The Dragon Reborn: Chapter 56
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
People of the Dragon
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Points of View: Narrator, Mat
The citizens of Tear wake to the knowledge the Dragon has been reborn. Moiraine tells the group that Ba'alzamon was just a man and that the Last Battle is still to come.
Narrator's point of view
In the city of Tear, people speak of the dreams they had the night before of the Dragon Reborn battling Ba'alzamon in the Heart of the Stone. Above the Stone of Tear now waves the Dragon Banner. People can be heard proclaiming Rand as the Dragon Reborn.
Mat's Point of View:
Mat is in a room with Rhuarc, Moiraine, Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne. Mat is contemplating the people in the streets and the recent events, while Rhuarc reads a book and the women sit at a table.
Nynaeve asks Moiraine about Perrin, and Moiraine replies that, the last she knew, Perrin was alive and well, though he might have put himself into considerable danger trying to rescue his "companion" (Faile). Egwene wants to know who his companion is and Nynaeve wants to know what kind of danger, but Moiraine tells them that it doesn't concern them, and that she will check in on Perrin and his companion soon. She says that she has delayed only to show them something, and pulls one of the seals of the Dark One's prison from her pouch; it is unbroken. Nynaeve comments on its unbroken state, but then mentions that it doesn't matter now (since the Dark One is supposedly dead). Moiraine insinuates that it does matter.
Mat breaks in, and asks "how all of this can be": the Stone of Tear has fallen, while the Prophecies of the Dragon say that it will not fall until the arrival of the People of the Dragon. Mat wants to know if they, Lan and the few hundred Aiel who took the Stone are the People of the Dragon. Rhuarc reveals to them the secret that an ancient name for the Aiel is "People of the Dragon". Mat is now satisfied that the Prophecies truly have been fulfilled, and that it is all done now. Egwene contradicts him, reminding him that the Forsaken are on the loose, and Nynaeve adds that the Black Ajah is also still at large. Mat clarifies that he meant that the hardest part is done; "The Stone has fallen to the People of the Dragon, Rand has Callandor, and Shai'tan is dead."
When Mat speaks the Dark One's name, Moiraine snaps at him to be quiet, calls him a fool, and reveals that the Dark One is not dead: when Rand killed Ba'alzamon, Ba'alzamon left behind a dead, human body. Therefore, it wasn't the Dark One that Rand killed. Mat wants to know who Ba'alzamon was, if not the Dark One; Elayne is aghast, having thought that the Forsaken were all they had left to worry about; Nynaeve is confused, since Rand is certain that he killed the Dark One, and she also wants to know who it was that Rand killed. It is Egwene who thinks that she might have the answer to that question. She mentions a page from an old book that Verin showed her, one that mentioned Ba'alzamon and Ishamael together. She suggests that perhaps Ba'alzamon was Ishamael, and Moiraine agrees that it is possible, but that if it was, at least nine of the thirteen Forsaken are still alive to be defeated. She also reminds them all that three of the seven seals are broken, so only four stand between the Dark One and the world.
Mat notices that Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve all look determined, and realizes that they mean to continue on fighting the Black Ajah, the Forsaken and the Dark One. He thinks to himself, "Well, they needn't think I am going to come pull them out of the soup pot again".
The door opens and a beautiful woman enters the room. She flourishes a piece of folded parchment while stating that she is not used to being given messages to carry. When Moiraine asks who she is, the woman introduces herself as Berelain, First of Mayene. Moiraine opens the letter, and then asks why Berelain delivered it, if she is unused to being a messenger. Berelain replies that the woman who gave it to her was very impressive. She then smiles at Rhuarc, inquiring if he is the leader of the Aielmen who took the Stone. She tells him that she might ask him to dine with her one day soon. She then tells Moiraine to inform the Dragon Reborn that the First of Mayene will dine with him that night, and then leaves.
Moiraine then reminds Mat that he is ta'veren, the sounder of the Horn of Valere no less, and that nothing is done for him yet. Nynaeve is looking at him sadly, Egwene looks as if she has never seen him before, Elayne looks as if she expects him to change into someone else, and Rhuarc looks at him with a certain amount of respect. Mat tells them that he understands and that they can count on him, all the while wondering how soon Thom will be fit to travel, and thinking to himself that it is time to run.
Outside, people are still crying Rand's name: "The Dragon! Al'Thor! The Dragon! Al'Thor! The Dragon! Al'Thor! The Dragon!"