Of course it all made sense now. The girl was a NPC Novice. Or rather the NPC Novice. The Amyrlin Seat felt most pleased with herself for figuring it out. "I started as a figment of your imagination, but as more and more people sought me out, I became more and more alive. But just as I was getting someplace, larger parts and all, you abolished the NPC and replaced me with real Novices! I couldnít just disappear again, what if someone needed me for a story? I tried to go to the Black Tower to find Arik and Callandor but I couldnít leave the White Tower as I am only a Novice, then I tried to find Lone Wolf, but he doesnít seem to be in a very silly mood recently, so that was no good either. Iíve just been staying in the secret places of the White Tower since then. The library, the back stairwells, unused Novice rooms, places like that."
The Amyrlin Seat nodded. It was just as she had expected of course. The Amyrlin Seat was impossible to surprise. A knock sounded on the door and she jumped. Blast! She really did need a new Keeper. "Enter!" Joe called eagerly from behind her. This time the door flew open to admit a Novice and a man in a Black coat. Yes, if she had a Keeper the two would not be in here now, maybe she just needed an intercom so she could find out who was at the door before deciding to admit them.
Arik slept peacefully through the night. He also slept through the banging and scraping noises that continued into the small hours of the morning.
Joníatha was reading, not the book which had been sent to him from a friend, but a book his boss had required him to read. He continued to read, unaware that the world of Dragonmount still existed, it was nice not programming in his spare time, but it was not nice to have to read about programming in his spare time. He resisted the urge to peek in on Dragonmount just to see how it was doing. Probably had crashed without him around to fix it anyway.
The Amyrlin was not surprised; she never was surprised. Of course the Dark One had stolen her idea of a public address system, of course he had contacted a novice and soldier in her Tower. None of that had come as a shock to her, she had seen the warning signs for the past few decades. She would like a word with him though, frightening Novices, even the DO shouldnít have stooped so low as all that. "Now child, do you think you could get his attention again?"
Kaylie began to think, it really was hard to think like that on command, but it was the Amyrlinís command so she gave it her best shot. "Go Kaylie, go Kaylie..." No good.... Frustrated, she tried again. "Dark-One-Dark-One - Bo- Bark-One - Banana - Fana -Fo - Fark-One - Me - Mi -Mo -Mark-One - DARK ONE!" Yes! That was better!
Arik woke in the morning to sunlight and the twittering of birds, specifically the twittering of the fifty or more chickens crowding the kitchen, watching Sathinar make them pancakes for breakfast. He pushed one off his chest and resisted the urge to throw the one on his head out the window, instead he merely dropped it on the floor, from as high as he possibly could. Sathinar lunged to catch the bird before it could land and the other chickens went fluttering and squawking trying to get out of his way, but not really sure just how to do that and making things more confusing than they already were.
"Be careful!" Sathinar held the frightened chicken to his chest and began making soothing noises to it, smoothing its ruffled feathers. "There, there, the nasty man didnít want to hurt you. He is just a cranky pants this morning. Oh yes, there you go, much better, would you like some breakfast, Gwendolyn?" For he had named all the chickens in the past few days and could even tell them apart, "Yes, here you are, see? I shaped this pancake into a fly, I know you like to eat flies...."
Arikís jaw dropped. Fortunately, he regained his senses just in time to close his mouth before the rooster eyeing it could use it as a perch. "Sathinar! Are you insane??"
"Shhhh!" Sathinar cut him off, "Do you want to disturb them again?!" Sathinar gave the chicken he was feeding a little pat and then continued with a lowered voice. "Has the Taint got you man? I am feeding these poor little birdies breakfast. You men really donít treat them too well, do you? Just leaving the poor little dears to feed themselves on whatever they find.... What would happen when winter came? And the old henhouse could only fit about ten chickens comfortably, I know! I checked!"
Something in Sathinarís speech nagged at the back of Arikís mind. Something about the henhouse. "Wait a second. Old henhouse??"
"Yes, of course. I was working all night and finally came up with an acceptable solution." Sathinar smiled, pleased with himself. "Of course, it isnít nearly done yet, Iíve only gotten one room done so far, but I am sure my little babies here will be most pleased with the result."
Arik looked menacingly at Sathinar. "And just what is that solution?"
"Well I figured that since you boys are gone all day and most of the night I could just turn the house into a place for the chickens to rest and relax. A sort of luxury henhouse if you will. I have already converted your old room into a lounge for them. And since no one has seen the MíHael in ages I made his room into the royal suite for any extremely well to do chickens that might visit from out of town. You really should see it, I was up all night and if I may say so it is fan-tas-tic! I remodeled..."
The purple rage which had been boiling up in Arik turned orange and then red and then white. The chickens which had been crowded around him due to lack of space, not choice, began to back away as he became hotter and hotter. Steam began to leak out his nose and mouth... he could hold it in no longer. "You.. Did... WHAT?!?!?!?!" The chickens made a mad rush for the door, they wanted nothing to do with this argument, oh no siree. Of course being chickens and therefore somewhat mentally deficient their mad rush failed to get them to the door, but it did create a lot of noise.
Sathinar looked over his shoulder at Arik while he flipped a pancake shaped like a worm. "I turned your room into a lounge and the MíHaelís into a royal suite."
"Yes, for the darling little chickens."
"But where am I supposed to sleep then?!?!!!"
"Well..." Sathinar thought for a moment. "Where you slept last night... Or what about the White Tower? You are always telling us about all your invitations to the White Tower slumber parties, why donít you just stay there all the time?"
Arik would have blushed if his face had not already been red with rage. He had told the others that he was invited to the White Tower slumber parties, he had to preserve his image and sounded so much better to say he was invited instead of that he had snuck in to watch. "White Tower indeed. Iíll tell you who is going back to the White Tower! And it is not going to be me! You, Sathinar, are going back to the Tower!!"
Arik lunged toward Sathinar but the chickens would have none of it. Between the fifty or so of them they had approximately 36.28 brain cells and they were not going to let them go to waste. Pancake man was their friend! He made them breakfast! He was renovating a new house for them! He sang them bedtime songs! In what was perhaps the first ever combined assault by chickens in the history of Dragonmount, Randland, or the Internet the chickens formed a ring of defense around Sathinar (Wall Of Feathers). Arik attempted to forge his way through them (Kicker Of Birds). A few chickens were knocked out of formation, but more filled the gaps where they had been. Arik swept his foot along the floor, knocking several off their feet (Logger Fells Tree) but they soon regained their balance. Desperately, Arik took a swing at Sathinar himself who was engrossed with flipping a perfect pancake replica of a daddy long legs spider (Enraged Man Desperate To Do Something). Arik stomped his foot on the floor (Little Boy Wants Cookie Just Before Dinner). As if that were their cue, every chicken turned their head slightly so that they were looking at him out of one eye and gave him THE LOOK®©™ more fearsome than The Look™ and The Look® combined THE LOOK®©™could have scared the Dark One himself back to Shayol Ghul for another three thousand years. Even with just one or two chickens doing it. No man was a match for fifty chickens linked. Fifty chickens had the power to turn any man....
....Away and out the door ran Arik. Sathinar must be stopped! He must be removed from the Black Tower as soon as possible. But Arik couldnít kill him off without his permission and there was no way Arik was going back in that room. He must be sent back where he belonged. Arik stopped running and wove a gateway.