A Memory of Light Page 310

He heeled the horse into a canter, heading farther south. He had a purse full of coin, a good horse and a strong sword. Laman’s sword, which was a better sword than he’d have wanted. It might draw attention. It was a true heron-marked sword with a fine blade.

Did Alivia realize how much money she’d given him? She didn't know a thing about coins. She’d probably stolen the lot of it, so he wasn't just a horsethief. Well, he’d told her to get him some gold, and she’d done it. He could buy an entire farm in the Two Rivers with what he carried.

South. East or west would do, but he figured he wanted to go someplace away from it all for good. South first, then maybe out west, along the coast. Maybe he could find a ship? There was so much of the world he hadn't seen. He’d experienced a few battles, he’d gotten caught up in a huge Game of Houses. Many things he hadn’t wanted anything to do with. He’d seen his father’s farm. And palaces. He’d seen a lot of palaces.

He just had not had the leisure to have a real look at much of the world. That will be new, he thought. Traveling without being chased, or having to rule here or there. Traveling where he could just sleep in a barn in exchange for splitting someone’s firewood. He thought about that, and found himself laughing, riding on south and smoking his impossible pipe. As he did so, a wind rose up around him, around the man who had been called lord, Dragon Reborn, king, killer, lover and friend.

The wind rose high and free, to soar in an open sky with no clouds. It passed over a broken landscape scattered with corpses not yet buried. A landscape covered, at the same time, with celebrations. It tickled the branches of trees that had finally begun to put forth buds.

The wind blew southward, through knotted forests, over shimmering plains and toward lands unexplored. This wind, it was not the ending. There are no endings, and never will be endings, to the turning of the Wheel of Time.

But it was an ending.

*

And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died. And men cried out to the Creator, saying, O Light of the Heavens, Light of the World, let the Promised One be born of the mountain, according to the prophecies, as he was in ages past and will be in ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs. Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

—from Charal Drianaan te Calamon, The Cycle of the Dragon. Author unknown, the Fourth Age.

He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone.

—from The Dragon Reborn. By Loial, son of Arent son of Halan, the Fourth Age.

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