Was it thread or webbing?
Whatever the smeghead it was, Kiriath took the end he was instructed to - of course, the trouble with having an end of a miniature Pattern is his relation to a certain -
Notumar's talent was often spoke of, rarely used, for the fickleness of his very nature - the cuendillar-armored warrior was an anti-Taveren. The Pattern went all-out to avoid him, and avoid him it did. Kiriath had personally seen the Blight retreat when Notumar stepped foot near it. Why the entire frelling world didn't unravel was something the gleeman still hadn't discovered - so he bribed Notumar with a tasty selection of cannibalistic body parts, keeping him in a vacuole. What else to do with a being beyond even Chaotic comprehensions?
It spontaneously occured to Kiriath to send Notumar into Chaos, while the netting was taking place. If Notumar were inside Chaos, Chaos itself could do one of two things, assisting Kiriath's motives in either one.
Either Chaos could attempt to escape Notumar, and thus burst the bonds of the mini-pattern...
...or Chaos could take a liking to Notumar, and allow Kiriath to enter by way of his tentative ally.
Kiriath instructed his ally to enter Chaos, very possibly in a vacuole of his own making; while himself tying his spool of the thread into a faint knot, just tight enough to elude but faint enough to escape.
And if push came to shove, the gleeman knew, Notumar would ultimately grow tired of the Chaotic confines and go berserk.
When a cuendillar-armored anti-Taveren went on a rampage, even Chaos would do well to stay away.
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder of Arie
Sundara looked around her, ignoring her sisters for the moment. Even though the snow wasn't in the least cold, she shivered. Ulrike and Ares had disappeared. And with no one to stabilise the dreamscape, a few seconds longer and there would have been none to return to...
And where had they gone? Back to the waking world, she only hoped. Of course, with the threat of Chaos dealt with, the Light and the Shadow were free to resume their plotting against each other. Perhaps something suitable could be arranged later, if Ares proved to be on the wrong side - but for now there was another reason for peace
Sundara had had enough of work. It was time for a party.
She chose not to be dreaming of Kiriath, Arie'Nerys and Carra, so, of course, they promptly vanished from her dream. Back to the waking world and, if she knew Carra, to immediate celebration. A gateway took Melissande, physically in the Dream, to her rooms in the Dark Palace. Then she woke up herself.
Sundara opened her eyes just in time to see Carra vanish through the door, and to hear music beginning from the Great Hall below. She smiled and stretched out her arms to Eval.
"I just saved the world and I'm too tired to walk downstairs. Carry me."
Sundara - the party begins!
The ter'angreal dropped from her hand and met the ground with a loud *klank*. As if given a waking call the figures in the room stirred.
Ulrike slid from her chair and stretched her cramped body. Then she picked herself up from the floor and walked over where Flame and Dune tried to get their bearings. Al'cair still seemed numb.
"I am glad that you are back", she said quietly to them and then hugged first Flame and then the wolf. "Happy New Year to you."
Finally she went to the Dragon. Kneeling she stroke his neck. "You are at home, Al'cair. You are safe now. You are safe."
After a long time she was rewarded with one slowly opening eye.
"Yes, Al'cair, home. Happy New Year!"
Meanwhile Ares had joined them too. He told them lapidar that a second group that including Sundara and Carra had also returned when he left the World of Dreams. And by the way didn't someone mention a New years Party?
"Yes, probably in the Dark Palace. Al'cair are you up to partying? Thought so."
Again a Gateway was spun, without problems this time, and the small party went partying.
Nestled comfortably in Eval's arms, Sundara directed the festivities. Spheres of light danced and flickered in each point of the star-shaped hall, and the servants of the Shadowsworn, faceless, nameless and exceptionally efficient, hurried back and forth with trays. She noted that the wine was being depleted a little faster than usual, but after all, they had all been through a hair-raising experience.
Come to think of it, she should have thought to brush her own hair before coming downstairs. She tried to smooth it down, shrugged, and took a cup of wine herself. For once, the party could do without immaculately groomed Dark Sisters. Besides, she'd make up for it at the next one.
"Welcome to the Dark Palace, friends and honoured enemies," she called. "And Happy New Year."
Sundara, dreamwalker, dreamweaver, Pattern weaver - and party-giver without compare
Melissande found a cozy chair in a dark corner and simply watched the party. She laughed, seeing Sundara seemingly too lazy to walk - but then, she was hardly large enough to be a burden, and Eval looked anything but upset at the notion of carrying her around. She wondered if Sundara would forget her tiredness when the dancing started, and decided the answer was probably yes.
Seeing a gleam of gold out of the corner of her eye, she turned her head in time to see the strange creature who had been with Flame. She thought she'd heard Sundara call it a 'dragon,' but if that creature was Rand al'Thor, she was Elaida.
After a moment of thought, she got up and went over to it. "Hello. Can you speak?" she asked, feeling a little silly. She had a vague memory of it saying something, but everything to do with Chaos was confused now. It was almost like a fading dream.
Melissande Amaline Isten
...Arie looked around at the party. After Chaos and a bonding, the celebration was wonderful. Sundara was stunning and Eval not much less so. She didn't see Carra right away but assumed that she was somewhere. Someone... Melissande? was talking to a large winged creature or at least trying to. She was scanning the room for Kiriath when an oddly familiar figure caught her eye. A tall, dark haired man in dark clothing studded with silver seemed just as startled by her appearance as she was by his. She walked toward him, wondering who he could be.
"Excuse me, are you Arie'Nerys?"
She nodded. "I am. And you are..." An impossible thought entered her mind. "You're not Ares?" It was supposed to be a statement, but she ended up saying it like a question. And it was, for it seemed quite... impossible.
"The only." At this point, there was a very awkward silence. The man had taken over her body, after all.
"So um, Arie, what's new?"
She smiled. "Quite a bit. I've been bonded, somehow, and I got these five rings here. Kiriath, the person to whom i'm bonded, has no idea why i got them when i...when i got this new body."
Ares nodded. He knew exactly why she'd had to get that new body too. "So, this Kiriath. Is he here anywhere? I'd kinda like to meet him."
"Actually, I was just looking for him."
Carra tossed back her hair as she walked into the room, and everyone turned to look. Granted, that might have been less because of her looks than because she was walking about a foot above the floor.
Carramaena - levity is always better than gravity
Carra looking for him, Ares looking for him, and even that tweaking little where-are-you across the Bond.
Isn't it great?
The gleeman was used to being the center of attention - he was a gleeman, after all - but being hunted by so many was still rather flattering.
What does one do when he's the center of attention and feels like gathering his thoughts for a bit?
You guessed it. Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Even better with a touch of Red Dwarf and Farscape in there for good measure; quite tasty indeed. Makes the eyes whirl nicely.
Mind convoluted and eyes whirling, the gleeman emulated a new Escher painting, this time winding his torso around much like a Battletech mech. Oddly comfortable. Of course, what wouldn't be, drunk on British humor and a Blaster?
"Over here," chuckled the Intrigleeman, to the high-floating Carra and the distinctive quietly low voice of a paranoid warrior. "I needed a bit of Blaster calming; you've had one, haven't you, Carra? Dun think Ares has yet." This last, of course, said with a gleeful wink.
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Warder to Arie
Arie turned around at the sound of Kir's voice. He sounded... about as he ever did, but the sensations in her mind made her burst out laughing. "What ever are you doing??" She came nearer. "Or rather, what ever are you drinking??"
Just then, she noticed how strangely Ares was looking at her. For good reason too; she had started laughing hysterically at apparently nothing. Somehow, she tampered her laughter down enough to make introductions. "Kiriath, this is Ares. My ex-voice, Ares." It still felt odd to have him there as a real person and to have to actually speak to him. "And Ares, this is Kiriath, my wonderfully Eccentric machinwarder." Ares seemed almost as awkward around him as he had been around her. Would the man ever master the social graces? No matter; she never had done that too well herself. Catching something in the corner of her eye, she did a double take. After everything, she thought, you really shouldn't be so surprised. "Carra? Is that you up there?" Feeling a bit drunk herself, she continued, "well, this here is Ares. Ya know, the guy in my head? But....." she stopped, confuzzlepated. "He's not really in my head. He was." Proud of her coherence, she nodded firmly.
"Who else would it be? Excuse me, I'm trying to sink." Carra concentrated on being heavy, with the only result being that she rose higher and started to float away. "Hey! Someone get me down?"
Carramaena, antigravity expert
"Yes, of course I can speak."
Al'cair eyed the Aes Sedai. She seemed familiar, but he could not put a name to the face.
"I am a dragon, not the Dragon of your prophecy," he added and then sighed inwardly at the surprise on her face. "You thought very loudly, Aes Sedai. - But please excuse my manners, your thoughts did not reveal your name to me. I am not certain, have we met before?"
"We were in Chaos together," Melissande replied after recovering from her surprise. She thought loudly? "But you weren't really capable of noticing much then. My name is Melissande. I'm - well, I suppose I'm the third Dark Sister."
She glanced at the - dragon's? - claws, and decided not to offer her hand. "So you are a dragon, but not the Dragon. Forgive my ignorance, but I've never heard the word in any other context. Although you do bear a certain resemblance to the design on his banner...?"
Melissande Amaline Isten
"I am not of this reality originally. I do not know where from I am. I have no memories of the time before I arrived here. But I came through the Chaos and found myself in the Library."
Al'cair's tail tip twitched in irritation and uncertainty.
"I believe I was the first or one of the first who where displaced into this reality."
He sighed deeply.
"So you are a Dark Sister now. Are you sure of your choice? You know, Flame, Dune and I intended to rescue you when the Chaos swallowed us."
Flame had caught Al'cair's last words and moved closer.
Melissande's face was unreadable - almost. It could have been the candles' light playing tricks. But there had been a hint of emotion. Uncertainty? Guilt?
Did the newest Dark Sister still doubt? Flame hoped it. Fighting to keep people faithful to the Light seemed a lost cause these days. But she wouldn't give up.
Melissande looked at the dragon, and the watching Flame, with a combination of exasperation and bemusement.
"Really? You will have to explain how you planned to do that. As far as I know neither of you can channel, and with no offense to your fighting abilities, I somehow don't think either spears or talons will be a great deal of help if I can't get out by myself."
Conscious of other eyes watching her, she smiled. "Besides, what makes you think I wanted to be rescued in the first place? There are - certain advantages to my current position."
Melissande Amaline Isten
Al'cair's melancholy mood vanished in a heart beat. His spine tensed visible and his slitted eyes became cold and hard.
Flame stepped closer. She spoke in a low voice, almost a silent snarl.
"Spoken like a true Aes Sedai, Melissande. You know little to nothing about our skills," she nodded almost imperceptibly in the direction of the dragon, "but you readyly dismiss them."
Inspite herself a hint of her scorn leaked through.
"May I refresh your memory? - You were caught in a dream you couldn't leave. All of your channeling can't help you in tel'aran'rhiod if you know next to nothing about the Unseen World. A Dreamwalker could have helped you immensely."
Flame tried to get a grip on herself. Biting off Melissande's nose, literally, would not accomplish anything. She probed the smell of the Aes Sedai.
Annoyance was strong, not suprisingly so. But also caution, and it didn't seem directed at her or Al'cair. And if she remembered correctly it was there even before her little speech.
She hesitated, uncertain of its significance, and then murmured under her breath: "If you want to reconsider your choice you know whom to talk to."
Hoping that Melissande had caught it after all, she briskly turned her back on her and led Al'cair to the buffet Dune had occupied.
For once, the gleeman decided to go along with the rest - every world needed its entrepreneurs, but even entrepreneuring - frelling icky word - grew tedious after a while, having the conversations grow dim in other aspects.
So. . . let's play along.
Playing along is a Good Thing.
You know I din.
Taking yet another long chug of his newly modified Pan Galactic Sapho Blaster, a new dedication to the planet Arrakis, Kiriath smiled cheerily if a bit blearily.
His eyes were a bit dim, see, and the rest of him with it. Chaos did that - a new version of exhaustion, supposed Kiriath, tensing slightly as the bond enhancements fed him strength and . . . was that more ramble? Indeed.
"Ah, yes. Back up to par," with a decided wink at Carra. "Nice floating bit there; how short's the Dark Sister skirt?" He peered closer, afar enough for decency. "Assuming that's a skirt."
He leaned back on the proverbial - yes, only proverbial - chair, turning his gaze to Ares. Nice to be Pannedly drunk; two more faces appeared, chatting with Carra and Arie.
"I've wondered about you since the Bond, Ares, and even a bit before. You're the only one I know who's actually stolen a body."
A slight bit of malice was there, of course - Ares had stolen the body from his proverbial Sedai! - but also mere curiosity.
If it could be called mere.
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni
Ares shrugged, more than a little uncomfortable. Here he was, not only faced with Arie's Warder... a man supposed to protect her, or so he'd heard... Arie herself... and a Dark Sister. They all seemed rather... off their rockers, so to speak, to Ares.
Of course it didn't occur to Ares that he was a former voice who had taken over Arie's body and that he was likely just as off his rocker as anyone.
"I," he began "I just wanted to experience what she was. All I could do was talk and sing a mean tune, but nothing much more. And I didn't like being trapped in there," he finished, hoping everyone knew where "there" was. Arie smiled sympathetically at him, a sort of all's forgiven sign. After all, everything had turned out. And turned out not badly, at that.
He tried to think of something to say to the other woman, Carra, but he couldn't come up with anything intelligent sounding. He didn't want her to think he was purposely ignoring her or anything; he was just much wittier as a voice.
For being named after the God of War, he thought, I'm not too good with the social graces, am I?
Blame it on the saboteur.
Two bits lost and a third just...
You do that much more, gleeman, and your voices will rebel on you. Tower of Ghenjei - soon. Or face the fear.
Face the fear? Was this Chaos talking to him?
Tower of Ghenjei, whatever the case.
"Takes guts, Ares; talking to a drunken gleeman arguing with his own voices."
That afore bit still made him wonder - who would sabotage a gleeman's thoughts? Who could?
His blaster. He frowned distastefully, chugging the rest down anyway. Must've been spiked. There was a way to make sure, though, to keep it from happening again.
Or spruce up intrigue, at the least.
"Ever considered being a spy, Ares?"
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder of Arie
Ulrike leaned against a pillar. She was too tired to eat anything and even wine would be much too strong for her now. She contended herself to watch. Al'cair, she was reliefed to see, overcame his dark mood. Dune didn't seem to even remembering this awful episode. She was wolfing down every available sort of meat. There was stomach trouble coming, she knew it.
Caught by the sight of Kiriath confusing Ares she missed Flame's talk with Melissande. The abrupt retreat revealed much, though. You can only save someone from the Shadow who wants to be saved, Flame.
She made her way over to her. "I will leave now. I believe you can safely use the portal stone to return. If not, I will come looking for you."
Flame just nodded. A jerky motion that betrayed her tension. Ulrike then approached their host to say goodbye. Sundara still rested in Eval's arms.
"If you will excuse me for leaving early, Lady Sundara. This little adventure took more out from me than I thought. This party is a pleasant conclusion to it and you have my heartfelt thanks."
"But of course," Sundara replied with a warm smile. "The party won't be the same without you, Ulrike. But we wouldn't dream of keeping anyone longer than they want to stay."
She felt Eval's amusement flow through the bond at the double meaning. Ulrike smiled back pleasantly as she made her farewells; on the other hand, Flame's hostility was almost tangible. The comment had been spoken softly, but wolves and wolf-kin alike had sharp ears.
Now this was a fine game. The Dark Sisters versus Flame and her motley collection of Lightfriends - and Melissande? One of those colour-changing pieces, perhaps, whose allegiance depended on where on the board it stood.
Sundara's smile widened. She had always liked games.
Sundara, player of games and walker of dreams
Melissande looked after Flame with some bemusement. "A dreamwalker?" she said aloud. "I was trapped by a dreamwalker! And if I know anything about them, it's that you can't beat one on her own territory!"
She shrugged and went back to her seat, wondering if the Aielwoman was entirely right in her mind. Even assuming that another dreamwalker could break Sundara's power in her own dream, an unlikely proposition to begin with - and what had Flame been doing in that dream herself, if she could break out? - it wouldn't have stopped the Shadow from recapturing her later. She still didn't understand why Flame was allowed to wander here freely, and preach the Light's cause, in the first place. This was supposed to be the Shadow's stronghold!
Melissande grimaced. The most likely answer was that Sundara and Carra, or their 'elder brother' found it entertaining. In which case, she was certainly being watched. This was hardly a spot for private conversations.
Although at some point, a decision had to be made...
(OOC: Melissande is very new at this, remember. She can't comprehend the idea of a Shadow/Light truce, so assumes that an apparent Lightfriend is either a prisoner or a trick to test her loyalty. From reading old threads I know that anyone can change sides at will, but would an Aes Sedai believe that for a moment?)
Melissande Amaline Isten
Carra tapped Ares on the shoulder.
Carramaena, psychotic musician
Ares came the nearest he ever had to a wry grin. Tongue tied was certainly correct, in this case.
But her next comment surprised him. Music? He hadn't done that for... a small bit. Since he... Arie... first arrived, he supposed. True, it had set off quite a series of consequences, but he had always been quite a singer.
"Very much the same thing. But after all that's happened, I think a bit of music would be welcome, psychotic or no." That reminded him of something else. Between him and Arie, who had the rest of the voices, anyway? "Now, if I could only figure how to do this outside of someone's head. The results may not be pretty," he said thoughtfully, "then again, psychotic music has rarely been called pretty."
A gleeman wouldn't be a gleeman without a song or two. Of course, Kiriath was and always would be a gleeman; thus, a small flute... or was it quite a flute? ... was stashed away in one of those pockets a gleeman is quite infamous for. Where IS Thom, anyway? For a second, Kir's rambles stopped in his path.
The beckoning voice.
He shrugged it off - nah. Too bluffably obvious. Or something. "I'm up for a mushic bit," he said, aheming immediately after. "Pardon that - music. I'm not quite used to sapho yet."
Indeed, his lips were quite red from the characteristic stains. Too lipsticky. A handkerchief of Air wiped the bits away. Oddly enough, a soft chuckle-feeling from Arie rippled across the Pond.. er.. Bond.
The elongated flute flew away from him gradually, as he spoke the next. "A bit of physical Chaos residue; it reflects the song in my head at any given time.
"And I do have a song in there most always, whether I want to or not."
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder to Arie
Carra looked at Kiriath's lipstick stains and smothered a giggle.
Carramaena, waiting for reactions...
The Music, eh? It was New Years, after all, and Arie supposed that the idea would at least produce some interesting results, if nothing else. Glancing at the other three... musicians, Arie noticed an odd reddish stain on Kir's mouth. It reminded her of an evening in Tron, thought the next moment she couldn't have said where that thought came from. Nevertheless, the picture still made her laugh. Obviously she wasn't the only one to notice; Carra looked distinctly amused by it and even commented.
The chord was struck. Ares looked a bit shy, but that was understandable. Arie herself wasn't sure exactly what she was going to do. She searched her head, and though there were a few presences, she didn't think that they were her voices. One was definitely Kir, and the others were likely his voices. Apparently, either Ares had them, or they were gone. She reflected that she would be rather sad if they were gone; they had been rather fun themselves.
Then Ares started singing, and Arie could tell that indeed the voices were there. She could even identify most of them. The Music was different, as it was every time. Arie added her own tone, a strangely haunting one, it seemed, something she'd never done. Then she collected some of the notes from Ares and wove them, as she had always done in the past. She let the harmonies, if they could be called that, play with the instrumental music, and smiled at the result. This time, it sounded like nails on a chalkboard against pure, musical tones. Quite a little contradiction. The instrumentals improved it, and they had an orchestra of their own, dancing with Arie and Ares' Music.
Would this, then, be Eccentric Music?
"Oh, no," Melissande sighed. "Not again!"
"Again," Carra said, and she laughed. "Again, and again, and again. We're so completely eccentric that we don't even have a centre worth mentioning." She put down the guitar, working her fingers for a moment. "May I take the next song, Arie? Ares?" At their assent, she started playing again, and sang softly:
"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams,
It was the perfect anthem for the Shadow. She wondered how long it would take before Flame, Dune, Al'cair and possibly Melissande stalked out of the room in a huff.
"And you'll live as you've never lived before..."
Carramaena, singing the music of the night
Flame gritted her teeth. She wanted to snarl. This infernal ... music grated on her nerves. She would have left, but the tiny, smug smirk on Carra's face made her stay. She wouldn't give the Dark Sister this satisfaction.
Melissande, she noted, didn't like the music either. And Sundara...
The Dark Sister was greeting a newcomer, a beautiful woman Flame didn't recognize. Who...
Moon Huntress has come.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is forgotten when the Age that gave birth to it comes again - yada, yada etc.
The wind hovers under the charcoal-toned sky streaked by random flashes of lightning, above the barren plains and the Thakandar. A flash of white and silver, more visible than the lightning, moves across the plain in graceful, steady footsteps. The figure does not look back. She sees only her future, not her past.
'I am finally free.' Lanfear murmurs to herself. 'After three thousand years – I am free.'
Somehow, the Daughter of the Night walks again - she has broken through the coursouvra, regained her old body, and - through some intensive counselling, finally got over Lews Therin.
'Very well.' Lanfear smiles to herself. 'Let spring thaw the winter ice, let the seeds of darkness grow - I am back!'
- Lanfear, Daughter of the Night, glad that Moghedien's gone, and that T'A'R is hers once more.
"The music of the night..."
The words haunted Kiriath - indeed, he did have a dark side, and had even, in his portal-stoned mind, considered joining the Dark a few times.
That was long ago - he had since discovered his destiny, and even acquired a bond. Traces in that bond somehow tilted him toward the Dark; but still he held firm. A miniature Dragon, perhaps? laughed the gleeman. Perhaps a ta'veren of a sort, at that.
Something said Ni softly, a stone appearing spontaneously on the board. A new piece had been added to the puzzle, a piece he had overlooked but long considered missing.
The Daughter of the Night.
With the new piece now added, the gleeman smiled, adding his own odd melody to the mixture of Machin music - channeling his mood through the flute, he giggled girlishly for the flicker of a second, whistling a come and party sound to Lanfear in its midst. With his red sapho semi-lipstick, he appeared decidedly unstable.
He was going to have to change that.
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder to Arie
"My goodness. Oh, but I don't have any."
Intrigued as she sensed a newcomer at Shayol Ghul, Sundara decided to stand on her own feet. Literally. She tapped Eval on the shoulder.
"Put me down now, sweetheart. Not that I have any criticism of your carrying abilities, but we have a guest and formalities must be observed."
She reached out a tendril of thought to identify this new presence. Shadowsworn, certainly, but not one she'd met - She caught a flash, some kind of sigil. A moon and stars...
Lanfear? Well, well.
She glanced in the mirror, and clicked her tongue irritably. Really, she should have known better than to go casual, even for this party. There were always surprise guests. A small application of will, and her black hair flowed like silk to her waist, her silver dress flowed like silk, which it was, down her body, and her hand was lightly resting on Eval's arm. They strolled through a gateway and down to where the Daughter of the Night approached.
"Sister," Sundara greeted her, her voice lightly mocking. "I may call you that, may I not? We are all on the same side, after all. Or perhaps you have not been told of me?"
She curtsied gracefully, the merest dip of her head to an equal. "I am Sundara. You have, I think, met my companion. He, too, prefers his original body to the later one the Great Lord allocated him."
(OOC: Eval Ramman = Balthamel. From an alternate reality, as it happens. Long story.)
Sundara, sister of the night (so should I call you niece instead?)
Moon Huntress has come.
Flame froze. That Dune was right, she didn't doubt.
Daughter of the Night.
Her eyes were riveted. It was true that no other woman could surpass Lanfear's beauty. But wait, didn't the rumors say that she was dead or incarnated in another body? How was this possible?