|Long Live Insanity #15: Early In The Morning
“Do I look like an Aes Sedai?” Shani demands, spreading her arms wide dramatically.
The dark face of a Sea Folk officer on the deck above takes on a distinctly amused expression. “Well - I suppose I could accept the ring and the shawl as some sort of fashion statement, but the ageless face...?”
“Oh - damn. I forgot about that.” Shani shrugs. “All right. I am Aes Sedai. Don’t I get any points for trying, though?”
The Atha’an Miere woman considers. “What do you know about Windfinders?”
“You mean that they can channel? Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell anyone. Elaida won’t let me back in the Tower long enough to anyway.”
“All right then, come aboard.”
A rope is dropped from the side of the raker. Shani, however, ignores it and gravity in favour of walking up to the deck on thin air. (No, I don’t mean channeling a bridge of Air either. The force of insanity is much stronger than that of gravity. Didn’t you ever learn that in school?)
“Show-off,” Shadar mutters.
Shani arches an eyebrow and turns back to bargaining with the Sea Folk. Meanwhile Someone’s books are being hauled up, supervised by the anxious Ogier (books of course being much more important, in an Ogier’s view, than other people, who can just wait to get up until his precious books are safe, thank you very much).
Shadar thinks for a moment. Abruptly lightning flashes down from a clear blue sky. It hits the spot where he is standing, causing him to be explosively propelled into the air and land upright on the raker’s deck. He didn’t channel, either.
“And you call me a show-off!” is Shani’s response.
Shadar smirks. Shani sulks. Shadar walks over to the side of the ship, where Sycho is now being pulled up. “Hey, be careful you don’t -”
A metaphorical lightbulb flashes above Shani’s head as she takes in several important facts. Due to Shadar’s height, more than half of his body is above the railing he’s now leaning on in a very precarious way. And there’s that lovely crate of books so conveniently to hand...
“- fall!” Shadar finishes his sentence with a yell as a heavy book (Volume One of Long Live Insanity, in case anyone was wondering) hits his head and sends him tumbling. Of course, he grabs the railing with one hand, hits the side of the raker and flips back up, narrowly missing kicking Sycho in the head...
“Hey! Watch it, Shani!”
...and lands back on the deck. The book, meanwhile, sails out over the side and is caught by Someone, who, hugging his rescued masterwork to him, immediately starts berating Shani for treating books in such a fashion. Not to mention Shadar for being so careless as to hit it with his head.
Shani smirks. Shadar sulks. The Sea Folk just look on in disbelief.
The rest of the party make it on board without any incidents, and the ship sets sail. Someone sits down in an out-of-the-way corner with his books, pens and paper, and continues writing. Shaiel very carefully just happens to look anywhere but at the immense amount of water all around her. Snarg sprawls out on the deck and goes to sleep in the sun, and Sycho borrows a bottle of oosquai from Shaiel and proceeds to get happily drunk. Shadar and Shani continue to sulk, ostentatiously looking away from each other.
But of course, what always happens in those circumstances happens, and after downing the third cup of oosquai, Sycho begins to sing;
“Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the, hic, wall, hic, ninety-nine bottles of, uh, can’t remember what came next...”
Everyone aboard visibly winces.
“Beer, that’s it, ninety-hic bottles of hic on the beer, uh, wall, um...”
Shadar begins to whistle softly, to the tune of ‘What shall we do with a drunken sailor...’. Shani flicks a glance at him, and the pair start singing, drowning out Sycho’s ‘music’.
“What shall we do with a drunken Whitecloak,
Shani and Shadar grin at each other. And it seems Snarg isn’t asleep after all, because he yawns, stretches his muscles, gets up and ambles in Sycho’s general direction...
“What shall we do with a drunken Whitecloak,
There is a brief moment of shocked silence, before the demonic duo burst into song again.
“Thrown overboard by a ten-foot Trolloc,
“Well done, Snarg!” Shadar applauds. “Couldn’t have thought of better myself.”
“All right, all right,” Shaiel sets hands on hips, “wetlander humour is one thing and this is the place for it, but one of you two is going to get him out again, I trust?” She taps her belt knife suggestively.
Shani pouts. “Oh - all right.” Sycho floats up out of the water and back on deck. Not singing this time. Yelling. They still manage to drown him out.
“A fitting fate for such a bad singer,
“We’re here,” the Sailmistress interrupts them.
Everyone looks around. Nothing but water and sky can be seen in any direction. “We’re where?” Shadar asks politely.
“Where you’re getting off,” and she scowls at them all, although giving the strong impression of trying to hide a laugh. “You didn’t ask for passage to any particular spot and you’ve made a nuisance of yourself the whole trip, so right here and now I say this is as far as you’re going on my ship!”
Shani and Shadar look at each other, shrug, and build a gateway. (Yes, the author is quite aware of the difficulties of Travelling to or from a moving ship, but Shadar and Shani aren’t, or don’t choose to be, so it doesn’t bother them.) The party makes their way through, as the Sea Folk start singing;
“What did we do to deserve these madmen,
And everybody joins in as the gateway closes -
“- Early in the morning!”