Other Side of the Wheel
The man in the brown cloak swept his gaze across the classroom of white-clad boys as if daring them to interrupt. None did.
"The Dragon and her Age have irrevocably shaped ours. No history of the Third Age can be properly understood without a thorough understanding of the War of Power and the Long Night. It is regrettable that so many texts deal with it only in passing, or as the stuff of myth or legend. The Dragon is not a fairy tale!
"No doubt you are all aware of the basic facts - and if not, you should be, as it was the subject of yesterday's lesson. You know of the Dragon, Amera Sune Elor, and that her attack on Shayol Ghul brought the counterstroke that tainted saidar. You know that the actions of female channelers driven insane by the taint brought about the Long Night - or saidar-winter as it is sometimes called. You know that Amera Sune's own actions under the influence of the taint brought her the name of Kinslayer, and, incidentally, created the mountain now called Dragonmount and the island on which we are now living.
"Today we shall cover these events in more detail. In particular, we shall focus on the War of Power and the machinations of the Shadow.
"You!" he bellowed suddenly, and the boy addressed jumped. "Who was the first of the Forsaken to turn to the Shadow?"
"Ah - Zagal, Aes Sedai?"
"Right! Don't um and ah, boy, you sound like a frightened rabbit dressed up as a novice!"
"Not surprising," another novice whispered at the back of the room, "when he's facing a mad bull dressed as a scholar."
"I heard that, Fergas!" the brown-cloaked man roared. "See me after class, and in the meantime shut that mouth of yours. Zagal! First of the Aes Sedai to betray the Light, and, unfortunately, not the last. Zagal, Iyade, Lagime, Ataril, Maraan, Sharsande, Nioren, Malech, Conde, Temad, Daimon, Altrunel, Gaeran. And no doubt more who never survived long enough to make it into history. Where are the Forsaken now?"
He pointed at a third novice, who swallowed and recited hastily. "The Dark One and all the Forsaken are sealed in Shayol Ghul, sealed -"
"Enough! 'In Shayol Ghul' is quite sufficient. They are indeed sealed away. The condition is, unfortunately, not a permanent one." He glared at the assembled novices as if it was their fault. "In time they will be freed, and according to the best theological minds, that will be in the time of the Dragon's rebirth. The coming into power of the Dragon and the awakening of the Forsaken will, as even you should all know, herald the Last Battle, and the beginning of the Fourth Age. If we win.
"And I know what's going through your minds now! Who cares, that won't be in anyone's lifetime. Wrong!" he roared. "It will be in the White Tower's lifetime. So it is something you must constantly prepare for if you are to be Aes Sedai. There is no knowing when the Dragon will be reborn!"
He glanced out the window toward the looming mountain, its summit hidden by fog and clouds.
"Who knows," he growled, "she may be being born right now."
Isn't that prophetic? You just know that as he's saying that, some poor woman is up on Dragonmount giving birth. On a foggy day, too. I hope you all enjoyed this little history lesson, and that your appetites have now been suitably whetted for the rest of the story.
Saidar-winter. That one was for you, C'a'c.