Posted on May 09-14,1998 on WoT Alliance BBS
Category: WoT Alternate Reality

Missing, Unexpected And Late Guests

Ulrike looked the table up and down. It was laid for two, though the vast amount of foods was enough for a dozend of men. Varied sorts of salads, vegetables, sauces, hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Beverages of all sorts were available. All that centered around the main course: Haggis!
Only the guest was missing.

She started pacing around the table once more.

After Sundara's marvellous party she had left the Dark Sister's palace to head home. Though she was very tired she was glad that she had seen the firework. And she had enjoyed the talk with Taim, actually she was tempted to more than just talk. There were still more fascinating people, the Prophet, Tam, Moridin, the Great Mistress and others. A late guest had chilled her. This Semirhage was no unknown one for Taim or Ariella, but she met him the first time and he was infamous for his... skill in certain things. After all the party was a great success, Sundara should be satisfied.

A strange thing occured on her way. She had borrowed a black stallion from Shayol Ghul's stables to move faster, in fact she was too sleepy to walk. So she was able to catch up with Prophet who had left earlier. He went to the slopes of Dragonmount and ... vanished. She was intrigued, decided however to get a good night's sleep first. She could later investigate this.

No guest. She was pacing angrily.

Before all other she wanted to pay a debt of honour. A letter with an invitation was left in the palace. An invitation for a dinner on this day, now. Maybe she had overdone the amount of food but the consumed quantity of drinks at the party had convinced her to take no risk. A company of cooks and kitchenmaids had prepared the dinner. Black orchids were decorated on the table, this gift had pleased her more than everything before. All was ready, but.. Hadn't he forgiven her?

Pacing. Now she was worried.

WHERE WAS DARKHOUND?

~Ulrike


Finished with his Gargle Blaster, Kiriath the now-drunk, not to mention insane gleeman, followed no one in particular on his Invisible Airth Horse.
The dreadful annoyance was beginning to Taimt him, so Kir dissolved the weaves, the horse disappearing quickly. Mazrin Fain cackled maniacally in the background of Kir's head as the Gleefulmaniac followed the still-blurred figure to wherever she was going.
Right into a wall. Holding his head gingerly, the still-wandering gleeman's travels led him to ...whoa. His vision was still not so clear -he was beginning to doubt it ever would be clear, considering these double visions that were starting (a random thought appeared here; what would double vision be like for Min?)- but he saw something that made him highly cheery. Food. No, not simply food. Two tables full of food. Food food food.
Hungrier than a Trolloc by a cookpot heaping full of Grolm, ShadowSpawn, fresh meat, or anything, he started for the table.
Ulrike stopped him: "How did you get here?"
Kir travelled forward, looking more like a mummy than a mummy itself, made his way toward the food. "Food."
"Kiriath? Kiriath!"
Kir stopped about an inch away from the food and turned around. There was only about one voice in the world that could keep him away from a heaping table full of gluttony waiting to happen.
"No, it can't be you."
"It is, Kir."
The addressed fellow stared at the other, Ulrike still pacing the floor in her waiting for that particular DarkHound. The person wasn't even one of Kiriath's parents.
The person was, however...
"Aginor!"
Osan'gar nodded, grinning widely. "You think that food is a lot? Come check out my whopping load, Kir."
The gleeman rubbed his hands together craftily. "I always knew you were one great geneticist, Ag, but I do remember why the Dark One chose you to be one of his Closest."
Osan'gar cackled, "Being a bartender always was fun. Care for another Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster?"
"As long as it's bottomless."
"You remember the party."
"Of course." Kiriath promptly switched mind-settings, leaving Ulrike's table completely untouched, and looking at Aginor, said, "It's party time."
"No," said Osan'gar, "It's the Wheel of Time."
"Wheely, now, Ag, where in the Blight's the flamin' lab!?"
"It'll be flamin' all right, but not in the Blight."
Kiriath looked puzzled. "So where, if not there?"
"In the Tower of Ghenjei, " commented Osan'gar, "As soon as I can get you there. You see, I need music."
"Music? Oh, boy, this should be fun."
"That's the idea," laughed Osan'gar, "Those snakes and foxes're fun to cheat."
Kiriath formed a gateway, "Let's go!" The two eccentrics jumped into the gate, Kir giving Ulrike one last comment.
"So long and thanks for the fish!"
Ulrike looked and laughed. One flying fish, apparently, had flew into the gleeman's hands at the last moment.

In the Tower, Kir and Ag were cackling up a storm, making the place a complete wreck. Kir stopped for a moment and peered through a Finnish Viewer. "And she probably thought Thom was the 'not so simple gleeman'. Believe me, Wota-ers, none of us gleemen are very simple. No sirree."
Osan'gar grinned, "And there's more of us than even Asmodean himself cou---"
"Hello."
The two eccentrics turned. There, in the Tower, was the Forsaken (or Chosen, depending on your point of view) gleeman himself.
"Since neither the Creator nor the Dark One seemed to need me, I came here."
"But I thought you were BaleFired?" uttered Kir speechlessly.
"I wasn't. It was a ..temporary.. setback."
Kir turned to Osan'gar curiously, who smiled widely, "Can't let anything happen to we gleemen, now can we? I had cloned him, with help from the Visionaries." He pondered for a second and continued, "I can make Mazrin Fain come out of your head, Kir."
"You can?"
"Yep." In about forty-two (or two, for those of you who have read about the age of the DragonLance) seconds, Ag had used the Eccentric Power (from here on forward the EP) to remove the nuisance.
"Now we've got even more in the group! Anybody else care to join?"

Using the EP, the three gleemen posted an announcement upon each and every Bulletin Board in RandLand:

Intrigleemen:
Kiriath
Osan'gar
Mazrin Fain

Headquarters: The place of very messed-up insides, the Tower of Ghenjei.

Awaiting more recruits. Join us if you Dar.

Signed, the Beastmaster.

"Dar!!!!"
"Okay, okay."

Signed, Kiriath the Intrigleefulmaniac


She snarled. That Kiriath was a walking catastrophe for everyone's nerves. And her own were not the best. Fine that he left already else he had had a very unpleseant experience. This insolence to come in and to rush at the food. This dinner was for Darkhound and for Darkhound alone. But Darkhound wasn't here. Hadn't the invitation reached him or was he sulking? He should better appear immediately else...

What else? She didn't know. She was furious, worried, and dismayed at the same time. What should she do? She wanted to strangle him, apologize (burn him, this should be the apology), beat him to a pulp, beg... 'Stop it', she scolded herself. 'That doesn't bring him here.'
She instructed the kitchenmaids to clear the table and took a bottle of wine. Slowly walking to her little library, she decided that she would read a bit. Usually that reassured her. But in truth, she knew, she wanted to get drunk so that she could forget, forget Darkhound and leave behind this not-happened dinner.

~Ulrike


Nightfall wandered the seemingly long, lonely corridors of Shayol Ghul in search of something. What he was not quite sure, but he knew better than to go against these instincts that he had developed.
After wandering upstairs, downstairs, in through various servants quarters and passing by the stables, he finally came to a spot where the black orchids and blood roses had come into full bloom. There he spied a lone figure, the Dark Sister Egwene2. He stop and ducked behind a nearby rose bush. He knew that she was probably here to meet someone, mostly likely the Hound. Nightfall, ever the cauious one, peeked through the thorny bush of blood roses and watched with some facination as it was the not the hound that he saw but rather Eval and Sunny....Something was definately afoot, and Nightfall, careful of his hide at times, decided that he would be stepping very lightly around these three from now on. What Egwene2 had to do with any of this was still a bit of mystery to him. She and the Great Mistress were responsible for his change and breaking away from that awful thing that had held him in its cutches for what felt like more than three turns of the Wheel. While it had been a long time for the need to play the Games of House, Nightfall knew it well enough not to make more of this and just act the same as before....Still, his guard was ready and hopefully no blood or bodily harm would have to come to anyone. He truly did admire Egwene2. She was very interesting and he was hoping to ask he for a dance or two at the next gala event. Whatever that was. Nightfall then slipped back into his domain of shadows and insubtansiality. There he crossed back into his room and went back to his studies. Knowledge was a powerful weapon. One that had to be sharp and kept that way in order for it to be used.

Nightfall, trying to living things up a bit


Moridin heard footsteps approaching Ulrike's library at long last. Before he even left, he knew what she had planned for Darkhound, and if she hadn't stolen one of his prize horses, he'd have little reason to be there. As it was, he decided to kill the time re-reading the Karaethon Cycle.

"Who's there?" Instantly the book snapped shut, as a teary-eyed Ulrike entered the room. "If it's you, Darkho-"

With a slight flourish, the High Servant rose from the chair, raven's eyes locked on hers. "I'm sorry to disppoint you, dear Ulrike, but I haven't seen Darkhound since the party. Perhaps he's still there..."

For all the comment was worth, it earned him nothing but a growl. "He was supposed to be here, he gave me his word. The little...once I get my hands on him, I'll..." She shook her head, popping open the wine besides. "What does it matter, anyway? All my planning down in flames..."

He sighed, a look of sincere sympathy on his face. "If you feel so deeply about him, then go find him, make a picnic of it." Flows of Air wiped a few of the tears from her eyes. "Tell you what, I've nothing better to do immediately, I'll help you find him." Swiftly, without her knowing it, he took the flask from her hands. "Doesn't help to get drunk over it."

"Alright..." She looked up into his eyes, the ghost of a smile on her lips. "Why did you come here, though? Not just to keep me from wasting this evening, I hope...?"

He shrugged. "Actually, that would be the third reason. First, that horse you stole happened to be my property. And the second..." He extended his hand, a sealed message in it. "Egwene will come for it soon enough. Keep it safe, she'll know what to do with it..."

Ulrike took the paper into her hands, tracing the outline of the Dragon's Fang imprinted on the seal. "Why...what is this for, Mor-" She looked up, trying to find where he vanished to.

-----------

The Myrddraal stared up into the night sky, waiting patiently for the party to end. It's horse whinneyed softly in the cold dry night, the anxiety building slowly as time passed...

A deep voice rang through the night. "At least one with the courage to wait for me. The plans are ready to go into motion, the chosen are named. Go, and tell the others." The hooded form nodded, and sped off toward the slopes of Shayol Ghul.

Moridin


Moridin's horse! He could Travel, why did he need a horse? Well, he had it back. Wondering she turned the message in her hand. For Egwene2? When would she appear? Something is going on, but what? And Darkhound, was he also involved? Wasn't he coming because of that? Curiosity replaced her bad mood. She want to find it out.

Now she had hunger. She cooked tea, took some haggis (my, that's delicious), and a plateful fruits. Then she settled in her library and waited for Egwene2.

~Ulrike


Cerise slammed her chamber door and walked over towards her small ornate table. She picked up the silver rose engraved pitcher and poured herself a matching goblet full of wine. She threw her head back and swallowed all of the contents of the glass and poured herself some more. Cerise glided across the room and sunk down into her large green chair. She set her goblet down on a the small square table besides her and started to rub her temples and eyes gently. She idly spoke outloud:

"I hate finals week. I swear that I will kill a few of these so-called scholars soon. Light! Wouldn't that be a gas. Oi vey! Three more finals, until I have a wonderful summer holiday from the evil tentacles of scholastic goodness. Only three more horrible finals to study and take."

Snoring softly, Cerise fell into a long-awaited, restful slumber. (Or at least she hopes so.)

~ Cerise Sedai [insomniac], Saidar Power Wielding Ass Kicking Potato Peeler of the Light Warriors.


His hands were blistered and sore, the pads of his palms all puffed and bruised. He considered himself quite adept at creative true-power channeling, but DIY was a fearsome power that demanded centuries of study to master, a power that demanded a terrible price from the user. Stassis Boxes held no fear for him, nor Vacuoles, but self-assembly wardrobes asssembled without the ter-angreal known as a power-screwdriver..... well, he had emerged victorious, but not unscathed.

Putting the memories from a different world to the back of his mind, he scanned the pattern fro new threads, and felt his temple throb, as he tried to digest all the new information. Moridin was up to his ambiguous plotting again, and trying to tangle Ulrike in his webs. While not exactly a dark sister, she was certainly a friend, and he was planning on giving her the honorary leadership of a new Haggis ajah, devoted to fans of the food stuff. He made a mental note to search out the Piper, as he was sure he would be interested. He would keep a watchful eye out for her, though he knew Moridin meant no harm. Indeed, under his dark demeanour, beneath the role of Shai'tan's servant, he knew Moridin to suffer from the same weakness that all the dark-brotherhood suffered from - the all poweful need to flirt with women. But still, Moridin occasionally tried something reckless and extravagant, like bonding against the will, or compulsion. So far he had won his gambits, but Darkhound didn't want Ulrike to be caught up when one finally blew up in his face.

Then there was the return of a familiar and welcome presence. He found himself smiling as he thought of the formidable Smoke Ashalen, returning from her no doubt successful mission in exam world. He had heard about this terrible netherworld, reached through the portal stones, and he remembered a time long ago when he too had been to somewhere similar, with mixed success. He figured Smoke would be delighted by Demandred's exemplary behaviour in her absence. In fact, he himself would have been sniffing the skirts of the nearest female, but the only partner Demandred had spent time with was.... a grolm. Then again, knowing Smoke, she'd manage to find at leat some fault with this anyway.

He hadn't seen much of Sundara or Eval since the party. Perhaps it was due to the fact they were like a pair of lovesick kittens currently, moping around writing poetry and going all moon eyed at each other. Was it love or lust? Contrary to popular belief, Darkhound knew very well the difference, and underestimated neither. Be it lust or love, you still stood no chance with either. He toyed with setting up a bucket of cold water above their door, to douse their ardour, but he didn't feel in the mood for it, for some reason. The trials and pressures of this last week emanated from the "other" world, but could influence this one, which explained his lack-lustre feeling. Maybe he needed to seek out someone who could make him smile.

That left the Great Mistress herself, or Egwene2 or maybe Taim. Unfortunately, Taim had taken an unhealthy interest in his other activities. He didn't mind, understanding as he did Taim's natural need for plots to uncover or falsehoods to expose. Another time, he'd have thrown him a tidbit, some meagre scrap to chew over and see if it tasted of truth But not this, not now. It was too long in the planning.

Thoughts of the Great Mistress bought the usual cold tingle down his spine, and he had to concentrate just to slow his heart. He would meet her later, as he did most days, and discuss matters known only to them, matters from the beginnings, when there were just she and he.

And of course, there was Egwene2, living embodiment of the theory blondes have more fun. He would search her out later, too. He had things to discuss with her, too. But first.... something nagged at his memory like a dog to a bone. Haggis! It was Ulrike's dinner invitation! He had been so forgetful of late. He ran through the door, making a mental note to open it next time, and sprinted towards Ulrikes apartments in the guest wing, hoping he wasn't too late.

When she opened the door, he looked into red lined eyes, in a face like a storm. "I'm sorry, Ulrike, I never saw the invite till late, I swear." That was just the simple truth, all he could offer. Well, not all. "If you will forgive me, and if it is not too late, I would love to join you for..." he looked over her shoulder..." for haggis."

DH


"I'm sorry, Ulrike, I never saw the invite till late, I swear."

She couldn't believe her ears. What for a lame excuse! She seized his throat and pulled him in. But one glance in his eyes let her rage vanish. He was the personified contrition. Either Darkhound was the best actor on earth or he said the truth. Possibly both statements were correct.

Dragging him in the adjoining room, past the book she had read (A Historical Excursion into Middle Age and Renaissance: Fifty Favorite Methods to Poison Your Dearest Enemy), she remarked casually. "You should't make a habit of that. Women react badly if you let them wait. I don't believe that, for instance, Egwene2 would like such behavior. By the way, she wanted to drop in. Sit down."
As he fell stunned on a chair and just reached for the haggis, she snapped the plate away from him. "That has stood yet too long in the open. I will bring you a fresh portion." That she did and also brought fruits, vegetables, beverages and everything that was prepared for the dinner. Finally she sat down too and began to pump him about the ongoing events. He must know something after all!

~Ulrike


"But can you?" asked Ulrike, her eyes intent on him.
"Make a Mirror of Mists with the true power? Oh yes, and it even withstands physical contact." Darkhound plucked another obscure delicacy from the tray. "Of course, you must make sure you aren't touched by a male channeler. The taint on Saidin would destroy the illusion, and that can be quite uncomfortable." He remembered a drunken evening in Caemlyn with Taim, where Taim had touched him when he had been performing his Orangutan illusion. The resultant recoil had made his eyes water. Taking a bite of the food, he made a face. "What is that?"
"Poached Octopus in puff pastry. It contains three main vitamins, and is high in sodium. Now, tell me, is it like channeling Saidin? The true power, I mean. Does it need your absolute concentration?"
Darkhound considered the food stuff in his mouth, and decided it would be unacceptable to spit it out, so he took a swig of "Boulder's Bad-Ass Beer" and swallowed it down. Ulrike was a librarian, and a researcher, and a keen cook, which meant gastronomic creations of surpassing madness. Right now, though, she was grilling him about the nature of his link to the Great Mistress of the Dark.
"Well, I can't say for sure, having never channeled Saidin. I have heard it said that it demands exeptional control, to ride the torrent of power that is Saidon, and escape with your wits in tact. Or your life. In someways, the true power is similar, in that I connect to the Great Mistress to channel, which means that when I do, my mind is filled with awareness of her. It isn't painful, or uncomfortable, but it IS distracting, and I could loose myself as much as a Saidin channeler. Fortunately for me, she limits the flow, because my will power isn't strong enough to break contact" She began to speak, but he held up a hand, cutting her short. "I know what you're going to ask - what's the terrible price?" He grinned then, a wide grin, concealing a thousand little secrets. "That is something I will never discuss. Anyway, until recently, I was the only true power user, but now one other has been granted it."
"Sundara." It was not a question, but he nodded anyway.
"Yep, and a fine Birthday gift that was, I think." He sat back and stretched. "So you want to know what's going on?"
"YES!" She sat forward, all eagerness and curiosity. "I mean.... yes, erm..... for research purposes, you see. For the library." Darkhound looked around, nodding. It was an amazing place, a place you could go to catch up on events if you had been away. He was sure a few of the scrolls that lay in neat order upon the shelves were dedicated to his exploits. He shuddered at what might be written about him here.
"I can't tell you anything about the plots of the dark. You're not technically a sister, you see. I'm sure you understand. AS for the light-warriors...." He sat back and barked a loud mischievous bark. "Well, what would I know about the light?"
"So what DO you know? Here, have some more octopus" She shoved the tray at him.
"No thanks, it's lovely, really it is, but not on top of 'curried-goats-bladder stuffed-with-pickled-wasps', thank you. What do I know? What for certain, you mean?"
"Yes, for certain."
"Weeeeeellll...."
"Yes?"
"Weeeellll....."
"Yes?"
"Weeellll..."
"TELL ME OR DIE!"
"Okay, okay! Sheesh. I know three things for certain. First, it is impossible for a man to raise a single eyebrow. Both must be raised together. Only a woman can do this, and I have sent word to Robert Jordan, that he might use it as a device to identify Osangar and Arangar in Path of Daggers."
"And?"
"Secondly, all wardrobes must be destroyed. I believe that an ancient, alien God, malignant and evil, placed them in our universe as "markers" by which his hostile demonic hordes can travel here. Each wardrobe has the trapped soul of one such demon, and so is kind of aware, and alive in it's own right."
"Really?" Her eyes were wide, her mouth was open.
"I am certain. This is why wardrobes resist being moved, or dismantled. They don't want to be. Fortunately, the natural order of the universe resists their creation too, making even more difficult to assemble them. But if you ever see a wardrobe door, moving of it's own accord, then you know why. It is being activated by the dread Wardrobe-King."
"And the third thing?"
He took a long swig of beer. "Third and most important. I believe I have located a new power source, one which men and women can tap together. If I am right, this power can be used to 'weave threads of the pattern' together, to construct amazing creations." He looked warily around the room, and sat forward, lowering his voice. "You could help me, Ulrike. With us working together.... think of the things we can do! Think of it! We could even challenge the power of the dark one, himself!"
"Yes!" She grabbed him by the shoulders. "Tell me more, Darkhound, please. I want in!"
He delved deep inside his cloak, and pulled out a cloth wrapped bundle.
"I found this in a world far from here, through the prtal stones. Everything we need is in here, Ulrike. We just need to interpret the instruction manual. It is horrendously obscure." He unwrapped the bundle, and she gasped. "Here is the manual," he siad, opening it. "See? It might take a while before we can understand it well enough....."
"We can do it, Darkhound." She looked into his eyes, hers full of resolve. "We WILL do it!"
"Okay then. Let's get started."

In the silent hours before dawn, a strange click-click-click noise emamated from Ulrike's library. Servants had gathered outside the door, bent to the wood, trying to listen. Every now and then, a curse would be heard from inside, sometimes english, sometimes german. click-click-click click-click-click. Then silence. Then suddenly....
"Eurika!"
"Yes?"
"No, I said 'Eurike', not Ulrike."
"Oh. Sorry, carry on."
"I've got it, dear lady, I've got it!"
"Really?"
"Yes! Yes! It's 'knit-one, pearl-one, drop-stitch, pearl-one, double-loop, and tie off! You see? it's a double-loop!"
"Yes, I see it now! Well done Darkhound!"
Suddenly the door flew open, scattering a few servants. Darkhound held up a sorry looking lopsided excuse for a pullover, the sleeves long enough for a gholam, the neck small enough for a baby. It was an assortment of colours, from pea-green to mauve, and several threads of wool still hung in disarray from the waist.
"Look, mortals, on this most wonderous creation that I, Darkhound, assisted by the lady Ulrike, have created. Look on in awe, and gasp at the possibilities."
Someone muttered under their breath "what a nit!" He hadn't reckoned on Darkhound's accute canine hearing.
"Yes, 'Knit' shall this power be called! Well done that man. Lady Ulrike and I are the first users of 'Knit', for we have toiled long and hard to weave it's tangled threads. We are the 'Knitters', and this...." He held up the pullover. "...this, is 'Knitting'. Rejoice, peasants, for we are saved from the terrible evil of the dread Wardrobe-King!!! Rejoice, for salvation is at hand, and can be found in 'Knitting'. Hurrah! Hey, where did they go?"
"They ran that way." said Ulrike, pointing off down the corridor. "Thay said something about fetching the Great Mistress, said you were due your medication. I think that they think you are mad."
"Oh do they? Mad, am I? Well, let them think it. We have 'Knitting'. What need have I to prove my sanity?"
"Well said, Darkhound!" said Ulrike, grinning at him. "Wipe your chin, though. You have some foam upon it."

~Darkhound, writer of very long and very daft roleplays


Nightfall sat, pondering over all the events that had previously happened. The garden incident had left him quite worried about where he stood. Certainly Shayol Ghul was a place of intrigue and a place that made the White Tower a children game when it came to the real power behind it all and the Game of Houses. However, Nightfall now realized that action was no called for. He need information, and since this world as still very new to him, knew had to go to the best source for that besides the Great Lord or the Great Mistress. He needed the resources of the man know as Moridin. It would not be easy. First he had to locate the man. Again a task that would seem insurmountable to many. However Nightfall knew what must be done. It was very risky, but considering how much he didn't know and needed to know, it was a risk that seem worthwhile.

Concentrating, he summoned up his unknownable power to locate all sources of the True Power in and around Shayol Ghul. It was easy is for him, some how to tell which was coming from the Great Lord and the Great Mistress and which were just chosen to wield that power. However, this also left him vunerable to many attacks. One such was from his former self, STRAWN. He could feel the orbs of fire, ready to burn and blast away all that he had worked so hard to build inside. It was only through a contest of wills, like two titans locked in combat that he finally was able to wrench free of the desire, the need to become that monster. Still, he hadn't found Moridin. Concentrating once more, he was finally able to separate out all those that had been chosen. He then found and knew where Moridin was. His heart raced at thoughts behind were he was, but managed to keep calm. That was what was needed most, as the old entity know as STRAWN kept pulling him closer to the brink. Finally he struggle back to his conscious self and sighed. It felt like he had been dragging boulders up the side of Shayol Ghul itself.

So it was with a little suprise that he heard footsteps. Loud, definately angry foots. Step he knew, only by his own seemingingly unmatched power that it was indeed the Darkhound. Footsteps changed to scufflings of heavy paws and suddenly the door to his chamber burst open. An enraged Darkhound howled, snarling and spitting. Nightfall stood up from his chair, ready to do something, even in his weakened state to fend of this intruder. Even more suddenly than before, there appeared but Egwene2 and Ulrike! Both looked as mad as half drowned cats. This was more than Nightfall could take. He wasn't sure if he was going to live very long. What he didn't expect was this. Egwene2 took the Darkhound by the throat and start beating the poor dog with a fairly thick scroll! "Bad Doggie!" she yelled. "Not only did you forget our appointments AND miss poor Ulike's meal, you now go startingly guests, especially poor Nightfall, who has done nothing to you! Shame on you." Ulrike then took over, while Egwene2 kept on berating the poor dog. Now Nightfall knew he had been lucky, but still felt very sorry for the poor Darkhound. Darkhound then changed back into his human self and tried in vain to ward off the blows from the scroll. Egwene2 then dragged him by the ear, with Ulrike following after adding some heated comments about something called Haggis and how rude Darkhound had been and so on. Nightfall sighed in relief. Danger, in which ever form, had past for now. He then walk out his now smashed black oak door.

Nightfall then used his keen senses to quickly navigate to where his power had located the great wielder of the True Source. It was a place all knew. The Great Mistress' audience chamber. Cautiously, he approached the chamber and could also make to others that were steadily approaching his way, Eval and Sundara! Quickly and quietly, like the shadows that knew him best, he hid from their sight. As they past he could make out some comment about surprise and how wonderful this would be.

Nightfall then enter the chambers, still cautious after all that had happened. There he saw the Great Mistress embrace Moridin in a brief kiss before dissmissing him. Nightfall then tried to fork an opening, being careful not to reveal to much. "Nae'blis. I was wondering if I could have some words with you. I am in need of some assistance with a little project of mine...."

Nightfall, hoping to get the ball rolling


Okay, the knitting was still funny, but slowly Darkhound became strange. She wondered worried if Darkhound was drunk. But he had drunk on Sundara's party considerable more and his behavior hasn't changed much. Did he play, something that he considered to be a joke?

Egwene2 approached, oh yes, Moridin's message. She just wanted to pass it as Darkhound began to ramble wildly. "Dear Egwene. Today without your whip. Who should take you seriously so?" And so on. Ulrike stared in shock. Egwene2's face was a thundercloud. He was unrecognizable. He could be joking, maybe mocking, but he was never impolite to women. Except now. Obviously Egwene wanted to do something, a harsh response at least, but suddenly he darted away, roaring loudly like a mad bull. Both women ran behind him.
He crushed into and through a door, right into the very surprised Nightfall. Darkhound seemed in the right mood for a fight, but Egwene catched him and tried to beat sense in him. Not very successfull unfortunately.
They leaved the confused Nightfall and dragged Darkhound back to Ulrike's library. Both of them were worried now. There Egwene tied him with flows of air. In the meantime Ulrike examined the table. The bottles of beer catched her eye. She read the etiquette. The list of contents has a so small letters, she needed a magnifying glass. Behind her Darkhound collapsed.
The blood drained off her face.
"The special mix of spices and herbs adds a exquisite flavor to the beer and has a stimulating effect." Then nearly unreadable: "juniper, anise, oak bark, pine root, rosemary, BILSENKRAUT (?!!), laurel." And still smaller: "Sometimes unhealthy side effects are possible as hallucinations or frenzy."

"Egwene, he needs Healing immediately! He's poisoned." Oh, she would kill the merchant who sold her that stuff, but before Darkhound must be on his feet again. Blood and ashes, is all going wrong on this day?

~Ulrike

[Author's note: The named ingredients for beer or ale were all used in the late Middle Age. 'Bilsenkraut' (I didn't found a translation) is really poisonous. Effects as hallucinations, frenzy and even death happened. Thus the German purity rule were established about 1500 AD. The only allowed ingredients are yeast, malt, hop and water since then.]


One minute he had been talking to Ulrike about the relative merits of the true power versus Knitting, the next, the world warped and bent, and fiery madness consumed his thoughts. A fifty-foot tall Nightfall assaulted him in the corridor, and Egwene2 was trying to kill him. Finally Darkness had crashed in around him, and left him floating as a pinpoint of conciousness in an empty oblivion. Then colours and sounds assaulted him and he felt something against his back. After some time, there was realisation that he was laying down.

Darkhound sat up, and he knew that this was not a world he recognised. "Where the hell am I?" he thought aloud.
"You are in a strange place, DH. A very strange place indeed." Darkhound spun around to face the voice. The sickly looking figure was doing the twist.
"Figment? Is that you?" Darkhound asked the figure that was the embodiment of his sick and twisted imagination.
"Yeah it's me *wheeze*splutter* Come to bail you out again."
"So, I'm inside my own mind? How'd that happen?"
"Posion!" said Figment. "It was in that *cough* damned German beer you were drinking!"
"Ulrike poisoned me?" Darkhound felt pole-axed. He liked Ulrike, but if she had tried to poison him, it was a sure fire sign that perhaps his chat up technique hadn't entirely worked with her.
"Not willingly, you klutz. She didn't know about the beer either.*cough* Be grateful she's smart enough to work out what's happened, or you'd be a gonner. Right now, she and Egwene2 *splutter* are trying to help you."
"Really? Two women? Playing nursemaid? And I'm unconcious?" He shook his head. "Life is cruel."
"Start using your head, instead of your genitals for once. *wheeze* Egwene2 is channeling, but they need your help."
"Mine? What can I do? I'm unconcious?" Darkhound frowned. "Wait a minute, this is going to be like 'Find the doorway and go through it to come round' isn't it Figment?"
"Well done, mutt. See? I knew there was some rational thought processes in your brain. *wheeze* Now, where would a mad pup like you hide a door?"
Darkhound scratched his imaginary head. "Well, it'll be in the last place I look for it, I'll bet."
Figment barked a snort of disgust. "Of course it will! Why does everyone say that? As if you'd keep looking for something after you'd found it?" He broke off into wheezes, mumbles, coughs and giggles.
"I suppose, I would have like a grand hall with several possible doorways, only one of them the true one, the others designed to trap me forever in a catatonic coma of my own minds making!" Darkhound looked quite pleased with himself.
"What like *wheeze* that hall there?" asked Figment pointing to a hall that had materialised a few feet away.
"Yeah, just like that one! C'mon, this will be a piece of cake!" Darkhound grabbed Figment by the arm and pulled him toward the hall. "See, as we approach each door, it will open, and some temptation will present itself, and I have to resist that temptation, to find the way back!"
Figment was looking at Darkhound with disapproval.
"What?" Darkhound asked, noting the look.
"You've lifted this from Robert Jordan! From the experience that the novices go through to become accepted! You plagarist!"
"I never did! Honest! I thought of it first, years ago." He couldn't meet Figments gaze, and his cheeks reddened. "Look, I borrowed it, alright? It's such a nice idea. Anyway, it isn't totally original anyway."
"I just hope," said Figment, "that RJ's *wheeze* lawyers don't hear of this! You'll be in deep doo-doo's then. *cough*"
"Ah, relax will you. Look, here's the first door."

Slowly, the door swung open. Inside was a mountain of seafood, and bottle after bottle of beer.
"Hah! That's easy!" said Darkhound, shutting the door. "Much as I'd love to make a pig of myself, after what Ulrike put inside me, it's damned easy to resist that lot, bless her!" They marched on. "Here we go, second door. Figment, do the honours would you, old chap?"
Figment pulled the door open, to reveal an enormous room stuffed full of gold.
"Whoa! Look at all that! There must be, like..." he counted on his fingers for a minute. "at least twelve dollars, maybe." Darkhound shrugged, and kicked the door closed with his foot.
"Easy as that?" asked Figment, amazed.
"Sure. What would I want all that gold for, when there are no shops about?" said Darkhound with a big grin.
"But, you could have imagined shops, you daft bugger!"
Darkhound stopped, looked back, shrugged, and started off again. "Oh yeah. I never thought of that. Luckily. Okay, third and final door, then we can get out of here. Lets have a look then."
Behind the third door, there was neither food, nor beer, nor money.
Xena, princess warrior, stood with Teri Hatcher, Neve Campbell, and Sharon Stone. In front of them, Ariella, the Great Mistress of the Dark stood with a cool smile, and either side of her, Egwene2 and Ulrike stood with arms crossed, tapping a foot impatiently.
"We've been waiting for you Darkhound." said the Great Mistress if the Dark. "It's very bad to keep ladies waiting."
"Yes very bad." added Egwene2, flexing her whip. "You are a very bad doggie indeed."
"And you know what happens to bad doggies?" asked Ulrike. Darkhound couldn't answer, as his tongue had unravelled, and currently lay in a tangled heep on the floor.
"They get spanked!" added Xena, princess warrior.
"Yes, spanked!" said Teri Hatcher.
"Ooh, yes, definitely." Sharon crossed her legs slowly, being required by contract to do so.
"Darkhound, you must resist!" shouted Figment. "Resist it, you fool mutt, or you're doomed!"
"I.... I.... can't.... don't want.... no.... I..... but...."
"Are you going to stand there making me wait, Darkhound?" asked the Great Mistress, arching a single eyebrow. "Only the whipped cream is going off in the heat."
She tugged at her green silk blouse. "Ooh, it's so warm in here. I'm beginning to get all sweaty!"
"Darkhound, fight it, damn you! It's not real! Walk away, man! Just turn and..." Figment's shout was cut off as Xena grabbed his throat in a leather gauntleted fist.
"Get in here now, Darkhound, or we won't be your friends anymore!" said Ulrike.
"I've got a new whip, and boots to match, you naughty mutt. Don't you want to see them?" Egwene2 enquired.
"Darkhound, Ive...."
"Darkhound, you must...."
"Darkhound, why don't you...."
"Darkhound..."
"Darkhound..."

"DARKHOUND!" Ulrike slapped his face again. "DARKHOUND, WAKE UP!"
"Nnnnngggfff. MMMagimmmoo , kekeke. Aaaarrr, no please I like it don't do it yes do it NNNNggfgf *splutter*" Darkhound muttered weakly.
"He's coming around!" said Egwene2. "He's going to make it! Darkhound? Darkhound? Can you here me?"
His eyes snapped open, and came slowly into focus. "Egwene2? Ulrike? Where am I? What happened?"
"It was the beer, Darkhound." Ulrike mopped his sweat-soaked brow. "It had bad ingredients in it, and they made you sick."
"But... you drunk it too! Why aren't you sick?"
"I am German, Darkhound. Over the years of drinking bad German beer, we have built up an immunity to it. I could drink bleach, and it would barely merit a belch!"
"Are you okay, Darkhound? We were worried for you." Egwene2 leant forward and looked into his glazed eyes.
"I'm fine, though I have the mother of all hangovers to look forward to." He rubbed his face with his hands. "I was in a weird place, and Figment was there, and we went to the hall, and you were there, Eggy, and you too, Ulrike. And.... and.... hang on a minute.... WHY DID YOU WAKE ME UP? I just needed a little longer, that's all, just an hour or two. Someone get me one of those beers! I need to pass out, and quick!" He looked up at his two friends. "Hey, why are you looking at me like that?"
Egwene2 sniffed. Ulrike sniffed. If they had had braids, they would have tugged them. Sensing imminent danger, Darkhound grinned broadly, and fluttered his eyelashes. "Just kidding, ladies. Just kidding." He was relieved when he saw them look at each other and smile. "Hey, you could sure nurse me better if you actually wore nurses uniforms, you know!"
Egwene2 leaned over him, with a wide smile, and grabbed his ear, twisting it.
"Don't push your luck, dear Darkhound." she said sweetly.

~Darkhound, enjoying a creative spell, currently.



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