Joe could feel the Amyrlinís growing anticipation through his bond with her. Joe could also feel his stomachís growing hunger. Strange, ever since he had been bonded to Kathana he had felt an increasing desire for chocolate pudding. At first, he thought it was a result of his bond with the woman most notoriously addicted to pudding, but then he noticed that even when she was eating pudding and not craving it at the moment, he still was. He had resisted the temptation to actually eat any though because it was his duty as a warder to try to avoid anything that could be an exploitable weakness. But then one day after a loooooong chat with Soraya, he had passed the kitchens and caught a whiff of chocolate. Still in a dreamlike state, he had wandered in. Every stove and fireplace had a pot, and every pot had a Novice attending it, and every Novice was stirring rich chocolate pudding, being careful not to allow it to scorch. It had been too much for him. Besides... who had ever heard of pudding on a battlefield?
Of course that was before Demandred had stolen their stores of pudding. When their absence had been discovered, he had been just as upset as the Amyrlin and suggested a mission to "rescue that which was vital to the peace, harmony and longevity of the White Tower from the vile Forsaken who had absconded with it." Of course, that had all been misunderstood and instead of finding himself in a vat of pudding at Shayol Ghul, he found a Gholamís hand through his abdomen while fighting Ishamael for Matalina.
His stomach voiced itís complaints louder and Yveva jumped, surprised, in her place in the corner. Slaughterville didnít notice as he was still thinking about how the Amyrlin could have evaded his question. The Amyrlin Seat didnít notice as she was back in her daydream, frolicking about in a vat of pudding with....
There was a knock on the door.
"Enter!" exclaimed Josef Gaidin and the Amyrlin Seat almost before the knock had begun. "Pudding!" They both thought. The Amyrlin because she couldnít wait to eat some more, Josef because he couldnít wait to add another empty pudding cup to his growing collection. Yes, he sacrificed himself for his Aes Sedai, rather than deprive her of her precious pudding ration he accumulated the cups in his room where the smell of chocolate was slowly beginning to drive out the smell of his boots and laundry.
The door swung open with agonizing slowness finally admitting Daelin Sedai and a girl in a ragged white dress. The girl looked like a trapped animal, her eyes darted around the room and she probably would have run if it were not for Daelinís firm grasp on her ear.
The Amyrlin Seat would have looked surprised were it not that she was the Amyrlin Seat and therefore could not be surprised. The girl was rather nondescript. Her hair was a sort of blondish redish brownish... Well, whenever the Amyrlin thought a colour the girlís hair would seem to be that. Just for fun the Amyrlin thought of bright pink, she almost smiled when the girlís hair changed to just the shade she desired. The colour of the girlís eyes also varied to comply with the wishes of the observer. Very odd indeed. The silence in the room stretched and stretched. Finally it snapped.
"Very interesting hun, where did you find her?" the Amyrlin asked.
Daelin gave the girlís ear a little tug just to show that she still had a firm grasp on it. "Well I was walking along one of the basement corridors when I heard a shuffling. It sounded much too big to be a rat so hoping it was a male channeler, I threw open the door and there was this..." Here she gave the ear another small tug, "there. Years of dealing with ornery men have sharpened my reflexes and I caught her ear before she knew what had happened. I brought her here because she looked as though she might have once been a Novice."
It was true, underneath the grime her dress was probably once white, and the Amyrlin could have sworn that she had seen the girl in a few stories before. But which stories? And how long ago? "What is your name, dear?" she asked.
The girl didnít answer. She opened her mouth as if to say something and then seemed to realize that she didnít have an answer.
"Well..." the Amyrlin tried again, doing her best imitation of a comforting expression, "who are you?"
This time the girl had an answer.
"I am a Novice in the White Tower."
"If you are a Novice why are you so dirty?"
"I have been replaced.. I didnít know where to go.. I didnít know any other life... so I stayed. I just made sure to stay out of the way."
"Where have you been staying?"
"Oh..." and here the girl smiled a little, "I have been staying in the Tower. There are ever so many hiding places here when no one wants you for anything, it has been wonderful being able to wander around without continually being hounded by people who offer you fame and fortune but only end up giving you a bit part in the end."
During the girlís speech, the Amyrlin Seat had begun to realize something. But she couldnít quite put it into words. "Kathana, are you coming back yet, dearest?" a deep voice said from the direction of her daydreamed vat of pudding. She pushed the voice to the back of her mind. It sneezed as the dust back there got the better of it. "NPC." She mused out loud.
The girl vehemently nodded her head. Or at least she would have were it not for Daelinís grip. Yveva found herself glad she wasnít Slaughterville who had the potential of being ear-twisted by Daelin, Slaughterville found himself glad that Daelin hadnít noticed him and Josef found himself glad that the conversation muffled the thunderous protest in his stomach.
Sathinar was happy. He had not been this happy for a very, very long time. The men of the Black Tower were odd, yes, but there was a peace and quiet here that he could rarely find at the White Tower. During the day, the Black Tower grounds were almost empty as most of the Black Tower men Traveled over to the White Tower trying to catch the interest of the Aes Sedai. Those who did not succeed usually came back for the night if they didnít spend the entire night drinking at the Inn. The men were pleasant and usually asked Sathinar if he wanted to come along but Sathinar always politely declined. Once the grounds were empty, Sathinar would venture out into the sunshine to explore the grounds and the surrounding area. He would often bring breadcrumbs to feed the cute little animals he found. He really was a nice guy, too bad so many other people hadnít noticed it.
One day sitting under the shade of an apple tree, Sathinar found he still had a large supply of breadcrumbs left. One of the Tower chickens wandered by and Sathinar wondered if it would appreciate some breadcrumbs so he tossed some toward it. The chicken descended on the crumbs and greedily gobbled them up. Several other chickens in the area noticed and came over as well. Soon Sathinar was reaching the last of his supply of breadcrumbs and chickens were still coming. He couldnít let the poor hungry dears down! Remembering that it was Wednesday and Wednesdays were the bread shipment days Sathinar hastened toward the bread room with a hoard of happy chickens following him.
Kaylie and Callandor didnít really know what to do. A direct message from the Dark One, surely that shouldnít go unnoticed. Callandor began to gather his packages in a daze while Kaylie thought. Once he was finished gathering, she told him of her decision. "This is clearly something the Amyrlin Seat should be told of." She began walking, sure that Callandor would follow her. And he did, he really had nothing better to do at the moment and he wanted to show off his new broom.
Arik Korpin was one of the first to return to the Black Tower. It had been a long day and all he wanted was to fall into bed. By himself. And get some rest. Well, first he wanted to eat and then he wanted to sleep. If there had been a TV he might have wanted to eat while watching it and then fall asleep in front of it, but as there was no TV, Arik didnít know what he was missing. He made his way to the bread room, yes, a nice sandwich would be most wonderful. hmm.. Must only have been Tuesday after all he thought seeing the empty bread room. He stumbled across the kitchen to the cold room. He sliced off some meat and put it on the counter. The lettuce seemed to have disappeared as well so he just sliced off some more meat and put it on top of the other meat. Then he sliced off a bit more meat to serve as the bread which was missing. Wearily he began to eat his meat sandwich. Too tired to chew and stand, he slid down to the floor and finished his meal sitting there. Once he finished this meatwich, he slumped over and finished his night sleeping there.