Vance and Nearly Headless Borlak

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It was 3 am when the bell woke King Vance of Vulsara. The officer of the day in the trump room was on the screen. The look in his eyes was enough to get him out of bed.

“Lieutenant, I am guessing you need me?”

“Sir, uh.. I'm on duty in the Trump hall and I need you here immediately. Also anyone else of the blood. My next call is to Admiral Vander, followed by Captain Agrom. “

Turning to summon his uniform he added his sword just in case.

“Is the world on fire? I think I would know...Will 5 minutes be enough?”

He looks away, then back, “Uh...No sir, it won't”

Sensing the pattern he felt a wildly damaged person with a pattern imprint. He noddded and let the LT go.

Pulling my deck I pull Vander's trump.

“I'm going to the Trump Hall. Not sure, but its an emergency. Be there in a minute. Not sure why.”

Pulling the Vulsar Base card Vance steps through to the room Amberites arrive in. The room is the best defended in the realm but some battles are best left to the blood royale.

While the Trump Hall is well stocked its one face I see first that shocks me. Jacques. I'd never met him but knew of him. A son of Oberon, but not in the deck. A rebel son who didn't come to Oberon's call in the Black Road War. A brother of Random's not in the King Random Deck.

He was rumored to have been a marshal under Napoleon. And served under Benedict. Rumored to have told off Oberon to his face. I'd read some of his battle plans at various academies. Hamilton told me that the two of them once had a knockdown drag out fight. His trump in the deck was warm

Yet here he was, with a a huge contingent of mongols. A hundred or so swarthy horseman on steppes horse. Well outfitted but bloody from battle. Looking around the room there was a contingent of ronin as well. 30 or so all coated in blood and mud.

Star Fleet medical moved among them working on small wounds but an air of danger filled the hall as rarely filled came to Vulsar.

He walked to me, “You are Vance, son of Delwin, lord of this realm. I am Jaques Abu Fala, First Marshal of the Flowing Horde. It is my understanding that I have no warrants of arrest or orders of execution against me in the Kingdom of Amber. As a Golden Circle King and servant of Amber, do I have your word these things are true?”

Nodding, “I am King Vance of Vulsara, son of Delwin, Patron of the Amber Star Fleet and a member of the Privy Council of King Random. I know of no orders concerning you, sir. You seem to have been in battle, how may we help?”

At that moment I felt Admiral Vander and Captain Agrom arrive, followed by Admirals Candle Hyle and Celecat. They arrayed behind me but the marshal took no notice.

“I have a soldier near death that under no circumstances can be allowed to die. Your medical personnel put him in a stasis field, properly and to my surprise without question. Then called you rather then treat him further. If you intend to arrest him for crimes he may have committed in shadow it will be a breach of long oaths between he and Amber.”

Looking to my staff they sense the danger

“Lets take a look then. “

The crowd separated as I pressed forward till I came to a medical station withing a stasis field. What I saw shocked me despite the many years I spent in the Abyss.

On the table lay a prince of Amber. Borlak. Helpless, defenseless, and nearly headless. His head lay at an odd angle. Looking at the wound on the neck I could see the spinal cord was intact but muscle, tendon, skin was ripped from it as if by bare hands. He armor was pealed back, shimmering as if it wished to cover the wounded man or let death take him.

Jacques stepped beside me, “The Khan swore to not turn his blade against Amber and bound his oath with King Oberon. He has kept his oath. Oberon is gone. Does King Random honor the oaths his father swore or have I delivered my liege to his death?”

Legends rare come by daylight and this morning was no difference. Here lay Prince Borlak, son of Oberon and one of the builders of the Castle Amber. Great Khan of the Flowing Horde. Companion of the Tiger. Horselord of the Midshadows. Scourge of Regor. Wielder of Shieldbreaker. I ought to have called Random immediately and kick this call upstairs as it were. But Jaques had come to me. He could have pulled the trump to Castle Amber just as easily and found similar, if not as technological medical attention. The call was mine.

“I know he is wanted across a million worlds and Regor wants him most of all. But I serve Amber, not Regor and as far as I know there are no wants and warrants for him there. Lieutenant, take your patient to my medical bay. Stabilize the equipment there and prepare to take him to Deretal.” They start to move the station but Jaques halts it.

“What is Deretal?”

“Its a shadow nearby that we take bad medical cases to. Its medical facilities are more extensive then here but its still part of my kingdom. Its environs begin healing immediately no matter how bad the wounds. The time ratio is better then Vulsar's which is 60 to 1 in Amber. “

Letting the stasis field be moved we follow.

“May I ask what on earth did that to him?”

“An unprovoked surprise attack by King Alexandir Kos Korag who now wields Shieldbreaker.”

I looked to my yeoman. “Coffee. Tea. Prepare quarters. Prepare my ready room. Uncle Jaques, we have established that no wants and warrants exist against your liege or yourself. We have used family terms, may I call you uncle?”

He looked at me curiously, smiles slight. Looks to his liege.

“As long as such conversation occurs while I am in sight of my liege.”

Looking to the yeoman I tell her, “Inform Deretal to prepare my conference room over the observation room.

A doctor comes over as the portat to Deretal is opened. “Sir, most of the injuries we can easily treat here if they allow us. But if you are going to Deretal there are about a dozen cases that could use extensive treatment.”


Jaques says,”These soldiers are Flowing Horde Elite. Each a warrior of legend. They were in the fight that laid low the Khan. They are here to protect him. Their own treatment will wait. Even at the loss of their lives.

Sighing I tell my uncle, ”Your liege is under my protection. If Benedict himself comes to slay him he shall have to slay me first. The same protection extends to everyone you brought. You have my oath.”

He nodded, and looked to his troops, “All will go to this place.” I nodded in agreement. Things happened fast then.

Borlak was moved through the portal and immediately to a medical suite. His followers were seen to and healed as quickly as possible.

Jaques turned out to have an arm and a foot twisted completely around, out of sockets and hanging loose. While he went to regeneration chambers I went to the conference room. The observation room was a long one where observers could watch 300 patients at a time.

Vander and Agrom, Candle and Celecat followed me in. I settled in the command chair. As everyone settled Agrom brought me coffee, a couple bagels and a shmere of lox and cream cheese. A small cup of the Calrabon pepper sauce and a bottle of Tabasco were of course next to the bagels.

He sat with a similar plate. Silence ruled the room.

Vander broke it. “Damn...”

“To be sure.” Agrom added. “ So whats next? Call Random? “

I thought on that. Every moment was procrastination I knew. I couldn't have Random take over Deretal in a fit of panic.

“Lets get as many of these Horde Elites healed as possible first. They can stand around the healing tank till he is ready. We can put them all in stasis if we choose. Second. Med report.

I read the report aloud. “Jaques would be up in a few hours. Even here, in the best healing we have, Borlak will take years to heal. A least he won't degenerate.”

Agrom said, “He should be at Diaganar, where I healed from my abyss troubles. Technological and near the Pattern of Amber. The Vulsara Pattern might try to bind them.”

Looking around the room. I get nods all around.

“Agrom. Call Diaganar. Tell them We are going to do a whole room transfer of our Emergency center to to there. They have plugs. It shouldn't be a problem. It will bring the conference room “

Leaning back I have time to sip coffee and shmere a bagel. Calrabon sauce then cream cheese. Tabasco and cream cheese on the next. No one talked as we each considered the enormity of our guests.

Hiroki was in a prison cell on Vulsara for crimes committed there. His father sent a message of acknowledgment of the punishment with no objection. Now I had two of the king's brothers in healing tanks. One of them the ancient exile Borlak.

Vander interrupted the silence. “We can think of Borlak in the big tank down there all we like but more importantly, the king needs to know that Shieldbreaker has changed hands, In to the hand of a Tosian at that.”

I nodded. That fact had escaped me.

“Get one of those mongols up here.”