The Great Mistress of the Dark was annoyed. As if she didn't have enough to think about, what with trying to conquer the universe and all, now there was this "Strawn" creature to deal with as well. He was an insignificant little nothing, a mere biteme, but for an insect, he had a big mouth.
All the denizens of WoTA-land had previously been courteous, humorous, charming, and respectful of one another, even those on opposite sides of the Ligh/Dark fence from one another. Just because you're dedicated to destroyig each other doesn't mean you can't be friends, after all! And then, along had come this Strawn-thing, claiming to be her brother, trying to take over and rule everybody. Ariella sighed. The best part about being tGMotD was that she didn't have to rule anybody -- they all pretty much went their own way, leaving her lots of free time to indulge her admittedly hedonistic tendencies. But now, she was being forced to take a more proactive stance. She hated being pushed into things -- Strawn would have to pay for that, if nothing else.
She focused her will and sent out the call. Dark Sisters, Ishy, Moridin, Eval, Demandred, her little Brother Tam, the Hound, even the Light Warriors, headed by that interesting-looking Borderlander (Agelmar? Yes, Agelmar Jagad. Hmm... no, back to the subject at hand...) All were summoned to the palace at the edge of midnight. She called, and then waited, confident that her summons would be heeded.
When at last they were all assembled, she stood before the crowd, astonished at how many of them there were now. When the game had begun, there had been only a handful, but now... She smiled, pleased that so many were finding enjoyment in the game.
"My friends, and I count you all as friends, even those sworn to the Light, I stand before you today in a role I dislike -- that of "she who issues policy." I dislike it, because I'd much rather let everyone go their own way. But circumstances require a united front, if we are to rid this realm of the irritant calling istelf "Strawn." I must therefore require each of you to do your part in combatting this plague. Your role is simple -- do nothing. Do not respond to his posts, to not rise to the bait he sets out, do not dignify his rantings with so much as a single flaming reply." The group muttered amongst itself at that; there were many who would no doubt prefer a more, active, approach. Ariella held up her hand for silence.
"I know, this goes against the grain for many of you, but it is the only way. Like most emotionally stunted, attention-seeking, purile fools, this Strawn will only linger so long as his need for validation is fed. By responding, we feed him and make him grow stronger. Silence will starve him out, and eventually he will wander off in search of other prey." Ariella saw many among the crowd nodding their heads in understanding, and was sure that her policy would be carried out. She held up her hand once more.
"And now, since we have an unprecedented gathering here, forces of Darkness and forces of Light come together united for a single cause, in peace and harmony, I suggest we celebrate. Party's at my place -- bring your own mug..."
Ariella, the Great Mistress of the Dark, Pest Control Specialist, and Hostess with the Mostest...
Bows smoothly to tGMofD: I understand, and obey, Great Mistress. Sends a glare to the immature being Strawn and mutters to herself:: Geez, I go away for a few days and miss everything.
Darkhound stood listening to The Great Mistresses delivery, occasionally breaking into frantic applause at entirely the wrong places, and earning glares and tuts of disapproval from those around him. When he shouted "Hurrah!" after the Great Mistress had uttered just the words "My friends..." he earned himself a cuff from Egwene.
As he listened to the words, he nodded his agreement. When flamers had infested the board beofre, he himself had pleaded this same course of action. Of course, when the Great Mistress spoke, people listened....
With this, Strawn would grow as tired of his stupidity as everyone else was. And of course, there was also the fact that Darkhound believed he could get his hands on Strawns Email addy, a useful weapon in the right hands....
The speech wound up with an invite for a party. The Great Mistress had insisted that je would attend the next party in man form, which meant he wouldn't have to change. Looking to Egwene, he grinned and offered his arm. "May I escort you to the ball?"
Mutter, mutter, mutter. Ignore this imbecile Strawn? Well, it'll be another exercise in willpower, what with all those capital letters and such. Agelmar smiled. It'll be just like ignoring a message from the Creator, except I won't have to see Strawn at all. Hrumph, Creator, what a shabby dresser. Thinks he's above clothes just because he created the whole universe and such. Doesn't excuse w....wait, what did that Ariella just say? Something about a party? Hmm...shame I left my lampshade and my "Kiss me, I'm Shienaran" shirt at home. Maybe she has a lampshade around here somewhere...oh well, the night is young yet, and I can still see straight....
Agelmar Jagad, Lord General, Light Warriors
(Hmm...no clothes...now there's an idea...)
Happily, Smoke listened to the Great Mistress deliver a stirring denunciation of that pest, Strawn. She herself had always been a firm believer in the statement that stupidity causes its own downfall; Strawn was going to be gone pretty soon, if he had half a neuron left in his head.
A party! Smoke glanced at Demandred; he looked a little queasy. Small wonder, considering what had happened to him at the last one. She hoped this party would be a little less... formal. After all, she had a 'Domanis do it deeper' shirt that Sundara had given her a while ago...
Smoke "Par-tay People!" Ashalen
Kiriath groaned. "Blood and Bloody Ashes ...I wanted to use him in a
Ramblin'Sanity. Hello, Impersonator..."
Thom nudged him, "You've used that joke plenty, Kir. And you've already got an idea for the next ..with loads of puns."
The two gleefulmaniacs chuckled for a few minutes, Kir cracking puns at Ari's words, and Thom listening intently, when both suddenly looked startled, at each other, and back at Ariella.
Each with his own shade of deviousness twinkling in his own eyes, the two gleefulmaniacs looked genuinely humoured.
"A party, hm?" said Kiriath, "This should be fun."
Kiriath, planning on doing more rp during (and probably after too) that party...
Ishamael listened intently to the words of the Great Mistress. He cared little for the incessant ravings of the lunatic imposter she spoke of. He had dealt with insignificant pions before, usually a dice'em and dine party for the Trolloc Hordes, a permanent slave for the Myrdraals' pleasure, or a guniea pig for Aginor's biological experiments and creations. However, he realized the words of the Great Mistress rang true, they were all far above the level of idiocy that the pathetic whelp dwelled in. It was beneath Ishy to even consider taking any sort of action against this little piece of nothing. Instead, he turned his focus towards this party, an idea which presented many intriguing possibilities. Of course he would be attired in black, he never wore anything else, but this might give him a chance to try those black silk briefs with the white lace fringe, and someone might find out what other parts of his anatomy were burning hot with flame. Or, if nothing else, he might jog his memory to figure out what had happened to him until just recently. He could almost recollect it, but it seemed to stay just hidden behind a black haze in his mind.
Ishy--"Gettin' Ishy with it"
Moridin smiled softly to himself as the words washed over him. He knew Strawn from a previous life, before the Bore, and he was as annoying and bothersome as he was now. Of course, he was the first to OD on the TP, he believed, the first of the thirty. Granted, he was the second, but... A staff of black flame appeared in his hand, sucking the little light in the room into it. He would fall soon enough...
A party? At Ari's expense, for the most part? His smile deepened somewhat. The Great Lord gave him specific commands for...several people in attendance here, and this would be the best opportunity to go through with the commands... Also, this is a great time to rummage up that red mask he hadn't used since the last DF social...
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord, Lover of the Great Mistress, One Who Draws On the True Power One Time Too Many, Destroyer of Unbelievers, Ishamael Reborn, Future Nae'blis, Mia'cova, "Cour'souva Boy," Bonder of Egwene2, Leader of the former Brotherhood of Shadow, and Person Who Probably Needs More Overall Titles to Catch Up With Sundara and Darkhound.
"Wow, a party, I've never been to a party before, well, one I was invited
to anyway" Kerek smiled a one of the passing women, who neatly smacked
him upside the head "Geez, one misfired power-wrought bazooka ter'angreal
and it was bye bye love" Kerek frowned "I wish I could channel without
a sock puppet nearby" just then a man clad entirely in black and white
stripes with white makeup silently walked by making gestures with hands
and face, Kerek was terrified "ahhh!" Kerek yelped "a m.. m. mi.. ugh...
hmmm, well now that I can channel, I'll get rid of this nasty full facial
scab" he chenneled, and boom, his beautiful self again, "Oh My GOD... I'm
Georgeous!" Kerek smiled approvingly in a mirror, then turned to another
passing woman, who neatly smacked him upside the head "Dammit, why do they
keep doing that?" Kerek asked himself.
"Because you don't do anything about it" Jandor said as he walked up to Kerek, a neat red handprint forming on his cheek.
"Well, at least we actually got invited to a party" Kerek smiled.
"Yeah, but we can't bother STRAWN anymore, and I wanted to use that NWARTS thing again..." Jandor's head drooped.
"Oh well... psst if we use a different name we can still make fun of him, and no one will know its us!" Kerek's eye's widened with glee.
"Yeah, but..." jandor looked at Kerek.
"What?" Kerek looked confused.
"You just told everyone about using a different name, now everyone will know it's you."
"Oh, yeah, umm, excuse me folks... I will not be using a different name to flame STRAWN, heh, now they'll never suspect me" Kerek smiled at his cleverness.
"Oh yeaaaah, well, I'll just be going now."
Kerek Stormshield, Lord of the Two Puddles, Master of the Flinging Pie, Meister of Mannicotti, Current User of Silly Titles, Author of the Story of STRAWN, Baron of Blah, Regent of Rambling(ha Kiriath) and most of all, Light Warrior
Sundara sighed as she listened to Ari. Maybe starving Strawn was the best policy, but she herself would have preferred to feed him half a ton of the hottest chili sauce she could find. Sundara entertained a brief mental picture of Strawn dying in agony, burning from the inside out, but reluctantly discarded it. It was too late to do anything about her last 'Court in Session' post, but she would make the effort not to post any more. Hard as it would be.
Well, a party would make up for it. Sundara wove Air into a mirror, and surveyed her reflection with a satisfied smile. The skintight jeans and black tank top would do very well for the kind of party she anticipated. The whip hanging from her belt finished the outfit off nicely - something she had copied from Egwene. With a toss of her dark hair, Sundara vanished the mirror again, and Travelled out to where she could hear the party beginning already.
Sundara, she of many titles
The Great Mistress spoke wise. No other line of action would be more
successful. Such nasty customers are unable to listen. Therefore you should
ignore them. Before this insufferable lout offended everyone she has enjoyed
to be around here in WoTA-land, always present though seldom be seen. Soon
these times will come again. Now she would attend the party.
Hmm, a change of clothing would be approbiate, or not? A glance around showed a wide range from evening dress to casual wear. Obvious all was permitted. Whips seemed to be the female's latest fashion.
It would make no difference anyway. Certainly not with this lot of beautyful woman around here. This was her greatest problem: to attract attention. She didn't need a mirror to know how she looked. Small build, short hair, an ordinary face and an innate shyness had added up somehow to a total unconspicuous woman. And it was getting worse in course of time. The peak, or rather the low, was reached recently when this idiotic fade mistook her for a soulless and tried to order her around. Absent-minded she felt for her stilettos. Well, it would do that never again.
Still she could have fun here. There are ever possibilities to learn some things. Such things could be helpful in her profession or be simple interesting. She strolled to two men, who were absorbed in a discussion. Kerek and Jandor, she tought. Sweet boys, but sometimes a bit silly as even now. They didn't notice her. She moved on. The Who is Who of Randland was gathered. Actually only the Dragon seemed to be absent. She wondered briefly what her lord was up to do? A gap in the crowd showed her Lady Selene. No surprise that this woman turned every male's head. Oh yes, it would become an interesting party.
Ariella strolled into the party with a young man in tow, a young man that was unknown to the others. She grinned in anticipation of her surprise. Wait til they heard...
But not yet. Oh, no -- Ari was the undisputed queen of drama, and her exquisite sense of timing told her to wait until the party was in full swing to introduce this guest. She murmured instructions to him to stay low while she mingled.
She passed Ishy, looking quite buff in black briefs fringed in white lace -- it seems that old saw about "small hands" was off the mark a bit. "Nice drawers, Ishy," she said in passing, with a Cheshire grin. He took in the skin tight black Levis and gold halter top with a matching leer. "Looking pretty fine yourself, old girl!" "Aren't I just?" she tossed back with a laugh.
Next up was Moridin, who gave her attire a very approving glance. "Later..." she mouthed, nodding her head toward her chambers. The look in those azure eyes, peeking through the red mask, would have made any other woman blush to her toenails, but Ari just blew him a kiss as she moved off into the crowd. Her brother definitely knew how to pick 'em...
She saw Darkhound and Egwene dancing, but interestingly, the band hadn't started yet. Darkhound saw her looking and winked at her over Egwene's shoulder. Moments later, Egwene caught sight of her and gave the exact same wink. Two of a kind, Ari thought, and wondered who'd come out on top.
Smoke and Demandred saw no one except each other, as usual. Ari sighed. It was better than having them at each other's throats, but honestly -- get a room!
Eval and Sundara were snuggled up in another dark corner. Amazingly, Sundara was actually fully dressed, not a Domani gown in sight. Not that she looked any less seductive in jeans -- Domani women could look smoldering in a burlap sack. Eval certainly seemed appreciative of Sunny's change in garb.
Kiri was rambling around, up to his usual gleeful mischief. Ari laughed out loud at the stream of puns he issued as he kommented on everyone and everything. No need to book entertainment -- just invite Kiri!
A tall, distinguished looking Borderlander caught her eye, and she made her way over to Agelmar Jagad, Lord General of the Light Warriors. "Nice to see you here, Lord General," she purred. "It always seemed such a shame to me that we have to be at odds with each other. I'm sure we have so much in common, after all. Oh, and I hear you've been looking for a lampshade..." A wave of her slender hand, and a magnificent shade in cloth-of-gold appeared. "There, that should suit!" She gave him a kiss on the cheek -- "For the tee shirt you forgot to bring..." and moved on.
Kerek and Jandor were busy ogling all the serving girls and inventing more and more absurd titles. She quietly motioned to the servers to start watering their ale. She had nothing against a couple of lads having a good time, but they were Light Warriors, after all, and she'd hate to see anyone make any embarassing mistakes.
Finally, she came upon an unassuming woman standing quietly to one side, observing. Ulrike, a newcomer to these lands. Ari gave her a long look; she had a nice bone structure to her face, a slight but definitely feminine build, short but pretty hair. The girl just needed a bit of ornamentation to shine. Ari grinned. She liked playing fairy godmother, and this was a definite Cinderella-in-the-making. But that would have to wait. Now was the perfect time.
She tapped sharply on a wineglass, getting everyone's attention, and motioned to her mysterious young man. As he came to stand beside her, Ariella made the introductions. "Lords, ladies, gentles all. I have the rare priviledge to introduce to you my newest follower, Blaine. Some of you may know him by the name of his alter-ego, STRAWN!!!" Admid the gasps from the crowd, Blaine just bowed deeply, while Ari grinned. Yep, she still knew how to throw a party...
Ariella, the Great Mistress of the Dark, still cool after all these years...
Watching the various couples she saw the Great Mistress striding majestically
through the crowd. Suddenly they made eye contact. Never before she had
experienced such scrutiny. Usually people overlooked her. But this woman..
She shivered uneasy. She hadn't recovered yet when the next shock came.
Ariella presented Blaine aka STRAWN! It was impossible! How had she managed
to changed this ...young man so complete so fast?
A thought occured to her. Had the Great Mistress worked this miracle already before the party? Had she used STRAWN as good excuse to gather the followers of the Light and the Darkness at the same place, even at her very own ground? Recently the Dark Sisters had become more interested in the Light Warriors. One moment before Ariella had flirted with Agelmar Jagad. For which reasons? Maybe this whole STRAWN was a fake from the beginning. No, Ulrike tought, I must not become paranoid! No hasty conclusions. But it is good always to remember how dangerous these people are! I must be very careful and most observant. Still my lord was far-sighted to send me here. Still she could not turn away her eyes from that pair, the Great Mistress off the Dark and her new follower.
Egwene moved dreamily to the music only she and Darkhound heard. Sensing a minute change in DH's posture she glanced over her shoulder and saw Ariella's amused smile. Egwene winked slowly only to see Ariella's smile turn into a broad grin. The music lulled her back to the dance.
She was glad she had worn her favourite dress, compared to the slightly blatant charms of her Sisters, today seemed a good day to appear conservative, at least in public. She smiled and continued dancing. Just then a tinkling chime brought the music to a halt.
Ariella's announcement startled Egwene but hiding it was second nature to her now. She had had a lot of practice in that particular skill lately, with Darkhound trying to fool her. She stroked his arm gently, Time to return to the dance. Obligingly Darkhound swept her onto the floor again.
As they swirled around, Darkhound inclined his head and whispered in her ear.
"My lady, dost thine eyes behold the shy lass in the shadows of the hall?" Glancing about Egwene spied a plainly dressed woman, half hidden by a pillar.
"Wouldst thou be offended greatly should mine gallantry prompt me to offer the lass a turn about the dance?"
She smiled and graciously nodded her acquiesance. Leaving the shelter of his arms, she stepped back and the music died away with the departure of Darkhound. How did he do that? she wondered not for the first time.
She swept her gaze around the large room. Wow! I can't believe that the Light Warriors actually accepted Ari's invitation! She swayed in a deliberately sensuous glide over the parquet flooring aiming directly for ...
Jandor watched Egwene2 glide across the room. On the other hand, he didn't much care. Kerek was making a fool of himself, as usual, but sometimes what he said was funny, so, what the hell.
Then, he saw a lady from across the room walking towards them. She looked directly at him, one eyebrow raised.
"Hey Jandor!" Kerek said loudly, disrupting his train of thought. Jandor sighed. Kerek had his arms around some of those brainless serving wenches again. "You know, this is fun! But I think there's a bit too much alcohol in the punch." He hicupped.
Jandor just shook his head. "You know, I keep thinking that one of these days you'll find out it matters what the lady thinks, but you're proving me wrong." He shook his head. Then, he felt a strange feeling as someone put their hand on his shoulder.
It was a plain looking woman of average height, who Jandor hadn't seen before. "Hello, Jandor, I don't believe we've met. My name's Ulrike." She grinned.
Kerek whispered softly into Jandor's ear, "She wants you, man." Jandor just casually smacked Kerek in the back of the head, causing him to choke on his punch. But he knew about Ulrike, and was on his guard.
"No, my lady, I don't believe we have met. Although I do know you, by reputation of course." He suppressed a smirk. There was no way he'd be caught near her. So he decided to change the subject. "You hear about STRAWN? Nasty guy, that. Too bad, I was loaded on more flames for him. Well, he ever resurfaces, mark my words..." Jandor grinned.
Suddenly, Ulrike made her purpose known. She reached towards Jandor's head with both hands, a gesture Jandor had seen many times before in his stay in Salidar. He didn't duck or move out of the way, just grinned like a fool. She was trying to Bond him.
Ulrike came up against a blank wall, there. She looked confused. Why couldn't he be bonded? Had she done something wrong?
"You know, that could be considered bad manners," responded Jandor flippantly. Kerek was looking at him a bit oddly, understanding the intentions but not the result. Ulrike retreated across the room, a little put out.
"W.. what?" asked Kerek. "Why didn't it work?"
Jandor continued to smile and hopped up to sit on the snack table. "I'll tell you later, but essentially, what is already there can't be added to." He nodded and smirked. "Think I'll just mingle awhile. Don't kill any sock puppets without me." Jandor walked lazily across the room.
"D'uh?" said Kerek intelligently. "What's already there.. Oh, of course!" Kerek looked vindicated. "Looks like he wants it kept quiet, though. I'll just continue my business here." He grinned at the two serving girls.
Meanwhile, Jandor was outside on the steps. "I wondered when that would happen again." Jandor sat on the steps, thinking about times past. It was better to stay in the background. Present yourself too much, like Strawn, and see what happened with that. Those who rose too high, well, farther then, was their fall.
Later that night, when the party had wound down, a cloaked figure emerged from the high passes of the Mountains of Dhoom. "Light Warriors. Light Warriors and Dark Sisters and Black Aes Sedai." His mouth twisted in a grimace. The Warriors wouldn't see Jandor for a while, at least, not in their formal duties.
The dawn rose over the bluffs in Arafel, revealing a figure walking to the south. All he passed wondered at the odd look of determination on his face, and left him alone. And that was how he preferred it, walking alone, forever to the south.
Jandor Kirencin, the Wanderer
Ah, yes, this is so much better now. Nice lampshade, and just the perfect size too, Agelmar thought, already a little tipsy. The room fell silent as ariella started to speak. Agelmar winced at her voice, for it seemed a little bit too loud for circumstances. He tried to cover his ears, but if you've ever worn a lampshade you'll realize that you can't plug up your ears with your hands on the outside of it. But one sentence caught Agelmar's attention and snapped him out of his revelry. She had just introduced her new companion as Blaine, the former STRAWN!! Agelmar was just about to pass it off as a figment of his partly-rational mind, but once he took off his lampshade he saw that everyone else was in varying stages of disbelief. Except for that new woman, Ulrike, hmmm...interesting woman, Agelmar thought, who had a thoughtful, considering look on her face. He wondered what interest she had in Jandor, though.
After several tries, a memory forced it's way into his thoughts. He'd
forgotten to bring his T-shirt! Then he realized that wasn't the memory
he wanted. He saw Daylorn over talking with Sundara, who had rejoined the
party, about gateways. "Hey, Daylorrn," he slurred. "I got a prroblem ferr
"What is it?" sighed Daylorn.
"Thish ish imPORRtant," said Agelmar. "I'm trryin to rrememberr shomethin."
"Sho can ya help me rrememberr?"
Daylorn sighed irratably. "Yeah, yeah." He seized Agelmar's head roughly and channeled.
"There, that's better... Oh, that's it!" He grabbed Daylorn and the rest of the Light Warriors, except for Jandor (now where did that guy go? oh well) and dragged them behind an odd-looking pillar nearby. "Everyone, Ulrike just tried to bond Jandor!"
Almost simultaneously, they all said, "And I care... why?"
Agelmar shrugged. "There's something about her..."
Daylorn considered. "Yeah... maybe it's a disguise... I'll weave up something that'll make her tell the truth. Not Compulsion, that's too well known. This is something I worked up myself. Let's see, Spirit just so, and Fire, of course, there and there... Some air... There. That should do it."
Daylorn let the weave loose, but unfortunately his aim was off (he'd had just a bit to drink, too. Not a lot, but enough) and it hit the pillar instead. The pillar started glowing, in particular this one little symbol that looked like an upside down triangle with a squiggly vertical line inside of it. Before anyone could say something, several flickers appeared, grabbed Agelmar, Daylorn and Cerise, and retreated back into the Portal Stone.
Agelmar Jagad, Lord General, Light Warriors
(Hey, we're the first non-Brazilian people to travel backwards through time!)
Ulrike was perplexed. She didn't know what happened to her. It was strange for her to approach a male by this way. And what was this strong impulse to touch him and... She had no idea! One moment she felt ... the One Power? But it couldn't be! Once she was tested by Aes Sedai and they have said that she couldn't learn it. She was so shaken she missed the disappearance of the Light Warriors and the approaching man."My lady," She jumped. He smiled. "would you grant me the pleasure of a dance with you?" "Of course, my lord." His smile was so friendly, it remembered her of her dearest playmate at children's days, her family's great hound, so kindly you forgot how fierce as watch dog it could be. 'Oh, Light help me, what I am thinking! I'm all mixed up. Both of them whirled in the dance and her thoughts and emotions whirled still more.
Sundara sighed as she walked away from the Light Warriors. It seemed the taint was touching some of them already... Now if they would only forget their nonsense about opposing her and her siblings, they could have Shadow-protection from the taint. Men were so silly at times.
Through the crowded hall she caught a glimpse of Eval standing glaring at Blaine. Pushing through the crowd, she hurried toward him. There had been harsh words between her and Strawn, and Eval had taken it upon himself to defend her. Sundara liked that in a man, but if Ariella had tamed the former Strawn to her hand, it would ruin everything if Eval decided to challenge him to a duel again.
Reaching Eval, she touched him lightly on the shoulder. He turned angrily, but his dark eyes lit as he saw her. She stepped closer, offering him her most beguiling smile. "Dance with me, Eval?" Before he could reply, she caught his hand and pulled him out on the dance floor.