Posted on August 11-18, 1998 on WoT Alliance BBS
Category: WoT Alternate Reality

Unexpected Return

Prologue:

There is only one Great Mistress of the Dark, and although I may have been absent for a while, distracted by other things, I'm still alive and kicking -- just ask anyone who's felt my boots on their backside lately! [*lol*]

Carra, dear, it's so nice that you've stepped up and taken charge of things while I and the other Sisters were gone, but really, I must insist that you come up with your own title. Maybe Vice Great Mistress of the Dark... [*weg*] Any title with 'vice' in it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser...

Anyhoo -- I'm still here, I read the BBS now and again (although it seems I should read it more often...) and I'll try to pop in more often now that the summer is winding down. Now then, where did I leave that whip... and just look at this dust! [sigh] This is going to take forever to clean up... can't have a party with the place looking like this...

Nice to see you all again, and for those I haven't yet met, well, you'll find out soon enough...

Ariella, the one and only Great Mistress of the Dark

[pouts] "Just as I'd started to enjoy it... [laughs and tosses Ari her crown back] Here you are, sister mine, and shall we make the coronation party a welcome-home party instead?"
[*lol*] "Why not? One excuse for a party's as good as another! And keep the crown -- it always gave me a headache anyway... "
"Well, in that case... [shrugs and takes the crown back] I hereby crown myself Dark Regent. It's easier than bothering with vice or acting or even worse acting acting! Welcome back!"


Nightfall was lounging his chambers, contemplating all that had gone on the previous days/nights worth of party in celebration. It was then a clarion note sounded through out Shayol Ghul and to his utter shock, even more so than when Carra had declared herself. On his desk he could see a note and it was from the Great Mistress, Ariella!
A surge of both fear and hope washed over Nightfall. Could it be? Ariella was truly home? What did this mean... He reread the note carefully and indeed Ariella was making her prescence more felt back in Shayol Ghul.
A time of celebration was surely at hand. Certainly Carra would be less than thrilled but still she would be more than accepting of the true Great Mistress claim back to the throne. A Vice Great Mistress did indeed seem like a sound enough plan. Nightfall then realized this would be a great way to curry favor back with the Great Mistress. He needed only a little time and he would have the finest musicians in the land flocking here. Plus he knew a few others that owed him a favor or two, especially a winery and a brewery from a far off land called Ireland. A special brew he found to his taste, Guinesss, seemed to be a good choice among others.
It would only take some plannning and setting up. Cerise was almost forgotten in his rush to get all this planned out. Invitations would probably be handed by the Great Mistress, she knew how to hand such things better than himself. In a fevor pitch effort, Nightfall sent out dozen of ravens and also walked in between, reading such bands as he could find. This was to be the party to end all parties, even greater than Sunny's naming day. He did think of Cerise breifly but time was of the essence. Time and much planning.

Nightfall, getting this party ready.


In the Tower of Ghenjei, Kiriath suddenly felt a jolt, the sheer strength nearly giving him whiplash. Literally. The power wasn't True, nor was it only One, or even Eccentric. It was the dreaded Power, the power of the Whip. Even a new Great Mistress could not have been capable to handling that much. There was one one that Kir remembered, one of the very first who had started this chain of events.
"Ariella," he whispered. "Shai'ariel, you are back."
Speak the Dark One's name, you bring his wrath. Speak the name of the Mistress, you feel a sudden whip. There came that jolt again.
"It's definitely Ariella," muttered Kiriath, not necessarily certain if it was a good or bad thing. Carra had known Mazrin --who knows how she could have-- but Ariella knew a great many things. She wasn't necessarily omniscient, thought Kir, but she was pretty flaming close.
"This'll be chaos," he said, believing it sincerely. Asmodean had defected --he simply couldn't be trusted, defecting from the Shadow first, then Rand, and now from the Intrigleemen-- and was now in the Dark Palace, though how Kir knew he did not know. And then there was Barid, a Gray Man appearing out of nowhere. That timing was too close for comfort. Whatever happened, the reappearance of the original Great Mistress could change things immensely. Mazrin might not have near enough time to observe the Palace - Ariella was known for her parties. Now if only the other Dark Sisters were to return also, this could truly be chaos. No, thought Kir, shaking his head. That wouldn't be a good idea. Not until the Light Warriors could change their name, perhaps recruit more recruits, and actually start waging some sort of war with the Dark Family. Of course, they had the power of the Bl--- Kir's head jerked up. Maybe the Blight could be ...turned... like a channeler to the Dark. That could be a very valuable asset, and from the disintegration of the Light Warriors, the way they were, they needed a morale boost. Quickly, in a few seconds or so, Narg had been sent through the Ways to head out to the Blight and bring back some ShadowSpawn. Narg was loyal. Moronic agents always were the best loyal ones. They never knew what they were getting into. Maybe even a few Gray Men could be recruited --they could be handy for stakeouts. And as assassins, too, if the need aroused. And Myrrdraal, and those weird fly-things, and a few typical darkhounds...

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Carrying out Eccentric plans...


A gateway appeared in the cluttered room that was Serafelle Sedai's study. The books and documents scattered all over the furniture had a thin coat of dust covering them - evidently no one had been in there to clean for a long while. The big Domani desk with its striped wood and inlaid amber was dusty too- a few of its drawers were open, testifying to the apparent haste of the owner in leaving. A still- opened ink bottle sat on top of the desk, along with half-a-dozen pens, each with a different sized nib. The lamp had run out of oil weeks ago, but the subtle scent of oil still hung in the air.

The gateway hung in silence for a moment, a gaping hole in the fabric of reality. Then Serafelle herself stepped through it, accompanied by a small gust of wind. The dust swirled up into the air, along with several stacks of papers. "Blast," she muttered irritably. She did not move to pick the papers up; instead, she let the heavy black bag hanging in the air fall to the floor in exasperation. She looked dishevelled. The gateway disappeared as the dust flew up around the black bag.

Serafelle looked around. Nothing had changed- not here, at least. She remembered the day she'd left quite vividly- her study looked the same. Perhaps a bit more dust, but otherwise the same. She sneezed convulsively, and sniffed, for once, not in derision.

Her departure had been so unexpected. She had been searching for Agelmar at the Darksister party, and threatening some little short guy who kept muttering about a "kender". (Serafelle had noticed later that she'd apparently lost her watch, and a pair of gold bracelets. She hadn't found them since...) Then she'd begun to use her newly acquired wolf-senses to find the elusive Agelmar. It had been working very well- she had walked down the hall quite confidently, and then-

She found herself in Saldaea. Maradon, to be exact. There had been no warning whatsoever. She was just suddenly standing there, outside a large palace, in Maradon. For a while, she'd just stood there, trying to figure out what had happened. Then she had noticed that it was raining...

In the end, she'd decided to stay in Saldaea, since she was already there. She had a few friends in Maradon- her mother had been from north-eastern Arad Doman, and in her youth Serafelle had often travelled to Saldaea, to visit friends. Never to Maradon, but, after all, they'd probably grown up and moved to Maradon by now anyway.

Serafelle had stayed with those friends until she decided that she could not stand them a moment longer. She Travelled to Arad Doman on a whim, staying only for a short while. Then she got the harebrained idea that travelling on foot would be fun.

Well, she'd paid for that stupidity, all right. She'd run into the Whitecloaks the second day out. She managed to hide the fact that she was Aes Sedai, but had not been able to convince them that she did not need an armed escort to Amador... Serafelle did not want to antagonize the Children, so she behaved VERY NICELY all the way to Amador. A city where even the SUSPICION of Channeling is punishable by death.

She remembered meeting Pedron Niall once, a long time ago. He had had iron grey hair then, and a strong, determined jaw. She was told about his death in Amador, and felt a stab of pity for him. It was a waste of a good mind, she thought: The old goat had been the best Stones player she'd ever seen.

Serafelle shook her head, and announced briskly to her empty study, "Well, no use standing around daydreaming all day." She reached out to scoop up some papers on her desk, and saw for the first time one perfect red rose. (A tiny corner of her mind whispered, "Where's the perfect limo?" but she ignored it.) She picked the rose up , looking for a card. There wan't one. "The Wanderer, perhaps?" She frowned, deep in thought. The rose had not been there a moment ago; she was sure of that. Mechanically, she put the rose in a porcelain vase, still thinking. She cleared off the top of the desk, getting more dust on her already dusty dress. She didn't notice.

She began to empty the enormous black bag. It was full of souvenirs, one for each person. She took out beautiful Saldaean fans, and two books about the language of the fans. She pulled out another book, entitled "Saldaean Sock Puppets"- that was for Kerek. Serafelle dug in the bag a bit more, and pulled out a rapier. It was a beautiful sword, with a golden hilt, and perfect balance. She held it in her hands for a moment, and pulled it out of the scabbard. It glittered in the light. Serafelle frowned suddenly. The hilt seemed too long- almost as if it had been made for someone with an extra finger or two. Oh well. That sword was for the Wanderer- she hoped he had big hands. She kept emptying the bag.

A matryoshka doll. Where had that come from? Sometimes real life had a nasty habit of seeping into T'A'R. She set the doll down.

The bag on the floor was nearly empty. Serafelle held it up and shook it out. A bundle of cloth tied with string fell onto the desk. It was odd- looking, and its colors seemed to shift, blending from a deep green to paler greens, and then to an indeterminate grey-brown. A Warder's cloak.

Serafelle was still looking for a Warder. Her "vacation" had interrupted the search, but now the hunt would resume. She hoped to find one soon.

She shook out the cloak, which gave off a faint woodsy smell. Hanging it up in her closet, Serafelle caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. "Ack!" The choked exclamation of horror disturbed the quiet of the study. She went into her room to clean up.

The dusty cloak she'd been wearing was quickly discarded, along with the travel-stained grey dress, in favour of a dark green dress in her native Cairhienin style. She brushed her long hair and swept it up into a loose twist. Wisps were already escaping, so she put a silver band around it, hoping it would slow the wisping process. She chose matching jewelry- delicate silver, with deep green stones. She exchanged daggers as well, replacing gold with green-studded silver. She noticed she'd lost a little weight in Amador and added a silver plaited belt to hide it.

Now she was ready to meet her friends.

Serafelle Cormiere,
Sister of the Brown Ajah


The raven landed on Barid Bel's outstreched hand, and he took the letter the bird held in its claws. He read it once, than returned to his rooms, there he took a chair and reread it twice.
The Great Mistress is back, that changed many things. With her gone te Dark Family had melt away slowly, maybe now she could enter some iron into their backbone, there wasn't a big party for too long. Gray Man were as good as spies as they were in murders, and he had nothing better to do than to spy on others, some parties were about to organized, and for some reason everybody tend to forget he was alive. It didn't bother him at all usually, but sometimes having all eyes slide away from you was a boredom.
One thing he decided, if there was going to be a party soon, Barid Bel would certainly be there.

~Barid Bel

PS: What happened to the big parties? Those with 30-40 threads??? Lets relive those. Ari, the board had been drying out without you, I might have said it before but it's GOOD to have you back.


Nightfall soon had almost everything prepared. The guest list was forming out to almost a mile long, with the invitations nearly flying out the door as he readied the four bands that would play. The opening act was by some guy with that was a Miller or was it Miller and he lived in a Glen. Nightfall wasn't sure of the particulars but his band was very good. The horns and other instructments would make a wonderful opening for his next band, something about a lead balloon was the title of the band.
They seemed to be just the right tone and then was this guy Tom Petty, a fond favorite of Nightfall's. Certainly, the Great Mistress would be pleased with his choices. He was getting it from all sides though, what with the return of Sera and also Cerise plus what ever the hound was up to. Still it was all very secondary to the party. All the streams and the crystal ball which held suspended in mid air by a small ter'angreal that Nightfall had found a while ago, make the room sparkle. All was needed now for the party to be considered both offical and underway was the appearence of the Great Mistress or even the Vice Great Mistress and all would be ready. Nightfall was also very dazzling in his silver embroided doublet with white hose and his shiny new cap he found. Certainly not his usual style but Nightfall was willing to make and exception for the sake of party. As he had the servant finish clearing the Great Hall and making sure that everyone knew what they were doing, Nightfall opened the gates to the outside, ready to let all and sundry to arrive and enjoy this hopefully rousing party.

Nightfall, new MC and hopefully more....(smile)


"Ahhh!" Carramaena laughed as she walked through the great doors for the second time. "I do love a party!"
She grinned at Nightfall. "So, your turn to host the party, is it? Nice decor." Carra was wearing a short, strapless dress of white satin and gold sandals that laced up her calves. She pirouetted, smiling. "How do you like it?" After a moment, when he didn't respond, she looked up at him and shook her head. "There's no quarrel between Ari and me on this, Nightfall. What's a title between sisters? As long as there's someone to throw parties and keep the Dark alive, it doesn't much matter who wears the crown."
Carra smiled and patted him on the cheek. "So now that's settled, shall we dance?"

Carramaena - Dark Mistress, Dark Regent, what the hell does it matter? Let's party!


The Wanderer felt the tug on the rose he had placed on Serafelle's desk so long ago, and smiled. It was a ter'angreal; one bought at a reasonable price, all things considered, from the Great Mistress. "What a useful... friendship," he thought to himself. She had quite nicely devised it on the spot, to reveal itself only when the things on the desk were shuffled, and when touched signal to the one who placed it there. Activation was simple with ari's help, and the Wanderer was patently certain that he was the ONLY person who knew how to get into Serafelle's study without tripping every alarm and ward in sight. It was part of the wisdom of Wandering, after all. Though perhaps he lacked the knowledge of finding anything useful once inside. In any case, he had placed it soon after she had left-- how long ago had it been?-- and set thoughts of her aside.

Being the Wanderer DID require quite alot of his attention.

The jiggle on the rose changed all that. The Wanderer had been practicing the forms with the sword he had borrowed from his friend the Hunter, who was in an entirely different line of work. One that only vaguely interested the Wanderer, but did avail itself to a very nifty weapon, Manetheren-forged-- with everything one expected from that name. A shame the Hunter had a use for Mazel, and would be wanting her back. But Wandering did not really require owning a sword, only being able to use one.

In any case, he quit the forms and set up Wandering. Not precisely, it must be admitted, because one requirement for Wandering was not to have specific destinations, and he most certainly did. He skipped through the Ways in quite a silly manner, dropping Mazel off at the Waygate near where the Hunter dwelt and moving on, Machin Shin nipping at his nose.

He landed as near to Serafelle's study as he might have wished, letting him regain his breath and bearing, and he even deigned to knock at the door, albeit after he had opened it. As response was not immediately forthcoming, he breathed deep and bellowed down the as-yet-unlit halls;

"WELCOME HOME, SERAFELLE SEDAI!"

The Wanderer, interrupting the undoubtably grand and vitally important meetings of the Light Warriors, or should I now say CotL? DotL?


A very loud shout jolted Serafelle out of her reverie, and she winced. She turned around as the door flew open, revealing the Wanderer standing there and panting a bit. He looked a bit sweaty, as if he'd just come from the practice grounds or something. She smiled, and raised an eyebrow. She wasn't quite sure what she should say, so she just scooped up the rapier on the table and said, "Hello! It's so nice to see you! You see, I ended up in Amadicia, and had some problems with Whitecloaks, and that's why I was so late. I got this souvenir for you." She held out the sword, and he took it from her hands.

Serafelle Sedai
Sister of the Brown Ajah
Defender of the Light


The Great Mistress walked slowly through the halls of the Palace at the Edge of Midnight. It was good to be home again -- the air of Shayol Ghul had a certain, indefinable something to it that she'd missed. Oh, to be sure, she'd had plenty of adventures in the Worlds of If she'd been visiting, but this was where she belonged. Of course, coming home meant she'd have to go visit her twin brother -- he was always such a bore, nattering on and on about total world domination -- but it was a small enough price to pay.

She stopped before a pair of massive, black oak double doors that seemed to have no knobs or handles, no visible means of opening them. She laid one slender hand in the exact center and they swung open. Her chambers smelled a bit musty from disuse -- no one else could open that warding, not even the servants, and so there'd been no one to freshen things up while she'd been away. There was a note lying on the floor; someone had slipped it in under the door. Curious, she picked it up and read it, then sighed deeply. Nightfall was throwing a party.

She wondered if it had ever occurred to him that she might just like to throw her own homecoming party, then dismissed it. Of course it hadn't -- he was like an overeager puppy, anxious to please, tripping over himself with excitement. Ah, well, she could always throw a party of her own later. Now then, what to wear? She strolled over to the closet, chewing absently on a strand of long, auburn hair, deep in thought.

About an hour later, she swept into the Great Hall, then winced. Disco. She should have known ... She almost went back upstairs for her 'Disco Sucks!' tee shirt, but then Carra spotted her and waved gaily. "Hiya Sis! Great party, isn't it?" Ari laughed. "Is there any other kind?" She took in Carra's little white number and grinned. "Nice dress, little sister!" Carra spun around, showing off. "Yep, I conjured it myself! And might I say, you're looking pretty good yourself, Big Sis!"

"What, this old thing?" Ari smiled. She knew she looked spectacular in the black velvet catsuit. Strappy black stiletto heels and a wide choker of emeralds set it off perfectly. "So, Carra, where's that Hound of mine? I haven't seen nose nor tail of him since I've gotten back. Don't tell me he's been confined to his kennel again?"

Carra looked around curiously. "No, he's not in trouble... well, no more trouble than he's usually in!" Both women laughed at that. "But he always shows up for a party! I'm sure he'll be along any time now. Let's get some champagne!" Ari followed Carra over to the bar, looking around for old friends. Taking a glass of champagne, she draped herself over a stool at the end of the bar, and waited.

Ariella, aka Shai'ariel, the Great Mistress of the Dark


Garbed in an elegant black tux and emerald green bow-tie, DH wondered if his smart, formal attire would have the right impression on the guests, and of course, Her. When she had arrived and spoken the first words, he had been skulking around in dark places, but her arrival had been something akin to bucket of ice cold water poured over his dangly bits whilst having his heart jabbed into action by a cattle prod. For a while he had been dumbfounded, unable to force the kaleidoscope of sensations and memories into their relevant places, unable to form a structure of thought amid the boiling chaos of his mind. When at last his mind settled enough for him to think, he had decided that the Great Mistress would undoubtedly be hosting a party, at which he would be expected. The union-jack flannel-cloth suit he had rejected alongside the flame-red velvet one and the leopard-skin-print one too. For some reason, plain black and white, with a flash of her green to contrast his blue eyes seemed appropriate. His scalp freshly shaved, he left his room via the window for a change, to take in the cool fresh air of the evening as he skipped nimbly across the battlements and gargoyle heads of the palace. Eventually, he found the place he was looking for, and leant forward to observe....

She was there. He wouldn't try to describe her, the effect was well known after all this time, and never faded. Chewing a strand of hair as usual - if he had been able too, he would berate her for not kicking that habit in her absence. He held his breath as he watched her and Carra speak, and let it out in some relief as he saw them smiling in comradeship. Of course, they had always gotten on famously, but for a moment he had worried, considering the recent turn of events. He smiled, content that all was happy and right, and felt he had better get down and make an entrance. Just as he started to rise, a freak gust of wind decided it had a sense of humour, and hit him in the chest...

With a resounding crash, DarkHound fell threw the skylight set in the high ceiling of the dance hall. For a moment, he scrabbled at midair cartoon style, trying to reach back up to the hole through which he had fell, but gravity being gravity, and thus to DarkHound's mind, a bugger, did it's thing.... The Hound of the Dark fell to earth with a resounding PLAP.

For a moment there were three pairs of stiletto-shod feet whirling in circles before him, and he could have sworn that he could hear birds tweeting nearby, thus satisfying the cliché demand for the post. When the whirling stopped, DH let his eyes climb unhurredly up the legs, past the expanse of slender midnight balck velvet number, past the auborn cascades of slightly damp-ended fine hair, to the Great Mistress and her unreadable eyes.

The Hound realised that even for him, he had found himself on his knees before her in a record time. He knew that they would be expecting frivolity, some comment laden with innuendo, or even outrageous inanity... he kept his face calm, smiling on the inside, as he rose from his knees unbidden. Well, he'd be back there soon enough - he figured he might as well live dangerously. Standing straight, meeting her eyes, he nodded respectfully and without preamble said "I have a welcome home gift, Mistress. May I give it to you?" Her eyes narrowed slightly, even though her mouth displayed the slightest curl at the corners as she nodded in return.

"You may."

DarkHound simply strode forward, and kissed her once, tenderly on each cheek, and once on the forehead.

"That's it Ma'am. Just that. Welcome home." said DarkHound, brushing the broken glass from his suit. "Now, if you could see your way clear to making this glass go away, it would be my great honour to have the first dance, Great Mistress."DarkHound clicked his fingers idly behind him, and the band stopped in mid-dirge and eased softly into a slow number. He looked up and smiled, and for once the light thst shone in his eyes wasn't youthful enthusiasm, or madness, or mischief, but the simple affection of friendship. For just one dance, they would be equals. Well nearly.

After, she would most likely kick his ass all over the floor and demand the sky and a hundred other impossible things, and all would be un-well and un-right with the world again.

~DarkHound, leaver of fancy titles behind for this post at least.


Looking into her hand mirror, Cerise grimaced, ad rubbed her head. It's no fun to have a headache when you're supposed to be partying. Cerise put on her stretchy black bell bottoms and her purple halter top. Where had she put those chunky silver heels? Cerise was glad that she had saved some of her old late 70's/early 80's garb. Cerise kept her shoulders bare, and let the neckline swoop. A disco revival would be interesting, if anything. She hated disco, but she wouldn't miss a party for the world. She sure was getting into the swing of parties of the Dark. Quickly, she tied Ariella's gift at her waist. She winked at herself in the mirror, finished applying her lipstick, and channeled a Gateway from her room to in front of the party room.

Cerise stepped thru the gateway, and glanced about. She might be a bit early, but it was better early than late. Cerise clapped as what must be one of the first dances finished. Grinning fiendishly, she floated thru the crowd and tapped Ariella slightly on the shoulder. Without turning, Ariella said, "Cerise. Good to see you. It's been long." Cerise smiled as Ariella turned to face her. She forgot how good Ariella's senses were. It had been awhile. "I have a gift for you, if it pleases the Light...ergh. You know what I mean." Ariella laughed and nodded. Cerise untied the gift at her side. It was a long black leather whip that she had picked up in Altara, on her visit back to see the aunt that had raised her. "A good whip. You never know when you'll need it." Cerise winked at Ariella. Ariella snapped the whip, and it resounded with a small crack that startled DH slightly. Cerise laughed, made her excuses and started heading across the dance floor.

She sat at bar, ordered a martini, and winked at Nightfall across the room. Cerise grinned to herself. I can't wait for this party to be in full swing. Woo!

~Cerise Sedai


Disco, thought Kiriath, counting his blessings. Disco was wretched in itself, but at least it wasn't based on the fifties. The picture of DarkHound imitating Elvis was too easy to do, and not a pleasant thing either. He shivered, getting the thought out, and eccentrically Gated to the party.
"Now it's a real party," thought the gleeman with a smile. In his patchcloak cloak, blue tunic, and whirly-eyed symptom of the Eccentric Power, he looked ...strange... and almost as invisible to the typical eye as a Gray Man. No one in the room was exactly typical, though, so it was just a fashion statement, not something used to not be seen. On the other hand, Kir could flow certain weaves into it and make it invisible to nearly any eye.
Except for the Great Mistress, of course. Who, as irony would have it, was standing directly in front of him. The gleeman looked up, those stiletto heels truly making her taller. It didn't matter. A few seconds and the gleeman had used a mirror of mists to see her eye to eye.
"Greetings Kiriath," she smiled. She wasn't the same from this height, but she still had a ..ah.. appearance to top any and most appearances.
"Greetings, Ariella," he said, swooping a deep bow and manipulating his cloak just right so that it looked like he was a bodiless vampire.
The effect on the Great Mistress was a cheerful laugh. "Still as eccentric as ever, eh, Kir?" she said. The gleeman was suddenly taken aback, though his features remained cool. Could she know?
"Of course," he agreed. And also added, "Since everyone else seems to be giving gifts, shall I offer you one also?"
A cautious eyebrow was perked as Ariella nodded slowly. Kiriath shook his head, "It's perfectly safe," and removed a disc inscribed with a Dragon's Fang and ancient Aes Sedai symbol to Ariella. There was one important difference, though, the Dragon's Fang was long and thin, resembling a whip.
She accepted it gracefully, and observed it carefully. Kir grinned, knowing no one fully trusted someone totally unpredictable. Rambling was like its own Daes Daemar in some ways. In some ways, only. If a person were to ramble in the Game of Houses...
The Mistress's voice took his thoughts from his rambles, "This is unique," she said with a smile, tucking it into a pocket. Kir blinked. *That* catsuit had pockets?? He looked into her eyes again, taking them away from the pocket. One never knew what she held in them, knowing her.
"Is it cuendillar?" she asked.
"It might be," he said, "It seems to be a seal on the Dark Sisters' prison." He wouldn't let her know how he made it, nosiree.
Ariella nodded sagely, "It is nice, whatever else it is." Kir smiled, and hmmed, "It might not be a seal, though. Wouldn't it only be fitting if there were a sea lion on the Dark Sisters' prison?"
The Great Mistress chortled, "That's good," she said, but stopped suddenly, "That might be just it, Kir." Shai'ariel --Kir flinched-- might be nearly omniscient, true, but she certainly couldn't know everything.
"It might be," he said simply, and added, "Whatever the case, may I have the honor of dancing with you for my first time?" She nodded and the two danced away. Until the next asker came along, of course.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
The Dark Sisters' prison certainly isn't a Bore, however...


Lacking a partner for the moment, Carra danced by herself. On the table. She was certainly getting a few stares, though it was a shame Sundara hadn't had time to teach her the sa'sara before leaving...
Wait a moment. Who was that - Kiriath! Just the person she wanted to talk to. After a few more dance steps she turned a sudden cartwheel, displaying what any non-Dark Sister would consider a scandalous amount of leg, and landed lightly on her feet on the floor. With a gracious nod to the people who were staring, mouths open, at her, Carra strolled over to Ariella and her partner. "Sister, do you mind if I cut in? There's something I've been meaning to discuss with Kiriath." The two shared a significant glance, and Ariella smiled and sauntered off into the crowd. "Shall we dance, Kiriath?" Carra said innocently.
They spun around the floor. Kiriath wasn't a bad dancer at all - in fact, no one around here seemed to be - but that wasn't why she had cut in. Dancing, Carra had found, was an excellent way of carrying out politics. "Kiriath," she began, "I'm told you head a group called the Intrigleemen - if I have that name right?" She didn't wait for him to answer. "But I haven't heard, exactly, what you do - besides rambling, of course, and graffitiing the walls -" A very innocent smile. Innocence was one of her favourite acts. "Would you be kind enough to explain exactly what you do?"

(Kir, if the Great Mistress is the counterpart to the Great Lord, the Sisters' prison must be the opposite to a Bore. A party, of course!)

Carramaena, table-dancer extraordinaire


The wine was flowing freely, and wild music echoed through the hall. “What a party!” someone exclaimed when the celebration was at its peak. “It’s been months since two Dark Sisters have turned up together!”

“Three,” a soft voice corrected from the shadows.

And a roomful of eyes turned to stare.

The woman who stepped from the darkness looked nothing like Carra or Ariella. Black, silky hair framed a delicate face, the candlelight turned her dusky skin golden, and she looked to be little more than seventeen. But the mischievious glint in her dark eyes was definitely familiar...

“Sundara!”

“You expected someone else?” Laughing, the youngest of the Dark Sisters walked into the room. Yes, Sundara thought to herself, it was a party. She had an instinct of sorts for knowing when celebration was occurring, and this party had been going on for so long she couldn’t possibly ignore it. “I had a weekend free from studying, and where would I spend it but here? Ari, Carra, what’s been happening?”

Her sisters had - well, they would have pushed through the crowds if the crowds had not automatically melted away to let them pass - so that the three Dark Sisters stood together by the doors. Ariella, looking stunning - as ever - in a black velvet catsuit, grinned down at her. “I haven’t been back long myself, little sister. Carra can tell you better than I.”

“Not much,” Carramaena shrugged. She too looked spectacular, in white. Sundara was glad she had taken care with her own outfit. “I decided to crown myself Great Mistress of the Dark, but then Ari turned up again, so I had to settle for Dark Regent. And so, of course, we threw a party. What else?”

“What else indeed? Have Smoke and Egwene -?” They both shook their heads, and she sighed. A reunion of all five had been too much to hope for. “Then if you’ll excuse me - I can’t stay long, and I wanted to talk to Eval before I go. And do some serious partying, of course.” With a shared wicked grin, the three Dark Sisters parted, each moving off in a different direction.

Shaking her dark hair back from her face, Sundara headed for the dance floor. She was dressed a little more formally than the others, it seemed. Her dress, of pale cream silk, was fastened over her right shoulder with a diamond clasp, leaving the other shoulder and her arms bare. A silver bangle encircled her left wrist, and crystal slippers sparkled on her feet. Well - she did have to leave before midnight.

But until then, it was party time...

Sundara - the Dreamer returns


Flame leaned weary on Alcair's shoulder. A good moment to leave, she thought. Actually she had enjoyed her stay here, but now she was terrified, though she felt shame to admit this to herself. The Great Mistresses of Darkness had appeared, first Carramaena and then Ariella. To be an unvoluntary witness to a coronation in leafblighter's domain was terrible enough, now the sudden gathering of the Dark Family, none of them she knew... It was to much for her. She wanted to slip silently away and called in her mind for Dune.

To her shock she realized that the she-wolf headed straight to the Dark Sisters. There she sniffed insolently on every women's legs. Apparently she checked everyone for emotions, searched for weaknesses. Dune never cared for caution, went direct to her goal, but this was reckless! Anxious Flame hold her breath. What now?

~Flame


She had be summoned again for her training and had returned only briefly to collect some notes, he was interested in. Before she entered her library the loud sound of a raging party caught her attention. So she visited the Great Hall and fell almost in shock. They were here! Ariella, Sundara ... gathering...

Trying to calm down she made her way to them. The Dark Sisters studied with raised eyebrowes an obtrusive wolf, Dune, Ulrike realized. They turned when she got near.

"Great Mistress, Sundara, I welcome you back. Hopefully you stay longer, it was too quiet here without you." Both of them smiled amused. They guessed, arghh, Ariella knew for sure, her mixed feelings. Thus she hurried to end before a real conversation started and made an excuse to leave.

The second surprise awaited her in the library. Shame to her that her records were out of date so long, but how Barid (only he could have done it!) had copied her entire library twice in the short time was beyond her. She sat slowly down and tears of joy ran down her face. What a great gift to her and her birthday was still some weeks ahead!

'I knew that a warder means many advantages, but I haven't reckon with this!'

~Ulrike
Thanks, Barid, thank you!


Kiriath nearly jumped, though his features stayed calm. What in the holy hand grenade? Carra did know. "Yes, I do head a group called the Intrigleemen," he admitted. "We are a group of insane loons," he added."
"You are," said Carra, pursing her ...lips... thoughtfully.
"Of course we are," grinned the gleeman. "Loonier than most others, to be honest."
"That's the truth," mumbled Carra, and smiled sweetly, "So what it is you do?"
"What do spies do?"
"They infiltrate, formulate plots, and skulk around in the shadows," she said.
"We do all that." He decided to change the subject a bit, "Barid Bel is a Gray Man."
"Yes," she said, knowing that obscure comments came from his rambles.
Kiriath changed the subject to a different thought, "He may be in a rival agency."
Carra's face contorted into curiosity. "He may be?" she asked.
"He may be."
Carra was obviously a Vice Mistress, because her face adjusted back to normal Aes Sedai-style smoothness. "So what would that imply?"
He wouldn't let her know more than she had to. And if she kept inquiring, he'd ramble incessantly. "It would imply that I need to find out more about him," he said, wondering if she knew his train of thought.
"Mmm," mumbled Carra. "Hmm." With that, she adopted a look of smooth thought and continued to dance, observing his eyes with that dangerous calmness.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Taken a great deal far aback...


With his wolven companion, Marle, preceeding him, Elrys made his belated arrival at the party. As he surveyed the room two things surprised him. The first thing was the presence of not just one Dark sister, the presence of one is excuse enough for a party, but the presence of three, including the head sister of them all, Ariella! The second thing was what appeared to be Kiriath's disembodied head floating above the dance floor. "He's not THAT eccentric!" he thought. At a second glance he was shown that Kiriath was just wearing his fancloth cloak, which only made it seem that he was bodyless as he danced with Carramaena. With a nod to Kiriath and an inward smile at his situation, Elrys started to make his way over towards Flame, and Alcair who, as chance would have it were situated near the bar which sorely needed someone to justify it's existence. Kiriath's defensive ramblings appeared to be giving Carra more information than he wished and he didn't seem to be too happy about his secrets being exposed. Using his quarter-staff as a walking stick, Elrys walked away from their intricate dance and sympathized with Kir as he too had been matched up against superior opponents in the great game, Daes Dae'Mar.

As soon as they had entered the party Marle had slipped off to go and see what useful information she could uncover about the various persona at the party. As she wandered unobtrusively around the party she overheard various snatches of conversation and catalogued peoples' reactions. Having been raised amoung men Marle understood the Common tongue well and was therefore a great spy as virtually no-one suspected that it was even possible for a wolf to understand the common tongue save for a few words. Another thing in her favor was that most people rarely look down and she could remain unseen by most. The one person around whom she would not linger was Ariella, who seemed to see everything and Marle felt knew far more than most suspected.

As Elrys approached Alcair and a nervous looking Flame his thoughts of heading toward the bar vanished as a foolish idea popped into his head and, being who he is, he decided to argue with himself over it. Alcair knew the outcome of his thoughts before he did and broke into a grin that went unnoticed. His mind made up, Elrys muttered "ah well, why not?" and gave a small laugh.

With amber eyes glittering with light, Elrys stopped in front of Flame and asked "Would you like to dance?" knowing full well the Aiel definition of the word and expectantly awaiting her response.

Elrys


Flame snapped back to reality when Elrys approached her. She had worried about Dune. But now her fear was blasted away. That Elrys wanted to dance with her - he likes risk. A wolfish grin spread over her face.

"Are you sure, you know what you are doing? Yes? Then let's dance!"

With these words she pushed him hard and unexpected and he stumbled to the dance floor. Taking her spears, she followed him and attacked immediately. Well, there is nothing for a bit of excitement like a little dance, don't you think so?

~Flame


Sprawled unceremoniously on the floor looking up at Flame, Elrys had just enough time to admire the view before bringing his quarterstaff up to meet her attack. Springing to his feet in the split second between attacks he met her attack with one of his own. As they fought they kept up a running dialogue through the wolf-thoughts.

Flame's thoughts of "Here's one of my favorites" came to Elrys just as she executed an attack that evaded his defence and tripped him backwards, out of which he rolled to evade her next attack.
"Good, that was definately good. I always thought that this one was a nifty move" he directed his thoughts to her as he launched into an attack of his own...

They danced back and forth across the dance-floor, neither gaining the advantage for long while the party continued around them.

Elrys


Eval blinked. It wasn't the wild music that startled him - that was normal enough. It wasn't the strangely-clad men and women all around - that, too, was normal here. It wasn't even the couple in the middle of the dance floor fighting with spear and quarterstaff. What made his jaw drop was the presence of three, rather than two, Dark Sisters in the hall.

"I must be dreaming," Eval muttered. He pinched his arm. "Ouch!" No, he wasn't dreaming. Which meant that -

A gateway snapped open only a few paces from the dusky woman, narrowly missing slicing open a passing reveller. "Welcome home, sweet Sundara! And if this is a dream, then let me dream forever!"

Eval Ramman the lovestruck


It was good to get plastered. If nothing else this surge of excitement as the Great Mistress and Dark Regent or maybe Regentess... Nightfall wasn't sure but man the ale flowed and he was more ready to be drunk than most time...Disco...Like he would stoop that low. No, no, a small voice told himself. "Not their fault." Well it was good to at least feel more out of control. Spiraling downward in the night. Although the Dark Sister and even the breif appearance by Sunny made him happy, Nightfall was more than ready to forget the whole thing. Practing his dart ability, Nightfall just hoped for some time alone. All these people certainly were more than he had bargined for. Certainly the favors and the decorations were more sentimental than anything. Nightfall could only watch as the Hound and the new Regentess cut a rug to some music which he may know but hardly cared about. Right now Nightfall just sat and enjoyed the solitude he found in this small niche in the shadows near the bar. "Another" The bar tender looked at him. Nightfall then looked even harder at the bartender. "I said another."With a shrug and sigh the bartender complied and Nightfall chugged another. Nightfall felt a light slap across his back and then saw the Great Mistress standing behind him. "So Nightfall, I see you are celebrating by yourself." Nightfall nodded to the Great Mistress, "I just felt the need, Great Mistress. I know a host should be more...sociable but after a while I just felt me and this mug here should get to know one another better." A smile and a slight tsked told Nightfall the Great Mistress didn't quite believe him. "Well Nightfall, I think you can do better than that for excuses. Anyway I thought you might like to dance." Nightfall smiled "If you don't mind dancing with more than slighty tispy man with some questionable things in his past, sure." A chuckle and the Great Mistress led him out on to the floor.
It was good to be dancing. Better still with the Great Mistress. Hopefully he could find Cerise again. She seemed like the sort to make some noise and now the beast inside was ready to do some partying for a good long time.

Nightfall, hoping everyone is enjoying the Party and for the last time, I NEVER SAID IT WAS DISCO!!! DISCO DOES SUCK! (smile) Thanks.



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