|Long Live Insanity #20: Sharis and Sneak
Before this episode starts, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of Ravensong from GT, who created the title characters. Ravensong, you said I could take this idea and run with it or throw it into the Pit of Doom – so I hope you won’t mind my doing both.
Shadar, Shani, Shaiel, Sycho, Someone and Snarg are wandering through northern Shienar when something strange happens.
It could be an earthquake.
It could be a freak occurrence resulting from the random action of a far-off ta’veren.
It could be the Pattern refusing to put up with so much insanity in one place.
But what it actually is is narrative imperative – which means that when the ground erupts beneath their feet, Someone and Snarg are thrown in one direction, Shaiel in another, Sycho falls into a river which carries him swiftly oceanwards, and Shani and Shadar, when the dust clears, look around to find that they’ve ended up…
“Uh-oh,” Shani murmurs.
SO. A voice rumbles like thunder. MY MAD ADVERSARIES.
“Your creditors, you mean,” Shadar retorts. “You still owe us from that poker game.”
AFTER TIME TO REFLECT, I HAVE DECIDED THAT THIRTEEN ACES RENDERS ALL RESULTS INVALID. If faceless thunder could smirk, that’s exactly what the Dark One would be doing at the moment. BUT CHEATING INCURS A PENALTY.
“So? You can’t do anything to us. This isn’t your story.”
YOU ARE PARTIALLY RIGHT. I CANNOT HARM YOU.
“Well, then - ”
I DISCUSSED MATTERS WITH YOUR CREATOR, HOWEVER. The smirk is back. SHE LIKED MY IDEA. AND SO, SHADAR AND SHANI, I SENTENCE YOU…
The thunder has become laughter.
TO MEET TWO PEOPLE JUST AS CRAZY AS YOU!
The ground erupts again, and the pair are thrown out of the Pit of Doom, landing right back where they started. Brushing themselves off, they look at each other in disbelief.
“Other people as crazy as us?” Shani says. “That’s not possible.”
“It is you!”
They turn around to see a woman approaching. She has long black hair, green eyes, is not quite wearing something that doesn’t quite qualify as a dress…
(Shani makes a mental note to find out the name of the other woman’s dressmaker)
…and a shawl with a…
“Well, well,” Shadar remarks.
“All right.” Shani shakes her head. “Maybe I was wrong.”
“I’ve been looking all over for you!” The Black sister, which is presumably what the newcomer is, comes up to them. “You see, I heard you and your friends specialise in doing just what you want to as insanely and flamboyantly as possible. I was hoping to find us a situation like that.”
Shani raises an eyebrow. “ ‘Us’?”
“Of course.” The green-eyed woman smiles. “Allow me to introduce us. I am Sharis of the Black Ajah, and this…”
A pool of shadow beneath a cliff darkens, and a man slips out of it. He flourishes a bow to Shani and Shadar, and pulls Sharis toward him in a manner that could be generally described as scandalous. He’s tall, lean, dressed in black.
Oh, and he doesn’t have any eyes.
“…is my Warder.” Sharis’ smile widens. “Meet Sneak.”
Shadar nods slowly. “That’s pretty insane, all right.”
“You have a problem with that?”
“I’m an Asha’man hanging around with a Red sister. What do you think?”
“I think we’re all crazy. So what shall we do now?”
“Well.” Shani considers. “The normal course of action would be for us to go drive someone else crazy. Which we should be able to do twice as effectively, now. That’s nice, but we should probably find out first what our narrator’s got planned…”
“No chance, Shani. I’m improvising as it is.”
“Oh.” Shani shrugs. “Let’s just go, then. Would you like to meet our friends?”
“By all means. Shall we shadow-travel?” Sharis gestures toward the cliff.
Shadar blinks. “Fades can transport other people?”
“You guessed it.”
“In that case,” Shadar grins, “we should have no trouble.”
The four walk into the shadow…
Raina smiles. “This should be fun.”