Towers of Midnight

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan Read Free Book Online

Book: Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert Jordan
for a time."
    "I will never associate with Darkfriends," Asunawa said, though he sounded hesitant. He watched Galad's men. Asunawa would win a battle, but if Galad's men stood their ground, it would be a costly victory. Both sides would lose thousands.
    "I will submit to you," Galad said. "On certain terms."
    "No!" Bornhald said from behind, but Galad raised a hand, silencing him.
    "What terms would those be?" Asunawa asked.
    "You swear   before the Light and the Lords Captain here with you   that you will not harm, question, or otherwise condemn the men who followed me. They were only doing what they thought was right."
    Asunawa's eyes narrowed, his lips forming a straight line.
    "That includes my companions here," Galad said, nodding to Byar and Bornhald. "Every man, Asunawa. They must never know questioning."
    "You cannot hinder the Hand of the Light in such a way! This would give them free rein to seek the Shadow!"
    "And is it only fear of Questioning that keeps us in the Light, Asunawa?" Galad asked. "Are not the Children valiant and true?"
    Asunawa fell silent. Galad closed his eyes, feeling the weight of leadership. Each moment he stalled increased the bargaining position for his men. He opened his eyes. "The Last Battle comes, Asunawa. We haven't time for squabbling. The Dragon Reborn walks the land."
    "Heresy!" Asunawa said.
    "Yes," Galad said. "And truth as well."
    Asunawa ground his teeth, but seemed to be considering the offer. "Galad," Bornhald said softly. "Don't do this. We can fight. The Light will protect us!"
    "If we fight, we will kill good men, Child Bornhald," Galad said, without turning. "Each stroke of our swords will be a blow for the Dark One. The Children are the only true foundation that this world has left. We are needed. If my life is what is demanded to bring unity, then so be it. You would do the same, I believe." He met Asunawa's eyes.
    "Take him," Asunawa snapped, looking dissatisfied. "And tell the legions to stand down. Inform them that I have taken the false Lord Captain Commander into custody, and will Question him to determine the extent of his crimes." He hesitated. "But also pass the word that those who followed him are not to be punished or Questioned." Asunawa spun his horse and rode away.
    Galad turned his sword and handed it out to Bornhald. "Return to our men; tell them what happened here, and do not let them fight or try to rescue me. That is an order."
    Bornhald met his eyes, then slowly took the sword. At last, he saluted. "Yes, my Lord Captain Commander."
    As soon as they turned to ride away, rough hands grabbed Galad and pulled him from Stout's saddle. He hit the ground with a grunt, his bad shoulder throwing a spike of agony across his chest. He tried to climb to his feet, but several Questioners dismounted and knocked him down again.
    One forced Galad to the ground, a boot on his back, and Galad heard
    the metallic rasp of a knife being unsheathed. They cut his armor and clothing free.
    "You will not wear the uniform of a Child of the Light, Darkfriend," a Questioner said in his ear.
    "I am not a Darkfriend," Galad said, face pressed to the grassy earth. "I will never speak that lie. I walk in the Light."
    That earned him a kick to the side, then another, and another. He curled up, grunting. But the blows continued to fall.
    Finally, the darkness took him.
     
    The creature that had once been Padan Fain walked down the side of a hill. The brown weeds grew in broken patches, like the scrub on the chin of a beggar.
    The sky was black. A tempest. He liked that, though he hated the one who caused it.
    Hatred. It was the proof that he still lived, the one emotion left. The only emotion. It was all that there could be.
    Consuming. Thrilling. Beautiful. Warming. Violent. Hatred. Wonderful. It was the storm that gave him strength, the purpose that drove him. Al'Thor would die. By his hand. And perhaps after that, the Dark One. Wonderful . . .
    The creature that had been Padan Fain

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