Dawn, whom Ariella had always regarded as a rude little chit anyway, intruded upon her consciousness and eyes by streaming through the tall windows beside the bed. The Great Mistress of the Dark was not precisely a morning person, but she gave a resigned little sigh and thought about getting up. There was much work to be done, and her brother was not one to tolerate sloth. "Well, I guess Iíd best get moving," she said aloud, stretching and beginning to sit up. Just then, two strong hands caught her around her bare midriff. Moridinís breath was warm against her neck as he whispered, "Moving sounds like an excellent idea, Great Mistress, provided you werenít planning to move from this bed..." Ari laughed, then caught her breath as his hands did some moving of their own. "Well, you know my motto, Mori -- never let business interfere with pleasure!" He chuckled as she rolled over to face him, green eyes meeting cerulean ones. "I suppose I donít have to get up right now..."
Some time later, Ariella was again wakened by a commotion at the window, this time the arrival of a pigeon. She gave serious thought to eliminating windows from her chambers. Beside her, Moridin sat up and, checking the position of the sun, swore softly. "Ari, Iíve got to run," he said, already halfway across the room. "Damn! Howíd it get so late?" Ari laughed at him and said, "Well, itís your own fault, you know! I was getting up hours ago, but someone I know had other thoughts!" He gave her a wicked grin as he pulled on his boots. "Hmm, well, I guess I did, but you didnít exactly object! See you tonight?" he asked, already beginning to make a Gateway. "You know where to find me, Mori!" His laughter ended abruptly as he stepped through and was gone.
The Great Mistress turned her attention to the pigeon on her window ledge. It had a message strapped to its leg, which she quickly retrieved and read with a pleased smile. The old jungle cat himself, Taim the Tiger, was interceding on behalf of that reprobate, Darkhound. So, the Hound was calling in reinforcements, was he? Well, she supposed he had suffered enough. A quick mental scan of the palace revealed him moping in his rooms, accompanied by... Ulrike? Really? Ari quickly undid the forbidding in Darkhoundís mind with a mental whisper of "Free at last, silly mutt! Try not to get in trouble again too soon, as a personal favor?"
Taimís re-emergence and alliance with the forces of Light gave Ariella a momentís pause. Taim could pose a considerable threat, if the Light were to allow him any sway. Fortunately, they were suspicious of his motives, which suited Ari quite well. She penned a brief reply to him and sent the pigeon on its way home. If Taim accepted her invitation, he would be coming to dinner tomorrow night. When last theyíd crossed paths, theyíd had a healthy respect for one another and had actually formed a coalition. In view of his decision to join the Light, Ari supposed the coalition would no longer hold, but sheíd prefer to avoid open conflict with him.
There was one final matter the Great Mistress had to deal with before she could go about the more pleasant task of catching up with her various Sisters and Brothers. It seemed that at her last party, Daylorn had mistakenly channeled into her Portal Stone, dragging he, Agelmar, and Cerise off to who-knew-where. Ariella sighed. She supposed it was her obligation, as their hostess, to retrieve them. She strode out to the ballroom and looked at the Stone. A trickle of the True Power, and one particular symbol glowed fitfully, indicating the destination most recently used. Ari gave a smug little grin. No doubt theyíd found that world quite interesting indeed... Another trickle of the True Power, and all three were back to their own rooms. A hostessís work was never done!
As Ari started back down the hall, intending to catch up with the newer Family members, she heard an odd sound from Smokeís rooms. Could she be back already? Ariella opened the door and her jaw dropped. There stood Demandred with a grolm! After a moment to gather her wits again, she said to Demandred, "Well, at least now I know where youíve been!" He merely gave her one of those odd half-smiles of his, and said, "Do you mind if I keep my pet here, Great Mistress? Iíve gotten rather fond of it." Ari considered but a moment, then replied, "Well, I donít really care, as long as its housebroken. But I wonder what Smoke will think when she comes home and finds that in her place? Still, Iím sure you know best, Demmy..." She watched his face change for just a moment, then left him with a silvery little laugh. Now, what was everyone else up to?
Ariella, the Great Mistress of the Dark, waiting for status reports...
Blaine, now newly named Nightfall, waited in his chambers, patienly observing the protocals that he had used before to keep within the boundaries of this world. He could hear all this, his power growing greater and all the while, still wishing for more of his Great Mistress' attention. However he knew that she had much to do. She was trying to organize and plot against those that either opposed her or just felt like making life tough for others. The court intrigues never mattered that much. All right now mattered was his harp, which he played on his lap, singing out a quiet piece with somber undertones.
He sighed and wished that his Great Mistres would be done soon. He waited for her commands daily. He would be faithful though and wait until then.
Taim was quite surprised by the invitation, but quickly penned back an acceptance. Ari did throw the best parties after all. There were some rumors about her he would like to confirm as well. Then there was the matter of the Tigger Coalition.... A Tiger's work was never done. 'We shall see where this takes us,' he said with a grin. 'Damn!' Taim slapped his head, 'I keep forgeting to do that recruiting!' Taim gates out all in black to start the convincing.
Eval woke as the first rays of sunlight gleamed through the window.
How disappointing - he had hoped for another hour or so before dawn. Still,
it wasnít full daylight yet... As silently as he could, Eval got out of
bed and pulled the curtains closed all around the turret room. He looked
around, satisfied. As far as anyone inside the room could tell, it was
"Sundara..." She stirred and murmured something, but remained asleep. Well, he would just have to wake her. Eval grinned wickedly. He would be the Sun King to her Talia, and awaken her with a kiss. A nice little story, that, although he could not remember now where he had heard it. He leaned over to plant a gentle kiss on her lips. "Wake up, light of my life. Or should I say darkness?" No reaction. Perhaps it would take more than a kiss.
Eval stroked her face with feather-light flows of Air, then moved further down. He had just reached her stomach when she woke. "Eval...?"
"A shame," he murmured. "I was just about to get somewhere interesting." The darkness was total, but he knew she could hear the smile in his voice.
"Oh, were you now?" The sheets rustled as Sundara turned to face him, pushing herself up on one elbow. "I could show you some even more interesting things..." She tossed her hair, letting silken strands of it cascade down over his chest and stomach. It was a quite delightful sensation. "Interesting indeed. What else have you got to show me?"
"Well, since itís still dark -" She paused, and her voice sounded puzzled. "Thatís funny - it feels as if it should be later. I wonder why?"
"No matter." Eval definitely didnít want her thinking too much about that. "So, those interesting things you were talking about..." It was quite some time later before either of them had breath to say anything else, and Eval had, indeed, learned some very interesting things he hadnít even dreamed about before.
It was still dark, though. Sundara was starting to get suspicious. She
slipped out of his arms and crossed to the windows. Eval stayed in bed.
She would figure it out soon enough anyway.
Reaching out to open a window, her hand apparently touched the soft fabric of the curtains, because she gave a startled gasp. "Eval -" Her voice was very sweet. "Why are the curtains closed?"
"I have no idea," he lied, but his lie must not have been good enough. There was a sound of fabric being drawn aside, and daylight suddenly streamed through the windows. Sundara leaned out for a better view, then turned to him with an exasperated look on her face. "Eval, itís nearly noon!"
"Why, so it is." He arranged a suitably amazed look on his own face. "I wonder how that happened?"
She crossed her arms, glaring at him. "You know very well how it happened. You woke before me and closed the curtains, didnít you?"
"Guilty as charged." He shrugged and sat up. "Why donít you close them again? After all, since the morningís already gone..."
Sundara tried to fight back a smile, but failed and finally burst out laughing. "Youíre crazy! Donít you have anything better to do?"
"Oh, I have plenty of things to do -" Eval grinned. "But I canít think of anything better to do today. Oh - and you might want to move away from the window before that Draghkar flying past sees -"
She jumped away hastily and reached for a robe, then her eyes narrowed and she turned and looked. There was no Draghkar there, of course. "Iíll get you for that one, Eval."
"Of course," he agreed. "How about now? Since weíre already naked, after all..."
"That was not what I meant!" She blushed hotly, and he grinned again. It was rare that he ever made Sundara blush. One point for him. "So what did you mean, then?"
Picking up a pillow, she threw it at him. He ducked, but not fast enough, and the pillow burst open spilling feathers all over him. "Something along those lines." She laughed and hurled another pillow. He managed to duck this one, but at the same time goosebumps covered his skin as she channeled, and the sheets were abruptly pulled out from under him, sending him sprawling on the carpet. The rest of the pillows landed on top of him. "Or maybe those. Now, Iím going to have a bath - and donít even think about joining me." She vanished into another room.
Eval considered the mess of sheets, pillows and loose feathers that Sundara had left him to clean up. The score, he decided, was definitely in her favor.
Sighing, he embraced saidin to deal with the mess. It was done, and he was dressed and sitting on the now-tidy bed to lace up his boots by the time Sundara reappeared, immaculate and as lovely as ever in near-transparent silk. "Ah, there you are." He rose and offered her his arm. "Where to today, my lady?"
She laughed, laying her hand gracefully on his proffered arm. "Oh, the
Light Warriorsí territory, I think. I had plans to catch up with an old
friend called Taim."
"Taim? Who is he?"
Eval Ramman, Lord of Darkness
Ishamael arose just before noon, he hated mornings and everything associated
with them. He wasn't called the Heart of the Dark for nothing, for he had
been up all night anyway, attending to, well, other matters, and hadn't
slept until just before dawn. He left his black curtains shut, he could
see just fine in the darkness of his chambers, and much preferred not to
have the darkness disturbed by the glaring sunlight anyway. His company
had long since left, which he didn't mind a bit. Lately, his nightly endeavors
weren't as satisfying, it seemed he was becoming less enamored with all
the different women he had serving his needs. It mattered little at the
moment, however, for he had something else to take care of. He had learned
some news that could be of importance the day before and wanted to share
it with the Great Mistress. He had waited, however, knowing that her nights
were for other business, of course. Now was the time, however, to give
her his report, so he left his chambers to go in search of her.
Ishy found Ariella, apparently just after she had left Smoke's chambers. He briefly hoped for Smoke to be returning soon (especially for Demandred's sake) in his mind as he warmly greeted Ariella. She returned the greeting, and the sly smile and flushed cheeks told him he had been correct about her previous night's exploits. He hoped his bedraggled looks weren't so obvious, but quickly dismissed the thought to discuss the important matters.
" Great Mistress, I have recently learned of the return of the one called Taim, and his presence here could be cause for some concern if he decides to commit to the side of the Light."
Again smiling, Ariella replied,"My dear, Ishy, I am already well aware of the fact that Taim has once again become involved in our little proceedings. Apparently he has decided to cast his lot in with the Light Warriors and is currently drumming up support for his Tiger Ajah faction."
Ishy wasn't as surprised as he could have been, he knew that Ariella had all sorts of resources at her disposal to obtain such information. Still, he was not going to let this go without giving his two cents,"Mistress, I fear no man, yet I know a little about Taim. We have never had reason for conflict, yet from my past conversations with him, I know him to be an intelligent and well-respected individual. If he truly does support the cause of the Light Warriors, then we must be prepared."
"Well, now Ishy, it isn't like you to go on about someone in such a fashion," the Great Mistress replied, obviously amused, "therefore, it should intrigue you to know that I have invited Taim for dinner on tomorrow eve. You see, I do know the type of character Taim is, and will see it first hand."
Ishy chuckled to himself, "Yes, I know your fondness for little get togethers with intriguing people, especially of the male persuasion. With opposition of an interesting sort, I know you wouldn't have it any other way."
A big knowing grin spread across Ari's face. "No, I guess I wouldn't. Well, enough of this, what are you currently investing your time into these day's? Do you have any special plans yourself for these next couple nights?"
Knowing of Ari's insatiable curiousity, Ishy couldn't help himself, "Well, lately I've had company of all sorts, but I'm wanting to slow it down somewhat. With the business of the Shadow taking up so much of my time, I'm starting to realize that I'm spreading myself too thin in other areas. So I'm hoping to devote my time in a more specific manner."
"Yes, I know of your exploits, and that several different people have served your nightly endeavors; it seemed you liked it that way. Has your character changed? Are you saying you have something, or someone, that you are specifically hoping to devote your nightly efforts to?" Ariella asked both amused and slightly puzzled at the same time.
"Well, we'll just have to see..." Ishy was never one to divulge his secrets so easily...
Ishy--all work and no play make Ishy a dull boy, which I'm most definitely not
Ceralic was alone, laying in his bed asleep. Or, at least he looked alone. In reality, he was far from alone. Inside his head, bodies spun about in paths laid out by some force. He recognized Ariella at the center, spinning in circles with a man in all black. A tiger was wrapped around the man in black, and it was lashing out toward Ariella. The bodies of others floated around. Moridin, Demandred, Sundara, Egwene2, and a few others that he had seen around. Others he didn't recognize were opposite the Dark ones. Ceralic believed them to be Light Warriors. The tiger around the man in black kept going for Ariella, and some others began to fade in and out. Suddenly a gigantic blade slammed between Ariella and the man in black, and...
Ceralic sat up quickly. He had long ago learned to wake himself when
he needed to. He had not needed to see the rest of that Dream to know what
"I must find Ariella..."
Ceralic, Dark Dreamer
Darkhound felt a familiar presence brush his mind lightly. Euphoria and ecstasy unlike any other blossomed momentarily, and then was gone. The Great Mistress had touched his mind, and with that touch, removed the forbidding. Of course, although it had kept him confined to the palace in his free time, it hadn't interfered with his schemes - He had hatched a grand plan, one which, if successful, could give them everything. The Great Mistress had suspected, and of course he had broken quickly under her 'attentions' and revealed all to her. Far from being upset, she had laughed at the depths of his deviousness. His mind recalled the scene:
"Oh Darkhound, this is what you've been planning? And when were you
going to tell me?" She arched a single eyebrow. Before her, Darkhound knelt,
bound by invisible flows.
"Great Mistress, forgive me!" He would have cowered if he could have moved any more than his jaw. "I was going to tell you, I swear! I just wanted to set the wheels of chaos in motion first, Great Mistress."
"Well, you certainly have done that." She reached out to him, and grinned as he flinched. Gently, she stroked his chin with an elegant finger. "Well done, my pet."
"You... you don't mind?"
"No, not at all. It's a quite brilliant plan, really, though you should have come to me with it from the start. With my guidance, and personal touch, it'll run much smoother. So, I won't punish you for your mischief, just for your secrecy. You are grounded until further notice."
"But... but Great Mistress.... my work.... my plan....."
"You're only grounded in your free time, my pet. I'll let you out and about to 'work' on your scheme."
Darkhound was startled from his flashback by a noise. Ulrike rolled
over on the bed, holding her head, groaning. Scattered about the chamber,
two dozen empty beer cans were beginning to make a stale smell in the air.
Giving her a grin, he helped her to her feet. "I told you not to drink
so much, didn't I."
"It's your fault. That chilli was too hot, you mad mutt." She aimed a smack at his head, but lost balance and sat down heavily on the bed.
"Try a good belch. That helps, I find."
"Shut up." She groaned again. "I want to die. Why aren't you feeling bad?"
"I am sworn to the Great Mistress of the Dark, which gives me many benefits, including great hangover resistance. You should think about it. Anyway, your welcome to stay here as long as you need, but I must be up and about. I have to report to the Great Mistress, but maybe we could go for a walk later." She looked up at him - at the second attempt. He pointed to his head. "Not grounded anymore. So, maybe I'll catch you later. You can teach me the next verse of that German drinking song!"
"As long as it's quiet." She rubbed her head. "Very quiet!"
A few hours later, Darkhound left the chamber of the Great Mistress. She had been more than pleased with his efforts, and had shown him that the Great Mistress could reward as well as punish. His skin still remembered the feel of her lips, where she had kissed him. He felt a little shaky, which was not surprising considering where he'd just been, and realised that he was starving. With a wide grin, Darkhound went off to the canteen to get some food, and then find the nearest available fun in the shape of the nearest available female.
~Darkhound, master of intrigue
Egwene2 leaned against the cool stone wall, impatiently waiting for something to happen. Anything. Since asking Darkhound to dance with Ulrike at Ariella's last party, somehow she'd gotten very bored. It was amazing she reflected wryly how quickly one could get used to having a puppy underfoot all the time. And how much that puppy could be missed once he was gone. She sighed heavily.
A tiny trickle of power alerted her to a ruckus down the hall. Eval appeared to be cleaning up feathers. WoT on earth were he and Sundara up to? Egwene shrugged her slim shoulders. She had other things on her mind today. She smiled, a slow secretive smile. She was not going to let her favourite puppy go without getting something first!
Two hours later, Egwene2 paced the halls in frustration. When was that infernal mutt going to wake up? It was almost noon and she'd yet to hear signs of life from his chamber. Stone walls were thick but not thick enough to prevent a little judicious eavesdropping by a determined Sister.
Just then a tiny noise alerted her. Aha! at last! She straightened up and strode to the door, reaching it just as it opened. Darkhound, in his human form, walked out of the darkened room.
"Ah, there you are!" Egwene2 exclaimed, "You're late."
"Late? Late for what?" a puzzled Darkhound asked.
"You're not going to tell me you've forgotten our meeting this morning, are you?" Egwene2 treated DH to her favourite and most effective glare.
"Erm... no, no, of course I haven't forgotten. Umm... in fact I was just on my way to meet you!" Darkhound racked his brain frantically, looking for some hint of what this meeting was about.
"Alright then, let's go! It won't wait all day." Egwene2 strode down the corridor, unable to look Darkhound in the eye for fear she would laugh aloud.
"So did you have a good time last night?" Egwene2 inquired mockingly.
Darkhound looked obliquely at Egwene2 before answering.
"I... well, being grounded put a bit of a crimp in my plans, but..."
"I see." Egwene2 dared not look at Darkhound. He was far to perceptive. She grinned to herself. What fun the next few hours would be!
Crossing a conjuction of corridors, a movement caught her eye. Ahead of them, she saw a reflection in a brightly polished suit of armour in a corner. Tam again, she thought. Good, this will fit in very nicely with my plans! Mentally rearranging her itinerary, she unconsciously slowed her steps.
Egwene2, having a little fun
Darkhound had returned to his rooms after breakfast. Ulrike had disappeared somewhere, no doubt looking for some alkaseltzer. She hadn't cleaned up though, and so he was stuffing empty beer cans into the trash bag. She'd probably make a very good Dark Sister, thought Darkhound sourly - she already seemed adept at getting poor Darkhound to do the menial tasks. It was time to get some fresh air, he decided and opened his door, nearly leaping out of his skin as he came fact to face with Egwene2.
He tried to focus his thoughts, but she pinned him with a glare that seemed to paralise his wits. She asked him whether he had forgotten their meeting, and he tried to search his mind frantically. What meeting? He didn't remember any damn meeting, but she obviously did, and she was a Dark Sister, and you just didn't accuse such a lady of being mistaken.
Offering a weak excuse of "just coming to meet you", he tried to gather himself together, but Egwene had established the upper hand, and strode off down the corridor, with him following behind like a faithful puppy. Which of course, in many ways, he was. He suspected that if he'd been in hound form, she'd have put him on a lead.
She wouldn't meet his eyes with hers, so he assumed she must have been really mad at him. He would have to be particularly charming but humble this morning to win her over. Conversation was brisk - an enquiry as to whether he had a good time the nigh before seemed to have a subtle yet dangerous undertone. Might she be jealous? Doubtful, when a woman such as her could take her pick from many suitors, what need for jealousy. But she definitely was avoiding his gaze. Yeah, she was angry alright, or he'd learnt nothing at all about women!
Ahead, Tam seemed to be lurking in the shadows. Darkhound had meant to ask him where he's got to when he's suddenly disappeared after following them that day, but he was a difficult man to find. Ahead, Egwene slowed. Automatically, he slowed too...
Tam had ridden all night in order to get to the palace. He had just recived a message that Ceralic had joined the ranks of the dark, and Tam needed a person who could channel for the next phase of the plan that the Dark One had set before him. When Tam finnaly got to his own room the bed looked so inviting he needed a rest so baddly. Tam resited the urge to take a nap. He just took of the ridiculess armor he was wearing. He had to find Ceralic to ask for his help. Tam entered the halls to find him. He saw a few of his comrads in arms in the halls. Why did Moridin & Eval look so tired. Suddenly Ceralic burst out of a room. Tam asked him to talk for a bit but he said that he had to see the Great Misstress. So Tam decided that he could wait just a little longer. Well if I can't scheme I might as well find the Piper, thought Tam. You see Tam was feeling kind of lonely and the Piper always had a girl on his arm so Tam thought that perhaps the Piper could help him find a companion. While searching for Piper he ran into Egwene2 and her companion. Tam didn't know how it happened but this darkhaired scoundrel was growing on him...
Ulrike was gone for a walk in the garden. Already her head felt considerable
better. When she remembered the last night and above all the awakening
this... noon she groaned. The dish that Darkhound had prepared had been
delicious, but the beer... Usually she drank only water or tea, but Darkhound
insisted that there was neither water nor tea and she had believed THAT.
She shaked her head over her own stupidity and regreted it immediately.
The Dark has a very bad influence but more self discipline was advisable, she thought. Her fault that she missed the sunrise. She loved the dawn when the day was young and promising.
Now, she was introduced to the Sisters of the Dark. But she must be
careful. It was no good if she had a suspicious, or jealous, Sister on
her back. What was her name? Egwene2. Briefly she wondered what happened
to just Egwene or Egwene1. Then she thought about the others. She liked
Darkhound, really. He was so mischievous, the very contrast to her own
more sober self.
In any case she was in the right place. Ulrike smiled. Yes, the right place, and obvious at the right time.
After traversing innumerable passageways that seemed to twist and turn every few feet, Egwene2 finally found the door she had spent the last ten minutes looking for.
"Okay, " Egwene2 pointed to the door. "This is the place. I've made
arrangements for this to be our meeting place. You'll find all the necessary
things inside. But it requires a thorough cleaning before it's usable."
Egwene2 stifled the urge to laugh at the expression on Darkhound's face.
"Could you look it over and tell me what's missing and we'll meet here on Tuesday? I've a few small ... tasks to perform right now then I'll join you."
Still unable to look at Darkhound, she stroked the whip at her side as she gestured with her other hand to the dark interior. Darkhound's gaze strayed to the whip at her belt and his step faltered momentarily as ideas chased themselves across his face. Her strict uniform and especially her domineering speech had given him the clues he needed. Aha! he thought, finally she had succumbed to his mischievous charm. He grinned in sudden gleeful anticipation and bounded through the door, eager to see his surprise. The dim light filtering through the open doorway did nothing to illuminate the room, leaving intriguing shadows dancing in the torchlight.
Spying some interesting shapes in the gloom, he took the proffered torch from Egwene2 and set out to see what she considered the "necessary things".
Smiling to herself, Egwene2 went looking for Ulrike. They needed to have a talk about the possibility of ...sharing Ari's favourite pet. Maybe they could even become friends.
Egwene2, not jealous (much)
Taim gated into a dark room and immediately channeled some light. The black of his cape easily blended in to the shadows. He could hear the mutt getting closer. He stepped around the corner and Darkhound nearly jumped out of his skin. Taim thought, 'good, he is already off balance.' Aloud he said, 'I ill advise walking alone down here, you never know what is waiting.' Darkhound was still trying to catch his balance and Taim's commanding voice made him yelp. 'I don't think that you should suggest conversion old friend. The Light Warriors don't look highly upon such attempts to win over our own.' Darkhound stammered an, 'of course, Taim....I didn't mean anything by it...that was just a....a...a code, that is all, yeah we were talking in code you see.' Taim glarred at the man/mutt and he flinched. 'Do you soon forget my intervention on your part? Need I speak to the Great Mistress again?' yes that was the desired responce. Taim gave his knowing smile and the two began to talk...
Darkhound's heart gradually stopped labouring after a few moments. He was disappointed to be surprised by anyone here in his own domain,especially one who did not reside here. But he was more upset that his surprise had showed through his normally "shockproof" facade.
It was Egwene2's fault, he knew. She'd been calling the tune all morning, and he'd automatically started dancing to it. Why? It wasn't as if he should feel guilty. All he and Ulrike had done was eat, drink and be merry. Nothing else had occured - Darkhound, despite his roguish exterior and legendary flirting abilities, still retained a considerable amount of honour in such matters. Besides, had he taken advantage, the Great Mistress would have removed his flesh a layer at a time, and made a new bag or pair of shoes from it.
No, it was simply that after a meeting with Ariella, and then bumping into Egwene2 a few moments later, it was too much beauty for even his quick mind to deal with. Egwene2 had seized her advantage, and with a very firm grip, squeezed them slightly.
And now, Taim had appeared. What was he doing here? Seeing the Great Mistress, no doubt. They were technically on opposite sides of the light and dark issue, but friendship and respect always transcended such issues. Letting Taim ramble on in his brisque, super-confident speach mode for a little longer, Darkhound gathered his wits, including the spare one that was trying to hide behind Taim, and treated his old sparring partner to his most irritating and yet charming grin, the one that always made Taim shake his head in despair.
It had the desired effect of stopping him in mid-sentence, but he seemed in too high spirits to let it knock him completely off stride. "What are you grinning at you stupid mutt?" Taim spoiled it by letting the corners of his own mouth curl up. "Just wondering what the Tiger was doing lurking down here in the Great Mistresses palace. Don't tell me you came for help." "Help? Me? Don't be ridiculous. I came to offer my condolences that she was still saddled with a useless reprobate like you!" Darkhound grinned. Taims claws didn't seem to have blunted whilst he had been away. So, Taim had interceded on his behalf? That was a nice gesture. It must have been all those episodes of Stag Party he'd sent him. "Congratulations on your promotion, by the way. A general now? I can't wait to see what you do with that. Knowing you, you'll lay siege to your own Light Warriors fortress until they name you king, or whatever rank you use there." Darkhound chuckled. "No, actually, I tried a different approach - something called 'tact' and 'diplomacy', at least, that's what Mordeth called them. Seems to have worked, though. Myself and Daylorn are getting on a little better now." Darkhound winced at that ancient name. Looking Taim in the eyes, they put aside the bantering, and began to talk business, unheard by any other ears. Interesting plans were afoot, and interesting times lay ahead...
By the time Taim had left, Darkhound finally got round to taking in the room Egwene2 had led him too. It would certainly need a clean, and that meant several hours of back breaking effort on his part. For some reason, the power that he drew from the Great Mistress never worked when he tried to use it on cleaning chores. A wicked twist of her doing, he assumed. What had Egwene2 said? "Tell me what's missing, meet you on Tuesday?" What was missing? What WAS missing, then? Confused, he looked around scratching his head. She'd said a surprise awaited him, and she hadn't meant Taim. What did she mean, "what was missing"? It made little sense. Going to fetch a broom and a mop, he cursed under his breath. Women!!! They came from a completely different universe, he was sure. Well, he'd clean that room like an obedient puppy and wait for there. That was all he could do.
Carramaena stopped in her tracks as she heard men's voices from a room ahead. She had decided to come and see what was what before making a choice of Light or Shadow, but had ended up getting hopelessly lost in a maze of corridors. She wished she had thought to bring a torch. Better still would be the ability to channel, but that was one thing she didn't have.
She listened for a moment. Neither voice was one she recognised, but that was hardly surprising given the shortness of her stay so far. One voice belonged to someone called 'Taim' and the other to 'Darkhound,' but she could not understand more than a tenth of what they were saying. No point hanging around here, then. She left the room as silently as she had entered.
Flipping her mane of coppery-gold hair over her shoulder, she wondered what to do next. The men she had heard sounded busy, but maybe someone else would be willing to show her the way around. With that thought in mind, Carra picked a corridor at random and strode off down it. If she went far enough she must bump into someone eventually.
Carramaena the newbie
Ceralic slammed Air into the door at the end of the corridor, nearly shattering it while trying to get into the next corridor. His stomping could probably be heard thruoghout the building, but he cared not. As he was about to slam Air into the door at the end of this corridor, he came upon a woman with golden hair, and he stopped, barely escaping plowing her over.
"Greetings, you seem lost. Can I help you quickly?"
"Hello, I am Carramaena, and I was just kind of wandering around, and I got lost. Could you show me a way out of here?" "Of course. If you down the way I was coming from, and pass four decimated doors, you will come upon a large corridor. A right there will lead you out. May the Shadow be with you."
He marched on quickly, resuming his search for Ariella. After a few more destroyed doors, he came to a large hallway, and turned right into Ariella. "Great Mistress, I have been searching for you..." He trailed off as he looked around at what Ariella was staring at: the shards of wood lying scattered across the floor. "I will replace the doors, Great Mistress, but I must speak to you." Ariella looked up into his eyes, and, seeing the emotion that so rarely touched any channeler, said "Speak, then."
Ceralic relayed the contents of his Dream to Ariella, and told her the intense danger the figure in black represents. "What shall we do, Great Mistress?" "You, Brother, should return to your chambers and calm down a bit. I will consider your Dream and be cautious. I must be on my way, though." "Of course, Great Mistress, I will tell you if I Dream anything more of it." He bowed and walked back through the wood filled passage, back toward his room. On his way back, he passed a hallway with a man in it, Tam. He decided to say hello to his new Brother...
Ceralic, Brother of the Dark
Uhh..Kenneth Starr...Hanson...taxes...AAAHHHH!! Agelmar screamed as he suddenly woke up. A split moment's confusion hesitated him, as his surroundings did not match anything he remembered from the previous night. Once his thoughts were more or less collected, with a lot of pain, he smiled and lay back down on his bed. Whoo, must have been one hell of a dream this time, seemed like I went into another world where the Shadow ruled sadistically, Agelmar thought. He let his mind wander as his body sought to repair the damages of his excursions. Once he was sure enough, he got out of bed and looked for his clothes. Surprisingly, they were neatly folded over a chair next to the bed. He smiled. Of course, I'm in ariella's house here, the unnatural is perfectly natural, he thought, as he slowly pulled his clothes on.
Striding out into the hall, Agelmar was totally at a loss as to where to go. Each hallway looked the same as the last. His stomach told him very loudly what he should be doing, so Agelmar chose one hallway at random and started walking along it. His unease grew as he didn't see a single person during his entire walk, and as this hallway seemed to continue forever. He was just about to turn around when he noticed an open door to his right. Looking inside, he saw that it was the exact same room he had woken up in! Okay, I must still be dreaming, Agelmar thought. Maybe I should just climb back in and wait for this to end. He was just about to enter when he glimpsed a flutter of movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head, he saw it was Ariella, strolling stately in his direction. Once she saw that he had noticed her, she smiled. Agelmar thought, Oh no! Ba'alzamon's sister! Shadow! Channeler! AAAHHHH! Agelmar's instincts took over, and he dived back into his room, did a few somersaults, and ended up on his head leaning against a wall.
He was just at the right angle to see the doorway as Ariella peeked in, with a very amused expression on her face.
Agelmar Jagad, Lord General, Light Warriors
Hmm...guess I'm back in the land of the living