Something was changing.
Was it himself?
No. He was sure he couldn't change. Couldn't be changed. He was done changing. But something bubbled. Seethed. In his consciousness. A new awareness. He sensed…others. Others?
He was not alone in existence! Of course! He had known that, but still it came as an epiphany. Not just he, but….what? What else?
Mankind. Those scurrying sacks of meat and inadequacy were still there. That was it. He had been blind to their existence? They had been free? Scurrying along in insignificance while he had wallowed alone in the dark?
That was decidedly unfair. He had worked so very hard, for such a very long time, and had become so very much more than any human could imagine. And he was here alone in the dark? They free to run about? LONGING!
Oh, how he longed. A longing that ran through his entire being. It pulled at every expanse of his mind! He longed for…for….
What did every bit of his being yearn for? He could feel desire down to the core of himself. But he couldn't remember what that desire pulled him toward… He wanted…yearned for…longed for…needed…revenge!
REVENGE! Oh, how he longed for his revenge! Mmmm. Even the word was delightfully sweet. Revenge. He savored the word, savored the meaning, savored the anticipation. Oh, revenge would be amazing. Beautiful, bloody, horrible, nasty, sexy revenge. Revenge to pay for his suffering. Revenge to pay for his time lost wallowing in the dark. When he got his hands on…
Insane laughter burst forth. Hands! Ha! He could smell the insanity in his laughter. He reveled in the comfortable skittering madness that was his own. He wanted hands to wrap around throats. He wanted hands to grip his dagger and slice the living organs from their places…but the thought of being bound to a body again, to a single solid form, was so alien to him now that he would as soon give up his revenge. REVENGE! He began to stretch his consciousness back…out…forward. He would have his revenge on….he strained to remember…
He was formless. He could hear nothing and everything. There was nothing to see and he saw all of it.
"Blood streaming, sweet crunching, bones crunching", one of his voices purred. They missed crunching, grinding, snapping bones, and yelling, screaming, crying terror.
Dark, so dark. His place was dark. All of his souls liked the dark, which suited. He could not leave his dark place, and it could not leave him. He floated through black night screaming, howling, dancing, gnashing, crying, raging, dying, killing. He stopped.
He smelled blood, tasted flesh. Skin to plait and eyes to cry. He tasted it on the air. He floated toward the living flesh. Much flesh, strip and braid. Many bones, crush and grind. His voices rose in discordant chorus. He could feel their terror ahead of him. His souls boiled into a frenzy. His voices sang their song as they began to feed:
"Flesh so fine, fine to tear, to gnash the skin; skin to to strip, to plait, so nice to plait the strips, so nice, so red the drops that fall; blood so red, so red, so sweet; sweet screams, pretty screams, singing screams, scream your song, sing your screams…"
He remembered now. That was a part of him just as Shai'tan was a part just as Mashadar was a part. He wasn't Shai'tan or Machin Shin or Mashadar, they were all gone. He was more. And once he had Rand al'Thor to himself, al'Thor would find out just how much more. How that name hounded him…al'Thor. The one responsible for all of it…al'Thor. Rand al'Thor will be hounded. Rand al'Thor will be scourged and flayed and kept alive just long enough to watch everyone that he loved treated with similar courtesies! Oh how he longed for it! Rand al'Thor was going to…Rand al'Thor was… al'Thor…was…was DEAD! !
A howl issued forth from the prison. The being that howled did not realize yet that it was indeed a prisoner. The being with no name howled with pure rage: a howl that broke some men's minds and shook the mountains of the world. He had no name because he had moved so far beyond Padan Fain that it would be ridiculous to associate them, and he howled because he had no revenge now.
He stopped raging. It may have lasted only a moment or possibly it stretched through eons; time was no longer, to him, what it had been. He had been robbed. His revenge had been stolen from him. AL'THORRRR! He had been there. He had arrived at Shayol Ghul in time. How had this happened? His change had taken years flowing upon years, he knew that not only was the so-called Dragon dead, but the grandchildren of his grandchildren's grandchildren were dust by now. The entire world was going to pay him what he was owed! The suffering! The glorious torment! He felt a quivering anticipation. Without having a physical form he needed to find new ways to exert his will. The world would learn suffering as he learned to deliver it to them…The nameless prisoner began to study those others that he had sensed.
There seemed to be several groups of other being he could sense, each further from him than the last. Further was an insufficient term on this plane he now occupied, physical distance was meaningless. The last group existed further from his existence than the first group. The beings closest to his existence seemed to float in dull darkness, while gradually each group showed more light, the light seeming to come from within themselves and at the same time suffusing them from one to the other so that they appeared to reflect the light from each other. The smallest group, which lay so far away from him that he did not think he could reach them with any amount of effort, was so bright that he cringed when he focused on them. The light came from everywhere around them and from inside of them at such intensity that it threatened to blast all of the darkness away from everywhere. Light. Blinding. Horrible. He stretched toward those terrible bright formless beacons that disrupted his night. He would crush those first. Crush and grind and tear and rip. They weren't many, compared to those groups that came closer and closer to his plane. Several hundred stars outshining the millions and millions of lesser lights. Grasped and fell short. Again he stretched his being forth, and met resistance this time. There was a painfully violent wall of nothingness between he and those few, most brilliant stars. He was aware of them, surrounding him, on the fringes of his universe. But he was incapable of snuffing out the lights. He lashed out in fury at those dim lightless forms around him. Viciously crushing hundreds of them he delighted to see that they ceased to exist. He studied these. These were his. These he had the power to destroy, banish, crush and grind! They each pulsed with feral rage; touching one of them with his consciousness he found that he was caressing the soul, the soul, of some inhuman thing. It was familiar, and yet new. He could get a sense of this things self-image and it was some sort of huge animal. Hairy and fanged and horned and beaked. He began to crush this thing out of existence as he had the others when he stopped himself, a memory rising from his immortal depths, a memory of his mortal past. This was a trolloc! His old friends. He laughed madly in humor and excitement and hate and rage. The trolloc in his grasp quivered uncontrollably; inspecting it again he realized that the thing had gone mad. It must have not enjoyed meeting its new master. He thought about tearing one of the trolloc's arms off and the dark soul jerked violently. He imagined snapping a hoof off of its leg and he could hear the tormented howling that issued forth. He knew that somewhere on another plane of existence that Trolloc was in a blind frenzy, feeling every whim that flittered across his own consciousness. Reveling in the horror he released the beast and watched it continue to quiver and shake. He wondered idly if there had ever been a truly insane trolloc before. There was one now.
Those beyond this first group he found to be the souls of men. At first his excitement was unbounded. Even at discovering that the faint illumination in these souls offered some resistance to his will, he found he could still torture them, and ultimately could even destroy them utterly. Eventually he realized that these were the souls of the already dead. And while crushing a human soul out of existence, ripping it from the Wheel forever was gratifying, he wanted the living to feel his retribution. He wanted to rape the world of life, not just the world of death. The souls past the souls of the dead, but just before those disgustingly brilliant stars just out of his reach, were the souls of the living. The light from within these was almost unbearable and he began to destroy these souls and found himself rebuffed. The light that so annoyed him seemed to encase and protect these souls, he couldn't even touch them. The blasted Light held back his touch! In a furious and hate filled tantrum he laid about him destroying the souls of the dead and of trollocs alike. Crushing souls, tearing souls apart, burning souls to ethereal ash that blew away on the winds of nothingness.
Stopping himself before he destroyed everything that he had any power over, he caressed the trollocs gently stoking their fear. He spoke to each and every one of his trollocs that still existed.
"Come to me my children. Come back home to the black mountain. Bring your females to the slopes, and birth your young in my presence. Come, and after you obey me, you will feast on the flesh of Man."