A bonfire burns a few miles from the Black Tower compound near Camelyn. Sitting around the fire, several young men stare silently into the shadows, black coats blending them into the night around them.
"You know why you have been chosen, my children." A deep voice rung from the shadows, as another man, tall and shrouded in a black cape only fractionally darker than the others, emerges. "There have been...rumors...that the forces of the Light have been building their forces, to strike all of us down in due time. Though we have a peace of sorts..." The man paused, observing the scowling faces of his audience. He shrugged them off, continuing. "...we all know that peace will be broken, more likely than not with the world. I offer you young lads a chance to rectify this situation, to save the world for the benefit of the Shadow, and all living now. It will take work, but..."
One of the men watching him rose. "Great Master..." Dark eyes mirrored the man's own, as the jingle of silver bells tied to his hair shook, shattering the still of the moment. "We only want what you want. Tell us, and we will deliver with no delay."
"Let me finish." The man started circling the fire, raven's eyes locked onto each and every one of the black-coated ones. "You have a chance to aid in the Shadow's victory. Though your task is relatively simple, compared to Master Demandred's or Mistress Egwene's, failure will mean your death. Narishma..." He stopped, his gaze ripping through the young man who addressed him earlier. "You will lead this mission. Choose five others of the Asha'man; the seven women to link with you are chosen, whenever Moghedien returns. When this is accomplished, meet me at our preordained location."
"I will not fail you, Great Master."
"You had better not, young Narishma." The smile widened greatly. "And kill off Dashiva, if you ever get the chance. He's too dangerous."
"I'll do so personally..."
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord
Daylorn was sitting behind a different desk this time, the one in his ofice in the Fortress of Light. Hollowed into the Dragonmount itself, it was cleverly concealed from prying eyes by subtle weaves of Illusion that he'd inverted. The latest experiments by Dashiva had been failures in the practical sense - who wanted a floating broom that could only be moved if it was at least 3 feet above the floor? They had been trying for a ter'angreal of the unfalling variety, like Portal Stones or those redstone doorways, yet this had it's possibilities, if only they could duplicate the effect on a larger scale... luckily none of the Dark knew of these experiments, due to the results of some experiments with Compulsion and some traps. Ah, shucks, time to take his shift in the lab, and he'd just gotten back from the Dark Palace.
Deep in the bowels of the Fortress of Light, he entered the lab. He had been working on some items for Lord Algemar, since being one of the more promenent non-channeling members of the Light Warriors, he was more of a target. They had been trying to duplicate the effects of the Foxhead Medallion with no success so far. Suddenly, an idea sparked in his mind, spurred on by too much pizza and root beer. Perhaps if... yes, he could armor an object against one flow... Daylorn spent the next 24 hours in the lab, spurred on by his successes. Finally! A Power-wrought suit of armor, that when assembled and linked in a particular way, spread the various affects across the entire assembly. Now, for a sword and shield... there, the shield was done, and he had a Power-wrought heronmark to study. There. Done.
Now that discovery of Dashiva's... Grinning, Daylorn called upon the nameless members of the Black Tower whom they'd made sure of their loyalty. One, Jahar Narishma, was currently pretending to work for Moridin. Of course Shai'Ariel knew, but evidently she thought it more fun this way, with the Light having half a chance. He had special plans for these men... The Armies of the Light were about to move.
Daylorn Riantar, Lord General, Light Warriors, Asha'man and recruiter for the Black Tower, Blademaster, A Lot Of Other Stuff
As Jahar walked away from the bonfire, back to the Black Tower, he laughed softlyto himself. That fool Moridin actually believed him to be a Darkfriend! He supposed he was not such bad liar after all. He had spoken with Daylorn, and the posibilities they had considered were endless. The one thing that had shocked him was that Shai'ariel knew, but did nothing. He had thought that if she even suspected, he would be dead before the day was through. No matter. The Armies of the Light were to move soon, and all would be well....
Jahar Narishma, Soldier of the Black Tower, Head of the Elvis Ajah, The new Soldier of the Light
"Aren't you afraid that one of those Asha'man sides with the Light?"
Moridin laughed in that deep throaty voice. "No... And even if they are, even if Narishma or Grady or whoever are... There are replacements enough among our ranks."
"Perhaps." Demandred watched, observing Moridin with those dark eyes. "But there have been rumors that-"
"Enough. Fine. If Narishma is one of the Light, then I'll simply...transfer Egwene2's bond to him. He'll beg for me to take it back, will give anything for it. They all do with one of the Dark Sisters; even I'm tempted at some points to." Moridin twitched.
A broad grin stole the other Chosen's face. "That may actually work." The grin vanished as quickly. "Let's say there's more than one, though."
"You worry too much. Now go back to Seanchan, or Semirhage, or Smoke, or wherever you have to go..."
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord
Narishma walked quietly away from the Black Tower, having chosen the 5 who would join him on his "mission". Moridin had summoned him to another secret meeting, but this time he came alone. Why, he did not know. Unless.....No, it was not possible. He couldn't have known, not yet. But if he did...Jahar spent the whole way there contemplating what Moridin would do to him when he arrived. For the moment, he envied Daylorn, safe in the Fortress of Light. He walked slowly up to the campfire without making a noise. He had removed those annoying silver bells in his hair; they had become an annoyance, and he had no time for them. "You sent for me, Great Master?" Narishma asked, making a fairly good impression of fear-it was not hard. "Yes. Young Narishma, I fear there have been many rumors circulating around. Most center around you, and the disturbing fact that you are a Light Warrior!" Moridin became more angry the longer he spoke, and finished yelling.
"Lies, Great Master. I would never betray you, or the Shadow. I am forever your tool." "Are you now? I must be sure... Egwene2, come here" Jahar watched, shocked, as one of the Dark Sisters approached from behind a tree. He dropped to his knees, pretending to worship her. "Get up. As you may know, I have bonded Egwene2. To be sure of you, I must test you, and pass that bond to you." Jahar's stomach roiled. He was to bond Egwene2? This was madness. But he had heard of a man who once tried to bond Smoke, and died screaming in insane agony. Was this how his life was to end? By chaining himself to an evil woman until he broke? Or did Moridin intend to make him confess? Either way, he could not give himself away yet- it would endanger the Light's chances. He would have to go through with this. "As you wish, Great Master"
Suddenly he felt a great flash of heat, and then he was aware of
what Egwene felt. Hate. Could she know he was not evil? Hunger. And something
else. Fear? That didn't make any sense. Who was she afraid of? Him, or
Moridin? Immediatly the woman began to nag at him. "Why do you feel tired?
Where is that pain coming from? Burn you, tell me or I'll make you wish
you were dead!" and so on. "Great Master, is this the great test? what
is she suppposed to do? Nag me to death?"
"Perhaps. Soon, her ability to annoy you will overcome your willpower, and you will confess everything. That is, if there is anything to confess. Within the week, you shall come crawling back to me, and admit everything." Then, below those black eyes, the man's moouth curved into a baring of teeth fit for a wolf. Startled by this, and annoyed by Egwene2, Jahar forced out an "As you say, Great Master" and opened a gateway right there, back to his room in the Black Tower. He closed it without allowing either person standing there to object.
Now THIS was a problem. How was he supposed to do his work with that woman bugging him? He needed to speak to Daylorn; the man would probably have an answer. He opened another gateway, but this time straight to the slopes of Dragonmount, where al'Thor had been born, and headed for the Fortress of Light. He would rid himself of the woman somehow. Somehow.
Ulrike was looking for Egwene2 because she want to speak with her. Suddenly
a gateway opened and Egwene2 stormed through. She seethed with rage. Ulrike
could only overhear a few words.
"... Bond ... passing ... he dares it ... I'll show him ... beg to me ... both of them ... "
"Uh, Egwene2?" She turned around so abruptly that Ulrike startled jumped back a pace. Then she calmed down but is was forced calmness. "Yes, Ulrike? I'm sorry but this isn't... the right time." "I see and won't disturb you now. But I would like to discuss a matter with you later, when you have time, of course."
"Oh, alright. We will meet us tomorrow evening. Bye." And vanished. 'Something must have upset her enormously.' Ulrike thought. 'But what? Has Moridin done something? Anyway I don't think that it would be wise to chat about Darkhound now. Not, if she is in such a mood.'
Watching Ulrike walk away, Egwene2 regretted the past few days. Ulrike appeared to be a very understanding woman, and Egwene2 may have over-reacted to the situation. After all it was only a few drinks. A fleeting emotion passed through her, but not an emotion of her own. She growled again, reminded of Moridin's perfidy.
"Bloody man! How dare he pass my bond to another! It's bad enough being bonded to anyone, but to be passed along like... like an unwanted package!" Egwene2 muttered to herself as she stalked along the hallways. "I've got to get out of this somehow."
Egwene2 wished, not for the first time, that she still wore her hair in a long braid. There was something very soothing about being able to tug on a braid occasionally. Hmmm... tugging on a braid... a idea began to form in her mind. All she needed was the co-operation of one of her Brothers. Now where would Ceralic be at this hour of the day?
Watching Narishma and Egwene2 vanish, Moridin chuckled to himself. Granted, he knew well the results of crossing a Dark Sister, but it was worth it. Finally free... He rose, spinning on the heel of his boots, and he smiled, for the first time in a long time that it hadn't been brought on by someone's displeasure...or his pleasure...
As suddenly as the smile came, it vanished. There are so many things in life you can take for granted, even a bond with a Dark Sister. He actually thought Egwene2 one of the people most able to break a man's sanity, and her bond a force something man feared even more than the cour'souva. Strange thing was, he actually MISSED the feeling of her in his mind. "Under the Shadow, I never thought this was possible..." he muttered under his breath. Another thought dawned on him. "Egwene2 will have Narishma broken, though; not even he is immune to her, and only I can break that Bond."
"You think that you're the only one with will strong enough to accept her? There are others..." A voice, like rotting leather, broke through the shadows. The form refused to be seen, though an outline of a Myrddraal, head and shoulders taller than even him, could be seen.
Moridin paid his ally no mind. "I am Nae'blis, at least after the Day of Return; I have to be."
"Then why do you not think Narishma can be as strong?"
"Because I...altered the bond slightly, before transferring it. Whatever Egwene does, affects him tenfold. Every emotion, every feeling, EVERYthing. Wait until that 'time of the month,' and you'll see a broken Asha'man in no time." A grin touched his lips. "Then...if she forgives me using her...I'll gladly take the bond back, in exchange for his oaths."
"Moridin... Why do I think you are going to get yourself killed one of these days?"
He shrugged. "That's why my master is the Lord of the Grave..."
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord.