The Path of Blaggers, Part 5

Lanfear rolled through the gateway and let it close behind her, grunting under her breath as she landed across the Bowl of the Winds and had the wind momentarily knocked out of her.

Bajad drovja,” she muttered.

“Language,” Moridin climbed to his feet, brushed grass seeds off his pants and pocketed a small notepad he had been writing in. “One hundred and forty-seven Kin, plus Aes Sedai … were you followed?”

“I don’t think so,” Lanfear struggled upright and looked around. She had emerged not far from the embattled wagon train, but a couple of ridges over and hidden from the circling raken by a cluster of dried-out trees. “Uh, Nae’blis.”

“No need for all the formality, Angamael is still Nae’blis. I’m really more of an executive assistant,” Moridin smiled, and carefully lifted the cour’souvra on its chain around his neck. “I was a little worried that the other one was yours,” he went on, giving it a shake, “I’m glad it turned out this way.”

“Whatever you say,” Lanfear said, eyeing the mindtrap nervously. “Whose was the other one? And what happened to it?”

“Not important,” Moridin said crisply. “Shall we get on with this?”

Lanfear picked up the Bowl, unwrapped it gently, and set it back on the ground. “We’ll need more channelers if we’re going to get this to work.”

Moridin looked at her in amusement. “If we wanted to get it to work, we would have left it with your chubby Scottish friend in the Flash costume.”

“The what?” Lanfear blinked. “Do you mean we’re actually going to destroy this thing?”

“That was the plan, was it not?” Moridin asked. “I rather gather that this Bowl would make it rain, and I do so hate the rain. Hot weather is far more to my liking. Don’t you agree?”

“Well … I suppose so, but Angamael…”

“Angamael may be Nae’blis, but in this case I believe a conflict of interest has placed his priorities … at odds with those of the Great Lord,” Moridin smiled thinly. “It would be a shame if yours happened to do likewise.”

“That’s not very likely,” Lanfear remarked, looking pointedly at the cour’souvra. “Is it?”

“In my long career in publishing,” Moridin replied, “I have learned it is often an inefficient use of resources to assume the glimmer of intelligence in one’s co-workers. I fully expect this mindtrap doohickie to be removed from you as soon as possible – and from me. Long before your husband is of age, certainly.”

Lanfear took the hint. “So what do we do with it?”

“Oh, a little of the True Power will take care of this, I think,” Moridin said, and the saa rushed across his eyes, turning them momentarily black. “These ter’angreal are so feeble when you feed the wrong current into them.”

Lanfear just had time to leap away from the Bowl of the Winds before Moridin, his superior little smile somehow awful in that hollow-eyed face, reached forth his hand and brushed it with a feather-touch of the Great Lord’s own power. With a reverberating crack that she felt through saidar itself, the Bowl shivered and fell still.

“There we go,” Moridin said, his eyes once again bright blue. “I suppose we could even take it back and let them try to use it, if we wanted … they wouldn’t know it had been altered. It would probably just break, but it’s entirely possible that it would explode. Very messy,” he leaned down, picked up the Bowl, and looked at it. “Of course, it is also possible that they would be able to examine it, and then fix it somehow,” he mused. “That Elayne woman is making ter’angreal without even knowing how. And the narrative is actively defending itself.”

Lanfear waited. Moridin was obviously thinking aloud, and wouldn’t appreciate her input. More importantly, he was holding the Bowl against his chest, where it was pressing the mindtrap with almost suffocating force.

“Oh well,” Moridin finally said, “best not to risk it.”

He tossed the Bowl of the Winds lightly against a half-buried rock, where it shattered into a thousand pieces.

“Gosh,” he said with a chuckle, “I’m a real butterfingers today.”

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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