To whatever degree such pleases you I render my featly to king and crown.
If I may be of service do call.
Lady Elayne of Amber.
You asked your kin for an Article of Submission. When my mother told me about it she rolled her eyes. I spoke to Arloxedra and he was quite put out. I don't see the problem. I see it as a formality. You know I am of little danger to the realm.
I could just as easily say what Arlo said, "I submit" and let it go at that. To that end, if it suffice, I write the above. Below is more, some thoughts about my life for whomsoever should read this.
We little know each other. Arlo told me to talk about myself since you, the King, would not be the only person reading these. So I write, this second month of 5202 in Amber that I be in your good graces.
My mother bore me before Patternfall on Earth during her time observing Prince Corwin. I'm pretty sure it was not a planned event. I was born in Westchester County, New York in 1940 of that world. The usual schools for the time and place followed. Mother told me education would occur at home; the schools were for socialization.
My mother was a professional golfer, my father had been a whisper in the dark for her, someone passing through she said. She said I might meet him someday and at the time I didn't give it a second thought. Now it concerns me and Mother will not say a goddamned thing about him. Mothers......
By the time I was thirteen my mother had arranged for me to have all the money I wanted as long as I maintained my grade point of 4.0 and as long as I cooperated with all the private instructors she had for me. It was easy enough to do, all those things were things I loved. I have been obsessed with reading since I first figured out what the little drawings meant. I've always loved learning things. Languages came easy to me.
I was stronger then anyone I knew as a child, even adults. More limber, quicker, and far less easy to tire. I had to be careful not to show it too often.
Among the many things my mother had me educated at home in was cooking. She has a mania for it and I grew up in that mania. Somewhere along the line I gained it as well. Wherever I went I made a point of learning how to cook native foods. There are amazing things out there and what doesn't poison you can sustain you.
Mother spent a fair amount of time with me as I grew up but she frequently left for a month at a time here and there, leaving me alone, save for the household staff. Now I know that was time she was looking in on Uncle Corwin.
From the time I was young enough to grasp a bow she taught me archery. We played sword fighting games, Musketeers vs the Cardinal's Guard, Samurai & the Ronin, Knights of King Arthur. She had a odd man come teach me martial arts. Combat Dance he called it. I learned the Katana. I had an instructor in gymnastics who helped me be able to participate in the 1958 Olympics in London. At the '58 Olympics I got a Silver in Women's Foil, a Bronze in Woman's Over-all Gymnastics, and lost my virginity to a British cyclist who won a Silver. A Silver for cycling- not scoring with an Amberite.
The Olympics were a mania for mother and I. Through the 1950s and 60s my mother and I were professional golfers of a sort, as well as participating in international archery and equestrian events. In 1972 she won Gold in Olympic Archery and I won Silver. We participated in seven Olympics together. I treated it like a hobby, collecting medals in fencing, archery, gymnastics, cycling, volleyball, diving, swimming, equestrian, canoeing, and shooting both rifle and pistol. We participated in Winter Olympics and I won a Bronze medal in skiing but she was the one who loved the cold and collected a couple dozen medals.
Mother would often surprise me with outings. Concerts,plays, events, and other interesting things. She always seemed to know when something would be particularly good. Only our tastes made either of us differ in our appreciation of them/ We saw Elvis lots of time, even traveled with him briefly in 1955. They seemed to know each other. We hung around a number of performers around that time. They all seemed to know mother and they were always polite to me. We went to great plays in New York and something about the place appealed to me. I would spend a lot of time there eventually.
We went camping a lot. I didn't know it then but we traveled in shadow. She taught me field craft. I had been a girl scout. She taught me to climb. I've always enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle and often find myself wandering the woods when I need to think out a problem or get over a man.
We played golf, lots of golf. We played a lot of golf.
We raised dogs; Irish wolfhounds. One was always with me. One still is, sitting by my feet as I write.
Was I curious of our curious nature? Of course I was but mother wouldn't talk. She can be quite stubborn when she wishes.
I enrolled in New York University, near Washington Park, in 1958. I could say I majored in a number of different things but I really majored in the 60's. I spent time in the clubs. The parks. The Village. The theater. I met people. I let myself go and I let myself indulge. It was a good time to be rich and strong. I bought an apartment building nearby, through agents, and had it renovated for safety. I played myself off as the property manager and charged people repair time to paint walls, sand wood, repair things.. Carve, create.
Once a couple from Ireland moved in. They were painters and were attending a school nearby. When asked if I thought distilling whiskey counted as creating, I gave them two apartments. They distilled vodka, whiskey, and rum. Made hard cider, vinted wine, and brewed beer. In time I bought a farm on Long island and they moved operations there.
I held stone soup parties for the poor artists. I've been a lifelong cook and it was always good to help those folks.
Forty rental units and social spaces downstairs. Musicians, artists, baseball players, I rented to a type.
There was music in the cafés at night and revolution in the air.
Then it all changed in 1974. I was 34 at the time and the idea of immortality had never occurred to me.
A pair of uncles arrived out of the blue. Creatures out of some hell arrived soon after and the house I grew up in was the scene of warfare. Several of my favorite hounds were killed. I was in Manhattan at the time.
I'd never seen my mother so flustered. She called me after the two uncles stole one of her favorite cars and disappeared. She told me everything then. Amber. Eric. Corwin. She told me while hiking and for the first time showed me shadowwalking. I was gob-smacked. I knew we were special, but I thought maybe descendants from Zeus. She always had a lot of mythology books around and she was obsessed with the Olympics.
She took me someplace in shadow. I was enrolled at the Collège de France in the late 1880s. She said she had enjoyed her time there, and found it again for me. She gave me some gold and some folding money then she took out a Trump and I watched her disappear, her hand grasping another from beyond.
Once again I got distracted by the lifestyle while maintaining my schooling. Artists, actors, absinthe, dancers, the Cordon Bleu, the Moulin Rouge and the Luxembourg Gardens.
She had put me in a fast time realm it seems. I spent fifty years in that world, traveling, reading, painting, amidst the artistic places.
A combination of bad timing and whimsy found me a nurse in 1914. I had decided to get a medical education in 1912 and rather then becoming a doctor I spent a horrifying four years in the trenches of France as a nurse. I'll never understand why I stayed but its been suggested something about the bloodshed appealed to the Amber blood in me. I couldn't contact my mother. I felt abandoned by her.
One thing happened that rocked my world. The trench was overrun. I found myself in the center of a bloody battle. My Olympic fencing talents wielded a cavalry saber in between two dirt walls. My Olympic bronze in pistol drove my fight in the mud and slog against German foe-men. In the middle of a trench war I grabbed a loose horse and used my Olympic equestrian experience to ride it out to safe lands. I never thought myself a warrior. It never occurred to me. But it turns out that its in my blood. I was decorated for valor, an award extremely rare for a woman at that place and time.
1919 found me in a New York again, though not of the world of my birth. I could find no version of my mother in that world. I got distracted again by music as Jazz came to rule the night. I traveled among musicians again, and criminals and sportsman. I ran a bathtub distillery. I was tempted to return to the Olympics but I went as a spectator instead. I learned to fly biplanes during the war and became something of a barnstormer. Raced cars and motorcycles. I collected books. I acted in a few plays and a few movies.
One day in 1934 I was having coffee and whiskey in a joint in New Orleans. I was listening to a cool set when in walked mother. She sat down at my table as if she hadn't abandoned me in Paris. She told me it was time to come home. I thought she meant New York, but she meant Amber. My anger seemed irrelevant to her.
I came to Amber the morning of the coronation of King Eric. My mother was conflicted because while on one hand she excited that she would be an important player in the upcoming reign, it came at the cost of one brother and possibly a second. At the time it was believed Prince Bleys was lost and it was uncertain if Prince Corwin might be executed. I watched as King Eric ordered his brother's eyes burned from his head. This was my introduction to the family. While I was introduced to my aunts and uncles I was not pushed forward. I was horrified by the brutality of a lost war and a won war and burning retribution of an Uncle.
I discovered the library early on. I met Arloxedra there. He and I became boon companions for a time. We both hid from the elders though in time I found that he was far older then I would have guessed. I did help mother build the Sea View Gardens but it was her mania, not mine.
I rode with Julian, sailed with Caine, swam with Llewella. I met you in Rebma even.
I was in the field, with the medics, at the Battle before Kolvir where Eric died and Corwin returned.
I was in Amber for Patternfall. I was there for the Interregnum and the Repair.
Left behind as the elders went to the Courts of Chaos to decide the matter, I was there during the entire time of the Interregnum and the Repair. It was a strange time. I didn't know many people and it was a strange time to try and be friendly. Most of the time I stayed in the Library with Arlo. I was present for the revelry surrounding the Court of Queen Margot[].
At first it seemed a joke but in time it got very weird.
I should mention something that happened during the Repair. Arlo took me to the Pattern Room and explained it to me. Then said that if he made it to the center of the pattern, I should follow. I watched him assay the pattern. Then I followed. We transported to the Library and he said that he and I were the first two to walk the repaired pattern.
We drank Oberon's Wine and his whiskey, while worry ruled the land.
Then you returned. Your reign began. I stayed out of your way. I attended family dinners. Dame Margot suggested I attend the Royal Rights course at Fantalin. It wasn't as if I had any reason to stay in in Amber. So I made ready to travel to Thelusia with a embassy. I then got your call to a personal meeting. We spoke. We came to an understanding that I was as yet an egg. You gave me a blade, a book, a deck, some good advice and sent me on my way.
I gathered my dog and my meager possessions and I trumped to Thelusia. It was everything I had hoped for. The people, the food, the sports, the chivalry.
As in the past, I got lost in the social life of the land. It served me well. When i left i knew as much as I needed about Amber and Shadow to keep myself safe. I will probably wander for a time.
Lady Elayne deFlroimel