____________________ //\\//\\//\\//\\//\\ \\// \\// //\\ Entry #17 //\\ \\// \\// //\\//\\//\\//\\//\\ ____________________
Sammael sat back from his _ter'mineal_ and blinked his weary eyes. Keeping up on the happenings and speculations in the world was certainly hard work, made no easier by his insistence on cataloging all the happenings and having to give people the same answers repeatedly to their dumb questions. Ah, he'd be happy to balefire any of them at a moment's notice, but destroying any of them would only make more work for himself.
"Staying up late?" a woman's voice behind him said as he stared vacantly at the device on his desk.
Reaching for Saidin, he spun in his swivel chair. Behind him, floating over a floor littered with messy notes, odiferous pizza boxes and a few dozen half-empty _su'da_ cans, was a gateway opening to someplace else. Inside it he glimpsed a Very Small Animal.
"You! I thought that silly mortal woman had succeeded in destroying you, Lanfear!" he exclaimed roughly.
"She could only dream to be so lucky," Lanfear replied smoothly. "As it turned out, she was very useful. She fetched quite a handsome price -- my freedom. I've been through hell and half of Georgia. It was even worse than the lines at course registration." She decided to change the subject. "I see you're still hacking away. Why don't you ever get a life, Sammael? Certainly there's someplace you could go, even in a backside-of-forever place such as Blacksburg."
"You shouldn't be so cavalier with me, Lanfear. I have a hold over you. I know about Piglet."
"Yes. Well," said Lanfear uncomfortably. "I wish Asmodean were still with us. He always had such good ideas. It was he who suggested the idea for the first hoax, wasn't it? So many people fell for our concotion about the creator. Yes, it's very important that we continue our plans to deceive the rest of the land."
Both Forsaken turned as they sensed another gateway opening. The fabric of reality seemed to stretch apart, revealing a spartan room occupied by a tall man. Where his eyes and mouth and .sig should have been, there were only flames. He wore a goofy purple beret with the cryptic runes of the Old Tongue scrawled across it, reading "Terps".
"Ishemail!" Lanfear and Sammael exclaimed in unison.
"Reports of my death were widely exaggerated," he said wistfully. "Of course, you've got to take everything with a grain of salt. As I've always said, your mileage may vary."
"Well, Ish, I really though Rand had got you in that last fight. You danced 'Curmudgeon Flames the Group', he came back with 'Newbie Quotes the Sig' and 'Needless Hundred-Line Cascade'. I thought you were a real goner right then and there."
"I survived. Tastes vary, you know."
All three turned as yet another gateway opened into their assemblage. Behind this extradimensional portal, shrouded in mist, was a shadowy figure partially obscuring yet another shadowy figure behind it. "Ah, my children, how nice of you to come. I am your lord and master!"
"You cheap impostor!" shouted Sammael. "We've unmasked you but still you hound us. There's a cure for that..." Sammael shared a quick look with the other two Forsaken and suddenly three bolts of brilliant light hurled through the gateway, converging upon the shadowy figure there. A resounding ZOT! was heard and both the figure and the gateway suddenly winked out of existence.
"Bravo," taunted a new voice, "I'm sure the Oracle will be happy to see that you've learned that Balefire goes 'ZOT!'"
All three Forsaken whirled around to see the man who taunted them. It looked like Padan Fain, but he was wearing upon his head something that resembled a bucket. At his back was a darkened glass cabinet, rows of small lights blinking inside it. An odd tether connected the bucket to the cabinet. They weren't able to sense his weaving because, in fact, he hadn't opened gateways like they had. He just seemed to just _be_ there, or rather, the image of him floated above the floor, but still gave the appearance of his presence.
"How did you get here?" demanded Ishemail. "I thought this was a moderated group."
"Mwahaha, I have ways that none of you know about. I am a far older power than you think, a far more powerful power than you think! Were you there when I stood on the wall in Aridhol and--"
"Please," interrupted Sammael, "you sing even worse than I do. Just drop that hackneyed prophetic bullshit and tell us if you've thought of anything new."
"Nope. Nothing. Look, I already fooled the entire world with my last hoax, so what do you expect of me now? Fool the Creator Himself?"
"As a matter of fact," mused Ishemail, "that might be an interesting idea. But what can we do?"
"What if we convince him that the next Age has started already?" suggested Sammael. "Then Rand won't defeat us, and we'll get to rule."
"How are we going to make him believe that?" asked Ish.
"We'll need to give him one of those bogus timelines we drew up.
"Yeah, like the one where Tam al'Thor turns out to be Jain Farstrider," Lanfear chimed in. "You know, the one where the Breaking of the World is off by a few centuries, Moiraine had an alibi for the Darkfriend Social, and Bela actually ends up in five places at the same time."
"That old mare sure seems to get around," joked Fain. He belched ceremoniously and smiled. Lanfear wrinkled her nose.
"Okay, so it's a Plan," said Ishemail. "This should be even more fun than the first one!"
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