Arik Korpin trembled as he entered the Amyrlins Study. Many would say that he was being foolish. He had visited the Amyrlin many times before in Silly Stories and nothing really bad had happened. At least that was the voice in his head told him, along with reminding him to pick up a jug of milk and a box of frozen waffles on his way home. Arik still worried.
"Hello deary. How are you today?" the Amyrlin smiled and popped a marshmallow in her mouth. Arik winced seeing the nearly full bag in her hand.
"Um Im fine I guess " he stammered out, eyeing the marshmallows nervously.
"Oh Im sorry! I forgot you dont like these around." Kathana rolled up the bag and shoved it in a desk drawer. "Are you sure you dont want one, hun?" She asked with a wicked grin.
"No! I mean No, Im not hungry right now "
"Are you okay, hun? You seem really nervous today."
"Well thats not really "
"Spit it out!" she ordered, giving him Angry Amyrlin Look #27. It was guaranteed for use on nervous male channelers. She usually used it on Phoenix right before smacking him.
"Are you going to try to kiss me again?" he asked weakly.
The Amyrlin sighed heavily. "I thought I explained this before. That was Soraya pretending to be me. I would never act like that."
"Are you sure?" he asked hopefully.
"Im Aes Sedai. I cant lie."
"Cross your heart and hope to die?"
"Yes." She sighed.
"Stick a sharp needle in your eye? Eat a cow manure pie?" he pressed desperately.
"Eww Gross. But yeah, sure. Why not? Now what else did you need today?"
Arik got that worried expression on his face again. The voice in his head spoke soothing words about picking up the dry cleaning and grocery lists. "Well it's kind of a long story "
"Ive got time."
"Well I was walking past the M"Haels Study in the Black Tower and I heard this noise. It sounded like a dog barking. I didnt want to interrupt so I looked in through the keyhole. I saw Soraya in there scratching him behind the ears and he was licking her hand." He looked at her fearfully, not knowing what her response would be.
"Oh." The Amyrlin said quietly. "That explains a lot. Well, I suppose I have to have a talk with her again." Standing up, she straightened her skirts and absently wiped the pudding off her fingers onto the curtains. "Come along dear."
Out in the hall, Arik noticed the Amyrlin seemed a bit worried. She kept glancing over her shoulder and around corners. Twice she made him hide in a closet with her, while someone walked past. "Umm Mom? Whats going on?"
"Hush! Im trying to avoid someone." She muttered at him, peeking around a corner.
"Oh? And who is that?" said a voice behind her. Kathana jumped.
"Um No one, Joe. Why would I be avoiding someone?" she told him.
"Because someone told you not to leave the Tower by yourself again. In my day, bondholders did what their Warders told them to. And sometimes we didnt even have bondholders. We had to baby-sit porcupines and carry them around in our mouths to keep our sword arm free. And we liked it!" Joe looked up from his ramble to see that Kathana and Arik had snuk off down the hall.
"Dagnabit! Now I have to go find her again." He muttered. Finding Kathana was easy; after all they were bonded. The hard part was catching up with her. Slowly he made his way done the hall, clinking with every step. The clinking came from the many knives he had hidden around his person. In addition to his double scimitars, Joe had one knife in each sleeve, two were strapped to his waist, and another one was hidden under his coat. It had taken awhile to learn how to move without nicking himself every time, but he had figured it out eventually. The one in his small clothes was really uncomfortable though. It chafes, he thought.
Creeping through the bushes near the Warders Practice Grounds, Kathana and Arik tried to avoid the Warders. But hey! Theyre Warders; they didnt get that job by hanging around eating pudding, you know. Ben was the first to notice them. Arik thought he was acting strangely though. Instead of coming over to say "Hi" with his usual trade marked, patented grin, he ducked behind a bush. "I told you! That was Soraya, not me! Im not like that!" the Amyrlin called to him. He just cowered behind the bush, leaves trembling.
The second incident happened when Lone Wolf noticed them. He immediately rushed over and threw himself at the Amyrlins feet. "Please, please. Just say you forgive me. Just say we can be friends again. Please?" Kathana gave him a cold look, said. "Drop dead, Wolfie Boy," and continued on her way without missing a beat.
Joe crept stealthily through the halls of the White Tower, hunting the Amyrlin. He was relentless in his search. He could not be swayed from his course. The Warder was like an arrow speeding towards his target. Nothing, absolutely nothing could keep him away from his purpose. Hey! Theres Jhaenara, with a bunch of laundry .I wonder if she is heading towards the linen closet .How much trouble can Kat get into in an hour anyways? With a new purpose, he swerved to follow the novice.
Kathana and Arik began the long trek to the Black Tower. It was several hundred miles south, in Andor. After awhile Ariks feet began to hurt and the Amyrlin was getting hungry again. Strange thoughts about linen closets and girls in white dresses were coming to her. They were really disturbing and she welcomed the interruption when Arik began talking to her.
"Yes dear?" she said automatically.
"Why are we walking to the Black Tower? It would be a lot quicker."
"You know, youre absolutely right! Why didnt I think of that?" She pushed thoughts of dark closets and coat hangers out of her head and embraced the Source. Channeling crisply she wove a gateway to the Black Tower.
Stepping through, Kathana noticed that the hordes of chickens had not gotten any better. They still over ran the place, pecking at everything and leaving piles of droppings and feathers everyone. The Amyrlin smugly reminded herself that even though chocolate pudding stains were nearly impossible to get out they didnt stink.
Arik out of the Gateway, into the yard with open arms. "Come to me, my precious children!" At his call, flocks of adoring chickens came out a perched blissfully on his shoulders and arms. One perched on his head to deposit a large, brown egg and flap off. "Thank you for your gift, my feathered sister!" He carefully took it down and examined it. "I will wear it with pride!" With that he smashed the egg on his forehead so that it dripped down into his face.
Kathana watched the display with a disturbed expression on her face. No matter how bizarre things got at Dragonmount, they still managed to get stranger. Ignoring Arik dancing around sticking feathers to his face and clucking, she gathered her skirts close and began picking her way over towards the MHaels Study.
Joe walked quickly through the Tower, tucking in his shirt and whistling a happy tune. Now there was something he was supposed to be doing. Something he was supposed to be looking for. Thinking carefully, he stuffed his knives back in his sleeves. What was I supposed to be looking for? Feeling a reflexive pudding craving through the bond, he remembered. "Kathana! Get back in the Tower this instant, young lady!" He yelled, even though he knew she was too far away to hear. In my day, Amyrlins stayed in the Tower, in their Study. And we didnt have chairs. We sat around on cactuses. And we didnt have pudding to snack on either. We ate mud. And we liked it!
Kathana knocked carefully on the MHaels door. Through the bond she felt Joe looking for her. Gotta hurry here. Before Joe figures out I left the Tower Deciding not to wait for an answer, she opened the door and barged in.
She was confronted by the sight of Soraya, wearing one of her filmy Domani dresses standing over the MHael holding a striped ball. "Okay, Im just going to put this on your nose. If you can keep it up, Ill ..Oh! Hi there, Kathana!"
"Umm Hi. Im not interrupting anything am I?"
"Oh no." the flirty Yellow said. "Im just doing what you wanted me to."
"What I wanted you
to?" Kathana asked, raising an eyebrow. "How is
teaching Taim to
do tricks something I want? Its certainly an achievement, but I still want to hear your line of reasoning here."
"Well, you said once that you wanted to bring the men of the Black Tower to heel. Thats what Im doing. I thought Id start with Mazrim here." She scratched him affectionately behind the ears. He panted and slobbered on her skirt.
"I didnt really mean it like that sweet heart. Why dont you let him go and well talk about it later?" Kathana grabbed her friend by the arm and began gently steering her out the door. She added Soraya to her list of things that she had to deal with. It slid neatly between finding a new Keeper and giving Sathinar a flea bath. The Amyrlin decided she need to get back before Joe came here looking for her with his Sword of Smitingness.
Hours later, Joe realized that Kathana was no longer at the Black Tower. Cursing, he turned his horse around on the road. "Bloody woman!" he began muttering. "In my day, we didnt have nice horses to ride around on. We had rocks! And we had to carry them every where we went. Instead of saddles, we used orphans! Smelly ones. And we liked it!"