The M'hael stared at the pile of chicken feathers. It did not suit his suite and he wanted it to go away. He could channel it away, but he was the M'hael and well, the Black Tower did have cleaners.
"Callandor? Callandor! Come here now!" M'hael shouted (more likely shrilled as his voice now went from a low pitch to a high irritating whine.)
A thin reedy man stood at the doorway, holding a thin notebook. He looked up at the M'hael.
"Ummm M'hael? You sent Callandor away remember? You wanted him to find traces of the Freelanders and well, frankly speaking, you could not wait to get him out of the Tower."
"Of course I could not wait to get him out. Did you know that he is the most useless Asha'man I have ever seen? As well he is the Cleaner; he can't use a sword, but he sure can swing a mean broomstick."
The Sectary stared at Mazrim Taim, eyes unblinking. Point to remember, Mazrim thought to himself, time to get a better Sectary, maybe one equipped with blinking eyes. He had never seen his Sectary blink, not once since he hired him from the Guild of Sectaries.
"Sir? We have no contact at all with Callandor."
"Did you not send the seek by scent pigeon we have? It should have returned by now." Mazrim stopped as he recalled something. "Send in today's mail while you're at it."
"Ummmmmmmm......M'hael? We have not been getting pigeons in, it seems those we sent out have never returned and we have not been getting any new mail."
Mazrim frowned in annoyance. Sathinar again. Well he have to do something about that madman soon. "Double the guards on the chickens. I won't have Sathinar eating them too. And see if you can start a training program to teach the extra chickens how to deliver mail. By all reports, they're smarter than pigeons, so I don't think u'll have any problems."
The Sectary jotted them down. Looking at his notebook, he said, " Another thing sir, the Tower is really getting BLACK and DIRTY. It seems that the new channelers are screwing up when channeling flows of Fire and there's been a lot of soot. Also trash seems to be piling up. When can we get Callandor back? Some Dedicated have signed a petition for bringing Callandor back. It seems that they have been complaining of chicken poop in their rooms."
"Well, this is The Black Tower, so I don't see any problems with the BLACK color. The other thing, couldn't you get anyone from the Guild of Cleaners?"
"No sir, no. It seems they are mortally afraid of male channelers and they have connections with the Freelanders, so they're afraid we interrogate them if they come here to clean the Tower."
So that settles that. He would have to get Callandor back asap. Meanwhile he had other concerns, like what to do with the feathers, and how could he get his Sectary to blink. He could burn the feathers, but the soot would make his room black, and he liked it white.
"The White Tower delegation is due to return tomorrow and there have been too many murders in the Black Tower lately...this place is not an abbattoir...double the guards protecting them, and give them some extra chicken pies. And Sectary...send that what's his name? a new coat. Black of course."
The Sectary jotted furiously. "His name is DewStar sir."
"Dewstar? What a weird name. Is he mad?"The frantic shaking of the Sectary's head assured him. "While we at the subject, am I mad? "The continuos shaking assured him. "So that's it then, they'll leave tomorrow and I'll finally have some peace...." the still shaking figure did not assure him. "You can stop shaking now, Sectary. Oh and what's your name?"
"Mine sir? Sectary."
"Really, you’re not kidding me right?"
"Ok then, now leave me, I have work to do." And promptly spouted feathers out of his mouth.
* * *
Callandor paused as he saw river. His eyes widened in delight. He would get a bath at last. He could hardly wait. The river meant he was somewhere close to Tar Valon. After all, wasn't Tar Valon an island? Callandor began taking off his clothes, leaving only his smallclothes as he jumped into the river, scrubbing himself merrily.
After a while, and many scrubbings later, Callandor felt clean. Not normal clean, but Cleaner Clean. He missed the Black Tower. He wondered how it was. He missed Henry, the little chick that managed to escaped being fried into arik Korpin Fried Chicken (KFC). He hoped it was well. There should be someone feeding the chickens...
In his daze, Callandor did not notice the club smashing into his head.....and he passed out.
He awaked to the sound of people talking.
"Leal, this is stupid. We take to robbing people, and the first person we rob has NO pockets on his clothes, NO jewelerry anywhere except for a silver broomstick pin, which i reckon will make us enough money to buy one tiny slab of chocolate pudding, which strangely enough, the price of which is soaring in Tar Valon. And lastly, why is he dressed in pure black? Do you think he could be one of those Asha'man?"
"Joaie, don't be silly, Asha'man have gold dragons and silver swords, or so I heard. The silver broomstick is probaly nothing."
Nothing!??! His badge of rank and it was nothing??!?! Now Callandor was mad (angry mad not insane mad). Channeling flows of fire, he burned his bonds to ashes. Standing up, he walked into the next room.
"Now, give me back my badge!"
"Oh yeah?! No! What are you going to do about it!" Leal snorted at him.
"Umm....how did he get free Leal?" Came Joaie's frantic whisper.
"I don't care, and I'm not about to give him my ticket to chocolate pudding."
Callandor channeled flows of Air to tie up Joaie. Then tied it off. He could this much. Then the flaming broomstick shaft without the sweeping thingy appeared.
"Give it back or I'll hit you with this." He threatened.
"Oh! Damn!" Leal paused to consider whether the pin he was holding was worth the pain he would get from that fiery staff hitting his head. " Okay, you can have it back." And threw the pin at Callandor.
Reaching to grasp it, he let go of the staff and got it with his hands. Taking advantage of the situation, Leal drew his sword and attacked. Boar Rushing Down The Mountain met Boar Hitting The Tree Trunk as Callandor dropped the pin and channeled again. The sword Leal was using broke and Callandor reversed the action. Club Hitting A Stubborn Fool changed instead to Burning A Unwashed Head as the flows of fire burnt Leal’s head. He collasped…dead.
Joaie stared at Callandor in fright. Callandor’s only action was to pick up his badge, scrub it clean and repined it on his collar. Callandor smiled. Joaie looked even more nervous. Callandor channeled, removing the gag of Air.
"Tell me…have you heard of the Freelanders? No? Well…in that case, could you tell me of a Inn at Tar Valon? The Fires of Heaven? Okay thanks. You can go now." Removing the bonds, Callandor strode out of the little hut in the forest. He was on his way to Tar Valon. Something told him that he would find a Freelander in Tar Valon.
Joaie stared at Callandor’s disappearing figure, shivering in fright. He got the feeling that Tar Valon would not be the same again with Callandor’s arrival there.