|Long Live Insanity #8: Shadar Aman
Six cups are lifted and drunk down.
The action is repeated. The unsteadiness of several hands suggests that quite a bit of toasting has already occurred.
The cups are drained a third time, and a flagon rises, gleaming in the firelight, and floats around the circle to fill them again.
Around the fire lounge six people in various states of drunkenness, ranging from a completely unconscious Trolloc to a completely unaffected Maiden of the Spear (Aiel don’t get drunk on oosquai, they only laugh at wetlanders who do). The more conscious members of the group are talking.
“The Car’a’carn visited the Black Tower yesterday,” Shaiel comments with a glance toward Shadar.
“Really?” Shani also glances toward the Asha’man. “Would that be before or after your surprise visit, Shadar?”
“After, probably.” Shadar downs a cup of oosquai and pours another. “I doubt they passed inspection. Al’Thor would not have been happy.”
“Doesn’t he have enough stress to cope with without you joining in? Give me that flagon, you drunken madman.” Shani snatches it from him on flows of Air and refills her own cup.
“He doesn’t cope with stress very well,” Shadar replies, ignoring the second part of Shani’s words. “I could do much better.”
“Oh?” Shani laughs. “You think you’d make a better Dragon than the Dragon?”
“Much better,” Shadar agrees, taking the flagon back and refilling his cup. “I wouldn’t have to worry about going mad. I already am.”
“Indubitably.” Abruptly Shani looks behind Shadar to where a white-cloaked form is stirring. “And you’d better demonstrate your control of saidin right now, because -”
“Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer...”
“ - Sycho’s about to sing.”
“If one green bottle should accidentally fall -”
“No, you don’t!” Shadar weaves a gag of Air in record time.
“Maybe you could be the Car’a’carn,” Shaiel says dryly. “Leafblighter can’t be any worse than that.”
“All right, this promises amusement.” Shani raises her voice. “Someone! Stop drinking, we need you to record this. Shadar’s going to explain why he should be the Dragon Reborn instead of al’Thor.”
It would be nice to say that four attentive faces (Snarg being still unconscious) focus immediately on Shadar. In reality, however, the four wear expressions more skeptical than attentive, and Sycho is still attempting to sing through his gag. None of these, however, faze Shadar.
“If I were the Dragon Reborn,” the Asha’man expounds, “the main worry of all those surrounding me would be alleviated. No one would need to wonder when and how I was about to go mad, knowing that I could not possibly get any madder than I already am. All that energy spent worrying could therefore be turned to useful purposes.”
“Such as..?” Shani prompts him.
“Why, driving more people mad, of course. What else?” Shadar refills his cup. “Instead of teaching my Asha’man to kill, I would teach them to turn somersaults, laugh maniacally and frighten Darkfriends away by the sheer force of their insanity. Trollocs would not dare venture near me, afraid of having their tiny brains - sorry, Snarg - totally overloaded. Myrddraal, unable to laugh, would scream with frustration instead. No Shadowspawn would be taken seriously, and the Dark One’s forces would be completely crippled.”
“And the Shadowsouled?” Shaiel, despite herself, is getting interested. Someone is writing busily, albeit with a rather unsteady hand.
“The Forsaken?” Shadar dismisses the cast of nightmares with an airy wave of his hand. “They couldn’t exist in the same reality with me. They’d go running back to Shayol Ghul and hide.”
“And the Dark One?”
“Would take one look at me and beg to be re-imprisoned for another Age.” Shadar drains his cup and looks around with a rather smug expression. “Did I leave anything out? Would I make a great Dragon, or what?”
“I refrain from comment.” Shani finishes her own drink. “If you’re going to be the Dragon, can I be the Amyrlin?”
“What on earth for?”
“So I can break all the rules, of course!”
“I thought you did that already,” Shadar points out. “Didn’t Elaida put a price on your head?”
“Yes. Didn’t Taim put one on yours?”
“Yes.” The two channelers grin at each other.
“Back to the point...” Shaiel reminds them. “How are you going to break the rules any more than you do already? There are only so many, you know.”
“Not at all. An Amyrlin can make rules.” Shani smiles enigmatically. “And then proceed to break them. Aside from that, though, as Amyrlin I could break rules much more publicly. An Aes Sedai ignoring all Tower convention is one thing, but an Amyrlin doing so...”
“Ah. I see your point.”
“Exactly. Chaos. Besides, I think I’d like to be the first successful Red Amyrlin ever.”
Shadar laughs at that. “Successful - by what standard?”
“Who’d want to argue with me?”
“What was that?”
“Oh - sorry, Sycho.” Shadar removes the gag. His apology doesn’t sound particularly sincere, and Sycho scowls. He doesn’t, however, sing.
“What were you saying, Sycho?” Shani passes him the flagon. “Do you want to be the Lord Captain Commander?”
“I’m not as insane as you two.”
“Don’t worry,” she assures him. “We’ll back you up.”
“That’s settled, then,” Shadar announces. “I’ll be the Dragon. Shani can be the Amyrlin and Sycho can be the Lord Captain Commander. Someone can be the official historian and chronicler for the Dragon Reborn, and Snarg can be...”
“Official carrier of books for the official historian?” Shaiel suggests.
“Perfect. What do you want to be?”
“Nothing. I’ll stick to laughing at you five.”
“Chief spectator,” Shani agrees. “Are we agreed, then? In the event of the Dragon Reborn, the Amyrlin Seat and the Lord Captain Commander being simultaneously missing, dead or otherwise incapacitated, we take over?”
“That doesn’t seem likely to happen very soon,” Sycho points out.
“I suppose it doesn’t, at that.” Shani reaches for the flagon again. “We’ll just have to find something else to do in the meantime, won’t we?”