The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Second Age by some, the Age of Legends, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose along the road to Paaran Disen. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
The wind blew through the gates of the opulent city, considered to be the crown jewel of the world. It blew through the streets, around the towering skyscrapers that glittered like precious jewels in the sky. Onward the wind blew, reaching a grand home near the Hall of Servants. It blew in through an open window there, seeping into the room of a sleeping couple and infiltrating the young woman's dreams.
Isabella Cullen shivered, partially from the cool breeze, but mostly from her dreams. In a world that was a virtual paradise of peace and prosperity, her dreams were usually always pleasant, though sometimes prophetic. Even the "bad" dreams were never truly horrific. These dreams, however, were the epitome of the word nightmare.
In her dreams, she saw the world as she knew it slowly become blanketed in darkness. She saw a hole ripped through the Pattern, from which the darkness seeped through, affecting the rest. Looking in horror upon what she witnessed, she searched her memories for the unfamiliar word that could adequately describe what she saw happening. After a minute her mind dredged up the long forgotten word—war—now known only to scholars and Aes Sedai. She had learned it many years ago as part of her studies in ancient history and never believed it to be something she needed to recall.
But what could only be referred to as war was prevalent in this dark world she dreamed of. She saw an army of nightmarish creatures—illegal constructs that seemed to be part human and part animal—attacking people, killing anyone—men, women, children—who got in their way. She shuddered in horror and closed her mental eyes as she saw the monsters haul some people away for food, or torture—another unfamiliar word she was forced to recall in order to explain the things she saw—for fun, things she could never imagine happening in reality.
The monstrous creatures were led by men and women who appeared to be Aes Sedai, which made no sense to her. The title Aes Sedai literally meant "Servants of All," and they didn't take the title lightly. They did not lead armies—even if armies existed, which they did not, not yet anyway—nor use their powers for evil. They used their abilities to channel the One Power in the service of others—to help, to heal, to advance their society—not cause destruction and chaos. Their ability to channel was a gift from the Creator, and they used this ability to honor the Light and the world that had been created for them.
She tried to focus, embracing the Power to sharpen her vision, to see who these Aes Sedai were. If this dream was a premonition and she could identify these traitors—who undoubtedly also must have created the monstrous constructs—perhaps this future could be prevented. But, alas, the faces of the Aes Sedai were shrouded in darkness, just as the dream world was. She could not make out any identifying features to tell them apart, not even hair color. The only way she could tell they were men or women were by the shape of their bodies. With a sigh, she reluctantly released her grasp on the Power.
The dream shifted and she saw herself in a Circle with several other women and men, including her husband, his family, and many of their friends. She watched as the Circle did something with the Power, something to themselves. She could not tell exactly what the intricate weave—composed of all five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit—was supposed to do, only able to see half of the total weaves, the female half, but it looked like it was designed to make them stronger, physically—to enhance them somehow. A desperate attempt to battle the armies of constructs, perhaps?
She watched as the weave was completed and everyone in the Circle collapsed, seemingly unconscious. It was difficult to tell exactly what was happening, but there did seem to be some definite physical changes occurring: their muscles seemed to become more defined and their features were enhanced, all visible blemishes and imperfections that she could see becoming indistinct. She idly wondered if this change that had been wrought was temporary or permanent. She watched as the people began to stir and walked over to inspect her dream-self—her future self?—and watched as her dream-self opened her now bright luminescent eyes.
She awoke with a start, shivering even more due to the cool breeze that gusted anew through the open window. She quickly centered her mind, surrendering herself to saidar, the female half of the One Power. Embracing the Power, she used a simple weave of air to shut and lock the window. The sound of the window slamming shut startled her husband, Edward Cullen, awake and he sat up abruptly, enfolding her into his body when he noticed her shivers. She kissed him chastely on the lips before leaning into him, taking strength from his unflagging support.
No longer disturbed by the cool breeze, Isabella pondered the dream she'd just had. At least she hoped it was just a dream, or rather a nightmare. She shivered again, but not from the cold this time. A sense of foreboding told her that her dream was not just a dream, not to mention that she could not fathom how her mind could possibly ever dredge up such horrific images on its own.
While unrelated to her ability to channel the Power, Isabella had a strong inborn talent for Dreaming—having dreams that could foretell the future—and also was a powerful Dreamwalker—the ability to enter the World of Dreams, Tel'aran'rhiod, as well as observe and enter the dreams of others—though she was not yet as skilled in Dreamwalking as Mierin Eronaile and Lilen Moiral, the two most talented Dreamwalkers in the current Age.
At less than a hundred years old, Isabella was still considered nearly a child in comparison with the two talented Aes Sedai, though. Even Lilen was considered quite young at two-hundred years of age. Isabella's talents would only grow with time and maturity.
She had to keep the record of this dream. If it was a foretelling of what was to come... then the world as they knew it would come to end. She didn't know exactly when, but it was definitely within her lifetime—perhaps even within her youth, as her dream-self did not appear too much older than she was now. Aes Sedai did not age much, though, so it could still be a century or more into the future before she would notice significant changes in her outward appearance.
It was so difficult to even contemplate anything remotely like her dream ever coming to pass. Their world was one of abundance and harmony, a virtual paradise where no one was hungry and crimes were virtually unheard of. Violent crimes did occur occasionally, usually crimes of passion, but they were dealt with swiftly, the use of various ter'angreal ensuring there could not be any repeat offences from the perpetrator. She sighed and shook her head of the thoughts. It wouldn't do her, or anyone, any good to dwell excessively on it now.
She disconnected the recording device from her temple. After her talent for Dreamwalking had been discovered when she was a teenager, she had used the device every night to record her dreams. Most dreams were frivolous and discarded immediately, but definitely not this one. As much as she wished she could forget what she saw, she realized the importance of foreknowledge gifted them by the dream if it was truly a foretelling as she believed.
She pulled the memory chip from the recorder and stored it away for safekeeping. She would review it later, hopefully in company. In the intervening years since she had first started using the devices, she had learned how to store her dreams away in her mind for easy recall, but even so, she still preferred to use the recorder. This way she could watch the dream outside her own mind, and easily share it with others for an outside perspective.
Knowing his wife well, Edward waited patiently while she collected her thoughts. By her actions, he concluded she had had a dream. Once she was done storing away the recording of the night's dreams, he placed his hand over hers, pulling her attention to him. "What is troubling you, my heart?"
After a moment's hesitation, she replied, not wanting to keep any secrets from him, no matter how disturbing they were. "I had a bad dream."
His brow furrowed, taking in her expression; this was no ordinary bad dream. He frowned, knowing how atypical true nightmares were for her. "You believe it to be a foretelling?"
"I..." she faltered, "I cannot be certain, but I fear it is. Oh, Edward, it was horrible! If it comes true, it means the end to everything we know. I think I need to show this—" she held up the recording device "—to Alice, see if she's seen anything, too."
Alice was also an Aes Sedai, a childhood friend of Isabella's, and she remained close with the couple. Alice had a strong talent for Foretelling, which, unlike Isabella's talent in Dreaming, was definitely linked to the Power and was exceptionally accurate and usually easier to interpret. Unlike many other Aes Sedai with the talent, Alice could usually always recall hers, though she could not control when they occurred.
Edward nodded in agreement, looking out the window into the darkness of the night. Without the glowbulbs lighting up the streets, it would be too dark to see much of anything still. "I think that would be good idea. It's too early to disturb her now, though. Let's go back to sleep for now. Hopefully the rest of your dreams will be pleasant ones."
"I will in a minute. I just want to check on things, to ease my mind." Isabella's eyes beseeched her husband. With a sigh, he agreed and turned on the view-screen across the room, switching immediately over to the current news around the world.
All seemed calm and peaceful, just as it always did. There was a reminder that, later that week in the Sharom—a hovering white sphere located over the Collam Daan, a university constructed of silver and blue domes located within the great city of V'saine—an Aes Sedai research team led by Mierin and Beidomon, two of the top researchers at the university, were scheduled to tap into a new seemingly unified energy source, separate from the True Source, that Mierin had discovered. Presumably this new energy source would allow men and women to channel the Power equally, without being forced to access saidin and saidar.
Isabella was skeptical, though. If her dream was true, obviously this power source would not work as well as believed, or else she would have been able to the see the other half of the weaves made by the men in that final vision of her dream, where they changed themselves physically.
Well, there was nothing more to be done about it now. Everything in the world seemed well at the moment. Later that day, she would pay a visit to her old friend and see if she had had a vision, and perhaps they could all watch the recording of Isabella's dream and determine if it was just that or if it were something more. Isabella switched off the view-screen and fastened the recording device, with a new chip installed, to her temple, to record any new dreams she could possibly have, before she settled into her husband's arms and put herself into a deep sleep once again.