Dune couldn't hold her whimper back. The situation smelled/felt bad. Grey nothing surrounded them. Sometimes one could catch glimpses of strange places, vanishing a heartbeat later. This wasn't a wolf dream, this was something no wolf had ever experienced.
Flame's grip in her neck fur didn't loosen a bit. It was the first time since they had met that her two-leg smelled terrified. No wonder, her own tail was firmly tucked between her hind legs and her belly would be pressed against the ground if there was one. Al'cair cowered to her left. His head swung madly in all directions.
"Where are we?"
Dune had heard Flame's call and Al'cair, over-sized and eager dragon cub that he was, had joined her. The Portal Stone brought them strangely enough directly crashing into Flame and then, as all three of them tumbled to the floor, everything dissolved, there was no better word for it.
"I believe I have seen this before... before I came to Ulrike." Al'cair sounded like a lost child.
OOC: Sundara? Kiriath? Has anyone an idea how to rescue the lost ones?
Ulrike was worried sick. No trace of her friends. The Dark Sisters and everyone else was conspicuously absent. Except Kiriath. Who alternately looked through her and at his stone board. It had a definite lack of stones, by the way. What was going on?
Ares looked around curiously. This certainly wasn't the place Arie had originally come to. So... where was it? And where was everyone else. Arie muttered something in the back of his mind that sounded rather rude. Actually, Ares was a bit surprised that she knew what that meant. Then he was surprised that he was surprised. How could he not have known that?
Oh the confuzzlepation
~how'd i get here, how do i leave, and why would i want to?
Sundara sipped hot wine as she waited for Carra and Eval to absorb what she had told them. Then she almost spilled it, as reality seemed to - jolt.
THE DOOR IS OPEN!
She was on her feet in an instant. "Who opened it? Kiriath?"
HOW WOULD I KNOW? SEEK THE LIBRARIAN, LITTLE SISTER. AND HURRY!
"Come with me again," Sundara ordered the other two, already weaving a gateway. Not waiting for them to follow, she darted through to the Library. "Ulrike!" she called, her voice echoing. "Ulrike! Where are you?"
Kiriath seemed totally absorbed in his board and whatever only he could see, he never took visible notice of her. After long minutes Ulrike hissed some expletives in frustration and drew on saidar for another gateway. - And encountered difficulties.
Disorder seized her weaves. They appeared to move on their own accord and definitely not so how she wanted it. She quickly let go before she cut herself in pieces.
Angry and a bit puzzled she glanced sideways to Kiriath who did again his not-looking-at-but-through-her routine. Did he influence her weaving? It seemed impossible, but who really knows when Kiriath is concerned.
After some more failures to channel properly she stalked from the room. There were moments in her life she wished desperately for a tail to express her emotions adequately. She would need the portal stone to return to the library.
And there another surprise awaited her...
It was impossible to say how much time had passed. But after some time even the greatest terror fades until you can at least think again. Our three friends finally got their wits back and began searching for a way out. But they were clearly hampered by their ignorance.
They quickly found out that the rules of tel'aran'rhiod didn't apply to this place. If they tried to move forwards, they drifted backwards or sideways. Anything but what they wanted happened. It was so frustrating. Mostly they clung to each other, afraid to get separated.
"Ulrike?" Sundara called again. She paced through the library, the other two following behind. "Are you home?" Still receiving no reply, she spun threads of the True Power into a seeker and sent it spinning through the door. A moment later it returned. Ulrike was not home, it seemed, and nor were Flame, Dune or Al'cair.
Sundara was slightly annoyed.
"Keep watch," she told Eval, and circled the room, looking for some indication of where the Librarian had gone. Finding none, she shrugged and headed for the bookshelves.
Interesting. Ulrike had an impressive collection. She glanced across the titles, wondering if she could procure copies for her own library.
"Fascinating," she commented. "I really should have visited before. If we put what we have together - I'm sure between all these books we could find confirmation of the Ink Hypothesis, for instance..."
Sundara answered absent-mindedly, still scanning the titles on the shelves. "There was a suggestion a while back that it would be possible to correlate a Brown sister's personality traits with the shape of the inkstains on her fingers. What are you laughing at?" This must be the "Miscellaneous" section, or possibly "Unexplained confusion". Then she blinked. What was that on the top shelf? She stood on tiptoes to read the title, just as Eval and the seeker called simultaneously.
She turned lightly from the shelves. "Ah, Ulrike! I was hoping to find you. I'd like your perspective on recent events - but first, tell me something. Is that actually a complete copy of Mirrors of the Wheel on your shelf? I've never seen more than fragments before."
Ever the Brown, but looking for relevant knowledge this time
Ulrike seemed a bit confused by the question.
"I would hope so. I have spent enough time to hunt down the last scraps of information about this thrice-damned book." She snorted unladylike. "Now I have it and I don't understand its theories!"
Ulrike shook her head to clear her mind.
"I don't know what do you mean by recent events. Except I can't find Al'cair, Flame or Dune. Light help me, I couldn't find even you or anyone else." She nodded a belated greeting to Sundara's companions. "Well, I found Kiriath. But he is no help. If you ask me, he is finally gone into the Twisted Kingdom." Where from came that term? "And my skill to channel went to hell or so it seems."
Fleetingly she saw a strange look on Sundara's face. Concern?
With a heavy sigh she sunk onto the closest armchair and reiterated all that happened since she had left the library in detail. Her visitors had taken their own seats. Sundara still held Mirrors of the Wheel in her hands. Finally, after a long pause, she said slowly:
"This might explain it. At least partly."
"What, indeed?" Ares added to the conversation. He had finally found a room with people in it. Some of them looked familiar, but one woman didn't. He hoped that whatever she found might explain the... oddness of his present situation. He was beginning to take on Arie's mannerisms, like saying "indeed", and this could not be good. Plus he had gone from the Dark Palace, a strange enough place, to.... where ever he was now.
Suddenly, he felt something stir in his mind. Not an Arie someone or another voice someone. A different presence, though he had no idea whose or what.
~how'd i get here, how do i leave, and why would i want to?
"All the things that have been happening."
She looked thoughtfully at the book. "I'd like to borrow it, if I may - in fact, I'd like to borrow it under any circumstances, but in this case it may shed some light on the present situation. There are some hints in the fragments I've read about a breakdown in the division between parallel worlds - which is, to a degree, what I believe is happening. I'll need to go through it later, but in the meantime, this is what I know." Sundara set the book aside.
"The fundamental stuff of the universe is chaos. The Wheel imposes order on chaos by spinning it into the Pattern. If the Pattern is sufficiently weakened, in theory at least, it may begin to revert to the state of original chaos. This is not, on the whole, something that either the Creator or the Dark One greatly desire.
"Evidence suggests that the Pattern is so weakening. As you presumably know, it has not been unusual of late for people and creatures from other realities to show up at the Dark Palace. At first we assumed that this was merely a local effect, something like an uncontrolled Portal Stone, but it seems now to be a symptom of something more general - a breaking down of the barriers between realities, and indirectly, of the Pattern. The Eccentric Power is another such symptom. And this strangeness in saidar that you mention." She frowned. "I wasn't aware of that. The True Power seems unaffected so far - perhaps because it is on the whole separate from the Pattern. But now an actual crack, as opposed to a general weakening, has opened, and as for Al'cair, Flame and Dune..." She sighed. "Well, if they have vanished completely, and since the Door opened at approximately the same time, I think we can perhaps guess at where they are now."
It was her.
Not her. Her. Sundara.
She had returned.
The stones board was fluctuating oddly now - Kir set a few agents to modify it, knowing that even double agents would have a frelluva time trying to keep things straight. The more confusing, the better, he figured; the Eccentric mind was always best under extremely complicated influences.
The Door to Chaos had been opened indeed - perhaps this new Rend had been torn as a consequence? Kir suspected it to be merely a coincidence, but again, in a world such as this one, one could never know...
... a stone began to morph, changing its outward shape as the inner shape began to manifest itself. The Psycho music, the morpher, was another offshoot of Eccentricity, he realised; an Eccentricity given rather than inherent. Though it seemed as though it was both.
How could that be?
The Door to Chaos had opened indeed.
Kiriath, Eccentric Intrigleeman
Chaos is an understatement, Light Knights.
Ulrike looked helplessly around. How could they be so calm? She was terrified! Well, at least this newcomer she didn't know looked a bit confused.
She didn't dare to contemplate what that meant for her friends. With effort she suppressed her fear. Later there would be time to fall apart.
"Of course you can borrow the book, Sundara. I only ask that you will return it in time. I haven't had an opportunity to copy it.
"Now, I'm afraid you are right. They are likely in the Chaos regions. But can they survive there? And if so, how long?"
Fear had given way to dull boredom. No one was really comfortable but they could do nothing - except waiting. Flame did not release her hold on Dune and Al'cair, not taking the chance that they might become separated. To pass time she tried to count the flickering images. She could not discern anything from them, they changed too fast and then vanished in a few heartbeats. After a few thousand she lost count.
Then she remembered something.
"Al'cair? You said you may have seen this before?"
"Hrmpf," came the muffled reply. The young dragon (still very small for a dragon, but even cowering his chest was on level with her eyes) had curled his tail around her left leg as a kind of security anchor and hidden his head under a wing. Anything to avoid dealing with the situation.
With a sigh Flame forcible lifted the wing.
"I can't understand you."
Eyes pressed shut Al'cair spilled an answer.
"I can not remember anything well. But I remember this Nothing and to be afraid. Then a flash and I was in a room and knew I was safe. Please let go of my wing!"
She complied a bit concerned. Come to think of Al'cair appeared quite ill. His scales had a sickly grayish hue. Maybe it was the light here, maybe...
*Golden Dawn is in shock.* Dune moved closer. *This not-place is not good for him and not for us either. We must leave. Soon!*