demands a name of him, and the man introduces himself as Be'lal. Be'lal urges Rand to take Callandor and fight him, calling a black sword made of saidin into his own hands, but Rand is unsure if he can actually take Callandor and instead creates a sword of fire to use against the Forsaken.
Rand and Be'lal begin to fight, but Be'lal is very obviously the more skilled of the two. As they fight, Be'lal taunts Rand about whether or not he can remember anything of the Age of Legends and War of the Shadow, urging him again to take Callandor to see if it will prolong his life. Rand still refuses to do so. As they fight, the old wound in Rand's side begins to open. He is losing the battle.
There are others fighting in the chamber as well, Defenders against Aiel, but Rand barely notices them until he trips over a dead body. Before Be'lal can kill Rand, Moiraine arrives and kills him with a bar of white fire (Balefire). With Be'lal now dead, Moiraine tells Rand to take Callandor. She explains to Rand that Be'lal had meant to kill him for it, but that Callandor is Rand's birthright.
Suddenly, whips of black lightning curl around Moiraine, who screams as she is thrown against one of the columns in the chamber. Ba'alzamon is there, and tells Rand that he is going to take his soul. He begins to do so, but Rand desperately throws himself towards Callandor and seizes the sword which, as a sa'angreal, enormously increases the amount of saidin that he can wield. He faces Ba'alzamon and tells him that he is going to finish him off once and for all. Faced by Rand holding Callandor, Ba'alzamon flees and disappears suddenly. Rand does not know where he has gone (he has stepped physically into Tel'aran'rhiod), but somehow manages to follow him.
Egwene's Point of View:
Setting: The Stone of Tear
In Tel'aran'rhiod, Egwene feels the Stone of Tear shake beneath her feet but does not know what has caused it. She hurries through a door made of iron bars, breaking the lock apart with a weave of Earth. She hurries towards the cells, wondering which cell she should be looking for. She begins to look inside them, but they are all empty, since she is in Tel'aran'rhiod and not the waking world.
Outside one of the cells, Egwene sees a shape flickering in and out of existence. It is Amico Nagoyin, who, in the waking world, is drifting toward sleep and obviously playing with a dream ter'angreal as she does so. Egwene cuts her off from the Source and ties her with flows of air, trapping her in Tel'aran'rhiod, and Amico screams. Her figure is very insubstantial, though Egwene does not know why. She ties the Black sister up in flows of air, breaks the lock on the door next to her and swings the door open. She then steps out of Tel'aran'rhiod and wakes up back in the cell with Elayne and Nynaeve. Nynaeve tells her that they heard someone scream outside, and Egwene replies that it was Amico and that they should be able to leave now. Elayne, however, informs Egwene that they are still shielded, though the shield seems somewhat more insubstantial. She does not know why. It is likely because Amico was only half asleep and therefore not fully in Tel'aran'rhiod when Egwene shielded and trapped her, so some part of Amico's own shields against the three girls are still in place. Egwene decides that she will have to go to sleep again and try once more.
Mat's Point of View:
Setting: The Stone of Tear
Mat and Juilin finally reach the prison cells in the Stone of Tear. Mat sees a young woman sitting on a bench beside one of the cell doors, looking oddly stiff and half asleep; it is Amico, who is still tied up with flows of air. Not realizing who she is, Mat goes to help her, but Juilin quickly informs him that she is one of the Aes Sedai who captured Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve. Mat takes a key that is hanging at Amico's belt and opens the cell door that she is sitting next to.
Within the cell, he finds the three girls; Nynaeve and Elayne are kneeling next to Egwene, who is still in Tel'aran'rhiod and therefore asleep. They are very surprised to see him, and Nynaeve demands to know why he is there. Mat replies that he is there to rescue them. Nynaeve and Elayne wake up Egwene, who also demands to know why Mat is there; none of them thank him for coming to rescue them. When they see Juilin standing behind him, they glare, but Juilin tells Mat that they have plenty of cause, as he betrayed them, even though it was really Liandrin's doing.
They all leave the cell, and Nynaeve swings a fist at Amico, knocking her off the bench; Mat is astounded that they would hit a defenseless woman, but the girls tell him not to interfere in what he doesn't understand. Mat wants to leave the Stone of Tear immediately, but Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve refuse to leave; instead, they insist on hunting down the Black Aes Sedai and walk away. Mat and Juilin, instead of leaving them to deal with it on their own, follow.
Perrin's Point of View:
Perrin and Hopper are still searching for Faile in Tel'aran'rhiod. Perrin has now almost rescued her twice more, but each, time, she has faded away. He breaks through a pair of bronze doors with his hammer, and finds a falcon chained onto a perch within the room beyond. He moves towards the falcon, Faile, but is suddenly attacked by the talons of many more falcons. He manages to make his way to Faile, with the attacking birds driving him to his knees. He breaks the chain that holds her, and then fades into blackness.
When he awakens, he is back in the dining room of the inn, outside the Stone of Tear and Tel'aran'rhiod. Faile is kneeling over him, wiping blood off his face. He sees the hedgehog ter'angreal, broken in half, lying near one leg of the table.
Rand's Point of View:
Rand is in the Heart of the Stone in Tel'aran'rhiod. Ba'alzamon tries to Balefire him, but Rand holds Callandor in front of him and the Balefire flows to either side of him. As Rand continues to hunt Ba'alzamon down through the hallways of the Stone of Tear, Ba'alzamon tries many different ways of distracting/killing Rand: Myrddraal and Trollocs leap out of thin air, flames leap from the floor, walls and ceilings, the Stone begins to fade around him, water fills the halls, the air gains weight and tries to crush him, the air around him turns to solid rock, then to molten stone, and then to nothing at all so that he cannot breathe, all weight vanishes so that he is spinning in midair, and unseen maws try to rip away his mind and soul. Somehow, without knowing how, Rand manages to fix everything, restoring the balance and making things right.
They re-enter the Heart of the Stone. Rand sees black cords running from Ba'alzamon into the blackness; Rand severs them and Ba'alzamon convulses, dwindling and growing larger at the same time, as if there are two of him. Finally, Rand plunges Callandor into Ba'alzamon's chest. Ba'alzamon screams, and shouts, "Fool! The Great Lord of the Dark can never be defeated!" Rand pulls Callandor free, and Ba'alzamon's body falls.
Suddenly, Rand is no longer in Tel'aran'rhiod, but back in the real Heart of the Stone, surrounded once more by fighting men. He sees Moiraine still lying on the floor, unconscious. At Rand's feet lies the body of a dead man, Ba'alzamon. Rand thinks to himself, "I have killed Ba'alzamon, killed Shai'tan! I have won the Last Battle! Light, I AM the Dragon Reborn! The breaker of nations, the Breaker of the World. No! I will END the breaking, end the killing! I will MAKE it end!"
Rand raises Callandor above his head and yells for the fighting to stop. He shouts that he is Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn. The men stop fighting and kneel, proclaiming the Dragon to be reborn.