The Wheel Turns...

Introduction

H

ere begins the chronicle of the ending of the 3rd age of the world…

…Committed to parchment by me; Loial son of Arent son of Halen in this, the 100th year of the 4th age. Many histories have been written about the wars and political upheaval that marked the end of the 3rd age but this chronicle will tell the personal story of some of the architects of those wars. A group of friends that came from humble beginnings to stride the world like giants bringing both destruction and hope in their wake.
I have compiled this work from eye-witness accounts, records of the time and a collection of the personal journals of some of the protagonists which has recently fallen into my hands. I begin this work in the hopes that it will prove inspirational to the leaders of our new world and help prevent the mistakes of the past age that brought us so close to total destruction.

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Chapter 1: A Night Of Blood

T

he story begins…



…On the day before the festival of Beltane in the small village of Emonds Field in western Andor.
Who are these great heroes? Yes I suppose I should introduce the young humans who would change the world. Their were five of them. Four unlikely heroes named Rodrick, Berek, Jonah and Nalei. An innkeepers son, a barber/surgeons son, A blacksmiths apprentice, a woodcutter and the apprentice to the village wisdom.
On the day in question, these five were going about their business as normal. Rodrick and Prospero were talking to the peddler and the gleeman that had come for the festival. Berek was consulting the wisdom about his proposal to Rose, Jonah was out chopping wood for the Beltane fires and Nalei was helping organize the preparation for the festivities.
The day was marked with strange events. many of the villages saw birds and rats behaving strangely, some said they say a strange man in black watching the village from a distance. A few said his cloak did not move with the wind and at midday, a pair of strangers who had never been seen before arrived and took rooms at the inn.
The pair were an Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred and her warder, a’Lan Mandragoran. A pair you would think far more likely to change the world and indeed they would in their way but they are not the center of this tale.
Rodrick was fascinated by the new strangers and helped them stable their horses, plied them with questions and, when the Lady Moiraine mentioned that she was a collector of ancient stories, engaged in a long telling of local anecdotes and stories which took up much of the evening.

Many in the village would wish that that evening had lasted forever for when night fell the horror began. Trollocs, which had not been seen in the Two Rivers of the better part of 2000 years streamed out of the woods, led by a Myrdraal and attacked the village. If it hadn’t been for the presence of Moiraine and Lan then the village might have been overrun. The Aes Sedai and her warder gave early warning of the attack and held the village gate long enough for the sleepy villagers to rouse themselves. Many were injured even so and no few lost their lives although that number would have been far greater if not for Moiraine using the One Power to heal wounds that would have been fatal.
With the danger past the Aes Sedai cloistered herself with in her room with the 5 young people, much to the displeasure of some of the village elders and when they emerged, they announced that they were leaving because the Trollocs were after them personally. They apologized and promised to return and whilst their fellow villagers didn’t believe the story they told, it is a brave or stupid man that attempts to foil the machinations of an Aes Sedai and so they wished the five well, gifted them with food and what traveling gear they had and wished them a safe journey.

Journals
Jonah’s Journal
Rodrick’s Journal
Berek’s Journal
Nalei’s Journal

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Chapter 2: The World Outside

O

ur Heroes Set Off…



… From the village that had been their whole world for most of their lives, led from safety into danger by an Aes Sedai and her warder with nothing but the clothes on their backs and what few gifts and traveling supplies their friends and families could spare.
The group set out at mid-morning on the day of Beltane and road hard all day for Taren Ferry, a village built at a crossing point of the river Taren. They arrived at the village as night was falling and took rooms at a local inn, The Dog and Pony.

Even after such a rapid flight it seemed that news had preceded the group and they had barely laid down to sleep in the inns hey loft when darkfriends attacked the inn and forces a further flight across the river, Berek, Rodrick and Lan pulling the ferry whilst Moiraine wove a concealing fog to hide them from prying eyes or hidden archers. Once the ferry reached the far bank, Berek wrecked the chain gear with a blow of his hammer and the party rode with haste for the walled town of Baerlon, avoiding inns and sleeping rough, stopping in villages only briefly to by supplies.

After six days of hard travel they group arrived in Baerlon. They were amazed at the size of the buildings and the crowds of people, having never known a place bigger than Taren Ferry before. As they approached the gates, Moiraine advised them that they should refer to her as ‘Mistress Alyss’ and should not mention Aes Sedai whilst in the town. The reason for this swiftly becoming apparent as a group of Children of the Light came into view further down the street, the crowd carefully making way for them as they strode through the town.

‘Mistress Alyss’ took them to an inn called the Pigeon where she was clearly well known and respected, taking rooms for the group and ordering food and drink as she explained a little more of what she knew or suspected of the reasons for the Dark Ones interest in the group. She told them of her suspicions that Rodrick, Berek and Jonah were Ta’veren, souls that warped the Pattern around them for a greater purpose. And told them that four such souls being born in the same village at the same time could only mean they were destined for something terrible or great. Either way, the best and safest place for them was Tar Valon, under the guard and study of the White Tower.

Moiraine gave the group a few gold marks each and sent them out to buy what supplies they needed whilst she talked with Soren, the innkeeper who was a long term agent of hers, taking careful note of local news and events and passing it on to her whenever possible. Whilst out on their expedition, the group met someone they had not expected, Padan Fain, the peddler who often traded in the villages of the two rivers. As soon as he saw them he took flight and had to be chased down. He tried to excuse himself that he had mistaken them for some rather unsavory characters he knew in Baerlon but was unconvincing and they took him back to the Pigeon for ‘a drink and a chat’. Under close questioning, Fain confessed to having been waylaid by trollocs on his way to Emonds Field and questioned about the people he knew their by a Myrdraal. He pleaded for mercy, saying no mere merchant would hold out under such questioning and the group agreed to let him go, after lending him a clean pair of trousers.

The group split up to digest this news, Berek going to the bar, Rodrick asking Lan to teach him to use the sword he carried and the rest sitting quietly in the private room Moiraine had rented, contemplating what they had learned that day. They did not have long to themselves, however, before their was a crass of armored gauntlets on wood as a whitecloak captain demanded entrance, whilst his troops surrounded the inn with a ring of torches…

Journals
Rodrick’s Journal
Berek’s Journal

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Chapter 3: Flight Down The River

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hite cloaks surrounded the inn…



…With a ring of torches, trapping the party inside. A whitecloak officer demanded to gain entrance to search the inn for Aes Sedai. Berek did his best to stall the man as his companions escaped out of the back of the inn with a parting gift from Moiraine of coins to disguise the Ta’verens effect on the pattern and instructions to follow the river to the town of Whitebridge and from there make their way to Caemlyn where the Aes Sedai would meet them at the Queens Blessing Inn. With Moiraine and Lan providing a distraction, the group fled the town and followed the course of the River Taren away from Baerlon.

For several days they traveled, their steps dogged by by wolves and strange flying creatures until on the fifth day they came across a strange, almost feral, man sitting by a campfire in the woods with a pair of wolves lying peacefully nearby. He introduced himself as Elyas Machera and allowed the small group to share his campfire, disappearing into the woods without a trace shortly before first light.

The following night the flying creature came again, and this time it brought Trollocs with it. Jonah managed to drive off the flying beast but the Trollocs attacked without mercy and almost overwhelmed the group when out of nowhere, a pack of wolves burst out of the trees, dragging down the trollocs and opening an escape route. On Bereks urging the party ran for the river bank and found a sail barge anchored by the bank. At the urging of the group and with the offer of both payment and service as oarsmen as far as Whitebridge, the captain, a man named Bayle Domon, gave the orders to cast off and the group proceeded down river.

The journey proceeded uneventfully until the last night when the flying creature returned… The four were talking with the captain in his cabin when they heard a strange singing out on deck. They burst out to discover the flying creature which immediately took flight leaving the duty watchman lying dead on the deck with an expression of terror frozen on his face and no other mark on him. Seeing this, the group decided to leave the barge early and proceeded on foot to the town.

They took rooms at an inn called the Mounted Blade and Rodrick managed to get the group hired to work on a caravan traveling to Caemlyn in two days time. Berek managed to get himself entered in a prize fight that evening and through a combination of skill and luck, managed to win, making a small amount of money and securing a free room for the night. The group had landed on its feet but what would happen on the morrow. they must still survive in an unknown city for another day and anyone could be a mortal enemy…

Journals
Berek’s Journal
Rorick’s Journal

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Chapter 4: Four Kings By Night

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ur heroes left Whitebridge…



…As part of a large trading caravan heading for Caemlyn. As they rattled out of the town gates they passed as odd procession of richly appointed coaches heading into town, many bearing the liveries of noble houses. The caravan made good progress through the day and camped down for the night in a field by the roadside. As the group were hobbling the horses, one of the guards reported that a group of the traveling folk were camping in a nearby copse and the wagon master duly posted extra guards to deter the tinkers supposed thieving nature.

Having never met tinkers before, the group were curious and went to meet them. The leader of the tinkers, a man named Dasra Alhari, was very welcoming. He invited them to into the camp and introduced them to his people. Esmerelda, Dasra’s daughter, seemed particularly taken with Rodrick. The tinkers, who refer to themselves as Tuatha’an, were friendly and welcoming. They offered food and drink and seemed to regard every nights rest as a cause for celebration. The sang, danced and told stories and told the four friends that they were traveling in the same direction as the caravan for a short time so they would be welcome back the following night. They also made it clear that they strongly disproved of violence and weapons. particularly of Rodricks sword which was purely a weapon and had no other purpose.

On the second night, the Tuatha’an again sang and danced and this time explained their philosophy of The Way Of The Leaf and how it forbade violence even in self defence. Rodrick and Berek argued against such a pacifistic way of life in the face of shadowspawn and darkfriends and told the tale of the attack on Emonds Field but the Tuatha’an only tried to convince their guests to put down their weapons and take up the way of the leaf.

For two more nights the Tuatha’an attempted to convince the group to join them but eventually the time came for them to part ways. They did so in friendship with offers from Dasra and his wife to return to them when they saw the right way. The caravan continued on towards Caemlyn.

On the 20th day of the journey the caravan arrived at the town of Four Kings just as a huge thunderstorm broke over the town. The towns inn rapidly filled with caravan workers, leaving only one, rather shabby inn called The Dancing Cartman. The barman was a villainous looking sort and Jonah elected to sleep back as the camp whilst Berek built a camp for himself in the woods. Rodrick and Nalei stayed however after the innkeeper offered room and board in return for entertaining the common room.

Rodrick began his performance and played long into the night, attracting a fair number of patrons including a strange merchant who looked very out of place in such a rough establishment. Eventually the commons emptied and Rorick and Nalei were shown to their beds in a storeroom at the back. Their sleep was interupted in the night by the merchant who introduced himself as Howal Gode and he brough about a few ‘associates’ with him. He was plainly a darkfriend and implied that he had been sent to find the group. In short order they were hustled into a coach and rattled off to the caravan site to gather up Jonah who required more forceful persuasion in the form of a blow to the back of the head.

lastly the coach headed into the forest to find Berek who was more ready for trouble than the rest. His hammer shattered a wheel on the speeding coach and the vehicle flipped, crashing into a tree and setting fire to part of the clearing with the spilled oil from the lamps. The four friends faced off against the eight darkfriends who survived the crash and killed several before Gode struck from the shadows stabbing Nalei with a poison dagger and rendering Jonah unconscious for the second time that night.

It seemed there was something to Moiraines claim that some of the group were Ta’veran though as a bolt of lightening struck in the clearing, missing the surrounding trees and striking one of the fallen lanterns. The blast killed all the toughs and stunned Berek and Rodrick whilst Jonah was splashed on the cheek with molten metal from the lantern. In the aftermath they found no sign of Howal Gode…

Journals
Berek’s Journal
Rodrick’s Journal

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Chapter 5: Arrival In Caemlyn

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ith Nalei wounded…



…By a darkfriends dagger, the party headed to the nearest tavern and had the innkeeper send for the towns apothecary. The apothecary treated Nalei’s wounds but could do little for the poison and Nalei remained unconcious for the next two days as the caravan rumbled onwards, passing through the little town of Market Sharen where Nalei seemed to recover almost miraculously quickly and spending a night at a coaching inn called The Queens Man.

All through the last couple of days, Rodrick and Jonah had been ill and that evening at the inn they lapsed into tortured fever dreams which prompted the caravan master to let them go for fear of spreading the strange sickness amongst his men. That night Berek was approached and then nearly stabbed by a darkfriend called Milli Skane who, under Berek’s tended ministrations babbled something about the Dark One blinding the Eye Of The World and killing the great serpent.
Berek then took pity on the girl and let her go, sending her running off into the night.

Rodrick and Jonah seemed to recover extremely fast from their mysterious illness and the party continue on their way, arriving in Carysford where Rodrick managed to start a bar fight over his sword that left half the patrons dead and a drunken old man on asking for a lift to Caemlyn. The group agree and head off to the capital of Andor and the Queens Blessing inn where they hope to meet Moiraine.

Journals
Berek’s Journal
Rodrick’s Journal

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Chapter 6: Travelling The Ways

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hilst Nalei headed to the palace…



… The rest of the party came to inspect their sleeping quarters and encountered none other that your humble chronicler. I was out of the stedding to tour the groves built by Ogier in ages long past but found myself a virtual prisoner in the Queen Blessing Inn. With Caemlyn full of people who had never seen an Ogier, I kept being mistaken for a Trolloc and chased so I resolved to lay low in the inns small library andwait until the fuss about the false dragon had died down before leaving town.

Be fortuitous chance this put me in the right place to meet a group of heroes that would change the world. They seemed shy but polite enough and Rodrick was interested in history so I undertook to explain the history of the Ogier which of course took a number of hours and before we were done Nalei was back from the palace having left a message for the queens Aes Sedai advisor about Moiraine and the problems with Trollocs and Darkfriends which the group had encountered on their journey to Caemlyn.

The following day was the day of the parade for the false dragon. Rodrick went to see the parade and whilst he was out, The queens advisor visited the inn in person and spent some time closetted in a back room with Nalei and Johan questioning them. That evening, The lady Moiraine Dmodred Sedai arrived and explained matters more clearly to me. She told of the Ta’veren nature of Rodrick, Johan and Berek and of her intention to take them to Tar Valon. It was then that I told her of the old man that had come to the stedding some 20 years past and told of a plot to ‘Blind the Eye of the World’. This question brought up a number of similar dreams, prophecies and messages that various members of the the group had heard before and they clearly meant something to Moiraine who insisted that their was no time to travel to Tar Valon and insisted that we go directly to the city of Fal Dara on the edge of the blight. She wasn’t very forthcoming with her reasons other than to say that time was short and the dark one was planning to destroy the world but she demanded that I show her the route through the old network of Ways to Fal Dara. I warned her of the dangers but she insisted there was no choice so I agreed and that evening we set out.

Ogier can sense there way to Way Gates and we found the Caemlyn gate in the celler of some poor shop keeper who’s door we were forced to break down. Moiraine found the key and opened the gate and we entered. The trip through the ways took about 7 days and despite my fears we made it almost to the final gate before anything truly bad happned. At the last guiding pillar we found a group of trollocs turned to stone and half absorbed into the ways and as we passed them we heard the first whisper of Machin Shin, The black wind. We hurried to the last gate, pursued by the wind and also by a group of trollocs fleeing in the same direction. The trollocs were crazed with fear and the key was missing from the way gate so Moiraine and Nalei began to cut through it with the power whilst the Lan, Jonah, Berek and Rodrick held off the trollocs. I’m afraid I was of little use, unarmed as I was and with no training in combat but the others aquitted themselves well and in the nick of time, Moiraine and Nalei finished cutting the gate and we escaped the Ways back into the real world on the fringes of the blight within sight of the beacons of Fal Dara.

Journals
Rodrick’s Journal

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Chapter 7: Into The Blight

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e turned our mounts towards Fal Dara…



…And rode until the city came into view. We were greeted warmly at the gates, partly due to Moiraine who was now travelling openly as an Aes Sedai and partly because of Lan who seemed to garner at least as much respect if not more as the guards greeted him with cries of Tai Shar Malkier (True Blood of Malkier in the old tongue). We were given a guard of honour and escorted to the chambers of Lord Agelmar, the ruler of Fal Dara and one of the Great Captains of the Westlands.

Lord Agelmar greeted us cordially and asked our business. Moiraine was evasive as always but gave the lord enough information for him to see the importance of our mission and offer us any aid he could. Moiraine turned down the offer of an armed escort as a small group is far harder to spot coming than an army and our best hope for reaching the Eye of the World was stealth. She did accept supplies, fresh mounts and armour from the city arsenal though.

As the meeting was about to break up there was a most unexpected turn of events. A guard entered and reported a strange man demanding to see Lord Agelmar with news of how to defeat the Dark One. The mysterious man turned out to be Padan Fain in a piteous state and babbling about ultimate victory over the shadow. He might have been given creedence had it not been for the presence of Berek and Moiraine who immeadiately identified the man as a dark friend and had him taken to the dungeons where Moiraine spent the next few hours questioning him with the aid of the one power. She discovered much including that Padan Fain had been behind the trolloc attack on Emonds Field and had somehow been given the knowledge to safely navigate the ways. With has nature confirmed, lord Agelmar did not hesitate to order him executed and allowed Berek to wield the axe in retribution for the people of the Two Rivers who had died.

The following day the party set off at first light leaving me in Fal Dara to await their return. The blight is no place for a scholar and I would only be a liability to them. They journeyed north for almost a week through increasingly corrupted and jungle-like terrain, facing shadowspawn even fouler than trollocs until they came to a clearing around a small conical hill like a miniature volcano. The whole clearing was bare of vegitation as if the corrupt plants would not come near the hill. High on the side of the hill was a cave-like opening that led into a tunnel into the depths of the rock. The way was lit by glowing crystals set into the cieling and led to a large round cave with a deep pool of what appeared to be crystal clear water at its centre.

Moiriane explained that this was the Eye of the World. The last untainted source of Saidin in the world, created after the male half of the source was tainted as one of the last works of both male and female Aes Sedai. As the group talked, Berek, who was watching the approach reported that two figures were appearing from the treeline and heading towards the tunnel. One was a very old man leaning heavily on a staff and the other was a tall man dressed head-to-toe in black leather including a full mask that completely hid his face.

Journals
Rodrick’s Journal

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Chapter 8: Battle For The Eye

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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.

Journals
Rodrick’s Journal

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Chapter 9: Thieves In The Night

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he gate guards throats had been slit…



…and the gates were standing open as Berek reached them. He immeadiately raised the alarm and ran to the growing sounds of battle. The others armed themselves and and joined in the defence of the great hall from a band of trollocs.

The attack on the hall was a diversion from the raids real target, the lords armoury and the horn which it contained. Berek encountered them as they were retreating but a Myrdraal blocked him from interfereing. Berek managed to slay the fell creature although he was wounded in the deed but by the time the fight was done the Myrdraals followers had made off into the darkness carrying the Horn of Valere with them.

On the morrow, the Amyrlin Seat arrived from Tar Valow to here the dire news. She talked with each of the companions and cloistered herself for most of the morning with Moiraine and Leanna, her Keeper. What was discussed behind those closed doors is not recorded but when she finally emerged it was just as the party set to hunt down the darkfriends who had stolen the horn was getting ready to depart.

Journals
Rodrick’s Journal
Nalei’s Journal

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