From the shadows, sleek and silent as a shadow herself, the black cat
watched. She hissed and arched her back as the one called Darkhound passed
by. Cats despised dogs. Even dogs in human form. The black cat padded out
into the passage behind him, her head tilted to one side as she listened
to the thoughts running through his mind. He did not guard his thoughts
very well. But then, she thought with a scornful flick of her tail, what
else could you expect from a dog? His foremost thoughts, of course, concerned
Ulrike and Egwene2. The black cat had never met either woman, but she already
liked them. They obviously knew how to keep unruly hounds in line.
Another name in his thoughts was that of Sundara. The black cat pricked up her ears, for that was a name she knew. An Aes Sedai she had seen in the White Tower, with the feel of the Shadow about her. Eval she had never heard of, but if the Hound was so irritated with them, this might be an opportunity for her skills. Cold water? She shivered. No doubt Eval and Sundara would appreciate it as little as her.
On velvet paws, she moved out through the palace in search of Sundara.
It did not take her long, her quarry being in the very first place she
looked. Where else would one find a Brown sister but in a library? The
Domani woman was half-asleep over her book, very conveniently for the black
cat’s purposes. She jumped up on the arm of her chair, and settling down
comfortably, listened in to Sundara’s thoughts. Most were about Eval. If
the black cat had been in human form, she would have sniffed. Lovesick
kittens indeed. None of her kittens had ever been so silly. But
then, humans were strange folk.
Focussing her own thoughts carefully, she concentrated on implanting a dream into Sundara’s mind. She would not have tried this if the Dark Sister had been fully awake, but drowsy as she was, she was unlikely to notice. Still, the black cat was careful. Cats were always cautious. Dogs were not - which was probably why Darkhound was so often in trouble.
She projected her thought. "Darkhound thinks you and Eval look ridiculous
mooning over each other." She agreed with him, but she was not likely to
say so. "Darkhound thinks you could do with a bucket of water to cool your
Satisfied, the black cat jumped down. Sundara would wake, now, and think she had overheard Darkhound talking. Her own mind would fill in the rest. Dark sisters, the black cat had noticed, had most imaginative minds. She rather liked Sundara, even if she was young and reckless at times. In her guise as an Aes Sedai, the Domani girl had frequently left saucers of cream out for her and her kittens, unlike the cooks. Stupid fat women, always getting in the way. As she saw Sundara stirring, the black cat padded delicately out of the library and sat for a moment by the door, contemplating what mischief to create now.
An auburn-haired woman went by, and the black cat darted back into the
shadows. She had met the Great Mistress of the Dark once or twice in another
Age, and although Ariella would not recognise her in this guise, it was
as well to be careful. She reached out with her mind, and found Ariella’s
thoughts firmly shielded. Well, that was to be expected. She was not even
sure that she wanted to know what such a one might be thinking about.
A little later, she caught sight of Eval Ramman himself, out in the training yards. He was handsome enough by human standards, but a little too pleased with himself, the black cat decided. On the other hand, he was certainly infatuated with Sundara, judging by the poetry he declaimed while swinging his sword. She wondered if he realised how silly he sounded. Probably not. Lovers never did.
Ah, but who was that entering the gates now? A tall, hawk-faced man all in black, who seemed to have a touch of the feline about him. Now who could that be? She reached for his thoughts, and discovered he was Taim the Tiger. How interesting. Tigers were showy beasts mostly, lazy except for the few occasions they chose to exert themselves, but he was the closest thing to a cat she had seen among humans. The black cat decided to keep a watch on Taim next time she came here. In the meantime, she had left her kittens alone long enough, and prepared to go. For just an instant, the image of a sleek, ebony-furred cat wavered and merged with the image of a sleek, ebony-haired woman with a feline cast to her features and slanting, tawny-gold eyes. Then, with a sound that was half purr, half laughter, the combined image shimmered and was gone.
Leaving only a grin behind.
The Black Cat
Somehow the dinner evening had not at all ended as planned. She only hoped that Darkhound wouldn't bear her a grudge for the almost fatal end. You could say what you want, but their friendship was all other than boring, there were constant surprises and almost-catastrophes. The story of this evening was a really interesting chapter in her records. If the one, for whom she put up with this chaos, should ever read this notes, he would nearly die laughing. She cringed inside at this thought. He had a strange humor.
At the moment she began a new chapter. Hopefully a more lucky one, because it didn't include Darkhound. Which was already back on his feet again. She wasn't sure how long that would last. A black cat crossed his path. Bad omen, she thought. Then she forgot this old superstition. There were things, she wanted to care for. She remembered how the Prophet vanished so suddenly on the slopes of Dragonmount and wanted to go to the bottom of this. Thus she went again to the stables. Her choice was a lean gelding. She hoped that she didn't take one of Moridin's horses again. To be on the safe side she left a note at the box door:
"I have borrowed this gelding for a short trip, and I mean 'borrowed'! I will be back in a few days at the latest."
As Non-channeler you must depend on legs, either your own or other's. Sometimes she wished desperately to be able to channeln. The life would be much simplier then for her. After an uneventful ride she reached the Dragonmount. This was an almost sacred place for her. Lews Therin Telamon's grave... a reminder and a warning for humanity. Unfortunately most people didn't perceive what they refused to believe. And these Aies Sedai belonged to this people, especially this fool Elaida...
She searched for the place, at which the Prophet vanished. The opened entrance catched her eye. She leashed the gelding and let it graze. Then she set out to explore the secrets of Dragonmount. The footprints of the Prophet in the dust showed her the way. When she came in the labyrinth she paused. The traces told her that the Prophet wandered about a long time. They crossed themselfes many times. After some thinking she followed her own trail back outside. The searching in the saddlebags produced the result of Darkhounds mad knitting. She must smirk, it would be of use now.
She began to unravel the 'pullover'. The start of the thread she fastened to the entrance. While she moved deeper in the mountain she wondered who had build this hidden maze. It seemed ancient. A work of the Light Warriors? It took generations to create these caves. And the whole time under the eyes of the Aies Sedai. She didn't believe that there were channelers among the Light Warriors, not to those times, neither male nor female. And the Aies Sedai could have detected so much channeling nearby. By the way she didn't know how long the Light Warriors existed. Maybe someone other had build this. But who?
She opened a door and entered a illuminated room. Astonished she looked
around. Strange equipment, a desk full with scrolls... obviously this was
the working place of a scientist. But what was researched here? She went
to the desk and took a document. Her eyes widened as she read.
In this moment steps neared. Before she could react the door opened and a surprised man's voice spoke: "Blood and ashes, who.." She couldn' turn, invisible weaves bound her. Only her eyes moved, read the paper that she held still in her hand.
"The research for the negation of weaves of the One Power are in a dead end at this time. However we could reach partial successes in..."
"We have agents everywhere, double-o no," cackled the resurrected Asmodean
from within the Tower of Ghenjei.
"The nice part is that we've all been weaved into every bloody Age." agreed Samirhage.
"Wouldn't we be old by now?" questioned Kiriath. "I mean, we're really Aged by now, aren't we?"
Everyone in the room -including the usually passive Finns- glared at him. "Bad. Very bad."
"At least I get some comments."
That drew a few snide snickers, which were interrupted abruptly by a startled noise from Mazrin, "His blood on the slopes of DragonMount."
Kiriath turned, as did all the rest of the group. The codephrase had been uttered; Fain had discovered something of value through one of Aginor's patented 'Mirky Misty Mirrors'. One had been stashed away in the laboratory that a lesser known agent of the Intrigleemen ---Jane SlowPacer, to be exact--- had discovered a great while ago.
"What's the problem?"
"Ulrike has stumbled across an unknown paper."
"Bloody ashes! It's been about..." Kiriath ticked the time away on his fingers, looked at them with wild eyes, sighed, and shrugged, "...time that something happened down there. How in the Blight the Prophet ended up finding that Mounted complex is beyond me."
"Perhaps he's a spy too?" suggested Asmodean. "Most organizations -at least in the exploits of James Bond- do have a tendency to pick out mountains as their base."
"Yes, but a volumptuous volcano?"
* * *
Throughout all of the conversation within the Tower of Ghenjei, Thom Merrilin was Importally Stoned. Which goes to say, a gleeman was getting terribly drunken in one of the oddest Ways.
* * *
While workerss were wondering which working workers were working what worked (heh ...Tongue-Twister. Try to test the taunting Taraboners to this Twister ;), Bayle Domon was discovering his true identity.
* * *
Back to the futuristic point! Kiriath and his most talented eccentrics
wielding the Eccentric Power and made tracks (which they E-rased) to the
entrance of the caverns of the Dragon's Mount. They noticed something fly
high in the sky.
"The Dragon's Mounted!"
Everyone stared at Kir.
"Hey, it's better than having the sky fall down."
Aurgh nudged him, "Don't say that."
A growl from Aurgh. A sigh. "This isn't the World of Dreams."
"So I say what I want to say here," said Kir, sticking out his tongue. Mazrin promptly chopped it off with a blade of air and ate it. "Mmm ...yummy."
Kir grinned. As he did so, another one snaked out and took Aurgh's in an act of revenge, "Two things, Wraith. I have the regeneration factor of the Dreaded Cartoon Dog Odie, and eating tongues is Narg's job."
Aurgh nodded, and Kiriath replaced Aurgh's tongue. Or tried to, anyway. His tongue seemed to have a mind of its own.
"Ah cherie," it said, french-kissing Aurgh's.
"Enough of that!" said Kir, throwing them both to the ground, letting them twine together and become one. "There, you can have it back."
Aurgh shook his head and Kir formed a new one out of Water and Air. It turned, literally, into its elements.
"Ooops ...sorry." Kir made one of Fire and Earth. "Ah. This works." Aurgh took it and lolled it around. "Yep."
"The other must have been made of Spirit. It did seem to be awfully Spirited." He allowed time for the groans (while he grinned) and then continued. "Let us now go and explore the Mount."
In about one hour, everyone was lost. They were in the center of the
Mount and had discovered absolutely nothing.
"Hush," said the star of Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness, "I'm not bloody quite yet."
Bruce Campbell stormed away, ready to join Dar the BeastMaster in the Land of Very Irritated Men.
"Now then... let us continue."
"I said Bloody---"
"--Because Ulrike and the unknown person are down there, right below us."
All three: Kiriath, Mazrin, and Aurgh: peered down. There she was, in the last scene of her precious post.
"Why's she like that?"
"She hasn't posted yet, Shaidarg."
"So let's stay completely quiet, and wait to see what happens, shall we?"
The three Intrigleemen kept their eyes down, watching Ulrike.
And couldn't do anything about it: Kiriath had used the Eccentric Power to shield them from talking louder than the echo of an Elder Ogier's rumble.
Kiriath the Rambling Intrigleemen
Daylorn gazed on the intruders -for no matter their intentions, intruders they were- through his spy-globe. Found in a stasis box, this particular globe was the master. Channel into one part of it, and a seeming duplicate elsewhere in the Fortress transmitted it's surroundings to the master globe. Another spot, another globe. And with care, they had managed to duplicate one master and one remote globe, which they had immediately melted down, to prevent from being stolen. At the moment, he was watching Ulrike and one of the Asha'man, though he had seen Kiriath's... group...? While flipping through the scenes. Kiriath, while not harmless, would not be a bother.The entire Fortress was within his "reach", using saidin, but he did not yet burn the paper in Ulrike's hand... though she consorted with Darkhound, she seemed to be a servant of a third Power, as was the Prophet, or perhaps she only served herself. It mattered not... if absolutely necessary, they would kill her, regretting it, but right now it was not necessary. Instead, he blinded her with Air. Gating directly to the lab, he removed the paper from her grasp, THEN burned it. Some fool had left it out, even though it was a bit out of date, such things were supposed to be locked up at all times.
"Well done, Jaigan. It seems you've relearned patience, perhaps even
mercy." A touch of amusement was in his voice.
Untieing the flows which had blinded Ulrike, he pulled a pair of chairs over with another flow. He waved at the chairs, "Please, be seated."
Ulrike was just as polite, curtseying (to which he immediately responded with a bow) and taking a seat with a murmured, "Thank you."
Seating himself, Daylorn leaned forward. Right now the Prophet was cooling his heels in an antechamber, if his timing of the walk from where the Prophet had been intercepted was correct. That was a matter for later, however. Folding his hands under his chin, he asked, "Milady Ulrike, why did you decide to pay us a visit?" He looked forward to hearing her answer.
Daylorn, hoping this is serious-yet-fun RP :)
Well, maybe the black cat has been a warning for her. She smiled at
"Actually, I intended to find the Prophet, who got lost in this area some days ago. Since I have seen this maze of tunnels, I understand how that could happen." She glanced meaningful at the remnant of the knitting.
"Then curiosity seized me. Besides I thought that a methodical search has a greater chance for success. Unfortunately I haven't found him yet. If he is still wandering around, he must be in great desperation the meantime." And now amusement was in her voice too as she continued.
"I can only hope that maybe you have more luck in this task. I'm really worried for him. May I ask you and", she glanced briefly to the other man, "your companions that you help me in this, please!"
She didn't mentioned this room and the document she had found. She knew, she had stirred up a hornet's nest. But she didn't want a confrontation with the Light Warriors. Outward she waited calmly, but inside...
Daylorn scrutinized her quietly a long time, then he spoke...
"The Prophet is safe, for the nonce, but I am curious as to HIS reasons for being here. He serves a third Power, and I am curious as to what that Power is, and why it chose to... express itself, inthese chaotic times. Ulrike, I will take you to him, but you must swear never to reveal the secrets of the maze. And if you decide to leave, you must swear to never reveal what you see here except in the service of the Light or when I or another of our top officers- Taim, Lord Algemar Jagad, or Perrin Aybara, and if it seems urgent enough, Cerise and Mordeth. Kerek... I doubt he will ever need you to reveal anything for him, but if he requests it, do it. Of course I can't hide my plans from Ariella, but the others need only know what they can find out on their own, for now."
He studied her again. Perhaps he'd said too much, been too specific. But there were sensitive issues at stake here, like the construction of the new Fortress and Algemar's... things. Then there was the anti-Sock Puppet weave, but that was barely an idea, not even in Research and Development. "Ulrike, are you ready to swear the first of these, and go see the Prophet?"
"I am," she replied.
He took here through the formal oath, thoughts still swirling. Gheric
had found the Prophet near the far exit to the maze, the exit leading to
the Great Hall. And theantechamber where the Prophet should now be was
in a different direction from both his offices and the Great Hall. Leading
Ulrike back out a few turns into the maze, he channeled Fire and Spirit
at a particular carving -this section of the maze was full of carvings-
and a panel swung open. There were other, more mechanical means to open
the panel, and he took the time to show Ulrike a couple of those. Not all,
but a couple. he pulled down the lever inside, and a section of floor opened.
He closed the panel. Stepping over to the section of floor, he showed Ulrike
the ladder, and took the lead. He trusted her not to stab him in the back,
but there were traps even here. He navigated the tunnel, keeping Ulrike
near him. Finally, he pulled another level, this one in plain sight on
the tunnel wall, and a door in the wall opposite irised open. They walked
through, the door closing behind them. He lead her up a flight of steps,
then along a short hallway. Opening one last door, this one by means of
a small button at an apparent dead-end, He walked through, Ulrike on his
heels. Turning at the sound of the door, which quickly closed, the Prophet
Then, he spoke...
Daylorn, it's the Prophet's turn
Tam awoke. He had to stop coming in so late at night. Tam wasn't quite sure why he kept returning to the dark place every time his gigs where finished. It must be all the wonderful evildoers that lived here that kept bringing him back. Tam finally got out of bed. He decided to wander the halls and search for someone to talk with. A black cat crossed the hall in front of him. Tam had a weak spot for adorable animals. It was all Tam could do not to pet and talk baby talk to Darkhound, but a cat? Tam stared after the cat. "Here kitty kitty kitty". Tam turned a corner hoping to see the cat. All Tam saw was a ghostly image of a woman's smile disapearing. "Tam you got to find your self a girl friend. You are getting delusions." he said to himself. Oh well, he thought. Tam continued his search for someone to talk with.
Sundara stretched and yawned. Looking at the clock in the library, she saw it was past midnight. She must have fallen asleep, but there was a dim memory of Darkhound talking about - her? Sundara sat up indignantly. A bucket of water indeed! Well, she would just see how the Hound liked a bucket of water himself! Angrily she stood up, carefully putting her book aside - even now she was not in such a rage as to damage a book - and stormed out. She nearly ran right into someone in the corridor.
"Tam?" she said, startled. What was anyone doing up so late? "Did you
see which way Darkhound went?"
He looked puzzled. "Darkhound? I haven't seen him in hours."
"But he was just here," Sundara protested. "He just left the library. You must have seen him go past."
Tam shook his head. "There was no one else in the library. Just you."
Bewildered, she shrugged. She was sure it was Darkhound she had heard, but if Tam hadn't seen him... "No one left? Are you sure?"
"Just a cat. Strange, though, it seemed to just vanish."
"Strange," she agreed, not really listening. Had she been dreaming, then? Sundara discarded that possibility - she was a dreamwalker, and it was a poor dreamwalker who couldn't tell dream from real. "Thank you anyway, Tam." She started down the corridor, then stopped as she realised what Tam had said.
A cat that vanished? She had heard tales of such things, in the old books. Could this cat be a feline analogue of Darkhound? But that didn't explain her false memory - well, maybe the cat had some kind of mental power. It was flimsy evidence to build such a conjecture on, but what else fit the facts?
She decided to go and find Ariella. Hopefully her sister would know what was going on. She certainly didn't.
Sundara, lover of cats, until they start sharpening their claws on my thoughts!
The Prophet spoke:
"I have been looking all over for you, Lord Daylorn. I must say that
it was a hard work, finding you. But now you are here and we shall be able
to settle our problems.
Something flashed in the Light Warriors eyes. "Problems; what problems do you mean. I have always thought that it's our first meeting.
"It is. But the "problems" I'm speaking of are not just some quarrel between humans. I mean something far more greater than our mortal ambitions."
"What do you mean? Has some supernatural entity joined the game we play. Perhaps, you have learned something at the Shayol Ghul. The Creator? The Dark One? I cannot believe that they began influencing our world again. Why aren't you speaking? Answer me man, answer!
Daylorn jumped to his feet. His eyes were burning, drilling deep into the old man's soul. Prophet smiled to himself. In that man, the border between the stone coldness and blazing rage was very thin. Too thin. Prophet was surprised. As he had heard about this man, he was most of his time calm as a monolith. Was he worried? Prophet chuckled. Then let him worry a little bit more.
"Good day to you, my Lady Ulrike. It is very nice seeing you here. I believe we have not met each other before, but I have heard of you much. Your works as a scholar are widely known".
That was Prophet's game. His main target was to irritate Daylorn so
much that the Lord General of the Light Warriors would do something foolish.
Of cource, that was not a nice thing to do, to act like that, but today
the world was not exactly nice and most of the people were on the brink
Daylorn just stood there staring at him, sgueezing and opening his fists, his jaw clenched. If stares could kill... Now, back to him.
"The Creator and the Dark One"-he told Daylorn- are only manifestations
of the Two Great Powers of Good and Evil. I serve something else.
"Now listen to the word of the Prophet". The real Prophet felt as his powers took hold of him, conquered him. He felt as if he was himself and not himself at the same time. Well, let the mighty Lord General hear "the latest news".
"You, Daylorn, play a very important role in this Clash of the Titans. Your choice can change much. And you will have to choose, or our world as we know it shall surely perish. But remmember that those who say that:"Winning is not the most important thing, it is the only thing", may be wrong. The price we all would pay shall be like a sun compared to the burning coal of what we have to suffer now. You have been warned, General Daylorn".