Eleyan vs the Dark One
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 again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in an Iowa corn field. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
On the wind blew, bending corn and grasses alike into waves on a green sea. Past the farms, wafting hats off farmers driving tractors, and into the city, where it carried the scent of cultivated fields to those who knew only the smells of exhaust and concrete. Down the boulevards, where it grabbed a stack of papers out of a man’s hands and scattered them among the crowded streets. Through the city it blew and finally came to a dark place known as Shayol Ghul.
Shai’tan sat in what is commonly called "the Bore" (though he preferred to call it "the Bore-ing") thinking of new curses to plague the minds of men with. "Mother’s milk in a cup was a good one, if I do say so myself. I don’t think I’ll ever top that," he mused, scratching his ear. "Father’s beard! No, it just doesn’t have the same ring. Oh! Bleeding charred log! Now that one has possibilities; it will fit right in with the "bloody ashes" line. Explains how the ashes got bloody, anyhow. . ." His thoughts were interrupted by the alarm that meant someone had entered the Bore to see him. "Pesky mortals," he muttered as he quickly picked up his megaphone. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
Shai’tan watched as Ishamael fell to his knees at the sound. "Great Lord, the world is changing. The White Tower holds more Aes Sedai and initiates than it did even in what these fools call the Age of Legends."
"TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW, FOOL."
The man before him trembled, but whether in fear or anger, Shai’tan neither knew or cared. "The–the Amyrlin Seat–she is–she has moved," he stammered. This was something the Great Lord did not know and though he was glad to know it, he was not pleased it happened right under his nose.
"FIND HER. YOU MAY LEAVE NOW." He watched Ishamael leave the Bore and turned his thoughts back to his previous activities. This news seriously interrupted his plans for the day. How would he concentrate on inventing new curses? "THE BLOODY WOMAN. BLOOD AND ASHES," he cursed as he realised he still held the megaphone. Setting it down, he noticed his tail twitching in anger. "Damn tail. It’s a good thing none of the Forsaken know of it, otherwise I might find them hard to frighten into submission. The Creator still mocks me for it, curse her. Just because she can find uses for her tail other than balance is no reason to mock mine. Bah, I have more important things to do than worry about my tail." And so he did. He summoned the rest of the Forsaken and gave each of them the same instructions: find the Amyrlin Seat.
After instructing his most powerful followers to find that cursed woman, the Great Lord decided not to waste the rest of his day thinking up vulgarities, but to put it to good use instead.
Eleyan al’Landerin sat in her study, typing and clicking away as she managed the goings-on of the White Tower, as was her duty as the Amyrlin Seat, when she happened to glance out the window and saw a squirrel spirit by. "Oh, how adorable," she thought absently as she turned back to her work. Not too long afterwards, she happened to notice the squirrel headed back the way he came, only with an acorn held fast in his mouth. "This is too much. I have to tell everyone!" she said, clicking on the right links and her fingers typing out what she had seen. As the first few people responded, she watched the squirrel scurry past the window again. Happily distracted from her work with an in-depth conversation about a squirrel carrying nuts past her window, Eleyan never suspected she was being hunted by the Dark One.
Shai’tan didn’t mind the heavy labour he set himself to doing. Actually, he felt it made a good penance for not keeping a closer eye on that woman. (He absolutely refused to say or even think either her name or title.) He couldn’t believe she escaped his notice. "Bloody woman." And besides, the monotonous repetitions of his work gave him time to think. Running to and from the Bore-ing and carting his load, Shai’tan’s mind began to wonder. "I wonder what the Creator is doing these days. Not creating, obviously. I mean, seriously, nothing new has popped up that wasn’t made by humans for ages. I can’t believe those fools think she created me. Sure, she had a hand in it. But really, I created myself. Eh, doesn’t matter, I s’pose. As long as they’re properly frightened of me. Still, what is she up to? I should call her. Do I still have her number?"
He quickly forgot his set penance in his search for the Creator’s number. His apartments off of the Bore became a hazardous, hard-hat only zone as he tore the place apart, trying to remember where he may have put the number.
Eleyan sat at her computer, reading through the conversations about the squirrel she had seen passing her window. "It’s gone. At least, it hasn’t come back," she wrote, and the conversation turned to wondering where it had gone. Had it found all of the nuts it needed? Was it just taking a break? Did it move on to transferring a different cache of acorns that didn’t require it to bypass the Mother’s window? So many theories, but they never suspected what was really going on.
The Dark One raised his hand in triumph, clasping in it a small piece of paper with several digits written upon it and his tail twitched, not in anger this time but in anxiety. Would the Creator remember him? "Of course she’ll remember me. How could she forget? We’re only playing the most fascinating game. Really, it’s better than chess," he said, soothing his fears. Would she want to talk to him? "Yes. Why shouldn’t she, if only to talk about our latest gains and failures." Summoning his courage, he picked up his phone and dialed her number.
"Hello?" came an immensely feminine voice.
"HELLO, SCHNOOKUMS," he said through the megaphone, daring to use her name rather than her appointed title.
"Oh! Hello, Eugene," she said in a falsely sweet voice. "Really, do you have to use that megaphone with me? There’s no way it’s going to impress me. I mean, after all, I’ve beaten you every Age."
"If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times: My name is Shai’tan," he scolded, letting the megaphone drop to the floor. "And though you may have beaten me, it was only after suffering devastating losses."
"I still won," she gloated. "Anyway, the fact that I’ve beaten you enough times you had to change your name isn’t the reason you called, I’m sure."
"No," he admitted, choosing to ignore the insult. If he wanted to change his name to something more manly, it was his business, and definitely not because he lost the game so often. "I was just wondering how you were."
"Oh, I’m quite well. This round is really quite fascinating, don’t you think? Especially how I’ve snatched the Amyrlin Seat out from under your nose. Have you found her yet?" laughed the Creator.
"I have my subjects searching for her. It shouldn’t take too long. I guarantee you, you won’t win this battle. Besides, I have more important things to worry about than where you’ve stashed away that woman."
"Like what?" mocked the Creator.
"Like gathering forces."
"You call collecting nuts gathering forces? Acting as a common pack-mule is not becoming of you, Eugene. But still, I am curious. For what shall you use them?"
"Ah. Um. Well," he stuttered, flustered that she should know what he’s up to, when he has no clue as to what she had planned, "Aginor is experimenting again, and I thought I would do him a favor."
"Interesting. Is he trying to grow trees?"
"You know very well what he..." The sound of an alarm interrupted his angry retort. "Ah, it seems I have found your hidden treasure. Fare well, Schnookums," he laughed as he hung up the telephone. Picking up the megaphone, the Great Lord demanded, "WHERE IS SHE?" to Asmodean.
"H–Here, Great Lord. She is here–in Iowa City."
"Gr–Great Lord. . ."
"I SAID ‘GO.’"
"I have more information!" cried Asmodean before he could be cut off again.
"YOU DARE DISOBEY ME? VERY WELL. WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU HAVE?"
"She lives a short distance from here. Just down the street, in fact."
"VERY GOOD. I AM IMPRESSED. I HAVE BEEN THINKING WHO TO MAKE NAE’BLIS. IT MAY BE YOU. LEAVE ME, NOW."
"Yes, Great Lord. Thank you, Great Lord," said Asmodean, leaving quickly.
What a fool he was! He had gone past her window several times that day. At least she didn’t know who, or what, he was. Now was the time to tell her.
Eleyan signed out of the Tower, sighing. It had been a hard day, even with the distraction of the squirrel. She thought, not for the first time, that it was silly she was required to sign in and out of the Tower; it’s not like she was getting paid for her time there. But it was something that had to be done. She stood, stretching and knuckling the small of her back. "Definitely time for bed," she thought, reaching for the light switch. Turning from the computer screen, she happened to glance out the window and saw the squirrel attacking the window. And... And it had a megaphone! "What the?!" she said, wondering what was wrong with it. Thinking to help it with the One Power, she glided to the window and opened it, embracing the Power as she did so.
The squirrel quickly jumped through the window, landing before her and, holding up the megaphone, said, "BEHOLD, YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF SHAI’TAN. SERVE ME."
Eleyan blinked. She blinked again. Then she began to laugh. She laughed as hard as she ever had before, with big fat tears rolling down her face. Her stomach began to cramp and she couldn’t breathe, but the idea of the Dark One being a squirrel was more than she could handle.
Shai’tan was furious! "STOP LAUGHING!" he commanded. "STOP IT!" he shouted, jumping up and down and stamping his foot. "Oh no," he muttered to himself, covering his face with his furry paws. He could already hear the Creator gloating that she had won again. Who would fear or respect a squirrel enough to follow him? Angry, he ran back to the Bore, where he packed his things. "I’ll just move to Canada. No one will suspect that." And, so, with the laughter of the Amyrlin Seat ringing in his ears, the Dark One left the country, to await the next Age where he would make sure to beat Schnookums.