Darkhound used the power to reach out and examine the length of the thread of the party, and discovered it had gotten long enough, thank you, and so started a new one. He hoped the guests realised that dark parties tended to last more than one day, especially when there was important business afoot. And the fact that he had only danced with one female so far, the Great Mistress of the Dark. Admittedly, it was more than enough for any man, but she had whispered to him during their embrace that it might be prudent to dance with the other ladies. Or at least ask them. They might say no, but a woman liked to be asked. Actually, earlier on, when his mind had been dampened by alcohol, he had danced with what he though was a second female, but it had turned out to be Jandor. Mind you, he danced well, and had reasonable breasts really. It must of been all the beer Jandor drunk.
Looking around, he saw Cerise Sedai talking with Sundara, but before he could home in, his attention was captured by two ladies who had arrived within moments of each other. Ulrike waited to speak with Sundara, holding a beautiful wooden carving, and behind her Egwene2 waited, in her hand a delicate looking scroll. He had barely recovered his wits from his earlier encounter with those two, and there was no way he would approach them together. He put on his cutest smile, and decided he would simply wait for one or both of them too notice him, and come over....
Nightfall was very much enjoying this wonderful bash. Food was more
than exceptional and certainly the Dark Sisters and even the Great Mistress
had helped to lighten his grimmer moments. He had gone back to his chambers
for brief moment and added an old mediallion, a raven with a setting sun
for it eye. He had listened mainly and had watched the others dance.
He was only troubled that he had not yet found a suitable gift for Sundara. Certainly he had more riches than many, due to the fact there had been tithes disposed to him during the darker times. However, this was insufficent to what the Great Mistress had already bestowed to Sundara. Suddenly inspiration struck him. With out a care, he walked over to Sundara.
Bowing deeply to the Dark Sister he presented himself to her. "Sister I come to present you, my lowly self, with a unique gift." Instantly a harp of excellent quality appears before her. "This harp has been in my family for many generations. It music is said to have won kingdoms, hearts, and influence. I know it has served me well in my travels. I give this to you and hope that you will enjoy it. If you are unable to use this, never fear, the harp is empowered to play by itself. Just a whisper of Spirit and it will play any song or aire you heart may desire. I give it you, Sister and wish you long life and may my present bring much pleasure, as you and the other Sisters have for me." Nightfall gracefully departs and mingles with the crowd.
Nightfall, man with an ear around here.
Matrim Cauthon, as usual, was drunk and rowdy. "My turn, my turn, my
turn!" he shouted as he pushed his way to the front of the crowd. "Shundara!"
he said, his words slurred. "I hav com wit a gif for u!" Sundara, holding
back her disgust, said "Oh, really Mat? Well why don't you just put it
on the table over there and..."
"No!" Matrim protested. "I've got to SHOW it to you! Hiccup!" and without further pause, he continued. "Nuttin' up dis sleeve, nuttin' up dat one either!" He said, rolling up the sleeves on his green jacket. He then took off his hat and started to wave his hand over it. "Abracadabra, zippity zip, this is sure gonna be quite a trip!" Matrim reached into his hat and pulled out...
Sunadara gasped "Oh! The newest novel from James Oliver Rigney, Jr.! But I thought it wasn't coming until next November?" Matrim smiled a drunken smile. "I got my connections, (burp)!" Sundara continued. "He's such a creative fantasy writer! Just imagine, a world filled with gadgets that let you talk to someone a million miles away! Machines faster than horses that can take you anywhere! And the ability to clone other human beings... simply shocking science fiction! Thank you Mat!" Matrim continued to smile, knowing that Sundara was happy. "Yeah, and don't forget about there crazy, sex-ed up leader whose having 3 different affairs WHILE he's married! Ha ha!" Rand Al'Thor coughed behind Matrim "Ahem, I don't think it's crazy, Mat." Matrim decided he had said enough and finished up quietly to Sundara "My I have this dance?" he asked, politely.
It was quite a night to remember ;)
Matrim "Luckiest guy in Randland-- literally!" Cauthon
She nearly fainted when she saw the man behind Matrim Cauthon. He changed a few words with Sundara, then admired briefly the gifts, esp. the carving, finally she lost sight of him. She was glad that he hadn't seen her. He knew nothing about her self-chosen mission. She worked independly. But what did Rand al'Thor here? Did he have some interest here? Or was it because of Tam?
She headed to the bar. After this shock she really needed a drink. Only ONE drink she reminded herself firmly. There she met Darkhound. Obviously he noticed her pale face and had already mixed a glas of... somewhat. She drank in one gulp and almost fell over. This was so strong. She wiped the tears away and glowered on Darkhound. His smirk was so innocent and insolent at the same time. She must grin herself. "Now, Darkhound, you own me a dance. Come!"
Once a punnist, twice a punnist, ever a punnist. Kiriath stood by, watching
the dance, while the eyes in the back of his head watched Mazrin Fain scribble
a few things on the wall.
"What exactly are you doing, anyway?" Kir asked, although to the public it seemed as though he was only standing and smiling, but talking to himself.
"Yes, but what?"
"Oh, just pictures."
"Ah. Your homeland."
A few moments passed and the backeyes grew wide. "What ARE you doing?"
"Now I'm drawing some cute widdle flowers down on the ground here."
"Wallflowers," muttered Kiriath.
"Exactly," said Mazrin, scribbling a picture of himself and even one of Kir.
"Quit that, Mazrin!"
"Someone might catch us."
"What's the difference? This is a dance, and someone's inevitably going to come over and wonder what's up."
"Oh, yes, yes, a bit, a bit."
"Don't worry -once you start dancing, I'll erase you. And me too, of course. I'm just dancing with the voices in my head. To wonderful music by Mashadar and Machin's Shins."
"That's ...nice." Kiriath had never drank any alcoholic beverages in his life -age, of course- but was seriously considering it. He made his way to the bar.
"Forget the alcohol," said Kiriath, "I want the best."
The bartender nodded, "Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, gleeman?"
"Make it ludicrous."
"I've never done that!"
"I want the best."
A couple of minutes later, Kir had downed the whole glass, acting almost as strangely as Petersen from Red Dwarf. "Ah, this is one good dance." He peered into the glass and made his way into the main floor. One trouble to that, though.
His glass was bottomless.
Kiriath, the ludicrous gleeman
Taim stood by the bar again. He sipped his martini as he watched the dancing and the women. He grinned to himself. Darkhound wheeled around the floor with yet another beauty. He had not met Ulrike but her reputation did not do her justice. He could see how Darkhound had gotten himself into that bit of trouble. Taim grinned again remembering his earlier conversation with Ariella. 'You simply must come over more often Taim, it has been too long.' She was always an open and kind host. 'My Lady, I am sorry I have not had the chance yet. I have so much to do with the new responsibilities with the Light Warriors and making my Ajah as strong as it was. I hope we can meet soon though. I have some questions for you concerning one of your pets.' She grinned knowing who she meant. 'I already cleared Darkhound at your request, has he already caused more problems?' Taim smiled, 'Of course not, my Lady, but that is for another time.' Then she was whisked away to the dance floor again. Taim was startled out of his musing when Darkhound approached the bar for some refreshment. It seemed he had a hollow leg! There is no other way he can fit that much into him! Taim could tell he had passed too much a long time ago. 'So DH how do you like the party so far? Seems to be a lot of intrigue heh?' Taim said as Darkhound's eyes tried to focus on him. Taim turned his head away slightly when he spoke. He hoped Darkhound thought it was so he could hear him better, but that breath! 'I always like watching the peices move around,' he replied. Taim saw his chance, 'Speaking of moving peices, how is your master plan going?' Darkhound nearly choked on his drink, 'What are you talking about? I only plan on getting very drunk.' His slur and swaying was proof he had accomplished that, but Taim knew that he had struck a cord. Darkhound continued, 'Besides, I am nothing but a pawn for my mistress.' Taim grinned, 'That is not what she told me at all Darkhound. She said that you are much, much more than that. Why don't you tell me exactly what you are up to?'
Kerek adjusted the sack on his back , he had met Sundara only once before but still he felt she deserved a decent present, even if she was a dark-souled minion of the shadow, well, she did invite him to her party so she can't be that bad. He approached her in the gift giving line and set the sack down "I spent a lot of coin on this so I hope you like it, I give you a keg of Shara's finest wine" "Uhh... thanks.. kerek.. how thoughtful" Sundara said and thought to herself "a gift worthy of him I guess."
The Gateway snapped shut with eerie finality, just missing the hem of Smoke's skirt. What it didn't miss, however, was the outstretched leg of some drunken partygoer. Smoke didn't even look at it.
It had been a long few weeks, certainly, but the cool breezes of home swept the worries of constant testing away. Her heart expanded and the dull headache that had persisted for days on end cleared. The huge, forbidding (yet graceful) walls of her home welcomed her; with delight she took in the sloping gardens, the distant rocky land of the Blight and the faint glow of Thakan'dar. Home!
The unmistakible noise of a party drifted down to her, and she brightened. What a chance to see everyone again and let them know she had returned! Quickly, she pulled a dress out of her pack, undressed, and slipped it on, ran a brush through her hair, and darted up to the great hall.
The door swung open, the servants smiling mindlessly at her. A great light, the light from a thousand candles, enveloped her. She swept her gaze over the crowed room. There was Darkhound, up to his old tricks. She saw Kiriath, Mordeth, Sundara, even Ulrike. A crop of faces she didn't recognize, as well. Where was Demandred? She could feel him through the Bond, of course, but the shock of being back home where she could channel at will after not being able to for so long kept her from pinpointing him. She took a glass of wine from a server and set out in search of him...
Smoke "I have returned!" Ashalen
Her dance with with Darkhound was finished and she looked for refreshment. She was very glad for the slits in her catsuit. Briskly she ordered one Gin Tonic without Gin. Her last hang over was still fresh in her mind. Then she looked around for a person to talk. She changed a smile with Egwene2 who stalked Mat. Darkhound made a hasty retreat from a dark haired man. He looked pretty pale. She wondered what happened there.
She strolled to the stranger. "Hi, I think we haven't met before. I'm
"I'm pleased to meet you, Ulrike.", he replied with a bow to her. "I'm Taim."
Ulrike was surprised."Then you are the one who's reappearence has caused this stir recently. As I have heard, you have good connections to everyone here, both on the Light and the Dark Side."
He laughed."You know as the saying goes: You should believe nothing what you hear and so on."
"Yes, I know. But sometimes rumors prove truth. Shall we see if it is so?"
"And what are we doing until then?" He was clearly amused.
"We could talk. Maybe on a quieter place?" She eyed him expectantly.
The air filled with the sound of screams as Moridin tore the hole in the pattern, appearing just outside the party. A scowl stole his face as he straightened his cloak out. Damn Demandred and his ranting for making him this late, damn Aran'gar for causing the Great Lord to make him clean up after her mistakes, damn EVERYTHING!
In his preccupation he barely noticed Smoke rushing up in front of him. "Move it, Moridin, I've no time to-"
"Looking for Demandred, lovely one?" His smile and tone of voice both resembled a wolf before the kill. "He's nearby, in your chambers. Preparing to return to Seanchan, though you may catch him before he leaves..." Smoke rushed off into the night toward the rooms without even a 'thank you.' "Hmph."
With regality he barely knew he posessed he entered the party, though the number of eyes on him showed how little they noticed. At least some of the people were familiar, even if barely. There was Ulrike talking to Taim, and Kiriath talking to himself. Countless others, enjoying themselves in the spirit of the celebration... But no Sundara to be seen anywhere. At least, when she saw his gift, it would be worth it... A smile touched his lips as a statuette of Sundara in thin flowing appeared in his hands, a powerful ter'angreal with the power to...help convince others to see her point of view. Of course he made a way to escape it - he fingers a slim silver chain around his neck - but this should be enough to make up for lateness...
Moridin, High Servant of the Great Lord.
"Time has NEVER been on my side..."
Trying not to trip over her gown, Carramaena hurried up the wide steps of the palace, clutching her wrapped gift in one hand and waving her invitation at the doorman with the other. That left no hands to hold her skirts up as she ran, which led inevitably to her tripping and falling through the door into the entry hall. The doorman helped her up, a barely concealed grin of amusement on his face. She straightened her skirts, not looking at him as she tried to regain her composure. There was a gilded stand-mirror nearby, and she glanced in it and groaned. Her hair was a mess, one silver sandal had slipped off, and her neckline too had slipped. She pulled it up hurriedly, blushing as she saw the doorman grinning again. Carra sighed. Why did it have to happen to her?
She was already late, but she could not go in looking like this. She put the sandal back on, and straightened her gown. It was a beautiful dress, blue-grey silk that fell in soft folds to the floor and was cinched in at the waist with a silver sash. The problem was with the ‘to the floor’ bit. It was not a gown made for running in. Her hair was not so easily mended. She had braided it into an elaborate coronet, but it was already coming loose from her hurrying. It would take at least an hour to fix. With a sigh, she rummaged through the silver bag that hung from her sash, coming up with a plain ivory comb. She would have to wear it loose. Pulling out the rest of the pins - those that had not already fallen out - she ran the comb through her hair, vivid copper- gold and wavy from the braiding. It did not look too bad, she decided, surveying her reflection. She put the comb back in her bag, along with the sketch-pad and pencils she always carried, and picked up the gift she had brought for Sundara. Wrapped in gold and silver striped paper, it was unbroken. Thank the Light for that. Or perhaps the Shadow, considering where she was. At least no one besides the grinning doorman had seen her fall. She hurried - more carefully this time - along the passage to where she could hear the sounds of music and laughter.
She was late. The party was already in full swing by the time
that, out of breath, she reached the great hall. Carramaena made her way
up front to where a crowd seemed to have gathered. “What’s happening?”
she asked a couple nearby. There was something strange about them. One
was wearing a tuxedo and the other an evening gown, but they seemed to
have it around the wrong way.
"Gift-giving," one of them replied. “Oh.” She turned to look at the girl in the centre of the group, who must be Sundara. She was standing beside a table piled high with gifts and flowers, and looking like a million dollars in a dress of drifting copper-coloured silk. Carra thought about trying to push her way through the group, but decided not to. She didn’t want to make herself obvious just yet, and she especially didn’t want to offend anyone by shoving in. She left her present on the table instead.
Taking a glass from a passing servant’s tray as she wandered away from the table, she wondered what Sundara would think of her gift. It was a painting done in watercolours, framed in silver, of a snowscape. The only odd thing about it was that the location of the snowscape was at Shayol Ghul. She had just finished it yesterday. She leaned against a wall, watching the dancers. There were a lot of them, in costumes ranging from beautiful (the Dark Sisters) to bizarre (the Light Warriors, to whom that oddly confused couple apparently belonged). She wondered who they all were.
Carramaena, sorry I'm late!
Eval sauntered into the great hall, eyeing the crowds. And crowds they were indeed. He had hoped to talk to Sundara alone, to explain that ‘Rambler’ stunt - how had she guessed it was him? He would take that as a lesson never to underestimate the Dark Sisters. He looked around. Yes, everyone he had fooled as the BBS Rambler was there. He wondered what his reception would be.
Well, he would just have to brazen it out and make an entrance. As a momentary lull settled over the crowd, he strode in as if he owned the place. Silver-embossed blue cloak swirling as he walked, he made directly for the real owner of the place. “My lady.” He swept a bow to Ariella. “Truly, your beauty makes luminous the dark, and casts shadows over the brightest light.” Straightening from his bow, he recited.
“She walks in beauty, like the night,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best in dark or bright
Meet in her aspect, and her eyes.”
A rose appeared in his hand as he finished reciting, so deep a red as to be almost black. With another bow, he presented it to her. “For thee, Lady.” He turned and walked off, hearing a buzz of voices rise behind him. Eval had always enjoyed making an impression. He was not the most skilled in the art, though. That prize had to go to the Sisters of the Dark - and tonight, he thought, to the youngest of them. Sundara was some distance away and had not observed his flamboyant entrance. Well, that did not matter: he had hardly finished, and she was the star of his next scene.
She was not dancing for the moment, but stood alone near the edge of the dance floor, the candlelight glowing through the sheer silk of her gown. Like a candleflame herself she seemed, or like a ray of sunset lighting upon the earth, carrying day into the dark night of her eyes.
Now that, he thought as he reviewed his metaphor, was poetry. Coleridge could hardly have done better. But perhaps it was time to borrow a verse again for the occasion - this time, Eval decided, from Christina Rossetti.
“My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot -”
He began to walk toward her, his footsteps loud in the suddenly hushed hall.
“My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit -”
Sundara turned, and her eyes widened as she saw him. The crowd was silent, enjoying the spectacle. Eval grinned, enjoying it just as much if not more.
“My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.”
Reaching her, he clasped both her slender hands in his, gazing deep into her dark eyes as he recited the second verse of the poem.
“Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.”
Stepping back, he bowed deeply, a bouquet of roses appearing in his
arms as if by magic. There were seventeen - one for each year of her life
- in every colour in the rainbow. “Happy birthday, beautiful Sundara. And
may your beauty grace this world for seventeen thousand birthdays more.”
The assembled partygoers applauded as loudly as if it had been a staged show. Perhaps they thought it had been. As they started to drift away, conversation starting up again, Eval watched Sundara to see her reaction.
He was not disappointed, seeing her laugh with delight. “Well now, this is a new side to you. What else have you been hiding, Eval Ramman?”
“Hiding?” he said blandly. “How can I hide anything from you when you walk my very dreams at night?” That was a guess, but it was right on target, for she blushed and looked away. Sleeping with a dreamwalker had its disadvantages - although, he decided as he recalled his last dream, the advantages definitely outweighed the disadvantages.
He smiled and handed her the roses. Rambling roses, of course. “A gift for you, fair lady. When they wither, place them in soil and a new bush will grow from the stems, that will bloom all through the winter.” Back in the Age of Legends many things had been done with plants, and not all were intended to be merely useful. Some were created solely for their beauty: he had found these in a stasis box.
She smiled, breathing in the fragrance. “Thank you, Eval. These are
a gift fit for a queen.”
“Then they will not be unworthy of you,” he told her. “Will you dance with me now?”
Before she could answer, he caught her hands and whirled her into the dance.
Eval Ramman, Lord of Darkness
Taim was startled that the Lady Ulrike had approached him. 'I guess my Return has been noticed,' he thought. She was pleasant to talk to, but he confirmed her suggestion, 'Yes another quieter time may be appropriate my Lady.' Taim kept an eye on Darkhound while talking to her. He could not let the mutt leave his sight just yet. He had to press the advantage. But he could do that while visiting with this pleasant beauty. Some commotion distracted Ulrike and Taim took the opportunity to glance about. Eval was proffessing his undieing love while others arrived as well. Who was that alluring young woman in the blue-gray silk? He made a note to ask her to dance. He noticed Moridin and another lady enter as well. Ulrike was no longer distracted so Taim turned back to the lady to listen attentively.
Cerise glanced about the party. She winked at Jandor. (Who still hasn't posted?) Cerise surveyed the party and just watched everyone dance happily with everyone else. A soft sigh escaped her mouth, and felt a slight twinge of loneliness within her soul. She thought that the party would have cheered herself a bit; it had. Cerise glanced at the small clock on her wrist, had another Vodka, and quietly made a disappearance thru the main doors.
The roses outside were in full bloom, and the waft of thier sweet smell hit Cerise's nose as soon as she was outside. She plucked a white rose and tucked it behind her ear. The Power filled her, and she channeled a gateway, not back to her own rooms, she stepped thru, and the gateway snapped shut.
~Cerise Sedai / Advisor Light Warriors and Stuff and won't be on much sorry
Darkhound literally stalked across the elegant chamber, an unfamiliar
frown creasing his brow, and people stepped back out of his way. Perhaps
he wore his concerns a little too heavily on his face, and so he strove
to soften his expression, but the focus of his attention, the Great Mistress
of the Dark, had already seen him coming, and had read his emotions like
"Something troubles you, hound?" she asked.
"Is it obvious, Great Mistress?" Darkhound replied.
"When someone who grins as much as you has cause for concern, Darkhound," she said softly, gently, "it rages in your eyes like a storm. What is the matter?"
"Something Taim said, dear Mistress. He said that he had spoke with you, and that you had said I was more than I seemed." His eyes met hers, questioningly.
"All I ever said to Taim, was that you had your uses, that you weren't just the court jester everyone thought you were. Nothing else, and certainly nothing to hint towards... any plans you may have afoot." She looked across the hall and saw Taim grinning in their direction. "In fact, my dear hound, I believe that he's played you like a harp. I think that all he had were idle suspicions - until the moment you just approached me."
Darkhound face darkened, and he almost began to turn, but a low hiss from Ariella stopped him.
"Don't turn round! Okay, he knows you are plotting, but he doesn't know what, so stop worrying." Suddenly her face beamed, a bright amused smile, the Great Mistress of the Dark totally at her gracious ease. "Smile too, Darkhound. Your best smile, the one you give when you have made a lady smile with one of your bad jokes. Do not worry, where worry is unnecessary. So Taim knows you are up to something? So what? Who here isn't, hmmm?"
"Well, I suppose..." Letting out a sigh, Darkhound lifted his eyes and grinned at her, the old Darkhound back once again. "Thanks, Great Mistress. I'll go and find Egwene2 for a dance, I think. Let Taim think what he likes. Since I like him, I'll probably go tease him some more."
"Just be careful what you say or do, Mutt." The Great Mistess gave him a warning glare. "And I don't want you drinking anymore tonight. Not one, is that clear?" "Yes Mistress." Darkhound's grin was not quite insolent, merely cheeky.
"I mean it..."
"I swear I won't drink one more drink this evening, Great Mistress."
"I'll hold you to that. And don't get into trouble with Egwene2 or Ulrike again."
"Don't worry, I learnt my lesson well." A small shiver ran down his spine, and then quickly disappeared. Giving the Great Mistress a respectful bow, he turned on his heel, and strode back towards the bar, and Taim, wearing his silliest grin. Standing next to Taim, he took two glasses of "Careless Colin's Caustic Colon Clencher" and downed them in one. With a loud belch, he grinned at Taim, who shook his head with disgust. "I promised her that I wouldn't have ONE more drink tonight." He frowned for a moment, then grinned. "n' So, I've had two! Promise kept!" he said brightly. Gathering his cane, and placing his hat on his head, he moonwalked onto the dance floor. "Later, Tiger. I got some dancing to do!"
Hastily Prophet entered the hallway. It appeared to be that he was very,
very late. Well, he will make appologies to anyone who would ask. Prophet
was in his usual robe, but today it was deep blue silk. Tapping his lips
with his forefinger he scanned the crowds. The only person, whom he knew
was the Great Mistress. Who were the others, he had no idea. He wondered,
who of all those people was the hero of the occasion, Lady Sundara. Prophet
has truly Searched the world for the apt present. Aha, she must be that
woman near the table with a pile of gifts.
Hurriedly he approached the table.
''You may not no me, My Lady, but the stories of your beauty and kindness are known to me. My name is Prophet and I'm your humble servant. This is my gift to you, My Lady. I only wish to hope that you would like it.''
He handed her a large book in a bloody-red leather binding with some hieroglyphic writing on it.
'' These are my prophesies. I have collected them for many, many years. Now you shall know the past, the present and the future.''