Disclaimer: I don't own the Wheel of Time. Or the Creator.
Author's Note: This is ridiculously late. But it's up. And I suspect that it is significantly longer than any other chapter, so that might redeem the year's wait? Maybe? Much gratitude to Firedroplet, who made this chapter much less confusing, and to all the people whowaited so patiently for me to get off my lazy bum and write this chapter already.
"Moiraine, if you don't mind me asking, where did you get all this tea?" asked the Creator, gesturing to the teapot. "I never wrote you as the compulsively tea-bag-toting type."
Moiraine gave a tinkling laugh. "Hardly." She paused, growing more serious. "I am afraid that I cannot divulge the requested information, though, as then you would wonder about far more important things than beverages, such as 'How is she transporting all these characters here?' and 'How can I use that knowledge to escape?'. You see, we are far from done with these sessions."
Of course, the Creator sighed inwardly. "Dare I ask who my next vindictive victim is?" Please not Rand, please not Rand, please not Rand...
"You may, but you will not have to wait long for the answer. I should really be bringing her in now, actually," she replied, rising gracefully from her seat and moving towards the door, which may or may not have been there before she started moving towards it. "And I may be bringing in some spiced wine; Elaida has a marked preference for it these days." With a bit of a smirk, she sailed out of the room.
Elaida. The Creator could feel the beginnings of a terrible headache brewing. It wasn't Rand, at least, but Elaida! The bipolar Red in bitter denial about her own impotence as autocratic ruler of a crumbling edifice. Wouldn't that history be a dainty dish to set before the king! She'd surely have him eating crow, if he didn't make her eat it first. If only I knew how Moiraine procured things from outside the Tower of Ghenjei! I could have the entire Seanchan army immobilize her... or just Egwene. Or Egwene and the Seanchan army together! The Creator smiled, lost in happy daydreams.
However, his blissful vision of ravens and hawks and dancing white flames slipped away when he heard voices approaching. The conversation was clearly between two people who loathed each other- he couldn't make out actual words, but the tone of the voices left no doubt. As they neared, he picked out Moiraine's smug repartee and Elaida's angry rejoinder.
"I hear you're having trouble keeping things together, Elaida."
"At least I didn't let al'Thor run around loose, Moiraine!"
"You try keeping tabs on the boy- he's the Dragon Reborn! You just can't face the fact that your Ajah is useless now! You must give him free reign, no matter how much it goes against your dearly-held prejudices."
"You Blues would be scheming while sisters were being murdered in their beds by these crazed Asha'man! This is a time for strong leadership, not cunning plots and useless plans!"
"Exactly, and that is why even the humblest Blue would be ten times more capable than-" at this juncture Moiraine practically thrust a fuming Elaida into the room- "you!" The petite Cairheinin darted away from the door, which was suddenly not there anymore. Elaida turned, clawing furiously at the wall, before realizing that someone else was in the room.
"Are you the Creator?" she said haughtily, resuming her normal composure. "Or is this just some elaborate device of Moiraine's to try and regain power? If I could get my hands on her, that Blue..." she strode to the table and grabbed a teacup, looking disdainfully at the teapot. "You would think she would have the decency to provide a wider variety of beverages."
The Creator resisted the urge to smile. Elaida's stress reduction methods were true to canon, at any rate. No doubt her stressors will be just as faithfully represented, he thought, something that made his momentary lift in spirits fade away. She certainly does have a right to complain, although I can't say I'm looking forward to it.
"I think that perhaps you should be cutting back on the alcohol," remarked the Creator aloud. His eyes widened as he realized that he had just given helpful advice to a Red Amyrlin. Hello, death wish.
Elaida's eyes narrowed and she gripped her teacup tighter. "My personal habits are none of your concern." She paused and crossed her arms. "Who are you really? Some Asha'man in league with that Blue? Some spy of Alviarin's? Rest assured that I will find out."
"Would Moiraine lie?" the Creator asked boldly.
"She would if she were Black Ajah! Not that I would tolerate any such insinuation against any sister," Elaida retorted fiercely, seemingly unaware of her contradictory viewpoints. The Creator could have laughed, were Elaida not right there and likely to do something drastic. "Why am I here? I have urgent business to take care of. I am the Amyrlin Seat."
The Creator wondered if there was some sort of time limit on these confrontations. Perhaps if Elaida just kept on reassuring herself, he wouldn't have to face her wrath. It was worth a try. "Of course you are. Egwene al'Vere is no one. A small problem, easily solved," he said, testing the waters.
She looked at him suspiciously, but finally sat down. "You know about the al'Vere girl? Are you affiliated with the rebels?" she asked finally.
"Oh, no, no!" he hastily assured her. Well, I suppose it depends how you look at it. "I support the rightful Amyrlin. Mother." He wondered if perhaps he was overdoing it.
Elaida didn't seem to notice. "Good. Too many think they can stand against Tar Valon's might. But they will fall. They will all fall. No matter the obstacle, I will prevail!" She gripped the teacup even tighter, her smile becoming slightly maniacal. "They all laughed at my Foretellings, but soon the world will see that I was right! I will rebuild the White Tower stronger than ever. Those abominable Asha'man will grovel at my feet, as will the al'Vere girl."
The Creator nodded to placate her, as well as hide a smile. "The entire world will know what happens to those who meddle with Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan?" he offered helpfully.
"Exactly. You are remarkably perceptive," Elaida said, relaxing her grip on the teacup, "for a man".
The Creator narrowly avoided rolling his eyes. "I am honored, Mother," he replied, wishing there was a time-keeping device in the room. This had gone on for a bit. Why wasn't Moiraine back yet? Was she waiting outside until Elaida had gotten the same say as everyone else? Of all the rotten setups... fine. I'll steer the conversation toward her grievances. The less time I'm in the same room with her, the better. The irony of him actually complying with the demands of this ridiculous situation rankled, but clearly it was better to be cooperative.
"You must have many weighty affairs to manage, Mother," he said, hoping she'd seize on the opportunity. When she said nothing, he tried again. "Though I am sure your Talent helps ease the burden." Come on, come on. You know you want to brag...
"One might think so, but the knowledge I have received from Foretelling often serves to complicate matters. It is well that I can interpret my own visions," she said smugly, stroking the teacup.
A horrible thought began to dawn on the Creator, and he nearly swore. Beads of sweat began to form on his temples. No. No. I'm not supposed to tell her that, am I? Oh, no, she'd kill me, three Oaths or no. Oh, no, no, no... But it was useless. He knew that the worst thing he'd ever done to Elaida was have her chronically misinterpret her own Foretellings. Elaida didn't know it yet, but clearly Moiraine wasn't going to come in until Elaida found out about the irony that had orchestrated her decisions. Blood and bloody ashes. Here goes nothing, he thought.
"Perhaps it is not wise to be so convinced of your own superiority. Even the most powerful and wise can make mistakes," he said, meeting her eyes. "I have a confession. As your Creator-" Elaida interrupted with a sniff- "I have done certain things for the narrative, and your character has suffered." He took a deep breath. "To put it plainly, every one of your Foretelling interpretations is wrong. I'm sorry."
Elaida's teacup broke. "How dare you! This is preposterous!" she exclaimed, brushing teacup shards off her red dress. She was clearly indignant, but he wasn't sure if she actually believed him. She probably never would, but he made the effort to explain.
"The savior of the world coming from the royal line of Andor is not Elayne. It is Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn." He fought the urge to wince. These revelations must be such a blow to her ego. "Also, at this rate, the only way the White Tower could become 'whole and stronger than ever' is through Egwene. While she too has her flaws, she has a much wider contingent of allies and connections." And except for the occasional spot of denial, I've been having her interpret her plot-related visions correctly, he didn't add. "And before this actually sinks in and you attack me, I offer a final example. The sisters walking the grounds of the Black Tower do not signify your triumph. Those Aes Sedai are captives. I probably shouldn't have toyed with you for this long, but the narrative demanded it..."
Elaida shook her head and mouthed soundlessly. Her words were uncertain, when she finally spoke. "You... no. How did you... it can't..." The Red was clearly badly shaken. The Creator felt a pang of sympathy, despite his fear that she would get a hold of herself and rip him to shreds.
"If it makes you feel better, I didn't want to tell you," he offered quietly.
This was clearly the wrong thing to say, he decided, as Elaida drew herself up and looked at him, eyes blazing with righteous anger. "You weren't going to TELL ME?" she roared. "You were going to let me sit there, making incorrect assumptions just because you felt the need to watch me bungle the job I've always wanted?"
"Ah... yes," the Creator said in a small voice. "That's one of the themes of the series. Making the best of the information you have, because no one has all the information. No one is right all the time."
"Why must you demonstrate this with ME?" she said.
"Oh, it's not just you!" the Creator hastily assured her. "Even Egwene was completely blind to something rather important. Everyone in this series has communication problems. That's probably why I'm here, actually." He mulled it over. You know, it probably is. These interviews aren't just for the characters, they're also for me. "You're certainly not alone in being a victim of communication-related irony."
Elaida sniffed. "Good. See it stays that way." As she strode for the suddenly-there door, she bumped into Egwene, who had apparently been standing there and waiting for her turn. The Creator sighed. Hopefully Moiraine will be here soon to clean up the blood.
But miraculously, the two Amyrlins settled for giving each other death glares and marching very pointedly in seperate directions. Apparently Egwene had something on her mind that was even more important than picking a fight with Elaida. "Just what exactly was I completely blind to?" she asked, not even bothering to offer a greeting. She had sat down and poured herself a cup of tea, smiling at the broken teacup on the floor, before the Creator had worked out a response.
"Well, I suppose it doesn't matter now," he said, grimancing. "Remember your masseuse 'Halima'? And how you were so convinced that she was nothing but a harmless flirt?"
Egwene nodded, sighing. "In retrospect, perhaps I should have listened to the many testimonials from my trusted friends."
It was the Creator's turn to nod. "I couldn't have put it better myself." He paused, wondering if he should really do this to the poor girl, but decided that honesty was apparently the best policy. "In case you wanted to know, she was actually Balthamel."
The young Amyrlin blanched. "Not the-"
"Yes. The lecher. I really am sorry for that, by the way. But that's just the way irony goes," the Creator said, finding the bottom of his teacup quite interesting. "Was there, uh, anything else you wanted to know?" ...I'm sure she'll be fine. She knows how to put herself to sleep. All the same, perhaps I shouldn't be quite as open next time, unless it's really important, he thought guiltily.
Egwene shivered and pushed her teacup away, clearly feeling nauseated. "I'm not sure, now. Do you have any more unpleasant surprises to spring on me?"
"Possibly, but they're all in the future. Not the past. Which is where Halima is. No need to dwell on what's past, it's not like time is circular in this series or anything," the Creator replied quickly.
Egwene gave him a sharp look, but let the matter drop, probably because she didn't want to think about it any more than he did.
"So do you have any other concerns?" the Creator prodded, though he figured that the major issue had been addressed. Small talk will probably help her get her mind off it.
"Well... actually, I'd quite like to know where Gawyn is," Egwene offered, blushing. "I haven't seen him for quite some time. I'm beginning to wonder if my Dream will ever come true..."
The Creator debated with himself. I should at least tell her not to doubt her Dreaming... but then again, with the state of the Dark One's prison being what it is, she probably should. "All I can tell you," he finally said, "is that he does love you. And I'm working on book twelve."
Egwene sighed. "I suppose that's reassuring, at least. I guess you're not going to give me any hints about Dream interpretation? Or politics?"
"Light, of course not!" the Creator laughed. "I'm here to respond to your grievances, not reveal future plot twists. If I went around giving hints all the time, there'd be no suspense. Take the matter of Asmodean's death. If I admitted that it was-" but at that moment the door opened and Moiraine stepped in.
"Is everything settled?" she asked. "Because Rand al'Thor is next, and I don't think you want to keep him waiting."
Oh, on the contrary, thought the Creator as his shoulders slumped. I would very much prefer to keep him waiting.
...But that doesn't mean you should keep me waiting for a review:D If you had any particular thoughts on this, or want to suggest future interviewees, feel free to share.
Also, in case the king/eating crow reference was too obscure- it comes from "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
"Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye/
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie./
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing/
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?"