Posted on Serafelle's Society of Scholars on 08-11, 1998
Category: Alternate Reality

Leashed Sammael

Sammael watched as his wards faded in. He was rather annoyed that they took as long as they did; on the world where he learned them, 10000 years would have been fast, but after his many advancements, anything that took 3 minutes could be considered slow. An Archmage wishing to protect his world from any future threat had developed the wards in the hopes that his world would last forever. They had taken 10 generations, or 500,000 years to form, but they kept the world practically invincible once they had focussed. He still regretted having done what he did to that world, but they had resisted after he warned them not to.

After the 4 minutes, they faded in. Nothing could pass through without a certain bond to Sammael. Still, he was under the impression that he was being watched. Oh well, he had plans for his follower, should they prove ... alien to him.

As Sammael laid himself down to dream, he had the strange feeling that his power had expanded, and that fate had brought to him a very useful slave.

The shadow watched the dark man leave his body. It then took the opportunity to go nearer him. Suddenly, it found a barrier between him and his goal. It tried to change forms, but nothing it did had any effect. It screamed a silent scream, one of brooding anger.

Then, it felt a longing come over it. It had always been forced to serve others, but now it felt all its old bonds float away. It felt itself become one with its goal, more complete, and it passed beyond the wall.

It neared the Dark man, and touch him fondly. As they met, the memories of the shadow touched those of the dreamer.

Sammael woke in the dark palace. He saw himself. His view was distorted, twisted.


Now, he was in the hall of mirrors, watching himself glare at the mirror.


Now, he felt something placed over his neck.

He was confused, and squirmed. Then he realized something, that this was only a simple thing, one of a wartorn world, and relied only on one force. He could twist the flow, and make its old use obsolete. But first he would wait and find out why.


Whatever had tried to capture him had changed its mind, and was letting him go… Maybe it had realized what he was. No, he was reading… madness emanating from the one holding him. It must have changed its mind. He was glad that she was ignorant of what he was, for dealing with her would waste valuable time.

As soon as he was freed, he attached himself to the wall and pursued the dark man.

Sammael woke.

So that was the shadow. Well, now the shadow was a part of him, but it being constantly out of view worried him.

He began to prepare an apocalypse rune, one that would strengthen him, but not without a cost.

Finally, the rune of power was ready. He released it. The universe he was in lit up, and the entire thing became like a bright white flare. All the energy became focussed on him, and as it shrunk, he absorbed it. Finally, it had dissipated. A pity that this lonely world would soon began to die, but he had needed its life, and maybe he would one day return and restore it.

Sammael shifted away, back to a new world.


PS: For all those who are wondering, the world I destroyed was of no significance, and no one else was on it. I created and destroyed it***

Serafelle faced the Creator and smiled graciously.


The horse rolled her eyes and whinnied.

"No, I'm serious. So please do this favour for me."

The shaggy mare nodded and shrugged her shoulders. Most horses couldn't shrug their shoulders, but this horse wasn't exactly a horse, of course.




~Serafelle Sedai

Mashiara smiled at the bracelet around her wrist. Its slender cord was delicate and well-made, seamlessly connecting to the collar ‘round Sammael’s neck. He grimaced, and the bundle of emotions in her head that were his writhed and shifted, a barely-controlled maelstrom of rage, horror, pain, and disbelief. Sammael’s face betrayed none of his emotions, except for a slight tightening of the jaw. But she could feel everything through the a’dam.

She had stepped up behind him and snapped the collar around his neck before he could react. Sammael had turned and slapped her as hard as he could (my, he was strong in the arms), but by then it was too late. The bruise that darkened Mashiara’s cheek was already fading, but the matching one on Sammael’s face was not. He had fallen to the ground as the slap had been visited back on him through the collar. He was very lucky he had not broken his own jaw.

She had given him a hand up, and then fingered her face. “I wouldn’t do that again, if I were you. I’m not all that skilled at Healing.”

Sammael was no fool. Somehow (and it was the first time it had ever happened to him) she had gotten the drop on him, and it was too late. He resolved that it would never happen again. Blackthorne’s amusement echoed through his mind, and his fury sharpened in intensity. He wanted vengeance! She had had this done to him deliberately!

He was still angry now. “Why? I still don’t see how this” and he pointed to the a’dam in disgust, “is necessary.”

Mashiara stifled a laugh. “I foretold it. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but as soon as I heard you were on the scene, I knew what to do.”

He grimaced and shied away as she touched the ugly purple bruise that remained on his cheek. “What, precisely, did you Foretell?” he asked sardonically.

She turned away from him, and fell silent. She tugged a little, involuntarily, on the bracelet, and he was forced to follow. She faced him, and spoke again. “’Sammael shall be leashed to the Lost Love, and thus shall be the instrument by which he saves his own life.’ Or was that my life? I don’t recall.” She giggled a little, and his anger in her head (it was getting crowded in there, wasn’t it?) flared up suddenly.

“What?!” he roared, and she felt violence throught the cord.

“Oh, I remember now. It was your life. This is necessary to save your life. Of course, if you’d rather die, I can let you go.”

Sammael gazed stonily at the wall. After a moment, he faced her, and grated, “No.”

She smiled at him fondly. “All right. I’ll keep you then.”

He snarled, “Only as long as it’s absolutely necessary.”


Mashiara knew somehow that his sanity was seeping into her own mind, because, for the first time in her life, she had a plan. “Would you mind very much making a Gate for me, Sammael, dear? I need to speak with Kiriath.” She smiled sweetly as he growled incoherently at her. He did, however, make the gate, knowing that she could force him to obey. He wasn’t sure if she actually would, but she could.

They stepped out into Kiriath’s vacuole. The scar that marred Sammael’s face writhed as he released saidin, and his teeth clenched. Mashiara didn’t see Kiriath anywhere, so she turned to Sammael, and laid a hand on his bruise. He tried to move away, but she grasped his hair firmly and Healed the bruise. She released him, and he staggered away.

“Bahad drovja!” he swore, his fury finally overflowing.

Her eyebrows rose. “Tsk, tsk. Such language from a man of your degree and rank!”

He clammed up instantly, but inwardly seethed with frustration. She could feel it, and decided to be kind o him. It was for his own good, and perhaps they could have vengeance against common enemies together. She had to appease him somehow. “I’m sorry. Would you like me to foretell your future?”

The man just stood there, with his arms crossed. “I don’t care.”

Mashiara nodded, and suddenly stood very still. She took a deep breath, and words poured out, seemingly of their own volition. “The Leashed One will soon escape his leash, and he will find it has been to his advantage. He will have his vengeance.” She stayed motionless another moment, and snapped out of it. “I can’t remember what I said, this time. Was it good?”

Sammael shook his head, but she knew from his new feeling of satisfaction that something she’d said had been important to him. She’d let him keep his secret. She laughed again, and sat, to wait for Kiriath.

~Mashiara Shaidar

Darkhound kicked the portal stone, and a moment later was left pondering the wisdom of kicking several tonnes of ancient stone in petulance, as he hopped around clutching his toe, muttering profanities to whichever deity wished to listen.
With a growl, Darkhound slapped the stone, and cursed it again for good measure. He had never had much luck with the damn things. Was a mere flicker to much to ask for?
"Don't you call me a flucker, you stupid bloody stone!" Picking up a nearby stick, the Hound smote the stone and stuck his tongue out at it for good measure. It seemed to do the trick.
"Flicker.... flicker flicker flicker flicker...."
Colours inverted. Light became darkness, and shadow to light. Hound found himself falling upward through the worlds of If, and quite of a few worlds of ''not likely'' too. He smiled at the world made of candy floss. He screamed at the world of David Hasselhoff. Possibilities and impossibilities alike flickered past as the Hound flew downward through the layers if chaos that formed the order of the pattern. And abruptly as it began, it ended. Darkhound found himself standing on his head against a stone jutting out of the ornate gardens of a maginificent dark palace.

Righting himself, DH stood scratching his head. It was kind of familiar. "Yes," he mused, "I think this is the place." A while ago, he had found his way here, to this universe marked on his pattern map called ''Serafelle's board'' and found himself in a party. He remembered being attacked my some mad she-wolf, and not much more other than drinking. And more drinking. Then he had awoken in an alternate universe, dressed as a Japanese Admiral, with nothing more than a traffic cone, a shopping trolley, and a passport in the name of Samantha Smedley. Getting back had been... difficult.

Tugging a half-smoked roll-up from behind one ear, he instinctively flicked hs thumb and finger together to make a flame to light it.... and stopped dead, looking at the dancing black flame on his thumb. What he had just done should have been impossible. The true source should have been unavailable since the disappearance Ariella, the Great Mistress of the Dark. Sure, he had his own arts, the Puppy Power, but he had just channeled the True Power, no doubt about it. He reached out again, and found he could touch it. He let it flood his every fibre, until each nerve begged for mercy, screaming with the sensation that lay between pleasure and pain. One of his blue eyes glowed red luminously, then faded as the other glowed in turn, as if someone was shining a crimson torch across his eyes inside his head. Hound grinned. Shai'tan's followers favoured the blizzard of black specks called the Saa, but the glowing eyes of the Great Mistresses power was so much cooler, and damn useful in dark places too. "Great Mistress?" he pondered. "Here? But.... how?"

He never had a chance to ponder further, as a beautiful blonde woman, tall in her heels, with amazing blue eyes strode out before him. He had never seen her before in his life, but all of his molecules seemed to point toward her like iron filings to a lodestone. And in many ways she was. A lodestone of chaos, and Hound's body was always attuned to chaos. Mashiara barely noticed the man with glowing red eyes and short black hair that smiled at her. She was scowling as she strode ahead with some dark purpose. She didn't notice either, the huge black hound that padded after her moments later on silent paws.

In canine form, Darkhound's senses were even more acute, and he began to feel his way almost subconciously along the threads of emotion, desire, humour, sadness, love, hate and chaos that criss-crossed the world. Images of a woman in a dark red dress and vicious stiletto's came first, familiar and yet he knew he had never seen her before.
Familiar faces... Kiriath, Nightfall, Sundara, Ulrike, Barid.... he could taste them all. But this lady he followed... something smelt wrong, unfair. Not her, but something that had been done to her. Just as Hound finally worked it out, she turned and fixed him with a stare that froze him in place. Not just a stare either. Something literally did paralyse him, some indecipherable power radiating from the woman, making him feel like he was clutched in a giant fist.
"Why are you following me? You are one of hers, aren't you? One of her spies? Show yourself!" Darkhound morphed into man shape, but he felt almost forced into it, compelled. Glaring back with red eyes, he growled "Who are you, my lady, that treats innocent little puppy's so?"
The blonde haired woman laughed. "Innocent? Somehow I doubt it. And I.... I am Mashiara." Hound smiled, and winked. "I have my hand around your heart, Dogman, and unless you give me answers, I will begin to squeeze." Hound's smile faded slightly.
"It's Darkhound actually. But you can call me sexy. And I followed you because I want to help you."
"Help me? How can you possibly help me, little pup?" She raised an eyebrow questioningly, almost Great Mistress like, and he felt his knees tremble at the memories.
"Unless I am mistaken, you were bonded, against your will, in a nasty little control bond." Hound's eyes narrowed, and his face took on a serious cast. Mashiara's answering frown and scowl told him his guess was accurate.
"Some toady of the... of Her! Came upon me when I was unprepared, and did this. To keep me under control. Me! Mashiara, spirit of chaos!" She took several deep breaths, and looked up calmly. "But he will not find me an easy leash to hold, and neither will she."
Darkhound frowned. He knew who 'he' was, recognised his work a mile away, but 'she' was still a mystery to him, though he began to have suspicions. He could feel her, out there. The Great Mistress was out there. "You do not need to wear the leash unless you wish it,"he said softly. "Even in the height of the Great Mistresses powers, never did we 'leash' those who did not wish it." He spat the word 'leashed' in genuine discontentment. Bonding those who wished it not.... a bad business, even for the dark. The dark may have been dark, but it was always honourable.

Mashiara looked at him with those piercing blue eyes. "You speak as if you know something. If so, speak it."
Darkhound met her gaze and said simply "Bond me." When her eyes narrowed suspiciously, he spread his hands to indicate his honesty. "Mashiara, think about it. Nightfall bonded you, and he is linked to the Great Mistress. He holds the controlling end of that bond. I too, am linked to the Great Mistress, or whatever is left of her, with bonds deeper and stronger than you could imagine. Bond me, and we complete the circle. Draw on my power, and use it to nullify and then snap the bond that Nightfall placed upon you."
"That would have.... a nasty backlash upon him, would it not?" said Mashiara with an evil smile. Darkhound smiled back.
"I suspect he will have the mother of all headaches, my lady."
"Why Hound?" Mashiara asked as she stepped closer. "Why help me, whom your Great Mistress worries about so?"
"Wrong is wrong. Dark or light, here or there, the rules are the same and immutable. Break them, and roleplay becomes impossible, and our pattern crumbles thread by thread. You should not have been bonded so. And besides," he added with a grin of mischief, "I always wanted the added strength of a warder. A link to you would only aid me, in the long run."

Mashiara smiled back. "You trust me to hold your leash, puppy? I may tug it harder than you hope."
"And as you said Mashiara, often the leash holder finds it a harder task to hold it than he or she reckoned." After a moment, he srugged. "The Great Mistress and you will have to work out how to get along, since if you pull in opposite directions, you will tear this Hound apart with your bonds. And then what would you do at parties?" He revealed the crux of the issue. He was putting himself in the firing line, a living buffer between to uncontrollable forces of gorgeous feminine chaos. If nothing else, it would be a hell of a way to die.

When Mashiara's odd power touched him deep within, weaving the flows that linked them, he screamed and laughed, tears of joyful agony rolling down his cheeks, as he fell to his knees before her. A moment later, he felt her probing, searching inside him, and he opened himself, guided her to his core where his power lay, showed her how. The scream that came from some man deep in the dark palace made his own seem tame, and Mashiara laughed viciously at the noise. Her bond was broken. For the first time, she released the grip on his heart she had maintained, needing it no longer now that she held his bond. Running a fingernail along his head, she bore into his eyes with hers, and for a moment, Darkhound thought she meant to tear him apart a little at a time. Instead she smiled, patted his head, and whispered "Go now puppy. I'm sure the Great Mistress will be wondering where her Hound is gone. I will see you soon, no doubt." Darkhound nodded, and rose from his knees, looking at the palace and licking his lips furtively. "I warn you though, that you are no longer first servant, Hound. Nightfall has that honour. He has been here, where you have not."
Darkhound shrugged. He felt no guilt for his absence, as it was not his fault. "Let him have it. I am the DarkHound. That is all I ever need to be." Striding off, he winked over his shoulder at Mashiara, and as a consequence, never saw the midnight-black opening that unfolded before him, and swallowed him before he could move ten yards.

In the darkness, he seemed to be feel a cool stone floor press against his back. And a voice,calm and soft but sharp and deadly, warm and cold and a hundred other paradoxes. It whispered "So you return to me at last, my Darkhound."

He shivered. And not with the cold.

~Darkhound, who has been away, and now is back, so there, ner ner ni ner ner.

Barid stretched, he hadn't slept for so long in ages. His last trip was more than exusting. Fleeing trought a portal stone to a parelel world.
A huge mistake, as it turned out. He was stucked in a world where the Dragon Reborn was reborn as a Dragoness, it had its results. And after making Galad, Lan, Byle Domon and Mat fall in love with her, and after none, save a bloody, moving, limping, maming... ah... thing, that called himself Mat survived the fight between them. The Dragoness reborn, having a serious personalities problem. Fallen in love with a man slightly older than her, Ishmael, after all. What are 3000+ years more or less. And she was literality turned on by his eyes.

Barid fled the world as fast as he could, but not before he had to listen to at least six dozens men the dragoness reborn broke their hearthes. And not before he had to watch, from a FAR too close range, a fight between Ishmael and Lanfear, both of them claiming that they hold the love of Lews Therin reborn. The Dragoness Reborned laughed madly the entire battle.

He did brought something with him, a solution to some... recent problems he had. Now he looked much more human than before. All he had to do now was to find out what happened during his absense.

~Barid Bel

Blackthorne awoke from her sleep as the dim beams of the sun shone through the slits in the blinds. She was surprised to find her stiletto's still on her feet. Strange; she never did that. Must have been really tired, as she didn't remember going to bed either. She didn't feel like sleeping anymore, but she found it was a necessary thing in order to maintain her youthful vigor.

Yawning, she got up...and found a large darkhound on the floor asleep, curled into a ball, ears wide-back, waiting to hear a noise, Herself waking up she supposed. Quietly, she tried to sneak around him, but sneaking was hard with heels like the ones the Great Mistress wore. They echoed louder than a thunder crash on the stone floor.

Instantly, the darkhound awoke, whipped his head around, saw her and fell cowering to the ground. "Great Mistress, I am always here to serve your needs." His voice sounded... familiar.

She had never met this darkhound in her life of traveling the cosmos. Then this must be... Surely not! Then again, Blackthorne couldn't remember last night... There was only one explanation. This was Darkhound, Ariella's Darkhound and faithful servant, her First. Ari must have taken control of her body when she sensed that the Hound had returned. She made an insulted sound; Ari could have told her.

'Child',Ari whispered in her head, 'I would have thought that you would have known from the ... remnants of last night. What other darkhound serves me, but Darkhound?' She sounded smug. 'I knew he would return.'
Blackthorne wished she had known what words past between Mistress and Hound. If she send him to free her completely...She pushed the thought out of her head. No use worrying now.

She eyed Darkhound; he had shivered when she had made that noise before. What was she to do with him? She herself had Nightfall as her First Servant, and the Hound was no dog to accept being Second. She hadn't realized that she had spoken outloud; he raised his eyes slightly to her heels.

"Great Mistress, I have many talents that Nightfall does not possess. Please, use me?" He turned that into a question, those puppy eyes begging for attention and ... using. She let him wait a long moment, face revealing nothing to him. He began to shake a little; it was time to speak.

"Darkhound, I have need of a Hound, a Hound I can trust implictly."
He nearly nodded his head off. "You can always trust me, Great Mistress. I am yours, your devoted slave forever."
"I need a pair of eyes to watch the Light's plots and especially Barid." Barid could be trouble if he was left alone for too long. "You do know that he has presently a feline problem." Again, he nodded.
"I will see if I can ... skin the truth out of him."
She let him see her smile. The Hound seemed to bask in it. She hesitated with her next order, it might counter Ari's. Or help her achieve her Return to power.
"I also want you to help me retrieve the Rings of Myrlin from Kiriath. They have a great power in them." Darkhound didn't seem too surprised with that; maybe because Ariella had already ordered him?
"You may leave me now, Darkhound. Don't be too long." He quickly bounded up to his feet and was half-way out of the door when she called to him.
"And Darkhound?"
"Great Mistress?"
"Find my sisters; I don't want them to miss my birthday party ."
He goggled on that. She felt a sudden flow of Mistress Rage in her. "Get moving, now, you mutt!" She kicked him out the door with the Heels. His yelp could have been surprise, pain, pleasure or all three in one.

She felt a strange bond between herself and Darkhound, very similar to the one between Mistress and her First Servant, Nightfall. And Mashiara, for some reason kept popping up in her mind too. Well, whatever it was, it was good for her as well as the Hound, which pleased them both to not end.

Great Mistress of the Dark
A Woman who Makes that Darkhound Heel for Her

Kiriath had heard rumours already from Samirhage, some curious comments about recent happenings in the Dark Palace. From the way it sounded, events were still continuing at a rapid pace, with no chance of slowing down. Just the way he liked it.

Unfortunately, it got annoying at inappropriate times. That recent ramble had set him off guard, so it took a few seconds for the gleeman to realize that Mashiara was playing with him! By entering the stasis chassis, the room furnished from stasis crates, Kiriath knew she was up to something. Nevertheless, he had been been meaning to talk to her for a while.

Warily he entered the room, an invisible shield of Eccentric Spirit around himself, just in case of emergencies, which, as he knew, a chaotic persona usually put up with. Notumar was solid proof of that.

"Greetings, Mashiara," he bowed politely. Her grin held though ... she was certainly akin to the Dark Sisters in certain ways. She shifted her body on the couch -see? She was taunting him! - and smiled. Next to her, frowning, was Kir's ancient foe. Fat chance he had changed -Sammael.

"Greetings to you too," he reluctantly added. No telling what she had planned if he was here. Only small rumors had been heard ---wait! That was a collar around his neck! Kiriath weaved most of his Earth and Spirit --both saidin and Eccentric-- together in the shield. He had never liked collars.

"Hello, Intrigleeman," stated Sammael gruffly. In Kir's memory, Sammael had never even called the gleeman by his given name.

"What brings you here?" inquired Kiriath, eyebrow raised. Sammael twisted his head over to Mashiara. "Yes, 'Lost Love'. What does bring us here?"

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman

“What brings us here? I was speaking of an alliance, before I was so rudely interrupted.” She set the magazine down and turned her full attention on him. The smile never left her face, but Sammael rolled his eyes. Contempt drifted into her mind from his direction. She ignored it. “I have nothing to offer you, really. Except a glimpse of your future. But I will give you that, gratis. It will be amusing, I think.” He wrinkled his eyebrows.

She stood up and went rigid. “This I Foretell, by the Turning of the Wheel. You will find your Lost Love, but all will not be as it once was. The barrier may seem insurmountable, but the Rings are the key to the locked Door.” Mashiara blinked, shuddered, and turned to Sammael. She tugged a bit on the leash, and he stood up, unwillingly. She ignored him again, and said to Kiriath, “That’s interesting, isn’t it ? But not at all relevant to the present. I wish to become an Intrigleeman. It would be advantageous to all, I assure you. Especially to Chaos.” That halfway-sane smile was back. She held out her right hand to him, but it was up to him whether to accept what she offered or not.

Mashiara Shaidar,
Who brings a whole new meaning to the word, “Chaotician”

The Intrigleeman's eyebrows wrinkled even harder now, what with this new Foretelling and now, the thing he had suspected since first meeting this curious Lost Love, a request to join the group of spies.

He shook the offered hand politely, carefully keeping his Ring under control until he was certain of its motives. As with the Eccentric power in some times of stress, it seemed to have a mind of its own. Mazrin and Notumar had come of that, voices that had manifested themselves from the Power. In fact, *most* of his agents had come from such a case.

"If chaos will be arranged," Kiriath grinned, readying and modifying his traditional formalities, "This alliance should work well. You have rambled before, correct?" Mashiara nodded.

"And this a'dam here will not make a difference in the information you will recieve?"
Time stood still for a few moments. It probably did, literally. The Eccentric Power was known for its unusual antics.

"It ... shouldn't ..." said Mashiara.

"Is there a way to link it off for a while?" Mashiara nodded; apparently, most likely, she had done so before. She blocked that part of her mind off, it seemed to Kir, from the expressions on her face, and nodded, Sammael frowning, as ever.

"Then, Mashiara Shaidar or Shaidar Mashiara, however you prefer to be termed, you are, as of now, aligned with the Intrigleemen. Be warned, however, although facts are probably tossing themselves at you in full force, I cannot allow you to know everything. I am a spy, remember," he winked.

Mashy's face contorted from curiousness to Sister-style irritability, and back again. Finally she nodded. "What you have given me will likely take up a great deal of my time." Almost in the eloquence of a Foretelling, noted Kiriath. A minor one, perhaps?

"Stash him in the corner or somewhere for now, then," with a point at Sammael. "We can't have him overhearing our plans." Him especially. "Or even give him to Notumar for a ---" The warrior crashed into the room through a self-regenerating wall. "You rang?"

Kiriath pointed at Sammael with a dangerous grin. Notumar looked at them both, and Mashiara, and bowed kindly. "Would you care to have this weight lifted off your shoulders for a bit of time?" Sammael, unusually, had rather large eyes, examining the great anti-Taveren. "I had only heard..."

"Of course. He is the perfect spy, you know?" He let the Forsaken inhale that as he would, and messed with another wall, its insides opaque as a set of sunglasses. "'Tis your choice, Mashiara. Whatever we do, he can't be allowed to overhear. I could, of course, give you a bit of Eccentric Telepathy, though it might seep through the link. It comes naturally once you get it, but teaching it can be rather tiring." He realized his own power was grasping him and shook his head, clearing it of the Colloidal Void.
"Notum's trustworthy enough that he'd hold him, and no one --no one-- in their right mind would enter his room of own accord." Notumar simply stood there, grinning wildly.
"That's just my thought though; it rambles."

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
*cough cough* Notumar's room isn't exactly a nice place...

The door gave grudgingly. Setting his shoulder to it one last time, Darkhound shoved, and the door gave with a groan of protest. His chambers were thick with dust, but otherwise how he remembered them. Some kind of new life form had evolved from the mould in his coffee cup, and it looked at him with it's six eyes. Darkhound decided not to kill it, but to name it Cyril. A lick of the True Power opened a window and swept the dust out through it.

Throwing himself on the bed, he laid back with his hands behind his head and contemplated the rush of events since his arrival. In the corner of his mind, a vague ball of emotions that were Mashiara's boiled chaotically. The bond was dimmed, almost fuzzed, as if she wasn't strictly inside the pattern just then. That could mean she was either off travelling the worlds of If, or perhaps visitting Kiriath in his vacuaole. He smiled fondly at thoughts of the Eccentric Lord of the Intrigleemen. Soon he would visit Kiriath himself. He had no idea what the rings of Myrlin were, and neither did the Great Mistress of the Dark, it seemed. Knowing Kiriath, the exact nature of the rings of Myrlin probably changed from day to day anyway. Such a thing would not be beyond Kiriath's beautifully crazed mind.

Darkhound rubbed at some tender spots on his body. The Great Mistress had always walked all over him, sometimes in the literal sense, and last night.... what was odd was that this morning, she had seemed almost a different person. For a moment, he had seen doubt, and worry in her eyes, as if she wondered about who and what she was. Or maybe what he was, or wanted. He had been quick to grovel again, trying to prove his loyalty to her. It would take time, but he would show her that she need not fear for his motives or ambition. The Hound's reason for existence was to nuture seeds of chaos that the Great Mistress had sewn, and plant a few of his own in her name. It had always worked beautifully. Come harvest time, they had reaped splendid rewards.

From what he could gather, Blackthorne was her own person, but semi-possessed by Ariella's spirit. Perhaps Blackthorne wondered if he was trying to release Ariella all the way. He shook his head sadly. If Ariella ever returned, which was unlikely, it would be because she wanted to, not because he wanted it. He hoped the Great Mistress reborn, Blackthorne, could gain dominance over her legecy of power, let her spirit shine through, and not live in Ariella's shadow. Maybe he could help her. There was no better way to prove he was faithful, than to help her fill the Great Mistress's stiletto's in her own right.

Briefly, he pondered his other orders. Finding Dark Sisters was not difficult, assuming they wanted to be found. He had always had a knack for finding females of a nefarious nature. Maybe he could recruit a few new one's too. That would certainly put him in good favour with the Great Mistress. He had seen Barid yesterday, and the man seemed to back in human form. Or as close to human as could be said for a gray-man like Barid. Hound figured that he was no immediate threat and would settle for keeping a watchful eye on him. In fact, in his own way, Barid spread more chaos than most of the dark did, whatever side he served. He was a one man disaster area! And besides, Hound was friendly with Ulrike, and she was perhaps the one person in the pattern who could keep Barid in check. Yes, he would visit his favourite librarian soon. Making sure not to accept any deadly German beer this time. He shuddered at the memory of the after effects of the last drink-a-thon with Ulrike. Not only could she drink anyone under the table, but her beer had side effects. He had spent a whole week knitting last time. Knitting!

Rising to his feet, he left his chambers to begin his new duties. He considered warding the door, but eyeing Cyril the coffe cup creature, decided against it. Cyril smiled a lopsided grin and blinked all six eyes at once, and nodded enthusiastically when Darkhound pointed at the door and said "Gaurd!".

With a smile, Hound morphed into dog form. A simple process whereby he made his shape malleable and stuffed his body parts into the required form. Sometimes his body parts were stubborn though, and today his liver was being particularly difficult. Sending mental threats of Ulrike's beer to it did the trick, and his liver complied. And with that, a large black Darkhound with glowing red eyes padded off though the shadowed corridors in search of adventure.

~Darkhound, a mad dog and an Englishman, and a few other things besides.

Barid tried to think, he truly did. Only, when his dinner began to stare at him, it was hard to do so. Sighing, he left his rooms. Muttering about what Frances' called deserts.
He had to go somewhere, somewhere where the food was three days dead. And well done, somewhere where you didn't had to leash your dinner to the plate so it would run away. Spying was his specialty. Slowly he considerred who he would spy now. Sammael, he thought, he didn't knew the man really well. But Barid always knew how to make friends with people. Too bad that he succeed only after they died, usually.
Sighing at the unfairness of the world, Barid let saidin take him where ever Sammael was now. What he saw was not the thing he expected to.

~Barid Bel

Barid appeared in a room with no doors.
An illusion of Sammael appeared.

"The area you have tried to acces is off limits, but Sammael will return here to talk to you."

It blinked out.
Barid was left there, open jawed. This was the first time it had not worked. "Well", he thought to himself, "I might as well just wait for him".

So Barid waited.


Mashiara thought about it for a moment, and decided. She drew herself up to her “No. I’m sorry, Kiriath, but for the time being at least, this man is under my protection. I cannot let him go until the Foretelling has been fulfilled. He will die, else. And I cannot let him out of my sight. This leash, unfortunately, is a literal one. We are bound, for now; I cannot send him away. I can, however, make a Ward of Silence around us. He will hear nothing. And thoughts do not transfer through the a’dam. Is this acceptable?”

The Intrigleeman shrugged, and was about to speak when a Gate opened in the air in front of them. The man that stepped out somehow resembled a cat. He didn’t look like a cat in the least. But something about him just seemed… catlike. Maybe it was the way he walked, which seemed just slightly off-balance. As if he ordinarily had a tail?
Perhaps. Having a tail changed the way one balanced, and despite the man’s grace and economy of movement, he did seem a bit unbalanced. Other than the cattishness, he was very ordinary-looking. Extremely ordinary-looking. Which was rather extraodrinary, really.

But the strangest thing about that man was Sammael’s reaction to him. The Forsaken had seemed a bit remote lately, and she wasn’t sure if there was something wrong with him, or if he just daydreamed often. The latter possibility seemed highly unlikely, based upon what she knew of him. It was almost as if he hadn’t been wholly present in his own mind. But with the arrival of the man (surely a Grey Man?), he snapped out of it as suddenly as a mouse who suddenly finds that there is a cat in the room. Or perhaps another cat when seeing a rival?

Sammael’s eyes widened, and he choked out, “You! No! I told you I’d talk to you later! I haven’t got time for this!” He wasn’t afraid, but he certainly was upset and annoyed about something. He grasped for the Source, and Mashiara allowed him to catch it. If the Grey Man was strong enough to make Sammael (who was certainly not the least of the Chosen) beat a strategic retreat, he had to be very dangerous indeed. A Gate appeared almost instantly, a large and very well-crafted Gate, of Sammael’s making. He pulled at the bracelet around her wrist, and she followed, letting him lead her, despite the fact that she was the leasher, not the leashed. Sometimes, it was best to listen to those that had to obey.

The two leaped through the Gate. It slammed shut behind them (Surely Gates didn’t slam. But this one did, with a bang). They had both stumbled onto the ground, but Sammael was first to recover. He put out a hand to help her up, and she stood. “Where are we?” The dark greenish sky’s black clouds writhed and twisted against a sharp wind. The wind whistled sharply as it swept aggressively across the barren plain, attacking the few twisted wrecks of trees and shrubs with all its might. It was so loud that Mashiara Shaidar could hardly hear herself think.

Sammael had a somewhat remote look on his face, and again, that feeling of not quite being all there came through the leash. He didn’t answer, and merely stared in one direction. He did not blink. She turned in the direction of his glassy-eyed stare. She heard footsteps in the distance. Running footsteps. She saw the figure silhoutted against a sudden flash of lightning. The lightning bolt disintegrated as it hit an invisible shield around the runner, but another bolt followed as quick as, well, lightning. She heard several more sets of footsteps, and she held the source. There were at least ten people following the runner, and though they were moving more slowly, eventually the lone man would tire too much to touch saidin.

Mashiara noticed that the man on her leash was no longer able to Channel, or even speak. He was positively radiating exhaustion, and she could not imagine why. The Gate from the vacuole had been large, but it was certainly not enough to exhaust Sammael. Yet it had, somehow.

The runner had begun to slow, and his persuers (there were eleven) began to catch up. He staggered onward, and fell, briefly. He managed to get back up, and continued to run. The runner was close enough now so that she could hear his laboured breathing, but his face was hidden beneath a cowl. There was something familiar about the way he moved, but she could not put her finger on it. It began to rain, and the lightening grew more intense.

The leashed Forsaken looked haggard now, and as though he were about to collapse. Strange. She sent him some of her own strength, and he seemed to recover a bit. The runner sped up, and came even closer. The rain was falling harder now, spattering on the stony, sterile ground. The lightnings continued to fall around him, and a few fireballs darted out of the bilious sky. They fell harmlessly against the shield, and little rivulets of fire hit the ground around him. He was just a few spans away, and continued to home in on the Leashed pair.

He stopped a mere span away from Mashiara. She gasped as he removed the cowl of his cloak. The rain had dampened his golden hair even through the hood, and it was plastered to his head, as her own hair was to hers. But the blue eyes that glared out of the pouring rain were quite unmistakeable, and so was the slanting scar that was the sole imperfection on his face. Sammael.

Impossible, was the first thought to cross her mind. A desire to laugh hysterically was the next. But there was no time. He cut her off, and gestured at the Leashed One. “That’s not me. You mistakenly Leashed a Shadow. There’s no time to explain. We’ll make our stand here. You defend against the women, and I’ll take care of the offense.”

“No.” The hunters were coming within easy range, and she added her shield to that of Sammael’s without thinking.

He whirled to face her, and snapped, “What? What do you mean, no? They’ll kill us all! I managed to take out two of them, but there are still eleven people who are quite determined to kill not just me, but everyone that can Channel that isn’t one of them! Not even two Forsaken can take care of that many linked women!”

She smiled a treacherous smile, and said softly, “I have a plan. Is this Shadow-construct of yours necessary? Can we let that…rabble… have him? You and he appear the same. If you give him your cloak, you will be quite indistinguishable from him. Use inverted weaves to hide. I’ll give them the a’dam with him on it.” She pointed to the women. They were close now, but still too far away to see exactly what was going on. “I’ll tell them that you destroyed my servant, and I captured you. True, in a way. Is this plan acceptable?” She awaited his reply, as the danger grew ever nearer.

Mashiara Shaidar
Sower and Reaper of Chaos
Bond-holder to DarkHound

Sammael glanced across the landscape, out of his window. The many lights of Aurora danced, and lit up the chambers.

Sammael traveled to the portal room, and glanced at an intricate mirror.
He stepped through.


Barid was quite shocked. He didn't even bother to fade before he came. But he hadn't thought that the reaction of Sammael would come to such extent. Sighing, he looked at Kiriath.
He channeled. And fire swallowed him, carrying him to Sammael, he was quite stubborn, when needed. And beside, he like grand entries, and exits. He only hoped Kiriath's eyebrowes weren't burning.
He fade immediatly. He didn't want to scare the forsaken again. Eleven women run forward, and his skin tingle. All of them held the power, for him to feel it in that distance. Sammael and Mashiara were arguing, and.. another Sammael was standing nearby, held by a leash and breathing hard.
By the look he took in the women's faces. They meant no good. Not that he had any trouble with this. But he had his manners. First you had to talk to a person, and only after he came to know you, then you planted the knife in his chest. He moved, unseened, eleven knife thrown, eleven women knock out. Knife COULD be harmless. If you knew how to use it.
The hilt hit each of the women in the back of the head, painful, but not deadly. Barid avoided killing. It was too hard to clean the body, and usually they had a son or a daughter that may have something to say about it.
"Now, would you explain me what is happening?" He shouted at the Sammaels and Mashiara.

~Barid Bel

Sammael watched as the Aes Sedai neared him… He channeled, and a gateway opened to his world. "Thanks", Mashiara said, as it closed.

"Wait", Sammael said with a dark grin, "I think it is time we teach those children when they are outmatched. He began to unravel the gateway.

"No!" Mashiara whispered.

"Don't worry, I practiced unraveling on that old world… "It can be an extremely effective weapon when used properly".

The gateway disappeared.

"Anyone within half a mile of the other side is now severed" Sammael said with a grim grin. "Now, I believe we had business to discuss…"


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