|The Three-Thousand Year Meeting in Hell
Deep in the Pit of Doom, beneath the striated skies of Shayol Ghul, where not even the boldest soldier of the Light dared step foot, there was…
…a conference room. And in it, a long table.
And at the table there sat thirteen people. The most powerful among the Aes Sedai who served the Shadow, their names were cursed hourly by all the world. The Forsaken gathered in Shayol Ghul for a council of war…
Balthamel choked and spluttered over his coffee. “Dark, this stuff’s foul!”
Graendal arched a eyebrow at him. “Well, that’s what happens when you put Semirhage in charge of refreshments, isn’t it?” she pointed out sweetly. And took a sip of her own coffee from a flask. The few of her fellow-Forsaken who were similarly prepared smirked. The majority choked.
Demandred shoved his cup away after one taste. “Getting back to the subject of this meeting. I propose that we move in force and take out Lews Therin once and for all. I will of course lead -”
Sammael broke in. “You mean I will -”
“Neither of you will!” Lanfear interrupted angrily. “Lews Therin is mine! I’ll bring him to the Dark if it’s the last thing I do!”
The remaining ten looked at each other, sighed, and settled in for a long meeting. The argument raged on until the raised voices were drowned out by shouts coming from outside. The Dark One stirred.
ISHAMAEL, GO SEE WHAT THAT INFERNAL NOISE IS, WILL YOU?
“Right you are, Great Lord.” Ishamael saluted and left, the sliding doors of the room closing behind him. They waited, but the first of the Forsaken failed to return.
“I’ll go see what’s keeping him,” Balthamel grumbled after a while. “C’mon, Aginor. You could do with some fresh air to your brain. I think you’re getting crazier.” The pair headed for the exit.
Abruptly the sliding doors slammed shut, trapping Aginor and Balthamel half in and half out of the room. The resulting screams deafened everyone. Even Rahvin looked up from his mirror – momentarily.
Be’lal put a stop to the screaming by knocking the pair over the head with the hilt of his sword. All the Forsaken sighed with relief, except for Semirhage, who looked disappointed.
The silence, however, was short-lived. The Dark One’s voice thundered through the room. And if you’ve ever heard an angry deity shouting…
HE DARES! MY ANCIENT ENEMY DARES COME HERE!
“Lews Therin?” Lanfear sprang to her feet. “He’s here? I’ll -”
YOU WILL DO NOTHING, FOOL CHILD! HE HAS SEALED THIS PLACE AND IMPRISONED ME HERE – AND ALL OF YOU WITH ME!
There was a very long pause. “But what are we going to do?” Moghedien complained.
Mesaana had already pulled a book from her briefcase, but at this complaint she glanced up. “Don’t worry, Spider dear – there are plenty of flies if you get hungry…”
“I know some games we could play to pass the time,” Semirhage suggested, with a smile that made everyone in the room distinctly nervous.
Except for Graendal. “What a good idea!” the golden-haired Forsaken said brightly. “And while we’re on the subject of torture, why don’t we have Asmodean play his latest composition for us?”
The rest of the Forsaken snickered. Asmodean just sulked.
“Exactly how long are we likely to be here?” Be’lal asked carefully.
AT LEAST A MILLENNIUM OR TWO.
“WHAT???!!!??!!?!” everyone screamed, momentarily breaking the law of nature that says that only the Dark One can talk like THIS.
STOP THAT! IF YOU THINK THAT’S BAD, THINK OF ME! I’VE BEEN HERE FOR ETERNITY ALREADY!
“Yeah, but you’re immortal!” Sammael retorted. “This -”
Demandred joined in. “- is all -”
“- Lews Therin’s fault!” Lanfear yelled. “If he’d stayed with me instead of that sop Ilyena none of this would ever have happened! I’m going to get him, I swear! He’s going to be mine!”
LOOK, IF YOU’LL ALL BE QUIET…
“A millennium drinking Semirhage’s coffee?” Rahvin shuddered at the thought of a Fate Worse Than Death, and hurriedly returned to his mirror for consolation.
“A millennium listening to Demandred and Sammael squabbling?” Be’lal groaned in despair.
“A millennium locked in here with these idiots?” Graendal muttered to herself.
WILL YOU LOT PLEASE SHUT UP?
At that point, Aginor and Balthamel revived and started screaming again…
RIGHT, THAT DOES IT!
A sudden silence fell over the room as, one and all, the Forsaken fell asleep.
MUCH BETTER. And the Dark One settled in to wait.
Forty years later, the first of the Forsaken returned to Shayol Ghul, looking in through the half-open doors of the conference room. “Great Lord, I report…”
ISHAMAEL! The Dark One’s voice reverberated through the Pit of Doom, but there was a definite whining note to it. COME AND TALK TO ME! I’M BORED!
Ishamael sighed and settled in, as the Dark One started to talk. NOW, BACK WHEN I WAS JUST A YOUNG DEITY…
Long, long after, Ishamael staggered away from Shayol Ghul, groaning and rubbing his aching head. “I’d better get Nae’blis for this,” he grumbled. “Sheesh! At least now I know why they call it a Bore!”