The few guests danced or talked softly with each other. Such a quiet party she had never before here. But by no means they were in low spirits, there was rather a festive mood, a contemplative finale of the old year. She herself enjoyed this long night. Under the tree she had found the gift for her. Wondering why Eval had selected just this touched the single ring in her right ear. The dance ended, then a new melody started. She used the opportunity to tap Sundara on the shoulder. This produced a start. Both, Sundara and Eval, evidently hadn't noticed nothing around them, they were lost in the dance and in their partner.
"Excuse me, Sundara, but I'd like to borrow Eval for a dance, if you don't mind?"
"Of course, Ulrike, I need anyway a drink." But she gave up her place only reluctantly.
Ulrike let Eval lead her through the steps. Unfortunately, dancing wasn't her great talent, but this slow, sweet music was the right for her.
"Well, Eval, the party is something special. It is very regrettable, that so few of us are here." She shook her head. "I can imagine that Darkhound is drinking himself in stupor anywhere. But where are the others? I don't mean TrueDescender or Jani. I think about our old friends: Moridin, Egwene2, Taim, Smoke, Demandred... But since Ariella has left us, I fear it is only a small chance for their reappearance. I'm so glad that at least you and Sundara are still here. The bbs isn't the same anymore."
"You sound quite melancholy, Ulrike. It must be this old year! Old friends are gone, but new friends came. You wasn't here so often in the last time, maybe if you visited more often you will become more familiar with them. I wish too more of them were now here, but surely some will come yet."
"I hope so, even Barid isn't here and I cannot feel where he is, because he is so far away. And you are right, lately I was absent most times. But this had a reason." She smiled at his look of curiosity. "I was so busy." Now a touch of frustration mingled with the curiosity. She waited, said nothing and enjoyed the dance.
After that they joined Sundara at the bar. She handed them the glasses. "It is time! Soon!" She almost bounced on her feets. The guests gathered, waited expectantly. Time passed so slowly. Finally, a bell chimed. All counted back.
"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ... ZERO!"
A big gong rang through the palace together with excited cheers: "A happy new year, everyone!" The fire work colorfull exploded and lightened the night as they raised their glasses.
"My friends!" Ulrike jumped on a table. "I say thank you for all the great parties of the last year and especially for this last party in the old year!" She bowed in Eval's direktion. "But the first party of this new year shall be mine!"
She concentrated on the her target location and everything changed. Now they there in another great hall. Star shone through the glass roof until the music started and anew fireworks filled the nightsky.
"WELCOME!" Alcair'rahien's greetings boomed through everyone's mind. "Welcome to my new library!"
The surprised gathering broke into spontaneous applause. Only Ulrike murmured something unintelligible under her breath and rubbed her back. The sudden transfer brought her to this place where no table stood ready for her, causing an unceremonious drop to the floor. She was lucky, no one seemed to have noticed the incident. Everyone enjoyed the festivities.
Ben stood looking around the new room they had all just came to. The parties just seemed to be running together right now. Then again, they were. He grinned. So, this was Ulrike's place. He would have to look around, later, when he had some time.
He looked down at his belt. Several new throwing knifes rested there, razer sharp, and shining. He would have to thank Eval for them, later. Right now he looked like he was busy. Hearing a crinkle, Ben turned slightly before remembering. Oh, yes. He'd also see if Eval wanted the wrapping paper back. If not, he'd keep it. It was nice paper.
Ben turned, and looked across the room. There were a few people that he had gifts for, and he wanted to find them.
Another Would-Be Warder
Kiriath pursed his lips thoughtfully, agreeing in full both with the move and the music. "Good taste and good move," he retorted. A rambler in the throes of the Eccentric power could read a whole novel into one move of stones, as compared to a typical Cairhienin reading pages into one word.
Little did Carra know - or, more likely, she probably did; no matter - that the board from his perspective was a map of Randland, a version of his personal Stones board. He grinned and placed his own hypnotizing piece. "You take black, I take whirly ... I just can't bear playing any game without revising it to my personal tastes. Your move, nevertheless."
Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman