The Gateway formed very near the wall. Too close in fact, as it cut through a tapesty. It widened with a roar like thousands of british football fans. The man who stepped throught the gate was generally unremarkable. Tall, dark, but not particularly handsome. He had the kind of face that could be missed in large crowd. His hair was long, black and gathered in a tail at the nape of his neck. A half empty beer can sailed over his head into the room, thrown by one of the British Football fans who were making all of the bleeding noise. The man frowned at the can and released the Gateway.
He looked around the room, dark eyes stoping for an instant on Lanfear before sliding past. She's dangerous, something told him, which made him laugh out loud. No one in the room wasn't dangerous, including himself.
He idly tried to remember where he'd met her before, and why the voice in his head that had named her as dangerous sounded half mad. He put it out of his mind. He wasn't here to do battle against the forces of Darkness. He was looking for drink after losing so terribly to Arthur Hawking. 8 to 2. He knew he'd never bet on the french again.
His eyes finished scanning the room, and he reached a conclusion. The patrons of this party were almost totaly, but not completely, unlike the Amish.
He coughed loudly to draw attention. He then paused dramatically, before saying, in that most dangerous tone reserved for high heros and low villians, "Where are the Cheetos?"
"Indeed," Cat remarked, turning from Kyree and Carra to the more interesting stranger. "No one here is wearing a bonnet. They don't go with the Dark Sister image, apparently."
She cocked her head, looking at the man with amusement.
"The Cheetos are on that table," and she waved a hand in a random direction. "Or if not, reality will supply them for you. How was the game?"
~The Black Cat~
Chance shot a slightly less than completely dangerous look at the woman who'd just spoken, and then grimaced. This was a bad place to be dangerous when you didn't have to be. He smoothed his features, looked the tawny eyed woman in the tawny eyes and carefully thought, It was a terrible loss to French pride. I rather think they will be out for blood when next they play the Brits. He thought each word carefully and clearly to ensure that there were no mistaken meanings. Best not to cause any trouble here, especially in consideration of what the fellow with red lips appeared to be drinking.
He had defeated the forces of Arthur Hawking, the Usurper at the the very gates of Torham Dahl. He'd fought more than enough battles, and barely managed to avoid all out war between the Towers themselves. Of course in the Final Battle with Hawking himself, he had died, but he knew not to mess with anyone who would drink a gargle blaster. Even Ishamael was never that mad.Ishamael?
Shortly thereafter he and Hawking, or Hawkwing as he liked to be called in the World of Dreams, had placed a few wagers on Soccer matches (all of which Hawk(w)ing had won). All and all it had put him into a mood as foul as any he'd been in in the Third Age. He didn't really remember that Age much, it always took time to get your head straight while waiting in T'A'R. But he did remember having a temper then.
He seized saidin and lifted a bowl of something off of table near by with a flow of air. He strode toward the tawny eyed woman, putting the lipsticked fellow out of his mind -- there was something disturbingly familiar about that man--and meeting the bowl halfway. As promised it now contained Cheetos, Hot'n'Spicy.
Grabbing a handful of the spicy, cheesy, crispy goodness he popped them in to his mouth and pointedly thought, I suppose I should be surprised at you reading my mind. I will try to remember to be surprised by that fact next time. Would you care to introduce yourself? He swallowed the cheetos, "I am Chance," he finished.
This might be a good place to kill sometime until the Wheel threw him into the grinder again...
Certainly, came back the response. I am the Black Cat. My friends would probably call me Cat, but if I had any, I misplaced them somewhere. Pity about the game.
"Is that your name, or a self-description?" Cat asked mildly out loud. Of course, I already know the answer, but that would be too sensible.
~The Black Cat~
This was unexpected.
The voices din stand a chance; rather, for once, Kiriath actually had a mind meeting. For once having a spy agency of madmen came in handy.
The Dragon came for our power was growing too powerful - or else the Dark Sisters'? - no not theirs; Arie just bonded you without too strong of a tie - huh tie huh - go away, Semir, back to Arie this isn't your meeting - go away go away! - come back - you wanna play? go ahead then - there he goes for a bit of playtime - giggling across the Bond - a bit too much of that was targeted to me you know - more giggling - Uh Oh.
Good agents, muttered Kiriath. Nothing of the sort. Of course, that did make them better. The giggling was replaced by a beer can promptly flying before his whirly eyes.
His head swiveled much like an owl - ever seen big whirly eyes late at night? Now there's an intriguing thing - as Tower of Ghenjei the frelling voice started up again.
Being guided by a completely new voice was anything but a yea, but Kiriath shrugged - too much in the party to care right now.
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder to Arie
Another newcomer? Melissande moved further back into the shadows, not without noting the irony. There were too many unknown factors here; for the moment she would stay back. And watch.
Melissande Amaline Isten
Chance stared at the tawny eyed woman for several moments after she spoke. The void pushed thought to the edge of his awareness, almost shutting it out completely at times, so for just a moment there was nothing to read on his mind. Then understanding dawned on the edge of his awareness. He released saidin and a broad smile crossed his face.
"It is one or the other," he replied, "depending on my mood. My mother named me Chancelwyn." He pooped another cheeto. And I do not read minds, he added, I simply take notice when someone is so obviously reading my own.
Cat blinked in the manner of cats, which is to say, not at all. That was interesting. Perhaps she had been careless.
But I also write them, she replied, making her 'voice' firmer this time. Are you sure you can't hear? A badly mixed metaphor, but it will suffice.
~The Black Cat~
When the portal had opened, interrupting the cat's mocking of Kyree, he took the opportunity to slide out of his embarassing situation... ^_~
It was way wacked how all this was happening. Who was this guy... well, other than his name...and where'd he come from?? And why'd he come HERE of all places?
Kyree was continually trying to make eye contact with this man... well... actually, he was trying to make eye contact with pretty much anyone...but being near the 'back' of the crowd, and standing a good 2 inches shorter than most of the others, he had little luck.
Kyree just sighed amoung the jumble of chitter-chatter and munching and shuffling and music and all the other noise, and just let the natural flow of the others push him back... if nothing else, he'd have a little more personal space and his senses wouldn't be so overwhelmed with the scent of all these humans... most didn't smell all too sweet... they could use a bit of Lavendar Oil... or whatever the kitty had on... she was normal-smelling... or maybe just un-human smelling ^_~
As he slowly slid to the back, he noticed another of the old people he'd met before. How come she's back here too?
Traipsing around or just sitting around.
For Kiriath, it was the latter.
Things were spiralling quite madly - Kir liked it that way. More food for the thoughts, and the less he could follow, the more the food munchied on down. Depends on the area, one supposes.
This one, yes, chaos was grand.
Perhaps the Door had somehow inadvertently sent Chance? ... by Chance?
That name ... it boggled Kiriath's brain circuits Perhaps he had met this fellow before, but he din seem terribly familiar.
Of course, there was always that other ...
The Tower, gleeman. The Tower!
Ahkay, the voice was getting tiring, and there was only one real way to deal with it.
Kiriath blinked his way out of the party, soon to return. There was a particular circumstance to attend in the land of Ghenjei ...
Sir Kiriath Machin Ni, Machinwarder to Arie
Ulrike had returned to the Palace some time before, but still, she couldn't find her bearing. She stayed back in the shadow, needing something solid to lean on. She didn't care at all if it was a stone column or Al'cair's shoulder. She felt faint.
Yes, Lanfear had arrived or World's best female imposter, but that shook her the core was him, Chance, Dragon Retired.
She moaned inaudible ignoring Al'cair's worried hiss in her ear. The Dragon was here, or at least one of his incarnations. What I am to do now? I hate it if a paradox springs up again. Didn't we have enough trouble with the Door to Chaos? Light help me!
quot;This," Carra said to no one in particular, "is starting to get interesting."
Tha's the understatement of the decade, Ulrike thought. She straightened up, clawed the tattered remains of her compusure together and strode over to introduce herself.
One new and one come again.
Chance something Something, the Dragon *whatever that was* and Kyree.
She decided it was time for introductions. "Hello, Chance. I'm Arie'Nerys, and if I knew what being the Dragon meant I'd probably congratulate you. But I'm from a slightly different universe. Damn transporters."
It sounded very much akin to what she had said to Lanfear. Oh well.
"I don't read minds that aren't mine or bonded to mine, so you're safe from that. You don't sound too sane which is promising.
And this," she indicated Ares, "is Ares. He used to be a voice, but you know the old adage, something about liberty and something else about death. I'm not much of a history person. Anyway, he decided to take over my body, but then I got my own. So we're both happy."
Ares put out a hand, and a fireball shot out of it. He looked distinctly embarrased. "Is the Dragon like a god? You see, I'm the god of war of my district, and I'm still not used to the godly powers. So far all i can do is hurl fireballs at innocent (or even not so) bystanders."
"It is," Cat agreed in response to both Carra's comment and Ulrike's thought. "Isn't it?"
Sundara glanced over at the feline woman, and wondered what she was thinking.
How amusing you all are, Cat replied.
Think it elsewhere, Sundara suggested. She slipped through the gathering crowd to the front.
"As somewhat-approximating-official hostess of the party, Chance, I give you greeting. Welcome to the Dark Palace, and welcome also to the Dark, should you be so inclined. You would not be the first Dragon to - retire - into our number."
She smiled warmly. "I am known here as Sundara. To complete the introductions, this irritating personage is the Black Cat, who you have already met. The madman in the patched cloak is Kiriath, the madwoman with the red hair is Carramaena, the upset-looking lady is Ulrike and the one letting everyone else do the talking is Melissande.
"Did I miss anyone?" she inquired sweetly.
Chance bowed graciously to each of the women in turn. "I thank you, good Mistress," he smiled, reaching out to saidin and channeling an end table. He set the bowl of Cheetos on the table of air and tied off the flows, before relaesing the Source. "It had seemed I was going to have drag introductions out by force. Hardly any way to make a good first impression."
"You mean to tell me that there are other Dragons?" he said in a lightning fast change of subject.
With blinding speed, he changed the subject again, "I would swear that there was a fellow here next to your friend the Black Cat, when I arrived," Chance added, indicating someone Sundara had missed.
"My friend? Not entirely the most accurate of terms..." Sundara glanced around. "Oh, Kyree. I did forget you, didn't I?" She shrugged. "Chance, meet Kyree.
"Other Dragons?" she continued with an equally swift change of subject. "Certainly. Surely you've heard of some of them - Amera Sune Elor and Kyana Elane, Caitwyn el'Rahn, Mairya DeShellay - there are an infinite supply of them, limited only by the imagination of their various creators. And of course you'll be familiar with Lews Therin Telamon and Rand al'Thor. You are them, after all. Aren't you?" She tilted her head inquisitively, in the traditional way of Brown sisters. Which she was. In a manner of speaking. "Come to think of it, what exactly is your relationship to those two?"
She grinned impishly. "Ulrike really wants to know that, you know."
Ulrike added an emphatic nod. A part of her was annoyed that she was still speechless over the whole matter. But the greater part desperately wanted to know. How was she supposed to do her job, one of her jobs but important, if she did not know anymore for whom she did it.
"I appreciate...," Her voice sounded somewhat strangled, but the words came at least. "... a satisfactory explaination, my Lord."
Chance looked a bit surprised. If a look of total surprise could be called a "bit". Some of those name sounded decidedly... feminine.
"Well," he said trying to organize his thoughts, and memories, some of which weren't his, as he defined himself.
Chancelwyn Sherad, was who he was. The Dragon certainly, but that had surely been nothing more than a title he been given. Only Athur Hawking (Hawkwing part of his sceamed), had said otherwise back in the World of Dreams.
"I have it on good authority that I am Rand al'Thor Reborn," he said finally. "Not that I believe it, mind you, but my memories have been decidedly... odd, since I died."
He hoped that was sufficient, because at the moment, he didn't have a better answer.