“Get back here!”
“I won’t hurt you!”
“Yes you will!”
“I promise I won’t!”
“I don’t believe you!”
“Asmodean, you’re only making it worse for yourself!”
The two little grey platforms whooshed through the darkness. The hunched figure of Jasin Natael crouched on the leading platform, putting all his considerable power into getting the Ghul away. Behind him, determined of feature and leaning forward like a pair of award-winning tandem ski-jumpers, Debs and Janica were coming up fast.
“I just want to talk to you!”
“You’ll hit me!”
“It’s for your own good!”
“I didn’t know he was your husbaaaand!”
With a despairing wail, Asmodean launched himself through a bright vertical slash in the void, and vanished out of sight. Debs drew saidar through the a’dam, gritted her teeth, and crammed an imaginary doorjamb against the closing edges of the gateway. Their Skimming platform hit the edge of the hole and catapulted them outwards, slicing off the tips of their boots as they went. Such was their velocity that Debs cannoned into Asmodean as he was staggering desperately across the dusty courtyard in the middle of Rhuidean. He fell, and his hands went out reflexively in front of him.
They clenched around the foot-tall figure of a man, holding aloft a crystal ball.
Janica, settling to the ground next to the winded Forsaken, glared at him and raised her index finger in warning.
“Here it is!” Asmodean pushed the ter’angreal into her hands and blubbered. “Here it is, here it is, don’t yell at me, please don’t yell at me, I’ll be good!”
Debs sat up, gripping Asmodean firmly by the gleeman’s cloak. She tried to put the ter’angreal in her pocket before realising she had none.
“Right,” Janica said briskly. “Here’s what’s going to happen…”
With a tasteful little swish which only lopped one protesting Shaido in half, the gateway swung open on the edge of the amphitheatre. Debs and Janica and the battered-looking Natael stepped through into puddles of water, and looked around at the gathered masses. Janica nudged the gleeman, who nodded hastily and cleared his throat.
“He is the real Car’a’carn,” he said, pointing at Vamps, “and the other one was just an accident. It wasn’t his fault, though, so don’t kill him. He never went to Rhuidean, but it was the evil Darkfriend peddlers who made him wear the Dragons. I repeat, don’t kill him. In fact,” he added, looking around desperately and not seeing the brief Car’a’carn anywhere, “it’d probably be better if everybody forgot he was here and didn’t go looking for him or mention him again, is that right?” he pleaded. Janica gave a grim nod.
There was silence. In the distance, thunder and tumultuous rainfall could still be heard. As it happened, Someshta and Vamps hadn’t been the only ones trying to fulfill the prophecies. Egwene, half of the Wise Ones, and even Moiraine had added their power to the effort, and Shannon’s own gifts hadn’t gone astray. It hadn’t been a rainfall so much as a submergence.
Debs looked across at Vamps, and gave a little nod. The crowd looked up with an expectant hush and much excited elbowing and eyebrow-twitching.
Vamps said the only thing he could think of.
“My arms hurt.”
And when the blood was sprinkled on ground where nothing could grow, the Children of the Dragon did spring up, the People of the Dragon, armed to dance with death. And he did whine about the blood being his, and he did weep and pule like small, sissy girl, and they did pat him on the shoulders and say, “There there, Puddin, mummy kiss it better.”
of the Fourth Book of
The Steal of Time
Incidentally, I’m very pleased about being able to kill Couladin and bring an end to the dumb Shaido tangent thread, while making a referential connection between ta’veren and the infinite improbability drive. Not tooting my own horn, it was just pure serendipity.