|Long Live Insanity #5: Gone Fishing
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes round again. In one Age, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rises in Amadicia. North and south the wind blows, east and west, because there really isn’t very much interesting happening in Amadicia, until it comes across a small group gathered on the banks of a river.
And the wind bursts out laughing.
A deck chair has been set up on the bank, occupied by a tall figure in black, with a fishing rod in his hands and a broad-brimmed hat pulled down over his eyes. A large pile of fish is lying beside his chair. Farther downriver, two people are lying on opposite banks, dipping their hands in the water to snatch out fish. One, a woman in red, has an even larger pile beside her. The other, a man in white, has only a few small fish on the bank beside him and is looking suspiciously at hers.
“You’re cheating, Shani,” he accuses her.
“Why, Sycho! What a thing to say!” Shani reaches down and scoops another huge fish from the river.
“You’re using the Power to catch them.”
“Would I do something like that?”
“If you’re not channeling, why are none of the fish on your side moving?”
Shani shrugs, and tosses another onto her pile.
Still farther down, the river winds through a grove of trees, from which strange sounds can occasionally be heard. Not far from Sycho, two more people are roasting fish on sticks over a fire. One has short golden hair, and her brown coat and breeches blend in with the landscape. The other is ten feet tall, shaggy, and industriously writing in a notebook between fish.
“...Sycho accuses Shani of cheating.” The Ogier frowns and looks up. “Do you think she is, Shaiel?”
“Shani. Would an Aes Sedai cheat? The river does seem very still on her side.”
“What would I know about rivers?” Shaiel skewers another fish. “These taste good, though. The wetlands do have advantages. How many ways did you say you know to cook them, Someone?”
Someone, son of Someone Else, son of Some Other Ogier, flips through the pages of his notebook. “One thousand, six hundred and forty-three. That doesn’t include variations, of course.”
“Of course.” She glances up. “Look - we’ve got company.”
A portly figure in a white cloak has appeared farther up the river.
“Oh, no,” Sycho mutters. “Not him.”
“What is going on here?” the Whitecloak officer demands of the black-clad man in the deckchair, who happens to be closest. He receives absolutely no response. Not even so much as a glance.
“I said, what is going on here?” Raising his voice, the Whitecloak stamps over to the deckchair. The figure in black does not move.
“This is an outrage! You!” The portly man points at Sycho. “I insist that you help me arrest this person!”
“Sorry, sir. No can do. I’m trying to catch some fish.”
Shani and Shaiel start laughing. Someone is busy recording the conversation. Some more odd noises come from the grove downriver. The man in black continues fishing.
“I SAID -” Whatever the officer said is lost as a black-sleeved arm reaches out, hooks his ankle and pulls. Cloak and wearer tumble into the water.
“- splutter gasp splutter,” the Whitecloak officer finishes his sentence as he is carried downriver by the current, past another, insubordinate Whitecloak and a very amused Aes Sedai.
“I never liked him,” Sycho observes.
“Shadar,” Shani calls upriver, “do you have to throw your rubbish in the water? You’re scaring the fish away.”
The man in black raises his hat and, very deliberately, winks one blue eye before reeling his line in.
Sycho scowls across the river. “I can think of other reasons all the fish are gone.”
“That might be it, too," Shani agrees. "Do we have enough, do you think?”
But there is a sudden bellow from the grove. “Snarg catch fish!”
Shani and Sycho sit up. Even Shadar looks up curiously as a very large Trolloc emerges triumphantly from the grove, with a white cloak in his fist and the wearer of the cloak dangling below.
“Snarg catch BIG fish!”
Sycho whoops with laughter, slapping his thighs.
Someone blinks, then starts flipping through his notebook again. “Ah! A great white!”
Sycho laughs harder.
“That’s a good fish you caught, Snarg,” Shaiel calls. “Do you want to roast it?” She picks up one of her spears. “This should do as a skewer.”
The Whitecloak’s eyes bulge in terror, and he wriggles out of the cloak and falls to the ground. With surprising nimbleness for a stout man, he leaps up and runs, throwing panicked glances over his shoulder in case one of them is chasing him.
None are. They’re all too busy laughing.
Snarg looks crestfallen. “Big fish run away.”
“They do that sometimes.” Shani pats him on the shoulder. “Never mind, Snarg. We’re going to Amador next week. Maybe you can catch another one. There are lots of big fish in Amador.”
The moral: Don’t annoy insane people. Especially not when they’re fishing.