Author's Note: This is a heavily revised version of a humor fic I attempted many a year ago. I hope it's a little better and that you all read and review!

~*~*Before*~*~

A young woman stepped slowly away from her own shadowy reflection. She turned to face it, adjusted a hair, and turned back. A slow moving, thick, black liquid seemed to follow her out from the endless depths. A whisper emanated from the viscous fluid, an almost inaudible sound that seemed to burrow in the mind and at the same time try to tear it from the body. The woman turned again, spoke a quiet few words, and turned back once more. The shapeless mass retreated back into the silvery darkness in a manner that could only be described as reluctant, like a pet dog watching its beloved master leave. Two intricately carves slabs of stone swung together, and the traveler moved a piece of the gate, which upon closer examination proved to be a trefoil leaf, to close it behind her. She picked up a satchel, dug through it, and drew out a folded sheet of ivory parchment. She read it and laughed, "To the Myddraal Fore'ize?" Believe the author when she says that it is much funnier when pronounced aloud. "Lucky Fade. You're invited to the Pre-Tarmon Gaidon Randland National Ball!"

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Ah, to be home. The sweltering heat, the foul, stomach-twisting breezes, the diseased and rotting foliage. He'd even written a song about it. He sang it to himself, "I been spendin' most my life livin' in the Great Lord's paradise. My special black sword don't need to strike twice, 'cos it's from the Great Lord's paradise..."

He sorted through the mail and grimaced. Bills, bills, bills. They were all he ever got these days. His mother never wrote to him anymore, ever since she'd run off to pursue a career in exotic dancing. She had decided to throw her past behind her when her husband, Narg, had failed to return from the lands beyond the Waste.

For the hundredth time, he wished that he had met his father; he hated his stepfather, with his closed mind and small vocabulary. All he had of his biological father was a picture.

He sighed and sifted though the mail till his hand caught a thick, scalloped piece of folded parchment. "What's this? Why, it's an invitation! Ooh, I'll have to wear my prettiest outfit!" He walked to his closet and began rifling though. "No, no, no, no, NO!" He searched through his dresser. "Yes! Oh it's simply perfect!" He held up a cloak, shirt, and pair of breeches of his signature, unrelieved, light-eating shade of black seemingly no different than any other.



Just then, he saw a Worm pass by. The Worms were famous for the sense of fashion and un-arguable style. The Worm saw him and groaned. It tried to slither quietly past, but alas! he had been spotted by the Myddraal. Whether the Myddraal liked other Myddraal or was just very concerned about his appearance was hard to tell. But ever since the Dragon had broken all bonds of tradition, even Shadowspawn were exploring their less orthodox tendancies.

"Aw, whaddya want? I gotta scram, man. The Draghkar are sporting their new spring fashions and ya know I hafta be there." This season, slang was in. Next season, it could be the Old Tongue again. Slaves to the Waste? More like slaves to trends, were the fearsome Worms.

"Oh, oh yes, of course. I just wanted to ask you, how does this look for a party?"

The Worm, Ar'monee, rolled three of its eyes. Myrdraal were so uncreative. All they wore was black. It was the timeless classic of course and soooo slimming, but they took it to an extreme. "How does what look?"

The Eyeless held up the specially selected outfit. "This. Isn't it just.....divine?" He sighed in ecstasy.

Ar'monee glanced between the upraised garments and the ones the Fade wore. There was a difference? "Its totally...er...um. Yes, well I gotta make like a tree and leaf, ya dig? You know how those Draghkar are."

The Lurk squealed in delight. Ar'monee had said... well, it wasn't the words that mattered, it was how he said them. Well, that didn't matter either; he had definitely sensed something from the Worm.

Ar'monee raised an eyeridge and slithered away. There was just something... clingy about those Shadowspawn. Total squares, they just didn't groove. It brought out its program for the Spirng Fling and cheered up. Woo- hoo! Kashmere killers. Ah, it couldn't wait. He idly wondered about this party the Myrddraal had mentioned, but forgot about it again. Cashmere!

The Fade returned inside. This ball would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the newest addition to his wardrobe. And perhaps they would be so impressed by his innate sense of style, they would join the Dark and get him higher in the Great Lord's standing. Things hadn't gone so well since the infamous kaf incident. He shuddered in memory. Oh that sweet, sweet caffeine.

To clear his mind, he picked up the invitation and traced the flowing gold script as he read the front. "To Fore'ize, the Myrdraal. You are formally invited to the pre-Tarmon Gai'don Randland National Ball." He'd often wondered, why not Fore'izeland. His was certainly a name to inspire fear; in the Trolloc tongue it meant Terrifying, Evil, Sinister Bringer of Any Number of Painful, Screaming-for-the-mercy- that-would-never- come Deaths.

He giggled in anticipation.