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Random at castle Amber[edit]

Sitting on a high parapet of the castle Amber, Random looks down to the harbor of Amber.. From the King's Perch, he sees out to the light on the tip of of the Lighthouse of Cabra. For a moment, it flashes green and gold, and the thought of a stalking puma enters his mind... he mutters..."Oh damn... that can't be good..."

2: Tonacat and the Puma[edit]

In shades of gray and green the swirls of chaos rise and fall. The winds of stale herbs and old letters wafts from the stone behind which an old man sits, writing..

The stone that bears him floats in the stuff of chaos and he is not distracted.

A sleek beast flows like water on four fleet feet up grains of sand few would know as a trail, save he and the old man. Its tawny fur speckled with lights in yellows and oranges, shifts from fur to strings like a woven basket, to flecks like graven stone. It arrives behind the man, in flesh and teeth, and sits beside him.

"The Serpent has given me the Key, old man. You need but cross to Zilla, give tribute at the Fane, and we are free."

The man looks from the page he writes. Folding the cover of the book, he ties it with a cord woven of heartstrings. "You are free. I will have to make tribute. The others?"

"A bird has landed at Cabra. My brother has taken his post by the Mark. The High Lord has told me when you make your tribute, you may use the Key. Have you chosen a realm? "

The old man stands, sliding the book in a satchel of human skin. Reaching below the rock he draws out a long thin blade of carved of volcanic glass, carved with intricate runes. Buckling it to his belt, he draws a thick black dagger of volcanic glass, a twin to the killing blade. Examining it with care.

"Yes.. tribute.. It is time to make a sacrifice. Peasant's blood to appease the High Lord, and a King's blood to avenge my father's faults"

The beast and the man walk down the trail together. If other ears were near them, they would have heard them chortling.

3: Random, Benedict, Bleys, & Vance at the Oracle of Night[edit]

Four men walk to the base of the towering spires around the field of broken pillars. War has broken some pillars but the spires are too close to Chaos and they can never be fully broken.

The first ascends the stairs. Thin, gaunt, but muscled, Benedict moves with the grace of the warrior born. He sits on the icy stone seat and gazes into the mist. In time he descends. Dour, even for a grim man, he looks to the fourth man with the look of death.

The second man, in reds and golds, walks up to take the seat, taking a chug of the whiskey of Amber for fortification. His continence is that of a man walking to the gallows. He has been here before an only a dagger from his king could drag him here again. In time Bleys comes down from the high seat. Riffling cards as he comes, he opens a trump and steps though before he can confront the fourth man.

The third man, seeing the second depart, looks to the fourth, his face an appeal to let him pass on the trip up the stairs. The fourth shakes his head. Turning, the third man ascends as though he would meet the axe at the top. In time he returns. Vance’s eyes cannot meet the fourth man’s gaze.

The fourth man starts up the stairs but is stopped by the first, gripping his shoulder tightly.

“Don’t. Nothing you will see up there matters now. We know enough. “

The fourth man says, “Mayhaps. But I am willing to bet it will answer me more clearer if i bear the jewel with me.”

The man strides up the stairs. As he walks he pulls a heavy chain from beneath his doublet. On it hangs a heavy red stone. He dons the Eye of the Serpent and takes a seat on the throne of the Oracle of Night. The stone glows brightly red, as if it objects. It tugs on the chain around his neck.

Casting his mind into the stone to calm it, he sees the red fire within.

“That can’t be good”

4: Traffic of various sorts[edit]

Traffic on the overpass was stalled as usual. LA traffic could be challenging at the best of times.

The Plymouth Barracuda's great engine idled lowly, angry that it had no running room. Its driver reclined at ease, letting his cigarillo burn and scent the air with tobacco and other herbs. Beside him on all sides the commuters sealed their econoboxes tightly and blasted air conditioning to fight off the blistering heat. He basked with the window open, he liked the sun. So did the tiny cat sitting beside him

A tingling sensation tickled at his mind, bringing him to immediate attention. Scratching at magical muscles long ignored calls him to preparation before answering the call. He had not felt the touch of a trump in centuries. Seeking down the paths of the contact he felt the tender touch at the other end, tasting like Cinnamon and blood. Opening his mind the image of a raven haired woman with crystal blue eyes fills his vision.

"Sister. How wonderful to see your face after all these years. To what do i owe the privilege? Have you taken up the knife again?"

"In truth it occurred to me when i thought of seeing you again, but you needed to know." She sips a tall glass of clear liquid, relishing it.

"What's happened?" tossing his cigarillo out the window, coming to full alertness.

"Tonacat has ripped hearts, on the Alter of the Serpent of Chaos, at the Fane of Zilla. The Cats are loose. The Bird has landed at Cabra. Tona has the Key"

"Well, Fuck...Mom and Dad? " he growls.

"They have gone to retrieve Toci. They will answer Tonacat's call when he makes it"

"And our kids? "

"Aztalios is with me. Untara? No clue. " She finishes her drink. "Will you answer the call?"

"Cihal, you know i like a good fight, but this is all such ancient history. I don't see the point of getting red over such trivia. We barely avoided getting sucked into the Patternfall fiasco. I like it here. I see no reason to pick a fight with Amber's new king just because Oberon and Swayvil couldn't get along. "

" Xozla...You know its more then that.. Its our home. We can go back..Please.." Her eyes gaze across the trump with need, and greed, and lust, and ancient longing.

Shaking his head, he looked across the skyline of a city he had grown to deeply love. Yet in the end, there was nothing there he loved as much as the murderous monster who begged him now.

"Ah hell...When could i deny you anything. I'll come. For you, Cihal, for you. Not for them..They may rue inviting me. Ques and I always got along.I'll pledge no loyalty except to you, and that may not keep me loyal." He closes his mind to forestall the argument that would have followed.

"Well Cholla, it seems Zictla awaits us after all.. Pity. Terrible place, but my love will be there and she will soon forget that she hates me. If she will be there, so shall we"

The cat looks up, nearly grins, and makes a neigh of approval that a horse would approve of as well. It sees itself as a horse again.

5: Arloxedra in the Library of Amber[edit]

Slipping out from behind piles of books in the crowded corner of the Library of Amber, the ragged looking Arlo, the library's ghost in all but whispy form, climbs a packed and dusty bookcase rather then sliding the ladder down to this forgotten corner.

Sorting through a stack he finds a thin tome that hasn't seen the air in a pair of millennium. Glancing through it he grows despondent, finding the answers the king required, but loath to provide them.

Twisting in place, pushing several piles aside to recline, head on a tome of nautical maps. He reads, dusting each page. "This tome will get plenty of use now" he says aloud to no one near by.

6: Callings Echo[edit]

A woman in a tall green feathered hat and a tight green dress walks a small orange dragon and a cat in orange on long leashes.. She stops, looking aside.. Smiling slightly, she walks on with a quicker step.

A man sitting on the top of a pyramid chanting stops for a moment. A bird screeches in his ear. He smiles, and sighs...

A young man in ragged blues and greens plays chess in a park with an old white haired black man. They trade off moving and tapping the clock timer. He hears a screech as from a crow in the trees above. He ignores the first caw but the second makes him turn his head, looking to the tall buildings beyond the park. Minutes pass as he stares upwards. His opponents speaks, "My game. Your time is up."

He regards the old man, frowns.. "ya, i guess it is at that.. "

7: Bleys and Dworkin in Brand's Tomb.[edit]

Walking into the black and red stone tomb the man in red goes quickly to the sarcophagus and pushes off its lid. Reaching in he pulls a tall bottle and thumbs the cork from the top quickly.. Taking a deep tug of a bright red drink, as he moves to sit in a dark shadowed bench.

"Well? How was your evening at the oracle of Night?" a voice says from the shaded depths of the far side of the bench Bleys holds.

"Azcala" Bleys softly moans to the bent figure across from him.

Dworkin stands and reaches into the open tomb and pulls a bottle of blue tequila. Smiling, he sips, then speaks, "Azcala....Good. Its just as well"

8: Jurt & Untara in Thin Whip's Place[edit]

Loud music blares in the darkened hall. Lights flash, burning, fireworks. Glow-globs float near the ceiling. In the center the people dance. From above the music falls music rarely heard in the City of Amber. In the corners, tables and booths tossed into the dustbins of a hundred better joints litter the great warehouse and people sit among them. Drinking, smoking, laughing, yelling, screwing.

A thin man in a bowler hat, hops from the bar he was sitting on. Taking a large glass bottle by the handle he drinks as he walks among the young and the hopefully young of Amber. Its elite come here to be unknown, the unknown come here to make a name for themselves. This is Thin Whip's Place.

He is Thin Whip.

He comes to a dusty pile of broken boxes and pillows that the girl he's been boinking has turned into a warren. She's thin, and wild, pretty with red and purple hair. If groomed Thin Whip knows she could be stunning. She crouches, bouncing in time to the music, a dagger in her hand. She repeatedly stabs its tip into her palm, leaving tiny bleeding marks. Sometimes the crazy ones are the most fun to fuck, he thinks

Concerned, the proprietor says, "Well Uty? You ok? Take something not sittin well?"

Looking up, she smiles, and even he is shaken. "I'm fine, Jurt. Just fine. Can you take me to Random?"

Eyes widen as he hears his true name spoken aloud, "Well, Uty, I'd be happy to introduce you to the King but he is a busy man these days. I doubt he would like the interruption."

Standing, she slips the bloody dagger into a sheath on her arm. "Oh Jurt. Random will talk to me, i assure you"

9: Random and Flora in the Music room[edit]

Random twirls the sticks mid-beat, moving up through a Gene Krupa riff and splitting it down into a Ringo run. Flora slips in to the music room and pours a tall clear drink and garnishes it with cherries before sitting to listen.

After a few more taps the King stops, glancing to his sister. "You're going to harsh my buzz, aren't you?"

She laughs, "That was Krupa for a bit. I saw him at the Philharmonic a few times. Followed Corwin in once and kept going back. You know how he liked his Jazz, even with his memory zorched. "

"I played with Krupa in Taxorami. Got him to walk out there in '58. He set up in a place i used to own. Probably still there. Haven't thought of him in years. So....."

Flora winks wicked to her sovereign, "Yes, liege. The celebration will be quite an affair. Bets being paid off all over shadow. Formal wear of course, though I'd leave the Jewel hidden. It clashes with just about everything you own; including your kin "

"You are avoiding my question."

"I don't know how to answer it, " she admits, "I don't know of any armies invading if that's what you mean. All seems quiet. Martin has arrived and should be here in a few minutes. Otherwise, the usual suspects with a few surprises. Llewella is coming. Moire said she was planning on attending and would need seats for 7 at the table. Her steward at The Cove was told to ready chambers. Delwin told me he shall attend but Sand will not. I suggested to Margot that this time we not set Vance near his father. They quarrel. "

The king frowns, "Moire needs 7? Her, Honosol, Llewela, Rene, Who else? "

Flora-"Moire was being mysterious, Llewella was being a bitch. "

"Anything else, Flora?"

"Nothing we can't manage on the fly. Though Caine has been avoiding me again. Go rest. Dress. Give Vielle her trinket and I'll have Tyler come get you when its time" Finishing her drink and standing to leave.

Random watches her go and sighs, not for the first time since breakfast. He mumbles, "War and dinner with family. I'm not sure which I prefer."

10: Julian and Duncan in Ardan[edit]

Julian rises from his cot and casts aside the cloak he had been sleeping under. Looking about he grabs a linen gown, dons it and slips out the back to mark the giant oak as usual.

Returning he casts a quick cleanliness spell over himself. He begins donning his white armor, its alabaster color shimmering in the flickering candle light and the slight breaking dawn sun.

A blond man with a close cropped beard framing his face enters. His forester green suit is caked with mud and blood.

"Father, you're up I see. Easy patrol last night. Caught a collection of those red wolves and saw that big buck of yours. "

Julian steps up and casts the cleanliness spell again. His son chuckles as his gear resumes in fresh state.

"Ok, I forgot."

Julian finishes his arming. "I'm going to go on the next patrol then go to the Church for a few hours, Then up to the court for this ridiculous spectacle. Will I see you there, Duncan? "

"Yes father, I'll be there. In fact I have to run an errand for the King. I may call you to bring me through. So, relieve me already."

Finished arming, he nods, "You are relieved. Don't be late."

Duncan exits the tent and his father steps out behind him. Duncan mounts the red and black striped horse, a treasured gift from his uncle Benedict. Spurring it to a gallop the horse and rider rush off to be embraced by shadow.

"Ride easy, my son. You will be tested soon enough"

Glancing to Morganstern, eating oats beside the tent, and the patrol riding up toward him.

11: Despil and Jurt[edit]

Despil sits on a box that once held oranges, leaning against a wall flipping a deck of cards through routine after routine of passes, shuffles and lifts, palms and plants. A tiny pipe clipped to his teeth puffs a light blue smoke.

Near him a slight built man moves boxes and barrels, counts, and occasionally stops to drink from a large mug or write on a clipboard.

Despil remarks, "If mom saw how industrious you are running this place i think she would laugh herself silly. "

The man called Thin Whip tugs on the mug, chuckling, "Maybe. Let her laugh, as long as she stays in Chaos. " Nodding, Despil agrees.

Jurt asks, "I assume you will be in fine colors tonight? All swirls and flowers?"

"I'm the Ambassador to Amber from Chaos, i think it might be noticed if snubbed the King. And you?"

Chuckling, Jurt hops up to sit on a barrel, "Wine on Random's copperwing? Hell yes. Anything i should know about?"

Despil raises his eyebrow, "Isn't there always?"

12: Random, Vaile, and tyler[edit]

Pouring himself a drink, the King of Amber, frowns, swirling the dark liqueur in the glass.

"too many secrets...."

tucking the jewel beneath his doublet, he puts the crown on. Picking up the wide bore derringer and slipping it up his cuff, he turns to his wife.

Vaile, sits fingering a small red jewel, enjoying its faceting. "Its lovely dear. "

He kisses his wife's head, "You deserve the best. Especially with the crowd coming to dinner."

A thin young appearing man sticks his head in, before he can speak random interrupts. "Yes Tyler, I know. Lead the way"

13: Gerard and Flora at Sea View Gardens[edit]

Leaning over the railing at the Sea View Gardens. Picking at a flower, a tall tankard at his side...

"OH Brother, Whatever has you so down?" Flora says lightly as she hops to sit on the rail, back to the sea.

Looking to his sister..."I have a daughter who is dead. Collateral damage in the war. I've a granddaughter who was orphaned as a child.. I never knew... Dworkin was not surprised when i confronted him.. He is a bit wroth with me now. I don't know what to do. "

She pats her brother fondly on the shoulder, levering to stand. "Be kind, as if you could be anything otherwise" Kissing him on the cheek she moves on to other guest.

Pulling the last petal from the flower, a slight smile crosses his lips as he tosses it into the sea.

14:Tonacat in fury over a lost sword[edit]

"Where is it? " the man with the feathered headdress yelled at the man in orange and black spotted fur armor.

"I have no idea, Sire!!!! It was lost when the realm was sealed!!"

"So my sword is lost in Amber's shadows because you could not keep your tiny fingers on it when the fires threw us away from our homeland? "

The man in the jaguar garb frowns, under the assault of his god. "I will find it, master! I will find it!!"

15: Jurt and Treziz in Castle Amber[edit]

Thin Whip wandered back into his cubby hole of a room in the Castle Amber. This one was his, no woman ever visited it. Even the maids knew not to clean it.

It was not much more then closet. Ten feet by fifteen feet with a closet and one of the newly installed bathrooms. He had sold the second room long ago. He falls onto the mattress on the floor, in the corner. A shelf above his head belongs to his pangolin, Treziz. It peered over the edge as he shut the door behind himself.

Dropping his head to the pile of clothes, he looks up at the tiny creature. "Treziz , I think we either need to flee to Chaos, or not leave the Castle for a time. Serves me right I suppose. "

Treziz turns over on its side, ignoring him. He was going to stay here regardless. Food, playmates, doors that opened for him. The occasional lap. What better place for a primal beast in hiding?

16: Guardsman First Rusal of North Riding[edit]

June 13

During a patrol of the courtyard of Amber, Rusal of North Riding, new to the Amber Guard, noticed as Admiral Vance arrived by Trump in the courtyard of Castle Amber. The Admiral paused and spoke to Princess Llewella, who was in the company of the two new additions to the King Random's deck, Princess Orsalla and Lady Osa. Vance spoke briefly, animatedly, and then left the courtyard. The grand ladies looked unimpressed by the Admiral of the Star Fleet.