By The Amyrlin Seat and Lone Wolf
The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and go, leaving memories that fade to legend, and legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten by the time the age that gave it birth comes round again. In an age called the third age by some, the age of silliness by others, a wind arose on the slopes of Dragonmount. The Wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time (a situation people on the Wheel donít like, as well as people in line for riding on the Wheel). But it was a beginning.
The wind howled, crisp and strong like a strong.... crisp.... howling.... thing. It blew down on peasants doing peasanty things along the river. It blew on merchants doing merchanty things, and finally crossed the river, and blew to the White Tower.
Kathana Justinia Trevalaer, The Watcher of the Seals, The Flame of Tar Valon, The Amyrlin Seat, pulled a strand of wind-blown hair out of her mouth. Fool wind! Why wouldnít it leave her alone? Then she remembered that she was Amyrlin and the most important person in the world. The wind would be just naturally drawn to her.
She began tapping a roll of parchment on the balcony railing. So Phoenix thought he could have a humor contest, did he? A faint memory of smelly socks and utter humiliation stirred in her brain. She owed Phoenix a debt, and she always paid in full.
Kathana turned to go back into her rooms. This would require some help and there was only one other who could help her. Poking her head out the door, she told the novice attending her to send her the Keeperís Warder, Lone Wolf. She giggled in a most un-Amyrlin-like fashion. "His little Amyrlin pet indeed." She muttered.
Her message to Lone Wolf sent, she quickly became bored. She thought about sending for some more chocolate pudding, then thought better of it. Ciara had been giggling at her at the dinner table lately.
Chissa knocked politely at her door. "Mother, your afternoon appointments have arrived. What should I do with them?"
"Appointments? Oh yeah! The Warder candidates. Send the first one in please, dear."
Chissa nodded. "Iíll be going on my break soon, Mother. Iíll just leave a note for the rest of your appointments to let themselves in." Then she was gone.
Soon, a tall man in a black coat swaggered in. "Hello Mother. Meet your new Warder."
"Hello Sam, but weíve already met."
"Well, yeah, I was trying to use one of those attention getting phrases people use sometimes..." He trailed off.
"And arenít you already bonded?"
"Yeah, but...I wanna be a Warder!"
"Fine, fine... Let's talk then. Why should I bond you?"
"Well...You used to be a Brown, right? And they like to study things, right? Iím going to go mad because of the Taint, right? So if you were bonded to me, you could study the madness first hand." He finished with a hopeful look.
"Okay... Let me get this straight. You want me to bond someone, who is already bonded to his ex-Forsaken girlfriend and is going to go mad, just so I can study his going mad? Oh and there is also the slight chance that the madness might backfire through the bond and start to affect me?"
He nodded again.
"Right. And what about you and Blackthorne? What happens to me if you two...umm. How to put this delicately? Go on vacation again?"
Sam looked puzzled. "I donít get what you mean, Mother."
She blushed. "Well...You know...If you two...Um...Do those things that you two do... When you really like each other..."
"Oh that! Well...I sorta thought that youíd like it."
The novice, Latrania by name, went down the halls, not knowing in the slightest where to find this... What was his name? Lone... Fox? I think thatís it. She traveled past the Greens Quarters, and heard a commotion behind a door.
"Iím darker!" Said a voice.
"No you arenít! I am!" Said a second. There was laughter from a third, followed by...
"Youíre both wrong. I am the darkest one!"
"You canít be! Even your name says you canít!" said the second voice again.
"Whatís wrong with my name?"
"Nothing, but it just canít possibly be the darkest!" Said the first.
Latrania opened the door, not knowing what to find, having never seen a real live Darkfriend before, and was surprised to see three men, all familiar to her, none of them Darkfriends.
Darksmoon glared at the other two. "Why canít I be the darkest? I never get to be the darkest!"
"Darksmoon? Címon." Darkseid replied, absently plucking at his harp, twang, twang, twang... "Even the name says "Shining Light," therefore, you can't be the Darkest."
Spoing! One of the strings popped out.
"But I never get to be the darkest!"
"Excuse me..." Latrania began, but got no farther.
"Oh quit whining, you little baby." Dark Blight said. "Itís obvious Iím the darkest! Look at me! Dark Blight. Dark is Dark, and the Blight is the home of the Dark!"
"But Iím Darkseid! And Dark is Dark, and seeds are found in the ground, and underground is dark, therefore, Iím the darkest!"
"I wanna be the darkest!" Darksmoon whined again.
"You canít!" the other two said in unison.
"Excuse me..." Latrania tried again, but, of course, they didn't pay attention.
"I never get to be Darkest! You two are always picking on me! Waaaah!" He threw himself on the floor, kicking his feet, and pounding his fists. Darkseid and Dark Blight exchanged looks of disgust.
"Oh, get up you big baby," Dark Blight said, just as Lanfir Sedai entered the room.
"I felt some turmoil through the bond (James Bond)." She said, "Are you three at it again?"
"Oh, umm, well...." Darkseid sputtered.
"You see. We were just... uhh... That is... ummm... I love you." Dark Blight said, smiling his best.
"I wanna be the Darkest! I never get to be the Darkest! Itís not fair! Waaaah!" He hadnít heard Lanfir come in.
"DARKSMOON." She said sternly. His cry cut off in mid-breath, and he looked up at her. As she expected, there were no tears in his eyes. He had been crying just to get his way.
"Why canít you three be more like Freman?" They all turned away, and shuffled their feet. "Freman never argues with anyone! Freman never says heís the Darkest."
"Yeah, but heís-"
"I donít care. Darksmoon, get up." He got up and stood between Darkseid and Dark Blight. Latrania watched with interest, So this is how you deal with unruly Warders...
"Darkseid, go to your room. I will punish you later." Darkseid went.
"Darksmoon, you go to your room, too. I will punish you later, also." Darksmoon went.
"Dark Blight, I will punish you shortly. Go to my room." Dark Blight went, but Latrania could have sworn she saw a small smile on his face. She didnít understand it though. However, she didnít have time to wonder about it though, because Lanfir turned to her.
"Iím sorry you had to see that, child. Why were you here, anyway?" She curtsied low, lost her balance and fell over. She picked herself up, and curtsied again, smiling weakly.
"I was sent by the Amyrlin to find Moaning Fox, but I donít know where he would be."
"Moaning Fox, I think his name is. I donít exactly remember. The Amyrlin called for him in regards to Phoenixís humor contest."
"Moaning Fox? Thereís no one here by that name. Did she tell you anything else about him?"
"Well, Heís bonded to Chissa, and-"
"Oh! You mean Lone Wolf!"
"Yeah, that was his name! Silly me. Iím horrible with names."
"Yes, silly you. Lone Wolf can usually be found in the hydrangea garden outside of the novice headquarters."
"Why? What's out there?"
"The Eternal Flame of Tom Valor. He watches it on occasion. Usually when heís depressed about something." She felt Dark Blight through the bond (James Bond). "Oh my, I have to go. I must punish my Warders." She giggled once, then cleared her throat hurriedly, a blush rising to her cheeks as she exited the room.
The next Warder candidate came in. "Mother, look no further. I am the one youíre looking for."
He gave a sweeping formal bow and remained crouched near the floor for some time. Finally, Kathana cleared her throat. "And you would be...?"
"Darn! I knew I forgot a part! My name is Ladon and I am the coolest Warder."
"Right. And what makes you so cool?"
"I have an army of Protiss Knights at my beck and call."
She gave him a blank look.
"The Knights of Protiss are among the mightiest warriors who ever did mighty things. Plus, I write poetry."
"You do? I love poetry. Could I hear one?"
"Of course, Mother. I wrote this one for you actually."
Ladon assumed a poetic stance, one hand over his heart, the other held out towards her. "Shall I compare thee to a well-worn mop? Nay, for the mop is nicer and soggier. The mop cleans the floor and stuff like that. The Amyrlin just hangs around and eats pudding. So what shall we do with this useless woman? This strange, messed up woman that the angels name Glinda the Ghetto Witch? Shall we kiss her feet and shame the noble mop? Or should we find something else to do?"
"Okay, thatís enough. Iíve heard enough." the Amyrlin interrupted hastily. "Why donít you go...somewhere while I think it over? Go watch the Star Wars trailer with Sam or something. Oh and send in the next one while youíre out there too."
The Hydrangea garden next to the novice quarters. I know where that is....
Latrania began walking toward the novice quarters. Suddenly, someone had grabbed her by the front of her blouse and was lifting her, looking into her eyes.
"I love her! I want her! You have to help me!" She looked into his eyes, where something akin to craziness danced. Insanity, possibly.
"What? Who the Light are you?" He put her down, and with a flourish, bowed low.
"Roland Broadcloak, at your service, maíam." He said in a perfectly sane voice, with perfectly sane eyes. He stood, and tipped her a wink, meant to be charming, and then took a step forward, grabbed her blouse and hoisted her again. He looked into her eyes, and immediately started laughing. He put her down. "Man, I can never do that without laughing. Okay, okay, okay, okay. Here we go. Let's try this again." he cleared his throat and lifted her again. He looked into her eyes, and said nothing.
She looked at him.
He looked at her. He put her down again and turned toward the prompter. "What's my line?"
The bespectacled man looked down at the rolled piece of paper, and said, "Uhhh.... Your line is... ĎNow, whereís the Amyrlin?í and she asks why, and you say ĎBecause I need to talk to her.í"
"Oh, right. Thanks." he turned back to Latrania.
"Be careful lifting me this time. You hurt me last time."
"Oh, sorry. Iíll be more careful." He lifted her carefully, and the light of insanity came through his eyes.
"Now, whereís the Amyrlin?"
"I donít- I- Why do you want to know?"
"Because I need to talk to her! Sheís holding Warder interviews and I have to be there, so she can be my- I mean I can ward her- I mean- Doh!"
Latrania busted up laughing. Roland put her down, and stepped back.
"Okay, one more time. Weíll take it from that line I flubbed, okay?"
"Yeah, fine, whatever. I have my lines down."
"Shut up." He lifted her a third time, gently again, and spoke carefully. "Because sheís holding Warder interviews and I have to be there so I... Can... Be... Her... Warder!"
"As far as I know, sheís in her study. Now can you please put me down?"
"Oh, right, sorry. Itís just that sometimes, people don't want to stay and talk to me. I donít know why. Itís like they think Iím-" he broke of in mid-sentence and started growling. Latrania wondered about it, and then looked over her shoulder. Ranges had turned the corner and was walking toward them. Something was in his hand.
Rolandís growling increased. Ranges stopped and looked at him, the pudding cup momentarily forgotten. Roland barked.
"Gekkie!" Ranges said.
"Bark! bark! grrrrrrr bark!"
"Gekkie gekkie gekkie!!!!!"
"Bark! woof woof, arf, grrrrrruff"
"Gekkie Gekkie Gekkie!"
Latrania turned and left Roland, Ranges, and the small bespectacled man, and continued on toward the hydrangea garden. She came to the novice quarters, and looked around for the Hydrangea garden.
"Ta daaaa!" the Warder finished up his routine. "I bet you never met another Warder that could play the accordion, while tap dancing!"
The Amyrlin picked her head up off the desk. She couldnít for the life of her remember his name. She supposed it didnít matter. "No, I can honestly say your one of a kind."
"So do I get the job?"
"Umm...How about this? Donít call us. Weíll call you." She told him.
"Really? Youíll call me? Oh boy..." the nameless Warder began gathering up his accordion and tap shoes. The accordion made a wheezing sound as he dropped the shoes on the floor in a loud clatter. Kathana winced. It was a horrible racket. The fool grinned at her as he tried to pick up the shoes. She clenched her teeth and told herself that it would be wrong to throw him out the window on flows of Air.
Finally he managed to get out the door, without dropping anything. She could hear him moving done the hall, wheezing and clanging at every third step. She was beginning to think this Warder thing was overrated.
There, through that window! There was the Hydrangea garden. Now, how to get to it. She turned left and went out a side door.
An alarm started blaring, and she took her hand off the crash bar. Then she noticed the sign on the door. In bright red letters, right in front of her face it read:
DO NOT OPEN
ALARM WILL SOUND
She stepped back and the door closed, shutting off the alarm. She felt her face warm, and she was glad there weren't really any such things as Novices in this White Tower. Since that would have been REALLY embarrassing.
She looked to her left, and saw the other exit door, this one with no EMERGENCY sign on it. She opened it, and there was no alarm. She stepped out, and looked around. Where was Lone Fox? She would probably find him if she found the Eternal Flame of Tom Valor. Whoever the light that was.
She looked around, but didnít see anyone, or any flames or anything.
Then she heard a cough. She looked over to where she had heard it, and there she caught a flicker of something orange. A Flame!
She had found him. She stepped toward him, and there she saw he was not alone. He was sitting with someone. Another Aes Sedai, she thought. She approached, and caught the last end of their conversation.
"Okay, so, what we decided on is... Chicken, then the egg, and then the sock, right?"
"Yeah, thatís what we decided." The Aes Sedai replied. Latrania recognized it as the voice of Chissa, the Keeper of the Chronicles and Head of the White Ajah.
"Now, what should we do about this problem with Francesca, and Ender?" Chissa asked. "I think they got caught once again with the filmy dresses, and the grapes, even though Francesca passed that law about the burlap dresses. It would seem sheís just doing that to keep Ender for himself. Iíll have to look into that. And apparently Lanfir is using excuse she can to "punish" her Warders. I donít want to go there, but the Amyrlin forced me to take care of it."
She sighed heavily just as Latrania cleared her throat.
Chissa turned. "Yes, my child?" Latrania bowed low, and fell over again. With a very unladylike curse pertaining to behaviorisms with oneís self in regards to reproduction, she rose to her feet, and saw Lone Wolf trying, unsuccessfully, to hide a smile.
Chissa had her Aes Sedai face in place, but her eyes were laughing too.
"Lone Fox, the Amyrlin would like to see you." Chissa lost her cool and started laughing.
"Fox! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha elloell!! elloell!"
"What?" Latrania asked.
Lone Wolf turned a quizzical glance toward his bond (James Bond), and asked what elloell meant.
Before Chissa could recover, Tarishma and Bellina came charging around the corner and into the clearing.
"Fox? did someone mention Fox? Where is he?" Tarishma cried.
"Iím going to bond him!!!" Bellina called out right after her. "Heís going to be my Warder!"
"What did I say?" Latrania asked.
"Chissa," Lone Wolf began again, and then was interrupted by a storming Aiel, carrying a cardboard cut out of a man in a nicely tailored suit.
"Who mentioned Fox? Everyone KNOWS Krycek is much hotter then Fox! Krycek is soooo fine." She said, running her hand over the cardboard Krycekís chest. She rested her head on the cardboard shoulder and looked into his cardboard eyes lovingly. She sighed. Krycek bent in half and spilled her on the ground.
She jumped up with a curse, and kicked the cardboard. "You betrayed me Krycek! You arenít even strong enough to hold my weight! Thatís it. Iím going to Mulder now! Iíve given you the best month and a half of my life. Well, it's over now! and Iím keeping the ring!" She displayed such a large diamond ring that it made Lone Wolf wonder where she got it.
She stomped off. By now, Chissa was in convulsions, laughing so hard. She had plopped down on the bench, and held her face in her hands. She kept muttering "elloell, elloell, elloell."
Lone Wolf turned to her. "Chissa, what does that mean?"
"Once Chissa gets going, you aren't going to stop her." Tarishma replied. "But I can tell you what that means."
"Oh, well, what does it mean?"
"Elloell means Laughing out loud. See? LOL. Laughing Out Loud? Get it?"
"Yeah, I get it. Thanks." He shook his head. Elloell. sheez. Light preserve me, or burn me. Or both.
"So," He said instead, "The Amyrlin wants to see me? What for?"
"Umm, itís about Flagstaffís story contest."
"Flagstaff?" Bellina asked. "Whoís that?"
"You know, Flagstaff. The Dragon Reborn."
Chissa erupted into new waves of laughter and fell off the bench. Lone Wolf was smiling.
"No, no. His name is Phoenix."
"Not really. the difference is about a hundred and fifty miles." The knowledgeable Lone Wolf said.
"Oh." Latrania colored again. This was not really a good day. "Either way, the Amyrlin needs to see you."
"Yes, okay. She commands and I obey. Lead the way."
They started walking back to the Amyrlin's Study, leaving Chissa and the other two behind.
The door creaked open gently; a tall handsome Warder tiptoed in. He snuck up to where the Amyrlin was bent over her desk, looking over applications. Moving carefully, so as not to disturb her, he crept up behind her. He grabbed her from behind and planted a huge kiss on her forehead.
Kathana screamed, "Roland! What are you doing, you nut ball?"
"Iím so sorry, my precious. But you looked so wonderful sitting there. I just had to kiss you." He pulled her out of her chair and held her much too tightly in his arms. He pressed his cheek to her forehead and began to croon, "Bond me, my darling. We can have so much fun together. We can travel around and see the world together. Caemlyn, Cairhien, that funny looking statue poking out of a hill, Maradon. On cold, rainy days, I can bring you chocolate pudding in bed and we can cuddle. Iíll carry around a big parasol for you in the summer, so you donít sunburn your dear little nose." Roland trailed off as if trying to remember something. "Oh shoot! Line!" he called.
A little man carrying a huge script hurried into the room. He began flipping through pages, muttering to himself. "Letís see...Where were you? You said the parasol part?" Roland nodded. "Okay then you give her the flowers now."
"Right! How stupid of me..."He smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. He let go of the Amyrlin, who gasped for air. Roland had VERY strong arms. He pulled a bedraggled bunch of daisies from out of his cloak and presented them to Kathana.
She raised an eyebrow at them. "Did you pick these yourself?"
"Of course, my little love muffin. How could you tell?"
"You left the roots on. They are dripping mud all over my shoes."
"Iím so sorry, pookie-bear." He bent and began polishing her slippers with his handkerchief.
"No, it's okay. Really, it is. "
His hands began creeping up past her ankles. "Stop that! I mean it!" She grabbed his shoulders and pulled him up. "Leave. Now." She pushed him out the door. Shutting it solidly behind her, she turned to face to room. Rolandís prompter still stood there, clutching his script. She pointed at him, "You too, buddy. Out. Now."
"Aw, man. I really hate following that nutter around all the time. He can never remember what he is supposed to say or do. All he does is talk about you and grapes."
"Yeah, whatever. Out." She pointed him out the door. He wandered out, still muttering about filmy dresses and grapes.
Once they got back inside the Tower, Sathinar greeted them.
"Hello Wolfie." He said.
"Hello Sathy." Lone Wolf replied evenly.
Sathinar turned dark, and muttered something about Shadar Logoth, and a dagger. Then louder, "Donít call me Sathy, you scribbling guesser."
"If you call me cookie, Iíll call you cake. And I prefer to be called a theorizing scribe, thank you very much."
"You wonít win! I will! I will write such a story, it will make you look like a child's crayon scribble work! You canít defeat me! I am all-powerful!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
"No no no. Saths, you got it wrong." Lone Wolf said. "For a proper evil laugh, you have to start with a Mwa. Itís ĎMwa ha ha ha haí not just ĎHa ha ha ha.í Okay?"
"Oh, okay. Let me try." He cleared his throat. Latrania waited impatiently. "Muuah ha ha ha ha ha. How was that?"
"Has to be faster. That was a moo-ahh ha ha ha. It has to be Mwa. Mwa. Try again."
"Oh, Mwa. Okay. Here we go. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha. How was that?"
"Great man! You got it!" Lone Wolf clapped Sathinar on the back. "Now go and practice that."
Sathinar wandered off down the hall, randomly laughing.
Lone Wolf watched him go.
"Hey, Porcupine. You coming?"
"Thatís Wolf, Latrania."
"Yeah, whatever. Címon."
They had gone halfway to the Amyrlin Study when Kagato jumped out with a piece of paper in his hand. "Lone Wolf, I am gong to prove to you that the Heron Markô Store does not have everything in the world!"
"It does, how many times do I have to tell you that?"
"Okay, A Heron Markô Santa Claus Bel Tine ornament."
"Those are on aisle 14."
"A Heron Markô sparkplug from a 1967 T-bird, built by a guy named Phil in the late years of the second age."
"Sparkplugs are organized by year of creation, model they fit in, and name of the creator, all in the mechanics department. You would find it there, yes."
"Okay, you won't have this one. A salami, cream cheese, and trolloc sandwich, made from a trolloc named Hgggjythgkrt, and topped with lettuce grown in the westernmost northern field of Farmer Bjorn Hyonivikís Andoran field, and sprinkled with peppers imported from Seanchan, all on Heron Markô bread."
"Oh, you would go to the deli and ask for a number 6." Kagato stomped his foot and retreated back to the dark depths from whence he came.
Latrania and Lone Wolf went the rest of the way to the Amyrlinís study without being disturbed.
Latrania went in to announce Lone Wolf. She made a deep curtsy and fell on her nose. As she scrabbled up, she noticed the Amyrlinís shoes were unusually muddy for someone who spent most of her time in her study. Maybe she had an accident with her chocolate pudding.
"Mother, I found Lonely Turtle for you." She said.
"Lonely Turtle? What under the Light are you driveling about now, child?"
The novice sighed. Why couldnít she remember his name? "The man you wanted me to bring you."
"Oh, him. His name is Lone Wolf, dear. Not Lonely Turtle."
The Amyrlin waited. "Arenít you going to show him in, dear?"
"Oh whoops. I always forget that part too." Latrania hurried out the door and came back with Lone Wolf.
He bowed, fist over heart. "Mother, the Watch is not done."
Kathana frowned. "Iíve always wondered why Warders say that."
Lone Wolf shook his head, "I donít know. Itís one of those things they taught us to say in Warder school. Along with fading into the background and moving silently through trees and other Wardery things."
"Ohm okay. Anyways, I need your help with something. Phoenix is holding a humor contest. I still need revenge on him for making me kiss his feet and say I was his little Amyrlin pet. Iím sorta busy interviewing new Warders right now. I was wondering if you could help me write my story."
"Of course, Mother. Anything to help out." He gave another elaborate bow. "Whatís the plan?"
Sathinar was fuming.
Here he had been, all ready to let Lone Wolf have it, and he had been so easily manipulated, it wasnít even funny. Lone Wolf wasnít even an Aes Sedai. He had no experience in Daes Damar. He shouldnít have been able to manipulate him, but he had easily.
Sathinar was not happy. He was however, practicing his laugh. Had to get that down. It would seem that at the next meeting of the Fraternal Order of Madmen, he would have a few choice words to say to the Supreme Grand Poobah Potentate. He hadnít, after all, been told that an insane laugh was supposed to start with "Mwa". He was just told to laugh evilly. Oh, he was going to have it out.
But in the meantime, he had to practice his laugh.
"Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!" He continued down the hall. Then, to his utter joy, he saw Francesca Sedai, a robe wrapped closely around her, emerge from her quarters. He ran up behind her, and laughed.
"Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!"
She turned with hardly a start and sighed. "Sathinar, what are you doing?"
"Practicing my evil laugh. Did I scare you, Franny?"
"Well, youíre aggravating me, Sathy. Does that count?"
"Donít call me Sathy."
"Donít call me cookie, and I wonít call you cake, alrighty?"
Sathinar momentarily froze. Those were the exact same words that Lone Wolf had used. What did that mean? Were Francesca and Lone Wolf having a torrid love affair? Sathinar had long suspected there were some sisters in the Tower who had wanted to have a torrid love affair with Lone Wolf, but he had never been able to prove it.
Besides, taking in all accounts, Francesca had a thing for Ender. Why else would she make Narell wander around in big shapeless burlap potato bags? To make her unappealing to Ender was the thought that sprang to mind. And no one had really witnessed her burning her filmy dresses, but everyone had seen her burning Narellís....
All that went through Sathinarís head in a second, and in the next, he was carrying on the conversation like none of that had occurred to him.
"Right. And I donít think it counts. Lone Wolf said that the Mwa at the beginning-"
"Lone Wolf? Lone Wolf?" She laughed out loud, then clutched her robe around her tighter, but not before Sathinar caught a glimpse of a filmy material underneath. "Lone Wolf wouldnít know evil if it spit on his Heron Markedô boots. Heís as innocent as the Amyrlin is. Which is rather humorous, considering the rumor about them."
"Rumor? What rumor?"
"Well, I wouldnít want this to go any farther, but Ender told me that Hawkwing told him that Nynaeve had heard from Dahlia that Danelle was overheard to have told Ben Gaidin that she heard from Chissa that Lone Wolf and the Amyrlin were actually embroiled in a love affair."
"Well, no one seems to know for sure, but it does make for juicy gossip doesnít it? And what else do us Reds have to do? There arenít enough of us to go out hunting men, so me and Narell sit inside and gossip most of the time. Except for the times when Iím with End- I mean... Uhhh... Ummm... Out... Watching... uhh... the Warders... Practicing. In the practice yard. Where they practice."
Narell came up at just that moment, carrying a large pail of.... something. Sathinar strained to see inside. Then he saw what she was carrying, and inwardly cringed. Someone was gonna get it. She walked on, carrying her burden, and went into the Redís quarters.
When he turned back to Francesca, she was walking down the hall, towards Enderís room.
Sathinar watched her walk, then turned and continued up the hall, past Francescaís room, where wet slopping sounds could be heard through the door.
Apparently the bucket was meant to surprise Francesca. Looks like Narell found out, Franny, Sathinar thought. He turned and looked out at the Hydrangea garden, and here came Chissa, Keeper of the Chronicles, and head of the White Ajah. She was laughing, and clutching her stomach. He wondered what she found so funny.
Chissa came up and looked at him. He tried again.
"Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!"
Chissa busted up laughing and fell to the ground, clutching her stomach, and leaking tears to the ground. She lay there, for a long time, just laughing and laughing. Sathinar couldnít get her to stop.
"Ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho ho elleoell! elloell! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!!"
Around the corner came another figure. Sathinar recognized him as Ranges, and immediately beat a discreet retreat. He walked back up the hall, practicing his laugh, and when he turned and looked back, Ranges was leaning over Chissa, and trying to talk to her.
"Gekkie? Gekkie gekkie!! Gekkie, Gekkie, gekkie? Hargen vurshten, halken de shtorkenvie?" Sathinar shook his head and wandered off down the hall, practicing his evil laugh.
And oh, he would have such a story. He would beat Lone Wolf. He would humble Lone Wolf. He would make Lone Wolf, a true Lone Wolf.
Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ooooh, that was a rather good one.
"Alright, so thatís what weíll do." The Amyrlin finished with a satisfied smile. "Capeesh?"
"What?" Kathana blinked. "Why did you say ĎBeatniks.í"
He looked at her very seriously. "I donít know. But Iíll try to find out for you."
She nodded slowly. "Okay. You do that."
Narell finished lining Francescaís bed with the wet pasta from her bucket, and smiled to herself. She swears sheís cool. Just because she beat me to head of the Reds. Iíll show her. No one makes fun of Elaida do avriny aíRoihan and gets away with it.
Wait a minute, Iím Narell. Not Elaida. She blushed, even though no one would have heard her had someone been there, but the feeling that she was still acting like a child wouldnít leave.
Try and steal Ender from me, will you? Iíll show you. Youíll be picking pasta out of your hair Ďtill Tarmon Gaidon comes Ďround, I swear it under the Light. She smiled to herself again, and walked out of the quarters.
A man jumped in front of her, surprising her.
"Roland? What are you doing? You arenít in this scene! Youíll ruin the story!"
"I know. I know Iím not supposed to be here, but I canít find Alphonse!" He said it in a panic stricken tone.
"Alphonse? Whoís he? Iíve never heard of him! Thatís not even a Randlandian name!"
"I know, heís my prompter. He has the script! I donít know my lines without him! We were together in the Amyrlinís study, and then she kicked me out, and I wondered why, but I must have wondered too far, cause I got lost, and had to find my way back, and by the time I got back, he was gone, and now I canít find him..." He broke into sobbing tears.
Despite her Red Ajahyness, she put her arms around Roland and held him. "Itíll be alright," she said. "Weíll find your prompter. Weíll make sure heís here for the next scene youíre in."
"You- you really think so, mister?" Roland seemed to have lost all sense of his surroundings. Including the Red Sister holding him.
Narell looked into his eyes- he had rather handsome eyes, especially in this vulnerable state, and stroked his hair. It was nice and soft. She liked it.
"Yes, Rolly. I really do. In fact, why donít you come in, and lay down on the couch for a few minutes, collect yourself, so no one else sees you crying?"
"Oh-oh-oh-okay." He said between hitching sobs, not noticing Chissa and Ranges just twenty feet away. Chissa however, was still laughing, and not ready to move for another ten minutes at least, and Ranges was still going on in that weird language, whatever it was. That Warder really needed to get some sleep.
She led Roland inside and laid him on the couch. She stroked his hair off of his forehead, marveling at how smooth his brow was, and asked him if he wanted anything to drink.
"Can- can I have suh-some Kool Aid?" He asked.
"Kool Aid? Uh, yes, of course. What flavor?"
"Okay. Just stay right here, dear." She patted his head, still amazed at how smooth it was, and went into the kitchen. On the way, her eye alighted on one of Francescaís filmy dresses that had been left draped over a chair. A thought occurred to her, but she dismissed it.
She went into the kitchen and thought, The oven must be on. It sure is warm in here. She went over and checked, but it wasnít. She opened the pantry to see if there was any "purple" Kool Aid and there was.
Purple. Grape flavored. On an impulse, she went to the refrigerator and looked inside. Yep, there were some in there. The thought reoccurred, and this time, she allowed herself to ponder it. Would it work?
"Hi Mother. Weíre here for the swimsuit contest." A group of smiling Warders in swimming trunks marched into her office. They lined up in front of her desk and struck various poses.
"You what?" Said the Amyrlin incredulously, trying very hard not to stare.
"The swimsuit contest. You know, to help you pick a Warder." The one in front of the desk told her matter-of-factly. "We thought a swimsuit competition might help you decide."
Kathana tried desperately to ignore the one on the end who was flexing and posing in a most disturbing fashion. "I see." She said, trying not to look. "Um...Look, I donít need...this. Could you please take this somewhere else? I think maybe the Greens would be a little more appreciative."
The lead Warder shrugged. "Okay, Mother. Have it your way." He and his little parade trooped out with a smile and a wink.
Roland lay on the couch, still weeping, but much more collected now and happy that he was going to get some purple flavored Kool-aid. He closed his eyes, and wiped the tears away, wishing he knew where Alphonse was.
When he opened them again, Narell was standing before him. At least, he thought it was Narell. It looked like Narell.
It sounded like Narell. But Narell wore baggy, shapeless burlap potato sacks. Not the clingy, filmy wisp of nylon that this angelic beauty was wearing... and what was that in her hand?
She came and sat over next to him, a beautiful smile spread across her face. She placed her hand lightly on his chest and caressed it. He looked at her, and then she held out the grapes to him.
The air rippled in the center of the study. A man stepped out. His eyes shot roaring flames at the Amyrlin. "Bond me woman!!" He shouted. "Then kneel before the true Servants of the Great Lord!!"
Kathana jerked back in her chair. "Ishamael! What do you want?"
"Shut up, you pitiful worm! You will bond me as your Warder!"
"No way! Your one of the Forsaken!"
"Donít call me that. We prefer to be called Chosen. It's more politically correct."
"I donít care! Iím not bonding you. Why do you want to be my Warder anyways?"
That brought him up short. "Hey...Thatís a good question. Why do I want to be your Warder? Iíll go think this over. You wait here, okay?" He seized the True Power and ripped a hole in the Pattern. "See you soon, Mother. MWAHAHAHAHA!!!" He said, stepping through the shimmer.
Kathana stared at the place where Ishy had been standing. "Pudding." She muttered. "I definitely need some pudding now."
Elsewhere in the Tower, Alanna Mosvanni glided gracefully down the corridor. She was going down to the notice board in the main hall to see if anyone had replied to her request for a Warder. She sighed and pouted dramatically in disappointment. Only seventy new messages today? Yesterday, there had been ninety. Perhaps she should go borrow a filmy dress or two from the Reds.
She decided to go strut around the practice yard, in one of her most alluring outfits and see if she could drum up some more enthusiasm. Turning to go, she noticed a parade of half-naked men entering the Greenís Quarters. "Well now." She murmured, raising one eyebrow. "I didnít know they delivered."
Lone Wolf was out on his quest to discover exactly why he had said "Beatniks." His quest took him to Serafelleís quarters, to see if there were any other references to Beatniks in Randland history.
He knocked on the door, but got no reply. He knocked again, but there was still no reply. Serafelle was probably headbanging to her Yanni music again. He smiled at the thought and tried the doorknob. It was open. He poked his head in and was about to speak, when he saw exactly what was going on.
Ben and Serafelle were wrapped in an embrace and kissing in a way Lone Wolf had heard of, but never actually had enough guts to try.
He cleared his throat. Ben and Serafelle immediately separated. Serafelle took her seat behind her desk, and smiled at Lone Wolf, the picture of Aes Sedai calm. Benís face was flushed and he was busily trying to tuck his shirt back in.
"Sorry." Lone Wolf said. "I didnít mean to interrupt an important business meeting." He winked at Ben. "If you would like me to come back later...."
Ben gave Serafelle a look that said Yes. Send him away. Have him come back later.
Serafelle smiled at Lone Wolf. "No, no, itís quite alright. What do you need, dear?"
"Well, Iím looking for the origin of a term."
"Alright. What term is it?"
The door banged open and Sathinar came barging in. "Sery, I need-"
"Rules." Serafelle said simply.
Without breaking stride, Sathinar turned and went right back out the door, closing it behind him.
"Now, what did you need Lone Wolf?"
"Well, I needed-"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
"Who is it?" Serafelle called out.
"Sathinar." The voice came from behind the door.
"What do you need?"
"The origin of a term."
"Come in." Sathinar came in, glanced at Lone Wolf, then Ben, noted the flushed face, and then turned to Serafelle.
"I need to know the origin of the term-"
"Wait a second. You donít just come barging in and demand something. Ask."
"Ask?" What kinda concept is this?
"Will you give me the origin of the term-"
Sathinar blinked. "What?"
"Say please." Lone Wolf started laughing.
"Fine. Can I please have the-"
Sathinar gritted his teeth. "May I have the origin-"
"May I please...."
Sathinar closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. "May I please have the origin of the term "Mwa"?
"No. Go bug Kathana. She used to be a Brown." Sathinarís face grew a deep red, then he marched out of the room. "Now, Lone Wolf, what term do you need defined?"
"Term? Oh, yes, term. Uhh, Beatniks."
"Hmmm. Sounds like it's from the second age. Let me look it up." She pulled out a huge leather bound tomes and flopped it down onto her desk. It sagged visibly under the weight of the book.
She flipped open the cover, and read down the page. "Ahh, beatniks, page 234, 523." She began flipping pages one by one. "One, two, three, four...."
Ben reached over and flipped a bunch of pages at once. Serafelle looked at the page number. "1,024, 1,025...." Ben flipped a bunch more pages. "10,567, 10,568..."
Ben flipped more pages until he got to the desired page.
"Ah." Serafelle said. "Here it is. I knew I would find it eventually. It was all a matter of time." Lone Wolf looked at Ben and Ben gave him a look that Lone Wolf backed away from.
"Now, Beatniks... In the middle years of the second age, there were three men said to have mentioned Beatniks. Their names were Tomse Rvo, Crowtr Obot, and Joel Robinson. They were once reported to have said rather cryptically... ĎIf you have more then two polo shirts, youíre not a beatnik. If you own even one Night Ranger album, youíre not a beatnik. If you find yourself saying things like... Iíll be right over after I clean up! Or... Hey, címon, I really like the Gym teacher! Or... Could you please pass the spring rolls? Youíre probably not a Beatnik. Capeesh? Done! Feels Good! Beatniks!" She looked up at Lone Wolf. "Does that help you?"
"Sorta, but why did I say it?"
"It's called rhysnophria didididitisis. Itís a genetic memory being spun out from the Wheel."
"Donít we usually call that the old blood coming out?"
"Well sure, if you want to use the laymanís term for it. I find incomprehensible technical terms to be more precise. Is that all you need?" She finished, glancing at her impatient Warder.
"Well, yeah. I guess. Thanks."
"Glad to be of assistance, dear."
"It's Wolf, not deer."
"Oh.... right. Okay." She cast a look at Ben, who shrugged.
Lone Wolf stepped outside the office, but before the door closed all the way, he heard a little snatch of conversation.
"Come here, you Master of Arms, you." There was silence for a few seconds, and then: "Oh! And hands!"
Lone Wolf closed the door and turned. There was Sathinar.
"Well, Wolfie... It looks like I have you here where I want you. Donít write that story I know youíre planning to write... Or else."
"Or else what?"
"Ummm... Well.... You know... Or else." Sathinar nodded his head in emphasis.
"No, no Sathy, I donít. Tell me." Quick as a viper, Sathinar had drawn his plastic McDonalds Spork and had it up against Lone Wolfís neck.
"Donít... Call... Me... Wolfie."
Lone Wolf cracked up laughing. "You did it again, Jim!"
"Did what? Oh no, not the thing... with the names?"
"Yeah, you got Ďem mixed up again. Ha ha ha."
"Okay, you guys. Letís get back into character, huh?" The Co-directorís voice cut over the intercom.
"Yeah you guys, it's hard enough to work with you..." The other Co-director's voice came over the PA.
"Yes, Mr. Cuellar." Jim/Sathinar said.
"Yes, Miss Shifflett," Paul/Lone Wolf said.
"Thank you." The two directors said in unison. "Now, take it from the line, Donít call me Sathy."
"Righto," Lone Wolf said.
Sathinar took his place next to Lone Wolf. He placed the Spork back at Lone Wolfís neck. "Donít... Call... Me... Sathy."
Lone Wolf moved his finger up, and repositioned the Spork so the smooth curved edge was against his neck. Ahh, much better. "Well, if you call me cookie, Iíll call you cake. Itís up to you. Now, remove the implement from my neck before I snap it."
Sathinar stepped back and drew his Shadar Logoth dagger. He moved clumsily through the forms, turning Kissing the Adder into Bitten by an Adder, and changing Boar Charging down the Mountains into the Drunken Zebra. Lone Wolf was particularly miffed about that. That was his patented move.
Sathinar finished his own mutated version of the forms, and then held the dagger out in front of him. Lone Wolf drew his sword and in one swift flick of the wrist, with no particular form involved, he knocked Sathinarís dagger from his hand. He shifted position and with two swift strokes, carved an L into Sathinarís tunic.
Sathinar stepped back, and tripped over his own feet. he got up quickly.
"You.... You... dummy head! Iím gonna go tell Mommy on you! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha."
"You goof. When are you going to get it right? You have to drywash your hands when youíre laughing evilly. Either that or tilt your head back and open your mouth wide. Sheez. Donít they teach you anything at the Fraternal Order of Madmen?"
"Yes, you know, when you rub your hands together? Like this." He showed Sathinar.
"Oh, oh yeah. I forgot about that. They did teach us that. I forgot. And that was my favorite part, too. How could I forget that?"
"I donít know. But why donít you go practice? Me and Kathana have some business to take care of."
Sathinar gave him a look, but Lone Wolf missed it. He was already headed back towards the Amyrlinís Study.
Jona'tha came barging into the Amyrlinís study out of breath. He was wearing a pair of bright yellow swim trunks, with fish on them and carrying a plush blue beach towel and rubbery ducky. ĎDid I miss it?" He panted. "Iím sorry Iím late, but I got lost in the broom closet again."
"Miss what?" The Amyrlin asked.
"The swimsuit competition. I didnít want to miss it."
"I didnít know you wanted to be a Warder."
"I donít really. I just thought it would be neat..."
"Well, I sent them down to the Greenís Quarters. Maybe you can catch up with them."
"Oh goody! Maybe Iíll get to talk to Alanna."
"Yeah, maybe. Shouldnít you be going now?" Kathana asked pointedly.
"Well...You donít have to get all huffy about it, you know..."
"Fine." He pouted and left.
Lone Wolf returned to the Amyrlinís Study, munching on a sandwich he had obtained from a scullery maid. Kathana looked at it. "What is that?"
"This?" Lone Wolf indicated the sandwich in his hands. "This is a beef 'n cheddar. It is an absolutely delicious sandwich and no, you canít have any of it."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure." He licked his fingers where some cheese had dripped. Kathana watched hungrily. He took another bite, and then nearly choked on it as the door to the Study banged open.
Ladon strode in. "Bond me!"
"Please? Or Iíll use my Jedi powers of persuasion on you!"
"You are not a good Amyrlin! A mop could be a better Amyrlin than you!" Lone Wolf coughed up the chunk of beef he had in his throat. No one noticed.
"How dare you say that to me? I am an Amyrlin to make thrones tremble!"
"They are laughing with me!"
"Hey, if youíre so great, answer a question for me. If itís 3 PM in Holland, what time is it in California?" Lone Wolf opened his mouth to reply-
"Shut up!" The Amyrlin said.
"Okay, how do you spell statue?" Lone Wolf again opened his mouth.
"Leave me alone!"
"Raise your right hand, Mother."
"Iím not going to."
"Is it because you donít know which one it is?" he said gleefully pressing his advantage. "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Kathana started to yell, then reconsidered. "African or European?"
"Never mind, just get out before I have you stripped by Wolfie here and thrown into the Reds' Quarters." Ladon grinned rather nastily.
"Would you really?"
"No! Get out of here!" Ladon got out. Kathana hoped not to see him again. Lone Wolf took another bite of his sandwich. "Will you at least chew with your mouth closed?" The Amyrlin asked.
"Oh, oím thorry, heore. Let meeh thwallow first..." Little bits of beef and bread went flying everywhere. He choked down the beef, and then spoke again. "Sorry. Wonít happen again Mother."
"See that it doesnít." Kathana said, still looking longingly at the sandwich. Lone Wolf didnít notice. He started to hum.
"Now what are you doing?"
"I can see that. Should I call you Lone Hummingbird from now on?"
Lone Wolf nearly choked again, but held his food with his tongue. "No. Thatís not my name. Iím Lone Wolf. Not Hummingbird."
The Amyrlin rolled her eyes. Lone Wolf started humming again.
"What are you humming?"
"Hmmm?" He swallowed another bite of his sandwich. "Oh, itís called 'Secret Smile'."
Nobody knows it, but youíve got a secret smile
And you use it only for me
Nobody knows it, but youíve got a secret smile
And you use it only for me
So use it, and prove it,
Remove this Whirlwind of sadness
Iím losing, and Bluesing,
But you can save me from madness.
A man in a bright yellow coat and red breeches burst in and gave Lone Wolf a big hug. "Oh thank you, sir!!! You found the Song!!!"
The Tinker gave Lone Wolf another hug, then attempted to lean in for a kiss.
"Ewwww!! Get away from me!" Chissaís Warder pushed the salivating Tinker off of him.
"Aram, get away from Lone Wolf this instant. Now, I want you to take your little song and get out of here." Kathana was using her most Amyrlinish voice.
"Oh alright." He pouted. "Hey! Can I be your Warder?"
The Amyrlin threw a paper weight at him, but missed.
The door to the Amyrlinís study banged open again. Lone Wolf started choking again. Kathana winced, then realized it was only Lanfir and Ciara.
"Hi Mommy!" Ciara giggled. "Me and Lanfir had the greatest idea and we wanted to know what you thought."
"Alright...What do you two want?"
Lone Wolf continued to choke.
"Well, we thought we could have a White Tower slumber party! We could all sleep in the main Hall and it would be so much fun."
Lanfir nodded in agreement. "Ciara told me we could have pillow fights and give our Warders make-overs. I havenít had a pillow fight since I was a novice, Mother. Please?"
"Yeah, please can we have a slumber party? Morgan says she knows a recipe for mint símores. We can eat them with our mint tea and chocolate pudding." Ciara said in a wheedling tone.
Lone Wolfís face was turning blue.
"Please, please please, Mother?"
"With cream and sugar on top?"
"And a cherry?"
"And choccolate sprinkles?"
"And those little silvery balls that look like buck shot?"
"And chocolate syrup, Lanfir. Donít forget the chocolate syrup."
"Yes, of course. Will you agree if we put chocolate syrup on it, Mother?"
"Well..." The Amyrlin hesitated. "I guess so...As long as you girls donít stay up too late and make to much noise. And everyone has to be home by ten tomorrow. Iím having the Saldaen Ambassador over and I donít want him having to climb over a bunch of giggling Aes Sedai when he comes." She looked down at Lone Wolf and channeled a flow of air. He coughed and spat out a large plastic Serpent Ring.
"Of course, Mother." They chorused, nodding. The two Green sisters scuttled out the door, whispering.
"I think Darksmoon would look perfect with a pink bow in his hair..."
Kathana looked down at Lone Wolf and the ring. "Where did you get that?"
He coughed again, and help up the ring. "Secret prize, I guess. Those goofy Arbyís people. Never know what youíre gonna get. Just like a box of chocolates."
The door banged open again and in came a group of big burly men with rather hairy legs.
"What are you wearing?" The Amyrlin asked incredulously. The same band of Warders as before sashayed into her office clad only in some very filmy evening gowns.
"Donít you like it, Mother?" Jon'atha twirled for her benefit. "I was going to get a blue one, but Alanna told me to go with green."
"Alanna helped you with this?"
"Yup!" He nodded enthusiastically. "While she had her afternoon snack."
"Yeah, she is a very healthy eater. Do you know that she always has a big platter of grapes every afternoon for a snack?"
"Oh no." whispered Kathana. "She didnít."
"But the platter is too heavy for her." He continued on blithely. "So we have to help a bit."
"Alright! Iíve heard enough!" she interrupted. "You all wore filmy dresses and fed her grapes and then she sent you in here to have an evening gown competition for me. I get it."
"Wow, Mother! You are smart. How did you guess all that?"
"Iím writing this bloody story, arenít I? It's about time I started peeking ahead. Now, the next person to walk through that door will be..."
Incognito strode through the partially open doorway. "Mother, I have a few quibbles on the accuracy of your story." He pulled out thick scroll and began reading out loud. "Number one. Aes Sedai should not have refrigerators in their quarters. Number two. Fruit snacks, pudding cups, and símores are not foods endorsed by Robert Jordan. As you can tell by the complete lack of junk food in Randland, RJ is a health nut. Therefore, Amyrlins should snack on healthy fruits and vegetables."
"Like grapes?" Interrupted one of the Warders, guilelessly.
"Yes, like grapes." Snapped the mysterious man. "Now, to continue..."
"Um...While Iím sure this is all really good and all, I really donít care. My co-author and me arenít going to take those parts out. Someone as clever as you must have known that. Why did you even try?"
"Well...See...I...I ...I want to be your Warder too!" he yelled. "This was the only thing I could think of to get in here."
The Amyrlin regarded him and the other wannabes crowding her desk. She drew a deep, calming breath then yelled, "Next!"
Once again, the door to the Amyrlinís study banged open. "Hiya Seat. Meet your new Warder."
"Oh, I donít think so, Sathy. Iím not bonding you."
"Donít call me that! You know I hate it."
"If you call me cookie, Iíll call you cake." The Amyrlin paused. "Hmmm... I think Iím hungry again." She reached down into her desk drawers and began rummaging around for food. "Yum! Fruit snacks! I love these things..." She ripped open the little plastic package and began munching gleefully. "So anyways." She said around a full mouth, "Iím not going to bond you. You tried to kidnap me, you know." She swallowed. "Want some?"
He shook his head, "No, not me, you silly Seat. Him." He pointed out into the foyer, where an older man was working the sword-forms.
"Whatís his name?"
"Ashaíman." She waited for him to finish. "No, just Ashaíman."
"So, what about it? Are you going to bond him or not?"
"I donít know. Iím thinking of giving up on the whole Warder thing. These interviews are taking up a lot of time and I need to start writing my revenge story with Lone Wolf."
Saths looked over at Lone Wolf. Seat was writing a story with Wolfie-boy? Maybe there was something to those rumors after all... He shook himself mentally. I have to get her bonded to Asha, before she gets into trouble again. He thought, conveniently forgetting that he was the one who kidnapped her.
Quick as a viper, he leaned over the desk and yanked her Great Serpent ring off.
"Hey! You give that back!"
"Not until you bond Asha! Mwahahaha!! You're mine now, Seat!"
"Hey, youíve been practicing that evil laugh, havenít you?"
"Well, yes." He said modestly. "I have, just a bit."
Kathana nodded, "Yeah, but it's more from the diaphragm. You canít just say ĎMwahahahaí. It's MWA HA HA HA." She demonstrated. "Do you hear the difference?" he nodded. Yet another thing the Fraternal Order of Madmen had neglected to mention to him. He was going to write them a VERY strongly worded note. "Okay, now you try."
"Use the diaphragm, Sathy."
"And donít forget to drywash." Lone Wolf added.
"MWA HAH HA HA HA!!!"
"Very good. Now may I have my ring back?"
"No! MWA HA HA HA!!!!" He put her ring in his mouth and began chewing on it. "It's almost as good as chocolate pudding."
The Amyrlin sighed. It was going to be one of those conversations again. "What do I have to do to get it back?"
"You must bond Asha! MWA HA HA HA!!!!!!"
"Fine, bring him in here and Iíll consider it."
Sathinar rubbed his hands together and cackled with mad glee. "Asha! Get in here!"
Kathana rolled her eyes. "So, why would you be a good Warder for me?"
"Well, Mother. I promise I wonít try to baby-sit you or get in your way too much. Also, I wonít allow any disrespect to you."
"Are you bonded to anyone else?"
Ashaíman was shocked. "Of course not, Mother. Thatís why I want to be your Warder."
"You donít channel, do you?"
"Not that Iím aware of."
"Can you actually use that sword there?"
"Of course, Mother. Would you like me to demonstrate the sword-forms?"
"Maybe in a bit. Can you cook?"
"Whatís your specialty?"
"Well...Chicken caccitore...Chocolate pudding..."
"Iím sold. You're in."
"Really, Mother? You mean it?"
"Yeah. Besides, maybe it will get rid of all the Warder wannabes whoíve been tramping through here all day." She looked at Sathinar. "Okay, give me back my ring."
Saths looked uncomfortable. "Um..."
"Címon, spit it out. You had it just a minute ago. Where is it?" The Amyrlin held her palm out to him.
Kathana gave him the Aes Sedai Stareô.
"I swallowed it..." He finished weakly.
"You swallowed my ring?"
"Only a little bit."
The Amyrlin looked at her new Warder. "You know, Asha, now might be a very good time to demonstrate some of those sword forms you were telling me about."
Ashaíman drew his sword with a steely hiss and a grin. "You know, Mother, I was thinking that very same thing."
Sathinar screamed and ran out of the room, followed by Asha yelling, "Come back here! I want to try that Drunken Zebra move."
"Okay." Said the Amyrlin, turning to her erstwhile scribe. "Now thatís done, we can finish the story."
"But I thought we were going to get revenge on Phoenix for what he made you do."
"Well, I thought about that. Phoenix has to read our story, right? I think thatís punishment enough for him."
"Yeah...I guess so. I feel really sorry for anyone who has to read this."
"Yup. So what did you and Chissa come up with for me?"
"Oh. We decided that it was the chicken, then the egg, then the sock."
"Oh really, I wouldíve thought it was the other way..."
Rumours spread across the land. Some said the Tower had been taken by an army of drag queens and had been rent in feathers and stuffing. No, it was chocolate pudding and ice cream sundaes. The Amyrlin had bonded a new Warder. The Amyrlin had bonded all the Warders. The Amyrlin had bonded an accordian. The Dragon Reborn had been seen giggling like a school girl and wearing pigtails. No, he wasnít that crazy yet. Yes, he was. No, he isnít. I say he is. I say he isnít. Look, we can argue later, Iím trying to finish here. Oh, alright. There was one thing all the stories agreed on though. That was one F***ed up Amyrlin.
"And lo and behold! The Wheel of Time did go round and round,
Much like the Wheels on the bus. Everyone got really dizzy,
And begged to get off.
The dry grass will burn and water will put it out.
The worms crawl in.
The worms crawl out.
They crawl in your nose and out your snout.
Ferrets like to nestle in warm places
And also enjoy bubble baths.
--From a much disputed translation of The Karaethon Cycle
By Javanne níha Patricia
Comiií Letze of Thendarra