Posted on Serafelle's Society of Scholars on October 12-20, 1998
Category: WoT Alternate Reality

A Gray Party

Barid Bel looked in satisfaction at the letter he had just woven in the air in letters made of fire. Big enough to be read thousands paces away. "The party at Serafelle, as amusing as it was, had ended. Since partyless life are boring, I invinte you all to my palace. Deep under the Dragonmount. Accessible by waygate from the ways, or by normale gateways. Warning, bring sun glasses."
Humming gladly. He went back to his home. He always despised servants. They were usually too busy gossipping than doing there real job. But he could handle it, he hoped so, anyway. The first thing he had to do, was to turn on the light. A thing he still had't done. In all those years living here.

~Barid Bel


 

His Eccentric Power had detected a strange feeling in the air, a letter hanging in the air.  Kiriath diverted his attention toward it ... an invitation to Barid Bel's home?  A perfect opportunity, and a splendid thought.
"Certainly I'll come," he said softly, his rambling mind thinking of plenty of ways to take it.  "Undoubtedly."
His ideas of attempting to Turn the Blight to the ways of the Eccentric Power had no effect, his agents had reported amidst the party, roughly at the time he had removed his mask.  Also, the Blight creatures had been so chaotic that they eliminated every one.  Not before Aginor had gotten a shot at observing them, of course; even his own genetic experiments had gone awry, he admitted.  Most of their structure had been combined, ruined, and changed beyond nearly any repair from so long mingling together.  Even the Gray Men were no help, whining about having given their souls to the Dark One.  Shayol Ghul with that --no pun intended, unusually-- he already knew that bloody bit.

Barid Bel's invitation was a useful one indeed.  With any luck, the respun leader of the Intrigleemen could learn something.  Maybe even pick up a Rod on the way; Shayol Ghul knew what had happened to the whole of them.  That pun had been deliberate.  Very seldom did the Intrigleemen stop observing the dangerous Carramaena.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman and Punnist Extraordinaire


Barid Bel looked around in satisfaction. He cleaned the place, and even lit few lamps. He found a few things he was searching for ages. His favorite knife, for some reason was still stuck in a Trolloc! Of all things! Trollocs were not good for anything. Even not for lunch. Not the kind of meet you would want to eat unless you had to, and even then... He had just finished hanging a big sign on a door, stating:

"Entrace unallowed, that mean you! This is no joke! Stay out!!!"

There was also a nice little picture there too.
  __________
/          \
|   RIP    |
|   May    |
|   His    |
|   Soul   |
|   Rest   |
|__________|

Here, this should bring anyone in, and they would learn what he wanted them to learn. On the other hand, those who would listen to the sign (He believe it for not a heartbeat.) would be much happier.

~Barid Bel


Blackthorne paced around the small room she called home. Her home was outside of the Pattern, a little niche carved out between the threads, and it was a place where anything could exist and reality was clay beneath her fingers. She supposed that it was the closest thing to being the Dark One or the Creator, truly omnipotent. Of course, they were not perfect either and she had strong doubts against the existance of the Creator, but it was the only words that she had to describe it.
Now she fretted. What to wear? They certainly did party here a lot. It must be a miracle that they survive the hangovers. She didn't have one; one thought and it was gone. Of course, it might still be there in the real world, hence why she had been staying here for the week...But that didn't help her now. What to wear?
Pants...maybe black leather ones...Suddenly, a pair of black leather pants clung to her possessively. A tank top, black and a leather jacket, black...Tall black boots...Some jewellery, silver...Oh, yes. A pair of sunglasses appeared in her hand. She put them on with a grin. A thin necklace of heartstone made into black thorns only heightened the look. But there was something missing...A mischievious grin grew until it filled her face. Within minutes, she opened the Gateway to Barid Bel's place and time, the black Harley snarling like a warhorse before a battle.

~Blackthorne  


Barid Bel looked pleased at the first visitor who arrived. A Woman dressed in black, who stared amazed at the room.
Barid had to admit that the place looked just a little strange. The designer had a small problem with colors. And he was the only one Barid ever knew that could make a whole rainbow from gray only. Light gray for the walls. Darker for the floor and ceiling. Gray all around.
It was the first time he noticed that, of course, he didn't need any light here.
He put a glass in the woman's hand, and poured some wine in it. Then moved a few steps back and unfade himself.
"It's good to see you, Blackthorne." He said, making her jump. She nearly spilled her drink.

~Barid Bel


"Don't sneak up behind me like that!" Blackthorne scolded him. "That's not the way a host greets his guests."
Barid Bel grinned mischieviously. "I can't help it; it's in my nature."
She was tempted to sniff, but she had decided long ago that sniffing was only for weaklings. "So," she said, while rolling the wine in the glass, "Do you have any furniture?"
"Certainly; which would you prefer: the Fade or the trolloc? They're both freshly killed, not a day old." He pointed to a corner where a pile of shadowspawn corpses were piled. She rolled her eyes and suddenly, a lazy-boy popped on the floor. She made herself comfortable on it, closing her eyes. They opened to ask a question: "Oh, do you want one too?" Before he could answer, an identical one popped into existance, all in gray. He sat down; why stand and wait? A ter'angreal that Ulrike called a teevee appeared before them, on a small table. Blackthorne had another ter'angreal in her hand, a 'clicker'.
"I read that 'Titanic-the six hour director's uncut version' is on tonight; want to watch it until some others show up?" Barid Bel just nodded, curious to see what was so great about this movie, 'Titanic'...

~Blackthorne, the lady with the unlimited wishes
(Please hurry people; before Barid Bel and I are driven to insanity)


Barid sent sharp looks all around. Praying silently for a guest, anything. His ears were in pain. A strange women sang about her heart. Something about it going on and on. He wanted to stick a knife into her heart. That ought to show her how one was suppose to sing a song.
He heard better songs from men and women begging mercy on their life.
Blackthrone stared at the woman, fascinated. He slowly tried to slip away. Very slowly. He had an axe somewhere, taken from the body of a man who claim he could talk to wolves. Barid had met the man's wife later. She called herself an eagle or something of the like. And he understood fully about the man going mad. It was all too easy to get mad with such a woman.
He thought he saw a gateway opening, and smiling as wide as he could, run to the gateway. Another guest were coming. No more songs.

~Barid Bel


She strolled through the gateway and greeted her warder. Following her closely Alcair brought his even more larger than usual body in. He announced immediately that he was starved to death and attacked the buffet. She scrutinezed interested Barid's home, then smiled to her host.

"You must know," Ulrike whispered to Barid, "he missed Serafelle's party because he was too fascinated reading some obscure volumes about something called 'magic'. He claims that it is a very powerful skill or art, like weaving saidin or saidar. But anyway, he is annoyed that nobody let him know. I believe he didn't even notice that I was absent some weeks." Her grin was amused and infectious. Barid liked to share it.

Finally she sobered. "Now, do you know where the last missing of the Rods is?"
He nodded grimly. "Yes, I know it." He paused, then "In the Pit of Doom!"
"WHAT?!" She covered her eyes. "The Light help us! I have no idea how we can reach it there. - Have you one?" She watched Barid full of hope.

~Ulrike


Perhaps Barid Bel's home was a steadyning, perhaps Kiriath just knew it by sheer chance --where's the Tav'e'ren?--, or, simply, maybe he followed the directions.  However he came, he came through the gateway and intruded upon the conversation, at the perfect time.
"I have one," he said quietly, not certain if his plan of attack was safe or not.  "I found it." He wouldn't tell that he had another within his vacuole, nor tell how he got a hold of either of the two.  The Rings had no part in his discovery, and the Rods he had discovered were now in his possession, and no one else's.
Ulrike looked at him carefully, Barid just seeming ... dangerous.  Like always.  Along with Alcair snacking and Blackthorne observing the new appearance, it made for a jumbled group.  "Where?" Ulrike asked, cautiously.  Kiriath suspected it was just his spy nature, but she always seemed suspicious of himself, not certain where his true motives lied.  Not that Kiriath himself had any idea where they were, either.  They were somewhere in that mind of his, probably hidden behind all the piles of ramblings.
"In the White Tower," he said.  It was the easiest excuse.
"I see," she said, obviously not sure, and leaving it there.
Blackthorne spoke up now, "Who are you, anyway, to come in so abruptly?"
"Just a fellow guest," said the Intrigleeman.  "Actually, I'm known in most circles as Kiriath, a rambling gleeman." No more than that.  With any luck.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
My cover's been blown more times than it should have...


Barid would have believed that as soon as he would have believed the skies were green.
Kiriath wasn't a fool, he wouldn't take it here. But Barid was sure he could find it. Right now they had to plan how to get the rods from the Pit of Doom. Barid supported no faction, to the light or to the shadow. He was a gray man, and he sticked to this. Since Ulrike had no idea, he would have to do something he feared of, search his library. He had a small one, and he hadn't read a book for ages. He didn't want to read a book. He would have to clean the library first. Then he looked at Ulrike. And he smiled. All he had to do is to mention that he had a library. She could do the work. He barely saw the movement. Slowly, Ulrike moved toward the door where the sign was. The only door you should have entered in this house.
His smile widden, and he readied himself for the show.

~Barid Bel


Blackthorne was relieved when the other guests starting arriving. It was fun watching Barid as he twisted in his chair, his face frozen in horror. In another world, James Cameron was the Dark One. Apparently, his power extended to this world too. It would have been more fun if she wasn't experiencing the same horror as that song kept playing over and over again. She greeted Ulrike, Barid's bondholder and Alcair very quickly, as he was very hungry. No one sane stopped a dragon from going to the buffet bar. Then Kiriath came, an intrigleeman who also made his abode outside of the Pattern. Now there was a man who thought along the lines of the Creator! A frightning thought: if Kiriath was the Creator, who was she? The Dark One? A shiver for that thought. She mingled among the guests, hearing snipets of conversation.

So they were after the rods? They were in the Pit? At least one of them was. A grin grew on her face. Even the Dark One had his weaknesses. She quickly made a Gateway to Shayol Ghul, a large box in her hands. The passage through the mountain was easy; he was curious. He wanted to see her, see what she was carrying. Finally, she stood before the lava Pit and the Bore. The rod hung seductively in the air above.

"Hey, Dark One, Lord of Shadow, I've got a deal!" She shouted. A voice mumbled in her head. WHAT? CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I'M TIRED?
"Sorry. I want that rod there," she pointed.
YOU CAN'T HAVE IT. MY SISTER ASKED ME TO KEEP IT THERE FOR HER.
"Did she specifically tell you to watch it?"
NO.
"Protect it?"
NO.
"Keep it out of the hands of the Light?"
YES.
"Well, where's the problem? I don't walk in the Light, nor the Dark, so don't you even think about it! When was the last time you had chocolate?"
MMM. MAYBE SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
"Was it good?"
OH YES. IT IS MY FAVOURITE FOOD. ARIELLA HAS THIS RECIPE...
Blackthorne cut in. "Would you like some more? To taste chocolate again?"
YES!!!! The whole of Shayol Ghul rumbled with his reply.
"Calm down! I'll trade that rod with this box of chocolate, including various junk foods from the Ages and soda pops." She could feel the mind of the Dark One work.
IS IT CADBURY OR HERSHEY?
"Both. Plain and with nuts."

The rod slowly dropped to the ground at her feet, as the box rose to the Bore to disappear within it. All Blackthorne could hear was the sound of wrappers being torn off, drinks being guzzled and noises of great happiness. She smiled and made a Gateway, carrying the rod safely home to be placed in a TimeTrap.

~Blackthorne


"You did WHAT??!!!" Carramaena yelled.

The Dark One's voice was distinctly uncomfortable. LISTEN, LITTLE SISTER, CALM DOWN...

"No, I won't! You traded the rod for CHOCOLATE? You idiot! You utter imbecile! You can change reality here, or had you forgotten? Why in the name of all things unholy didn't you make your OWN chocolate if you wanted it so much?"

I DIDN'T THINK OF IT.

"You didn't think of it," Carra mimicked. "Maybe I should join the Light instead. If you're the worst they'll ever have to face, they're sure to win! All al'Thor needs to do is send you a complimentary shipment of Hershey's Kisses!" She sighed. "Look, big brother, just let Sundara and me do your thinking for you, will you? Stick to threatening your Chosen. At least none of them have tried to bribe you yet."

WAS IT THAT IMPORTANT? The thunder of her brother's voice was much softer now, and even faintly embarassed. YOU WEREN'T DOING ANYTHING WITH IT, WERE YOU?

"It's a tactical thing, Shai'tan. If we keep one here, the Light doesn't have a chance of getting it. So they can't do anything with it. Besides, Sundara wanted to study it."

OH.

Oh indeed. Carra grinned. Sundara was going to make their brother's life very miserable once she found out he'd lost the rod. She'd had a lot longer to practise than Carra had, too. "All right. I'll see what I can do by way of keeping it away from the Light." She had intended to talk to Blackthorne anyway. "You stay right here."

THERE'S NOT A LOT ELSE I CAN DO, IS THERE?

"Isn't that amazing. What a fortunate coincidence. Well, stay here anyway. If you keep out of trouble, I'll bring you some more chocolate when I get back. Now, do me a favour and transport me back to my rooms?"

An outfit suitable for a party was needed. She tugged a gold mini-dress - or was it a micro-dress? over her head, shook out her mane of copper curls, and stepped into a pair of gold sandals. "Hmm." She studied her reflection. "No, not quite." A gold circlet, glittering with rainbow-coloured jewels, appeared on her head. "Better. OK, Big Brother, take me to Barid's place."

YOU KNOW I CAN'T DO THAT. MY AREA OF INFLUENCE IS LIMITED TO SHAYOL GHUL.

"What's the use in having you as a brother, then? All right, take me to the Waygate."

YOU'RE EVEN BOSSIER THAN ARI WAS.

"I know."

Half an hour of travelling later, Carra walked into Barid Bel's palace. And was immediately glad of her colourful apparel. How could anyone decorate a room entirely in gray? "Good evening, Kiriath," she said as she passed him. One day soon she was going to have a long conversation with Kiriath, but first there was Blackthorne to talk to. She homed in on the black-clad woman.

"Hello! I think you're new here, aren't you?" She held out her hand. "Let me introduce myself. My name is Carramaena. I'm the Dark One's sister."

~Carramaena


Blackthorne shook hand with the woman. She was dressed in the lated fashion, all gold with rainbow coloured stones in her coppery hair.

"Nice to meet you. I'm Blackthorne. So your the Dark One's sister? I thought Ari was the only one." She added, "I think that your brother is a closet chocoholic. He was as happier than i was when we made our little trade." She had no doubts to why Carra had approached her first.

"That is what I wanted to talk to you about." Carra pleasantly smiled. "That rod belongs to Sundara and me. Give it back."

Blackthorne calmly sipped her red wine. "If you want it that much, then take it. But i seriously doubt that you can and I am intending to retrieve the rest from Ulrike's library, whatever bookshelf she has them hidden on, and the one from Kiriath. When i'm finished with them, then i'll give them to you. I just need them for one thing. There's only one catch. You have to help me with the other ones."

Carramaena paused for a moment. Finally she said, "I'll get back to you." And she whirled away to snag Kiriath in conversation. Blackthorne smiled; Carra would help her. This was too good of an opportunity for her to miss. Sometimes, you ended up working with the strangest people. This was definitely a good time to live in. A new party every week. Intrigue and Dance Dae'mar and bribery of the Dark One.

A movement at the door caught the corner of her eye. A Malkieri Wolfbrother with one of his packmates strode in. The wolf was growling at Barid, until the man told him/her? to quiet down; they were guests of Barid after all. Then the wolf took off to the buffet bar and the man, she hadn't caught his name yet, sat down in front of the teevee and turned the channel to 'The Planet of the Apes', an excellent movie to watch while you were drunk. Unfortunately, Blackthorne wasn't planning on getting drunk yet, so she stayed away from him.

Cara returned after her conversation with Kiriath. "Fine." She said, holding out a hand, "It's a deal." Blackthorne shook it and spontaneously said, "Okay, sister. Let's get working." Carra looked at her strangely, as if she had heard those words before from someone else. She herself didn't know where those words had come from; they had just needed to be said. Carra forced a laugh, then they put their heads together, making their plans to add to their collection...

~Blackthorne


The Rods of Dominion.  With a name like that, it was almost as though they were predestined to all be within the hands of the Dark Sisters, and that Blackthorne, who, Kiriath did not doubt, was likely one herself.  The Planet of the Apes was a good way to fake his unattentiveness, while through his peripheral vision he watched them out of the corner of his eyes.  Mazrin could tell him the details later; from the way Carra seemed to be, her spy was probably watching also.  No use wielding the Eccentric Power then, if everyone knew what everyone was doing.  Plans within plans, smiled Kiriath.  The perfect ground for a spy.
He knew the Rods of Dominion were going to be all in one place someday; Jandor had even held them all within his bag.  From the way it seemed, they hadn't done anything.  Or else he had no idea how to use their power.  Somehow, Kiriath had to get a hold of Ishamael in one his incarnations; the man had been around for 3000 bloody years.  He must have learned something in all that time.
However it happened, he knew his vacuole was a perfect target for the Dark Sisters and their conspiracies.  Which was precisely why he had dropped it within the emptiness underneath his Skimming platform.  No one should be able to find it there, he thought.  He just had to hope that no one had discovered the art he had remembered from the Age of Legends, the vertical Skimming platform.  He could drop himself into the bottomless pit and retrieve it, knowing exactly where it was from the wards he had placed upon the Rod.
Silently he cursed himself.  He had forgotten to test the wards!  And he couldn't trust one of his agents with the knowledge; Carra's spy still eluded him.  It couldn't have been Asmodean; it had to be someone close to him, knowing his nearly every movement.  Suddenly, he knew what he had to do.  Those wards around the Rod had to be in place.
They had to be.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Formulating a plan to get two birds with one stone --finally!


Every body tend to forget that Gray Men had a good hearing. And Barid accidently stood a bit too close than he was suppose to. He wasn't noticed, of course. But it worried him.
He might not be much of a warder, but he still worried about Ulrike. She somehow would blame this on him. He had no idea why, only that she would. He was sure he knew HOW.
He had to stop this.
He already had a plan

~Barid Bel


Elrys stepped out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod into Barid Bel Medar's hidden palace with his most loyal friend following closely on his heels.  As a threatening growl emanated from behind him, his appearance and his wolven friend's were announced to those present at this early hour of the party.  His attention was immediately captured by the....... distintive, odour of the Gray man as he attempted to hide from Elrys' notice.  Grey men always seemed to have a distinctly unpleasant smell to the wolf-kin.  Their lack of a soul stands out in any area that contains any life at all, however small that life may be it still creates a presence in the feel of things, a feeling of rightness.  The Gray man was a gap of darkness in that presence which was the cause for Elrys's and his friend's noticing a 'wrong' smeel to the place.  That feeling of wrongness drew the wolf-kin's attention like little else could.
As he focused on the feeling and smell of wrongness his golden eyes slowly made a distinction between Barid and the Gray decor of the room.  Whether there really was any difference of the hues of gray between the room and barid didn't really matter.  His eyes made the distinction all the same.  It was then that he noticed what had caused his wolf friend, Marle, to growl in warning.  Barid was attemting to hide a great half-moon axe that had once belonged to a wolf-kin such as he.  Even though the fellow had been driven quite mad by his most annoying wife, to escape from whom death would have been counted as a fair price, Marle still didn't like it and continued to glare at Barid even after her growl had faded from the air.
Elrys just figured that he was a guest here in Barid's place and was grateful for the hospitality. Realizing that he had been so captured by Barid's presence that he had not even noticed the other guests there, most of whom were now staring at him, he hastily apologized and made his greetings to those he knew and to those that he did not.  Hoping he hadn't offended anyone by his rudeness, he then slumped into one of two reclining chairs that were sitting in front of something called a teevie and tried to make it look as if nothing had happened to gather people's attention to him.  
Realizing that he had sat down in front of a playing of the movie Titanic on the teevie, despair such as he had never known gripped Elrys and he frantically searched for the 'clicker' to escape such an undesirable circumstance.  Judging by Barids response to his dismay at finding he was watching the Titanic, Barid must share the same views as he, on the movie at least.  it wasn't that it was That bad, just that one only had to see it once to be sick of it. Finding the clicker he switched the channel.  (why was it a channel he mused, I don't think it has anything to do with the OP....)

"And now, our Friday Night movie series.  The Planet of the Apes.  That's right, the original and all four sequels played non-stop, back-to-back, all night." His mood lightening now that there was a truely masterfull movie on, he thought "Planet of the Apes.  All right!  This party is really going to kick!" and looked around for someone to talk to, and also someone else who might join in if he got fairly hyper and started up some complete insanity focused around the movie, Planet of the Apes.

~Elrys   ...kisain, one who remembers Malkier...


Barid hadn't bother to look at Ulrike's face, what he sensed was bad enough. He quickly ducked under her bed. Among dust, an abandon stocking and a tray full of six years food he also found a book. He would have never imagine Ulrike throwing a book under the bed. "Love in our age." He read that book, long ago.
Not really good one, but the author, a red sister, to his surprise. Made him stay clear of women for almost a decade. She had a reason for doing so, he was sure, she should have burned it.
"BARID BEL MEDAR!!!" Ulrike's shout made the walls tremble. And he was pulled out of under the bed. His skin tingle, and he hanged in the air a fet above the ground.
"Ah, hi Ulrike." He said, "Just reading a book."
She came closer, and he didn't like what he felt inside her at all. And the look on her eyes... He saw it once, a man that the taint had corrupted already.
He did the only thing he could do, throw the book at her, and when she fell back, stunned, run. As fast as he could. He was no fool, and she was in no mood for explanations. Fire and lightning chased him.
"It's no bloody way to be a warder!" He shouted.

~Barid Bel


"So we're at a stand-still." Sundara looked at the group of four. "Blackthorne has one, Kiriath has one and we have two. Ulrike still has four." Carra stood impassively, obviously going with whatever her older sister had up her sleeve.

Blackthorne had never formally met Sundara, but no one had to ask who she was. There was only one woman who could match her discription. "I believe that i can take out one of the players in our game." She spoke softly, letting the words drop onto Sundara and the others like snowflakes.

Sundara wasn't surprised. "How?" She simply asked.
Kiriath merely stood by. He was a master at the Game; he knew that the best information came from simply standing by.

"I have a certain...Talent with Traveling. I will visit Ulrike's stash before you came there and remove the rest of the rods." They were surprised by her plan, but hid it well.

"Very well; they're in a cabinet by the fireplace of her library." Sundara said, with no emotion whatsoever. Carra looked a little concerned, Kiriath puzzled.

"Then I will go." Blackthorne made a Gateway to Ulrike's Library, amused that neither of them had asked where her rod was. And Blackthorne had forgotten to inform them of the temporal changes caused by playing with the past. Silly fools. Nice clothes, but so silly sometimes.

Back at the party, Carra pulled Sundara aside. "Was that wise letting Blackthorne get the rest of Ulrike's rods?" Sundara spoke without looking at Carra. "I didn't tell her about the traps. I think that one player will be eliminated." Carra looked a little concerned, she had started to like that mysterious woman who had bribed Big Brother. Sundara was too, in her own way. They didn't know where Blackthorne had her rod, and probably it was placed somewhere in time itself. And there were few women strong of will like herself, most of which had become Dark Sisters. They could have a canidate on their hands.

Back at the Library, Blackthorne had sneaked in right after Ulrike. She had watched carefully the wards that she had placed on each rod. Now she was unraveling them with the stubborn patience of one who knows that she has infinite time. Finally, all six were in her hands, making seven in her possession. She had to stiffle a giggle when she thought of Sundara. Only the memory of a memory would remain of her possession of the rods. Now back home to seal up the six with the seventh and back to the party to retrieve the eighth. She had the feeling that there would be a dual with him for the last rod, a duel of the EP against Time Power. It will be hard, but worth the price.

The first time she had heard of the rods, it seemed to have unclicked something in her mind, something great and powerful. It was this thing that had called Carra sister. She was certain that the key to unlocking this powerful entity, she supposed was the best word, was to use the rods. She herself didn't know how to use the rods, but neither did she consciously know how to TimeTravel; she just did. Blackthorne was sure that the entity within knew how to use them. She didn't like admitting that even to herself, about the entity, but she had done well by it in the past. Now it was time to serve again...

~Blackthorne, the one with the Power within


It was so easy, at the end. He had ambushed Ulrike, and, after shielding her, and tying her. Was able to explain what he had done. The rods had a trap on them. A trap he wove and inverted by himself. A trap none would see, or feel.
After he convinced her stop shouting at him, {by sticking an apple in her mouth.} he had two servants carry her to the kitchens. She glared at him. But he grinned at himself. It was worth ANYTHING. Just to see the look on her face. And she had cause him enough trouble so far. Now it was his turn.
He know he was low. He simply didn't care.

Now he had to find the rods. He wove the trap as soon as he had the rods. At the moment when he took them from Jandor. Heartbeats before the cat tried to skin him. What happened to that cat? He wondered. I don't want to know! He decided after a moment, hopefully, it involved big dog and lot of cat blood.
He opened a gateway. The trap told him exactly where the rods were. Almost all of them. He couldn't feel two of them. Maybe they were hidden outside the pattern. His steps' echoes were hollow as he walked through the Dark Palace's corridors. He reached the door he searched. Kiriath was there, and Blackthorne, why he wasn't surprise by it. Together with Sunadra and Carra. They stared at the rods. A work of art as well of the power, they were in every possible color. Made of wood and metal, ebony and ivory. Onyxes and Diamonds.
Quickly, he took seven rods from the bag he carried. Everyone's eyes were focused on the rods. But they wouldn't notice this. If he would be quick enough. It was something he learn from a so-called magician long ago. What the eye see is not what the brain think it sees. And all you had to have was quick hands.
He replaced the rods as fast as he could. Fading, they didn't noticed him. Their eyes slipped over him, they saw it, but their brain insisted that he wasn't here. He left even more quickly than he come in. But stopped in mid way out. Kiriath made a note about time travelling. And that gave a reason. This is how they stole all the rods. This was more than interesting.
But he had a way to counter that. You could travel back in time only so far. Or else you might erase the pattern. And they wouldn't notice that the rods are fake before it would be too late.
He left a surprise, a gray rose. And a note.
"Search the rods in heaven and earth. The place they are is where they always was. In " He had the best place to hide them.

Ulrike! He suddenly remembered. He had to be in the White Tower before they would COOK her. But before, he had to hide the rodes.

~Barid Bel



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