The narrowfaced man raised an eyebrow. “You are that dangerous, youngling?” He was not much older than Rand.
“Heronmark, Lord Bornhald,” one of the others said warningly.
The narrowfaced man glanced at Rand's sword hilt again — the bronze heron was plain — and his eyes widened momentarily. Then his gaze rose to Rand's face, and he sniffed dismissively. “He is too young. You are not from this place, yes?” he said coldly to Rand. “You come from where?”
“I just arrived in Baerlon. ” A tingling thrill ran along Rand's arms and legs. He felt flushed, almost warm. “You wouldn't know of a good inn, would you?”
“You avoid my questions,” Bornhald snapped. “What evil is in you that you do not answer me?” His companions moved up to either side of him, faces hard and expressionless. Despite the mudstains on their cloaks, there was nothing funny about them now.
The tingling filled Rand; the heat had grown to a fever. He wanted to laugh, it felt so good. A small voice in his head shouted that something was wrong, but all he could think of was how full of energy he felt, nearly bursting with it. Smiling, he rocked on his heels and waited for what was going to happen. Vaguely, distantly, he wondered what it would be.
The leader's face darkened. One of the others drew his sword enough for an inch of steel to show and spoke in a voice quivering with anger. “When the Children of the Light ask questions, you grayeyed bumpkin, we expect answers, or — ” He cut off as the narrowfaced man threw an arm across his chest. Bornald jerked his head up the street.
The Town Watch had arrived, a dozen men in round steel caps and studded leather jerkins, carrying quarterstaffs as if they knew how to use them. They stood watching, silently, from ten paces off.
“This town has lost the Light,” growled the man who had half drawn his sword. He rinsed his voice to shout at the Watch. “Baerlon stands in the Shadow of the Dark One!” At a gesture from Bornhald he slammed his blade back into its scabbard.
Bornhald turned his attention back to Rand. The light of knowing burned in his eyes. “Darkfriends do not escape us, youngling, even in a town that stands in the Shadow. We will meet again. You may be sure of it!”
He spun on his heel and strode away, his two companions close behind, as if Rand had ceased to exist. For the moment, at least. When they reached the crowded part of the street, the same seemingly accidental pocket as before opened around them. The Watchmen hesitated, eyeing Rand, then shouldered their quarterstaffs and followed the whitecloaked three. They had to push their way into the crowd, shouting, “Make way for the Watch!” Few did make way, except grudgingly.
Rand still rocked on his heels, waiting. The tingle was so strong that be almost quivered; he felt as if he were burning up.
Mat came out of the shop, staring at him. “You aren't sick,” he said finally. “You are crazy!”
Rand drew a deep breath, and abruptly it was all gone like a pricked bubble. He staggered as it vanished, the realization of what he had just done flooding in on him. Licking his lips, he met Mat's stare. “I think we had better go back to the inn, now,” he said unsteadily.
“Yes,” Mat said. “Yes. I think we better had.”
The street had begun to fill up again, and more than one passerby stared at the two boys and murmured something to a companion. Rand was sure the story would spread. A crazy man had tried to start a fight with three Children of the Light. That was something to talk about. Maybe the dreams are driving me crazy.
The two lost their way several times in the haphazard streets, but after a while they fell in with Thom Merrilin, making a grand procession all by himself through the throng. The gleeman said he was out to stretch his legs and for a bit of fresh air, but whenever anyone looked twice at his colorful cloak he would announce in a resounding voice, “I am at the Stag and Lion, tonight only.”
It was Mat who began disjointedly telling Thom about the dream and their worry over whether or not to tell Moiraine, but Rand joined in, for there were differences in exactly how they remembered it. Or maybe each dream was a little different, he thought. The major part of the dreams was the same, though.
They had not gone far in the telling before Thom started paying full attention. When Rand mentioned Ba'alzamon, the gleeman grabbed them each by a shoulder with a command to hold their tongues, raised on tiptoe to look over the heads of the crowd, then hustled them out of the press to a deadend alley that was empty except for a few crates and a slatribbed, yellow dog huddled out of the cold.
Thom stared out at the crowd, looking for anyone stopping to listen, before turning his attention to Rand and Mat. His blue eyes bored into theirs, between flickering away to watch the mouth of the alley. “Don't ever say that name where strangers can hear.” His voice was low, but urgent. “Not even where a stranger might hear. It is a very dangerous name, even where Children of the Light are not wandering the streets.”
Mat snorted. “I could tell you about Children of the Light,” he said with a wry look at Rand.
Thom ignored him. “If only one of you had had this dream ...” He tugged at his mustache furiously. “Tell me everything you remember about it. Every detail.” He kept up his wary watch while he listened.
“... He named the men he said had been used,” Rand said finally. He thought he had told everything else. “Guaire Amalasan. Raolin Darksbane.”
“Davian,” Mat added before he could go on. “ And Yurian Stonebow.”
“And Logain,” Rand finished.
“Dangerous names,” Thom muttered. His eyes seemed to drill at them even more intently than before. “Nearly as dangerous as that other, one way and another. All dead, now, except for Logain. Some long dead. Raolin Darksbane nearly two thousand years. But dangerous just the same. Best you don't say them aloud even when you're alone. Most people wouldn't recognize a one of them, but if the wrong person overhears ...”
“But who were they?” Rand said.
“Men,” Thom murmured. “Men who shook the pillars of heaven and rocked the world on its foundations.” He shook his head. “It doesn't matter. Forget about them. They are dust now.”
“Did the ... were they used, like he said?” Mat asked. “And killed?”
“You might say the White Tower killed them. You might say that.” Thom's mouth tightened momentarily, then he shook his head again. “But used ... ? No. I cannot see that. The Light knows the Amyrlin Seat has enough plots going, but I can't see that.”
Mat shivered. “He said so many things. Crazy things. All that about Lews Therin Kinslayer, and Artur Hawkwing. And the Eye of the World. What in the Light is that supposed to be?”
“A legend,” the gleeman said slowly. “Maybe. As big a legend as the Horn of Valere, at least in the Borderlands. Up there, young men go hunting the Eye of the World the way young men from Illian hunt the Horn. Maybe a legend.”
“What do we do, Thom?” Rand said. “Do we tell her? I don't want any more dreams like that. Maybe she could do something.”
“Maybe we wouldn't like what she did,” Mat growled.
Thom studied them, considering and stroking his mustache with a knuckle. “I say hold your peace,” he said finally. “Don't tell anyone, for the time, at least. You can always change your mind, if you have to, but once you tell, it's done, and you're tied up worse than ever with ... with her. ”Suddenly he straightened, his stoop almost disappearing. "The other lad! You say he had the same dream? Does he have sense enough to keep his mouth shut?'
“I think so,” Rand said at the same time that Mat said, “We were going back to the inn to warn him.”
“The Light send we're not too late!” Cloak flapping around his ankles, patches fluttering in the wind, Thom strode out of the alley, looking back over his shoulder without stopping. “Well? Are your feet pegged to the ground?”
Rand and Mat hurried after him, but he did not wait for them to catch up. This time he did not pause for people who looked at his cloak, or those who hailed him as a gleeman, either. He clove through the crowded streets as if they were empty, Rand and Mat half running to follow in his wake. In much less time than Rand expected they were hurrying up to the Stag and Lion.
As they started in, Perrin came speeding out, trying to throw his cloak around his shoulders as he ran. He nearly fell in his effort not to carom into them. “I was coming looking for you two,” he panted when he had caught his balance.
Rand grabbed him by the arm. “Did you tell anyone about the dream?”
“Say that you didn't,” Mat demanded.
“It's very important,” Thom said.
Perrin looked at them in confusion. “No, I haven't. I didn't even get out of bed until less than an hour ago.” His shoulders slumped. “I've given myself a headache trying not to think about it, much less talk about it. Why did you tell him?” He nodded at the gleeman.
“We had to talk to somebody or g