Cassandra is joining an existing campaign. She's designed with a standard 100 points. She's generally stronger in Warfare and Psyche and has an unnamed mystic armband with danger sense. Her Player has made good safe choices, not knowing the GM, or the campaign background. She comes from a "victorian" matriarchal version of Minoan culture, a "steampunk" Crete, if you will.
The GM was completely flexible with all this... believing in good faith and getting into the game to actually work out different visions of how Amber worked. Also having learned from casual conversation that the Player had GM'd Amber and several other games and run some SF conventions.
The assumption of the Player's maturity proved out.
I thought I would start a new diary, since my life has taken such a drastic turn in the last month.
Ever since my mother took me, in the middle of the night, to that strange room, she has been acting odd. Usually she leaves me much on my own, aside from when there are public functions which I must attend, or some official event that she deems necessary for a display of familial cohesiveness. I don't often mind them, it is the one time my sisters must be nice to me. I don't think I ever will understand them nor vice versa. I haven't been able to go on a Hunt in quite a while which suits them all just fine. Especially my mother. She runs the place, and if I were to give up my excursions voluntarily, even for a week, she would hold a city-wide celebration. We are not much alike, my mother and I. She is fair of hair and complexion while I am dark of hair and eyes, though my skin is fair. She's also eternally calm and serene, even when greatly displeased. I have too much of a temper. But, we're both stubborn. She has always tried to instill decorum and learning into me, via tutors, while I have done my best to pursue my own interests. This has been a life long battle between us and sometimes I enjoy it. But, because of our differences, I've always wondered about my father's lineage. It is not all that important since all such matters run through the female line, but questions remain. Til they are answered, I will do what I must.
It has been worth it. Mother has now decided that I need to know about my father's family. They live in a place called Amber. I've never heard of it, probably because it is so far away. At least 8-10 weeks by ship. Dull and boring weeks no likely. Aunt Byslamia will accompany me with a small retinue. It shan't be any more dreary than the daily lessons in etiquette my mother has drilled into me. She's more nervous than I am. Ah well, we shall see. We leave tomorrow.
The "strange room" is an allusion to a patternwalk. The Player bought Pattern at full strength and assumed conversant use with it, and so neatly included a previous patternwalk. However, things are not always what they seem. This GM feels that much of the texture of the game is set by the major moments and I wanted to stamp my own vision of Pattern on the Player. Also it is best not to assume how Pattern works until you've played with a GM. It shall turn out that Cassandra has walked a Broken Pattern and not the real thing. Cassandra will learn slowly of her powers.
We have traveled this entire time by ships. We had to transfer from the Mycenean ship when its engines developed trouble. In fact, they almost seemed to expect it. Since then, we transferred a few times, each time to a smaller ship. How we ever kept out of the way of the crew (if in fact we did), I'll never know. Now I understand why I had to leave my horse behind. He would have hated the trip. Livo always wanted him, so I know he'll take good care of the stallion. But, he'll owe me for him.
We pulled into a port once a week or so, and each time the technology severely degraded. The first sign was when some cargo needed to be loaded and they used simple pulleys and raw manpower as opposed to any machinery. The dialect of the language also varied. Each port was more removed from civilized technology, so much so that I wonder if my family are tyrants who willfully withhold knowledge to keep their people subservient or they simply live this way.
When we got to the port, I was so excited, I was at the starboard an hour beforehand. The Captain knew how anxious we were to see our destination and lent us his spyglass. It was not heartening. All I had heard of Amber suggested much more than this...hamlet or village which might be considered quaint, but not inspiring. The castle was worse. It was...ugly. Square and plain, it was obviously planned for siege defense. It probably would do very well as such, reinforced that it was atop the mountain, Kolvir. I wonder how they serve the defense of the city because the city was not behind defensible walls and the castle is much too small to house any significant numbers. Certainly not those of the city.
We arrived and had some difficulty gaining transport to Castle Amber. Apparently, we were expected to walk or trust that those on the docks would bring our things separately. Captain Seglum proved invaluable as he arranged for a coach for myself and Byslamia and a lorry for our things and retinue. As I said, we were expected to walk since the main thoroughfare to the castle was a series of steps up the mountain. Wheeled, we had to go around making the trip in forty minutes.
The sentries at the gate met us expectantly. I did take time to examine a beautiful carving of a unicorn in marble. The workmanship was quite unlike anything I expected since our arrival. It was polished to a shine and cool to the touch.
Inside was a monument to beauty. Whoever designed the inside had nothing to do with the outside. Marble floors merged into marble walls. Green marble columns flowed down the huge hall to turn into a cool white at the top, lending a foresty feeling which I thoroughly approve of. We were led to Master Clerk who led us to the Royal Secretary, three flights up. This may just be my impression, but it seemed odd to be trotted through the place just for a secretary.
We were brought to a guarded room where we met a man dressed in brown with sandy-blonde hair. I would not have paid extraordinary attention if the Master Clerk hadn't apologized for interrupting His Majesty. I second later, I realized this was King Random.
The King finished a note he was writing and greeted us, pulling (himself!) two chairs from the wall for us to sit in. When we sat, I realized he did not have any place for himself. The matter was settled when he sat on the edge of his desk! This was not behavior I would have expected. By the look Byslamia gave me, she was as much at a loss.
We chatted and Byslamia took the time to give him some papers he requested. Then he invited us to stay at the castle. The seneschal is a man (I presume) named Hendren. But, instead of summoning Hendren, the King actually showed us to our rooms, puttering through the halls until he found a suite that suited his needs. It was in an older part of the castle because two of the walls were of the same gray of the outside stone. We made arrangements for my men-at-arms and to have our things delivered. Then I threw myself on the bed, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. I guess we will find out at dinner.
We discuss what we should probably wear though we are quite clueless as to everything here. The servants have been very proper, but that's to be expected. It could also be an indication of how King Random wishes us to behave even if he doesn't subscribe to it himself. But, if he wishes this to be an informal dinner, we would look poorly. Not a dilemma for our first day. I wonder if this is a test?
In exasperation I rang for the servant, Jinta, who promptly arrived. I asked her of what we might expect and she was very hesitant to explain. I don't think she was precisely afraid to answer but, rather, unsure how to answer. Confused? Finally she asked if she should send for the housekeeper and was relieved when we agreed.
Dame Louisa arrived. How unusual for nobility to be servants. A petite woman in a black dress. She assured us that what we were wearing was fully appropriate and that the formality of the dinner would be set upon our actions. This is unprecedented for me. Imagine, not acting in the ways the King wanted. Dame Louisa is a font of information. We found out that Lord Julian and Lady Vivant will also attend. Lord Julian is the Regent which puzzled us since Random is fully an adult and has an heir, Martin, who will not be attending tonight. Queen Vialle will also be there as will Lord Hendren. A servant who dines with the royal family? I think it is best to just stop questioning these details. Perhaps it is the result of a male ruling House. The Queen has only just been mentioned, almost as an afterthought, the King-- or at least the Regent-- are the ones in power and are male, and lastly, the heir is male. Perhaps it is how it is done in such cases.
Dinner was at 19 bells and we made sure we were ready and slightly early. We saw King Random immediately, he hadn't changed his clothing at all! I groaned inside that we botched the dinner but he introduced us to the Queen, who was dressed as formerly as we were. I began to relax. Lord Hendren was speaking to the chef, Robert, while the Queen spoke with us. She asked if I might sit next to her but before I could reply, Random, who was bringing us drinks, called loudly with a grin, Cheating!
I was startled and wondered if that somehow referred to me. She repeated her request and he called out again the same way, "Cheating." Some strange by-play was occurring here and I just kept silent. Finally she asked Lord Hendren who ended up being in the middle of the two in the discussion. She asked and Random said she was cheating. At what!? Finally, poor Lord Hendren compromised and placed me two seats away from the Queen. It is still an honor, more than I expected. Lord Hendren gallantly asked to sit with Byslamia who, of course, agreed.
Then Lord Prince Julian arrived with his companion, Lady Vivant just at the stroke of nineteen. He was dressed in brilliant white with silver detailing while she wore black with her black hair. I must say she's very beautiful and the two complimented each other to perfection. Lord Julian was introduced to me and I am quite proud of how I handled the situation. It wasn't as polished as it could be, but mother would have cried. He said he hoped the journey to Amber had been uneventful and that we have revived ourselves. I responded that our journey was of no consequence. The warm hospitality would revive anyone even after the most harrowing journey. I was astonished at myself. Even Byslamia blinked in surprise. Of course, it was not true, but still, I rarely have such a tongue. Lord Julian looked at as if to confirm what his ears heard and Random nodded as if to say, Yes, we did that.
Seating was simple. On our side was Random--Vialle--Julian--myself and across from us was Vivant-- Hendren --Byslamia. I think I will leave out titles here because it's dreary to write Lord this or Lord that all the time. I'll put it in when I first meet them. I did almost call Julian Lord but he saved me the embarrassment by inserting his proper title into my greeting. Flawlessly.
Dinner was light and fun. Julian was very entertaining and the conversation flowed easily. I even ventured to join in, since the talks were inconsequential and social. Afterwards, Vialle suggested we go out into the Gardens. Random and Hendren went off to play pool while Julian offered his arm to Vialle. We went outside and I overheard Julian tell Vialle that a bench was three paces away and its height. All of a sudden I realized she was blind! I would never have guessed. That shows considerable poise and self-assurance to so fool anyone for extended periods of time.
We sat and talked. The sun went down pulling a brilliant flare of light behind it. Before darkness fell completely, we re-entered the castle and retired for the night.
All in all, it was a very good evening.
Note the huge number of assumptions Cassandra has work well with an introduced character. They make the play more interesting and quickly establish a character "voice".
The line about "tyrants" presumes that her relatives have some control of such things as technology working or not. Re-reading this, there are many assumptions about Pattern and canon. No harm comes from just sailing through these bits, as all will soon be revealed.
First sight of Amber. A lovely moment and good character play. Coming from a beautiful and 'developed' culture, Amber City looks small and medieval to Cassandra. The castle on the mountain is forebidding and stark. These moments are part of the fun of entering a campaign. Everything is being emphasized for color and visual memory. As she goes deeper into her journey, bits and pieces of startling beauty jump out at her.
And note Cassandra's critical eye about finery, military points of the city, and convenience of getting around. She's from a "better world" and doesn't care for the backward "charm" of this distant realm of Amber.
Note the "underwhelming" introduction of Random was quite fun. Also NPCs who may become important are being introduced. Over-Selling the Elders is easy in Amber play. I like to sell the setting and let the NPCs come on slowly.
Nineteen bells are the chimes of the hours. The nineteenth hour is seven in the evening. Random's informal dress makes Cass feel she has "botched" her attire. She's quite young and concerned with appearances. An odd moment here is that Cass does not comment at all that Vivant's skin is as dark as chocolate.
Of note: the Player was doing such a good roleplay that Cass was completely stunned to discover Vialle was blind.
I've spent the day exploring the castle. It's five sided, not first noticed when approaching the castle. It's also very empty. Minimum staffing, minimum guests. I imagine they send into town if they require additional help.
Julian has sent an invitation to me to go on a hunt. It specifically invited me and not Byslamia. She's quite unhappy with that and is inclined to decline on my behalf. First, I think this is not seemly. She's concerned that the chaperonage is not adequate. I hardly think Julian plans anything bad though accidents can happen whether an escort is there or not. If I get thrown, no one can stop that. I could hardly tell her that I have done this on my own before, since she would be far more strict in my comings and goings. Secondly, by that implication, refusal would be insulting to the prince and that is causing more trouble than we need.
I was forced to play my hand and I gained an ally in Dame Louisa. Byslamia called her in to seek advice and Louisa said it would be almost an insult if the invitation was declined. Byslamia was still unconvinced. I said I would walk about for a while and waited until she left. I caught up with her to tell her I would be accepting the invitation and then told Byslamia the hunt was at 7 bells when in fact it was at 6. I even told her that there may be another woman attending which made her feel better. I said I learned it from one of the women stable hands which she thought odd. She decided it would be all right in that light.
I woke early, wrote a note letting her know that the Hunt was moved up, and slipped out quietly. I'll pay for this.
By the stable there was a female stablehand, which means I did tell some of the truth. Sort of. Julian was there and he introduced me to his son Shapir who bore a strong resemblance to Lady Vivant. I got a normal saddle (Byslamia wanted a side-saddle. Imagine!). My horse was gray...it was the one Julian mentioned to me at dinner, the one who needed some exercised. His was white, which matched his white riding suit. He certainly won't blend in in that thing. We moved out to be joined by the hunting hounds who weighed, individually, more than I did.
We moved through the forest, a HUGE one, for a long while. We were all silent which suited me fine. The trees were larger than any I have ever seen. The trunks were almost as large as the towers of the castle. Fog misted around us but we kept a speedy clip. Between the fog and the trees, when one of the hounds bellowed it sounded eerily like one of the steam locomotives from home. The journey was all startling and surreal, but pleasantly so.
We moved faster than I would have thought prudent in such terrain, but the horse seemed sure of itself so I continued. Still, we did not overtake the hounds. They moved like dolphins through waves as they jumped up and forward over the underbrush and then descended back into cover. They were closing in on something. Up ahead something white moved in the shadows, staying out of direct sunlight. We continued, keeping the pace while the hounds moved in further. Suddenly, the prey moved into the sun.
It was a pure white stag, as large as my horse. Beautiful! The hounds herded it into a stream gully. The oddest thing happened then. One of the dogs in the rear turned to look over its shoulder. Shapir gestured and it immediately led the pack to each side of the stag, cutting it off from leaving up the sides of the bank. I've never seen such intelligence and training in any animal.
Julian, who had the lead followed through. I had a few seconds to decide what to do If I went in, I would be unable to get closer because I would not be able to pass Julian. Therefore no shot. I would also be cutting off Shapir completely which is not very sportsman-like. So I moved up to the bank to run along the sides. Apparently Shapir had come to the same conclusion and to avoid cutting me off, went to the opposite side. I nodded my appreciation of the gesture and saw it returned with a brief smile.
We moved forward and I decided to take a shot. It was a far distance but thought I could hit. I drew and let the arrow fly. It hit in the right shoulder though not very deeply. A hound bellowed. We were out of the trees and the fog was gone. There was no mistaking that they really do sound like locomotives. Even my horse reacted to the sound. One of the hounds jumped toward the stag as if to take him down. It was as if the arrow was a signal. It missed and fell in front of the stag and was run over. Julian managed to jump over the poor beast so perhaps he will survive.
Shapir drew his bow riding without his reins now. Neat trick, that! Julian was having some trouble gaining in the unsteady footing of the stream. I wondered if he deliberately chose that. I drew my horse out, letting it take its last burst of energy before I would be forced to fall away from the chase. I let another arrow fly and it hit the same area though much deeper. It continued on a few paces, stumbled and fell. I thought it was certain that the hounds would go at the stag. But they slipped past.
I swept past easing my horse down. I said a brief thanks to the stag, thanking it for its life, for a wonderful hunt, and for all its gifts its life will bestow on so many. By the time I made it back, Julian had dispatched the stag and closed its eyes. Even up close the stag was huge, pure white with pearlescent horns. They seemed to feel it was a good omen. Why? Is there some significance for a white stag? Or is it just because an albino animal is so rare?
Shapir sounded a hunting horn and two dozen men emerged from the forest. Apparently they will be taking care of the stage. Meanwhile the hounds milled around
pleased with themselves. It was obvious they were proud.
The fallen hound came in. I cautiously went to see if he was injured. He snarled and snapped within inches of my hand, letting me know he could have taken my hand off, and he would oblige if I wanted to sacrifice it again. Shapir came forward and introduced us so the hound would know to accept me. Only this hound, but he didn't have to do that. In fact, he could have been insulted that I did not think they would tend to the animal. But the hound was whole though scruffy. Like his brethren, he would never be considered pretty, but with his intelligence and training, it didn't matter.
We began to return, leaving the stag to the woodsmen. Julian asked if I wanted the head. I declined, disliking trophies, but did request the rack. It will make some beautiful pieces.
We could not make it back in time for lunch, so we stopped at a lodge for refreshments. Shapir prepared the meal while I attended to the place settings. It was a simple fair, mostly continuing our acquaintances.
Talk did eventually get back to my position in Amber. Julian stressed the need to attain proof of my lineage. I remembered a new science from home where they could determine the six blood types a person could have. One couple, if their blood types were compatible, could only have a child with their blood types or a combination. It was a crude test of sorts, but it might narrow down the possibilities. Julian seemed pleased with the notion, at least, he agreed quickly with the idea. We gauged that we had at least the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening, so we departed immediately. I paid my respects to Shapir before leaving and off we went.
It was a most strange journey. We traveled for hours, arriving at an abandoned farmhouse. In the barn, Julien used what seemed to be a wireless telegraph but which transmitted his voice. He spoke to someone named Sparrow and referred to himself as Hunter. A few minutes later a machine arrived, flying through the air in a most noisy fashion. I could hardly hear anyone speak. They indicated that I should embark and I reluctantly did so. The fact is, I was scared. We alit in a flurry of hisses and shaking while the engine roared. I looked out once or twice but decided to keep my attention on maintaining a firm grip on my seat, not that it would do much good if the flying thing's engine ceased.
We landed at a military base by the look of it. All there wore uniforms and called Julian Praetor. We were hustled into a series of rooms where samples of my blood (not unlike some leechings I have seen), hair, fingernails, though I don't know what they were for. While we had a light snack (it had been six hours journey thus far) and the results arrived. Julian was a bit disappointed, though I might be reading far too much into things. Apparently, I am no relation to him (Damn), nor was I Shapir's daughter (hunh?!) and to no other male Amberite which he had samples of. At least all those alive. He wondered if my mother was in some way an Amberite or if I had possibly been a foundling. Given my mother's and I disparate physiques that is a possibility.
We returned to Amber just after their dinner finished. Byslamia was not really worried and wasn't upset with my leaving so early. I told her the news and all that Julian told me of Shadows and Shadow paths and the blood tests. She didn't really believe me so I went to see Random. She was not happy with this since it was, by now, nine o'clock but Vialle was there and she confirmed what I said. It was odd, how she can so easily hide her disability. Still, our entire notion of the universe has just been turned upside down not to mention the question of my parentage. Byslamia swore she was at my birth and that there had been no switch.
I spent the better part of the night wandering through Amber City, trying to set my mind at peace. I have far more questions than answers since I've come here.
I went around to various establishments dedicated to evening business. I did make an interesting observation. While the city is backwards in many ways, for Amber's law of land does not permit technology, the people do not suffer as a result. Each person was vibrant, outspoken and full of life. Rarely did I meet anyone who fit the image of a down-trodden worker or an ignorant peasant. This revealed more of the Family than anything I have seen thus far.
I came back in the early morning, roughly midnight. Byslamia was asleep in a chair, obviously she had been waiting for me. I put her off to sleep and fell into bed quickly.
This was a small but colorful bit of easing the Player into her capabilities. Even as one might imagine that Julian and Shapir are checking out Cass. A nice little day and a confidence builder.
This morning, breakfast was interesting. Volatile, but interesting. Random was there though Vialle probably elected to break fast upstairs. Numerous others were there and we were not really introduced until a bit later. It turned out that they were Martin, who has the most unusual appearance I have ever seen. His hair was shaved on the sides and stood straight up in the middle. Multiple earrings lined the edges of his ears and he had something in his neck. Possible from an accident wherein they could not remove it. It looked painful but he seemed recovered. He wore well-worn leather in a casual style. Nevertheless, he had a mischieviousness that added to his regular, good-looking appearance. He was taller than Random, putting him at 5'8.
The other was March. Later I found he was Admiral Gerard's son, therefore one of my cousins. He was a huge man, at least 6'4 and quite solid. He was also good-looking with an open, ingenue manner.
Julian and his lady arrived just as the meal started. Conversation was scarce, which suited me fine. Martin and March spoke a bit as the meal was finishing. I then let slip that I am also an Amberite. This caused a stir of interest that I was not quite prepared for. Numerous inquiries regarding my parentage flew at me. I managed to hint that I was not willing to reveal my parentage but I think they saw through that and realized I did not know how I was related.
Things escalated and perhaps Random was not prepared for this. Julian, at one time, said We decided that Cassandra should walk one of the broken Patterns to ensure that she has the blood. Martin immediately rejoined, We? I thought the King was the only one to use the royal 'We.' Julian said he referred to himself and my mother, but there was obviously a power play there.
As I said, things escalated, to the point of Random declaring that he would not give permission for me to walk the Pattern before leaving the room. Needless to say, I was not happy with the turn of affairs. Even Byslamia stood up in indignation to Random.
It was clear that if anything could be done, I would have to do it soonest, before Random's declaration became common knowledge. On the pretext of seeing the city, I asked March if he would care to show me the sights. Once upon the road, I confided a bit about my knowledge of other Patterns and enlisted his aid in finding them. Since his father, Lord Gerard, was not at the meal he thought he would know of them and help me get the information.
We went to his home, met his mother briefly, who informed us that Gerard went to the docks. Off we went, and found that Gerard was already on one of his cutters. Well, I hid my disappointment as best I could and thanked March for his help. I walked a bit on my own and decided Julian might be best to help. I went to Arden and found a well-trod path, hoping it would lead to his home in there. Four hours later, I turned back to go toward the castle. For all I know, I was going to another town, not his home. About the point where I thought I was halfway home, I heard a noise. Listening, I heard nothing else but a man stepped out from the trees. An average-looking man with black hair and beard, dressed commonly and in a woodsman way. He addressed me by title and later acknowledged that he knew my name, he left after seeing I was not lost, delivering the cryptic message Expect news, and gave me a Mycenean salute.
I got back to the Castle late for dinner. I rushed through a cleaning and change of clothing putting me just shy of twenty minutes later. Not much was said other than a brief inquiry from Random. It became a typical dinner with its food and conversation. Martin was not present but March and Julian were. I could have just waited for dinner to speak with Julian instead of going through the countryside.
After dinner, Vialle invited Byslamia and myself to a concerto. I wasn't much enthused but it is bad form to refuse a Queen such a request. The performer wasn't extraordinarily talented but he was enthusiastic. His music was an illustration of a piece written for 35 instruments if Vialle would condescend to fund his endeavor. She gave a noncommittal answer but in an encouraging manner and retired for the evening.
Later that night Byslamia and I were talking about the events of the day when our Captain of the Guard delivered a letter he was instructed to give Byslamia should a question of my parentage emerge. How he knew it had is a question of itself but I'll let it go for now. Byslamia opened it up and realized it was for Random. The seal was broken but between us, we managed to fix it in, apparently, convincing manner. We delivered it to Random who read it, tossing it page by page away. All he relayed to us was that Mother had evidence at our home to prove my heritage. We can go there to view it but it cannot be moved. She didn't say what it was, only that it was a secret. I have heard nothing of this evidence before and neither had Byslamia. It is obviously we have to go but I wonder who he will send to verify it. Random stated he cannot go at this time.
I wrote to Julian for his assistance in getting us there in a more timely fashion than the eight or ten weeks it took us to get here. Hopefully, there will be some answer tomorrow.
The GM starts to dish out a bit of meat.
Family interplay at breakfast. Sizing up who likes who and what means what. The ranks and privileges being important to Cass, she is gravitating to those elements in the story. She's become impressed with Julian, who seems to have a matter-of-fact interest in her. A coincidence that he is the same coloring as she? That he was at her intro dinner? Not.
Note the "bearded man" in Arden is not a red-herring, though he could be.
Castle Staff are normally commoners, but Dame Luisa and Lord Hendren are nobles; he by birth, she by valor. Having a good idea of how the castle runs is very important to smooth story. You don't want to think about these things in play.
Breakfast was far less eventful. March, Martin, and Vialle attended. This time Random was absent. I suppose the two do not eat breakfast together. Admiral Gerard did arrive and March was very correct when he said he was smaller than his father. Gerard stood at a few inches above 7 feet, massive but perfectly proportional in an athletic form. His voice was a rich bass easily heard from great distances if he was in such a mind to shout.
Afterwards Byslamia asked him to speak with us and we withdrew to a small drawing room. She wanted confirmation of the danger of walking the Pattern. Gerard admitted that it can kill if one was not of the blood but that was not an issue for us since Random had decreed that he would not extend permission. Damn. Word had already gotten to him. He did not know of other Patterns or what is going on in regards to my position. He offered to inquire but I declined, graciously, I hope, for two reasons (which I did not express to him): If he knows of other Patterns, he is lying and cannot be trusted yet. If he doesn't know of them, he can't help and might hurt the situation with inquiries and I do not wish to get him into trouble. It did become obvious that he trusts Julian's word. When he heard the Julian expressed his belief that I should and could walk the Pattern, Gerard said that it must then be okay.
That afternoon I met Princess Llewella. She looks odder that Martin. Her hair, skin, eyebrows, eyes, eyelashes were all various shades of green. How that came about, I have no idea. Very disconcerting. She was a little shorter than me at 5'6. I guess Amberite women run smaller than me. She declared that she would be escorting us home at Random's request. The entire trip would take a week. That was good news. She thought we could be ready by tomorrow morning but I announced, to Byslamia's dismay, we could be ready in a few hours. She accepted this and arranged to meet us by the ship, the Osprey.
The next few hours were a flurry of activity as we packed only enough for the trip. We got to the docks in time to find a very small vessel, laminated white with gray sails, waiting for us. Our cabins were dreadfully small. Byslamia and I could stand next to each other but that was pretty much it. I opted to wear trousers to give us more maneuvering room, at Byslamia's suggestion. She is changing. At breakfast she said, What the hell is going on? and called Gerard a Corker and now this! I like it. She's adapting more solidly than I am.
We waited in the galley while the ship prepared to go underway. Lord Hendren will be going with us, with his servant Sebastian. Llewella brought a young girl named Tedra. That filled the guest accommodations to the maximum. Sebastian was a man of small height which was made up in girth. About 5'4 tall at 225#, mostly in the middle. He would be good-looking if he wasn't so soft in body and face. He was complimented with blond hair and brown eyes which missed little of what was going on around him. Tedra is painfully shy and refuses to address me by name, only by title. She is similar to Sebastian in that she is of equal height, but far more capable looking. With her lower center of balance and by the look of her, she is far stronger than I am. Hand-to-hand, she could best me. I wonder if I could get her to go to compete in one of our Games. She dresses as a workman, practical and sturdy clothing, well-used. She looks, perhaps, 15 years, maybe younger. Her shyness adds to her youth. Like me, her hair is black as are her eyes with fair skin.
Hendren was the same. Apparently he is leading this excursion though I question his experience. His sailing outfit was traditional to a sailor, oiled great coat with boots. All very new. He moved awkwardly around, definitely not used to the sea. Or, at least, less used to it than I.
We left the port. Dolphins followed along side for a while. Weird shrieks and squeals came for the bow. It was Llewella, talking to them! Sebastian tossed one a fish and got splashed in return. I swore I could hear than laugh. The crew certainly did.
Dinner was tedious as Hendren became expansive in recounting his experiences. I believe he would claim having a hand in creating the Family if he could get away with it. I tried to divert discussion to Llewella by asking about the Dolphins. She claimed that not only did they have a language, but a culture as well. She said they were more advanced and more intelligent that humans. Some were even immortal. Hendren did not believe it at all, but she did. And they were exchanging something on the bow. I don't know what to believe but I will be more courteous and respectful should I meet one. She lives somewhere in a place called Rebma, about 20 miles from Amber. It is an underwater city. Guess that would explain her affinity with marine life and her green complexion.
Last night sleeping was difficult. Irregularly, almost once an hour, I woke up. Nothing discernible was causing this but after the sixth time I felt as if something inside was moving. A quivering. I could go back to sleep immediately, but at the end I was getting worried.
GM starts the first story arc with Cass headed back into shadow. Two other players are being introduced here as well. The youngsters Sebastian and Tedra. The diary betrays this in the specific statistical manner those two characters are described. Sebastian down to his poundage, Tedra, whom Cass says after watching her briefly, is stronger than she; a miscue of Player vs Character knowledge. Again, this is a small gaffe which we breezed over. Normally such perceptions are not so easy in campaign. If Florimel cannot easily tell Corwin is actually Corwin, then don't let your Players make such "handy" guesses about each other.
Today I did not eat much. Perhaps I was reacting badly to the food.
The problem is still there. I'm not sleeping because it is so worrisome. I will have to tell Byslamia. If I am ill, I need to take care of it.
Byslamia doesn't know what the symptoms mean. She inquired with the Captain who knows nothing either. I will wait until tonight. Llewella is well-traveled. She may have come across something like this before. She stays up in the evening so I will have to wait.
Llewella has explained what is going on. She is shifting through shadows and I am picking up the shifts. She had not known I was a sensitive and she is not using the paths that Julian told me about. She asked to check my sensitivity and knew I had contact with the Pattern. She will take me into her calculations to ease the journey. She said it would not make things difficult for her.
GM always tries to make explanations in-character. Later, when Cass is more experienced, some things are easier to figure out, or exposition can be given to the Character about the workings of power. Here, it is more interesting to have it build slowly, leading to a scene with Llewella about Pattern and perception. The vessel is not using shadow-paths, which would make for a longer trip. Cass has been disturbed by the various quick-shifts through shadow. A different sort of travel-sickness.
We should be home tomorrow. I think by now everyone knows that Hendren has been kept calm by Sebastian's coffee. He puts something in it which helps sea sickness and makes him far more amiable.
I don't know how mother knew we were coming but a welcoming band greeted us at the docks. It was far more fanfare than the occasion required but we got through it quickly. Everyone was shown to a room at the palace. A Dinner was being prepared.
It was festive with dancers and acrobats and musicians. Llewella seemed to enjoy it greatly and Hendren was astounded. Mother asked that we wait until tomorrow to address why we were here for she was fatigued. I'll admit I was impatient, but Mother will not change her mind once she made it up, especially in public.
Classic motif. The Hero Returns home already changed by her journeys. The diary records minimal byplay of other characters on the tiny ship. Sebastian and Tedra are keeping their own tales.
Mother took us to a room. My two oldest sisters, Chrysies and Portia attended. We all filed into an inner, locked room in the palace which had a table in it. A huge table, iron cast in large pieces. It could have seated 15-20 people if it was designed for that. On the top was a relief map of Amber and the Golden Circle. Something Mother would not know of, since we are far from them, in another Shadow, if not for knowledge of Amber. The top was a solid two inches thick and the entire thing must have weighed in at a few tons. Mother said there was something in the table, a journal perhaps, but she has not been able to access it in the 18 years since it appeared in this room one day. My inheritance was in there.
All she could tell us was that his name is Evander and that she has a portrait of him in her chambers. This was more than anything she has ever told me, which is nothing, and I confess being quite angry about her withholding this information. The portrait of him showed that I look much like him and it was dated 12 years ago by an artisan named Riahn. Llewella asked if she has any personal affects and Mother showed her a white scarf, stating he was a great pilot. More information. The only thing she said about him was that he was a god. [!!??]
A mystery. The eerie power of amberites. A GM theme appears: namely some shadow-folk get really obsessive about amberites-- especially after long exposure. Cass is shocked that her royal mother speaks so about her long lost father.
Note that I intro Players without giving them parental information quite often. Neither Sebastian, Cass, or Tedra know their "proper" parents. Cagey stuff is intrinsic to Amber.
Days have passed as we try and solve the puzzle. Tedra happened to be fascinated by the design since she is a smith. Curious why she was invited since no one was to know what we would find here. Sebastian started out being very quiet but became much more involved once certain numbers became significant. He is a sort of mathematician. Again, curious.
Sebastian realized that my birthdate was significant (the table arrived on one of my birthdays when I was about 3-4 years old--I do not remember it). I was born on the 11th day of the 3rd month in the 9th year of this century. Sebastian said the riddle had to do with prime numbers. There are 7 oceans around Amber and the Golden Circle. Another prime number.
We exhausted ourselves, Tedra and Sebastian taking to sleeping in the room to not miss time. I wonder at their vehemence for someone they don't even know. Llewella kept Mother occupied and calm. I admire her perseverance.
Sebastian, frustrated almost to insensibility, started muttering about some clock-maker in Amber. He needed to go back to get him. I didn't try and dissuade him, Llewella could do that, but he would get sleep along the journey. I was not less involved that either of them, but my skills are not up to this.
Later, Llewella begins talking to the air. I wondered if the table induces psychosis during prolonged exposure but then Sebastian and an older, frail-looking man appeared in mid-air in front of us! He had brought the clock-maker. I was so astonished, I could just stand there gaping.
Tedra started to fill him in on the events (she recovered far more quickly that I, in fact she took it in stride as if it happened every day). A few hours later he said he thought it was a safe, a giant combination lock and we had to turn it to the numbers 3, 11, 9. Sure enough, when we tried it worked. I could not move it alone. The city of Amber telescoped up and opened to reveal a compartment. Inside was a dagger, a curl of hair, a card with Evander's picture, a man's ring (gold with a black stone) and a paper. The dagger was black with silver ornamentation. The paper was a letter. Mother was insistent that she be present and now she was almost fighting me to get to them. She knew him, had a relationship with him, and even here was trying to keep me from anything of his. Why?
I did get to them first. The letter acknowledged me as his daughter and he was happy I was able to solve his test. Test? Undisclosed events led him to leave me here to be raised, for safety, and that he could not stay. I was to contact him (How?) when I was ready to talk. Signed Evander.
Mother wanted the items, to keep them safe. Frankly, she looked so covetous of these small items that I wonder if she needed to have more of him near her. I was not willing to let everything go so quickly and we argued. Again, I concede that I was still angry with her about how she handled this entire matter and was obstinate. She posted a guard to keep the items safe. I ended up putting them back in the table.
It is curious that Tedra and I could open it up, Tedra and Sebastian could open it up, but Sebastian and I could not. No one else could either, despite any combination outside those that I have already stated were successful.
A first Trump scene. Zelazny is pretty specific about how little someone standing near a Trump contact really sees.
Note that I intro Players without giving them parental information quite often. Neither Sebastian, Cass, or Tedra know their "proper" parents. Cagey stuff is intrinsic to Amber. Note also that individual niche elements are showing up more and more for each PC.
If any day of my life in this, or any other universe was exciting, dangerous, and chaotic, today eclipsed it completely. It started out innocently enough. Tedra went to see something of the city before returning to Amber, taking the clock-maker with her.
I was tired of the guards so I told Mother that I returned the items to the table. I though it would make her secure knowing no one could steal them but it only served to anger her once more. Llewella passed me a look which told me to leave. I did so. I still had the guards.
Minutes passed as I thought about what to do with my mother when the object of my thoughts came to me in a fury. Mother claimed that Llewella attacked her! Polite, reserved, passive and kind Llewella. There was no mark on her and she said it had just happened. I was a bit concerned that an Incident was forming and by mother gave no explanation for what happened or how it cam about. She simply assigned a guard to the Table Room. I don't recall her ever being so obviously furious but something was not right.
There was not much I could do, with everyone being somewhere else, so I waited for Tedra to return. I wanted to get the items. Perhaps that would calm Mother. Sebastian came and told me that he and Llewella were the ones attacked. His words were They tried to kill us! The guards took this as a threat on my person but not from Sebastian. We had spent so much time together with Tedra they did not perceive that he meant them, the castle guards. He was taking Llewella to the ship and I told him to find Tedra. I would meet him at the ship but I needed to get inside that table. The safe had become too safe, even from me. He left and I waited trying to open the table. With my personal escort of 10 guards and the 10 guarding the room, I tried to use them all together to open the table but it only budged a few inches.
I don't know quite why I was acting as I was, but I told Byslamia to go to the ship. I told her how to sneak out of the castle and something of the events of the day. Even she seemed to feel that Mother was acting strangely. This entire situation seemed as if a major Incident was in the making. Wars started with much less often enough. And I had seen a little of the resources Julian alone could muster. I don't think we could stand a chance if Amber wanted to make an example of us. I didn't want to try.
Sebastian returned much later and he looked horrible. He was bruised and battered with a deep cut on his leg which bled profusely. I bandaged it up and he told me of a fight at the docks. His cutlass was bloodied as were those of the two sailors with him from the cutlass. Tedra was at the ship. I was going to give up and leave with them but I wanted one more try. With him and the others, we did, painfully (literally) slowly we opened the table. I grabbed the items and asked Sebastian how Llewella got him to Amber. He said she talked to a card. I whipped mine out, the one of Evander. The back was black with a silver thread border. Inside, was a dagger identical to the one I had.
Just then we heard footsteps approaching. There was no way out, but past the guards. I heard Mothers voice shouting shrilly. I ducked behind Sebastian and spoke to the card. I heard Mother come in an tell the guards to arrest us all. I'm sure I was visible and this only reinforced my opinion that something was wrong with Mother. The card moved and the picture became Evander sitting at a chair.
He looked at me and said, Cassandra?
I nodded and blurted out my predicament. I would not go through without Sebastian and the others so he finally said, bring me through. I ended up holding his hand through the card and then he was in the room in a brief shower of prismatic light.
Mother changed completely. She was totally fixed upon him. Like an acolyte to the god she claimed he was. There is no doubt, she is obsessed, worshipful, to anything about him.
Evander whispered for us to go. I was reluctant but left. I could not do anything here, not while she was like this.
At the docks, we found Byslamia in control of the area. The ship had been sieged by some of the city guards, and many pockmarks marred her exterior. Byslamia had stopped them from further attacks. She never ceases to amaze me.
She would not go to the ship, but Sebastian did a curious thing. As a sailor mimed knocking Byslamia out (I nodded in agreement), Sebastian pointed to her and said 'sleep'. She collapsed but I was able to catch her. We swam out to the ship.
A vivid day. You can see how Cass' mother seems to hold most of the cards. She badly wants to see Evander, and everything flows from that overwhelming desire.
Byslamia was very annoyed with the deception. I just didn't want her to receive the wrath of my mother. She was too good a target.
Other details of the day came out as we talked about what happened.
Tedra had been in the city when a guard said she was wanted at the palace. When she got there, she was arrested with the clock-maker, but escaped.
Guards fought Sebastian at the docks, especially after one hit Llewella. That was not good news.
We had to leave before we could retrieve the captain. He had been looking for Tedra in the city. Hopefully, he could avoid capture.
Sebastian healed nicely during the trip. Hendren worried constantly about what to tell Random. Llewella kept her council on that matter to herself. We should be in Amber tomorrow. Byslamia and I talked about Mother. I admit I was just as focused on my goals as Mother was on hers though I don't see myself being quite so fanatical or extremist. I wouldn't have put her in prison. I will write to see if we can't patch things up.
Llewella went, with Hendren, to report to Random. In the meantime, I tried to find a way to replace everything Tedra and Sebastian were forced to leave behind in their narrow escape from my home. Dame Louisa said I should check with Llewella, since she was the ranking member of out entourage.
I went to the Library to find a book on Amber genealogy. With the hundreds of volumes, I had a hard time finding anything. Hendren found me there and it appeared as if the audience went well. He said Random wanted to hear my perspective on the matter so he escorted me to him. He knocked on the door and entered, finding Random and Vialle in a private moment. He announced me in an embarrassed voice and fled, leaving me standing there. I was embarrassed but since neither of them were, I decided Hendren was just ludicrous.
It turned out that Random hadn't really needed my perspective on anything. But, while Vialle left to another room, he invited me to chat. We talked about the nature of my lineage. That he was interested in. He wanted to know what manner of man Evander was and I said I was reserving judgment until such time as I could see him for more than one minute. He understood, but I think he really wanted my immediate reaction. The long and the short of the conversation was that Llewella reported well of me and he was half convinced I was an Amberite. But until more information came forward regarding my father (no pressure, though!) I still could not walk the Pattern.
Well, if I needed information, I was going to try and get it. Byslamia was in our rooms forming a letter to Mother so I went to the Library for privacy. I used the card, it was cold to the touch, and he answered. He was sitting at a desk and didn't even look up as the card activated. He asked who it was and I answered. Then he looked up. We agreed we needed to talk but I could not go there (he was not in Mycenea) nor would he go to Castle Amber nor the lodge in Arden. He instructed me to rent a room in the City and bring some white wine.
This took only a few hours and then he was standing in the same room as I once more. I put the card away and he toasted our reunion.
The rest of the meeting was painfully disappointing. I waited for some explanation as to why he left and never visited. Nothing. What he spoke of was politics. No one knows who he is and he was quite upset that Llewella and Random know his name and visage, though he dismissed Llewella swiftly enough. While she does not have the presence of Julian or Gerard, I hardly think she should be dismissed so handily. Perhaps, he knows more of this than I. He was also disappointed that Random did not go to the Table since that would have allowed him access to the Pattern. It seems that he has not walked the Pattern either.
What followed was a history lesson. His father was Eric, the former King of Amber, succeeding from Oberon, the founder (young dynasty!). Another brother, Corwin did not take kindly to this and he and Random plotted the Patternfall Wall to remove Eric from power. In battle, Eric was killed and Random was appointed King. Some rumors of a Mystical Unicorn went on to say the unicorn favored Random. I don't know why they are mystical or rare, we have plenty in Mycenea. Anyway, the other elder Amberites would not have allowed other more powerful siblings on the throne and they were of the impression that Random could be controlled more easily, so no one gainsaid his appointment as King.
Evander believes he is a far better candidate for Kingship than Random. But, if he becomes known will the others see him and the rightful heir to Amber and depose Random or will they stay with matters as they are which Evander would not take kindly to which may mean he will be considered a threat.
He stressed our relationship, not that we really have one, and our goal of reaching the Pattern. That, he believes, should be my first priority. My mother was not important at this time.
Quite frankly, if he thinks he is more qualified, he has much to work on. In body, he is not changed from the portrait made twelve years ago and it is reflected in his manner. Random, whom he feels is so inferior, even made the attempt to establish some rapport, unconventional as it may be. He had not. The biggest mistake he made was in reference to my mother. Though she may be delusional as far as he is concerned, she is not unimportant and never will be. It seems that I have grown enough to be of use to him but I realize that he is not of use to me. Perhaps he never will. But if he wishes me to aid him in a battle of succession with nothing more than a biological tie, then he is sadly mistaken. He even suggested I force my way through to the Pattern, perhaps killing the guards, and ignoring Random's edict. The more I think of this the more I realize that my place here is gone. Maybe I can reestablish my relationship with my mother and maybe I will never shift through Shadows or do anything the others can do. But, there are many places Out There and if I can find a few Paths, I will see some of them. I admit to being very despondent about my situation just now, but I have to act as my conscience dictates. I will not be party or pawn to destroy something where I do not see any need to be destroyed just because one man wants a throne.
I spent the remainder of the day in the Library reading Corwin's account of the Patternfall War. There is little doubt that he indeed started the entire affair because of his animosity toward Eric. But, he also realized it and perhaps regretted his decision. And the consequences. Unfortunately, it does not change that fact that his actions caused Eric to be killed. The question is, what do I do now?
I related my current situation with Byslamia who, I'm afraid was very alarmed at the possible eventualities. Whatever happens, I hope she doesn't get involved in any circumstances. Perhaps I should send her home? Sure enough as we were talking of Evander another owl arrived with a message. He informed me he has members of the guard who are in his employ. They can be identified by a sign of the owl. Then he relates who of the Family is not to be trusted: Benedict is the most dangerous but is not there thankfully. Fiona is barely human and not to be trusted.
Julian was to be at dinner so I have the entire day before I would be able to speak with him again. My options are limited. I could tell Random and be arrested, or he could arrest Julian if Random learned that he knew my situation and did not tell him. Or he might let me walk the pattern. Right. I could do as Evander suggested and force my way into walking the Pattern, but that may be proof Random needs to see me as a threat.
I spent the morning working out because I see little options beyond that I will eventually be forced to fight Evander. Especially whenever I walk the Pattern. He will force me to help perhaps by threatening Mother and Mycenea.
While I was changing, Byslamia told me Sebastian had left a note saying Need your help. Have the same problem as you. Curious. I also noticed earlier that soldier were very active, collecting and mounting up, armed, and moving toward Arden. No one seemed to know what was going on.
I talked to Sebastian and not only is he an Amberite, he's Random's grandson. We exchanged our lineages and he knows my situation. He really wanted me to talk with Random and tell him what's going on. He said that Julian was seen stealing the Jewel of Justice from Queen Moira of Rebma and Random had sent the guards to arrest him. It is supposed that he did so for my sake, though I don't know how that would be. Sebastian fervently pushed me into agreeing to talk to Random, pushed too hard. He was very frustrated when I said I wished to think about it and I wonder why he was so determined to convince me to this course of action. I left and went back to our rooms. Byslamia was gone speaking to Dame Louisa trying to find out what is going on with the guards.
I realized that Julian was gone, Random is distracted, Gerard is leading the search party in finding Julian, Llewella is at Rebma, and a significant portion of the guards are away. This would be a perfect time for Evander to make his move. Suddenly everything crystallized and I went to speak with Random. The Pattern must be guarded.
Random agreed to speak with me. I started to tell him what I was thinking when Queen Vivant requested an audience. She was very agitated and insistent. She came in, interrupting our conversation and gave Random the very Jewel he was looking for. She said that she found it in Arden. I was surprised not that she returned it but that she betrayed Julian in the process. I was appalled at her action and it must have shown in my face as I stared at her. Then I noticed her hand was glowing! Then my armband went off, alerting me to danger with a squeeze. Instinctively I launched myself at Random knocking him out of the way of a bolt of lightning. We fell over his desk and I commenced to try and take her out. Random had hit his head and was unconscious. Yelling brought in some guards. She was surrounded by a red glow which disintegrated everything that came close to touching her. This includes the sword I managed to grab from Random. Some of the guards carried Random into an adjoining room while one remaining She gestured and the door to the main corridor slammed shut. I threw everything at her, trying to break through, the guards trying the same. Without thinking, I threw a kerosene lamp at her. It broke against her and ignited. We heard a scream and she was gone. Hopefully, for good.
Random was all right. Vialle was attending him though he was far from sensible of his surroundings. Vialle Trumped Queen Moira who came through to retrieve the Jewel. I got Vialle to give permission for me to guard the Pattern after promising not to walk the Pattern. With Random out of circulation, I was sure Evander was going to make his move. I ran out, stopping only briefly to tell Sebastian what had happened. I'm afraid I made him spill his beer.
I got my sword and headed to find a guard to take me to the Pattern. I was stopped by the guards who needed to confirm with Random that my orders were true. But Random was not sensible and I didn't want to waste the time. Sebastian arrived and even his declaration of being Random's grandson was not persuasive since they needed to confirm that too. March showed up and vouched for us and we headed to the Pattern. I called Gerard and told him my thoughts on the ruse.
We went through the Library and then through a secret door and down stairs that were 300' high. On the way I called Martin and told him of Random. No one else seemed to be able to use the Trump. I wonder why.
At the bottom, March gives the password to approach as Owl Owl?! Now I was sure Evander had set things up. I have to get his men out of here before they can help my father. I remark to March that the guards who have come down with us are spent while these men are fresh. Why don't these 20 men go up to the top and stop anyone from coming down here. March agreed though our guards, who bore no sign of Evander, numbered only six.
We waited. We then heard a shout from above, cut off quickly. There was silence for a while broken only by a series of lightning bolts from above. One set of steps descend to our location. Evander.
He soon arrived at the bottom of the stairs. He was not only pleased by how easy it was, but also by my success in obtaining the position of guardian of the Pattern. He expected me to turn aside. I don't believe my arguments against his treachery or murderous intent played against his conscience at all. Peculiar that he would leave me with honorable people. I may have been safer there, but surely he would have known I would have learned their ways.
I engaged him in a fight. Sebastian reinforced my ability by calling to Evander such words as Pain, Fall, Sleep, and others of that sort. The guards who were hitherto hidden in the shadows, came out to engage Evander with me. He was good enough to keep out of sight (in the shadows) and out of range while deflecting all our attacks. He was very good and I knew we would not be able to keep him occupied for very long much less take him down. I pressed my attack which put me in the darkness with him. It was a stupid move and I paid for it. He grabbed my wrist, extending my right arm, then used his knee to shatter the elbow joint. Then he dislocated my left shoulder. Instead or killing me outright, he did a more cruel thing. He crippled me. I would never be able to do those things which make my life of interest and use. His cruelty is sharp. Truly though, Sebastian's tactics were all that saved the moment from utter defeat. He kept Evander distracted and off-balance the entire time.
Vivant showed up though I was still not convinced it was actually her, and used her lightning to kill two guards. Owen and Martin (though he was in a full covering suit which completely hid him and I did not know who he was at the time) came in and took out Evander. I had been able to reset my left shoulder and took the opportunity Owen gave in distracting Evander to skewer Evander. I was ready to kill him. Owen ordered me not to. I am not Family, have not been acknowledged as such, cannot walk the Pattern, and am not a citizen of Amber, yet she assumes she has authority over me. I did ask Martin who said to hold off but if he should move I could kill him. Patricide is a horrible crime, but letting him loose to attack Random again, or my Mother or Mycenea would be a worse crime.
Vivant turned out not to be Vivant at all but a blue-skinned, black-haired woman known as a Morrigan, a transdimensional ball of energy whose form is currently a girl. Sebastian did get hit with one of her bolts and ended up being twice his size in muscle mass. Very odd. But he returned to normal shortly after the fight. We all went to the infirmary, 14 guards were saved.
I found that my elbow joint is destroyed. I called for Byslamia but no one was there to deliver my request.
Random arrived. Owen told him she was going to go into Evander's mind to ascertain who his allies were or what his plans are. I was going to confess to Random of being Eric's progeny but Owen occupied his attention so thoroughly, she broke the news to him long before I could.
The weight of the day was telling on me. Julian was probably looking for Vivant, not fleeing from arrest. My father's treachery was the worst to bear, since it does not bode well for my honor. Eric is a fallen king and I will never know if he has any honor at all. My mother is insane regarding Evander and she will never forgive my part in the events. I can hear her now... I have raised arms against her god. If Evander struck against Amber, surely they deserved it, and isn't that proof of Amber's corrupting influence on me? If Evander ever gets away, he will hunt me and my mother down and we will not be able to stop him since he is so skilled in warfare.
We found Vivant was buried in a vault in stasis in Forest Arden, in a sarcophagus, under Julien's house. Shapir was there too. Vivant had been hidden there for almost a year. The Morrigan is Evander's lover but has been a spy against Julian this whole time. Shapir had figured things out recently and was in the way, so he was shut up in there. When Julian finds out, Evander will be in a world of hurt should Julian get to him.
Owen did find out that this woman is the only ally of Evander. Julian was not involved so he is absolved of all crimes. We go and find Byslamia. It is difficult to walk. Owen knows of a place where I can get healed. But until then, it cannot be bound for fear it will aggravate the wound. Owen is derisive how hard I have tried to not show the pain. She keeps telling me not to be brave. Why would I want to be a coward. She seems to confuse my manner as lying though I do tell her it hurts and that it is considerable. Does not being brave mean I have to scream like a child? I have better control than that. I have concluded that the honor here in Amber does not match my own.
We are going to Glantri for healing. I asked Random to watch my homeland for any repercussions and to be informed of any decisions regarding my father, though I am loathe to admit the relationship. I guess as a reward for willing to commit patricide, Random has conceded that I can walk the Pattern. What a foul and bitter way to earn that opportunity.
While I was in Glantri, I told Byslamia what happened. It was not pretty and I did break down a bit. Actually I fell apart and so did she. I think she understands how I felt about the entire affair.
I have to wear a cast for two weeks. The people here are odd. I guess they look like the elves from folklore; they had pointed ears and used magic. They were very polite and kind. I tried not to impose further than I had to. The entire time I was there I had some very strange dreams which troubled my sleep, but I cannot remember them.
We returned to Amber. Byslamia asks Jinta the maid to see if we may have an audience with the King. She returned to say that we may speak with him tomorrow morning.
I wrote to Julian and inquired how he, Vivant and Shapir are doing. Also said that if there was anything I could do that they should only ask.
Other than that, it was a quiet, subdued day.
Byslamia went to see Random. I would have gone, but I did not feel up to facing him and he did not ask to see me. She returned to say that Random is working on continuing trade relations with Mycenea. I'm not sure why since it is so removed from here and much of the technology cannot be used here. Perhaps they need manufactured goods, though the Golden Circle should be Sufficient. He was not concerned with Mother's frame of mind.
Lunch was just Llewella and Sebastian, Kinkel and Kent, Byslamia and myself. It was cold soup and the main dish was a hen. It was difficult to eat with my arm unable to bend. I did noticed that Llewella did not eat the meat.
An odd thought occurred to me during the meal: Perhaps Evander disabled me so as not to be forced to kill me. It was a gamble that I could be healed or heal naturally from such a severe injury.
Sebastian and Llewella had a sort of parley during the meal. He stated that actions speak louder that words. Llewella reminded him that most of what she has done with him is speak, and he seemed to take her word. His statement, if to be taken at face value, was that there would be no basis for trust between them. Sebastian said he based his reasoning on the ways of the Moneychangers Guild. And, there were only a few people he trusted fully. Llewella replied that now that he was a part of the Family, she will keep that in mind.
Byslamia believed it all sounded quite hostile. I think they were testing each other and setting the boundaries for their relationship. We shall see.
I did ask the cook, Chef Robert, if he could see that I could receive foods which could be eaten with the left hand, the off hand, only. He seemed pleased to receive the challenge.
I received a letter from Julian, sent by one of his own couriers. Actually it was a poem. It was very flattering to me and my actions during these difficult times. It was restrained yet very intense. I was sincerely touched by the gesture. Especially given that he has so much on his mind to deal with right now.
I went to see Evander today. I guess I wanted answers. The guards had specific instructions to allow me in to speak with him. Harsh words were exchanged. I could have been more diplomatic. He did ask about Ire, the Morrigan. I had no answers for him on that one and I really didn't care. He was angry at my betrayal and did not appreciate my comments, such as that he was foolish to leave me in an honorable country if he did not wish me to be honorable. If he had placed me among murderers and thieves, I would have grown up to be a person who had no qualms in doing as he wished. All in all, it went poorly and I left.
Thinking back, I had a few thoughts which I wrote in a brief letter to Random. Who are the people in Evander's employ? And who was powerful enough to break into Rebma, Llewella's suite, to steal the Jewel of Justice?
I talked with Captain Seglum to see how the men are. I was going to ask him if any of the guards could be working for Evander but he could be one of those men, under the grace of my mother. I think I will have to send these men home.
There was a note for me in my rooms when I returned. It was an invitation to attend the formal sentencing of Evander on the next morning, in the Throne Room, at 9 a.m.
Later that evening, Random paid a visit to speak with me alone. Byslamia took a little walk. He asked that I say nothing to anyone, not even Byslamia. I said I understood. He said he was not going to kill Evander. I admit I was surprised.
He also doubts any of my men are under Evander's thumb. My guards are under guard, which I'm sure they are not enjoying. He has had word from my mother in regards to the captain we were forced to leave behind. He will be brought back when I am released. She apparently believes I am a hostage, at the least, or a prisoner, at the worst.
He left. I suddenly became very angry at Evander's meddling. I destroyed his Trump and went to the garden, found a large stone, and beat his knife into pieces. I disposed of it in the moat with the rest of the filth.
I broke my fast in my rooms. I did not want to face anyone just yet. Byslamia admitted that she would not go to the sentencing; she was not up to facing this just yet.
At 9 am, I went downstairs, dressed formally, but soberly. There were a large number of people there. Random, Lord Hendren, Julian, Martin, Sebastian, Gerard, Shapir, Owen, March, Kent, Kinkel, Jubilee (though I did not speak with her).
Evander was brought in before the Throne. The Mycenea flag was hung on the wall amongst others. Random was also dressed formally; he even wore his crown.
Evander stated that he does not recognize the authority of Random. Random is unfazed. Sentencing was against charge of treason, murder seven times, but the execution was being commuted by the crown, to be chosen by the accused. This caused quite a stir. His choices were:
700 years transmuted into stone,
70 years in solitary confinement in Amber's dungeons.
140 years of military service in the Amber's royal army sponsored by Gerard.
Even Evander was shocked. He obviously expected to be killed. Hendren started a sand glass.
Eventually Evander finally chose confinement. Gerard was openly disappointed. Court was adjourned.
Everyone filed out. Not many spoke to me and I was at a loss of what to do now. I expected this to last much longer. I wasn't too pleased with the way things had gone. It was too easy. Evander has allies. Could relatives or others come to his rescue? Of course, 70 years is a long time to be vigilant over one person.
Gerard is kind. He came over to offer condolences. His eyes told me he understood just what I was feeling. They were kind and warm. He then did a truly thoughtful thing; he offered to tell me stories of Eric so I could learn about him and his honor. He offered me a grasp of some sense of family. My mother is besotted into insensibility. My father is a delusional, dishonorable, murderous traitor. He gave me hope that there was someone in my line who I could respect. Someone who understood honor, justice and loyalty. Tears came to my eyes and I thanked him for his offer and I would love to hear of Eric.
He left and I turned to meet Fiona. It had to be her from Corwin's description. But she was much shorter than I expected. Corwin must not have been a large man. As she approached I noticed her piercing, sharp eyes and my armlet squeezed in warning! I stepped back in defense but nothing happened. Was she trying something and stopped when I reacted Her eyes were like emerald daggers. She finagled an invitation to meet Byslamia. I didn't have to direct her to our suite since she knew we were on the third floor, eastern suite. I admit my paranoia was strong. Was this another one, like Ire? Could I be setting ourselves up for assassination?
We went upstairs. We spoke briefly of the morning. Byslamia was confused, as usual, poor woman. Fiona thought Random's use of the sentencing was interesting. Unprecedented. She commented that Evander made a logical choice. He would not deal well with the idea of 700 years of being stone. He would learn nothing and would be helpless the whole time. He also couldn't give his word to fight on the behalf of Amber and Random. It would be too galling. So he chose to demonstrate his own will and option, dealing with the consequences. My own thought was that Evander may be dishonorable to me, but he made no apologies nor dissembling for his actions. He could have taken the vow of service and escape much more easily. Perhaps his word means something?
Fiona finally left, none too soon. She is strange.
I was going to take one small errand when I heard a noise by the window. I turned to see a man, the one in the forest when I was searching for Julien, coming through the window. My instinct was to reach for my sword. He uses the password: Owl. I went to the door and there was a man there. He introduced himself as Rinaldo, and it was obvious he used to stay in these rooms when he came to the castle.
Rinaldo excused himself, seeing the rooms were occupied.
The other man explained that he was here to transport me to safety. He referred to others helping him. I started a ruse to get him further into the castle. I sent Byslamia ahead to alert the guards. She came back with one. I had hoped she would have gotten more. We had all the time to go down three flights of stairs for her to set this up. Apparently, I was not clear enough. I held my sword to the man's throat and Byslamia went to get Sebastian. He was one of the nearest Amberites who may be able to handle the situation. He handled himself well near the Pattern.
The man tried to run. I managed to cut him along the width of his back but it did not stop him. He jumped out of the window into the moat. I jump and so does Sebastian. It was quite fun. I hit hard. When I surfaced, he was already running and Sebastian was behind. We were running together when Sebastian put on a remarkable burst of speed. Appearances are deceiving. I would have never thought he could move so quickly. He's heading for Arden. Sebastian tackles him and even Tedra arrives. For someone who is afraid to speak to me of her own account, she was certainly presumptuous in picking him up and taking him back to the castle. I had other plans but they would not work now. Guards fall in on the second floor.
We went to Ransom's rooms. By this time I was cold and wet, leaving a trail behind me. Random was amused by my image. To jump into the moat effectively in my long dress, I had torn it off. So there I was standing in my undergarments. I must have made quite a spectacle walking through the castle. Random was amused enough to not lend me a robe. Not funny!
The man wakes up and Random ascertains that the man wouldn't say anything. Random sends for Fiona and the man became very alarmed, actually scared. He says he is a soldier of Aes and works for Evander. The call for Fiona is canceled. He is taken to a cell.
Random now went to get a robe. I hear him trying to get Vialle's, while she is wearing it! I leave when I hear Random say, Two falls out of three?
I slip into my room and get a robe on. Byslamia is there holding up the remains of my dress. She was very shocked and I tried very hard not to laugh. Byslamia gives up.
Sebastian gave me a set of Trump. If it is a sign of being of the Family, he's the only one to think I may want or need one. Most of the dead Amberites were removed, including Eric. I was disappointed because I did not even know what he looked like. I went to Random to see if he would give me one, so I could have something of him. Random agreed when I promised not to try and contact him. Hunh? Odd. Nothing new. His image was much like people had described him. Tall, confident, dashing and handsome. Blue-black hair and beard. Black and red seem to be his colors. A good image.
I spoke with Byslamia. Things have been very odd for her around here and I suggested she might want to go home. She's not ready to face my mother but I fear she is not happy here and she may come to harm, depending on what happens. She was not happy, nor was I really, but maybe it is time to go out on my own. I would miss her terribly, but I also want her to be happy. I left because she wanted to rest. She said she would think on what she would like to do. I will not bring it up again. She will do as she wishes, but I do not want to pressure her.
I spoke to Random about Fiona causing my warning armband to work. He verifies it is really her and not another imposter. He cannot explain my armlet. He even borrows my armlet and goes to tea with her.
Sebastian asks if I wish to go out drinking with him and Martin. I agree. I Trump Gerard to ask if he wished to go and if this would be a good time to hear of Eric. He said yes and no. We arrange to meet at the Cracked Pot. I call March. He was willing to go out and became enthusiastic when he learns Gerard was there.
Dinner was great. Robert came out to see how my dinner was. Twenty minutes later, Fiona arrives. He visibly wilted. It was just the two of us. We had a quiet and civil discourse. She mentioned that she had seen to the accommodations in the dungeon and they are excellent.
I got my armband back. Random said nothing happened. Maybe it will only work on me or she tried something on me. I don't know.
We walk to town. Sebastian and I met Tedra, who he also invited. Tedra brought Macey, a friend. We meet Gerard and March at the Cracked Pot, a tavern. Gerard was most un-princely while balancing a tall column of mugs on his forehead. The goal was apparently to reach the ceiling.
Jubilee managed to arrive at a run and crash headlong into Gerard. Everyone thought is was almost part of the show.
We eat pheasant and I drink wine. Gerard is certainly not what I expect of a prince. Especially when he does the dancing bear imitation. It was an enjoyable evening that lasts until 3 a.m. At least, that is when I left. Martin asked if I would escort him home. I gracefully agree to protect him (I did bring my sword). Gerard escorted Macey and Tedra behind us. They have to get to work in the kitchen and forge within two hours. I didn't even bother to sleep. I washed up and dressed for the new day, making sure breakfast was ready for Byslamia.
I went into town to find a gift for Byslamia. I found a full necklace which I had some alterations which I think she would enjoy. It should be ready in a week. It is full, with garnets and diamonds, going full around the neck but filling out in front. Tasteful, but it will go well with her complexion and hair.
The Captain of the Guard came to ask me about what happened with the prisoner. I filled him in on my report. He explained that the dungeon is below the armory on the other side of the Castle from the Pattern. There are no linking corridors between the two and little chance for Evander, should he escape, to get over there. I am not convinced, because Evander, if nothing else, does plan things out carefully.
I spoke with Captain Seglum about whether he and the men want to/should return home. We talked about our options. Maybe he would still be in good graces with Mother if I have Random order her to leave. I will then deal with Mother. Or I will walk the Pattern, go there, clear things up in time to meet them at the docks and give the okay. He doesn't think the men would want to live hear in such a backward place.
Inactivity will drive me crazy, and its only been a few days. Owen takes me out to learn a game called tennis. It is an odd game, with little skills applicable to normal life and it accomplished nothing but hitting a ball back and forth. Still, it requires serious physical endurance and dexterity. I found it strangely therapeutic. It took a while for me to get used to the attire. It was an extremely short skirt which I can never let Byslamia see.
I asked Byslamia if she would be willing to go to Arden and see how Julian and Vivant and Shapir were doing. She thought it would be a good thing to do.
We rode out to Julian's home and I found it with no trouble. Byslamia did not even question the fact that we were riding alone. Shapir was there but Vivant was at the Castle visiting Vialle and Julian was out. I gave him the gifts we brought. For Julian, I left a brown leather book with onionskin pages and brass reinforcing corners of Mycenean epics and poems. For Vivant we left two bottle of wine, one white (a Chardonnay) and one red (a cabernet/merlot mix) of 5 years and 150 years respectively. Hope she likes them. For Shapir, we gave him a white cloak, lined with white silk, with silver hawks as clasps.
He played host well, inviting us in, inviting us to lunch. He put Byslamia, and myself to some extent, at ease by talking of Mycenea. Obviously he tried to learn about it. I think I'm flattered.
He rode back with us. When we were halfway back, we saw a shadow of a hawk. Byslamia started when it dove at us. I admit I was nervous that my father still was sending messages, or that he could. But, Shapir held out his arm and it landed there. It had green cords, not red, on its talons. It was also a different breed from Evander.
He sends it back to flight and he mentions that he learned falconry when he came to Arden. It was an opening and I asked where he grew up. He lived in a Shadow called Qadir where his mother, Vivant, was of the royal family there. He learned of his heritage when he was fully an adult and met Julian, about 125 years ago. Byslamia almost looked ill. I imagine it takes a long time to establish trust in people who live for such a long time.
We made it back to the castle and we thanked him for a lovely day. He went to see his mother.
At dinner, I met the real Vivant for the first time. Everyone was very politely and subtly filling her in on what she missed in the last year. She looked exactly the same but that she was a little thinner, and she acted the same. It was eerie. Sebastian was invited for brandy and cigars with the other men. I wonder if this is the same tradition which we have at home. Mother would invite selected courtiers and officers of the Court to quiet meetings to discuss affairs of state. If it is the same, then the power here is definitely with the men. And I will have some difficulty in keeping abreast of what is happening. This could be the reason that the Princesses of Amber have never been considered contenders for the Throne. I wonder how many qualified people of my homeland were overlooked for such a simple thing as their sex. Perhaps we should change that. It would be difficult. By I need to concentrate on what I am going to do now. I must wait to be healed before walking the Pattern. After that? I'm not sure. I want to see what is out there. Amber castle will grow tiresome. Perhaps because there is little for me to do here. I have no real place here. I'm thinking of learning more of biology. And Trump. If what I have read is accurate, then I could find a Shadow where time flows much more quickly and I could learn much while little time passes in Amber. Maybe one where one month in the Shadow equals a day in Amber. How will Byslamia react to traveling? I wonder if she will decide to go back home.
The other women and I went to play pool. It was a pleasant night and I got to speak a little more with Vivant.
I ordered an outfit in the city today. I hope people understand that I am honoring Eric's memory as opposed to making a political statement against Random; it is in his colors. I also visited his tomb. It was a large memorial, definitely showing the regard in which he was held, though I'm not sure. Perhaps this is status quo for a deceased former King.
I also visited the Library. I might as well use my convalescence to learn as much as possible. I found the librarian, an ancient man with alert eyes, who was quite helpful in directing me towards what I wanted to learn. Namely, about various Shadows, such as Qadir, Animal husbandry, Veterinary sciences & biology. I carted away about twenty books. It made it interesting to climb the stairs.
I have been steadily reading. Byslamia was relieved when I told her not only that I want to explore what is outside of Amber, but that she could come with me if she wanted. I feel badly that she may have thought I would abandon her here or send her home (she doesn't want to go). She either kept this hidden well, or I have been too caught up in my own affairs to notice her unhappiness with what she thought was going to happen. I am resolving myself to pay more attention to her. We are planning, together, where our future lies.
The books are both informative and vague. They do not tell me where these Shadows lie, yet I learn much about their culture and society. The further away from Amber, the vaguer the knowledge of Shadows are. It's understandable. It's like all explorations.
Questions arise which I find disturbing. How many Mycenea's are there? Would there be one exact to mine but without Mother's obsession with Evander? Would it be the same? Would/Could it become my homeworld? Could it be a safe haven for myself or Byslamia? How real is it all? Are there other Cassandra's there or are they gone? Could I be those Cassandra's. Could they walk the Pattern? What about copies of Eric? Is this why Random does not want me to use his Trump to contact him? Would I get the next best copy or an exact copy? Could he walk the Pattern or not? Heavy questions which require intense thought.
Qadir is a desert world with one large sea. The entire populace of each country surrounds the sea. Ports lie everywhere. Qadir is the largest country. The religion is not so effusive that it dominates the people and their functions. They focus on personal destiny as paramount. If you do correctly, you will become more than you are. Overcoming adversity, whether personal faults or outside influences, is considered admirable. If one is successful, you have reached your destiny. Therefore, you have followed the path the world has set for you. You did not overcome the universe, you have simply followed the correct route. Therefore, humbleness increases in proportionate to your success.
Other Shadows are confusing to read of. Some speak of leaving their worlds and living in hollow metal houses in the ether, or on strange worlds, is beyond my ability to understand. Much of this is due to technology beyond anything I have even dreamed of much less the scientific knowledge to comprehend the possibility.
I did notice that no Shadows lie North of Amber. Why is that?
Owen removed the wrappings today. It came off much more quickly that she had said. Probably to make sure I rested for the required time.
Byslamia and I spoke to Dame Louisa about permanent rooms. She showed me Eric's rooms. They were much smaller than our present rooms. We might make a second doorway, so that we each can come and go as we wish without having to walk through the other's room. It does have a fireplace. Apparently this is one of the few rooms with such accommodations. I have to talk with Random about whether I may use the rooms. He may not let me since I would be living among the elder Amberites. I have an appointment in two days.
I will have to talk with Princess Florimel about a new door since she is the castle architect. If I can't have the room, either I will find others, or I will look for accommodations in the city. Wither way, she will be able to help me.
I also sent a note to speak to Fiona. These questions of Shadow require someone of intense philosophical and scientific knowledge. She certainly has those qualities.
I also sent a note to speak with Rinaldo, to make his acquaintance. We spoke briefly, he wasn't at all upset that I was quartered in those rooms. Dame Louisa said that he often stayed in those rooms, but they were also often occupied and he sought other accommodations. Still, I made his acquaintance and he invited me to a dance. It is at 20 bells and I accepted. I said I was new to Amber to warn him that I may not know the steps. He joked that he would just teach everyone Mycenean dances.
My outfit is ready but Byslamia's gift is not. I also got a few books on painting. Perhaps this will help when I seek out a means to make Trump.
Rinaldo wasn't kidding. We left after dinner for the dance and he did indeed lead the entire affair in learning Mycenean dances. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely, mostly because he seems so personable and energetic. Why they thanked me for having a good time I'm not sure. It did let the night to pass swiftly, perhaps so that I would not engage him in more personal conversation. I sense he may not wish to be probed into his life. Still, he suits the social sphere well. We returned by 10:30 p.m., much earlier than I expected. Byslamia thought it was almost insulting.
I spoke with Random today. He has granted me the use of Eric's rooms after I assured him that I was not superstitious about such matters. I also explained that I wish to honor Eric's memory and not make a political statement in Evander's behalf when I wear Eric's colors when I walk the Pattern. I assured him I have no plans for gaining the Throne and I think he believed me. Or else he hadn't really given in a serious thought and was humoring me.
In the matter of the Pattern, he wanted to give me a test beforehand. He asked me to take his hand, which I did. I felt a pressure on my head and shoulders. Random said to stand as long as I am able. The pressure increased, coming from above, in small increments. I don't really know how long I stood there, but it felt like the entire day. The pressure still increased until my muscles and legs began to give. I tried to put myself back into position but each time I slipped was harder to recover. Just before I collapsed, the pressure disappeared. I stood, shaking with perspiration and fatigue. Random nodded. He thinks I have a good chance of succeeding.
I sat and recovered. Random sat so close I knew he was about to tell me something of great significance. Indeed, he spent the next two hours instructing me on what to expect. Small points in the tricks of the Pattern, the tests to endure...all so that I will not stop even when I know I have failed. I hope I can keep a hold of all the information he told me, but I gave him my complete attention. I don't think he was playing with me, this time. He was earnest.
I will be walking within the next few days. Byslamia is worried sick. I gave her the Patternfall War. Corwin's account seems almost easy compared to what Random related. Perhaps she will be easier.
I plan to meditate and exercise to be prepared.
I also invited Sebastian. He will be doing this as well so I figured he'd want to see how it goes. I hope it goes well. I'm trying not to worry Byslamia, but I am nervous. If I fail this, I will die. I will make arrangements for her future, should that happen. The question is, what should I do?
I walked the Pattern this morning! It was much more difficult than I expected. I can see why Random had not taken my previous walk as an indicator of my ability. I also see why some of the Amberites have only walked once. It started out well enough; only a bit of resistance met my walk. It was not unlike walking through heavy mud. Then I hit the first Veil. Suddenly everything became much harder. I tried to focus on just moving forward, and I did so, but I had flashbacks of my life up to this point. It was like being in two places at once, not for all of it, but some of the time. When I did become aware of the Pattern, it was very difficult to move. I reached the second Veil and then it really got difficult. It was all I could do to keep focused. There were times I thought I would have to finish crawling the rest of the way. I don't believe I have ever struggled as hard. The last Veil waited for me, though I was barely aware of it. I felt its resistance and then I fell through. I stumbled to my knees and for a second I realized I had stopped moving. Once I realized that I wasn't dead, it sunk in that I had finished. I had walked the Pattern!
I have done what I came here for, now I had to decide where to go. Suddenly, I wanted to tie up at least one other difficulty; my mother. I trumped Julian to ask that he keep Byslamia occupied and removed from worry while I went to Mycenea. I also asked if he would allow me to contact him to bring me back to Amber. I knew I probably would not stay. He graciously agreed.
I thought to myself that I wished to go to my mother and I was there. In my childhood rooms. I had thought it would send me to my mother directly, but I guess it does not work that way. I took the opportunity to change and clean up. I was soaked through with the effort of walking the Pattern.
I went through the corridor and asked a servant where my mother was. I think I startled her with my sudden arrival. I think she wanted to tell me something, but she refrained. Mother was in the garden, speaking with some ambassadors or some such personages. I waited on the fringes for about half and hour. My sister, Cryseis, was the first to become aware of my presence. She broke away, heading to the house. When she was out of sight, she deterred into the hedge maze and we met, out of sight and hearing. We had never really gotten along, but it was good to see her. She was surprised to see me. She agreed to relay my mother my wish to speak with her. She was confused and puzzled about what had happened on my last visit, but I did not appease her curiosity. That was between mother and myself.
I waited in a salon on the ground floor. I'll admit I was unsure of my mother's state of mind and deliberately let the meeting be held where I had at least two other exits. One door and one window. She came a half hour later. I heard guards behind her and at the door. I believe she was equally unsure of my intentions.
We talked a bit. She was unwilling to recall my last visit and I did not want to push her too far. We spoke of light matters but quickly came to the subject of Evander. It turns out that she already knew about his arrest and incarceration. Apparently he had sent his ambassador a woman named Septima. She described her as blond and athletic. A vague description at best. Considering Ire's nature, she could be anyone or anything. My worry is that considering Evander's opinion of my mother, why would he now take the time to tell her of his fate? I'm not even going to try and figure that one out. I did not want to lie. I told her a little of my feeling of him and what he had done. It register in her, but she was very controlled. I wonder what she was thinking. I tried to make it clear that I would not stand between her and him. I will try to have her see what I see, to know what I know. But, in the end, she will make what decision she sees fit. And I will deal with that when the time comes.
I told her a bit about Amber, some amusing stories to lighten the mood. She smiled a little, but I know it was not much. I wonder if this will ever be healed. I asked her a boon. I asked if my guards could come home without fear. She agreed. I asked if Byslamia could also come home. She said, of course. She wrote a communiqué to Seglum assigning me command as if my words were hers. I can send them home if I choose. I also got a picture of her, hoping I could make a Trump of her.
I think she was growing weary with the strain of not reacting. I bade her good-bye and that I will return as soon as possible. I trumped Julian and he brought me through to Amber.
I went to see Julian to talk to him about this Septima. He seemed interested. She was probably Trumping Evander. Which means he could have left any time. Does that mean he wishes to go through with his sentence as he agreed or that he doesn't want to move further from the Pattern? I leave that to Random to figure out. I also got Random to agree for my mother to visit Evander. He seemed to readily agree to that.
I then went to talk to Captain Seglum informing him of my mother's decision and presenting him with the letter. The men had voted to stay with me! Imagine that! I explain the time difference between here and Mycenea. For the month we have stayed here, two have passed at home. They would have to reconsider.
Then I went to see Byslamia. She was happily ensconced in the garden speaking with Princess Florimel drinking iced tea. I went to join them. Flora talked about the Pattern with me. She explained Shadow walking...I concentrate on something I want and it will happen. Byslamia certainly thought it didn't sound so bad. We were both a little confused with the philosophy behind the idea of Shadows, but I think the answers are not required to do the walking.
I had an idea. Maybe I could find an item which is no where else in Shadow, tell no one about it and hide it in Mycenea. That way I could be sure to find my home, not another one. Perhaps the other Amberites have no need to make such distinction, but I still do.
We received an invitation to a Formal Royal Dinner that Random is giving in two nights at 7 pm. Perhaps this is the formal welcoming into the family. Even I am thinking of what to wear.
The rest of the day I spent down near the docks at the party Sebastian was holding in my honor for being adopted into the Family. They were well into their cups, and having a great deal of fun as a result. I stayed for a few hours and then went back to the castle. To sleep. It's been a full day.
Note that the Character has invested in the process of Pattern and the difficulty. You would have trouble with this from a "startup character" who just has 'Pattern' labeled on their character sheet. Note also the Pattern does not send Cass to a person, who could be anywhere, but instead to a Place she knows well. Note also the in-game explanations of shadow and shadow walking were more detailed than recorded here. But getting this information from character perspective can be Very Important. Nothing wrong with OOC conversations between Player and GM, but if you can 'educate' a PC through their investment in other Character Voices, I would do so.