he strange men approached…
…The tunnel to the Eye Of The World. The group fell back to the eye chamber, Nalei placing warding traps in the tunnel to delay them, and former a semi-circle around the cave entrance. The man dressed all in black appeared round round the corner of the tunnel and slowly approached, conjuring a fiery sword in his hand as he came. As the group prepared to meet him, his companion stepped through a strange gateway in thin air behind the group and pinned Lan and Moiraine against a wall, shielding the Aes Sedai so she could not interfere. The old man would have inflicted further damage but Berek charged into him. The pair grappled for a moment and then toppled into the Eye of the World, disappearing without a ripple.
Meanwhile the rest of the group fought with the man in black armour. He fought hard, felling Jonah with a viscous stroke of his sword and badly wounding both Nalei and Rodrick. Finally he pinned Rodrick to the wall and prepared to destroy him utterly when Nalei managed to fell him with a final blast of power created fire. With the battle over, Moiraine and Lan fell free and the group found that the liquid which had filled the eye was gone, leaving an empty hollow containing the bodies of Berek, alive but horribly burned on his left hand, and the old man, dead with his head neatly severed and cauterised. The hollow also cotained a bundle of white cloth which, when unwrapped proved to be the Dragon Banner of Lews Therin Telamon wrapped around a box containing the Horn of Valere and a strange chunk of polished rock or glass rought into a thick circle bisected by a sinuous line into black and white halves.
Berek never wrote of what happened to him in the pool or how he came by the heron mark that was branded into his left palm so the details of his struggle are lost to history but we can be sure that the moment he fell into the Eye of the World was a great turning point in the course of the world. Even leagues away in Fal Dara, we felt the pattern heave and stretch as some great force twisted and reworked it.
When the group of friends arrived back at the city with an honour guard of soldiers led by Lord Ingtar, captain of the city guard, they were given rest and medical aid before being led to the Lord Agelmar to explain recent events. Moiraine wasted no time in sending the Amyrlin Seat a message and soon recieved a reply telling us that the ruler of Tar Valon was on her way to Fal Dara with all speed. The night before her arrival, a great feast was held in honour of the companions safe return with plans for a greater one the following day to celebrate the arrival of the Amyrlin. Berek found he had no appetite and left early, heading for the gates to go for a walk outside the castle walls. That was how he discovered the gates standing open and the guards dead at their posts with their throats neatly slit.