Posted on Serafelle's Society of Scholars on January 20-31, 1999
Category: Alternate Reality
Authors: various

War

"All right. A nice group of us sitting around on our haunches, and doing nearly nothing. Okay, people ...it's high time to do something, and I, for one, opt for making a new thread. Oh ..wait... I did, didn't I?"

"Seeing as how that happened, I opt for doing something big and important. That would, naturally, be gathering up a party. It's always attracted loads of people ...why should now be any different? Trouble is, of course, where to hold the party. Here, there, or everywhere?"

Only beginning to be riled up, Kiriath peered around at everyone within the room. "There's only about a few of us in here, and doing nothing. Somehow, we need to attract more followers, or get something moving. Ideas, people?"

"One last comment, focused toward the Light Knights among the audience ...either we get something going, or more of the Board will have whips than we'd care to put up with , most of them being used in harmonic cries of 'Mush, Mush!"

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Chaos will ensue, or I'll do an Eval Ramman ramble. Where is he, anyway?


Carra grinned, pulled a whip from the air, and cracked it. "Half the board's still asleep from the last party, Kir. I have a better idea. Let's start a war." She laughed at the look on his face. "We haven't done anything interesting in a while. I'll wake up Eval and Dara, you lot can take yourselves back to the Fortress and start some plotting, and Kir and I can go crazy (crazier?) recruiting double agents. When we all get bored of it, we can throw a party to celebrate peace."
She smiled brightly at everyone. "Just for the record, as senior conscious member of the Shadow, I declare war on the Light. Have a nice day now!" She vanished, leaving a slowly dissipating cloud of iridescence behind for dramatic effect.

Carramaena L'Var
Spymistress of the Dark
Acting Lady General of the Army of the Night


Ben stared at the cloud disipating where Carramaena had stood. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then spoke. "So, it is to be war between us! If these demands are not met, a disaster beyond your imagination will occur!" He turned and looked at the others in the room. "Ok, so I don't have any demands. It just felt like the thing to say." Ben grinned.

"Anyways, as the first one to speak up, and as a currently unranked member of the Light Knights, I'm going to take command until someone else who wants the job shows up." Ben looked around to see if anyone else had something to say, then continued as they remained silent. "Ok, then. We'll meet back at the Fortress. Make sure you tell everyone you can find, as we'll need all the help we can get."

With that, he stepped backwards, and disappeared.

---------

Ben stepped forwards into a large room of the Light Knight's Fortress. "Ah, I knew I'd seen this somewhere." In the center of the room was a large wooden table, with chairs set around it. Ben walked around the table, and sat down at the chair at the head. "Let's see... First we'll have to see just how many people show up. And perhaps I should think up some demands, anyways." Ben leaned back on his chair, and waited for someone else to get there.

Ben T-Gaidin
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Commander of the Forces of Light


Serafelle stepped into the room cautiously. It seemed deserted in there, and she didn't like it. But Ben was in here somewhere. She could feel him in her head, and pictured his presence there as a sort of deep blue splotch amid a wave of red. The edges sort of glowed purple... Serafelle snapped out of her reverie and opened the door. He was sitting there alone. "Um, Ben?"

"Yes?"

She wasn't quite sure how to express it. "Um, this isn't the Main Meeting Room. This is the Auxiliary Meeting Room. The other one's bigger. And it has a fridge. Maybe we should move the meeting there?"

Serafelle Sedai
Sister of the Brown Ajah
Bonded to Ben T-Gaidin etc.


Marshalling the Forces.

As agents of Darkness moved into place for an offensive against the Light, and as forces of the Light scrambled to move into position to counter these threats, a sketchy division of forces across the border of the Blight developed. The two factions prepared for a war that they felt was sure to come. As an attack seemed more and more imminent, it became obvious to the remaining commanders of the Light that a strategy must be devised to counter the coming attack. The thought occurred to two members of the Light who without prior communication both called a meeting of the light. One plan called for a meeting in the fortress of the Light, and another called for a secret meeting reducing the chances of infiltration by the enemy. It was the secretive meeting in the forests of Kandor which took place.

As the wolves patrolled the forests, slipping silently through the shadows they were constantly in touch with their kin, ensuring that no way to the place of meeting was left open at any time. At the secluded stream-fed pool where they were to meet, Elrys stood facing the sunrise with eyes closed, the growing sun a welcome warmth in the cool morning. His consciousness was spread out throughout the land, knowing it through every one of his wolven kins senses at once. He knew the entire area around them, he saw it, smelled it, and felt it.

Kiriath gated in, and found two sets of eyes looking directly at him. The wolves knew who he was, and turned and trotted off towards the pool, knowing that he would follow. As Kirith came near, carrying an amused look that was his normal expression, Elrys turned to face the Eccentric. With his eyes still closed, and his face peacefully set.

"Glad you could make it, old friend. As you can see it appears that I have emerged from my reclusiveness to join you once again in the cause of the Light. If I'm not mistaken I think that Ben should be arriving soon, the evident Commander General of our forces. I sent him word requesting our meeting be held here in secret through a trustworthy source. You I could just notify through your Eccentric power, I have just enough power there to do that. not much more, but you obviously got the message."

As Ben arrived, being lead to their meeting place by the wolf Marle, Kiriath and Elrys caught up on their recent activities. Hopefully others would show up also for their call to arms and marshalling of forces.

Elrys
wolf-runner


Ben looked at Serafelle in confusion. "Are you sure? I didn't see one...." He stopped as Serafelle spoke.

"Of course I'm sure. After all, I've been here longer than you have. Now, lets go." She turned, and started to walk from the room, when a pigeon came flying through the window, with a note pinned to it's leg.

Ben reached out, and gently removed the parchment, and unrolled it. As he read, the pigeon flew back out the window. He looked up. "Hmm... It looks like Elrys wants a more secretive meeting. I think it's a good idea. You don't mind going there, do you?" Serafelle nodded her acceptance. "Ok, then. We can still get some stuff out of the fridge, before we go." Ben stood up, and followed Serafelle through the maze of corridors, leaving the note lying on the table.

As they entered the room, Ben looked around. "You were right. This is a better room..." He grinned, as Serafelle got several bottles and some food out of the fridge. She straightened, handing to food to him. "Here, hold this for me, would you?" He took the food, then started placing it into his pack. He looked up again, as Sera spoke. "Ok, I think that's everything."

"Should we go, then?" Ben said, holding his arm out to Serafelle. She took it, and the pair of them vanished from the room.

--------

They appeared in the middle of the woods. Immediately, a wolf trotted out of the bushes. "Oh, hello Marle," said Serafelle. "She's going to lead us to where the others are." They followed the wolf through the forset, and into the clearing. "Ok, we're here now. Would anyone like some rootbeer? We brought enough for everyone."

Ben T-Gaidin
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Commander of the Forces of Light


The Gateway opened suddenly into the Great Mistress' chambers. Two women appeared, then a train of men followed them, loading with their precious cargo. The taller and older one commanded them to lay some of the bags on the bag, with a stiff reminder to be careful with them or face the Power of the Whip again. The younger one watched the whole scene, amused.

"You've got to be extra careful with new servants," the elder intoned to the younger. "They are still prone to ...mistakes." The younger nodded impatiently. "Still, they are good slaves. I think I made a good bargain with their original Mistress." The younger smiled and nodded again, this time agreeing wholeheartedly. "Time to take my prizes home. Take care, Avatar." The two women hugged and the Gateway flashed out, leaving Blackthorne and her shopping bags.

Quickly, she went to the silver dish where all her mail was placed. There was a lot of letters lying there. With a mental crack of the Whip, she sorted the mail and burned the junk mail. What did she need life insurance for, anyway? She sat down to read the most recent ones...

All was quiet in the chambers of the Great Mistress. Then the door opened and a woman, strong as iron, cold as the North Wind and hot as tabasco sauce, emerged. "So, there will be war? I will give them a war that they'll never forget." She mentally summoned her Sisters, Servants and Hound for a necessary meeting.

~Blackthorne
Great Mistress of the Dark
Mistress of War

(doesn't that make me the goddess of love too?)


"Hmm?" Sundara sat up sleepily. Then the gist of what Carra was telling her penetrated her mind. "A war! Why, we haven't had a war in ages! That's a wonderful idea, Carra. When -" They both paused at the same moment, heads cocked at identical angles, as the presence of a third Dark Sister made itself known. "Looks like Blackthorne's back." She reached for her clothes. "I'll meet you both in the conference room in about five minutes, all right?"

She swung her legs over the side of the bed, got up and dressed almost before the door had finished closing behind Carramaena. "Wake up, Eval! The duties of the Shadow are calling."

Eval opened an eye. "There are duties? I thought the sole purpose of the Dark was to have fun."

"No, the idea is to do both at once. How would you like to be a general, my Gaidin? Carra just declared war on the Light."

Her Warder was up and dressed even faster. Five minutes had definitely been an overestimate. "And what plans have been made, my lady, to throw confusion into the forces of the Light?"

"None yet, and that's why we're meeting. Come on!"

Sundara checked the clock discreetly as she and Eval walked into the conference room. Three minutes forty-five seconds. Not bad, she thought, then put it from her mind as they took seats around the table. "Welcome back, Blackthorne. Carra, since you started this, would you brief us?"

Sundara, Sister of the Dark, member of the yet-to-be-formed Military Council of the Shadow
(No you don't, Blackthorne. I'm the goddess of love!)


War?!

Did she hear right?

That was madness!

Women, especially Dark Sisters were not supposed to be affected by the taint. But now she questioned this rule. She couldn't imagine a good reason for the declaration of war. Madness? She glared to Kiriath. Had he caused Carra's behaviour with his Eccentric Power? Carra had spent a lot of time with him. Or was it just boredom? And why did agree all other, friends and foes alike?
Anyway, it was time for limiting the damage.

"I declare Neutrality in this war! My library is neutral ground. None hostilities are allowed here! Mark my words!"

Flame gave her a disapproving frown. Of course, she would fight the Darkside, but this was not Ulrike's way.

"Water peace is declared on this ground. If you come to your senses the treaty can negotiated and signed here!"

When all had left the library, she began to weave defensive wards around and in the building. Not a chance that someone just dismissed her statement. Also she didn't like the chance to be caught between the sides. Please, Light, let this madness end fast!

~Ulrike


"Basically," Carra said blithely, "we were bored. While you three were away or asleep, the rest of us gathered at Ulrike's library to decide what to do next. Kiriath suggested another party, but even parties pall after a while, so I suggested a war instead."
She sighed. "Ulrike doesn't seem very happy with it, unfortunately. My agents report that she has made a public declaration of neutrality." The others nodded. They would honour that, of course. Dark games could be strange, but they never forced anyone to play. "Everyone else seems quite happy with the idea, and some of our Light-blinded friends are meeting already, presumably to plot against us. So everything seems to be going fine."
"Now, it's no fun throwing a war unless we behave like it, so I propose that we four, plus Darkhound and Nightfall when they turn up, form a military council. I'm quite content with my position as head of intelligence, but if the rest of you fancy particular positions..." She raised an eyebrow inquiringly.

Carramaena, Spymistress of the Dark
Member of the Just-Formed Military Council of the Shadow


Blackthorne crossed her legs thoughtfully, and mentally searched for the two errant males. Oh, so that was where they were. She mentally tisk-ed.

"I believe that neither of them will hear the call for arms. Nightfall is far away, on another world. He has left the service of I, the Great Mistress." She bitterly cut off those words. Losing a servant was bad, but possibly two, one of them her First Servant?

"Darkhound has gone on a trip to catch his inspiration." Silly thing; didn't he know that it was exactly the same as a tail? Well, he was intelligent and would soon figure that out and come home. "I don't know when he's going to return, but I doubt that it will be soon. So that leaves the four of us."

She looked at Eval. "I appoint Eval as our General Rambler to hurl posts of Dark Rambling at the defense of the Light's Sense and Sensablity." He seemed pleased at the position, rubbing his hands and visualizing the posts as she spoke.

"Sunny, you're excellent at Dancing, so you will be our Co-ordinator. You will co-ordinate our efforts, so you'll be working with Eval a lot." She grinned at Sunny and Eval, lost for a LONG moment in each others eyes.

"I will be our Plotter and General Thinker. I know my brother Bob and Bela, his Avatar, and I know the way their minds work. Okay, so Carra, tell me what you know."

Blackthorne's eyes glowed as Carra spoke.

~Blackthorne
Great Mistress of the Dark
Plotter and General Thinker
The Mistress Who Brings It All Together


Kiriath nodded solemnly at Ulrike's declaration of neutrality. "It makes complete sense ... we cannot destroy the records that have kept our tradition alive for so long." But Carra's abrupt war still came as a surprise.

Ulrike's glare only further heightened his thoughts. Was the Eccentric ...contagious? Or was Carra simply suckering her double agent into teaching her more information? Only one way to find out.

"This means war," said the gleeman, completely aware of the pathetic pun. "Pardon me, fellow Light Knights, but I must attend to my own matters." At the same time, he attempted a telepathic summoning of Mashiara, wherever she was.

Kiriath's eyes whirled frantically as soon as he had returned to the Clash Chamber. Daftly his fingers manipulated pieces on his Eccentric board of stones, moving Samirhage over to the Dark meeting ---with any luck, they would see him coming.

"And now for something completely different," whispered the Intrigleeman. Samirhage would provide a simple distraction for the Dark to put up with while Mazrin Fain studied and attempted to combat the undoubted weaves on Carra's quarters.

If Samirhage was noticed, no problem. If Mazrin was noticed, Kiriath would be careful of the proceedings. The Eccentric was in full force for once ...plans were to developing as multiplying was to rabbits...

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
War. Madness. Eccentricity. Need I say more?


Mashiara was busy thinking of a new game to invent. It had to be something insane, of course; that much was a given. Perhaps, if one got a severed head, and a club... A head-sized hole, far away. The object would be to get the head into the hole with the least number of hits possible. She reconsidered the head; it wouldn't have enough of a flight time, thus making the game lengthy and rather boring. Perhaps an eyeball would be better.... Yes. That would be the fair way....

That was when she recieved the summons from Kiriath. She was new to this Eccentric thing, and so she jumped about a mile when she started hearing voices in her head. Well, different voices than she'd ever heard before. It was Kiriath's voice, and a stray thought binged around her head for an instant- Hmm. That's a new one... Maybe a flag for the end of the hole, so that a victory could be celebrated...

She giggled, and used the Eccentric Power to gate straight to where Kiriath was.

Mashiara Shaidar,
Lady Chaos Etc.


A brief look of irritation crossed Carra's face, but she smoothed it and leaned back in her chair. She didn't recall asking Blackthorne to appoint positions for everyone. Calling herself Great Mistress was one thing, giving orders was quite another. Well, they could work that out later.
"Wait a moment." She closed her eyes and let her mind drift, checking on her operations. A moment later she opened her eyes. "Ulrike has warded her library and the surrounding grounds until such time as peace is declared. Kiriath is - I think - meeting with Mashiara, and he seems to have loosed some of his agents in the Palace. Give me a while, I can track them down." She smiled. "A couple of my spies are nicely in position, too."
"Hmm, I think that's all - the Light is still meeting, and no decision seems to have been made there yet. I'll send a message once I find something out." Pushing her chair back, she stood up. "If there's nothing else for now, I'll be about my work. I have a few Eccentric agents to deal with." A feral smile appeared on her face as the door closed behind her.

Carramaena L'Var
Spymistress of the Dark


Ben looked around at the small gathering in the clearing. "Ok, then. I guess we're all here... Though we should keep an eye out for anyone else, in case they show up. That said, the first thing we need to do is concoct a reason for the war. Ok, so there is no reason.... yet. Can anyone think of a good reason? And what do we get if we win?" He smiled at that. "Oh, well.. We'll think of something."

"Second, we'll need a way to keep track of what the others are doing. Anyone have a spy network, or something? If not, we'll do it on guesswork... That's always fun." He looked around. No one looked as if they wanted to say anything, so he continued.

"Thirdly... Well, we're going to need a plan of action. As we appear to be outnumbered, anything head on would be foolish. Of course, foolishness has things to speak for it, but I don't think it's wise to rely on it. So we'll have to be a bit more subtle. And for that, we'll need a plan." He grinned, then. "That's all I can think of for now, so if anyone has something to say, speak up."

Ben T-Gaidin
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Commander of the Forces of Light


"Come out, come out, wherever you are..." Carra laughed as she walked down the corridors. "C'mon out," she called. "It's not like I'm not going to find you eventually, you know." There was no response.
"Ah, well." Opening the door into her own rooms, she sat down at her easel and began painting. A faint sound near the door caught her attention. "Well, well. An invisible spy." The door took shape on the canvas in front of her, and with a few strokes of the brush so did the intruder. Still holding her brush, Carra spun her chair around to face the now-visible Eccentric agent. "Hasn't Kiriath figured that trick out yet?" she asked conversationally.
"A bit, a bit." The odd man cocked his head and started drawing flowers on the stone wall.
"So what's up? - And don't you dare say the sky."
"Samirhage."
"Semirhage?" Carra repeated blankly.
"No, Samirhage. Militant torturer."
"What a charming notion." Spinning her chair again, Carra turned back to her painting, which soon revealed an androgynous black-clad figure in the halls near the meeting room. "What an odd looking creature. Well, Dara or Eval or Blackthorne can take care of that if it annoys them. Anything else?"
"Oh, no. Not yet, not yet."
"Have a nice day then, Mazrin." She grinned and settled down to watching the now-completed painting. It would be interesting to see how her fellow Council-members would deal with Kiriath's latest agent.

Carramaena L'Var, Spymistress of the Dark
Double agents are a wonderful thing, don't you agree?


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but..." Kiriath muttered to himself. Smiling at Mashiara, who had just entered, he peered at the board. Mazrin's stone had suddenly become slightly off-color, more so than usual. Instead of marble, it was now ...a marble with a load of granite.

"Something's up, Mashy," he said bluntly.

"I can see," she said, gazing curiously at the always-moving Board.

"I think I've found my double agent, unless..." the Intrigleeman jerked his head up, gazing all around. "Carra? You here?"

Mashiara shook her head. "Kir ..calm down... If she was here, you'd likely know it."

"True, true," he said, looking back down at the board. "But Mazrin? I've wondered if he could be, but why?" His eyes began whirling in full motion again as thoughts poured in. "I've an odd feeling Carra might have some Eccentricities of her own..."

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Shadowy brushes and Eccentric double agents...


"She's not as Eccentric as we are!" Mashiara said, and giggled again. "Of course, if she was, they'd have locked her up by now." She stepped over to get a closer look at the board. "What about this move?" She pointed out the one she meant, and Kiriath shook his head.

"It's against the rules."

Mashiara's eyes widened. "Rules? There are rules?"

Kiriath reconsidered. "Well, perhaps you're right." The piece moved, seemingly of its own volition...

Mashiara Shaidar
Lady Chaos Etc.


A mysterious figure all in black lurked outside the room where the Dark Sisters were meeting. To keen eyes, the aura of Eccentricity was faintly discernable around it. A grin appeared in the air a little way down the corridor. It was followed quickly by the rest of the cat, which crouched and sprang into the air, landing on the black-clad figure and knocking it down. And then the cat was a cat no longer, but a tall, lithe woman with a cat's golden eyes.
"Listen," Cat purred, one hand - one claw-tipped hand - on the Eccentric creature's chest, "I don't mind Kiriath sending his agents to spy on the Sisters, but two mysterious figures all in black sneaking through the Dark Palace are one too many. And I was here first!"
She shifted back into cat form. Into very large cat form. Picking Samirhage up by the scruff of its neck, the giant black panther sprang into the air again, vanished, reappeared outside the Tower of Ghenjei and deposited Kiriath's spy neatly on his doorstep.
A moment later the cat-woman was back in the corridor, a lazy grin on her face as she heard the news from the Palace cats. "A war, is it? Well, a war they shall have. I wonder what Carramaena and Kiriath will think of another player in their little game?"

~The Black Cat~


"You broke one of my personal rules ---never move another person's stones. Although, in this case, it seems to have helped..." The new onyx stone with yellow highlights pounced across the board, depositing a different one... "Oh, Light," groaned the Intrigleeman, setting his elbows on the board and burying his face on them.

Mashiara allowed him the seconds to himself, but heard a few voices in Altaran and Illianer accents in her head... "Tidal waves!" "I do be seeing stormy seas these days, the Light burn me!"

Kiriath jerked his head off the table and chuckled. "There are some side effects to manipulating Rand's land, I guess. Still, they've never quite matched any of the chaos around here..."

Quietly he studied the board. "It seems that Samirhage is out of the picture for a little bit ...at least, thanks to you, Mashy, one of our other players has resurfaced."

Mashiara beamed, "Chaos." Kiriath nodded his agreement, digging out a few bottomless Gargle Blasters. "Here's to hoping the Light Knights dig out some of their own agents."

"Don't celebrate too soon," reminded Mashy, taking the bottomless mug anyway. "We're one less agent on the field."

"Oh, yes," said Kiriath, crossing his arms and laying them on the board. Long screams came from the board, but Kiriath chuckled. "No worries, Mashy; they're my agents. One of them is crawling up my..."

Suddenly a skimpily clad figure with high cheekbones entered the room. "This calls for chaos, and Failalain is definitely a chaotic combination of characters. Run amok, Failalain," chuckled Kiriath, placing her stone inside the Dark Palace.

Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
The more agents, the more chaos!


Ben looked around him, once more. The glade was still silent. Finally, he spoke again. "Ok, then. If no one has any ideas, we'll have to try something, and see if it works. We need some information on what's going on, so I'd like to ask for volunteers. Anyone?"

Someone spoke up, then. "What do you need volunteers for?" Ben looked around at the speaker. "Oh, didn't I say? I'd like someone to try to infiltrate the Dark Palace, and find out what's going on. Does anyone feel up to it?" He sat down, and waited for a response.

Ben T-Gaidin
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Lone Lightfriend (Unless you guys WAKE UP! *grins*)


Silence. Then someone cleared the throat.
"I'm not good in infiltrating. We Far Dareis Mai are teached to scout, no to spy. This is a difference. But we, Dune and me, used the last days to search the wolf dream.
That Ulrike has declared neutrality, we know all. The Dark Forces are ahead of us in planning this campaign. Carramaena has deployed a vast network of spies, so I propose to meet only in Elrys' stedding. It is save at least as far as intrusion from tel'aran'rhiod, shadowspawn, crows and other vermin of the Dark One are concerned.
Blackthorne plots together with Eval and Sundara. Nightfall and Darkhound apparently don't take part, they ..."

Dune growled dismayed. Flame shot her an irritated glare.
"That here is a WAR, not a Kiss of the Maiden game!"
The wolf wasn't impressed, only whined sullenly over the absence of her favorite playmate.

"...They are not here and probably will not arrive in the next days. That means we are not so much outnumbered. If we can rally some allies, we can hold our own ground against them. Maybe we can contact the other LightFriend, even hire this soulless, Barid Bel, if he doesn't follow Ulrike's decision.
A problem is Kiriath's faction. As far as I can say he works together with Mashiara, Mazrin and a Samirhage as well as some more shadowy fellows. I can't find out more about them, because chaos veiles them and disturbs the dreamworld. I'm pretty sure Kiriath has his own agenda, though his contact with Carramaena L'Var troubles me.
One Thing still: The Black Cat is back and in the Dark Palace. I don't know for sure, but I don't believe she has sided with the Dark Sisters. Maybe we should ask her to infiltrate them, actually she has done it already. If we can win her for our side..."

~Flame


Ben listened carefully to the report Flame gave. "Thank you. That sounds like a good idea... Now, I don't believe I know this Black Cat. Do you have a safe way of contacting her? We don't want the Dark Sisters to know we are recruiting her."

"If she will join us, I believe I have an idea...."

Ben T-Gaidin
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Commander of the Forces of Light



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