The Usual Advisory Notes: Yes, some drinking and mild sexual innuendo; this one is pretty much a clear one unless you have a dirty mind (which I can't help you with *g*). It's is not rib-cracking funny, but intellectually funny. It's 'amusing'. This is sort of the 'On-going History of Dragonmount'.
Deep voiced Host: In the Beginning, there was a dream. It was a good dream. Ah yes, it was a good dream. (smiles in memory; an aid runs up to him) What? Oh, we're not talking about that dream? Oh, that other one? Oh. Okay. (coughs) It was the dream of the man once known and is still know as Phoenix. Let's turn back the pages of time and see the dream for ourselves. Because...
Audience: (shouts together) This Is Your Life!!!
(Cheesy music starts up as Alanna in a revealing evening dress touches the television screen a la Vanna White and it starts to show a movie of Phoenix's Dream)
(Dream sequence music)
Phoenix: (looks around in his Heron Marked™ pajamas) Woah! What is this?!
(He's standing in the middle of a typical suburban street, in front of two large houses, one painted black, the other white)
Phoenix: White Tower and Black Tower? Well, they are three story houses, but personally, I wouldn't call them Towers...
(He looks around)
Phoenix: Well, this looks like a nice neighborhood. Nice wooded lot behind the houses, a big park and playground for the kids to play 'Darth Vader' in. Hehehe. I wonder why I'm dreaming this.
(Ciara suddenly appears with neon pink ribbons in her hair)
Ciara: Hi Uncle Phoenix!
(She runs past him and goes into the 'White Tower' house)
Phoenix: Er…This dream is weird. (grins) No more cheese puffs for me.
(He walks up to the 'White Tower' house's yard, as a group of boys on BMX bikes ride up to the 'Black Tower' house's yard and get off their bikes, leaving them in the middle of the yard)
The__Dragon: So what's for dinner?
Kagato: I don't know. (makes a face) I hope it's not the Heron Marked™ fish sticks again. I hate those!
The__Dragon: Hey! I like fish sticks! Especially the way Dad fries them!
Dramon: You're both weird. But it smells like he's doing Shake 'n Bake™ chicken. BBQ, I'd say.
Kagato: Really? Oh boy!
(The three of them fight to get into the 'Black Tower' first)
Phoenix: Oh boy...I hope this isn't one of those prophetic dreams. Because I hope I never have kids like that. Besides, (makes a face) I hate Shake 'n Bake Country style BBQ flavour.
(Suddenly, there's a cat call from above in the 'Black Tower')
Shadowkiller: Hey, Ilyena... Nice shirt.
(A voice yells from the opposite window in the 'White Tower')
Voice: Hey!!! What are you looking at?
Shadowkiller: (shrugs with a grin) Nothing.
Voice: Ohmy!!! You're terrible!!
Voice: Tell your brother Hawkwing to stop smoking by the windows. The ash is getting on the window and Mother is making us clean them.
Shadowkiller: Okay. Will do. And Ilyena... Are you doing anything this Saturday?
Voice: (hesistates) No... Not really.
Shadowkiller: Well... Um, you and me... could go out and see a ...um, movie?
Voice: That would be nice. Eight?
Shadowkiller: Yeah, sure.
(Phoenix just shakes his head, puzzled. A young man runs up of the 'Black Tower', seemingly in a rush. Phoenix stops him.)
Phoenix: Excuse me, but where am I?
Man: (looks at him strangely) This is Dragonmount, of course. Didn't you read the banners or the URL?
Phoenix: Um... No, I'm new here. (thinks: Boy, now I'm dreaming I'm in a web page? Cool!!!)
Man: Oh, well. I haven't got time to show you around, newbie. I've got to go and fetch some grapes for Narell. (frees himself and runs off)
Phoenix: Wait! Tell me your name at least!
Man: (stops) Oh, my name's Ender. Ender Wiggin. Asha'man of the Black Tower. (resumes running)
Phoenix: Why would I think up a strange name like that? And what's with the Asha'man bit? I suppose it's like a wizard or some magic user.
(Phoenix walks up to the 'Black Tower's' front door and knocks)
Voice2: Come on in! The door's always open. If you enter your password correctly, that is!
(General laughter from inside. Phoenix tries to open the screen door; it won't budge)
Voice2: Register a password if you don't have one yet.
(Phoenix notices a touch pad on the handle of the door. Covering the pad, he quickly types in 'TooMuchCheese' as his password. The door opens freely.)
Voice2: Thought you weren't going to make it. I guess this is your first visit. (The Voice becomes a Man with a Loud Voice) My name's Mazrim Taim, but the boys here call me 'Dad'. (Taim is sitting at a large table with guys of all ages around him)
Phoenix: Er...Hi. My name's (thinks: I can't use my real name or my real alias name! Think! Think! Think! Oh, I got it!) ...Jarron.
Taim: Nice to meet you. Joining the Tower?
Phoenix: Which one?
(Everyone else laughs)
Taim: (recovering) Not like you have much of a choice unless you start wearing a dress and channeling saidar!
Phoenix: Oh, I get it. The 'Black Tower' is for men and the 'White Tower' is for the ladies. Kind of discriminatory, but I guess all that's important is that it works.
Taim: Oh yeah, yeah. It works. Do you want me to add your name to the roster, Jarron? (points to a chalkboard where all the names, ranks, email and icq numbers are listed rather messily)
Phoenix: Nah…I'm just looking.
Taim: Suit yourself. We're always open for men who want to learn to channel or have the spark inborn.
Phoenix: Right... I'll be going now. Bye. (thinks: No commitments!)
(They waves bye to him as Phoenix eagerly and with great haste, leaves the 'Black Tower')
Phoenix: Whew! I don't know what I've been eating or breathing, but this...
(Suddenly, a person/animal/??? jumps out of the bushes and knocks him to the ground, pinning him down)
???: Shh! You have been chosen for a great task. That is why you were brought here, to see what must happen.
Phoenix: Who the hell are you and what are you talking about?
(??? lets him get up. He sees that it's a rather short woman in a black leather catsuit)
???: I'm Blackthorne. Come. We'll talk as we walk.
(They walk across the street to the empty playground and park. Suddenly, about 50 children (mostly boys, although there were a couple of girls) are there, play-fighting with each other until the eyes of two older boys, one tall with glasses, the other a little shorter and broader in frame. There are also 'White Tower' girls in their 'White Tower' school uniforms (kilt sewn and rolled up high and dress shirt partly unbuttoned for some of the older girls) watching the older boys, winking and giggling now and again.)
Phoenix: Will you explain clearly to me what's going on? Why am I having such a messed dream?
Blackthorne: This is Dragonmount. (she gestured widely) A virtual community that you will create. It is composed of dedicated WoT fans and will become the largest of the organized WoT internet communities. In time, others will copy you and thus creating a new revolution in online fan-based communities.
Phoenix: What? What is WoT? (Blackthorne starts to explain, but he cuts her off) I'm not that great! I haven't got the time to do that or the resources! Besides, (blushes) me make a fan site for whatever WoT is... No... That's not me.
Blackthorne: Phoenix, listen to me. Taim will guide you. Mandarb will bring you graphics. Your Black Sun friends can help you. If you built it and advertise on Yahoo, they will come.
Phoenix: Wait a minute! I'm arguing with a figment of my imagination! This is crazy! This is my dream! I can control it!
(Blackthorne sighs and patiently crosses her arms as Phoenix closes his eyes tightly)
Phoenix: (mutters feverantly) I want to be safe at home in my own bed. I want to be safe at home in my own bed. (opens his eyes) Damn. You're not going to let me go easy, will you? (starts to do his classic Phoenix Pout™)
Blackthorne: Stop that. You should know by now that the Pout™ doesn't work on me.
Phoenix: Alright. (stops pouting) So why does this Dragon-whatchamacallit look so dorky?
Blackthorne: (explaining too patiently) Because you haven't read the books yet; your mind cannot even imagine the grandeur of the White Tower, the Black Tower with its chickens, Shayol Ghul...
Phoenix: Hey, that's a cool-sounding place. Where's that?
(She points to a giant teepee on an escarpment to the north of the park; smoke trails out of the top of it constantly)
Blackthorne: (sighs) Your mental image of Shayol Ghul is really killing the other Chosen. Sammy was choking and Dem dripping of sweat last time I went in there. Men! (sniff) Too damn stubborn for their own good.
Phoenix: Oh, sorry. (shuffles his feet) So who are the Chosen?
Blackthorne: The Chosen are the bad guys. They consist of Dem, Sammy, Ishy and I.
Phoenix: Oh, okay. I suppose that bad guys are necessary for a well-rounded community. But why are you telling me all this? What do you get?
Blackthorne: (smiles) Oh, that's the good ol' Phoenix we know! Well, if you don't build it, none of this will exist. I will have never existed, except on icq and the wheeloftime.org and .com message boards. (pauses) And my icq contact list would have been much smaller. I don't want to die; that's why I joined the bad guys.
Phoenix: Oh. (pause) Doesn't anyone else care? (thinks: Great. What sort of people are they?)
Blackthorne: (purses her lips) Well... The Asha'man are already half-crazy, so they're... occupied. Kathana's busy eating all the chocolate puddings and jellybeans she can find in Dragonmount. The Warders just practice for the Aes Sedai all-day and the Aes Sedai watch the Warders and Asha'men all-day, looking for some easy bonding prey or just looking. Well, feeding the occasional one grapes and wearing flimsy dresses as well. Us evil people threaten people and attack people all-day and the Wolfbrothers are busy hunting or getting accidentally mistaken for being an Asha'man or Warder and coming home bonded.
Phoenix: (really overwhelmed) Kathana? Aes Sedai? Wolfbrothers? (thinks: Please, wake up now!)
Blackthorne: (pats his arm) There, there. You have only yourself to blame for the complexity of the orgs. But it will all come clear in time. Hopefully.
Phoenix: (sighs) Why? Why me? (thinks: Definitely making Wolfbrothers non-applicable for Warders)
Blackthorne: Because you have a neat-sounding alias.
(At this time, there is a howling from the mini woods and a bunch of men come out.)
'White Tower' girl: Whitewolf!
(They hug and run off to the playground together)
'White Tower' young woman: Darks! Come here! Supper's ready!
Darksmoon: Okay, be right there, Chissa! (turns to the other men, sans Whitewolf) Okay, remember that we are Wolfbrothers first and Warders second! We must remain free and runs wild in the forests, beside our brothers and sisters, protecting Nature and trees and...
Chissa: Darks, if you don't come now, I won't let you go outside tomorrow!
Darksmoon: Sorry guys. I have to go. (runs towards Chissa)
Phoenix: Why does that look wrong to me?
Blackthorne: (shrugs) I don't know. Whatever works. It's good as long as Chissa and Darks are happy.
(Phoenix frowns. thinks: Ohmygod! I operate a dating service?!)
Darksmoon: Oh Blackie! Will you run with me in the forest tomorrow?
Blackthorne: Sorry Darksmoon. I'm busy tomorrow trying to rule the world.
(Darksmoon pouts outrageously; she blows a kiss to him. It lands with a SMACK! on his nose.)
Darksmoon: Thanks! (grins) If you stopped giving me kisses, I think I'd have to start begging every girl in Dragonmount for kisses!
(At Chissa's glare, he runs to catch up with her)
Phoenix: (frowns) I'm not too sure I want to run a place like this...
Blackthorne: Oh Phoenix, don't be silly. DM runs itself like an engine. Well, it does require the odd amount of greasy complaint email though.
Phoenix: Really? Why am I not surprised? (thinks: Boy, that must have been some old cheese puffs.)
(Blackthorne frowns when the earth starts to heave)
Blackthorne: Oh you nit-wit! You just had to do that, didn't you?
Blackthorne: Yes, you! When you lose faith in Dragonmount, Dragonmount starts to disappear. First the chickens vanished, then the flimsy dresses. I bet the chocolate pudding is probably gone by now too. (Shrieks of outrage are heard) Yup. You really did it this time. Good thing the Hall thought ahead and hog-tied her in Roland's room. He'll take good care of her. But I'm disgressing; this is only a dream. But reality sometimes can be a dream and dreams can sometimes become reality.
Voice3: The ShadowSouled one speaks truth.
(Standing behind them is your typical Aiel Clan Chief)
Voice3: I thought you would forget to show him our Clan.
Blackthorne: Drats! I knew I was forgetting someone. Phoenix this is the dream manifestation of Mandarb, the Paint Shop God and Clan Chief of the Dragonmount Aiel.
(They exchange greetings)
Mandarb: Would you care to visit the Waste? It's just two miles to the east. (points with his spear)
Phoenix: (thinks: Okay, I'm out of here! And I don't care if I dream of pink elephants and purple turtles all night long) Um... Not really. I'm starting to get tired of this dream. I mean, dreams are supposed to last for 3 minutes to 10 minutes. This must be at least a half hour one. I have other dreams to dream and people to see. Bye! Nice meeting you both! (runs for his life)
Nordan: (on the front porch of the 'Black Tower' with Therva) There goes one messed-up Dragon Reborn and Creator.
Therva: Yeah. I always thought there was something funny about him. I guess I should have tried to Heal him or had Blackthorne do some Complusion on him to make him believe.
Nordan: Wouldn't Lanfir's Warder Trick™ or Narell's Grape Twist™ work just as well.
Therva: Nah, he's a just-about-taken man. Too strong-willed and committed to fall for those.
Kathana: (yells from the window) No, Phoenix, no!!! Come back! I can't hold off Roland any longer! I need my pudding and jellybeans! You flagstaff you!!! (sticks her tongue out)
Blackthorne: (sighs) Well, it's time for the secret weapon. (nods to a 'White Tower' young woman in a white dress) You know what you have to do. All of Dragonmount depends on you. Go. (kisses the other woman on the brow) If you fail, all is lost.
(The other woman nods and makes a gateway to a dark place)
(Phoenix suddenly appears in a devoid place with the night sky alone as a backdrop)
Phoenix: Well, at least I'm away from those crazy people and that crazy dream.
(A beautiful woman in a white dress slowly materializes, bathed in a soft white light)
Phoenix: (mesmorized) Who are you?
White Lady: Dragonmount is now gone. All that is left is this empty void where once a whole world of rich characters once lived. (sadly sighs) And me. I am the only left now, a memory of a dream.
Phoenix: Well, what can I do?
White Lady: Well, you can start by naming me. Then you must re-create Dragonmount again. Imagine every detail, every taste and smell. I believe in you. Why won't you believe in yourself?
Phoenix: I don't know... Hey! What's that ring on your hand? (She blushes and hides her hands behind her back) Hey! That's... MAAA RIIINNN!!!
(A sudden burst of light blinds Phoenix)
(Phoenix wakes up, panting and dripping with sweat)
Phoenix: Where is she? ...Oh. Wow, that was some dream. (gets up and throws the half-empty cheese puff bag in the garbage) Hehehe... Good riddance. But if I ever want a cheap hallucination again, I'll remember to buy that brand. (goes back to bed) Hey... wait a moment... Where's my ring? Oh no... I must have lost it... She's gonna kill me. (groans) So that was what the dream was about. Yeah, I better work hard and buy a new one similar to it before she notices it gone.
(Phoenix has troubled sleep (well, with such a crisis, did you expect him to sleep well?) and gets up to go to work. As he arrives...)
Friendly Co-worker: (looks up from his computer) Hey... Did you lose a ring? The boss found one on the carpet of his office yesterday. He didn't want the janitors to have it, so he kept it himself.
Phoenix: (thinks: I must have been tinkering with it as I discussed payment with him...) Yeah, it's probably mine. Is he in?
Friendly Co-Worker: (resumes his browsing) Yup. Just got in.
Phoenix: Great! Oh, what are you looking at?
Friendly Co-Worker: Oh, at Amazon. They have Robert Jordan's WoT series on sale.
Friendly Co-Worker: No, not 'what'; W-o-T. Short for Wheel of Time.
Phoenix: Oh. (feels like an idiot) So, what's it about?
Friendly Co-Worker: Don't know; never read it. But it's highly recommended, by the number of comments on the page.
Phoenix: Really? Well, maybe I should check it out. You know, something to do in between Star Wars books. (Boss steps out of his office; Phoenix suddenly remembers the dream) Ohmygoodness... It's... Him... Taim.
Boss: You. (points to Phoenix) Is this your ring?
Phoenix: Um... Yes, sir. I think I dropped it in your office when...
Boss: ...Ah, yes. Payment. We never did make a final agreement, did we? Let's settle it now that I have some free time.
Phoenix: (gulps; thinks: Ohmygod! The DREAM!!!) Sure.
(The video sputters to an ending, flashing stills as the Host speaks)
Host: Ah, yes, that was Phoenix's Dream. He was quite kind to allow us this opportunity to see the Beginning of Dragonmount from his POV. (camera turns to Phoenix, smiling and waving from a electrical chair-looking thingy with a big hand-painted sign that says: 'Mind Reading Machine! Caution: Female Operators on Males Only! Machine will not operate under any other conditions!' Alanna smiles glamorously from behind him. Audience applauds.)
Host: So to summarize from then on: Taim gave him the support and supplies to start building Dragonmount. Mandarb and Demandred also aided him.
(Snapshot of Phoenix hammering and putting up a large Chalkboard titled: The Main Board (in small print: subject to frequent Bravenet crashes. Use at your own risk!); Taim smiles and holds the ladder Phoenix is on. Then one of Demandred supervising the placement of Shayol Ghul; he motions to the left, the mountain moves right. Dem makes an 'okay' sign. Then one of Mandarb cutting paperback WoT covers and pasting the small images on a piece of paper and sticking big letters on top of it)
Host: Then Phoenix advertised on Yahoo. (Snapshot of Phoenix giving a briefcase to an undisclosed Yahoo employee)
Audience Member: Hey! That's my Uncle John! No wonder he retired and went to Florida! (The rest of the audience shushes the member)
Host: Then the people came.
(Many quick snapshots: Lanfir posing with her Warders (veery happily); Kathana caught with the Spoon in her mouth and pudding cup in one hand; Narell in a flimsy dress (audience males ahhing); Ender being ...pampered; Sathinar posing in a pigeon-infested town square (smiling happily); Hawkwing as he wakes up in the morning; Dark Blight sulking with hair in braids; Blackthorne in her Inn_Keeper phase; Morgan with Ranges and a pot of Mint Tea™; Darksmoon caught without his yellow contact lenses; Ben posing heroically as Serafelle looks on (quite amused and thinking up ways for him to heroically carry books) and last, but never least, a group shot of all the Oldies, without anyone being harmed)
Host: Oh yes, the people came. The original ones were the pioneers, they found a niche and made it their own. They brought the WT, BT, Forest of Wolves Message Boards, Blackthorne's Tavern/chat room 'The Spring of Morning', the trend of character pics and title-inventing. Oh yes, and the Breaking. Now Phoenix has created a Role Playing Game. Who knows what lies in store for the future of this online community that is growing by leaps and bounds?
"And the news tonight, a bombing..."
"You never listen! I.."
"Stay bright! Stay right! With Star-Light in your wash! Now in Mint Flavour!"
"Oh, bugger it all. There's nothing on tonight and I don't feel like studying."
(Irritating boat horn sound)
"Eh? It's Blackie... She's writing another story? Brill, I like her stories."
Typity, typity, typity, type
"'Hawkwing, you only have a minor role this time and I'm picking on Lanfir and Dark Blight less this time. I'm trying to even out the roles, but Phoenix is the principal guy.' Oh, drats. I was looking forward to seeing myself."
"Well, if she's not going to be ready until tomorrow, I won't stay home waiting. Me mates await."