Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time #6)
The First Message
Demandred stepped out onto the black slopes of Shayol Ghul, and the gateway, a hole in reality’s fabric, winked out of existence. Above, roiling gray clouds hid the sky, an inverted sea of sluggish ashen waves crashing around the mountain’s hidden peak. Below, odd lights flashed across the barren valley, washed-out blues and reds, failing to dispel the dusky murk that shrouded their source. Lightning streaked up at the clouds, and slow thunder rolled. Across the slope steam and smoke rose from scattered vents, some holes as small as a man’s hand and some large enough to swallow ten men.
He released the One Power immediately, and with the vanished sweetness went the heightened senses that made everything sharper, clearer. The absence of saidin left him hollow, yet here only a fool would even appear ready to channel. Besides, here only a fool would want to see or smell or feel too clearly.
In what was now called the Age of Legends, this had been an idyllic island in a cool sea, a favorite of those who enjoyed the rustic. Despite the steam it was bitter cold, now; he did not allow himself to feel it, but instinct made him pull his fur-lined velvet cloak closer. Feathery mist marked his breath, barely visible before the air drank it. A few hundred leagues north the world was pure ice, but Thakan’dar was always dry as any desert, though always wrapped in winter.1