The Gathering Storm - By Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson Page 0,1

Opens

15 A Place to Begin

16 In the White Tower

17 Questions of Control

18 A Message in Haste

19 Gambits

20 On a Broken Road

21 Embers and Ash

22 The Last That Could Be Done

23 A Warp in the Air

24 A New Commitment

25 In Darkness

26 A Crack in the Stone

27 The Tipsy Gelding

28 Night in Hinderstap

29 Into Bandar Eban

30 Old Advice

31 A Promise to Lews Therin

32 Rivers of Shadow

33 A Conversation with the Dragon

34 Legends

35 A Halo of Blackness

36 The Death of Tuon

37 A Force of Light

38 News in Tel’aran’rhiod

39 A Visit from Verin Sedai

40 The Tower Shakes

41 A Fount of Power

42 Before the Stone of Tear

43 Sealed to the Flame

44 Scents Unknown

45 The Tower Stands

46 To Be Forged Again

47 The One He Lost

48 Reading the Commentary

49 Just Another Man

50 Veins of Gold

EPILOGUE: Bathed in Light

GLOSSARY

Ravens and crows. Rats. Mists and clouds. Insects and corruption. Strange events and odd occurrences. The ordinary twisted and strange. Wonders!

The dead are beginning to walk, and some see them. Others do not, but more and more, we all fear the night.

These have been our days. They rain upon us beneath a dead sky, crushing us with their fury, until as one we beg: “Let it begin!”

—Journal of the Unknown Scholar,

entry for The Feast of Freia, 1000 NE

THE GATHERING STORM

PROLOGUE

What the Storm Means

Renald Fanwar sat on his porch, warming the sturdy blackoak chair crafted for him by his grandson two years before. He stared northward.

At the black and silver clouds.

He’d never seen their like before. They blanketed the entire horizon to the north, high in the sky. They weren’t gray. They were black and silver. Dark, rumbling thunderheads, as dark as a root cellar at midnight. With striking silver light breaking between them, flashes of lightning that gave off no sound.

The air was thick. Thick with the scents of dust and dirt. Of dried leaves and rain that refused to fall. Spring had come. And yet his crops didn’t grow. Not a sprout had dared poke through the earth.

He rose slowly from his chair, wood creaking, chair rocking softly behind him, and walked up to the edge of the porch. He chewed on his pipe, though its fire had gone out. He couldn’t be bothered to relight it. Those clouds transfixed him. They were so black. Like the smoke of a brushfire, only no brushfire smoke ever rose that high up in the air. And what to make of silver clouds? Bulging between the black ones, like places where polished steel shone through metal crusted with soot.

He rubbed his chin, glancing down at his yard. A small, whitewashed fence contained a patch of grass and shrubs. The shrubs were dead now, every one of them. Hadn’t lasted through that winter. He’d need to pull them out soon. And the grass . . . well, the grass was still just winter thatch. Not even any weeds sprouted.

A clap of thunder shook him. Pure, sharp, like an enormous crash of metal against metal. It rattled the windows of the house, shook the porch boards, seemed to vibrate his very bones.

He jumped back. That strike had been close—perhaps on his property. He itched to go inspect the damage. Lightning fire could destroy a man, burn him out of his land. Up here in the Borderlands, so many things were unintentional tinder—dry grass, dry shingles, dry seed.

But the clouds were still distant. That strike couldn’t have been on his property. The silver and black thunderheads rolled and boiled, feeding and consuming themselves.

He closed his eyes, calming himself, taking a deep breath. Had he imagined the thunder? Was he going off the side, as Gaffin always joked? He opened his eyes.

And the clouds were right there, directly above his house.

It was as if they had suddenly rolled forward, intending to strike while his gaze was averted. They dominated the sky now, sweeping distantly in either direction, massive and overwhelming. He could almost feel their weight pressing the air down around him. He drew in a breath that was heavy with sudden humidity, and his brow prickled with sweat.

Those clouds churned, dark black and silver thunderheads shaking with white blasts. They suddenly boiled downward, like the funnel cloud of a twister, coming for him. He cried out, raising a hand, as a man might before a powerfully bright light. That blackness. That endless, suffocating blackness. It would take him. He knew.

And then the clouds were gone.

His pipe hit the porch’s floorboards, clicking softly, tossing burned tabac out in a spray across the steps. He hadn’t realized

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