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A Practical Joke
(Or, the Myrdraal Who Became A Warder)

Along with my various other activities, I do some online roleplay at a site called the Grey Tower, which is set in the world of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. It's a fun place, with a lot of good people and a number of very good writers. For anyone unacquainted with this series, it is a fantasy world in which the Dragon Reborn is destined to face the Dark One, who is due to escape from his prison in time for the Final Battle any time now (though at this rate that could easily be another seven or eight books - it's quite a long series). One of the key races in the Dark One's forces are the Myrdraal, who are roughly human in appearance but have dead white skin and no eyes. They are also referred to as Fades or Eyeless, and they are always evil and usually in charge of the ogre-ish Trollocs. Their gaze causes fear, and their cloaks always hang straight down, regardless of the wind around them.

When April Fools Day rolled around, I decided to explore an idea I'd been toying with for some time. There is a certain category of fantasy character who comes from an Evil race, but is himself a powerful champion for the forces of Good. (Drizzt Do'Urden, the Dark Elf who wields a pair of enchanted scimitars, is one of the more popular examples.) Playing off that idea, I decided to submit a character who was a Myrdraal that had decided to change sides. He wouldn't be a good guy; instead, he would have decided that the Dark One was doomed to defeat, and he wanted to be on the winning side - a perfectly rational, self-interested decision.

With that in mind, I went to the main message board (where out-of-character conversations take place) and posted the following:

Hi there!

I haven't been added to the members list yet, but I just got my acceptance letter, so I thought I'd come say hi. I'm playing Severan Darkborn, a Myrdraal who's decided that the Dark One is going to lose Tar'mon Gaidon. He wants to be on the winning side, so he's come to the Grey Tower to become a Warder. They said I'd have to use plain steel for my weapons, so I'm thinking about having him fight with paired swords. I'm really glad to be here and hope to meet a lot of people. Drop me a line if you're interested in starting a roleplay.

I received some very pleasant responses; a couple of 'Welcome to the Tower'-s and one 'It's about time we had a Myrdraal' message. However, that wasn't quite enough to satisfy me. The point of this sort of satire is draw people in so that they only gradually come realize that you must be kidding. You have to make it sound as reasonable as possible. So, having introduced myself, I went to the main roleplay board and posted this:

Severan comes to the Tower (Attn: Anyone)

Severan walked slowly along the road to the Grey Tower. Though not precisely afraid, he was extremely wary - and yet, the decision he had made left him no other course than this. To roam the world alone would mean death; every hand would be turned against him.

From a distance, he was not a terribly unusual figure... not in a place where Warders and Wolfkin came and went freely. He was tall, with broad shoulders, and a sinuous, graceful way of moving. His skin, what little could be seen of it, was very white... and that was his most distinctive feature. His clothes were those of a woodsman or a warrior, browns and greens, with oddly colored spots where patches had been clumsily applied. The sword at his side was long enough for two-handed use, but there was nothing unusual in its design or markings. He wore no cloak, only a brown leather jacket. Black hair hung loose around his shoulders, and a broad-rimmed leather hat hid most of his face in shadow.

The clothing had been taken from the dead and wounded, scraps from a distant battlefield. Unlike his so-called kin, he could wear most of what he found. He had left his blade behind; effective as it was, it would not be well received here, and in any case was close to wearing out. His armor had been too distinctive by far, and so it was left behind also... replaced by a coat of chain hidden under his forest-green tunic.

The guards straightened as he approached, but he saw no sudden movements, heard no sudden panic - and he kept his gaze on the road in front of him, so as not to startle anyone.

"What do be your business at the Grey Tower?" asked one of the guards, trying unsuccessfully to see under the lowered brim of Severan's hat.

"I wish to become a Warder," he replied coldly. "I have given this much thought, and hope that you will listen..."

He raised his head then, letting the guard see his eyeless face. The guard froze, stammering and sweating, as Severan continued. "You see, I believe the Great Lor- I believe the Dark One will lose. The Prophecies are clear, and I have no wish to be on the losing side. If you will accept my-"

"Mu-! Gur-! Myrd-!" The second guard had finally focused on the face of the man before him. He backed away as Severan turned to look at him.

"-service," Severan continued, "I will serve the Light, and teach you all I can of-"

"Fade!" yelled the first guard, yanking his sword from its sheath. The second guard turned and fled, yelling.

"...the ways of the Shadow, and its servants." Severan kept his hands away from his sword as he finished. The guard was waving his blade, and managed - despite his fear - to attack; Severan snaked a hand past the strike, and clipped the man under the chin. He collapsed, and the sword clattered on the ground. Severan stepped back carefully, to show that he meant the man no harm.

Then that awful, grinding itch ran through him, and he knew that someone had touched the One Power. "Wait!" he yelled. "I only want to-"

Too late. He never saw the weave that struck him, and knew only an instant's agony before he was consumed.

OOC: Happy April Fool's day, everyone.

The joke here, of course, is that this is precisely what would happen if a Myrdraal tried to join the forces of Good.