The Shadow Plagiarising, Part 15

Dr. Nick led the way down to the docks, after much messing around and nervous peeping-around-corners and last-minute cold feet that had taken up a good many days. The four Ogier followed along behind, chatting happily with Min. She and the huge, silent Cyberwollf had unexpectedly showed up again, and seemed to be satisfied to escape the city with Wyse and Coarshus and the rest. The sad fact that Dr. Nick was along for the ride was something they bravely managed to ignore.

He hated them all so much.

“And then we heard that there were trollocs and fades,” Wyse was reporting excitedly, “so we went as far down the corridor as possible and found a nice quiet place to set up an ambush.”

“And locked the door,” Frendli added.

“As a lure.”

“Did any of you actually see a trolloc?” Min asked.

“We’ve seen lots. And worse,” Frendli said hastily. “Did I tell you about the time we were captured by Sammael?”

“Only twice.”

“It was scary.”

“Tell them about the Nazgûl.”

“The what?” Min frowned, and Cybes raised her head sharply.

“Guys,” Dr. Nick intruded as the port came into view. Or, rather, the water came into view. “I don’t see any boats.”

“What about ships?” Frendli asked nervously. “Do you see any ships? Look, I see a Sea Folk ship just leaving that last pier on the left. They’re moving out slowly. We can make it if we run.”

“Run?” Dr. Nick whined, but Min and Cyberwollf were already galloping off towards the dock, and the Ogier were accelerating with great lumbering strides. He had no choice but to exert himself physically, or be left once again completely without friends. Happily, his Aiel physiology seemed to be up to the unpleasant task, and he was soon keeping pace with everybody except Cybes, who had loped ahead and was already launching herself merrily across the gap onto the Sea Folk deck. He heard cries of alarm as the huge wolf came down among the crew.

The cries became screams as the four Ogier hurled themselves from the pier and crashed down on the deck, their huge hairy chests bursting out of their Illian shirts and their wide, honest faces twisted with exertion. Min and Dr. Nick leapt across and went almost unnoticed. There was momentary confusion on board.

“We’re not trollocs,” Wyse said plaintively.

“She’s not wearing a top,” Hoarni added. “Look – bosoms!”

“We know you’re not trollocs,” a large swarthy man with earrings said calmly as the new arrivals clambered to their feet. “You just alarmed us by boarding so strangely. And we have a rule about pets.”

“Min isn’t our pet,” Coarshus hastened. “We’ve just trained Hoarni to stroke her back like that when he’s excited, so he doesn’t, ah, stroke anything else.”

“I was talking about your wolf.”

Frendli looked across at Cybes, who was sitting quite unconcerned in the middle of a large clear space. Sea Folk were edging around her carefully. She wagged her tail.

“Oh, you mean Cybes. She’s not dangero-”

“Not you again.”

Dr. Nick turned to see Nynaeve and Elayne stepping out on deck, in the company of another small group of imposing pierced people. They were both looking extremely Jordanish, arms folded and braids pulled and nostrils red and flared. They glared at the intruders as if it was their boat.

“What are you doing here?” Nynaeve demanded. “I told you, we have important-”

One of the Sea Folk stepped up, silencing Nynaeve with a gesture. The glowering Emond’s Fielder gaped and goggled and gasped, but didn’t comment. Elayne smirked in triumph, and Nynaeve blushed. Dr. Nick tried to stop watching them. He focussed back on the Sailmistress – for indeed, that was what she was.

“I am Coine din Jubai Wild Winds, Sailmistress of the Wavedancer,” she reported grandly. “This is Jorin din Jubai White Wing, Windfinder. We are searching for the Coramoor in following with the Jendai Prophecy. These are Elayne Trakand and Nynaeve al’Meara, Aes Sedai. We were about to refuse them the gift of passage for being annoying bitches, but if they know you…”

“What difference does it make if they know us?” Coarshus said. “I wasn’t aware that Ogier had a special arrangement with the Atha’an Miere.”

“Oh, you don’t, and we would likely have refused you as well, particularly since you brought a wolf on board with you. Ogier eat too much and you have sexual appetites that do not work well on long sea voyages. But I notice there is an Aielman with you. We can settle the gift of passage with him, while he rubs sun-butter into the skin of our breasts.”

Coine, Jorin, and about three dozen other sun-browned women around the deck pulled off their vests.

“Well,” Dr. Nick muttered, “it’s about fucking time.”

 


 

“No! You’re doing it wrong, Wetlander slag!”

Shannon sighed and tried to make himself comfortable on the lumpy bracken mattress. He was apparently being taught the ways of the Wise Ones, Dreamwalking and such. So far, it seemed to be little but a long session of insults. Amys could use her tongue to strip paint – and from the smell of her breath, it was entirely possible that she did.

“Hey. Ix-nay on the etlander-slag-way,” he protested mildly. “I’m doin’ my best here.”

“Your best to be a pudgy Wetlander slattern.”

Bair wasn’t much better. They all seemed to be going out of their way to abuse him, even though they apparently needed him to join their group and learn how to be a Dreamwalker. It was a twisted sort of army drill-instructor mentality, where the abuse was intended to drive the recruits away … but they only had one recruit, and they couldn’t afford to lose her.

Him.

Aviendha, who was supposed to be a Wise One apprentice by this time but was denied the trip to Rhuidean because of her obligations as a gai’shain, was keeping out of the way of the foul-mouthed Wise Ones, and good luck to her. Forsaken_1, having run out of excuses, was keeping Contro company in the Tinker’s wagon. The happy Brit seemed completely unfazed by the Aiel and their absolute disregard for him, and had maintained a cheerful blabber all afternoon. His delighted notation when they arrived at Imre Stand had been a chilling, “Golly, what a lot of tomato sauce! Ha ha ha!!”

Imre Stand was a bloodbath, which Shannon could vaguely recall from the books. He also recalled that the peddlar and his friends were somehow responsible for it, but Debs and Janica and Someshta were watching over those guys, so things would be safe enough. The Green Man had rendered Jasin Natael speechless for a moment, and then he had gone into a frenzy of songwriting. Loial, oblivious to the political complexities, had seated himself down with the gleeman and begun exchanging notes on his own writings, a historical tale of the Dragon Reborn and his adventures. They settled down for the evening, coming up with numerous words that rhymed with “Someshta”. Not to be outdone, Puddin Taim himself had joined the Ogier and his new friend. Vamps claimed he was working on his own set of memoirs – The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Puddin Taim (It’s A Double Meaning, Did You Get It [I Got It {That Means I Had Sex}]). Nynaeve said it was a work of genius, and Vamps agreed with her.

The Aiel seemed to be wary of Vamps, and Shannon didn’t blame them. When he wasn’t stamping on invisible bugs and fluctuating wildly between two grossly dissimilar personalities, he was almost bearable. But any reminder of who he was and why he was here, and he either inflated into an egomaniac, or dissolved in wretched tears. Shannon wondered idly if Vamps’s parentage would ever be called into question – wasn’t the Car’a’carn meant to be the son of a Maiden? Then again, Puddin Taim’s mother was a woman of Far Madding. Perhaps that counted.

“Alright, I’m goin’ back to sleep now y’all,” he growled, lying back and closing his eyes. “I’m leavin’ myself totally relaxed and enterin’ the dream-world. Or whatever.”

The Wise Ones made gruff noises of approval, and there was a momentary silence in the tent. Shannon sighed and felt himself drifting off. Suddenly there was a rustle, and the sound of somebody stepping into the private pavilion.

“Don’t mind me,” Vamps said, standing with his legs spread wide and his fists on his hips. “Isn’t this the sweat tent?”

The Wise Ones stared at the Car’a’carn for a long moment.

“Nice dick,” Amys said. “Is it short for something?”

At that moment, trollocs rampaged into the camp.

 


 

Forsaken_1 could have kissed the Shadowspawn when they arrived. The onslaught of slavering, vicious creatures cut Contro off in the middle of a long, muddled summary of what he’d been doing since the last time Forsaken_1 had pulled the short straw and been commanded to travel with him.

It was a pity that was all they managed to cut off. As soon as it had begun, the attack was over. It seemed there was a shining good reason that trollocs called the Aiel Waste ‘The Dying Ground’, and the Aiel carried three of those shining good reasons each. The halfman in the middle of the wave of trollocs had gone down a little more hard than the rest, which meant it had lasted a good seven seconds. Its arms and legs were flopping at the ends of little snail-trails of black blood, its head was pincushioned with arrows, and its torso looked like a steelware and marital aids annual general meeting. Forsaken_1 winced when he looked at it, thinking of Mister C of 9. Then he looked consideringly at Contro, and his wince became a small, dreamy smile as imagination swept him away.

“Ha ha ha!!!” Contro said, not unexpectedly. “Gosh!”

“Yeah, they sure did die,” Forsaken_1 muttered.

“You can say that again! Ha ha ha! But what would be the point????! A funny thing to say, that is, I have to tell you!! But they sure did! Biffo!!! Just like that!!”

An Aielman went past, wiping his spears on a piece of tattered fur that had been a trolloc’s face less than a minute before. He looked up at the Tinker derisively.

“The Lost One enjoys the sight of others doing his fighting for him.”

“Ha ha ha!! I’m not lost!”

“Where did those trollocs come from?” Forsaken_1 asked. He hadn’t had time to register concern for Moiraine before the whole horde had been demolished, but now he stood up on the wagon bed and looked for her. He also quested in his head for the information his Bond could pick up. All he could sense was that she was alive, and pissed off about something. That didn’t tell him much.

“Sightblinder,” the Aielman said simply. “Sometimes they come down out of the Blight to die.”

“Oh. Right. So, um, what next?”

“Next? Next we move on to the Cold Rocks Hold. And we rest there before moving on. By then, all the Clans should be gathered to bla bla bla bla bla.”

“Uh huh,” Forsaken_1 nodded.

“Bla bla bla,” the Aielman added, and gave a short, barking laugh. “Bla bla.”

“Yeah.”

“Ha ha ha!!” Contro added, ruining the Warder’s nicely-balanced tune-out. “Alcair Dal!”

“I have to get out of here,” Forsaken_1 said, and stepped to the edge of the wagon. Cow took the opportunity to saw viciously to one side in his harness, making the whole gaudy contraption wobble. Forsaken_1 picked himself up and dusted himself off. “I meant to do that.”

He was limping crossways through the increasingly large camp, which was a bustle of packing and reprovisioning and trolloc-body-dismembering-and-throwing-into-a-piling, when he came face to face with Shannon, also known as Nancy Sidesaddle, merchant down on her luck and apprentice Wise One. He was dressed in the skirts of a Wise One, and his shaggy neck-length hair was gathered into a pair of tiny, silly braids.

“Don’t laugh,” Shannon said, several seconds too late. “If it wasn’t for me, y’all’d all be dead. And I’d be happy.”

“What do you mean?” Forsaken_1 asked eventually, wheezing and wiping his eyes.

“I mean, didn’t you see that fight?”

“What fight?”

“Exactly. Half o’ them thar trollocs took hold o’  spears an’ stabbed theyselves. It was ta’veren at work, and y’all know that’s me.”

“What are you doing now?”

Shannon’s brows lowered. “The Wise Ones got a task for me. They’re teachin’ me to dream an’ such, but Debs an’ Janica an’ Moiraine’s all pushin’ me to do this too.”

“Do what?”

“Look after Vamps.”

Forsaken_1 nodded carefully. “You mean like Aviendha was told to in the books?”

“No!” Shannon folded his arms beneath his breasts and then snatched them away again quickly. “No, it ain’t like that. It’s on account of I’m ta’veren, see. Vamps is about as ta’veren as a can o’ beans, an’ they need the Dragon an’ the Car’a’carn to be ta’veren, so they need me to hang around an’ make it look like it’s him doin’ ta’veren iff’n my ta’veren effect ever does anythin’ more small and specific like. An’ the Wise Ones want me to spy on him an’ report to them an’ make him do things that they want him to.”

“Right.”

“It ain’t hardly like Aviendha nohow.”

“Okay.”

“Nynaeve would kill me.”

“I believe you.”

“It ain’t the same.”

“Watch out for igloos.”

“Shut up.”

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3 Responses to The Shadow Plagiarising, Part 15

  1. Hehe a lot of sex stuff in this one, but funny. If you can do that much with the Sea Folk tradition, I can’t WAIT to see how you handle the “I am a woman”, teenage-boy wankfest, Amyrlin raising ceremony XD

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