A Conversation on the Fey in Amber
"What exactly do you want? Its not like we are boon companions" says the piano player barely looking up from the keys.
"Don't I know it." Says the orange mohawk-topped man with the wires sprouting from his head connected to a neck mounted datadeck. "Still, we owe each other mutual favors enough to tip the scale either way depending on our moods. Ok, what do I want? You are a Chaosian of Amber Blood. In good standing with Amber if I understand. I have been too long away from Amber and don't trust any of them worth a sailor's shore leave hump. But I need to know things. I need to know now."
Rattling through a rendition of 'Waltz for Debbie' the piano player nods, "We all need to know things now and then. What do you need? What will you pay?"
Growling the man in orange says, "I've never dealt much with the Fea. But now I have some monster Fey from Azcala stalking me and an Amber Fea working with me. I need to know more about both"
Finishing with an excited riff, the piano player asks, " You keep strange company, Gastola. First, the Azcala Fea. "
"Its a man/crocodile were-beast of some fucking kind that reminds me why I usually stick to high tech, no magic worlds, the freakish monster. Goes by Cipactli. 3 meters tall. Roughly croc skinned in human form. The Nu Yark dark fea fall into gushy spasms when he shows up on the scene. Works with the Yakuza and I think the Diamond Glow Corporation. I've seen him flashing DGC exec cards to pay for table service and there are often a few DGC Corpirates around him, slumming ya know.. We had a run in and now he is friggin' hunting me. Sending Ninjas after me. Screw the swamprat, i've got Desri and Nik working to frag the Yak bottomline and I plan to lay some crap around so he takes the blame. But I need to know what his off-world cred is, savvy?"
Moving into a Coltrane back line creation of his own the player nods, "Savvy. And the Amber side?"
He shrugs, "Well, this forest runner of the blood showed up out of nowhere, unasked, uninvited, watched us dust up some yakadoodles and slipped into our scheme. Desri and Nik love the guy but his showing up worries me. Why now? Why him? What made the Pattern show him what we were doing when he walked it? I don't like not knowing who I'm working with. And his being Fea, and Crocababy being fea...it seems too timely. Too big a frakin coincidence."
"Got a name for him?"
"Donovan.. a son of Julian. He's in the deck." Orange top says.
Pulling out his deck the piano player riffles the deck, pulling out Donovan's card. "Well butter my biscuits, look at that. Alright. You want a dossier on one Azcalan Monster and One Young Amberite. Whats it worth to you?"
"I've got a full ship of spice, vaults of tender. Keys to a dozen private collections of rare booze. Hundreds of stuffed accounts. I've a dozen penthouses.. and more.. name your price."
The player nods, "Ok. I'll take one of those penthouses. The rougher the neighborhoods the better. You know Bleys frequents some of them in his costume games. I know he talks with you and you sometimes suit up to run with him. I want a place in the district he frequents. Secondly, I'll take one of those stuffed accounts. I don't care which. Money is no object they say but for us Amberites it has a bit of a different meaning, doesn't it?. and...lastly...You make an appearance; all nice and friendly, at a family dinner in Amber. You don't need to swear fealty or submit an article of submission, just show up at a dinner of my choosing, as my guest. Clean up, dress up, say hello to the King. Drink a few glasses with your brothers and sisters. Have a couple plates of food while chatting with your nieces and nephews. No need to get prissy. Just be friendly. Have a private meeting with me, Arloxedra and the King. The pattern sent you a young Amberites, so it has a plan. Play nice for a few days. I'll get you what you want to know. Savvy?"
Scowling, nearly growling, but knowing the terms are nonnegotiable. "Savvy"
He stands and starts to leave when the Piano player calls to him, "Oh Kibar, how about something for the effort. Jazz ain't free."
Kibar pulls out a bill of some denomination and crumples it, tossing it into the Piano Players oversized brandy glass, filled with bills, coins, and business cards. "Here, you take requests I assume? Play them some chopsticks, maestro."
Vek chuckles as Kibar leaves and he starts playing the ancient instructional piece.
Sitting in the clearing in front of his Veksvale cabin, the Master of the land watches his people go about their days activities. A rustic town void of stone roads it still manages an active populace mostly of businesses supporting the deep woods families making their living within 30 miles west, north and south of his front porch. A number of dwellings are reserved for the elderly in this deep mountain community that takes care of it own. His rustic handsewn leathers would be as out of place in the piano lounge as the sharkskin suit he wears there would be in this slice of shadow.
Feeling the trump contact he had expected, he opens to it. "Come Through." Reaching a hand Kibar steps through and looks around his surroundings.
"Interesting place. Someone here we plan to kill?"
"No.. This is one of my homes. After searching down the information you wanted I decided to spend sometime someplace rustic. You have certainly kicked a hornet's nest, Gastola. So lets start with your Azcalan problem first since its the easiest."
Pouring a tankard of hard ale for himself and Kibar, Vek speaks on.
"The creature calling itself Cipactli is using the name of his race, The Cipactlix [], in a way that one might say "I am the Amberite" or "I am the Chaosian". Or "just call me Human". The Cipactilix are a lizardman race and that's what he is. Racially he is of a group that has a more crocodile hide pattern. I'm not sure for certain what his real name is but he clearly has not used it in Nu Yark. He is certainly Azcalan. Azcala has sent out a great many warriors, in groups, Cult groups mostly, to see what shadow holds. Azcala is sending out Cultist death squads up and down the Jeweled Road.
"Amber had trouble for a time with secretive Jaguar and Puma cult death squads killing gentry in the alleys of Amber. Once Amber hired CHAD, a Tosa/York mercenary guild, and gave them some police powers, they dug them out of the city with extreme enthusiasm. My source says no less then 5 different Cult groups are sending death squads into Nu Yark; Jaguar, Puma, Eagle, Serpent and Crocodile. My source thinks your Cipyx is a Bond Warrior as well as a Crocodile Cultist.. A Bond Warrior is a warrior other warriors have bound themselves to magically. He can call on their strength, intellects, skills, and more as a sort of focus. It makes him extremely strong and quick, and deadly, depending how many warriors are bound to him. Be careful of him. He can summon those bound to him so if you go to the knives with him he might summon 5 to 500 of his kind. As for his own hire, he is a freelance Solo. Works for the Yakuza as well as the GDC. He has a residence penthouse in the Stubaroa District. Wherever he goes, expect him to pick fights like he did with you. "
Finishing his drink, rising to refill his first then Kibar's he waves to a friend who greets him in passing. Handing the drink back he sits again.
Donovan and the Fey
"As for Donovan.. This is going to be complicated. The short of it is that he is the Son of Julian and a duchess of the fey named Cyrene. He is very young at 30 years in Amber, but just spent 10 years at Rasak, Benedict's training world. He recently walked the pattern for the first time. There is a lot of interest concerning Donovan for reasons I'll get to in a moment but you need to understand it in context.
"There is a lot of interest in the Fey in general these days, partly because of Donovan and his appearance in the King Random trump deck, but also because Julian and Caine have abandoned Amber for two Adask Fey who happen to be sisters of yours and theirs. The distaff royal line of Verna, a wife of Dworkin's, is Adask and deeply entwined with the Adask Fey. While there has been an Adask of the Verna Line living in the Dungeons for a century, Realmapator, he isn't Fey exactly, and recently his father Hagalta, a psycho Adask and a direct cousin of Oberon tricked his way into the Pattern room and walked it, then got in a war with Julian and Adagalask and fled into Azcala to the acclaim of the Azcalan Adask and the Azcalan Fey. With his sister Saturna, he is Realmapator's father as well as father to two daughters, one who recently became a Lady in Waiting to Vielle and another that is essentially a ward of the court. Hagalta has another son named Xorax, that is half Adask/ Half Orc, if you can believe it. There is also an issue with a Tosain Fey, a leprechaun named Vonnilia, who has come to live in the city with CHAD. So there are a number of Fey issues and they are on the mind of the King. And lets not forget one of the leaders of CHAD is a thrice crowned bard bonded to the Fox and has some murky connection to the royal fea in Tosa.
"And now some ancient history. I've spoken to Arloxedra, to a couple Ranger friends, and briefly to Dame Margot. So my sources are sound.
"Lets start at the dawn of time."
"The origins of fey are diverse for cosmological reasons. There are two specific distinctions for the origins of fey and as you deal with them its good to know. The vast majority of fey are originally a race of Chaos, beings with innumerable forms. These Chaosian fey were on Dworkin's mind apparently when he forged the pattern of Amber. The fey that were created when Amber were created are Non-Borns. So two origins, broadly, for Fey.
"Some Chaosian fey were caught up in the forces of creation when the pattern was forged. The Abyss had been a deep long gap in the universe but still a finite construct up till then. Its own origins are murky and I used to live next to it. But it was big enough that the forces of creation washed against it and made it infinite and the border between Chaos and Shadow. The fey on the Amber side of the Abyss became the races of fey spread across shadow. Wherever they are found in shadow their origins are generally that they got trapped on this side of the abyss when the Pattern was forged and they were transformed in many ways.'
"However, others were created when the Pattern was created. You come from a tech world, you probably know of Non-Borns as being born without the benefit of attendant mothers. Well, it appears that the Fey in Amber were originally cosmologically Non-borns; creatures brought into being by the creation of the pattern of Amber. So in many ways, they are the native race of the realm that became Amber. There are a couple other Non-Born species around Amber. The Wereriders of a number of shadows, including Wiermonkker, may have non-born origins. The Dragons of Ganosre are Non-born and one of them mothered Vox."
Even Arlo says there are no books of fey heraldry or history that he knows of, though there must be since they have history and heraldry. So what I know is a general overview. They have a court but their history has always been their own. Their queen Titania may be a non-born herself with a lifespan stretching back to the beginning. She has several children, supposedly, one of whom is Cyrene. Her court is comprised of Dukes and Duchess, Counts and Baron, whatever their form or duties may be. "
"At some time Oberon and his wife Cymnea, a Duke and Duchess of Thelusia, came to Amber with a small entourage to make a kingdom on the spot of the Pattern. There they had 4 children together; Osric, Finndo, Benedict, and Borlak. Those 6 began building Castle Amber carving it out of a single massive stone that hid the pattern of Amber that now resides in the dungeon. Dame Margot was a very young girl whose father was one of Oberon's retainers. So she remembers those days though getting her to talk about them is tricky and involves gin.
Oberon was not faithful, of course, and had two other children at this time. One was Orsolla, daughter of Oberon and Moiren, Queen of the Mer, a fey race. Moiren founded the Line of Moins that springs forth Moire, Queen of Rebma, a well as Lewella, Martin, and Rene. The other was Elfwine, and the rumor is that he is the son of Titania.
I don't know the details but Orsolla fled Amber rarely to be seen even as her mother built the Kingdom of Remba. Elfwine was aloof and nature-oriented, probably an arch-druid, and wandered away from Amber and this may be a source of sadness for Titania. He wandered around the Amber Shades and eventually ended up in Mandalay. According to Margot there was some kind of friendship between Titania and Cymnea. As such the fey and Elfwyne were around for a time as the castle was built but at some point there was a falling out between the two women and the Fey became reclusive and Elfwyne disappeared.
"When are you getting to Donovan?" Kibar growls.
"Soon, soon. Context, is everything. You know, when people think of Amber, and by people I mean, Golden Circle, Amber Sway, people on the trade routes and the Jeweled Road, they think of King Eric, King Random, and King Oberon. They think of the quarrelsome brood of princeliness and now their children. If they deal with Amber closely they may know the nobles, like the Feldanes, Mikhales, Charentons, Bayles, or even the Kesht. They think of the great city of Amber and its suburb North Riding, the cities of Ober, Yaj and Garn. Maybe Remba and the Rebman cities of Yal and Moins. If they know of Amber well they might remember the kingdoms of Tyalece and Acadia. maybe the Island of Cabra, and maybe the Far Isles. They see the rest of the continent as unbroken forests including the great Forest of Arden. "
"What they almost never think of is the Gentry; the commoners. But there are lots of towns, villages, hamlets, farmstead and family farms spread out around the coast of the continent stretching into that deep forest. In the interior is the woods where the Fey mingle with the people of Amber."
"Long ago creatures, monsters, warriors and armies came into Amber anywhere through the Forest of Arden. This angered the fey because of the loses they suffered. So Oberon and his sons forged trails out into shadow that became the Great Arden Road and now the Jeweled Road. Anyone shadowwalking east hits the shadowtugs and in they came down the road, not just in anyplace in Arden. Oberon also established the Rangers to defend Arden, Amber, and unofficially, the Fey."
"However, the Fey have no representatives in Court. No official status other then as individual natives of Amber. They have little legal status since they almost never avail themselves of the civil authorities. They manage a rough kind of personal justice in their realms. But from time to time individual fey do come to the cities and when they do they are treated as anyone else, more or less. There are a number of fey merchants in the cities; cobblers, weavers, carpenters, brewers. Mostly in Ober and Jal. But their number is few and they are not thought of as a "People" of Amber, as they should be. Being a Chaosian in Amber, I can understand their struggle."
"Julian was always their benefactor and his Rangers intermingle, and intermarry with the Fey frequently. Warrior fey often become rangers. They have mutual festivals and gatherings large and small that no one else knows about. Duncan, Julian's son, is the son of a Ranger who was Julian's paramour for a time, and its suspected he has some small amount of fey blood himself. But Julian's siblings apparently mostly forgot about the Fey and even Duncan."
"Now we come to Donovan. Son of Julian and a duchess of the court of Titania, Cyrene. My Ranger friends tell me that Donovan has been something of a mascot for the Rangers as he grew. He split his time fairly evenly between Rangers and the Fey, they claim. They said that the failure of Oberon to officially recognize the fey in Amber has been a long term horrible disservice they railed against but that Titania herself might be the reason for this. Few Ranger Fey attend Rasak because to do so would put them formally in the Army of Amber. There are rumors Random offered Cyrene an ambassadorship if Titania approved it but the offer was declined. Many think Donovan will eventually be the representative of the Fey to the Court of Amber. With Julian gone Duncan is for all practical purposes the new Warden of Arden and he is said to dote on his younger brother. "
"Before Julian left he saw to it that Donovan attended Rasak. So whatever you may think of him remember that he did 10 years in Benedict's personal torture playground. He may seem well.. fey... but you don't get through Rasak without being tough."
"After Rasak he met with the King and was assigned an Elite named Farooq who barely escaped court martial for engaging in a deadly fight with Lord Zachary, Flora's son. He escaped that because Prince Gerard favors him and Zachary started it."
"After that he walked the pattern. His mother was in attendance and that makes her the highest ranking fey to enter the castle in a thousand years. So that's a court issue."
Vek pulls out a deck of cards and hands them to Kibar. He fumbles them about a bit the questions them. "What about them? They aren't magic."
Vek nods, "No. Thats are a set of King Random's Trumps I picked up in a North Riding tourist gift shop. Thousands of those are sold. Nearly every home in Amber and far and wide beyond has a deck somewhere. They are used for the same reasons cards are used for everywhere, but they are also used to keep track of the family by friends and foes as well as fans. These decks are not magic yet when new cards are added to our King random's deck, these decks gain new cards too. If you look you will see you are in there, I am in there, and Donovan is in there. When a new card arrives something else happens; an Alcove appears in the Amber Cult Halls at the Fane of Zilla. I'm just back from there. Young Donovan has a new alcove and..wait for it... a large following. Chaosian and Black Zone Fey have an Amberite they can now adore and they are making the most of it. Soon the alcove will be a nave. It will be interesting to see how they manage things."
Finishing his beer he smiles. " Done and done. Penthouse, bank account, and a date for dinner. I'll be in touch"
Kibar frowns, stands, starts to walk off then stops.
"You said everyone in the deck has an Alcove in this church?"
Veks says, "Yes. I've lit a candle in yours.. for luck you know."
Kibar frowns, "One more thing I guess." Turning, he walks off into shadow.