Sundara sat by the window, idly tossing a silver pen in the air as she considered what to write. A stack of cards, one side an artist's depiction of Shayol Ghul at night, lay beside her. She picked one up and turned it over.
In graceful silver script, it read:
You are invited to a gathering at Shayol Ghul two nights hence, to celebrate the occasion of my seventeenth Naming day. Come anytime during the evening, in formal dress, and please try not to start any major wars.
With regards from the Dark Side,
There was one for each member of the BBS, and most had already been sent. A few, though, she intended to add a personal message to. Catching the pen as it fell, she dipped it in a matching silver inkwell and began to write.
The first one, of course, was to her eldest Sister. "Ari, hope you don't mind me taking over the Palace for the night. After all, little sisters are supposed to borrow things all the time - it's tradition!" She laughed as she sealed that one. A pigeon flew from the window, from the White Tower unerringly to the lofts at Shayol Ghul. Not bad for a bird, Sundara mused, and picked up another card.
This one was for Smoke. "Sister, we're all missing you. I hope you can be back in time for the party's beginning, but drop in any time. It should last at least a week or so." Another pigeon went flying, this one even further, in search of her absent Sister.
A third card, for Taim. "Tiger, Tiger, burning bright, join us all for party night..." Not the best verse, perhaps - very far from the best in fact - but not bad on the spur of the moment. Pigeon number three headed for the fortress of the Light Warriors.
Number four was for the newcomer, Carramaena. "I hear you like parties, Carra, so join us for this one. Feel free to dance on the tables - just leave some room up there for me." Yet another pigeon.
Sundara capped her pen and set it and the inkstand back on her desk. There was so much to do before the party! She had a dress fitting scheduled for this afternoon, and she had to find musicians - perhaps the Piper? She would ask him - and a few others to give him a break. Before that, though, she had one more message to deliver. No need of pigeons this time, though...
A gateway opened in the air before her, and she stepped through to the turret room. "Oh, Eval..."
Sitting on his bed, Nightfall pondered again, his concentration extered
hard as now he could feel that small biteme voice that kept on trying to
make him become that one which many despised. However, he knew that his
Great Mistress and the other Sisters would be here and their ministration
helped with that tremendously. As if by thought a large raven appeared
with a message in hand. Reading it slowly, he smiled. It had been awhile
since the last little get together. Perhaps this one would be better than
the first. Nightfall could only shrug and turned back to studying the waning
sun and ever coming night. His charts and books scattered to and from all
over his new surroundings. With this all in mind, he finally sorted through
the stack of paper and penned a short reply, stating he would be honored
to attend. Handing it back to the black avian, he sent it on it's way.
Finally he turn to a book that was lying on the ground and began to read
Though some sisters had come calling, Nightfall was still very unsteady. He knew this and was hoping that this party of Sundara's would be the key to finally ridding himself of this dreaded thing lurking in the back of his head. Finally sleep came for him, like it seem to many days lately. But he knew that he would come to this party and that he would do his best to make it a grand one for all. His Great Mistress had told him as much.
Nightfall, faithful servant of the Dark
She glanced at the invitation in her hands. 'These Dark Sisters are a very hedonistic folks. They miss no opportunity for a party. To be fair, a birthday party is justified and I will certainly enjoy it too.' She sighed when she reread the card. 'Formal dress. The Light help me! I hate that. Well, I have still time to get something.' Briefly she wondered who would come too. The Dark Sisters, Eval and his companions, Darkhound surely. Maybe Beslan and the Light Warriors?
Cerise took the pretty invitation from the pigeon and glanced it over. A name-day celebration...? She contemplated. Cerise could cut a few corners to be there. She always did like a good party. She smiled brightly. She quickly wrote a note back to Sundara, "I'd be more than delighted to attend your nineteenth name-day celebration. You can count me in! :)". She hurridely sealed the note with her ring, and sent it out with the pigeon. She almost giggled to herself. Cerise hadn't really been very active at any of the parties before. She needed a new dress... and an escort. Her eyes twinkled in the morning light, and pondered writing two more messages. No, she thought. If they want to be my escort they must ask... For the first time, in awhile, Cerise grinned from ear to ear...
(no titles needed)
Ahh yes, naming day, Agelmar thought. I can remember my seventeenth, no wait, I can't, well, I can at least remember last year's, nope, not that one either. Damn! Can't I remember anything? But then Agelmar sighed. Duties called insistently for his attention, duties that he could not forsake, not even for one night. Oh well, he would send his best wishes, as well as the perfect gift, along with one of the other LW's. Agelmar was sure that Sundara would understand, and anyways, no-one else should mind his absence, and a few probably wouldn't even notice it. Maybe one of these days...
Agelmar Jagad, Lord General, Light Warriors
The invitation popped out of midair.
"Ouch, my eyes! Stupid g-mail (gate, see?), never shoulda shown that mini-portal trick..." Jandor rubbed his eyes and adjusted his travelling armor. "Oh, nice touch, the silver, I do like that. But the picture, not a happy note at all. Maybe that's why it's formal... hm.."
Jandor shook his head. "Well, I suppose I could interrupt this vendetta for a minute, doesn't take too long to party - and besides, I can just gate to where I wanna be... Why was I walking, anyways??" Jandor picked up the note and started running again to collect his thoughts. "Doesn't say when the party is, though." The Tar Valon Road flew past him, it seemed. Maybe too fast? Nah. "Formal, well, I can handle that, nice tailors at the Tower, although I shouldn't wear this black coat there." Jandor passed a man on a horse. He turned his head and grinned. Only fools or the infirm rode horses - his own two feet were faster than most, anyways. "I wonder who else will be there? Probably everyone. Say, maybe Alianin'll go with Oliver, that'd be something to see!"
Suddenly, Jandor struck something, or more precisely, someone. A blue dress spun around, the figure hitting a not-so-small rock. It was Cerise, one of his fellow Light Warriors. Or maybe warrioresses, he didn't quite know. In any case, Jandor said, "Oh dear, that can't be good for your health." A small stain of red appeared through the dress, adding to Jandor's worry. "Well, I know a little Healing, useful stuff you know. Say, maybe I'll ask her to the party! I need a date, I guess, seems to always go along with formalness where I come from." Jandor blended his flows, back and forth, creating a weird-looking little braidy thing, and directed it towards Cerise.
Naturally, it worked, otherwise I'd have to make this post even longer, and Cerise's eyes fluttered open to see Jandor Kirencin staring at her concernedly. Seeing she was all right, he helped her to her feet and said, "Hello, my lady. I don't suppose you've got an escort to the birthday party?" with a small grin. "Oh, and wait a second, I wanted to apologize for running into you, as well!"
Jandor Kirencin, the Great Awaiter of Replies, Master Potato Peeler of the Light, Light Warrior
The pigeon fluttered in through the tall window beside Ariella's desk, and perched upon her inkwell. She took the thick parchment bundle from its back, amazed that the creature had been able to fly with such a burden. She recognized the script at once -- her Sister, Sundara. Whatever was she up to now?
Ari quickly scanned the text of the invitation, as well as the brief personal note Sunny had included, then laughed aloud. "Borrow" the palace, indeed! As if she would let her Sister's naming day pass without the party to end all parties! She would let Sundara play gracious hostess, but that didn't mean she wouldn't have a few surprises of her own...
Shooing the bird off the inkwell for the moment, Ari penned her reply: "It's your home, too, Sunny. Just remember -- she who throws the party, also cleans up!" She sent the pigeon back to the White Tower with a grin. Now, what to wear?
Ariella, fond older Sister & Great Mistress of the Dark
Egwene2 lifted her head from the pillow, again her nap was interupted! The tapping came again, it was a heavily laden swallow perched precariously on the window ledge. Sighing, Egwene2 gently removed the tiny scroll from it's leg. The bird's eye watched her avidly as she unrolled the slip of paper and scanned the message. Her spirits lifted as she read that Sundara's birthday party was planned for the following week. "Just what I need to help me forget my troubles!" she exclaimed.
Quickly she penned her acceptance on the reverse of the tiny paper and replaced it on the waiting bird's extended leg.
Egwene2, I need no reason to party!
Straightening himself quickly on his throne, Moridin watched as a servant entered his chambers, carrying in his hands a pillow with...SOMEthing resting on it. "What the..." He blinked, raven's eyes watching with increasing curiousity.
"Um, my Lord Moridin?" One of the newer servants around here, sweat dotted his forehead. "A message. Brought by carrier pigeon, but...sorry to say...it got too close to the fires." Hastily, he pulled something from his pocket. "We recovered the note it had, though."
A flow of Air snatched it from the servants hand, as saa passed over his eyes. "A party? At Sundara's expense? Sounds interesting enough..." He set the note down on the table next to him, the saa fading. "Reply to this. Tell her I'd be honored. And...before you go..."
"Yes, Lord Moridin?"
"Get rid of that pigeon. Now."
"Of course." The servant rushed out the room, as fast as his feet could carry him.
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord
"A party?" thought Kiriath out loud in his mindless room.
"Apparently," replied no one in particular, "And, I imagine, you want to go?"
Kiriath nodded frantically at one of his Figments.
"So go. And don't forget to report back here, to the Intrigleemansion."
Smiling, beaming, grinning, whatever you may call it, the eccentric gleefulmaniac chuckled warmly and began scribbling out a note, sent, of course, by a "dead" parrot. Entrailed ..no, wait, that would be entailed on the note, was a few notes about songs he suggested.
With a mischievious thought, Kir decided to throw a few of the 'classic' songs on the list, including:
I'm a Lumberjack
Break the Dishes and Smash the Plates
Ash Nazg Gimbatul (okay, that's a poem ...One Ring ;)
A sudden comment from one of his odd-minded compatriots took Kir out of his listing. "Don't forget to return, Kiriath, don't forget."
Sending out the parrot, Kiriath nodded, "Of course not. Remember, my Intrigleemen, you do live in my mind."
"Oh yes, yes, a bit, a bit."
"Then, that settled, we shall leave when she starts the party."
"Oh yes, yes..."
"Hush, will ya?"
Mazrin Fain and the other 'voices' in Kir's mind quieted, and he began to peruse various obscure things that Are Not To Be Told In This Tale.
Kiriath, Intrigleeman and All-Around Gleefulmaniac
Ceralic emerged from the place between Tel'aran'rhiod and here, sweating from the recent encounters in others' dreams. He nearly fell out of bed upon seeing the pigeon there, it reminding him of the ravens in one of the dreams. He took the small parchment from the leg of the bird, unraveling it.
"A party?" he thought. "Ah, Sundara's naming day, what fun. I will have to attend." He channeled to dip his pen in the ink at his desk and brought it to his bed, along with a sheet of thick, smooth parchment.
I will be most happy to attend, Sister, and I look forward to it.
He sealed the note with a weave of Spirit, leaving a rune on the outside of the parchment. He strapped the note to the pigeon and sent it off toward the White Tower. "Now, something formal..." He dressed and went in search of a tailor.
Ceralic, Brother of the Dark, Dreamer, Dreamwalker
Kerek answered the knock at his door, a servant entered bearing a small
"Message for you sir" the servant said gleefully.
"A message, for me?" Kerek said confusedly.
"Aye sir" the servant pressed the message into Kerek's hand and scurried away.
"Wow a message, this has got to be, the third this year, thats a new record, I wonder what it says" Kerek unrolled the parchment and gasped in amazement "A party invitation!!!! and by a girl too!!! who cares if she's a darkfriend, wow a party, I'l have to wear my finest... no wait, I got drunk and puked on that, second... nope that too... oh dear I have nothing to wear, well I suppose I could try to make up for Agelmar's absense and wear a lampshade... no wait.. I'd need pants too... arg this is so agitating" Kerek wandered around the hall incoherantly babbling about something unintelligable...
Kerek Stormshield, Lord Captain of the Light Warriors, Sunset Warrior, Voted Most Likely To Be Hospitalized Opening A Door
Carra, bored, paced her room restlessly. She plucked a half-melancholy chord on her guitar, then tossed it aside impatiently and sprawled on the old sofa by the window. There was absolutely nothing to do. All she had accomplished in her trip to Shayol Ghul was to get lost. She hadn't even so much as seen one of the famous, or infamous depending on how you chose to look at it, Dark Sisters.
The pigeon landing outside her window did nothing to soothe her temper. Stupid birds, always dirtying the windows and leaving feathers everywhere. After a moment, though, she took the message. It might, just might, be something interesting.
It appeared to be a picture of Shayol Ghul. It wasn't badly done, although the artist had clearly never seen SG first hand. She could probably do better, painting was a hobby of hers. Carra flipped the card over to read the writing on the other side.
Something interesting? Indeed. An invitation to Shayol Ghul, to be precise. And from a Dark Sister no less. Carra felt her spirits lift. She quickly scribbled a reply.
"Thank you for your invitation Sister Sundara. I would be delighted to attend. And I wouldn't dream of usurping your space on the table." Now what? She didn't think pigeons could carry two-way notes, but since there was no other way of replying - She tied the answer to the bird's leg and watched in amazement as it headed straight north. Oh well, maybe Shadowspawn pigeons were smarter than the run-of-the-mill ones.
Hmm, now something to wear. Formal dress? Carra hadn't worn formal dress in years. Now where had she put all her old gowns? At the back of the closet, that was right. She rummaged through the folds of material. The green Domani outfit? She held it up to the light, and mentally crossed that one off her list. Green might be her colour, but red wasn't, and it would take a few drinks before she could wear that without turning scarlet. She must have been drunk buying it. Well, she would pick a dress later, first she needed to pick a present.
What could she get at this late notice? There weren't exactly a lot of shopping malls around Shayol Ghul - maybe a picture? Carra picked up a sketchpad and pencil. What to draw? Suddenly an idea came to her, and she grinned and started to draw.
Carramaena, artist supreme
At the huge desk of sung wood, Haman sat and tapped his bearded chin with the pen the size of a delicate lady's forearm. Annoyingly, the pen snagged in his crazy gray beard. Wincing, he extracted each hair carefully and made the mental note to shave the blasted thing off tomorrow morning.
It fascinated him that Taim had returned. He had not expected his return until the Wheel had turned to the promised age again. Now the Tiger Ajah was on the rise, and Haman debated his own inclinations. The Tiger had torn more than one of his carefully thought out and eloquently worded theories to shreds with an economy of speech and respect. Haman dearly loved his words, as long as they kept close to the point, and was not sure if he could comply with the Tiger policy of "spare the speech, give 'em hell." Haman could certainly give them that when he saw opportunity, but it usually came in the form of a lengthy speech.
It was still a joy to see Taim, now nigh-legendary on the BB, and wondered about his motives regarding the Shadow. He seemed to be on friendly terms with ariella... at the thought of her name an invisible wind tugged his ear-tufts and quiet laughter resounded inside of his head. He could not help but smile... it was enough to turn most anyone to the Dark... how he himself resisted was solely due to having too much to do to commit in either direction. Still, he kept abreast of the unfolding stories...
An old raven arrived at his window, bearing news of Sundara's birthday. Well, perhaps he WOULD be able to wrench himself away from the Stedding and his studies to attend. Just to let the general population stay aware of his often-overlooked presence. It was his own fault, of course, but such was the Ogier's way. Humans and their hasty lives... his hopeless sigh rumbled like thunder as he jotted his RSVP and sent the black bird away. He plunked at his desk once more and took up his Josephus. What a fascinating story, what an amazing fantasy novel, these Romans and Jews made! *lol*
Ariella sat at her desk of black walnut, writing in her journals. She paused a moment, reflecting upon the long, strange trip of her life, and remembering with a smile the man who, Ages past, had sung those very words (miss you, Jer...) when she felt the unmistakable twinge that meant someone had thought of her.
A moment's questing with her will revealed the source: Elder Haman. She smiled delightedly -- of all those not sworn to her camp, he was one of her very favorites, and she was pleased to find herself in his thoughts. "Nice ears, Elder..." she whispered on the wind, the left his consciousness with a silvery little laugh. A world without Ogier would be desolate, indeed.
Still smiling to herself, she returned to her journals. "Today, I received an invitation to Sundara's seventeenth naming-day celebration. As I expect the fete to be attended by all and sundry, it will provide an excellent opportunity for..."
Ariella, and don't you all know it's not nice to read a girl's diary?
Taim walked into his office and the chief of his eyes and ears handed him to envelopes. He opened the first and was delighted to see that he was invited to a party for Sundara. 17 naming days huh? Taim made a quick mental note of that. He opened the second envelope and read the names of all the people who had replied that they would be going and a few that were going that did not want the imformation public yet. Taim grinned when he read Haman's name. He had missed the Ogier while he was gone. It is always good to catch up with friends and it seemed that everyone would be at this gathering. He quickly penned a reply that he would gladly come to celebrate. Sundara was always fun to match wits with, plus it gave him an excuse to see old friends and spy on the shadow. He then got down to other things and the last thing he thought about was what he would wear.
Darkhound unravelled the fine paper scroll and scanned it's contents. After a few moments, he scratched his head, shrugged, and realised it was upside down. Placing the paper on the floor, he did a head stand, so that he could read it. Well, turning the paper up the right way would be what exveryone expected him to do. As the blood rushed to his head, and the sound og his heart began thumping in his ears, he read the text and a broad grin formed on his face. A party! And Sundara's party too! He looked forward to the experience of a party organised by a youthful new-zealand dark sister.
A moment later, Darkhound realised he had better right himself as small images were beginning to dance in the corners of his peripheral vision. It was dangerous to stand on your head for too long, he had heard. Far better to let the Great Mistress stand on it for you. Ungracefully, he thumped to the ground and crawled over to his wooden chest, pulling out various garments, deciding what to wear. The metalic blue tank-top with orange trim was soiled, unfortunately, as was the purple crimplene safari suit. The jesters outfit? No, the bells needed an oiling. That just left... with a grin, Darkhound pulled out the blood red Tuxedo, with matching top-hat, tails, and ornate onyx cane with silver hound-head pommel. Style, he reflected, was something you either had or you hadn't...
Darkhound, servant of the dark, vice-leader of the Hyena ajah, Tamyrlin, Black-belt in origami, fan of giraffes, King of Innuendo, Lord of Raunch, Master of Smut, Official God of the little known african midget Hellarwee tribe.