Mashiara stifled a giggle. "Amok, amok, amok!" she sang out. In her head she began to compose a string quartet piece based on it, and just as she was finishing up the First Violin part, she was interrupted by Kiriath.
"Do you see any other moves?" he asked. Mashiara forgot what key she was in and decided to make it a modernist work with a lot of dissonances, thus avoiding key altogether. She looked down at the board and shook her head. Suddenly a thought occured to her. "What about Alvialiandrin? Where did she get to, anyway?" Hmm... B-flat, C-sharp... Hmm... It needed words... How about, "Amok, amok, amok, amok"? Sounded good...
Lady Chaos Etc.
A letter appears on Ben's desk. It reads:
Dearest Ben T-Moore,
It has come to my attention that Carra, my little sister, has declared war upon you and the other Light Knights. Because she is my little sib, I suppose that this means that I am also at war with you. However, I am strangely lacking a reason why I should go to war against you. I have thought and thought and these are the best reasons I could find.
1) I faintly remember Kerek putting pink flamingos on my lawn last birthday.
2) Some Light Knights have borrowed books from my personal library and not returned them. I miss my old copies of 'Mistress --the magazine for aspiring Ladies of the Dark'.
3) The tee'vee is broken and the ka'bol man can't come until the 19th.
4) Being Great Mistress of the Dark just isn't fun, sitting on the couch doing nothing all day.
5) It's a sin to wear white shorts after Labour Day.
So these are my reasons. Prepare yourself for the full power of the Whip and the Dark Sisters. You're not going to see this twice in your lifetime.
GM of the Dark
Declarer and Reasoner of War
1: I was bored.
2: Everyone was bored.
3: Now they're not.
4: The number of new posts appearing in a week has just about doubled since I declared war.
5: Light and Dark are at war by definition.
6: War provides a wonderful opportunity for plotting, espionage and all those fun activities.
7: When we all get bored of war, signing a peace treaty is a perfect reason for a party.
So there you go! Oh, and Blackthorne, you can't possibly be the Declarer of War, I got in first.
Carramaena L'Var, Spymistress of the Dark, etc.
"Sure, whatever," Sundara agreed as Blackthorne handed out titles. It was irritating at times, but if it made her elder sister happy... She shrugged and listened to Carra's report.
As the door closed behind Carra, she stood up and stretched. "Sounds reasonable - oh, Blackthorne, congratulations on your win in Ulrike's contest, by the way. I have work to do too, though, so I'll leave you here. There doesn't seem to be much to organise until the Light Knights start an offensive."
Glancing down the corridor on her way out, she blinked. "I could have sworn I saw -" She went a little closer to look. There was no one there, but there was a grin just fading out. Sundara rolled her eyes and sighed. "Not again!"
Instead of going to her own rooms, she made her way through the Palace to Carra's and tapped on the door. "Are you busy?"
"No, not really." Carra was sitting at her easel, frowning at the painting in front of her. "I just can't figure out what happened here."
Sundara took a closer look. The painting was of the Palace, and her sister's frown was directed at the portion showing the conference room and the outside corridor. "Would it help at all if I told you that the Black Cat is back?"
Carra sighed. "Yes - that would explain it." She started painting again. "One of Kiriath's agents just disappeared. He'll have sent a new one, though."
"That's the other reason I came." A book appeared in Sundara's hands, Sightings and Manifestations of the Eccentric Power. "This might be useful - there's a section on possible Eccentric agents, although they're always making more. Kiriath's frequently been seen with Osan'gar, and Aginor was the top genetic engineer back in the Age of Legends." She flipped to the relevant section. "They seem to have an unhealthy penchant for combining unlikely characters."
"They do rather, don't they? Mazrin Fain. Samirhage." Carra reached for the book. "I think we need to do some serious study."
"You think so?"
Pulling chairs up to a desk, the Dark Sisters got to work...
A serving girl hurried down a flight of stairs, but paused to glance curiously at the woman passing her on the landing. Tall, slim, high cheekbones, scantily clad. The girl nodded, reassured. A Dark Sister candidate, obviously, or a guest of theirs, but either way clearly someone who belonged in the Dark Palace. There seemed no need to check with anyone about this stranger. She hurried on down the stairs.
Sundara, Sister of the Dark, Aes Sedai of the Darker Brown Ajah
There was a long silence, broken only by the sound of pages rustling. Two heads, one dark and one red-gold, were industriously bent over a large book.
Time passed. Pages turned.
"Failalain?" Carramaena exclaimed with a disbelieving laugh. She studied the picture in front of her. "I knew Kiriath was crazy, but really - Faile and Berelain?"
Sundara looked at the picture. "Well, she'd fit right in here. Better add her to the list."
A long scroll unrolled. "Failalain" was added to the long list of possible agents in the Palace.
Time passed. Pages turned. Dark Sisters started yawning.
"That's it," Carra sighed as they finally reached the last page. She looked at the scroll. Names and descriptions were given. "You want to brief the staff?"
Sundara nodded, picking up the book and scroll. "They'll tell one of us if they see anyone matching a description. What about your agents?"
"I'm teaching them to recognise an Eccentric on sight. I have a double agent on Kiriath's team," she added smugly. "Numbers are limited, though, and they're spread pretty thinly."
"Good luck." Her youngest sister left, closing the door behind her. Carra returned to watching her painting.
Overworked Spymistress of the Dark
Ben looked up from the note, and looked to the people with him. "Very well, then. We've got to do something about this!" He smiled. "Now, I have a plan...."
"We should contact Black Cat. We also need information on what the Dark Sisters are doing right now. So I propose that we secretly invade the Dark Palace. From there, we'll be able to find out what they are doing, as well as contact Cat. And once we decide to attack, we'll be in a perfect position!" He grinned happily. Then he turned. Someone else was speaking. "Ben? I'm not sure that's such a good idea...." He interupted quickly. "Of course it's a good idea! Now I want everyone to get their stuff together, and we'll meet back here. We'll show these Darkfriends that they can't just push us around!" He turned to start gathering his stuff. He made a mental note to remember to take Blackthorne's magazines, as well. He had forgotten he'd borrowed those. Oh, well...
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
"Hrmn," pondered Kiriath. The Mistress did a formal declaration of war --oh, Light-- and now Carra and Sundara were showing off some Eccentric-seeming tricks of their own. No matter ..Intrigleemen always had other tricks up their sleeves ...or lack of such, in the case of Failalain.
"Here we go," he chuckled. Shuffling beneath the desk on which the board was, he felt through hordes of objects ...everywhere from a dog collar to a large gooey ---Light, what IS that? It must be ..yes, it is!
The Intrigleeman removed his hand from beneath his desk and chortled, eyes whirling. He had discovered what he had been searching for ---a color shifting segment of a patchcloth cloak.
"It's been way too long since my agents have traveled around in the proper fashion. Watch... and learn," he guided Mashiara. To the stone went his hand, placing the patchcloth directly on the top, covering the entire head. "This, Mashy, is one of my oldest tricks. It simply uses saidin or saidar; a tied-off weave of Air and Earth holds the segment to the stone ...the stone is attuned to the agent's Eccentricity, and so the agent is completely cloaked."
He laid back in his soft leather chair, the same style used for his Skimming platform. "Splendid, no? The agent automatically adapts to whatever locale it is within. And Carra, hopefully, won't have any idea, since the entire stone, including its Eccentricity, is cloaked."
Kiriath, Undercover Intrigleeman
Hrmn ...I've got another idea too...
Ben sat at the desk, tapping his fingers. Where was everyone? Oh, well... He decided that they must be running late. Perhaps it was taking them longer to get their equipment together. Ben sighed. He'd leave a note, and set off. They could catch up behind him.
He hastily wrote the note, then. He got up, and crossed to the chair where he had set his stuff. He picked up his pack, and looped the coils of rope over his arm, the grappling hook hanging at his side. He arranged his fancloak over the things to hide them, and opened the door. He stepped into the light, and was gone, reappearing a ways outside the Dark Palace.
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Eval followed Sundara out of the meeting, but turned left when she turned right and headed for the battlements of the Palace.
"As I thought." He laughed, looking down to where a solitary figure wrapped in fancloth stood below. "An attack attempt by one single Lightfriend? Is this a game?"
Leaping atop the stone wall, he raised his voice. "Is this the best, then, that the Light can produce to oppose us? Has the taint withered the brains of the non-channelers among you now also?" As Ben looked up, Eval grinned and kept declaiming. "Disappointed am I in you all, that you can do no better. My Lady and her sisters seek amusement, and your attempt, while brave, scarcely suffices to divert them. Have you no armies to send that the Sisters might be entertained? Have you not even one comrade who will dare to enter the Palace alongside you?" This was getting quite entertaining, actually. "Go back to your stedding, bold Knight of the Light, and bring back your armies. It would be a shame to end this most pleasant war for a shortage of enemies."
With a grin, Eval saw that his speech had not fazed the man at all. Good. That was the way it should be. He settled down to wait.
Lord General of the Armies of the Night,
Self-Appointed Speechmaker for the Shadow
Ben grinned. He'd always wanted to say this. He looked up to the battlements and raised his voice. "You on the barricades, listen to this! There is no place for you to hide! You have no hope, you have no friends! Throw down your whips or die!!" He smiled wider at the confused look on Eval's face. He continued. "This is your last chance. Surrender to me, throw open the gates of your fortress, and submit to the mercy of the Light. If these demands are not met, a disaster beyond your imagination shall occur!"
Eval stared at him. "You ARE mad. Go back, and return when you have the forces to even think of challenging us." With that, he turned and went down off the battlements. Ben smiled, and stood looking at the Dark Palace. After a minute, he set off towards the walls. He thought he saw a place he could scale easy enough.
Warder to Serafelle Sedai
Ben stood at the bottom of the walls, looking upwards. After a moments consideration, he hefted the grappling hook, and tossed it upwards. It sailed up, and over the wall, but when he gave a tug, it came back down.
Finally, on the fourth try, he got it to catch on something. Placing his feet in the cracks along the wall, he started up. He didn't know why this section of the wall had been damaged, but it was enough to let him scale it.
After a few minutes, Ben pulled himself over the wall. He looked carefully around as he unhooked the grapple. He smiled, not seeing anyone, and put the rope and grapple away in his pack. Then he stood, and wrapped his Fancloak tightly about himself. He moved off silently along the wall, heading for a staircase leading into the heart of the fortress.
Once inside, he would have to find a suitable place to set up operations. He wanted to have it ready when the others arrived.
Warder to Serafelle Sedai