(even in Dragonmount)
It was a normal day in Dragonmount: Amyrlins ate pudding, Asha'man cursed chickens and Dragons ate cookies. As usual, the unusual happened, but that was usual, so it really wasn't...Nevermind. The point is that everything was running as smoothly as ever in the magical Role Playing world of Dragonmount (which is to say that at least one thing wasn't working right).
Nynaeve sniffed and managed to keep her hands from tugging her braid. That was a bad habit she was trying to break, no matter how much Lan laughed at her when she was angry. Where was the bloody man, anyway? She considered tapping her foot, but decided against it. Best for him to not see her worried or anything less than the calm, commanding, sensible woman she was. She counted to five. Still no Lan. With an exasperated sigh, she set out along the well-beaten path in front of her. Soon or later, Lan would find her. It would be fun to see if she could outsmart him, she smiled. Making sure to leave no trace for him to track, she walked quickly and unsuspectingly to the Black Tower. She never wondered how she had ended up on this path from riding her horse in Ebou Dar, but, hey, the Wheel weaved the Pattern and stranger things had happened before.
Alanna tasted the warm gooey Spoon™. Mmmmm. She licked her lips. It was perfect, maybe too good for the Aiel. Pouring the pot into a sturdy barrel and sealing it quickly for freshness, she was ready to leave the kitchen. Then she saw him. She smiled and winked at him. He smiled back.
"Hello, my lady," he bowed. "Now what is a lovely flower like you doing in this terrible heat?"
Alanna giggled back and smiled even wider. "I like it hot. So, what's your name?"
"Mat. Mat Cauthon," he spoke with a warm voice. "And your name is..."
"Alanna. Alanna Mosvani." She allowed him to kiss her hand. Mat Cauthon or not; that name was a big pick-up line in Dragonmount, she intended to use him for more than the obvious reasons.
"So, Alanna," he murmured. "You have a place where we can be alone?"
She smiled and let him by hand to her apartments, happy to have found the perfect man to take the pudding to the Aiel and make the bargain, even if he wasn't really Mat.
The bazaar was a busy place where all the merchants of Dragonmount, NPC or not, met and made agreements in hidden corners of ICQ chats. Perrin Aybere, now called Perrin Goldeneyes, was lost. More than the obvious.
"Hey, have you seen my wife?" he asked a tightly-dressed Domani. She looked at him confused (a newbie, obviously) and nodded. He sighed. "Thanks. Here." He pressed a coin in her hand. "If you see her, I'm staying at the..." He checked a piece of paper.
"The Inn?" she added, helpfully.
"The Spring of Morning Inn."
"Oh, I see." She looked even more confused. "Bye now." She scurried off towards an ICQ chat to ask about the existance of another Inn in Dragonmount.
He waved and continued his questioning of the crowd, growing as the day went on. He was really lost and more than losing Faile. He had no notion of where in the world he was; he had woken up in the middle of a street in his smallclothes. Perrin strongly suspected Rand of a prank, but it wasn't Rand's style, not anymore. He played the role of Dragon Reborn without breaking. Still, the only other alternative was the Dark One and he definitely didn't want to think about that.
Maybe the wolves could help. Opening his mind, he searched for four-footed brothers. He felt some, far to the north, almost beyond his range. To run or stay? His feet itched to run free under the starry night, lopping through the long grasses and under the branches of oak and ash and... Realizing that he was mentally babbling, he stopped and really started walking north out of the bazaar, towards finding himself. He felt a little bad over Faile, but there was nothing he could do right now to fix that. You needed to know the bowl before you fixed it.
Hmm... Was this Egwene's meeting place? He really wanted to see Elayne again. He ran a hand through his hair and opened the door. It had been a long time since he had seen her last in Tear; a few fond dreams did not count. His eyes widened. Surely they wouldn't meet in an inn!
Going to the bar, he sat down beside a man who looked a lot like himself, yet he looked so young. Rand had seen a lot during these past years, many things that would haunt him forever. Ilyena! Lews Therin howled and Rand cut him off right then and there. He had heard the litany of Lews Therin many times before.
"What do you want to drink?" A woman with dark hair and steel eyes asked him.
"Nothing right now. Maybe a pint. I'm looking for someone."
The woman nodded absently. "Everyone's looking for someone."
He paused. Who to trust? Yet what was a man when he could not trust anyone? "I'm looking for a woman with blonde hair, blue eyes who might be travelling with a shorter woman with a long dark braid and a temper. You seen them?"
The woman paused as she drew a pint. "It sounds like you're describing Elayne and Nynaeve, but there's no one like that in Dragonmount. Phoenix and the others wouldn't hear of it."
His breath caught. "You know her? Where is she?" he demanded roughly.
"Hey, hey, calm down." The woman made soothing gestures. "Book-wise, they're both in Camlyn. Of course, that is a POD spoiler. Sorry, but you really won't find anyone like those two here or with their names. Why don't you try one of the MUD's, hmm?"
Rand sat back. What was the woman talking about? She must be insane, yet how did she know those things about Elayne and Nynaeve? Taking a deep breath, he began to ask her what was going on...
"Excuse me, but you seem to be lost." The Aielman sitting beside Rand spoke up.
"Yes, I am." Rand turned his eyes to him. An unusual Aiel to have hair that dark and to not be wearing their usual garb. He also spied a sword under the man's plain Andorean coat. So, not an Aiel then.
"Well, I'm Phoenix. If anyone can help you, I can," he smiled.
"Well, firstly, where am I? I woke up in a forest with a pack of wolves around me. They finally left me alone after I...scared them off and I came up a hill to this place."
"Oh." Phoenix laughed. "You're in character lost. Well, tell me more about your character and I'll play along."
Rand frowned. This was getting stranger and stranger by the moment. Had he finally gone mad? Surely it wasn't like this... Irritated, he decided to get some answers fast. "My name is Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, and you will answer my questions," he spoke calmly as he embraced the Source and placed his hand on his sword.
Phoenix's eyes narrowed. "There is only one and that is me. I try to be forgiving with new members, but that is the one thing I will not stand."
"You?!" Rand barked with laughter. "I don't know what Aes Sedai told you that, but I am the real Dragon. I'm the one with Lews Therin in his head. I'm the one who will save us from the Shadow. I am the one that brings change."
Phoenix smiled, amused. "You won't give this up, will you?" The woman behind the bar smiled. "Fine, play the fool if you want to. Don't blame me if no one takes you seriously online." He turned back to his drink.
"What is this online that you're talking about? Is it something to do with threads?" Rand asked the woman.
The woman laughed. "I suppose so."
Tired of all this mocking, Rand got up. Insane dream or not, he was leaving this place.
"Hey, you forgot to pay me for the drink!" The woman shouted as the door closed. "Poor kid," she said to Phoenix. "You sure was hard on him."
Phoenix shrugged. "It was his fault. Play with fire and you get burned. Pretty good role playing though," he added.
"Yeah. I hope he stays on."
Phoenix nodded. "Now, about that webring..."
"Alright," Matalina put down her glass. "We need a plan to get Warders' more prominent in the Dragonmount community. I mean, most of us are names without faces, titles added to Aes Sedai's posts!"
'Hear, hear!' rumbled through the room.
"We need participation! From now on, if you don't make a post once a month, you're dead!" Silence.
"Yeah, chew on that! I'm tired of being the only warder around on a regular basis! Excepting Joe, Ben, Lone Wolf, Darkseid," The list continued on for a few minutes. "And furthermore,"
A new warder ran into the chatroom. "Matalina! Matalina!" he panted.
"Yes. What is it?" she muttered irritatably. "I was just getting to the good part..."
"There's a man kicking the **blank** out of all the warders on the Training Grounds! I mean, he must be a Jedi Master! Please, come quickly!"
Matalina spoke sharply. "That's enough of the bad language! No visitations with your Aes Sedai for a week!" The warder pouted. She turned to the audience. "That's another thing I have to address to you..."
Joe Gaidin smiled and ran a hand along his blade. "Let me take care of this trouble. I like killing warders." His smile became quite villianous.
"Um, sure, Joe. Just don't scare the newbies." Joe bowed and hurried to the field eagerly. Matalina sighed. Why did the Amyrlin's Warder have to be an action hero? The Amyrlin's Warder was supposed to stay in the Tower pushing paper or be out in the world alone. That's what the books explicitly said. Double sigh. The never-ending RP battle between the purists and the creativists.
"Excuse me," a man wearing the Malkieri hadori and Warder cloak stood beside her. She jumped; she hadn't felt or seen anyone there. "Yes?" she spoke with a wavery voice.
"I'm looking for an Aes Sedai by the name of Nynaeve. Short, long braid, has a temper. Have you seen her?" His ice-cold blue eyes bore into her.
"Nyn? Nope, not today, but I'd look around just in case." His eyes seemed to have tightened when she had said Nyn's name.
"Thank you." He bowed and left. Matalina smiled. Now that was a model Warder! She need more like him around! Ignoring the shouts outside, she resumed her speech for the Head Warder Association Meeting regarding new laws. "And furthermore, there is to be no more on-duty drinking! People are confusing us with the Black Tower now!" The groans and arguments started as she finished. Light, it was hard being a Warder!
"Kisses?" Mat pouted at Alanna as he loaded the cart.
"Nope, not yet," Alanna spoke automatically. "After you're done." She ignored his muttering on when that would be. He should have known that Green Sisters were not to be trusted. Would you trust a Mint Tea addict with a Tinker's love for exotic nighties?
"Finished." Mat wiped the sweat off his forehead with his arm. "Now?"
"Ew," she wrinkled her nose. "I'm not going near a man when he smells that gross!"
"Fine! I'll take a bloody bath!"
"Watch your tongue!" She glared at him, then delicately sashayed up to him and smiled. "Now Mat, that pudding is very important to me. I would reward you handsomely if you could take it to the Waste. Many Aiel are starving there. You might prevent a war. Think of the glory." She ended with Domani pose number 1010. That one always worked.
Mat smiled. "Okay, sugar plum. Just give me a moment to clean up." He touched her nose.
She giggled as he watched him leave for the public bathing room. This would be her ultimate conquest yet!
Young Bull! Dawndancer sounded astonished. How is it? Let me tell Darksmoon and the other brothers and sisters about you!
Darksmoon... That was a strange name for a wolf. A very forboding name.
Here, here! Dawndancer leaped out of the trees to playfully tackle him. Perrin laughed as he lay on the ground and played with her, nipping her neck. Follow me! Dawndancer wagged her tail as she lead him deeper into the forest.
Finally the forest opened up into a large glade, where fires and many people and wolves were lounging. Perrin was shocked. Yellow eyes looked back at his.
Come. Dawndancer seemed impatient. We must see Darksmoon first!
Okay, he told her as he followed, still amazed to see so many and no Aes Sedai swooping down to try to gentle them or take them to the Tower.
Finally, they came to a man with broad shoulders and an authoritive manner, talking with some others. He was dressed in simple farm clothes, not unlike those that Perrin had worn until he had met Faile. New clothes seemed to have appeared as if by the One Power in his closet when he had married Faile. At last, the man called Darksmoon turned to him.
"Young Bull?" Darksmoon sounded skeptical. That was impossible. All wolves knew each other's names; it was impossible to lie about your name. "No offense meant, but that is a name that I have heard before."
"Ah. Well, what have you heard of me?" Perrin prepared a quick explanation for the Whitecloak incidents. He did not entirely trust this man yet.
"Oh, a little of this and that. Rumours more than facts. Why don't I give you a tour of the camp as we talk?" Perrin allowed himself to be lead away.
When they were alone, Darksmoon spoke. "Look, I don't want any trouble in the Org. I have no problem with your name, but some of the brothers and sisters might take offense, if you get what I mean."
Perrin thought he understood. "You want me to leave?" he asked politely.
"No, not exactly. Just change your name." Darksmoon eyes glistened with truth.
"You know that is impossible. I will leave, if you can point me to the road."
"There's an Aes Sedai staying among us, Yveva Sedai. She'll take you to the White Tower if you want to."
"Okay." Light, this was strange. Wolves changing names and an Aes Sedai staying with Wolfbrothers?! It was time to go to the Tower and get some answers.
"Silver Serpent," Darksmoon called. "Please direct Young Bull here to Yveva. He would like to accompany her on her trip home."
As he followed Silver Serpent to Yveva Sedai, Perrin could not shake off the feeling that something was seriously wrong.
"Get your hands off me, right now!" Nynaeve slapped the black-clothed man. Come to think of it, all the man here were wearing black.
He touched his cheek. "Now, there's no need to get feisty! Just let go of the Source and we'll take you to an Asha'man on duty to report you in. It's our rules." Another man nodded. "See? Please?" The man half-begged her.
"Okay," she grumbled. "I just want you to know that I think this is stupid and quite unnecessary! Now take me to your superior, man!"
"If you'll release the Source..."
"What's going on here?!" boomed a tall man, a jug of some strong drink in his hand.
"Oh, Asha'man Hawkwing!" The man saluted him hand to heart. "This woman isn't obeying the rules for visitors from the Tower!"
"Isn't she?" The man looked down at her. She gulped. Maybe she should have released saidar, regardless of the impossibility of a man knowing that she was holding it. "Well, she doesn't look that dangerous to me. Let her in."
"But, sir! She's still..."
Hawkwing glared at the man. "Did I not just give you an order, Soldier?"
"Yes, Asha'man Hawkwing." The man saluted, blushing and looking straight ahead.
"Good. Dismissed, Soldier."
Hawkwing gestured for Nynaeve to follow him. Seeing no other alternative, she followed.
"I apologize for that. We are trying to have a better media image, but change is hard." He tipped back the jug and swallowed. "You want some?" He offered the jug to her.
She sniffed it carefully. If it tasted as bad as it stunk... Supressing a sigh, she chugged. Her eyes bulged. "Blood and Bloody Ashes!" she whimpered when she could finally speak.
He slapped her back. "Good, no? Here, let me have a drink." He snatched the jug and drank. "Ah. So what's your name?"
"Nynaeve," she smiled. It was hard keeping her usual self-control. "I'm from Edmond's Field and I'm an Aes Sedai of the Tower!"
"You don't say, Nyna. What Ajah?" He passed the jug back to her.
"Yellow, of course. I love Healing." There. That stupid smile again! She drank and passed it back.
"Hmm. Yes. Looking for a Warder?"
Nynaeve thought for a moment. "Yeah, yeah, I am. A big and strong one!"
Hawkwing winked. "Smart and multi-talented as well?"
Nynaeve grinned. "Yeah."
Hawkwing put an arm around her shoulders. "Then I know some boys who would make wonderful Warders. Best to bond them fast, before Phoenix outlaws Asha'man bonding again! Would you like to try before buying?" he winked again. "Greens do that often."
"Of course, Master Hawkwing. I am a farmgirl." Light, why did that sound strange?
Hawkwing laughed. "Come, come. You can try as many as you want until you find the perfect fit for your lifestyle."
Grinning, Nynaeve let him lead her into what appeared to be a tavern. This was going to be so much fun!
Mat whispered in Nymphia's ear. "Just one lil' Gateway and I'll be finished, ready to start my training as a Warder."
Nym giggled and fanned herself. "One Gateway and you'll be mine forever?"
He kissed her fingers. "One Gateway and you'll make me the happiest man in the world," he winked. Yes, and far from these Aes Sedai!
Nym giggled some more. "Okay." She lazily moved her fingers and a Gateway slowly spun out, leading to a desert landscape. Mat smiled and climbed into the driver's spot on the wagon. Leading the horses through the Gateway, he wiped off sweat. Blood and Bloody Ashes! Aes Sedai would be the death of him; he was certain.
"Excuse me," the tall man interupted the Aes Sedai watching the Warders on the Practice Field. "Have you seen this woman?" He held up a sketch for the woman to see. It was a rather plain and simple drawing. She studied it. "Nope. Haven't seen her." She turned back to her hunting.
Lan sighed. "Okay. Thanks." He faded into the crowd again.
Rand cautiously crawled out of the bush. That had been close. Two Novices had been walking up the road, one with a patch eye. If they had seen him... If they had known... So many 'if's' and so little time. Dusting himself off, he continued his journey. He feared the White Tower, feared the knowing glances of the Amyrlin and Verin with her bird-like eyes, seeing him only as a tool to be used. Most of all, he feared the Red Ajah. All Aes Sedai were to be feared, yet the Reds were the worst.
Finally, he saw it. His breath caught. It was just like that dream he had had on Winternight so long ago. When Lan and Moiraine had saved his village and his friends from the Trollocs. Saved us for what? he wondered.
The towers burned in the setting sun and bronzy gold glistened on gates. Guards stood straight as they did in the Borderlands. Here was the Watch kept.
Rand entered the city without raising any alarm, just a farmboy seeing a city, seeking shelter for the night. Shelter he did seek, but not in one of the many inns of Tar Valon. His footsteps led him closer and closer to destiny. A shiver made all the hairs on his neck stand up as he crossed into the Tower's Grounds. He remembered the Fade's words. 'This is your destiny. We have been waiting.'
Fear was useless. Rand had a duty to do. He hardened his face and began the slow climb to the the top of the Tower. He dared not touch saidin here. Too near, too close. His breathing became laboured as he climbed the pale stairs. The walls seemed closer... thicker... No! You will not catch me, the Lord of the Morning! Rand blocked Lews Therin's muttering and the panic did seem to stop as well.
Finally, the stairs ended. Rand smiled. Now to show Siuan who was in charge here! Preparing his speech to her, he opened the door and stepped into the Keeper's Office. Leane's eyes had made him stammer in Fal Dara. He vowed that he would not let her see him flustered again.
A woman looked up from papers. "Yes?" she inquired. "You are to see the Amyrlin?" She was wearing the stole and definitely not Leane or her successor; what was her name? That White Sister.
"Yes. I am Rand al'Thor."
"Okay, Rand. Just wait here." She got up and entered the next room, the Amyrlin's Study. Silence. Then she returned. "Come on in. She'll see you now."
Giving the Keeper a nod, he entered, preparing himself for the unexpected... "Egwene! What under the Light are you doing?!"
Egwene looked up from a dish in front of her. "Nothing." She hid the dish behind her.
He smiled. "Egwene, remember what did Nynaeve do to you when you lied about eating your greens?"
"Yes," she said warily.
"So give me some or I'll tell the Amyrlin you're wearing her stole."
"She knows." She put a spoon of whatever was in the bowl in her mouth. He glared at him and she giggled. "It's pudding!" She showed the bowl of a brown semi-liquid to him. "Try some! It's good!"
Dipping a finger in, he tried it. "Hmm... Not bad. I remember Avi telling me about a Shara dessert called chocolate. This must be it."
Egwene nodded. "Yes. It's chocolate pudding. As for why I'm here, the Amyrlin needed a replacement for awhile, so she called for me." She grinned and licked the spoon.
Rand frowned. "Are you sure? Siuan's not the type of woman who..." Abruptly, he channeled Air and Spirit at her. "There," he spoke in tones of great satisfaction. "Got you now, Graendal. Thought I wouldn't recognize pudding, did you? Wrong, **blank**. I wasn't named Tamyrlin for nothing."
Egwene scowled and said nothing. Of course, with Air surrounding her, she had no choice.
Rand smiled, then shook his head suddenly. He seemed to be arguing with himself. Luckily, at that point of time, Kathana came in and mobbed Rand all by herself.
"Raaaaannnddd! I love you!" She threw her arms around him.
"Wha... Who are you? Where am I?"
Kathana smiled. "In the White Tower of an intersecting world called Dragonmount that really doesn't exist in the Real World except as a bunch of words on a screen."
Rand took a moment to take that in. "Okay. Lews says that he's heard of that before." He tilted his head, obviously listening. "Ah, I see. We're characters in a book in your world. Legends of a time of myth." Rand frowned. "You people created Dragonmount to act like us?! Are you people insane? Don't you have things to do in your own world?"
Kathana hung her head guiltily. "Well, it's hard to explain. I guess Dragonmount does become a part of our world to us players anyway."
"So that Phoenix guy is me in this world?" He made a face. "I wouldn't want to be me. I'd want to be Jain Farstrider and travel the world having adventures," he smiled. "Definitely not channeling and going mad."
"Yeah, well, men don't go insane here. They just get bonded, dear." She offered an arm. "Now let Egwene go, sweetie and we'll talk as we walk."
Rand did as ordered, still amused with this imaginary world.
Yveva handed a book to Perrin to add to the pile. "And this is Shanoutsho's 'Dialogue Between Elders'. The Mother will want that," she spoke as she searched the shelves for more books. He patiently waited for the next book. At least Brown Sisters were familiar.
"Oh, there's the Mother now." She gently marked her place on the shelf. "Greetings, Mother. I was chosing some books for the Brown Ajah Book of the Month™ Club. How many I help you?"
Perrin narrowed his eyes. The Amyrlin Seat had ink smudges on her face?
Kathana picked up the book. "Shanoutsho. A good choice. I am actually more interested in your new companion," she smiled slightly.
"Oh, him? His name is Perrin, but the Wolfbrothers call him Young Bull. He's a wonderful library helper," she smiled up to him.
"Really? Well, I need to send Perrin back. He doesn't belong here."
Yveva tilted her head. "Why ever not?" It was so hard to find suitable library helpers.
Kathana touched her arm. "I'm sorry, Yveva, but sometimes when you love someone, you have to let them go."
Yveva nodded and motioned for Perrin to join Kathana. He obeyed her, knowing that resistance was useless against Aes Sedai, especially the Amyrlin Seat herself. The glow in Kathana's eyes told him that.
"Good boy," she patted his shoulder. "Come on, we have to find your other friends."
Perrin trotted obediently after Kathana as she glided out of the library, leaving Yveva wiping the tears in her eyes.
"Thanks Soraya." He stared deeply into her eyes. "You have no idea what this means to me."
Her mouth stayed open, charmed by his wink and warm voice. "Oh, Mat," she heard herself say.
Pressing a necklace into her hand, he smiled and got up off the couch. "Just one lil' trip to the White Tower and everything will be fine. I promise."
"Of course." Hastily, she made a Gateway. Mat grinned and put on his hat. "Good night, Soraya."
Knowing that he would probably never return, she decided to leave her mark on this heart thob. "Come here, Mat..." Snaking her arms around his shoulders, she made sure that he would remember her forever...
"Psst. Darkseid, I need help." Hawkwing whispered sharply.
"What?" Darkseid turned to be Hawkwing helping a very giddy woman to walk upright. "Oh Light! Not another drunk Aes Sedai. Honestly, you guys have got to stop them from this," he frowned.
Hawkwing shrugged. "It was an accident. She grabbed my jug of whiskey before I could stop her."
He glared at the Asha'man. "You owe me." Taking a packet out of his pocket, he carefully measured out the leaves. "Put these with some hot water and give it to her. These much will fix Lannie after a sleepover."
Saluting, Hawkwing made up the remedy as Darkseid (having a lot of experience) held the stumbling Aes Sedai upright. She kept making sexual comments, some which were even new to his ears.
"There you go. Drink up, Nyn!" Hawkwing semi-forced the drink down her throat. She naturally struggled, then gasped, "Oh Blood and Bloody Ashes!" and ran down the hall.
Darkseid and Hawkwing watched, both stunned. That had never happened before. Sharing a glance, they took off after her.
"Have you seen this woman?" Lan pulled over the one-eyed Novice.
"Nope, but I do feel a Foretelling coming on! Oh Light! Oh Bloody Blood Ashes!" With a wail, the Novice took off. Shaking his head, he continued on. Then suddenly, he saw her. "Nynaeve! Nynaeve al'Meara, get over here!"
With a glance at him, her eyes widened and she seemed to bite back a wail. "Oh Lan! Nooo!" She ran off in another direction with two men following her.
Racing after her, he turned the corner. If she was in any danger, no matter the cost... He skidded to a stop. Nynaeve and the men were paused in front of a group of people. His eyes narrowed. Some members of that group looked very familiar.
"Lan! You're here too? Now all we need to find is Mat," Rand called down to him.
Lan decided to ask questions later. Apparently all was well fo the moment. Of course, he didn't lessen his guard. Nynaeve was avoiding his eyes. Well, as the Kandori said, 'Troubles make for sweet making up.'
"Did someone say my name?" Mat appeared, tucking in his shirt. "I was... delayed by a Green Sister." All the men suppressed smiles as Egwene and Nynaeve glared at Mat.
"As long as you're here now." Rand said calmly.
"Right." Kathana clasps her hands. "Let's get to business. We're ready to open the Gateway using this ter'angreal." She held up a book-shaped piece of heartstone with the Wheel engraved on it, as well as some words that Lan could not read. Probably some title in the Old Tongue.
"Wait!" A man appeared behind Lan. His sword was out before the sound had died down.
The man was a tall man with dark red hair. An Aiel. Maybe he should out sword, no matter that he was in the Tower.
"I finally figured it out, Kathana! That's the real Rand!" He pointed at Rand. The man smiled embarassed. "I'm sorry that I didn't believe you. I mean, you're not supposed to be in Dragonmount and I... Oh man, you so cool!" The man gushed and clutched pen and paper. "Can I have your autograph? I bet even RJ himself doesn't have that."
Rand grinned, really amused. "Of course, Phoenix. It's no problem; I would think that any man who claimed to be me would be a False Dragon too." He signed the paper with a flourish. "There. Is there anything else I can do for you? This Dragonmount place is an excellent imitation of our world, I must say."
Phoenix's eyes widened. "Really?! That's... nice. Um, I have so many questions. Um, so which of the girls are you going to marry first?" Rand blushed, but continued to stare at Phoenix. "Well, you are going to marry at least one of them. What's Avi like? Is Elayne Ilyena Reborn? Is Min better than Avi? Do you think you're going to face Moridin at the Last Battle? Was my ending theory right?"
All the Randlanders goggled at the onslaughter. Rand cleared his throat. "I have no idea. No comment. Avi is sweet and a great woman. No, not really. She lacks Ilyena's ability to interogate. No comment. Moridin who? I have no clue."
Phoenix grinned like a fool. "I knew I was right." He winked at Rand. "All the right answers. I would say exactly that if I was you. Why have one when you can have three at once, you cunning devil you." He slapped Rand's back. "Have a great time, Rand. Do what I would do with the girls." Finally breaking to the combined glares of Nynaeve, Egwene and Kathana, Phoenix stepped away from Rand and was quiet, though still rolling in the joy of meeting Rand IROL (In Real Online Life).
Rand smiled, more than a little off balance. "Shall we, Kathana?"
Kathana turned off her glare. "Okay. Let me point this ter'angreal thingy straight. Okay, in you go, dears!"
A Gateway slowly plopped into being with dark lines running across it horizonally.
"Cool," Mat commented.
"Yes, very," Egwene spoke as she studied the flows.
"Let's go gang," Rand moved towards the Gateway. "We have a lot of work ahead to do. Move out!"
Entering the Gateway one by one, they left the World of Dragonmount for the World of Randland. Kathana sighed as the Gateway winked out. "There goes my last batch of chocolate pudding. Alanna!"
Immediately, Alanna hurried in. "Yes, Mother?" she said breathlessly. Kathana noticed that she was wearing a bunny suit, but decided to ignore it. "I am out of pudding. Make me some more," she commanded.
Alanna sighed. "Very well, Mother. Have you seen a boy named Mat today, Mother?"
"Yes, Daughter. I sent him back to his own world, dear."
"Drats, Mother." She made a face. "I was having fun using him."
An eyebrow rose. "Really? He was playing with Nymphia and Soraya as well."
"What? A man beat me at my own game? The nerve! I must go to the Warder's Field and practice some more!"
"After making my pudding, you mean!"
"Oh, yes, Mother." She nodded and scurried to the kitchens. Kathana smiled. At least things would be getting back to normal. Oh, <b>they</b> were still here. Best to send them along.
Phoenix giggled at the signature. "I can't believe this! I have to show Glenn and Robert and that Shadowkiller guy at PoP... I have to! Another reason why Dragonmount is the best Wheel of Time site there is!" With that statement of fact, he ran off.
Hawkwing pulled Darkseid aside. "You know that Nynaeve bird?"
"Yeah, the braided, drunken wonder."
Hawkwing reached into his coat pocket. "Well, me and the boys took some pictures..." He handed a handful of pictures to Darkseid.
Darkseid's eye bugged out as he saw the polaroids. "Oh Light! Oh Bloody Buttered Socks! Oh Light!" he muttered feverishly and stuffed the photos back into Hawkwing's coat. "Here, you take them. Lannie would kill me if she knew I had seen another woman's..."
"Really? Then I take she doesn't know about..."
Darkseid's eyes flashed. "No. And she will not."
Hawkwing gave him a puzzled look. "What about Fires_Child then? Surely, you must have. I mean, she is your wife!"
Darkseid spoke with a tightened voice. "As my friend, I ask that you stop pursuing that line of questioning."
Hawkwing frowned. "S'okay. But as your friend, I'm worried when a man..."
Their conversation faded as they left down the hall.
Kathana gave a relieved sigh. It had been a most unusual day, but now everything was back to normal and no furniture broken... Smash! The sound of a vase.
"Where's Mat? I know you were talking with him, Soraya. Don't even try to elude the truth this time."
"Why should I lie, Nymphia? I have nothing to hide. Mat is mine, as he wanted to be. He told me so."
"Excuse me?! Mat told me that I was the only woman for him to be bonded to. I had him right in the palm of my hand!"
"Puhleez! You couldn't land a man if you were the most beautifuliest woman..."
Kathana felt it was time. "Excuse me, but did I hear a vase break?"
Two gasps simultaniously. "No, Mother." Soraya called.
"It was possibly a Novice dropping a cup. No need to worry, Mother. I'll see to it myself." Nymphia gathered her skirts and ran off rather quickly for an Aes Sedai.
"I'll help. Wait, Nym!" Soraya called and hurried after the other Green.
Kathana smiled. A most unusual day. Joe felt like he had been injured, except that was impossible; he was one of the best, if not the best of the best. No one thrashed Joe in the Yard. She walked to the Yard, knowing that if it had been life-threatening, he would have been dead by now anyway. That was excellent Brown logic there.
The Yard was littered with Aes Sedai Healing their warders, lucky Greens Healing possible warders. Joe saw Kathana first and ran up to her wearing a newly acquired black eye. "Kathana! You would never believe the swordskill of the man who had past through her looking for some babe named Nynaeve! He must have been a veteran Jedi Knight player!" He winced as Kathana touched his black eye.
"No, that was Lan," she told him absently as she Healed.
"What? You mean the sun-bathing, French Lan?"
"No, the real Randland Lan. Close your mouth. That's how you choke on flies."
"But... How?" he wailed. "I should have done a sketch! The WoT Alliance of Artists will kill me! Dragonluv is going to give me the beats! Not to mention Darkhound, Waffleboy, Lews Therin..." He rambled on. Kathana slapped him.
"Stop it! That gives me the creeps when you start talking like a WoT artist instead of a warder!"
He rubbed his cheek. "Sorry. It's a bad habit."
"Anyway, he's gone now. Back to wherever they had come from."
"Oh." Joe pouted a little, then brighted. "May I make a sketch now? I think I can remember how he looked before I was knocked unconscious."
She smiled. "That's okay. Dismissed." He bowed and ran off towards his rooms.
Watching him leave, she wondered just what the Randland people had been doing before all of this had happened.
"Rand, pass me the sunscreen."
"Lazy chit," Rand muttered as he reached down into Egwene's beach bag. "You're not the Amyrlin yet."
Raising an eyebrow, Egwene said nothing, but motioned for him to rub it on her back as she read over the script for next week's episode. He obeyed, reluctantly. "I don't know why I always listen to you. I mean, I'm the star of the show. It should be the other way around, you playing second fiddle to me."
"Rand, shut up and put it on my shoulders. You have all the best lines. I don't. I just play the silly Compelled idiot."
"I know, I know, but still..."
"Heya Rand," Nynaeve walked up to them holding a beach ball and wearing her itsy-bitsy black bikini. "Perrin, Lan and I are going to play volley-ball. Wanna join?" she winked seductively at him.
He grinned back. "Um, I guess so." He looked to Egwene. She made a shooing motion. "Go, go! I've just put on sunscreen; if I play now, I'll have sand stuck in God only knows where!"
They all laughed. "So true, Egwene." Nynaeve smiled. "Come, Rand. Perrin and Lan are waiting!"
"Okay, okay! Just let me get my shoes on!"
"Why do you need shoes for?" She wiggled her bare toes. "They'll only trip you up."
He glared at her. "I don't want to get black feet from the parking lot. These feet are worth money."
She raised an eyebrow. "Really? And these are not?" She gestured towards her bikini top. Rand blushed. "I hate it when you two do that. I swear you're all in a conspiracy to make me blush 24-7," he complained.
"Of course we are," Nynaeve smiled sweetly. "Now move your ass."
Muttering about the general attitudes of women, Rand finally got his shoes on and join Perrin and Lan, both muscular and well-tanned, for a game of volley-ball. Mat eventually caught up to them, two ladies generously endowned by both Nature and Man by his side. Egwene also came down to the beach, making the game a wild three-on-three with two spectators rooting for Mat. Such was the life for the main cast members of the #1 soap opera in the world, 'As The Wheel Turns'.