A conversation on Squiggles with Random and Dworkin
5269-A conversation on Squiggles by Dworkin
Random sipped his rum wishing, not for the first time, that people would stop talking to him.
The small room was paneled in deep woods and held a dozen chairs around a oddly shaped table, cut from a slice of a gigantic tree. Many of the chairs were filled. Besides the king was Princess Fiona, Princes Bleys, Benedict, Caine and Delwin, Lords Vance & Arloxedra, and Dean Aries Colbriese. Shannon Feldane's narcissism did not allow him to see that he was out of his depth in such company.
Random sat on the edge of the table. Two decks of cards sat on the table, spread out roughly, his hand mindlessly pushing them around.
“Alright, Dworkin, explain this to me as if I was a five year old. What is the problem with this particular squiggle?”
Dworkin, squatted next to the wall, looking over two glowing parchments for reference.
“A squiggle, and I hate that name but its been used for millennia, is a short marking created by the Jewel of Judgment. Now there are many of them, in a wide variety of formats. When Amber was young, Oberon used the Jewel quite often. It was a powerful tool. In those days, Osric, Finndo, Benedict and I often created items using the jewel before we understood how completely connected the Eye of the Serpent was to the Pattern of Amber. We wrought too well”
Walking to the bar he filled a tankard with red wine and sipped a moment in contemplation.
“Some of the squiggles are simple things. Corwin's Grayswandir, Bleys' Werewindle, Gerard's Ashendale, Borlak's Quisal,the Hammer of Thunder, and a couple dozen weapons have such markings. As do the Crowns of Amber, Rebma, Thulusia, Diega, and Calrobon. The Brolic Ducal Coronet. Braldig's Ring ”
Dworkin pauses to chuckle then continues. “Margot's coronet. The Warbanner of Amber. The Lance of the Elites. The Barbecue at Oberon's Fire in Calrobon. These and constructs like them were created using the Jewel on an existing work. They cast their own shadows. As do the original family trump decks I created for Oberon and the King Random Decks I created for you.”
“As you know, the Pattern of Amber was created by the Jewel, as was, recently, the Mark of Mandalay and the Pattern of Avalon. These were full works; each are complete manifestations of an image of reality existing in the Jewel of Judgment.. Smaller inscriptions created such systems as Azcala, Regor, Trasidy, Alamond, Pócaí, and Atlantis. These limited shadow systems, these Squiggles, rank in power near each other but far from Amber or Avalon or Mandalay. You understand so far. My most benevolent liege?”
Random nods, wishing for a rising thermal and a free day. “This is the 5 year old version?”
“No, but the 5 year old version comes later. As I was saying; The lesser systems, while finished works, represent partial elements of full works existing in the Jewel. Each is potent, has its own shadows, its sigils, its sorcery, its creative energy, its inscriptions and its potent forces.” Sighing deeply, “Now consider two things. Broken Patterns and the Sigil Mal at Reiss. One can learn sorcery and gain powers using each of these but neither is a correct representation of an existing image in the Jewel of Judgment.”
Random nods, “Are we getting to Bursain?”
“Yes.. now, these blades, hammers, coronets, inscriptions, are finished works. But Bursain is not.I repeat, Bursain is NOT a finished work. When Finndo assumed the throne of Amber he did it in an emergency and to defend Amber. But in the end, after a hundred year reign, he had to flee an angry Oberon who wished to see him dead. Now Osric and Benedict, likely Cymnea and Margot and a few others around at the time would almost certainly agree that Oberon overreacted. But be that as it may Finndo fled, with the Jewel, before the avenging wrath of Oberon, King of Amber.”
“Now Finndo was no slouch in the magic game. At the time he was almost as mighty as Oberon was, and considering my limitations, as great as I was. He was a good king. Sure, he was grim, and pragmatically evil, and Finndo the King cast shadows that made many realms experience dark cruel ages. He was a bad choice as king but at the time the only Choice. Osric had ambitions. Benedict had, has, the mark of Doom on him. So at the time it made sense. But Oberon did not see it that way.“
“When Finndo fled he was in fear of his life and he did what he needed to do. He inscribed a mark, much like Corwin did, in the face of impending destruction. But unlike Corwin, he stumbled. He completed enough of the inscription to create the realm, take a seat as its ruler, and cast up walls around himself to keep out others. Azcala, Regor, and Alamond all have such barriers. He remained in the new realm, created kingdoms, effects, sorceries, and all such things that come with a Limited shadow system. But the manner of its creation meant there were loose ends that could not be finished later. Still, only the most esoteric sorcerers could hope to tell the difference. He engraved the Sigil of Bursain on a chunk of the Rock Kolvir, blasting it loose and tossing it into shadow. and the first shadow of the Inscription arrived on his personal blade, the Rock Guard, a Jewel Inscribed item in its own right.”
“Are you ready for the 5 year old version now?”
Nodding random said, “For the Love of the Unicorn, yes please”
“The limited systems of Azcala, Regor, and Alamond are nearly full patterns. Several of the Broken patterns, and the primal Mal at Riess are imperfect images of existing versions of Patterns withing the Jewel of Judgment. The Squiggle of Bursain is a mighty, but incomplete and unfinished creation. Its ruler was recently slain. Whoever finds the Rock Guard blade becomes the ruler of Bursain. However, if the Rock Guard is driven into a finished inscription such as Azcala, Regor or Alamond, it will be incorporated into those inscriptions. Those three realms are close enough that the length of the Bursain squiggle might complete their inscriptions to create a full existing Pattern as seen in the Jewel of Judgment. Driven into a Broken Pattern, it might elevate it to a full shadow of its pattern, as walking a broken pattern with the Jewel itself has done. Driven into the Primal Mal at Reiss might elevate all Mal at Reiss Sigils to a dramatically higher powerful level.“
Benedict asks, 'So the partisans of Azcala, Regor and Alamond want the blade to create full pattern systems to rival Amber. Owners of Broken patterns want to become owners of a place that a shadow of the full pattern is. And Mal at Riess sorcerers might be able to go toe to toe with pattern sorcerers. Do I have that right?”
Aries Cobresie chuckles “A dozen or so Golden Circle Kingdoms have broken patterns that I know of. A functioning shadow of the Pattern would make them the equal, in esoteric terms, of Thelusia, Diaga, and Remba.”
Arlo mumbles, but is heard like a howl in the dark , “I hold a Mal at Reiss. There are a thousand holders of the Sigil that would die trying to drive the blade into the Primal Sigil in the Cogswell Estates. Cogswell included.” Placing his head down on the table.
Dworkin nods, “And two more possibilities; First, being unfinished, a person of sufficient talent, and wielding the Jewel of Judgment, could assay the Sigil of Bursain and try to complete it, creating his own pattern. The most difficult part of creating a pattern, as Corwin, Adrian and I can tell you, is the first few steps. After that its terribly difficult but the initial destruction is past. The wielder of the Rock Guard, and holding the jewel of Judgment, could complete a new pattern, raising Bursain to a Full Pattern.”
Bleys refills his glass again and asks, "And the other possibility?"
Dworkin nods, "There are many Shades of Amber. In those shades there are many imperfect visions of the pattern and shades of the Pattern. Im not certain, but it may be possible to use the Rock Guard to elevate one of those. Random, you have brought Tolknor and Alexandir Kos Korag to Amber. You are using CHAD troops and Yorkian troops on the Jeweled Road to goad Azcala. If Tolknor got the Rock Guard, and slammed it into his pattern of York, I think there is a strong chance it would reforge York to make it an equal to at least Avalon, if not Amber itself. You like Tolknor. You have spoken of both as possible Golden Circle kings. They are both terribly dangerous creatures, as dangerous as any Lord of Chaos. Alexandir would find some way to merge Bursain to Tosa. Tolknor would gladly raise York to a full pattern. "
Random turns to him, "Yes Marshal of Amber?"
Ben sips his wine. "Well, Liege, perhaps we could suggest to Alexandir that if he conquered Azcala and found the Rock Guard...."
Bleys mumbles and runs his hand through his hair as he refills his drink, "Fucking rabid elephants in the streets....I tell you...Fuckin rabid elephants rushing the Gates of Dawn and the Hero's Way. "
Dworkin finishes, ignoring Benedict and Bleys, “The best case scenario, Random, is that whoever claims the Rock Guard declares themselves King of Bursain. Then the inscription is secure till they are slain. Make them a Golden Circle King or a Grand Duke of Amber and they should survive a few millennia. Problem solved.”
Random nods, realizing everything that had gone before was a warm up for this challenge to his kingship, gulps his drink.
“So we need the Rock Guard. Vance, this was all part of your vision at the Oracle of Night. How far did you see?”
Vance nods to his king, "I saw a bloody mess, and at the time I didn't know all the people I saw. But I have seen the all key players now. Arloxedra and I, Yalla Ganth, Zachary, Truman, Carissa and Vander appeared as green seekers of the Rock Guard. Borlak, Hirokai, Maylon, Derek, Pierre, & Jurt appeared as blue seekers. A piano playing demon I am sure is Vek. And Bleys, here, appeared as a jackonapse in the vision.”
“Very well. We have an artifact of ridiculous power lose and no one knows where it is. Bleys, if you are the Joker in the Bursain Deck, by the Unicorn, you are my Joker or I'll stick you in your tomb and keep you there till Kolvir is sand on the beach. Find that blade. I want it. More importantly, I want a say in what happens to it. Beyond that, the rest of you keep your ears open for information. With any luck we will survive this without the heartrippers of Azcala becoming a superpower.”
As they disperse, leaving empty glasses behind, Dworkin waits.
Random asks, “Is there anything you want to add?”
Nodding, Dworkin says, “Take care in particular with Vander, Carissa and Arloxedra. They have been in my dreams. And Vance, he has an idea about empowering Vulsar that makes me a little nervous."
Random scowls, “Lovely, now they will be in my nightmares,”