Celebration of King Random's 70th

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17: Court of Amber in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Reign of King Random the First.[edit]

The gathering in the great hall of Amber was gaining size and tension. The colors of House and Realm mixed with representatives for Golden Circle Realms, Sway Realms and great realms across shadow. Though conversations were everywhere among the attendants, the massive hall did not echo.

Notables and nobles glancing around the great hall noticed various gatherings, and often who they spoke with and stood near. The folding benches were slowly being filled.

In a section near the front, in bright reds and white were the Nobles from out in Diega, looking particularly nervous. The cluster in Green and Gold is the great Thulusians. Brown and Blue in the shadowy side of the hall are the Dreaneans, including their King, Mark of Brolic.

Near the side walls with the great windows looking over the sea are the dark blue, light blue, and purples of the representatives of Rebma. Moire holds sway there though Lewella is who all look to for other interests. Rene and Honsol Moir Tral stand beside them speaking to Honsol's daughter Nala as she attends their first royal dinner.

In the center, oblivious, are the Begmans and the Kashfans, politely snarling at each other in diplomatic smiles. Near them in a cacophony of colors is the embassy of Chaos, Lord Despil chief amongst them. He calmly speaks with an envoy of Mandalay, though Mandalay does not maintain an embassy of its own.

Milling among the groups, though not making a center of themselves are touches of the blue and yellow of the Tosians and members of CHAD. Duke Lop speaks with the envoy of Chaos. Duke Fortunadus jokes with nobles of Amber as Dame Wenda of the Worldly clutches with a couple of the Urien girls.

Lord Allen, the king's herald enters near the throne and stands quietly beside it. The crowds know. They begin to take their seats, silence following them like fog.

From the back the great doors open.

Lord Allen announces, “All attend the Court of the King, Random of Amber, and his Queen, Vaile of Amber. “ The audience rises as the King enters with his wife on his arm. Behind him are Benedict and Gerard, then Florimel and Fiona. They walk behind him at pace, and move to take places behind the throne.

As they approach a small group of attendants take places behind the throne to attend the monarchs. With them are Melvin, the King’s scribe, Lord Tyler Smails, the King’s Cupbearer and keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord Harald Chantris, Lady Carmel Urien, the Queen’s companion, and the chief lady in waiting, Dame Lucia Feldane.

Random takes the dais, leading his lady, resplendent in sea green and pearls, to her throne, a small glowing red stone hanging from a live chain.

Turning to face the crowd he speaks, His russet doublet topped by the Jewel of Judgment on its heavy chain.

“May you live in Amber, forever."

The crowd echoes, with the usual suspects remaining quiet.

“This celebration is for the 70th year of my reign. I assume all bets are paid off on that account by now.” A small chuckle rumbles. “The Patternfall War was a catalyst of great change. Those of you who have heard this speech before are rolling your eyes. Yes, we are at peace with the major realms, but we must remain vigilant. Shadow is vast and there are realms of vast danger that we know nothing of that hold us in disdain and drink toasts to our deaths. So we remain Vigilant. I won’t talk long. I have a family dinner tonight and I assume some of you have parties to go to as well. First we do have business to conduct”

Sitting, he nods to Allen to begin.

Allen’s soothing voice begins and conducts business of the court; Recognitions of promotions in the military, Recognition of advancement of the arts, Ladies in waiting and King’s Life Guardsman rotating in and out. The usual things for a court of such prominence, minutiae, but all things that must be done publicly and well. For some a minor award from the King of Amber might be the highlight of their careers, something they speak of once they return to the shadows of their origins.

The king bestows the sccolade of knighthood on several worthies then watches adn Prince Benedict knights a few as well.

Random recognizes embassies from various realms throughout Shadow, mainly of important ones, lastly ones from Golden Circle Kingdoms. In time the court ends, and the crowd disperses. The royals retreat into family quarters.

Dworkin, sitting in his high seat, tucked up in the rafters chuckles briefly as an eagle flies by an open window, then flies fast into the west and the setting sun.

18: Dinner in the Green Room.[edit]

The green room was filling with golden light from candles and glow globes for the occasion of a family dinner the evening of the 70th year of King Random's riegn.

The room had been decorated in russet and gold, Random's colors. The sideboard was filled to over flowing with finger foods, pickled delights and sweet treats. The flower arrangements shaded the treats beneath. Servants replenished the trays and trade out ones that have lingered too long. The family rarely meets in such numbers but as each decade passes, and more of the Blood of Amber are Recognized, the table get longer, and the gathering moves from room to room

Benedict and Flora speak over a nibble tray. Gerard and a fine looking woman with dark skin speak off to one side.

Julian, in white linen with the green embroidered unicorn over his breast speaks to Shannon Feldane, who glances about for some direction of escape.

The family members and close friends of the court wander about speaking to each other, glancing over those that they do not know well or know too well. Some things stand out.

Delwin ignores Vance, though Vance, in his gray and green Star Fleet Uniform with the newly confirmed rank of Admiral, ought to draw some comment from his distant father. Vance himself is seen to be chatting with one of the Recognized, Fisk, a man with a bright blue beard denoting his origin in Dreana, though the rumors are that he has no love for the Brolics.

Llewella looks uncomfortable above the waters, though her attire is gorgeous as she is in sea greens and blue.

Rumor circles amongst the room that the woman with Gerard is his granddaughter, named Osa, raised in the shadows of Rebma. Her stylish pose hints at depths in this Recognized of the waters.

Waiters refill drinks as they wander about.

A stir occurs when the door opens and Corwin enters. With him is a pair of fine looking men, though they both look either nervous or defiant. One is Warrick, Corwin’s heir in Avalon. The other must be Barret, who is to be Recognized this evening...

The new Ambassador from Calrabon, Reach of Calro-Eskon leans against the wall, glancing about with confidence, but confidence not quite earned yet.

In the shadows of the room, though not unseen, Caine watches the room carefully with his to be Recognized son Samuel beside him. The man has a slight sense of the black and white, though he was certainly in color.

Bleys and his son Nicholas chat calmly over drinks near a window. Nicholas is a rare sight in Amber, though his own Recognition is now 10 years old itself.

The door at the back opens and Random and Vaile enter unannounced. This is not a formal affair despite its size.

He walks among the diners, speaking softly, sharing a joke here and there, casually under the scrutiny of all eyes as he shakes no hands except those to be Recognized this evening. This has become the custom. Till he takes his first drink, no hand touches his except his wife, and those he recognizes as family. It’s a strange custom but in a family so guarded, it’s a friendly one.

Each person is greeted briefly, as if in passing, a few words exchanged. He lightly kisses the hand of Osa, Gerard standing by her side.

Moving on he stops by Llewella. Rebma is well represented tonight by Llewella and Osa who hail from the realm of the sea. Rene is somewhere in the gathering as well though he shies from speaking to the king this evening. Martin is already seated and looks distinctly unhappy to have made the scene.

A few steps further he stops with Corwin, laughing as he shakes hands with Barret as if they share some secret joke between them.

Moving on he stops by Vance and Fisk, shaking his hand and grasping his elbow. Fisk is heard claiming not to know the whereabouts of his father.

Random turns to Vance and hands him a bundle Vaile had been holding. Vance unwraps the gift and sees that it is a fire arm, a .75 Caliber recoilless automatic. Eyes widen as the meaning of this gesture escapes few of the elders. Having been presented the weapon means Vance is now included in the extremely small circle of those allowed to know the secret of gunpowder in Amber. Benedict, Gerard, Caine, Julian, and Dalt all look less then pleased.

He makes a short detour, for some reason, and breaks with tradition to greet the Ambassador from Calrabon, Senator Reach. They speak awkwardly before the king moves on. The handshake must have been a formality.

Passing by Caine, the king shakes the hand of his son Samuel before moving on to the table.

He stands at the head of the table as the gathering moves to the seats assigned to them. Reaching to pick up his crystal glass, the shimmering red drink glows slightly in the light of the Jewel of Judgment.

Coming in late, and unexpected is Gerard’s son Truman, arrives to a flurry of snickers. He takes his seat quickly, first leaning a guitar against the wall.

All in attendance now, Random raises his glass high, “May you live in Amber, Forever”

The assembly echoes the toast and drink. Seating, the servers enter and the meal begins…

Dinner in the Green Room 2[edit]

Dinner in the Green Room

Dinner progresses and conversation rises and falls as the small quartet play softly in the corner. Waiters mingle and refill beverages. The fine red Bayles flows as does the amber ales Gerard fancies and slightly luminous blue drink Vance supplies. Good food and good drink loosens tongues.

Random stands, a snar snake kabob in his hand. “So we have a few bits of business to tend to tonight. First off its time to do some cleaning around the castle. The Elites tell me that the dungeons have some kind of infestation of rats or hamsters or bugbears or such and they would like some help clearing them out. Frankly I’m not concerned since the creatures seem to come in from the ocean and the entrances change frequently. But once they start breeding in the dark places they migrate up top. Arlo walked the pattern last week and said he had to kill two rats of unusual size before getting the door open. Sergeant Robert Duncan is in charge of the lower levels these days. Make your arrangements though him. So, pack a lunch, have a picnic, make a day of it. “ Benedict shakes his head slightly in irritation.

“Secondly, Room assignments for the Recognized will go through Tyler this week since Dame Margot is traveling. Or you can always ask Flora, right, sis?” Flora smiles a smile any kid brother should be used to seeing. “Try not to use the decorator that redid the Dreanan suites. They were... not helpful” Bleys snickers, seeing the king in his cups.

Picking up a handful of grapes as he saunters about the room, he continues, “ Third, There have been some killings in the city. Pretty brutal stuff even for here. Since we cast shadows I disapprove of them. If you know anything about them, see Caine or Samuel. Yes... Samuel has been given the office of Chief of Detectives. He will be heading up the investigation. I know he would have preferred I not mention it but if anyone in this room is involved I want you to have time to flee into shadow and never return. “ Caine scowls but knows a lost cause when he hears it.

“Fourth and by far the least important; As most of you know Vance has bored us with his baseball stories for years and has managed to convince enough people to start a league. Teams will start in Amber, Garn, Ober, and Diega. Another team is comprised of Elites, mostly ones who spent time at Neal’s or Lou’s. Another couple are from Vulsar Base. Usually I wouldn’t have mentioned this but since only Vance, Ben, Gerard and I have guns in this room, I thought it prudent. “

Dark looks aim toward the monarch and many a worn dark thought crosses jaded old minds.

“Hey! I have one too!” shouts Vaile from her seat. This gathers several shocked glances and a few laughs. Just what Amber needs; a blind woman shooting high caliber fire arms.

“Lastly.. There is a pair of realms in shadow. Regor and Azcala. If you run across anyone from these realms let me know immediately. Tell Ben, Gerard, Fiona, Vance, Caine or Dalt if you can’t reach me and tell them after you speak to me. Both have old grudges and both are not above a little mayhem.”

Random wanders back to his seat and settles down. Picking up a fetry wing, he nibbles, listening to Vaile. Conversations slowly resume their regular pace. Truman and Vance move over toward the quartet, Truman reclaiming his guitar, as Vance takes a place behind the waiting hammer dulcimer.

Others stand as dinner is done and the evening progresses. Family may argue, but once a decade, they also have dinner.

(A list of who is in attendance at the dinner is available at the RPGnet site, in case you want to seek someone out ) Dinner in the Green Room

A quick note[edit]

July 4 (From Dave)

In a quiet moment at the dinner, Osa finds herself toying with her whiskey and her cocktail napkin. After a moment's thought, she tosses back the whiskey and asks a servant for a pen. She jots a quick note on the napkin to Samuel asking him if he'd like any assistance investigating the murders, sends it and a fresh drink to wherever he is.

She hasn't quite found her place, not yet, and it can't hurt to curry favor with many of her kin.

a Little Dinner Music[edit]

July 9

Random wanders back to his seat and settles down. Picking up a fetry wing, he nibbles, listening to Vaile. Conversations slowly resume their regular pace. Truman and Vance move over toward the quartet, Truman reclaiming his guitar, as Vance takes a place behind the waiting hammer dulcimer.

Others stand as dinner is done and the evening progresses. Family may argue, but once a decade, they also have dinner.

Truman sighs as he picks his guitar. He spins it and pattern tracery can be seen briefly flashing along its neck and soundboard as it transforms from an acoustic to an electric. He glances over at Vance and the other musicians.

'Sleepwalk in D boys'.

As the strains of the classic guitar piece, most famously covered by the shadow earth's Les Paul, begin to resonate around the hall Truman can be seen to relax and turn contemplative. Glancing occasionally around the room, mostly towards the Recognized. As he launches into an extended bridge section playing off a counterpoint to Vance's percussion, his gaze lands on Flora his favorite aunt who he had fancied himself a protege to a lifetime ago. Lastly his gaze shifts to His Father Gerard and Osa. You can see a wierd sort of grimly determined smile come to his face.

As the extended number ends Truman is already reaching into an inner pocket with his right hand and he continues to vibrato the strings with his left. Extracting a pack of cigarettes he offers one to Vance and as he lights up says 'Thanks for the jam Cousin.' I guess I have some new relatives to go meet. Winking to Vance as he spins his beloved Mabel again it transforms into a baseball bat. The pattern again briefly flickering along it.

Dinner Conversation with Jurt and Vance[edit]

July 3

Jurt chuckles as he watches the diners after the family dinner. There is an advantage to being the black sheep in a bright green family. Few share confidences with him, but they all try to at least be polite.

Benedict avoids him as usual. Just as well he thinks, Ben reminds him far too much of the ancient wargods and blood letters in the Courts. Despil is on his rounds and Benedict avoids him too. Pity.

He watches As Random speaks to Levcoganus and to Osa, newly recognized. He perks an eye. A son of Llewella and a grand daughter of Gerard.. Granddaughter? Who is her mother? Father? Another Amberite to be recognized but why not tonight? And a sailor of the surface seas for Rebma.. I bet Gerard is salivating over the chance to slide someone else into command roles in the fleet.

He eyes Caine and his son Samuel. Jurt knows better then to speak to Caine. Perhaps his son will be less knife-handy.

Vance walks near him, nodding in acknowledgement. He leans against the rail beside Jurt.

"Interesting turnout, eh, Whip?"

"Yes. As usual. Who would guess such affairs would attract such diverse people."

Vance snickers, "That all you have to say?"

Jurt turns, "I thought the king's announcement that he wants us to go kill rats in the dungeon was interesting. I'll pack a basket, you bring the romulan ale, we'll make a day of it." He snickers derisively.

Vance nods, "I've got time tomorrow. Say, you, me, Fisk, Martin. I'll bring some of my guys, you bring some of yours. Perhaps we can ask the newly recognized and see if they find hunting vermin beneath them."

Jurt turns his head wide eyed.."Are you daft? Crawl around in the miserable tunnels like some crawler? I was joking, Admiral."

Vance faces Jurt, "I'm not joking. Though Romulan ale might be a bit much for dungeon crawling.. I know its cliche but Random rarely encourages us to seek out the prison downstairs... However, he did force me to sit at the Oracle of Night. So you and I are going to go kill rats or bugbears or whatever we find down there, Jurt. Depend upon it. Tomorrow, 10am, We'll meet in the Armory. Don't make me come find you"

Walking away, Jurt scowls behind him.

"Well shit. This can't be good."

A Servant of Amber[edit]

The servant sat in the Waiter’ Cubby reserved for his type, to relax till the next tray was sent out. It was a one of the perks for excellence that Dame Margot instilled in the culture of the servants of Amber, over their generations. She called it the Rule of Thirds. A server worked the room for two thirds of an hour then rested for a third.

This gave them time to refresh, eat, and if need be, relieve themselves. The Cubbys always had hand washing stations.

It was also part of the rule that a tray of hors d'oeuvres sent out to mingle was brought back when a third of them were left. Those were available on the server’s buffet, as were third filled trays of fetry, trout, buff, and the other dishes the royals had first crack at. One might think this demeaning but the food was always so incredible that the positions for serving staff at royal banquets and dinners were fought over brutally and were awarded as perks. Many young men and women, who had served caviar and stuffed mushrooms at family dinners, had risen to prominence in Amber. Most restaurant owners in the city started with a hand under a silver tray. The years were long, and ambition comes in many forms.

Glasses always seemed to come back empty.

So he sat, enjoying his restive third, nibbling a caviar and blueberry tart, wondering at the skill of the bakers as he looked through the mirrors to watch his betters mingle.

Benedict was his usual quiet self, calm, but clearly only there because of the King’s command. Flora seemed to be favoring him again tonight. This was often the case at these things since it gave her a chance to talk ceaselessly.

Truman was making the rounds, first with Vance on stage, playing wonderful music from the earth worlds the Amberites seem to like so much. Perhaps one day they will bring one into the Golden Circle. He moved to speak with Corwin and his sons before moving on to speak with Fisk and Jurt.

The servant had been out to Thin Whip’s Place a few times.

Dalt and Rinnaldo seemed to be holding court near the Green Room’s west facing window alcove. Frequent companions in adventure, the pair always seemed a bit ill at ease in Amber, even after all these years. Coral, Rinnaldo’s ex-wife and ex-Queen, was polite but managed to spend little time with the pair. Oberon’s Consanguinity Laws were still in force though they were broken on more than a few occasions. Zachary spent a fair amount of time with the pair. Rumors were that he was getting exotic animals from Kashfra to fill his circus in Shadow.

Galvar, the Kings bodyguard, was ever a silent step behind his majesty. Random made a game of shaking him and sometimes let the servants help. He remembered the time Random shape-shifted him, a staff servent, into a facsimile of his royal self and slipped away, letting Galvar follow him around the castle for hours. The reward for that service was enough to buy a small apartment overlooking the Bakers quarter. His wife, son and daughter loved the new place, with its smells of fresh bread and the walking carts of home canned jams and jellies, dried fruits and salted nuts. His dear wife and till recently troublesome daughter would bring baskets of fruits home and can them for resale. The new place had the room for it, for the most part, it was tight, but it always smelled wonderful.

Gerard, a friendly man at most times, seemed like a beaming giant tonight. The servants were giggling behind the observation mirrors at the great man’s wide smile, his great hand often on the granddaughter he had apparently just met. Llewella and her son Levcomagnus were spending a lot of the evening with Gerard and Osa, as was not surprising. They all hailed serve the seas as much as Amber. The serving girls said there was something a bit different about Gerard tonight, something a bit wistful, but he couldn’t see it beyond the joy on the man’s face.

Looking up at Dworkin from his high catbird seat the servant is startled to make eye contact with the paterfamilias of Bariman, and to receive a wink from him.

Julian was his dour self as usual, speaking to nearly everyone, urging them to help him in Arden or speaking of the wonders of the Unicorn. His brothers and sisters had started moving away as he approached of late, letting the less observant deal with his dripping sincerity. During Oberon’s time such behavior would have made his kin think he was up to something.

The Servant looked curiously at the new Ambassador to Amber from Calrabon. Odd, his presence, because these dinners were almost always exclusively family members, save a few guards and a few of the Queen’s ladies.

Caine and his two sons seem to speak to everyone yet still seem to always be in the shade of some architecture. The Servant has always been ill at ease around Lark, as are most of the staff, but he has not served Samuel, one of the Recognized yet.

As usual, Arloxedra is near the east door, waiting for the first moment that politeness would allow him to leave dinner and return to the Library. Also as usual, Ixia, a serving girl from House Hale, is slipping morsels from the server’s buffet into the wicker basket everyone in the kitchen calls Arlo’s Larderbox. Once he leaves, Ixia will take it away to him. She will be off duty of course, he thinks with a sly snicker.

Over all the festivities the King and his blind Queen hover and flit like prima ballerinas and circus roustabouts. A soft word here, a stern look there, and all feel welcomed and that the king is thinking of them.

The Servant is startled when suddenly the King is beside him, sitting in the Cubby.

“My Liege!" He says as he starts to stand, only to have Random’s hand press his shoulder down.

“Sit, my friend. Get your rest.” Reaching onto his tray to take the last tart. Looking out the mirror he says, “You have the best seat in the house, don’t you? I’m going to go dismiss these folks. Vaile and I will come through here. I’ll shift you again, and Viale knows to let you take her back to quarters. Then you go take a long walk. Maybe up to Tirna-nagoth or out to the tombs. Galvar will follow of course. I have plans he can’t be part of tonight and I need about seven hours of Amber time on my own. Perhaps longer. At some point Galvar will figure it out, but not for a long time. Give me as much time as you can. Alright?”

Nodding, “Of course, your majesty, my pleasure”

The king nods and walks back into the room.

Idly, the Servant wonders if the owner of the building where his family’s apartment is would be willing to sell him the vacant apartment either beside his or above his. The one beside his would mean he could add a balcony. The one above would mean owning a piece of the rooftop for his wife to plant the herb garden she always speaks about. A long walk in the king’s service would mean a fat pouch of coins in the morning.

Smiling, he sees the king coming. To the east, an Eagle's cry is heard in the night.