A Conversation With The Dragon
My name is Monar Kamelias. I was given an opportunity to talk with The Dragon Reborn, Rand al Thor, and I make these notes of our conversation in the hope that a record will survive and be of use to those in the future who wish to know about this terrible time. I have come to the field of Merrilor as captain of the second range of the Cairhien Guard, after having studied under Herid Fel in the School of the Dragon in Cairhien. Since the murder of professor Fel, I have tried to make a historical record of events as I have observed them. I believe the professor was murdered by our enemies because of the things he was working on, so I take his final charge to me as a command.
I asked The Lord Dragon to allow me to ask him some questions and document his answers and he has agreed to do so as his time permits during our wait for the beginning of Tarmon Gaidon here on the field of Merrilor. I am meeting with The Lord Dragon in his tent, which is an average size tent near the center of the field, and is guarded by Aeil Maidens of the Spear. With us is his consort, whom he introduced to me as Min Farshaw. I am familiar with the Lady Min, as she was a visitor at the school in Cairhien and a particular favorite of the professor. The lady Min did not participate directly in my discussion with The Lord Dragon, but sat nearby studying a well-worn volume of The Prophesies of the Dragon.
For those who may not be aware of his appearance, I will describe The Lord Dragon: He is a young man, appearing to be in only his early twenties at most (except for his eyes, which make him appear older), and rather tall, being perhaps a head taller than the average and broad through the shoulders. He is colored like, and has the general appearance of, an Aeilman, having their reddish hair and gray eyes. Looking at him, one can also see where the rumors come from that he is of the royal line of Andor, as he has some of the look of House Mantear. For our meeting, he was dressed simply in a white shirt open at the neck with a pair of black breeches of fine cloth and cut, tucked into black leather boots. His left hand is missing.
He wears a heron-marked sword in a jeweled scabbard at his hip at all times and keeps a second scabbard near him, which he wears across his back whenever he goes out. This second scabbard contains no mere sword, however, but the famous sword-that-is-not-a-sword, Callandor, the crystal sa’angreal that he liberated from the Stone of Tear.
Our discussion proceeded as follows:
Monar: My Lord Dragon–
Rand al’Thor: Please, call me Rand.
M: Rand, then. At this point, most people, especially those here in this gathering place for the last battle, seem to readily accept you as the Dragon Reborn. But for those who do not, or who simply don’t know, can you state the proofs of this fact?
R: [laughing wearily and trading looks with Lady Min] Let’s just say that I doubt it is possible for me to prove that fact to those who don’t know the prophecies or don’t wish to believe at this point. I have neither the time nor the inclination to prove myself to everyone who might still doubt me. For most, the fact that I carry Callandor is proof enough. For others, no proof will suffice.
I myself was one of the most skeptical at one time, but the signs are overwhelming: The Stone of Tear fell to me in one night with no bloodshed. The Aeil accept me as their Car’a'carn. The Seafolk accept me as their Coramoor. I have conquered Illian and Cairhien. I have killed many of the forsaken. I have cleansed the taint from Saidin. I can remember my past life as Lews Therin Telamon. I could go on, but that should suffice for anyone. I don’t ask the people of our lands to follow the Dragon Reborn, however. I ask them only to do what they would already be doing of their own accord: fight the Shadow in the last battle. I will not be leading their armies, as I have a duty to attend to at Shayol Ghul. I intend to reseal the Dark One’s prison. As I am willing to do my duty, I ask for nothing more except for people to do their duty as they understand it.
M: It is said that you grew up as a sheepherder in a remote part of Andor, yet it is rumored both that you are Aeil and that you are of the royal line of Andor. What is the truth of your origins?
R: I will always be a sheepherder from the Two Rivers. That is where I was raised and that is always who I am at heart. My father is Tam al’Thor, a sheep farmer. He raised me and taught me everything I know. But I was not born to him or his wife. He found me after my mother, a maiden of the spear, birthed me on the slopes of Dragonmout during the Aeil war and died soon after. She was not Aeil, though my father, Janduin, was. My mother was adopted by the Aiel after leaving the royal court of Andor and fleeing into the waste. Her name among the Aiel was Shaiel, but her real name was Tigraine Mantear, the wife of Taringail Damodred and mother of Galad Damodred. She was the daghter-heir of Andor at the time of her disappearance. Janduin apparently blamed himself for my mother’s death and thereafter, he disappeared into the Blight.
M: Do you see yourself as heir to the throne of Andor because of your mother?
R: I am the Dragon Reborn. Elayne Trakand is Queen of Andor and now also Cairhien. That is as it should be.
M: What is your connection to the lady Elayne? She is pregnant, it is said with twins, and some rumors say that you are the father. Is that true?
R: [Rand pauses and shifts uncomfortably in his chair, looking at Min, who smiles and shrugs] I am not willing to talk about this subject because Elayne has not done so. Any statement on this issue should come from her.
M: Even your silence does answer the question to some extent, Rand. After all, if you are not the father, why not deny it?
R: Move on Monar.
M: Yes, well, I was also wondering about the extent of your ability with the One Power. You appear to have accomplished great feats with it and have bested several of the Forsaken in one-on-one battles. Are you the most powerful male channeler who ever lived?
R: As the Dragon, I am the strongest in native ability in channeling the one power of any person I know of, but I do not put much store in that, because a person holding an angreal could surpass me, and Ishamael was always very close to me in terms of his strength anyway. Though I have come out on top in my battles with the Forsaken so far; I cannot exactly boast about that because, as you can see [holding up his arm that ends in a burned stump], that has not prevented me from taking some grave wounds; some which you cannot see, but which still bother me a great deal. Strength in the one power is a fairly meaningless characteristic in battle because there are a lot of factors that are much more important, like knowledge of weaves and the element of surprise, to name just two.
M: Is it your intention to battle the Dark One at Shayol Ghul using the one power?
R: [Again looking at Min for a long moment] It is my understanding that it may not be possible to battle the Dark One directly. Hopefully, his ability to touch the world is still greatly limited and my role will be to try to permanently prevent him from being able to touch the world ever again.
M: Is this something you will undertake alone?
R: Absolutely not. Previously, Lews Therin made the attempt with the hundred companions, who were all male Aes Sedai. My belief is that effort was doomed to failure because of the lack of any participation by female Aes Sedai. Thus, I will have at least some women with me in this attempt.
M: Have some of the Aes Sedai from the White Tower volunteered to do this? My understanding was that the Amyrlin Seat had forbidden it, and was actively seeking to prevent you from making this attempt.
R: [smiling wryly] You are well-informed it seems, but Egwene al’Vere has not forbidden me from doing my duty, she just disagrees with me about the means of accomplishing it. With professor Fel’s help, and Min’s research, I have discovered that one must clear away the prior seals on the Dark One’s prison before one can re-seal the bore. Egwene has not reached the same conclusion… yet. I believe she will agree with me in time. And yes, there are some women who have agreed to accompany me in this effort. some are Aes Sedai, but some are not. Remember that not all female channelers are Aes Sedai or reside in the white tower.
And with that, my friend, I fear I must say goodbye for now. Your mention of the Amyrlin has reminded me that I must meet with her and Nynaeve al’Meara very soon.