Volume Two: The Adask War Wizard

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search

The Journals of Jeweled Amber: Relmopator Barimen

Contents

Volume Two: The Adask War Wizard[edit]

Realmer3.jpg Realmerform1.jpg

Book Four: Unexpectedly a Leader in Training[edit]

Relmopator's Avatar Form.jpg

Rasak and Benedict's Personal Military Course[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Arriving at the trump location Realmer sees many other people arriving through a similar trump. People looking around uncertain, asking each other names, places, time, etc. The land is darkish, like twilight toward evening. Hills in the near range and mountains beyond it. Looking around he sees Carston who sees him at the same time and starts walking toward him. "Sir, Thank you for the recommendation. I know Julian recommended me to here but it was yours that made them decide on it. King Julian has hired me to help him prepare their army. Strange for a warrior realm how disorganized they are. I understand other CHAD members will be coming as well." From behind you hear, "Good gods, are you following me?" Looking you see Fortunadas approaching with a wide smile. "I just saw one of the funniest things I ever saw. Someone gave Alexandir Kos Korag an order to disarm and when he tried to spike the guy, the guy spun under his blow and hit Alex like a hammer to the gonads. I always knew he depended on magic too much."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Carston, good to see you here. I had heard you were working for Julian, from Tesa; I think the position suits you better than following me around. But should you tire of yelling at troops, feel free to contact me at any time." "Fort, it is you who is following me, for if I had not decided to attend..." he looks at all the CHAD troops, then back to Fort "then none of you would be here." Realmer looks serious for a moment, then smiles and chuckles.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa sounds nervous, realizing she may have made a mistake coming here. “That's one of the biggest men I've ever seen before..." Looking that way Fort says, "Oh my colorful lovely, that's the God of War his own precious self, Alexandir Kos Korag, King of Tosa, god emperor of the biggest ego that ever walked on three feet. Keep your distance. Now, I am a far less crazy mass murderer then good king Alex and I'm a much warmer companion to be sure. But in case it comes up, asking Alex if he was really a Blacksmith's son makes him testy. As for you, Realmer, I have no idea what you mean. We had Random's OK to come here a week ago. I had to translate from Thari to Crazy violent arrogance tongue' that Mr. Big Shoulders couldn't bring his personal cohort of titans..." A man that looks quite like Benedict comes up and blows a whistle. With him attendants tart walking among the crowd, giving each a ring, telling them not to try it on.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer clears his mind of all else and prepares himself for what is to come. He pays attention to the man who looks like Benedict and follows any order given without question. Realmer has been around military types before and worked with an army once back in his Adventuring Days so he has some idea of what to do and how to act.

  • Michael James Watson

The man stand on a tree stump. "I am Banidoc. I am the son of Benedict of Amber. I will lead you in the first 3 years of your training. In your hand is the ring of compulsion. As you see I am putting mine on. It is the master ring. Once you put the ring on you will do anything I say, even to the loss of your life. But more importantly you will do as I do. If I raise and arm you will. If I kick you will. In this world you do not need to eat. Nor drink, nor piss. The air you breath is filled with nutrients enough to sustain you very well. What we will do for the next 3 years, 25 hours a day, 370 days a year is exercise. Run, jump, and you will do so like marionettes. Your mind will be numbed to not focus on anything but the task. You will however fell the muscle pain. as your body learns to accept the punishment." He puts the ring on. "All of you are soldiers, warriors of some kind to be invited here. All of you have killed. Some of you have been killed. That...will come later. Now we run. If you agree to these terms put the ring on. If you have changed your mind the bell is over there. Ring it, drop the ring, and you will be transported to whatever place you came here from. You have been warned."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Without hesitation, Realmer puts the ring on. He knows his life is not his own now, much like before with The Entity. And just like that experience, he knows he will emerge the other side stronger and better. He is ready. He runs when Banidoc runs. And so begins another life in Hell for Relmopator, son of Satura & Hagalta, Grandson of Verna & Dworkin.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa, "oh damn... the Snikura seems easy by comparison..." Fort, "well my colorful lovely, are you Snikura as well? I took the art in my youth, before the folly of such things was made clear. I was a warrior, a priest, a wizard and a follower of Conf in those days. ah to be young. Its a pity I won't have a chance to woo you for the next 3 years." He puts the ring on. Snickering she says, "Well, the course is 10 years I hear." She puts the ring on. So begins another life in hell for Tesa, Daughter of Conf, granddaughter of Tolknor.

  • Michael James Watson

A yell is made and the bodies line in single file. a spell is cast and all clothes are removed. The assistants walk down the line, each casting spells that remove jewelry, body paint and body hair. Photograph are taken. fingerprints are taken. blood samples are taken. One walks and looks at Tesa. "Your name is 32. You will remember no other name. No place. No rank. no experience before being told your name. What is your name?" 32 says, "I am 32" An assistant at Fortunadas, "Your name is 33. You will remember no other name. No place. No rank. no experience before being told your name. What is your name?" 33 says, "I am 33" the third assistant steps up to Realmer, "Your name is 34. You will remember no other name. No place. No rank. no experience before being told your name. What is your name?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

34 says, "I am 34"

  • Michael James Watson

At a pace of 7 miles an hour a year goes by in 62,000 miles. The terrain is rugged but the running path is well worn. Long stretches are flat but much of it is hilly fading into mountainous. The first year goes by in a blur on non-comprehension. there is no self there is nothing by pain and movement. Even an Amberite's endurance would be tested by the maniacal pace set by Banidoc. On the 366 day awareness of effort returns. Not a name. Not a history. No memory of grievances or triumphs. Knowledge of effort, place, terrain, weather and pain. There are hand movements with no context. the amber battle hand signs are taught on the run, without context, fingers moving, hands moving. There are songs sung without understanding. Languages learned without comprehension. Just memorization. Each hill has a name learned. each river, plain, cave, forest. Types of trees are named, types of grasses. a sense of night and day and the passage of time is learned by rote. As year two winds on the familiarity of the terrain comes. That tree, this rise, this downhill. Run here, jump there. This river, swimming this lake, diving off the cliff, the higher cliff, the much higher cliff. Jumping into the black pit and falling till splashing in wet blackness. Swimming in pitch black, and seeing the light come. Running that course 12 times. Knowing its the second set of 12 times its been run. The third year begins and there is no more pain. There is deep breathing and a determination to run. Faster, 9 miles an hour, 10 miles and hour... The third year ends after 10 months and the runners have learned the space of Rasak. The hills, the rivers, the oceans, the dark caverns. Awareness comes.. they remember their names. Banidoc stops in a dell in the forest. The 500 people in this session. there are 50 camp fires and around each 5 rolled canvas tents. Somewhere in the run the methods for setting up the tent we given in a time of unawareness. The Runners stop as he does. He turns and orders 50 rows of 10. Then leads each ten to a camp fire in the great dell. A sense of individual effort returns. Banidoc walks from group to group. asking names, 21, 28, 31, 470, 499. Tents are ordered set up. Names are paired off, 31&32, 33&34, 35&36. sleep is ordered. Upon waking 32 cries out in helpless fear, pain and deep soul searing despair and a bodily exhaustion mixed with fear and a new feeling of endurance. She is not alone in her angst. Others cry out as might be their nature, or worse, as if it would not have been their nature. Knowledge of individual abilities returns with no name save a number. No rank, no memory, no history. But skills and languages taught. communication occurs by hand sign as if they were a native language. Numbers look on each other in a 3 year growth of hair and 3 year without bathing unless they swam. Suddenly a new thing shatters their minds.. Cooking meat. They see tables in the distance piled with foods of many varieties, food cooking, drink in pitchers and tankards. Banidoc stand on a stump. "Soldiers. You may eat. Dismissed" They run for chow call pushed on by starvation.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

As the order of Dismissed is given, 34 does not hesitate to rush for chow like everyone else. He moves as fast as he can, taking advantage of his thin lithe body to slip between the other soldiers and gain a better place in the Chow Line. When 34 gets his food he does not bother to move any further than needed to find a place to sit, saving a place for 33 next to him. He and 33 were assigned to the same tent, that makes them a team; teammates watch each other's back. But 34 did not wait to eat until seated; he began eating the moment food hit his plate. 34 eats ravenously of any and all food given, offered or provided. He drinks with a thirst that seems unquenchable; washing down every other bite of food with several large gulps of whatever is handy. When 34 sees 33, he motions him over to have a seat next to him in the place he had saved, possibly using a Battle Hand Sign without even realizing it.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa waking up


  • Michael James Watson

The last 2 months of the third year are a celebration of the completion of the first section. There are 50 camp fires and some compulsion keeps groups together about 70% of the time at their own fire. Groups cook together from the common stores where there is not a complete. Most of the days, and nights are spent in listening to guest speakers who walk from fire to fire. The compulsion to sit and behave, and listen when they talk is strong. Fraternization is encouraged and since no one is wearing clothes there is a great deal of it and only the degree of modesty that in native to individuals. People race, wrestle, but not knowing who each is makes it hard to argue about things unknown. Number 42 makes his rounds through the women in the group though few take a second swing at a clearly massive man at 12' tall. Number 32 passes on the experience but she and 33 do so regularly. 32 and 34 take a few rolls if 34 allows it. Among the guest speakers are numerous elites as well as a few other experienced warriors with story telling skills. They talk of wars and battles Amber has faced but no mention is made of anything after, nor including the Black Road War. Camping groups are directed in the lat month to fitness games among camps. Running, jumping, climbing, swimming. No prizes other then bragging rights. During the 2 month interval, Banidoc is not seen.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

34 spends most of his time with his own group, but does wander a bit to familiarize himself with the faces and the names (numbers) of those in this session with him; he sizes each of them up as well. 34 listens intently to the guest speakers and learns what he can from each of their stories'. 34 seems to have a voracious appetite for knowledge and he feeds it as often as possible. [Realmer has always been an asexual person, despite his male gender and good looks in his youth and again now. Though he has attracted the interest of females and occasionally males, Realmer has never had an interest in sex or romance; his interests have always been directed towards matters Academic and Arcane. And during his decades as an Adventurer, his altered physical appearance prevented sexual interest from others, so he never had to even think about it. And later as a Vampyr, when his good looks returned, his body had no sexual drive. Even after coming to Amber, Realmer has shown no sexual or romantic interest in anyone. But the mind in the body now is not that of Realmer, and the body can override the mind, from time to time.] 34 seems a bit hesitant to Fraternize with 32 at first, though it is not because she is unattractive, nor because he dislikes her, or because she has been with others... 34 is unsure of his hesitation... he can feel his bodily urges and knows the release would be beneficial... but he declines the first time 32 offers but in a way that let's her know to try again later. Eventually, 34 does Fraternize with 32, but no others. 34 is very competitive in the Fitness Games and strives for the top spot always, regardless of the competitions or participants... even if he does not place well in any given competition, he will strive to do better the next time he competes. 34's competitive nature only increases after Fraternizing with 32, but not in regards to her, but because the release has allowed him to focus more on the physical nature of the competitions and the enjoyment of physical exertion... and exhaustion.

  • Michael James Watson

On the first day of year 4 the attendees wake in unison and step out to form blocks of ten;3,3,3,1. The one is in front of the three rows. Group 30s has 32 standing in front. Waiting as the sun rises till noon when Banidoc comes out and climbs up on a stump. "You are formed into Fire Teams. Each member will take turns as Fire Team Leaders. "All teams: You will find you have a camp that is composed of 10 two piece tents, 10 folding camp stools. A camp box with cooking supplies. 5 waterjons holding 5 gallons of water. A company tent with a cook stove. 5 woodsman axes. 5 hand axes. And 10 body harnesses. Fire Team leaders-You will know what items to assign to what pacing of individuals to make transportation even. We will begin our run in a few moments. Make your assignments and prepare to move. Every night you will set up camp, cook, clean, participate in the days activities, then sleep, in the morning you will strike camp and move. Your fire team leaders will maintain order during their term. " "Make ready to move!" 32 assigns equipment accordingly and lines the group in order. The run begins and is a fat paced 10 miles and hour run for 3 hours. Camp set up and food is stacked in readiness to be cook. The days activity includes group calisthenics, kata drills, Ti chi, run and jumps. In the months that follow weapon drills, weapon katas, mixed weapon training, and in the mindless repetition with boredom suppressed the lessons are bored into the memories of the compelled individuals. In the second year freedom of movement is allowed and drill instructors come ad hone the rote memory skills into thoughtless battle skills. Games are included. Various footballs, rugby, home game, and team sports. Tactics are taught on a simple level at first but grow to become natural and obvious. In the third year battle drills become serious. Wound occur causing pain but no blood loss. Fatal strikes to the neck and head bounce off harmlessly. A month of culturally significant dances is done to the general confusion of all, save 33 who excels at them. As the 11th month of the 3rd years starts full movement occurs and the Celebration of completion begins. Banidoc disappears. During the second celebration there are more campfires and more BBQs. Horsemanship is begun to be taught to those unfamiliar with it. Acrobatics are taught and 32 excels at them. Parkour is taught and 42 excels at it. Karate and ti chi continue without compulsion. The parties are not as frequent as people have settled into knowing people they get along with. 42 seems to have a fawning circle of people drawn to his naturally powerful presence. The first day of the 7th year Banidoc calls everyone to order. "You will remember your names only. This begin the Battle Sessions. You will do movement drills, battle drills, mock combats, and tournaments. These will be in couple, teams and split session. You will face different races in mock battle. There will be lectures in large and small groups. There will be periods of compulsion in this activities and period of freewill. There will be little sleep. The actions will not be scheduled but when called must be managed." "Lastly, you will learn the Laws of Amber, having heard her history and her failures you will learn of her glory, her kingdoms her allies and her enemies. You will have little sleep. You will maintain your camps. Remembering your names you will use them as well as your numbers. and Know, your future assignments may depend on your performance. " "First, as the sun rises, we run" And the running begins.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

34 learns the equipment. 34 learns the daily jobs. 34 learns the weapons. 34 learns the drills. 34 learns the katas. 34 learns his lessons. 34 learns well. 34 is a soldier. 34 does. 34 enjoys the competitive games and the teamwork associated with them. 34 learns horses and how to ride them. 34 learns acrobatics and parkour... he likes both. 34 likes the battle drills and mock battles. 34 does not mind the wounds or the pain. 34 is a soldier. 34 does. Year 7.... Realmer, #34, is ready for the Battle Drills; his body is ready, his mind is ready, he is ready. Realmer is a soldier. Realmer does.

  • Michael James Watson

During camp time and socializing time during those 3 years, 32 & 33 seem to spend a lot of time together. Publicly much of it is quiet. 33 is gregarious and make light of his missing memories and entertains people with a outstanding singing voice, musical talents, theatrical presence. Nightly the camp can here their enthusiastic fraternizing.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

During the camp & socializing time of those 3 years; 34 spent most of it observing the habit of others. If asked to join in, he did. 34 is very well aware of 32 & 33's nightly habits and has an arrangement with 33 to trade off tents for their nightly fun and an another arrangement with 31 to share whichever tent is not being used for fraternizing for sleeping or whatever the need.

  • Michael James Watson

Years 7, 8, & 9 are the most strenuous sine they are constant exercise and constant challenges to memory, and judgment. While wilderness survival has been taught all along now it is focused to fight and survive in many terrains. Burning sands, freezing mountains, swamps and clover fields. Live weapon melee and war-field battles with healing each night. Drills, wargames large and small. while individual weapon skills are constantly trained new skills are added. Metalwork teaches forge and iron work, the making of weapons up to a high degree. Leather work is done. Pioneering. Horsemanship and dottlemanship are a daily part of the drills. and the horses and dottles are cared for communally. Cavalry skills are taught from mounted couched lance to fighting long spears, cavalry sabers, to morning stars. Rope work is a part of horsemanship. Artillery is taught to many people with no experience with it. catapults, ongers, ballista, arbalists. Archery is trained from thrown weapons, to bows, crossbows, and bolt and clockwork-guns. Firearms are taught from matchlocks to Vulcan cannons. Classroom discussions held at meal time discus the vat array of military weaponry that exists throughout shadow. One night includes a overview of the Amber Star Fleet. One the Navy. A general over view of musical items is taught with an emphasis on drums and horns,, especially in their use on the battlefield. Banidoc hates the bagpipes but they are taught as well for their battlefield use. Throughout the year as live battles large and small are done medical training is taught with an emphasis on field treatment. The final two months are a Celebration of Knowledge where instructors ask questions on all topics learned in 9 years. These quizzes occur in small groups and large to enthusiastic group. The Celebration includes BBQs, cooking classes, singing, and much revelry among the survivors. In 9 years the rings of compulsion have have forced participants to complete all tasks until the celebration of Knowledge. Then people are allowed to leave if they wish. None do. The beginning of the 10th year begins with Banidoc returning. "Soldiers. The final test comes. You will remember your names. Your pasts, your fears ad follies. The Rings of Compulsion will block no memory. You all came to Rasak with skills enough to make someone recommend you. You have learned many things here. What you were and what you have become must fuse together in the final year and they will be forged in fire and blood. "This morning we travel to the World of Adledross This is a warrior world. It is deep in shadow and the rules are this; You will be an army of 5 cohorts, each of 100 soldiers. Each Cohort has 10 fire teams. You will be on one side of the continent and must fight your way to the other. You will fight foes of may kinds n many terrains. They are summoned to fight from all across shadow. Your woulds will heal normally. If you die you return to the starting line to start over. Victory is rewarded. You will live off the land. Scavenge food and supplies, weapons, lodgings. "Command will change from time to time. The wearer of the green bands answer to the Wearer of the green Band with the unicorn emblazoned. They are the Commanding General till they wake without it. Show that you can take orders as well as give orders. "And you will not be alone. We are not the only ones who use Adledross. Four other warrior empires send 5 cohorts at the beginning of each year. You will meet them and ally with them. They know of Amber. We know of them. But they are not major realms. They are clusters and mighty realms in Shadow and one day many of you may see them, even serve with them again. Fight together, win together." "You enter Adledross dressed in boots, trousers, shirt, coat, and bearing two knives. One a fighting knife. One a utility knife. Everything else you must scrounge. Your magics will work if you have such skills but no thing may be conjured to the world. Some of you had companion beasts. Bound mounts, familiars, and boon companions. They will be reunited with you on Adledross. Remember who you are now. Introduce yourselves. But remember you are still soldiers of Rasak, still wear the ring of Compulsions, and no rank beyond here matters till you leave Rasak. Be you kings or knights, Masters or gods, does not matter. Your titles will not save you, your companions will. Good Luck, Soldiers of Amber. March to the trump gate. Leave everything else behind.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Year 7: Relmopator.... Realmer.... a name with no past but the one here in Rasak. What kind of name is Relmopator, anyway? It does not matter; #34-Realmer does what the Instructor does. Realmer does what the Instructor says. And when Realmer has Free Will, Realmer does as he was taught. Realmer does. Years 7-9 are Realmer's 'favorite' by far; finally putting all that physical training and learning to practical use.... bringing all learned so far together in a cohesive manner.... during these years the previous training methods begin to make sense... Realmer likes things that make sense. Realmer also likes working with his hands. He discovered he really enjoys and has a knack for crafting useful things; weapons, horseshoes, armor, saddles, etc. He puts much effort into his crafting, making sure his creation is of the finest quality he can make it. Once Realmer learns how to make things it gives him a better appreciation for taking care of his equipment, not that he didn't before, but now even more so does he care for and maintain his equipment, his creatures, himself. Though Realmer puts equal effort into learning and practicing all forms of fighting and combat, he realizes during the Archery and Artillery lessons that he does prefer distance combat over close combat. He has a great interest in the various forms of Siege Engines and while learning how to operate them he studies their design and how they physically work; the mathematics and engineering of the thing. He also has a similar interest in the Clockwork Guns and when they are taught how to 'field strip' them he pays great attention and studies the inner workings carefully. When an Instructor said all soldiers should be able to field strip their weapon with their eyes closed, Realmer was one of the first to learn how to do just that. When music and musical instruments it taught, Realmer pays close attention with a keen interest... he likes how the arrangement and timing of tones and sounds can keep all the soldiers of an army in sync, raise the moral of troops and inspire fear and dread in the enemy. Yes, Realmer likes music; there is something about a formulation of notes that causes an effect that greatly appeals to Realmer. And once Realmer hears the bagpipes it becomes clear to him that he MUST learn how to play this unusual instrument of leather, wood and wind that wails such haunting tones as to stir his soul. During the battles, Realmer puts all he has learned here in Rasak into play; not just what he has learned from the Instructors and Guest Speakers, and not just what he has learned from his experiences here, but also what he has learned by observing those around him during camp times, celebration times, the times between lessons and drills; Realmer took the time to learn all he could about the habits and traits of those around him so that during drills he would know how best to defeat them if they were on opposing sides or how to min/max their weaknesses/strengths if they were on the same side. During the battles, Realmer learns from his previous mistakes and the mistakes of others. When he dies or gets injured he learns why it happened and how to prevent or lessen it next time. Realmer finds the blood and gore of battle neither appealing nor repellent, but natural somehow, just like working with wounded or dead bodies. Realmer takes many opportunities to act a his teams field medic; it feels somehow natural to be working with blood and organs and body parts. Year 10: I am Relmopator Barimen. Son of Satura and Hagalta. Grandson of Verna and Dworkin. As Banidoc speaks thoughts and memories try to flood in, integrate, but Banidoc is still giving orders. Realmer stops the flood of thoughts and memories and focuses only on Banidoc's words, his instructions, his orders, our mission. As he moves towards the Trump Gate, Realmer lets the memories of self and past flood back in and begin to integrate. 34: Magic. Spells. Bob the Beholder. Graso the Horse. All excellent assets for a soldier. Relmopator: Weapon Skills. Physical Training. Forging and Crafting Skills. Horsemanship. Tactics and Stratagems. By the Primal Beasts! I'm becoming a War Wizard. Realmer/34: This year will prove to be most interesting and will surely be a test of my mettle. The past 9 years I have been heated and hammered upon to create a strong weapon and this year ahead will certainly harden me and sharpen me into a lethal weapon; yet I must remain flexible enough to withstand the stresses of combat and not break or shatter. I am Relmopator Barimen; an Amberite, an Adask, an Academician, an Adventurer, an Ambassador, a man that has suffered Hells of torment and pain throughout his life and come away stronger from each. I am a Survivor. I am a Sorcerer. I. AM. A. SOLDIER.

  • Michael James Watson

Bagpipes? Figures...

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

I HAD to. I just HAD to. They kind of fit Realmer too. Think about it...

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

had you not mentioned them I would not have thought of them. Might have chosen trumpet so he could join in with Random when he jams. But.... bagpipes it is

  • Michael James Watson

Sure. And I already have a whole spiel when random hears that of all The musical time at np. He had to pick bagpipes. Hilarious.

  • Michael James Watson

When Tesa remembers who she is she falls to her knees weeping uncontrollably. Shaking, grabbing her hair and yanking in despair. Fort comes to comfort her, looking to Realmer then Tesa. She looks at Fort, “You knew....you knew the whole time.....how could you?" "I didn't 'Know' completely but I could feel it. I felt connected but not sure how. It felt right... Don't deny it. Yes I knew who I was the whole time but not much more. I'm A thrice crowned bard. I can't be made to forget. I just didn't know you were....who you are.. I promise. Don't let it ruin this between us.. " She stands, looks to Realmer, "Get him away from me now, please"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer steps between them and faces Fort. "Please, respect Tesa's wishes, Fort. Give her distance and time. And might I recommend that we remain respectfully discreet about this matter and not make it any more awkward or any worse than it already is. Please, Fort, walk away." Realmer waits until Fort leaves; if he does not, Realmer will attempt to politely escort him away from Tesa.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort looks Realmer in the eyes and they seem somehow glowingly inquisitive. "Of course. I'll be around obviously." He whispers in a nearly native Montagarian, "Tell her Conf won't have to choose. It's her of course. And between you and I, siblings of Amber...well, it happens"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer raises his eyebrow at Fort's nearly native Montagarian and whispers his response in Montagarian as well. "Yes. It does happen. But not normally like this. Consent with foreknowledge of the facts is usually the norm. I will see you around." Realmer turns to Tesa and speaks quietly in Thari. "Would you like some company? Or do you want to be alone now?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort smiles, "well, certainly. Will that be what you will tell her of your own behavior? He walks off. Tesa.. "No...it's clearing.....what kind of people would create a place like this? I wanted this....I didn't know...now I do. Live a d learn? Yes?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes Tesa; live and learn. I wasn't sure of exactly what this Place was going to be like either, but had heard enough about it to avoid the Place for the last four decades or so. I chose this also; but despite the Hellish qualities of this Place, it will make me a better soldier, a better person, for it. And you as well. Honestly; if Carston can survive this Place, you can as well." Realmer said the last bit about Carston with humor, not disrespect. He smiles at Tesa and gives her a wink and a slight chuckle. Then Realmer is quiet for a few moments as they move towards/through the Trump Gate; he looks ever so slightly uncomfortable. "I hope there are no issues between you and I, Tesa. Unlike Fort, I didn't know who I was or who you were. As it should have been for everyone here. I don't regret what happened between us or feel that either of us took advantage of the other. I just hope matters between us are solid."

  • Michael James Watson

She smiles, "well, no offense but I would never have considered a roll with you. Not sure why except you don't give off that vibe...Fortunes though, he sort of exudes it... And he didn't know who I was....just That we somehow felt connected....sometimes that's enough....but I was a child whore till I was 9 and said no...killed my first man...prayer to Conf for strength, like I had prayed to the illsigi & Ranken gods, but in the end, it was Conf who answered... I think he had been answering for years before we actually spoke...I never met Fortunadus till here....but...I'll sort it out. Till then we have our traveling orders"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chucks her on the shoulder and says, "That we do. Let's move like we've got a purpose."

  • Michael James Watson

She stands to get ready, grabs your arm, "Realmer... Are we solid? I'd like to think so but I should make a confession since we have gone through this now. I always thought of you as a employer. Properly too. I've known Gangdis since I first came to Amber and he has looked out for me so what he told me was he thought you could use my talents and you would almost certainly pay far more then the going rate for a come-along thief. Opportunity to make a contact in the royal that might lead to future riches. I planned to give good service, but I was also planning to ride your coattails as long as I could. Hope you understand..I'm for hire..I try to stay away from street crime these days and you were a path to a richer life.. " She looks around as people are stacking equipment and moving to assemble for travel. Looks at him. "I didn't expect to find friends. Carston is more a mercenary then I am but on Adagalasck he and I became friends. I'd like to think we did too. This place...it really makes one consider what one is loyal to. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer pats Tesa's hand comfortingly, the one grabbing his arm, and smiles at her warmly. "Oh, Tesa, we are certainly solid in my tome. When I hired you on Gangdis' recommendation, I only expected and considered you, a professional Padfoot for hire. But you proved yourself to be more than that and proved that your services were more than worthy of what I was overpaying you for them" he pauses to wink at her, "but more than that, you showed loyalty and trust, you stood by me during the hardest years of my Ambassadorship in Adagalasck... and that made you my friend, Tesa Resa. Carston too." Realmer does not help Tesa gather gear, but works independently of her to get more done faster... and to show his respect for her skills and capabilities. But stays close enough to converse. "If you want riches beyond your dreams so you may 'retire' in comfort and style, just ask and I will give you a world all your own to do with as you wish. But if you wish adventure and power... and for tales to be told of you for centuries to come... stick with me and you will get both, before your days are done. But first, my friend, we must get all of this through that Trump Gate. By the way... where is Carston? I haven't seen him since last night. Busy morning and all, but still, where did he disappear to? I have not heard the bell ring today. Or ever since arriving. I wonder how common or uncommon that is." Realmer continues to pack up to get things moving towards the next phase of his training and his new life.

  • Michael James Watson

Carston was in another Fire team in the 200s, Number 208. He sees you as you are getting ready and comes over. "Well, 34, I'd like to thank you for your recommendation to this place...I've been a soldier in the armies of Wall, and Ichkolai, and eventually Imperial Tosa. I was an adventurer too for a time but I was never more then a grunt, knighthood aside. What I am because of this place is more then I could imagine. I'm not sure why King Julian wanted to hire me, but I tried to be worthy of the confidence he seemed to have in me.. Now I think that I may do well there. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, 208... Carston, the reason why I recommended you and why Julian hired you and recommended you as well is because you are a steadfast soldier; you are practical, frugal, direct, you know good equipment, weapons and horse flesh, but most of all, you give it your all, every time. You are reliable and dependable, Carston. I am glad to know you and will hire you away from Julian whenever you are ready for it. Good Fortunes, 208 Carston. If I don't see you out there, I'll see you at Graduation." Realmer extends a hand to Carston, number 208.

  • Michael James Watson

He shakes the hand, nodding, "You seemed pretty bookish..But you remind me of King Venki now. if it comes to it, I'll be for hire though Julian and I get along pretty well. He has good work ahead for him and I like being part of it. But, regardless of if its you or Julian, its wise to remember when you deal with my people that one never leaves CHAD. Duke Micholt, Duke Dolki, that nightmare Jeremy Fairhand, friggin King Alexandir; all keep their CHAD cards up to date. So will I. see you on the other side"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Oh, I understand the minds and ways of Mercenaries... not too different than that of an Adventurer's... which is exactly why I hired you and may continue to hire you; 'hired help' is more honest than 'followers'. Travel Well."


Adledross: The Beginning[edit]

Arriving in the dark of night on a rocky plain in front of a thick wide forest. Behind is a fortification city lit by torches and candles. Forces arriving are directed by a short man with a powerfully commanding voice. The short man taps Realmer with a short baton, "Amberites! You'll take the Midline camp there" He points with a baton. "Its rocky but flat, between the rocks you'll see running water. Establish water discipline, latrine positions are marked, set them up. Diamond formation for camps. You, Relmopator, take your cohort on the west side. You, Kablin, take your 2nd cohort left of 1st Cohort. You, Traxton, take the 3rd just east. " Alexandir kos Korag starts striding toward the man, "Ill take 4th cohort we will move into the woods to...." The short man points the stick and Alex goes silent. "Dandilar, you take 4th cohort and take the front tip of the diamond, Alexandir is your problem. He is to hold NO rank. He is to lead no squads. He is to be a gods-damned Soldat and learn that his will is not an order to any manjack and swinging dick in this army or will fail him myself. Alexandir, listen to me:You may be a god on Tosa and you and I have fought side by side before. So you know I am serious-Your worst military failing ha always been that you believe yourself right in all thing oh Saint of Battle. You came here to learn, not teach, you will follow, not lead, or by the great tusked boar I will yank all the learning you have gained on Rasak and send you back to Amber to wet your pantaloons in shame. Is that understood oh God of Rage? Good! Carston, take 5th Cohort to the back diamond point. The forests in front for 100 meters is thin leafy wood, good for shelters. Tomorrow's mission will be to secure provender. Camp inspections in 5 hours. Shelters need not be complete but they should be marked and materials assembled." A large man with a booming voice, wearing a quilted blue gambison and gray hose, yells, "Boney!!! My luck is grand this day indeed!" The man turns, "Count Roland? Merde, what are you doing here? I expected Edwin." "Ah, Edwin has the sac crabs. That's a bad thing for us as you know.. I've 500 men and 500 dragons crossing the portals now where..." he freezes in place. Boney says ,"Good Count Roland, the information is coming to me now and I will handle the Anzara Reen when it is your fontu turn! And by the Daughter of Desire, Roland, you will not command a flight. Now. take your people to Middle Ground camp and tell them they will hop on one leg for your temerity in addressing me familiar because of our past pleasure. You are on Adledross not on Anzara." The big man hops over to the arriving warriors, hopping on one foot. "Amberites. I am Adledross Camp Master Napoleon. I may be addressed as Campmaster, General, Sir, or m'Lord till I say otherwise. Instruction has begun. If you fail here, all that you learned on Rasak, all you gained there will be lost, forgotten, erased. You have been warned. On Adledross death is not failure, fear I not failure, pain is not failure, mercy is not failure. Fight well. The foe are arriving around the battlelands. " "There are 5 battle armies in camp this session. Far north will be the Kanzari Kzin. next the Reskaan forces of human, dwarves & orcs. Amber is in the middle force. Right of them are the Dragonlord of the Anzara Reen. As a kindness I've given the the largest camp, Beware, they have issues maintaining sanitary discipline. Lastly are the Horseman of The Treba learna Cursis who will have the southern most camp.. They are on the far right for better access to wooded lands since they have a preponderance of light, medium and heavy artillery. Know your companions in war. Many missions will mix your forces for joint action. Dismissed to assemble camp!

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods to Napoleon, knowing NOT to salute in the field. "Thank you, General." Then he turns to his Cohort and motions for them to gather round. When he addresses them, he raises his voice enough to be clearly heard and he uses a commanding tone, but he does not shout or bark out his orders. "We are 1st Cohort. Our camp position is central so it's essential that we arrive first and establish out camp perimeter so the other Cohorts can establish theirs. First; Establish camp perimeter, clear the ground and use the rocks to build positions of cover. Second; latrines. Third; cooking areas, water gathering and storage, and last; mount corrals and shared shelters. Area designations and a watch rotations will be established at site. Remember to maintain Water Discipline at all times; keep the water clean for everyone. Absolutely NO polluting of the waters!" "Tesa, you're the advanced scout leader. I need the four fastest runners here now; you know who you are. You are the scout team. I want all five of you at our camp site before everyone else get to theirs. Run like the wind. Go now." "1st Cohort; move fast and gather what materials you can on the run. Move out! Triple Time! Go! Go! Go! We must arrive first!" [Since there was no mention of our 'bonded creatures' arriving, I will assume they come later. Otherwise, Realmer would have sent Bob ahead to Scout the area and sent Tesa on Graso to establish perimeter.]

  • Michael James Watson

They will arrive after camp is set up. dragons, horses, wardogs, and bob

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Did you just call Kevin a 'wardog'? HAHAHAAAA no... wait.... that could work.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

oh, I understand. I live with three of them. But they are very well behaved and not vicious. But... They absolutely have the potential for it. I've seen them chasing after stray cats and they sure seem vicious then.

  • Michael James Watson

maybe he can take NP next time

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa runs off to gather runners while the rest move o the camp area and start squaring things away. I looks fairly clearly where things get setup from long repetition. Everyone is a soldier so there is no roughhousing or lollygagging. All 5 cohorts get set in place. Runners scout out good lumber and the axemen follow and start sorting out shelter structures, stacking wood in place in preparation for assembly.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does not bark orders or assign tasks, instead he allows the soldiers to assign themselves to tasks; they know what needs to be done as well as Realmer does and they are capable of doing the tasks. Realmer will only assign tasks, direct or redirect manpower as needed. Realmer will not shirk manual labor because he has been given 'temporary command' of the Cohort; a good leader won't order a man to do anything he won't do himself.

  • Michael James Watson

Bob appears suddenly followed several horses and a cat and a dottle. several of the men greet companion horses. A warrior woman who didn't talk about her past hugs the dottle's neck. The cat runs over to a man from Thelusia. Bob-"There is an army of dragons coming!!!!!!!" Coming over the forest is a dark shape of 500 dragons flying swooping wing. They wear leather harness and shriek as if on the attack as they mean to assault the ground. They wing in unison and pull feet forward to fall to land near the Anzara Reen. The men run and leap on the beasts who take off in the air circling around in close quarter spins and flights high in the air. A soldier of Amber next to Relmopator says-"You know, Amber really ought to have a wing of dragons. " Fort, standing near by says, "Be careful what you wish for. Wall, on Tosa, has several Dragon Wings of different types;colored dragons, Pernese dragons, Wyvern flocks. If you think pigeons are rough on statues I can tell you dragons are worse. Lastly a fox come running out of the forest, leaping over rocks and branches, under foliage. It runs up to Fortunadas who kneels to greet her.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Good to see you Bob. And the dragons are invited and not currently a threat. But great to know you're on the job already." Without looking at the Amber Soldier that addressed him, because he too is staring at the magnificent flight of dragons, "I agree. And perhaps one day soon we will." Realmer looks around for Graso... he is not sure if she would be considered a 'bonded' creature like Bob... but she is bound to Realmer in a way.

  • Michael James Watson

Graso comes running out of the horses of the Treba learna Cursis. It seems especially chipper. Its noted that few Amberites have bound animals. A few horses and a dottle, a cat, bob and Graso

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.


  • Michael James Watson

Boney walks up to Fort." Soldat, I would like to request you send your companion here elsewhere unless you wish to have a similar creature allowed to Ally with the enemy warband. There is a primal beast that makes its home on this world and in our experience it only bothers to combatant if one side or the other has a primal beast to challenge its supremacy on this world." Fort nods, looks at Realmer, "Fair point, but...34, you are my cohort commander today...Your call."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I agree with the General, 33... if we can keep Primal Beasts out of this entirely, then let's do so. Send your Fox away. I would do the same if Bob here were a Primal. The only way I would allow your Fox to stay, Fort, is if someone else also brought a Primal Beast and insisted on keeping it, then it would be another matter."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort laughs cheerfully. "Send? Send my primal beast away? Tell Julian to order Morganstern away. Tell Swayvil to demand the Serpent out of Chaos. My friend here will stay and go if it chooses. And it will deal with the other primal if there is one. I may convey my assurances that I am well, surrounded by boon companion and am involved in a game, not a life or death struggle and that its ok if it wish to find a cool glad and wait it out. But I do not 'SEND' it anywhere. " Fort kneels and puts his head on the fox's. It turns and look slyly at Realmer, It runs between his legs and disappears into the forest. "There.. I ...sent...her away.....hehe. She is going to seek out this other primal beast and have words with it." He turns to Boney and says in French, "One does not command the waves, mon general, but one may implore them."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and nods his head at Fort. "Fair enough. A Primal Beast Companion is NOT a Familiar like Bob or a Bound Mount like Graso here" Realmer reaches over and strokes her muzzle and smiles, "and cannot be SENT away, only asked." Realmer pauses then says, "I sure hope the words exchanged between those two Primals doesn't get heated, for all of our sake's." After seeing that there are few 'bound animal companions' amongst his Cohort, he feels lucky to have Bob AND Graso, but still starts looking around on the ground and checking his pockets and pouches (even though they are normal) for a little white poodle. When he doesn't find Kevin he shrugs and mentally chuckles to himself.

  • Michael James Watson

In the distance Realmer can Boney inspecting the Kzin when Count Roland come up. "You Sir! Amberite! I aw Boney speaking with you that makes you an Amberite Cohort commander this week. As I am sure you know, we will have some short range goals in the next few days. Food and weapons being most vital. Are you interested in a cooperative effort for a food source? Our dragons came from the east and saw a woodlands patch that looked like a watermelon field. It was being rooted in by a heard of hip pigs. There is a force of orcs about two days east of it. We are 5 days by foot or 4 hours by air. We can ferry troops, and dismount to join you but if our dragons close within scent ranger the pigs will flee. I propose we transport a cohort to west of the field, a cohort north and south, and two cohorts east. We secure water, sweet rinds, and pork enough for at least a week for both forces, not including the dragons. They will be delighted to go feed on orc. " He looks up and sees Boney inspecting the Kzin, "Oh, and I am a spokesman for Flight Leader Grenit and Ronat Scaleback. Not personally being a flight leader this session."


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Roland; well met. I am Relmopator; call me Realmer. Your plan sounds solid but since it only requires 5 Cohorts, and each Army here has 5 Cohorts each... Your army could accomplish the plan with involving another army... so, if I may ask; why a cooperative effort? And why us? Not that I don't appreciate the offer... I am just curious why." Realmer continues to watch his Cohort as they assemble the structures; latrines first. As several soldiers move building materials to start work on the 'mess hall', he holds up a hand to Roland and says, "Just a moment." He turns to the soldiers and calls out, "Do NOT build a mess hall! Just keep the area clear! I have something special planned!" "Well, better get this done now" he says to himself and Roland. Instead of using the scarce supplies present, Realmer will use one of his specially made High Order Spells to make the Mess Hall: Realmer's Secure Shelter, which is currently Hung on the Sigil of the Spiral. The Shelter will be made of materials normally in the area, stone and wood, but will not use resources present. The Shelter will be an open air pavilion with square stone pillars at each corner and along all four sides holding up the heavy wooden beams and rafters and slate tiled roof. The mess hall with contain multiple open fire pits with spits and several fireplace ovens. There will be several long thick wooden tables for preparing the food and many long tables of stone with stone benches for dining. Realmer brings up the Spiral, not visible, selects the Spell and upon releasing the required lynchpins, the structure appears out of thin air, ready for use. Realmer turns back to Roland, "Sorry for the interruption. You were about to tell me why a cooperative effort with us?"

  • Michael James Watson

"ah, I do meant 5 cohorts of Amber and my 5 cohorts of dismounted dragonriders. As for why we are not not taking them ourselves; Dragons will scatter the hip pigs. Skittish bitches at the best of times if we flew one dragon within scent range the whole herd would scatter. There are close to a thousand of them. If we can take 100 that's meat for a thousand two feets for a week. They plant supplies like this around for the taking. There are 5 armies here. I could take the wing and drop 500 of us far enough away to sneak up but the chance of taking enough is small. 1000 two feets...we can take at least 100. Maybe more. But..none of us have archery so it's hand to hand with hunting knives. Now we have a few combat magic users but the fastest way to fail Adledross is to use too much magic too fast. And lastly, being a wooded area, we couldn't get the dragons to the ground anyway. The forest isn't knee to knee tight but its close enough to make the brutes worthless in a ground fight. "And why you and not the others? The Treba Cursis horseman over there are terrible ground fighters. Hip pig are 5' at the shoulders with 3' tusks and we would lose half the unmounted horseman in the first 10 minutes of battle. The Reskara don't coordinate well in groups over about 50;it's a racial issue for them. They racially mix squads here but it makes them historically unreliable. That's part of the reason they come here; to get over not trusting each other. Politically their world has a dozen kingdoms none of which are homogeneous. So every kingdom has Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and orc races and all their subraces and none of them get along particular well. Raskara is the dominant nation on their planet because they send their professional warriors here in order to force them into mixed race groups. Its admirable, and has proven effective for the military. But in their homeland, all the kingdoms are just one insult to someone's mother away from civil war even if they are fighting each other. He looks toward the Kzin and scowls. "And as for the Kanzari Kzin.....let's just say you don't want to leave your wounded laying around after battle near them. They are hungry after a fight and none too picky about their meals. And well... I hate the fucks. I'd rather kill them then the pigs. They taste better and their fur makes nice rugs. Also, they don't fight other Kzin. I had a force of them here team up with a foe band against us once. I'll never trust their word again. On the other hand, we've worked well with Amberites in the past. Princes Bleys, Brand, Gerard, and Julian as well as Princess Deirdre have all fought on Anzara with the Reen. I've no complaints with their actions there or here."

  • Michael James Watson

"We have 10 months to cross 2000 miles. For ground troops that's a he'll of a walk. 7 miles a day without battles and terrain issues. I could fly the wing across in a month but what's the fun in that? Part of this is teaching my dragons to coordinate with ground forces and delay gratification. And to be honest, I've over 200 young dragons on their first trip here. Partially trained...my riders are all experienced but 100 of them are here for the first time. So... It's a training exercise for all of us, isn't it?

  • Michael James Watson

Fort says, "Your dragons? Are you their commander then?" Roland looks at the Foxmate with a wide smile, "Well, obviously my wing leader is employing his strategic skills by having his finest strategist and tactician arrange the most reliable alliance." Fort nods, " well, that is clever of him. I am sure our cohort commander would like you to convey his respects to the wing commander. As one of our commander's finest strategist I should point out that Bonaparte is out of the cat pen over there and is likely to be here momentarily. " Roland looks over and nods. "Indeed, I'd best make a tactical retreat then. Sir Realmer, we will be ready to wing east in two hours. If your forces are there then I'll know we have an accord."

  • Michael James Watson

After Roland goes back to his wing, Fort says. "100 big arsed tusked boars with hunting knives? Charming... if its not too bold, I'd suggest you get Alexandir to wade into these things. He can throw horses.. I've seen him fling centaurs while they had riders on them. Freakish bastard was a strength magic junkie in his youth. He and Zatonic raced to see who could drink the most of the blue strength potions. Also, his skin cant be pierced by non-magical weapons. I've seen a dragon chew on him till it sprained its jaw. Just pissed Alex off. Have him pick these thing up by the snouts, smash them around and toss them behind him for the rest of us to dispatch. " Tesa come closer, looking sideways at Fort then to Realmer to add, "We might have good luck with a few of our bigger guys grabbing them by the tusks for the lighter ones to dispatch. Also, a lot of this shelter material is long 3" poles. Put a tip on them and its practically a pig spear."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer listens to Roland's reasoning and finds it sound. Since Fort interjected himself into the conversation and Fort IS a far better strategist than himself, Realmer decides to make it official, during his Command. Realmer turns to Fort and smiles. "Your Commander thanks you for volunteering your expertise as a strategist, Fort. You're now Strategic Advisor for as long as I am in command. Please, keep the suggestions, strategies and information coming." Realmer turns to Tesa and says, "An excellent idea on the shelter poles, Tesa; and considering the amount of materials saved by my use of a Spell for the Mess Hall, we should be able to spare enough for pig spears as well as have enough to complete the shelters. We have two hours until we need to meet the Dragon Wing and less than that until General Napoleon's inspection. The General did say we DIDN'T have to have all the shelter's assembled, just areas marked and materials at hand." "Tesa; spread the word throughout 1st Cohort and let everyone know to make as many pig spears as we can without sacrificing the shelters; and remind them of the size of these pigs. While you're about that task, find 9 others with... specialized skills like your own; let them know they are now a part of the scout/stealth team; they're your team, they report to you, you report to me or Fort if I am unavailable. Move out." "Fort; as my 2nd in Command and Strategic Advisor, you are also my official Spokesman, like Roland is for his Commander. Spread the word to the other Cohort Commanders of Amber's Army and let them know the plan and time table. Then get back here as quickly as you can... we've all got work to do to meet both of those deadlines. Move out." Realmer keeps an eye out for Napoleon as he moves about 1st Cohort's Camp inspecting everything before the General does. Assuring latrines are dug and built, an area for the few horses is marked out and horses are tied up there, he puts Graso in the area as he moves about to assure there are enough poles for shelters and that poles are already being sharpened. Any last minute structures that need assembly or preparations that need to be made before the Inspection occurs is what Realmer is throwing his efforts into.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles, 'Ja, mein Kommandant, I think I'm going to enjoy telling someone to give Alex an order. He has been uncooperative since he was 18. But... I know his secret name and his secret fears....Never piss off bards and historians." Tesa knows who to pick and grabs them. As Realmer walks among the camp its fairly clear were everything goes. Latrine spots, tent spots, common area, horse lines. There is a sense of long use. There is also char in crevices. Realmer sees Fort talking to Dandilar and Carston, with Alex standing beside. He notes there is no deference at all to Dandilar but something about his stance suggests there may be a bit of fear toward the Foxmate. Dandilar has a hated exchange with Alex that ends when Fort puts his hand lightly on Alex's knee, that being close at hand between the vastly different in height. Fort leads Alex off and motions Alex to sit. He then leans in and whispers to the massive man's ear. He nods a couple times briefly. Alex stands and pats Fort on the shoulder almost fondly. Carston comes over, "Realmer, Interesting plan. I've a few dancer types like Tesa to send her. I think we might want to leave a few men behind. These Reskara are having trouble getting organized and might take the chance to come steal building supplies. I get the feeling that might be allowed. I was also wondering if you might be able to make trumps for us to keep in touch. Fabric for a medium, blood for the art? Charred sticks?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Carston, send your dancer types to Tesa and let's try to gather some from each Cohort. I was considering leaving them behind during the hunting and gathering, just in case... now I am sure they will be staying here, considering the Reskara's problems and possibility of losing our supplies due to raids while we are gone." Realmer thinks for a moment as he looks about the camp. looking at building supplies... realizing that most of the 3" poles will need to be trimmed a bit on either end for their intended use... a smile spreads across his face. "Yes, Carston. I can produce some Trumps for the Cohort Commanders... I can cut some wooden disks and carve faces on them, but they will take some time to create and Command will change... but they could still be useful. I will be using Bob, my Familiar, to communicate when needed... he is nearly a Living Trump...." Realmer trails off then smiles even wider than before. "Bob, you just got promoted to Communications Master. You will be responsible for keeping your eyes and ears tuned to the other current Cohort Commanders, as well as myself, and relay Communications between us. Go introduce yourself to the other Cohort Commanders and let them know you will be listening for their call. In fact, Shape Shift off a 'remote eye' (can also hear) for each Commander. Can you do that, Bob?"

  • Michael James Watson

Bob nod, ot of bouncing in place. "Will do boss. " Then blinks away. Carston-"How does each cohort leaves a fireteam of 10 sound? "

  • Michael James Watson

As the troops start shaving the tips of poles into spears a Kzin Warrior walks far behind the Reskara and up to the back of the Amberite forces, close to where Carston and Realmer stand talking. He makes a chuff, announcing himself. "Amberites!! I am T'Fanal of the Kanzari Kzinti; I command Clan 5 of the Kzin forces. I would like to parley before the day gets too much older. I have 2 clans running at speed east and north. 2 clans running hard east. And one here maintaining our camp. Who speaks for you?'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I was thinking the same, Carston. A 10 man fireteam per camp for guard... but I only want half of them visible; I want the other half to be Tesa's extended team of Stealth Fighters hiding and roving the camps and areas between." Realmer watches the Kzin Warrior out of the corner of his eye until the approaches and announces himself. "Well Met. I am Relmopator, Commander of the Amberite 1st Cohort and this is Carston, Commander of the 5th Cohort. You may parlay with me, T'Fanal of the Kzin. Please approach and speak freely."

  • Michael James Watson

"We intend to make a center run for a week then aim north. There should be a thick forest before the flat lands beyond. We can tell from our position that the north is rimmed by snowcapped mountains near to hand. We will maintain a contact line to our troops in camp here. If you wish to trade with one of our bands make the parley howl like I did before entering.It will bring a commander. We have no idea whats ahead but the supply points will have something. We are fleet of foot and sure in such woods, we should be ahead of you. If what we find is weaponry, we may be willing to trade it for food. If we find a well armed warband there should be surviving weapons, clothes and supplies suitable for you kind. We do not deal with the Rskara. Dirty distrustful people without honor. " He preens his paw briefly. "We have dealt with the Anzara Reen before. They are bold fighters as long a they have dragonkind to give them courage but they flee under hard pressed battle. Still, if they wish to parley we will hear their petition. I am not familiar with the horsemen further on."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Soon our perimeter will have guards; if you wish to speak to a Commander, let one of the perimeter guards know and they will direct you. If you cannot locate a Commander look for a purple Beholder" Realmer uses a 2D-lusion to create an image of Bob, "he is our Master of Communications, his name is Bob; address him by name, tell him who you are and he will put you in contact with a Commander." "Since your Clans are headed east, I should warn you; a flight of dragons will be flying east very soon and will most likely pass over your Clans then return back later... I will warn them of your Clans' presence so there are no mistakes. Two days east of here, by our movement rates, there is a band of Orcs, three days past that is a field of sweet melons and around 1000 hip pigs; we will be going to hunt and gather with the Dragonriders of Anzara Reen. The Orcs will be Dragon feed and should be bones at best by the time your Clans arrive there and the melon field beyond will be well picked over. But the hips pigs should return by the time your Clans get there. I will make sure the Amber and Anzara troops do not ruin too many of the melons we do not harvest, so that your troops will have food." "The horsemen are called the Treba Cursis and I know little of them as well. We will trade with your people in a fair manner based upon our needs and yours. Thank you for introducing yourself, T'Fanal."

  • Michael James Watson

He considers your answer.. "I see. Its not your intention to hunt the whole herd? You do not intend to take the whole herd but would leave us a substantial number of the prey? I understand such estimates are at best guesses at this point but can you estimate how many of this possible thousand you think your troops will take? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Our plan is to cull 100 plus... it is unlikely we would or could cull more than one third the herd. The Dragons will not be feasting on the herd; hence the mention of Orc remains in your Clans path."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "That is generous and will not be forgotten. The melons are of no concern to us. They are food for prey. If your dragons allies will be generous enough to contact us and give us a heading to this herd tell them it will be remembered also. We will be running straight and not hard to find. We have a clan to the north tasked to find the plains. I suggest considering a mutual camp on the first sign of the flat lands. It would be for the Kzinti, the Amberites, ...and the Reen. Others would have to petition once its established. I do not ask this now, consider it. When you find the plains, if we are there, consider the invitation offered." He turns suddenly, looking at Alexandir coming up. His eyes go wide and he crouches. Alex-"Cohort commanders. Commander Dadiril says his men are ready to move to ally. We have 100 and 30 sharpened poles. I have a stout cudgel and will bash them like that game king Random tried to make me play. Goof? The Foxmate has dared me to grab the pigs and smash them against trees. He's a little weasel and it annoys me to owe him a debt but the idea is entertaining. Why are you talking to this Kresh? Kzinti filth..." He turns on the Kzin commander who speaks-"Tailbiter...In the flesh..Its a pity I can't bring the real death to you in this place. You serve Amber?" Alex laughs.."Amber called me and mine in its time of need in fear of destruction. I don't recognize you personally, but then I'm not usually on speaking terms with rugs. " He turns disdainfully to the Kzin. "Commander Dandril's compliments. We stand ready, Commander Relmopator, Commander Carston."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Alex, this is COMMANDER T'Fanal of the Kanzari Kzin 5th Clan, and as of right now Amber's Cohorts are on good terms with his people, so while he is in my camp, you will treat him with the respect due any Commander. Understood? Good. Now, go tell Commander Dandilar to leave a fireteam of 10 behind to guard your camp then have the rest move to the Dragonriders camp and team up with them for our transport. Move out." Realmer turns away from Alex and faces T'Fanal. "Commander T'Fanal, I thank you for the information on your troops movements and future plans. We appreciate your offers of trade and your offer of mutual camps once the plains are reached. Please send my regards to the other Commanders of the Kanzari Kzin Clans. And if your Clans on the move watch the flight path of the Dragons as they leave and return, they will know which direction to head to find the melon field and hopefully the hip pigs. Well Met and Good Fortunes, Commander." Realmer thinks to Bob; 'Bob, have you contacted Kablin of 2nd Cohort and Traxton of 3rd? What is the status of 2nd and 3rd Cohorts? Are they nearing ready to meet with the Dragonriders?"

  • Michael James Watson

Alex chuckles as he walks off, walking close to the crouched T'Fanal, "Good sir T'Fanal, You are a commander so I shall be polite as instructed. Please, if we interact in the future, and I hope we will, you have my permission to not to bow to me like that." He walks off with a hearty laugh. T'Fanal rises from his attack crouch an angry look on his furry face. "Tailbiter here....Did Amber really go crawling to him for aide?" Carston-"No Amber did not. Amber contracted with CHAD, which I am a member of, for mercenary service. King Korag was hired, as was his pantheon. Some of us in CHAD like him about as much as you do. I was not aware the Kzin had dealt with him. They are not a race in the Tosian/ York multiverse. He has been forbidden a leadership role here and it clearly chaffs. Disregard him as I, a native born Tosian, must do sometimes. " T'Fanal nods, "Well said Sir Carston. I shall let my people know to ignore him. He has fought on the side of Saints of Battle in our realms. There are several Kzin Saints of Battle but the ones he fought beside were the Carataz, a lizard race..My regards to your cohorts. I go to join mine." He turns and lops away.

  • Michael James Watson

Bob pops in, "Traxton and Kablin have set aside two Cohorts each. They had a short skirmish with Orcish forces of the Raskara. The Raskara are heading east now. Boney approved their camp with heavy criticism . He will be here momentarily by the way. I expanded Confusion Storm and Magic Missiles, as well as slowing ray in support of the Cohorts. The 2nd and the third are coming with Sir Carston's forces now. " He hovers excitedly. "Speaking of coming now, Boney will be here momentarily."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well done, Bob. Keep the expenditure of Spells and use of Magic to a minimum; essential use only. Firstly; I may not have the time to re-Rack the Spells, and secondly; I found out that the fastest way to fail this course is to use too much Magic too soon. Use your Power Words and Innate Powers as needed, but sparingly for now. Use your Racked Spells as though they will not be replenished. Also, keep me apprised of any communications you relay between other Cohort Commanders that I am not a part of. Oh, and as well as being Communications Master, you are also on Over Watch; keep watch over all Amber Camps primarily, watch the other armies' camps as needed." If Bob was not speaking verbally, then Realmer will tell Carston what Bob said and that Napoleon is on the way now. Realmer will look over 1st Cohort's Camp one last time to assure all is ready for inspection.

  • Michael James Watson

Boney walks into the Amber camps. Walking though the camp he inspects various elements before walking into the mess hall. He examines it in detail before walking over to Realmer. "Quite a display of magic, Cohort commander. Is that facility for all the Amber cohorts or yours in particular?" He walks by, clearly not expecting an answer. "You seem to have quite a lot of pointed sticks. I assume you will use them to establish a perimeter wall and sleeping structures? " He walks on to Dandril's cohort. and speaks to him briefly. Walking back to Realmer, "Very well... report?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"General; the Mess Hall is for all of Amber's Cohorts. I considered it a necessary use of Magic for several reasons; saving limited resources, a central place to prepare and store food in a defensible location and large enough to handle the large influx of meat our army is about to get." "We have allied with the Dragonriders for a hunt; 5 days march east of here is a field of sweet melons and a herd of nearly 1000 hip pigs. Our forces and theirs will be transported on dragonback to areas surrounding the field, a four hour flight. The sharpened wooden poles are to be used as pig spears; any that survive the hunt will be used around the perimeter in weak security areas." "I have assigned my Familiar, Bob, as Communications Master so that all the Cohort Commanders can remain in contact; his powers are Trump Based. He has also been assigned as Over Watch for the Amber Camps." "I have assigned 33 Fort as my 2nd in command and Strategic Advisor. I have assigned 32 Tesa to gather Stealth Warriors, 10 per Cohort; they will be remaining behind to guard the Camps during the hunt." "I have made contact with Commander T'Fanal of the Kanzari Kzinti 5th Clan; he informs me his Clans are pushing east and northeast, then plan to move towards the plains to the north; they have invited Amber's Armies to join them when we arrive there... I promised nothing."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods. "I see. Few of the previous Amberites have had competitive combat magics. Oberon was never a fan of magic in the hands of others. " He looks at the kitchen.." I could have used that outside Moscow... Of course, I could have used a nuke too. I just spoke to the commander of the Blue Hand Orcs because of their conflict with one of your cohorts. Pity I am not allowed to bounce people home on day one.. Some troops never understand the point of this place. Watch out for them. So the dragons saw the pig herd.. that's predictable. I'll tell you this. Between here and there are at least two weapon cache's and flying over them will make them nearly impossible to find. But food is a priority. " " You have 300 days to reach the other side of the continent. Foe bands are in place. We had a donation recently as a new client nation has requested the Adledrossians to allow them access to the training facility. They would make the 13th client nation. They donated 12 Mandalay stones for the next 10 sessions. Those stones are up for grabs. I suspect their forces will be here next session. There is an applicant observing now ready to pay the weight for his elite forces. They would be the 14th and I don't like their look at all."" Fort asks, "Who are these client nations. if I might ask, mon General?" He nod, looking over the pig poles, "The 13th nation accepted is the Kingdom of York. Their ruler Tolknor paid 5000 Mandalay stones. His ah.. Total Warriors, I believe, will be here next session. The other is the Empire of Azcala. They have offered 2000 Mandalay stones as well as 20,000 Red crystal power focuses. I have voted against them but mine is a single voice and I'm not on the Adledross Council" Fort say, "Merde.....I'm a Total Warrior...Field Captain, but still. figures that as soon as Tolknor could get his troops past the locked Shade level he would expand. And I don't like the idea of Azcalans training here one bit." Fort chuckles, "Alex is going to shit. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Thank you for the information about the weapons caches, General. I am sure the Kanzari Kzin will find them first; if so, we might be able to trade with them... I did give them information about the pigs location and Commander T'Fanal seemed reasonable enough." "And General, thank you for speaking with the Blue Hand Orc's Commander; I heard about the incident... my Familiar was directly involved, and I really don't want any more problems with them. But we will keep our eyes on them." "And I am in total agreement with both of you; I don't like the idea of Azcalans training here either. And I will make sure King Random hears of it as soon as I return to Amber." Realmer looks thoughtful for a moment, then asks: "General; did you say there is an Applicant from Azcala here, now, observing our training? May I ask who?"

  • Michael James Watson

"a king of some sort.. Zictalas and his wife, sister I think, Zent...something, I believe. There are two others, Azcona, their son, and a wizard of some kind, Xoxol, Scary creatures..I'd rather fight them then speak to them. But that's not how the Adledross do things. I understand Amber will be or is at war with Azcala. Pity Benedict already has a Bonaparte on his staff. " He nods, "Very well. Carry on. You are cleared to proceed. " He looks to fort and speaks in french to him. Fort and he goes back and forth. then Boney nods, salutes with the baton and heads off down the line.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort waits till Boney is out of camp-"He told me the Kzin are far north of the two caches.. He said one is a few hours between here and the melons in a straight line. the other a good way south of the straight line, halfway. One is weapons, the other is cold weather gear."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Did he mention which was which? Doesn't matter. Do you think it likely the Treba Cursis or the Reskara would find those caches first, if we don't send out our teams now? Or do you think it can wait until after the hunt? I don't want to spread our troops out too much. Maybe we leave another... 4 fireteams of 10 each behind, as well as the 5 fireteams guarding the camps... send 2 fireteams each to each cache. Thoughts, Fort?"

  • Michael James Watson

" Depends how much we trust the dragon riders. I thought Roland a little smarmy and Boney put the same restriction on him as he did on Alexandir. that's telling. they have not done anything to warrant distrust and it is day fucking one anyway. If they are going to snake us it won't be for a month at least. So.. I suggest we get them to slow their flight on the pigs to give us a chance to spot the caches from the air. A few hundred dragons, riders and Amberits is a lot of eyes from the sky. A weapons cache and a clothing cache? Probably sizable. Knowing where they are possibly, thanks to the Prisoner of Elbe, gives us a much better chance to spot them.. and.. my sight is good. My wife may not be here but I still have her visual acumen. If its down there, we'll find it. Also, I can think of a dozen Amberites from Rasak that are jungle-woodland types. We have the dragons drop them a few hours in, let them do the ground work'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Excellent idea, Fort. And I'm sure the Dragonriders will agree if we cut them in on the caches. Make it so." Realmer pauses a moment, looking thoughtful. "As well as the Camp Guards Tesa is gathering and in charge of.... I would also like one Commander to remain behind here at Camp. I will volunteer to stay as I have already ridden on a Dragon, so there is no thrill there for me. And though I have not been on a hunt of this size, I feel my versatile resources and direct link to our Over Watch would be better suited here." "Fort, gather 1st Cohort and the spears and head to the Dragonriders' Camp. If you see Tesa before I do, send her and her fire teams my way."

  • Michael James Watson

"While thats charmingly noble, you should lead the raid for the amberites. As a royal the other cohorts will defer to you anyway. Let Carston stay. he's a good egg. And he has experience killing Orcs, I can assure you. You need to be there as much to keep Roland from making decisions."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You are my Strategic Advisor, consider me advised. Let Carston know he will be staying. I'll be leaving Bob here too. Guess I'll be gathering the troops and spears..." Realmer trails off as he notices the teddy bear.

  • Michael James Watson

A small plush looking knitted teddy bear walks up to Realmer after Boney leaves. "Pardon the interruption...."


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer is always wary of cute things; especially very cute things.... they always feel like a trap of some sort. So, Realmer is wary, but friendly. He turns to the teddy bear and nods his head. "Well Met. I am Relmopator, 1st Cohort Commander. How may I help you?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Commander Andala of the Nast Alat would like to invite your officers to dinner tonight, of roast Hare caught on the perimeter. He wishes to make a distinction our clan and the Blue Hand orcs that beached common community early in order to secure food...ah. in this case... your people.. No one was slain but we do not wish your animosity due to their actions. My lady is woefully angry at the blue Hand. Our regards.."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Your Commander's offer is appreciated and gladly accepted, provided our Commanders and officers are available come dinner time this evening. If we do not show, please do not take offense, we have much happening already and are unsure of our exact timetable. Your Commander's concerns and wishes to make distinction are admirable and again, appreciated. Please send my regards to Commander Andala, and your Lady. I will be in contact with Commander Andala later this day." Realmer nods his head to the teddy bear.

  • Michael James Watson

"Thank you, Lord Relmapator. my Lady, Commander Andala will be pleased. This is her Clan's first attendance at Adledross and she does not wish the Blue Hand to blacken the good regard of the Clan Nast Alat." It bows and waddles off. Fort-'Suddenly I'm feeling tired...hehehe"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and says, "Well, no rest for the wicked. We have a long day ahead of us. Let's get the troops and spears gathered, make sure Tesa has her Stealth Camp Guards ready and move out to the Dragonriders camp."


Adledross: Hunting with Dragon Riders[edit]

The field before the Reen camp is filled with dragons. Thick bodied, well muscled, with long strong wings. Not fire-breathers but they clearly seem eager to use their teeth. Watching the dragons they seem to be stretching short wicked upper arms to adjust riding harness. They clearly are intelligent if not verbal. Sounds of eager growls and roars fill the area. The warriors each have a 6' pole, shaved to a point. Each has at least one or two short cudgels. They seem somehow vulnerable out of armor, but as a race they seems strong and well muscled with massively strong looking legs. They have a tendency for short trimmed hair, shaven clean in the back. None have beards save mustaches which seem a common fashion. Count Roland stands behind a man nearly 9' tall with a crudely made maul. the tall man steps forward when Roland points Realmer out. "Cohort Commander! I am Wing Leader Talodak. Well met by dragon light. We stand ready. Out entire flight will go. If other raid our camp they will find nothing. Our plan is to drop 5 miles from the clearing. We can fall great distances. If your people can not they will deed to cling to our warriors. Once we land, we will wait an hour till all the flights are delivered. Then we march. Our people will wait for my signal before attacking. We would like to try to secure 200 beasts. We have made a deal for 50 with the Horseman. A sign of good will with a future reciprocity. I suggest if the Amberites offer a similar sum they will receive the same future reciprocity or we will be wroth with them. Does this suit our accord, as Count Roland earlier described?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Wing Commander Talodak. I am 1st Cohort Commander Relmopator. Well met by moonlight and magic. We will be leaving a small contingent behind to guard our camp, as we have more than nothing to lose if raided again. Your plan for the hunt sounds solid and we agree to the culling of extra beasts and the sharing of them with the Horsemen. However, I would like to add to the plan slightly and add a two pronged side mission to take place at the same time." "I have information that there are two caches between here and the melon fields; one weapons, the other heavy clothing. If your Dragons fly low and slow, our combined efforts should be able to spot these caches from the air. One is directly in our path, a few hours march from here, the other about halfway to the field, but much further south. We have some troops specialized in heavily wooded areas that could be dropped, with a few of your men, to find and secure these caches for Amber's Cohorts and Anzara Reen's Wings to split evenly. We can pick them up on the way back." "A slight addition to the hunt; once we have culled our beasts and harvested the melons we desire, please leave enough melons behind to draw the remaining pigs back to the area once we have left. I have made an agreement with the Kanzari Kzin; they will pass near that area in a couple of days and I told them of the hip pigs. They will trade what they find with us fairly and if they reach the Northern Plains first, will share prime space with Amber and Anzara Reen. Do we still have an Accord, Wing Commander?"

  • Michael James Watson

He starts to look to Roland, but Fort, on your other side says Loudly, "Golly! Are those real dragons? I only heard of them in fairy tales!!! Do wee really ride on them?" Talodak looks at Fort in surprise. Roland stutters as he looses the moment to object.. "Ah.. yes,, they are real dragons and we will fly on them.... ah... Yes, Commander, weapons and clothes would be welcome. Our forces had intended to visit the orc band after the dragons had finished with them. It may be orc made but its edged weapons and armor till we find better.. It get cold in the air o clothes are welcome too. A fair split-clothes, weapons planted and Orcish. While my men could carry many weapons I suggest we restrict arms to one apiece till both companies are at least armed. Extras split evenly. I have no love for the Kzin, and my great-uncle Roland even less love for them. But if we are filled with meat, melon, weapon and clothes, let the Kzin know they are welcome to what we leave behind'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Despite a lack of love for the Kzin, we are on good terms with them now; let us take advantage of that while we can. The plan is sound. A fair split; we have an Accord." Realmer extends his hand to Talodak, but he guards his Psyche against intrusion when they shake hands.

  • Michael James Watson

HE shakes quickly and turns, "MOUNT!!!!!! Commander I have a dragon that is large for it kind. I understand you have a giant? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes. ALEXANDIR!" Realmer calls out. When he arrives. "Talodak, Alexandir; our giant." "Amber Cohorts! Pair up with a Rider and mount up!" Realmer shouts. He picks a Rider that is not Roland but makes an Amber Hand Sign to Fort to pair up with him (Roland)... followed by a wink.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort puts his hand on Roland's bicep. "Oh y lord, id\s your dragon strong enough to carry me and someone as strong a virile as you?" Roland scowls at Fort and turns to hurriedly follow the quick man, asking him questions and sticking to him till they mount the dragon. Fort slips up in front of Roland at first but Roland pulls him by the arm roughly and throws him behind. Fort squeals. the dragon take to the air in moments

  • Michael James Watson

Flying fast and with good coordination Tal leads the dragon slower and low after a time the dragons over out to make several rows of dragons the riders start looking below as do passengers.

  • Michael James Watson

The ground troops are lowered and begin ground spaced out because of their few numbers

  • Michael James Watson

The ground looks heavily overgrown with vegetation but seems maneuverable with effort.

  • Michael James Watson

Tal sees something and wheels the dragon north. Flying to another rider thy hover. The rider point to his rider, a native Amberite, ho signs to Relmopator that below is a structure...

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer signs back that he will investigate, then dives off the back of the Dragon and Shape Shifts into his Avatar/Animal Form; a very large vulture. He brings up the Pattern and looks through its lens as he glides down, he focuses on the area below the dragons. He continues to fly down to the tops of the trees in the area below the hovering dragons. He looks for a building and any guards or signs of troops near it.

  • Michael James Watson

There is a haphazard pile of bricks about 8"x"8"x 3". A rough estimate is a pile of maybe 3000 of them.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smells the air with his increased vulture olfactory senses, searching for signs of creatures near by or the smell of metal or oil. If he deems it safe, he will land and Shape Shift to his Human Form and look around the pile of bricks.... there must be more here than meets the eye.

  • Michael James Watson

The smell of oiled metal is strong beneath the bricks. He figures that t a thiird of the way below the bricks

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to the sky between the foliage, when he meets the eyes of the Amber soldier he Signed with before, he will Sign to him that the weapons have been found. Then Realmer will pick through the bricks until he reaches the weapons caches... hoping to get first pick.

  • Michael James Watson

The Soldat spreads the word and the dragons start converging. Realmer removes probably 30 bricks when he hears a click followed by a thousand sword and 2970 brick erupting into the air around him at if the whole pile had been under immense pressure. The hoard rushes up as if shot from a cannon. Buffeting him with blades and bricks, bashing him around in sudden violence. Smashing against a tree, his lack of bad stuff keeping the sword pinning him to a tree only cutting his chest not impaling it. hanging there in the sound of swords and bricks falling back to the ground he figures his enthusiasm over rode his normal care and caution. A well-learned lesson to lay at Benedict's feet someday,

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Ouch" Realmer groans. He allows his Shape Shifting to take care of closing the open wound as he slowly and carefully pulls the sword out and to stop any internal bleeding from the bricks, then he just sits with his back to the tree, laughing at himself and his folly.

  • Michael James Watson

Dragon riders and troops start dropping to the ground. Their massive legs bending on landing. They start getting organized and sorting the broadswords and fighting dagger out .

  • Michael James Watson

Fort looks at you, the sword in your hand, the ripped clothes, and the scattered debris. "I gather you are...attached ..to that blade? So, pressure trap..now we know. Let me look at the next cache..its a specialty of mine.."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Oh, no. If you want it, it's yours." Realmer drops the sword and laughs a bit more to cover his pain.

  • Michael James Watson

Roland comes over after a few minutes. "Looks like 1100 broad blades. 800 daggers. and around 6000 bricks. We don't need bricks but you might for building material. We can leave them here for now and get them later. We should be armed shortly. Considering this collection I am more certain then ever that seeking the next cache is a good idea.' Fort nods, "Lets ask Wing leader Tal what he thinks, yes?" Roland scowls with a grudging smile, "Oh by all means"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer grabs the bloody blade he just dropped and uses it to get to his feet slowly, then says, "We don't really need the bricks, but may take them if time and weight permit on the return trip. I agree that seeking the next cache is a good idea" he looks to Roland and nods, "And that we should seek the counsel of Wing Commander Talodak" he nods to Fort, "before making hasty decisions." Realmer turns to Fort, "And feel free to check all caches, if traps are your specialty, for they are not mine. But I should have known better. But in my own defense; it has been over a hundred years since I was a dungeon delving adventurer." He chuckles again at his folly, then winces in pain, then laughs some more.

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "the lessons of our youth are often the ones forgotten first." Roland nods, " yes, small wounds heal fast, but may be forgotten hardest. Especially wounds against ones vanity. " he makes a hand sign to a rider who runs to where Tal and Dand are sorting and passing out blades. Tal comes over with a hand full of daggers. "Commander, these are fine blades. We shall have 150 broadblades extra. I propose we match each with a dagger though not all of ours will have them. I've asked your Companion commander to lead a squad of riders to sight the next cache, though not to approach it. I've detail one wing rider& Amberites to swing North and sight the Kzin and another to sight the far orc band. All should be armed soon." He waits on Realmer's responds but casts a wide eye at Roland who briefly nods approval . He offers daggers around. Fort takes two daggers and passes on a broad blade. Fort-"Wing leader, Cohort commander, with your permissions, I'll take my dragon-driver and join the advance. " Roland looks about to say something else but catches a look from Fort and just smiles, flipping a dagger around a hand casually.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Roland, sweety, do I have these right?" He runs through a dozen hand signs.. Roland scowls, "Yes, sweetbread, Up, Down, Check Below, Check the skyline ahead, drop passenger,, and the rest...You picked those up after seeing them perhaps once each?" Fort nods, "Its my profession...knowing things, and drinking"

  • Michael James Watson

Roland-"you seem to have lots of professions." Fort nods, "Well I change it every thousand years. Its what thrice crowned bards do. We are collectors." Roland looks at Fort hard, as if in many ways seeing him for the first time. "Thrice crowned bard? For the love of the Blue God, you are really a Thrice Crowned Bard?" He looks at Realmer. "truly?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer addresses Roland: "As far as all the stories and rumors I have heard about Fort; yes, it's true." Then he address Fort: "Our childhood lessons are usually the first to be forgotten; especially lessons like, sharing, working together and listening to our Elders and Leaders." Realmer then turns to look at Roland and says, "I find wounds to my vanity to be the lessons I remember best, regardless of size. It is bad enough to do something foolish, but worse when it is witnessed... like today's little incident. I will surely not forget this day or this lesson; ever." Realmer turns to Tal: "There should be 100 extra broad blades; don't forget the 50 still in my camp in need of weapons... but I think not all will take swords... But we can sort that out once we're back at Camp. In regards to my Champion; if you are referring to Alexandir, he is prohibited from leadership roles. Assign one of your men to lead the mission but allow Alex to accompany. He may give advice, but he is not to lead; Boney's direct orders. The rest sounds solid. Fort, you may accompany the wing to the advance. Good job on the Hand Signs... I watched Gangdis to the same to Hagalta's troops during a battle drill. And I once knew a Dwarf named Lannister that drank and knew things.... or so he thought."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort mumbles, "well we have the same order for Count Roland here. Advise, not lead. He is only allowed to lead a mission if it is comprised of him only. I also understood the same regarding your giant. I was more concerned with the dragon to bear him then the role in command. It said the fastest dragon may not be the leader but he reaches the battle first. Also, he has made it clear he need not ride the back of one of my men in the fall. He says he is a god of war and can fall from the stars and land on the ground ready to fight. Such men are double edged daggers, are they not? I propose dropping dropping everyone some miles out, to surround the pigs. Then once battle is engaged have your giant and Count Roland drop with a cadre into the middle." fort, "have to remember that when Alex is onboard a Star Fleet ship. " Tal-"Also I was including your troops in the blade disposition. We have 150 extra after everyone that wishes gets a broad blade. But once we collect the orc arms we can split things better. We are armed. Sub-commander Fort. Find your rider and tell him to find my scouting wing seeking the other Cache, with your commander's permission of course." Fort nod, starts to lave, "Oh, Commander Realmer, bear this in mind. These guys can jump and land from over 100 feet. Turns out they can leap from the ground to the air that high too. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer listens to Talodak talk and nods. He looks to Fort and smiles, then says "I knew about the falling, but not the jumping. Thank you and Good Fortunes on your mission." Realmer turns to Tal as Fort leaves. "I had also thought to have you drop the men some distance out to surround the herd, but dropping Alex and a cadre with him in the middle after the herd is surrounded is an excellent addition. And in regards to Alex and men like him; they are indeed double edged. The problem is they are used to command but haven't truly learned what it is to be a soldier. To be a good commander, one must first learn how to be a good soldier. And to be a good soldier, one must know what it is to be a commander. Alex and Roland are learning the first one here and now. I believe I am here to learn the second, as back in Amber, I would surely not be commanding forces. In my youth I was an Adventurer, later a Shadow Traveler, then after I arrived in Amber, a cloistered Bookworm, then most recently, an Ambassador. I was never a soldier or a leader, but I knew I would need this course in order to survive what I feel is to come, and I knew I could survive it, as I have survived many other painful and torturous things during my Adventuring Years, and those were lessons I have not forgotten." Realmer is silent for a moment, then looks Tal in the eyes. "This is our time to Command, Talodak, let us make good use of it. Your plan is solid, let us move to the hunt." Realmer looks for his Dragonrider, first on the ground, then in the air.

  • Michael James Watson

"Fort showed he knew our hand signs. It might be good for all your troops to learn them for the future. And most of us can't jump that high. But a man must jum at least 40 ' to qualify to become a rider. Otherwise there is no point in trying. Pig for dinner." he goes and leaps into his harness, pulling the Amberite up behind him.

  • Michael James Watson

flying forward hand signs pass the information that a high flier has spotted the herd and they are in place. Realmer's dragon rider leans back, "We're going to circle here. The left, right groups will be in position in a couple moments. Far side a few after that. Grab me on shoulder harness and wrap your legs around me now. When I go I shall twist left, and fall back. You will be below me for a few seconds. Do not let go. I'll spin hard against the fall to right my feet. If you panic of try to move your hands or feet it might unbalance me. Its a short flight to camp, don't be eager to get there through resurrection. Ready?" Once Realmer is in place he feels the rider move and the fall begins. It 60' just above the treetops. Falling through the tips of branches isn't pleasant but it does no damage. He lands on his feet and helps Realmer to his. Once Realmer is in place he feels the rider move and the fall begins. It 60' just above the treetops. Falling through the tips of branches isn't pleasant but it does no damage. He lands on his feet and helps Realmer to his. "I was told to follow the Amber Commander's orders. We are 5 miles out. A short run. We shall know the twist of the wind once we are a few hundred yards away."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and says, "That was fun. OK, spread out for a wide formation, but keep it as tight as the terrain and foliage allows. Lead the way and move out."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

While running, Realmer allows his Shape Shifting to naturally assist, i.e.; increased lung capacity, longer legs, larger heart, etc. He paces the men, staying near the front and center of the running formation. He keeps his wits and senses about him as he runs with Amberites and Anzara Reen alike.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When they slow, nearing the melon patch and hip pigs, Realmer will enhance his Senses, specifically, smell and hearing and remain in the Running Form as this hunt is sure to involve a lot of it.

  • Michael James Watson

Reaching the patch,, a few hindered yards away, the smell is one familiar with pig farmers but somehow thicker. The beasts seem agitated and feisty though gorging themselves on the melons. Those seem 2' across and colored like watermelons in blue. The seem shoulder height, making calling them hip pigs a bit deceiving. Your rider says, the teams are ready on your mark. He will signal the riders to drop the Giant and Count Roland

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer watches the hip pigs a few moments, wondering if it is the nearness of the troops or something else that has them agitated. He gives the order, but keeps his eyes and ears open for other threats.

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer looks up and sees a tiny dot just out of visual range. it grows faster as it falls a terminal velocity. It falls silently and lands with a loud thump. Count Roland jumps off the back of King Alexandir kos Korag. Without armor or magics he moves faster then any person Realmer has ever seen in combat. two giant lumpy cudgels lay waste to the hip pigs, each hit throwing it 30 yards away with a swat, to lay dead on the ground. Roland moves away and lays in with a broadsword in each hand and his killing is skilled and quick, but overshadowed by the Saint of Battle. Shocked first, the pigs flee. Alex chases after, trying to outrun them and lay into them as he passes. Each one that his mauls touch falls dead. The herd scatters all directions and in moments is rushing those in concealment.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer gives the order to attack at the moment just before the pigs enter the trees, forcing them back into the clearing and into each other.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Drive them back! Keep them from escaping into the woods! Steady advance! Do not break the line! Kill what you can, but Drive Them Back!!"

  • Michael James Watson

as a line of a dozen are charging directly toward him, Realmer sees a dagger stick hard in the side of the head of one, making it fall forward and roll. A tan blur lands on the back of one, gabs its tusks over its head and tugs it hard to the side, causing 3 to tr dancing away but stumble I a pile. Beside Realmer two Amberites and a dragon rider foot spears to the ground and level them at charging beasts. the Dragonrider and One Amberite score chest spikes that drive the blunt points deep in the beast chests. The other Amberite's pig avoids the point and crashes into the man, sinking a tusk in his stomach. With all his strength he punches a dagger into its neck causing it to thrash briefly, trying to toss the man whose strength is enough to withdraw the blade repeatedly and sink it deep several times before it dies. Two are charging Realmer.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

With the broad sword already tightly gripped in his right hand, Realmer raises it over his head while pointing his left index finger at the pig on the left, his thumb raised, he drops his thumb to his index finger and releases a Power Gesture; Neural Disrupt, hoping the beast will stumble and fall. Realmer then focuses his attention on the pig on the right, dodging to his right to avoid the pig and its tusks, putting the pig on the left side of him, he then twists his body to the left, bringing the broad blade down, hard and fast, on the back of the pigs neck.

  • Michael James Watson

the pig falls dead as the next one crashes sideways into Realer. Jumping back his second shot, battered and bruised he steps forward to meet the third. Beside him a trooper levels a bloody tipped pole and takes the next one, pulling it over his head to fall thrashing behind him he pulls his sword in time to throw a glancing shot as it rushes over him. Its jaw hanging lose, as the Amberite rolls with it and wraps the pommel to its head, stilling it. He stands and smiles at Realmer-"Looks like roast pig for dinner, eh!!? " Laughing, he looks for more rushing,

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer laughs along with the soldier, both at his zeal for the hunt and his own realization that he is enjoying this; the rush of it. He laughs louder and shouts "ROAST PIG FOR DAYS!!!!" Then rushes the next beast, taking advantage of the Running Form his body is still in, striding and springing, dodging and evading, leaping and spinning, slashing and hacking, blood flying, pigs squealing. The smell of blood and rise in his adrenaline bring back memories of his years as a Vampyr... he begins shifting to his Chaos Form; winged Nosferatu vampire-looking creature... long sharp talons on hands and feet, long fangs, leathery wings, hardened skin. Realmer is barely aware he has done this, but realizes this Form is far better suited to combat so continues hunting taking full advantage of this Forms capabilities.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort leaps off a pig he was standing on the back of, riding it like a surf board.. "Commander!!! Our side is looking like 30. If the others are doing as well that's 120, and friggin Alex and Roland look like they got a solid 50 between them. Permission to go check on the Orc battle!?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Permission granted!" Realmer calls back to Fort as he leaps into the air, flapping his wings hard to gain a little height to get a better view of the field of battle, to get a quick count of dead pigs and to look for his next prey to dive upon with sword and claws.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort fly up beside you, big feather wings lifting him, "Hey one other thing.. Boney and a few other swells are flying off to our left. They have a forgetfulness spell on them so people looking at them see them while they are looking but forget it after they look away. its pretty powerful and I imagine I'm the only one it doesn't effect. I can't be forced to forget anything. So bear it in mind." He races off east at a speed that rivals the dragons.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head to Fort then focuses on the herd. He calls out orders to keep the troops near him moving forward, he uses Hand Signs to communicate with those farther away. He keeps them moving into the clearing, pushing the herd back to the center allowing for more opportunities for kills. Realmer will dive onto any pig or pigs that are about to overrun or severely injure a soldier, slashing or stabbing as needed. Once it looks like they have more than 200 dead pigs, Realmer will shout out as loud as he can: "SOLDIERS!!! CEASE COMBAT!!! WE HAVE REACHED OUR GOAL!!! LET THE PIGS RUN!!!"

  • Michael James Watson

Such orders are not immediate and some fights take time to finish as some pig stay to fight and others flee. As the combat finishes Realmer sees Tal issuing orders to a group of both sides of troops, He waves to have you come down. Alex and Roland are in the center laughing. They each have half a watermelon and are dripping in pig blood.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer flies down and Shapes Shifts back to his Adask (human) Form. He grabs a melon from the ground and cracks it open and enjoys the sweet pulp as he walks up to Talodak.

  • Michael James Watson

Tal smiles-"That was surprisingly messy. I've ordered wounded pigs slain and got some of my men dressing the beasts out. We usually leave the entrails for our dragons, taking heart, liver for our food and taking intestines for sausage but this isn't a normal situation. The dragons will be full. I do have a number of riders who will want the chunks to make sausage. Culinary types, you know.. Anyway, I suggest you detail one of the cohort commanders to take charge of your troops in this clean up. My second, Jusat over there will tell them how to bundle meat for transport. Funny thing is that it might be the melons we have the most trouble with. " He bites deeply into the melon with it unusual taste for him. 'Also I know we couldn't find the second cache and came here to get this over. I suggest we detail a few riders and your troopers to go look again now that time isn't an issue." "I saw you have wings... So offering to have you backsaddle with me isn't necessary. Would you like to fly with me to check on the Orc battle?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes a few more bites of melon as he listens and thinks... "The men could stuff the organs to be kept into the cleaned out intestines. The melons could be stuffed into the emptied out body cavities' of the pigs. Also, tunics could be removed, tied off and filled with melons." Realmer calls over the nearest Amberite Soldier. "Soldier. Find Commander Traxton and let him know he is in command of the clean up and gathering. Tell him to have the pigs taken to Sub-commander Jusat" Realmer points to the man, "for proper field dressing instructions. Pass the word to gather melons and put them in tied off tunics and the cleaned out pig carcasses." Realmer calls over another soldier. "Soldier. Find Commander Kablin and tell him to team up with a Dragonrider and take a detail to search for the second cache. Tell the Commander to make sure he has a Trapfinder with him." Realmer turns to Talodak. "I will take wing with you, Commander. To the Orc Battle." Realmer Shifts into his Chaos Form and takes flight.


Adledross: Space Orcs, Preparations and Percy[edit]

The air is cool as Tal leads the way. an hour of flight time finds pandemonium in the air over the site of the orc battle. Dragons all look bloodied and flying high in a hovering position licking wounds. Fort is flying firing some kind of large firearm at the ground while dodging attack from the ground. Seeing you approach he wings over signing for you both not to approach. Fort-"Well its a jolly clusterfuck down there. Glad you are here. We have about 80 dead dragons and the living ones are pissed. There are about 200 over in hover that are too injured to fight. the rest are down there. Commander Tal, order them out.. Lets regroup and bring the rest of the troops here. When we were told there was an orc band we were not told they are some kind of heavily armored space orcs." He hands over the nail gun. "I've seen these before. Total Warriors use something similar. Clockwork, fire about 2 a second, has a clip of about 2000 nails, thin, high carbon steel, razor edged and needle pointed. Fuckers go through like butter. I took 30 or so hits myself before I realized what they are. About 1 in 20 has a flame thrower with about 200 meter range. that's what took most the dragon when they attacked. Now they are ground fighting and pissed off purple. I'd say there were about 2000 orcs.. The dragons didn't think to not attack as ordered. I tried talking to them but I've known smarter tax assessors"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I agree with my Sub-Commander; withdraw all troops and regroup. A stronger attack force may be needed... but I have a couple of Spells that could be quite efficacious if friendly forces can be removed from the area. Regardless of the effectiveness of my Spells, I still recommend we call for reinforcements now."

  • Michael James Watson

Tal nods and makes a piercing shrill whistle with 3 fingers. Its eyes & mindbogglingly loud. The dragon hovering hear and fly that way. The ones below rise slowly, unwilling to leave the fight or to brave the renewed weapon fire.

  • Michael James Watson

Tal turns and leads the wing back, noting the absences. "Hra, Junt, Ctas, damn...... We better hope bound companions resurrect or I'll have some pissed of riders. " Fort-"They are on the run toward the melons. That should cut the turn around time. They are carrying their dead or id go back and collect nail guns"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Though Realmer's Familiar is far away, its Extraordinary Psychic Sense can allow it to communicate across a world, and its Trump Powers across Shadow... when Realmer calls, Bob will hear. Realmer reaches out with his Psyche and speaks aloud. "Bob! Message relay to Commanders Dandilar, Traxton and Kablin on the Pig Hunt. 'Commanders. We are returning from the Orc Battle; it did not go well. They are heavily armored Space Orcs with Nail Guns and Flame Throwers; they are on the move towards the melon patch. Finish securing the provisions quickly, prepare all Cohorts and Wings for battle then take to the air and meet us along the way.' End message." Realmer calls out to Fort and Tal; "You heard the message relay. Now I am going to calculate the best place to lay a deadly cloud of death upon them." Realmer then Shifts into his Vulture Form to conserve energy and take advantage of the thermals and winds. He gauges the wind direction and wind speed, calculating the best place to launch his Cloudkill Spell as he watches the terrain below and the path of the trailing Space Orc Band, trying to get as many as possible when he does launch the spell. Realmer is not looking to cast his spell immediately, but when the conditions and terrain are optimal. When this time comes, he will Shift to his Chaos Form so he can Cast his Warlock Spell; Cloudkill.

  • Michael James Watson

After a few minutes bob relays -"Commander Dandilar wants to speak to you directly. can I open to connect /"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, Bob. Connect Dandilar with me."

  • Michael James Watson

Dandilar appears in the trump image.-"We can meet these orcs as they come here and set an ambush or we can pin them down and attack. I have a trooper who wants to drop in the middle of them and make them attack him long enough for us to hit the orcs in the rear. Realmer, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what finally kills him here."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer wings over near Tal and Fort, altering his Vulture voice box to allow speech, then responds to Dandilar aloud. "Commander Dandilar; it will take too long for the Orcs to arrive at the melon patch; I would rather eliminate them as soon as possible and reap their resources. Bring the forces to us. We can circle a large number behind them then drop Alex on them from on high... I too would like to see just how foolhardy and impervious he really is. By the time you join us, their numbers should be thinned out some more... I have a couple of Spells in mind that affect large areas."

  • Michael James Watson

In less then an hour the flight of dragons is winging in to the patch to collect their riders, There is something of an urgency as the dragons wing down. Fort says, "this is kind of a mess but I'm suddenly concerned about the other cache. I think I should go see if I can find it, Commander. I think the full force should be able to handle the orcs" As the dragons fly by the rider leap into the 60' range to intercept the dragons. they fly up and circle back lower and the dragons grab the Amberites and toss them behind. They race off toward the orcs. Dandilar waves in greeting, looking almost eager. Below the work of butchering is partially done and many melons are stacked but things looked interrupted for sudden reversal of fortunes. Alex is behind Roland now on hi dragon as the two fly fast. Roland waves to Realmer with a wide grin and a sword n hand. The flight goes wide as you commanded and come in to lay in behind. half way in the flanking maneuver Roland and Alex turn and head for the force together.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

As the Forces approach the Space Orcs, Realmer gauges the wind again and calculates the extreme distance that he can cast the spell, then releases Cloudkill on the Orcs, any wind hopefully carrying the cloud into more orcs. By the time Roland and Alex are ready to drop onto the Space Orcs the Cloudkill should have dissipated enough to keep from harming them. Realmer gives the Hand Sign for them to drop.

  • Michael James Watson

The flights sort out and ready for the attack, this time not dropping troops to the ground before hand. Arcing in, Tal calls for the attack. Sighting the forested area the battle is in, the dragons pull wing in for a tight circling plummet. Alex and Roland are in a burning clearing. Roland shoulders a flame thrower and Alex swing wildly with maul-like cudgels. The ring of death and burning trees in almost 100 meters across. Bodies strewn It looks like a third of the force has lost morale and is fleeing.

  • Michael James Watson

The dragons land in the groups, dropping Amberites who boldly draw blades. The Orcs have size and swiftness but possibly Chaos str. The dragons and riders start tearing among the shocked orcs trying to flee the madmen in the center.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stays in the air coordinating attacks with the ground and air forces, attempting to force the Orcs into a squeeze between our forces. Realmer will dive in and attack with broad blade and claws where needed to fill a hole or save a soldier.

  • Michael James Watson

The battle goes on for a time but in the end the orcs expand all their fire fuel and most of the nail ammunition and are forced to depend on edged weapons. The Amberites mostly have str, End, & war in the 1 to 10 range and can out fight them given time. The dragons& riders are well, dragons, and absent the fire and nail guns are hard to kill with the riders in the Chaos ranger for str and endurance, As the battle ends and Amberites and riders start looking things over the dragons all take wing. Tal comes over, "A hard fight but memorable.. My wing has gone to collect the dead at the other field. Some riders with them will sort and collect arms and armor, such as they are, and fly directly back to camp. Our casualties here will be taken back as well. I assume your customs include burial but how that works here I don't know. I believe the dead will resurrect at camp..this being our first day I suppose we will know soon. to that end we will convey the Amber dead as well. I suggest assembling arms and armor here for transport then returning to the melon field for the pigs. " Alex is sitting on a pile of Dead, cradling Roland in his arms. Roland looks horribly wounded, covered in blood and gore, burn marks and bit marks. Alex looks bloody and gore spattered as well but doesn't have a scratch on him. As Tal & Realmer approach Alex looks up, "I've healed him as much as possible. Fort has better skills like that though its a question if they will work if my own clericals don't function. Fort is a Quad Bard...and has not touched the world stone so perhaps his will function. Roland fought bravely...I have been told I may not make saints here, but today he earned it. Its been ages since I fought in a battle like that.. reminds me of my youth....before Tolknor....well.. Thank you."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Tal comments about 'your customs include burial', he is tempted to make a dark joke, but decides this is not the time or place for macabre Necromantic humor. "Alex, I am sorry; there is nothing I can do for Roland. I do not have healing magics, I only have Necromantic Magics. And the spell I do have that might help would required a living healthy enemy for it to work...." Realmer trails off. He knows that Death is a part of Life and a big part of Combat and War. Realmer silently says a Death Prayer for Roland, so that his body will perish quickly and his Soul will go where it must.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Considering the severity of his wounds, it might be better to let him die and be resurrected. I mean, I could cast Stone Binding on him, and suspend all time for his body, then we could take him back to camp for healing, but..." Realmer trails off again. "His wounds are severe. He fought well. His actions this day will not be forgotten."

  • Michael James Watson

Alex stands. "This is true. All of it. But....I would consider it a favor if you stonebind him till we confirm the place works that way. At least till I can speak with Fort. We' have known each other only since coming to Rasak. I do not trust you, Benedict, or this place yet, I hope you understand. It would go a long way to establishing the kind of trust this place is supposed engender......Commander."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does not hesitate, as he does not want Roland's condition to worsen; he releases Stone Binding upon Roland. "It is done, Alexandir. He is 'frozen in time' until I release the Spell. Once we confer with Fort, we will know what more can be done. There is one other Necromantic Spell that I know that MIGHT heal some of Roland's wounds, but it will transfer them to me as well as drain my stamina for many hours up to a full day. And I will still have to heal the wounds I take from him. It is a dangerous spell, for me, and could almost kill me and might still not help Roland. But if Fort cannot help him, then I will try the spell once back at camp."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods. "when I argeed to come to this place, Rasak I mean, it was at Random's request that my powrs be limited to physical powers; strength, speed, endurance, memory..He had me promise not to use powers granted me by the World Stone. If I break that promise, he and I would both learn something about me. If the dead rise tomorrow, and Fort is unable to help him, then let him die, if his commander agrees. I must learn to trust Amberites and as yet I have met a few I like, but none I trust. None have given me a reason to trust them. Till today. That makes today unusual, to find two people I might possibly trust." He pick up Roland and walks back to his dragon and leaps on it back.

  • Michael James Watson

The flight back includes a number of stops. securing orc weapons uncovers a large collection of bags used for treasure. Filling them with orc arms and armor, though the dragon riders do not think many of them will use them because of the size difference. Traxton mentions that the Raskara have orcs, they might trade for the stuff. While filling bags with melon and meat Fort and the seekers of the second cache return. F-"Well, we found the second cache. The Raskara claimed it. there were scraps of clothing and a big damn hole and blood splattered around the tree as well as chunks of..well, Dwarfs.. I must say these dwarves are unlike any others I've met when it comes to care for their dead. There were dead all around. Messy. Clerical magic doesn't work here so I used a magic spell to speak with the dead. What I got was one of their mages got them there because Boney gave them the location. and it blew up massively. I spoke to a couple and they said there were a lot of steel boxes underneath all the caltrops that exploded on them. "Oh, and I have 20,000 caltrops. 4 prongs, about two inches long each. seeing how things are here, they might come in handy," "I take it there were complications with the orcs?"


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer sighs. "Tis a shame about the second cache, but at least it wasn't the weapons. And all those caltrops will certainly come in handy; very smart move collecting them, Fort." Realmer sighs again. "And yes, we had some problems with the Orcs. They were like no Orcs I had ever seen; bigger, stronger... and green. They were heavily armored and carried high tech weapons; nail guns and flamethrowers. We lost some troops and a few dragons.... and we almost lost Roland. He is near dead; I cast a Stone Binding on him to 'freeze time on his body' until we could confer with you. But since you just said that Clerical Magic does not work here... then we have a decision to make." Realmer sighs yet again, very deeply this time. "If he will be resurrected tomorrow, I can release the Binding and let him die. If he will not be resurrected... I could use a Necromantic Spell to transfer some of his wounds onto myself, healing him, after a fashion. The problem is... his wounds are so severe, the spell might not be enough to help him... and... though it will not kill me, it might get me close to death... and then I would have to be healed. But... it also might be enough to save his life and kick start his natural healing abilities and allow other non-magical forms of healing to work. But ultimately, the call lies with Roland's Commander."

  • Michael James Watson

"That a quandary. And..Alex, well, he can be difficult at the best of times. I suggest we get back to camp before we perform more esoteric magic. Lets us sort out the spoils and see if Roland has spoiled. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Agreed. Let's finish up here quickly and get moving before anything else untoward occurs. And let's get an official count on pigs and melons. I might need a few of each to barter with... I have a dinner meeting this evening with Commander Andala of the Nast Alat Clan of the Reskara... in fact, all Officers have been invited to attend. But first, let's get this all back to camp."

  • Michael James Watson

In camp the Reen and the Amberites sort the butcher's bill. Tal and Traxton come over to Realmer. The other commanders see them and come too. Tal. "We lost 12 Amberites and 8 riders and 82 dragons. I blame myself for the dragons. I should have sent a rider to be able to make judgments on the foe. We can only hope they resurrect. Our injuries were numerous but manageable.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Let us hope they will all be resurrected. If not, it is our first loss and our first lesson. Commander Talodak, there is still the matter of Roland. If I don't release the Binding, he won't be resurrected. If I release the Binding and let him die... we are taking our chances on the resurrection. And then there is the matter of my Spell... which may not work or may not be enough, and it will certainly cause me harm... but I am willing to do it, IF we know the resurrections will not occur. It is your call, Commander Talodak."

  • Michael James Watson

Tal-" on the other hand, Roland is there to give me that look. we took 310 carcasses, 1100 melons, 800 orc cleavers, 2800 assorted knives, a huge pile of orc armor beyond easy description, 200 nail guns and 30 empty fire weapons. Oh...20k caltrops. "

  • Michael James Watson

Tal looks at Fort. Fort shrugs. "I can't raise him but I can do similar magic to you, commander. But...I can channel through Alex and he might sustain the damage better then either of us. However we are supposed to trust the people who run this place. They must work or the houses of Amber would have a ton of dead over the years...and we have used a lot of magic on day one.... It's your call tal. He ponders, "if you can make your giant take the wounds, let's see how it fares. I approve."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"In regards to the Flame Throwers... if there is a small of amount of fuel left in each tank, and all of it can be combined into one tank to fill it one quarter of the way full, I might be able re-fill all of them... maybe. Again, magic use. And speaking of which, Fort, I think we need to get all Magic Users together and have a talk with those in charge of this place. If this year of training is about integrating what we have learned here with what we knew before we came, then the use of Magic should be allowed here, with few limitations. I do not like the fact that I am being restricted in the uses of my Powers just because Oberon didn't like others to use Magic here and that his old rules and old way of thinking are still in use here. Magic is a tool to be used, just like this sword or this knife or that armor over there. I'm sure I am not the first Sorcerer to attend this place and I am sure I won't be the last; we must get those who run this place to understand that severely limiting the use of Magic here, and other Powers, is hobbling their soldiers and commanders. But that will be a talk for later." "Let us divide the spoils, If you do not mind, Commander Talodak, I would like to offer the majority of the Orc armor to the Reskara in trade... minus any that could be used by our larger soldiers that want it. Me and my Officers have been invited to their camp by Commander Andala of the Nast Alat this evening for dinner. Commander Traxton, you're in charge of getting the foods to the Mess Hall in my camp; it is large enough to handle the cooking for all of our Cohorts. Commander Kablin, you're in charge of distributing the weapons and trying to salvage what 'fire fuel' you can from those canisters. Commander Carston, you're in charge of setting up a watch rotation of all Cohorts; I'd like Tesa's Stealth Troops rotated off of watch soon. I also suggest we set up sleep schedules and get some of our soldier some rest. Commander Dandilar, you're in charge of the wounded and establishing a medic station, if there is not one already. I will be in touch with all of you later about our visit to the Reskara camp. You have your assignments." Realmer turns to Fort and Talodak, sighs and shakes his head. "I do have another spell that I could use to transfer the wounds to Alex, instead of myself, if he agrees to it. But, since I have cast a few spells this day and feel I am pushing my limits.... by this place's standards... Fort, perhaps you should cast the spell... since you have similar magics, and I have not seen you use much, if any, magic since we arrived. Let's get Alex and Roland and see if this works."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "Ya, Alex will be a little less Alex-like if I do the spell. I'll go take care of it. " Tal-"As for the food, your kitchen is better designed to process the meat into usable quantities. Once its prepped we have the dragons to smoke it for preservation. Let us agree to have dinner tomorrow night, with our commanders, to discuss the advance. I believe it is in our best interest to work together. Our people will not wear the armor, mainly because it won't fit, so I have no objection to bartering the lot. I will speak to you in the morning. I have dragons to morn and to hope will revive. If they revive, in those bodies, well and good. If they resurrect in a new body, leaving the old ones in the field then we have a multitude of meat, bone, and leather to tend and perhaps to barter. Many races like dragon skulls and we are not sentimental about the dead. In our realms they are memorialized in another way. It has been a exciting day." Tal nods, hakes hand with commanders and Fort and leaves to his camp. Fort-"I'll go tend Roland. Do you want me to hold the camp while you sup with the neighbors?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer agrees with Tal on all points and shakes his hand firmly before he departs. Then he turns to Fort. "I have a little time before I have to gather the other Commanders and leave, but yes; take Command of the Camps while we are gone. I will also want to take a small contingent of well armed guards with us... to show our strength and just in case there is trouble."

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, I remember once when Alex attended a formal feast of a thousand enemy royalty and nobility after they had a group of their premier warriors and wizards attempt to kill him. He refused healing and brought the corpses into the feast hall. He took the seat next to the king after killing a royal cousin to make room at the high table. He hadn't been expected to attend. oh.. but the Rakara might take that wrong....I suggest 2 bodyguards per cohort commander. And Tesa is still in the field. If you have a trump for her, id suggest bringing her."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, I have no intention of Alex attending, as a guard or otherwise, this is supposed to be a diplomatic supper. The rest sounds good; I was thinking a single fireteam of guards would suffice; guess our minds are syncing up. And I was also considering bringing Tesa as one of my guards. And no, I don't have any Trumps with me" he gives Fort a knowing look then laughs, "But I do have Bob..." Realmer reaches out with his Psyche, "Bob, contact Tesa and tell her I need her here, then transport her to me when she is ready, but tell her to make it soon."

  • Michael James Watson

Bob floats off and calls Tesa. Fort starts looking for guards, includes an unusual one Realmer ha dealt with very little, Drishti; a Diagan born and raised at Diaga Raks. She is known as a fast warrior of the Tesa type and is one of her friends and an acrobat a well as an alchemist. She has been mostly on guard assignments and here appointment to NP was a complete surprise to her. Fort picks two large warriors with a history of ignoring insults. Bob come rushing back with naked and angry Tesa.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer approves of the guards chosen by Fort and is about to begin a dialog with Drishti about the Flamethrowers, being he is also a bit on an Alchemist, but the arrival of Bob and Tesa, naked and angry takes his full attention. "What in all the Hells!? Tesa, what happened? Bob, details?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa-"Well, I'm going to have to work on my lockpicking. Its said Conf can break out of a welded sealed vault, but I can't. I was shadowjacking in the forest. I'm not good at it yet. And I tripped a trap.. ME!!!!! Pissing good one. Snapped me in like footpad into a coffin sized box, face down, and sealed shut. Then my clothes faded away.. I could barely turn around...I've been there for hours... I couldn't see in the pitch blackness so I couldn't shadowjack. I figured eventually you would trump me. Now, will one of you tall bastards give me your shirt please? peep show is over."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and pulls off his shirt then hands it to Tesa. "Don't feel bad about the trap Tesa; I, a dungeon delving Adventurer for decades... also forgot to check for traps and ended up with this sword" he pats the blade on his hip, "through my shoulder and all the rest scattered around the forest... as well as a ton or more of bricks" He chuckles again. "But if you found a trap, that may mean there is something of value in that area. We may have to go back there tomorrow. But for tonight, we have dinner plans. Tesa, let's get you some weapons and some clothing if we can find some. Then let's walk the Camps to gather the other Commanders and guards then we are off to the Reskara Camp."

  • Michael James Watson

It takes just long enough to find a tall man willing to fork over his tunic for a long glance as it took her to put it on. Gathering the party you make your way over to the Reskara camp. Its clear on first site that their unity is not strong. 10 different camps, 3 human, 2 dwarf, 2 orc, 1 elf and of a furry faced humanoid race. A soldier walks up and nods, "You be the Amberites? Or ya hear to cause trouble

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"We are the Amberites. I am Commander Relmopator; we were invited by Commander Andala." Realmer is respectful in his tone and demeanor.

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "Follow me, sirs." He walks among the camps and people from each watch carefully. Coming to one of the human camps there are a large group and a man steps forward. Tall, thin , pale to almost gray, with long braided hair down the back. "I'm Second Sword Delri. The Commander, First Sword Andala waits within. She has 8 associates, including myself to table. If your extra men would like to take dinner with our sub officers I can direct them so. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I am 1st Cohort Commander Relmopator, these are the Commanders of the other four Cohorts" Realmer indicates the four, "whom I will introduce within. These other four" he indicates Tesa, Drishti and the two large warriors with high tolerance to insults, "will accompany us as well." Realmer turns to his other guards, "Dine with the sub-officers, introduce yourselves, get to know them. Enjoy your meals." He turns back to Delri and nods.

  • Michael James Watson

He seems brisk but proper. He leads to a gathering by an over turned steel box the size of a coffin. Several dozen more are stacked nearby. the small group starts to stand. they all bear the looks of having had a hard battle and medical care improvised from improper supplies, though they all wear solid looking clothes in bright bold colors with black markings. One of the men looks up and is clearly a large half-orc. The smell of roasting meat is nearby the fires as several large deer cook . the antlers sit near by. A woman steps forward and at first she seems somewhat awkward, you notice that she is missing the front of one foot and has one arm tied to her chest. "Commander Relmopator.. Welcome. Our table is a bitter one today but the meat is good and we have onions and turnips...Its been a strange day. I'm afraid you are not seeing us at our best.


  • Michael James Watson

She waves at the clothes.."I'm not sure of the purpose of these things but they are suitably warm against the coming cold night"


  • Michael James Watson

Tesa whistles slightly in recognition

  • Michael James Watson

"I am Twis Andala, First Sword. Come sit."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Thank you, First Sword. You may call me Realmer. This is 2nd Cohort Commander Kablin, 3rd Cohort Commander Traxton, 4th Cohort Commander Dandilar and 5th Cohort Commander Carston. These are two of my advisors; Tesa and Drishti. And 404 and 219 over there are here because they're pretty to look at." He smiles. "Thank you for inviting us to your table for food and palaver. I see you found the Clothing Cache at great cost; our day was also eventful and somewhat costly. But the fruits of our labor were many, and I would like to discuss the possibility of trade with your peoples. I understand you do not have much to offer in material goods... but perhaps there are other arrangements that can be made in exchange for the goods we have to offer." "For starters, we have much armor of Orcish design made for large Orc bodies. We may also be able to trade some food and perhaps... some weapons, if talks go well and agreements beneficial to all parties involved can be reached." "The Amberite Army and the Anzara Reen Army are already on good terms and have decided to work together as a united force. The Reen are on good terms with the Treba Cursis Horsemen and Amber is well on its way to good terms with them as well. And Amber is on good terms with the Kanzari Kzin as well, and the Reen and Horsemen are sure to follow. There is no reason the Reskara can't be on good terms with us as well. Five Armies united can surely defeat anything this world can throw at us."

  • Michael James Watson

She nods and takes a seat, waves for meat and vegetables to be brought over. "I do not think that short fellow has our best interest at heart. he told us the location of a transport stone and that a cache of supplies was within an hour walk from it. We took our clan of 100, and a fellow human clan of 75 and tried the transport stone . Splitting up we found a place with about 200 of these metal cases. They were scattered around. As we opened them they were filled with this clothes and with onions and turnips. We started unloading them to see the results. When they were empty, they went invisible. Then when we tried moving they snapped shut on us. like snapping ral dogs. The maws enough to sever limbs and break bones. Those were the lucky ones. Over here are 14 cases that are unopenable with our people in them. They have tiny air holes but we can only hope something this short creature devises will open them. " Food is brought over. "We are good hunter and took a dozen giant elks. We have 2200 of these ridiculous clothes sacks. and a ton of onions and turnips to show for 3 dead and 200 brutal injuries across 175 people. in the far lights a dozen of our people will commit a sin against the wise one so they may awake recovered.. The Bright Sword has much to answer for sending us here. And we have had to fend off attacks from Orc and Cathar. And we have not yet slept a night"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, General Napoleon, the Short One as you call him, also informed us of the weapons cache and not of its trap; I was alone when the trap exploded and I was pinned to a tree. And the 'band of Orcs' he told us about were more than a band and were big Space Orcs. I'm not entirely sure he likes us either. Perhaps that is part of his job here." "One of the lessons we are all to learn in this place is cooperation, how to work together to achieve goals and survive this place. In the Spirit of that Cooperativeness, I would like to offer to get your comrades out of those boxes... and there is nothing you need to do in return. A gesture of Good Will and Cooperation." Realmer thinks to Bob, 'Hey Bob. Make contact with the minds of those trapped in these boxes here and Trump them out of there.'

  • Michael James Watson

bob peeks in each and trumps them out. Delighted to be free, they offer thanks as members off the group go to them and direct them back to their groups. 'Thank you! That is a great relief. We have few wizards and they could do nothing to these things. Our talents in those method are different."

  • Michael James Watson

Food is eaten and shared. As tale are told. he says, "We would trade for meat in the short term since a dozen elks do not fed 175. we ill trade 2000 of these outfits for meat and spare weaponry. As for the orc armor, while some might fit Ranger Faent here you will have to speak to the orcs if they wish those. Our intent is to travel to the transport, then eat, laving nothing behind. There must be a more hospitable place between here and the east sea"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I will confer with my Commanders and the Commanders of the Reen as to a fair trade for the clothing; I know the Reen would appreciate something warm to wear and I am sure they would be willing to trade meat and spare weaponry as well. And while we are here in your camp, perhaps you could arrange an introduction with the commanders of the other Tribes of the Reskara; it would make it easier to start trade and other relations with all the Armies of Reskara if one of the Reskara were to do the introductions."

  • Michael James Watson

They look at each other, The half orc says, "If only it were that easy. This is my third time here and the raskara seem to use this place to allow its elite forces to fight each other so we can more efficiently know how to kill each other back home. having done it here. We are fortunate our two clans want to ally. when we leave this camp we will leave nothing behind. Neither clan. We will live off the land so as much meat as you give us will be acceptable. You may take these ugly outfits with you tonight. What you send us tomorrow from your hunt will be satisfactory and will tell us if we wish to trade with you in the future. " H chews a bone clean while talking. Andala says, "I'm afraid Ranger Faent has the right of it. my clan and his know each other back home and have had good relations generally. There is no point trying to converse with the orcs. The elves pride themselves of not cooperating. The dwarves and the Cathars would rather fight each other then eat. When we leave tomorrow, after what rations you bring us, we will try to convince the Gufi Alat to come with us. They have too short an attention span to make any plan longer then a few days..

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I appreciate your candor and advice regarding dealings with the other Armies of Reskara. I have known several types of Elves and I know they can be Racist and sometimes down right Xenophobic, so if the Elves of Reskara are uninterested in cooperating with anyone, then I shall not waste my time or theirs. I have also known Dwarves and know their love for fighting, drinking and riches to buy their weapons, armor and drink... and I know most detest Orcs and Orcish Craft, so I shall avoid dealing with them for the now. I am unfamiliar with the Cathar, but if their minds are like that of the dwarves and only desire to fight, then I shall avoid them as well. The Orcs I have already had problems with, as well you know, but if they have anything worth trading or could be trusted to keep their word... I might palaver and trade with them." Realmer turns to the half-orc, "Ranger Faent, if you with to come to the Amber Camp I will allow you to pick the armor you want before we trade it or leave it behind." Realmer turns back to Andala, "I will have the meat delivered, fully cooked and smoked, no later than sunrise. I will have the weapons we can spare delivered later tonight and we will pickup the clothing then. When we depart, we will eventually be headed towards a plain to the north; the Kzin are already headed that way and if they get there first, they said they will reserve a spot for the Amberites. If you find yourselves there as well, we can camp together... I will try to save you some space. If you find yourselves traveling the same paths we are... perhaps we can make an arrangement to travel together and work together. Something to think about."

  • Michael James Watson

Andala nods, "Very good. We have dealt with the Kzin and I should warn you just in case. The Cathar are a feline race and as such things happen in the multiverse the Kzin are...cousins of a sort. they often fight together, I'm not sure how they know each other. The Cathar have fair magics and occasionally their warbands include a few Kzin. We shall consider any payment satisfactory though it will color future arrangements. You are a humanoid race,as are the Reen. Is there something in particular you would trade for?

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer thinks for a moment, looking thoughtful. "With the clothing trade, our needs for the now are fairly met. But I would be willing to trade some of our sweet melons for some of your turnips and onions; diversity is the key to eating well. And when armor suited for humans is found, we would surely be interested. But what I... what we, as the Amberite Army, are looking for is, cooperation... and perhaps an allying of our forces... but I know that that takes time, and you will surely base that on how well we trade. I know our forces will be staying here another day, at least, to plan and prepare. Should you decide tomorrow, after all trades are completed, that you would like to join us or further discuss joining us, you will know where we are. Commander Andala, Ranger Faent, the evening grows dark and all of our troops need some rest. I will leave you now and send my men to trade soon, then again by sunrise. Well met by moonlight and magic." Realmer stands and bows his head respectfully to Andala and then Faent.

  • Michael James Watson

Faent gets up to accompany you back to camp after farewells. Faent-"Our leaders back home play a game with the Adledross. They say we are here to cooperate but in fact we are here to meet enemy leaders. Its stupid and dangerous but so is our world. Further, our clans themselves are far from unified. my own clan will certainly slay me to leave me behind at some point. as one of the few of my world that has traveled off world, beside here, I am not trusted. Should I find myself alone, I would like to say I will be helpful to whatever of the other 4 empire hires me.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Should you fall into bad times with your people, Faent, the Amberite Army will accept you and 'hire' you... as long as I am in Command and as long as I have influence. It is a shame that your leaders back home and some of your peoples here cannot grasp the concept of the Power of Cooperation. But it is their loss and most likely will mean the loss of their lives... at least here." When they arrive at the Amberite Camp Realmer will give Faent his pick of the Orc armor and his choice of weapon from the spare weapons currently stockpiled. "I will be sending more weapons and melons to your camp soon. We will trade for the clothing, turnips and onions then. The meat, at sunrise. I will have two of my soldiers accompany you to our camp lines. 404, 219, make sure he gets back safely." Once he is well out of earshot, Realmer addresses the other Cohort Commanders, Tesa and whomever is within earshot. "Send them 18 cooked and smoked pigs at sunrise with a large guard contingent. If one pig can feed 10 men for a week, that should hold them over for a little over a week, if they ration well. I also want to send 200 melons, bring back as many turnips and onions as they are will to trade when you get the clothing. And give them 100 orc cleavers and 200 knives. Once we get the clothing and foods from them, we can trade with the Reen to recoup some of our expenses. Commander Carston, I'd like you to take charge of the trade and get it done soon. Report back to me when it is done." "Are there any objections? Anything anyone would like to add or say? Permission to speak freely. If nothing... you are dismissed."

  • Michael James Watson

There are no objections and word of the outfits bring laughter, but of course they still want them. Fort listens to the explanation and asks. "Did you find something particularly odd about these outfit, Realmer? Other then the color?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I didn't check them for magic, if that is what you mean, but they were a sort of a one piece overall with sleeves, they looked kind of soft and fluffy or fuzzy... and the black markings on them were oddly placed, in my opinion." He uses a Cantrip 2D-lusion to show what they look like exactly.

  • Michael James Watson

"There is a card in the King random deck for a world called the Blighted earth. I spent time there undercover with the Total warriors. Its a world blasted with radioactivity and political strife. An earth world. They built a wall around one of the great cities of their world, a New York, after a near nuke pretty much screwed that part of the country. Then they took all the prisoners in the whole country's prisons and dropped them in the middle. a federal police force mans the walls but the prisoners inside have their own problems and run their own little nightmare gangland. The federals provide food and clothing. The clothing is what you describe and what I saw in Tesa's mind. bright jumpsuits that make hiding impossible. and those marking, circles and stars, are targeting markers for the wall guards. It helps the insurgents who go in the city and the guards on the walls target shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, heart, nuts. I can't say about these but the ones at New York Federal Penitentiary are specially painted to be extraordinarily easy to see with scoped weapons and night goggles. clothes designed to help guards kill and disable them. But its warm, durable, impervious to dye, falls apart if cut into or sewn on to to cover the targeting points. They also have embedded thread markers for tracking with satellites and computer monitoring systems."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"They sound like more of a bane than a boon. Can they be altered by magic to change their colors and markings? It sounds like the technology side of things is covered and blocked in that regard."

  • Michael James Watson

"I won't know till I see them. Its a tech world for sure. I assume magic would work but these ,ight be designed for use here. As for bane/boon, the temperature in tat city in the winter gets to freezing for months at a time. its sweaty hot in the summer. the outfts are comfortable for either weather. I think they had some protection to a heightened radioactivity in the region.if you don't piss off the insurgent police, they are comfortable covering.. Anyway, I won't know til isee them tomarrow."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Actually, they will be here later tonight, but it can wait til tomorrow to inspect them. Carston, get some men together and get the melons and weapons to Commander Andala and get the turnips, onions and clothing back soon so you can get some rest. It has been a busy day and there is much we must do tomorrow to prepare for the journey to come. Rest well all. Dismissed." Unless someone wants a word with Realmer, he will find a place where he is not likely to be interrupted, perhaps his shelter, perhaps on the roof of the kitchen... he will summon Bob to him and the will take the time to Weave and Rack the Spells that Bob used earlier this day; Confusion Storm and Magic Missiles. He also takes the time to Weave and Hang the Secure Shelter Spell back on the Sigil of the Spiral as it will be useful again in some form before this year is over. Once this is done he will retire to his shelter and sleep until just before dawn, when he will have Bob awaken him.

  • Michael James Watson

IN the morning Carston comes over wearing a purple jumpsuit. "This is embarrassing. Purple is the closest to not objectionable. The trades went well. They were very happy with the meat and weapons and send their regards and a crapton of onions and turnips. They were attacked by an orc squad but we took them out. Other then that we are done. The question now is do we leave a presence behind? Speaking with their man Faent I think they have the right idea. Move forward, hope to never need anything left behind, We need to start mapping the place.. The dragons would sure help with that"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Firstly, and most importantly, we will not be leaving a presence behind; I find no purpose for it. And if we cannot use it now, we cannot use it and it should be left behind. Moving forward is best. Secondly, the mapping; let's get on that immediately. Lets take half of the clothing to the Reen and see if they would be willing to recoup half of our trade costs from their stockpiles since I took only from Amber's stockpiles. If they are unwilling, then so be it. And ask them to start some mapping flights. Have someone find out if there is a cartographer amongst our troops and have the scouts, air and ground, report to him or her their finding so we can get a good map started. But before you start any of that... let me see if I can alter the clothing without destroying it." Realmer brings up the Pattern in his mind and walks it to the center then looks over the purple onesy on Carston. If he thinks it can be altered, he will try to Mold Shadow Stuff and make the color and patterning a forest camouflage and 'tell' the techno stuff inside that the new color and patterns are what it is supposed to be. He will also 'tell the tracking aspect of the clothing to anti-track or scramble tracking instead, and that that is what it is supposed to do.

  • Michael James Watson

The first thing Realmer sees through his pattern lens is that they have tags and markers on them, magical, and there is a tiny fire spell bound to each one. He hears Fort,_"Ya, I noticed that too. Magical, tagged and best not to muck with. I suggest we wear our current clothes and keep these for sleeping when the temp drops. At least tille we see what the weather is like ahead. The Reen re delighted by the clothes, not having a big interest in camouflage. Carston goes of over the trades and the Reen are pleased. As for mapping.... Carston-"Tal suggests sending 20 dragons and riders ahead with 20 of ours. Do long range lights over the next week ."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Shame about the clothing, but I was considering sleep wear or underclothing as an option as well. Plus once we find armor that will fit us...." he trails off for a moment. "Perhaps I can alter the Orc armor as I intended to alter the clothing... perhaps I can resize it." He shakes his head and continues. "As for the scout flights and mapping; make it so. Though I am sure I don't want to stay here for a full week. I think we should get moving as soon as we are fully prepared... which, based on the look of things, shouldn't be much longer... another day or two? Our troops are organized and efficient... so are the Reen. What is the disposition of the Horsemen? And the remaining forces of the Kzin?"

  • Michael James Watson

"According to Tal and Roland the horseman have refused to even speak to them beyond telling them that they do not speak to animals. Roland told them that they didn't mean for them to talk to their dragons and they said they had never considered talking to beasts of burden but they understood why he could think that, being a animal and not having the reason of a native horseman. Apparently Tal and some others had to keep Roland back manfully. I'd write thim off for now.'

  • Michael James Watson

"the Kzin are gone. We might beat them to the melon patch if you want to talk to them. I had an idea though. Most these armies will be past the melon patch in a few days. But we didn't take a tenth of them and thee were a lot of other food in the area; greens, grains..The Kzin might take a chunk of the remaining pigs but if the pigs know the place they might keep going there. I was thinking it might be good to have a couple trumps to go back there to resupply if things get scarce."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Odd, I recall Tal mentioning offering pigs to the Horsemen in hopes of good relations... I guess that's off the table. And I have no need to speak with the Kzin for the now, just wanted to know their disposition. The melon patch... yes. We could get more supplies on our way, after the others have moved through and while there I can make a couple Trumps, as you suggest. Excellent idea. Now, let's go take a look at this heap of armor... I might have a Pattern Trick up my sleeve to resize it." Realmer intends to Mold Shadow Stuff with his Advanced Pattern Power to simply make the armor, surely 'shadow stuff', human sized. Once at the pile of armor, Realmer says: "Here goes..." and tries his idea.

  • Michael James Watson

The pain is immediate, as if he is fighting someone else's psyche through a constrruct.. The armor isn't magical but as you attempt to shift the pattern in it the sense of movement is great but it occurs to him that he might be leaving the shadow he is in if he pushes it too far. he think he might be able to change one item at a time, slowly, and at the risk of leaving the shadow of Adledross alltogether.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stops once he realizes that this will not work the way he wants it to. He contemplates trying to alter reality and increase the probability that the armor is somehow magical and capable of resizing itself. But then he realizes the amount of psychic Force required, considering the psyche he seemed to be battling, would not be worth the effort. He drops the pattern and turns to Fort. "I don't think this is going to work. I seem to be battling against another psyche of some sort that does not want me to change things. I guess we will have to leave the armor here. Probably better anyway, I never really liked Orc craft. Except their cleavers."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You mentioned Roland earlier. How is he? I take it the spell worked? And how is Alex? And what of the dead? Did any resurrect? And the Dragons?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I was wondering if it would work. I can do a low order Polymorph object but it would only last 24 hours or so. We are more likely to find better anyway. As for Alex, how is he? Arrogant, proud, bloody. he has a heroic constitution and heals wicked fast. he'll be good in a few days. easier to let him walk around smiling all wounded. And Roland has finally found someone worth his time. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, I am glad that Alex and Roland are both well and that they found each other." Realmer looks thoughtful for a moment then chuckles and says, "I heard a term on an Earth World that might apply to those two; a bromance? Am I using that term correctly?" Realmer chuckles again then says, "Perhaps we should give Alex a special assignment, something to go with his new buoyant personality; Morale Officer perhaps?" Realmer smiles at Fort then laughs for a few moments. "He wouldn't be in charge of anyone, but would be in charge of keeping everyone's Spirits high. And since his Spirits are quite high right now, I can think of no better man for the job." "I think that Alex needs to learn how to be a part of a team, not just how to take orders from those in command and how to be NOT in command. And something more than just a one-man attack force. I think making him the Morale Officer would do just that; it gives him an important position of high responsibility and high interaction with the troops, but not in a true leadership role where orders are given... more like helpful suggestions." "And speaking of morale; let's makes tonight's dinner with the Reen something of a celebration of our good fortunes and new alliance. Arrange for some competitive games; wrestling, dagger throwing, etc. Also some strategy games; chess, go... we can draw the boards on the ground, overlarge, and use rocks and such with charcoal markings. We can ask the Reen to ask their Dragons to watch the camps while we spend a few hours this evening enjoying ourselves before the real hard work begins." Realmer looks back to the pile of armor and says a bit distantly, "And I think I want to give this armor to the other Orc army that did not attack us, just to be rid of it and possibly gain favor. It was the Blue Hand Orcs that attacked us, so it is the Blue Hand Orcs we have issues with, not all the Orcs. I would rather give it to them directly as opposed to leaving it for them to salvage." Still staring at the pile of armor, almost looking through it... still sounding a bit distant. "What do you think, Fort? Not just about the armor, but all of it." Slight pause. "I don't want to start questioning my own command abilities, or have you or others question them... but if I am to ask 'how am I doing?' of anyone, it would surely be a man with leadership experience, a soldier I have been paired with for 9 years and my 2nd in command." "I had wondered why I was put in command, especially of 1st Cohort... which I figured out quickly meant I was commanding the entire army. When you mentioned it was because I am a royal, the understanding and magnitude of the situation hit me and... to be honest, I was not prepared for it. I know that was only a little over a day ago now, but it seems much longer. I think the shock of it and the automatic responses of my training have eased back due to some much needed sleep and now my mind begins to wonder again." Realmer continues to stare at the armor for a few moments, then he shakes his head and turns to look at Fort, looking a bit more like himself.

  • Michael James Watson

"Oh sweetheart are you ever getting a song....ok, let's take this by the numbers and out of order. ". Mt. Rebooting.

  • Michael James Watson

"I've known amberites my whole adventuring lives, though I was among the mighty of my universes before I met Your Bleys and he brought many of your amberites to York and Tosa. As well as Mac' Bar, the Pente Plains, Paradox & Discord. "I was born in a slum of Wall, on Tosa, and grew up as a thieving gutter rat among the thieves quarters of that sword age metropolis. The Constantinople of Tosa..I was a cup holder in the Beggar's guild by 5, a coin-carrying member of the Thieves Guild by 10, attended the Snikura Assassin's School, and was a tattooed member of the Wizard's guild at 14. At 16 I was dragooned into the army, part of the Wizard's Guild donation to the cause. " I would have fled into the under-streets when they tried to dragoon me. But a voice from shadow told me to obey and looked over me. Conf of Shadows, the not-god of thieves on Tosa. I had no idea of my relationship to him at the time. Nor his to Tolknor or Nur Al Din. And certainly not his relationship to Tesa, she was not born yet. I was taught medical skills right along side of swordsmanship by a warrior priest of The Old Faith. By the time I was 20 I had sworn to the fire god Mikon, seen war roll over me a dozen times, served in the line and had been branded a Quad; a servant of four masters. I was never meant to be a leader. I was meant to be a skilled servant. I fought to survive but it was reading, and music that was my passion. Storytelling and history, and the powers of the universe. " "In time and after many adventures, traveling with a variety of diverse peoples including many of the Elders of my Amber I learned to lead. "After Tolknor created York I was one of the first Total Warriors. I learned how to be a great leader there. Its part of the Total Warrior creed: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. Fort chuckles as he monologues, impressing his mighty presence on his story telling. "Why did they make you a cohort Commander first? Because while Traxton and Dandilar and Carston need to know how to fight and lead troops, you needed to learn to stand bold in a very loud dynamic family that controls much of Shadow. Rasak and Adledross may make them soldiers but it needs to make you know your are an Amberite, not a librarian. I will bet you credits to navy beans that you will remain a cohort Commander even after the other 4 are replaced. This is what Benedict wanted of you. And whoever is made cohort commanders next, none will have your station. Alex and Roland may think themselves universal gods but neither are Amberites...You are here to learn how to lead. and more importantly to learn that it is your duty to lead. What is it Oberon used to say? Death I no reprieve from Duty" still mt

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Fort mentions Oberon's quote, Realmer says it at the same time: "Death is no reprieve from Duty." Then he chuckles.

  • Michael James Watson

"When it comes to Alexandir and Roland, I am familiar with the term 'bromance.' While I can appreciate the term and it would be hard to believe such a monumental creature as Alex would dally in such things, it does bring up an interesting or dangerous possibility. They might just be boon companions in this strange place with a different view on titles and leadership. But I know Alexandir, have known him since he was still a Blacksmith's son in a village far outside Wall. I was there when he touched the World Stone. There are types of bondings in our worlds he respects and admires but has never joined in since by the time he might have the others he might respect enough had touched the Stone too. Zatonic. Gerard. Atlas. Grog. " Fort looks around the camp as thing are in preparation. "Now Roland.. He is a mighty warrior and he is ambitious and arrogant in a way that might suit Alexandir. Such pairings can be dangerous. Sword Banded. Centaurs and Barbarians on Paradox began it with banded brothers riding on the back of centaur mounts. Culturally it was an important warrior bond, a type of marriage. In time it spread across the Tosian multiverse, being a common thing among adventurers. Sometimes its a formal thing, like with Jake and Kirgor or Cantor & Janak who performed the whole ceremony formally, stepping over the sword on the field of battle, gripping hands in blood from a shared slain foe. Typical Gothic warrior crap... Others are more casual about it like Ascorbc & Boxlifter or Hazarda and Timothy Elhue. Some are also marriages like Zatonic and Geata. Its usually a bonding of equals but I doubt Roland is anywhere near Alexandir's' equal at anything. Of course those happen too in the case of Vonnilia and Shaharazad. Still. one never knows what bands one to another. My own situation is an example. While I am married to the Fox I have a residual bond with Wenda from a much earlier epoch of our lives when things were very exciting. Once the Fox and I became friends, Wenda was....wroth.. I would not want to see what a jilted Alexandir could do to an unsuspecting nation, should he feel insulted after such a pairing. " He pauses to think. "There is another possibility and it might be part of why Benedict and Random wanted Alexandir to come here. Alexandir is the Premier Saint of Battle. He leads a council of warriors of epics that view and judge battle across shadow and judge someone to have committed a suitable act of ideal battle worthy of recognition as iconic examples for warriors everywhere. Its a Tosian thing originally, but spread across our multiverse. I heard Benedict mention about extending the Sainthoods to Amber. There are certain magical benefits for inclusion in the order. I bear 6 Sainthoods myself. " He starts to point to his hat in an act of vanity, only to remember he does not wear it. "This place is too much of a game for the Saints. So battle here would not count. But Alex might well invite Roland to join him in Amber in the hopes of a repeat performance worthy of inclusion. Wouldn't surprise me." He puts his hand on Realmer's shoulder. "In the moment though, fear not. Strap your jock tight and lets go. If I think you err I shall make a jest. If I think you are fucking up, ill tap my eye..." He slyly taps the side of his eye with a pinky, but smiles wickedly. "Shall we be about our business, Commander?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer listens quietly, except the one simultaneous quote with Fort and deeply ponders Forts words. When he finishes and asks his question, Realmer pulls back with a look of mock-horror on his face. "God and Monsters, man. I didn't need a detailed monologue, the part at the end would have sufficed." Realmer maintains the 'horrified' look for several seconds in silence, then cracks a wide smile, winks at Fort and laughs, then slaps him on the back good naturedly. "Thank you for your candor and your advice, Fort. Now, let's get to business, Sub-commander. Let's see if we can convert some of those caltrops into ammunition for the Nail Guns. And let's see if there was enough Flame Fuel salvaged for a 'refill incantation' I recently learned... or if we are going to have to concoct our own recipe. And the Orc armor... give it to the other Orc army, not the Blue Hands, with my regards. Tell them it is a thank you for not raiding the Amberites Camp. I am sure there is much more to do this day before our feast can begin, let's see what needs immediate attention, shall we."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort laughs, "I'm the first crowned bard you've met I guess? We tend to ramble out of a sense of instruction. I've sung 10,000 Kegs of Ale in the hall 3 times in a row...twice"..

  • Michael James Watson

"The fire fuel I think we can manage. Fuel in the line when pressure failed.. I think I can manage refilling the pressure tank with compressed air. You have the refill spell. as for the caltrops to nails, its a very different type of nail...now... I have an idea on that but it bound to piss off the Reen.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Let's hear it. Maybe we can find a way to make it sound better to them before we get there." Realmer walks a soldier's pace, neither fast nor slow. He inspects visually and gives Hand Signs of approval when he sees good work being done. He is also listening to Fort.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "The problem with the nails is they are a high quality razor silver alloy. 3cm long,3mm, wide and half a mm in tal. its incredibly high tensile strength makes it work under pressure and its shape makes it stack compactly and fly straight and true. These are not construction nails. They are not very dangerous individually and depend on multiple hits to cause a lot of tiny wounds. They have no stopping power and cause very little hydro-static shock. What they do is hurt a lot in a lot of distracting places. Enough cause blood loss and a few in the heart or eye can kill. They are easy to use with no kick or recoil. But they want to hit a target with 500 to a 1000 nails and that kind of cumulative damage is what kills. . I'm betting a quarter million rounds were used in that nail fight ," He stops and waits for Realmer to stop and look at him. "I have a silver magnet spell that will recover all those nails and I am sure they can be re-stacked and the clips reloaded. But....while a majority of those nails are spread wildly around the battle site, the easiest ones to recover......are in the dragon bodies they brought back....and recovering them will be visually dramatic and messy"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer draws in a breath sharply. "I understand what you mean. So the dragons did not resurrect. How about the lost soldiers?"

  • Michael James Watson

'Oh they did resurrect. All shiny and new. So did our dead as you know. But the old bodies remain. They were talking about smoking the meat and curing leather.. but.. still, its going to be messy and there is no way around it.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, let's be about it then. Perhaps we can offer them a larger share of the Nail Guns and ammunition to help make them feel better about the whole mess."

  • Michael James Watson

"You want to ask them or shall I?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Who do you think they like better? We've both had about equal interactions with their Wing Commanders." Realmer shrugs.

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, there is no reprieve from duty, oh royal commander"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“I could delegate that responsibility to one of the other Cohort Commanders or Sub-commanders...” Realmer pauses to arch an eyebrow at Fort, then continues, “But a good Commander won't make anyone do something he is unwilling to do himself. Duty.” When Fort and Realmer arrive at the Reen Camp, Realmer requests to speak with Wing Commander Talodak. When they are with him, Realmer gets to the point quickly. “Wing Commander Talodak; we have a request you're not going to like... it involves the dead dragons. I will be quick and direct; we have a way to retrieve the ammunition for the Nail Guns from the dragons bodies, but it will be very messy. We know this may upset you and your people, but we are willing to give the Reen the larger share of what is recovered as well as a few extra Nails Guns to hopefully help offset the upsetting nature of what we would like to do.... with your permission, of course.”

  • Michael James Watson

tal looks a bit surprised. "Proceed, Commander. as I told you, we are not sentimental about our dead. they are memorialized elsewhere. Of course in this situation the dead will be able to watch whats done to their dead bodies. Seems macabre. As for the weapons, we'll take a few of course. But id prefer your ground forces keep the projectile weapons and let u have the caltrops. Dropped from the air they could be potent. " Fort smiles t Realmer, "I may owe them a song too"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Wing Commander, you have a deal. Sub-commander Fort; it's your show now."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort steps up, "I apologize in advanced Commander Talodak. " Alex and Roland are standing near the dragon corpses. a Fort walks up. He briefly speaks to them and Alex looks angered but Roland assures him and they walk over to the Wing Commander. Alex-"Commander, I'm told the Reen do not get sentimental about their dead. I do. though that does not stop me from expending them in need." Tal, "Understandable, Soldier 42. But this is my camp." Fort does a few preparatory spells, mostly levitating them and arranging positioning. AS he does most of the riders and no few of the dragons move to watch. Fort raises his hands finally and enchants the high level, low order spell. Quickly its like a blender rends the corpses as a 100k tiny nail rush out to the speed a point to gather shivering like insects There is a rush of surprise from the Reen. Tal walks up, followed by Roland. He picks up a nail, looking like a sliver of silver. "Such a little thing to cause such damage." Fort nods and picks one up too, "There is a common magic item on Tosa that is a quiver that a fired arrow automatically returns to. The total Warrior have a different style of bolt gun that does the same thing. I don't see any reason that wouldn't work on these. " Alex-"the bolt guns recover bolts the the clip but not under the kind of pressure these must be under..Still, that's a structural issue the enchanter would probably be able to overcome. Put Jeremy on it. " Fort snorts. "You put him on it #42. I like my gonads where they are." Alex and Fort chuckle. Roland does too not knowing who Jeremy is or how he might move someone's genitals. Alex-"How will you load the clips?" fort answers,"TK" Alex nods. Fort starts using Silver Magnet to fill bag with nails. Tal approaches Realmer-'We had planned a week to render the dragons but I think we shall just have a bonfire instead. Get it over with quick. We will begin survey flight today then. Would you like to send troops with the riders?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, Wing Commander, I would like to send some of my troops skilled in mapping with your Riders. I will have them arrive at your camp shorty after I arrive back at mine. And if you still want to take the week to render the dragons, we might be able to spare the time. The extra resources would be worth it." Realmer turns to Fort, Alex and Roland. "I will take care of telling Jeremy to get on the Returning Ammunition project... and if he wants MY gonads, he can try to take them. Been a loooong time since I've been in a Sorcerer's Duel... could be fun" he says with a wicked smile and a gleam in his eyes. "I also have some Trumps to work on and some Fire Fuel tanks to refill as well as planning for the dinner tonight. Speaking of which, Wing Commander... I wanted to turn tonight's dinner into a short celebration of our alliance and good fortunes... I would like all of the Reen to attend and I would like to ask if you could ask your dragons to keep watch and guard the camps while all of our men take some time to eat and get to know each other. There will be some games as well."

  • Michael James Watson

Tal nods, 'well then, since you have the kitchen lets save as much of the smoked pig as possible for the future and I'll have dragon meat sent over with a few of our best cooks. As for the rest, without proper sewing tools the leather of the dragons is nearly worthless. Besides, I suspect we will have more as the year wears on. Till tonight.' He nods and goes to issue orders. Nearing camp Alex pats Realmer on the shoulder, "By the way, Lord Relmopator, if you ever choose to duel with Jeremy please do it at the gladiatorial arena at Gesheka so the rest of us can watch. If you think your powers challenge his you have greatly underestimated who you see in that old man. I have noticed that in you Amberites. Fine boaster, but not long on delivery. Though your Gerard does remind me very much of my own dear old friend Gerard when it come to backing up his boasts. Ask Fort if I am mistaken in my appraisals" He then walks off ignoring any retort.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles at Alex's commentary, then turns to Fort. "I never said I would be victorious... I was just implying he would have a fight on his hands he would surely not forget." Realmer chuckles again. "I'll go talk to Jeremy... and I'll keep my gonads protected. Then I'm going to work on those Flame Throwers. After that, the Trumps of the Melon Patch and a couple others. While I am working on them, I will need to be undisturbed, so I will need you to manage things for a few hours, Fort. I will let you know before I start that project. In the mean time, spread word throughout our camps that we need surveyors with excellent vision, memory and mapping skills if possible, to report to the kitchen for a few days of supplies then to report to the Reen as quickly as possible. And send a runner now to their camp to request several large pieces of dragonskin suitable for making large maps. Anything else before I go see Jeremy?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Well, going to see Jeremy would require leaving Adledross so its going to have to wait. Ill go back over for the skins and they would probably be a good medium for trumps. I can make contact trumps and we can probably use a few of those. As for surveyors, I have an idea who to grab. Take a look at the flame throwers and lets see where things stand

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Odd. I thought Jeremy was with us. My mistake. The Flame Throwers then." Once at the weapons stockpile, Realmer will look over the Flame Throwers very carefully, studying their design and workings before attempting to open them or mix fuels from one tank to another. Realmer will be very cautious in every step. If Fort is not with him, Realmer will find someone knowledgeable in Space Orc Tech, or similar, to assist him if needed.

  • Michael James Watson

The orcish design tends to have a degree of Gerry-rigging or customization to them but with brute-force over compensations that makes for surprisingly sturdy weapon. A lot of it is pressurized. Fuel tank, compressed air, dispenser reserve,separate lighting fire for a tiny with valves and gauges to maintain the pressurized liquid spray. there are two liquids involved. The reservoir for the lighter fluids are half full at least. After draining the remaining fuel tanks there is just barely a quarter of a tank left. The battle had drained all their juice.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

During the process of combining contents of the Fire Fuel tanks, Realmer should have an idea of the general type of fluid or fluids used to make the Fire Fuel, by smell, viscosity, etc. Enough to know that the Incantation of Refilling, designed for alcoholic fluids, may not work without a bit of modification, but he is willing to try it as is. Hopefully it will just fail and not harm the Fire Fuel, if it does not work. Realmer touches the fluid within the container with one finger, then rims the top of the open container as he Incants; "Cuius satietatem Bacchaus nomen aeternum" trice.

  • Michael James Watson

From behind he hears "Oh great wizard whose powers grow through a rain of tears." behind him comes a young looking man with unkempt dark hair a sweet plain face. he wears a white shirt and black vest of a well tailored and embroidered style. He looks over his shoulder and aways over a rise going up to the city of the Adledross, Boney stands he nods to the young man who comes and sits across from you, looking deeply over the Orcish equipment. "Did the spell work?" H idly teases a long feather quill mixed in his hair.


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"It would appear not" Realmer says to the young newcomer, then turns to Boney. "General." "I thought it might not, as the spell was designed to refill alcoholic beverages. But I thought I might try it 'as is' before making modifications. But I do believe I do know where the modification needs to be made; a simple alteration to the incantation should suffice. I am Commander Relmopator, but I am sure you already know that. And may I inquire as to whom you are?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Cuius satietatem Hephaestus aga Poseidon nomen aeternum" The container fills with the smelly volatile liquid. "Baccchus is the God of alcohol. Poseidon of water, and Hephaestus is Fire. Though whoever taught you that was making you look silly. perhaps they didn't know any better. The words are not a important as the intent. You have been here a short time and your reliance on magic has already been noted. that's why I am here. To evaluate your combat magic to modify your targets"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer is silent for a moment and looks as if he has something to say, but sighs slightly and says instead: "I am here to learn. What must I do?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Do what you must. You are here to learn. And teach. " He waves at the filled tanks, "Magic tends to be a solitary thing. Duels are one on one. Wars are a team sport. Find poetry in unity. I have no doubt that if you set out on your own you could cross the continent, defeat what foes you could not avoid. But in the end, would you have learned teamwork? I have no doubt that the dragon riders could fly across the continent in a few days. But what would they have learned? I have no doubt you could lead a company across the continent using your magic to destroy many a force unfamiliar with magic and do so with mot of your countrymen as spectators. But will they learn your magic? Will you have bonds of comradeship with them? " He produces two sliver cups. Pours the fire fuel into both. "dèan am fìon uisge teine seo" The gasoline smell disappears and the glasses are filled with a fine burgundy. "Amber sends warriors here every year to become great soldiers. It is Benedict's hope that out of each legion will be at least one leader. What will you teach them? Cantrips? Low Order magic? Power words?" He drinks the glass and the glass refills "This is only the first week. Nothing much is expected of you. But the battles will vary greatly. Magic may not solve problems the same day to day. But a sharp blade always cuts" He finishes the glass and sets it down, walking back up the narrow path to the heights, where Boney awaits.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer watches as the young man walks away, then look past him to where Boney is upon the hill and gives him a slight nod. Realmer sits on the ground cross-legged in front of the filled flamethrower contemplating all he has just been told. He laughs at himself out loud and shakes his head as he realizes that after all these decades he is still thinking like a low order wizard. He knows what he wants the magic to do. He knows how to manipulate the magic to do so. He knows how to weave a spell to accomplish this. He has always known. Realmer begins by gathering all of the empty flamethrowers around him. Then he removes the fuel tank lids to open them all. He sits in the center of them with the filled flamethrower between his legs. Then he begins weaving a new spell; a combination of the spell he learned from Brand, what he just saw the young man do, and a variety of other low order spells with similar function. When he has finished weaving the spell, he stands, leaving the filled flame thrower on the ground at his feet. He waves his hand over the fluid in the tank then holds his hand over one empty tank and turns in a circle so his hand passes over all the empty tanks and he completes the spell with the incantation "e pluribus unum". All tanks are filled. Realmer will secure the tops on all of the filled tanks and then store them away. While he is storing them away he contemplates what magics he will teach and how.

  • Michael James Watson

The tanks fill quickly responding to the powerful magics. Is stressful and hard but direct. Something about Adledross battles slightly against magics of that power. Fort whistles, "That's more like it. We shall have to speak of magic like that. I've a date for a Broken Pattern and Mal at Riess. Its been an age of the world since I focused on magics but my high order magic is York based and a order of magnitude below that you did. Meats cooking. We have a good number of of the Reen in camp. We also Faent and a group of his people. His people are allied with the human and apparently ally with them in their home world too. A number of them are half-orcish and are looking that armor over with a possessive avarice. " Picking up a flame thrower and locking through it click, lights it off to make a long fire burst.

  • Michael James Watson

"Not bad... not efficient but it will do. Now, lets get these back to camp and tuck in. Oh 100 cases of a heavenly burgundy were delivered with a note saying a gift from Percy. Do we know a Percy?'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer picks up the glass of burgundy he did not drink (wine and all) and hands it to Fort. "If it smells like this, then yes, we know a Percy. He just told me a few things I needed to hear. And you and I are not the only ones going to be talking about Magics; the entire army, if possible is about to learn about Magics. I found out that this is not just a place to learn, but to teach.... and if there is anything I could teach, Magics would certainly be it. We need to find out who knows what concerning Magic; who has it and who does not. And then find out who has the capability to learn Magic and teach them. And it's not just going to be learning Spells or Cantrips, it will also be tactical lessons on efficacious spell use." Realmer appears to be beaming. "How much dragonskin did you secure? I should get on those Trumps soon. Speaking of which, perhaps I should also teach Trump Artistry to those who can learn it and perhaps some Shape Shifting exercises for those who possess it."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "Cantrips are where to start. Damned useful magic and nearly impossibly to kill oneself using them. I can teach Cantrips easy. as for low order spells, it get dicey pretty fast but Amberites have an affinity for them so perhaps. I would be delighted to learn Trump art. I can make contact trumps but the my transport trumps only work around the York shadows. When CHAD was hired we got a bunch of special transport trumps for non-amberites. Marvelous things. I couldn't figure them out but I'm a technician not a specialist. Some of our wizards got instruction from Finndo and Fiona. Others like myself were given maps and history lessons. If it wasn't for Arlo I might have become the first Quad Crowned Bard but according to our customs he has dibs on the bardic crown for Amber. He sips the wine and nods, savoring it. 'As for pelts, 30 square meters at least. Its still pretty fresh but we can manage it. By dawn I'll have the skins ready for maps and Trumps. I suggest we both work on making contact trumps for the next couple days. while the surveyors give us a feel for the road ahead"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes; Cantrips. The stepping stone to Low Order Magic. And Power Words as well; the stepping stone to High Order Magic. Both easy to learn, both useful but in different ways. Let's find out who already possesses Magics and to what degree. Those that can, will teach what they can. Those without Magics will learn.... a few Cantrips and a couple of Power Words at least. Those with Magics will learn more; High or Low Order. As the year progresses we will determine to what extend each soldier will continue to learn Magic." "Once the dragonskin is ready, I want to not just make the Trumps, but to start teaching you and others the Artistry, and other uses, of Trump. It would be best to mark them in the Tattoo Style of Inking... I will need to prepare some inks for the skins... with just what is around here I could easily make black... perhaps some red using blood... perhaps some green using leaves and herbs...." Realmer begins looking around the camp for various plants, rocks, charcoal, etc. that could be used in the making of inks. "And save aside a few of those Silver Nails; they will make excellent Tattoo Needles.... we can work up a stylus for them out of wood."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort smiles, "I can probably help with the inks. Let me think for a second....." He pauses for dramatic effect. He whispers, reaches a stand of grass in hand and casts Commune with Nature. After a few moments he says softly, "For yellows I find sources ahead, nearby, for marigolds,dandelion &sunflowers. Oranges there are some wild carrot within a mile... nice. Quite a frigging lot of carrots. We have onion skins. Browns-Excellent. There is a stand of walnut trees. Where the Kzin went through are groves of blueberries, grapes, hibiscus... That's nice. Spinach...that will make greens....Hibiscus makes good blues and we can flavor water. Oh....Cherries.. and look at that.. There are several thousand of them and the damn trees are crawling with vig snakes, so if there are Vig snakes there must be...... There!!!! Ink Vines..that's all the black ink we will need and we can braid whips too if we like. Make good ropes...Traps....With ink vine hooks.....OK... that's about as far as I dare seek now...That's food and ink....Hmm vig snake,...good eating..."

  • Michael James Watson

"I had another idea...We have 5 cohorts of 1000. That's based loosely on Amber doctrine;A fire team of 10, 10 FT to a company, 10 companies to a cohort, minimum. and they essentially are telling us who is in charge. While I get that they are going to change leaders we need to establish something that will transcend leadership changes. A general doctrine for the next 10 months....."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I like the way you're thinking, Fort. Some way of keeping all the alliances forged so far intact? A way to keep some standard operating procedures in place? Hmm... many things to contemplate there." "In regards to all those resources you found... know where all these places are? And they are all close by? If so, let's get some foraging teams out there and back soon. The additional foods could add a bit more robustness to tonight's dinner and of course gives us more time to make the ink. The addition of rope to our supplies would certainly be beneficial at some point in the near future... rope is always useful."

  • Michael James Watson

"All those sources are within a couple hours. I've hunted Vig Snake and so has Carston. We are both veteran of Ink Vine attacks. I'll speak to Carston and see if he will lead that group. the rest.. except for the flowers the rest don't need gentle harvesting. I'll handle the flower and we can piece out the other ones. " He looks thoughtful, "I'm not to worried about foreign alliances. I'm concerned about Amber interactions between groups when cohort command changes. You might want to head straight, someone else might want to go north, someone else hunker down for a month and farm. We can't say what alliance will hold as time goes on but we need to be focused ourselves. Look, I'm a Tosian CHAD, as such I'm a hireling of Amber. So is Alexandir and Carston. The rest of these people are soldiers of Amber, Thelusia, Diaga, Kashfa and a dozen other Amber tributaries all here to further their career in Amber. You are the only one here with no career goals as far as the Army of Amber is concerned. As a Royal you have the ear of the King You aren't going to be stuck commanding 3rd Cohort, 2nd legion in the hope of promotion. You need to set the tone for the next year so that the career people who follow the 5 of you into cohort command, know they are supposed to be following YOUR plan...These are professionals..They know what side of the bread is buttered."

  • Michael James Watson

"In the mean time. Lets focus on Clean, Chill, Heat, Extinguish, Purify water, Zap, Firefinger and Werelight. 8 Cantrips that are extremely useful and I bet everyone here can learn them fast. we can teach it on the march and in camp at night. I don't remember any wizard standing out over the last decade but one never knows."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, much to think on, much. Yes, the Cantrips are great. Also, Power Words: Magic Negation, Neural Disrupt and Lifeforce... three of the more useful for our purposes here. I'll get some teams on the foods, while you get the snakes and flowers. I'll let the kitchen know to save some of what we need for our inks. We will talk again soon about MY plan and those doctrines... but to be honest, I will need a lot more information about what is out there and what is to come before I can formulate that plan. And that is why we will talk again soon."

  • Michael James Watson

As the day pushes to evening various groups return with bounty. Carrot, walnuts, grapes, berries, spinach, cherries, and 300 very large snakes over 12' long and a foot across. Of the 200 troops Carston took to fight the snakes many are injured but seem in good spirits. Most of them have black scars on their bodies, mostly face and neck. fort reaches them first and is talking animatedly with them while inspecting the snakes. Among the troops there is a lot of sorting going on and several troopers seem talented in butchery. After Fort tells them how to clean the Vig Snakes they make short work of the luscious snake meat. Many troopers are familiar with hunting enough to know how to stake out the skin. Fort comes back over "So I learned something as I wandered out to pick daisies for the cause... I Communed several times. The forest runs north and south the whole run of the place and its packed with food. Fruit, vegetables, those melons, walnut, pecans, peanuts, as well as stocked with prey animals. From speaking to some of the plants it seems this is how its always been and this is the richest food region on the continent. I'm betting a lot of armies rush through the various minor encounters, like the vig snakes and the hip pigs to reach the other side and find themselves short of provender. I think part of our plan should be instructing the dead that when they set out to reach us again they forage with a purpose. Also, it may be more important then ever to be on good terms with the Dragonrider just to get back here for chows"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head and says, “Hmmmmm. I believe I am beginning to fathom this place. Maintaining good relations with the Reen, and all of our new allies, is important regardless of their ability to ferry food quickly. I have an idea for that too... the resupplying, that is. We are already planning on making some personal Trumps of... well, I guess we should discuss whom shall be Trumped.” He chuckles then continues, “And location Trumps of the Melon Patch, and I am now thinking one of this camp area too, since there is much provender to be found close by. As we visit the other sites you have learned of, we will make Trumps of them too. So, regardless of death of troops or dragons, we can return for provender. But I am also thinking about those who die, getting to the sites quickly and rejoining the Army quickly.... so to that end, I intend to create a Trump at each site, something semi-permanent.... maybe carved into a tree or the stone of the ground... hidden and only known to our troops and allies. I'm still working out the details and logistics in my head... once the surveyors return we will know more and be able to plan better. But I was thinking that each time we visit a new area of provender, I Trump back to the previous location, create a location Trump there for the site I just left, then Trump back to test it. And so on as we progress through this forested belt of plenty. When the last site is reached.... perhaps a Trump of me... I should always be with the Army... and if I die... well, I have Bob to get me back to the Army.” “As the supplies have been coming in, I have been pulling aside what we will need for the inks and I have already begun making some of them. With a little more help, I am sure we could finish the inks before dinner and the festivities begin, allowing them to steep for richer and more permanent colors. I have also made several styluses while you were gone; I used some the Silver Nails and some pieces of the harder woods, then fire hardened them. While I was making the styluses, I thought about tattooing a Trump image on a person... those who would be willing... never tried it before though... not exactly sure how well it would work... but in theory, it should.”

  • Michael James Watson

"I've seen trump tattoos before. They tend to fall apart as skin recycles and grows. Its like tattoos on shapechangers. One shift and its easy to forget to shift colors in. Though....hmmmm I wonder.... You Amberites seems to be closer connected to your shapechange then mine were. None were skilled at it but after the repair all of you have it to some degree...." He reaches out and grabs your wrist....looking closely at it. "Hmm You can shapechange skin color....change nails, bone, facial structures... My shapechanging to animals is not as freeform.....If I could speak to Digan he would be who to ask.... If you drew the trump you wanted....Could you use it as a guide to shapeshift the trump into your skin? It wouldn't be inked, a matter of pigmentation, but you would still focus the forces as you created the design..... I know how to embed spells in tattoos...in theory...never needed them myself but I know other practitioners that do.. York high order sorcerers that embed sorcery spells in ink...."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Take a closer look, Fort. I can also take on Animal and Demon Forms, add body parts like wings or extra limbs, and alter body parts.... though I am no Advanced Shape Shifter like many of those in the Courts, I do have more Shape Shifting ability than most Amberites. If I were to focus on my Shape Shifting Abilities and continually remind my body, for a period of time, that the Tattoo is part of my body and not to reject or get rid of it, it would remain a part of me until I decided to rid myself of it. It's rather like conditioned muscle responses; once the conditioning is in place the rest is automatic."

  • Michael James Watson

"I can see. but the ink is still a foriegn substance the body shuffles off epidermis around....hmmm something for the future. I have people stretchng dragon and Vig skin for maps and trumps. we can start on them a soon as we have something to put on them. I;ll set out tomorrow morning. We have guests arriving.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Guests? Oh my. I hope the hors d'oeuvres are ready." Realmer chuckles as he casually looks around.

  • Michael James Watson

The day to day stuff seems to have established the other armies to some degree. There seems to be a plan for the first week. lets sort of a month plan to get thing rolling.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's Plan for the next month: Establish a Long Term Plan & Doctrines for the Amber Army to follow, so that as Command changes we can all maintain standard operating procedures and remain focused on our short and long term objectives. This needs to be completed and established BEFORE we break camp. (some of what is listed below will be part of the Long Term Plan & Doctrines) After the first week of surveying, mapping and prepping are done, we will break camp. We will send out Scouting Teams both in the air and on the ground and work our way north through the forest, identifying all the food spots, gathering what provender we can, and marking them on our maps. We will also be making Trumps of each place to take with us and semi-permanent Trumps left at each previous place once the next one is found. The Army will continue to travel north through the forest as far as we can feasibly go before we must turn (East? West?) to make our way towards our destination at the end of the year. Continue surveying and mapping as we move. Continue the Magic training where time allows. Begin and continue cross training all soldiers in the skills they can train each other in. Continue to search for caches. Keep watch on the other Armies' movements. Make contact with other Armies for trade of supplies and information. Maintain daily and weekly reports to/from all Commanders and Advisors within our Army and with Allied Armies. Maintain a flow of information to the troops to help keep them informed enough so that they know what is going on and so if they must assume Command or are assigned Command, they will already have in idea of the situation and what to do. Maintain daily and weekly activities to boost Morale and increase Camaraderie; singing, shared stories, minor events at camp, etc.

  • Michael James Watson

This is the result of the aerial surveillance after a week. It shows the remnants of a large battle the horseman fought in the south and ht Kzin in the north. It shows the Orc battle and sight of the melon patch and the vig cherry battle. And 4 currently active battle zones of the clans.


  • Michael James Watson

The aerial observation showed at least 4 spots the clans had had major fights but they were seen later in the week and just showed dead and burns. The horseman in the south had a major fight lasting several days and seemed evenly matched. In the north the Kzin had broken the heavy forest, crossed the rolling hills and fought a heavily armed foot force and seemed to have destroyed them. Recon said they were feeding after the battle.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

As the first week comes to a close and all prepare to breakdown camp for travel, Realmer calls all soldiers of the Amber Army into Formation in the center of Amber's Camp for a Speech/ Announcement. He uses his Shape Shifting to Alter his Voice Box to allow his voice to project further and be heard more clearly at a distance without having to 'yell' or 'scream' at the top of his lungs or use Magic to be heard by all. “Soldiers of Amber!!! We have had a good week! And the month ahead looks promising! We have all worked well together within our own ranks. And with those of the other Armies. Our TEAMWORK is what has gotten us here. We have ALL done well! I am sure all of us, as soldiers and commanders, would like that to continue. Am I right?!” He pauses for a moment for those who might vocally approve, as soldiers do. “Excellent!!! I thought so! And do you know how we achieved that level of teamwork!? By forgetting who we were, outside this place, for the last 9 years!” Realmer gives them all a couple of moments to let that sink in.... then continues. “Regardless of our respective Heredity, Titles, Allegiances and Loyalties outside this place... HERE, on Adledross, we are ALL just soldiers in an army. All that matters in this place NOW, is what we do here for the next year. Anything outside this place that has come before or comes after, has no bearing in HERE. Who we ARE or WERE outside this place does not matter in HERE. We are NOT of Amber or Tosia... Kashfa or Begma... or any other of a dozen places while we are in HERE. WE are an Army of Soldiers that MUST work together, WITHOUT Ego or Self Centeredness, if WE are to survive, thrive and be VICTORIOUS over this place. So WE can pass the Test that those who run this place have put before US. And though, those who run this place may have control over who is in Command at any given time, WE, the Soldiers, the Army, are in control of what WE do and HOW we do it. Though they set some of the parameters and some of the goals, it is US that must achieve those goals within their parameters by setting OUR OWN parameters for achieving OUR OWN Goals along the way. The MOST important thing WE must ALL learn here and practice here, according to those who run this place, is to WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM. It IS what has gotten ALL of US here, so far.” Another short pause. “Our Goal is NOT to get to the Destination first. Our Goal is NOT to destroy every Enemy Force we encounter NOR to evade them. Our Goal, short and long term, IS to always work together as a team, a company, a cohort, an army, a group of armies, to achieve common goals and victories over this place. Our Goal IS to always share knowledge and experiences with fellow soldiers and to form bonds of Camaraderie that span our differences outside this place. Our Goal IS to teach our fellow soldiers what we know and learn from them what they know. Our Goal IS to leave this place Victorious, with ALL of our memories, knowledge and experiences of what we have learned here INTACT, so we can ALL be better Soldiers, better Leaders, better people.” And again, another short pause. “To that end, WE will be setting forth Doctrines to establish Standard Operating & Command Procedures, Long and Short Term Goals, Rules of Engagement, Rules of Behavior and appropriate Punishments for Infringements, should they occur. These Doctrines will be written down for ALL to read. These Doctrines will be established by ALL of US. Regardless of your current rank, you are free to suggest additions which will be discussed and added based on how it can improve upon what WE already want to accomplish and how WE want to accomplish it. Once all Doctrines have been agreed upon and set, ALL soldiers of the Amber Army, including ALL current commanders, will read it and mark it in your own blood to make it binding for ONE and ALL.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

[a few suggestions to add to what was posted above for the month plan and what ever we add later] Never Raid the Camps of the other 4 Armies sent here for Training/Testing. Raiding of other Armies Camps is restricted to Enemy Forces ONLY. Non-Combatants and Non-Hostiles will be treated with dignity and respect and will NEVER be attached or raided. Sexual Fraternization with anyone MUST be Consensual. Sexual Fraternization with non-Amber Soldiers is permitted, but care must be taken in these situations and a Commander should be consulted in each case. Always maintain good relations with those Armies and Commanders you can, even if they are not Allied Forces. Maintain cooperation and information flow amongst Commanders and Troops alike. Do not destroy crops or orchards or wild food patches once we have taken what we need. The use of Massively Destructive Forces used against Enemy Forces that could affect the environment or terrain, thus affecting our Army, must be used only in the most dire of situations and when all other options have been exhausted. The Use of Torture against Enemy Combatants as a form of Interrogation to gain Information is highly restricted and should only be used when all other information resources have been exhausted. The Use of Torture against non-combatants and non-hostiles as a form of Interrogation to gain Information is FORBIDDEN. The taking of Prisoners of War is highly restricted and will be evaluated on a case by case basis by Command.


Adledross: A New Base Camp and Broken Rules[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

After the weeks of measured advances the amber forces break in the hilly lands. Ahead are hundreds of miles of rolling hills, wooded dells, rivers, creeks, and bright green thick grasses. The sun is hot and the air humid. The troops have manged well. They are supplied with local foods having found numerous melon patches, fruit orchards, and other supplies of potatoes, onions, turnips, pineapples, apples, and stone fruits including avocado and apricots. Water has been plentiful and after finding growths of gourds water containers are plentiful too. Looking far into the distance, after many hills, is a red bard to the left, and a white stricture in the middle path slightly further in. At the horizon a herd of wild-horses ride over the hills to disappear; No one from the Adledross has contacted either the Amberites or the Reen. The Reen stayed on pace with the Amberites, cooperating with ground actions as needed. None of the other three groups have been seen.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Since weeks have passed, Command has surely changed several times during the advance through the forest. In his Leadership Role, whether he is in command or just an advisor, Realmer will advise caution in crossing though this area. If the locals are not hostile, he advises that the Army not destroy the lands while crossing them, as much as is possible, and maintain friendly relations with those locals. However, this could well be a trap and there could be Enemy Forces lying in wait within the valleys of those rolling hills and in those structures. In fact, Realmer finds the view a little too idyllic, a little too welcoming. Realmer takes the time to Actively Disbelieve what he is seeing. He also brings up the Pattern, walks it to its center then looks through the Lens at the world in front of him. Is this truly what he is seeing? If it turns out he is just being paranoid, then so be it. Either way, he comments, while sitting atop his colorful horse, Graso, "The Wild Horses could be an asset; if we can capture and train enough of them. Even if we cannot train them for riding or combat, they can surely be trained to carry our gear and supplies."

  • Michael James Watson

None of the leadership of the cohort has changed after 3 weeks. the break through occurred on the 22nd day on Adledross

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"We wait here, where we have a view. Send Stealth Scout Teams to sneak down to those buildings and investigate. Bob, maintain Psychic Tracking on each Scout Team Leader and report their findings back to me. If they are inhabited and are established to be not a threat, we negotiate for passage through these lands if needed, the we can move our forces through the area towards those Wild Horses and the great peak beyond. We should expect Enemy Forces on mounts or humanoids of the grasslands and hills, such as Gnolls and Bugbears. Commanders? Sub-Commanders? Wing Commanders? Any thing else we should be considering or doing here?"

  • Michael James Watson

Dandilar-"The buildings are not far away. An hour or two. We should support the scouts with forces close to hand if needed. Alex steps up , "Commander, I recommend we send a sizable force of our cavalry experts on dragonback to fly far afield from the structures ahead and attempt to make contact with the horses. We have Kashfans, Theguls, and Diagans that we have all had to hear complain about walking. If we could secure even a hundred horse it would greatly help our advance. Carston, Regardless of the structures or the horses, now is a good time to set up camp. Along the way we have collected suitable material for housing. Just inside the tree line would be a good place to set up another of your kitchens."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Excellent ideas; all. Dandilar, take a force down the hill to an area more or less central to the buildings as support. Tesa, assign Scout Teams to each building but you will lead none of them; I have another assignment for you and another team." "Wing Commander Talodak, would you mind having some men and dragons ferry our horse deficient cavalry to those herds we saw? Use the Trump of me I gave you to communicate once you find the herds. I will want to know all you have seen. Alexandir, you are welcome to accompany them, since it was your idea... though I doubt you will find a horse in that herd large enough to bear your weight." "Carston, take charge of laying out the camp areas for all Cohorts and Wings, if Wing Commander Talodak approves. Once you have the areas marked and cleared let me know and I will get the Kitchens established." "Commander Traxton, take charge of gathering building materials for shelters and latrines and wood for fires. Commander Kablin, that leaves digging latrines and establishing outer defenses." "Fort, this is an excellent place for the next in our series of Transport Trump locations. I will Trump back to the last location, the Apple Orchard with the Spring, I will take Tesa and her team with me. I will carve out the Trump for this place and return once done. I will create the Kitchens before I leave. You have my Trump if needed. Everyone, you have your orders and know what to do. If there is nothing else; move out."

  • Michael James Watson

Talodak and Carston walk off together to go to where the dragons rest in the sun, sleeping. They start pointing at locations. Kablin and Traxton come up and Realmer notes that Carston is giving the orders to them and tal, who all seem to agree. It isn't long before they separate to their groups. Alexandir is standing nearby, Smiling, he looks over, "Prince Realmer, Dandilar says that when the cohorts have a cavalry he shall assign me to it. Sine we intend to grab those horses and you referred to our "horse deficient cavalry" can I assume that we now have a cavalry force, at least in name? And having been assigned to the cavalry I shall be allowed a horse?".

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Alex, if we can find a horse, or other mount, suitable to your size and weight, then the answer is yes. And I am not a Prince, Alexandir. Only a Lord. But here, not even that, just a Commander of an Army."

  • Michael James Watson

"Oh you said titles beyond here were not important. so here, I greet you as a prince. I was told I could not use powers unusual to others. Well, we have a cavalry now." He steps off, puts two fingers to his lips and whistles a sound like a steam train. Turning he smiles at Realmer. "By the teats of the unicorn, I think I have found a horse suitable to my size.....He should be here in an hour or three." He nods and walks off toward the Dragonriders.


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and says, "I am so glad I can make that man happy." It's hard to tell if he really means it, or if he is being sublimely sarcastic. "Shame I won't be here to see the arrival of the horse that will hold that mountain of a man and the initial responses of the troops. But I will see it soon enough." Realmer studies the area carefully, from several angles to establish the point of arrival for the Site Trump arrival point. Once the Kitchen area is determined and cleared, Realmer will Release his Hung Spell on the Sigil of the Spiral; Secure Shelter with a Kitchen in mind like last time, but larger, more firepits and baking ovens, more prep tables and dining tables and benches, less open air with storage cupboards and bins build into the walls and within the rafters of the ceiling. There are also smokers built into the chimneys in the upper rafters areas. Once the Spell is completed and the structure comes into being, he will quickly inspect it then gather Tesa and her Team. They will Trump back to the Apple Orchard with the Spring and Realmer will carve and ink the Trump into the selected tree for this Site; this should take an hour or so. Then Realmer and Tesa's team will return here via the new Site Trump, just like the previous times Site Trumps were created.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort meets you at the kitchen. "Alex called Orcbreaker or else someone nearby has a steam locomotive. I'm curious to see if the Lord's of Adledross allow it here. When our companions came I didn't even consider summoning my Ranyhyn. As much as I've enjoyed our Reen friends I've never been wild about riding dragon back.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles. "I know what you mean. Though the travel is quick... if that is what is required. Ranyhyn... I know that word. Prince Julian and Sir Gangdis were talking about them while we were in Adagalasck some years back. I don't recall too much about them, or the conversation, was never much into horse flesh. But it did come up while Morganstern and Graso here were off frolicking in the grassy plains outside the North Stair. Perhaps you should attempt to summon it now. After all, we do have a cavalry on the way... couldn't hurt to try."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles.. "Just what I always wanted; to be a cavalry man. I haven't spoken to Graso much, just polite bardic courtesy. But if Fester says she is an Adagalasck Ranyhyn that will tell me a lot. Still, it better then walking or flying. It's a pity that blink and teleport are part of my Attribute.". He whistles. After a few minutes of camp details a thin tan horse runs over the hills excitedly. Prancing, dancing as it comes to Fort, who hugs its neck. " I know....I know....me too....well, I'm in a horse land now.....what? Oh yes..of course..... " He leaps to its back landing lightly. " I'll make a wide reconnaissance . Apparently I'm about to be nagged by my nag for giving it immortality then ignoring it. " They ride off as one.

  • Michael James Watson

The Reen cavalry flight takes off for the horse hills. Forces move to a central point between the two objectives. They set up observation points and investigate at a distance. Establishing camp is done effectively including setting aside kitchen space, water storage, and building shelter for stored supplies. The trip to the Apple orchard finds squatters sitting in the shade eating apples. About forty. They look human, mostly men but a few women and a couple children. grabbed in medieval attire. Swords and daggers mostly. They jump to their feet, pulling bags of apples and back away hurriedly from the Trump point. A dozen of them take a rough defensive line in front of the others...Swords out. Behind the some ,including a couple women hurriedly string bows. One in the group starts speaking loudly. Pointing with his sword at the trees. He seems more scared then angry but also looks ready to fight and skilled at it. His language is guttural and unfamiliar . Tesa warns her group of 6 to spread out, make ready but not to engage unless attacked. Their group does not advance, but seem ready to fight.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer holds his hands up in the classic 'I mean you no harm' gesture and his face shows the half smile, half frown that people wear when they pass each other on the street and want to show that they are not a threat but are a bit cautious. Not recognizing the language is strange to Realmer as he knows so many languages and many new languages are similar enough to another for him to pick it up. To find a language is he completely unfamiliar with is a treat, but also a bit of a pain as he has not had need of a Spell for translation in decades... and does not have one memorized or hung. He takes a few minutes to weave and cast a High Order Spell: Tongues. He then points to all there, including himself and his team then says "To understand and to be understood." Realmer nods to the man who was shouting then says, "I did not understand your words before. I am sorry we startled you. We do not mean you any harm."

  • Michael James Watson

He looks startled.. The fighters step back.. He starts pleading and the spell doesn't translate well.. he seems to be pleading.. Words like demon and hungry.. please . no... He puts his blade down, turns and speaks quickly,. they look among each other and two men and one woman put their weapons down and the others back away.. The woman walks forward, pleading.. something like take me for them.... It seems strange the language spell does not work like it should. Tesa tells the scouts to sheath weapons. T-"I've heard a lot of languages but their sounds.....strange....

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes. To me as well, Tesa. And my Spell is not working as it should. It sounds to me like they think us demons and that we want to eat them. And these are offering themselves to us to save the rest." Realmer turns to the woman approaching and speaks gently and slowly with a non-threatening tone and facial expression. "No harm. No eat." He point to her and her people. "No demons." He points to himself and his team. Then he points to the apples and pantomimes plucking one and eating it. He then points to the water and pantomimes scooping water and drinking. Then he points to himself and his group. He smiles and nods his head and backs away a few paces. "Tesa, have everyone back away then let us be about our business here. I don't think we can communicate with them effectively and I don't think they mean us any harm. But keep watch. I will make my way over there, to that non-apple tree in the brush to carve the Trump. Bob, fly up and get a view of the area. Let Tesa know if there is anything of note. Don't disturb my work unless it's vital."

  • Michael James Watson

They look confused but a bit less scared. the one in back stand, start sheathing weapons. The speaker steps up beside the woman, puts a hand on her shoulder, whispers. She shakes her head and steps back. He steps forward. Speaks slowly, almost conversationally. Bob flies up and immediately tells you a body of horsemen will be there in moments. Looks like 60 or so riding hard dodging through the trees, leveling short crude wood lances that look locally made. They may be the horseman from Adledross but they look better armed then before. Plate armor for them and horse.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Take cover and concealment! Horsemen coming fast, they might ride through." Realmer grows claws and quickly climbs into the nearest large tree that will afford concealment well above the heads of the mounted men... an old trick he learned from an Elven Archer Ranger. He knows Tesa and her team know how and where to hide so he does not worry about them. And due to the language barrier, he knows he cannot afford to waste time trying to explain to these people to hide.

  • Michael James Watson

The people scatter as the horseman break into the clearing, they level lances and begin chasing down the people running on foot. Swinging cudgels to knock down ones they can't reach with lance. Two men are pierced on the first charge.

  • Michael James Watson

Passing through quickly they turn to charge again, clearly having been tracking the group. The men draw blades and move to fight, the archers climb up to low branches and prepare to fire.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer realizes that the indigenous peoples are highly over matched and that once the armored cavalry is done with the indigenous peoples, they will certainly turn on Realmer and his small crew. Realmer also does not like bullies or evil men, and these indigenous peoples seemed friendly enough, once the shock of Realmer's Team's magical arrival wore off. Realmer knows he must take action now. As the cavalry charges for their second approach, Realmer releases a High Order Spell hung on his Sigil of Paragon; Electric Arcs of Disruption. The Spell is designed to incapacitate the victims and possibly render them unconscious. It acts much like a very strong Neural Disrupt Power Word plus a very strong Taser or Stun Gun. The Electric Arcs leap from the caster's fingertips of both hands, the caster may point both hands at a single target or two separate targets. When the Arcs strike the first victim(s), it will affect their nervous system with a strong electric shock, but not damaging, just incapacitating, causing loss of motor function and uncontrollable muscle spasms. The Arc will then split into two Arcs and then jump to the next closest target, affecting that victim the same as the previous, then splitting and jumping again. This process of splitting and jumping will continue until no victim's are within range, or the Arcs reach the spells maximum range. The initial Arcs can be 'fired' from the caster's hands up to 100 ft. After striking the first victim(s), each Arc can travel up to 30 ft. The maximum area of affect of the spell is 300 ft from the caster. The Arcs do not travel in a straight line and can move in any direction, including back towards the caster, but will not target or affect the caster. Due to the electrical nature of this spell, it is highly effective against metal armored targets, especially in large scale close combat. Also, the Arcs will be drawn to targets with metal over targets without metal. The more metal, the more attracted the Arcs will be. This spell only targets living creatures. This Spell was designed with Amberites in mind, so anyone under Amber Ranked Endurance WILL be fully incapacitated for several hours, anyone of Human Rank Endurance will be rendered unconscious for several hours and incapacitated for half a day or more. Those of Amber Rank Endurance or above will be incapacitated for at least an hour or more, depending upon Endurance Ranking. Side Effects of muscles spasms for a few seconds to a minute or two, can last for up to half as long as the victim was incapacitated or unconscious. When the first two armored horsemen are in range, Realmer will target them both with the initial Arcs. Being that the men are mounted, the mount is most likely to take one of the two split off Arcs, and the other Arc most likely will travel to the next armored foe... or so Realmer hopes. Once he launches his Spell, he is sure Tesa and Team will know what they need to do.

  • Michael James Watson

The Spell arcs among the first four men and horse and bounces among them as they skewered targets that also take ambient electrical damage. as they fall. The second and third groups spread left and right away from the electricity. In the back group a horse and rider stop suddenly. A shimmering red symbol rises before him that absorbs the electricity that reaches it. Fireballs travel down the arcs toward Realmer. Th archers in the tree start shooting at those scattering and the fighters jump up to try and hamstring the mounts and to pull the lances from their companions. Tesa and the scouts disappear in the brush and move dispatching fallen riders, trying to stay away from electricity and fire.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

The instant Realmer sees the Red Symbol and the Fireballs, he releases his Bodily Defense Spell hung on the Sigil of the Pattern, which fills the body with magical energy devoted to blocking out external influences; Magic, Trump, Pattern, Logrus, etc. Realmer shifts to his winged Nosferatu Form, knowing the Spell will protect him, then he takes flight amid the fiery barrage, hopefully avoiding any fiery debris from the fireballs hitting the upper branches of the tree he was in. He thinks loudly, 'Bob! Confusion Storm Spell on the back group then barrage of Eye Stalk Powers on the left and right groups... watch out for our scouts.'

  • Michael James Watson

The confusion storm lands on the group breaking their attack. The wizard among them is unaffected. He looks up at Bob and aims a blast of stones on him each flying at great speed in his area peppering him hard at his height. He flees screeching something about itching. The wizard screams "AMBERITE!!!!! Stop this NOW or my knight commander will know we have a war with your nation!!!!"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer calls out from the air, "AMBERITES! WITHDRAW! Wizard! Can we parlay? I have no desire to start a war between our Nations."

  • Michael James Watson

Horsemen rush to their wounded. Tesa makes herself seen to Realmer from a shadow but remains hidden. The wizard nudges the horse forward. "We have been chasing this prey for several days. We had not seen your forces. We believed you are ahead now. Why have you come back to fight this prey band? Is there no pray ahead?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer, still in the air, flies down closer to the ground and Shifts to his Adask Form but keeps the wings. He lands but does not fully fold his wings to his back. "We are not hunting prey and my reasons for returning here do not involve this band of people. They were friendly enough to us after we arrived, so I thought them not a threat and planned to continue what we were about, then your armored cavalry arrived... I did not recognize your peoples or horses as I barely got a chance to see your Nation's Forces before you left the arrival point. And being that you are now fully armored and horses fully barded, I thought you an Enemy Force passing through, perhaps on the Amberite Army's heels. Seeing your Cavalry attack this Band made me realize my Team had little chance of survival if you were indeed an Enemy Force. I reacted as any Soldier would and tried to take advantage of surprise and the Band at hand to help defeat a threat. My apologies for the confusion. As I said, I have no intention of starting a war with your Nation. I am Commander Relmopator. Again, my apologies. The electricity was mostly non-damaging and the effects will wear off in a while."

  • Michael James Watson

The wizard nods, "You actions are reasonable under the circumstances and I shall convey to my knight commander that we have agreed the indecent was a draw a well as an unintended conflict. As for our equipment, we fought a cavalry force in the first week. 1800 mounted horse. The battle was furious and their tactics depended on wide-bladed falcions, as you see. They tried to charge into us but the ground was not suited for it. We closed, and had to leap to their beasts and bear them to the ground. we slew all 1800 and 200 horse, though we lost 900 of our 1200. Once they resurrected we stripped the dead, armed. We have horse armor for 600 horse and 600 panalopys that we might trade for food since we are not of a class to harvest ourselves. We have been told by that short man who spoke to us as if we were tyros that we must speak with the rivals armies as we fought our way to the eastern sea. So now, despite our differences in rank, I speak to you, Amberite. " He nods in what he must think is a form of respect. "If you are not hunting this prey, I assume you will continue your course and allow us to continue. This is not a difficult prey but one must learn to fight grounders eventually."

  • Michael James Watson

"We also have 600 horse trade. they are proving to be unsuited to being used as bests of burden. They are back at camp working on the fortifications"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"An unintended conflict ending in a draw. Agreed. As for trade, the Amberites are certainly interested in what you offer; armor, barding and horses, and we have food stuffs to trade. If you travel north through the forest until you reach the grassy hills, you will easily find our camp, and the camp of the Reen, within the edge of the forest. I will have returned by then, I'm sure. Bring what your people wish to trade and you will leave with food for your troops." "We will not further interrupt your training." Realmer nods to the Wizard in respect and moves away, but not towards Tesa or the tree he is planning to carve the Trump upon. He moves off into the woods a little ways away from the clearing, out of sight of the Horsemen and he waits for Tesa and Team to gather.

  • Michael James Watson

The speaker starts yelling to Realmer as he starts to leave.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa and the other 6 show themselves almost immediately.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa is quiet, looking back toward the clearing. "Well? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I don't trust them, and I don't like that they are preying on small weak groups... but we have an agreement. The Trump here can wait... we can come back in a day or two, but for now, I'd rather not stay any longer. Everyone gather close; we're going back to Camp. Bob, Trump us all to the Kitchens back at Camp."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa steps back against a tree, turning into its shadow she disappears. The others looks unsurprised but wait for Realmer to open the trump.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Tesa, we do not want to start a war with them. Behave and be careful. See you back at camp. Bob, take us there now."

  • Michael James Watson

Arriving at the camp it seems well on its way though no much time has passed.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer wanders camp quickly, recalling he has wings, due to stares, he Shifts them off, then he gathers the Commanders and Fort. He relays the events of the encounter and the possibility of trade and what was offered. He also let's them know he did not complete the Trump, under the circumstance it seemed risky, but intends to return in a day or two.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort hears this, "How long has passed? An hour?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"At most, yes. What have you in mind, Fort?"

  • Michael James Watson

"The trump, now." He extends his hand.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer hands over the Dragonskin Trump of the Apple Orchard.

  • Michael James Watson

He opens it, "Going to go find my sister"

  • Michael James Watson

The dragons flying back from the horse hills start landing in the Reen fields. Tal lands his dragon near the Amber camp and starts walking over. He looks ruffled like after fight.

  • Michael James Watson

Tal-"Commander, your cavalry is on its way back. We met a force of Lizardmen stalking the wild beasts. a few thousand. you Alexandir seems to have found a monster of a horse among them and he ended up breaking the Lizardmen mostly himself. My understanding from him is that they will break the horse in on the way back here. The troops didn't have much trouble with the horses as they seemed to want to follow Alex and his massive beast almost fawningly. a bit pathetic really... ah.. you alright there, Realmer?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yeah, just had an encounter with the Horsemen back at the Apple Orchard..." Realmer gives Tal the details.

  • Michael James Watson

Tal nods, "That sounds like them. I was not encouraged in our encounter with them either. I'm going to go speak with the Reen. There are at least 4 large forces on the hills that I could see, lizard troops. ground forces. possibly a weeks march for you. We can confer later. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer barely looks at Tal as he speaks. He chews his lip then nods his head to Tal, even though he has already walked away. The distracted and irritated look on Realmer's face is surely an indicator that he needs time to himself... or should not be bothered, at the very least. Bob knows better though, and hangs close... he know Realmer's mannerisms too well. Realmer moves about Camp, giving his visual attention to the goings on around him, perhaps even reflexively giving an order or responding to someone using Hand Signs... but his mind is filled with concern, anger and doubt. Realmer curses himself under his breath several times, his anger rising up at those Horsemen, at Tesa, and mostly at himself... causing him to gnash his teeth and unconsciously partially shift his features to that of his Nosferatu Form. Why didn't I try to do more for that band of people? Why did I leave Tesa behind? Why didn't I order her to come back? Why didn't I stay and find her myself? Why do I give her so much free rein? I know I must give her some room to operate, being skilled in the professions she is... but have I been giving her too much latitude? Have I been playing favorites? Bob always hears when Realmer talks to himself in his head. But more than just hearing his Master's thoughts, Bob can also feel his feelings and knows his concerns and fears. Bob knows when to remain silent and when to speak. Bob is a Good Familiar.

  • Michael James Watson

As he fumes for a bit he realizes he has walked beyond the camp into the forest. Looking up he sees a treehouse . Without thinking he climbs up noticing how well hidden it was it just be a miracle he even saw it. Climbing in he sees Percy leaning against the tree. Hundreds of tiny floating images hover in front of him. To one side as a handy of dried meat with a dagger in it. A stack of cheese beside it and several bottles of brandy. "Good to see you, sir. Please have a seat. There's smoked perfectly normal beast, a nice hard cheddar, and Napoleon Brandy that I can assure you is authentic since I personally stole it from Napoleon.". He touches one of the tiny images and it fills the far side of the small fort. It shows a curious battle between lizards and Kzin. " damned cats attacked a superior for down 5 to one. Foolish...I'm going to pop down there. Krazel is a piss cutter and when this year is over he's going to see me in a new the coat. " He smiles, fills his glass, fills a second and pushes it over. "I watched your encounter with the drtida√€°dans. Let's call them the Drtida. A refugee band of 600 with perhaps 180 warriors. You only found a small group. I feel your moral quandary. The Torchbearers were hunting them hard...they were bound to kill them all but your stalker and Fortunadas are making a merry mess of them. Not high church, militarily, but brutal. We are going to let them finish, rescue the Drtida, bring them back to your camp. Tesa has done nothing disallowed so she's just going to get a small slap. But The Bard well......I suppose he didn't technically break the rules he agreed to. He did not Raise his Aspect or Wield his Attribute, exactly.....see part of his godhood package includes never forgetting anything. So...He knows the summoning call for hundreds of creatures. He summoned 3 Dufiro of war and one of guard. That's a bit outside our scope of these games. And we thought it would be Alex who pissed us off. All he did was summon a horse. A big one, but still...a horse. Please understand, we have to punish him. So when the monster comes for him, feel free to step aside. " He shifts to watch a different battle.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods a thank you to Percy helps himself to the smoked beast and cheese and savors the flavor of both while he listens to Percy talk and as he looks at the floating images. He reaches for the second glass after several bites, takes a small sip and then another, his face lighting up. He looks into the glass, sniffs it like a sommelier, tries a bit more and smiles. "Finally, a version of 'the grape' that I actually like. This is quite fine, Percy; thank you for sharing it. I have an aversion to wine... and all forms of alcohol based on grapes, so I never bothered to try brandy, knowing what it was made from. But this..." he pauses, trying to find the right word... he tries another sip and says, "Magnifique... if I said it correctly." "And what of my monster? What form shall it take? Will it be more than having to look the Drtida in the eyes knowing I let some of their people die? Will it be more than having to live with the consequences of my actions, and lack of actions? And I don't just mean the Drtida, I mean how I left Tesa behind. I should have stayed and brought her back with me. I had an argument with the Crown Prince of Amber about this very subject, which is what led me to come here... and I did it again. I am beginning to wonder..." he sighs, "If I made a mistake by coming here, and if those in charge made a mistake by putting me in command. I was only looking to learn the Soldierly Arts to keep from getting my ass handed to me in melee combat and pick up some tactics and a few other handy military skills. But I never considered leadership as one of them." Realmer shakes his head and clears his mind then says, "And listen to me... sniveling and whining into my brandy because I had responsibility handed to me and I wasn't prepared for it... like everything else in life." He takes a deep breath and sighs. "I swore to myself I would get through this without giving in and I meant it. I will learn from my mistakes, and pay for them as well. So, what punishment must I bear for my failures?"

  • Michael James Watson

He leans back in a poetic pose much like Fort is fond of. "Probably guilt. And perhaps a bit of angst and nightmare..a hangover maybe. But misplaced at that. Oh, the Drtida may be hard to look in the eye but that will pass, and telling them that they will be reunited with their dead won't convince them. In a way, being brought here to be hunted and slain is a blessing. The function of Adledross picked them randomly out of shadow. They were on their home world being chased by Chaosian monstrosities to be gathered, taken to Chaos and cooked. Now the 600 of them are here merely being hunted. They are slain here and resurrect in the East with a compulsion to go west. When one of them reaches your first camp, they transport back to their home world just in time for dinner. So it's a trade off. When the Drtida first arrived they had 6000....now.....600 spread out across the continent. So it goes"

  • Michael James Watson

"As for your woes of leadership, many a surprising man becomes a leader. Most aren't born to it. Most become leaders out of necessity. You may never lead an army. But you might have to someday. To be clear, most soldiers never speak to me. I'm an observer tasked with appreciating the poetry of the warriors. But I've taken an interest in you. The Adledross seem to think you might join the ranks of the observers someday. If not, you are a royal of Amber.." He picks up some cheese and nibbles....laughs.. "As for the wine......ask Fortunadas what a 'Weirdness' is in the Tosa/York universe is. Tell him I told you you have '-2 having drunk wine' here, if you drink wine you get marginally unlucky. Brandy however, stopped being Wine." Edited

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I agree with you completely, Percy; brandy is not wine. Thank you again for your wonderful gift..." he raises the glass and finishes the last bit, savoring the flavor. "Gifts. Thank you for your gifts; your interest in me and your perspective and candor. Without these, I feel I would still be cursing myself in the forest and might continue to do so." He sets the empty glass down and nibbles a bit of meat before asking, "What form shall Tesa's punishment take? Is it something I will need to dole out? And what form shall Fort's monster take? So I know when to step aside and order the others to do likewise?"

  • Michael James Watson

" You are not an instructor here yet. She will bear her punishment in ways I'm sure you will find humorous and she will find annoying. But she is here to learn as well. As for Fort, bear in mind that neither he nor Alexandir are here to learn. Nor can we teach them leadership. Alexandir was a born leader even before magic made him a god. He was a leader as a child before he first picked up a blacksmith's hammer. Fort, he was a dealmaker and negotiator from birth. He is a snikurra master, a Quad Bard, a thrice crowned bard, high priest of Venki, a child not of the blood of a person who needed not to touch the World Stone to be worshiped, and mate of a primal being. Alexandir came here to bond with Benedict by showing him the advantages of having him as a Golden Circle king. Fortunadus of Tosa came here to bond with you. Bear what I have told you in mind. " Realmer finds himself looking out of the forest towards camp. Fort and Tesa are speaking to a large band of the Drtida as troopers see to their needs. He realizes he has a half empty bottle of Napoleon's brandy in his hand still.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer walks back into camp, bottle still held loosely in his hand. He moves casually towards the group near Fort and Tesa, but waits at a slight distance. He looks among the faces of the Drtida... he sighs to himself and shakes his head slightly. He waits until Fort and Tesa notice him, then he takes a swig off the bottle and moves towards them slowly with no expression on his face. He stops when he is close enough for them them tell he has been drinking but still outside of easy striking distance.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa a looks at Fort who shrugs, "Commander, I made a decision under combat conditions. Punish me for disobeying your orders but I will not apologize. " she stands at attention. Fort steps a few places away.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"So, 32, you know you disobeyed an order and you know you should be punished for it... good. Tell Drishti she is in command of the stealth scouts until further notice... you may earn it back. Until we break camp your primary responsibility will be the Drtida; the people you saved and brought back with you. When you are not helping them you will be guard duty or kitchen duty and when we leave you will fill in all the latrines." "33; since you decided to lead a rescue mission alone and without orders, and brought the Drtida back here, your primary responsibility is the same as 32's until we break camp; the Drtida's needs. When you're not helping them, I want you on outer defenses and guard duty... just in case we have problems with the Lizardmen roaming the hills... or if we have made a new enemy of the Treba Cursis Horsemen. And when we leave you will help 32 fill in those latrines... without magic." Realmer sighs and takes a swig of the bottle. "Now that that's out of the way..." he looks Tesa and Fort in the eyes, "you both did a good thing today; the right thing. I hope both of you were stealthy enough in your actions to not be recognized as being from the Amberite Army... we don't need a war with the Treba Cursis. And if they still show up for trading purposes, I don't want either of you recognizable. Tesa, use those Shape Shifting skills I taught you. Fort... I'm sure you have a way to change your appearance. So... tell me. What happened out there?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa looks to Fort who smiles. She starts thinking on facial sifting. "Am I dismissed?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, you are dismissed" he says to Tesa.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort watches her go, then twists his lip and raises an eyebrow. "What happened out there? Well, Its a question of what you want to know and what you are willing to know? There are 3 things to see and say. One is what I found Tesa doing when I found her and their response to that. Second is what the horseman were doing when Tesa got there. And third, is what I did to clean the mess up and give the horseman a different foe to be angry at. I suspect my actions were outside the guidelines here but if I was given a chances to make my case I think I didn't break any of the rules I agreed to when I came here. Others might see it differently. " He looks over as Tesa starts sorting out the Drtida. "How much has she told you about her past? Not her time in Amber with Gangdis but her time in the city of Sanctuary in the Rankin Empire? And what her protector Conf sent her to learn? I'm guessing she has been vague about both, if not totally silent about becoming a Daughter of Conf. Yes? You should decide how much of that stuff you really want to know. I'll tell you, but it will be damned hard to unknow once you know. I'm of the opinion that Rasak and Adledross were bad choices for her but she is young still, and perhaps she needed to make this bad choice. Who among us has not had careers we regret, eh Necromancer?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well... that career was forced upon me, and I wouldn't say I regret it... I made the best of a bad situation. But I certainly know your meaning. We all have to make bad choices in order to learn. And the choice to come here was not entirely her own; if it was I don't think she would have. I know enough about Tesa for now; some she has told me, some I have learned from other sources, some I have learned though experience and observation. You don't need to tell me more unless you feel compelled to do so for some reason." Realmer takes a sip of the bottle of brandy and continues. "The less I know about what happened out there concerning you and Tesa, as your Commander, the better; plausible deniability. And if the Treba Cursis are as despicable as I think they are, it's better I don't know about that either; spare me the nightmares and anger... we may still have to trade with them. But if and when that happens, I don't want them IN our camp or even too near it. We need to establish a meeting area outside camp that is to our advantage and to their disadvantage; as part of outer defenses, that falls to you as well." Another sip. "Alex is returning with the cavalry now and had a run in with some Lizardmen so might be bringing back supplies so some sort. Tal told me that Alex said the horses will be broken in and trained by the time they get back here. Looking forward to seeing the massive steed that can bear that mountain of a man. We should also do some more hunting and smoking of meats while we are here; we will need to replenish our stocks and replenish any we trade away... plus we have more mouths to feed now."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "Well, don't be surprised if the horseman are really angry at the Kzin. Take a mutual tone on that angle with them. the building to the left doesn't look like part of a farm or hamlet. If its empty, its less then an hour ride. That should be far enough from our camp. And it might be a good idea to keep the Drtida here. They are a farming people it seems but from their language its close to chaos. One of the....ah....things that looked like Kzin, recognized the language. Its been devilishly long since I didn't recognize one. Black Zone world. A feeder people. They mostly raise food for themselves before becoming food themselves. Chaos likes their meals feisty. They might serve well maintaining our base for that kind of maintenance as we hop across the continent. Also, there seem to be a lot of them. several thousand I guess, but spread out too."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"They are spread out across the continent, but their numbers have dwindled to under a thousand, according to my source. That same source tells me you and Tesa did break some rules and will be punished accordingly." "Check with the scouts as to the disposition of those buildings, I had them looking into them when we sent the Reen with our cavalry members to get their mounts. They should be back by now." "And when you say, 'maintaining our base', are you suggesting a permanent or semi-permanent base where we leave the Drtida to tend it in out absence? Or are you suggesting taking them with us to maintain our camp? Because I can get behind the latter."

  • Michael James Watson

"We are leap frogging across the continent. Every man knows how to build and tears down camp. We may be in camp for a couple weeks each as we go along. Wouldn't hurt to have people here tending to day to day things as we soldier on. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I'm concerned about them being attacked here... but they would be attacked anywhere on this world... I guess at least here their position would be defensible and they would have our support as we move in and out of here. And if they are allied with us, perhaps the other armies will be less inclined to bother them. Have them trained in our camp processes and procedures and for communication... perhaps some of our Hand Signs."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Oh! I almost forgot. Percy said 'Tell him I told you you have '-2 having drunk wine'. He also said, 'here if you drink wine you get marginally unlucky'. Though I think that last part was for my benefit. He also suggested that I ask you what a 'Weirdness' is in the Tosa/York universe. So, what is a 'Weirdness'?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Weirdness?" He really said it that way? I'm getting to like this Percy. Wine, now Brandy, and interesting clues.. Ah... in the Tosa/York multiverse most people have a knack or glitch of some type. they work out to preferences in the end....One person likes longswords, feel comfortable with them. Feels clumsy with maces, can't work a polearm, has good eyesight, smells good to animals. good tracker, respond well to certain types of spells, responds poorly to certain type of spells. has a familiar, ambidextrous, good hearing... high tolerance to spirits, low tolerance to wine, . Fast talker, poker face.. There are millions of these things and culturally they get lumped together as 'One's Weirdness' Percy is telling you your dislike of wine is from having a weirdness for not handling wine well. As a Quad I apparently started with 4 but the forces of nature gave me 7; Ambidextrous, Talk to animals-essentially understands animals well, Throw weapons naturally, a familiar, awkward with two handed weapons, Fast Talker, and Pokerface. Since then I've gone through a place on Tosa where one may take the risk to gain more. Doing so I gained positive ones of Gambler, Quick Actions, a resistance to poisons and alcohols. and comfortableness with bows. I also gained negative aspects of unaffected by blessings, a vulnerability to fighting undead, and a tendency to act as a kleptomaniac on occasion. Hmm what world were you actually born on?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"To the best of my knowledge, I was born on a world called Montagar... but much what I know about my earliest years have recently turned out to be lies."

  • Michael James Watson

"Interesting...I wonder where Montagar is in the scope of things.. If it was in the York Sway it would explain a lot..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well... I didn't know how things worked back then, but piecing it together now, I know that after Dworkin took me away from Montagar, the world he took me to was called Oerth in the Gygax System... Gamer Worlds I believe they are called. The trip was quick, even to my recollection of things in those days; a short walk of about 15 minutes that took me down a path that did not exist before and through about a dozen worlds that I could distinguish. Since coming to Amber I have not returned to either place so I am not exactly sure where they lie in the cosmology of things. Not sure if that helps or not."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes another sip. "My intuition tells me... that Percy told me to tell you for a reason... and that what he said was meant as much for me as it was for you... Percy certainly knows much... perhaps this matter bears investigation when time permits."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks at Fort with a wicked smile and a gleam in his eyes when he asks, "Hey Fort... you wouldn't have happened to have seen a map of the Multiverse at some point in your life, have you?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Gygax Sway? Never heard it called that but I am familiar with Gamer Worlds. Tosa& York are deep in those lands north of Amber but close enough that it once had a Shade of Amber in it. Percy may well have told us that you were born in a gamer world near Tosa so possibly gained a weirdness though in many cases people never know what they are and just think it part of their preferences. As for cosmology maps, I've sen many of them over the year, and a lot more since coming to Amber. Arlo and I have gone over them. Why?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Just curious. Sounds like I was born close enough for it to count, regardless of actual location of the world. And wine is not the only Weirdness I have had in my lifetime... many of them during my adventuring career, but many changed over the years... many seemed to disappear after walking the Pattern." Realmer smiles and looks around at camp getting set up and smells the aromas of cooking foods. "Well, you have things to do... and so do I. I'll be going back to the Apple Orchard in a couple of days to create the Site Trump for here... the Arrival Point will be over there in that rough patch in the middle of those three large trees, facing north into the camp." Realmer takes another sip off the bottle, checking the level of liquid after, then walks off towards the kitchens... the smells are making him hungry.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa seems to have the Drtida under control. In fact they seem eager to please her. They seem to take to Homesteading very well and the presence of a thousand Amberites, a thousand Reen and a 1000 dragons gives them a sense of security they have never known in Adledross.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When she looks his way, he gives Tesa a smile, a 'good job' Hand Sign and raises his bottle to his lips and takes one last swallow... leaving one quarter of the liquid within. He walks into the kitchens and sits on a stone bench within the seating area at a long empty table near the center. He stares into the bottle, gathering Magic as he quickly weaves his own alcohol replenishing spell and finishes it by slowly saying the word 'refill' as he draws his finger up the bottle's side, bringing up the level of liquid as he does and stops near the top of the neck. He looks around for something to cork the bottle with, then snickers and brings up the Pattern, walks it in his mind, then tweaks probability ever so slightly... reaches into his pocket and finds the bottle's cork... probably left there by Percy. He corks the bottle and watches the activities of camp as he waits for food to finish being cooked. When it is, he will get up and get served in line like everyone else; this is not an eatery with wenches, after all.

  • Michael James Watson

When he tries to mold stuff or tweak shadow he gets a terrible headache as if he was trying to burn something in his brain

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

[forgot about that. hehe] Realmer chuckles as he recalls how difficult it is to tweak things here. He gets up and finds a bit of wood to carve into a cork, sits back down and whittles/carves himself a cork for his treasured bottle of Napoleon Brandy.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

As Realmer carves on the wood, he realizes there will be quite a bit left over, so he begins carving it into a 'topper'... he snickers again as he begins carving a bust of Percy while focusing on his Trump Artistry... why not, he thinks to himself as he giggles again... fine brandy, thank you Percy... he continues to carve and shape until he feels he has the it almost enough to make contact... then stops to get some food... he's hungry.

  • Michael James Watson

Food is served as usual with Tesa showing the Drtida the kitchen duties which they take to well. the men wear their arms while happily chopping wood and doing other jobs. A few hours go by when he wanders and sees Fort leading the latrine crew in some ribald song. He climbs out of the ditch, smiling " Almost done. Care to christen them? I can smell the kitchens. This will be downwind usually. May I?" He points to the bottle.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Only if your intention is to NOT smash this bottle against that latrine." He chuckles and hands over the bottle. "You've earned it."

  • Michael James Watson

"I wouldn't dream of it.. " He pops the top and takes a chug, idly looking at the top. He turn his head to look at the topper. "Please tell me that's Percy. Is it?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"It is indeed. Do you recognize his visage?"

  • Michael James Watson

"This man is watching us and taken a personal interest in you? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well... yes to both. He is an Observer here... and he specifically said he had taken an interest in me... where you going with this?"

  • Michael James Watson

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes I know him, not personally but his works, though they differ some from shadow to shadow. He wrote of the downfall and pride of great men. Percy Shelley... a great poet. His wife wrote horror novels."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Bob chimes in, in a smooth baritone voice, "You should remember those names and their works from your college years on that Earth World... I do. They even made movies from Mrs. Shelley's novels... but I enjoy the written form better." Realmer looks to Bob, "I was more focused on my specialized training and schooling to pay much attention to the fictions and poetry of that world... plus the Cliff Notes got me through my pre-reqs and on to what I was there for. And you know I rarely paid any attention to television or movies." He turns to Fort, "So... that explains the Poetry of the Warrior comment he made to me.... but why his personal interest in me... I can only guess, but it is welcomed at this time as his outsider's perspective has been most helpful to me, so I will not question it... much. And I will be thankful for it."

  • Michael James Watson

"They have odd observers in this place.. It makes me curious about who the Adledross are. We must be deep in shadow...It has 12 or so nations it allows to send contingents here starting in the west and steals people from shadow to be fodder from the east...That's a strange cosmological effect. It has at least two famous individual from Earth worlds here, probably more. Who knows who it has from elsewhere. Strange....."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Perhaps one day we will learn more about the Adledross...." he leaves it hanging for a moment, looking thoughtful, recalling Percy's words... all of them. "But for now, give me back that bottle..." he reaches over and grabs it and takes a swig. "And after nine years, you of all people should know by now, pre-dawn is the only time I 'talk to the man about the dragon'."

  • Michael James Watson

"what ever floats your boat. I'm going to walk the perimeter and check in with the Reen. Then I'm going to take horse east and meet Alex. If you don't mind"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"As long as it involves you stopping by that close building to have a look, then yes. And I will be going with you. I've been wanting to take Graso out and really see what he is capable of... and since Horse is... well, something special, maybe he can give him a good run."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "Fair enough. Lets be about it. I feel like a ride, maybe a sleep in the tall grass. And I'm looking forward to seeing Orcbreaker. It annoys Alex how it behaves around me:.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

[ I finally found the comment about Graso being Raynahen... and Graso is male (I thought female)] (Julian crosses to Trualta with an uncharacteristic grin, "Lord Trualta, its my pleasure to meet you. I'd like you to consider me in your debt. I have not seen Morganstern this ...excited... in a century. That Ranyhyn Graso and he have become boon companions and are wearing out the mares at the North Stair!")

  • Michael James Watson

Graso not Grassa. Hehe

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Si, senor.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer turns to Fort and says, "I'm sure Carston has already laid out an area for picketing in the horses if not an actual stables and Corral. Let's go pick up our mounts, make that perimeter on horseback, visit in the Reen, then head out for that lone building."


Adledross: Expected Kobolds, Unexpected Farmstead & Findings[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

As Fort and Realmer ride the great horses out toward the rd building they feel the approaching evening air begin to chill. fort comment that it strange but he isn't sure what season it is early spring he would guess but not for certain. Coming over the hills they look down to the red barn. Its fairly dilapidated but still shows the strong bones of its frame and roof. From a distance it looked like a lone building but up close its 5 a group of buildings. A giant red stables with two large doors. A dairy barn with one door and a side building. smoke house tucked into the forest edge of woodlands that run in the crevices of several buildings showing where a small but active water course is. A long storage building. A very long chicken coop, void of chickens but with room for several hundred nests. And lastly a large working farm house that looks like its built for a gigantic family. all of them look worn and damaged, the grounds torn up as if by many feet and years of weather. Fort says, "It quiet...too quiet" Then looks at Realmer and shrugs, "Sometime the old cliche's are the best...From the air we only saw a couple buildings...The stables and the dairy. When the other buildings arrived I can't say."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Bob is circling overhead in the form of a small buzzard, keeping on eye on things... both close at hand and fields afar. Realmer chuckles. "Well, if you didn't say it, I would have. And I have two theories on the extra building. The first; they were always here but somehow they went unnoticed. The second; the appeared when we took an interest in them and had a need for them. Just my first thoughts." Realmer looks around, then brings up the Pattern, walks it in his mind and looks through the Pattern Lens at the buildings and surroundings for anything out of the norm.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

No magical effect seem present in the area. Fort-' I suspect things are taken from shadow a piece at a time"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Movement in the forest edge catches Realmer's eye. Small, lumbering, in and out of the forest line.. and fair number. Pointing them out to Fort who uses a wizard eye to get a closer look.... "really? Oh well, damn...I haven't fought a kobold since I was still dungeon running in Eldomire. If there is a dozen there is a thousand..What do you say? Think we need another guy? We could probably intercept Alex. Him fighting Kobolds would probably be worthy of a bawdie song the tavern wenches of Wall will just love."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Kobolds.... I'd forgotten how much I despise those nasty little fuckers. When I was an adventurer, a party I was with got overrun by a horde of Kobolds. At one point we were literally wading in bodies knee deep... that's when I went down and was killed. Thankfully we had a Cleric and there weren't too many left when I died. I think that was the second time I died... maybe the third." Realmer is quiet for a few moments. "Let's draw them out and lure them towards Alex and our incoming cavalry. And let's cut as many down along the way as we can; I don't want Alex having all the fun."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Same thing for me. On Tosa there were a long series of Orc Clan War that spilled over on everyone and anybody. And every Orc Band had thousands of them, food ya know.. there were millions of them. You ask nearly any CHAD member and they will tell you about Kobolds.. I hate the fuckers. So .. lure them out with a few thrown rocks or a few lighting bolts?"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Let's save the spells for the time being and give them a false sense of security. Let them think they have the upper hand. Let's move on slowly and watch what they do. Bob is circling overhead and can give us aerial recon of their movements, positions and numbers. We should be able to stay a few steps ahead while looking like we're barely one step ahead and lure them the direction we want."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Have bob go tell Alex to stop parading here and move his big hairy freckled ass now. have bob tell him I said so and if he gets mad open a trump to bring the egomaniac here. He's a fucking line soldier now, he will take fucking orders"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer speaks aloud as well as mentally to his Familiar. "Bob, you heard Fort, I'm sure. Contact Alexandir, apprise him of our situation but hold off on Trumping him and his horse here until I tell you... I don't want to frighten them off and I want the majority of the kobold force committed to the attack before Alex makes his heroic entrance."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Bob disappears but returns in moments. " the thunder you hear is horse troops and whatever Alex is riding a few miles from here. I was there long enough to see them coming directly here at a charge. I suggest doing what you must now!!!!!! "

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer smiles at Fort and says, "Guess we better hurry." Then he turns his head towards the Kobolds in hiding and yells out in Koboldish: "Gra MUKAHS flingren urd ELLICKS!!! (translation: Your mothers' mated with elves) Realmer turns back to Fort and says, "That should enrage them enough to chase us blindly." Realmer laughs, draws his broadsword, then spurs Graso into a gallop, heading in the direction of the charging cavalry.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort yells, "Dez kiss alnej lat sma rats " (Come kiss me you small rats) He heels the horse forward pulling two knives and rushing in toward the Kobolds. Leaping from it back and running into the Kobolds who seeing him go nuts and rush forward. The forest gives up thousand of Kobolds in seconds. Rushing out of the barns and moving fast across the field to meet Fort, laughing as he swings knives in among them.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Alex comes over the hills riding his massive horse Orcbreaker, who getting a whiff of kobold spurs faster. The other horse warriors, riding untrained horses into battle have to fight to keep them charging but the Kobolds don't scare the horses much. 200 C irregular cavalry, becomes 200 c irregular dragoons as they start dismounting. The horse hate the Kobolds well enough to defend themselves against ht little things. Alex jumps off his mount and uses a cudgel in each hand to bash away with great fury among the Ks. Orcbreaker dances on them, killing two each time his hoof comes down. The magnificent 8 legged beast leaves puddles behind,. Alex wades in with blinding speed and a haze of read kobold parts waits high. Fort spins in a brutal dance like spinning rain of knife massacre.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

As the Kobolds show themselves and Fort leaps into the fray, Realmer wheels his mount back around and begins swinging his broadsword to his right side, cleaving skulls and cutting throats, if not beheading. As he clears the area around him, for the moment, and sees the thousands closing in from all sides, Realmer smiles a wicked smile and releases an Audio Blast Spell from the Sigil of Spiral of the Winds with its focus being about 30 feet over Realmer's head, but can probably be heard back at camp and the cavalry can even hear it over the thundering of the horses hooves. This particular version of Audio Blast is about 15 minutes of intense classical music, starting with Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries followed by Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain. As the intensely loud music begins, and Alex and cavalry arrive, Realmer leaps from Graso's back, laughing maniacally he cleaves a skull and draws his fighting knife and fights with two weapons, slashing, hacking, cleaving... moving, dodging, evading, parrying... still laughing maniacally as the bodies pile up and the thick blood of the Kobolds covers everything.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

bob disappears and a few moments later returns as the dragon riders take wing grabbing Amberites. The flight of 200 dragons, riders and 400 Amberites are on the way.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Good job, Bob!" Realmer calls out mentally to his Familiar. Then screams "DIE YOU LITTLE FUCKERS!!! DIE!!!!!" While stabbing and slashing his way though the fray, his body Shape Shifting automatically into his Chaos Form, his Nosferatu Form... the form best suited for combat. He uses his wings to pop himself into the air, assisting his leaps but not full on flight, as he leaps and dives into group after group, hacking and slashing his way closer to Fort. Realmer yells: "YOU WANTED A BATTLE WORTHY OF SONG! WELL HERE IT IS!!!" And his maniac laugh continues, as does his slaughter of the Kobolds.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort laughs, "you want your battle song about killing Kobolds? Your funeral!" Swinging in about, dancing out and over, the fearless kobold rush forward on instinct to die in droves. The dragons fly low and the riders leap off, helping the pair of Amberites each land on their feet running. Carston leads his wedge quickly to form up and advance at the ordered run to contact the side of the Kobold, pushing in the edge of the forest to push the battle into the open. Realmer looks over the 400 who came and they are clearly a smattering of all cohorts as if the dragons and riders had flown over the Amber camp grabbing people at random on the way north east. Still, they form into ordered fireteams, filling in spots, and wade into the sea of 'bolds. Time goes on in a tide of crimson.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer continues to fight the bloody fight, leaping and slashing, sword and knife and clawed feet, the blood flying everywhere, coating everything, including himself. At times, he even rips at their throats with his fangs, blood flowing from his mouth, a wild look in his eyes... a lust for battle and blood... attacks becoming less skilled warfare and more savage butchery... Realmer has lost all track of time and he cares not as the battle rages on.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

IN time the battle fades as the last of the Kobolds die to be returned to the world they were stolen from. Yet their corpses remain. A casual count is 10k. waist deep all around the buildings, into the scrub forest and in the creek flowing through the small farmstead of unmatched buildings. Alex kicks his way through the mess to Fort.. "Reminds me of the battle on the Fairhand lands..We were... younger then 40 then, weren't we?" Fort nods, "Our first life... We seemed harder pressed then.." He starts using Clean Cantrips on himself Laughing Alex follows suit. Alex says as he cleans, "Well Commander, your cavalry is here but I can't say much for the quality of the horseflesh. Malnourished and wild. It will take some doing to get them serviceable. If I might be so bold, Sir Ranatal over there is a fine cavalryman. We have spoken a great deal over the years. He is Kashfan, born in the addle of a military family. I recommend you appoint him your cavalry commander, and with the permission of the other cohort commanders, you detach the 200 and make it a separate operating force. Broken into 10 stands of 20 horse, it will be flexible in supporting all the cohort actions. In the meantime, we rode through a fairly rich grassland east of here. We should get the horse there to fatten them up some while we make them bridlewise"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer begins using Clean Cantrips as well as he Shape Shifts back to his Adask Form before speaking. "Alex, excellent suggestions, all; thank you." He turns towards Sir Ranatal and calls him over. Once he arrives, Realmer says, "Sir Ranatal; Alex speaks highly of you and your skills with horses. You are hereby appointed the Cavalry Commander. I am sure you and Alex have conferred about the plan he suggested, so let me add, that the cavalry may increase by up to 600 horses... IF the Treba Cursis show up and still want to trade. Plus plate barding for 600 and armor for 600. While you are out feeding, strengthening and training the horses, hunt and gather as much as you can... we will need to replenish our food supplies if the Trade occurs." Realmer turns to Fort, "I didn't mean for you to write a song about me and Kobolds, I just thought it an extra humorous bit to add to your song that the battle was fought to music. And I thought you were writing it about Alex, not me." Realmer gives Fort a wink. "Let the dragons eat their fill of the Kobolds, if they will, but let's try to save some of their hides; makes fairly decent leather for belts and sheaths... should also serve for horse tacking. Alex, what about those Lizardmen you laid waste to? Did you happen to bring back any meat or hides?"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"I know Lizardmen is worth eating, but I don't know if kobold is... I've never been hungry enough to try. But let's try to use what we can while we have it."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Alex shows a still face,"I did not bring back the corpses of people for us to eat. Lizardmen are more then alligator and less then dragon. Dragons generally prefer to know their foes will eat them but in general I don't eat anything that I might have discussed philosophy with.. I'm sure the Reen will fetch you some if you have a hankering. Nor is it likely I will make tack of any kind from kobold, nor allow it used on horses in my cavalry, thank you. . Again, should that be your preference I'm sure someone will stitch it for you. I have horses to see to, Commander," He turns to walk with Ranatal to the new cavalry. Fort looks after Alex, then to Realmer, " You should hear some of the songs I wrote about him that were not suitable for his court... So..shall we examine the buildings? CARSTON!!! Take over clearing the dead. Make a pyre over in that pasture..."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Well, I guess Lizardmen are less intelligent where I come from; barely have their own language and not very good conversationalists let alone philosophers. And I love how he is already referring to it as 'his cavalry'." Realmer says and nudges Fort then heads with him to investigate the buildings.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort-"Make no doubt about it, they are his. He can hand the leadership over to Ranatal, a good choice by the way, and sincerely mean to let him take the lead in the unit. But in the end his power of leadership is not a thing of magic, or godhead, or experience, or title gained by intrigue, grant, or conquest. His power of leadership is the nature of the beast. He has been right vastly more often then he has been wrong and those decisions saved billions of lives. And in the realms of the Empire of Tosa and the shadows of York, they know that. There has never been a successful rebellion because if there are grievances peoples have against him he will go and sit with them over kavas or tequila till they iron the matters out. People become better for having worked with him, fought with him, wenched with him. I've seen it. I've also seen him strangle a Raver with one hand while 4 of us cut its limbs off. He s arrogant but if one can do it, it isn't a boast. And this is him without his Aspect or raising his Attribute. They can tell him not to take any leadership role, but they can not stop him from being a leader and other people following him."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer nods his head, thinking about what Fort has said about Alex. While looking over the buildings. "I have no doubt as to his abilities, none at all. And I have heeded and will continue to heed his, and your, advice. I was just commenting on how is really isn't trying to hide it." Realmer chuckles. "Let's see what mess the Kobolds left in these buildings."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Entering the buildings they look more deserted then ravaged. They are mostly empty though both barns are stocked with hay. The dwelling looks like it was shut up and unlived in but is full of furniture covered with sheets. The shelves have tools, cooking equipment and the like but no food. As if whoever shut the place up let it empty of perishables. The smokehouse however have thousands of hanging pigs slowly turning into ham. The chicken coop looks somewhat industrial with spaces for hundreds of egg-laying chickens. Fort pulls a sheet off a rocking chair, sits an rocks a bit. "Except for the sea of dead kobold, this place is a far better transport point then the one we have. Plenty of open space for troop, Amberite and Reen...Forest for wood. I bet there is food in these forest crevices. The river isn't huge.. Probably not much fish in it.. This building looks like it had a family of 50 living here.. Make you wonder. I don't see a library but there is probably one"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"I agree that this is a better transport point, but for now I want to leave most of our forces at the forest camp with the Drtida... at least until the Treba Cursis come and go. And you're right about the library... I can smell the paper." Realmer winks at Fort and continues to look about the house, including upstairs and a basement or cellar if it has one. He will also search for hidden doors and rooms; knocking on walls lightly, looking for odd scratches on walls, floor or ceiling, mapping in his head and looking for spacial discrepancies that might indicate a hidden room.... all that stuff he learned as an adventurer. He will, however, not open anything until Fort looks things over first; no more triggering traps for this fellow.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Wandering among the room there is an office, a desk, chair all covered.. file cabinets. stacks of books and several book cases.. One case is filled with law books, specifically tax and property law. the other catches Forts eye as he looks over the title. "Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Lives of the Necromancers,Steganographia,The Magical Revival,Cosmic Trigger,Book of Saint Cyprian, The Booke of the Dead, dictionnaire Infernal, Daemonologie, origin of Species.. Alister Crowley, Ambrose Bierce..,Divine Comedy,House of Usher...Lovecraft..Hermetica.....Ancient philosophy....ah lovely... Necronomicon. o whoever's office this was was a tax and property attorney and an occultist....Look at this stuff....hmmmm this is bad.....its a tome of the Dufiro....Non-summoning but it sure has a good listing of them... Damn...The Book of the Serpent....ah...that's bad......"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"What do you mean, 'this is bad'? There are some great titles here... most of them in fact..." he says slowly, looking at title after title. "If ONLY I had my Robe with me... or could Trump these out of here to one of my personal libraries. Perhaps we should search the house and other building before we begin our plundering or reading time. Fifty people you said.... could live here.... we should be searching for basements and root cellars and sub-levels... and maybe even tunnels or caves...." "Any traps on the desk drawers?" Realmer asks Fort before moving towards it. He also brings up the Pattern and looks through its Lens at all things in this office.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Nothing a tyro couldn't bypass." he brushes the lock and opens the drawers. Looking through he pulls out a stack of papers, "legal documents.. court findings...hmm will and testament..Dr. Hector Stall. 33 degree master mason....Freemason..This building is listed as a monastery of sorts...a home for retired Freemasons.. Hmm.. sympathetic magic... Symbolic.. Explains why its so huge but outside looks like a country farm house. Yes, it almost certainly has basements.. This doesn't seem like a military target... Why did Adledross summon it here?"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Good question. Based on the reading materials, I would say they chose it for me specifically. And the size and amenities... plus location... might have been brought just for our Armies. Whatever the case, let us take advantage of it and use it to its fullest. And let's keep searching the place.... I'm sure we'll find even more interesting things the more we look."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"It might be.....too specific....Its intriguing to me as well in a way that nothing has been in a very long time. Since before I became a crowned bard the first time...That makes it...a trap...They can't do things like this for every class through here. Bleys? Roger, Alec, all the elites for 2 thousand years? From everything I read, and admittedly Arlo says what happens in Rasak isn't part of people's memoirs for a reason, but they speak of warfare here. Line battles, cavalry charges, Sieges.. warbands,....and 12 realms that send troops here including Amber... Yet, none are Gold Circle kingdoms... They talk of straightforward combat of the type Alex adores, not complicated magical problems.. I'm suspicious."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Huh" Realmer says, his mouth hanging slightly open, his tongue moving about his mouth, his eyes distant. "I was wondering what that itch in the back of my head was... a trap; makes sense. But maybe not... this might be the first time Adledross has had someone like me here... and you... and Alex. You have to admit... the three of us are quite different than the types that normally attend this place. Something tells me I am probably one of the very few, if not only, 'pure wizards' they have had attend here. I mean, sure, other before have possessed Magic and Powers... Bleys as an example, and Arlo, but both of them were warriors as well, even before coming here... but not me. And maybe I shouldn't include Alex in my considerations... he is not a Wizard or Sorcerer... but you and I are." Realmer pauses for a moment, looking thoughtful. "Maybe this was put here for us; you and me. Perhaps a gift from my new admirer? Let's say you're right about the things here on Adledross being pulled from Shadow, just like the people. And a farm was supposed to be brought here from Shadow. Who's to say that someone didn't specifically choose this farm just for us." "Or perhaps it's a part of a puzzle for us to solve? Again, making the same assumptions about things from Shadow being brought here and for specific purposes or people. Another possibility to consider. And what better way to draw me in, than to pique my interest with these specific books." "Of course, it could most certainly be a trap of some kind. Maybe we should get out of this house and continue this conversation outside. I'm suddenly getting a sick feeling that this whole house is a gigantic mimic... come on, let's go outside." Realmer heads for the doorway of the office, then back the way they came to get back outside the house.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Ya... Outside...". He follow s you out. "None of the titles I saw were strictly speaking magical. Occultism, pretend magic. Wishful thinking wizardry. Wiccan. I was more of a thief wizard then a warrior in my youth. I treated my clerical skills as another type of magic till I was in the presence of the World Stone. Then I did a buddy a favor becoming his high priest. Those books are middle realm stuff. Not even low order, but extensive and clearly well read. A 33 Mason...That would be an instructor of the occult if his lodge did that kind of stuff Secret society kind of stuff. Hmmm. Your point about being a wizard, not a warrior. .Maybe Adledross is summoning challenges suitable to attendees. Kobolds and a master occultist.....

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer seems slightly distracted; lost in thought. His response sounds as if it is coming from far away. "Yes... summoning challenges suitable to attendees... challenges... Master Occultist.... wishful thinking wizardry... tomes on Demonology, Necromancy... Hmmmm.... What IF, those types of 'almost magics' work here? Think about it... every type of Low Order and High Order Magic works here... from Cantrips and Power Words on up. You said that your Clerical Magic is being restricted or blocked in some way.... which means to probably would naturally work here if not for those who run this place hindering it. So, again I ask; what IF those types of 'almost magics' work here? If that is the case and the Master Occultist that owned this house shows up... we could have a serious problem and a massive fight on our hands. When those who attend this place die and are resurrected, the bodies are left behind... and more and more Foes are being summoned here to fight the Armies that come here to train and test... plenty of bodies for a Master Occultist, and possibly his followers, to raise an Undead Army the likes of which few have seen or survived... the kind of Undead Army I have been 'dreaming' about for decades... a true force on unnatural destruction that could wipe out a world... or many...." Realmer's words trail off as his mind begins working out the possibilities and consequences of the arrival of an Undead Army and the tactics and strategies for fighting against such. "Maybe we should get those books out of there and give them a look over... it would be good to know what a potential enemy knows. And if these 'wishful thinking wizardries' work here... perhaps we should know some of them ourselves. Unless you feel the books themselves are protected or cursed... though, I didn't detect any magic on anything in that office."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

'There wasn't one book there I hadn't read except the Dufiro primer and its far below what I have read having been summoning Dufiro for centuries. I have a bunch on call. And the book of the Serpent..That one is curious because while I saw a bunch of religious books;bibles, Korans, Calasat, Torahs, and All Seeing Eye stuff, all things id expect a master mason to have, a tome of the Serpent has traveled. Its not impossible the volume was printed in the world this place came from but its a stretch. Also, on your theory of Almost Magics working here....We don't know for certain those books don't work where he came from. I'm all for standing on the porch here till reinforcements come and start setting up things before going back in. Haste makes wasted, after all. Haste..damn I could us a does of Melange... 9 years and change without it and my eyes feel like they are losing their blue...So... shall we wait? Maybe get some back up. Carston has had some tricky adventures. Maybe Dan or Traxton? "

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Carston is already here, so.... give me a minute." Realmer looks to the sky to see Bob still circling overhead. He speaks aloud to Fort can hear his orders as well. "Bob; message relay to all Commanders: 'Commanders. We are establishing a second camp and we may have a potential issue here. Send all of 1st and 5th Cohorts to the closest cluster of buildings with all of their gear immediately; tell those troops to get here quickly. Kablin, you're in charge of the Forest Camp; keep Tesa on task with the Drtida and keep them within the camp there until further notice. We now have a Cavalry of 200 horses; I have assigned Sir Ranatal as the Cavalry Commander and have separated the Cavalry out as its own Cohort, which means all Cohorts will lose some soldiers; we will reassign troops when time permits to even out the 5 primary Cohorts. If any of you need me or if anything happens, you know how to contact me or each other through our Communications Master; Bob.'" "Yes, the Book of the Serpent does concern me as well" Realmer says to Fort as the sky darkens further and the light of the kobold pyre lights up the buildings around them with orange flickering light. "Fort... as a Cleric... could you Turn Undead? Was that within your Spheres of Influence?"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

“Turn undead? hehe, sure. I'm not a fan as you seem to be. My clerical side is what one would call a favor to a friend these days though being a high priest does have a few lovely benefits normally. . I'm not supposed to use my clerical magic here though..Im not bound to ot use them, just what the Adledross requested. Its like boney-He can say don't give Alex a leadership role but there is nothing magical about it. " Troops start sorting out and marching from the Forest Camp. "In the end, I'm pretty sure Alex, or well, Ranatal, will break the 200 hundred down into 5 groups of 40, giving each cohort a cavalry element. As we gain more cavalry those groups could advance in number. Eventually Alex will draw around him elite cavalry specialists, his Knights. you watch, little that they learned at Rasak will make them better horsemen then riding with Alex. Just my memory of things but I'm betting 2000 of the 5000 Amberites here have a history as horseman.. We could eventually have a sizable forces of them. I was thinking too...we don't know what kind of woods we will find. It might be a good plan to get some artillery volunteers to start cutting down trees and shaving them for later use."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Well, if we ARE faced with Undead at any point while here, consider this an Order to use your Clerical Abilities to Turn or Dispel them; I will deal with the consequences and punishments from those that administer this place for breaking the rules." Realmer thinks a moment... "Yes, siege engines..." he says with a smile and gleam in his eyes. "Yes, absolutely, let's get some troops to work on the materials needed. Bob. Message Relay to Dandilar: 'Commander; I'm putting you in charge of gathering soldiers qualified in artillery and engineering and assigning whomever is best qualified as the Artillery Commander. Then have them get teams felling trees and cutting and shaving lumber for what will be needed. If the new Artillery Commander has any questions you know how to contact me.' End Relay." "Since we're talking about staying long enough to establish a base and pre-carve all the parts for the siege engines... perhaps a Laboratory will be in order to help create some specialized ammunition, fire oils, explosive potions... you know, Alchemist stuff... hmmmm, might want Drishti for that... I'll think on that later... still have this place to investigate and clear." "CARSTON!" Realmer gestures for him to join Fort and him, and once he does, Realmer brings him up to speed on the contents of the house so far, and their speculations, so far. "When the reinforcements arrive, Fort and I would like you to join us when we re-enter the buildings to investigate. We should hand pick some of the soldiers with dungeon delving and city delving experience... those who would know what to look for and watch out for... those with a sense for when things are... 'off' or 'weird'... adventurers. So, what's your take on all of this, Carston?"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Carston looks around, "It seems unreal. Like a stage play with props. But a lot of things here have seemed like that. This whole place seems like that, not just these buildings. It reminds me of the Eldimior place. You could burn the buildings down and the next day they would be back..I don't recognize the style of these places but they look like they are from different shadows. the Barns are very different. A smoke house with thousands of hogs? its all too artificial"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Agreed. This place is too idyllic; buildings enough to draw our interest, foes to challenge us, facilities and accommodations for many people, books to entice me, mostly ready smoked meats... yeah, this definitely feels like a trap. But I have checked the place over with the Pattern Lens and everything looks normal; not magical or illusionary... but it certainly looks and feels staged. But I would hate to miss something helpful or useful here, so I feel inclined to investigate further, even though my gut and my logical mind and experiences tell me it is most likely a trap of some sort and that we should leave it be. Advice? Anyone?"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Carston-"I used to travel with a thief whose best answer to opening a trap was to throw a rock at it. The traps usually opened."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort "Ya, but that way leads to cat sausage...OK. Pick two troopers and lets go take a look"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Carston comes back in a few with two troops and Fort leads off.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Entering the house again the place has a musty smell of long disuse. Fort opens a window and goes from window to window checking for traps, wires and wandering monsters. Finding none the first floor is opened to the outside breeze. The many rooms hold no surprises except having a mostly masculine decor and some spots on the walls where frames once hung as the walls discolored around them. Stepping up stairs the large house is clearly divided into wings with narrow hallways and small rooms. Bedrooms as small as 8x8 are common. there maybe as many as a dozen so sized. The third floor is similar though the rooms are a bit bigger. Fort checks each window before opening. The rooms on both floors are utilitarian furnished and some show greater years of disuse. Heading downward to the basements the first level has many rooms filled with canned fruit and vegetable. Several thousands of bottles. Trooper Candle says-"These are old. It takes a long time for foods canned this well to spoil. But I wouldn't risk feeding these to the hogs. " Fort nods, "Probably true. But we'll empty them anyway. We have fresh food to refill them. Going to the second level of basements the room is one large sectioned off room. filled with wine racks. Thousands and thousands of bottles. Fort pulls several and nod with appreciation. "If we have not said it before, the basements are off limit to the general soldiery...We might have a riot if they knew this was all here."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"This can't be it. There has to be more. Where is the ceremonial chamber with the runic circle for rituals and sacrifices? There should be such a room here. It could be housed in one of the other building, but it is more likely it would be hidden here under the main house. We need to look for hidden and secret doors... and be very wary of traps. Realmer brings up the Pattern and looks through its Lens, looking at all shelves, racks, walls, ceiling and floor. If he find nothing via the Pattern Lens, he will help search the old fashioned way.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort looks around and stops suddenly. Looks around the large room. Walks back to another spot. walks in a square back to the original place. "Carston, stand here. Candle, stand here. Realmer, stand here. and Renton, stand here. " As everyone takes a place he walks to the center. Looking down curiously.. He walks to the bottles and looks around among the clutter finding a piece of chalk. Walking back he draws on the ground.


  • '*Michael James Watson'

He does the next one then steps top the center and makes and eye.


  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort nods, "For the Sake of the widow's Son"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

the symbol glows briefly then the interior of the symbol starts dropping sections making a staircase descending..The walls gt further apart as the stair cuts into the wall

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer grins ear to ear. "Now THAT is more like it! A secret entrance with a ritual to open it. Fort, put yourself down for a bonus." Realmer winks at Fort and chuckles. "Bob. Front and center. Go down there and take a look and show me what you see." Realmer links his mind to Bob's.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort "there is a very slight wear in the stone floor. just enough to show where they made marks. But once I understood the symbol it was just a matter of remembering the rituals and how they don't vary too much shadow to shadow." Bob hovers, looks down, hovers...looks down... Looks back up. "It...smells bad down there......."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer glares at Bob, then looks to Fort. "I'll go first. The first few steps should be safe as they were part of the floor. But stay close. Bob, left shoulder, you wimp." Realmer Shifts his eyes to something better suited to underground darkness and proceeds down the stairs carefully; testing each step as he goes.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

The steps are solid and wide enough if a slightly odd height. After a time he realizes each step is slightly different then the one above and below it. The tunnel widens each revolution but it is going very deep. Fort stops, rubs the wall. "Lead, layers of zinc, silver, and other metals I don't recognize right off; Sheets of it.. thin. with stone in between...Interesting effort at symbolic magic. Not sure they intended it but I think it blocked your pattern lens... I wonder how many we passed"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"The thin sheets of metal also effectively block Passwall Spells. Hmm... let me see if it blocks all of my Sigils." Realmer drops the Pattern and brings up the Spiral of the Four Winds first, and uses it like a lens to look around. If there appears to be no difference to what he was seeing with the Pattern Lens, Realmer will drop the Spiral Sigil and bring up the Sigil of Paragon and looks though its center like a lens.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

they all now identify there the level of metals are. They continue down as far as the light shows. Fort casts Werelight and a few continual light spells for general and specific light. Realmer figures in time the stairs go down several hundred meters.. The room expands greatly. In time the stairs leave the wall and spiral unconnected into a vast open chamber. Reaching the bottom the room seems a couple hundred meter per side and 5 sided. Around the room are various symbols on the ground marking different rituals. The con Lights work poorly in this space.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer looks about the great chamber through the Lens of each Sigil he bears; looking to see anything that stands out, and looking for discrepancies between them, if any. He also looks at each group of symbols on the floor through each Sigil Lens as well.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort and Realmer see the power source through their own methods almost at once. In the far reaches of the great hall. Walking to it there seems to me table and alter. Tall candle stick holders, hanging lanterns. Getting closer the power is not Amber based, chaos based, or any other high order that either recognize but the area detects as a receptacle of High Order Magic.. Fort-"High Church....Ritual Magic for certain...The symbols in the ground would be guides to the magical working and not magic themselves.. But....you see it.. something is magical there. Suggestions on approaching before we get within a hundred meters?"  · 40w

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Yes; I see it and feel it. My first suggestion is to stay away from it for now. My second suggestion is to 'read the instruction manual'. Let's translate and read the symbols contained in this room. Fort, with your prior knowledge of these rituals and symbology, we should be able to figure out how to access and use this Magic Power Source and maybe even figure out what, exactly, it is. Let's take a look at those symbols, shall we." Realmer leads Fort over to the first set of symbols on the floor closest to the entrance/exit and begins looking them over and deciphering them, with Fort's help.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort lists numerous rituals and a lot of them Realmer recognizes as well. Most are non-magical and would require vast amounts of study to even figure out what they were hoping. "Most of these are Masonic in nature. Scottish rite, York Rite. German Rite. Even a couple Jewish Rite. Others are masonic in general appearance but not being a mason myself I don't know what these ones particularly mean. Some of these like the German Rite and Jewish Rite use clear Masonic Symbology but they are not in most of the universes I've seen. Tolknor would know more about these then I do. I wasn't part of the Masonic Movement in York. Elevation in rank. Signs of the Cross. Path of the Rosary. There are 35 clear ritual spaces in this hall as far as I can tell. Only that one in the corner has any residual magical imprint and from what I can tell its not the imprint itself but something involving it. Till we look at it... We won't know more"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Carston-" This one here is Vandalian. I had a great, great, grandfather in it. We had his medallions in the house growing up" Fort looks over at it, "Reversed and with a lot of symbology variations... But yes. Vandalain Rite. Though its probably a shadow of this world's symbol. Vanadala was a god of good fortune in the Old Faith before Jeremey unsealed the World Stone. It interesting to find it here"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Very interesting, and perhaps here to draw our attention. Very well, there is nothing left for it now, we have to go investigate that magic source. I think it might be a Construct of some sort, drawing its Power from that Imprint you mentioned, Fort." "So, first off; Carston, Candle, Renton: stay back and keep watch. Also, I hope you have all been practicing your Power Words... Magic Negation could be useful if things go awry with Fort and I over there. As could Psychic Disrupt." "Bob, I want you to stay overhead but at a slight distance. Watch the chamber, but watch us too. If everything starts to turn to Troll Shite, Trump all of us to the surface, if you can. If not, Trump us all as far out of this chamber as you can." "Fort, I suggest a Bodily Defense Spell or other Spell of Protection from Magic and Powers BEFORE we approach." Realmer releases the spell Bodily Defense upon himself that is Racked in his Familiar, Bob. "Fort, are you ready?"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Realmer notices Bob did not come down the stairs. Such a constant presence that his presence was simply

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort casts his protections. and starts to edge closer.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"What the...." he says out loud. "Bob, can you hear me?" Realmer asks aloud but also extends his Psyche outward to find Bob's Psychic Presence.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Reaching closer the far inscription fort says-"Its not magical in itself but someone tried very powerful magic here. Look, 6 attendants, all dead..rotted.. There are two alters.. both with Tomes on them."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort nods, " pick an alter. Don't read aloud. "

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer nods and says, "I'll take the one on the left" then heads towards that altar. He uses a Werelight Cantrip which he holds in his left hand as he stops to carefully look over the rotted bodies along the way. He Shifts his whole head into his Avatar/Animal Form; a Vulture (Andean Condor, actually. lol) and takes a deep whiff of the bodies with his now increased olfactory senses... one can learn a lot about a dead body by its smells. (What does he smell? Anything notable besides decay?) Once he has done this, he will Shift his head back to normal and move to the altar and look over the tome, holding his Werelight close to the altar. If it is not open, he will read the title, not aloud, then carefully open it using an Unseen Hand Cantrip so as to not make physical contact with the tome or altar. He will read each page, not aloud, and use the Unseen Hand to turn the pages.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort whistles in surprise. "OK, this changes things..There is a stack of books here, three Elementals, and two spirit tomes. I won't know what till I open them. But this one on the alter is a Summoning Tome for a Ava Dufiro of Knowledge.. Tough.. and it looks like they were trying to summon using it. Realmer looks at the first few pages and it appears to be a Dufiro summoning tome. The first few pages show how to set up the alter and the setting, and looking around it appears that they may have been trying to summon using this tome as well. On the fourth page he find the summoning name, a long guttural, musical sounding name, and its spoken or conversational name. The name of the Dufiro they were trying to summon is Fortunadas of Tosa Below it is his picture.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Yeah, looks like the same over here" Realmer says as he reads over the Dufiro named Fortunadas' Attributes once again. Since Realmer still has the Pattern Lens up before him, he looks at Fort, passingly at first, then back at his Tome. Then he looks at the place where the residual magic is emanating from, then he looks to Fort again, taking a longer look, but not too long; he will not look directly at Fort, but more like he is look past him or through him. If Fort sees Realmer looking at him, Realmer will try to look as if he is 'staring into space' and 'lost in thought'. (What are Fort's listed Attributes? What does Realmer see thru the Lens? Both the residual magic and Fort?)

  • '*Michael James Watson'

The tome speaks of his abilities with languages, vast quantities of lore. It says he can tell when lies are told to him. That he is incapable of being forced to forget things. It says he can change True Names. He can write summoning books up to Ava Dufiro. He can copy tomes up to Masoja Dufiro. Can conduct Race Rituals for Elementals and Spirits. He can sanctify binding rituals. It claims he has held the Spirit Races of Cleanliness, Combat, Song and Paper, and is a Raised member of the Ava Dufiro of Knowledge, Combat, and Truth, and lastly, the book is a Summoning book of him as a Masoja of Knowledge. As Masoja he can summon and control elemental of Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. It claims his intended next evolution is to the Masoja of Combat. Born a Human on the world of Tosa he was admitted to the Dufirosim during the battles against the Ravers of Paradox. It tells of his great love of the Dufiro and how many of them fell enthralled at his song and his tales, his bravery, wit, and cutting sarcasm. In the later portions of the book there is something fairly curious about how its worded, and the glowing, almost loving way he is described. Its cloying. approaching, if not a little bit erotic.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Well dip me in buttermilk and roll me in bread crumbs! I think we just hit the frying pan. Fort...? You might want to come over here and take a look at something I found. I believe I figured out something quite vital... perhaps several things... including why this place is here and why we... well you definitely, are so interested in this place." Realmer waits til Fort joins him, moving over a little to afford him a better view of the tome on the altar... leaving it open to the fourth page. Once Fort see the page and realization hits his face, Realmer will say: "See what I mean? I think this house, this property, came HERE because the one being summoned could not be taken from Adledross. And the amount of Energy needed killed these poor fellows... perhaps. And also perhaps... brought the Master Occultist here as well. I have a feeling he... or she... may still be about somewhere here... hiding, perhaps recovering from the summoning gone awry." (BTW, what DID Realmer see when he looked at Fort through the Pattern Lens? Or is that Power blocked down here because of the layers of metal in the walls and above?)

  • '*Michael James Watson'

He looks, curling his lip. "That bitch..she and I are going to have a long conversation...well, I'm not sure how much of this is actually true...but I have had these dufiro bound to me at one point or another. I didn't know I could write Dufiro tomes but I have copied them...never ran a race ritual but I think if called on I probably could.. So...I'm a masoja of Knowledge? And I never got a key to the executive washroom.. When we fought the Ravers of Paradox we had dufiro bound to us to keep the Ravers from taking over our bodies. They have extraordinary powers of possession. My main one was a masoja of Knowledge. She was a bit....possessive. She and I...may... have engaged in some dufiro hanky panky. Hell we did. She was considering a transition of a Dufiro of sensuality-a very rare breed.. Around the end she was quite jealous. This book can only work if she somehow managed to elevate me while she was bound to me....damn....Nur would know for sure and I fuckng can't call him here.. the Adledross would crap pumpkins". He closed the book. "The funny thing is I'm really looking forward to some summoning me. Working with the Dufiro is a matter of insane levels of linguistic detail that appeals to me. I think you're right. The forces found them and brought them here....why don't we ask. Fuck the Adledrossians. They let this place come here." He looks at the corpses, walking to one, rolling him enchants "Great Venki, whose song is the air birds fly in and the earth men lay in, Grant me your blessing to restore this unjustly slain being to new life.". The body fills with life shakes and opens its eyes in terror

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer interjects, after Fort mentions Nur and as he is closing the tome. "Well, that makes a lot more sense than you being an actual Dufiro... though... the title of Masoja of Knowledge does fit you well." As Fort rolls the body over and begins his incantation, Realmer tries to stop him, by saying: "Fort. I don't think that is such a good idea. You have still to be punished for your last infringement...." He sighs heavily as the body begins to fill with life energies and regenerate. "I could have seen his death with a spell..." another sigh, "and perhaps got us some answers without you having to risk further punishment by the Adledrossians." Realmer shakes his head and sighs yet again... then looks to the reconstituted and revived person on the floor.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Ask those dead before I get to them. let them know helpful answers makes me get to them faster.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"I can't Speak with the Dead, Fort; I don't have a spell for that and it would take a little time to Weave a new spell. But I can see the last few minutes of a person's life and how they died. You will have to Revive them to speak with them.... unless you can somehow use your Clerical Spells to Speak with Dead..." Realmer moves to the furthest corpse and casts a High Order Spell hung on the Sigil of Paragon: Recall Death; it is a High Order version of a Low Order spell which allows the caster to see the last few minutes of life and the death of any corpse within visual range.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

A fast flash hits of the man Fort raised standing at the alter with his summoning tome. He is encanting as the others stand in the circle chanting. There is a sudden flash and it looks as if they are trying to maintain a crumbling ritual. one man breaks the circle and starts to run. Then the image appears as if they were accelerated at a great speed, all crashing to the ground hard, dead or dying. The candles look as if they burned fast as if time passed. Then the scene goes dark.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

After the flashes of images, Realmer looks around the room and counts and places bodies. Based on the Vision he saw, are all the bodies present and in the correct places? Was there any person shown in the Vision that is not accounted for by a body in this chamber? Then Realmer moves over to Fort and using Hand Signs, says: 'I know what happened to them.' Then he says aloud, "So, what has you told you? Or is he still trying to come to terms with what has happened?"

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Admin The man looks up at fort with near adoration. "Great Fortunadas....am I in the land of the dead? " Looking around "I'm in the Ritual Hall. Did, the summoning work? ' Fort growls, "did you intend to bind me to something or bargain with me? Either one would have been dangerous.. That book is not correct. How did you come by it?" The man looks over at the piles of his friends.."Oh... poor Carl, and Dan.. and Lloyd...The women will be furious and crushed.. We told them your wisdom and kindness would bring us enlightenment and riches. We had intended to offer service, oh Great Fortunadas. " Shake his head, "Well, I have no need for your service but I suppose I'll find something to do with you till I can get you all home. I'll wake up your friends in a minute. First, how did you get this book? And that one, the Dufiro of Knowledge. " He looks at Realmer, eyes widening in fear. Fort chuckles. "Be glad he isn't hungry. Now give." "Our lodge, The Eureka Great Wisdom Lodge of North Dakota, has had a lot of people over the years interested in our private services. We don't allow anyone into the Secret Lodge till they are 20 degree at least.. Then we studied the mystics of the Ancient Egyptian Lodge and the Ancient Greek Temple, At 30th they are entered into the Deep Discordian Erisian Lodge. There we learn from the Ancient One...A Dufiro bound to the summoning stone there" he points at the center of the symbol the dead are around. Just a few weeks ago it taught us how to summon those books. They aren't devils!!!!!!I Not demons!!! They are elemental of water and Fire..and earth, great spirits of the craft..finally it taught us how to call these two books. The Dufiro of Knowledge Gratdalas and the Dufiro of Knowledge Fortunadas. He said you would be grateful and would free him and would teach u great secrets if we summoned you. Turning to Realmer-"Amateur mystics, Cultists,, listening to a bound Dufiro, willing to tell them anything it could think of to get someone to come break it free. And these putzes tried summoning me while I was someplace I could not be called from. So the Adledross brought them here..Swell. Lets wake up these other idiots while I have time still"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

As Fort move towards the other bodies, Realmer tells him what he saw in his Recall Death Vision of these men. "I think you are right that you should hurry. And perhaps you should stop using those powers of yours that 'upset' the Adledross... the punishments for you will only keep getting worse, Fort." He gives Fort a raised eyebrow then continues. "And what of the bound Dufiro? Is it your intent to free them? For if not, then perhaps I shall... I could use some 'good karma' with the Dufiro Race... I do have an upcoming Mating/Blending Ritual to participate in...." Realmer wonders if Kala Kala has tried to contact him while he has been incommunicado.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Without knowing what kind of Dufiro it is its risky to just bust him loose. I don't sense ti, which is curious. But if its bound in the symbol, breaking the syymbol ought to let him free"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer goes to examine the Symbol. He will look it over visually, then through each Sigil Lens, to learn what he can. If he learns nothing... then he will carefully extend his Psyche towards the Symbol, tentatively reaching for the Psyche of the Dufiro that is supposedly there.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

There is a sudden intense pleading for release. It was clearly bound against its will. It offers riches and wisdom and powers for its freedom but in a sense of understanding, not in spoken words.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer barely turns his head towards Fort as he speaks, still focusing on the Symbol and the bound Dufiro within. "This Dufiro was bound unwillingly; I do not like that. It offers much for me to set it free. I am going to set it free, but I will make it promise not to harm those here upon its exit." Realmer communicates via his Psyche that he WILL release the Dufiro within, but it must NOT harm those present, including those outside this structure. And it must always remember who freed it, asking almost nothing in return, and it must speak favorably about the one who freed it to all Dufiro. I am Relmopator Barimen of Amber, and I will free you if you agree to my conditions.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

It whimpers helplessly and gives what seems like agreement.

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer thinks to the Dufiro: You have agreed to my conditions, so that makes this a Binding Contract that I expect you to hold to. I will now set you free. Realmer looks over the Symbol and begins by simply trying to scrub it away... if it is 'marked' upon the stone floor. If this does not work, or it is carved into the stone floor, he will try to a Power Word (gesture): Magic Negation to destroy it or temporarily disrupt the magic long enough to free the bound Dufiro within.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

The symbol seems to be mosiacied into the ground. Power Word does not effect it or the binding. Magic Negation doesn't effect it either though he feels it shimmer a bit magically. Fort looks over-"That kind of thing doesn't effect Dufiro. If it did it would be the most common spell in worlds where bound Dufiro are common armor and weapons. destruction is the way. Its a pretty symbol but blast it to pieces if you are determined.. but bear in mind, thee things can be tricky"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer brings up the Pattern in his mind, walks it to its center, then projects it at the mosaic tiled Symbol in the floor like at attack, attempting to destroy the Magic with a greater Power of Pattern.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

There is a shiver in the ground but the binding remains. Fort-"That's tough, I really thought that would do it. But again, that attacking the magic, not the structure. I recommended a large hammer or a earth eruption spell. Ignore the magic, damage the construct. Dufiro are rarely bound to glass or easily breakable things for that reason"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer looks over his shoulder, dropping the Sigil of the Pattern and says, "That was next on my list. I was sure that would work as well. Double Tough, as they say." Realmer refocuses his attention on the Symbol on the floor and releases a Spell hung on the Sigil of Paragon: Transmute Stone to Mud. He focuses the Spell on the stone of the floor that encompasses the Symbol and the surrounding area. If the Mud does not 'disrupt' the Symbol, then Realmer will fly over the muddy area and disturb the tiles that make up the symbol with his feet, if needed.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Stone to mud disrupts the structure enough for the creature to come rushing out, howling in Rage, filling the room with light and noise. Fort looks up from the third raised man and moans, "ah hell." Th creature takes the shape of a large horned Minotaur, calling a great two handed double bit axe to hand, swinging it about like to fell sequoias. It howls in Anger. Fort stands and walks by Relmopator. He shimmers suddenly with magical protections. The Minotaur Steps forward, lowering the axe to place at the ground..He inhales deeply.. Looking Angrily down at Fort. "Fortunadas of Tosa, I shall name you n time. I shall claim the price on your head from the Lord of the Death. Fear me. Fort draws his daggers, "Fight me now or Fuck off. I know the Masoja you speak of and you can tell him I said he could fuck off too. As for fearing you, I've killed your kind before. " he looks at Realmer, "Opener, I abide our agreement, for 20 days. I shall not harm anyone here or above for 20 days. Then I shall return and slay all who keep me from my prey, my Rage binds me, my war is just. You however, I shall not slay unless you draw weapon or spell upon me. In 20 days I shall give you my calling name that we may trade. Now, I go to the realms of death to sanctify my war."

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"Wait! 20 days by whose reckoning? Yours? Mine? No. Neither. 20 days by the time of Amber; the only true and steady time flow in the multiverse. That is agreeable."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

He laughs, "You did not free me in Amber. Nor it seems did you free me in North Dakota. Whatever realm this is, is where you freed me. 20 day in this realm." He looks at Fort, "You know, correct? That his release of me and my agreement with him does not bind me? I hold to the agreement out of honor. Something you could learn from, little rat-man. If you bow before me I shall depart this realm and tell the Lord of death whose name you know that you have done so and I shall seek you beyond this realm, leaving all here unharmed." Fort laughs, "If you are unbound, I can fix that. " He steps to the Alter and pulls a book up on the stand. "WAIT!!! Lord Relmopator, would you have this creature step on an agreement we have made? I am A Dufiro of Rage and War and I'll have my prize in time but now he threatens your honor as well as mine"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer steps up to the altar and slams his hand down on the book in Fort's hands so he cannot open it or read it if it is already opened. "No, Fortunadas! You will not do this! Stop now! You will not damage my honor or my agreement! Do you understand me?! Our honorable agreement has bought you 20 days that you would not have had otherwise. I am sure this is what I was forewarned of... take the time you have been given. Don't force me to be your Commander right now... I don't want to have to Order you to do this."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort nods angrily, "No order you give me could slow me if I chose. "Picking up the tome and slipping it into his shirt. The newly arisen have the looks of those who suddenly realize how foolish they have been dealing with forces beyond their ken. "Dufiro of Rage and War. Your attempt to sway my captain here is desperate and pathetic. I would not wield a butter knife you were bound into and once I have read this tome I shall know your secret name and shall scrawl it on subway walls so drunks can whisper your name and disturb your rest. flee to the Dufirosim and pray to the Lords of Wisher you never feel my wrath. So if you will not fight now Dufiro of Rage and War then go before I start reading aloud!" The creature rises fast up the spiral and the rattling of his passage is clearly heard. Fort takes out the tome and places it on the alter. "ah, I don't suppose you have that bottle of brandy handy, do you?"

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

"You think I'm going to leave it lying around where someone can find it? Of course I have it handy." Realmer rummages in his makeshift satchel and pulls out the bottle of Napoleon Brandy with the Percy bottle stopper atop it. He pulls the stopper and hands the open bottle to Fort. "Well, that was fun. He's going to be a barrel of laughs at our next party." Realmer jokes as Fort drinks.

  • '*Michael James Watson'

"Damn shame I didn't have his binding book. For all I know this Dufiro of Knowledge tome might summon a guy that knows every one liner joke in the universe.. Worse thing is if he had attacked, I'm sure we could kill him but he would just wake up in the east, pissed." He chugs the bottle and passes it back. "Thing is that if he really chose to he could start summoning his underlings.. We have 20 days for me to drag every detail these Shriners have on the Rage & warfare Dufiro they have been having a love affair with for a generation and see if I can suss out his binding name. otherwise we have to kill him every other day or so."\

  • '*Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.'

Realmer clears his throat quietly and looks away for a moment. "Actually..." he looks Fort in the eyes, "YOU will have to kill him every day or so... I'm pretty sure this is your 'punishment' from the Adledross for breaking their rules here. But I'm sure I can help you research what you need... as long as you do the actual 'battle' with the 'monster' when the time comes." Realmer takes the bottle of brandy, takes a swig, corks it and puts it away then goes over to the other altar and grabs the book on Fortunadas and the other tomes stacked there. "Get busy with the Raising of the Dead, Fort. Carston, Candle, come help gather up these tomes. Leave none behind and be careful with them. Renton, head upstairs and let those outside know we are all well. Also, keep everyone out of the wine cellar; again, no riots wanted or needed here."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

Fort nod and moves to the next guy. "the damnable misery is that once I get out of here, I'm going to have to go find out which bitch put a price on my head and why?. Probably a song I wrote. Dufiro can be such critics."

  • '*Michael James Watson'

and SCENE


Adledross: Forward Base, Growing Crops and Freemason Apprentices[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Outside the business of establishing the forward base is in process. Camps are well set up though not near the farm itself and in the distance the Reen are settling in their own camps nearly over a far hill. On a far hill to the south Alex can be seen drilling cavalry. Some amount of unit drill is going on as well.

  • A trooper, Gusser, a Kashfan, approaches as the people from the depth exit the house.
  • "Commander. The camp is well on the way to being established. There has been an odd development which is why the camp is so far from the structures. The fields for several hundred acres around here are planted. I come from a rural region of Kashfa and its clear that crops are in the ground and began growing rapidly once the group of you entered the building. Corn mostly, but vegetables as well, hundreds of acres. I've coordinated with Traxton and he told me to manage finding farmers among our troops. Not an easy task you might imagine since most of us joined the military to avoid farming. The Drtida seem well suited to it and if possible id like as many transferred here as possible to look over things. In the week you have been in the house we have seen 2 months worth of growth. Turn over could be incredible.”
  • One of the masons, Jach says, "That's my cornfield!!! What the hell is it doing next to that... hopping fuck that's a big smoke house!.. Hey, Richard, that's your stable barn isn't it?"
  • Richard looks over, "Well, yes, that's the breeding barn.. and that smokehouse is like the ones...hey...it is one of the ones from over at Crestview Farms...great smoked pig. I sell them feed..." *One of the others says,"Ya know, Jach, that garden over their looks like Millie's. She does a lot of cucs and broc. and mixed greens, doesn't she?"
  • One of the masons looks to Fort, "Great Fortunadas was it your desire that such of our farms were brought here for you?"
  • Fort chuckles, "This will get old quick.....Listen up you schmucks...you and your generations have been mucking about mining a creature far beyond any of your imaginings. And hes an asshole. Now, lets get some things straight before we step off this porch...first, That guy over there is Commander Relmopator and I'm his number two. Just like on a ship. You call him Commander, and for the sake of my sanity call me Fort. Like a... Fort. Neither of us planned to bring you or any of this stuff here. We are in a training ground of a particular nature and you idiots trying to summon me using a badly written tome is what made the masters of the training ground pull you out of your world and drop you here. Explaining the hows and whys will take months we don't have. Now, you will make your selves useful farming here. From time to time I'm going to take each of you aside and we will find out what you know, think, and learned from that creature. As you heard, he is a Dufiro of Rage and War. So, let call him Reggie.”
  • Looking at Realmer, "That'll piss him off eventually."
  • Turning back to the masons, "You all have spent your lives reading a collection of mystical, occult, esoteric, and largely crap books seeking after enlightenment and power. Well, you fuckers got it and it really isn't what you think. You will learn of Amber and Chaos from me. You will see honest to Martha magic around here. I'll be twisting your brains like a rag trying to figure out Reggie's true name and when I do I'll..."
  • One of the mason shrieks, "Hey!!! that's a Dragon!!! Is that a dragon!!!????!?!. "
  • Fort stumbles verbally, "I'm slipping. Curious..Yes, bucky, that's a dragon. There are a thousand of the brutes beyond those hills and they all have riders and they are, at the time being, our friends. I imagine all of you will get to ride them eventually. "
  • That last makes the already freaked masons eyes widen. Fort lowers his voice and when he speak the masons turn to rapt attention. Only higher psyche keeps Realmer, Carston and crew from doing so as well but the draw is there.
  • "You will be useful. But you should know this is a warzone. The reason we are here is to train in warfare particular to OUR regions. You will see things undreamed of in Crowley's nightmares. And its your own damn fault you are here. You will answer our questions, farm your fields, listen to our commanders and in a year from now you will be back in Dakota talking to your wives and shrinks about the strange dream you had in elf hill. Don't piss me off.. Now, with the Commander's permission, and I imagine he will have something to say too, you will listen to trooper Gusser here and coordinate the farm with him. Gusser, if one of these schmucks seems to have a better handle on these farms, we will talk about releasing you to the ranks so you can get the training you came here for.. Its not like they came here to fight orcs and wereriders..."
  • Fort looks to Realmer, "Commander?"
  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When they first come out from the depths and Trooper Gusser begins explaining, Realmer begins looking about and then says to Gusser, "A week? Only felt like a couple of hours." Realmer looks to each new part of the farmstead as the Masons begin pointing them out and figuring out where they came from. As Fort begins his oration, Realmer watches the Masons reactions carefully, but studies Fort as well. Realmer chuckles at the nickname given the Dufiro of Rage and War. Realmer also finds it curious that Fort 'slipped' in his verbal barrage; Realmer has never seen Fort at a loss for words or tripped up in a conversation or oration. Realmer watches with great interest as Fort impresses his Psyche upon the Masons. "Thank you, Sub-Commander Fort." Realmer nods slightly to Fort and steps forward to address the Masons. "I am Commander Relmopator of the Amberite Army. I command the 1st Cohort, which means I command the entire army. There are four other Cohort Commanders in the Amberite Army..." he points to Carston, "You have already met Commander Carston of the 5th Cohort, and you will meet others. There are also Commanders within the Dragon Rider Army, and you may meet them too... they are our allies and they also follow my command. As of now, ALL of you are a part of the Amberite Army. You are now Loyal to the Amberite Army; to me and my Commanders, my Sub-Commanders, Sergeants and Troopers. And you WILL follow any order given to you without question and without hesitation." Realmer takes the time to look intently into each mans' eyes, making sure they understand, but not requiring them to speak. Then he continues. "We are not Gods or Devils. Nor Angels or Demons. We are not to be Worshiped or Revered. We are not of the Heavens or the Hells... though you will hear the term 'demon', it does not mean what you think it does. You are going to see many strange things, strange beings, monsters... but I cannot... I WILL NOT, have you freaking out and soiling your breeches every time you see something fantastical or nightmarish. You must learn, and learn quickly, how to take it all in stride. For example.." Realmer calls Bob, probably circling on high as a white raven, to fly down and shapeshift into his true beholder form. He does not wait for the shock to wear off. "This is Bob, my Familiar. He is a Shape Shifter... and so am I." Realmer Shape Shifts into his Chaos Form and says, "As are others here." Then he Shifts back to his Human/Adask Form and produces a Cantrip Fire Finger to focus their attention. "And I am also a High Order Sorcerer, amongst other Low Order magical titles. Get used to strange things. Follow orders. Be helpful and informative. Never betray us. NEVER. We are your only chance of getting back to your homes. We are the only military force on this world that seems to be guided by a moral compass. Lucky for you we found you first." Realmer gives them a moment to let things sink in, then asks, "Are there any questions? Do any of you wish to say anything?" His tone is non-threatening as is his facial expression and body language. He is being sincere with them... he wants to know if they have something to ask or say.

  • Michael James Watson

The senior mason, the first one woken, Hector, looks at his fellows and back and Fort, the Realmer. "Ah...Will we be learning magic?" Fort laughs. "Trust an occultist. You wingnuts have been talking to a major Dufiro for several generations and he has been stringing you along offering you powers until he found 12 of you gullible enough to attempt to perform a summoning which you were stupidly unready for in the hope its force would crack the inscription he was bound to, freeing him. He even got you to try summoning me just as a bonus for him. Do you realize now that if the spell had not been interrupted, bringing you here, that it would have freed that beast in North Dakota, where he would have eaten your hearts in front of you then probably have hunted down everyone he had ever met among you and eaten them, and their wives, and kids, if not take out his rage on your whole town? That your efforts to learn the secrets of the universe could have gotten everyone you knew devoured, if not everyone on your whole frekkin world? You want to learn magic? OK Here..." He steps up to Hector, grab his head Slams him with his psyche, making Hector emit a little squeak and go knee weak.. Fort says..."Know this......Learn This: Kuwa safi!" He says the word hard and loud. "SAY IT!!!!!!" Hector mumbles "Kuwas safi" Nothing happens Fort yells, " YOU WANTED TO SUMMON DUFIRO AND YOU CAN'T PRECISELY SAY THE CHARM FOR A CANTRIP? KUWA SAFI!!!! SAY IT!!!!" He whimperingly says "Kuwa safi" The area on his outfit is suddenly clean as the clean Cantrip activates. Fort chuckles.."There, You are a wizard now. Go teach them..When every one of you knuckleheads can cast the Clean Cantrip Realmer and I will decide which Cantrip you can learn next...Friggin occultists....Discordian ones at that..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"The learning of Magics is a must in this army... but for you men, it will be a reward for hard work, cooperation, a lack of headaches for us, and loyalty. You can start by proving your worth as farmers. You all know these lands and what they hold and grow; so then, tend to them, teach the Drtida what you know about your lands and crops. Prove to us that you can handle this farmstead so that Trooper Gusser can get back to training and away from farming. Dismissed." "Gusser; once you're sure one of these men can run this farmstead at least as well as you can, hand over the responsibility to that man but stay in the area to observe their work. Dismissed." "Fort... you seem agitated and off your game... you look like you need some rest. Go get some rack time... at least 6 hours. That is an order, by the way. But not in the house... not yet. I want to see if the time difference is still in play." "Bob, contact Tesa and tell her to bring the Drtida here to the Farmstead as soon as possible. Fort... why you still standing there? Go get some sleep."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "Its not sleep I need but your order will be obeyed. Let us step aside a moment first." Once the others have dispersed he speaks softly. "I must be honest.. mostly honest.. The Adledross have dropped a real crapstorm on us and its my fault.. I have no idea what the usual rules are for this place but as you noted thee and me are probably not the normal candidates. It might be best if I separated from the core here and drew my attackers away. I have no doubt I can fight this Dufiro. But I'm not sure how messy it will be for others. Sure, if they get splattered they will wake up the next day, but splattered is splattered. " he paces a bit,, "However, my deal with Benedict, hence the Adledross, is that I would not uses powers unusual to others.. there are clerics among those in the camp north of us so I felt free to use my clericism...We had cavalry so Alex could summon his horse..The Adledross have allowed occult ritualists here who were able enough at dealing with Dufiro to get one to teach them how to summon me..so I no longer feel like I can't call a few friends..Say, a Masoja of Knowledge to do a little research into spindling arm's true name. and a Masoja of strength in case we have to box him around. Say...an Avasa of growth to hang around the farm..a dozen Combat Spirits and a few Cleanliness Spirits? I know a Elemental of Scents that is a hell of a tracker on his ways to being a spirit of blending that would love to help me...What do you think?'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head slightly as he strokes his chin with his left hand, a deeply thoughtful look on his face, his right hand rests on the hilt of his broadsword strapped to his right hip for a left handed draw... a habit Realmer has picked up since acquiring it. "What do I think?" He repeats the question slowly. "Well... you've given me much to think about." He pauses and looks thoughtful and taps his chin with his index finger. "Firstly... I don't think you separating from the rest of us is truly best now. Especially since Reggie of the Rage and War said he would be bringing an army of his own with him... I think we're all in this together now. I believe the opportunity for you to fight and defeat him one on one may have passed us by and I take blame for that. Had I not made the verbal deal for his and our safety, you could have fought him one on one." Realmer continues to stroke his chin, still looking thoughtful, but now pacing slightly. "Secondly... I do agree that this whole mess is your fault. Had you not summoned Dufiro to help you and Tesa defeat the Treba Cursis Horsemen I am fairly sure all of this" he pulls his hand from his chin and points to the buildings and crops and Masons, "would not be happening." His hand returns to his chin, index finger tapping his lower lip. "The Adledross would not have allowed the Ritualists' Magic to work and brought them and all of this here, had you not broken the rules first. So, with that in mind, thirdly; I am torn about you summoning more Dufiro to help us." "I agree with your logic regarding your use of Clericism, and the summoning of mounts, but I do not agree, fully agree, with your logic concerning the summoning of more Dufiro. It was the summoning of Dufiro that started this and set the chain of events into motion. I am concerned that you summoning more Dufiro will only make matters worse and make your... our punishment worse. And as the Commander of the Army and the one ultimately responsible for all these men and women... I'm have to factor that and them in." Realmer sighs and pulls his hand from his chin and holds his index finger up and shakes it a bit and says, "But the 'not commander' part of me... the Sorcerer, the Adventurer... that part likes the idea of bringing in more help for the farmstead to supply the Army for our year here and maybe establish trade with those who have found the caches and want to trade... and also the bringing in of extra muscle...." He trails off and is silent for a minute or so as he taps is lower lip and paces, his right hand gripping the hilt of his broadsword, tightens and loosens as he paces and thinks. "I'll give you my final decision after you wake... but for now, I think you should not summon the Combat Spirits and maybe not the Masoja of Strength either... but the others I think would be acceptable... hopefully not enough to upset the balance with the Adledross and cause us more headaches. But do nothing until you have rested and then ask me again, before you summon anything." Realmer looks to the house. "I wonder of the Time Flow Effect is effecting the entire house, or just the lowest level... the part below where you found the thin metal plates embedded in the walls...." He trails off again as he stares at the house.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods... "OK....Counter-proposal... I'll grant that this is my fault...I'm off my game.. And seeing the Treba Cursis hunting Tesa kinda...well, whats done is done. You are probably right about me summoning friendly Dufiro... and frankly its only one of the spirits I really need to see. But....There are three elemental tomes, 2 spirit tomes, a Masoja of Knowledge, and who knows what else inside there. They let these thing be brought here so using them should be fair game. and who knows what might be inside. Still, summoning isn't something to be done lightly.. I think I need the MoK...I have to find Reggie's name to bind him. Killing him over and over will just piss him off and he already has a temper..Reggie got these books to them in North Dakota so they are probably allies of his. So I have the summoning and binding tome for a Dufiro who may know Reggie's name. I can summon him, twist him about, and see if he'll dance"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Hmm... alright... we'll start with the Masoja of Knowledge, then decide where to go from there. Since the tomes are here, we should use them... it would be a tactical error not to." Realmer still seems somewhat lost in thought as he stares at the house, then glances to the tomes recovered so far sitting on the porch. "I changed my mind. Forget sleep... let's go look the house over again. I want a few men around the house keeping track of the amount of time we spend inside... I really want to figure out the Time Difference and what it is effecting. And I am sure there is more to find in there... a second look might be worth the time." Realmer looks to Fort and raises an eyebrow and cracks a slight smile. "And we thought this would be a straight forward war of combat and tactics, survival and death..." Realmer snort laughs and winks at Fort.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles... "Being short I was never much of a front rank guy in the wars...those big shields....looks messy as heck"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I was involved in two wars back around my Adventuring Years... both were messy. Both times I stayed as far from the front lines as circumstances and my spells' ranges allowed... which in some cases was far to close for my liking. Which is the main reason why I thought I should attend NP and learn how to handle myself when magic was not an option. But it seems that the Magic has followed me... followed us, here." He chuckles. "Well, since it seems the Gates of Magic have been flung open, we should use our skills and knowledge to their utmost. So... what are your thoughts on the house? Is the Time Difference effecting the whole house... or just parts? Since it is moving slower it could be useful for storage of foods; less time to rot... but we must be careful how much time we spend in there, so as not to lose the time we have out here to prepare for Reggie and Crew."

  • Michael James Watson

"The stairs to the bottom passed through numerous layers of stacked sheets of metal. Some I didn't recognize and its been a long time since that happened... My guess is those had temporal implications... Curious.. That might mean that the upper levels, above ground, are time current. And if we wish to use the summoning circles below we loose time relative to the army for using the available magical hardware below. Since we have these books I think they are daring us to loose a month below to summoning some relatively powerless creatures.. Or more if I want the MoK..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, let's go test the theory by checking out the house above ground first, then return back outside to check the time. Then the basement in the same way, then lastly the Chamber." Realmer calls over a few Troopers with a Hand Sign then verbally tells them to watch the house and keep track of the time that Fort and he are in there. "Come with me Fort" Realmer says as he steps onto the porch. "Let's spend about 5 minutes looking though the house again, just a quick walk through, then check in out here."

  • Michael James Watson

After a walk around the first floor for a few moments fort get distracted by the office. Looking through the books he starts taking down several and stacking them on the desk. As he walks along the shelves, collecting books he starts looking at the shelves. tsking... Stepping back . Looking. Slowly walking back to the desk he takes the books he had withdrawn and puts them back in the shelves, turning his head slightly. "There is something.....about the shelves.. the library.. it covers three walls. There are no curios...but there are.. no..sections.... Its an occult library but its also a history library with non-occult topics...For a masonic lodge there should be a section on Masonry but they are spread out.. odd..." He sits at the desk.... "Hector is tax attorney and there are a couple current books on tax law on the desk...papers.. no computer...There is plenty of tech in the other rooms..refrigerators..clock radios, flatscreens, microwaves, laptops in the bedrooms.. but there is nothing electronic in here...Weird.....no books of tax law in the shelves....."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer watches Fort and his interest in the books. He looks at the shelves/bookcases and watches as Fort puts the books back, wondering as well about the chaotic placement of the books. He looks at them for a pattern... he looks at the shelves/cases themselves for anything unusual. "The fact that the books are not organized is odd, but not necessarily a puzzle or clue... I have known wizards who have a 'disorganized' system that works for them. But... the first thing that comes to mind is another hidden library; perhaps accessed through this room. Next is; this could be a powerful illusion and this is not what the room looks like at all. Another thought... this could be staged just to make us waste time." "And speaking of time... let's move outside for a minute; it's been about 5 minutes since we came in... let's check how much time passed outside. Tell me your thoughts as we walk." Realmer motions for Fort to get up and follow him. He has the feeling that Fort is somehow being compelled to be curious about this place and is worried he may waste too much time chasing false trails.

  • Michael James Watson

fort walks behind you outside. He is mumbling softly, just below the threshold of hearing. Troops are going about their work. One of them approaches, "Was there something else Commander?" In the distance Alex is ridding over with 3 cavalry men at a gallop.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Just one thing; how long were we gone?" Realmer asks as he watches Alex and the three men approaching on horseback.

  • Michael James Watson

The trooper says, "A few minutes.. I was just coming to tell you we have riders coming in"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Excellent. Thank you and carry on." Realmer turns to Fort and says, "Looks like Alex is in a hurry." Realmer looks back towards the approaching horsemen and tries to get a better look at those with him. He will Shape Shift his eyes to those of a vulture to get a better view.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-'Well, I've never seen Alex casually stroll anywhere."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and continues to watch their approach

  • Michael James Watson

As the 4 horseman ride up Alex salutes. "Commander, my Reen counterpart has informed me, that there is a force troops coming this way. 4 or so days out. Permission to take dragonback and scout them for composition and intentions."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort turns and walks back into the house.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Granted. Report back as soon as you can. Carry on." Realmer turns and follows Fort. "Hold up, Fort. I'm still suspicious of this house and contents... especially since you seem to have an extremely high level of curiosity about it and its contents. You seem distracted and off your mark. It started when we arrived up there and saw the building down here and as the farmstead grows, so does you lack of focus." Realmer pauses and stops before they enter the house again. "Do you see it as well? Or am I being paranoid and making the wrong connections and assumptions?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Realmer, my...lets call it.. friend, being suspicious seems to be a sound trait for Amberites.. As for me, I am off my game because its been 10 years since I had my drug of choice and I'm dealing with withdrawal from a drug that is fairly uncompromising. But I'm going to risk pissing off the Adledross further to get a friend to bring me a stash.. As for my curiosity, that's my nature. never met any thrice crowned bards I suspect, have you? Well, Arlo maybe... there is talk of getting him a trio of crowns if it won't piss off your king... " Walking into the library, he looks around... "its been an age since I was intellectually challenged. OK, its a library...and a suicide note."

  • Michael James Watson

"Treatise on White Magic, Hitler and the Occult, Initiation Into Hermetics, Secretum Secretorum Then...a masonic book...Illuminati secrets, Satanic Bible. another masonic book...Theatrum Chemicum, Herodotus, Early history of Rome, a masonic book...The works of Alister Crowley, Encyclopedia of Gypsy Magic, Story of Edger Cayce." Fort smiles, speaks with a bit of a chuckle.."Trained by the Great White Lodge, Exposing Witchcraft in the Church, Moonchild, Esoteric Orders and their works, Nostradamus, Tarot Magik! Its not a library, exactly....."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Hmmmmm.... not a library as you and I might know it.... but there is an odd design to it... what they are about... the man is searching for power and looking to every source he can find." Realmer looks again at the order of the books, specifically where the Masonic Books are and what they seem to be about. "Maybe there is a reason for the order of the books..." Realmer looks at more books... he looks at the covers not for their titles but the color or design and looks for a pattern. He looks for any books that appear to be more worn than others, or more used. He looks for markers sticking out to the books or makings on the books that don't seem to belong.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort smiles. "Its the easy things I trip over.." He taps the books in the upper corner one at a time. "Treatise on White Magic, Hitler and the Occult, Initiation Into Hermetics, Secretum Secretorum. T.H.I.S" "This is the Testament of our Order; Spaces for one masonic book. new paragraph for three masonic books."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, look at that!" Realmer exclaims. "That would have taken me a while to spot too. Well then, let's see what has been spelled out for us." Realmer reads the first letter of each title of each book, moving top left to right, then down, just like reading a page. He considers each book case it's own page.

  • Michael James Watson

"Its the simple things....it's a flaw with us sorcerers. Precision. Detail. Weights to the grain of spice. Suspicion. Tension. I once spent an hour searching a mind boggling ornate door for trap, snares, wires, and everything I could figure out to unlock a door. In the end Venki just opened by turning the handle. It's like carston's thief friend opening traps with rocks."

  • Michael James Watson

Working over the top row of the library, taking into account single books on masonry and trios of masonic books, there is a message in English. Fort reads aloud. "This is the Testament of our Order; We have fallen into folly. We delved too deep. We found not angles. We found not devils. We found not truth. But we were found. We go to drag our souls free. The stone of our ancestors speaks treason to God. He binds us to call Great Fortunadas so we may slay him. We must pray the writer of tomes will be victorious. If you of the thirty second order find this work do my final bidding. Bury the deep chamber. Fill it with excrement and soil. seal it with cement. Break the gate to the falling stair. Do not follow us into folly. Hector Worshipful Master. ' Fort chuckles in irony.."Writer of Tomes again...sometimes our shadows have better press then we do ourselves. When we get outside I'm going to slap Hector around hard. the rest is all in Dufirosim of various languages and will take awhile to decipher.. Its in a mixture of languages and mixture of encodings... sly bitches...."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles when Fort relates his trap search experience, recalling some of his similar follies in the past... some recent. After reading the message left by Hector Realmer contemplates a moment then says; "So the 'stone of our ancestors' would be the bound Dufiro, Reggie, who found a way to bind the Masons and summon YOU in order to slay you. My question now is; Why? Why does Reggie want you dead? Is it possible you know Reggie in some way? Or perhaps he is working for someone else... which I think is most likely... but I'm not sure why... my Sorcerer's suspicious nature probably." He winks at Fort. "You know Dufirosim and Codes, so take the time and figure out the rest of the message. I'm going to check the rest of the house and basement to confirm my theory about the Time Difference only affecting the Chamber Below. And I think I agree with Hector's suggestion; we should bury it, destroy the entrance and seal it. As far as I could tell, all of the tomes were retrieved when we came up so there shouldn't be any need to go back down... unless the other non-magical inscribed markings on the floor are needed. After I make my rounds and check the time I would like to study that Tome you have; the tome on the Masoja of Knowledge. I think it's time I learned the inner workings of Summoning Dufiro."

  • Michael James Watson

"I think I'm going to take a hill in view of the camp and summon this MoK. I'll summon a spirit of paper first, a friend, who can drop off my fix. Then I'll summon the MoK for everyone to see me bind the bitch. You can help set up the ritual and get a good education on summoning of them by seeing a hostile binding. Call the lesson 'Why not to bind Dufiro against their will' As for why Reggie has it in for me, that's easy. There is a price on my head among the Dufiro. And That price is paid in powers. My bet is Reggie,, a Masoja of War and rage wants to make the Jump to Masoja of Death, a huge jump. " Glancing over the book, casually writing out the letters for future decoding, he goes on. "When we fought the Ravers on Paradox we summoned and bargained with a lot of Dufiro and they allowed us to bind them to ourselves. The Raver were creatures of possession, taking a host, accessing their powers then boating them exponentially. Nearly invulnerable creatures able to channel the Illearth Stone. The Illearth Stone is a stone like the World Stone and other ridiculously powerful shadows of the Jewel of Judgment, far enough removed to not be recognizable as a shade. " "Well, the Dufiro trade for power. They all knew what we planned to do and that 12 Ravers and the illearth stone meant a lot of free power floating around. There were about 12 of us regularly and another dozen occasionally, and all of us needed something bound into us so the Ravers could not possess us. All of us except Vonnilia who had her own possession issue to protect her, as much as she hated that. We picked 60 Dufiro, all Masoja, and bound them to us, willingly on their part. But hundreds were pissed purple not to be chosen. " "The battles occurred and they were messy as fuck. Paradox was one huge flat realm like a dozen shadows plopped on a flat earth and it was ravaged north to south, east to west, mountain top to dungeon depth. Billions of the zillion people died, nations torn asunder, cities leveled, usual end of the world stuff. But in the end, we killed all 12. I got 3 Saints of Battle, one for a single one on one battle. Alex, Zat, Geata, Jeremy, Venki, Dolki, Jake & Kirgor, Nur al Din el Musifar, Koob, Borax, Paradune, Galahad, Wendy, Arin & Taroos, Mitcholt, Digan Reltorious and Topatia, Harriet, and even frigging Vomil, all got Saints of Battle. I still think Lop and Hibbit deserve one for a particular encounter. " " Anyway....once set free the Dufiro we hired were buffed out hard. All were invited to several new races, and they even for the Raver marks like the rest of us did" He rub his forehead revealing a mithril tree implanted in his forehead, an inch tall. It coves over as he removes his hand from his head "A lot of Dufiro were pissed we turned them down. Especially a few power-mongers among the Death, Rage, War, & Combat races.. So they put prices on our heads. Big ones. And since I was the prime summoner and bargainer, I got the big one. I have long suspected the possessions we experienced might have made us part Dufiro.. guess I was right. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"So... this is not so much about something you did, but moreover something you didn't do. You didn't kill or torture or enslave anyone... you just didn't chose 'them'... and they are angry about it and jealous of what they did not receive." He pauses and snorts a laugh of disbelief or perhaps disgust. "They sound like petulant children pouting over another child's new toy... mighty children with deadly powers, all be it... but children none the less... and that makes them even more dangerous, in my opinion." Realmer thinks on Fort's idea a moment, tapping his lower lip with the forefinger of his left hand as he holds his chin. "I like your idea about the Summoning of the MoK; a good learning experience for everyone. And if things go wrong, lots of back up on hand and another lesson will be learned. I would still like to study the Tome before you begin." Realmer reaches towards Fort with his left hand and waits for him to hand over the Tome. "And you still have a message to decode here before you can do any summoning on yon hilltop." Once Fort hands over the Tome, Realmer will walk the house and basement, but not the Chamber Below, looking things over for anything odd or useful... keeping track of time while he does so. Then he will go outside and check in with the Troopers set to watch the house and keep track of the time. Once Realmer is sure only the Chamber Below is affected by the Time Difference, he will speak with Troopers and Commanders in the area and check the progress of the Farmstead, and find out the current disposition of Tesa and the Drtida; specifically if they are on their way and how long before they arrive.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods." petulant children pouting over another child's new toy... mighty children with deadly powers,' Ye, that's a good description. Its important to bear that in mind when dealing with them. They are a diverse people and like any diverse people you have greedy one, generous one, altruistic ones, petulant ones. Its a good thing for the universe that the Masoja of Life, Health, Time, vision, & Wisher are almost universally benevolent. Few can manage to be cruel and advance in race to fool the Race Councils in those races. Horrible things have happened when a Masoja of Wisher went bad. Those races tend to get a bit aloof. But Death, War, Rage, Combat, & strength can be as vicious as Koob on a bender. And it important to understand if you intend to deal with them, that advancement is often the most important drive in them. Like a sex drive in mortals, the drive to gain power and privileged to sway a race council can be extremely powerful. Another thing to bear in mind no matter which kind you deal with, is their creation elemental race. These an be essentially unthinking larval stages are powerful too. Earth Elementals, Air Elementals, Fire Elementals, Water Elementals, can mess up a day if used wrong. But as they are used, they gain intelligence. Eventually being brought into the Spirit races. so in dealing with them knowing how they started is vital. My friend Tustrala started as an Air Elemental. he is breezy to this day. Relaxed, casual, flighty at times, but benevolent. Still, he can kick the crap out of you if he wants, literally. He is a Masoja of Cleanliness as well as Knowledge. So he can Clean someone; clean them out of stomach and bowel an bladder in and instant and explosively. That can be distracting to someone trying to bind them against their will. My girl Agdilas, who I have already put a call into, is a blending Spirit, lovely manners.. but she was a Spirit of Rot as well, on purpose no less. So she has her defenses too. I know, I know.. I'm monologuing... Here, take the book. But...and I'm not kidding, don't read aloud. Touch it, read it as best as you can.. Dufiro languages are not effected by the Read Language spell. But many a scholar tried sounding out the ritual and spoke just enough to get the things attention and piss it off. now, back to the library... If you see hector out there, send him in. He and I are going to talk."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer accepts the Tome and slips it under his arm. "No... your monologuing is informative and useful... especially since I have a deal with three Dufiro to participate in their Mating Ritual, for which I will be compensated for by becoming the caretaker of a Stone and a Fire Elemental until they mature, and the ability to Summon a Dufiro of Combat, I believe it was... for 20 years I think. Anyway, good information since I will be dealing with them once I get out of here and they contact me when their Mating Time arrives. I'll send Hector in after I've finished checking the house. And I will not utter a sound while reading this Tome... might even cast a Silence Spell on myself just to play it safe." He chuckles as he heads towards the office doorway.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort puts his hand on Realmer's shoulder, 'One more thing..You hired a Dufiro once before. I have heard your terms and I didn't want to say anything till it came closer to the time.. The deal you made with them? Dangerous and inadvisable. They took advantage of you. But they also let themselves in for trouble if you can best them.. The Race Ritual..They expected you to fail your part. And Earth and a fire elemental, can be as dangerous to their user as their foe if you are inexperienced. And I would bet they intended to give you the Calling name for the DoC. that lets you call him but then he is a free agent, able to cause havoc.. When you go to meet them, they expected a sorcerer puffed up in his vanity, thinking he could control what was beyond him.. An inexperienced mage...what you will be when you arrive is a skilled summoner. You are entitled to have two assistants for that kind of ritual. Let me be one and my friend Tusttrala the other. I imagine they will shit at the sight of us. But...it works well for them too and they will make the best of it. They will honor their bargain and deny they ever had bad intentions..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stops and turns to Fort when he places his hand on his shoulder. When he is done speaking, Realmer places a hand on his shoulder and looks deeply into his eyes. He sighs deeply and asks: "So, you think the one who advised me was not as skilled at negotiations with Dufiro as they thought.... or.... do you think I was intentionally ill-advised? Do you think I was lead into a trap?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort purses his lips, "Hard to say not having been there.. But.. Dufiro and those that deal with them work the angles. Intentionally ill-advised? Probably not. Going out of the way to piss an Amberite is never a good plan. Not skilled? They bargained with the name of a Masoja of Combat. if they did it without their permission its all kind of risky. but more likely it was double edged. it could be seen as making a sweet deal with a first timer to encourage a return in the future. Including your participation in a Race Ritual implies that. also, they probably got more then you expected them to, not knowing what they value. A Dufiro spent time in Castle Amber...Even if they did little or nothing that looks good on their record.. I think they gave you a lot at a time when you were an unknown property in Amber and the Dufiro you hired got something in Amber you didn't know he wanted. just my guess. and, make no mistake, your participating the the Ritual, is big juju for the principal. Means they might call on you some day as if you were a long lost uncle.. and... others may not know what you contributed to the ritual, or the Elementals, so they gin good bluffs in future bargains.. it's complicated, tricky, and risky all around"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well then... let me give you something else to think on in your spare time; the details of all that transpired during that negotiation and the names of all involved; Dufiro and Broker... but not my companions, for now. I am suddenly suspicious of the intentions of the one who advised me." Realmer tells Fort of his visit to the Great Tents at the Fane of Zilla, and the meeting with the Broker and his name, his original deal for the two Dufiro while in the Courts area and their names, the name of the third Dufiro of Blending that joined the negotiations, and the fact that the three named Dufiro are the ones involved in the Ritual. He relates the terms of the Deal in every detail he can recall, including the requested location of the Ritual, his part in the Ritual and the insistence of the signing of names in blood at the end. Realmer is careful not to mention anything that might give away who he was traveling with, but does mention what was advised by that one.

  • Michael James Watson

Remind me who he was traveling with.

  • Michael James Watson

actually remind me in general. its been awhile

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

(Traveling with Jurt and Jasra. Jurt advised Realmer on the Dufiro Deal. The Broker was named Calat. The Dufiro of Blending that joined the negotiation was named Kala Kala was female. The Masoja of Combat was female, named Gazil. The Masoja of Guard was male, named Risik. The two Elementals and the MoC will be the offspring of the MoG and MoC... and yes, only Calling Name was given for the MoC offspring.)

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-'Guard, Combat, Blending....Earth and Fire...Nice.. OK, that makes a bit more sense. Its a power play....I don't know Catal but I know the kind. They bargained for a godfather....Very catholic...Expect the two to use your name in their future bargaining; you know, my friend Relmopator, yes, that's the one, the Amberite..He would be angry if I agreed to those terms.. I think you should include a thousand stratcha stones and more of the oil of Life... The person who advised you is probably hoping that by getting you to accept a deal to their advantage that he can call on them later. If you are in contact with this person it would be worth your time to ask something like, ;oh, hey, did you get what you wanted from Gzil and Risik? They will probably get real nervous that you asked"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer grins from ear to ear. "Oh, I will be in contact with said person after graduation. I was intending to see that person anyway, but now it is a must. I can only hope that the Ritual happens before that visit. Oh, I should also mention, that due to an... call it an 'incident', that occurred within the Courts of Chaos, it was advised that I NOT go to the proposed Site for the Ritual, but instead counter-offer with the Tombs of Amber on Mount Kolvir." Realmer's eyes narrow and he gets a devious looks about him. "But to be perfectly honest... between you and me.... if I could somehow receive the calling from the Dufiro while I am here..." he gives Fort a sly smile. "I would to haul those Dufiro' here, to this World of War, for their Ritual... somehow I feel that might be a greater honor for Combat and Guard Dufiro than the Tombs. And I would gain several months of experience with the Elementals before I return to Amber and visit... the person who advised me. The look on their face would be...." Realmer smiles with a far away look in his eyes... "worth more than any amount of training or magical knowledge. I would so relish to show the upper hand, to that person, in a way that will not easily be forgotten... but not in a threatening way." Realmer looks to Fort. "I'm sure you know what I mean." He smiles and then says, "Perhaps I should check out the rest of the house while you riddle over the rest of the message." Realmer pats Fort on the shoulder and moves to check out the rest of the house then check on the time and what's going on outside the house.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort ""return to Amber and visit....Someone comfortable dealing with Dufiro....A Broker..A Blender, Combat master, and a Guard master walk into a bar, The blender says, its a hell of a mix in here... Vek, Jurt, Despil, Shaz Far, Desri....Not Doria or Yalla...less likely Despil..Shaz is being bounced around by Benedict..Dara isn't in Amber.." He starts writing the books in order...Playing with numbers and ciphers. Walking around the house there are many bed rooms with the look of having been recently cleaned. 12 look look lived in but in the way a long tern hotel room does. Few personal mementos. Several changes of clothes. Each room has books on masonry, bibles, not pads.. Each has a single envelop on the pillow. Walking around he notices that the rooms and halls don't balance. the sizes are not right. 12' square rooms and 20' halls.. There is enclosed space somewhere on the main floor in the middle of 20 or so sleeping rooms, sitting rooms, and music rooms. The music rooms have pianos and each has cabinets that look like they are filled with sheet music. One Music room has a dozen 2'2'4 steel boxes.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

In one of the 12 sleeping rooms with envelopes on the pillows, Realmer will bring up the Pattern and looks through its Lens to check for Magic on anything in the room. If the envelope is not magicked, Realmer will look it over for powders or stains (possible poison?) then open it if he feels safe doing so... he thinks he already knows what it is. He compares the contents of the envelope, the paper itself, with the paper of the note pad. When Realmer reaches the music room with the 12 identical steel boxes, he once again brings up the Pattern and looks through its Lens searching for Magic in this room in general but specifically on the steel boxes. Realmer will also check the piano in the room to see if there is any sheet music on the stand.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer will also check the wall in the music room that he believes a secret room may be hidden behind. He looks for hidden or secret doors, obvious levers or switches, common hidden varieties of levers or switches, all based on his experience as an Adventurer. If he finds nothing in this music room, he will begin searching each room, hallway, specifically the wall that shares with the 'hidden room'.

  • Michael James Watson

When he opens the envelops he finds a farewell note to a Woman named Gladys. Kiss the kids, sorry I won't bee there kinds of stuff. bank account, life insurance numbers. No magic. The Steel boxes are non-magic as well. There is music on the is Faust, and Opera in 5 parts by Charles Gounod, to a French libretto. As he walks among the rooms and halls he sees no secret doors till walking in one long hall he notices a slight discoloration in wallpapers, and examining it finds a wall that looks like it shifts back and to the side,

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks it over carefully, checking for traps as best he can; he may not be a 'thief', but he has learned a few things about checking for traps over the years. If he feels it is safe, he will figure out how to open it and do so carefully... ready to 'react' to any 'surprises' within.

  • Michael James Watson

The door clicks open and a light goes on. There is a a corridor 40' long and 10' wide.


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and wonders if any are loaded, if there is extra ammunition and if it is in here as well, and if gunpowder even works here. He inspects the contents on the room carefully, using his knowledge of firearms gained in NP, then takes down a modern looking black assault rifle from the rack on the left wall, releases the magazine and checks it for ammo. Whether the magazine is loaded or empty, Realmer will put it back in the rifle, clicking it in place. Then he will slide the bolt back part way to see if a round is chambered. If there is a bullet chambered, he will slide the bolt back into place... if not, and the magazine is loaded, he will slide the bolt all the way back and let it go, chambering a round. If the assault rifle is not loaded, Realmer will search for the appropriate ammo and load it. If he cannot find the appropriate ammo, but finds ammo for another firearm present, he will load it instead. If Realmer finds no ammo or loaded firearms, he will take the original black assault rifle with him into the office and show it to Fort, making sure to close the secret door behind him. If Realmer does find any ammo or loaded firearm, he will leave the secret room, closing the secret door behind him, then he will take said loaded firearm outside, step off the porch, point it at the dirt a couple feet away and squeeze the trigger, making sure any 'safety' is off before attempting to fire it. Realmer does not tell anyone what he is doing; this is more than one kind of test.

  • Michael James Watson

Going through the collection of looks like a Hodge lodge of mixed civilian weapons and gear. Shotguns. Hunting rifles. Pistols, handguns. There is a variety of ammo. There are a lot of hunting tools and equipment. Some camp gear. Binoculars. There is a lot in cases as well as in racks. It looks organized as if in personal gear. As he goes through, picking up a civilian non-fetish ar15 it occurs to him some of the groups are fairly old. Some dusty. As he looks some are really old. Single shot bolt action rifles. .22s. Many not just dusty but corroded. Admonishes calling apart. Have ripped and tied together with twine. A Ralph's grocery bag filled with pistol parts and pieces. He realizes these are collections of personal weapons from people who passed away and left their collections to the lodge either in their will of by family's dumping them on them. Taking the best AR he can find outside he fires off a shot. In moments Carston and two other troopers arrive. Carston" is there trouble? ". Fort steps out behind you. "So what did you find? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and says, "Excellent response time. I've found a cache of firearms and ammo. And apparently, gunpowder works here. Fort, Carston, follow me." He leads them back into the house and down the hallway to the secret door, then opens it and shows them the room. "Not sure how the lights are working... some hidden power source we have yet to find. Some of this stuff looks too old to use, but much of it looks to still be useful."

  • Michael James Watson

Carston, who has had little interaction with fire arms looks impressed. Fort starts picking up pieces, ratcheting through them showing he is familiar with them... Fort-"Carston..get. Ah.....Garrick, Devin, Landon,and.... " looking to Realmer thinking. "Jeffry, and Felineah... They are all from Star Fleet. They will have better experience with these. Could be a couple thousand.. I've used these things but I'm not a Total Warrior..oh hell..get Alex..eventually. He is a Total Warrior. Wait..get those idiot occultists in here! This is their stuff. What say you, commander. Have them drag this crap out on the big porch, set up table, sort, clean, categorize this stuff to see what they got?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Sounds like a great idea, Fort. But I still suggest the Star Fleet personnel come as well. Just because the weapons belong to the Occultists, does not mean they actually know how to use them or care for them. Some of this stuff looks older than them and totally uncared for. But yes, let's start with Hector and his men to clean out the room and get things started. Then have any of our troopers that are very familiar with these types of firearms to repair and recondition those that can still be useful."

  • Michael James Watson

Hector comes with the other men come, looking frazzled, as all are somewhat. One of the men explains that many lodge members gave large portions of their collections when they passed. He mentions that a similar room on the floor above is filled with bows, arrows and various knives, axes, and other hunting equipment, though much of that was less tendered. The collections were almost never examined. Though..the best pieces, and the illegal ones, are in the first bunker level basement. Fort smiles, "illegal ones?" He shrugs, " we've had a lot of police over the years in the lodge. a AKs, M16s. Grenades, c4, ah....rocket launchers...... " Fort laughs.. "OK,it's decided,Hector.. I'm joining your lodge...." Fort looks to Realmer.... "Masons with rocket launchers...got to love the wakadoodles.. Listen, I read enough in the library. It's not going to be easy. Permission to take Hector and one other fellows formally as apprentices. They know just enough to be dangerous without formal instruction. The other ten will need close looking after too. In the game universes is say the 10 are at least 3rd level ritualists. That's enough to make a mess since they don't have the sense to not muck with forces beyond their ken. Hector here picked up a Cantrip just by watching me do it twice..."

  • Michael James Watson

Hector mumbles, "I'll have to start a traveling lodge and I've no idea how far we are from the nearest grand lodge..." Fort turns and laughs, "how far? All roads lead to Amber, that's how far...but I must say a traveling lodge sounds suitable.....and......Realmer, that's not a terrible idea....a traveling lodge......"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer snort laughs. "What do you want to do? Take the farmstead with us when we leave?" Realmer looks like he is about to laugh again, but then his eyes get a far away, thoughtful look for a few seconds, then the smiles and says, "Estate Transfer Spell...... we COULD take the place with us." Realmer smiles at the thought, but then his look changes, the smile disappears... he blinks his eyes several times then shakes his head as though clearing his mind of clutter. Then he looks to Fort with a serious expression on his face. "Traveling Lodge? Joining the Lodge? Taking on Apprentices? Fort... are you losing your focus? Are you forgetting we are on a World of War? Have you forgotten our purpose here? Or have you something in mind that I haven't fathomed yet?" Before Fort can answer, Realmer says, "Alright, I do understand the need to train these Occultists; for their safety and ours. But what's your thinking on the traveling lodge part?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-'Im a member of a number of secret societies. But I was involved in other business when Tolknor did the whole Masonic thing in York. It never really spread to Tosa. It was big on Paradox. look, its worth thinking about. We are in a place under unusual circumstances.. and many of the people we meet, and many we brought here, are leder type. so we how do we bind them? Most are already loyal to Amber. Good. I wouldn't want to change that.. But these warriors can have many loyalties. Wouldn't you like to develop a power base? I have CHad, kind of, but I also have a few thousand particular friends willing to gut foes for me with little reward... Just my continued patronage. Do you think Bleys doesn't have that kind of cadre? Benedict certainly does.. Caine must have to have developed a spynetwork for Amber.. Julian had the Rangers.. Alex has a devoted group of 1000 friggin Titans. They serve not because of the World Stne but because of hared conquest. Look at these people? there are 5000 Amberite soldiers here and who knows what they will be doing a year from now.. But....If we create a lodge..develop a loyalty complimentary to Amber, to the Princeling they served in Adledross with... ties that bind.. When you need a 100 guys, you call on the lodge, or the circle or the Fellows of The Black Cape, or whatever..jut thinking out loud...."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Sorry,,I am overthinking things.. we are only a few weeks into 10 months. But it seems places like this pop up to keep us fed. and equipped. Hip pigs..Farms...an arsenal of weapons and such..This seems like the logistical phase and if done wrong, things might get scares later on. I suggest we take 10 days here. Clean the arms. Check everything. let me teach Cantrips. pack everything we need up and get 10 days from here before Reggie's 20 days are up. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

As Realmer listens to Fort speak, a look of understanding comes into his eyes, then a bit of a gleam appears as Fort goes on. Then a smile appears... and the more he listens to Fort's idea, the bigger and broader the smiles gets. He begins nodding his head up and down slowly, still grinning. "Fort... I like the way you think. Certainly more grand than my own plans for this place... and after... but still... very workable... and fits well enough with my goals and ideals..." He trails off, a far away look in his eyes... but only for a few moments. Then he focuses on Fort, then looks around him at everything... and smiles again. "Right. 10 days to get everything and everyone ready and get out... to train these 12 Occultists in the basics of real magics... and in that time we must summon a Masoja of Knowledge, learn what we can and prepare for our coming battle with Reggie, the Masoja of Rage and War. And turn this farmstead into an accelerated food producing and food storage stronghold.... all while battling the standard threats and planned threats that Adledross offers." Realmer grins from ear to ear. "Fort, I want you to take four of the Occultists, I'll take another four and when Tesa gets here with the Drtida, she can take the remaining four. Each of us has some form of Low Order and High Order Magic, and once they get the hang of Cantrips, I want them to learn a few Power Words.... just like the rest of our Troopers. And at some point in the next 10 days, before we leave... you and I will need to talk about this 'traveling lodge' of mine... of ours... and works out the details and get all of Amber's Troopers and Commanders, as well as the Occultists joined up. I would also like to 'honor' the Reen with the opportunity to be founding members of this new Lodge. We have a lot to do, so let's all get to it."

  • Michael James Watson

Over the next four days there is a flurry of activity. Guns, blades, ammo and other equipment is brought out, expertly cleaned and sorted. 300 shotguns of various gauges. 200 hunting rifles, some with scopes. 100 bolt action riffles of the Grand & enflield variety in 303& 306. A trio of sharps .50s. 300 .22 rifles of various kinds. 120 assault riffles of either AR or AK variations and equivalences. 125 M16s military issue. 300 grenades. 5 rocket launchers and about 50 round. 800 various hunting knives up through machetes. 3200 folding pocket knives of various designs. After a day where the guns are brought out and people skilled at dealing with them have instructed enough to clean them all, Fort takes his 4 ritualists and 4 troopers disappears with them, on horseback. He makes sure he has some of the first trumps. (an edit) He recommends 2 troopers to Realmer as his best options of the troopers who can learn magic. Both already have a bunch of cantrips and Amber psyche, coming from magic rich shadows near Amber. (name them). He picks two Troopers for Tesa to include in her group that while having Chaos psyche they have what he calls thievish talents. Alex informs Realmer that the warband that had been coming this way were intercepted by the Kzin and brutally dispatched. He would like permission to take a hundred horse and a hundred troops to go scour the dead for proper human armor rather then the Orcish mishmash. The Drtida start sorting out among the two camps and getting a handle on the farms. their leader suggests they break down about half the hams for portioning our to the troops when the company marches. The Reen are spending a lot of time ranging out further and further. One night the whole company takes wing west without word. No word comes from any of the other armies. On the morning of the 5th day Fort and his charges return. The 4 of them look 30 year younger and have a strange mixture of confidence and terror in their eyes.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer declares the house as the Command Center and that it is off limits to everyone but Commanders, Sub-Commanders, a few approved Troopers and the 12 new Apprentices. The Chamber Below is off limits to everyone until further notice. Realmer spends a very minimal amount of time overseeing things as he knows once orders are given, things get done and done well. As soon as the activity begins on the house, Realmer gathers his four new apprentices then mentally summons Bob to him and speaks verbally. “Bob, as Communications Master, I need you to establish better communications with all the Commanders, and we have a few new ones now. I want you to recall and reabsorb the Remote Eyes you have with the current four Commanders and Shape Shift off ten tiny black hummingbirds. They are to be assigned as follows: Dandilar, Traxton, Kablin, Carston, Fort, Ranatal of the new Cavalry Commander, whomever is assigned as the Artillery Commander, Drishti the temporary Scout Commander, whomever is assigned as the Firearms Commander, and Alexandir for now. Visit each in person to deliver the Remote Link hummingbird and instruct them about how to use it to communicate with any and all Commanders. Also, check on the progress of the Artillery and let me know who was chosen as Artillery Commander. Thanks, Bob. Also, I don't want to be disturbed for the next... let's say four hours.” Realmer calls over two Troopers and tells them, and the 4 ritualists, to follow him. He leads them to a barn away from the noise of the house and activity then instructs the Troopers to keep watch and not to disturb him for any reason short of immanent death and places them on guard at either end to keep everyone out. He takes his new apprentices to a spot near the center of the largest open area, strips off his weapons and his shirt then sits down cross legged. When he speaks, it is in a calm a soothing tone, but not overly so. He tones down his Commander's Voice to something more like an Instructor's or Teacher's Voice. “Remove your shirts and sit in front of me, side by side as close as possible. Now, look me in the eyes, without fear, for I will not hurt you.” He pauses a moment for them to do so, then continues. “You are now my apprentices, but I am not your Master and you will not call me such; I am your Commander and you will call me Commander. Each of you must learn Magic and learn it quickly, but we don't have the time to do this in any normal fashion. So, you must submit to my Will and give yourselves over to me completely and willingly; something I know you are all familiar with and capable of. Now I know it didn't go well for you the last time and that you are quite wary, if not downright fearful, of doing so again... so I give you my word that I will not harm you and that I will release you from the Compellings I intend to use to help in your training. These Compellings are intended to help each of you remain calm and focused so you can learn quickly in a foreign hostile environment. You must listen to my words carefully and when I give instructions, you must follow them exactly, without questions and without hesitation.” Realmer gives them a few moments to process the information and his requirements, then continues. “You will sit there without moving or making any sounds. You will watch what I do carefully and not look away. This is a demonstration of a True Power and High Order Sorcery. Soon you will see the Sigil of the Pattern of Amber appear in the air before you. You will see many bundles of magical energies Hung upon it; they are High Order Spells.” Realmer brings up the image of the Pattern in his mind, walks it to its center, the wills the Sigil to manifest visually before him, between him and the men sitting before him; large like a shield, his Hung Spells easily visible. Realmer focuses on one, the Amnesia Compellings Spell; he makes several adjustments to the Spell's parameters to alter its effects so it does not completely wipe the victims' memories of a specified time period, but instead, subdues all personal memories of past experiences to make them seem like a past life and not something to be overly concerned with or think on much unless the knowledge is needed or requested... similar to what was done to him and everyone else when they all began their training in the Nasty Place a little over nine years ago. When he is satisfied with his work, he will focus on another Spell; the Loyalty Compellings. He will check its parameters, tweaking them slightly to better fit this exact situation, then spend several minutes pouring additional energies into to compensate for the four men present. The spell is designed to affect one or more victims, but Realmer buffed it up because he likes to err on the side of caution and over preparedness when possible. When both Spells are ready, Realmer shrinks the Sigil down to the size of a dinner plate directly in front of his face, but mostly transparent and ghostly in appearance so he and his apprentices can easily see through it, then he addresses them. “Look me in my eyes through the ghostly Sigil and follow my instructions exactly.” Realmer raises his left hand and extends it forward slightly. “You two men on my left; place your left arm around the shoulders of the man to your left, then take your right hand and grasp my left forearm firmly and do not let go, but do not restrict my movements in any way. And keep your eyes only on my eyes and listen only to my voice.” Realmer then raises his right hand and extends it forward slightly. “You two men on my right; place your right arm around the shoulders of the man to your right, then take your left hand and grasp my right forearm firmly and do not let go, but do not restrict my movements in any way. And keep your eyes only on my eyes and listen only to my voice.” “Soon you will feel my mind touching yours; or more accurately, my Psyche making contact with each of your Psyches'. When you feel this sensation, open your mind... lower your Psychic Resistance and allow the contact freely. Then you will feel my Psyche completely overpower your Psyches'; again, lower your Psychic Resistance and allow it to happen, freely. None of this is painful, when you allow it to happen freely.” (more below)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

(more above) Realmer feels the four men's touch upon his skin... he reaches out with his Psyche, now feeling the four men's Psyches... he pushes with his Psyche gently but steadily against the four men's Psyches' until he feels all four of them allow contact. Once Psychic Contact is achieved with all four, Realmer will push steadily harder with his Psyche against theirs until he has Dominated their Psyches'. Once Psychic Domination is achieved, Realmer will mentally speak in calming tones, telling the men to release their anxieties and fears, to let go their worries and problems, to remain calm and focused. He tells them to keep looking into his eyes, to keep holding on to him but to allow him to move his arms freely. He then focuses on the Modified Amnesia Compellings Spell hung on the Pattern, and releases it, having already modified all Lynchpins for the four men before him. Once their memories are dulled, Realmer will release the Loyalty Compellings Spell, again already modified for the four men before him to be loyal to him, their Commander; Relmopator of Amber. Once the Loyalties are in place, Realmer will spend the next two hours instilling another Compelling, that he did not have ready in Spell form; a Compelling for the four men to remain calm and focused, to observe and listen, to make them very receptive to learning new information and following directions exactly. Realmer then looks into the eyes of the man on his far left, letting him know that Realmer is addressing him and him alone. “Your new Designation is A. You will forget any names that you were known by before this day. The personal details of your past life are unimportant currently. You are an Apprentice of Commander Relmopator of Amber. What is your Designation?” Realmer will repeat this process for each of the other three men, proceeding for left to right, their Designations being: B, C, and D respectively. Once this is all completed, Realmer will return to the house with his apprentices and have them help with the cleaning, sorting, organizing and repairing of weapons and gear using Cantrips that Realmer will teach them on the spot, Cantrips like; Clean, Gather, Knot, Mend, Stitch and Tie. When Tesa arrives with the Drtida, Realmer will bring over the four remaining Ritualists, then gives her some minimal instructions on how to train her four new apprentices: "I want them to learn as many Cantrips and power words as you can teach them in the next 10 days. And if possible, even a few Low Order Spells... if they are capable. They may already know one Cantrip... you decide what they learn next and how. But I want the first Power Word they learn to be Magic Negation. I'll check on your progress in 5 days. Good luck." Realmer approves Alex's request for 100 horse and 100 men to scrounge for armor and makes sure he has his little black hummingbird for communication with the other Commanders. Realmer keeps his apprentices close and is constantly making them learn new Cantrips and telling them how Low and High Order Magic functions... when they are not busy working. By the second day, Realmer is working on Power Words with them. By the fourth day, Low Order Magic Spells, 1st Level; he chooses to teach them Magery (Warlock) due to the total lack of Material Components needed for Spells from that system. And the first Spell he teaches them is Read Languages... and begins teaching them Thari.

  • Michael James Watson

When Realmer touches the 4 men's psyche he notices something immediately. Each has had his heartfire strengthened by possession by a Dufiro. Almost certainly Reggie. It doesn't equal control or binding but looks like something designed to make them more fit to enact the rituals he taught them. It wasn't done calmly but in terror and pain but it raised all of them to Amber psyche and endurance. It raised them to chaos strength. They each have a hodgepodge of odd power words. One has a strange psychic resonance he has not seen before. But in the end they learn Alex returns in a couple days with 800 suits of armor, once the pieces are matched up, all in a leather/chain range with half helms and some joint armor. He also brings two Kzin that are near death. He explains that despite knowing that death means resurrection in the east, the Kzin do not wish to be euthanized. He brought them in the hopes that Fort can heal them. When Fort returns the next day he is able to manage healing them. Afterwards he and his apprentices move to prepare the summoning hill. Otherwise plans proceed. (Note the edit in my upper comment?)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

[Yes; I saw your Edit above. Adding/inserting a little more to account for it.] After Fort's recommendation and subsequent departure, Realmer seeks out his new advanced apprentices; Trooper Albert Ornhurst XVII and Trooper Ernest Hess. He explains to them that they have shown a very high aptitude for Sorcery, and have been chosen to be his new Apprentices. First, Realmer explains to them what he did to his other four new apprentices; the Masonic Ritualists, and why, but that they will not be undergoing the same process. Realmer tells Bert (as he prefers to be called) and Ernie (as he has been called his whole life) that he expects them to learn Magic well enough to train his four lower apprentices, if needed. Realmer begins by teaching Bert and Ernie some Low Order Magic; Magery (Warlock) Spells, and some Power Words to begin their High Order training. After a day or so, once they have the hang of Low Order and High Order Magic, he begins teaching them Sorcery by teaching them the 4 Micro-Spells in the following order: Mind Touch, Shadow Manipulation, Shadow Opening then Magical Energy. By day five, the day Fort returns, Bert and Ernie should have no less than two Basic High Order Spells learned; Mind Touch and Defensive Material at minimum. In regards to his 4 Masonic Apprentices, Realmer takes the time to figure out what Power Words they already know and adds to them. He also takes the time to investigate the one man's 'strange psychic resonance', at least enough to have an idea of why it seems strange to Realmer. Realmer also takes the time to read the Tome of Summoning for the Dufiro of Knowledge and is careful not to utter a sound when he does. When Fort returns, Realmer returns the tome to him and will assist, or at least observe, the preparations for the summoning on the hill. [I will be adding a reply to the Comment below soon.]

  • Michael James Watson

(Bert & earnie? ok. But Earnst is not the Easnst Hess that served with Hitler. No earthlike worlds that close to Amber, ones knowing Amber well enough to have soldiers in Amber's army. The 4 masons all have unusally high Psyche, Chaos Ranked at least. One has at least Amber psyche if not pointed and he is the one with the ressonance) After studying the one with resonance Realmer knows its something but not quite sure what. After reading the Tome through he realizes what it is about the man. Looking him over again he realizes the man has had a Dufiro of some power bound to him. Not a Masoja but an Avasa and it is still bound to him. It is not mentally in control of the man but is serving in some kind of voluntary binding. the man himself does not have any idea about it when asked. Realmer also can not tell what kind of Avasa it is.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

(Yes... Bert and Ernie. hehe. The name Ernest Hess was just a coincidence... didn't realize the Historic significance.) Realmer does not mention to Fort his discovery about the Avasa at this time.... Fort seems really busy in that library. Realmer just watches the man's behavior and continues on.)

  • Michael James Watson

As watching the man go about his work a the farm is assembled he seems to be the one looking over ham. the smoked house. he is very familiar with them and the process. Claims he runs a restaurant back home. He selects the ones and sets up the stations to rend them into traveling portions. He also looks over the Hip Pig that had been secured and has it all moved into the smoke house and properly, non-magically, preserved for smoking. On the 8the day Fort comes out and stands next to Realmer watching the man work.. "I felt it too.. I thought he might have had a Dufiro pass through him and thought it might have been Reggie. Now I'm more attuned to things here. He has a Avasa bound to him. I'm willing to bet when you taught him the fire Cantrip he got it the first time. I think he has a Fire Avasa bound to him. Makes sense. Reggie is a Rager. He could easily have Fire Avasa in his pay. The question is what to do about him?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well...." Realmer draws the word out, then pauses. "If it is a spy for Reggie, then it already knows our plans, so setting it free might give Reggie information he does not yet have. Of course, Reggie may already know if the Avasa has a Psychic Link to Reggie the Rager. Killing it would be difficult here, and might enrage it and create an enemy when it revives." Realmer pauses and looks Fort in the eyes. "Perhaps I should talk to the Avasa and see if I can get it for work for me, instead of Reggie. I'm sure some sort of arrangement can be made. It's worth a try at the least."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "Ah Arnold, can you come over here please?" Arnold comes over, chewing on a bit of Pork fat. Fort slams his psyche into him, binding him in statue like stillness. Fort nods, "Path open.. It will speak Chaosian Thari to be sure..Your ball."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer turns to look at Fort with an arched eyebrow, but says nothing, then turns back to Arnold. Realmer speaks in his best Chaosian Thari. "I am speaking to the Avasa within the man. My name is Relmopator, as I am sure you know. Please speak with me. What shall I call you?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Call me Vatra, though summoning with that name would be pointless. What a swirl of peoples are in you. What have you done to Arnold. We were cooking lovely pig. I was relishing the feast to come, tasting through him. Hve you told him I reside in him? He would have no love of fire were it not for me.. I joined with him when he took the 4th circle of the Masonic order. Uzgata sent me to him though being him has been such a fine pleasure" Fort whispers.."Uzgata....."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well met, Vatra. I know the name you give is only for conversation and not summoning. And yes; there are many peoples within my lineage; I come from an unusual line. And worry not about Arnold, he is unharmed. We wanted him to 'move aside' so I could speak to you. I did question him about you, but he had no idea you were inside him and I'm sure he didn't believe me. I am glad you are enjoying your experiences through Arnold. And I am glad you are not harming or controlling Arnold. You say Uzgata, Uzgata the Masoja of Rage and War? He sent you to Arnold? Why? Do you work for Uzgata? If so, why? What has he promised you? And what are you to do for him to get what he promised?"

  • Michael James Watson

Vatra makes a sounds like a rasp that might be laughter, "You think I see your linage? No.. I see the people within you. Do not confuse those with your line of the meat of you. Your heartfires. The Wizard. The Diplomat. The Warrior. The Fire of Abandonment. The Fire of Vengeance. The Father's Fire. The Mother's Fire. The Fey Fire. The Adask Fire. The Fire of Chaos, though---What is this Chaos fire of yours mean, so green and frail..... So many people with such a weak central heartfire to warm them. I know a Blender who would unify those people in you. What might you become then with such heat. " Arnold shakes suddenly. "I've let Arnold hear me.. I'm closer so even this Dufiro of Knowledge beside you, whose name I know not, can not keep Arnold's Heartfire blind. His Heartfires burns together in a merry dance. You query widely. That is poor manners for a summoner but then you do not summon me. Uzgata screeches but he pays. He offered me Arnold to learn of the foods of his world. The Pig. The Cow. The Goat. I've felt my fingers in the drippings of such lovely meats. All I give Uzgata is Arnold's obedience, that he might whisper a word in the ear of his Worshipful Master. Such strange secret societies these humans have. They play at being Wizards and come dangerously close to desolation. Uzgata may have these others in his thrall but I have strengthened Arnold's Heartfire. He is mine, at least for now."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and says, "I know a Blender as well, Vatra... perhaps I will mention this Blending of Heartfires you mentioned when next we meet." He pauses and nods his head to Arnold/Vatra. "Allowing Arnold to hear and know is a good thing for all. Arnold, you should know what is going on inside your body and mind. And Vatra, if you have not already done so with what you have done, I will now return Arnold's full memories of self. Arnold; allow me into your mind, momentarily, to remove a partial memory block." Realmer reaches in with his Psyche and removes the Modified Amnesia Compellings only. He leaves the Calm Focused Learning Compellings and Loyalty Compellings in place for now. "There. All done. Arnold; you are yourself, but still Loyal to me. Now I have a question for each of you. Arnold, now that you know, do you still want the Avasa to continue to inhabit your body? And Vatra; would you like to work for me instead? Perhaps we can work out a deal where you get what you want without serving Uzgata."

  • Michael James Watson

"You are under the mistaken belief that Arnold has a choice in this while I am content to stay. Now he and I shall make deals between us first. Then we will decide if we will continue in your tutelage. I have learned much in this hosting. When I let Arnold lead continue to teach him and he will continue to serve. Someday we will negotiate for powers. " Fort steps closer, having released Arnold completely. "Your bargain is fair. I am Fortunadas Enright. I seek to bargain and have powers to trade." Arnold looks to him, speaks in Vatra's voice, "Fortunadas of Knowledge. You are known. Unsummoned I bargain. What is your bid?" Fort-"I am a writer of tomes. I will write your Masoja Tome. " Vatra, "Truly? And my part?" Fort-"The summoning name of Uzgata. And the Line of his life as proof of powers." Vatra-"Done. Uzgata's Life Path is Elemental of Fire, Spirit of Combat , Spirit of Fire , Spirit of Rot, Avasa Dufiro of Rage, Avasa Dufiro of Conflict, Avasa Dufiro of Fire:, Masoja of War, Masoja of Rage. When I see the Tome you offer, I shall tell you the name." Fort-"We are on a isolated world. I do not have access to the appropriate materials to make a suitable Tome worthy of a Masoja of Fire. Give me the name and on my True Name I bind the oath that I shall provide the Tome in the Halls of the Amber Cult in the Fane of Zilla. If will be covered in Fire Dragon Hide, leafed with elven skin vellum. It will be bound with cord made of hair of ranyhyn tail. The Ink I will use will be bartered from a Dufiro of Vision of my acquaintance. " Vatra-'Done. Give me prepared leather and I shall write the name. Summoning only. I know not his binding name. that is on you."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Spirit of Rot? Really? Was he a bad boy?" Vatra-"Do you bargain for that Story, Writer of Tomes? Fort laughs, "Not today. But let us put that on the list for after Zilla. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Fort when he declares the bargain is fair, and defers to his knowledge and experience in these matters. Realmer listens carefully as Fort bargains further with Vatra and is impressed how quickly the got what he wanted. He is also intrigued by the materials the Tome will be made from. "Vatra, when the time comes, I will gladly bargain for powers with you. Until then, I would hope that both you and Arnold will agree to allow me to continue Arnold's education in Magic, since you are both stuck on this world... for now. One of the worlds I spent much time on had specialized Mages known as Elementalists. I believe that Arnold has the potential to become a very powerful Fire Elementalist and I would like to teach all the Fire Magic I know to help further that end. But for now, the meal is near ready and I know we are all looking forward to a good meal before our journey begins. Go and enjoy the meal and make your bargains amongst yourselves and let me know your decision by sunrise tomorrow." Realmer turns to Fort. "We have things to talk about. Let's grab our food and head to the Library in the house."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, going to the house. "I fast. Get your chow and I'll meet you in the library. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer heads over to the kitchen area setup near the smokehouse and gets a hearty helping of all the fares representing the fruits of their combined efforts gathering and hunting and most recently, farming and harvesting. He gives the rest of his apprentices the rest of the evening off but wants them all on the front porch of the Farm House at dawn. He brings his plate of food, and Bob, with him to the Library.

  • Michael James Watson

In the library is a smallish woman with floor length hair in many different colors. Fort sits by her his head against hers. On the table is a steel box 8"x5"x2". In forts hand is a goldish tube device. He puts the top in his nose and inhaled deeply. Leaning back the woman takes the device twists it then inhales herself. Placing the device in the table she kisses Forts head "Your dinner guest is here dearest...." Fort nods and clicks the device, inhaling again. Looking to Realmer. "I'll be better in a moment. I'd offer you some of my dinner but sometimes even one dose leads to a lifetime of addiction."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer bows to the woman respectfully and smiles. "The Spice Melange... I have contemplated trying it for it's Mind Enhancing Effects... but I have never been overly fond of addictions. During the years I was a Necromancer, I was also an Opium Fiend... it was the only thing that relieved some of the pain of what was done to my body. I hated it because I had to use it to survive the pain. I enjoyed it though..." Realmer trails off for a moment, eyes distant... then he snaps out of it and says, "I'll stick to my food, for now. So, do we still need to summon the Masoja of Knowledge?" Realmer sits and begins eating heartily.

  • Michael James Watson

He nods. Pinching off a twist of spice into the table he dips a wet pinky into it as he talks. "Paradoxian melange to be specific since melange acts different in different places. It's not common among CHAD members but us old timers use it extensively. Most of us could easily have magicked the addiction away but in the end, the balance is in favor of retaining it. " Rubbing it on his lips, "I summoned her because of our shared addiction but it proves summoning can be done here. Yes, we summon to morrow night. I'll spend the day setting up the stage. I'll need you for an hour midday then an hour at dusk before I start. Well want all the troops to know what's happening so they don't panic. I'm sorry for interrupting you earlier. It's a matter of style in dealing with Dufiro. Less you tell them the better. One thing at a time. Don't give them a chance to interpret an offer. Accept any reasonable deal fast. You'll get the hang of it."

  • Michael James Watson

"Of course, I've also broken one of the cardinal rules of Dufiro bargaining; never offer what you can't deliver. Now I know shadows in York I can hunt red dragons easily enough. Drow are elves so getting elven vellum is only moderately repellant. Between thee and me we have two hopefully very understanding rynahan. But, Writer of Tomes will be tricky. The precision and the literary structure isn't beyond me and I know the language of Fire Dufirosim well enough. But I've never written a Masoja tome. For that I'll first have to get to the bottom of why I am suddenly considered a Dufiro of Knowledge and 'known' as one by Dufiro I never met. Why I have a price on my head. And of course, how to channel the prowess to write the book. That will take bartering with a Masoja of Knowledge or three, maybe a Vision or Life one. Or, Great Venki forefend, a Masoja of Wisher...Fuck, it's been a hell of a long time since I had a challenge like this..kind of a rush. In my favor is the fact that to write the first draft I'll, or we'll my young padawn, will be told fiery Vatra's calling name, summoning name, and binding name, his whole life path, and, most importantly: his True Name. Since the tome itself will be built first and approved by him and at least three other Masoja, if he gets pissy I can just bind him to it till I have the rest managed... Not quite a respectable thing to do but hardly unheard of. " He inhales a dose, adjusts it to a minimal setting, casts the clean Cantrip on the tip, and slides it over. "That's just a tap. Same as you might get in a strong cup of melange wine. That won't be enough to blue tint an Amberite's eyes if you only take a few over a few weeks, and as I go over tomorrow night's ritual, we may need the extra attention. Savvy?"

  • Michael James Watson

The woman stands and walks near Realmer, running her hand in Fort's hair. "Such lovely silver hair, Amber Lord. You may call me Sallistra. I might answer. " She expertly twist a braid in Ford's hair half her small pinky's width. Displaying it she says, " For a braid this size from above your ear, I'll make 3 bowstrings adding yours to my own hair. You may have two of them. They will resist all but the strongest blades and pull on the strongest horn bow. They will never fray. " Fort chuckles as he leans back, his eyes the colorful blue in blue color again. " They would make hellacious garrotes and find harp strings too! ". She nods in agreement. Fort laughs and runs his gums with a finger of spice.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well met by Magic and Moonlight, Sallistra. I am Relmopator Barimen; you may call me Realmer. And I usually answer when called." He gives her a smile and a wink then continues. "I accept your offer; the hair you require is yours... under one condition; that you don't use what you keep against me in any way. Fair Bargain?"

  • Michael James Watson

She looks at Realmer and smiles, "Let us say I will make the strands now. You may have yours now. I shan't use hair from mine in any magical attacks or concoctions nor barter it away. However, should I have to shoot you with arrows, strangle you, or play vogan dance music at you, you will have to take your chances.. fair enough?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort laughs, "that's my sally...

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and laughs. "I like your style and your humor, Sallistra. Fair enough. Bargain struck. Take what you need." He bows his head respectfully to her then turns his attention to Fort. "First things first, Fort; the Spice... I understand the need for it and I will meter my dosing carefully. I'll try a bit after I finish eating." Realmer eats several bites before continuing. "Secondly, the materials we need for the Tome; I'm sure I can convince Graso to give up the needed tail hairs. And depending on the requirements of the 'Fire Dragon Hide', I might be able to help there too. During my adventuring years in the Shadow of Oerth, my companions and I managed to slay a Great Wyrm Red Dragon... I have a large supply of magically preserved dragon hide and scales I never got around to using stashed in my Island Castle in said Shadow." Realmer eats a few more bites, finishing off most of the smoked pork on his plate. "Thirdly, tomorrow is going to be a very busy day for me; I still need to return to the Apple Orchard and carve the Trump Sketch for the Camp on the hill over there" he nods his head slightly in the direction of the Camp overlooking the Farmstead, "before we leave. I plan to take all my Apprentices and Bob first thing in the morning. I've gotten pretty good at carving Trumps... it should only take a couple of hours at most... I'm sure I'll be back before midday." Realmer takes a minute to clear his plate, then pulls out his freshly refilled bottle of Napoleon Brandy with the Percy stopper. He Conjures up three brandy snifters, uncorks the bottle, fills all three about 1/3 full then stoppers the bottle but leaves it on the table. He places one snifter in front of Sallistra, one in front of Fort and takes the third for himself, taking a small swig before continuing. "After assisting you at midday, I will take the afternoon to address the troops and commanders; informing them of what will occur that night and why. I also want to lay out the details of the Skeleton Crew that will remain behind to run the Camp and oversee the Farmstead and the Drtida once the Army marches. The Resurrected Troopers will replace those of the Skeleton Crew upon their arrival at the Overlook Camp, allowing those Troopers to rejoin the Army on its march across the world. There should also be food gathering at or near each Trump Location when the Resurrected Troops return; the excess can be stored here at the Farmstead." Realmer picks up the Spice dosing device and looks it over. Fort can tell he is not really studying the device. He stands and paces the small Library, ignoring the small device for the moment, instead looking at the books and supplies in the room.. writing supplies a Sorcerer and Trump Artist could use... Suddenly, Realmer places the device to his left nostril, clicks and inhales. Then places it on his right nostril, clicks and inhales again. He sets the device on the table, absently Cleaning it with a Cantrip as he walks away, once again looking at the useful supplies in the room.

  • Michael James Watson

There is a sudden hit of sensation.. It feels warm and tense. after the moments pass he notices things around the room. Not vastly different, but textures to books, grin in wood, air flow from some source out in the hall. It has a feel in his fingers, and running through the Cantrip fingering idly it seems as if the fingers glide along known rails to their position. Something about long experience seems slightly easier, or more accessible. Picking up a book he feels its weight, its texture and its shape somehow closer.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"OH MY..." Realmer says in a breathy tone. "This is.... superb." He looks around the room, glancing at everything and nothing. He reaches out with all his senses and draws everything in. "I now understand the draw of Paradoxian Melange." He exhales deeply. "And I can fathom how it can easily become addictive." Realmer looks at Fort intently. "But, I can also fathom the benefits of such an addiction... I can already feel an easier, more graceful access to my abilities. I can also see things in more detail... without really looking. I can feel the slight air flow from the hall... I can feel the quality of this book by touch alone."

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes, but till we are off adledross I'll control the supply. There is a lot to it that is helpful, especially in dealing with the Dufio. Im going to set this tome on the desk. I've red it dozens of times. I want you to read it carefully. The effect should last at least an hour. That will be enough to finish the book familiarize yourself with the ritual itself, and the required materials. I have the materials ready, mostly. I'm going to dose again and fine tune some. I'll say one thing for our Mason friends, they did what they could well. Chalks, oils, sugars, sands, all perfect.. So read."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes the Tome from the desk and begins reading; again, being careful not to utter a sound while doing so.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

After reading the Tome, Realmer looks over the Material Components that Fort has prepared. Due to Realmer's background in Magics requiring Material Components, his forceful relearning of Low Order Magic Castings as a Witch instead of a Wizard, his training in Alchemy and Chemistry both, and his training as an Apothecary, he has 'finely crafted and tuned senses' regarding measurements and doses. And he also finds the Masons' attention to fine detail most pleasing and satisfying.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort's work in preparation is impressive. Even with heightened senses he can find no flaw in the components listed in the tome. Fort spends time writing out questions. Bargains. prepping bullet points. Developing ritual breaks.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Fort, your preparation of the Material Components is beyond reproach. Truly. Impressive work indeed. I could not have done better myself; and I think highly of my skills in that regard."

  • Michael James Watson

"Aren't you the charmer?" He smiles and continues. " We'll be making a summoning circle, so we couldn't attempt to bind him if we tried. We are asking him to attend us not demanding it. The tome has his binding information but we don't have the supplies and not time to get them. It means he can leave anytime he wants or anytime the circle is broken. We'll need 6 people to hold candles. You will deploy the powders on the inner circle when I start reading. The powder acts like sugar attracts flies. Part of the sand is sugar of course. this one has a sweet tooth. We will need several gallons of brandy and we have a good source for that. It will be in the silver container the masons use. Once the creature arrives he will leave if any candle bearer speaks. If they do they will find out what the woodshed looks like around here." He sniffs a little from the dispenser at your setting. Casually clicking it full and clean cantriping it. " As my second you will be in the inner circle with me so you may speak but I suggest you only do so if it directs a question toward you. He will do so to distract me. His life path includes Spirits of Fire, Combat and 2 terms as a Spirit of Rust. Avasa of Conflict, Fire, Rage and Knowledge. Masoja of Knowledge. He will have a goal beyond Knowledge and will barter for powers in that direction. I am betting Warfare or Death is his goal. This is not a kindly scholarly Dufiro. Rust or Rot Spirits are serving a punishment term. Even Masoja can be sentenced to serve as Rust or Rot and its one of the rare races that allow devotional service." Fort watches Sally twisting cord briefly. "We have Uzgata's common name. We need his binding name. From what I have found in the library if I can get his calling name, and a summoning name, I might be able to ferret out the binding name. My goal is Uzgata' binding name. If I get that I might be able to figure out his True Name. Under no circumstances are you to leave the inner ring or suggest a bargain directly to him. Tell me. that's allowed. At not time give him anything. Time to pick a common name for Dufiro to call you. Sally, any suggestions?" She looks up a little dizzily.."Silvermane. memorable. Descriptive. Not too specific...Icehand...Glamour...Deadhand"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Silvermane.... I really like that one. Physically descriptive, but not overly so... and gives nothing away about me. Thank you, Sallistra, for my Common Name." He bows to her then turns back to Fort. "Once you get that prepared leather to Arnold/Vatra you will have Uzgata's Summoning Name. Can I assist with that? I'm sure the leather has to be prepared in a special fashion. Is there a Tome present on that?" He chuckles. "Or is that something you will need to do yourself?"

  • Michael James Watson

"No, its straight forward. The leather we make the trumps on is sufficient. Its not part of the ritual to summon him. Just some Dufiro work it into their summoning name that if their name is written on certain surfaces it burns. Sally's here won't work on paper. Well, unless its hemp paper. Jute or wood based papers melt away. I know a Masoja of Death who only allows his summoning name to be written on the skin of Avasa of Paper..a little snark joke.. "

  • Michael James Watson

Sally adds, "Clean is best. Use the Cantrip on it ruthlessly.. It shows respect"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckle, "It also shows that Vatra is telling us only leathers for the name, meaning the name burns other mediums.. interesting.. We will copy the name on paper and cloth and see what happens.. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles as he reaches inside his dragon skin leather satchel, made from the same batch as the Trumps and Maps, and pulls out a Trump-sized, pre-cut piece of dragon skin leather and heads for the hallway, saying: "I'll be back shortly... I'm sure 'they' are still enjoying the meal. Bob, come with me." Realmer heads outside and uses his Psyche and Bob if needed, to find Arnold/Vatra... 'they' have a very unique Psychic Resonance and Realmer should be able to use it to track/locate 'them'. If not, Bob can help... and questioning Troopers if needed.

  • Michael James Watson

Finding them vatra writes the name down. 3000 characters in a language he doesn't know. "Your friend offers what he can not produce. He takes a big risk you know."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I think you underestimate him. But only time will tell... in the end. I thank you for honoring your part of the bargain. I will do my best to make sure he honors his part. Enjoy the rest of the evening, I will see you at dawn on the porch. I have a special mission tomorrow morning I am taking all of my apprentices on... if the two of you decide to remain under my tutelage."

  • Michael James Watson

"My binding to Arnold serves me well. I learn from you. I serve Uzgata. If you can bind him I shall not weep. We will stay till Uzgata makes flutes of your bones or you make them of his."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I find it distressing that you serve Uzgata... yet encouraging that you would not be distressed at his defeat. What would it take to get you to NOT serve him?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Slay him. I understand this world treats the slain to resurrections. This is poor for Uzgata. He has bound me, voluntarily, and the men of the lodge, involuntarily. He has near 300 servants bound to him that he may summon to his need. yet, those bindings end in his death. Your companion seeks to bind him. I say slay him. Let him return as but one warrior Dufiro you have already slain once.'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I thank you for your information; it and you have been most helpful. And since you are being so helpful, I would like to ask another question, knowing I may be overstepping my bounds. What is Uzgata's weakness? If you know it."

  • Michael James Watson

"He is arrogant. Not an unusual trait for those attracted to Rage. He desires to be a master of life and death. He dreams of storming the Wishers and demanding they grant their powers. He can not see that those who serve him hate him. also not unusual for those attracted to Rage. He has a few followers who are as angry as he is and they make him dangerous, but they hate him as much as the rest do. His arrogance blinds him. Flattery distracts him. he has violent ambitions. Many of those like myself would not defend him unless our agreements bound us to'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Thank you again, Vatra. When your bond to Uzgata is broken, I hope you will consider bargaining for power with me... I am sure we can bargain well and come to a mutually beneficial agreement. I have much to do before the dawn. Rest well, Arnold. Dismissed." Realmer makes his way back to the Library and grins from ear to ear as he hands Fort the Dragon Skin with Uzgata's Summoning Name written upon it. "I have some great information to share... and a new plan of attack for ole Reggie-Uzgata." Realmer then shares the information he gained from Vatra with Fort. When he is done he studies Fort's face and waits for his verbal reaction.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort thinks seriously, pouring a glass of brandy. "Interesting...and reasonable. Dufiro build powerbases. They bind them in many ways. Bargains. Bindings. Mutual Aide. Mutual interest. realms. Race associations. admiration and worship. Cults. Secret Societies. It seems reasonable that he would think himself adored.. ragers are self-haters. Warfare races live on hate too quite often... If he has bound his followers he might delude himself that he is beloved. " He takes the snifter of brandy and twists a dose of melange into it. "It takes a long time to summon and bind even a spirit and he probably has hundreds. Maybe thousands. as for the Avasa... less then a thousand. He is not a great lord. He might have a dozen Masoja bound to him though most will be hoping to pick his bones... Killing him here will mean he wakes up in the east. If he starts summoning and binding it will take months to put his force back together. He'll be pissed. Probably won't get much together before he comes looking for us.. " He sips the brandy, takes the dispenser and twists a dose into Realmer's glass. He concentrates hard enough his eyebrows furrow. "We are a month in to a 10 month tour. We won't see him for at least 10 days. We kill him, and who ever he brings. It takes a month to summon a reasonable warband. The second time...he will have less willing followers and be forced to bind them unwillingly. two months.. travel time.. a third fight...a third round of summoning....Less willing, more unwilling, and probably a few of his Masoja won't see him as a positive leader.. We might even snake a few of them for ourselves... Sally, as a favor to me, look on Silvermane's Heartfires.. There is a question about them the Avasa of Fire left us"

  • Michael James Watson

Sally walks close, slips a bowstring in to Realmer's hand, holding it and looking into him. "Oh....someone has played dangerous games with you Silvermane.. Your Heartfires are all a tizzy. Someone has tightly bound them against unification... oh...you are fey.. and Adask.. and yes and Amberite.. oh Foxmate, its so sad....had I known I'd have called him Riven Flame. His healing is beyond me. You'll need a Masoja of Fire and either Life, health or Binding. But.. You would be better served taking him to the Wishers. Great Venki fore-fend such a journey"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Something to think on, Fort, as Sallistra looks into my Heartfires... what if we summon and bind Reggie after he dies the first time? Giving him little to no time to summon and bind help. Once bound, we keep him with us until we are free of this place, then release him and end him once and for all." Realmer takes up his brandy snifter and swirls it a bit then takes a swig, savoring the flavor.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Slay him, summon him as dawn hits the West. We need to ask when the resurrections occur. You plan makes best sense. id rather kill him over and over. That would piss him off enough to seek me out after we leave Adledross. Then I could kill him for good and all."

  • Michael James Watson

The first sip of the doctored brandy hits him like a sledgehammer. He well knows its the finest brandy he ever had before it was doctored, and though he has come to love it its still a wine product. the doctored brandy feels like warmth. Its is its own thing removed from its grape birth. The texture of the pure liquid touches his tastebuds and he can hear it being savored in his ears. It flows rich and warm through his blood. It mixes with his food in his stomach and its as if he can taste t all again with just a hint of new richness. Its flavor is the same but somehow fuller.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's eyes roll back into his head in near ecstasy as he savors the experiences. He opens his eyes and toasts Fort in the air and takes just a sip this time... enjoys the experience again, then speaks slowly, quietly and perhaps even a bit more carefully enunciated, all with a slight smile on his lips. "Fort, though you would enjoy slaying Reggie over and over, demoralizing and destabilizing his power base and destroying all of Reggie's credibility... I would rather not subject the Army to needless combat and the possibility of death, short lived as it may be." "Sallistra; I know who has done this to me and I believe I know why... at least in part. It was done long ago... probably at birth or shortly there after. I have only known about it for a short time... relatively speaking. It was my intent before coming here, and will be my first mission after leaving here, to visit the person responsible and have it... undone... fixed... healed. Then perhaps I will call you to look upon them once again."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Oh, and Fort... I have given your idea of a Secret Order of our own much thought... I was thinking that not only should all Members of the Order be skilled in the use of Magics, but perhaps also... each could have a Dufiro willingly Bound to them or something they carry. You are right that some, if not many, of Reggie's 'followers' may want to switch sides and join up with us... especially since you are famous amongst their race, apparently. I was thinking we could call it the Order of the Beholder. I know Bob already approves of the name." Realmer chuckles.

  • Michael James Watson

Sally starts laughing. "Oh, dearest Foxmate, beauty is in the eye of the Beholder!!! " she laughs harder as Fort gives her a stink eye.... Fort-"No offense to Bob but I'm not wild about that name. We have time. I think tomorrow night we will find out how many of the troops might have even a slight interest of bearing a bound Dufiro. It will be loud and ugly and might have to be done several times. It will fray their nerves. But... They are here to have their nerves frayed. Amber troops might face creatures from the depths of Chaos and Abyssals are far more horror-show-ish than the worst Dufiro.. Fighting whatever Reggie can throw at us several times might be good for them, along with whatever else this battle plain has n store for us. Sally, when you get home look up some of your friends in the Cult. Spirits of Guard, Defense, Paper. and find me a Rust who you think needs a second chance. Avasa of Guard, Cleanliness, maybe a young Knowledge or Vision. Not just them but don't ask them till you are sure. We will need 30 or so spirits and at least a dozen Avasa." She cocks her head, "No Masoja? I know a few in the Cult that would be happy to serve." Fort shakes his head, "Its that willingness I want to avoid. We can't have one bind to a soldier of Amber and then decide to make a career out of it. Let them know I shall be bargaining with them. And find out the details of the bounty on my head. You should go." She nods, presses a bowstring in Realmer's hand, squeezing it, Moving to fort, they kiss warmly, a friend's kiss, she passes him the third bowstring and fades in a rainbow of colors.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer frowns slightly at the rejection of his idea for the name of the Order... but then shrugs it off and takes a sip of his doctored brandy. Realmer accepts the bowstring and squeezes Sallistra's hand in return. "Sallistra, it was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for your help thus far and for the help to come. Safe Travels, by Magic and Moonlight." When she is gone, Realmer looks over the bowstring while talking with Fort. "I am already working on a speech, in my head, to prepare the Troops for what is to come tomorrow night, and perhaps the remainder of our time here on Adledross. I intend to deliver it tomorrow afternoon. I intend to introduce the concept of our special, if not unique, shared experiences here due to the high levels of Magic being involved with this particular class, and that the special bond of camaraderie our shared experiences will bring will be stronger than any class before because of it... thus planting the seeds of our Order... or Brotherhood... or whatever we end up calling it." Realmer muses a moment as he takes another sip of brandy. "Though I have made speeches before, I'm not sure how good of a 'speech maker' I am or how rousing or morale boosting my speeches have been or will be... but...." he pauses for a moment, looking like he is trying to recall something. "I don't recall saying anything overly asinine or demoralizing, thus far. And, again thus far, the Troops seem to have accepted my command and leadership style... they have taken all that has occurred in stride and like professional seasoned soldiers. And I feel confident that others here have heard stories of this place from other NP Graduates and know or suspect that something is different... and I am equally confident that the subject has been talked about around more than one campfire in our camps. Tomorrow they it will all be addressed... tomorrow they will all know and be as prepared and informed as I can make them... tomorrow we will all be tested. Tomorrow is going to be a long busy day." After a moment of silence, Realmer suddenly asks, "So, which of those listed Dufiro do you have in mind for me? Or do you think my complicated Heartfire issue might prevent a bonding?" Realmer's left hand idly swirls around the area of his heart when he says Heartfire... his right hand idly swirling the brandy in the snifter using a Stir Cantrip instead of moving the glass... he 'watches' the manipulations of the magic as he does so.

  • Michael James Watson

" I have the Masoja that was bound to me in mind. A Knowledge. Familiar with special situations. workable and skillful. He may not be able to unify your heartfire but he will know a great deal about how it was done. Are we in agreement it was Dworkin who mucked with your fires? As for your speech, I'm sure it will be fine. Leadership is what you came here to learn. So lead. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"No, it was not Dworkin... but he told me who it was. And I'm not really worried about the speech or my leadership that much... just a bit drunk and high and musing aloud is all. A Masoja of Knowledge; nice. I was considering an Avasa or Masoja of Blending after my visit to Zilla and before I came here and learned more about Dufirosim from you."

  • Michael James Watson

"Its been a pleasure.."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stands and moves to the corner of the room opposite the doorway to the hallway and turns to examine the room, making sure he can see it in its entirety for this vantage point. Then he pulls from his satchel the needed supplies to make a Dragonskin Trump Sketch. "I'm going to make a Trump Sketch of this room, Fort... for you. Should take me an hour or so. After that I'm going to get some rest. I'll be up before dawn and gone shortly after sunrise to complete the Location Trump at the Apple Orchard... I'll be back well before midday. Are you going to try that experiment with Reggie's Summoning Name on paper and cloth? I'm curious myself, now." Regardless of Fort's answer or lack of answer, Realmer will work continuously on the Trump Sketch of the Library until it works, then he will leave it on the desk for Fort and head to the bedroom he chose as his own, on the top floor, put in a wake up call with Bob for an hour before sunrise, then get some sleep.

  • Michael James Watson

" no, I'm not going to do any extra investigations on the paper or cloth thing. It might alert him to our intentions. But later to be sure. " He packs the melange away and cleans his work area. Laying out the material components he starts writing his final question list.

  • Michael James Watson

On the tenth day much has changed. Many of the masons would be considered 3rd level mages and once certain basic principles were laid out and certain learned experiences involved with ritualism were taught out of them them advanced fast. They were able to teach Cantrips far better the Realmer or fort because of their proximity to first understanding things and not over explaining them The troops are ready to march by the morning of the 9th day. artillery built. weapons dispersed. armor fitted. it was a whirlwind week.. A troop of 20 Kzin arrive and reunite with their two companions. They request permission to advance with the Amber forces. Fort has spent a lot of time in the library and says he is ready to do the summoning on the 9th night..

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

On the 9th day, Realmer has Bob wake him before sunrise then sends him off check on the Farmstead and Overlook Camp from on high before they all leave for the Apple Orchard. Realmer quickly prepares for his busy day ahead; gathering and checking needed equipment, tools, materials and supplies, packing them carefully in his satchel. He straps on his weapons belt, the fighting knife and utility knife he has carried since the beginning on his left hip, his broadsword hanging on his right hip for a left handed draw, his new .38 wheel gun, fully loaded, holstered and strapped low on his right thigh just below the hanging broadsword. Realmer has chosen to forego armor at this time, still preferring the freedom of movement and the use of Spells for Protection. He grabs his satchel and heads downstairs to the Library. If the Spice Dispenser is still on the table from the night before, Realmer will give it a Clean Cantrip, then takes a snort up each nostril then heads to the porch to wait for his apprentices. Once they arrive, Realmer will tell them where they are going and what he intends to do. They are to remain on guard while he works, but also try to observe what he is doing as well. Then Realmer has Bob Trump him and his 6 apprentices back to the Apple Orchard with the Spring... the place where all their plans changed due to one incident. But that is past. Upon arrival, he moves to the place he intends to carve the Location Trump for the Camp overlooking the Farmstead, the Trump he was unable to complete last time. The place of the carving is outside the actual Apple Orchard and away from the Spring, out of view of both so that arriving soldiers will not easily be spotted. The general area was predetermined by himself and Fort on their first visit there when initially passing through. As he has done before, he carves the Location Trump at the base of a tree hidden by ground foliage so it will not be easily spotted by those not knowing to look for it. He puts his apprentices on guard as he works diligently on the Location Trump; it's destination point, a small cluster of trees just outside the western edge of the Camp overlooking the Farmstead. Once completed, Realmer activates it and they all return to the Camp, with time to spare before he is needed for the midday Ritual. Realmer meets with the Kzin and approves their request to travel with the Army and relays that he is happy to have them and makes sure they are well fed and given access to any services the Army can provide; medical attention, armor repair, weapon sharpening, etc. Realmer gathers the Commanders present at the Overlook Camp and lays out the plan for the 'skeleton crew' that will remain behind to run the Camp and oversee the Farmstead and the Drtida once the Army moves out the following day. He relays that Resurrected Troopers will replace those of the Skeleton Crew upon their arrival at the Overlook Camp, allowing those Troopers to rejoin the Army on its march across the world. Command of the Camp will be decided by the current Camp Commander from the choice of Troopers present; he will be the last to leave as Resurrected Troopers replace the Skeleton Crew. He also tells them that when an appropriate Trump Location site is found in the future, he will return to the Overlook Camp to carve the next Location Trump for the 'jump line' across the world. Realmer also lays out the food gathering that should occur at or near each Trump Location when resurrected Troops return; excess will be stored at the Farmstead. Returning to the Farmstead before midday, Bob and Apprentices in tow, Realmer gathers the Commanders present there and lays out the same plan regarding the Skeleton Crew he just gave to the Commanders at the Overlook Camp above. Once done, he seeks out Fort for the midday Ritual. After that, the Big Speech... but first... the Ritual. Realmer goes over everything pertaining to the Ritual in his head while heading to hilltop where Fort is most likely already busy. Again, Bob and Apprentices in tow.

  • Michael James Watson

The training of the Amber forces shows in their adherence to orders and eagerness to prepare. Carston has taken over in a role near to a subcommander as the other Amber commanders are now deferring to him as he defers to Realmer. Duties get taken care of. The Kzin seem eager to work with the Amberites but upon seeing Alex they seem spellbound at first. In awe.. When asked they admit that Alexandir, whom they have never met, is famous as a hunter of Kresh, an enemy species to the Kzin. Across shadow the legend of Alexandir defeating a pride of Kresh singlehandedly, earning one of his early saint of Battle awards is well known, much like a fairy tale told children and told around campfires. to see him in the flesh is disconcerting at first. Soon after they make a point of being near him and speaking to him. Alex knows Kzin well, and speaks their language, much to their delight. Rentar suggests to Carston and Realmer that the Kzin might attach to the cavalry and specifically to the unit Alex rides with, but does not lead. At the midday meeting he finds Fort meticulously working on the ritual space.


Adledross: Summoning Dufiro and Preparations[edit]

  • The low hill north of the farm encampment had been a hotbed of activity for several days. Troops cleared the very top for a circle of 50 yards. It was arduously flattened and scrapped till the top was a smooth dirt plain. Rocks were separated from soil and piled at the edge of the cleared space. The troopers know something big was happening. Sub-commander Fortunadas had overseen much of the work while walking the space and moving tiny rocks to make a central circle 30 yards in diameter. Larger stones were stacked and arranged into flat tables just outside the rock ring. The tops smoothed and leveled. Fort lets a marble roll to help level the space till he has 5 rock tables level enough that a marble won't roll. Fort's apprentices, especially the masons, are familiar with summoning rituals. They lay out material components in preparation for the upcoming rituals. When troopers ask whats going on sub-commanders can only shrug their shoulders.
  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer arrives at the hilltop with his 6 Apprentices and Bob with him just prior to midday and looks over the work that has been done. He remains on the outer edge of the hill, so as to not disturb anything. He instructs his apprentices to remain here and remain silent and observe unless asked to assist. "Are you ready for me, Fort?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes. now, let me be clear. you are the Commander of the forces here, and I'm not arguing that. But until we depart this camp for the west this hill is my kingdom and I must have absolute dictatorial plans. I won't say please and I won't say thank you" The masons are gathered, and Tesa stands far to the outside. She looks nervous and wary. "Tesa, I'm sorry but it would be best if you watched the rise to the top. Oversee the forces keeping the troops from coming up and investigating. I'll look over your men." Tesa nod in relief and heads down hill. "As I was saying, the Dufiro will see everything done here the moment I begin reading his name. Frankly I suspect we are being watched now. You are an experienced sorcerer and necromancer so you understand the need for detail. You have not run a Dufiro ritual yet so your dealings with them have been what they call 'Unrestrained'. The one you hired to bodyguard you was not bound. He was hired. His honor bound him. His service benefited him. What we do here is summon a belligerent Masoja Dufiro of Knowledge. He will not be cooperative. Now Do you agree to obey instantly any mere whim I suggest once we being the preparation?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You are the Master and I am the Apprentice, on this hilltop. I will do what you say without question or hesitation."

  • Michael James Watson

He calls the masons up, as well as the 6 Amberites in training as well. "Gentlemen. You know something has been in preparation. Here it is. You masons were dealing with a belligerent creature you though was giving you powers and in a way it did. that it was preparing your for the slaughter is irrelevant now. It was called Uzgata, and he is of a race called the Dufirosim. These are not devils. These are not demons. These are not Angels. These are creatures of a section of shadowlands where power is directable by their life forces. They can be called upon by practitioners such as me, my apprentice, and even you soon enough, to bargain for powers and experiences. You had one trading powers with you for many generations. Do not mistake his help as for your benefit alone. He preyed on your gullibility, and that of your forefathers,, to an end you could not comprehend. In convincing you to try and summon me he failed to know where I was and what I was doing and it brought all of you here. Dead of course, but I fixed that. Now you are learning proper magic and learning proper trade-craft for dealing with the Dufiro. Each of you will stand as Apprentice as time goes on. Today though, Commander Relmopator will act as my apprentice. You are all familiar with ritual so that helps. 6 of you will hold candles on the outer rim. 6 of you will hold candles on the edge of the cleared space. Realmer and I will be inside the circle. " Fort walks around and leads each man to his place. He puts Realmer next to one of the stone tables outside the ring.

  • Michael James Watson

"Now, you men. If any of you drops your candle, I will be wroth. If any of you speak, I will be wroth. If any of you move unbidden by me or my apprentice, well, you may be eaten. That would be unfortunate here since you would be eaten then wake up tomorrow out East and remember being eaten. I have been eaten. You don't want that experience."

  • Michael James Watson

"This is how it will go. We will do a preparatory ritual now. Realmer and I will lay the powders and stones and draw the initial symbols. Then I will invoke a familiar companion spirit of mine. She will arrive to prove the outer and inner barriers are secure. She will dance for us a bit and bring a few presents but then leave. Then Realmer and I will finish the symbols for the major summoning at Dusk. We will be summoning Straxxrix, a willing ally of Uzgata. This Masoja Dufiro of Knowledge has a life path as follows. He was born: Fire Elemental. Was translated to a Change Elemental. He rose to be a Spirit of Combat, then Rust, then Paper, and lastly a Spirit of Change. He was elevated to the Avasa of Fire, then Shifter, and finally he was accepted as a Masoja Dufiro of Knowledge. This is a combative creature and he will not be happy to be summoned. But I need things of him and will have to give him things to get what I need. To not be shocked. I will give you a drink before we start tonight that will calm you but whatever you do remain calm. You have spent your lives enacting rituals, This one will be more then you ever saw before. The troops around us will be unable to avoid seeing what we do. they will be told soon. Now, rest for a few minute while Realmer and I confer"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort and Realmer step aside. Fort asks, "Think that scared them enough?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Most of them, yes. But my four Masons have had Calming Compellings in place for days so they may hold up a bit better... perhaps even without the 'drink'. I am a little concerned about Vatra botching things up in some way... but that will have to be dealt with if and when it happens."

  • Michael James Watson

"Remove the compellings. Its bad enough we will have Vatra in attendance. We can't have a magical structure in place that might fray, no offence meant. You can replace the Compellings tomorrow."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"That's actually a lot of Compellings for all four of them. All have Calm Focused Learning Compellings, Loyalty Compellings and Personal Memory Dulling Compellings.... but I intended to drop them all at some point anyway... guess today is the day. Should I do it now?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, they might hold and if you think so, fine. I trust you. They are not integral to the ritual. But if one unravels at a bad moment it could be spectacular for us and horrendously unpleasant for them. So its your call.”

  • Michael James Watson

"But you know, those Freemasons have been mucking with forces beyond their ken for generations in a history of colossal arrogance and ignorance. Maybe they need to see one of their friends eaten by a pissed off Fire Avasa"

  • Michael James Watson

"Now that I think of it, I may feed one or two of them to Straxxrix as a snack during negotiations. They will wake up tomorrow with a new lease on life"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles at Realmer's gaze.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Fort, you're being needlessly cruel, in my opinion. I don't think any need to die... they have all done it once already. Take it from a guy who has died more than once; the first is always the most traumatic and life changing. I will release them all. I planned to anyway. Best not to chance things during a touchy ritual with a pissy Dufiro." Realmer turns and raises his voice. "My Masonic Apprentices, you are about to feel a change in yourself, do not freak out... do not move or speak. I am about to release the Compellings I put upon you and promised I would release you from one day. Today is that day." Realmer carefully works his way to each and makes physical then Psychic contact then release the Compelling on each. Then he returns to Fort and watches their expressions.

  • Michael James Watson

"Cruelty is in the eyes of the eaten. One man's cruelty is another's pragmatism. Ask Tesa how she feels about needless cruelty. This Dufiro is a pisser. He was a Rust Spirit so he either did something that got him sentenced to a term as a Ruster, or, what is more likely in my evaluation, is that he chose to take on Rust in pursuance of future goals as evidenced by Spirit of Change and Avasa of Shifter. His tome says he is a first time Masoja and he chose knowledge, prepared for it by taking Spirit of Rust, Paper & change, Avasa of Knowledge. he wants future councils to think him a formidable thinker-an intellectual. His tome says he bargains for knowledge of change, wars & history. That makes me think his goals are Shifter or death. Probably passing through Fire and change. Now Fire is easy. I doubt the fire Council would blink on offering him that. Offering to write a Masoja tome of fire would kill two birds with the same hand grenade; Fire dragon hide, Elven vellum, ranyhyn tail.. He might go for that. Vatra has been here and was unwillingly bound, he probably won't make Arnold say anything."

  • Michael James Watson

"The next thing is War. The tome says he bargains for knowledge of war but he wasn't a combat Spirit or Avasa. That means he's an armchair general. Does he want Masoja of warfare? Not likely without a lower combat pedigree. So why study war? That implies Death Masoja. Now, we summon him in the training realm of the great Benedict. He might be interested in Benedict related stories or incidents. Dufiro are collectors. Embarrassingly so sometimes. An old blade of Benedict's? Hell, and old blade of any of the Princes of Amber might be attractive. an Introduction perhaps. Those are things to be delivered after Adledross but easy enough to bargain for in good faith. Honoring bargains is important but its all in the detail. We can bargain what we don't have but making the bargain, we must get it. " "A blade forged on the threshold to Castle amber, or on the Stairs to Tir-na Nog'th. If he is an armchair general he might like books only found in the east. Benedict's Battle Manual is reprinted across shadow but a copy printed by New Warren press in Amber, signed by Benedict? Gerard's Naval Maps. Not state secrets but they would be impressive as hell to Masoja in the realms of the Dufirosim" "He bargains for knowledge of change....A copy of Corwin's Chronicles. Chaos is familiar territory to Dufiro but seeing Amberite shapeshifters in close enough proximity to study.... hmmmm Knowledge.. of Death, War, Change...a recommendation to admittance to Fantalin? Signed by a Lord of Amber personally to Aries Colbrese?"

  • Michael James Watson

As Fort and Realmer talk, Fort waxing on in thought Arnold walks up to the pair, not stepping over the circle. "Lords, a comment, on my binding, Uzgata is fond of Fire. Most his allies started as fire Elementals. He has a legion of Fire Spirits and Avasa. His attacks will be fire based. His upper allies will have Fire in their paths. They come from realms where Fire Elementals are born in glory as I was. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer says to Fort, as Arnold approaches, "I'm sure I could promise delivery on two or three of those ideas for payment." Realmer turns to Arnold and listens then nods to Arnold/Vatra. "Thank you, Vatra. Your information has confirmed my suspicions and has now solidified one of my plans. Starting tomorrow, all soldiers will begin learning Fire Protection Spells while we are on the march. And the more skilled will learn Water Spells, Extinguishing Spells and Fire Control Spells as well. The most skilled will assist in teaching those Spells."

  • Michael James Watson

"Take positions. lets do the test. Realmer, lets step over to the table." Stepping over there are two bowls filled with powder. "Take a pinch, like this, and sprinkle just this fast. it isn't important the line be thick but it must be unbroken. " He demonstrates laying the line by pinches. "I know you know how to do this but this is how to do it for this one. We start back to back and cross over till we have each pinched sand 20 times around. Don't touch this to your lips. It isn't poison, more like a sugary topping. But it can sense it on fingers and lips. We will each have a bowl and it it breaks the inner ring handfuls of it will be our first attack. Fill that silver pitcher with brandy and pot it at the 3rd over cross in the inner symbol. I have hip pig and bread fr the 5th and 7th over cross. if it comes to battle, try not to physically touch it. Its aura might be lava and who knows what protections he is set to bypass.'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer hangs on Fort's every word and watches what he does with intent focus for every detail. He follows Fort's instructions to the letter, and does exactly as he does, without even the tiniest deviation. Realmer's attention for detail is great, Realmer's desire for this to go perfectly is high, Realmer's focus in unbreakable. When he is done with the pinching of sand, twenty times around, he moves to the silver pitcher, fills it with brandy and puts it at the 3rd over cross in the inner symbol, as instructed. Realmer then waits for further instruction from Fort.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort walks to a smaller of two tables. Placing a thin book upon it. He calls Realmer over. he takes the brandy bottle and fills a cup. "Read the book first. Its not long. A Summoning book for a willing Dufiro. Read it in detail. Then encant. At each chapter heading take a drink. When you speak speak slowly, softly. This is a peaceful spirit and does not need to be commanded. She is expecting our call. I will be watching the rings for gaps and will be filling them. She will not disturb the pitcher of brandy when she arrives. The men need not their candles for her, just their attendance. Once the ritual begins wind and weather will not touch this hill for 24 hours. Begin when ready"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer moves to the table and listens to Fort's instructions carefully. He picks up the thin Tome and reads it carefully, absorbing every detail, uttering not a sound or making any gestures other than turning the pages. When he has completed the reading he will close the Tome and place it on the table, top cover up. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then says, "I am ready." Silvermane opens the Tome with his left hand to the first page, the first chapter. He reaches with his right hand for the cup of brandy, takes a swallow, sets the cup back down and begins Encanting. He speaks slowly and softly, as instructed... but knowing that the Dufiro is willing and female, Silvermane's tone might sound sweet and kind... like a man speaking to a potential lover. Silvermane enunciates each syllable carefully making sure to put the emphasis and inflections in the right places for each word. Any gestures that needed to be performed or material components ritualistically used, Silvermane would do these without missing a beat. When he reaches the next chapter, he drinks of the brandy again with his right hand, replacing the cup as before. He continues Encanting in his slow, soft, sweet tones, turning pages with his left hand, performing necessary gestures and use material components as needed, as the Summoning Ritual continues. Silvermane repeats the meticulous process for each chapter until the Summoning is complete and successful, or until Fort instructs him otherwise.

  • Michael James Watson

As he reads he sees the tome summons Sallistra. Its speaks of her floating in cool waters and warm winds. Her adoration of the textures of spices rubbed together, giving new scents. The taste of bread made with polished and mixed herbs. The taste of chocolates and pepper. It tells of he eagerness for new flavors and her purity of blending.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Silvermane finishes the final chapter of the Summoning Tome of Sallistra, the last syllable is uttered, the last gesture made and the last component offered or placed, he finally looks up to see if his summoning was successful and if Sallistra is within the Circle before him.

  • Michael James Watson

The air shimmers a light green and smells of clean water. A breeze of cinnamon spice follows. Fort walks along the ring, adding a pinch her and there. after a few moments a towering waft of smoky green fog fills the circle, collapsing in the Sallistra in a long gown of many blended colors. She looks up at Realmer smiling, then looks aside at Fort. Looking back she steps forward before the tables. "I am summoned, Silvermane. Do you mean to bind me or bargain?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I mean to bargain with you, Sallistra." Silvermane says, remembering to keep it simple and orderly. Not too much at once.

  • Michael James Watson

She extends a hand, "I am eager to bargain. First, may I have a sip of your glass? It smells of fine old wines and heat."

  • Michael James Watson

"You used a summoning book so you may not know my Life Path. Shall I tell you?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Sallistra asks for the brandy, Silvermane quickly glances to his Master, Fortunadas, and makes a Amber Hand Sign asking, "Acceptable?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort looks at Realmer, "She had to try..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane looks back to Sallistra and smiles warmly. "Yes, please, tell my your life path."

  • Michael James Watson

She pouts, walks over to the bucket. "Oh this is what a smell... Why should I tell you if you would have me go thirsty?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"So you wish to bargain your Life Path for a drink of my fine brandy?" Silvermane asks, then looks to Fortunadas with a smile on his face, but a questioning look in his eye.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort, 'I said she was my friend. I didn't say she wasn't trying. " Edited

  • Michael James Watson

She walks to the edge, "Silvermane, as I have named you, I want to know you take your precautions seriously. I offer my life path so we may have grounds to bargain. I was born an elemental of Fog, child of a Masoja of Air and a Masoja of Water. I rose to be a Spirit of Cleanliness, Growth, Air, Water, and Change. I gained Avasa of Blending. At that time I was invited to join the races of Cleanliness and Growth. I aspire to rise to be a Masoja Dufiro of Health. But I tend to get distracted. What do you bargain for and what do you offer?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Don't over think it. think of style. Short Offers, short bargains.. Build a wall with small bricks"

  • Michael James Watson

Sally turns, "You be quiet, Foxmate or ill tell her you dally with your sister"

  • Michael James Watson

she flows near the border, " It might be argued you are already in my debt. I did name you and even now it is known that an Amberite named Silvermane bargains"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles..."Don't let her fool you. She did that freely, unbound, unbidden"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane looks to his Master and smiles, "Small bricks has never been my style. Forgive me, Master." Silvermane turns back to Sallistra. "Sallistra, what I ask for, is the one time Power to create a Fog that will prevent the Fires of Dufiro from harming or burning anything within it. If this is within your powers, I offer you the opportunity, in the future, to Study Medicine at Vulsar Base; a pinnacle of medical science and technology. If this is possible and agreeable, we can begin working out the details."

  • Michael James Watson

"Such a fog might be possible from a Masoja of Air or Water, or of fog, I know some exist. Perhaps even Avasa of Air or water could do such a thing. Bound to an item I might create a fog that quenched normal fires and maybe fires created by Spirits. But I am not an Avasa of Air or Water, to the disappointment of my parents I assure you!' She laughs. "Medicine....that might serve me well, technologically..It is a bold offer, since it requires you convince forces you do not control to accept me, but I am sure you can. " She looks to Fort, and winks. "I sense warmth in your blood. I would offer a container of Pmel such as I brought to the Foxmate for that study" Fort stand and crosses his arms, straight lipped staring at Sally. "Sometimes.....very trying...."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Though the benefits of Pmel are great for one like me, that amount is certainly not worth what I offer. I could find another dealer of Pmel and find a better price... once I am free of this place. But the course of Study I offer is somewhat unique and cannot be easily gotten elsewhere. Have you another counter offer?" Silvermane looks to his Master and winks.

  • Michael James Watson

"A better dealer? You would seek out Nur al din el musifar himself? Such a risk... he is arbitrary, capricious, and steeped in vice!" Fort laughs, "But he's not unfair!" they laugh together. "My powers of blending are my strength but so can I moderate growth. I can show you how to find the Heartfire in plants to make them bloom out of season, ripen fruit that are hard and new grown. To preserve a damaged plant from death, to grow in water or survive is drought. To accept a grafting to blend new breeds"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You say your strength is Blending... hmm. Could you create a Tattoo Ink capable of resisting a Shape Shifter's Power to naturally get rid of it? Or an Ink that 're-grows' just as fast as the Shape Shifting tries to get rid of it?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I can not, but I know where it is. It is a Shifter thing and a Color thing. I know I can acquire a supply. Once purchased it is blended with the blood of the recipient. Then it may be used by any artist, even a mortal one, but I'll offer to impose it myself. Though I know an Avasa of Color who is an extraordinary artist. I'll acquire the Ink, blend the process and either do the work myself or arrange for it to be done by my friend the Avasa of Color"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort crosses behind Realmer and takes the brandy, chugging from the bottle.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Will this Ink be of high enough quality to be used in Trump Artistry? And will any of its properties resist the Power of Trump?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I would think so but I can't be sure. I'm not a Trump artist. Its not a common skill among Dufiro who have other means. You would have to ask someone more skilled in the art; Color Dufiro would know. My friend the Avasa of Color would know. But its a high quality material,, it stands to reason it would. Foxmate?" Fort nods, "It seems within the realm of reason that it would. But id try it a few times before trying to mix pattern magic like trump with it"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, that is my intent, and should it fail, that is on me." He says to Fort, then turns to Sallistra. "Once acquired and delivered, I will have you do the first blending of a small amount with my blood, showing me exactly how to do it so I can replicate the process for other Shape Shifters when I have the need. And since Trump Artistry will be involved, I will have to do the Tattoo work myself. Does it come in multiple colors? Does the Ink itself have Shape Shifting properties... like color change?"

  • Michael James Watson

"So you bargain for blending powers as well as blended ink? I can deliver the ink, blend it with your blood easily enough. That result would work on you as a usable ink. I would try to arrange a color changing base medium but I don't know of it well and can not promise that.. but showing you how to blend it would be a new thing. A magical skill. Though I imagine once you see it done you could probably figure it out yourself." She walks around the edges, tapping the field, looking antsy. " I grow weary. You summoned me on my spirit tome since it is one the Foxmate may call to hand. It is in my power to break this circle. My bargain is for Ink, base medium to be blended with your blood, I'll even blend the medium with a few others for your till you mange the art yourself. For entrance into Vulsar Medical training. That's how I stand"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Bargain struck. Agreed." Silvermane turns to his Master. "Is it acceptable to let her out now and give her a drink?" He asks, then chuckles.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"No.. Letting her out will break the circle. The bargain is struck though we will speak later of style. both are bound to compete the transaction in honor. Release her. I can summon her again later through less detailed measures. " She nods, "Yes, release me. I will deliver the ink the day I enter the training you speak of. It will take time to acquire."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Agreed. Sallistra, I release you." Silvermane says and performs what ever Ritual needed to release her. When she is gone, Realmer takes the bottle from Fort and takes a swig.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Alright. The Circle is secure. The Field is covering the hilltop. I need a few hours rest. I don't have time to discuss bargaining style with you in detail. I did throw it on you and that's on me. You did manage it and that makes the effort a success. But, you didn't know her life path before hand so you had to guess. You didn't know what you were asking was in her power. so she had to guess too. You placed both of you in an awkward place. She does not know if the ink will change colors. She has to consult an Ava of Color and may have to bargain on her end too. You asked for two things-Ink that shifts with a shifter and doesn't regenerate out, and the power to blend the base medium with other shifter's bloods. That's two bargains. You don't know if Vance or Random will allow a Dufiro to attend Star Fleet Medical. There are a lot of moving parts you both are now bound to make happen come hell or high water. The fewer the moving parts the better the bargain when dealing with a summoned Dufiro. Now, when she and You and I sit around the cafeteria at Vulsara, chatting, we can explore deals with more moving pieces. that said, it was boldly done. But it was a success partly because Sally knows you, knows me, and knew ahead of time she was going to twist our chains a little. I also know she had two fine horn bows in her pouch that we won't have for a few days at least. Now, go speak to the troops. They are already probably wondering what all the color was all about. And, mind if I hold onto the bottle for an hour or so?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles, takes a swig off the bottle, then hands it back to Fort, saying, “Don't drink it all; I still haven't made the Refilling Spell permanent yet. I'd like to give all the Apprentices time to rest as well, with your permission, Master.” Realmer says the word 'master' with both sarcasm and respect. “And if you'll delay your afternoon nap for just a bit, I plan to address the Army as soon as I can get them all Assembled.” Realmer pauses for a moment then says, “Bob, Message Relay to all Commanders: Commanders; before we begin our march tomorrow morning, I have need to address the entire Army. Have all Troopers assemble immediately; Foot Troops on the slope outside the Camp on the Hill, Cavalry on the beginning of the Plain beneath. End Message Relay. Bob; once the Troops start massing, send 6 of your Remote Link Hummingbirds to watch the perimeter of the Camp, the other 6 the Farmstead. Once the Address is over and the Troops begin returning to their posts, sent the Hummingbirds back to their respective Commanders. Thank you, Bob.” “Fort, you are exempt from attending in person, but I will have Bob 'pipe it in' if you don't have your own way to listen in. I will be using a Spell to make my Voice Easily Heard at a Distance, but not Amplification. I'm going to head for that tiny little bump in the Plain in front of where the Cavalry will assemble and prepare my Spell. If I don't see you before this evening; rest well.” Realmer has Bob Trump his to the top of the Tiny Bump on the Plain.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Once Realmer arrives on the Tiny Bump, he Weaves a High Order Spell; Voice Easily Heard at a Distance with the Range set to the top of the Slope by the Camp above and the same distance all around him in a circle. He holds the final Lynchpin to Activate the Spell until all Commanders give the Signal that all Troops are Assembled, then he releases the Spell. “Soldiers of Amber! Your performance since arriving on Adledross has been exemplary. Thank you all for your hard work and cooperation in working together as a Cohesive Army. I am proud to serve with each and every one of you. And if the Adledrossians should decide to change the Commanders at any point during our time here, I would gladly and proudly serve under any man or woman here that is placed into a Command position.” “I am sure by now all of you have noticed some of the unusual situations we have faced, and some of the unusual preparations being made, especially in the last several days... situations and preparations that a Normal Army may never have to deal with. Situations that WE may have to deal with on a daily basis as we travel across this world. And the reason why... is because WE are NOT a Normal Army. The reason WE are not a Normal Army is because WE are Users of Magic. Sure, in the past there have been the occasional Practitioner of the Arts that has attended this place, but none like US... and not in such large numbers. Before coming here, some of us were Wizards, Mages, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Conjurers, Summoners of Dufiro, Bearers of Sigils of Power and even those with God-like Abilities... and now, as of today, each and every one of US is a User of Magics in some way. And by the end of OUR journey here on Adledross, I expect that each of You will leave with Significant Abilities as a Low Order Mage or Wizard, some with the abilities of a High Order Sorcerer or Conjurer, and a few with Access to even Greater Powers. WE are a truly Unique Army to this place so WE will be facing truly unique situations because of it. Situations like the Event that will take place on that hilltop over there, tonight.” Realmer pauses as he turns and points to the flattened hilltop in question. Then he lowers his arm and turns back around and continues. “The horrors you will experience tonight will fray your nerves and push your mental and emotional endurance to the breaking point. But you will endure and survive this because you are strong and well trained. And the horrors you experience tonight, and perhaps many more times before leaving Adledross, will be like a country faire compared to what some of you may face once you leave this place, depending on the Army you will eventually serve. The creatures of Chaos and the Abyss are far beyond what you will experience here on Adledross; they are truly nightmarish... but your time here, facing these horrors will better prepare you for what is out there. When ALL of you leave Adledross, each of you will be better prepared to face those Nightmarish Creatures than Any. Other. Army. That. Has. Graduated. This. Place. Before. US!” “A little over a week ago, some us came down here to investigate a single building, but instead found this Farmstead, a few buildings at a time... buildings that were not there the day before according to our Scouts.” Short pause. “The Farmstead is here because a group of 12 poorly trained Ritualists in another Shadow were tampering with Powers beyond their understanding. They were dealing with an Unwillingly Bound Dufiro of Rage and War. It had been trading powers with them for many generations. They mistook Its help as for their benefit alone. It preyed on their gullibility, and that of their forefathers, to an end they could not comprehend. It convinced them to try to Summon my Sub-Commander, Fortunadas; It failed to know where Fort was and what he was doing and the Summoing brought all of them here. The 12 men died in the process of this Farmstead being transported through Shadow, here to Adledross. Fortunadas used his Clerical Powers to bring them back to life so that we may discover what happened. And we did. Now those 12 Ritualist are learning proper magic and learning proper tradecraft for dealing with the Dufiro.” “During the investigation of the Farmstead, that Unwillingly Bound Dufiro was released... some of you may have witnessed Its flight from the house. We call It Reggie the Rager and It is set on destroying US. We managed to get 20 days to prepare for Its return... and It will be bringing Its own army with It when It comes. Tomorrow is day 10 and tomorrow morning WE march. But tonight, Fort, myself and our combined Apprentices will be Summoning a different type of Dufiro to help us in our war against Reggie the Rager. I am sure most of you are Unfamiliar with the term Dufiro or Dufiroism, but I am sure most of you have heard of Elementals. Dufiroism are a Spirit Race that begin their lives as Elementals and grow more powerful over time until they become a Spirit, then they can eventually advance to Avasa, and then finally attain the status of Masoja; growing considerably in Power with each advancement. These creatures are NOT Demons; the creatures from Chaos. Nor are they Demons OR Angels from Below or Above. Nor Devils or Gods. They are creatures of a section of Shadowlands where power is directable by their life forces. Dufiro can be called upon, in order to bargain for powers and experiences, by Practitioners such as myself, my Sub-Commander Fort, and perhaps even some you, before our time here on Adledross is done.” “Today, some of you witnessed a Summoning at midday, performed by myself and Sub-Commander Fortunadas, assisted by our Apprentices. That Summoning was with a Willing and Peaceful Dufiro that came to help us prepare for tonight. Tonight however, we will be Summoning an Adversarial Creature that will NOT want to help us willingly, it is a Masoja Dufiro of Knowledge. We may also need to summon others as well, so that we may know more about our enemy; Reggie the Rager, and so that we may defeat him. We have already learned that Reggie's Life Path began as a Fire Elemental, as did most, if not all, of his 'followers'. We also learned that most of their attacks will be fire-based. But understand... this is NOT Normal Fire; this is Elemental Fire, which is way worse. Knowing this, we are already working on strategies, defenses, protections and attacks based on this Intel. The first is that all Magical Training, beginning today, will be based on Protection for Fire, Extinguishing Fires, Controlling Fires, Water-Based Spells and Cold-Based Spells. Much of this training will occur On The March, after tonight's Event.” “The Hilltop over there has Powerful Magics protecting it, designed to keep the Dufiro from escaping and harming those outside the Magic Circles. A ring of Guards has been stationed around the base of That Hill. That ENTIRE Hill is OFF LIMITS to EVERYONE!!! On That Hill, Fortunadas has complete Command, even over me. If HE has not personally Ordered you to be on That Hill... it is Off Limits. NO matter what you see or hear on That Hill, NOBODY is to approach or interfere for ANY REASON. ONLY Fortunadas himself can contradict that Order. Unless you are on Guard Duty at the time of tonight's Event, I highly recommend that you get a good view of That Hill and watch what happens up there. It will be an Education and will help prepare all of you for what is to come. After tonight's Event we will know more and be better able to Strategize; more information and orders will follow. I have great confidence that each of you will handle tonight's Event, as well as the rest of Our time here on Adledross, like Hardened Soldiers and Wizened Wizards; professionally. Calm, Logical, Tactical and Strategically Knowledgeable. Make me Proud, Soldiers of Amber. Dismissed.”

  • Michael James Watson

As the troops disperse and discuss the speech and the news they learned one among them wends his way up to where Realmer stands, a close as he may. That he is 6' taller then most everyone else make him easy to spot.

  • Michael James Watson

"Commander, "He says in a voice that drips with such command that Realmer starts a little in surprise. "I would have a word with you. Now.. and I should speak to Fort as well..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does the best he can to resist the urge to 'jump' due the the 'commanding voice'; he hesitates only long enough to show his strength. "Of course, Alexandir. I was expecting some questions and dialogues would follow that speech. I have time now. Would you like Fort to be present now as well? Or have you need to speak with me first?"

  • Michael James Watson

He inhales deeply, and when he speaks Realmer realizes what the commanding voice was. It was the Bene Gesserit Voice of command. From his reading of the general histories it seems to fit the effect the witches of the Bene gesserit seemed to have. "Yes, bring Fort, Now"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Again, Realmer does his best to resist, but still complies as he wants to, not because he is being told to. "Bob, Trump me and Alexandir to Fort's location, unless he is on the Hilltop, then Trump us to the base of the Hill outside the ring of Guards."

  • Michael James Watson

Bob moves you both to the edge of the ring. Fort is resting against a rock, he looks up and sighs in resignation. "Ya....ya...ya.....I knew you would complain but it was necessary." Alex scowls,"I have known you to do many foolish things, Fortunadas, but this reeks of base folly of the worst kind. You toy with a Masoja of rage and War and don't include me? If it is a War Masoja do you think he would not recognize me?" "Great Venki, preserve me.." Standing.. "Do you know how silly that sounds coming from any of us?" Alex barks. "I summon a Avasa of Knowledge tonight, possible a Masoja. Not a Combat specialist. Let me get through tonight and tomorrow on the march you can whine at me oh great King of Tosian, most worshipful Saint of Battle and mightiest among the rock touchers..." His last part comes in what is clearly a mocking voice. Alex..."rock touchers, high priest? I shall stand Tyler. If you speak truth then we may speak anon. If not, by the World Stone, I swear I shall take on my aspect and raise my attribute and Benedict be damned if he doesn't like it. " Fort, "If you use your Aspect and Attribute on this battle world I shall sing the song of your failure of restraint in the high temple at Wall. Now, Please Alex, let me rest. " He turns to Realmer, "Realmer, think me not a brute, but I've seen these creatures twist the most well meaning of wizards.. I would not have them twist....." he waves his hand at Fort, "my friend.."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks deep into Alexandir's eyes, seeing what appears to be concern for a friend, Alex, looking back will see the same look in Realmer's eyes. Realmer then turns back to Fort. "I've got this, Fort. Get some rest; we have a big night ahead of us." Realmer turns and walks away from the Hill. As he does, he says, "Alexandir, walk with me." He does not say it in a commanding tone, but his body language (him still walking away) and his Presence, makes it clear it was an Order. Once they are a bit away from Fort, Realmer speaks. "Alex; though my knowledge is still growing, I know enough to know just how dangerous and devious the Dufiro are. Even the Peaceful ones are bordering on difficult to deal with. I would not see them twist Fort to their Will either... I've grown fond of the Old Wind Bag." He looks back over his shoulder at Fort, knowing he should be out of normal earshot by now. "But the reason why this is all happening is partly because Fort Summoned Dufiro to help himself, Tesa and the Drtida because I did not want to risk a war with the Treba Cursis. And it is partly my fault for letting that Masoja of Rage and War out of his cage, as it were... knowing full well that Fort should have faced It alone as his punishment for breaking the rules of Adledross for using Powers uncommon to the Majority." He looks to Alex conspiratorially. "I received a little inside information after Fort broke the rules. But even knowing I could have stepped aside and let Fort take his punishment, and it might have ended right there and then... I just couldn't do it. It didn't feel right. Even before I knew the real reason why Fort came here, I still would have acted the same. You don't abandon your..... friends. So now..." heavy sigh, "we are all in this together. And if things go awry, tonight or at any point in things... Alex, I will certainly call on you first to bail our asses out of the trouble we got ourselves into. Rest assured. I'm looking out for him like he is looking out for me... and oddly, for an Amberite of the Royal Family... I trust that."

  • Michael James Watson

Alex sits, making him easier to speak to. "Its been thousands of years since I served under anyone. I fought under King Arin of Freestate. One could say I fought under Tolknor but he would say we fought beside each other rather the any of us leading each other though. ...He is like Dworkin..founded a realm...so if I follow anyone it's him. He is my liege in some ways but not in Tosa...feudal fealty you know...now...He tells me that in the scheme of things that Random rules a realm that is over us. That Amberites are of a higher reality..perhaps...but Your king seems a popinjay. Of the many in Amber I have met..only Benedict seems above me and I'd cross blades to be certain of it.. I would bet on Zatonic against Gerard. Tolknor tells me to prove myself to Amber, so I came here. Fort, he has always been the diplomat..but I've stood to battle beside him in hard war. As much as he may disapprove of me sometimes, I trust him. When we leave this foolish world and its foolish rules, I just may trust one of the House of Barimen. If I do, it will be the first one. " Raising, "if you stand second, you should rest too. I'll stand Tyler." Edited

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I do stand Second, and I will rest soon, thank you Alex. But there is one last thing I need to attend to first; I need to have an enclosed wagon built or modified... I need it be along the lines of a Conestoga... sometimes called a Gypsy Wagon. Nothing fancy, just enclosed, sturdy, and with one closeable door that a normal sized man can easily fit through. If we can't spare the horses, I can devise other means of movement for it. I know we've been building artillery so I'm sure someone can figure it out and make it... hopefully by dawn. Think you can help with that, Alex?"

  • Michael James Watson

He nods. "A vardo wagon? We have wagons for artillery. Cloth top?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, a Vardo Wagon. Not cloth topped. Wooden all around. Door on the back... maybe a trapdoor window on the front by the driver's bench. But both must be able to be closed and latched, at the least. The interior can remain bare."

  • Michael James Watson

"Should be easy enough. I'll pass the order to the artillery commander so it does not appear I am issuing orders or taking a leadershi[pp role. He has the wagons for the atilery. Maybe he can order some of the troop to carry the siege equipemnt on their backs....mind if I ask who you plan to lock in this wheeled prison?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Why, it's for you Alex." Realmer pauses for just a moment then speaks in a playfully sarcastic tone. "I've grown weary of your constant insubordination so I've decided to strip you of your powers, shrink you down to man size, and lock you in that pillory box until we escape this world." Realmer gives Alex a sideways look with a playful smile on his face. "I'm only jesting, of course. Actually, it's going to be a wheeled Laboratory. I have a high order spell my own creation that will effectively create a large extra dimensional space and fill it with the contents of one of my private Laboratories off in Shadow. If one were to open the wagon door without saying the passphrase, they would only find the inside of an empty wagon."

  • Michael James Watson

"Wendy's Wagon...I've seen such things before. Jeremey makes them for trade. At least he did in the years before he found the World Stone. " He smiles, stands and starts to walk toward the Artillery camp. "And Realmer, should you ever wish to try your magic on me, here or elsewhere, you are welcome to try. I shall stand to receive your full might and glory. Together we shall see its result. But when your arsenal is complete consider your words carefully. I may laugh comradely or I may engage. I have stood the hazard such on the sand of Gesheka and won a Lords Seat without a raised blade."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles broadly and chuckles. "Alex; I would never try to use my Powers on you for I know they would most likely not work at all or have so little effect as to be useless. I would never challenge you, Alexandir; on this World or any other... I have no doubt about your prowess and no disillusions about mine. To be perfectly honest... I was just checking to see if you had a sense of humor." Realmer gives Alex a wink and a smile. "And thank you for relaying my Orders to the Artillerists; gives me more time to rest before tonight's Big Event. Speaking of which... when it all begins, I would like you close at hand, just in case something goes awry. Station yourself near the foot of the Hill. If I feel Fort has wandered too far into the woods or the Dufiro has gained control of the situation, I will call you in."

  • Michael James Watson

He stops walking down hill, and turns. the angle making him close to eye level with Realmer. "I have a sense of humor. It is in a box in the Temple of Alexandir in Wall. Similar boxes hold my modesty, my insecurity, the true story of my birth, and my true name. Such a system allows me to show them to others at a time of my choosing... When it comes to humor, I leave such things to Conf, Venki, Mitcholt,or Fort. They have better skill at it. But since you ask...two centaurs walk into a bar...They should have ducked" He continues walking down the hill. "I shall stand Tyler where I must. I know where to stand and I know when to break the circle.. Depend on it."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head, thinking how useful it must be to puts one 'emotions' in a box elsewhere. Then he laughs loudly and openly at Alex's joke... Realmer knows a Centaur Bard back on Oerth that would love that joke. Then Realmer nods to Alex in respect and walks back towards the Farmhouse and his bed... taking the time to sort some thoughts and rehearse in his head tonight's Ritual. When he arrives at the Farmhouse he will bed down for a couple of hours of rest and have Bob wake him two hours before he is needed on the Hilltop.


Adledross: Summoning Dufiro Again and Answers[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

As dusk comes on Fortunadas leads the parade of Realmer and the masons up the hill and leads them to their spots. Each lights their candle at Fort's direction with a Cantrip. Arnold is the closest to Realmer. Fort steps up to the table and lays the tome on it. Realmer takes his space at the second table. Fort whispers, "Vatra will probably be addressed at some point. Take care what it says to Jatakil. This is an Avasa of Knowledge and Reggie has been working with him a very long time. While this is his binding book, I didn't quite want to say anything till now, inside this circle. Giving the Dakota wonderboys a binding tome for a Dufiro seems a particularly stupid thing for Reggie to do. Unless....Jatakil is no longer a Avasa. If he is a Masoja the summoning would be enough to attract his attention and probably enough to make him show up when summoned. They would think they had summoned him into a sacred circle and might try binding him. Now the binding spell here works, and my prowess makes me think I could bind him using it but the wonderboys could not. Try binding a Dufiro against their will with an inferior tome is a good way to get turned into scrambled dodo eggs. Reggie also gave them a tome to summon me. I may be over the threshold of Dufiro Life but I think if I was truly that far over I would know. I've read my book a hundred times and if I didn't know better I think its a fake. Enough to attract my attention and pique my curiosity enough to show up. I don't know what Reggie;'s game is but its messy and there are parts I don't understand." "I've 4 points to bargain with Jatakil for. "First, Reggie's Life Path includes a term as a spirit of Rot. His binding name will reflect that and the reason for it will tell me much. His first Avasa was rage, after a punishment term as Rot. He has bitter enemies. I am willing to bet the Rage Council is the only one that was willing to accept him. Some Spirits of Rot never rise out of the Spirit ranks and become sort of like messengers and lackeys eternally. What councils denied him will be something Jatakil might admit in conversation. "Second, Why North Dakota? These ritualists were part of a long line of masonic ritual and somewhere along the line someone bound Reggie to that rock. I doubt the wonderboys or their grandfathers had the juice to do that. Someone was angry enough at Reggie to bind him to a desolate crap hole like a masonic lodge in the Badlands. "Third, Who serves willingly, who serves bound? Vatra was bound, but found it profitable. Here is where Vatra might talk.. I have placed Arnold in a place outside the ritual locations. His presence or absence won't change the ritual. Use your judgment. If Vatra is pissing Jatakil off, kill him or teleport him or something as soon as you think he is. He will wake up tomorrow and meet us along the road. He'll be pissed but the ritual will be over." "Fourth, what is Uzgata's summoning name and binding name. By then he might be willing to trade those away. If not, well, we will have learned a great deal on way or another. "Now, if you want to tell me something, ask me something, or speak directly to him without him speaking directly to you, signal me. Three raps on the stone table. And then, what you suggest to me or to Jatakilmust be small steps. Give up nothing for free. Don't volunteer your name, history, lineage They don't need them. They will recognize you by your Heartfire. giving the your name, history, and lineage just gives them things to trade once you have summoned enough to cross over the Dufiro Life line yourself. so.... Any questions?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane whispers back, "No, Master; I don't have any questions. I understand my roles and responsibilities here tonight and will execute them with precision and without hesitation. If I must make a judgment call, it will be swift, decisive and final. If I must speak, I will be succinct, take things one small step at a time, and give nothing away. You can depend on me, Master. I'm watching your back."

  • Michael James Watson

"Good. Tomorrow ill be sub-commandeer again. Tonight I am Fortunadas Enright, Arch Mage. ah... Alex.. standing Tyler.. if Zatonic were here too we might have quite a bargaining position. The Dufiro love them." He steps up and opens the tome. He sets two cups out and directs you to fill them with brandy. "If he drinks, we drink" He looks to each of the masons who look terribly nervous. after a lifetime of masonic rituals and secret rituals and even rituals speaking to Uzgata and his cadre, they realize now this is far beyond what they ever anticipated. They were used yo fogs and whispers in the dark.. This is High Church. Fort inhales deeply. When he speaks the voice is clear and loud and forceful. It is exacting. He speaks first in the language of fire Elementals then moves Fire language of Spirits, just a refined elemental language. He speak the summoning name strongly calling him as a Fire Elemental then a Spirit of Fire and a Avasa of Fire. He calls on him as an Avasa of Knowledge. The Tome lists his goals as a Masoja of Knowledge though it does not summon him as one. The sky crackles with energy. The clouds fro the region gather and spin wildly, lighting rocking around in the clouds far from ground. The display reaches high in the sky and the troopers below can hardly avoid seeing it. The colors swirl wildly around the clouds sweeps an arc of lightning that seems stable, flying around the loud formations in reds, oranges and yellow. Fort leans over. "See the red lighting? That's a Fire Arc. It is a thousands of fire Elementals bound with numerous fire spirits willingly and a Avasa of Fire commanding it willingly. Its a lighting bolts of liquid metal. It a weapon for a Masoja. Whatever his book says he I at least a Masoja. And if he has one, Uzgata will have one. Now we wait. He will give us a show of power then take form. He will drink, then speak." The noise is deafening. The lightning stretching out but seems to funnel down into the circle. As it swirls it become smoke rather then clouds and settles into a owl like creature of fire. Landing, It looks at the candle holders, anger on its visage. It sees Alex and pauses.. Turning slowly it looks at Realmer, then slowly faces Fort. Dipping its flaming beak in the brandy, is sips and pulls its wings in, flaming against its chest. Sitting, 12' tall. "Summoner.. You have the Saint of Battle outside the circle. I think you do not fear me enough to bargain with me. Shall we see? "


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane nods his head to Fortunadas when he notices Alex standing Tyler. When he is directed to fill the cups, Silvermane does so. When the Summoning begins, Silvermane does his parts with precision and timing, as is called for. When Fort leans over and begins speaking to Silvermane, he listens intently and nods his head slightly in understanding and acknowledgment. When the Avasa Dufiro manifests, Silvermane watches with great interest, but does not move a muscle, flinch or wince, nor utter a sound. When the Fiery Owl drinks, Silvermane waits for his Master to drink first, then he the Apprentice drinks last. Silvermane watches and waits. He keeps the Dufiro and the Circle as his main focus, but also keeps an eye on the Apprentices... especially Arnold/Vatra. When Rituals are not being performed, Silvermane keeps his left hand casually resting on his left hip near his Fighting Knife. His right hand is held in front of his midsection and slightly away from his body, ready to perform Somatics for Ritual or Spell as the situation may require.

  • Michael James Watson

"I call you Jatakil. It is not your summoning name, nor your calling name. I see in this tome you are a Avasa of Knowledge. I shall call you Jatakil and you may call me Fortunadas." It flutters its wings.."You use an old book summoner. it offends me and I would rend thee. I have rusted, you scare me not with your playing. You have a Shifter of some kind acting as the Saint of Battle. Such theater is unworthy. " It bends and drinks again. "At least the ancient tome you use lists my drink. This is a fine beverage. what is it? Origin, not type." Fort looks to Realmer, "tell him"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane looks to the Fiery Owl and speaks in the same Tongue and as close to the same Dialect as possible. His tone is respectful and purely informative; showing little to no emotion. "It it called Napoleon Brandy. It is named after a town in the country of France in a Shadow called Earth. It must be made from at least 90 percent Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, or Colombard grapes and it is twice distilled. This particular vintage dates back to the time of Napoleon Bonaparte and is said to be from his private stock."

  • Michael James Watson

Jak looks over Realmer, "Is this my snack, Summoner?" Fort chuckles.."No, I summoned you to bargain for knowledge. If you are uninterested, you may depart. I have your lover Uzgata's book ready next."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane raises an eyebrow and says, "I am stringy and of little nourishment. I am sure you would find my flavor distasteful."

  • Michael James Watson

"You think to enrage me? Summoner, It takes more then that. Very well. Knowledge.. ask." Fort turns over a paper. "Uzgata's life path includes a term as a spirit of Rot. Yours includes two terms as spirits of Rust, one as a demotional term. I'd like to know why Uzgata incurred enough hatred to be punished so." The owl rises in fire and powerful psychic energies slam against Fort. Fort Raises his hand toward the fiery display. Realmer feels his body grow cold as his psyche is tapped. He feels the power of the Dufiro attempting to bind Fort to the summoning table. Fort's response pushes Jak back and his fires flicker and cool, showing a owl with feathers. It shakes as the power ceases. Realmer felt the might of Fort's psyche and realizes Fort's is greater then his own but not by a much. And its somehow feels differently directed, of a different resonance. In thinking about it he thinks he saw some type of High Order imprint of a type he has never seen before. Something less then the amber imprint but still High Order and unbroken. "I see you are not a shade or an actor, but truly Fortunadas of Knowledge. this is not the place I expected to make my binding of you. Yet I see the minor wizards in candle-bearing stances... I sense the circle were forged nearby but I am not summoned in it. What has befallen Uzgata?" Fort takes a drink, and motions Realmer to as well. Seeing the cups rise Jak leans and drinks as well. "You assault me, attempt to Bind me, and expect me to answer YOUR questions? I feel you are a Masoja.. Of Knowledge, but something else. My guess is you are also a Masoja of Binding. That makes sense. The pillars round the summoning circle below the masonic lodge house.. They were meant to bind me. if we are to bargain further---answer my question." Jak flutters his wing, feeling flickers of fire.

  • Michael James Watson

"Very well. He served Rot because he broke a Combat Pact and turned on his master in the battle of the Fall of Worlds. He turned against Hspalak of Life and Warfare. After that.. he was summoned repeatedly and bound to poor service. Once freed he sued the spirits of Guard, Defense, and Growth and was denied. He pleaded the Avasa of Guard, Speed, and even Fire and his petition was blocked each time by Hspalak. Only Rage would accept him. " Fort nods, "And after that a Term of Conflict made him acceptable to Fire. Hmm....I almost feel his anger. Why did he turn on Hspalak? " "Am I forgiven for my attempt to bind?" "Almost..Why?" "Hspalak followed Nur Al Din. Uzgata wanted the power of All Worlds to go to Borax and sided with him, breaking the bond in battle. " Fort looks over at Alex. Alex raises both eyebrows in understanding. "You know I am friends with Nur Al Din." "Since I believe you are Fortunadas of Knowledge and that is truly the Great Alexandir, then I know you are friends with the Dufrieanalat. I do not wish to be your foe now that I have tasted your resolve"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane is impressed with Fort's Psychic Prowess, but even more impressed that he holds a powerful, non-broken Imprint of unfamiliar Origin... with a strength approaching that of the Pattern of Amber. He guesses a Shade Imprint... much like his own original Imprint of the Shade Pattern of Ambir. When Fort drinks from his cup, Silvermane, drinks from his own as well. He listens to the information provided by Jak with great interest. He still keeps watch over Arnold out of the corner of his eye.

  • Michael James Watson

"Your attack gave me the answer I needed for my first question and I suspect I know the answer to my second but I will bargain for it anyway. Why was Uzgata bound to a masonic Temple in North Dakota? Jak"That you might guess, so I will make a simple bargain. Your Heartfire is of a Dufiro of Knowledge but it burns with a High Order Imprint I have never seen. I can guess too but would hear it." "Done. My imprint is the Sigil of York, forged by Tolknor, my father, while the shade of Amber in our realms still stood. It is a Primal Pattern of a second Order." "Uzgata was bound there by Rascalas of Binding on the order of Hspalak of Life and Warfare. He believed he might have no hope of return to the realms of the Dufirosim. But Uzgata is mighty and clever. he could trade only tricks of fire and small battle wisdoms. to those mehums it was enough to gain generations of devotion. In time they contacted us that were bound to him. Myself, and several others. We together drew Avasa, young ones and bound them as Vatra slavering over there is. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane looks at his Master out of the corner of his eye and raises an eyebrow slightly at the pronouncement of his Imprint. Realmer had heard of the Sigil of York in passing once, but assumed it a Lesser Sigil or perhaps a Shade Pattern... but not a Primal Pattern of the Second Order. At the mention of Vatra, Silvermane looks over at Arnold. He has a feeling one of the Dufiro is about the taunt the other and that he might have to get involved... left hand still casually resting near his Fighting Knife. Silvermane shakes his head sadly and says under his breath, "They so craved Real Power they were willing to take the tiniest scraps of It, thinking it a full meal, not realizing they were being used and led to their own deaths."

  • Michael James Watson

Jak turn and looks to Realmer, 'Yes indeed they did, Amberite. Worshipful Master Hector over there saw himself as a wizard of great power because he had been gifted with a fire avasa that wore him like a codpiece. the fire avasa would produce a few fire spells, a few fire strikes, and speak in fire tongue through his mouth. All of those fine upstanding gentlemen wore avasa of fire at some point, many for decades. They walked their homeland thinking themselves mighty. When they lay with their wives, mistresses, and in a few cases their daughters, they performed like mighty gods of lust filled with the fires of the Dufirosim.. Yet they bleed power into Uzgata every day, giving him a drop more blood to stretch his arms out for vengeance. There stands Vatra of Fire now. See him quivering in fear that I may demand his life force for some trifle just to see him squirm. " Vatra-"We served as bound. Free me if you like Ruster. My Arnold never indulged in mistresses or daughters and what he gave to Uzgata was a sip compared to what I gained from him. If you mock those you bound you will be known by your quality when I rise to Masoja. We bound ones know your aspirations. Death or Warfare.. You are too weak for either. seek the Council of Wisher to see if they will change the reputation you earned! "

  • Michael James Watson

Fort snorts and reaches for the brandy. Jak starts to retort, sees fort drink and quickly turns to drink, as if given permission.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane grabs his cup with his right hand at nearly the same time as Fort and drinks when his Master does. He turns his attention to Arnold/Vatra, looking at him, studying him, but says nothing.

  • Michael James Watson

Jak raises his head from the bucket and the wings flame up fully, but he tucks them behind him, looking at Vatra about to speak. Fort says, "There does seem to be some question of who is bound and who serves. You served two terms a rust. I assume Uzgata bound you. My next bargain is for Uzgata's allies and who serves and who is bound?" "You ask much Summoner. Will you force treachery from me? Do you think your power....." Fort takes a sip of the brandy, Jak stops mid sentence, growls, and drinks. "I don't need to force you, Jatakil. I've put a first knot on your binding already. For a time I can make you dance. You can feel it. I'm tempted to bind you to this table and see what use the Adledross can make of you for the next thousand years. or we can bargain and I may release you. What Masoja does he have in unbound service?" Jat licks his beak. "Dufirosim are close to Chaos, proximity being a curse. Someone stole a shadow of the pattern from the Abyss and he stole a great queen of the abyss as well. He was aided by his Son and by a traitor to Chaos. He is known by the name he earned in the Abyss and in the Black Zone. But the Chaos lords dare not speak his name in fear of invoking his cult to greater heights. What is his name, and which queen did he steal? What I his son's name and who is Chaos's traitor? Where did they take the Abyssal pattern of Amber? A name for a name, Dufiro of Knowledge." Fort looks to Realmer.."You may answer him. Though you might be a little thirsty first"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane drinks from his cup when his Master drinks from his, already seeing the pattern emerging, he keeps his right hand at the ready to grab his cup and drink when his Master does. As Jak begins asking about the Stolen Pattern, Silvermane wonders how much about it his Master knows and is about to knock three times upon the table, until Fort hands the answering of the questions to him. Silvermane picks up his cup and drinks, placing it back on his table then speaks to Jak, "A name for a name, Jatakil. Vance is the one who stole the Pattern from the Abyss. Now, the Masoja in unbound service to Uzgata."

  • Michael James Watson

Jatakil smiles, "Vance, son of Delwin....excellent.. Gretril of War, an Ally and a very enthusiastic one. -Masoja of War. His path is Fire Elemental, Spirits of Combat, Speed, & Fire. Avasa of Conflict & Fire. Masoja of Warfare. He has a bloody apatite and likes fighting. He dreams of ruling the council of combat'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane takes another sip of brandy then says. "Agrom, son of Vance. Another name from you, Jatakil."

  • Michael James Watson

"Agrom? yes... His cult hall attracts a strange collection of peoples. alright.... Ill give you the double ended arrow in Uzgata's quiver. Straxxrix, a Masoja of Knowledge and a very powerful and powerfully unhappy one. Not bound but stuck to Uzgata because of their time as Rotters. He was Fire Elemental, Change Elemental, Spirit of Combat, Rot, Paper, & Change, Avasa of Fire, Shifter, and Knowledge. Masoja of Knowledge. he has aspirations. "

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"That's a powerful life path. He sounds ancient. " Jat-"He is.. If he is accepted by the Shifters he may not make a mess of things. But the Death Council covets him.. When this Uzgata mess is over it will be interesting to see where he jumps"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

The moment Jak stops speaking to Fort, Silvermane again grabs his cup and takes a sip, then puts it back on the table in front of him before speaking again to Jak. "Vek'Osho helped them. Another name; an important one, as I know the name I just gave was."

  • Michael James Watson

“How should I know what names you know? Vek..the hendrake Bonewarrior.. thought so. He was freed from fealty in Hendrake.. makes him dangerous. If you see him, tell him a price is on his head from the council of death. very well. an important name.. alright. Unkanat She is an ally to be sure. She started as a Fire elemental. then Spirit of Combat & Rot. Avasa of Conflict, Rage, and Fire. Finally Masoja of Combat. She aspires to Warfare & Death.. Beware her. She is Uzgata's Child. Made of himself alone."

  • Michael James Watson

he raises his hand to Realmer, looks to Fort-

  • Michael James Watson

"Summoner... I serve Uzgata because his way has been rife with folly and power follows folly. Many of his followers revel in folly. he has thousands of fire Elementals and hundreds of Earth Elementals. He has several thousand spirits of fire.. he has a hundred earth Spirits, 2 Illusion Spirit and one rot spirit. Half a thousand fire Avasa and near that Combat Avasa. Near a dozen Masoja. Most serve to gather crumbs of power from his war. most are not....patriots..but the lower, the most willing to serve.. Trade me no more names... Bind me or free me."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort looks at Realmer, tapping the 4th card.."What do you think? Have we enough to work from or shall we ask one more?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane replies, "One more."

  • Michael James Watson

Fort puts the card down.."Uzgata's summoning name, and binding name..."

  • Michael James Watson

Jatakil howls, spinning into the sky bringing his colorful cloud work with him

  • Michael James Watson

Alex walks up beside Arnold, blades drawn. Fort makes a hand sign for Wait

  • Michael James Watson

Jatakil coalesces.. "I can give you his summoning name as an Avasa of Rage. that is the best I can do. and it will be a treason he won't forgive. but what I want...I doubt you will grant. that book of mine. it is my Avasa tome. But it is mine... Bind me to it... Keep me till you leave this battle world. then...Place me in the Library of Amber. What better place for a Dufiro of knowledge. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane looks to his Master and is about to shake his head 'no', but stops and taps the table three times. He communicates via Hand Sign, but still tries to partially hide them from Jak. -Only the King could authorize that. Or maybe... the Unofficial Librarian; he knows about Dufiro and has at least one bound to him or something he carries. We have a mutual respect, but are not friends. Advise.-

  • Michael James Watson

Fort looks uncertain.Hearing a snapping of fingers, Alex signs.. "Tir no'gath has a library."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer signs to Alex -Thanks- Then signs to Fort -I'm mostly confident I can make that happen without too much fuss- Silvermane turns to Jatakil and speaks. "The Library of Amber is above my pay-grade. I counter offer with the Library in Tir-na Nog'th. How long do you wish to remain there?"

  • Michael James Watson

"The main library at Fantalin, in The dufirosm section till a space in the Amber Library can be secured. And I'll cooperate on this battlefield till Fantalin." Fort signs" I didn't know they had a Dufiro section but I'm new to access at the Amber level...possible? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer signs to Fort -Yes, it does have that section and I know the Dean well. He wants me to teach there one day soon. I am confident I can make that part happen. Amber will take time and favors, I'm certain. Do you close the deal, Master, or do I?”

  • Michael James Watson

"You know the dean. Close the deal."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Silvermane turns to Jatakil and speaks. "Jatakil, I know the Dean at Fantalin and can make that happen. Bargain struck. You may call me Silvermane. Deal sealed." He picks up his cup and drinks.

  • Michael James Watson

Fort starts to speak. Vatra says loudly, "Summoner, will you bind him using his Avasa name?" Fort snaps his head at Vatra in surprise. Smiles widely and turns back to Jatakil who looks suddenly crestfallen. "Your Masoja binding name, please.". Jatakil looks at Vatra, "I will not forget. Zagasa------------------etcetcetc." Fort summons his full psyche and pulls Realmer's as well. Realmer feels and sees as fort ties the binding note around the tome, dragging the fiery owl into the tome. Just before it finishes...Fort says"so you know, Jatakil of Knowledge, I've found your true name. ". And Fort speaks it to seal the binding. If a book could howl it would. Fort picks up the book and casually runs his foot over the circle breaking the ring and ending the ritual.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Vatra, "And I will not forget either, Vatra. Thank you." Realmer turns to Fort. "So, Fort... do we have enough to defeat Uzgata? And do we need to do any further Summoning this night? And who holds onto that Tome?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort tucks the tome in his satchel. " we have enough to be well prepared. And I have this cooperative tome to delve..later.... Now....Alex, I'm going to fulfill your dreams...take me to bed....before I passout. ". As soon as he says it realmer feels a wave of exhaustion roll over him....his psyche is used totally and He suddenly feels his strength and endurance failing too. Woozy and feeling faint he starts to fall. He feels him self picked up like a babe and cradled in the titans right arm as he goes slack...He sees fort picked up similarly. Fort mumbles..."Vatra....kick over the bucket. No one else may drink it. " He holds his head up till the bucket spills...Realmer 's last sight is Fort resting his head on Alex's massive arm as he heads down hill


Adledross: Preparing to March, a Vardo Wagon and Hip Pigs Again[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer wakes up and has a moment of confusion. He is waking up n a bed in a room decorated like North Dakota with chicken statues and pictures of mountains and other americana stuff. He has a quilt on him in many colors showing considerable country charm. Looking over he sees Arnold reading a book, coffee in his hand. He looks up, walks to the door, "Sir? He's waking up!!!!" "Commander, would you like some coffee? Sub-Commander Fort will be here in a moment.. We've been very worried"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"What the....!?" Realmer begins, reaching for his fighting knife out of reflex. "Where the....?" Then he stops as the confusion subsides and he recalls where he is. "Yes. Coffee. Strong, black. And then some food... fruits... and some eggs if possible. How long have I been out, Arnold?" Realmer throws off the covers and sits up, but waits to stand.

  • Michael James Watson

He feels rocky, wrung out.. He's naked but in clean breech clothes. Arnold pours coffee from the carafe and hands the cup to him. "You've been out 7 days. Master Fort was out for 4. He said to wake him as soon as you awoke" Fort walks in, head shaven. He is wearing blue jeans and a t shirt that Realmer figures must have been in the house. "Welcome back! Had us worried. I've had an interesting few days. We have a bit of a discipline problem to take care of but otherwise the troops will be glad to hear you are awake.. Now.. rest. Lets get some food into you. I need to look you over. Arnold, go downstairs. Hamsteak, a dozen eggs scrambled. a couple pounds of hashbrowns., some of those cinnamon rolls, Split the mess onto two plates. More coffee. ".

  • Michael James Watson

After Arnold leaves he takes your coffee, refills it, then takes out his PMEL dispenser and puts a short twist in it. Hands the coffee back.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes the cup back, inhales the aroma, savoring it. Then he takes a swallow, letting the PMel do its thing. He takes a second swallow, savoring it, then asks: "Seven days? And we're still at the Farmstead? We should have marched a week ago. And what exactly is the discipline problem?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort chuckles... "Well, Bonaparte may have been one of history's finest generals but I doubt in his conquest of Europe he ever had a titan grab him by the back of the head and punch him in the face. He was out for a day. Then a dozen or so Adledross lords showed up and wanted to see Bonaparte, you, and I but Carston stepped in between them and Alex and handled the situation. They are none too pleased with Alex but gave Carston a nice commander' baton. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Carston; he's good man. I feel more comfortable knowing he is around. A Commander's Baton... very nice. I guess now that I'm conscious we will be meeting with some Officials. So, why did Alex punch Bonaparte in the face?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Why? Well, he's a Wargod. emperor of a universe. A Saint of Battle. And Bonaparte told him to get out of his way, called him a fucking troll and suggested he have improper relations with farm animals, in French of course, and sadly for him, Alex speaks French. Carston had told him not to let anyone disturb us under any circumstances. So Alex claims he was merely following orders. I told him that excuse didn't work out well for Eichmann. Still, the troops were pleased"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort has been running his vision through a small glowing sigil of the unfamiliar pattern, looking Realmer over

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"So, the Pattern of York, huh? Impressive. What do you see? Am I going to recover, doctor?" He says the last with a bit of sarcastic humor. Realmer continues to drink his PMel coffee until the food arrives.

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes. You'll be fine. I've spoken to a man name Erzakai. An Adledross wizard type from someplace. He explained that the cosmological particulars here make summoning and other great magic creation extraordinarily more difficult. They don't want people depending on summoning aide or making familiar power magical weapons but instead depending on weapons and things found here. He claims the arrival of our Dakotans was as much a surprise to them as it was to us. More maybe. Our thought that they rarely have wizard like thee and me was very accurate.. most people just march across the world picking up pikes, blades, and armor, and forming up as best they can.. The Adledross, they tell me, call this continent the Proving Ground. their people around the world watch what happens here enthusiastically, like sports programs. Some function brings people like Boney, Percy, and Erzakai here and gives them immortality as long as they remain here.. this realm must be closer to Chaos."

  • Michael James Watson

He enlarges his York sigil and tweaks a couple spells while talking. "Yes, the York sigil. Its a primal realm in a Shade of Amber, created using a shadow of the Jewel of Judgment by Tolknor. And it has certain powers unlike Amber's though in general its less powerful..Still, it has some juice when needed"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods silently as he looks over the Sigil, and once enlarged, he looks over Fort's Spells... thinking it's time he maintained his Spells as well... and Hung a few more to replace those Cast... and replace a few with Spells more useful to the current situation.... but more coffee and food would be needed first. "I'm sure while you were checking me over you noticed I bear more than just the Imprint of Amber's Pattern. Though they are less powerful Imprints, to be sure, they do have their advantages." Realmer finishes his coffee and gets up slowly and carefully. Once he is steady on his feet, he will walk to the table and pour another cup of coffee from the carafe. "So, we were better prepared to handle the sudden arrival of the Farmstead, and all that came with it, than the Adledross... interesting." Realmer looks momentarily proud, then he drinks some of his freshly poured coffee. "Well, by the time we leave Adledross, they should be much better prepared for High and Low Order Users of Magic in the future." "So, we only have three days before Reggie the Rager returns with his army. I see two simple options; we stay here and fortify or we move with haste for two days to keep this a safe place to fallback to. What do you think, Fort? Maybe we should get some more Commanders in on this Strategy Meeting." Realmer stops and smiles with a huffed chuckle. "I haven't even gotten my breakfast and barely started my second cup of coffee and I'm already in 'command mode'." He chuckles again and takes a drink of coffee. "So what are we waiting for? Ah, yes; breakfast."

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes, though I've known what sigils you bear for a long while now. I noted two which I assume are Adagalasck & Paragon. I know where a couple Paragon shard are. One in York the other Plymouth. I'm not attuned to either but Tolknor is probably. " He sips his coffee, and takes a nose blast. "The binding is what screwed us. I was told dealing with outside forces is a power of 10 as hard here. Curious. It works that way for the whole world. Its a curiosity for another time. As for Reggie... I had hoped to bind him. I was out for 4 days and those were vital in my finding his name. After I woke up and had my conference with the Adledrossian wizard I made a few command decisions. they will work for either call. I sent Alex and the cavalry with the Kzin and about 500 troops to do a forced ride. I told him to ride as hard as possible west for 36 hours without killing the horses. then find a likely place and fortify it for the whole Army's arrival. I told him I'd get in touch when you woke up. That was a day and half ago. It can't hurt to have a forward base if we stay here. or we can move to the forward base and make a stand there. I suspect Reggie will come at us at either place. Defending this place makes sense, but having the battle here might mess it up. So... Lets get breakfast and see who's a round."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks for his clothing and equipment; if they are present he dresses and gears up, then heads to the porch with his coffee cup in hand. If his clothing and equipment are not present, he just heads to the porch with his coffee cup and inquires about his belongings. "The Adagalasck Imprint is called the Spiral of the Four Winds and I acquired it from the North Stair in Blomsia. The origin of my Imprint of Paragon I'd like to keep to myself for now... I have my reasons."

  • Michael James Watson

"I understand. State secrets and all. Though I should say Jeremy knows the details and if he does Tolknor does. Tolknor hasn't come to Amber yet but Jeremy certainly has. He and I, and a few of our mages received extensive training and instruction from King Finndo at King random's direction. Education in cosmological detail, existing power constructs, recent history and a number of other things. Jeremy doesn't bear a York imprint, but he has a Plymouth one since it does not require a bloodline. He has other things.. He has been to the pattern in tirna nogath. he bears a broken pattern imprint. I am supposed to be allowed to take a broken pattern imprint at some point. he told me once he could do what Aries colbresie did"

  • Michael James Watson

Reaching the kitchen there are a number of people there. Food is being readied for numerous staff in the house. Carston is looking over maps in the living room, pointing at positions with a stick.


  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Nice baton, Commander Carston. Who did you have to kill to get it?" Realmer asks in a joking manner.

  • Michael James Watson

Carston looks up, smiles an uncommon smile, "More like who did I have to stop from killing. Some battles are fought without blades. Its good to see you up. The troops should be informed soon if I know how rumor flies. We have maps of the region 10 days around us.." He point with the baton, "Here I where Alex is setting up the forward camp"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I heard about your actions while Fort and I were out of commission; excellent work, Carston. You once asked why two Amber Royals recommended you to attend this place; I think earning that baton should help explain it a bit." Realmer looks to the map and the area indicated by Carston. He looks at the terrain between there and the Farmstead and defenesibility of the Forward Camp site. "I would prefer we get the bulk of our forces to the Forward Camp location as soon as possible in order to preserve this Farmstead and it many resources."

  • Michael James Watson

Carston nods, "That's what we thought as well. The troops will be ready to march in three hours from when the order is given. Fort and I have been having them get ready to march since he woke up. " As food is brought out Carston grabs a hamsteak. "As for this?" waving the baton, "I think it amused them when I told Alexandir to sit down or I would jump up and hit him in the balls with a chair. I may not be welcome back in Tosa..Just as well.. I doubt I'll ever go back"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer laughs and says, "You really said that to Alex? Outstanding Commander, absolutely outstanding. And between King Julian and myself, I'm sure we can keep you employed for as long as you wish to remain so. After that, I'm sure you will be able to afford to retire to any world you wished... perhaps one customized just for you, even." Realmer takes the plate of food offered and begins eating like he hasn't eaten in a week... because he hasn't. (hehe) "Three hours to prep for march, good.... only two days to get there and prepare, not so good, for me anyway. I wish I had had the Gypsy Wagon built sooner... I could have had Drishti working for a week while I was sleeping it off. Speaking of which; I want to reassign Tesa back to Commander the Scouts and Drishti as my Head Alchemist and once the Wagon is prepped she will be working inside for the trip to the Forward Camp." "Do we know what our Forward Team has accomplished so far?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort "Alex was supposed to fortify a likely spot. I Imagine he will. 500 troops and a few Kzin. If he didn't met opposition I'm sure he found something. Oh, two other things. That wizard told me that the Reen had been told if they continued to depend on us as they were they would be 'Invalidated'. I'm not sure and he would not elaborate, but I think everything we learn here, our memories and experiences, might be keyed to completion of the course. Secondly, Bob has been very uncooperative the last couple days. If you had not woken up I'd have had to take active measures. We need him to get info from Alex"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head. "Somehow I knew our Alliance with the Reen was a bit too good to be true and would not last... I just wasn't sure why or how. Now I know. Well, as least if our paths cross again we know we might be able to work together on common goals or missions." Realmer sighs then and says, "Beholder's can be difficult to work with even when they are Conjured from your own blood. Let's see if we can rectify this problem." Realmer reaches out with his Psyche and Summons Bob to him; he does not say anything, just lets Bob know that his Master requires his presence immediately.

  • Michael James Watson

When Realmer exits the building there starts cheers from the busy troopers. More see and stop what they are doing to applaud. Bob hovers up off a lounge chair and nips around like an excited chihuahua

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and waves to the cheering soldiers and says 'thank you' to any close enough to hear. Then he focuses on Bob. "Yes, Bob, I am happy to see you too. And also glad that I am not dead." Realmer says in a friendly tone to his excited Familiar. But then his tone changes. "Now what is this that I hear that the Communications Master is not communicating? Bob... What in all the swirling Abyss were you thinking? Just because I was out of it does not release you from your duties to this Army. Understood?! Your ONLY release from your duties to this Army is if we BOTH die... because if just YOU die, you know I will bring you back in some fashion... even if it has to be Undead. If I die or am out of it and you still live on, you still serve the Army until you leave this world. You will obey Fortunadas or Carston or whomever is in Command if Fort is also dead or out of it. Understood?"

  • Michael James Watson

Bob flutters.. "I'm.....not sure whats wrong... But when your were down.. out.. I couldn't focus.. I couldn't think straight.. I couldn't...feel ...you. I could barely move. When they spoke to me...I couldn't understand"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks at Bob and is suddenly concerned and it shows in his tone. "Hmmmm... perhaps our Bond is different than that of a Standard Familiar and Wizard... stronger perhaps. I was not functional and neither were you. Hmmmm.... this needs more investigation and a talk with Grandfather, who helped me create you. But obviously that is for another time. How are you feeling now, Bob? Ready to get back to work?"

  • Michael James Watson

Ive been feeling better for the last couple days but only cleared my mind a little while ago." Fort-"About an hour ago?" Bob nods. Fort looks to Realmer-"Its connected to your psychic powers.. Your sense of magic. I sucked every last drop of mine and drew yours out without thinking. I might have drew on it enough that I sucked it out of him too. Magic Margin exhaustion is common in Low Order magic. In these circumstances it might do the same here."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Interesting. And good to know, Fort. Well Bob, glad you're starting to feel better as well. Now we need you to get back to being the Communications Master and re-establish contact with all the Commanders via your Remote Links... especially Alexandir. But since you were down and out too... I'd bet your Remote Sensors went down too. If you feel strong enough, try to re-establish those Links. If they are gone, create new links, mini-versions of you, Trump them to each Commander, including Alex, then put me in contact with Alex. If you need to borrow Energy to do so, borrow from me. And maybe Fort might lend some of his too, if you ask him real nice."

  • Michael James Watson

"you want min bobs for all the commanders? Even Carston? He's standing right next to you. HAHAHAHAH" Its laugh mimics nearly exactly Fort's laugh.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, but Carston will not always be next to me. Start with Alexandir, Bob. We'll work out the others later."

  • Michael James Watson

(That's was Bob saying it, not Fort)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

(edited above comment. my bad. oops)

  • Michael James Watson

"Righto, Boss' He flies off.

  • Michael James Watson

After a few moments Bob returns with Alex. "He insisted" Bob says in Fort's voice. Alex essentially salutes. "Commander, Sub Commander. Good to see you both well. I've established a forward base 44 hours ride from here. There is a very solid castle It was in the final stages of being conquered by a force of what I can only call barbarians. Kilts, fur cloaks, bad chainmail. Rusty greatswords and no discipline. about 4000 of them. There were nearly 2000 dead when we arrived. The castle was being held by a force of Reskaans, human & dwarves. About 200. They had lost nearly a thousand they claim. I assaulted the barbarians and slew them to a man. I repeatedly ordered them to surrender instructed my men to offer quarter, they refused. Once the Reskaans realized who we were they cheered us and opened the gate. It is not large enough for 5000 troops to encamp long term. but it is a fine place to fight out of. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Excellent work, Alex. If the dead bodies have not already been burned or otherwise destroyed, I'd like to have them buried in very shallow graves and in strategic formations around that castle. I might need them if things get really bad. Also, do what you can to repair any damages and reinforce the structure. Are there any resources near there? Are there any terrain blind spots that might hide approaching forces? Not that I think this coming battle will involve much stealth. Are there any hazards along the way the Army should avoid?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I left orders to stack by type. rusty great swords in one pile, bodies in clothes in the other. bodies in the pyre. the swords aren't worth much but you magic types an clean the stuff up. Still, the castle is thing. It has sufficient wells for water. as for hazards, there were a few, yes. But nothing we couldn't handle. Nothing substantial. I'd suggest you both trump out as establish headquarters and let the other commanders march the troops. If it comes to fighting legions of dufiro id rather not have an army for collateral damage. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, if the bodies are already burned" Realmer says to Alex, "then so be it... there will be enough corpses once the battle begins, should the need arise for reinforcements." Realmer looks thoughtful for a few moments as he Cleans some remnants of breakfast from his teeth with a few Cantrips. "I really like your idea of Fort and I Trumping ahead to the Castle, Alex; smart thinking. I'll need an hour at most before I'll be ready to leave.... I have a couple of things I want to accomplish first." Realmer turns to Carston. "Well then, Carston; you have the Commander's Baton, looks like the Army is yours. Get things rolling as soon as possible." Realmer turns back to Alex. "Unless there is something else, I'll have Bob take you back to the Castle." Realmer turns to Bob. "Bob, make sure to leave a mini-bob remote link (the size of a golf ball) for Alex before returning. Upon your return, I want you to deliver a mini-bob to all Cohort Commanders, including Ranatal of the Cavalry, Trudeaux of the Artillery and Tesa who I am re-instating as Scout Commander." Realmer finally turns to Fort. "I'm guessing since you have been awake for a few days longer than I, that you are already prepared to leave. Care to help me out?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort-"Yes, the army needs a couple hours but its been essentially ready to march since before the ritual. I can see the word to form up spreading and I suspect the horns will start in a few moments. Carston, an hour?" Carston nods, "Yes sir. An hour. We've been eating out of rations for days. I get the troops moving. Excuse me Commanders." He turns and walks away, issuing orders with the baton. Fort-"I hear he once tossed a Drow elf down a crevice into shark filled waters. That's hilarious. I've never liked Drow. One of my students wrote a song about it. Anyway. I'll get my gear and be ready in an hour." Alex adds, "I'm going to go talk to the artillery troops. They have a few machines id like to take to the castle. Ah..Tandin of Rabsen, and a dozen of the other Rabsens, men from the ninth amber legion, are good artillery guys. Id like to transfer them to my....ah... the Castle commander, to start fortifying the castle.. With your permission."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Actually, Alex, I was heading to see about my Vardo Wagon, Drishti, my Alchemist and the Artillery, so let's walk together. I promise not to slow you down." Realmer grins and breaks into a jog to keep up with Alex's normal walking pace. "I'm sure Commander Trudeaux won't mind the transfer of men and machines out ahead of the main body of the Army. But we may have to make a few Trump Trips to get all of us, my Wagon and some Artillery Machines to the Castle... Bob's good, but not quite powerful enough to do it all in one trip. Of course, I could Trump to the Castle, create a Trump Sketch of it, then return here to get the Machines and Wagon." Realmer casually jogs on next to Alex as he strides towards the site of the Artillery machines and wagons.

  • Michael James Watson

Alex hurumphs..

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and says, "What scintillating dialog, Alex. I can see why you attract the ladies. Very well, tell Commander Trudeaux you have my permission and select the Artillerists and Machines you require. I will seek out my Wagon and my Alchemist on my own." Realmer slows his pace and says, "Bob, Trump me to the Wagons, then go find Drishti and Trump her to my location. Thanks, Bob."

  • Michael James Watson

Alex- "as you command. its not that long walk. I'll be at the house in an hour." Arriving at the wagon you see it is well built though clearly converted from an original purpose. It is sitting next to dozens of wagons all packed with artillery frames and spars.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks over the wagon, front to back. He checks for the small window/door up front for the driver then moves around and opens the door on the back and looks inside. Then he will check his Spells while he waits for Bob to bring Drishti.

  • Michael James Watson

Bob arrives with Drishti "Commander. Good to see you up and about. I understand we are on the road soon."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Thank you, Drishti. And yes, the Army will be on the march in about an hour. But you will be accompanying me, Fort and our Apprentices to the Forward Camp, a small castle, via Trump Transport so we can establish things there. I have re-assigned Tesa to command the Scouts. You will be assigned to this wagon, which is about to become a Rolling Laboratory. I heard you are skilled in Alchemy so that is why you were re-assigned. I will need you to prepare many things for our upcoming battle with the Dufiro. Most of them will be fire-based and earth-based... anything we can mix up to combat them may help tip the battle in our favor when we need it most. I was just about to lay the spells upon this wagon. Do you have any magical or spell casting abilities, other than the magic you have learned here in the last couple of weeks?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I've attended the Royal College of Diaga with special studies in chemistry and alchemy in preparation for medical examinations. Then I had a family situation and I was asked to join the Diagan military. Served for 5 years, then transferred to protective services and worked in the embassies for 10 years. Then The Court of Diega requested my I join the Amber military for a 5 year term.. that's how I ended up at Rasak. Afterwards I intend to return home to join the royal guard. They will probably let me attend the university then and finish my medical studies"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Impressive. Excellent skill sets. If you know of anyone else in the Army with Alchemical Skill Sets, feel free to recommend them. And once we graduate this place, if you would like, I could make a recommendation on your behalf at the University at Fantalin with Dean Colbrese, should you wish to take any course there."

  • Michael James Watson

She make a head motion that implies interest. "First we need to finish here"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Right you are. So, I am going to lay some spells on this wagon to create a Traveling Laboratory... several, actually. This will take several minutes." (3 comments to follow; one per spell so we can discuss each if needed.)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“First, a spell to protect the wagon.” Realmer says, then he brings up the Sigil of the Pattern and accesses his Spell Framework. He selects Defensive Material, but makes a modification to it to include additional Resistances to Elemental Fires, then he casts it upon the Vardo Wagon.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“Next; the laboratory and supplies.” Realmer will bring up the Sigil of the Spiral of the Four Winds and access the Spell Framework there. He selects R's Loaded Laboratory III; this is Realmer's specialized High Order version of the Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion Spell, except the interior is customized for magical and laboratory work. When the spell is cast, it first creates an Extradimensional Space linked to the door on the back of the wagon but does not occupy the space within the wagon. Secondly, it fills many rooms within by summoning the contents of one of Realmer's fully stocked laboratories in Shadow; in this case, one of his labs in his personal Shadow of Adagaar. The Unseen Servants within have also been Enhanced with Bigby's Dexterous Digits in order to assist in delicate procedures. The main room will be suitable for meetings with a large table and many chairs. The entrance 'foyer' will look just like the inside of the wagon, except there will be a full sized door on the other end that opens into the Main Meeting Room, all other rooms are accessed from the Main Room. The interior will not be affected by anything from outside. The door has a Pass Phrase that allows one to access the Extradimensional Space. The small window door on the front of the wagon opens into the Main Room and allows the driver to communicate with those within.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“And finally, some Privacy for those within.” Then Realmer brings up the Sigil of Paragon and accesses the Privacy Spell on the Framework there and casts it upon the wagon, making it completely secure from 'Being Spied Upon' in every possible manner; this includes the Extradimensional Space tied to the wagon. No eavesdropping from outside, no scrying by magical means, no Trump contact either.

  • Michael James Watson

Th spells creating the vast interiors work. The spells against spying work. But the spell summoning tables, chairs and equipment do not. Adledross doesn't allow magical summoning of gear because if they dd every army that had someone able to summon gear would be equipped with their home gear. Everyone has to forage for gear, food etc. horses and such like the ranyhyn are special cases, not really equipment.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

OK, a bit of clarification on the R's Loaded Laboratory III spell, as I worded it a bit awkwardly. R's Spell is based on the AD&D spell Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion (text of that spell will follow in the next reply), which is an Alteration/ Conjuration Spell, not a Summoning Spell... and Realmer being a High Order Conjurer would have made his High Order version of that spell the same, but with some added improvements and customizations. Thus, the majority of the Spell would be Conjuration and not Summoning. So, being that the Mansion in the original spell Conjured everything, i.e., extradimensional space, furnishings, unseen servants, and even food, then I would argue that the High Order version would do the same, even on Adledross, as the contents of the Lab/Mansion are NOT being Summoned from afar, but created from the Magic of the Shadow where the Conjuring Spell was cast/released. Now... being that Realmer has a LOT of specific ingredients and components and chemicals, etc., he ADDED a Summoning aspect to his High Order version of the Spell to bring his specific 'ingredients' for one of his specific labs in Shadow to fill the created lab space, as opposed to Conjuring them up. So I can understand why that part failed. So, with that said, I still agree that the Spell Components and Chemicals and such would NOT be present as they were Summoned... BUT I would argue that the Furnishings; tables, chairs, benches and perhaps the Accouterments, bottles, beakers, flasks, should be present as they were Conjured. But of course, you are the GM and your word is law and I will accept it regardless.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion (Alteration, Conjuration) Level: 7 Components: V, S, M Range: 10 yd. AoE: 300 sq. ft./level Save: None Casting Time : 7 rds. Duration: 1 hr./level By means of this spell, the wizard conjures up an extradimensional dwelling, entrance to which can be gained only at a single point of space on the plane from which the spell was cast. From the entry point, those creatures observing the area see only a faint shimmering in the air, in an area 4 feet wide and 8 feet high. The caster of the spell controls entry to the mansion, and the portal is shut and made invisible behind him when he enters. He may open it again from his own side at will. Once observers have passed beyond the entrance, they behold a magnificent foyer and numerous chambers beyond. The place is furnished and contains sufficient foodstuffs to serve a nine-course banquet to as many dozens of people as the spellcaster has levels of experience. There is a staff of near-transparent servants, liveried and obedient, to wait upon all who enter. The atmosphere is clean, fresh, and warm. Since the place can be entered only through its special portal, outside conditions do not affect the mansion, nor do conditions inside it pass to the plane beyond. Rest and relaxation within the place is normal, but the food is not. It seems excellent and quite filling as long as one is within the place. Once outside, however, its effects disappear immediately, and if those resting have not eaten real food within a reasonable time span, ravenous hunger strikes. Failure to eat normal food immediately results in the onset of fatigue or starvation penalties as decided by the DM. The material components of this spell are a miniature portal carved from ivory, a small piece of polished marble, and a tiny silver spoon. These are utterly destroyed when the spell is cast. (It is worth mentioning that this spell has been used in conjunction with a normal portal, as well as with illusion magic. There is evidence that the design and interior of the space created can be altered to suit the caster's wishes.)

  • Michael James Watson

Part of the problem above is the term Conjure as used in the D&D spell and the term Conjuration in ADRPG are used differently. The material components are marble, and silver which are destroy in using the spell. Those cause the interior objects to be created. A high order spell that creates these things could create things other then tables, chairs, and test tubes. Say weapons and armors. Thing done inside wouldn't work outside unless material was brought inside original, as exampled by eating food inside. creating such an environment would be an extremely complex and powerful major spell.

  • Michael James Watson

id have to think it over but it on of those thing from dnd, spells with a lot of moving parts, that so delight rules lawyers and one of the things that made me lose interest in overly complicated game systems. and that's after GMing Rolemaster for a decade.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

OK. Good to go. Differences between Low Order and High Order noted. And the Special Rules for Adledross also taken into account. So... large space(s) 'within' the wagon, but empty rooms needed to be filled with 'real' items from 'this' world. Still workable for me (and Realmer), just more planning and time consuming for us both. LOL

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

BTW, you did not mention if the protective spell, Improved Defensive Material worked. I am assuming it did, in the respect that the Spell did not Fail... but I am sure the effectiveness of the protection is yet to be seen. LOL RPing post coming soon-ish.

  • Michael James Watson

fair enough.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

For simplicity sake, the Special Interior of the Wagon will be plain and look like gray stone blocks. The Main Room is a big square with 3 heavy doors on one wall and 3 identical on the opposite wall; these are the 6 Labs, each a smaller square room of stone. There is a single door on one wall (the entrance/exit) and a small window/door on the opposite wall (leads to the Driver's Bench; for spoken messages or small objects to be passed through in either direction.)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

After releasing his final spell upon the Wagon, Realmer moves to the front and climbs up on the driver's bench. He sits as though he is driving, reaches back and knocks on the little window/door 5 times with middle knuckles of his first two fingers only, then slides the knuckles across the door before grasping the pull and opening it to the Special Interior. He holds it open and makes a 'hoot' noise inside and is satisfied with the echo. He then closes the little door and makes his way to the back of the Wagon. Next, Realmer opens the door and motions for Drishti to enter the bare interior of the Wagon, then he follows and closes the door behind them. Then he creates the Pass Phrase to access the Special Interior, 'Death is no escape from Service.' then says it to Drishti, telling her to always enter the Wagon first, close the door behind her, then touch the door and say the Pass Phrase within the protection of the Privacy Spell, then enter the Special Interior. He tells her it can also be done from outside the Wagon, but the Pass Phrase might be overheard, so if it must be done that way, to barely whisper the words. Realmer then speaks the Pass Phrase while touching the door, opens the door and enters the Special Interior, taking Drishti with, closing the door behind. As Realmer walks the vast spaces within, there is a look of surprised confusion on his face; eyebrows knitted, head tilted to one side, mouth hanging open... occasionally mouthing partial words but uttering not a sound. After walking all the rooms thrice, Realmer finally speaks. "Well, by the Tattooed Tarrasque of the Trench, we're going to have to do this the hard way." He turns to Drishti. "My spell did not work as excepted; the desired contents are missing... by Adledrossian Design, I am certain. We need to get this Wagon to the Farmstead and fill these rooms with what we need and can use from the buildings there... especially the house." He touches the door leading out, speaks the Pass Phrase and opens the door and exits, which puts them inside the wagon, as that is where they came in from. Realmer points out that if they had entered from the exterior they would have exited from the exterior. Realmer begins looking about for a Driver and horse or team of horses, for the wagon. Though he is sure Graso is strong enough to pull the wagon, Realmer feels that Graso would consider it demeaning or beneath him.

  • Michael James Watson

Graso sees you looking for a draft horse and rides off in a huff. a few minutes later he returns with two of the cavalry horses and two angry riders who can't get their horses to obey them. Graso neighs at them insistently and nips at the riders before riding off.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer begins laughing uncontrollably as Graso rides off. He looks to the mounted Soldiers and shrugs then says: "I guess he didn't want to be a draft beast. What are you going to do?" Realmer shrugs again and chuckles. Realmer lays his hand on each horse in a calm and reassuring way, then lays this Psyche into each and releases them from Graso's commands and restores control back to the riders. "Soldiers, I apologize. I will find other draft beasts and not take yours as my Ranyhyn suggested." Realmer mutters to himself, but loud enough that Drishti can hear him. "It may take longer to find a pair of unused horses than it would to Conjure them." Realmer then takes a couple of minutes to Conjure Shadow Shape two normal draft horses.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Before the Conjuration is complete, Realmer suddenly stops Incanting and Gesturing, allowing the Magical Weave to unravel. He lets out a snort chuckle, shakes his head slowly and lets his hands drop to his sides, then turns to look at Drishti. "You're not really seeing me at my best, here, Drishti." He chuckles and continues, suddenly sounding like a Teacher giving a class. "So, what have we learned here today? First," he holds up one finger on his left hand, "Summoning things from other Worlds, with very few exceptions, does not work here on Adledross... most likely because those who Adjudicate this World do not want Attendees bringing all the comforts of home here; this is supposed to be a Test, after all, and we were told that we can Forage for all we need." Realmer is slowly pacing back and forth in front of the Wagon and Drishti. "Second, "he holds up two fingers on his left hand, "Conjuring something that can be found here on Adledross does not work either... for the same reasons; they want us to use what is already here." "Third," he holds up three fingers on his left hand and chuckles a bit, "Ranyhyn do NOT like to serve as draft animals and will conscript the nearest horse, or horses, to do the job. I guess Graso wants me to use what's already here, as well." Realmer chuckles again, but then suddenly pauses in his pacing, momentarily, his head tilting to one side, a thoughtful look upon his face, followed my a small grin. Then he continues pacing and speaking. "Fourth," he does not bother to hold up fingers this time, "Your Commander definitely should have had more coffee this morning before starting his day. Wouldn't you agree?" Realmer looks directly at Drishti with a serious look and arches an eyebrow... then smiles and winks and says, "Yeah, definitely more coffee. Change of plans." He holds up a hand in the wait a minute gesture. "Bob, contact Fort and tell him I need a Druid, then Trump him to me immediately." Realmer looks to Drishti with an odd smile and says two words only... "Hip Pigs." Then he nods his head up and down, his eyes show he has an idea.

  • Michael James Watson

Friend I sending your mood says, " to the contrary, I am seeing you at the best I have seen now. We just met... " Fort returns with Bob and listens and nods. "Yes, we're so distracted by the meat we overlooked other considerations. How many do we need? I can be very convincing with animals.". Looking around He says, "a couple hundred? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, you know animals better than I; if that be enough to pull all the wagons and artillery, then yes. Could you... Charm that many? And how long would it last? Would you have to remain with them?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort laughs.."I can charm them hard enough that they will walk into fire for us. Frankly though, once I get them here we sic Alex on them. He can train mice enough to make them cavalry. But a hundred is enough to start. We will need to get them moving fast since the cavalry we have now is eating the local grasslands down to the dirt. Ill ee how many are in the herd and bring as many as I can."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Good. Use the Dragonskin Trump of the Melon Patch to get there, then use the Dragonskin Trump of me I gave you when you are ready to return, between that and Bob we should be able to get them all here quickly. I will let Carston know our new plans and to put a hold on the March until you return. And I will contact Alex and let him know our new plans and to prepare to intimidate a hoard of Hip Pigs into submission." "Bob; please relay those messages to Carston and Alex. Drishti, you're with me. We're going to take all that we need for the Wagon from the Farmstead, staring with the furnishing from the House and all the Ingredients and Components the Masons already had. We can load it in the Wagon once the Hip Pigs are drafted into service and we can get it down there."

  • Michael James Watson

Several hours pass till trump contact. Fort says to hold open the trump and he will start passing pigs through. He sounds greatly annoyed. After a short time of passing the pigs through, they docilely follow orders. They mill around till told what to do. Alex is able to corral them easily enough, leading them off to look them over for oxen duty. They seem to keep glancing over to Fort and if not being actively put to work, shyly nudge over toward him. Fort whispers to Realmer after he steps through, "Someday, there will come a time, when I am on good terms with these Adledross. I will learn their leadership structures, their culture, and their interactions with client realms like Amber. I may even come to serve here, join them, become close to the way things are done. In time my charming personality will make one of them slip and confide in me who it was among them who chose to play this prank on me. When that occurs, they had best hope they have a god of their own to pull me off whoever chose to bond these nasty beast to me. They had no right. They have angered the Fox. They have angered me. And worse, they have given these beasts a bondmate that will leave their realm one day soon. These people have angered an Archdruid, a Thrice Crown Bard, and a Saint of Battle and they have never had an enemy like me. Now... I have to go bathe" He walks off, as a pig loops up to him. He scratches it behind the ear before turning, "Oh, one more thing. They are no longer food. Let the troops know. If one is killed in battle I shall know and heal it. These are no longer prey beasts" He turns and walks on, the pig skipping by his heel.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

During the several hours that Fort was gone, Realmer, Drishti and Apprentices would have had plenty of time to clear out the House and other buildings of furnishings, equipment, wares and ingredients that could be used for a meeting room and assorted labs. Once Realmer realized that Fort still was not back, he would have Ordered the Army to Assemble at the Farmstead, bringing all wagons and artillery, then await the arrival of Fort and the Hip Pigs that are to become the draft animals. Once the Army began amassing at the Farmstead, Realmer would have put out the word for anyone with previous experience in chemistry, alchemy, apothecary, herbalism, pharmacology or medicine, including medics, to report to the porch of the House. Realmer would have also Ordered all horses to be freed from draft duty, and the draft riggings to be readied for Hip Pigs. Once Realmer's Wagon arrives, he will have Drishti and the Apprentices assist in filling it with what was plundered from the House and surrounding buildings. Any arriving Applicants will also assist in the loading of the Wagon and organizing of the labs into different types based on skill sets and available ingredients. By the time Fort arrives, all is ready for the Pigs and the March. Realmer listens to Fort's whispered rant and nods his head, but does not respond, preferring instead to allow Fort some time to cool down and clean up. Realmer spreads the word that the Hip Pigs are no longer food or prey; they are now a part of the Army and as valued as Bonded Mounts. Then he assists with the hooking up of Hip Pigs to Wagons until all is ready, then he seeks out Fort. Once he finds him, Realmer asks: "So what happened? I thought as an Arch Druid you could Charm them and bend them to your will. Why are they Bonded to you? And why do you think an Adledrossian is behind it?"

  • Michael James Watson

Fort nods, "As we have seen powers are not as dependable as elsewhere. They are less powerful more powerful. They clearly do not like spellcasters. I agreed not to use powers not available to others and with the exception of summoning some aide in military situation I have basically done so.. While working with the beasts I was invoking certain druidic powers of mine and one of them overreacted. A simple bond spell should have made a few dozen docile and obedient. I had thrown it a couple dozen times when it exploded on me and I found myself bonded to the herd. it took time to figure out what happened and to calm them down. Once I found the source, which took me breaking one of the agreements I made by raising my Aspect, I heard the culprit laughing...I will know that laugh. Anyway... it is what it is. they will serve. they are not as strong as oxen but they are more agile. they will serve"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods. "Laughter, huh? Well, that rules out my theories of you being paranoid and/or the Hip Pigs being overly responsive to magic and/or kindness." Realmer is quiet for a moment then says, "You said Fox will be angry about the Bond. Since Fox is your.... Primary Bond, could your Secondary Bond to the Pigs be given to another? Either by you or Fox? Perhaps even to someone who would be willing to take the Herd when they leave... if that would be permitted by the Adledross."

  • Michael James Watson

"I can feel her anger at this whole place. she may be small and quick but she is also a primal beast. Currently only one of three on this world, only one of which is a native. Her anger is no small thing and it the reason they asked her not to interact with me here. However this bond is not like hers and mine, a mutual agreement between two forces. This new bond is with ALL hip pigs on this world. Its not a romantic one. its a devotional one. I didn't touch the World stone but my association with Venki and my proximity to it and those who have touched it bled over to me many centuries ago. Harriet has much the same problem.. We are essentially demi-gods in the Tosa realms, recognizing the term has different connotations there. Here, these pigs are bound to me as worshipers and I am not amused. It is a cruel thing to do to them. It an unbidden burden on me. Their will be a reckoning for it and I shall not be shy about it. when I return to this place, I will not be bound by the restrictions on my powers that Alex and I are now. These Adledross run a warzone. I am capable of bringing them a war to test their own talents."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, I feel it is fully unfair that this unwanted Bond has been stuck to you, when it was clearly me who gave the Order for the Pigs to be Charmed and used for something besides prey and food. Had I not given the Order, you would not have used your Powers on your own and you would not have had to raise your Aspect." Realmer suddenly has a determined look on his face. "I think it is time I see if this stopper works." he says, as he pulls out his bottle of brandy and focuses on the Trump Carving Stopper of Percy.

  • Michael James Watson

The trump comes to life around the shaved image, moving..."What spells doth thou weave oh wizard, that my eyes see and my ears hear though thy presence is in question. Dost though seek to summon and bind me? What deed does this magic make for thee?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Greetings, Percy. Let me first put you at ease; I do not mean to summon you away nor bind you in any way. What you are experiencing is a Power called Trump Artistry, mainly used for communication. Only you can see and hear me, and if you wish not to be heard speaking to thin air, speak with your mind instead of your mouth; I will hear you. I am contacting you in regards to a recent occurrence of some significance to Fort... and myself. I believe he was mistakenly punished for something I ordered him to do. I would like to talk with someone about this matter and you were the first I thought of and knew I could contact."

  • Michael James Watson

The trump severs.

  • Michael James Watson

Moments later Percy arrives walking out from a crowd of soldiers who seem to see him not. "Oh think me the demogorgon for playing cruel pranks, son of Chaos?" He reaches for the bottle. "Think me unlettered in the powers of many lands?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I know not the extent of your knowledge or powers. And yes, I think it cruel to play pranks; generically as well as specifically. And if you are the arbiter of this prank, then I think you not a demogorgon, but certainly feel you have leveled it at the wrong person. If anyone is to blame and if anyone is to be punished, or cruelly pranked, it should be me; the one who gave the command. Had I not told Fort to charm the pigs, he would not have used his powers and would not now be bonded to the entire species of Hip Pig on this world. Am I not here to learn how to Command and be a Commander? Does not a Commander take full responsibility, and thus full consequences, for all the actions taken under his Command and by his orders? Well, I am that Commander and I am taking that responsibility. If the Herd of Hip Pigs must be Bonded to an individual in order to serve our needs here, then let that Bond be unto me."

  • Michael James Watson

"Boldly decried but you ask what can not be given. You gave orders, a thing you came here to learn. Fortunadas followed your orders, a thing he came here to learn. Now you both learn that orders, actions, have consequences. Oh think not that what was done to him was done in malice. We Adledross watch the season's play and rarely see more then feats of arms. This season the play has dangerous actors and your presence here shall cause many to suffer. We can effect such things only a little. He was warned not to use certain powers-not because we Adledross will punish him but because his powers will make the shadow respond to them. A leader must decide when follow the rule and when to break them. Then will his servants suffer death? For a time. But here, death has not the same sting nor victory its glory. You came to learn to give commands? Learn to bear the consequences. " He passes the bottle back. "I will tell you one thing we Adledross do; we gamble. The bets fly fast on Great Souled Fortunadas and on thee, Son of Chaos. But there are those that bet on the creature of rage as well. Many a season silver bets crossed the table aplenty but no one was ruined. this season, fortunes change hands daily. such is the notions of the year" He steps back and fades away. The carved bottle top loses its chill.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer turns to Fort. "Well, that was Percy and you heard what he said, so we're stuck with this Troll Shite for now. Let us worry about our plans for when we get out of here for when we get out of here. For now, we have an Army to get on the march and battles to prepare for. Let's get Alex and our Apprentices together at my Wagon and we can have Bob Trump us to the Castle and Carston can get the Army underway."

  • Michael James Watson

He shrugs, "I liked his wife's writing better anyway...Lets seek safety in battle."


Adledross: Fortunes Rise and Fall with Glory[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Fortunes rise and fall with glory. And an army marches on its stomach. The Army on the march moves as a snake, a living thing. The order of the march is telling. The slowest forces lead the way to keep the army together. That's the infantry. Five columns comprise the Amber force. Each includes the majority of infantrymen. Each column has a body of Cavalry. Each Column has a sutlers crew of wagons pulled by obedient hip pigs. Besides the 5 corps is a body of artillery troops with their wagons. Food has been assembled and dispersed the the corps. First Corp has the distinction of having its commanders being royal and thus differed to by the other corp commanders. It his a second in command who organizes and interacts with the the sutler's crews and the magical elements. Advance forces have transported to the forward castle. There Alex introduces the surviving Raaskans. Their senior surviving leader, Juxtin, a sergeant of sorts, explains the battle much as Alex said. Fort says he should stay with the army to make sure the hip pigs behave but its probably best to get the army moving.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer inspects the Army as it prepares to March. He orders Drishti to remain with the Vardo Wagon and travel with the Army and use the Wagon as an Infirmary if needed. He assigns her, and her team of Medics, Chemists, Alchemists, Herbalists and five of the best new Users of Magic, outside of the Apprentices, to hunt and gather herbs, plants fungi, raw ingredients, rare components and anything they think useful in a Laboratory and Infirmary, while on the March. After the meeting with the Raaskans and their Leader Juxtin at the Forward Castle, Realmer recommends that Fort remain at the Castle to help prepare for the coming onslaught of Reggie and his Merry Band of Dufiro, stating that Carston has already gotten the Army underway and the Hip Pigs are cooperative enough for the Army to manage. And if problems arise, Carston does have a Dragonskin Trump of Realmer if needed. “I understand your concern, Fort; but we have some major planning to do to prepare for the battle to come in roughly three days. And you are my Specialist in the Field of Dufiroism. And perhaps a tour of the Castle is in order to see its capabilities, defenses and weaknesses. Alex, you've already looked the place over, and have much experience in Combat and War, and I am sure with Beings equally as powerful as the Dufiro; what say you?”

  • Michael James Watson

Alex looks at Fort who shrugs. Alex says, "We won't fight Reggie in a fort. We will fight him where We have blasting room. He will fight by proxy. Avasa. Spirits. Elemental. And any one they can recruit here. There are forces on the move. I can feel them. The fortress is here because foes intend to attack it. Reggie is a separate problem, rest assured. He will not want to contend with me. The Dufiro of war know me well. He is foolish to think Great Fortunadas a lesser foe. In time he shall bind him to a stone and cast him into the grounds of royal York where he shall lie till Tolknor frees him. As for the fort otherwise? Solid. Defensible. Supplied with water against a siege...but...a siege here... Wastes time. We should hold it for a few weeks then move westward."


  • Michael James Watson

The army moved through the hilly country in good order. A screening force of well armed cavalry units rode to either side of the main body to spring traps and ambushes. The Light infantry marched wide cross the front, able to maneuver at a moments notice. The heavy infantry marched in the center like an rock for waves to break upon. Behind the support troops, well armed, lead wagons, livestock, fresh horses, dottles, and a long string of pack mules and llamas. The drovers ride Hip Pigs as they lead the wagons. The wagons show smaller wheels then normal wagons making them work better with the agile pork. Above flies a wing of dragons and wyverns scouting the long road ahead. Among the army on the move the leaders fluidly shifted as needed to oversee their charges. Sir Carston, Commander of the March, held his place in the front of the main body of the well disciplined army. The command staff rides in the middle of blocks of heavy infantry. Vardo wagons pulled by Clydesdale horses. A pair of Reen wyverns start spiraling down to the army, an agreed on symbol for conference. Fort sends word through the Bob Network for the army to halt. Fort says to Realmer, 'Must be something big if the Reen are going to need a conference. The last area was rough but straightforward.' Realmer nods, “Maybe they see something ahead that is Reggie finally popping his head above water. Its hard to believe he has withheld his assault so far.” Fort-”He must have something big ahead” Arriving suddenly with Bob is Alex and Raz'Cri, the Kzin Force Commander who has rarely been in touch with the Amber army. Fort say, “Sub Commander Alexandir, Force Commander Raz'Cri, what brings you here. We have Reen circling down for a conference too.” Alex pats the Kzin on the shoulder, “My friend here has news.” The Kzin steps forward, “Field Marshal Relmopator, our main forces are 8 days ahead of yours at the speed your army travels. We engaged a force of ancient Kzin. Afterward we entered a beach area. On the sands there we were greeted with a contingent of the Adledross leadership. We have been awarded First Position for reaching the finish first. Your army is 8 days from coming in second. The Reen main force are 30 days back at wing speed after their disastrous battle at the Air Forge. The Raskens are scattered across the continent and the Master of Ceremonies of the Adledross tells us the Raskens may not complete the course. My congratulations. I recognize yourself, Marshals Fortunadas and Alexandir, Sub Commanders Carston, Tesa, and your beholder Bob as Friends of the Ashanons Pack.' Alex laughs, “Imagine Fort, me a friend of Kzin...after all the Kzin and Kresh I hunted!” Raz'cri growls a laugh, “if you had a hide worth making into garments maybe I would have a human skin rug.. but alas...” Realmer sighs..”Thank you Force Commander. It has been a very long year. It will be good to be done with it.” Raz'cri, ”Do not tarry, but there is still times for your magical foes to make their assault. We have not sen anything to suggest the efforts of the Dufirosim ahead.” Realmer agrees. “Yes, we will be on guard. Carston, let the march know to open ranks to wide order for the next several days. No sense getting slaughtered this close to the finish.” Raz bows out and he and Alex trump with their Mini Bob back to their forces. As the wyverns land fort says, “I'm willing to bet the Kzin stole our Reen allies' thunder” Realmer watches them land, “No bet.”

  • Michael James Watson

The sun sets over the blue purple sea. A cliff edge with a small collection of chairs around a fire is filled with a small collection of notables. The gathering is relaxed, fire burns, drinks flow, a keg of dark beer is tapped and a case of fine wine sits nearby. Several bottles of rich bourbon sit hear the bar. A dozen people sit variously about. At the water's edge is Tesa in a long white dress, far different then her usual attire. Her back is to the crowd and she looks out over the sea silently. Fortunadas Enright stands by one edge of the seating group regaling the group with tales from the battle of Adledross that all know the details of. Alexandir Kos Korag sits near him, every inch the king and Wargod. He looks across the gathering at Prince Benedict who sits with a glass of bourbon and a cigar, speaking to Sir Carston. A Kzin reclines uncomfortably with an arm across the sofa back. Two commanders of the Amber Army sit with two force commanders of the Reen talking about the past. In the middle of it all sits Sir Relmopator, a glass in his hand, satisfied with the completion of the challenges of Adledross. A thin man sits down beside him, a glass of wine in his hand. “Well, I shall write a lovely poem for you m'Lord Realmer. Your leadership was quite entertaining and fortunes were won across Adledross, my own in particular.” Realmer look at the wine with hidden disdain but sips his own drink. “I can't say who was the victor in such gambling but I would like my cut. I won't hold my breath of course.” Percy tips his glass before drinking, 'No, that wouldn't be prudent. I ill take my leave of you. It has been a fine madness dealing with you. Keep the bottle. Be warned. Those two,” gesturing to Benedict and Alexandir, “Are doomed to face each other. Though betting will be fierce and fortunes wagered, I will refrain myself. It is hard to see a clear victor. Their methods are so different. I recommend though, that you not be on the field when they choose to clash. The result will be bloody. And the tan one, Fortunadas, I am not sure I would trust him. His vine of loyalties is twisted like a hangman's rope. Beyond that, though I could make a thousand lines of poetic advice, I shall step away. A happy madness to you” Realmer rises with him and hakes his hand, “and a fine madness to you as well. Your help this year has been invaluable. I consider myself in your debt. Seek me in Amber if you feel the need.' he nods and steps away, singing, “Men of England, wherefore plough For the lords who lay ye low? Wherefore weave with toil and care The rich robes your tyrants wear? Wherefore feed and clothe and save From the cradle to the grave Those ungrateful drones who would Drain your sweat—nay, drink your blood? “ Fort looks aside at him as Percy fades away. Fort walks over, “Beware a poet who reads his own verse in public. He may have other bad habits. With the dawn we return to Rasak. We will lose those who have traveled with us. I've enough information to find the Reen in Shadow, the Kzin as well. I have a good idea where our Dakotans will go and if the time ratio is OK I may find them as well. " Its been a hell of an expedition. Now that the rank of Adledross is done I should tell you that Alex is returning to his old self. Charming and ambitious. Tell Random that Rasak has not made Alex loyal to Amber. It has made him interested in the power of Amber. Never a good thing. As for myself, its been a pleasure. You have my respect and if you need my blade, you have it as well. But our paths diverge here. When Rasak is done, I have other obligations.” Alex stands and walk over to put a hand on Tesa's shoulder, she looks up and leans in against him. Fort shakes his head. “Don't expect gratitude or loyalty from Alexandir. He owes allegiance to three people. Luckily, I am one. One is Tolknor, King of York. The third is his only son Caland, who is a failure in his eyes in every way. Beyond we three he recognizes only loyalty to himself. If you value Tesa, be prepared to one day face Alexandir to rescue her. Women see something different in the titan then men do. I go to sleep. Adledross is done and the Fox awaits me. See you in Rasak. After that, come see me at the Palace Commons in Amber. I want to introduce you to my friend Lop.” Fort walks off before Realmer can respond. The night falls.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Relmopator neither seeks out nor summons any, but welcomes all that come calling. He says little, choosing to be succinct in word and sincere in sentiment. He remains near the center of the open-air sitting room on the beach, watching and listening and sipping his brandy as his thoughts drift back over the past year on Adledross and the previous years on Rasak. He remains standing until well after all have departed the beach, then he sits down on the couch, alone with the world and his thoughts. He sets Bob on watch then lets out a sigh as he settles into the comfortable cushions; now his thoughts shift to the future; the return to Rasak, his return to Amber, the things he intended and intends to do upon return... much has happened... much has changed within Realmer. He has experienced much since leaving Amber, and has learned more than he thought he would have from attending a course for Elite Soldiers. He chuckles quietly as he realizes that now he is an Elite Soldier as well, by training, if not in title. But that is all that really counts, in his book. He drinks to himself and watches the stars and thinks on future plans until twilight, then he stands and watches the dawn on this world of war one last time.

  • Michael James Watson

As dawn starts peaking over the eastern sky, but dark still reigns a thin figure comes and settles down beside you. Smoking a cigar Benedict nods as he settles. H carries two mugs and a large thermos. "You did well, cousin. I told the Adledross not to change the command of the troops like they would have normally. I wanted to gauge you. See how Fortunadas and Alexandir took to taking orders. See how that Chad adventurer Carston managed as a leader. He was a run of the mill fighter on Tosa. He grew dramatically coming to Amber. The effect of those who stay too long in Amber.” He puts the cups down, pours coffee from the thermos. “Fort and Alexandir are already immortal but they too are effected. proximity to power for the power hungry. Fort is a facilitator, and a clever one. One does not become what he is without diverse talents and a greed for power. They come from a shadow of Amber that once had a Shade pattern of its own. They could only reach powers so far. But Random brought them to Amber and now they can gain power there. Alexandir didn't learn anything here he didn't already know except to gauge you himself. But I got to see him in action. Impressive. He's a shadow of Osric. I can smell my older brothers rank stench of arrogance. But arrogance earned. Alex is going to be trouble. For many reasons.” He sips coffee, taps off his cigar. 'He has entered into a relationship it seems with Tesa. Interesting. You brought a strong talented street thief to Rasak. A Snikura Assassin. I can't allow that relationship to continue but I can not split it up. You must. Tesa has her own lineage problem. She is the daughter of a creature named Conf of Shadows, a Tosian but not of the crowd that became gods by the World Stone. He was the mightiest thief in shadows long before Tolknor, fort, and Alexandir began adventuring. He has always been able to come to Amber. And once, long before Patternfall he met Mirelle, Random's full sister. They shared madness together. Tesa was the result. Early on Mirelle bound Tesa to Gangdis. For protection, its why they are so fond of each other. Conf took Tesa from Mirelle and put her in a city called Sanctuary. Miserable place, but it teaches resourcefulness. I had no idea till she was at Rasak. But somehow Alex senses it. He is not above toying with woman's affection if it means marrying into the House Barimen. Fathering a child of the blood. Of course Tesa doesn't know she is kin but I know her father does. And her father caused Mirelle's madness and I don't know how that happened.” He starts a second cup. “I don't men do it tomorrow. But keep an eye on her. Beware the Wargod of Tosa.'

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes the second mug after Benedict has filled it with coffee, then he pours the last of his brandy into the mug. As he is about to toss the empty bottle aside, he recalls Percy's words to 'keep the bottle', so he re-corks it with the Trump bust of Percy he carved himself, here on Adledross, then slides it inside his satchel. He sips the spiked coffee as he listens to Benedict's words. “You are the second person this day to warn me of the relationship between Alex and Tesa, and to advise me that one day I must split them up. I was unaware that she was Family, but I am aware of who her father is; Conf and I had a conversation many years ago, by my reckoning of time, while I was residing in the Embassy on Adagalasck as Amber's Ambassador. He informed me then that she was his and that he had plans for her and that one day he would reclaim her and I was not to interfere. He also said that if I wished to speak with him that I should stand in the shadows and whisper his name and that he would hear me. I was not aware that he was her father at that time; I learned that here on Adledross after we all got our memories back and Fort and Tesa had a spat.” Realmer takes a drink of his spiked coffee then continues. “I like Tesa; even though I know she is only using her association with me to gain power and status. I think I will always be keeping an eye on her. And I shall be wary of Alexandir, but I know his type; I have dealt with Demigods and Minor Gods during my Adventuring Years... though this is a bit different than that, but all Gods have their weaknesses, this I have learned. And I have gauged him as well this past year. And Fortunadas too, and... well, basically everyone. After arriving on Adledross I was informed early on about some of the motivations and ambitions of some the notables under my command, so I watched and studied them as a good Commander should; learning all I could. Then I studied them as a cautious Adventurer would and as an Amberite should by reflex; wary of double deals, ulterior motives and possible ambush. I learned much from them all and from this place... mostly, to keep things hidden, never show all your cards and to expect the unexpected... or was that Random's poker games... either way. And though I may have been gauged by them as well, they did not see my full potential; this place limited that somewhat... and the fact that Reggie and his entourage never returned; I had something wicked planned for them... perhaps one day in Shadow...” He lets the thought trail off as he drinks some coffee. “Oh, and speaking of King Random, I was advised to inform him that Alex's time on Rasak and Adledross have not made him loyal to Amber but have only created within him a greater interest in the power of Amber. And that his ambitions are still strong. And Percy has told me that one day you and Alex will face each other on the field of battle and that I should not be present when that happens. Somehow, it's as though he sees the future... or is really good at reading the signs, but whatever it is or isn't, he said he is unsure of the outcome of the battle to come between you two.” Realmer takes a moment to gulp down the rest of his spiked coffee then refills his mug from the thermos and inhales the aroma before continuing. “I know that King Random wants me to join him on the Jeweled Road after I leave Rasak, but as I stated before leaving Amber, I have some important personal matters to attend to before that can happen. One of them is walking the Pattern and using its power to take me where I need to go; I may be gone a long time, or not; it will depend on the Time Flow where I end up. But first I must visit with Julian and Ninaatres to inform them of their inclusion in Random's inner circle and of Adagalasck's inclusion in the Golden Circle, assuming they have not been informed of such already. I can't wait to see the look on Julian's face when he sees the Graduation Dagger on my belt.” Realmer smiles and chuckles at the thought then drinks some coffee from his mug, savoring the flavor.

  • Michael James Watson

“Cousin, I find myself amused and to say that is interesting is an understatement. I have been a silent guardian of Amber for thousands of years... my brothers quibbled and vied for Oberon's affection and recognition while I, having had that in my youth, knew it was a thing to avoid. Now, its somewhat shocking... for the last 70 years or so there has been very little family strife. You spent many of those years in the dungeon of course, free from the obligation of attending a demanding king. It amuses me to think of little scrappy underfoot Random as a demanding king but to the shock of everyone, including me and perhaps himself, he has grown into a good one.'

He finishes a coffee and hangs the cup on a finger. Reaching over he takes Realmer's, tossing out the dregs, and hangs it on a finger. He raises a small sign of the pattern and has it slide over the two cups cleaning them. Realmer realizes that while Benedict must have magical skills this is one of the rare times he has seen them used, and in a way he is unfamiliar with.

He points a finger and a hum fill the cups a inch up with some heavily cinnamon rum smell. Potent enough to make the eyes feel it a few feet away. He pours coffee on top of it. The army colored thermos looks indistinguishable from many in shadow and used in Rasak but Realmer thinks it must be ever filling with the rich strong coffee Benedict prefers.

He notes Realmer's attention and smiles, “The Rum is Ruda's Far isle Double Dark. Its made by a woman named Ruda Alabega. A pirate, well, privateer really, who served Amber's navy in her youth and who...serviced me often back in the days centuries ago. Bitch can chew glass and spit shards. One of the loves of my life. She was unofficially a privateer leading her pirate fleet against troublesome neighbors of Amber and allowing Gerard and Caine to have the ability to deny their involvement. But she became...unreliable. Took up with Bunny Free. Anyway, she makes a rum that can peal paint off a ships hull, kill barnacles, and knock out a sailor whose had a leg shorn off. It tastes like mango, coconut, banana, and fire but the taste grows on ya. Sort of like a boil. Mixes great with Far Isle coffee. There is an island with a coffee plantation on it that makes a hearty dark coffee I serve at the poker game. But not to everyone. The thermos of course is a gift of Percy's.”

Handing the coffee he sighs at his first sip.

“Its been a long time since I had a kinsman I felt I could confide in. You are not in the line of succession and neither are my siblings anymore. As for Tesa, her fate is her own. Maybe she can mange Alex. She is a skilled assassin after all. I find it interesting that Gangdis thought to bring her with you on your adventures. It certainly profited her. She is the first Rasak trained Snikura assassin. The Snikura are something of Conf's. Problem solvers of his. No need to worry about her and Alex anytime soon. He rarely keeps a playmate long. He has fathered only one son in tens of thousands of couplings. There is probably a reason why but amberites aren't all that fecund either so maybe its how the pattern wants things.”

He looks sideways to Realmer, "Remember that; The pattern wants things. I suspect no Amberite is born unless the pattern wishes it. It was young and Wild when Drowkin fathered Oberon and Oberon fathered his First brood. It may know better now though it makes me wonder how much control it had of the creation of my line with Lintra. Hmmm"

“As For Random, the progress he had planned has been scrapped. Plans change. You may or may not remember a son of Julian's, Donovan. Very young. He has been to the castle a couple times but mostly he was raised with the Rangers. His mother is a Fey Duchess named Cyrene. The Fey in Amber have sort of led lives in hiding for the most part. Not officially recognized but not oppressed either. Oberon had a problem with them in the beginning. They inhabited Amber before Oberon brought his new wife, my sister and mother Cymnea and bore Osric, Finndo, Borlak and I there. He also fathered Orsola with a Rebman queen Moins, and Elfwine with the Fea queen Titania. Cymnea was jealous in a way that has cast shadows of jealous women across shadow ever since. So the rebmans got their own kingdom rather then just being part of the Kingdom of Amber when it started, and the Fey were forced into hiding. Hell Cymnea and Titania actually fought and it took Elfwine and Osric to pull them apart. Cyrene and I fought, she beside her sister Titania and I along side my mother. Borlak had to separate us. I was a delivering her deathstrike when Borlak tackled me. I allowed Donovan into Rasak as a partial apology when Julian requested it.”

“I mention it because Donovan walked the pattern and heeding the visions he had during the experience went to help my daughter Desri on heist in Nu Yark. She is criminally inclined. What they found, unexpectedly, was the Arden Stone. Thats a power artifact of great antiquity, being a Fey power construct before the creation of Amber.”

Pulling a cigar from a separate case, lighting it, offering one to Realmer. The sweet colorful Urala smoke is exhaled in a series of smoke rings. Seeing Benedict using the drug is another surprise.

"Its ancient history of course, and as a sorcerer you might know, that in boundless Chaos there were many shadows, regions of existence, ones that the inhabitants of short lives might deem permanent but they were flimsy as the wind. A mere million years here and there and they fade away. Creatures of chaos are not bound by time, or shape, or order, or structure. The rock Kolvir was such a place. A continent, a forest, a mountain with caves. And in the land lived Fey races. Their leaders were a collection of great fey, elven, nature oriented, and infused with the powers of chaos. Their King and Queen, and a few of their brothers and sisters were Lords of Chaos. I do not know who Titiana's king was in Chaos but she was the queen. After the pattern was created shadows of the fey had Oberon and Titiana as kings and queen of the Fey. The Arden Stone was central to the powers of the Fey in Chaos for endless eons."

"When Dworkin picked their realm and Kolvir to forge the primal pattern it threw all creation into flux. And the Fey, original inhabitants of Kolvir, were linked to the Pattern and so was the Arden Stone. As long as they had the stone they were a power equal to the pattern. Dworkin and the Unicorn bore Oberon there and he grew there. Titiana was his wet nurse. He grew powerful, as fey and as a Lord of Chaos and the first person to walk the pattern beside Dworkin and the Unicorn. soon he left and wandered the new shadows. When he returned to raise a kingdom, daughter-wife in tow, Titiana and her sister Cyrene were there. Cymnea hated them both on sight. It never got better. But out in Chaos, somewhere, was Titiana's true husband. He had been away when Amber was created and was severed from her by the forces of creation."

"I tell you this because Donovan and Desri have returned to Amber. They had quite an adventure of it. My brother Kibar and Bley's son Nicholas helped in the heist and helped fight of autoduelists and various other threats. They met my brother Hamilton, a Lord of Mandalay and an instructor at Rasak, and he traveled with them for a time. They met with Random and I and for technical reasons the Stone was unable to pass Trumps so they had to take it by foot, or by Kibar's autodueling car at least. Donovan promised to meet Random on the far side of Mandalay at Rue Katal so the army that would have been the King's progress instead for marched there. Random, Dalt, Macsen, Arloxedra, and I waited there. Vance with a fleet in space. We had our own encounters. Ill tell you about them in a moment."

"Donovan, Desri, Hamilton, and Kibar met and negotiated with a force of Fey Dragons from Ang Ri. They met Fey and Adask fey that fled Chaos and the Abyss to follow the call of the Arden Stone and had to fight some of them. Then they met a force from Mandalay led by Elfwine and a force from Adagalask led by Julian that arrived at the same time of course. They tried to convince him to take the stone to Mandalay or Adagalsk. He refused Julian, his father, who nearly drew blade on him to seize it. Ninartes had in fact ordered him to murder Donovan and Desri if they denied him the Stone but he didn't in the end. After that they took the stone to Mandalay. In Mandalay, much to our surprise, Adrian just wanted the stone to visit Ygg. And he told Donovan how to convince the stone to travel trump. So rather then meeting Random and all of us at Rue Katal he trumped to Amber and installed the stone in Arden. Random was pissed purple and blue. He wanted the stone installed in the Castle Amber gardens.

"The others pieces moving were a huge force of Chaosians that crossed the Abyss determined to teal the stone. Bleys and his pet warbands and war gods, including forces led by three of his own shadows, Blays, Blake Fisher, and Brandy Amberton, met them near Chaos and destroyed them. In the celebrations Bleys got to drunk and Dara of all people delivered him to Random and I. A force of Regorian space warriors tried to reach the stone but Vance, Agrom and Vander destroyed Regor's space force. And CHAD forces led by King Arin and Sir Reltorious obliterated another army of Azcla. Dalt and Macsen met a force of dark Fey from out of the Diaga Sway. There were a number of smaller fights. Historians might call it a war. But once the Stone was installed in Arden, it as all over. Donovan won. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer accepts the rum coffee and drinks some as Benedict begins speaking; his reaction of slight surprise could have been from the drink or that Benedict was confiding in him, but Realmer made it appear it was the rum coffee by staring into the cup a moment before carefully trying another swallow. He listens to Benedict and sips his coffee quietly. When offered the cigar, Realmer accepts it and lights it with a tiny jet of flame from his fingertip, inhales deeply then exhales smoke rings and smoke squares that rotate and collide to form a type of smoke mandala that soon dissipates into the morning air. When Benedict grows silent, then the silence lengthens, Realmer speaks. “A fair amount to digest before breakfast. Let me first say I am honored that you would confide in me, cousin, and a bit surprised; I didn't think you had much regard for me due to your distaste for... some of my methods. In regards to Gangdis introducing me to Tesa, it was because I told him I wanted someone with particular skill sets to accompany us, and hers matched. And the Pattern... yes, I have been aware of the Will of the Pattern since I first walked a Shade of it in Ambir well over a century ago. Grandfather schooled me well in numerous things, including the Pattern and its ways, as well as other Powers, Ancient and Recent History and most recently, the Fey... perhaps he thought it prudent considering I am Adask Fey. Grandfather also informed me that my Fey Powers have been blocked by my grandmother, Verna; it is she whom I intend to seek out once I reach the center of the Pattern. Having those powers returned to me could prove useful in my future dealings with the various Fey races in my role as an Ambassador of Amber... or a Soldier of Amber.” Realmer pauses to take a sip of rum coffee and a puff from his cigar, then he continues. “It sounds like young Donovan is a man of action, perhaps even a man with a purpose... or maybe just a man trying to make a name for himself. King Random told me about him, his parentage and some of Amber's rocky history with the Fey before I attended Rasak. Quite an adventure he had indeed, by the sounds of it; makes me miss my adventuring years and crave the adventuring life once again. And since we are confiding in each other, I don't think Donovan did wrong by installing the Arden Stone in Arden; after all, that is where it originated from... but that is just my personal opinion. Then there's Julian... and Ninaatres... Julian's behavior only surprises me a bit, but not Nina's... some things grandfather told me recently about Adask Fey. Perhaps I should hold off on visiting them for the time being...” He trails off a moment. “I thank you for the history lesson, cousin; the information will prove useful I am sure. And thank you for the report of recent events; it's good to know what's going on and who's doing it. In fact, it sounds like much has happened since I departed Amber... perhaps I should check in with King Random before doing anything else. Well, I guess there is this Graduation Ceremony that I'm supposed to attend today... maybe I should do that first. Unless you know something I don't.” He gives Benedict a sideways glance and a quick smile, before raising his cup of rum coffee and taking a drink. Then he stands and stretches in the early morning light, the broad sword he took in the chest still hanging from his left hip. He takes a long draw off the cigar, holds it a few moments, then exhales a cloud of smoke into the fresh morning air.

  • Michael James Watson

Benedict nods, "The volume of what I know that you don't would take centuries to tell as they took millennia to gain.” Leaning back,, he continues, “ As for your methods, do you think I have never had undead at my command? Or that I don't know how to create them? The skills are known. Brand could teach you much about their use. There are still few undead cats running around the castle someplace he created. And there is an Army of high functioning undead lead by a lich that are in my employ. Several million skeletons with full autonomous intellects and social skills, led by their own officers. A whole army resurrected at once. Vampire scouts. A variety of other forms. Several hundred ghosts as intelligence gathers. And the general staff is a collection of mind flayers and liches, lead by a War Leader Lich. One must fight wars with the material available in the shadows the wars are fought in.” “I don't like the methods because they creep near the method used by my two other brothers; Hinarik and Eater. both are First brood and live close to Chaos where undead are common. Oberon, Osric and I have long been concerned that necromancy close to the pattern might attract their interest. As it is Finndo spends a great deal of his time out that way keeping an eye on them as well as Borlak. You spent time undead. Maybe someday you will meet them. When you do, know that a death warent for them exists signed by Oberon, then Finndo, Eric, and Random. But Dworkin has said to beware of their death curses; they are attuned to death and might make potent ones" "As for Rasak, school is done. On return the forces will be assembled and graduated. When they grasp the dagger it will transport them to their next posting. Mostly their homes. Yours will send you directly to Random. He is expecting you. One thing about the daggers. They are made to be improved. Most graduates never know that or try it. But you certainly will. They are created to be especially welcoming to additional powers. Yours however will have two special power already. You may summon me in need. Once. And by the teats of the Unicorn the reason had better be dire. And the blade will be extremely effective against someone wearing Rearden. Tesa will not be told but hers will be similarly effective against someone wearing Rearden. I suggest you never wear Rearden yourself. " Standing, he extends a hand to shake and raise you to your feet. "Assemble your troops one last time. they should be rested while we seem to have wasted the night away in contemplation."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer accepts Benedict's hand and grips it firmly and shakes it warmly. “Cousin, being that I am a child compared to you, I have no doubt that you have great volumes of knowledge I do not possess and that you have forgotten more than I currently know. And being that you are the Lord Marshall of Amber and a Legendary Warrior, I was certain that you understood the usefulness of an undead army and that you had used one or would use one when the situation called for it and the proper conditions existed. I was unaware, however, that you have a standing undead army with specialized troops and the ability to raise one. Impressive. And I absolutely understand the careful and judicious use of Necromancy, in any form... and the attentions it can draw even if used for good. I assure you I will not use those powers or spells in or near Amber unless the situation be dire indeed. I have enjoyed our conversation and hope there will be more of them in the future. I am off to gather my troops, Lord Marshall.”

  • Michael James Watson

He laughs, " Well, its bad enough the friggin pattern keeps popping out pattern ghosts. And of course Amber has a few ghosts of its own. "

  • Michael James Watson

The troops gather in and orderly manner on the beach. Rank upon rank. North the Dragons are seen gathering and far to the south the Kzin. Those are the only troops that arrived near the same time. The Adledross begin reviewing troops. A dozen individuals of dramatically different appearances.. With the ones looking over the Amber troops are Boney, Percy, a person looking fairly Roman, as well as Banidoc, Benedict, and several instructors from Rasak. In time the Adledross speak to Benedict and they leave. Percy looks to Realmer with a nod and approaches. While the others speak he walks over to Realmer and Fortunadas as they stand in front of the troops. He speaks softly, "The Lords of Adledross have long argued over the wisdom of training wizards. While many have come here few have as potent magic as you both. Two rulings have been made with you both in mind. First, the Lords of Adledross invite you to visit and speak to the conference about the possibility of including magical instruction and summoning magically-oriented foes. We have many wizards among the Adledross natives but none that are suitable to act as Advocates such as Bonaparte, Scipio Africanus, or myself. Secondly, the Conference of Adledross determined that the summoning of the Dufiro of War, an accident caused by the accidental summoning of the Dakotan Ritualists, was not directly your faults there for we banished the Dufiro, but when the Dakotans return to their homes they will retain knowledge they gained here. Ritualists need very little encouragement to cause mayhem and having Adledross trained Ritualists would be very disruptive on their home world. I advise, if you are the man we believe you to be, to seek them out and remove them from their home worlds. Lastly, Sir Fortunadas. Please extend our invitation to your lord and tell him he is welcome to come make accord with us to allow his Total Warriors to train here. It's been a pleasure. I hope we meet again."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods to Percy. "Please let the Lords of Adledross know I will gladly speak to the conference, when time permits; I do have some matters to attend to after leaving here. And in regards to the second matter..." Realmer turns to Fort and continues, "I guess we have one more mission together before we part company. Unless of course going to get the Dakotans and taking them away from their homes was already in your plans."

  • Michael James Watson

"I have dinner planned with a few friends at a place called Diaga Raks. As soon as I hit the road they know to meet me there. After that I have a trip to York to speak with Tolknor. That's another person you should meet someday but he is not taking meetings with Amberites these days as part of an Agreement with Random that allowed CHAD to serve Amber. I am sure Dakota is not on your first stop list either. But Ill be in Amber fairly quickly. Time is ...flexible... around Tolknor so our meeting won't take but a few moments of Amber time. So when you are ready to go gather them up let me know and I'll ride with you. Your shadowwalking skills are of a different order then mine so I'll drive, you navigate."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I had a few things planned, one of which might take some time, but it seems they will have to wait. My meeting with King Random cannot be put off, however, so I will contact you when that is done and I am ready."

  • Michael James Watson

"Service to our kings rarely waits. Tolknor is casual about such things. His perception of time is slanted. He doesn't live consecutively. Its difficult to talk to him on occasion. He was always kind of like that but it only got more pronounced over time. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Random is pretty casual as kings go... or maybe that's just with Family. He's easy to talk to and fair minded. I'm sure our meeting won't take long."

  • Michael James Watson

Stepping from Adledross to Rasak the soldier reach their final trial. On the flat battle plain they find a thousand forges. Hot coal and anvils, racks with tools and materials. They feel the familiar feel of a ring of compulsion on their hand. A massive dwarf walks before the assemblage as they move automatically to formation. “Warriors of Rasak. You have achieved greatness. You will not be forgotten. You have one final challenge and I will lead you in it. I am Vulcan, Master of the Forge. You have all done some iron work while in Rasak but now you will take on a mastery of it.” He walks up to a large forge similar to the smaller ones and facing them. He takes a large drink from a massive mug. “Ahead of you are your forges. You will step to them in a moment. You will find hot coals. There are billets of the finest irons produced here. There are mithril ingots. There is oak from trees of the forests of Rasak that each of you ran by. There is silver made from the plates you ate on while in Rasak. There is leather made from animals you slew, butchered, cook, and ate here. There is sinew from them as well. There are hammer, tongs, files, sharpening wheels and buffing wheels. Barrels of water, oil and blood for quenching. Barrels of water and wine for drinking.” “You will draw the billets and fold them 300 times to make a master work. You will pour the mithril to form hilt and pommel and sheath tips. You will cut the leather and stamp it to be sewn with sinew. You will sand the wood for handles. You will assemble the knife. You will assemble the sheath” “Once completed you will present it to the Master of Rasak. He will give you the strap and place the finished piece on you. Then your time here will be done.” “You need not fear that you will fail or that you hammer will slip. You wear the Rings of Compulsion. I will guide your efforts.” “One last thing. You are impervious to burns but will feel the pains. A blade made without pain is of no use. Now.. Take your places.” As one the soldiers take their places. Unlike in the past they retain their thoughts if not their limbs. Relmopator has enough awareness to see his barrel of wine is instead frothy with a strong porter beer. The work begins. Fire and iron. Sweat in the icy air of the battlefield of Rasak. Hours pass, night comes and goes. Hands echo the movements of Vulcan as he repeats a process he has done many times. A performance of excellence and madness. The Soldiers of Rasak see their blade come to life under their hands. They feel the satisfaction of each other and that of the observers to the far side. At a point where the hands craft wood Instructors walk among the craftsman. One goes to each forge and presses a jewel in the pommel of each knife. The craftsman are aware of who presses the jewel in, each jewel different. They also note that Prince Benedict walks among them and presses jewels into the hilts of the pommel created by Alexandir Kos Korag, Fortunadas Enright, Carston Brak, and four other soldiers. Last of them is the Relmopator of Amber and Tesa. He holds each pommel tightly, and a red jewel flashes and he produces a small red stone to press in each. He then continues over to the reviewing stand to take up a snifter of brown whiskey. As sunset comes the blades are completed. Each feel personal, a piece of the warrior. At that moment the compulsion ring seems to melt into the hand and their attentions realize it become part of them. Vulcan turns, smiling, brandishing his blade. “Soldiers of Rasak. Present your blades to the King of Rasak.” Benedict steps forward. “Soldiers. Serve Amber well and I shall always be proud of you. I trust your loyalty. Come forward by forge positions” As the people mover forward Benedict takes each blade, says a few words, gives it back and grips their wrists in the handshake of Rasak. They then walk on and fade away, returning to their lives as graduates. As the walk up Vulcan steps near Relmopator and slips his own blade and sheath on Relmopator's belt. Whispering he says, “In case you want to fight two dagger, or you wish to speak to em.” Relmopator steps up and hands his blade to Benedict. Ben says, “A rough crucible for you, Cousin. But you did well. With hope you will never need to die for Amber but I won't feel ashamed for melting the ring of compulsion into you just in case. You have challenges ahead. You will not speak of your time in Rasak casually, nor in depth to any except graduates. I will see you in Amber.” Relmopator feels like the last compulsion was to not respond but to walk off, finding himself in his apartment in the Dungeon of Amber. Gangdis sits by a barrel of mead and a table of food, smiling. “So, how was that?”

Book Five: A Return to Adagalasck[edit]

Return to Amber, Talk of Fey, Talk of Tesa Resa[edit]

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Sir Lord Ambassador Relmopator of Amber, finds himself in his apartment in the Dungeon of Amber after last being on Rasak. Gangdis sits by a barrel of mead and a table of food, smiling. “So, how was that?” Realmer smiles at his Elite Guard and friend and grins a knowing smile that those of Rasak would recognize... then he dives upon the table of food and eats heartily for a couple of minutes. When he speaks, it's between bites and sometimes around mouthfuls of food; very unlike the mostly proper and well etiquetted Realmer before Rasak. "Overall, it was a truly singular experience..." bite, chew, "And I have a greater respect..." chew, swallow, "and understanding of the Elites now... " bite, chew, "and all soldiers and warriors... " swallow, "for that matter." He grabs his favorite tankard from a shelf on the wall and fills it with mead, drinks heartily then a few more bites of food in silence before he continues, a bit more politely. "I learned many things I never thought I would from a course in the Soldierly Arts, and many other things I never thought I would while on Rasak and Adledross. I learned a lot about people and their motivations... and a few people and their motivations, specifically. And I learned that the food is far superior here, and I find my appreciation of it has grown. Aaaand... I learned that I love Napoleon brandy."

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis laughs "Yes.. The brandy was very good. My time at Rasak was long before Patternfall of course. You young folks have a different experience I hear. I'm tempted to take the course again but Benedict tells me that now that I'm young again I'll be more useful as an instructor. So it goes.. ah....How did Tesa do? I imagine if it was tricky for a wizard like yourself, it might be terribly difficult for someone not really a warrior"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, we all had our struggles and triumphs, each as individual as the self, but I would gauge that Tesa handled it better than most... perhaps even better than I. And I would also gauge that she got more out of it than most... not including her new love interest; Alexandir. I may have to put an end to that one day, if she doesn't herself... not looking forward to that day, but planning for it." After sating his hunger and thirst, Realmer begins looking for his belongings, the ones that were taken for safe keeping when he entered Rasak.... he is sure they are here somewhere. He wants to check to make sure all of it is there and that the silver calling card from the female Dufiro was not trying to summon him. He also wants to get out of his Adledross battle gear and back into something more fitting, comfortable and more protective. He removes his sword-belt and hangs his broadsword, the one that pierced his chest, on a peg on the wall near the door, then begins peeling off his armor, using Cantrips to clean everything, and himself, in the process.

  • Michael James Watson

"So... I got dinged for abandoning you. Not much of a ding... But the boss wants me to stick with you if you chose to wander off. Do you have any specific goals for the next few years? I've some thoughts but they tend to be less duty oriented.. I assume you have been given the customary leave after training. Is there anything I should know?" The silver card is there and it appears unused. However there is a hum about it that makes you think a message may have been left. "And wait...Tesa.. and Alexandir kos Korag? Ah.... That's a problem...."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Oh, yes, there is a lot you should know. And I do have some very specific goals for the immediate future... the second most pressing one is being forced upon me due to circumstances that occurred on Adledross... I will be traveling into Shadow with Fortunadas right after I meet with King Random. After that business is done, I intend to walk the Pattern and have it transport me... somewhere unknown... I am going to seek out my grandmother... but I will tell you about that later. First, what happened on Adledross..." Realmer relates to Gangdis the events on Adledross involving the arrival of the Masons from Dakota, the Dufiro and the Masons joining the Amber Army, and finally the Counsel's decree to move the Masons somewhere safe for those around them. While he is relaying this info, he has finished disrobing, and cleaning and freshening himself up with Cantrips, then he dons his customary Robe of Flight, straps his Defender Blade to his left hip for a right hand draw, straps both Graduate Daggers to his sword belt, Vulcan's on the left near the sword, his on the right. He checks the pockets up both sleeves to see which Trumps are there and adds Fort's Dragonskin Trump up his left sleeve. When he finds the Silver Card he pauses in his oration a moment then wraps it up telling Gangdis he is welcome to join him when he goes to meet Fort and travel to Dakota. "Give me a moment, Gang... I think I have a message waiting for me." Realmer carefully focuses his Psyche upon the Silver Card...

  • Michael James Watson

Moments later a smoky image appears.. Demonic and familiar. Reggie says,"so you were familiar with the Dufirosim. Good. It makes it an even War-field. I have a collection of Dufiro bound now, one who apparently was expecting your contact since she gave you this card to cut through the necessities of ritual. Well, if you owe her a debt feel free to ignore it. I've newly bound weapons and unless someone takes them from me and breaks them, she will be in no position to call in favors for a few centuries." The contact breaks leaving the smell of rotted liver and onions behind.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer was expecting something like this; after all the Dufiro he was going to perform the Ritual with were certainly the types Reggie would recruit. One less worry for now and a bit more information for Realmer and Fort. He looks to Gangdis, "Well, it wasn't anything pressing, so I guess I'm off to see King Random. Care to join me?" He reaches with his left hand towards his Bone Staff leaning against the wall and summons it to his hand, then with his right, reaches up his left sleeve and draws out a Trump for Random then focuses on the image...

  • Michael James Watson

"Sure. I've found when speaking with royalty anywhere in shadow, its good to have a witness." A moment later Random appears, skipping Carly his trump receptionist. "You're back? Good. I'm coming to you, Julian" Stepping through the trump suddenly the king starts chuckling. "That will give them some practice finding me. I had a room full of officiates and courtiers and a pair of annoyed brothers. Hopefully they will start calling Julian first. That should be entertaining. Oh ya.. my coming here means Brand slingshotted back to the dungeons too! Serves the great slug right. He was rambling on... I like having him around when courtiers are tacking at me though. Scares most of them witless.” Stepping over to the table, he picks up a chunk of Cheese. "Hello Gangdis. You are looking fit and in your prime. Sorry about the transfer back to protective services. If following this one around makes you start feeling old just let me know." Gangdis shakes the king's hand,"I will sire. Can I pour you a glass of stout?" He nods, "Yes please, hourly. twice an hour if I'm talking to anyone from the Golden Circle these days.. " He sits looking around the room as Gangdis delivers a tankard. Random says, "I had forgotten these were your quarters.. You know if you talk to Margot she can arrange apartments upstairs with, what do they call those thing? ah.. windows. Hmmm Caine and Bleys once glued me to the ceiling in here. Took me three days to break loose. Well, two cards are going in the deck tomorrow so sending him on a diplomatic mission would be redundant. He takes a sandwich and takes a quick bite. "So.....I've heard reports from Benedict about your time in Rasak. I hope you didn't get used to ordering Alexandir around. He takes orders from no one. Even Fort and Tolknor can at best offer suggestions. The great psycho wasn't home for 2 minutes before he ordered empire wide battle drills. Benedict tends to get testy when that many troops start marching around. Of course CHAD and the Tosian/Yorkists only really have a few thousand troops actually in Amber but that's enough to piss Benedict off. His spies in Tosa were on Trumps immediately warning of full mobilization across the Tosian shadows. I had to call Tolknor just to confirm it was a drill. So I'm depending on the world of a Rose addict to tell me if a bloodthirsty madman is raising an army against me.. Gangdis, another please.. and make me a sandwich. If I'm eating Realmer will be able to get a word in. Well cousin.. your turn"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, first off, it is good to see you in a chipper mood, Majesty. And secondly, I do have an apartment in the upper levels of the Castle, with windows no less... I just prefer being close to my Laboratory... and because nobody wants me experimenting with Magic in the Castle proper, here I am. And I had always wondered about the glue residue on the ceiling... now I know; you had some cruel brothers, Majesty... I can only hope your revenge was sweet and that you are not still taking it out on them as their King." Realmer smiles an evil grin, chuckles then continues. "Though I was in command for the entire year on Adledross, I did not get accustomed to giving orders to anyone... nor do I wish to. Command is a responsibility I will bear when I must, but I do not relish it. I was fortunate to have such good men and women under my command; they followed my orders and enacted my plans. But if not for the guidance and tutelage of the other Commanders and Sub-commanders, I may not have fared so well. I may not have made any friends, but I did earn their respect... even Alexandir's." “But Alexandir is no more loyal to Amber than he was when he went to Rasak, though his interest in her power is certainly piqued... and his interest in my traveling companion, Tesa; it seems they are romantically involved. I have been warned by more than one person wiser than I that the relationship should not, and cannot, last... and that I may have to get involved... Benedict was one of them.” “And since you have spoken with Benedict, I am sure you know about the Masons from Dakota arriving on Adledross and the involvement of a Dufiro of Rage and subsequently, the Masons joining Amber's Army, so I will spare you those details. However, at Graduation, the Counsel of Adledross decreed that the Masons, now being Adledross Trained, were too dangerous for their home Shadow, where they were returned, and it is now left to me and Fortunadas to deal with the situation... I'm thinking relocation to another Shadow for the lot of them... someplace where their new skills and powers will better fit in and be used for survival, rather than intimidation, chicanery or profit.” “After that, the search for my grandmother, as we discussed before I left for Rasak. After I heard about the recent adventures of young Donovan from Benedict, and what I heard happened with Julian and Nina... I'm guessing I no longer need to visit them to invite them into your inner circle of advisors and Adagalasck into the Golden Circle. That is why I wished to speak with you before I departed Amber with Fortunadas, bound for the Shadow where the Masons reside; I thought it best to check in and see if there are any matters of the crown I need to attend or ignore, and seek your leave to attend to my matters, Majesty.”

  • Michael James Watson

“My chipperosity comes and goes, me boyo. I just finished a major mess dragging an army across half of the multiverse just to have Young Donovan leapfrog me and plant the Arden stone in Arden, of all places. Now I have to cajole him to bring the Stone to Castle Amber or the damn place will rebel on me. The damn Castle is a pouty construct it turns out. Half of what I do as king involves begging. Frigin Arden Stone, a whopping powerful ancient artifact boarded up in a shipping crate by Yakuza like it was the Arc of the Covenant. Now its sitting in Arden beaming like a toddler who just discovered his penis. "Lets clear up somethings first. " "At this point I am not going to put any demands on you. Do as you wish for a century or so. You've earned it. As for ongoing matters of the crown you might end up playing a part in, those I have. Its a lot so refill your glass and get a plate of something.” "When it comes to giving orders and being in command, I didn't want to either but here I am; arse deep in rabid elephants as Bleys would say. So be prepared to get used to giving orders and being in command. I sent you to Rasak because a time may come when you need the knack of command. If you don't like it you are not alone and I don't give a tinker's cuss if you don't like it."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I do understand the necessity of Leadership, and that that was the most likely reason you sent me to Rasak. I'm not saying I won't take command and give orders when needed, but I won't like it and I won't get used to it, and it matters not how anyone feels about it; so... it is what it is." "In regards to the Arden Stone... as a young Adventurer, young like Donovan, I would have been inclined to put the Stone back where it belonged or give it back to its rightful owners or caretakers, then deal with the consequences as they arose. Later in life, but before coming to Amber, I would have taken it for myself, and dealt with the consequences. But now I have ties and loyalties to Amber, and ties to Adagalasck, and now the Fey, and I know I don't have the full picture, but I feel I would still have erred on the side of 'rightful owner' once again. But again I admit, I don't have the full picture."

  • Michael James Watson

"No one has the full picture. We all are looking through cracked lens. The Arden Stone is a happy puppy that can crack planets. Its powers cause health and growth. It didn't surprise me Donovan gave it to Titaina. What surprised me is that it got past Mandalay. Adrian is ancient even in the judgement of House Bariman and he could have had it with ease. Yet he apparently chatted with it, let it visit with Ygg, then told Donovan how to convince the Stone to not block trump transport to avoid me. It seems to have taken a liking to Desri as well. Odd stone.

  • Michael James Watson

As for Julian, I spoke to him at Rue Katal. I am going to visit Adagalask on a state visit. It will be a culsterboink for the courtiers of both realms but I think in time he will come to some accord with Amber. Once the Arden Stone was installed the issue with Julian's wife, my sister Nina, became a minor one. That said, you don't need to try to sway him on my account anymore. After all that's happened I don't think I want Julian as Warden of Arden anymore anyways. Duncan does the job just fine. Caine is a different problem for me since replacing the spy network he built up over a millennia is tricky and inconvenient. Right now I'm sorting out my own spymaster and he has to take over what Caine left behind before that whole thing is lost to us. You've never met Caine's son Lark Harooon I gather. He's a scary creepy assassin but he is loyal to Amber and far more pissed at Caine then I am. I'm sure it will work out. I do think there is something magical binding Julian and Caine though; an ancient love spell, pheromone bonding, sexual imprinting, dark pacts. But in the end those problems are theirs to deal with. They are big boys. We've all made deals for power in our youth and some managed them better then others. Some day let me tell you about the time Tommy Jones and I had a record deal with Roulette Records. The owner turned out to be mobbed up, got himself into a mob war, fled the states and left the Gambino mob coming after Tommy and I, putting the arm on us to pay back $100k and to turn over our royalties. It was hilarious till a half dozen Bronos and Paulis came to put a hit on us. They were really not expecting a frail looking drummer to turn psycho war-god on them but who knows what a Prince of Amber is capable of if they someone takes the time to piss them off? In the end I had to whack about 50 of them and burn down a few mansions to get them to see reason. When it comes to Julian and Caine I have bigger fish to fry and so do you.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, I am glad to be relieved of that duty. I feel I will be better prepared and armed to deal with any and all matters regarding Family and Adagalasck after I have found and spoken with my grandmother."

  • Michael James Watson

As for Verna, good luck with that. I know you have your own genealogical issues and a few wacky relatives but you can herd the Verna line all you like. On that though, talk to Dworkin. Its his wife. As for Hagalta, I think the hunting season on him is still open. You have a couple sisters here in Amber and a crazy Brother who is bouncing around Nu Yark in power armor. Good luck with that. Your masonic problems are not an issue to me. Fortunadus is a 33rd degree master Freemason and one of the 5 Primi Illuminati of York. Backwater shadow masons are all his problem. If you have trouble with Dufiro, that's up his alley as well though there is a fellow named Nur al Din, also from Tosa, who might be better to talk to. Alexandir is going to be a huge problem in time and while I adore Fort I wouldn't morn him if someone iced him. He's as dangerous as Alexandir is just not as much of a psycho. Only just less of a psycho mind you.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I just spent the last ten years with that pair, the last year of it when they were once again themselves and letting out nine years of being pent up; I feel I have a fair picture of them, and others that shared that experience with us. They could both be problems, but Alexandir surely the bigger, no pun intended."

  • Michael James Watson

Random shrugs, "Fort's more likely to gain the throne of Amber in a card game. Alexandir would level it. Its a matter of repair costs." “The Arden Stone has kicked up several nightmares for me and I'll tell you about them so you get the picture of the problems since some of them will end up in your lap. The Arden Stone is an ancient artifact and the problem is going to involve the Amber Fey and my line of succession. I had hoped the Unicorn's Choice had ended the whole “legitimate line of succession” business but nope. I have a legitimate born son in Martin but if I die it may not matter to the Castle . I'm told I have several succession problems. We argued over succession for centuries while Oberon and Dworkin could have shut us up in an afternoon. But so it goes. First the Fey problem then the succession problem. Its all goes back to the First Brood and the beginning of the kingdom. Titania, now once again a mistress of the Arden Stone, wants to attend court, in state... Frigging Fey. Its going to be a problem if she enters the castle. The Castle remembers her, is attuned to her. Apparently she was Queen of Amber once for a brief time when Oberon and Cymnea were feuding. Oberon married her and their son Elfwine is legitimate. Titania has not entered the Castle since she was dethroned and divorced. There is a possibility that once she enters the castle it might want her to return to being queen, or at least Queen mother over King Elfwine. And the kingdom is rife with fey. Always has been. Margot has uncounted brownies working for her from way back in those days. We never see them around the castle though because that's in their nature. Oberon, Julian, Elfwine have all been stag king but there hasn't been a royal stag king in a thousand years. Now, thanks to the Arden Stone, stag horns are growing on Donovan. If Titania come to the Castle with her court we will be arse deep in kobolds and sprites and pixies and hobgoblins and every form of Fea that has been hiding in the forests. The last time apparently that many Fea at the center of things caused major infestations across shadow. That's why Oberon divorced her and pushed the Fey out of the cities back into the forests.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Now this is were it gets complicated and interesting" Realmer begins, takes a gulp of his porter then continues. "I have been informed of much about the Fey of Chaos and the Fey of Amber, most of it recently, some by you, some from Benedict and Grandfather... and a few other sources; I see what is happening and what could happen with the Fey and Amber... a truly sticky situation with several bad outcomes for all involved. Now, the matter of Castle Amber being a Construct had occurred to me, but having a sentience had not; that certainly complicates things, and with an Imprint involved, as it is, doubly so. Hmmmmm...." Realmer pauses a moment, then takes a deep drink of his porter before speaking again. "Perhaps a Dual Rule; a pair of Kings and Queens to rule Amber and her lands and interests, both Amberite and Fey. And as far as it affecting Shadow... well, the Jeweled Road affected Shadow significantly, and everything turned out okay. I know I am from a Shadow of Magic and Fey creatures and monsters and Gods, but I have visited Shadows where Fey had returned to technological worlds and the people and that world adapted, as peoples and worlds of Shadow have every time something significant changes near a place of power in the multiverse and affects them. I know it sounds like radical thinking, but perhaps it is time for just that. Something different. Something breaking from Tradition. Something deviating from the normal. Just a suggestion. But we still have the matter of the actual succession to consider..." Realmer sighs, realizing the pressures on the Crown and why he never wants to wear one.

  • Michael James Watson

Now the succession. Part of it is the likelihood the Castle might turn on me if its favorite queen takes the throne. But the other part involves the direct legitimate royal line established by Oberon. Lowering his head shamefaced, “Did you know that I sat the Oracle of Night? I forced Bleys, Benedict, and Vance to do so at scepter point too. My vision included Tesa and you. The problem is two of my brothers.. Elfwine, son of Titania. And Av Reet, son of Alasala. Titania was the Fey queen when Oberon brought his wife my sister Cymnea and their young family to Amber. But Cymnea was not Oberon's first wife. Alasala was. Their child Av Reet was born legitimate. The first legitimate child of Oberon born of a union blessed by the Unicorn herself. According to Dworkin, when he was in a heraldic mood, the legitimate male line of Oberon was Av Reet and then his son, Cymnea's sons Osric & Finndo. Then Oberon divorced Cymnea, married Titania and fathered Elfwine on her. He then remarried Cymnea and had Benedict and Borlak. After Borlak Oberon discovered Cymnea's paternity and nullified their marriage making all their children illegitimate. Then he met Fiellia and fathered Eric, married her and had Corwin. So after the nullification of Cymnea's kids we end up with Av Reet and his son, then Elfwine with no sons, then Corwin with Warrick. We argued timelines and birth order for centuries without knowing about the First Brood. Now we do. I see by your face you see the problem of genealogy but the problem is not just blood. Its Attunement. Legitimate birth is somehow magically important. Oberon's annulment was official too. Av Reet is attuned to Castle Amber but has been banished from it for cause, yet his son retains his legitimacy and the recognition of the Castle. Av Reet it seems is who showed the location of the dungeon pattern to Oberon and his son was involved in those affairs as well and is adored by the Castle apparently. The son of Av Reet is attuned to the jewel as well. As you probably know an Attunement to the Jewel can only be erased by one of prioritized Attunement. I can clean the jewel from anyone who became attuned to it after I did. So I can't erase the attunements of Corwin, Eric, Arloxedra, The Castle recognizes Elfwine. The castle sees Corwin as next with his legitimate son Warrick. Rene, Merlin, & Barrett are all illegitimate. So while it accepts the Unicorn's Choice, that being me, without us the line of succession is Av Reet's son, Elfwine, then Corwin and Warrick. Finndo was king, but the annulment of his paternity makes Dashel and Fisk illegitimate. Eric was never legitimate and despite being king Arloxedra, Derek, and Vander are not eligible to the succession. Of course there is some accord between the Castle, the Jewel, the Pattern, and Arloxedra, lucky me. The problem however is Av Reet's son.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stands and refills all three of their mugs with the porter as he says: "I feel the other shoe is about to drop and I feel we may all need something strong to smoke and strong to drink when your done. Please, continue."

  • Michael James Watson

Now we come to the Tosians. My vision showed Alexandir Kos Korag reigning in Amber as Warlord and Conqueror with a weak son of his as the actual king, and with his maniacal eye on conquering the Courts of Chaos. So who is the weak son of Alexandir that apparently has a claim of legitimacy that the castle would accept? Av Reet's legitimately born son, and technically the person with the strongest claim to the throne of Amber, is Conf of Shadows. Part Amberite, part Yorkian, part Tosian, part djinn, of the bloodline of Oberon. There are reasons why Conf would never take the throne himself but a son born of his daughter would have a very strong claim indeed. Heraldic, genealogically, and apparently, magically. So now we have Alexandir wooing the daughter of Conf. And that's why they can not be allowed to marry. York has a primal beast, the Elephant. Tolknor and the Elephant have agreed to not recognize a marriage between Alexandir and Tesa. But there are tons of primal beasts and millions of their priests and its probable we can't get to them all. So the deal has to be keeping Tesa from marrying the brute. See my problem?

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I love being right; I knew we would need some stiffer libations." Realmer Conjures up a couple of bottles of fine Napoleon Brandy and a box of those cigars with multicolored smoke that Benedict likes. He opens the box and passes a cigar to Random then Gangdis then puts one in his mouth and lights it with a tiny flame from his finger, then offers to light the others' cigars as well. He puffs while he opens a bottle of the Brandy and pours a tumbler for each present. "I see your problem indeed, Majesty" Realmer begins as he grabs his tumbler of brandy, takes a sip, then a puff, exhales and continues. "And mine. I know of Conf, have spoken with him regarding Tesa, and have learned of Tesa's parentage and Family ties; I understand how dangerous her relationship with Alex could be. But convincing Tesa of anything is difficult at best, especially if it's for her own good, but she's not unreasonable; perhaps the thought of much death and war because of her offspring with Alex may be enough to deter her from continuing her relationship with him. Or maybe not. Gangdis, you know her, better than I, I'm sure; what do you think on this matter?"

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis ponders, "Well, its certainly above my pay grade, such as it is, but Tesa is a good egg. For an assassin. She trained Snikura but I doubt it was her choice. Much like Rasak, I doubt its something she would have sought out. She was a Maze rat in sanctuary so she grew up looking for whatever advantage she could. She stole to eat. She traded her body while too young in order to survive. My understanding that Conf had her sent to Snikura to make her able to defend herself against those who would force her in to anything and that mindset is strong in her. Try to force her away from Alex and you'll hear wedding gongs fast. " He finishes a beer and pours another. "All the time I've known her I was a drunk old man. A sot drinking my way into old age. Her humor and vibrancy was delightful and I treated her like she was my granddaughter. But..she tried to bed me often at first and only tried harder because I refused. And there is still something of that in our teasing of each other. I must admit that since i grew young i am tempted to woo her myself but does that sound creepy?" Random laughs, "Only you, Gangdis! Us princes might have turned her over our knees and spanked her before bedding regardless of her youth but we tend to be disreputable. She is no piece of tenderloin anymore and you look the bold young adventurer. Take her if you can. That might solve the problem for a century or two. Ah... but if you do, perhaps let Realmer or I see about clipping your plumbing so that young king isn't your kid instead of Alex's. To be honest, the man in my vision could be anyone's kid but since Tesa was in my vision i assumed the child was hers." Gangdis looks shocked but continues, "Either way, trying to force her will make her dig in. Though Alexandir seems not her type. I assume you haven't talked to her yet, Realmer?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer shakes his head 'no'. "No, Gangdis, I have not spoken with her yet. I only became aware of their relationship at Graduation, just prior to the knife forging ceremony and I have only just returned, as well you know. Plus I was advised by Benedict and Fort to give it a little time before involving myself. I think we need to let the fires of their newfound passion for each other cool a bit before anyone steps in. Give him time to show his true colors and her time to see how he really is."

  • Michael James Watson

Random says, "Good point. Maybe talking to Fort about it would be a good idea. He holds Alex's loyalty because of an incident fighting Ravers. Tolknor however holds his loyalty out of a number of things not the least of it being fealty. But...Tolknor also said if i need it he will give me Alexandir's True Name that using will turn the great brute back into a blacksmith's son but that would unleash a host of monsters only held at bay by their fear of him. Including the three Ravers of Tosa. Tolknor, Fort, Alexandir, Jeremy Fairhand and a small collection of Tosian maniacs have mithril trees in their forehead, tiny one, gained putting the ravers down. If any of them lose their powers fully, like in a naming rite, the Ravers will try to break out. Of course part of the Alex problem is Benedict. Its been an eon since there was someone Benedict wasn't certain he could kill in a fair fight. He is fairly salivating over the chance to go to the mattresses with the Emperor of Tosa." Gangdis makes a face.."Ewww.... Alexandir and Benedict on mattresses? What a revolting vision! Why would you think..." Random laughs, spitting beer, "Its a classical reference. 'Go to the Mattresses' means going to war. Got to take you to an earth world and show you the Godfather movies. 20 of the best movies ever made, Gangdis.."

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis, "So ....I wonder where Tesa landed after the ceremony? Stand before me while i trump her. " He pulls his contact trump. Concentrating it connects. "Hey Kid, I hear they sprung ya. ....In Amber... Yes, briefly... He had to talk to the King. ..... No.....I've seen him in Amber of course. Reviews of the troops and all. Really? ah.. I'm, sorry to hear that. Shall I got challenge him? ...You are probably right. No i don't but when i see him I'll let him know. It should still be there unless someone has ravaged it or decided that my rent was due. How many years have passed? ok. If someone has moved in the landlord owes me money. Ok. Good.. No. That's quite an offer. Traditionally there is a leave period before the military expects you to return to duty. But imnot sure that applies to you. Talk to Realmer about that. No, I'm on duty. Soon. Be well, dearheart" Gangdis finishes his beer and pours another. "She is in Sanctuary. Her place in the Maze. She didn't enjoy Rasak much. Asked about you, Realmer, first. Asked me if i had seen Alexandir. Said he wasn't taking No for an answer. Something about her hips can't take his without frequent healing. She is going to retrieve a coin stash i left in my apartment in the maze. Good chance its been raided. A fair fortune-running money if it hasn't been. Her Sanctuary has a foot path shadowtrail that touches a tip of the Jeweled Road. She could go anywhere after that. Asked about if she was going to have to serve in the Amber military? Said Benedict wants her as his personal Elite and intended to speak to Random about it. Made her a generous offer of experience, treasure, and authority. She thinks he has a crush on her.. Random, if Benedict thinks he can play suitor to her just to keep her away from Alexandir he and I will have words." Random nods, “Please let me watch.....”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer finishes his brandy then pours himself another; he looks both uncomfortable and annoyed. "Honestly, I don't like the idea of anyone 'playing' suitor to Tesa; that young woman has been through a lot and doesn't need anyone toying with her affections just to use her as a 'king maker'... or to try to prevent her from being one. I have had a fondness for her from the moment you introduced her to me, Gangdis; and that fondness has grown into a deep caring. If you intend to woo her, Sir Gangdis of Casowill, make sure it's for the right reasons." Realmer takes a puff and exhales a smoke ring. "And I feel that Benedict's offer is purely professional and meant to keep Tesa away from Alex and not because he has any affections for her... but I could be wrong; I don't really know him that well." Realmer takes a drink of his brandy, swirls it in his mouth, then swallows it hard. "Gang... you said, that Tesa said, that Alex wasn't taking NO for an answer... that's concerning. And that she is on the run... and in need of money... And that she asked about me... first no less." He pauses to think and take a drink of brandy. "Well, it was my plan, after graduation, to ask Tesa if she would be my traveling companion, again. I didn't get special permission for her to attend Rasak just to have someone else snatch her up; I wanted her well trained to accompany me. I enjoy her company and her skill-sets are exactly those that I am lacking; we compliment each other well. And, she is my Apprentice in the Arcane Arts and I intended to continue her training in those Arts... and others. It was also my intent to watch over her, knowing that Conf has 'plans for her'... his exact words to me. But seeing her with Alex changed that. But now... perhaps I should contact her and make the offer." Realmer puffs on his cigar, exhaling multi-colored smoke squares... his fingers twiddling, his mind momentarily lost in thought... "Majesty; it seems I have some pressing matters to attend, and since you have graciously given me a century of Leave, by your leave, I will take mine. I will be contacting Tesa and doing all I can to convince her to join me on my adventures. And having Fort along during the early stages of my travels might be helpful if Alex shows up. And should the Lord Marshall push the issue of Tesa as his Elite... might I be so bold as to remind; she is not actually a Soldier of Amber, per se. I asked for special permission for her to attend Rasak, as payment for her services, not for her to become a Soldier, unless she wished it." He pauses then says, "Or you could just tell him I asked for her first." As Realmer had been speaking, he finished his brandy in two large gulps around words, set the cigar in an ashtray on the table and the empty tumbler beside it. Then he gathered up a few things from the shelves or from tables or drawers, and puts them into the pockets of his robe; bottles and flasks and little boxes and small pouches, still talking all the while. He then summoned his Bone Staff to his left hand then mentally looked over his shoulder for Bob, to make sure he was there (private joke betwixt them). Then he pulled out his personally made Trump of Tesa but then looked to Random and Gangdis as he finished speaking. He chuckles at his own suggestion of him asking for her first. "Gangdis; I may be taking you with me now or calling for you soon... we shall see shortly how it goes. Majesty; anything more before I take my leave?" Realmer holds up the Trump so that both are in front of the card, but waits for Random's reply before attempting contact.

  • Michael James Watson

"I'll be taking my leave then. I've a room full of courtiers upstairs including a princeling from the Golden Circle world of Tazilwere. Friggin Tazilwere....You ever hear of it? I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't. Its a Golden Circle kingdom but you wouldn't know it by visiting the place. It looks like the Shire for tall folks. Osric found the place early on to provide wine and oil for Amber. Olives, olive oil, apples, grapes, drinkable wines and meads. Grains and breads. They make it in stupidly vast profusion. Probably one of the guiding principles Osric used to find the place; A people good with plants and small animals in a region where productive soil is a constant. Peaceful, non-competitive, Industrious. Their work ethic puts the Puritans to shame for their laziness. Like Amish overachievers. Oh, Osric also probably suggested the women were playfully bouncy but then he has to have his fun too. He likes then busty and curvy. “Margot calls them the “Middle Shelf Kingdom”. She loves the place. She tells me they provide everything on the middle shelves. Quaffing wine. Cooking oils. Table grapes. Chicken, goat, pig, and duck for the servants, commoners, and military tables. Goat's milk cheese. Nothing really fancy but nothing bad. Beef animals bigger then goats fall over dead if transported there. They raise pigs till they get to a certain size then they just drop dead. Weird. Its how they know the pigs are ready. So no horses, oxen, or mules. Rather then 4 horse or 2 oxen to pull a wagon they use 12 goats. Weird.” “They have an embassy with a dozen staff, and three diplomats and I swear they trade off ambassadors monthly. Its hard to get a straight answer out of the people. Around 5240 they had a group of raiders come in and depose the king and queen, married one of theirs to a princess. The only reason we found out about the coup was because they told the ambassador to inform Amber that the new king would not cause any interference in the train of produce coming to Amber. Their people are so casual we had no idea for two years that it had been a violent take over. One of their princes came here and out of the blue invoked the Golden Circle Treaty. Probably the first time they ever did . I'm surprised they remembered they could do it. Diega is in here every other day with some demand for our military to go out and swat some bandits or rebels or some distaff branch of their royal house. The envoy from Tazilwere spent two days wandering around the court scene like a tourist till someone asked who he was and he said he had an urgent appeal for the king. I sent some of the cousins out to take care of the problem; Doria, Derek, Asher, Zachary, Vance, and Geryon. Took them a week. Bleys visited the place after the Trump went in the deck and spent most of a week with the family that owned the farm next to the trump point before he realized the pater familis was the King of Tazilwere.” Random does a quick conjuration producing a piece of paper and an envelop. Writing quickly he folds the paper and slips it into the envelop. A second conjuration summons a card he slips in the envelop. He hands it to Realmer as he stands. “Anyway, they are having raider problems again and I think I'm going to send a more substantial force to set up a military presence with our embassy. I'll probably send Macsen. He's due for a command. If you get a chance in your wandering drop by and show the flag a bit to the local nobles. No rush. In the mean time, Gangdis, come with me and we'll convince Macsen its an honor. Call home occasionally.” He puts the arm on Gangdis and they transport leaving Realmer alone.

  • Michael James Watson

Picking up the envelop he finds inside a paper and a trump. The Trump has Random playing cards at Neal's Diner. The title is "Random's Private line." Opening the paper it says, "By my order and for the good of the state, the bearer has done what has been done. King Random of Amber, First of His Name."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer puts the Trump and the note back in the envelope then slips the envelope inside a pocket of his robes. He then focuses on the trump in his hand, the Trump of Tesa. He focuses his will and attempts contact.

  • Michael James Watson

Moments pass till the trump opens. She looks up looking surpised. "Oh! I was speaking to Gangdis a couple days ago. I assumed it was him again. The time ratio is big. You recovered in Amber? It can't have been a day there has it?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I am in Amber but it has only been around an hour or so since I returned. After speaking with the king I spoke with Gangdis and he mentioned that he had contacted you and that you had asked about me... which is fortunate, as I was planning to contact you as well; you've just had more time than me. So, are you in a safe place to talk? Should I come to you or would you like to come to Amber?"

  • Michael James Watson

She sits back, picks up a bent steel tankard and puts a pinch of something in the lips in front of her tongue. "Come here. The time ratio is better. Frankly I've had about 10 years of too much Amber. It seems like every person i ever met before Rasak is matched with 2 from Amber I met at Rasak. I'm getting back to my roots. I feel the need for greed. There are some people here i couldn't do much about even as a Snikura. Now I think i can give a few of the whoreson Stepsons the edge of the sword in stead of just the tip. I am in a safe place, a tavern, and I'm even in a shielded booth. Not that magical comings and goings raise any eyebrows here. Hell, there is a vampire in the area who does a pretty good business in mercenaries and stolen goods. And a godly shild a few neighborhoods away.. Hey... There is a friend of mine here who could use some magical healing if you can manage it?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I might be able to help your friend, but remember, I'm a sorcerer not a cleric. And the faster time ratio there will give me some time to prepare for my upcoming Mission. I'll tell you about it shortly. Go ahead and pull me through."

Sanctuary, Tesara of York, King Tolknor of York[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Reaching a hand and pulling through Realmer sees a dark woody tavern filled with people clustered in small groups minding their business. tavern wenches move about from table to bar. A central hearth provides warmth to all and a feel of cold wind comes from windows both shuttered and boarded up. Once the giant hall might have been well made but that was a century past. The curtained booth is open to the room enough to allow few surprises. Among the guest are soldiers looking of the dirty mercenary/brigand type. Men down on their luck and down to their last copper. Thieves professional and amateur. Women clearly of the whore trade do business, occasionally a hand under the table while a hand above holds dented tankards. the place has the feel of desperation and danger. A clinical eye lets him note a pair of solders not as drunk as they seem as hidden guards. He notes the presence of a beautiful vampire woman and two soldier guards at a table to the other side. She raises her eyes to meet Realmer's. She nods and raises a glass of wine to her lips in recognition. He sense a tap on his psyche quickly withdrawn hoping to not have made offense. Behind the bar is a very large man with the body of a wrestler or a soldier past his prime. He cleans a tankard while refilling orders from the wenches. He is missing a thumb but misses nothing else within his domain. Seeing you arrive he takes a handsign from Tesa and sends a pitcher of dark questionable but potent ale over. Tesa takes a tankard off the wall and fills it. A fireplace behind the bar roasts meat on skewers. the central hearth is warm with a dozen or so cast iron pots. He sees a woman with two youngish children enter from a side door, letting in a brief freezing wind to the stuffy chamber.. The kids carry wood while she carries a pair of pots. Looking to the bartender she says, "One Thump..We've wood." He nods. The kids pile the wood among other scavenged sticks and sit close by the fire. Rough soldiers make room for them and the lady sits next to them, putting the pots in the hearth.. the wench brings two mugs of milk and a mug of wine. A shield over the bar is a bar sinister in red on a checkered field of black and gold. The charge is a angry looking unicorn. He notices other representations of the unicorn displaying their clearly male gender. Tesa pushes a small snuff box open, pinches a bit and puts it before her teeth. “Krrf...a local poison. Sort of a cross between hashish and cocaine. Welcome the the Vulgar Unicorn”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"This place reminds me of the Green Griffin in Greyhawk City, the old one that is, before the fire burnt it down and Damien rebuilt it." He eyes the lady vampire and gives her a look at that says he felt her psychic contact and she should not do that again. He looks over the room and carefully brings up the pattern before his eyes as a lens to look through, making sure to remain subtle as he looks over the occupants of the room. "The last time I saw you, you were standing on a beach on Adledross and you seemed happy to be in Alex's company. I had intended to ask you to rejoin me as my traveling companion once we left Rasak. However, after seeing you with Alex I figured you had other plans. But seeing you here, now, I get the feeling things have changed. Care to tell me about it?" Realmer takes a Tankard off the wall and fills it with the dubious looking ale. He takes a swallow, expecting it to be exceptionally harsh and prepares himself appropriately for the flavor.

  • Michael James Watson

The ale is strong, potent as any wine. Possibly proofed with grain alcohol. A loaf of bread is dropped off in passing as if its tablefare. it smells strongly of Russian baked bread cooked in meant broth. "Alexandir is a force of Nature.. Like a tornado he ravaged me like flatlands. oh, he didn't take me by force really. He has a magnetism that is hard to avoid if her puts it on you. He wooed me and I fell hard for him. We kept it from the Army taking time along the way in private. He talked of making me queen of Tosa. I tried to avoid that but it was hard. Then i told him i was missing the plumbing for child bearing and he spent hours talking about how to reverse that. I was tempted... But it was all he talked about at the end. I realized it was all that was important to him. Fort told me of his other wives. How they have been barren. How he has one son, Caland. After centuries of trying including using technological methods. Fort says he thinks its a curse but none of the Tosians were interested in seeing Alex with a real dynasty but its all he thinks about. His legacy.. I told him i wanted no part of it.. at that he got...insistent.. I intend to stay clear of him till he finds a new playmate. Since I came to Amber at Gangdis' call I have had a lot of experiences. Its time for me to return to my roots for a bit."

  • Michael James Watson

"Not forever, nor really for very long. But for me to really accept what I've learned i need to use it in the places i was weak and dreamed of power.. Many things to do in this land alone for one such as me."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, that sounds like Alex all right; only interested in himself and his legacy. Alex is going to be a problem for many people, for many reasons, and for many years to come. But those are problems that we will all have to bear as time comes to pass. In fact, Alex has become a recent and hot topic of discussion amongst the King's advisors. There is much concern that he may make an attempt to conquer Amber and sire a king for her throne." Realmer takes a swig of the strong ale then continues. "I can understand why you are staying clear of him. And I can also understand your desire to get back to your roots and Center yourself, considering all that has happened to you in the last several years. I would hope though, that once you have done what you need to do and have found yourself once again, that you will seek me out and be my traveling companion once again. There are many things I feel you need to know, and I think it's just about time someone told you. And that someone is going to be me, and I'm sure I'm going to raise someone fire over it and possibly be punished, but I'm willing to take it." He takes another swig, then pulls out a cigar and lights it with a flame for his fingertip. He exhales multicolored smoke. "But before I tell you these things, there are a few things I would like to know first. The problem with your female Plumbing... are you sure there is actually a problem? I don't mean to pry too much, but, have you been magically or medically examined and diagnosed? Or are you just making an assumption based on the fact that you have never gotten pregnant? And this next one might be a bit of a sore subject, but do you know who your parents are? What have you been told and what have you learned on your own?"

  • Michael James Watson

She looks aside, then back, makes a hand gesture near Realmer's chest and does a produce of one of your cigars. He felt no sense of magic but more a trick of slight of hand, if the cigars were not magically protected they arrived. Lighting it with a cantrip. "Snikura had me spayed. The way they put it was they took the baby out of the playground. It can be fixed but I've no intention to do so. Its set up so even clerical healing and regeneration won't fix it. Shapechange would if i was of a mind. Snikura sometimes use sex to get at a target and a pregnancy afterwards would be awkward." She stands and walks to the hearth to an elderly woman, blind looking, and whispers to her. The woman whispers back. She passes over a few silvers into her hand and takes two small cast iron pots. Walking back over she pushes one across. She follows it with an iron spoon with a stone handle. "Beef. Mostly goat." She digs in with enthusiasm. Like food from her youth. "Parents. That's a riot... I know who claimed me. If he is my father or not is irrelevant. He is my patron spirit and I consider him thus. My mother was a whore of the maze. She could be Blind Nema there whose stew we are eating, or old Carly over with the soldiers surviving on handjobs for wine. Or maybe Ischade the Vampire bore me in one of her human periods and that's why she has treated me so well in the past. Of course i think she might be thinking of me as livestock for a future meal. I was catching rats as soon as I could walk and contributing them to the beggar's pots in Downwind. When i was old enough to respond to suggestions I had more money. If I had parents they were the street, Ischade, One Thumb, even a few of the Stepsons. The stepsons are why i came back here. Dolon is the commander of the Stepsons now. A puffed up merc. A sissy.. but he fronts the band. ah Stepsons are a police force from Ranke, the capital. Not really responsible to Prince kitttycat, the local Ranken governor. But 5 I know are in Service to Jubal, an ex-slavemaster and now the crimelord of Sanctuary. He had his men and those 5 stepsons make use of me for a week or so before my patron had me sent to Snikura. Once i returned i plotted.. I got a few of Jubal's hawkmasks but not all of them. Around then i met Gangdis and went soft for a time. Now, I'm home, and hard. I've debts to pay before I go anywhere. Savvy?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer tries the stew, recalling his days as an Apprentice at the University of Magic in the City of Greyhawk; though he was not copper-less, most of his monies were spent on Spell Components and magic related sundries, leaving little for food, so plain and simple meals of less than quality ingredients were no stranger to him. "Yes, I understand the need to payback ones 'debts'. And I will not prevent you from, assist you with, nor berate you for, doing what you need to do, however you need to do it. As I said, I understand the need for payback." He eats a couple of bites of stew then washes it down with the potent ale. "Since the Snikura have altered your reproductive system in a way to make healing and regeneration useless, then your current level of mastery over your Shapeshifting Abilities won't be enough to affect what they have done. And since you're not interested in fixing it, even advancing those abilities will not automatically fix what has been done, it would take some effort on your behalf to make it happen and stay that way. And in a way, I am glad to hear you cannot have children and do not want to fix it so you can; you will understand why shortly." Another few bites of stew, a couple more swigs of ale, he relights his cigar and takes a couple puffs then releases the Lynchpins for his Privacy Spell, making the booth they are sitting in completely impervious to eavesdropping of any sort, including Magic, Trump, Pattern, Logrus, etc. Another puff then he continues. "I just put my own Privacy Spell on this booth, so what we say now cannot be overheard or scryed; even if there was something in here doing so already. Firstly, regardless of who raised you or whom you consider to be your 'parents', your actual parentage is quite important. Critically so. I believe it's the reason why Alex has such a great interest in you being the mother of his child. I also believe it's the reason why Benedict has made you such an odd and generous offer; not to woo you, but to watch over you." Another puff, he refills his tankard and drinks, then puffs again. "Secondly, your mother is not of Sanctuary, or of the streets. She is of the Amber Royal Family, of the line of Oberon, a full sister to King Random; she is Mirelle. I have never met her, but it is said she is a frail and broken creature. She is charming, lovely, and outrageously funny. But she is also sad, suicidal, and for unknown reasons her dementia is untreatable. As I understand it, she was not mad before she met your father and birthed you, only after." "Thirdly, your actual father IS the man you call your patron, and much more than he lets on to be... and is quite pivotal to this whole matter. He is the son of Av Reet, actual first born, and fully legitimized, son of Oberon, but banned from Amber; I know not why. His son, your father, is technically still in good standing with Amber, and should anything happen to King Random and his son and heir, Martin, then due to a long and twisted line of genealogy, and rules for succession, and a few other factors, the succession to the throne could fall to him. But as I understand it, your patron is not interested in ruling Amber, for reasons unknown... but Alex, on the other hand is quite interested in Amber and in establishing his Legacy, and should he marry you, and you somehow bear his male offspring, that child could sit the throne of Amber. And that is why, I believe, so much attention is being turned your way." "Now, being that I am loyal to the Crown and Amber, I am supposed to steer you away from Alex, or anyone looking to rule Amber, for that matter, so that those circumstance cannot happen." "Being that I spent most of my early years as an Adventurer, and still tend to fallback on those tendencies and traits, when in doubt; I would advise you to always check for traps, keep a wide assortment of spells memorized, look up as often as you look behind you, and always carry rope... but otherwise, do whatever in all the Hells you want, life is short and there's not always a Cleric around. I've mellowed some since then." "However, as someone who has traveled with you, taught you and learned from you, trained beside you and fought beside you... and someone who has grown to care about you, and who occasionally wants to protect you from things, but never shield you from them... well, I advise that you first arm yourself with information, which I have just done. I felt it was important that you know 'who you are' so you can prepare yourself accordingly, and why there was the sudden interest in you by two very powerful men."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I also want you to know that I met your father, years ago on Adagalasck, at the Embassy on the North Stair. He introduced himself and told me he was your patron. He said I could avail you of your skills and train you as I like, but one day he would call for you, and I am not to interfere. He said you are his and he has plans for you. It was later that I learned he was you father, then later still who your mother is, then recently this twisted succession issue and your possible involvement. He also told me that if I wished to speak to him, I could whisper his name in the shadows and he would hear me; which is why I have not spoken his name and will not for the time being, as I do want want him listening in. I am sure this is all information he would be upset about you knowing." "Aaaand, I am reluctant to bring this up, but I think it's important as it's part of you and who you are. Before your mother went mad, she bound Gangdis to you in someway, to watch over and protect you. I'm not sure if that bond goes both ways though, but I noticed you are fond of the old guy... who's young again." "So, when you finish what you have to do here, I would hope you would still consider my offer to travel with me on my adventures; even after all I have told you. Not because I'm trying to manipulate you into doing or not doing something, but because I enjoy your company and your skills compliment mine well... aaaand... because I care about you. And because there is still more I can teach you and learn from you. Aaaaand, the look on your face tells me now might be a good time to finish my stew and listen." Realmer sets down his cigar and picks up the iron spoon by its stone handle and eats the stew from the small cauldron in front of him.

  • Michael James Watson

She sets the cigar down, casts the extinguish cantrip. Taking her Nasty Place knife out she slits the cigar lengthwise and opens it. Sprinkling the interior of the Urala cigar with krrf, she rolls it back then casts Mend on it. Lighting the tip with finger fire she inhales the now fortified cigar deeply for several puffs. The Smoke's color looks somehow sinister. “That's a lot to swallow. But I've swallowed a lot of things in my life. Not sure I believe you but I suppose the question is am I bold or foolish enough to try and prove it? My first question would be are you sure of all that? The Gray Man is a known trickster, the god of thieves is not above lies to further his cause. But it would seem a foolish thing to lie about if he spoke to you. And you don't need to worry about mentioning his name. He watches me.” Inhaling a few times she concentrates on the knife, twisting it through a few hand passes. After a few it shifts shape to a thin blade and thin handle, an assassin's blade similar to her Snikura blades, a thing for easy stabbing and throwing. She seems a bit startled at the Shapeshifting blade but examines it pleased. “well, that's interesting. I was told the knife could take other forms.” She ponders. “Gangdis came along at a time of my life when I might well have been swallowed whole by this place. Snikura die violently. I was about to embark on murders when he first showed up. Then he took me to another shadow where my talents as a thief were more useful then my skills as an assassin. I was in that world, so similar to this one, for a decade till he came to get me and bring me along on your adventures.” She inhales. “I have debts to pay. To you. To Gangdis. To the Grayman. To Benedict. Maybe even to Random. She casually throws the knife to stick in the support post quivering, a thought and it comes back to hand to be thrown again and recovered again. She pulls her satchel up and fiddles into it. Removing a deck of cards she starts going through them. She pulls Mirelle's card and another. The deck is clearly one of the ubiquitous non-magical copies found in gift shops all across shadow, the lesser copy of the deck royals have of the King Random's Deck. “Maybe to this Mirelle. And to this man.“ She puts a card up of a man in Italian dress. “Do you know this man, Giovanni? The book says he is a full brother of Mirelle and Random... He rescued me from a fix. When Jubal's men had me for a week. He came in to the warehouse laughing, saw me. The men threatened him and he laughed. He waded into them and killed probably 20. The 10 or so who escaped are the ones on my list. 5 I have taken.. leaving the 5 hawkmasks and the 5 crooked stepsons. I owe this man too. He gathered me, took me to the Church of the Ilsigi Gods and left me in their care.” “So...Debts. Lives owed and lives due. Which first? Curious though.... This is my Sanctuary. Barely a month has gone by since I was spirited away by Gandis. All my debts are fresh. Its as if time went slowly while I was away. Knowing what you tell me, could that make this 'MY' shadow?” “Say it is. Say I decide to leave the debts here to brew awhile. I would want to come back after a time to be sure time passes slowly when I am gone from this world. If what you say is true, I think only one thing will prove it. Walking the pattern. DO I have the courage to test that on your say so and on the word of the Gray man? Will Random let me? Or will you sneak me into a pattern someplace else in shadow? At this point, I only half believe you.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, that was a lot to swallow. And I know how you feel; I also had a lot of twisted family information come unto me after I had arrived in Amber. And even more after visiting Adagalasck... our family has a lot of that. And I understand you not believing me; you have trust issues. In fact, our whole family has trust issues. And with good reason." "As to my sources and the information, most of my sources on this matter I would consider to be reputable and the information from those sources I would consider to be factual; I don't believe I was misled. However, at least one of my sources on the matter may not be as reliable as the others, but the information I gained from that source was mostly corroborated by my reputable sources." "As far as any debt you feel you owe me, consider it paid in full, or nullified, or whatever you like. I didn't do the things I did for you because I was looking to be repaid or to garner favors of any sort. I did them because I like you and I want to see you succeed in life, and so that you would have skills and abilities to defend yourself when needed from those who would try to use or abuse you." "As for Giovanni, I have never met the man personally and I know as little about him as you do. As for this being your personal shadow, that is entirely possible. Especially considering that time seemed to move more slowly while you were gone but then seemed to speed up once you got here. The only way to know for sure is to test it. When you leave this place, keep in your mind that you want time to move very slowly compared to Amber, spend a little time away, then come back. Then, you could try to speed up time here, leave and then come back again. That should give you the answer you are looking for." "And you walking the Pattern... I was considering that before I came here to tell you these things and I am still strongly considering it as we speak. It would help you be better armed to deal with powerful issues and powerful people as they come into your life. And, it is your Birthright. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised you haven't been brought into the family fold yet. But there could be a reason for that. Perhaps it's because most of this information may have only recently come to light. In fact, that could be the whole reason I am here with you now. And maybe the reason I was told all of this information." Realmer ponders this a moment as he finishes his stew then relights his cigar and takes a few puffs. "I am considering taking you to the Pattern of Ambir, a failed shade of Amber but with a fully intact Pattern. Only two people have access to the Pattern Cavern there; it is sealed with no possible way of accessing it without using transport Trumps, or Pattern transport. Those two people are me, and my grandfather, Dworkin... your great-great-grandfather. I'm know I will catch hell for doing so, but I would like to take you to Ambir to see if you are capable of walking the Pattern there. You should be able to, being that you are of the Blood of Barimen. But the choice is yours alone to make."

  • Michael James Watson

“Death on a fake pattern and death on the real one is just as dead. So I shall just say this. Conf has told me that if I die I shall become much like he is; a ghost, a phantom. So if you lead me astray, Amberite, I shall haunt you for a very long time!” She smiles playfully. “Perhaps your necromancy will resurrect me though. So in the mean time we...” She stops talking and looks toward the door as a dozen men in red tabards enter the Vulgar Unicorn. One Thumb says loudly, “Pheres! I'm paid up with the Stepsons. Sync himself was in here yesterday. So your tab is open again.. Let me get a booth over on the west of the fire.” The rugged man in black hair and beard with the red tabard says, “I know Sync was in here. Why do you think we came here to drink, One Thumb? Your Fine ale? We want the black rum barrel and those chickens and don't fucking take your time with it or we'll see what kind of handjob you give with 4 fingers!” The men laugh and move to a large table and booth. A group of 6 more enter and walk to push a group off a table by the hearth, including the woman and 2 kids who quickly grab milk and pots before they came to the table. One of the later says “Hey! Don't go running off, Vicky! Come earn a few silvers.. Hell, Louse here will give you a couple coppers for the girl for a few minutes! I'm sure there is something she can do to earn it! ” The group laughs.. The ones at the table join in. The patrons of the hall start shifting away from the group as the group's drinks arrive. Realmer sees the look of death in Tesa's eyes he has rarely seen before. The first group laughs loudly among themselves. 5 of them stand and walk directly to Tesa and Realmer's table. As they do the rest of the red tabarded Stepsons turn to watch. One Thumb and 3 of his guards start to intercept them but are blocked themselves by the group at the hearth. The leader, the one called Pheres stops before the table. “Tesa, your bodyguard isn't here now. You are under arrest for murder. You will hang pretty.” Tesa growls, “You raped me for a week. That's a hanging offense too, Pheres.” He smiles, “You have any witnesses to that? I seem to remember giving you a few coppers. So its our word against yours. Wonder whose word Kittycat will take? Now, tell your girlfriend here goodbye and come along quietly for a nice easy death.” Tesa stands pushing the table out a bit. “No thank you. I choose a bloody messy death.” Her hand flicks and the Nasty Place blade sinks chest deep. The blade cuts through the munition grade chainmail. It pauses a moment before returning to her hand to return to stick in his chest. She leaps up pulling the table, to ride the edge up, leaping to throw her legs around Pheres and twist him in a Rasak karate move, pulling him to the ground beneath her. Two daggers in her hands repeatedly stab the dead Pheres in the eyes. A second stab to the the testicles with the Snikura shaped Rasak knife slide into the Stepson behind the dead man. Two non-Rasak Snikura knives fly into the eyes of a man on either side of the now neutered man. The rest of the stepson stand pulling short swords.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Tesa comments about haunting him, he playfully replies, "There is no one I would rather be haunted by." When she stops talking and he sees why, he knows there is going to be trouble, so he sends a thought to his familiar, who has most likely been hiding in the shadows of the rafters since arrival: ~Bob, trouble's coming; be ready if we actually need the help~ When the look in Tesa's eyes turns deadly, he knows exactly what kind of trouble it's going to be. He sends a thought to his Bone Staff, leaning against the outside of the booth within easy reach: ~Hex, when I draw my daggers, turn into a skeletal dog with glowing red eyes and come to my side, then await my command~ When Tesa's first dagger flies, Realmer instinctively reaches for his daggers, impressed by his newly trained reflexes. When the table flies up and Tesa leaps upon the Stepson, he stands quickly, draws both of his Nasty Place daggers, left held backhand, right ready to be thrown. He recalls that he said he would not get involved in her revenge, but it was 18 to 1... 17 now, and not all of these men were her rapists, surely... ouch, double ouch, 15 to 1, still rather an unfair fight... but he waits to assist Tesa in her rampage only when she needs it... However, if anyone tries to attack him, he will evade the attack(s), relying on his Invulnerable Robes to keep him safe if he is not fast enough, then he will kill the attacker(s) quickly, with precise and lethal slashes, stabs or throws, to critical parts of their body, using his intimate knowledge of the human body and his new Rasak training to their fullest.

  • Michael James Watson

Standing over the dead Pheres she kicks the stepsons on either side, the ones screaming with Snikura daggers in their eyes, solidly in the sacks making them fall and scream instead. Turning she says, "Ask them to surrender if you like, Partner. Two are off my list and none of the rest are here.. But they are a kind and us Wrigglies are just sluts and servants to them. And watch-out on the magic. That draws attention from the local Hazards." She moves to face the last of the arresting 5 duel dagger against short sword. He backs away defensively, but aware and armed, his defense looks good to Realmer as Tesa pairs off against him. The others are moving forward carefully. Realmer nots two in the back raising crossbows.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer focuses on the two crossbow men, he throws the NP blade in his right hand at one, then throws the NP blade in his left hand at the other. He throws each blade with great strength, aiming for the right eye of each man, intending to sink the blade deep enough into the eye socket to penetrate into the brain and kill his opponents. "Partner... I like the sound of that." He grins. "I don't think there's any point in offering them surrender, they don't look the type that would. Besides, this way is a lot more fun." He recalls his NP daggers back to his hands as he prepares for the next attacker. "I surely have missed death threats and tavern brawls." He lunges at the closest Stepson, knocking his short-sword aside with the NP blade in his left hand, and sinking the NP blade in his right hand deep into the man's chest, between the ribs and slightly upwards and inwards towards the heart.

  • Michael James Watson

One Thumb starts yelling "Take it outside, dammit!!! Rat, Scamp! Go get Sync now!” Tesa moves to face the on coming group. AS they move toward her she shifts, smashing a bottle to the ground emitting strong smelling retching smoke that quickly obscures them. She falls to the ground and lashes out with her razor edged knives slashing at the back of ankles, cutting tendons and muscles as well as destroying the integrity of two leading men's boots.

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer notices two men from the corner stand and throw two hands each of thin throwing knives into the obscuring smoke. Other patrons are quickly running for the door or up the stairs. A warrior on the second steps up, looking down, raising a crossbow and shoots into the smoke.

  • Michael James Watson

As the men fall in the settling retching smoke she slides over the fallen slitting throats and stabbing eyes. Realmer feels a presence of great magic beside him, though the sound it makes comes out of the shadow of a sconce and post, "Snikura..What think you Relmopator, seeing how the Snikura fight? Silently disable and blind. Poison. Distract. Cut tendons. Pierce manhoods. Break knees. The Snikura are assassins to be sure but more often then not they leave their victims disabled but otherwise alive so they will obey the commands of the order rather then face them again. She will make a fine Amberite."

  • Michael James Watson

The man Realmer killed falls aside and leaves the path to the left open for his movement.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer doesn't bother to look in the direction of The Voice, as he knows it is most likely Conf. Instead he focuses on the combat before him. The NP dagger in his left hand flies at the nearest man, sinking deep into his throat. As he moves to his left through the opening left by the dead man falling to the floor, he sends a thought to his bone staff, now in the form of a skeletal dog with glowing red eyes. ~Hex, move to the other side of the room and help those two in the back corner throwing knives.~ He advances on the next closest Stepson, slashing deeply into the wrist of his weapon arm, moving past him he stabs backwards striking the same man in the back or shoulder. He recalls his other NP dagger to his left hand as he advances towards two stepsons standing near to each other. He moves between them, evading their attacks and slashing for their throats if possible, their bellies if not. Then he sends a quick thought to his familiar. ~Bob, go outside and keep watch and let me know when their reinforcements show up.~ He then looks about for his next adversary.

  • Michael James Watson

four leave the smoke and move hard on Realmer. The two throwing knives throw another round then run toward the door to blend in with the exiting crowd. The Crossbowman pierces a chest of one of your four who stumbles but is still in the mix. Tesa slides out of the smoke, and grabs a shovel in the hearth and digs in, tossing scoops of hot coals. The smelly oil, both slippery and smelly, erupts in flames. Vicky reaches into the hearth and grabs cook pots and throws them into the smoky mess of soldiers trying to avoid fire, smell, knives, blades crossbow bolts, only to be hit by cook pots.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer rushes the four men. He evades and parries their attacks as needed. His movements are a blur as he repeatedly stabs and slashes at the four men around him, no longer going for the quick kill, now that their numbers have dwindled to a more manageable amount. Instead he strives for bloody, painful incapacitation. When the four men can no longer fight, he looks for his next opponents as he sends a thought to his familiar. ~Bob, any sign of those reinforcements yet?~

  • Michael James Watson

~Nothing yet. Spectators. Rumor flies fast. Wait... About a mile away. a trio of heavily armed men on horse. The bar runners are not half way to them. Must be magic that warned them.!~

  • Michael James Watson

The group scatters to avoid fire, 4 moving in Realmer's way shocked at the degree of bloodshed in a usually cowardly tavern in a cowardly city. The Crossbowman shoots an iron bar near the door with a metal twang that catches Realmer's attention long enough for a glance. He sees the bar fall into slots, barring the door from opening. By now the hall has emptied of disinterested parties.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa parries and moves to swing up a swordsman's right arm, slamming the needle tipped blade hard into the soldier's underarm evoking a furious howl and she yanks and mixes a Snikura move to press the blade into a joint and a Rasak move to swivel the arm out of its socket. The smoke clears quickly.

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer finishes his group and sees one standing before him in shock, and two near Tesa. One in plate armor under his tabard sits in the booth still, sipping from a tankard, watching. Ischade and her three companions sit at their booth still watching with interest.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer licks the blood from one of his blades as he stares deeply into the eyes of the shocked man. He makes psychic contact with him and then gives him a Psychic Command. "Drop your weapons and run!" Then he looks to the two facing Tesa and moves towards them casually.

  • Michael James Watson

THe man turns and starts to flee. Seeing the man in armor he stops.. Something passes between the and the man takes a seat in the booth. Tesa takes one, leaving the other for Realmer but a crossbow quarrel pieces the odd man out's skull, causing him to fall to the ground. She looks to Realmer with a bloody wicked grin unlike anything he has seen on her.. "Haha... Partners it is" Turning she looks at the man in the booth. Tesa says, "Balshir. Sorry about your men. But..." Ballshir raises his hand, "No need. I'm glad to be rid of them. Sometimes we can't be choosy, especially in this asshole of the Empire. The weeding out process is brutal but necessary. Submit a bill for your cleaning if you like. Though I have to admit you look hellishly tougher then you were the last time i saw you" "You walked out, letting them have me. Tell me why I shouldn't kill you?" He smiles, "Why? Because Tempus will be here in moments and you know how he feels about sweetmeat and rape. Who is your ah...boyfriend? Girlfriend? Where was the big guy with the fuzzy beard?” Looking to Realmer he says, "So, sweetheart, my name is Balshir. Second in command of the Stepsons under Sync and Tempus. Who and what are you?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"A bad man, and someone not to be trifled with. But you may call me Realmer." He cleans the blood from his NP blades with a Specialized Clean Cantrip, a hard flick of his wrists outward, before sheathing them both. Then a wave of his hand, head downward, Cleans the blood from his Robes. "The only reason you live is because she" his head tilts towards Tesa, "hasn't decided whether to kill you or not. Now that I know you were involved in this matter, AND responsible for the men under your command who were more involved..." he pauses briefly for effect, "any credibility you had went out the door with the bystanders. When Tempus arrives, he can speak with me about the matter, should you die before hand." Realmer mentally summons his Skeletal Dog (Bone Staff) to his side, then brings up the Pattern, not visible to others, and looks through its Lens at Balshir, then glances at the Lady Vampire and her companions, then back to Balshir. He leaves the Pattern Lens 'up', as he may want the vision or Power easily accessible later.... or sooner.

  • Michael James Watson

Looking on Balshir, realmer sees he is anointed and dedicated to a shadow god of some sort, able to draw longevity and powerful healing. He has some combat related protective magic but nothing major. His blade in its sheath is magical, probably deadly damage. The other soldier is devoid of all magical protections as were the others. Glancing at Ischade he sees her smile at his regard. He tells immediately that she is a vampire of a deep Chaosian form, possibly from one of the Black Zone worlds. Raised before her and only visible with the sight of the pattern lens is the sigil of the Woven Logrus, and a strong one. It holds several spells in the frame that appear defensive but a couple are elemental attack spells. She has some imprint you are unfamiliar, a strong low order one which holds a collection of resurrection abilities and create undead abilities. What leaps to Realmer's attention is a necklace she wears, looking like its around her neck, chaining down around her belly then to her ankles. Its has a Masoja Dufiro of Death and an Avasa Dufiro of Guard bound into it. His experiences and conversations with Reggie and Fort makes him certain of the Dufiro races involved. Balshir says, “Tell me Realmer, are you her Left side partner or is she yours? Is the Band new?” Tesa laughs, “No, its not a Sacred Band like you and Satin. But if it mattered I am his Left Side. He is of more rank then I by all observations. But in this world, I am the native. I've been traveling. I've gained much out in the universe. I'm back though. Tell Kalik and Danat that I am looking for them and they better figure out a way to buy me off. Tell them to tell Jubal I want 200,000 gold talens to call off the vendetta on him. Tell him what you saw here and what happened to Pheres' command. In the mean time, we will be leaving.” Balshir nods, “Very Well, Tesa. And Realmer, please come see me sometime so we can become better acquainted.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Balshir and says: "Unlikely; I only associate with quality people." He turns towards the vampire lady, makes eye contact, then bows his head respectfully to her with a smile. Then he moves to stand beside Tesa. "Ready when you are, Partner. Shall we use the door, or make a more stylish exit?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Lets use the door. There has been enough commotion. The crossbowman seems to have disappeared and i had hopped to chat with him." She moves to the door. Outside One Thumb is trying to talk customers down. She walks and turns quickly to get out of sight. Leading the way she moves into the shadows. Realmer notices a slight tinge around here making her less noticeable if in a bit of shade. Walking among the alleys and tight roads she walks up into an apartment building. Walking fast up 4 stories she moves to a door. Pressing on a hidden latch several times the door opens. Inside is a small room with a single bed piled with pillows and rumbled blankets, table. There are a dozen chests and a small cooking area. "Home sweet home"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Upon exiting the Vulgar Unicorn, Realmer touches the Skeletal Dog and it Shifts into a Bone Wand, which he slips up his left sleeve. When Tesa darts into the shadows, Realmer alters his appearance to try to blend in to the local scene and be less recognizable. His skin darkens into a deep tan, his hair turns black and his eyes look a more normal brown in color. He alters his Robe to look like well used, dark tanned leather armor but leaves the weapons the same. When they enter the room, he sends a thought to Bob: ~Stay out here and stay hidden; keep an eye on things.~ Since there are no chairs, Realmer sits upon a chest. "Reminds me of the room I stayed in after graduating the Magic Academy; minus the cooking area. Quaint. Now, what were we discussing before we were so rudely interrupted? Ah, yes; dying on the Pattern, haunting and Necromancy." Realmer chuckles as he pulls out two fresh cigars and offers one to Tesa.

  • Michael James Watson

She declines.. Walking to look over her meager pantry. "You know whats funny? Pattern, parentage, newly dead stepsons, Rasak, Amber, you, Gangdis.. and now that I am here, what do I really want? One of the small home replicator units from Vulsar. Priorities..." She opens a chest and withdraws a few glasses and a bottle, pouring a thick liquor. Then mixing water in it till it looks vaguely purple. It tastes like a malted berry drink. "I guess I'm overwhelmed. Its a lot to take in. But in a way its not a surprise. I didn't have a regular childhood. Nor a normal adulthood. There has been a lot of interference.. Hints. Conf has been watching for my whole life which means he let terrible things happen to me. You say i could walk the pattern, I believe you. I'll take the risk. What next?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Next, I give you a good look over through the Lens of the Pattern; to confirm something and strengthen both of our resolves. At some point, I might need you to lower your Psychic Defenses and let me in, but it shouldn't be necessary." He brings up the Pattern and looks her over quite thoroughly, looking for traces of Pattern, certainly inactive; if she is a descendant of Oberon, then they should be there.

  • Michael James Watson

"What exactly did you hope to see? Its well covered." Turning Realmer sees a tall man, with dark red hair in a purple smoking jacket and white suit shirt with light purple stripes holds a martini glass, smiling. He swirls a finger and another appears on the table. A chest slides over for him to sit. He waves to a chest for you. “She is cloaked as heavily as I can mange and you are nowhere near capable of seeing anything you had not seen before. But ask, and I'll answer. This time.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I was looking for traces of Pattern, to confirm her heritage. I don't want her destroyed, should she walk the Pattern." Realmer sits on the proffered chest, does not take the other martini, and does not lower the Pattern. "In person this time?! Hmm. Well Met, Conf. But will you answer truthfully? It matters not; what you say will tell me much regardless." He relights his cigar and takes a puff then asks: "Is she actually your daughter and an Amberite of the Royal line of Oberon? Will she live... in her current corporeal form, if she attempts to walk ANY Pattern? If she dies upon any Pattern, will she 'become a ghost, like you', or just be destroyed?"

  • Michael James Watson

She leans to the side and falls asleep. He chuckles.. "Conf? Close.. He's my grandson, on his mother's side. And sort of my son and niece. His genealogy is complicated as is my own. We are suitably far away enough from true Amber that i am not breaking my accord with your Random. My Random, my predecessor on the throne of our Amber, is currently driving a Mustang Shelby with one of the only surviving shadows of our primal Amber inscribed in its chassis. My Random is traveling with another of my grandchildren. Seek them as Hazarda and Timothy Elhue." He sips his martini till its dry. He takes the olive and eats it. An onion appears in the glass as it refills. "As for my great granddaughter. Her genealogy is more complicated then most. As Oberon knew, the more generations the more likely madness. Though my bloodline has a head start on that. Here." Handing a parchment over to Realmer. "The Green are your Amber side. The Purple is my Amber side. The blue are primal beasts. the gray are shadow dwellers. And at the tip of the funnel of madness is sleeping beauty over there."

  • Michael James Watson

"My estimation is that she is eligible to walk your Amber, My Amber, my Plymouth, my York as well as the symbol of the Wind the Djinn revere and the Waters of the Elephant and the attunement of the Grove of the Unicorn and at least two Jewels of Judgment. And its your intention to test walk her on Ambir, Dworkin's Forge."

  • Michael James Watson

"Want a stronger drink?" He pours out a line on rose colored pink powder and inhales it. Shaking his head, looking around as if trying to surprise shadows. "Yes.. yes.. its Bat Country ahead for her. Oh, and she is heir to Conf's shadowjacking powers and his connection to the shaded places of the multiverse."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I beg your forgiveness on the confusion of identity; I had assumed it was only Conf that was watching and listening to Tesa. So, that was you in the shadows back at the Vulgar Unicorn and not he." He pauses a moment, looking over the parchment. "Then, Well Met, Tolknor; a pleasure. I am Lord Relmopator of Amber... but I'm sure you already know who I am. A very interesting lineage; two different Realities, three Primals... and I thought my lineage was odd. And that is a lot of Imprints and attunements... I'm a bit jealous. And yes, it was my intent to take her to the Pattern of Ambir; I felt she may need the Powers from the Imprint to protect herself from Alexandir or Conf or others, until I could get her to walk the Pattern in Amber." "But now I'm thinking I'm just being played and that taking her to Ambir is exactly what... you... Conf... others... or perhaps even Tesa, want to me to do. Perhaps I shouldn't take her, for her protection."

  • Michael James Watson

“Fair point. But let us be clear; She will need to walk something first. Manipulation, second guessing, blind ambition and arch-villainy aside someone is going to be pissed wherever she starts. If you think you are being played, well, that's true in many different ways, we all are after all. So assuming everyone has their agenda where does her best path lay? Her paths in York are open to her. Plymouth is a squiggle, my first failure realm, and is a potent construct. Akin to Regor or Azcala in Power and scope but on a lower level. Ambir is anon the most pure of the true Amber shades because of the reasons for its creation and differentiation from the true Ambir. Its proximity is why Dworkin does his artifact creations there. The Pattern of Amber is a good choice but it will announce her presence to her kin unless she walks a minor shadow of it like Vulsara or Diega, or even Cynasure. My Amber's shadow in the Shelby can't be walked by anyone who does not already have the imprint but other versions of it such as the one at Fantalin might work."

  • Michael James Watson

"The grove, the wind, the water, all are in her future but not as first imprints. York is open to her and available. So when it comes to where to take her you will advise her so where do you think she should go? Given paths to all of them are open if the price is right."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I think her best path lies in Amber; the strongest and most pure of Sigils. After that, it should be her decision if she wishes further Imprints or attunements and what they should be. It was my intent to use her Ambir Imprint as a stepping stone to the Real Thing. Once I know she can walk the Pattern I will speak with the King and get permission for a proper Imprint. I'm not sure why hiding her presence is so important, but a slightly lower Imprint is possible, for sure. But Ambir is the only one that does not have Pattern Guards, so no need to sneak, payoff, subdue or kill... then, perhaps Fantalin, if Amber is out, for a more pure Imprint. After that... give her time to get used to her Powers. Then when she asks, should we still be traveling together, I will advise her of her options and help her research each... but she will make her own choices. I am not looking to manipulate her for my own or others agendas."

  • Michael James Watson

"Ambir certainly has a pattern guard. A very good one. You have never seen him because he knows Dworkin gave you not just permission but its stone. He respects your ownership of the shade. When you go there next. Call him out"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer puffs on his cigar, then reaches over to the table and takes the drink that Tesa made for him, the purple one, and drinks half of it down. Then puffs his cigar. He still has not dropped the Pattern and is still studying both Tolknor and Tesa. Though he is being blocked, there must be something he can read or gain from studying them.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You know much, Tolknor. Do you know his name?"

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes. I agree that Amber is her best first path. Her connection is more direct. Her York side is even more complicated then that parchment due to my paradoxes."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Then it will be Ambir, to get a foothold, then... Amber or Fantalin. So, what is your interest in Tesa, if I may ask? And why now? Or is our conversation the only reason. Familial and Parental love and caring are rare, and rarely sincere, in my Family, for sure... I'm sure it's similar in your case."

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, she has a great ass....

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer laughs out loud and says, "She does indeed." Then continues to chuckle as he puffs his cigar

  • Michael James Watson

He walks to run a hand in her hair. “The fact is that I'm always concerned about how the genealogy of powers works. One never knows how they will manifest. Some mighty powers appear with no reason. A function of the blood of chaos is what i assume. I am a founder of realms, as is Dworkin, and we can't be sure. Conf's shadowjacking is an example. I have no idea how it generated. But is it hereditary? It seems to be. I had a son who was born incapable of walking my pattern. Died on it. Oberon's first brood is full of nightmares with unrepeated powers. Born undead. Mindless power channels. Affinity to spiders. Fleece.-Powerful and cunning but with an animal mentality....Oberon and I spent a long time together, with Adrian, trying to understand it." Walking back and settling down onto a chest. “Tesa has a large collection of issues not the least being linkage of three Primals. She seems to have inherited shadowjacking. Its developing slowly but as with Conf it seems instinctive. There is a degree of fuzzy to her sometimes when she moves in shadow. Conf can transport across shadow by stepping into shade. He can hear his name spoken in shade. Of course he has a million years or so of experience. Tesa will take time developing the skill and as her partner i would guess you will be able to help her develop hers.”

  • Michael James Watson

"There are a few dangerous members out there I don't understand. Timothy Elhue has an affinity to music. He is a paramount guitarist and is wildly good at nearly all musical instruments, but he also has a developing ability like Conf's where he hears things spoken while music is playing. Ghost is a son of Deirdre and the Serpent, so a child with the potential of an Oberon, Satura, or Hagalta. Lark Harooon. Houk-A hooka and an extraordinary mimic. Vek-a product of the Benedict-Lintra project is a snap Shapeshifter and has observational memory that is beyond the norm.. All powers I don't quite understand. And a cluster more. Hagalta. You. Your sisters. Your mother. "And most unfortunately...Tonacat. That's a major problem as you can imagine. I don't know how or when and even my time vision and time travel can't pierce the veils around him but he has walked the pattern of Amber. He has a power equal to Oberon. But he is not of the line of Dworkin. Yet, he walked the pattern of Amber. He walked the one that now resides in Vulsara while it was deep in the abyss during the eon he was locked out of Azcala. If that makes him an anomaly or if that makes all the Azcalans able to walk the pattern, i don't know."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"So, now what, Tolknor? You wanted her to walk a Pattern or the Pattern, you knew what I had planned... so why are you here? Now?"

  • Michael James Watson

"As an aside, you should know Conf has walked the pattern of Amber. His daughter should have no trouble with it."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks thoughtful for a few moments, then speaks softly, as though he is half-way lost in thought. "And now you have come to me... to gauge me??? To influence me??? To advise and inform??? Perhaps all or none." He looks less thoughtful and more focused. "If you've come to gauge me, then I tell you truthfully; I have no agenda for her. I have no ulterior motives. I like her company and her skill-sets and only want her to travel with me when she will and to train her in what she wants to learn that I can teach and to learn from her. And yes, the more she wants to learn from me the more she is likely to travel with me longer, thus I get what I want... but I am not trying to influence her. She goes where she wants, when she wants... even more so if she walks the Pattern." He chuckles. "And if she wants the Imprint of the Pattern, it is her Birthright, so she should have it. And it is good to know for certain she can walk the Pattern... and that Conf has already." Realmer nods his head towards Tolknor and finishes his purple drink.

  • Michael James Watson

He laughs. “Oh you have an agenda, my dear. If it is only to see her not manipulated it is still a worthy one. Sadly I am about to manipulate her fairly strongly. So far I have only watched her from afar. Conf and I argued when he sent her to Snikura. I told him it would only make her more likely to be harmed rather then to keep her safe, but he is her father and I am just a meddlesome old grandfather. He and I have spent a lot of time arguing over the years. Its one of the reasons he was never part of my Camelot. He was always a bit apart. “ He walks to Tesa and places hands upon her. A warm sense of magical energy floods the room. He steps away after a moment. “Be strong of bone and sinew, Daughter of York. Breathe in water and grayish smoke. Live in the fires of the earth and the vacuum of space. Let your hands hold great powers and fear no possession of them. Know that you are loved by your meddlesome grandfather. I mark thee, Tesara of York. Let your foes fear thee and your friends adore thee.” Tesa rolls over in her sleep. Returning to his drink, 'Now you. I came to regard thee and I have. Indeed you have many a complicated path to walk ahead of you. They look like millions of tangles vines ahead of you to me. If I am to influence you I do it only by word. My accord with Oberon stands even though he rests. I shall not put foot to his realm or hand to his kin save those kin to me. So here are the words I give thee;” “There is a squirrel in Azcala. It is trapped by its own folly. Even Primal Beasts can make foolish choices.” “You have a sister who is deeply involved in folly herself and she will drag the Fea of Amber and of the Adask into folly with her.” “It was I who spoke to thee in the Vulgar Unicorn. I saw that her nature was going to come into its own there. While I disapprove of the Snikura I see now Conf was right to send her there. It suits her nature. I saw that it was time for her to receive my blessing and I chose to allow you to witness it.” “Conf's paramour Pakaloa may have been Mirelle. Even I am not perfect and much about Conf's own powers keep him obscured to me, apart from me. If she was then it was at a time when her own madness was enough to obscure her face, her place, and maybe even her bloodline. I am a connoisseur of madness and would like to see her in the flesh. I may be able to help her. But Random keeps her locked up in the dungeons and I can not lay hands on her there.” “Tesara can walk the pattern because of Av Reet and he will know when she does. He is a creature of a mercurial nature. While not precisely evil, his actions might be seen as such. Beware of him. Let him not come to Amber. Meet him in shadow if he must be dealt with. It will not offend Oberon if he is slain and his mother will not come to defend him. Isara who bore him perished and the primal Djinn is someone else now. It is fortunate when she passed that Av Reet did not take on her mantle. He would have ruled in Amber by now had he become the Primal Djinn.” 'Lastly, call out the Pattern Guard of Ambir. It will amuse me and annoy him. He is one who is wound so tight a surprise invasive high colonic could not relax him. He could use some annoying.” “Ask me one last time if you like. I shall try to answer. But quickly because Tesa awakes soon and will not remember sleeping and must not know I blessed her. She must not know what passed between us.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I thank you for your information and candor, Tolknor. But as you say; we all have agendas, benevolent or malign, so I can only take you at your word. And since you can see things in Time... let me ask; Will Tesa get pregnant and will her child sit the throne of a conquered Amber? And is that Amber, MY Amber or yours? I was told of a Vision that several people had when they sat the Oracle of Night and now I wonder if what they saw was not exactly what they think it is."

  • Michael James Watson

"I see paths that lead to her sitting Amber in some state. It would be best if I kept my hands off those vines till they concern me. Alexandir desires her because he too has sat oracles and seen her. He spoke to me of her the first time he saw her in Amber. I looked in and saw the collection of vines that tangle into her. Its a pity. Alex is cursed. He doesn't know it. He will have only one child. If I must i shall take Alexandir in hand. I have also told Random what Alexandir's True Name is.. However, the vines do not require that the child be his, just that he rule through him. One strong branch though is clear, it will be entertaining and I imagine will make Random very nervous and me very amused. Should it occur, or one of many vines near it, my accord with Oberon will be satisfied. I will have a hand in the blood of Oberon's Amber even as he has blood in mine. Tell me, has she ever been in the presence of Prince Martin?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Not that I am aware of. She has never mentioned him to me." He pauses and gives Tolknor a playful smile. "I see some of those agendas popping up." He chuckles and stands, then bows respectfully. "Again, Well Met, Tolknor."

  • Michael James Watson

"Well Met by Madness. Rose Tints my world, keeps me safe from my trouble and pain." As he fades a sense of him moving in a manner Realmer has never seen. Glimpses of Tolknor in many shapes and forms, as he time travels from the world of Sanctuary.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer says, "How unexpected that was." Then smiles and looks over at Tesa then waits til she wakes, then he will study her a bit, before speaking.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa rouses, "I must have been more tired then I thought. I had the most curious dream. It was like one of those flat illusion shows. Movies.. But.. really strange music.. A morality play about aliens and ....its fading... time is fleeting... Was I asleep long? Did you sleep too?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You nodded off as I began the exam; you were only out for a few minutes... guess the adrenaline high wore off and you crashed. And no, I didn't sleep; I just finished and now know that you can walk the Pattern in Amber. However, I think we should start with Ambir; that will get you a toe hold to a greater Imprint later. I will certainly catch hell for this, but I believe this is the best way; hopefully the least amount of hell to pay, because it is Ambir, and a greater chance of getting you a more pure and powerful Imprint after catching said hell. So, what say you, Partner? Are you ready to dive in? Or would you like a day or two to think things over?"

  • Michael James Watson

"More reason to move then stay. We want to gauge the time thing. I think if we..." She stands, stretches her arms, inhales deeply. ”I must have slept well I feel... great. Refreshed. Maybe having two off my list is a weight off my mind. Especially since one was Pheres. The sooner we are off planet the less likely we are to have local trouble anyway. Lead on."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Gather what you need then stand close; we are not Shadow Walking or Trump Traveling. Place your hand on my shoulder when I say. Bob, get in here; we're leaving the special way." Realmer brings the Pattern to mind then walks it, focusing more on the subdued Imprint of Ambir that lies beneath the more powerful Imprint of Amber; when he reaches its center, he pulls out the Ambir Jewel and focuses upon it, upon the Pattern within its depths... he walks its Pattern as well, then once at its center he speaks softly. "Tesa, touch my shoulder." When he feels her touch, he transports himself, Tesa and Bob to the Cavern that houses the Pattern of Ambir.

The Pattern of Ambir, Finndo & Falsehoods[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa quickly grabs chests and tosses them into a small bag at her hip. A gift. She clears the room, even throwing the blankets and pillows into the bag of holding. She locks the door from the inside. Gripping Realmer's shoulder she and waits for the traveling. Upon arrival she looks around carefully. Seeing the pattern she walks near it, examining it from a distance. "Are you sure about this?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Now that we are here, I am having some slight reservations, but not enough to deter me. Rule number one; do not step upon it anywhere but its beginning." He points. "Rule number two; do not step upon it until you are ready. Rule number three; once you step upon it, keep moving forward; do not stop or turn back or try to step off it until you reach the end at its center." He points again. "And for now, keep a distance from it; there is more I need to tell you to prepare you for what is to come once you begin the walk." "But first, there is something I need to do." Realmer looks around in the darkness surrounding the Pattern, he still holds the Ambir Jewel in his hand; he calls out: "Guardian of the Pattern; show yourself."

  • Michael James Watson

From the back of the cavern in the alcove used for sleeping a shadowy figure moves. "Why? You've never needed my help before"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Because I would like to meet you, face to face. Since I am entrusted with the Jewel for this Pattern, I think I should know its Guardian. Come forth, please."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer bows respectfully to Finndo. "Well Met, by Magic and Pattern Light, Cousin. I have been here many times and never detected your presence... but I'm sure that is how it was intended. I merely wanted to know who the Guardian is and pay my respects. If I am delaying you from your duties, or you wish not to make conversation, then I will leave you be and get back to my business." Realmer bows again. His tone is respectful and he is being sincere.

  • Michael James Watson

Walking from the dark is a very tall man, possibly over 7'. Thin but muscular. He wears a purple and black robe. Belted with silver. A drinking horn hangs from it and a quiver of wands. Long black scraggly thick black hair. heavy brows and piercing blue eyes. Relmopator immediately recognizes Finndo from portraits in Amber. He says in a deep commanding voice. "Well?"

  • Michael James Watson

"My duties are to assure no one walks this pattern. What is this caterpillar you have brought with you? Think you to take her past me obligations? I feel your desire, Cousin" Realmer feels a heavy presence lay upon him as Finndo presses his psyche on him. It feels like slow marshmallow encapsulating him. A fear on his nerves makes him wonder if he dare use powers of his own. Finndo walks to Tesa. Realmer looks to her and sees her eyes wide with shock and fear. He raises her with his hand casually, floating in the air. He approaches and looks her over. He stretches his fingers and she flies to press against the ceiling incapable of moving. Walking back, the marshmallow feels lessened. "This creature is a Djinn of the blood Amber. That's Av Reet. Are you insane bringing this creature here? Anywhere near a Pattern? I should rend her to threads and reassemble her as a potted plant. Do you doubt I could do this if I chose to do so?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I do not doubt it at all." And he IS telling the truth. "But why is her being of Djinn descent and her walking the Pattern such a bad thing? Her father did it? And would you mind taking her off the ceiling, Cousin? I'm sure you can keep her incapacitated down here with us. I had planned to consult with our Grandfather before she laid foot to Pattern... had you not interceded first. But something tells me, he and or others may be on the way here now. If not, then I would like to call Dworkin to help sort out this convoluted matter."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Though his Psyche is boosted by his Attunement to and possession of the Mandalay Stones, and he is holding the Jewel to the Pattern he stands next to, thus giving him a whole host of powers and raw power to draw from... he knows better than to mess with an Elder. "I'm sure you know, I was brought here by Dworkin out of some sense of obligation and a need to give me powers to protect myself from those that would seek to use or harm me. He did this, I think, because I was different; because of my bloodline, because of the different and unknown powers I might one day possess, because of the Visions seen by those who have sat this oracle or that one. And I am trying to do the same for her, for Tesa... because she is different, because she needs the powers to protect herself, because it is her Birthright as it was mine, as it was yours, as it is for all of Dworkin's descendants. And perhaps, because I feel some sense of obligation... because she is different... like me."

  • Michael James Watson

Finndo releases the marshmallow feeling, and it feels like a mountain lifted off him. As he feels softly about he feels his feet will not move, nor arms raise and his access to powers is restricted still. "I know why Dworkin brought you here. You don't." He walks to run his fingers through Tesa's hair. "She has quite a collection of powers in potentials. But what Amberite doesn't. Still, Av Reet was trouble enough. His son swore his powers to never step foot in Amber as an adversary in war. Will this caterpillar do the same?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Give her a chance to speak and find out. If King Random felt comfortable enough to let her attend Rasak, perhaps he feels she is trustworthy... or at least not a threat to Amber."

  • Michael James Watson

He scowls and evil wizards scowl... "That wasn't the reason she was allowed to Rasak. Now Child, tell me what a big bad monster you are." Tesa falls to the ground. Standing drawing her Snikura blades. "I am done allowing liberties to be taken of my person without vengeance." He smiles, draws out two long hooked knives. As he walks his robe shits to a loincloth and a gladiators shoulder harness. His body is covered with scars and colorful tattoos that shimmer with embedded magic. "Now, no life taking. That would be unfair since all I did was restrain you." They start to circle, Tesa lunges and sinks her knife deep in his crotch. Moving for a arm slice he drags a blade across her chest cutting her garb cleanly and sliding through her left teat.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer wants to stop it, but knows it would be pointless and most likely, he can't. "I agree with Finndo; no killing, for either of you." If Realmer can move his hands and arms, he pulls out a Trump from up his right sleeve; his Trump of Dworkin and attempts to make contact. If he is still restrained and Power Blocked, he will simply watch and perhaps add commentary.

  • Michael James Watson

His Psyche feels bound tight. But he feels attention on Dworkin's trump without his effort. Finndo parries a stab and grabs her shoulder, pinching, freezing her in place.

  • Michael James Watson

He says, "Well, Done, youngster. I stand chastised for my mistreatment. Now, let me release Lord Relmopator. Take the dagger in your left hand to him. It has my blood on it. You might want him to make use of it. In the same way i shall make a bane against thee and if i ever need to use it, it will cut through your powers like butter, Djinn or not." He shifts back to his purple robe, walking off chuckling.

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer feels completely released. Finndo takes his horn out and drinks from it. "Now, as for her walking the Pattern. Feel free. Dworkin told me you both were coming and he gave you permission to proceed. However, do you wish to walk the Pattern of Ambir or the Pattern of Amber? Both are here."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer moves to Tesa, to check her wound; if it is bad and she doesn't have Healing or Regen magic, Realmer will lend her Satura's Ring for a few minutes to Regen her wound. Once her wound is tended to, Realmer will step away from her and draw out Dworkin's Trump, keeping the face away from Tesa. He is sure the contact will come quickly; he speaks only mentally when it comes, he does not want Tesa to overhear. ~Grandfather; I need your advice. Since I have access and permission for Tesa to walk THE Pattern, that is what I think should happen. But I was advised that if she walks Amber's Pattern, it would draw unnecessary attention from kin, so I was also advise for her to walk a lesser Pattern but something greater than Ambir. Do you think it wise and or safe for Tesa to walk Amber's Pattern?~

  • Michael James Watson

~it is safe.The choice is having walked Amber, amber is a lesser initiation. Your first was Ambir. Finndos first. Your choice.~

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

~Thank you, Grandfather; that helps. I had heard that The Squirrel has gotten himself trapped in Azcala; thought you might want to know. I will be seeking out Grandmother in the near future, after I attend to a matter or three... I'll speak to you before then.~ He breaks the contact and focuses his attentions on Tesa. "Are you alright, Partner? Good enough to listen to some advice about what your experience on the Pattern will be like? So you can mentally prepare yourself?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa nods, looking uncharacteristically rattled. Finndo moves to another alcove and it opens and is infused with a low light, enough to see. A low round table with a purplish brown leather chair, love seat and sofa. A couple bowls of some kind of small round pastries is beside a pitcher of something dark red and several glass. A scattering of wands are on the table with one held in a rack as if it was being worked on. Finndo takes the main seat, picks up a pastry ball and waves casually to the other seats. He takes the wand from the clamp and puts the blooded knife in the clamp. Picking a wand from the scattered collection he places it against the blade. A soft light glow from the pair and a running line in red moves slowly around the pair for the next couple years. Finndo leans back to listen to Realmer talk to Tesa. (The walls are of course rough hewn stone)

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer explain to Tesa what to expect when walking the Pattern. He describes the sensation one feels while walking the Pattern, the rising Sparks that continue to get higher as one progresses further along the Pattern. He explains the resistance she will feel, and how it will increase as she approaches each Veil, and how the resistance increases even further as one gets closer to the center. He explains each Veil and what she can expect as she enters and exits each. He explains the flood of memories that she will have, and warns her not to get too distracted by them. He advises her to constantly focus on forward movement, to keep focusing on lifting one foot and placing it in front of the other regardless of whether she feels like she is standing still or not. He again warns not to leave the Pattern or attempt to turn back. He explains that the ordeal will drain her physically and mentally, but the true key to the pattern is Willpower and constant forward movement. Finally, he warns her to strip away any low order magic items she has on her person before walking the Pattern otherwise they will unravel and she will lose everything. Realmer then chuckles and relates the tale of him first walking the Pattern in Amber, forgetting that he was carrying much in the way of low order Magic upon his person and how he lost everything. He tells her that most high order magic items should survive the Pattern Walk, but not all. He indicates that her NP dagger should be fine to take with her.

  • Michael James Watson

Finndo points to a small box, unremarkable among the magical clutter. The top flips open. Realmer sees 4 fresh decks of King Random Trumps in the Family box. "Give her two"

  • Michael James Watson

"Of course if she walks Ambir she can only use them to communicate."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

He take two decks from the box, then hands them over to Tesa. Then he looks to Finndo. "Why two decks?" he asks. As he watches Finndo fiddle with his knife and wands, Realmer recalls something he wanted to try. So he pulls out his red Mandalay Stone, then draws the NP dagger given to him by a Vulcan. He looks the dagger over, to see if there is a place he could set a stone. If so, he will attempt to press the red Mandalay Stone into that socket. If there is no socket, he will simply try to press the stone into the pommel or into the cross piece. Benedict had told him that the blades are designed to take on additional Magics, and Realmer wonders just how malleable they are.

  • Michael James Watson

Finndo shrugs. "Its always good to have a spare. Here, take the other two." He hands the remaining two to Realmer. Raises a hand to pause comment. "Watch" Moments later 4 fresh decks materialize. "They come 4 at a time. Where did you think they came from?" When he presses the Mandalay stone into the depression in the pommel, the stone slides into place permanently. The stone that had been pressed in at Rasak fades into the blade, joining its powers. Taking the time to wonder about the blade he feels through his conjuration skills that the blade will manifest powers as the owner so desires(spends points) within reason. While the blade is crafted to Deadly damage he thinks it would not be hard to add other characteristics. The blade seems Accepting.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

In response to Finndo's question, Realmer replies: "A large storage room in the dungeons of Castle Amber halfway between my laboratory and the Pattern Chamber." While still fiddling with his dagger, he raises just his eyes to look at Finndo, then he smiles playfully. "Just a guess." He chuckles and shrugs. "I'm sure if you were to ask our grandfather he could give you a more definitive answer. And depending upon his mood will determine whether it is a snarky answer, a short answer or my personal favorite, a long and drawn-out highly detailed description." Knowing the powers of the Mandalay Stone, Realmer urges the dagger's blade to Flame with a touch of his Psyche. He smiles like a child with a new toy, then extinguishes the flame and sheaths the blade. Realmer repeats the same process using his NP dagger and the blue Mandalay Stone. Once it is set in the dagger, he will urge the blade to chill, to test his work. Then he will sheath that blade as well. Once he he is done playing with his daggers, Realmer will focus his attention on Tesa once again and ask her if she understands what is to come when she walks the Pattern and if she has any questions.

  • Michael James Watson

"And... when the time comes... Mirelle is in the dungeons of Amber, held there for her devoted brother by the pattern as a favor to him. Your cousins had some trouble gathering her up once upon a time. Speak to Desri and Doria about that but its ancient history now. You could speak to Vance but i imagine the callous prick would require oral encouragement to be helpful. He is who locked the door on Mirelle and your uncle Random gave him the only key so he would not be tempted to free her. You have powers in your blood, Tesara, but never forget, you have Chaos in it too." Tesa frowns, "Tesara? My name is Tesa Resa." Finndo says, "You may call yourself that. You may call yourself whatever you like and you will. Amberites have many names. But your Father and your mother named you Tesara when you were born. You were born in the dungeons of Eldimior on the world of Tosa. A particularly vast underground city fallen into disrepair and inhabited by orcs, bugbears, Drow, undead, and gelatinous cubes as well as dwarves, humans, elves, and halflings. Its quite a place. And anyone who has spent time there will tell you that Conf rules it. His dwelling is at the deepest levels of the place where people know not to delve. In that place he put you on the Alter of the Known, next to the World Stone, and named you Tesara. So quibble about what you call yourself but your name is Tesara of Tosa. Your grandfather recently named you Tesara of York and did so in front of Realmer while you were under a potent sleep spell. Your grandfather and Realmer had a fine conversation while you slept. You can argue with Random what your trump will look like but i imagine it will be this one." He passes a trump over to her. "I know that because i drew it. I especially like the smile and the hair. That's not magical yet because you haven't walked the pattern. Once you have, I'll put that card in the box there by itself. When the 4 decks generate they will include that card. So will all the other decks the box, or its two twins, created as well as the non-magical ones found across shadow. Welcome to House Barimen."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I know how you feel Tesa; it was similar for me when I first found out about my heritage. Though I was raised by my grandfather and grandmother and my mother and stepfather, though I didn't know he was my stepfather at the time, I was not told anything about my true Heritage or the powers that I could inherit as a Birthright. Then grandfather disappeared, and grandmother left, and then my mother was kidnapped while I was away from our home. I later found out it was my father Hagalta that kidnapped her, but I didn't know that at the time nor that he was my father. When grandfather returned he took me to a shadow of high magic filled with mythological creatures. I still didn't know who I was, genealogically speaking. I spent many years learning to be a low order wizard. And though Dworkin had left a large amount of coin behind to cover the cost of my schooling, it did not last long. And I soon found myself a copper-less Adventurer on the streets of Greyhawk City. Many decades later, Dworkin came for me and then told me of my Heritage and the powers that I was about to inherit. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked by all of this and it was very overwhelming at first. But once I realized the great potential that I had and the long life I had before me, I embraced it and have made the most of it since that time. I'm sure you will do the same, Tesa." "Now you have a choice to make; the pattern of Amber or the pattern of Ambir... both of which are here, according to our cousin there." He points to Finndo. "If you walk the pattern of Amber, you will gain your full powers. But, you may draw some unwanted attention because of it. Most likely from your kin. If you walk the pattern of Ambir, you will get most of your powers, will be able to walk another pattern later to get your full powers, and may avoid that unwanted attention. But the choice is yours to make, Tesa. I can only advise you."

  • Michael James Watson

She looks to Finndo, "What do you advise?" He scowls, " Fish or cut bait, bitch. You're an Amberite now. No sense in doing things by half measures. Everyone of consequence will know what you do the moment you step on either. Hell, Random will probably show up himself, the sneaky little shit. Dworkin is watching us now." He looks up at the ceiling and flips it the bird. "And everyone else will know the next time they check their decks. Some people check them while drinking their morning coffee or having their morning blowjob. You will too I bet because you are a smart cookie. Get the big imprint."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Finndo and nods his head up and down approvingly. "I like your candor, Cousin." He turns to look at Tesa. "In light of what Finndo just said, I agree with him; no half measures, walk the Pattern of Amber. If walking either will draw attention, then take the most power you can and deal with the consequences later. And I advise sooner rather than later... you're wound is fully healed now by Satura's Ring... and other than a quick scuffle, you're fully rested. You couldn't be in better condition or better prepared and primed. Unless I've missed something..." Realmer leaves it hanging the barest of moments then quickly adds: "Oh! Be sure to leave all your Low Order Magic items here before setting foot on the Pattern, if you want to keep them that is. And please leave Satura's Ring too, but you can take the NP dagger and the Trump Decks; they will survive the trip... as well as any non-magical items and weapons." "When you reached the center, the end of the Pattern, you will be able to teleport, once, anywhere you want. I want you to teleport back here. I know you will be tempted to go someplace you've never been or a place you want to go back to... but you will be exhausted from the ordeal when you're done and have no knowledge of your powers or how to use them." He turns to Finndo: "Did I miss anything important? Any last minutes tips?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa says, "Its all a bit overwhelming. I've been a gutter rat surviving on crumbs my whole life. My inclusion in the Snikura was a boon of Conf and he has done the same for others. Child of Conf was always sort of an sarcastic phrase thing like Servant of the Ilsig, or Prince's Bastard.. To find out i was really a daughter of the Patron of Shade is overwhelming in itself. When Gangdis started hanging around me at first i put up with it because he fed me. I kept expecting the hummahumma and his nod to the bed room. I'd have gone.. By then i liked to old geezer drunk.. When he brought me to Realmer i thought I good chance to make a fortune. Now..To be an Amberite myself.. Hard to believe. Say what you like, i feel a tiny part of me expecting to die the moment i set foot on the pattern.. It won't go away till i reach the end"

  • Michael James Watson

“Amberites have had many childhoods. Yours was rough. So was Caine's. Hamilton watched his world burn in war before coming to Amber then returned to it.” “The pattern is already in your blood. Its been waiting to be awoken and when you were first brought to join his entourage,” casually waving a hand at Realmer, “it was no accident. Nor was it strictly speaking fate. Call it a mother's love if the mother happened to like making dolls come to life for her tea parties and then forgot to send them back to being dolls. She was raised in Florence at a time of great change. Its why Oberon sought out his great wild Italian love in a time of intrigue and passions. There Paulette, a creature of giant passions and surprising devotions, was waiting for someone able the handle her madness and her wickedness and her bliss. A neglected Borgia, friends with Michelangelo, Di Vinci, Cadlevos, and the Medici. It was a time of change and Paulette's madness was part of the the whole pageantry of the time. Oberon played courtier and Condottiere . The Visconte Oberto di Solva, with his wife Viscontessa Paulette di Borgia, their children the bold Conte Giovanni di Solva, and the twins; Barone Caeser di Solva and Baroness Mirelle di Solva. And let us not forget the Viscount's two bold captains Sir Caine di Constaniople and Sir Gerardo di Normandia.” He stands, looking the ancient pensive wizard, the type that cast shadows to become Gandalf and Sauraman both. “Your mother and Random had a time as gutter rats though it was their choice. They drove Oberon and Giovanni mad escaping from their estate and living with the riffraff and the gamblers and the musicians and the thieves of Florence, Rome, even Constantinople. Random dragged Mirelle on a trip to China as stowaways on the silk road. They had their ravages.. I think you might find your upbringing gave you many of the skills our new king has.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer takes one of the remaining glasses filled with Brandy, leaving the last for Gangdis once he arrives... then he sits, sips, then speaks. "You are an unusual man, Conte Giovanni; you call some of your family, some of them I know, by names I am unfamiliar with. And you claim to be a protector yet admit to failing at it. And you claim to be able to transport to them when they need, but were unable to get here by that power. However, I saw you in action as well at the Vulgar Unicorn and I believe you are doing a fair hand a protecting Tesa. And you did manage to get here, though Tesa is not currently in any danger. Yes, you are an unusual man indeed." "There are a couple of reasons you could not transport here; the nature of this Shadow and the will of King Julian. He left Arden to join his wife Nina here and through several political Maneuvers and machinations, he ended up being the king of Adagalasck. Mostly to prevent my father, Hagalta, from taking the throne by force. I was here then, as Amber's ambassador. I had Tesa with me, I hired her on as a traveling companion. One never knows when one might need the services of a skilled thief and assassin. And if you sensed that Tesa was in danger, it could have been what she was doing just before we came here, and you certainly would not have been able to transport to where we were. She was walking the Pattern. And now we are here, taking some rest in a safe and secure location, before I begin her training in her new powers."

  • Michael James Watson

He frowns, picks up a pastry and eats it. "No. That should do. Give me your equipment and I'll meet you at the center." Leaning back on the chair he raises a hand. "I'll make one more suggestion but its purely esoteric and probably not important since you are a thief, not a wizard. The Pattern here has certain, as I said, esoteric differences. It is what practitioners of the true craft call 'Wild'. It will fight you hard but once finished will be more powerful a tool. You should enter it with no distractions. No knife. No cards, no magic jewelry save one thing if your patron allows-the stone of Ambir he carries. Walk bare. No shoes, no garb, they may be destroyed anyway. Just the bare stone in your hand. Gain all you can of the power of this dangerous imprint or else why bother? Many of your kin took the Dungeon mark and like a well whipped horse it serves them well. " Standing quickly he walks to the far side of the cavern and strode across the pattern to the center. He removes a stone on a chain. Realmer sees and senses it powerfully in his Attunement that the purple jewel, cut in half, is a first shadow of the jewel of judgment. With a wave of his hand the usually tame Ambir pattern erupts in fires briefly. Showing it's True Wild form. He point at the start and nods. Tesa a look to Realmer uncertainly.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks at Tessa with a big smile on his face. "Being a Power Monger myself, I say go for the gold. Walk the pattern of Amber and take the wild imprint. And yes, you may carry my Ambir Jewel of Judgment to gain more power." He slips his hand into a pocket of his Robe and pulls forth a large green jewel. "Once you're ready, strip down and I will hand you the Jewel. Then clear your mind of everything, then set foot on the Pattern at the beginning right over there" he points, "and then immediately bring your other foot onto the Pattern and begin your walk. Do not be concerned about the fires or the light or the flood of memories or anything around you. Remember, focus only on putting one foot in front of the other and constant forward movement."

  • Michael James Watson

She akes the stone and nods. Sreping to the start she disrobed. Her fear shimmers and appears in Finndos arms. She inhales, calms herself, then places her foot on the pattern as it bursts suddenly it wild colorful fires.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Once Tesa begins walking the pattern, Realmer knows he has done all he can for her and all he can do now is watch and wait. He moves back to the sitting room area, and sits upon the love-seat facing the pattern. Then he pulls out his Trump of Fort and positions himself and the card in such a way that Fort will only be able to see Realmer and the chair that he is sitting in. He focuses on the image on the card then makes contact. "Fort, something came up and I will be delayed getting to you. Maybe up to about 2 days Amber time. I know you said you had a few things to take care of before we go to find the Masons, so now you have a little more time. Or you can start without me and I will join you on the road."

  • Michael James Watson

"Tesa glows as the fires of the pattern rise around her. Her form seems to vibrate as she takes slow deliberate steps. Her form seems to have running fires course paths around her. He hair seems to swirl in colors like her hair dyes. Finndo watches intently, with a craftsman's skilled eye. Raising the half stone to his eye he watches her through it. Time passes as the spectacle continues. Finndo looks over to Realmer beckoning him to join him at the center and opening a path over the pattern.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stands and walks over to Finndo to stand at his side.

  • Michael James Watson

Floating over the pattern he sees the fiiery differance between the wild pattern and the tame ones he had seen before. He lands as Finndo dispels the bridge. "There are a couple Wild patterns left. This one is protected by the fact it manifests under the Ambir pattern. When they merged it was a catastrophe for this world. The Royal family here had only breed up to Borlak. Or as he was called here, Birtac. There was magical war among the small family and only two survived. Bela, a female version of a young Benedict lives in a Black Zone world called Ang Ri. Olo, a shadow of Osric runs a Newsstand in Nenton, Antheris under the name Jim Torrio. They bear the scares of the death curses of siblings 2 siblings, their mother, also and Ambirite, and Obiryon, their father. The Collision of wild and shade patterns drove them mad and gave them access to terrible powers. Soon after Dworkin and I came here and i have been based her for the most part ever since. MY wife is up one of the paths you could not find. We watched you every time you were here. Your protégé is quite magnificent. Such potential. If she choose to try and conquer York or Plymouth let me know. I'll come fight sword and wand. We won't win, but York could use a good long shadow war. Ah..she approaches the final vale." He hands her equipment to Realmer. "She will need these.. Of course the pattern wouldn't have harmed any of that stuff" He chuckles." I just wanted to get a good look at her."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer turns to Finndo and says, "Well, that was kind of sneaky and opportunistic, you dirty old man!" Realmer turns back to watch Tesa as she approaches the Final Veil. "And thank you for the additional history lesson on this place; grandfather had told me some but not everything."

  • Michael James Watson

"I am not a dirty old man, child. I am the rightful king of Amber and if I want to claim Regis Lus with this piece of cuntmeat I can make you stand there and watch. Doubt me not. And the lessons are not free." Tesa falls to the ground after stepping off the pattern. She shimmers and fades from solid to gas to solid again. He reaches down and takes the Ambir stone from her hand. "ah, my sweet new born Djinn. If my wife was not the jealous type i would take you in this moment. Alas she is. Av Reet, my ancient foe, feels your birth. He will come to consume you, take your power as his own, and leave your corpse for the Eater of the Dead. Face your foe young Djinn, as your father once did. He is a Riddler." Turning to Realmer, "It was a pleasure to meet you. Take young Tesa here where you will. I empower the pattern to transport you. You have studied the pattern but when you become a master you can retain your transport. Walk the pattern, then trump away. Then at some time later, call on the pattern to transport you. I can ask the pattern to allow even your sweetmeat here to retain a transport if you take her away. Or to ask the pattern to transport one I brought to the center. Now. Take her and go before I decide to take something else from you in payment for your edification." He puts the chain of the Ambir stone around his neck and tucks it into his tunic. "You have my permission to depart"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer drops to one knee and covers Tesa with her shirt then whispers, "Are you alright?" then physically checks her vitals; breath, pulse, temperature, pupil dilation, etc... his medical skills and Rasak training kicking in. Once he can tell she is alive and breathing, he sets her clothing and belongings in front of her then stands and faces Finndo, looking him in the eyes, then raises one eyebrow. "THAT" Realmer begins, pointing with the index finger of his left hand and looking at the place under Finndo's tunic where the Ambir Jewel hangs on a chain, then returns his gaze to Finndo's eyes. "Is not yours to take from me. And even though no one has told me as such, somehow I know you are going to tell me that it was yours, before it was mine. But it was not you who gave it to me, it was Dworkin. He entrusted it to me and until he, and he alone... or King Random, tells me otherwise, that Jewel will remain in my care. Please, Finndo; return the Jewel to me." He holds out his left hand, palm upwards. "I know you out-strip me in every possible way; I'm sure you could send me off to some hellish Shadow, or permanently turn me into a toad, or thrash me within an inch of my life with weapon or barehanded, or any other number of malicious things... or even end me outright, in any number of ways. But this is not about any of those things, is it? You know you're wrong and that the Jewel is not yours to take, but you want to see how I'll react. Will I wimp-out and contact Dworkin to fight my battles for me? Or will I stand my ground, regardless of the odds?" Realmer smiles while still looking Finndo in the eyes, hand still extended palm upwards. "Do your worst, or return the Jewel." slight pause "Please and thank you."

  • Michael James Watson

He smiles, "Polite request rather then a threat? Perhaps manners is a trait of the Verna line because it certainly isn't common in the Unicorn line. I recognize it is yours and title does not pass but I need it for a time and you can manage without it. But I'll make you a trade and its not open to negotiation. Your baby djinn needs safety to embrace her new powers and so do you. Dworkin sealed you off from yours for stupid reasons and since I'm mad at him currently, and don't much like the rest of the family either ill break that bond. With the Arden Stone back in play after everything Oberon did to get rid of it you'll need them. Adagalask is a place Av Reet would never go; too many way to trap him. The ease with which a stair realm can be sealed would terrify him. Find a tiny one and prepare it in case he is bold enough to risk it." "You have a experience with Dufiro, which is interesting since their use is rare among Amberites and common among Chaosians. If you try to find a djinn teacher you will find most in service or in adoration or in fear of, Av Reet. Seek a Masoja of Air. They are intimately connected to the Djinn in many worlds, often interbreed with them, and are often confused with them in many shadows. Most Masoja of Wisher did time with Djinn as Elementals and spirits of air. But dealing with Wishers is extraordinarily dangerous and tricky. Of the Dufiro though, Nur Al-Din might be most helpful. He is Tosian and though he is kin to Tolknor and Conf he is not in service to either. When the child has some control over her power come back. Use the pattern to get here because I will be sealing it off in a moment. Now...go." The feeling of transportation occurs.

Back in Adagalasck, High King Julian, Giovanni di Silva[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Suddenly Realmer, Tesara in his arms, is on a dark balcony over looking a city under bright moon. Standing he feels he is in Adagalask. To the side he sees a woman in a lounge chair, sleeping. Tea steaming in a samovar. Cookies on a plate. Satura looks peaceful. A guard stands at your arrival but you recognize each other. He nods, picks up a pike and walks by, "I'll be outside if she needs anything, sir."

  • Michael James Watson

the Guard says as he reaches the door, "Oh, and the King said if her ladyship had any visitors he wants to know so I will report to him in a moment. I suspect he will come directly"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer wanted to make a parting comment to Finndo just before transporting; something along the lines of: "My manners are a personal trait, not a family one." But they disappear from the Ambir Pattern Chamber before he could make such a comment. Upon arriving on the balcony, Realmer feels the familiar crackle of energy that is Adagalasck and he breathes a small sigh of relief; this place feels more like home to him than anywhere else ever has. Realmer smiles and nods to the guard as he departs. Realmer places Tesa's belongings on the ground next to an empty lounge chair, then does his best to dress her then places her in the lounge chair to rest. He brushes back her hair and gives her a peck on the forehead, then whispers, "We are in a safe place, for now. Rest well, Partner." Realmer turns to gaze upon his mother, a sad little smile crosses his lips. He is pleased to see her and happy to see her at peace, which is such a rare thing. Realmer pours himself a cup of tea then turns to look upon Tesa once again. By his own choice, he has never been involved in a romantic relationship nor has he ever truly been interested in one. And aside from ritualistic sex, he has only had a few sexual encounters in his lifetime, again, by his own choice. But as he continues to stare at Tesa, and thinks about the time they have spent together and how his caring for her has grown, he begins to wonder if that might change. He sips his tea and awaits the arrival of his cousin Julian, the King of Adagalasck.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa rolls as moved, Looking up uncertainly. Automatically she feels her belongings and slips them on, as if its a morning ritual she grasps to recover normalcy. She looks up at Realmer with eyes heavy with sleep, "Is it always like that?" then her endurance gives up and she falls to an exhausted sleep. She cradles her pair of new trump decks and her NP Snikura dagger. Picking her up he places her on a lounge beside his mother. As Realmer looks at her there is something out of focus about her. As if she is slightly blurred. As he watches she comes into clarity. He realizes somehow she was instinctively trying to shape change into smoke, a thing he knows is beyond him. He figures it must be a racial trait. She comes into focus as she sleeps. Satura mumbles in her sleep, "oh... Oh Hagi... Hagi... please..." Half an hour passes till the door opens admitting Julian. His appearance surprises Realmer a bit as he is in a loose silky kimono with the patterning of the lake grasses in brown and green. The black hakama is a contrast. He is barefoot but carries a wakazashi and tanto on his left side. His black hair is tied back and braided down the back. A thin white scaled belt seems to Realmer to be where his armor really is." "Cousin... I've been waiting for you. Its been awhile. Do you want to stay here or go across the way to the dining room? Ah.. Who is that?" Pointing to Tesa.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer idly brings up the Spiral of the Winds and checks the spells Hanging there as he contemplates new specialized spells. He is loathe to drop any of the Major Spells Hanging there, but one was common enough as to be expected by an opponent and thus possibly countered, so he drops Stone Binding, opening up a space for a new spell. Then he says the lynchpins and releases the Resplendent Refreshments spell and fills the table with a variety of bite sized delicacies varying in flavor from subtle to bold, and in spice from mild to zesty. All appear on fine porcelain plates with small plates of the same design sitting empty in a small stack on the edge of the table, with small forks and fine linen napkins beside. Realmer is hungry for good food, after all that time on Rasak and Adledross. He grabs a tiny delectable at random and pops it into his mouth while pushing aside the Spiral aside and bringing up the Pattern. He drops three spells Hanging there; Defensive Material, Invisibility and Sleep. He then pushes the Pattern slightly to the side and carefully brings up the Sigil of Paragon next to the Pattern then carefully transfers Dispelling Screen, Disintegrate and Time Stop from Paragon to Pattern. Then he pushes aside the Pattern, carefully brings up the Spiral and transfers the three remaining Major Spells from the Spiral to the Sigil of Paragon, freeing up the four slots he needs for his new spells. He pushes both of the Sigils aside and pops another tasty treat into his mouth, then a few more in a row. He contemplates a new Power Binding Spell specific to Tesara's bloodline, useful against her father and grandfathers... and her if needed. And he contemplates the use of her blood to Summon Nur Al-Din, considering he is kin to Conf and Tolknor, he is kin to Tesara... it might help. He knows he would need a tiny bit of her blood for the spells and the summoning, but he will not take it without her permission, and he has no intention of waking her now. Realmer sits back and sips some more tea and eats some more food as he contemplates what Finndo meant when he said Dworkin sealed him off from his powers and that he would break that bond. Grandfather had told him that his Grandmother Verna had sealed his powers... but Dworkin was known for twisting the truth, as were most of the Family, no matter which Line of Dworkin one was from. Realmer sets down the cup and withdraws the Yellow Mandalay Stone from a pocket of his Robes and holds it to his forehead, centered on his 'Third Eye'. Then he centers himself for a moment then focuses his Psyche upon himself to determine, if he can, if something has changed or is different in some way, grand or subtle. Later, when Julian arrives, Realmer slips the Stone into a pocket, stands and bows. “Majesty.” he says, just to get the etiquette part out of the way. Then he smiles and says, “Julian, it's good to see you. It has been awhile for me as well. I like the new look." Julian will note that Realmer's 'look' has changed as well. His Robes are less voluminous and of a lighter weight material, but still the same patterns and colors; dark gray with dark red and dark purple trimmings. He has traded his fancy tooled wide leather belt for a weapons belt with a long sword on his left hip and an NP Dagger with a Red Mandalay Stone in its pommel next to it and another NP Dagger on his right hip with a Blue Mandalay Stone in the pommel and his customary Scrimshawed Bone Wand sheathed next to it. His hair is also pulled back, but loosely with a simple leather tie at the neck. "That” he says looking to Tesa, “is the newest member of the Barimen Family. Allow me to introduce you to Tesara of Tosa, as named by her father and mother, Tesa Resa as she calls herself. Daughter of Conf and Mirelle, granddaughter of Av Reet and Elanna, great granddaughter of both Oberon and Tolknor... beyond that it gets complicated. You may have seen her at the Embassy on the North Stair when I was assigned there, though she spent most of her time in the city exploring while I was working; she is a friend of Gangdis and I had hired her to join me on my travels. Check your Trump Deck, she might already be in there... she just finished walking the Pattern, which is why she is exhausted and sleeping... and because of a few other reasons dealing with her specific family line. And I would prefer we stay here; I'd like to keep an eye on her myself and it is pleasant to see my mother, even if she is sleeping. I have plenty of snacks and could Conjure up some drinks quick enough.”

  • Michael James Watson

"Beyond that it gets complicated?!" He chuckles, “That's a complicated mess of a genealogy. Conf and Mirelle? I've never met Conf but the rumors of him abound. Nor have I met Tolknor but I certainly know the Tosians in CHAD. What's Random got to say about her? Mirelle is a sore subject for him. Hey, does that mean Giovanni is finally in Amber? He and Random quarrel about her. Be nice to have him on good terms. He's a hell of a great-sword fighter but he is is one of the wickedness crossbowmen I ever saw. Nearly Flora's equal in archery. You know, having been in the dungeons so long, that Mirelle is in one of the sealed prison areas for her own safety. It took some doing getting her there. Some of the Cousins took care of it. Desri and Doria, Vance..." Taking a bite of something he motions to a seating group off to another side and walks over and takes a seat. "Its good to see you. You are a lord of the realm of course but I shan't require your fealty. That would be complicated too. I imagine Random would have something to say about that. We spoke recently and he's going to be coming here officially. I would guess Random wants you to check in with Roth. He's angry at me of course but we came to terms after both our failures to acquire the Arden Stone." Looking over at the ladies he says," Tesara....Conf, Av Reet....Nina told me just now that a Djinn had entered the realm. She is preparing for battle. Some ancient rivalry. I sent her a thought just now to stand down. Of course she can stay as long as she likes. As for Satura, Nina and Emilie have sorted out some ugly magical linkages but can't get all of it. She sleeps a lot. Hagalta has tried summoning her a couple times. Apparently Tonacat tossed him out of Azcala and now he is building a force of Black Zone troops. Plays at being some kind of messiah with me as the arch devil keeping his queen. Xorax is creating an army of power armored space marines. Xorax's mother Uxtrasa is leading the remnants of Hagalta's orcs and Adasks out in the east. I've left them alone but something will need to be done before Hagalta and Xorax unite and come here. Satura has a claim on the loyalty of the Adasks that Uxtrasa is assembling so that could be useful. The Adask are a loyal people and you being her might vie for their service. Your advice would be welcome."

  • Michael James Watson

While Julian speaks Realmer is casually aware or a tumbler of water by Satura's table. Thinking on it he feels the presence of several fountains nearby. A taste of water tells him how moist the air is. Considering it he feels the lake below the city and rivers feeing into it. The lake opens into an inlet that reaches wider then rivers out to the ocean beyond. The sense of water is strong on his mind for a moment, slightly distracting but more curious then demanding. Giving it a thought he feels the vines on the walls, decorative plants nearby. Floral displays are growing rather then cut flowers. Below is a massive well tended herb garden nearby. Rosemary and Thyme fill his nostrils as Julian talks. Looking out he feels a rain storm approaching, from the south a day away.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer moves to the other sitting area with Julian, then has Bob Trump all of the snacks from the table by Satura over to the table he and Julian are sitting by now. He is intrigued by these new senses he seems to have. He believes them to be the Fey powers that Finndo unlocked for him. Though he wishes to investigate them further, he knows that they are distracting him from his conversation with Julian, so he pushes them aside and focuses on the conversation. "Well, for starters; Yes, Random is aware of Tesa and her genealogy. Just before leaving the Nasty Place, Benedict had a conversation with me and gave me a considerable amount of information regarding Tesa and her line. Then upon arriving in Amber, I spoke with Random at quite some length on the matter of Tesa and a few other things of concern. While at the Nasty Place, Tesa got involved with Alexandir kos Korag and Benedict informed me that it could be a problem. After speaking with Random, he informed me of a Vision he had while sitting the Oracle of Night and in that vision he saw Alex as a conqueror of Amber and Tesa's child sitting the throne. Because of this, he had some concerns and wanted me to check in on Tesa and possibly separate her from Alex if needed. But apparently she had already pulled herself away from him as his desires and goals are not hers; especially those regarding bearing his offspring and continuing his Legacy. And even though she is incapable of bearing children because of what the Snikura did to her, Alex says it can be fixed... but she has no desire to get it fixed." "I met Conf a few years back just before we both attended Rasak. At the time he told me he was Tesa's Patron and that he had plans for her and that I should not get in his way. Just recently I met and spoke with Tolknor and he spoke at length about her and his side of her family; he played the role of doting great-grandfather, but somehow I doubt his altruism. Very shortly after that, I took her to Ambir and she walked the Pattern. And to be honest, I believe I was guided or even manipulated into doing exactly what I did. Even though no one told me specifically to take her to the Pattern and have her walk it, I get the feeling that's exactly what Random wanted. I know it was what Tolknor wanted." "As far as Giovanni is concerned, I have not met the man nor seen him around Amber. But with this recent change to the family dynamic, it is possible we may see him soon... especially if Tesa decides to visit her mother." "As far as Matters of the Crown are concerned, Random has given me a century of leave and told me that he has nothing official for me to get involved in. But he did inform me of a lot of important matters and that I may have to get involved in regardless of my leave status... the matter of the Arden Stone and the Fey being but two of them. I will speak with Bill Roth at my earliest convenience." "In regards to Hagalta, the last time I saw him he was in a secure cell in the dungeons of Castle Amber. I brought him there myself from the Oracle of night. Though it is entirely possible that he escaped somehow. Regardless, the matter of his forces and Xorax's forces gathering is a matter of concern. As is Uxtrasa's gathering of forces here in Adagalasck. Those forces loyalty to my mother could indeed prove helpful and I will do what I can to help out here." "But, to be honest, I was sent here, specifically, by Finndo as a defense against Av Reet. It is entirely possible he will try to come for Tesa and steal her powers. Finndo advised me that Av Reet would most likely not come here because of the ease with which he could be trapped in one of the small realms off of one of the Stairs here. It was my intent to find a tiny little realm and prepare it just in case Av Reet comes for Tesa. And, Tesa and I are both in need of some time to come to grips with our new powers. Apparently, Finndo unlocked some powers that Dworkin or my grandmother sealed away from me at my birth."

  • Michael James Watson

Julian nods. "Its a power of a master of a Stair to trap people in them. If a person is in their presence they can be transported to a stair realm and sealed. Even now i have a dozen realms ready in case i need them. As for Uxtrasa and the remnants of Hagalta's clan I am not too concerned. Xorit, a Odaraxta war chief i believe you know is in fealty to me. If I need to I can send him against Uxtrasa but i hope to avoid it." He takes a nibble and ponders, "Av Reet... Most of us knew to some degree about the First Brood. Had we been inclined we could have put the pieces together before Maylon arrived with the Heirs and Spares book. I knew of Av Reet. I knew of Adrian though thought him dead. I certainly knew about Elfwine though by the time i was an adult he was long gone. I ran into him open occasion. Being on good terms with the Fey Court I spoke with Tatiana many times. Its not spoken of a lot but my Rangers have intermarried and interacted with the Fey since the beginning of the order. And of course my wife and my sister-sister in law is a full Fairy." Standing and putting hands on the rail, looking out to the city below. "I ran into Av Reet in my youth. Barely managed to escape. Listening to Benedict talk about the First Brood it makes me feel lucky to have survived. Creatures with direct connection to certain forces of creation. For all we know we can access those kinds of powers but Oberon blocked our abilities. Between you and I think Dworkin and Oberon blocked many of our powers from birth. Fiona, Bleys, and Brand became powerhouses fairly easily from the timeline of the rest of us so i always suspected they broke some of the bonds holding their powers back during their time in Chaos." "As for Giovanni, he and I fought together long ago. A fairly simple man with simple ideas. He believed at the time that Random had slain Mirelle. I never found out why. Other then that he was pretty straightforward. A lot like Gerard. His crossbowmanship was extraordinary. And a hell of a drinker. His trump doesn't do him justice."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head and looks contemplative for a moment. "Can that Stair Trick be used anywhere, or just here in Adagalasck? Meaning, do I have to be here in order for it to work? And is it only specific to the Stair one is attuned to or all four? I have a personal realm off of the North Stair, and I am familiar with a few other small Realms off of that Stair that I was considering for the Trap."

  • Michael James Watson

He smiles, "It works anywhere in Adagalask. But you have to be the Stair Lord so, there are about a dozen of us who can do it. Not just being attuned to a stair. Sorry. It helps if you are king. Want to see it work?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I'd love to" he responds.

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer finds himself on a bright bleak desert under three suns. The temperature is in the 120 range.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and Shape Shifts to a bipedal Reptilian Form, more suited to high temperatures and exposure to intense sunlight. He looks around a bit and wonders if he has made a mistake and has allowed himself to be trapped... but then realizes Julian could have done it at anytime without his consent. He chuckles again at his paranoia. He waits a short period of time for Julian to recall him... if that is possible, then pulls out his Trump of Julian and attempts contact. If that fails, he will try to use his Advanced Pattern Teleport to get out, going back to the balcony. If that fails too, he will try a simple Teleport Spell. If that fails, the will try using the Spiral of the Winds to get him out.

  • Michael James Watson

A year later Realmer feels tingling like a trump call

  • Michael James Watson

Just kidding. An hour later he returns to the balcony. Julian says, " about a minute passed here. Some of the realms have wild time ratios."

  • Michael James Watson

He waits till Realmer shifts out of the Reptilian form to human form again. "Its strange, and not to derail us from what we need to talk about, but you are a lot more knowledgeable about this then I am, which galls me to admit of course. Becoming King here has led to some interesting new powers. My whole life I have rarely had much use for magic. I knew some tracking magic, a few healing spells. a collection of utility cantrips. I know a collection of power words to dispel demons and Elementals and such that i have rarely used. I had mostly forgotten my battles with Av Reet and his cadre of Djinn because i was usually using iron or steel weapons against them, not magic, and it was so long ago. I've lived among the Fey almost more then my own siblings and they have a lot of magic but I never really investigated it much. In my travels in shadow I spent most my time as a warrior, a hunter, even a scholar. I spent 30 years a a doctor and 30 years as a chef. 200 years as a mercenary. I even fought in a part of Borlak's great horde, keeping a million men and horse between myself and Borlak of course. But i only was a wizard for a few years. I attended a magic school on the Isle of Roke. But the magic there didn't work very many other places. So i learned a little low order magic but never delved into the high order sorcery or conjuration some of my siblings did." He fiddles with a ring idly. "But now... I've a crown that holds spells, Stairs and Winds that demand a wizards knowledge to control, out of self-preservation if nothing else. I have powers like tossing people into stair prison cells or across the world. There are wizards here who are split between eagerly serving me and meanly plotting against me. There are natural forces of the world and its shadows i must manage. And not to put too fine a point on it, I've a wife and a sister in law-sister who are deeply steeped in magics light and dark. Oberon purposefully kept us away from the study of high order magics. He discouraged magical experimentation with the pattern. Our instruction in the use of the pattern included telling us not to do things that we know now are just the things that we needed to learn. I couldn't raise the sigil of the pattern till i came here and Nina taught me how to raise the Sigil of Adagalask, then the Sign of Amber. I find myself bitter, angry at Oberon.. Hell, we didn't know that the crazy old wizard that wondered around the castle from time to time was our grandfather... He trained us to fail."

  • Michael James Watson

"Yet, Eric and Corwin both seemed to have abilities from time to time that were curious at the time and revealing in retrospect. Ok, Arloxedra helped Eric learn to use the Jewel of Judgment but Eric had a degree of magic before that. High Order Sorcery at least. Corwin had a way with music and i think he had music magic. He knew dispelling demon magic as well as water magics. Benedict may appear the warrior supreme but he knows a lot of magic as well. It makes sense that he learn as much as he could if only to know how to defend and attack it."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

After Realmer shifts back to his Human Adask form, he takes the pitcher of water and pours a large glass and drinks it down completely, then he sits with Julian and listens intently, occasionally glancing over at Tesa. He nods his head lightly with a contemplative look on his face. “We are all specialized in our own ways and no one can specialize in everything. I believe that all the Descendants of Dworkin, of the Unicorn Line and of the Verna Line certainly, have powers or access to powers that we are unaware of and that are possibly sealed away from us. After all, we are also Descendants of Primal Beings with their own innate powers and abilities that may be passed down and their own motivations for why those powers should be hidden and sealed away or explored and utilized.” He rewarms his cup of tea with a Cantrip, takes a sip then continues. “Where as your whole life you have mostly avoided Magic, the majority of my life has been nothing but Magic and Powers. I played with Cantrips as a small child in the highly magical Realm of Montagar, raised by Dworkin, Verna and Satura, but totally unaware of my heritage. Later, I became a powerful Low Order Wizard in another magical Realm, until Dworkin came for me and had me walk the Pattern, schooled me in Powers and Magics, and educated me regarding some of my heritage and family members. Since then I have been more of a Power Monger than ever I was. But I only dabbled, at best, in things not directly related to my magic, especially weapons and hand to hand combat, preferring to rely on Magic, Powers and the cunning use of my wit... though that changed recently. I felt it was time to diversify my skill sets and learn the ways of the warrior, and so I did, and then some.” He gives Julian a knowing look that anyone who had attended the Nasty Place would understand. Then he pops a spicy meat and cheese stuffed pepper into his mouth, chews, swallows, drinks a sip of tea then continues. “And so it seems, my Cousin, that you are in a similar position and that my arrival here is perfectly timed for us to be of assistance to each other. I am adequately skilled in training Magics having trained both Tesa and Sir Carston, and then thousands of soldiers on Adledross; all of whom now possess some form of Low or High Order Spell Casting ability. I will gladly teach you the ways of Low and High Order Magics, I will grant you access to my Low Order Spell Books, which should also give you all the inspiration you need to build your own High Order Spells. I will teach you how to combine your newly acquired Conjuration powers with other powers to Empower Artifacts and Creatures capable of Racking Spells, Conjure Artifacts and Creatures from you own blood with a measure of your powers and even blend your Magics with your other Higher Powers. All of which should be a good base for you to build upon and help you control your other Powers.” Realmer smiles, pauses to eat a bite of something that looked like a cube of fried cheese, then continues. “And in return, perhaps you can help me learn more about my Fey Powers; though I know they may differ from those powers of the Fey of Arden, being that I am an Adask Fey. Regardless of whether you possess any Fey Powers yourself, you still have intimate knowledge of the Fey and their powers and abilities, and I'm sure your knowledge and assistance will be most valuable. And perhaps you can help me keep on eye on Tesa while she learns how to control her powers... on the off chance Av Reet shows up. Perhaps we can travel the Realms of Adagalasck as she learns how to affect Shadow and we learn from each other; I could make some appearances and speeches showing my support, both personal and family, of your reign; it might take the wind out of the insurgents sails and shift a few loyalties. And if you happened to make some show or display of Magic, it could help reduce the number of Wizards plotting against you and perhaps increase the number who support you. I don't mean dropping a Fireball on your detractors...” he smiles evilly, "but just something to demonstrate your skills with High Order Magic; a Special Effects Teleport entrance or exit would work well." “Plus, while I'm here, the fast time ratio to Amber will give me about three weeks of time and help me keep my time table there... things to do. But I don't think we will need that much time; I know I am a quick study and Tesa as well, I'm sure it is the same for you and that you will learn enough Magic from my tutelage in the time I am here to form a strong base to build upon.”

  • Michael James Watson

"I will take you up on that to be sure. If for nothing other then to have you check me out with the things Nina is teaching me. If you want information on the Fey powers, especially Adask Fey, Emilie and her court are probably your goal. There are a few wizards in her group that might serve you well. During your time here as Ambassador i understand you only dealt with Emilie a few times. She is certainly mercurial. Contrary. Caine has had a strange effect on them in that they have taken to calling Emilie and Caine by the names Tatiana and Oberon. Its somewhat confusing. I have taken a hands off policy when it comes to her eccentricities. Don't expect help from her directly. Rely on her court. Caine is developing a navy for me. Also be warned that while Emilie, who reigns in Codupia, is the Mistress of the South Wind and the Lady of Fire she is not quite dutiful. And she has a military issue on her right. The Stair Lord Walker Danials rules in Qion Guo and is something of an ass. He has battled Trualta recently, mostly destroying the nation of Zubin Guo. He is one of the military issues i will have to deal with soon. Trualta so far has said he can handle it. Perhaps you can put your time at Rasak to use. He has spent several centuries militarizing the realms in his stair so he has a pretty good sized force if he chooses. I am currently "observing" the conflict." Standing he says, "Its strange. The way they choose a king here is who gains the support of the other Winds. But the some of realms have a casual disregard to what their Winds have said. This has led to a bitter civil war being fought in the realm of Izkya where two royals are traditionally their rulers. Often a mated brother and sister. But they reason they have a pair of royals is the west half traditionally belongs to the West Wind and the east traditionally belongs to the North Wind. So we have a strange situation where both royals, being loyal to their winds, have gone to war with each other over some strange type of loyalty war between my wife and I. That isn't the only situation I have. I have come to feel very sorry for the burden the Unicorn placed on my kid brother. "

  • Michael James Watson

"As for your mother... Ah... I am happy to provide lodgings for her. But the reason she is here is because I took over Hagalta's home. Its like not evicting the previous tenant's elderly in laws. The only reason I have not tried to shuffle her off is because she is my aunt. Having an Aunt is a new experience for all of us. So, Son of Satura, obligation passes. Would you like a Stair Realm?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I thank you deeply for your care of my mother in my absence and in my stead. And I thank you kindly for the offer of a Stair Realm. Though I have my own Personal Realm off of the North Stair, a Realm here in the West, tailored to meet her needs and safety, would probably be best. Thank you, Julian. A very kind offer." "And I will speak with and perhaps visit Trualta and see what advice or assistance I can offer."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods.. "Well, I'll leave you to your business. There are quarters connected to this suite. Come see Nina and I in the next couple days once you've settled in"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stands and bows slightly to Julian then walks with him as he leaves the balcony and exits through the suite. "I thank you for your hospitality and generosity, Julian. I will be in touch soon." Once Julian departs, Realmer will look the entire suite over, room by room, find a bed chamber not in use and carry Tesa to the bed there. He leaves the chamber door open and finds a suitable place to seat himself in the main sitting room where he can see Tesa in her bed, or at least her open door and his mother on the balcony. He chooses a suitably comfortable chair and he rearranges the furniture as needed to suit his needs, then seats himself. ~Bob; stay hyper alert and watch Tesa like a vulture waiting for its next meal to perish. Report any changes in her or her environment to me immediately. And remain hidden in every way.~ Then Realmer very carefully brings up the Sigils of Amber, Adagalasck and Paragon and checks his Hanging Spells once again. Then he withdraws one of the full Trump Decks that he received from Finndo then riffles through it, looking at faces and names, looking for new additions... specifically that of Tesara. Once her card appears, the knowledge will spread and the problems will ensue... in some fashion. Let the games begin. Then he sets the deck aside, withdraws his personally made Trump of Gangdis and attempts contact.

  • Michael James Watson

The face of Gangdis appears, briefly confused, then seeing Recalled, he nods. "How fare thee?" As he starts to talk he feels a very strong mental push on a trump insistently demanding to be answered.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer lets the contact with Gangdis drop and holds off the demanding push. Since he still has his Trump Deck in his lap, he riffles through them until he 'feels' one is different so he can possibly ID the caller.

  • Michael James Watson

He feels a shooting pain of an ice pick when his hand touches Mirelle's trump.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

He girds his defenses as he carefully allows the contact. He has Power Words at the ready to protect his mind and end the contact if needed.

  • Michael James Watson

The trump snaps open and the crossbowman from the Vulgar Unicorn says, "Pull me through immediately, Amberite!! If my niece Theresa di Silva is injured you risk making a mortal enemy!"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer pulls him through, ready with PW or Spell or blade as need be.

  • Michael James Watson

He arrives, tall, near 7'. He bears a great sword on a back harness. An arbelest in his left hand levels at Realmer as he sees Tesa. Taking a step toward her he stops. A moment later turns. "She sleeps." Looking closely at Realmer he says," You were the one with her at the tavern. Your blade work is rudimentary but effective. I am the Conte Giovanni di Silva. What's befallen my niece to bring her to such a strange land?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Conte Giovanni, Well Met by Magic and Moonlight. I am Lord Relmopator of Amber and you are in Adagalasck. Call me Realmer. Your niece is in no immediate danger and nobody here means her any harm. And what brought her here is a long story. Care to sit and have a quiet drink as we talk about the matter, cousin?"

  • Michael James Watson

He sets the arbelest aside. Unslinging his great sword and leans it against the rail. "I rarely turn down a drink and am rarely quiet. There seems to be many sleeping women here and they seem in good order.. Is there someplace nearby to drink and speak as men should?

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"There's a small sitting room with a stocked bar inside. " {taking a little liberty, lol} Realmer stands and motions for Giovanni to follow him. Once in the sitting room, Realmer leaves the door open and heads to the bar and searches for brandy. "What would you like to drink? And how did you break in on my Trump contact? Speaking of which, I really need to call Gangdis back and get him here; an ally and another friend of your niece."

  • Michael James Watson

"What I would like to drink is a lot. A good strong wine, A port. Or brandy. As for the trump, my father says I have a gift for interrupting other's conversations. As for others, call if you must. The more the merrier."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

If Realmer cannot find brandy, he will Conjure up a case of Napoleon Brandy and pour three large glasses half way full. He brings one to Giovanni, giving him the one moment gesture, then stares at Gangdis' Trump again, reestablishing contact. "Gangdis, I am in Adagalasck with Tesa; I would like you here quickly but it's not an emergency. I'm sending my Familiar, Bob, in the form of a white raven to transport you to your quarters to get your gear then to the stable to get our mounts. Bob will leave the mounts at the stable where I am staying and bring you to me. I am with company, so don't be alarmed." Realmer breaks contact then contacts Bob. ~Bob; leave several Remote Eyes in the room, Link them to both you and me, then change to a white raven, Trump to Gangdis, take him where he needs to gather his gear and then his mount and mine, then drop the mounts at the stables here and bring Gangdis to me. Then resume watching Tesa.~ Realmer adjusts to the Linked Sight from several angles then moves the linked sight of the remote eyes to the side of his vision so he can glance at them periodically, but still focus on Giovanni. "So, Giovanni, besides being her uncle, are you also Tesa's Patron? Protector? Stalker? Does she know you? Does she know who you really are? And can I get you another drink?"

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis understands. Gio finishes and takes another drink. "I'm her uncle. Isn't that enough? But you are from Amber so perhaps I need to explain how families work away from there. Or at least how the di Solva family behaves since its far from typical I suppose. I was tasked by my mother to protect my little brother and sister. I failed utterly. When Caesar and Mirelle fled I was told by mother to protect them. I failed. I believed He slew her. Then Oberon took mother and Caesar to Amber. He left Mirelle to wander; just her and their son. Eventually Oberon gave me the power to feel them and their children when they are in danger. So call me the protector of the di Solva line. I'm really bad at it though. I get distracted easy. Caesar is king in Amber now, you know. And some Cousins found Mirelle and she is in Amber to. So now I protect Paulo, Martin, and recently Theresa. A ghost gave me the ability to feel them and transport to them. I don't know why I couldn't transport here...I assumed you were preventing me.”

  • Michael James Watson

He ponders for a few minutes, clearly needing time to think. He quietly drinks. Standing and walking to the bar he looks and finds several bottles of suitable wine. Pouring a tankard full he walks back to sit, extra bottles in tow. "That is quite a lot to consider. Julian left Arden, for a woman? When he and I traveled together he was fonder of horses. So we are in the realm Julian is king? I don't know this Hagalta..You are an Amberite, so is he the Amberite or your mother? Not that its any of my business. I never felt much like part of the family. I was one of the cast out ones. Oberon told me so when he told me that Mirelle and I were not going to Amber with he and Caesar..ah.. Random...yes, Random..." He gulps the wine and empties another bottle in it. "Though, Bleys and I had some fine adventures. Benedict came and we spoke at length after Patternfall. I came at his call a few times too. Had words with Hamilton. I beat Brand about the head and shoulders when he tried to do to me what he did to Martin. oh, Martin and I are friends these days. Mother's command drew us together. I fought Patternfall as a soldier among the troops Bleys brought. I met kin there that were surprised to meet me. Bleys and I traveled to Regor long ago and I spent a great deal of time there. I like them.. " He gulps half his tankard. "Tesa.. is a new thing for me. The ghost came to me and juiced my ability to feel her and Paulo and Martin, the di Solvi family members, and she seemed greatly in danger.. But when i tried forcing my way to where she was, and i pushed hard, i met a shadow of an old friend of mine, Boney.. who explained that i could not go to her.. I threatened, even attempted to lay hands on the little emperor.. nothing. Then once she was free.. she seemed to jump from danger to danger."

  • Michael James Watson

"I hear Brand is in the dungeons of Amber.. That's marvelous. I might like to go poke him with a stick for while. something shape and pointy. Might be worth the journey"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and chuckles lightly. Finishing his brandy he uses a Present Cantrip on the open bottle of brandy still on the bar. He refills his glass and sets the bottle next to him. "Julian and Nina were married long ago and were only reunited when I came here to Adagalasck and Opened the Way. Same with Caine and Emilie, Nina's sister. All four of them reside in this Realm. Julian is King of Adagalasck, Master of the West Wind and Master of Stone, Nina is Adask Fey and a daughter of Oberon and Julian's Titular Queen and the Mistress of the Cold North Wind, Emilie is also Adask Fey, full Fairy no less, and a daughter of Oberon, the Mistress of the South Wind and Lady of Fire who is married to Caine who works for the Crown of Adagalask in some quiet fashion." Realmer drinks a bit of brandy and looks to the Remote Visions of Tesa's room in the corner of his eye, to make sure is well, then continues. "As for my family, both of my parents are Amberites and Adask, direct siblings and children of Dworkin. We are not of the Line of the Unicorn, we are of the little known Line of Dworkin and the Primal Adask, Verna. It's a bit complicated... but not as complicated as young Tesara, her name given at birth." "And speaking of Tesa, she has been busy for some time, me as well. I'm sure Boney told you nothing and was rude about doing so." Realmer chuckles lightly. "Well, let's say she was busy participating in a series of training courses and exercises. Then she was in Sanctuary..." slight pause and smile, "then walking the Pattern... now, here. So, are you thinking about sticking around? Joining the Party, as it were? Or are you more the 'stalk and hide in shadows and protect from a distance' protector?" He takes a drink, then ponders a moment and before Giovanni and speak, he adds. "And by the way; when you say a 'ghost' gave you powers and a 'ghost' told you... do you mean a man that looks like ______?" Realmer describes Conf, but does not say his name.

  • Michael James Watson

He listens and interjects, "I don't know Nina or Emilie.. they were not in the trump deck Oberon gave me when i walked the pattern. And i never got one of the new sets. I only met Caine twice. The first time we fought, not knowing we were kin. He took paired cutlass against me using great-sword. Kicked me in the head and seemed to expect me to fall dead. I grabbed his ankle and snapped it. troops separated us as happens in battle. We met again at Patternfall. He was not pleased. I've no idea who Verna is though you imply she is like the unicorn for the Adask.. impressive, though I don't know why."

  • Michael James Watson

"You speak of the ghost as if you know him. He has come to me many times over the years. Since i was young. He was in human form in the Italy of my birth. I thought him a ghost because unless he immortal he would have died centuries ago. Is this not true?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer draws out one of the two new Trump Decks he just received from Finndo and tosses it over to Giovanni. "That is a King Random Edition of the Amber Royal Family Trump Deck; it has many people and places the old one does not. It also updates to add new Family Members as they are discovered and walk the Pattern. There is also a booklet inside the Trump Case; explains the who's who and what's what of the Deck... good reading, actually. It will help you greatly with getting to know the whole Family and how large it has grown since Oberon's days. But keep your old Deck, it may contain the odd card that one does not." "And the 'ghost'... he is a man I have met once and spoken with briefly. I gained some information on him as well, but I do not know well at all. He is Tesa's father, by your sister Mirelle, and a man of great mystery and great powers. He can change his appearance and the 'ghost' you see may be one of his True Forms; I believe him to be a Shape Shifter. He is also an Amberite and that is why he lives so long. And he as walked the Pattern as well. He is a son of Av Reet, from the first brood of Oberon. On his mother's side he is grandson of Tolknor. And his name is Conf of Shadows. I know he has an agenda concerning Tesa, but what exactly it is, I am unaware." "If it is truly your intent to watch over and protect Tesa, then you are welcome to stay. I will let Julian know and find accommodations for you while we are here. I like a Party of Heavy Hitters, and your fighting skills will surely be of great benefit, should something untoward happen to Tesa... she has many people pay close attention to her now that she has walked the Pattern. I was told it is possible that Av Reet could come and try to take her powers from her; that is why I am here... not easy to get into and nearly impossible to get out of if someone doesn't want you to. So, less likely to have problems, but better to prepare for the worst, know what I mean?" Realmer smiles and drinks some brandy.

  • Michael James Watson

He weighs the deck, looking at it with a scowl.. "Heavier.. More people, more places, more trouble..." He opens the deck, with a cardsharp's cut and spreads them on the table. "Martin is in here.. I am too.. That explains the headaches.. not answering trump calls.. Is Theresa in the deck? Is Pauli?" She slides the cards looking. "So my ghost is Theresa's father? That figures.. Mirelle always had a penchant for fornicating with illusions and shadows. Guess one had enough juice to do the job.. Alright.. I'll stay... And... you can tell Julian I am here. I am not wild about using these.. Probably why i lost my last set.. Can you let Martin know I am here? Pauli? I suppose i should speak to Theresa. She won't know me.. You'll introduce us?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer sips his brandy and smiles then chuckles. "Yes. More troubles certainly... but still a helpful tool, regardless. They should all be in there, Tesa soon if not now. You may contact them all, if you chose; I am sure they would be please to hear from you. King Random's Reign has been one of Family and Inclusion, a time of mending and healing. Many Family Members have come to Amber, for a time or to stay, some have sworn fealty to King Random. Though the innate Family Paranoia still abounds, most are trying to be more accepting of new family members or old ones coming back into the fold or just to say hello." Realmer sets his drink down and stands, approaching Giovanni and extends a hand in a friendly manner. "I am glad to have you join us; another protector of Tesa's is certainly welcome. And I will be glad to introduce you two, once she awakens and is ready for company; her ordeal on the Pattern was worse than most... including my own. I was not strong or tough enough to handle the strain alone, so was assisted; I was exhausted nearly to the point of coma. She is more fit than I was at the time, but she had other issues to deal with, mostly related to her specific and unique genealogy and the powers she is soon to inherit. She may be out for a couple of days or more. Or pop awake any moment ready for a fight." Realmer chuckles and drinks a bit more. "So, tell me, Giovanni... what else has the 'ghost' done for you or told you?"

  • Michael James Watson

He looks at your hand as if its a snake. A few moments pass till he shakes it briefly but you notice his other hand twitch. "Family? Inclusion? In the children of Oberon? I watched Caesar and Mirelle take their first steps yet i also saw him help her slide into madness while satisfying his young lust. I doubt Moire thinks a great deal of Caesar's family values. Martin may be on good terms with his father but that came after his brother attempted to slay him on the pattern. The deck Oberon gave me did not include Elfwyne, Evelyn, Orasola, Hamilton, Delwin, Sand, Mirelle, or me. Nor these Nina and Emilies. His devotion to family is suspect. I'll give this to Random; his siblings are not plotting openly yet. Paint me a pretty picture of family after a few centuries." Looking through the deck, "See? Even here.. Pauli is not here nor is Theresa. ah... how convenient...it does have someone I should like to see dead. I suppose i won't be allowed vengeance on him since ours is such a close family now. And there is Brand still in the deck." He finishes a tankard and refills it with another bottle. "I'll stay. I see this is a city below. I'll find my own lodgings. When Theresa awakes I will know and I will return. If she is in danger I will know and I will return armed. Tell Julian I send my regards. Undoubtedly I seem harsh. But i come by it fairly. In time, we will know each other better. As for what my ghost has done for me, that is my business, and now his." Grabbing the tankard, and his great-sword he swings over the rail and falls. Looking over the rail Realmer sees him jumping from roof to roof, rail to rail, in what was called at Rasak the art of Parkour or free running. Giovanni seems a natural at it. He doesn't spill a drop of wine.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles at Giovanni's exit. He takes up his glass and his open bottle of brandy and takes them with him. He goes directly to Tesa's room and physically looks in on her, then makes his way back to the balcony to watch his mother and Tesa's door under the moonlight and in the refreshing night air... he seems to like it better outdoors. While waiting for Bob to bring Gangdis, he idly pulls out his three remaining loose Mandalay Stones and rolls them around in his left hand while thinking on the summoning ritual and runic circle needed to summon a Masoja of Air... his right hand is idly using Cantrips to bring his drink to his hand and return it to the table. Realmer pulls out his Trump of Julian and makes contact, then he tells him of the arrival of Giovanni and that he is a protector of Tesa and somewhere in the city and that Realmer vouches for him. Then Realmer pulls out his Spell Book; a collection of Low Order Spells, cryptic notes and drawings regarding High Order Spells and various Powers, plus assorted notes and writings regarding Magic, Powers, Rituals, Etc. He opens it to the section where had been writing on the Dufirosim and rereads some of his notes from his time talking with Fort on the matter. Though he did not have THIS Spell Book with him on Adledross, he did grab some books with blank pages and used them to keep notes. When he got his gear back, he allowed the books to be absorbed into his actual Spell Book, transferring all writings, drawings and knowledge to blank pages within. He wants to get it right so she can get trained well in her Djinn Powers.

  • Michael James Watson

He doesn't have a masoja of Air tome, so thats going to be what he needs to do next... Unless he has something else to do, the night will pass.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer closes his Spell Book and slips it into his Robes. He finishes his brandy and moves to a chair in Tesa's room. He focuses on Tesara, releases the Lynchpins for the Defensive Psyche Ward Spell Hung there, centering it on her and only enough to encompass her and the bed. Even if a superior Psyche breaks the barrier, he will still know. He settles in and watches, and cat naps, and watches, etc. until she wakes or dawn comes.

Tesara of Amber, King Random's Consequences, Kyr Dorna[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Realmer wakes to find Tesa sitting cross leg on the bed. Silently she is looking at each card in the deck. She has a few cast around but it doesn't appear to be a tarot reading. "These feel cold. Not frozen but cold. A couple feel burning hot. Some, I hear mumbling or talking.. I'm not in the deck. What does that mean?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles and stretches and says, "Good Morning." Then drops the Defensive Psyche Ward Spell around her bed and continues. "They are cold because your Psyche is more aware of them and their powers, and they are fully powered Trumps, not just contact. The burning hot ones are blocked most likely; purposefully by the person depicted, I would say. You not being in the Deck could mean that the image to be depicted has not been approved by the King yet and... or... there is a political reason it has not showed up yet. The reason you hear mumbling is because you are listening in on the conversations of someone depicted on the card you are touching or focusing on. I am sure if you focus lightly on just one, you could hear what is being said... but be very subtle so as not be detected. And only listen for a few moments, then stop... this is all new to you. And a bit advanced for just walking the Pattern and having no training in Pattern Powers or Trump Powers or Trump Artistry and its abilities."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Wait, you said burning hot... that might also mean they are trying to reach you and you are innately blocking them, perhaps it has something to do with this place. In any case, proceed cautiously; opening a Trump Contact is also opening up your mind to possible attack, both overt and subtle."

  • Michael James Watson

"I've had a deck of these most my life, the playing card sized ones, you know. I never gave much thought to the named ones. Only slightly more to place trump's because of playing Galaru. Walking the pattern was intense but these... make it real." Gathering the cards and putting most away. "I'm hungry. Where every we are, I assume we can't get Breakfast? Then clean up some the regular way. Then I want to start learning these fast. For protection."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"'Wherever we are', is in Adagalasck. We are at the king's residence on the West Stair. We will be staying here for a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on our needs. Finndo sent us here, as he thought it would be a safe place for you to adjust to your new powers; he is concerned that your grandfather, Av Reet, might try to steal your powers from you. He sent us here because of some of the particular conditions here that make it hard to get into the realm and even harder to get out." He stretches to get the kinks out from sleeping in the chair all night. "There are many options available for breakfast. If you choose to dine in I can conjure up a meal, I have magical dinnerware that will provide a random choice of food, or I'm sure we can have the staff bring us something to eat. Or if you prefer to dine out, I'm sure there is a kitchen and dining hall here somewhere here, or we can go into the city for breakfast. However, I do recommend if we are dining out that perhaps we should clean up first. There's a bathing chamber just down the hall."

  • Michael James Watson

One modification-Realmer would know about Galaru. It is an extremely popular card game similar to Tonk and uses the major arcana of face trumps and place trumps to form trios, quads, in runs of numbers. It is a common game on the level of gin rummy, canasta, or whist. Less common then bridge, more common then Rook.

  • Michael James Watson

"Adagalask? I should have known hmmmm,...it has a feel, doesn't it? A sense of something.. We aren't in Blomsia.. The air smells different, Earth.. We are further west, aren't we? I'll bathe.. Lets see if we can find someplace that makes that potato and onion fritter thing with the green sauce and eggs.. Loved that.. I'll go bath and be right back...Unless its your intention to bathe me?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Excellent timing. We were just getting cleaned up and preparing to go breakfast in the city. Toss your gear in a corner for now, I will be speaking with Julian after breakfast about moving us out of my mother's suite and into a suite of our own. There is much that has transpired since I last spoke with you in my apartment in Amber. Let me catch you up while Tesa finishes bathing." Realmer gives Gangdis an abbreviated version of the events since they parted. "So it seems our young Tesa is a Powerhouse in the making and already has enemies and people vying for her attention and Powers. And though you are my Elite guard, I will be needing you to keep an eye on her more than me."

  • Michael James Watson

"Ya, ok. But.. You have to call Benedict this instant. He told me to brook no dely. Used the word, Savy"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"It shall be done" he says as he pulls out Benedict's Trump and focuses to make contact.

  • Michael James Watson

The trump opens quickly. An angry Benedict says, "I am the calm one. The king said: 'You handle this, Ben, or I might make his guts into garters, savvy'." He moves aside and pushes a woman in a brown and green doublet of a Dreana style through. Her hair is black, her expression serious, her rapier a no nonsense military style. The trump contact ends. She looks at Realmer, gives a very slight nod of a bow. "I am Kyr Dorna ag Brolic. I may be addressed as Kyr Dorna. Kyr is a Dreanan title equal to Sir. I am a Ward of the Sword. Amber Elite Order... Where is Tesara of Amber?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer exchanges a glance with Gangdis then looks Kyr Dorna in the eyes and says. "I am Lord Relmopator of Amber, you may call me Realmer. This is my Elite guard, Sir Gangdis of Casowell. Tesara is down the hall bathing at the moment." He points in the direction of the bathing chamber.

  • Michael James Watson

She nods, "Yes, Lord Realmer, I am familiar with you and your rank. I know Sir Gangdis, though he is now more fit for service then the last time he was in the Elite Barracks for Inspection. His rank allows him too much laziness" She immediately turns and leaves the room and heads to the baths. "Care to make bets on who draws first blood? I got waylaid while getting ready.. The king and Benedict were quite angry. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I'm sure they are. But I had to do what I thought was right. And Tesa needs the powers for her own protection, and if for no other reason than that, I feel justified in my decision. And I think Tesa will draw First Blood. The real question is, how messy is it going to get?" He chuckles then listens for the sound of fighting.

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis shrugs, moves his stuff ready to go to other quarters. "No bet. I know Dorna more then a little. She is of a fanatical group in Dreana. Wards of the Swords are children, orphans, of soldiers who died fighting in the endless Dreana political battles. Her father was a minor noble, a guardsman, and left no family behind. The Wards are raised with a fanatical devotion to duty. Which barely differentiates them from other Dreanans. Non-military Wards become grooms, cooks, personal servants, maids, and others that deal with the persons of the Dreanan nobles. Any noble house..." he looks over at the table.."Is that brandy? oh blessed be. My mug needs charging." He walks over and pours some brandy in the mug and sighs when it fills on its own. "Anyway.. Any noble house may make Wards of the Sword but the charming Dorna served in the actual royal family's service in their Wards. She excelled in dueling rapier work. There is a lot of that in Dreana. She distinguished herself enough to be entered in the royal house military. She was knighted after some assassination attempt and that's why she used the patronymic 'ag Brolic'. Makes her something of a member of the family like a friend of the family who is called uncle or a favorite hound. She applied to Amber and served in the Seventh Legion, First Cohort-Duelists. She distinguished herself on Calrabon by slaying one of those giant bears they have single handedly, defending some royal children i think. Connections. She was sent to Rasak, then entered in the Elites. Did protective duty for Yalla Ganth, then Henry, Fiona's son, till he went into Chaos with his father Mandor. She's too serious to consider sleeping as anything other then dereliction of duty. I would feel sorry for Tesa if it wasn't so funny"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Fanatical. Staunch. Proven. The Lord Marshall sure knows how to pick 'em. Well, when the rest of us are drinking and playing cards, one thing is sure; Kyr Dorna will be on duty, guarding her charge." Realmer chuckles but is also quietly impressed by Benedict's choice. A no nonsense, serious minded, get the job done, Elite Soldier is exactly what this group needs, especially now. "I don't feel sorry for Tesa, I feel sorry for Dorna. But only a little. They will learn to work with each other... or around each other... or Tesa will learn to ignore Dorna completely... all in time." "Over the years, we have become friendly, Gangdis, and my lifestyle and activities have allowed for you to become a bit lax in your duties and I allowed it to happen and I am not complaining. But things are bit different now. I need you at your best; always keeping a watchful eye, expecting attack or ambush at any moment, ready to pounce in an instant. The game has change, the stakes are higher, and our ante is already in." He pulls out his Yellow Mandalay Stone, holds it in his hands a moment, then presses it to his forehead, to clear his mind of lingering sleep. Then he decides to temporarily place it in Satura's Ring. He tells the Psyche of the Ring to 'morph' to allow the Stone to become a part of its design in each of its forms, but NOT to permanently bond with the Mandalay Stone. Then he presses the Yellow Stone into the Ring, replacing the large 'black sapphire' which has two smaller 'black opals', one on either side of the larger center stone, all set into a ring of the purest platinum. "I don't hear yelling... cursing... or the sounds of fighting... it must be going well..." dramatic pause "...or Kyr Dorna is already dead and Tesa is still washing up."

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis produces his personal flask, pouring a few drops of steaming coffee in to see the tankard charged. "People underestimate Benedict's sense of humor because his other sensibilities slap them in the face. He thought it was very funny assigning me as your Elite. Oh he made it sound like coming out of my comfortable retirement was an honor and since i am suddenly young he can tell people he did it to revitalize me, but..." He spikes his coffee with brandy. "as for needing me at my best, Vampire of the Dungeons, you have it or else I would still be at my manor house with my brewing carboys, and my sweet house maids, drinking and letching myself toward death. Instead I am young, fit, attentive, and pissing off the ambitious Elites who now covet such an adventurous posting. They just don't understand how dangerous exciting and adventurous postings can be. As for Dorna...She is not prone to jealousy nor vainglory. Proper to the point of madness. If I'm in the barracks showers trimming my toenails I don't need her dropping Sir this and Sir that's at me.. Tesa will likely be annoyed then amused, seeing her as a challenge of various sorts. If she is in danger though, Dorna is a ferocious one. I know Yalla about killed her." Sipping, adjusting his bowler hat, "So remind me what kind of things we'll be fighting these days?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I'm well aware of Benedict's sense of humor. And regardless of what you think, your posting to me was not completely a joke. Benedict did come to me shortly after your posting and asked me to do what I could to get you interested in life once again. The revitalizing was more of a coincidence, I believe. And I am glad to have you at your best, we may need it." "As for what we may be facing, that could vary greatly. If we face Av Reet of the first brood, we could be dealing with hordes of Djinn, Dufiro of Air, and Air Elementals. If we face Tesa's father, I have no idea what we will be up against as I am unfamiliar with his minions, style and tactics. And there is a possibility we may get involved in a few local skirmishes with the forces that are still resisting King Julian's rule. Lord Trualta is having some problems out near the East Stair and my stepmother Uxtrasa is trying to Rally the forces still loyal to my father, Hagalta." "Once we leave Adagalasck and begin traveling in Shadow again, we could face Dufiro and Elementals of Fire and Earth as I may have an outstanding enemy by the name of Uzgata, a Masoja of Rage and War." "While here in Adagalasck, I intend to train Tesa in everything I can regarding the use of her new powers and do it as quickly as possible. Hopefully we won't be here any longer than three weeks. I have also made a deal with King Julian to teach him high order sorcery in exchange for his protection and hospitality while we are here. When we are done here, we will be returning to Ambir at the request of Finndo then after that business is taken care of I will be working with Fortunadas for a short period of time to take care of a problem with some Freemasons. Then I will be seeking out my grandmother, Verna the Primal Adask... there is much she knows are many matters I need to discuss with her." Realmer Cox his head to one side and strains to listen for noises in the direction of the bathing chamber. "Still no sounds of fighting, I sure hope that means it's going well."

  • Michael James Watson

"You don't want to see Verna. She is far from helpful. Do I smell Coffee?" Satura enters in a subdued kimono, braiding her hair. Gangdis removes his flask and pours a cup, "Its Caine's navy coffee so it might be too strong." "Sir, you could feed me coffee syrup and I would be pleased. I became a fan of the beverage in my youth. My father would bring it from shadow from time to time.. I smell brandy too please. " Gangdis obliges. She walks to Realmer..."My mind is clearer today.. Its wonderful to see you in the flesh, not as a phantom in my mind. Have you seen your father lately? The time to open old wounds seems to have come upon us."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles broadly as his mother enters the room; it's good to see her up and about, and cogent. "Mother, it is so good to see you, and see you well." He stands and moves to embrace her in an affectionate hug. "The last time I saw my father he was in a prison cell in the dungeons of Castle Amber. He called to me while he was sitting the Oracle of Night and begged for my help. I went to rescue him and brought him to Amber; he was put in a secure cell for everyone's protection. Though I do still hear rumors that he is gathering forces in the Black Zone... but sometimes rumors are old and news travels slowly." "And as far as grandmother being helpful or not helpful, that is yet to be seen. There is much that I wish to know about my Heritage and my specific genetic line and Racial powers and I believe she has the answers. Grandfather indicated that she had sealed some of my Powers away from me at the time of my birth. But recently, Finndo indicated that it was grandfather that sealed my powers, and because he was angry with grandfather, he unlocked some of those powers for me. Now I must figure out what those powers are and come to grips with how to use them."

  • Michael James Watson

She approaches and puts her hands on both sides of his face, pressing her forehead to his. She whispers, "you have grown so much...." She sighs, takes her mug and sips. "My mind... is scattered.. It is hard to focus..

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer places his hands over his mother's, then with a sleight-of-hand trick he slips Satura's Ring from his own finger on to one of hers. "Wear this for a while, mother. I have made a recent addition to it that should help Focus your scattered thoughts."

  • Michael James Watson

She smiles, "Its been a long time since I saw this... " She steps away and sits beside Gangdis. Looking at him she laughs softly. Looking to Realmer she says, "You've done well without me.. Trinkets won't help me focus.... The Pattern might. You feel like a wizard, but your hands seem those of a warrior. Your father would have been proud... your real father, not the one who planted you in me. That one has part of my mind. Hidden.. Only he knows where. I can feel the blackness coming.. I will sleep. I feel your power. Adask... are a race of the Fey, born in Chaos. Verna wants you to have only her powers. So she suppressed them in Hagalta, and me, and you, and one of your sisters.. But the young one, sweet Drixtra, she fought and lost to. Drixtra had her full powers at birth. By the time Verna came for her it was too late. Her circle was too powerful even for my mother. Even in the crib the dark fey whispered to her. Hagalta let them. She will seek Fey artifacts to control them.. Its the dreams Hagalta whispered in her ears.. Its what he screamed in Dwynwen's ears. Insanity is a communicable disease. You catch it from your relatives." She slumps in her seat asleep.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

After Satura falls asleep, Realmer shakes his head sadly. "I thought the Mandalay Stone would help, at least for a time." He slips the Ring from her finger and replaces it on the middle finger of his right hand. He looks to Gangdis. "I have only vague memories of the man my mother calls my real father; Sir Kandith... from my earliest years. I recall the smell of metal and oil, leather and horse upon him. He wore armor and carried a sword... his hair was dark. He was away fighting for the kingdom most of my childhood until he died in combat. Mother was devastated when she heard." Realmer shakes his head and comes back to the present. "She said Hagalta has a piece of her mind, hidden away..." He briefly wonders if it might be hidden in his Hagalta's Heart Stone... but is wary to bring it out here and now to examine it... perhaps later. "But that will have to be a quest for another time. And my sister's lust for Fey Artifacts could be a problem or an asset... time will tell, but good knowledge to have." Realmer uses a series of Cantrips to clean himself head to toe, clean his mouth and teeth then freshen his breath, scent himself faintly in pine, and finally brush out his hair then braid it into a single thick strand coming from the back of his head. "Speaking of my sisters; you have been living in Amber since your rejuvenation, I assume. What do you know or have you heard about them and their doings? And speak freely; I won't take offense at anything you tell me." Realmer checks over all of his gear; smooths his Robe, adjusts his weapons belt, pulls out each blade to inspect the edge then sheaths checking each is set for an easy draw, pats his Bone Wand on his right hip, checks a few pockets then nods... then he pauses for more than a moment, then smiles; Rasak conditioning.

  • Michael James Watson

He thinks for a moment. "Well, Dwynwen is the most visible. She has been a lady in waiting for the queen. Vialle has had her at most public events and she is rumored to be on good terms with Helene du Sarn and the Urien pack. The gossip is that they like her despite her not joining them in...well... joining them...She spends a good deal of time with Dame Margot. And with Arloxedra. She tends to be quiet. Will avoid answering questions about the past. It gives her an air of mystery. Not to put a fine point on it but you and she are the two highest ranked Adask in Amber. Except Hagalta, who is notorious, not notable." He pause for drinks, looking unwilling at first to go on. "As for Drixtra, she spends time officially as a lady in waiting to Princess Fiona, maybe her apprentice. She isn't liked by a lot of the nobility. Nasty rumor has her as a lover to Fiona, as well as a couple elites, though all deny it. She has ditched her Elite repeatedly. Spends a lot of time riding. Is seen among the Rangers and is known, been caught, flagrante delicto, with Duncan, the new Warden of Arden. She hasn't exactly fled Amber, but has been seen as far as Diego Raks. She also is rumored to mix with CHAD regulars. That rumor is varied and really ugly. Worse is that its probably true. She has made a bit of a reputation as you might guess that feed into some of the less savory beliefs about the fey as sexually adventurous and not very picky about it. Fey are big gossip these days. Between Donovan defying the King over the Arden Stone and Fey from Golden Circle worlds and other nearby shadows coming to Amber just to see it, there is a lot of talk about them. Fey Royals from Acadia, Thelusia, Adasona, and Sagalina's Downside have all come to see the stone and pay court to Tatiana. Its all pretty low key so far but gentry who had either forgotten or never knew there was a a Fey Court are now talking about it. Drixtra is mixed up in the Swirls. Fey Swirls are starting to make themselves visible in the cities." He looks uncomfortable but continues. "She has had several very public rows with the staff of the court. Not the least being with Dame Margot and the Queen. Bleys thinks she's hilarious. Has taken her to the Theater a couple times and to Thin Whip's. So Fey Swirls mixing at Thin Whip's and with the theater crowd, with a few of the royal family, could be trouble.”

  • Michael James Watson

He stands, takes out the green tankard for a pull. "Since you ask, I should tell you another collection of rumors...Hagalta, Satura, Dwyn, Drixtra are all in the Trump deck, but the cards don't work. Yours does work. Hagalta walked the pattern without permission and Random made him an outlaw for it. There are a lot of rumors that the Hagalta clan is aiming at supplanting the Oberon line. That includes you. And you just 'snuck' someone into getting the pattern, who happens to be one of 'your' people. I know its ridiculous but I'm on the inside of 'your' faction too. So is Dorna now. You may not want to trust her. And again not to put too fine a point on it, you purposefully fostered a dark and dangerous public perception for decades as the Vampire of the Dungeons, coming up only when your presence was demanded. It doesn't matter if all that us bullshit and hype, it's got a grip on the thinking of the general public. Lots of them live on gossip and rumor and rag sheet journalism." Listening to Gangdis he hears something in his voice,a confidence and command he never had when he was just an old drunk elite. Realmer starts seeing why the drunk old war hero was pushed on him and pushed to grow young. Why he is suddenly in Benedict's staff, and Random's Privy council and Drum council. It occurs to him that all things considered, random might well replace him with a new elite.

  • Michael James Watson

While Realmer ponders Gangdis, Tesa enters the room, wearing an Adagalask style kimono, freshly bathed. Behind her walks Kyr Dorna. "Realmer, will you please explain to this woman that I don't need a babysitter? She is being purposefully obtuse."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Sorry, Tesa, but you're a member of the Family now; and all Family Members are assigned a personal Elite Guard." Realmer nods his head in the direction of Gangdis. "Whether you like it or not, and whether you like her or not, is irrelevant. Sure, you could ditch her repeatedly, but that is only going to piss off her, Benedict, and King Random. And if you ditch her often enough, King Random and Benedict will find a way to make it impossible for you to ditch your Elite. As your partner, I advise that you find a way to adjust to her constant presence. Who knows, one day she may prove helpful, like Gangdis here. Though he has only had the rare opportunity to protect me from bodily harm, his knowledge and experience has proven to be most helpful and useful." He turns to Gangdis. "And thank you for the information and your candor, Gangdis. Though the rumors and gossip spreading about me are pure troll shite, I can see how the public might view my actions of the last several decades in a less than positive way. And I can see how some of my future plans may add to that less-than-positive image. Perhaps I should do something about improving my image with the people of Amber." He pauses a moment as he ponders the situation. "But first; breakfast. Let's head into the city and find a nice eatery."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa nearly shouts, "She took my clothes! Bitch is only alive because my knives were not on them when she moved them! She had this laid out!! This ridiculous outfit!!!" "Lady Tesa, as you may not know, the common attire for unmarried women, in the realm King Julian rules from is the Furisode kimono. Out of deference to your likelihood to engage in battle, I have seen the sleeves were cut specifically with knife work in mind. I've allowed you to retain your boots since while local conventions deem sandals appropriate, boots of a certain style are also used. If you wish to offend King Julian during your audience today I shall make it clear to him in person that I had appropriate attire ready but you chose to ignore it in order to make as great as possible offense to him, his court, his people, and the world he rules. It is your choice." "And, LORD Relmopator, She may 'ditch me' as much as she likes, but King Random sent me prepared for her to behave childishly. I carry a device taken through the pattern and connected to her. It will allow me to locate her within the realm, and follow her out of it. And if I chose, it will make a very large bell sound above her head until she touches the device to silence it. I will not be replaced, and I will not be ignored. If Sir Gangdis wishes to take his obligation drunkenly it is his choice and you are the one to make complaints of his behavior to Prince Benedict. Now, Lady Tesa, I assume you want to arm yourself. Let us see about that. I am sure the King will call for you soon." Tesa looks wide eyed at her then Realmer. Tesa, "Well? Are you going to do something about this or am I going to kill her?" Gangdis takes a drink and says, “If you strike her down, She shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to each of the three as though he wishes to say something to each but is not sure whom to address first; his mouth opens but no sounds comes forth. He closes his mouth. He arches his right eyebrow. He looks to Gangdis first and points with the index finger of his right hand. “I got that reference. That's a 'quote' of some sort and you just stole it... and you might be right.” He turns to address Tesa and smiles then sighs. “No, Partner, I am not going to do something about this and you are not going to kill her. You are going to handle the matter yourself. How you handle the matter is up to you, but remember, you are also a member of the Royal Family of Amber, and sometimes must conduct yourself as such, Lady Tesara. No long lectures this time, Partner.” He gives her a slight bow of respect, Lord to Lady, then turns to look at Dorna. “You are disruptive to the dynamic of this group, but you're new. I'm sure you will learn to fit in quickly and be more helpful and less disruptive. It is commendable of you to advise Lady Tesa on her attire for her upcoming audience with King Julian but it is her Lady's choice to make how she dresses and who she offends, KYR Dorna, not yours.” “So... if you're off to see the King...” he turns to Tesa, “I guess breakfast is on hold...? And how do you know Tesa has an audience with King Julian, Kyr Dorna?” Realmer asks as he turns to face her once again.

  • Michael James Watson

Dorna smiles, "Educated guess and timing. Lady Tesara walked the pattern on the permission of King Finndo. He informed King Random. I was summoned by Prince Benedict. I was taken to Vulsara, at 60 to 1 in Amber, and had the recorded feed of 9 years worth of Rasak and 1 year of Adledross, implanted. When i returned King Random had spoken to King Julian, informing him of your arrival. He said he would seek you out and speak to you and Lady Tesara in the morning. It is morning. I am guessing the audience is soon. Let us be clear, sir. I belong to four groups. I am a Ward of the Sword of Dreana, First of the Seventh Legion-Duelists, the Knights of the Elites of Amber, and the protective detail of Lady Tesara. Whatever group you may think I belong to is a misunderstanding on your part. I do not take orders from you. I barely take suggestions from you. Unless King Random, Queen Vialle, or Marshal Benedict tell me otherwise, those are my standing commands. Within the scope of Lady Tesara needs, i shall cooperate, but be clear where my loyalties lie. oh... and the quote is from one of the space programs Prince Benedict enjoys so much."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa goes pale...."Ah.. You watched everything that happened at Rasak and Adledross?" Dorna makes a short nod. "Yes, as if from a bird a stone's throw above your head, sound included." Tesa looks at Realmer. "Did...ah... you see these... ah... images?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"No, Tesa, I saw no such images, for you or anyone at Rasak or Adledross. And I was not aware that such existed until now. Your private life is still private from me." He turns back to Dorna. "Impressive form of specialized training and information gathering for your assignment. And an impressive list of Groups. But I was using the term 'group' loosely, to refer to 'us', nothing official. And the misunderstanding is yours; I was not giving you any orders as I know you are not under my command nor in my employ. And I really wasn't giving suggestions either; more like advice. And thank you for the origin of the quote; I recall the movie now, something about Mentalist Warrior Monks in a technological setting in outer space and the overthrow of an Evil Overlord's empire." "So, breakfast on hold... audience with the King... thought that was tomorrow... guess I better dress the part too." Having lived in Adagalasck for many years and having traveled and studied their/his culture and society, Realmer has his Robe Shift to look more appropriate to the occasion and region, but still in his personal colors.

  • Michael James Watson

"Thank you for the clarification, Lord Relmopator. As for the dramas, I am familiar with them because I did a tour on Vulsar base. It did not suit me. High Technological disciplines were not suited to a duelist. But I have the implants still. Though Prince Benedict and King Vance call them Bionic communication nodes now. That is why Prince Benedict removed me from the Protective services of Lord Henry Mandorson. So, I shall stand ready, Lady Tesara." Tesa looks at her and says, "My name is Tesa Resa." Dorna says, "Your birth name was Baroness Theresa di Solvi, your name on the ledgers of York is Tesara of York. In Amber it is Tesara of Amber. I accord you the rank of Lady because the king told me he would handle that in time but to accord the rank absent of the accolade. Because you have attended Rasak i might also call you Sir Tesara if you prefer." Tesa turns and walks out the door saying, "Knives...I am going to need my knives" Dorna follows her. Gangdis chuckles, "I'm going to stick to my garb if you don;t mind for now. If Julian wishes to take offense that's his hanging issue"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer rolls his eyes at both Tesa and Dorna as they leave the room. He looks to Gangdis and shrugs. "Wear what you like. I don't think Julian really cares. Dorna is making a bigger thing about this than necessary. And I think she is part of my punishment for sneaking Tesa onto the Pattern." He gives Gangdis a half smile and another shrug. "This is going to be a really long day." He sighs.

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis pours a shot of brandy for the both of you. "Around Random's 20th, he made the call to the kin. IT was about 9 years before you came to town. Two of the people that came were Doria and Desri, children of Benedict by Lintra you know. Well he thought they were a punishment on him. Bleys was in his drunk phase and it was not clear if he wasn't leading a few of the cousins, including Doria and Desri, into trying to seize the throne. It was a complicated play as it turned out by Maylon Hendrake and Darnuthas rasaka afuras to test Random. I was in the library when it was at its most dangerous. It looked to all of us that Bleys was trying to maneuver Random into war with Chaos. I was just a drunk in the library, off duty, unobserved. But Random and Doria quarreled bitterly till he said something that I think about a lot. More so since traveling with you. He said, "Look, I may have to kill a brother in the next half hour, ok? I will think about if I need to imprison a niece later. Setting priorities, my dear, is a requirement of kingship." "Perhaps Random is multitasking and setting priorities. he has a new Amberite who appeared out of no where and a troublesome cousin who brought her, and his lackadaisical elite. Dorna is an elegant way to tweak all of us. It is also a way to show respect to the Dreanans, an annoying people, that Random respects them by using one of their celebrity elites. Dorna is known to have been taken as a lover in her youth by no less then Markosi Brolic. So, priorities"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I see your point, Gang... fresh out of Rasak and I sneak someone onto the Pattern, someone King Random has had a vision about, a vision I was also in; a dark vision. Plus the dark public image that I fostered and my unusual associates... I can see how it must all look from the outside. I see why Dorna was given this assignment." His sighs. "This is going to be an adjustment for all of us. But perhaps it will be for the best... time will tell." He picks up one of the shots of brandy and shoots it down.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Perhaps that is it exactly. If we bend first, conform a bit where needed, maybe she will loosen up a bit. Plus it could help with our image. Getting Tesa to go along with this might be difficult."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "Perhaps, rather then bending her to our will, we should bend a little toward hers?" "Tesa is a mimic if she needs to be. A hell of a liar. She will make do. I've known Dorna's type for centuries. Only a few did not break. But I've spent a lot of time on Dreana in the past. I tend to agree with Bleys. Dour fucks. Ridged backs is their way of life. I have only met a few i liked and Dorna isn't one of them.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, let's see how Tesa gets through her first audience with a King and Amber Royal. And whether she offends anyone or attacks Dorna. And I suddenly recall dealing with someone much like Dorna during my Adventuring Years; a Paladin named Vladimir... really uptight, took everything way too seriously and personally.. and he was always watching me, the Necromancer, like a vulture waiting for its food to die." He peers down the hall, then looks towards the door leading out of the suite. "I sure hope we can get this over with quickly and painlessly; I am rather hungry and looking forward to the egg dish Tesa described." Realmer pulls out his Green Mandalay Stone with his right hand then cross-body draws his Bone Wand with his left hand then has it Shift into the Scrimshawed Bone Staff. Then he places the Green Stone into an eye socket of a carved skull at the top of the staff then tells the Staff to bond with the Stone and incorporate its powers. He then gives the Staff some directives on how he wants its Shifted Forms to look; the Staff and Wand will have green vines wrapped around them, the other undead animal and monster forms will be bone and vine (like the Necrobotany).

High King Julian, his Titular Queen Ninaaratres & their daughter Sadashi[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

The long corridors display an elegance unusual in other parts of Adagalask. The lights are glowing rather then candles. The colors are in red and whites. Tesa, Realmer, Gangdis and Dorna are led to a great hearth with long couches on either side. Nearest the fire is Julian in a montsuki kimono in purple over white. A katana sits near his hand. In a corner is a large hairy man in Arden Ranger's attire. He seems familiar. Julian rises, bows, waves to the seats, stepping up to take Tesa's hand and forestalling an awkward bow, guiding her to the seat closest to the fire on the sofa across from him. He takes his seat again. Julian waits, knowing he must speak first. "Tesara....I am your Uncle Julian... it is sometimes awkward when our family gathers.. ah, Gangdis, Please do not take offense but this is a family meeting. Please take the terrifying Dorna over to discuss security arrangements with my majordomo. No.. you do not have permission to object, Dame Dorna." Dorna looks angry but does as bidden. Julian waits till they have gone and turns to Realmer, "Dorna ag Brolic? If Random's request to arrest you and Tesa when i saw you wasn't enough seeing her here would do. So... where shall we start? You have come into my realm, there for family custom demands you answer first."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“Perhaps I should start with the series of events that put the both of us in your Realm, King Julian. As you know, Tesa was traveling with me when I first came to Adagalasck and continued to work with me during my stay. When we left, I got permission for her to attend Rasak as a form of payment for her loyal service and in the hopes she would continue to work with me in the future. While there, she met Alexadir kos Korag and they became involved. The night before the Graduation Ceremony on Rasak, while sitting on the beach on Adledross, Benedict joined me and we talked of many things until the sun rose. One of them was Tesa and her family line; I was unaware she was Family until that night. He also addressed concern over Alex getting involved with her, though he did not say why specifically.” “After leaving Rasak and arriving in Amber, I met with King Random and we spoke at length about Tesa's genealogy and her ties to the Amber Family Line. He also expressed some concern due a Vision he, and others, had had while sitting the Oracle of Night. A vision involving Tesa, Alex and myself in some way. I had planned to contact Tesa after graduation but talking with Benedict and Random gave me a little more motivation to do it sooner rather than later. And so I did and so I joined her in Shadow. Then Tolknor arrived, put Tesa under a Sleep Spell, and then told me much about his great granddaughter's lineage, playing the role of doting great grandfather the whole time, then he left.” “With the sudden family history lessons from the Lord Marshall and King Random and all this attention from powerful people suddenly falling upon Tesa, I thought the best course of action would be to arm her with her Birthright to help her defend herself against those that would try to use her. So, I explained to Tesa about her being Family and about walking the Pattern and let her decide. And since I have access to a Pattern, I took her to Ambir, where we met Finndo who was guarding the Pattern. He said Dworkin had given permission for Tesa to walk the Pattern and so she did. Finndo talked with me and also talked about Tesa's family line, and much about Av Reet. Then, when Tesa reached the center of the Pattern, Finndo sent us here, to Adagalasck, where he said we would be relatively safe, as Av Reet was not likely to come here due to the ease with which Stair Realms can be sealed.”

  • Michael James Watson

He whistles softly, "Random, Benedict, and Av Reet? That's a rough introduction. And you side stepped Random's customary orientation too. No wonder he's mad. I guess my question is are you seeking asylum, Tesa? That is probably Random's first fear. Benedict's is that you will take service with Av Reet. Arloxedra's first fear is that you will lead Conf to the throne of Amber. Conf is something of a pet peeve of Arloxedra's. What say you, Tesa?" She looks around, "to be honest, i am looking for someplace to sleep for a month without fearing assassins or new kin. I never thought much of family and now i have more then i can comprehend."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer suppresses a chuckle and tries to hide his smile.

  • Michael James Watson

Julian looks at Realmer and nods, tries to suppress a laugh and fails. he has a soft laugh but Realmer realizes its the first time he has ever heard him laugh, and possibly the first time he has ever heard of him laughing. He says, " I understand that feeling entirely. It's the reason Random put out the Call to the Kin, in 5220 or so. We had Martin, Merlin, Arloxedra, Derek, Truman, Duncan, Galvar, and Elayne that we knew about of the cousins. Then in short order we had Doria, Desri, Vance, Geryon, Mark, Stryker, Rene, Nicholas, and Zachary. That was when Random got Delwin to return too. Then we had Rinaldo and Dalt show up. " He pauses for dramatic effect as tea is brought. Green tea. "Then the sweet as vinegar Maylon Hendrake showed up with her Heirs and Spares page and revealed that Chaos had the Benedict Lintra line. That was too much then. But in time Osric and Finndo turned up alive as did Elfwine, Adrian and ...on and on.. It is a bit much"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Tesa and say apologetically, "I'm sorry for making you grow up sooner than you may have wanted to. But it was going to happen sooner or later, and I thought sooner would be better."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa scowls, "I'm not a child. I never had a childhood.” Julian says, "Well maybe you will now. I've had several and I am hardly the most adventurous of our breed. Random had childhoods till the day he walked into Flora's house in Westchester to join his banner to Corwin's. After that it was a close thing for him. He survived returning to Rebma, attempting to assassinate Eric, and fighting the battle of Patternfall. Our kind does not have a decade of youth, a decade of teenage years, and then embark on adulthood. We grow as need makes us. We become childish when circumstances allow us. Our race was born in Chaos, Tesa. You think your youth was hard? Filled with abuses? Talk to Vek Hendrake. That's kind of what i consider the line for hard childhoods. I've thought a lot about this recently." He turns as a young woman enters. Bright purple hair, pale Adask skin, bright green eyes. She wears a kimono with purple and green floral patterns . She wears a wakizashi and tanto at her waist as Julian does. Rising, he takes her hands and seats her beside him. "Relmopator, Tesara, allow me to introduce my daughter Sadashi." She gives a slight incline of her head as she sits next to Julian. "My mother Ninaartess will be joining us in a moment. Welcome to Henexumia."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When Julian rises, Realmer uses the Rasak Battle Sign Language and makes a quick gesture to Tesa to 'stand' as he rises to his feet with Julian. Once Sadashi and Julian are seated, Realmer sits glancing at Tesa then back to Sadashi and Julian. "Well Met, by Moonlight and Magic, Princess Sadashi. And thank you for welcoming us here. I look forward to seeing your mother again; it has been many years since last we spoke."

  • Michael James Watson

Sadashi inclines her head, looks to Julian, "My father tells me that you both spent a great deal of time over in Blomsia at the North Stair. My mother speaks highly of you, sir. Though she speaks carefully. I suspect she does not tell me everything. I've spent time there of course, and met Ambassador Roth often. He tells wonderful tales about the Family of Amber. Especially of Prince Corwin. I look forward to meeting them but mother says they will have to come here to make that occur. Do you think this possible? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"If I have learned one thing, Princess, it is that in this Great Multiverse we live in, anything is possible. And I am pleased to hear that The Mistress of the North Wind still speaks well of me. It has been many years since I came to Adagalasck and met your mother and Opened the Way. Times were more tumultuous back then... not like now under your father's rule." He smiles and bows his head politely to Sadashi and Julian.

  • Michael James Watson

She looks at her father, smiles, "Oh he is a benevolent tyrant to be sure. He has allowed me weapons training, wilderness craft, and small sailing ships, but not sorcery. Still, he has allowed me to takes the Spiral of the Four Winds though that was really mother's say "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Your father honored me and also graciously allowed me to take the Spiral of the Four Winds, for my service to him and Adagalasck. I bear the Mark proudly and use the Sigil wisely. When one day you do learn Sorcery, it will hold your Spells well; it is a sturdy framework."

  • Michael James Watson

From the door a voice says, "Yes it is. And it will become stronger. Much stronger. We know where the Red Sword is. All we need now is the will to take it." Ninaartes enters the room, dressed in the the black and white designs of the North Stair. "To do that we need people of an adventurous nature. Do you know any?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stand when Ninaartes enters the room and bows slightly. "Queen Ninaaratres; it is good to see you again. And I know many adventurous people, but whether they are available is another matter. I, myself, have other commitments that may keep me busy longer than you may wish to wait. My apologies. I'm sure you recall Tesa, from our time traveling across the lands of Adagalasck and in Blomsia. Or, as she is now more formally known; Lady Tesara."

  • Michael James Watson

She nods, "I do remember Lady Tesara. I wondered what the riddle of her magical genetics were at the time. Shadowed with the intent to hide them. They are more clear now. Welcome Lady Tesara." Tesa bows, "Thank you, your majesty. I find it strange to be accorded such rank. I guess i will have to grow into it." She laughs, "Yes, you will. And that should include knowing that if you travel with someone you have a right to sway them when offers such as mine come along. But not today.. Now, please, let us break our fast in earnest."

  • Michael James Watson

As breakfast goes by Julian takes Realmer aside, "You have a real problem with Random. He is pissed purple but he is practical. I've a suggestion on what to do if you want to mend those bridges. I've a passel of royals across the world, young, and they have some very unusual ways of thinking. I want to bring a little outside understanding. Would you help me set up a branch of the University of Fantalin? What i had in mind was general sciences, cosmology, history of various realms, and the Royal Rights course. Diaga has a campus, So does Calrabon. I'm sure Aries will agree. If we set it up and let it be known that Tesa and Sadashi are attending it, Random might be calmer when he gets here?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"A most excellent idea, Cousin. I have been pondering how to make amends with King Random. And I have also been pondering how to bring some of the more radical factions of Adagalasck, especially those still loyal to Hagalta, into the new age. It would seem that Education is the answer. Aries has already asked me to teach at Fantalin so I'm fairly confident he will agree to a new campus here, especially since I will be involved. If I may make additional suggestions... add Magic Studies, both Theory and Practical Use. And teach both Low and High Order Magics. Most importantly, make the general studies courses available to all, not just the royals, the privileged, the wealthy and the gifted." "And yes, it might indeed calm Random's ire. I will contact Aries soon and begin the process. Do you already have a location in mind?"

  • Michael James Watson

"First step of the West Stair, just outside the city. The realm is of good temperature, one sun, one moon, a couple roving weather systems. About 8 million sq kilometers. It has a few good cities in the 200k range in a later renaissance level technology. About what Amber was under Oberon. They could use some Urban improvement. There is a lot of back and forth between the stair realm and the city so it won't surprise them when your crews show up. The immediate city inside the gate is where it will be best. There is a collection of 20 manor houses in the eastern district that are the property of the crown. You can have them all. I have a contact with the mole people Random used to put in plumbing in Amber. I'd suggest getting construction crews from Vulsar. For anything between the locals and the crown use Sadashi. She is efficient that way. make sure she attends classes. SADASHI! " She looks surprised but walks over. "Yes?" Julian says, "Realmer has agreed. So, as of now he is Dean of the Adagalask University and you are his ward. Behave now." Julian turns and walks away quickly, towards Nina.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks surprised for an instant, then as Julian quickly walks away, Realmer narrows his eyes at his retreating form and the look on his face is one of both irritation and admiration. Then he smiles, looks to Sadashi and nods his head respectfully. Then he follows King Julian back to the seating area and addresses him. "Of course, I graciously accept the position of Dean and the Guardianship of my new Ward, Majesty, and all the responsibilities there in. But my responsibilities will be many and I will not always have time to watch over my new Ward, in the way Tesara is watched over by Dorna and I am watched over by Gangdis. Will the Crown of Adagalasck be providing a personal bodyguard for Princess Sadashi, or is that also one of my new responsibilities?"

  • Michael James Watson

Sadashi says, "I do not need a bodyguard, dammit!" Tesa says, "I said just the same thing!!" Nina says, "Indeed? How did that work out?" Tesa smiles, "Dorna is outside the door I would guess. Ah...King Julian, Queen..." Julian says, "Tesa, unless we are in court or having a formal function were are family. Julian will do.." She nods, "ok, I suppose if I had attended the Royal Rights course I would know that. Well then, Julian, why not make a package deal. I'll be Sadashi's body guard. Dorna seems fit enough to look out for both of us and frankly unless Sadashi is a ninja there is a good chance I'm a better fighter then she or Dorna. We can keep each other up on our schooling and complain about our parents together." Sadashi, who may not have given Tesa second glance till now, looks at her, leans her head to the side, then looks to her parents with wide interested eyes." Julian looks to Realmer, "What do you think?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer raises an eyebrow and smiles at Tesa's sudden interest in helping out and her interest in Sadashi... and Sadashi's sudden interest in Tesa as well... perhaps a peer thing, being they are both female and of the same general age. "I think it's a creative solution, to be certain. And as the Dean I can make sure they share the same classes and schedules. But Dorna will not be responsible for watching over Sadashi, Tesara, you will be; you just made an offer to the King to accept the responsibility of bodyguard for his daughter. Dorna's responsibility is to watch over you and no one else. But I'm sure she'll watch the both of you regardless." "And Tesara; since Sadashi is my Ward, as her bodyguard you will take orders from me regarding her protection and safety, but I am open to suggestions, as you know. Are we clear, Partner?" "And Sadashi, as your Guardian, I expect you to respect my wishes in regards to your education and your safety. And if Tesara is trying to protect you from harm, then you are to listen to her if she gives you orders. Is that understood?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa agrees, "I know that if you go all out to order me to do anything there is probably a good reason for it. So it sounds fine." Sadashi smiles, "Have I ever argued with you before?" Tesa smiles broadly, visions of mischief dancing in her head.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer gives Sadashi a stern look, and means it. "THAT, was not an acceptable answer, Sadashi; THAT was a question. It is considered rude to answer a question with a question. Especially when evading answering. Now, will you please answer my question appropriately."

  • Michael James Watson

"If you give me an order I am sure you are not doing so without cause. So I will follow it. But ordering me to be your scullery maid will be ignored. But in situations of danger I would of course comply. I will not comply to an order beneath the dignity of a princess of the realm, sir. Such and order I a m certain my mother and father would not approve of either." Julian says, "You might be surprised, dear, what indignities i might allow, if appropriate."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods to Julian and then Sadashi. "I most certainly would not order you do anything beneath your station, unless it is appropriate, Princess. The University of Fantalin has Rules and Codes of Conduct for all students, regardless of station. And appropriate Disciplinary Actions for offenses committed against those Rules and Codes. I assure you, you will be treated fairly as a student and my orders as your Guardian will be just and justified. And thank you for your clear and detailed answer, Sadashi, it is appreciated. I'm sure Tesa will tell you that I am usually easy going and not a harsh disciplinarian, unless I need to be. I look forward to getting to know you, teaching you what I can and learning from you what you are willing to share." He bows respectfully to Sadashi then turns to Julian and Ninaartes. "Is there anything else Your Majesties' would require of me in regards to the University or the Guardianship of your Daughter? And what is the name of that Realm off the First Stair? And the name of city the University will be located in? And is the Time Flow there faster than that of Adagalasck? It would certainly be a benefit for several reasons; planning and construction time, time needed to set up curriculum and staffing, time students spend at the University vs time spent away from their homes... I'm sure you see my point.”

  • Michael James Watson

Julian says, "The city, realm, and step are called First Step. They have an economy of names. They are almost as bad with money as the Dreanans. Getting local help in construction might be tricky because they don't use clocks. So unless you tell them to show up at dawn, dusk, or noon they are pretty much impossible to plan on. Time relations are tricky. These days Adagalask is roughly 101 to Amber but it changes. First Step is 5 to one Adagalsk, but it changes. Time being flexible is a common thing here." Nina adds, "Its in the fundamental principles of the Sigil. Flexibility of Time. It has to do with the sigil having been forged on a piece of Calmir's Kangular. Time flexibility"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, the currently faster Time Flow of both First Step and Adagalasck compared to Amber will be more than helpful. I believe I will stick with Construction Crews from Vulsar; for punctuality, reliability, speed and durability of construction. And I believe the first building constructed with contain a clock tower." He chuckles then continues. "Once I, we, get approval for a Fantilin Campus, we can begin the rest. If you will allow me a few minutes to contact Aries, I should be able to get the stone rolling, officially." Realmer steps a bit away from the sitting area but not likely out of earshot and certainly still easily visible. Because Realmer does not have a Trump of Aries Colbrese, he draws out a glass sphere from an inside pocket of his Robe, holds it in his left hand and performs the required Ritual to contact him via the Trump Power of the Spiral of the Four Winds. He uses the Yellow Mandalay Stone in the Ring on his right hand to boost his efforts. First, he clears his mind, then he thinks on Aries Colbrese; the Dean of Fantalin at Thelusia, the man who welcomed him to the University when he first came to Amber, the man who took him to meet Hagalta for the first time, the man who was there when he learned his mother still lived, received her Ring and learned who had kidnapped her. Then he pictures Aries face in his mind as he stares into the glass sphere, focuses his Psyche, then Incants quietly: 'By the Four Winds of the Spiral; North, South, West, East.' Then with his right hand he traces The Spiral in the air around the glass sphere, starting away from the sphere, on the outer edge of The Spiral and spiraling his way to the center, the glass sphere, which he touches as the tracery of The Spiral ends and Contact is made. [ I took some liberty with the description for how the Spiral Trump Power works. You vaguely mentioned a 'ritual' needed to create a holographic image in the glass sphere for contact and transport... soooo.... I thought I would make it up for you] “Aries, it's Lord Relmopator of Amber. It has been some time and it is good to see you. I have considered your offer to teach, but have found, perhaps, a better offer... or more precisely, an offer I could not refuse. King Julian of Adagalasck would like to open a campus of the University of Fantalin in a Realm called First Step just off of the West Stair in Adagalasck. He wants me to be the Dean and arrange the construction and setting up of classes and faculty and such. I was hoping you would approve of this and help out with some plans for a campus, documents on the Rules and Codes of Conduct, courses offered, detailed cirruculms for those courses, and... well, you get the idea. And any and all recommendations for Faculty would be more than appreciated. Oh, and anything you have on the Powers of Djinn or the summoning of Masoja of Air Dufiro would also be greatly appreciated. I promise, I will teach at Fantalin Thelusia one day, but it seems I have been roped into this whether I like it or not.”

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, this is a surprise. I've been thinking of you recently. You are in Adagalask? Quite a place i hear. And YOU are to be the DEAN? Interesting. I will discuss the matter in person. The method you are scrying with doesn't include transport. Let me call you back on a Trump. Adagalasak--10ish to 1. Give me a few hours your time. Then expect my call. Fair enough?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Fair enough. I'll be expecting your call." Realmer breaks contact and puts the glass sphere back into a random pocket, then he draws out a Trump from his sleeve and keeps the subject hidden from view, then he contacts Fort. Once contact is established he communicates mentally only. ~Fort, I feel bad for shirking my duty and pushing it all on to you, but can you take care of the Masons in Dakota without me...? Or perhaps, contact me once you find them and I will join and help as needed...? I have been waylaid in a Royal way and I cannot get out of it. Though the Time Flow is faster here than Amber, and possibly faster than the Shadow the Masons are located in, I am still concerned about leaving the matter unaddressed for too long and I am unsure of the exact length of my obligation here. I hope you understand.~

  • Michael James Watson

~I'll manage it. No worry~

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

~Thank you, Fort. Contact me later with the details.~ He breaks contact and returns to the group and slips the Trump back up his sleeve. "I have spoken briefly with Aries, and he wants to discuss the matter in person. He will be contacting me within the next few hours to transport here for negotiations. Perhaps we could tour the location before he arrives, perhaps even bring him there."

  • Michael James Watson

Nina says, "Aries Colbresi is coming here? Really?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, that is what he said. He knew I was in Adagalasck and said he wanted 'to discuss the matter in person'. ".

  • Michael James Watson

Julian looks curiously at Nina who says, "Then we look forward to seeing him." Nina walks to the far side of the room looking out the window. Julian asks a few questions about staffing, courses, and suggests a few natives who might make good instructors. Realmer feels a trump contact.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer feels it is far too soon for Aries or Fort, so he politely gives Julian the 'one moment' gesture, then pulls out his KR Trump Deck to see if he can tell who is calling. Regardless of identifying the caller, he will still be cautious allowing the contact.

  • Michael James Watson

(I assumed Julian and he talked for an hour at least. ) Aries appears..."I am ready. Pull me through." Stepping in he looks around, sees Julian first. "Julian, congratulations. How is the king business for you? It must be quite a change from Arden." Julian shakes his hand, "Indeed. The responsibilities are very different. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Aries, welcome to the West Stair of Adagalasck. So, you wished to discuss the matter in person; well, here you are, let us discuss the matter."

  • Michael James Watson

Nina says, "No. I am shocked you dared set foot in my realm. Did you think your life so secure that i would not rend you? Find solace in solitude." Aries disappears.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stands slack jawed, looking from Nina to Julian silently.

  • Michael James Watson

Julian stands, "NINA!!! We discussed this. We rule together. You did this without discussing it with me!"

  • Michael James Watson

Nina scowls, "And he locked the door on Emilisa and I for 5000 years in Amber. That's 50,000 years here, beloved. Oberon convicted us, and he built the prison. You were there... Oberon declared us criminals and slung us into this place.. And Aries raised the bars and turned the keys. If Emiliesa had been here she would have slain him instantly, and you know it. He can suffer for a time. I will speak no more of this matter till breakfast tomorrow. Then, "looking at Realmer, "You may petition for his release. Sadashi, behave. Husband, I am going to visit my sister. I will be back tomorrow morning, maybe." She steps aside, becomes 2 dimensional, and disappears. Tesa whispers,, "well, that sets the bar on family behavior."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Tesa and says: "That sets _A_ bar on Family behavior, not THE bar." He turns to Julian. "I had no idea Aries was involved in the sealing of Adagalasck. If I had, perhaps I would have been more cautious in bringing him here. Do you believe Aries is in pain, danger or fear for his life?"

  • Michael James Watson

Julian frowns, "Maybe. It breaks an agreement between us too. I can't see him. I'm going to go have an argument with my wife"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well, this is awkward and uncomfortable" Realmer says to no one in particular. He looks to Sadashi and smiles uncomfortably. "Parents can be so problematic; my father is the difficult one in my family. But you may already know that." He chuckles lightly. "This may take some time... perhaps you and Tesara should get acquainted while I pace nervously." Again a light chuckle, but a hint more nervous sounding this time.

  • Michael James Watson

Test says to Samadhi, "He may be at this till tomorrow. Why don't you show me the town. We'll see who of the three of us runs fastest." Sadashi smiles,"I know a fine oyster restaurant. And I am a fine runner." Test leads her out, cast a hand sign for Realmer to call her if needed."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer sends a thought to Bob: ~Keep your eye on them, stay hidden and if anything goes awry, let me know immediately... even if something seems suspicious, let me know.~ Realmer then pulls out the last unset Mandalay Stone, the Purple one. He tells his Robe to bond with the Stone and Shape Shift an Amulet for it, with a heavy link chain and simple round Medallion, both of Mithril. The Amulet is not separate from the Robe but part of it, so it will not fall away from Realmer's chest when he leans forward or moves around, preventing it from getting in the way, snagging on things or being easily grabbed. Though, at Realmer's desire, the Amulet may be pulled away from his chest, but never fully removed from the Robe itself. Then he places the Purple Mandalay Stone into the center of the round Mithril medallion. Realmer knows that when Tesa and Sadashi ran from the room, Dorna would have seen them and followed, which means Gangdis would have seen them too and would certainly be coming to join him soon enough... until then, he paces nervously.

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis enters laughing. "Dorna may decide the best way to project Tesa is to keep her tied to a bunk. They walked off together with Tesa trying to explain what a tavern is and where one was here. So....what about the plan?”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"The plan, Gang? The plan has changed so much since you left the room it barely resembles the original. That purple haired young lady you saw running out of here with Tesa is Sadashi, the daughter of Julian and Nina and my new Ward. Julian wants to open a campus of the University of Fantalin here in Adagalasck and he wants me to be the Dean. He suggested that it might be a good way to educate some of the Royals of Adagalasck and put me back in good graces with King Random. He also wants Tesa and Sadashi enrolled there. So, I contacted Aries Colbrese and he came here to discuss the matter. That's where everything went sideways. Nina apparently still bears a grudge against him for the sealing of Adagalasck thousands of years ago and she made him disappear... I am assuming she transported him off to some sealed stair realm somewhere. Then she left the room saying that perhaps she'll let him out tomorrow. Julian has chased after her to have an argument. The girls have run off to get acquainted and have some fun." Realmer sighs heavily. "What have I gotten myself into, Gangdis?"

  • Michael James Watson

Sadashi looks pale, even for an Adask, seeing her mother behave like that

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis thinks a moment. "I'll answer you but let me just see I have it right." He drinks from his green tankard, " King Random is pissed you got Tesa on the pattern without his approval. King Finndo, an ex-king and apparently a behind the scenes power house did give permission which he may or may not have the right to do and thats a issue between Random and him. I was mostly Drunk during the Interregnum and the Repair and I attended Queen Margot's court. Finndo was like a dark angel protecting the realm but he and Osric spent most the time yelling at each other which made everyone hellishly nervous. Finndo is who got Margot drunk and convinced her if the universe was ending Amber needed a ruling queen at least once. He is who crowned her. He and Arloxedra nearly went to the mattresses over it though he was drunk as hell too. First time i ever saw two pattern wizards raise huge glowing Patterns against each other for battle. It was Elayne who stopped it. She kicked Finndo in the balls and gave Arlo the evil eye every husband fears." Another gulp. “Secondly, King Julian being such a pal dumped a massive years long obligation on you disguised as a way to calm Random down.” “Third, he pushed a troublesome daughter on you to keep her out of his hair.” “Fourth, Tesa volunteered to be the girl's guard. I heard that as she came out and dragged Dorna off with them.” “Fifth, After Julian suggested creating a University of Fantalin branch here, you suggested Aries Colbriese as a conduit to creating it. When he arrived Queen Ninaartes banished him and then fled. King Julian was as shocked as you. So it sounds like Julian didn't know about her issues with Aires. I've known Julian for thousands of years. Stern, controlling, disciplined, but not unreasonable. He is clever enough to survive the politics of Oberon's court but he did it by mostly staying in Arden. However, it seems the idea of creating a university, in this world of all things, is a bit out of his reasoning circles. Did he come up with an idea that would have brought his wife's mortal enemy here? We spent a lot of time here once upon a time, and around her. She is easily clever enough to manipulate a straightforward thinker like Julian. She has him wound around her finger enough to make him abandon Arden and Amber for her. She may have told him flat out to get Aries here if thats what she wants and might have told him how.“ “Sixth, we have Tesa and Sadashi and Dorna out on the town.” “It seems we have a number of hours before any of these resolves. I'd like to find someplace to drink heavily. This First Step city sounds like a good place to start. Gives us more time. So, shall we?”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Just a point of clarification: Finndo said he got permission from Dworkin for Tesa to walk the Pattern. He also said that Dworkin was watching the whole thing. When I pulled Dworkin's Trump out I already felt as if Contact was already there, so that could confirm that Dworkin was watching and aware of what was going on. When I contacted him to make sure it was safe for Tesa to walk the Pattern, he said it was. But other than that, you got it all right on the mark. And the way you describe it, it sounds like I have been duped repeatedly as well as getting the Shite End of the Stick." He sighs heavily again and shakes his head. "And yes; drinking heavily does sound like a good idea, but not necessarily a productive one... but visiting First Step and checking out the place AS we drink heavily is a purely genius plan. Yes, Gangdis, let's get out of here before anything else goes sideways and I get duped or dumped on again." Realmer puts his arm around Gang's shoulders in a friendly manner and leads him out the room the way they came in. As he passes a guard or member of the household staff, he asks for directions on how to exit the premises and the direction of the West Stair.

  • Michael James Watson

After walking, having some from the Green Tankard along the way, before entering the First Step he says, "Ah.. Well...Which is more likely? Finndo got permission from Dworkin to let Tesa walk the pattern even though it is technically Randoms call to make. Meaning Dworkin did so knowing it would anger the king. Or...Finndo lied. I hate to speak ill of a King of Amber but I think he lied to you. The possibility of switching the blame onto Dworkin might amuse Finndo, who in my experience, is an ass."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well..... ..... it is entirely possible that Finndo lied about the whole thing... and even faked the Dworkin Trump Contact; he IS one hell of a Pattern Sorcerer by all accounts. And he openly admitted that he did not care if he pissed of the King or Dworkin... or anyone for that matter. And he did trick both Tesa and I, by lying, while we were at the Pattern, just for his own gratification and amusement.... yes, that man is DEFINITELY an Ogre's Ass." "And Julian... I thought we had a better rapport; he said he was deeply indebted to me for reuniting him with his wife. However, if Nina is controlling him, which is entirely possible considering her Fey Powers, then all bets are off. It would explain a lot." Realmer finds he is a bit agitated by the whole debacle and needs to calm his nerves a bit. He pulls out thin cigar, lights it with a flame from his fingertip and inhales deeply, then exhales multi-colored smoke. He takes a second drag, much larger than the first, holds it a bit, then exhales a huge cloud of rainbow smoke. He visibly relaxes as then continue their way down the West Stair to the first step and First Step. "But... Nina seemed surprised that Aries was coming here and Julian did not. And Julian seemed very surprised and offended by Nina's actions. I do not believe Julian knowingly manipulated me into getting Aries here... but he certainly could have knowingly manipulated me into helping with the University and taking his daughter as a Ward... but the IDEA of the University does sound a bit out of his normal thinking... but he is a King now, and that can make one become very responsible and learn what it takes to run a Kingdom, so he could have come up with the idea on his own... but it did seem planned, for sure. And I could surely see Nina planning and manipulating the whole situation and Julian and me to get what she wanted." He puffs a few times, exhaling multi-colored smoke rings. "This day just keeps getting better and better" he says sarcastically. "Can't wait to see how the Citizens of First Step are going to react to us."

  • Michael James Watson

"Well, lets start by not killing them."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"A very wise suggestion. Perhaps we shouldn't start any fights either. Nor be insulting." Realmer laughs and takes another puff. Once arriving at the first step, Realmer will use his Spiral Power to shift them into the realm off of the first step called First Step.

First Step, the Odaraxta, Bannerlord Xorit & the Clan Blade of Kalota[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Stepping up the the grand stair the first thing Realmer notices is that the Spiral isn't necessary. Traffic seems to be coming and going with animal drawn carriages, human powered litters, rickshaws, and dog or goat pulled wagons. There is a fair amount of foot traffic in both directions. Entering the First Step he finds a world under two moons with frequent shooting stars. The lighting seems to be small glow lamps using oils but he notes a few magical ones as well. The city seems busy for what must be full night. Walking down a ways they come to a plaza where traffic splits off. A merchant area smells of cooking meats. Off to a side of the merchant area he sees businesses with a tankard hanging on the pole sticking from the front. Foot traffic suggests theses are taverns

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"A busy Night Life; I like that. Good for a University city." He nudges Gangdis. "Look. Food to one side, drinks to the other." He points to the food stalls then the Hanging Tankards. He moves in the direction of both, weaving back and forth across the street to look at the food and look into the taverns. If something looks or smells particularly good, he will buy some food. "What do you think, Gang? See a suitable tavern? Or maybe we could find something more upscale? Maybe we could move over towards the eastern part of town, where those manor houses Julian mention are, then find a tavern in that area, near where the future university will be."

  • Michael James Watson

He looks among the food vendors and wanders over, motioning for you to look to the taverns. A few moments later he returns with a rack of 8 skewers. Noticing it there seem to be people coming into the tavern with rack of skewers. A tavern boy comes out and throws a basket of skewers into a steel box filled with them. Entering the tavern it seems pretty subdued. Men and women eating and drinking, general conversation. Not very rowdy. A wench comes up, "Sirs, there is space over at those three tables. Its a warm night so the hearth isn't lit. Wine, Beer, or Juice?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"A strong beer for the both of us, thank you." He hands her a Red gem coin then heads to one of the open tables she indicated. "Seems rather quiet, despite being so busy. Perhaps we picked the sedate tavern." He chuckles, takes a seat so he can see as much of the common room as possible and the doorway. He puts his back to a wall if possible.

  • Michael James Watson

A few moments later she returns with two tankards and a pitcher. "Excuse me, whats this?" Showing the gem coin

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"That is a Gem Coin. Is it not the form of payment here? I have other types of coin available."

  • Michael James Watson

"What's a coin? Its pretty. I could get a hole punched in it for a string, if that's ok?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"You may do with it what you wish, it is yours now. A coin is a method of payment for goods or services. If you do not know what a coin is, how do people pay for things?"

  • Michael James Watson

"You speak curiously. " She waves to another table. "Thank you for the pretty Koin" She walks over and get a full pitcher and takes it over to the other table going about her work

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis looks around. "Figures.. I asked the vendor for 4 skewers, figuring we would get food here. He asked for how many people, i said two, he gave me 8 skewers. I waited but was pushed away by other ah..customers. I wasn't asked for payment. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer chuckles and tries the beer. "I still find it strange when I visit worlds and realms that do not have a form of currency or trade. this could makes things interesting for the University and visiting students."

  • Michael James Watson

"You spent most your time up in the courts during your ambasadorship as i remember. Not as much in the city. That was Blomish and i thought it was just a Blomish thing.. Tesa had a hell of a time up there. Stealing was easy. they had a trade system in gems but they didn't seem to take much care in what they meant. Often didn't even use them. She picked up a small hook knife at a place i picked up a boot knife. We got them for a few gems that wouldn't feed an adventurer for a week. At least it was a trade system. Here they seem to have taken it to the extreme "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

He takes a drink of his beer, relights his cigar, inhales and blows out smoke rings. "I have seen a few societies out in Shadow that existed purely without monetary or trade systems, and I have seen both extremes; a society where everyone gets what they need and a near total lack of greed... and... a society where a few control everything for 'the good of the people', while hording foods and medicines and other necessities and doling out those supplies in miserly ways. This realm, and Adagalasck in general, seem to be the former... at least as far as I have seen. We should certainly spend more time exploring the city and learning the ways of it peoples." Realmer looks around the room and studies the people there; staff and patrons alike. He also watches the street through the open door and any windows. He watches their behaviors and mannerisms and he listens to those conversations he can easily hear. He is trying to read the mood of the locals. Do they seem downtrodden? Are they generally sad or too quiet? Do they seem curious or nervous about the two newcomers to their city? Does he hear complaints regarding work conditions or rulers or bullies? Or are they just a quiet people with simple ways?

  • Michael James Watson

As he listens he hears talk about work but little complaining. A lot of technical stuff, how to fix stuff. How to move stuff. How to cook stuff. There are some people joking. He notices a few a fair number of Adask as well as pale skinned humans. There seems to be little separation. An hour goes by and Gangdis says, "Lets see if things get exciting away from a workman's tavern?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Agreed. This gives us a good base of the common people. Now let's see how the other half live... if that even applies here." Realmer stands and makes his way to the door and out into the street, heading deeper into the city, being watchful and observant as he makes his way along the streets and among the people.

  • Michael James Watson

He sees people going about their business. As the merchants shift from food to clothes it seems there is little differences in style and color. Looking about the people seem in the same clothes but the differences seem hand done, personalized. Gangdis says, "Trade goods.. standardized.. Can't be much hoarding. Excuse me..." He steps over to a booth filled with hats. He comes back with on, looking it over. "Good workmanship. Very good. A hat like this would fetch 5 silverwings in Amber I didn't see fancier ones but looking around there are craftsmen making hatbands, scarves, decorations.. Strange." As he is talking a gray skinned adask walks by, slips a knotted strip of adask hair, bright pink, on his belt. Whispers, "Two streets north, ally by the black door"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer watches the Gray Skin as he walks away, nudges Gang without looking at him, points to the strip of hair on his belt then uses the Rasak Hand Sign to repeat what was whispered to him. He never takes his eyes off the Gray Skin as he begins following, if it is north that he went. Otherwise, he watches until he disappears into the crowd then heads north.

  • Michael James Watson

"I noticed him. He wasn't armed. Few people here are beyond tools and eating utensils." The messenger heads away south. Gangdis dons his new Adagalasck hat. Walking north as the two approach the ally by the black door a pair of Adasks step out. Both are better armed, warriors. One turns and nods, and a third steps out. Realmer recognizes Xorit. He says, "I had heard you were back, Kalota."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer recognizes the Clan Name and smiles at Xorit. "Why is it that every time we meet, Trixta, something is afoot? Shall we go inside, or do you want to discuss it out here in the moonlight and night air?" Realmer's tone and demeanor are friendly, but he is still wary.

  • Michael James Watson

"More fighting room here, Kalota. The Reunion failed when you were here last. Hagalta went mad. All that happened he left his clan behind. I declared a reunion about the time Julian and Caine arrived. I am the Bannerlord of the Odaraxta . And I serve King Julian. Will you challenge me or recognize me for the Odaraxta ? Word runs fast in lands where time is a swirling river."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Wait... sooo... since I am the son of Hagalta..." he twists his head slightly to one side, "you come to me as though I am the Clan Chief of Kalota now? Wow. First I heard of that. And you think I am an enemy or a challenger because I am Kalota? Xorit, you were the first Adask to welcome and support me when I came here... even before that when we first met when Hagalta brought the Tome for King Random and my mother's Ring for me... I personally supported you and Clan Trixta when I arrived and during my entire stay in Blomish as Ambassador of Amber. Do you really think I would challenge you for the Odaraxta?"

  • Michael James Watson

He smiles, "You have been in Amber a long time, far from the lands of your clan. Do I think you will challenge me? I hope not, because i would certainly lose. But....I have a clan without a leader under the Banner of the Odaraxtra. The only legal claimant was Xorax. Until now. My spies tell me Xorax is in a realm called Nu Yark. Thats not Adagalask. You are here.. So...Its yours for the asking. ITs yours without the asking. If you decline, Xorax will certainly come and he hates you more then anyone. Hell, if you killed his mother you would be doing the whole realm a favor. So, do me a favor, take the Clan Kalota and give them something to do other then whine about Hagalta abandoning them"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer turns to look at Gangdis. "I told you it was going to be 'something' when we got here, didn't I. You said let's go get drunk. You said not to kill anyone." He pauses a moment. "And I said no insults or fighting." He sighs heavily and turns back to Xorit. "If you knew the day I have had you might just have ignored your spies and left me be and let the matter lie. We came here to drink heavily, so how about we find a place to drink heavily and you can tell me more about Clan Kalota and the problems they are facing. Once I'm less sober, I will give you my official answers regarding Clan Kalota and the Odaraxta . Does that sound amenable to everyone?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I know just the place, aways from all these cattle."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Then lead on and let the drinking begin."

  • Michael James Watson

Cutting through the ally to a nearby street, Realmer notes the regularity constructions, streets in rows, straight alleys. Occasional plazas. Xorit leads him to a Plaza filled with Adask. Most are armed and armored, which look very different from other Adask in the city. As Xorit enters the plaza people notice, and quiet spreads. Around the plaza are shields hung on different residences. Realmer recognizes shields for Anisixir, Trixta, Shaxta, and Yalix. One has shields hung face facing the building showing the backs of the shields to the street. Adask start moving slowly to stand before the buildings of the clans they belong to. Vendors stay in place but watch Xorit. The Adask in front of the structure with the shields reversed watch more closely then most. There are very few in front of the Shaxta structure. Xorit leads Realmer into the Trixta clan hall. No one greets the group but move out of their way. “Have the strong ale brought to the Great Hall. Call the Clan lords to tell them we will be celebrating.“ He leads in to a hall and a collection of heavy chairs of a familiar Adask design. He takes a seat at random from several in a group. Kegs are brought in and tankard, cooked meats and taters. “Krelat of the Shaxta has taken his clan to the east. Trying to take the East wind from Trualta. Stupid move but desperate. He thinks it will lead to his fighting me for the Banner. The Yalix are for me, most of the Anisixir as well including their lord. The Kolata have no leader so factions support Kretet and me. They fight among themselves and pick fight with others. Its all very messy. Its made worse by the fact that serving Julian is the only thing that makes sense. He has the West wind and stair, married to Ninaartes. Hes been her for 20 years in our time. As im sure you remember, all adask are part of clans but in reality only about 20% are militant. Most just go about their daily lives. Except the Shaxta. As a clan they have weeded out their people till nearly all are warriors. They have to fight to feed themselves even here. They steal as often as provide. Live & Provide is the way its put here. They don't hold their end up. I need the other 4 clans to defend against just that one. And the Kalota won't budge till they have a clan lord. I can't use Julian's forces to settle this Reunion. But we profit supporting him. See my problem?”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

When the food and drink arrive, Realmer grabs a tankard and fills it with the strong ale then guzzles it down completely. Then he refills the tankard and listens to Xorit. "Yes, I can certainly see your problem" Realmer says, then takes a large gulp of ale, then continues. "Now let me tell you a bit about mine." Another gulp of ale. "I'm sure you recall the Tesa, the young woman with the multicolored hair that was traveling with me when I first came here. Well, I found out she is a member of the Amber royal family and might be in danger from her other family members and those interested in using or abusing her for her position. So, I took it upon myself to have her walk the Pattern so that she would have powers and abilities to help defend yourself from those who would try to harm or take advantage of her. However, I did not get permission from the king of Amber to do this, so he is royally pissed off at me right now." He pauses in his narration to take a drink of Ale and a bite of food, then continues. "Then we were sent here to Adagalasck by the guardian of that Pattern, my cousin Finndo, as he thought we would be relatively safe from her dangerous family members here and it would give me time to train her in her new powers. Shortly after arriving I met with King Julian. He told me of the many problems going on here in Adagalasck and asked if I might be able to help him by starting a university for the people of these lands so that they could learn much about the other Realms outside their own. He wants to have many of the young Royals of these lands attend a Royal Rights course at the University and suggested that if Tesa take that same course that perhaps King Random would be less upset with me over the matter... especially since one normally takes this course before walking the pattern in Amber. I agreed to help and next thing I know I have been appointed the Dean of the University, that has not even been constructed yet, and that Julian's daughter, Sadashi, is now my new Ward." Another pause for a bite of food and a drink of ale. "I then contacted Aries Colbrese, the Dean of the University of Fantalin at Thelusia. I contacted him to get some help with starting up a campus of the Fantalin University here in this realm of First Step. When he arrived, Ninaartes banished him and threw a fit about his involvement in the sealing of Adagalasck thousands of years ago. Julian was quite shocked by her behavior but regardless of this she simply walked out of the room and said perhaps I could speak with her tomorrow about the matter and maybe she might free him. Julian chased after her and I have not heard from either of them since. I came here with Gangdis to check out the city and the land King Julian gave me to build the University and to get drunk." A couple more bites of food and a couple more gulps of ale and he continues. "And that does not even cover the intricacies of these problems, nor have I even addressed my personal matters which seem to have been put on indefinite hold by the desires of others. Now, you bring me this Clan Kalota matter and add it onto my already over full plate. I'm sure you can see how I am a bit overwhelmed and really need to get drunk."

  • Michael James Watson

He ponders.. "You know... Kalota has about 20% militants. Typical for the clans. But a lot of them are laborers; Gardeners, farmers, fishers, construction. Much of First Step, as well as the city outside the step, was constructed by Adask, many Kalota. There are also a fair number of scribes. Many of the women were maids, nurses for the nobles of the pink skins. A lot were fairly educated. All clan members get a say in clan business, not just the militants. Maybe you could lead the clan by giving them a new purpose. I hear university are schools? Maybe they could help.".

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, a university is a school of higher learning. Teaching subjects such as the Sciences, Mathematics, Histories and other specialized skillsets and disciplines. The University of Fantalin is the most important school of all, as far as those of Amber and those who follow those of Amber are concerned. There one can learn as at other universities, but one can also learn the Histories and Cultures of other Realms and a Royal Rights Course to teach the ways of royals and the ways of the courts and of etiquette." "And though I appreciate your information and suggestions... which seem noble and actually useful... recent events have me on edge and overly suspicious of everyone's motivations. Though you do have your peoples' best interests at heart and in mind... which I have seen myself in your actions... you also have a big problem you need to dump on someone... and here I am." He pauses to smile at Xorit then chug some ale to finish the tankard, then refills it from the keg, takes a swig then continues. "But, you have always been fair with me since we met. You have never been underhanded or sideways with me in our dealings... but I still feel you are leaving something out, Xorit. Are you? Or am I just being paranoid?"

  • Michael James Watson

"I have spent much of my life seeing to the protection of my clan. Much of that was spent fighting with Hagalta and I always feared I would die on his knife and fail my people. Hagalta came out of nowhere to seize a clan he had tenuous connections to. He killed a tyrant only to become a greater one. And as bad as Hagalta was Krelat was crazier, worshiping a creature called Entropy. The other two clan lords were only less dangerous because we usually shared the same fear; dying and leaving our people to madmen." He chugs his beer, refilling it and leaning back. "Fighting them both was impossible. Then one day, while we all fought against Hagalta's Reunion, there you were. And just as suddenly Hagalta was gone. I only had Krelat to worry about. I can defeat one foe. You have foes that span the multiverse. Mine are in Adagalask. Were Hagalta to return he would have greater foes then I. You, Julian, Ninartes, Caine, Emiliesa. My foes are right here!" He throws the empty mug against a far wall. "By serving Julian, cooperating with you, I will become powerful enough to kill Krelat, and sadly I must kill his clan to the last man able to raise his clan blade. The fact is that I don't need you to take Clan Kalota. You were seen coming in here with me. You are Hagalta's heir. Had Xorax returned I'd have had much more trouble." He reaches around behind the chair and pulls a long katana in a sheath up and places it on a seat beside him. "If you raise this blade, and it accepts you, you can cross the plaza and turn one of the shields face forward. If you do a shield will turn on a hundred other Kalota halls across the world. That solves my Kalota problem." He reaches behind again, pulling a katana blade across his lap. "If you don't then when the clan lords arrive in a moment, I will use this blade to kill Fallak of the Kalota and give the clan blade to Datarik. He will turn the shield." "Either way, my Kalota problem ends today."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

The sudden time table triggers Realmer's inner Power Monger and an inner struggle ensues. Gangdis, and those as observant as he, might notice the slightest tensing of Realmer's entire body. He stares at the katana in the chair, knowing what it represents, knowing any moment someone else will come for it. "You play a wicked game, Trixta" Realmer says then drinks the rest of his ale in several large gulps then slams the tankard on the table in front of him. "A wicked game, indeed. Like throwing a delayed blast fireball into a room." He chuckles. "You know I care for the Adask and all of Adagalasck." He grits his teeth and inhales deeply and sharply through his nose. "I may hate you for this one day, Xorit... but if I do, I assure you it will be solely a personal grudge against you alone." Realmer stands and reaches over to take the katana in the chair next to Xorit.

  • Michael James Watson

The blade falls free of the sheath, rising on its own. Burning white pain sears through his hand and across his body. Somewhere Bob howls and falls to the ground in pain. Somewhere two Hagaltas scream suddenly in knowing agony. Relmopator sees in the pain the moment each wielder across centuries first raised the blade. He sees every life the blade took, as the pain fades and a fog falls over his mind he sees the face of everyone who touched the blade in fealty down thousands of years. Xorit says,"I can accept that. Thank the Maker. I can sleep tonight. Sir, your master will be groggy for a bit. In a moment people will arrive. One may attempt to slay your lord. Maybe not. I can't interfere but you can. If they draw blades, do not hesitate. Slay them. 50\50 they will just accept it." Reaching over he gently lowers wrist and blade. Pouring ale over it the blade steams and cools. "It's done. Toloy, go see to the needs of our other guests as they arrive."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer keeps the katana in hand, in case he runs into trouble as he walks outside to turn over a shield in the plaza. If attacked, he will defend only, parrying and dodging attacks, knowing full well his Robe will protect him. He will disarm any opponent he can and do his best not to harm anyone, or do as little harm as possible if he must.

  • Michael James Watson

Walking out of the tavern Realmer feels the ridging on his palm as if healed skin tightens over a burn. Trixta clansmen move aside as he walks. In the outer room many of other clans mingle suddenly silent as he exits the building. Gangdis walks close behind, his mithril broadsword unsheathed and ready in his hand. They follow at a distance to watch the play. Crowds gather watching. Around the Kalota hall is a large crowd looking anxious that others have given a great deal of room. A woman in scale armor strides before him yelling, "Hagalta's get, drop the blade your father stole now!" She moves and swings hard down on Realmer whose attention is on the humming sword and his destination. The jealous blade allows little else. Gangdis' blade parries the downward chop, moving in front and pressing her hard, they trade blades furiously quickly. Realmer, and a sense of attention from the blade, see that Gangdis might easily slay the attacker but is instead deflecting her murderous blows. The analytical part of Realmer that rarely sleeps sees that her fighting skills are great and far above the standard for warriors of this world, but they are no threat to the ancient Valorous Knight and Hero of the Siege of Bunny Free. After a dozen passes, he does a side step, topping her blade to the ground, and slams his green tankard against the side of her skull. She crumples to the ground. Kicking the blade away the pair continue to the front of the Kalota Hall. Several warriors separate from the crowd to go to kneel beside her, their weapons sheathed.

  • Michael James Watson

Near the front, standing in an open area is a thin but strong looking man, with black gray hair hanging lose. His red in blue Adask eyes glow a bit and a sense of a green magical protection surrounds him. He holds a tall tankard and leans on a longsword. “Hagalta's Heir, you can hand me that blade right now and restore the Kalota to the true ruling line. We would still probably follow you. But all things considered, I am willing to see just what you will do to undo what your father did. I'm willing to see what your boons will be to loyal followers especially since the first among the recipients would be me. But if you turn the blade over to Hagalta one day, be sure I am dead first.” He lets Realmer reach the front of the Kalota hall.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does not hand over the Clan Blade to the Adask talking to him. He moves to the shield on the wall of the Clan House and turns it over to face outward. He then turns around and faces the Adask that was speaking to him. "If ever I am to pass on this Clan Blade of Kalota and the responsibilities that come with it to anyone else, it most certainly will not be to Hagalta. And if you are of the true ruling line of Kalota, as you say, then most likely the Blade and responsibilities would be passed on to you, if that time comes. Join with me and help bring enlightenment and prosperity to Clan Kalota and all of the Adask peoples. Prove you are worthy of leading this clan into a new age and one day the leadership of the clan may fall to you." Realmer turns slightly away from the Adask and raises his voice to address the crowd in the plaza. "I am Relmopator, son of Hagalta and Satura, grandson of Verna the Primal Adask. I claim the right of leadership of Clan Kalota on this day. Show your loyalty to your new Clan Leader and help me bring about a new age of prosperity and enlightenment for Clan Kalota and all the Adask peoples."

  • Michael James Watson

Members of the clan push forward out of the crowds of people watching. They seem to be looking at the man next to Realmer as much as to him. Realmer feels the balance of the thing weigh on him. The woman Gangdis bashed comes to the edge of the crowd, blood flowing down from her ear. Gangdis smiles and takes a drink of the green tankard. She stares at the man beside you with fierce angry eyes, shaking her head at him slowly imploring him to say no. He turns to the wall, takes a shield and turns it face forward. "I am Datarik of the Kalota, Son of Asarxa Clan Lord of the Kalota. Hagalta slew my father and stole my blade. That nasty wretch over there, the one who didn't duck and will always be known for having lost a battle to a painted mug, is Fallak of the Kalota, Daughter of Asarxa, and my sister. I'll touch the blade. I don't know what you mean by enlightenment but prosperity sounds good. You are known. Xorit gave you the blade he had from Hagalta. Are you pledging the Kalota to his Bannerlordship? Clan Lord?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Well Met by Moonlight and Magic, Datarik and Fallak, son and daughter of Asarxa. I hope you think me not a usurper simply because my father was. I have the best interests of the Adask people in my heart and in my mind. Xorit knows this, and that is why he offered me the Clan Lordship of Kalota. I accepted this responsibility because the people of Clan Kalota are split, they fight amongst themselves, they suffer needlessly. It is my intent to reunite the clan under strong leadership and introduce new ideas to bring all of the Adask into an age of prosperity... and one day peace." He strides across the Plaza, looking intently at the open doorway to Clan Trixta's Lodge as he does so, gripping the clan blade tightly in his hand. "When I arrived here, Xorit asked me if I intended to challenge him for the Banner Lordship of the Clans... he even admitted that I would most likely be victorious if I did." He stops right in front of the open doorway so Xorit can hear him and then pauses for dramatic effect. "But I believe Banner Lord Xorit of Clan Trixta to be a better leader than I as he knows the Adask peoples better than I. So I am pledging Clan Kalota to his Banner Lordship."

  • Michael James Watson

Fallak scowls, "You come from Amber and think you are a strong leader for real adask?" She turns to se Gangdis toast her with the green tankard. She storms off. Datarik says, "She knows she will lose half of her forces at least now that the clan has its blade back. We have been stuck here for a year waiting for Xorit to bring the blade out. No sense trying to attack him unless one knows exactly where the blade is. " He points to a small group of men and one woman approaching. He says, "There are about 100 Kalota here, representing the clan across the world. These are my commanders. More will come. Others too, to swear fealty. I suggest taking this in the Clan Hall."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer nods his head up and down. "Very well, to the Clan Hall then." He moves to the door of the Kalota Clan Hall and opens it wide. Before he steps foot inside the Hall, he will Shift the design and color scheme of his Robe to that of Clan Kalota. If it is dark within, he will make the Yellow Mandalay Stone in Satura's Ring glow with light. Once inside, he will use Cantrips to light the candles, torches, lanterns or whatever is used for lighting in the Clan Hall. Once the Hall is illuminated, the light from the Stone in his Ring will fade out. He looks the Hall over, finds a table that affords the best view of the entire Hall and all exits, and is defensible with a wall or corner near to it. He goes to that table then moves the closest chair or bench to the best position at the table with his back to the wall, then sits, placing the Kalota Clan Blade on the table in front of him, pommel to the right, blade pointing to the left, edge pointing away from him. Realmer then looks to see where Gangdis has placed himself, where Datarik is, if Xorit is present, and how many others have followed him into the Clan Hall.

  • Michael James Watson

As time goes by Datarik introduces commanders, community leaders, prominent clan members. Xorit makes no appearance. Food is brought though its clear the kitchens of the hall were dark till you and Datarik entered. Now servents are coming in and eagerly starting the cook fires in cold stoves. After an hour Datarik, who has been running off for a couple minutes after each introduction, giving Realmer about 5 minutes with each, suddenly says, with a tone of delight. "THANK the maker!!" He hustles off the dignitaries and makes room for an elderly, short, one armed Adask with a limp to approach. He has a cross cut scar that removed an eye. He walks with a short ornate walking stick. "Lord, this is Criskis. We call him Creaky. He is the Clan Chatelaine. He manages this Clan Hall specifically but is in charge of maintenance of the 100 other halls as well. Their chatelaines report to him. He has been on something of a vacation since Xorit revealed he had the Clan Sword." "Damned, Ratbastard upstart dawdler. While you and your dry cunt sister have been bickering and trying to kill each other I have been on the hardest working vacation of my life. I've seen 100 Clan halls, marked each for renovation, started crews working on them. I've visited over a thousand villages across 4 stairs and 5 realms. My staff has been keeping the clan alive while you barn cats have been squabbling. Now get the frek out of my way." He swings his cane at Datarik's knees in a sharp way and he dodges it with ease in a clearly familiar manner. "Yess sir!" he laughs. "Creaky indeed! Not twice a year am I called that to my face, Lord. Unless you rename me.. Now Maker be damned, lets see the sword so I can get back to my real job. You may have warriors coming to fawn over you but I have people of substance coming to talk over important matters like farms, breweries, bees and cattle." Datarik adds, “And by tradition, no Clan Lord will enter the hall here till they see Creaky go outside and turn a shield. By now about 30 are turned but I'm betting they left one on the bottom row just for m'lord Criskis.“ Criskis grumbles, "By tradition? Not that a limp noodle like you would know, its the Chamberlain that must meet the Lord before the other Clan Lords, not just me. You see lord, you can talk to a hundred warband captains, but every Clan Lord knows that they are not ready to receive properly till the Chamberlain turns a shield. Not by law or custom, but because they frakin know that if they arrive before the chamberlain they might as well bring their own ale. So, I sent two boys to start the kitchen fires. I have hands outside with wagons of bread and goat I raided from the sheep beyond the plaza and Ive sent two boys down to crack the hard dark ale. Give me time to go check them and i go flip a shield and we will be open for business."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer suppresses a chuckle but still smiles as Criskis makes his verbally colorful entrance and tries to hit Datarik with his cane. "Chamberlain Criskis, Well Met by Moonlight and Magic. It is an honor to meet you. I would introduce myself, but it seems I am already known by most. The Kalota Clan Blade is here on the table before me. I can tell you know much about what's going on, and that you know how to get things done... I'm sure I will be speaking with you on many matters. And feel free to call upon me if ever you need my help getting something or getting something done; I am at your service."

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis mumbles, "Julian just happen to suggest that the best place to put a university was the place where the 5 Adask Clans have their main halls and where one clan happens to be in need of a Clan Lord that just by coincidence happens to have a handy claimant who just by freaking surprise has a challenger for Bannerlord and a spare clan sword. Sure, these things happen all the time in shadow, i'm sure."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer leans back in his chair, turns his head towards Gangdis and mumbles back: "Actually, things like this happened all the time in the Shadows I spent most of my years in before Amber; I believe they're called Gamer Worlds. But I have noticed over the past several decades, that those coincidences are more often planning and manipulations by someone powerful. And it irks me that I could be making those manipulations as well, if I had a mind. But instead I'm getting manipulated and have become a repository of messy problems. I'll have to thank Julian... and Nina, for all of this once I get it all sorted out." As he turns away from Gangdis he mutters under his breath. "And I'm going to sort it out, indeed. And when I'm done they will certainly shit a mithril brick or three." He turns his attention back to the Hall and his Kalota Clansmen.

  • Michael James Watson

"Fact is I don't mind being called Creaky, lord. I come by my creaking fair. By tradition, a Chatalian of a Hall may interrupt a lord's business in all things save fucking. Hagalta didn't like speaking to me. I told him what I thought of him. Datarik will tell you what he and his siblings did during the reign to hide and survive, and how all but 3 of them didn't. Tell me first if I am to be the dirty rug again in your term? "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's first reply to Criskis: "No, Criskis, you will not be treated like a dirty rug by me or anyone in Clan Kalota as long as I am in charge."

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "Good, good." He reaches over and puts his hand on the sword. "You get back to your plotting and your murders. I'll go make sure we have ale. Ah....There is a rumor about you...You don't like wine? I'll keep it for guests unless you want the barrels removed. We have substantial vinelands and wineries. I will need to know if I am to sell them or destroy them. I'd rather not. Is their any resources you would like to acquire? Talk to me first before you just raid the other Clans. Deals are better then bloodshed no matter what a Clan Lord thinks."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's second reply to Criskis: "The rumors are correct; I despise wine. But certainly do not get rid of it... let those who like wine drink of the wine. Nor I do not wish for you to destroy or sell The Vineyards or Wineries, for one day the Clan will be taught how to turn wine into Brandy; a drink I have come to love. And I will have to get back to you on acquiring resources, not sure what we need or want at the time. And I will certainly speak with you first and arrange deals for what is needed, for unlike the other Clan Lords, I would much rather not raid, fight, or kill unless it is absolutely necessary."

  • Michael James Watson

Creaky leaves toward the kitchens as Datarik moves back, fresh tankards for Realmer, Gangdis, and himself. "Before the othe Clan Lords arrive, and as you see none of the people i have introduced you to have left yet. Partly they are waiting on Creaky but mostly for your first drink. After that they can expect service from the staff. I suggest giving him about 10 minutes. In that time important matters should be considered." "You have a brother Xorax, two sisters, Dwynwen, Drixtra, and Hagalta is still alive. So are his wives Satura and Uxtrasa. Till now Hagalta had you under a death sentence. I have a sister, who you just met, and a younger brother, Jallax under my protection. Haglata had all three of us under a death sentence. He killed 4 of my older brothers and one of my sisters. I killed one of my brothers and one of my sisters; in self-defense. My sister killed 2 older brothers and a sister. You should consider the status of the surviving children of Asarax. You should determine the status of the children of Hagalta. You should consider the status of your mother and Uxtrasa. This is the total of surviving Kalota royals. Make your determinations so your commanders and warband leaders will know which to seek and slay." "I have no interest in challenging you. I would rather serve as Seneschal. You will need a voice here if you leave Adagalask. As you saw, Creaky and I get along. He will have turned a shield by now so we have guests coming." He looks to the door and exchanges nods with someone at the door. "Lastly. You have declared for Xorit as Bannerlord. As have the Anisixir and the Yalix. Krelat of the Shaxta will need killing as will most his clan. They won't be missed. Later, i have a suggestion considering war on them. Clan Lord Grasar of the Yalix comes. His is a small clan. While they have warriors they are mostly farmers. They supported Trixta from the start."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's reply to Datarik: "Let us start with the death sentences; there won't be any ordered by me. With perhaps the exception of Krelat. I will accept you as my Seneschal and all surviving descendants of Asarxa will have the pre-existing death sentences removed and will be considered clan members in good standing. Your sister and brother are safe provided they know how to play nicely with others, especially me." "My mother, Satura, will also be considered a clan member in good standing, but will never be considered for a leadership role as she is unfit to lead at this time. My sister's, Dwynwen and Drixtra, will also be considered clan members in good standing, but will not be allowed leadership roles within the clan until I have made the determination if they are capable and worthy." He pauses to consider the matter of the other three, takes a deep breath then lets it out as a sigh. "Hagalta, Uxtrasa and Xorax will be considered enemies of Clan Kalota, but no death sentences will be issued. Should anyone encounter any of these three and combat ensues, they are not to be killed. They are to be captured and brought to me alive. No exceptions." "Now let us drink and meet the other Clan Lords and their commanders." Realmer touches the yellow Mandalay Stone in his Ring to the liquid in the tankard given to him by Datarik, to purify it of poison, in case there is any there. Then he drinks deeply of the dark ale.

  • Michael James Watson

As the day passes, Gangdis says, "We are pushing the end of the night off the First Step. We shouldn't tarry." As the pair move out of the building, Realmer looks into a corridor. Something about it catches his eye but he isn't sure what. Datarik is a step behind, looks down the corridor and makes a HMMMMM sound.

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis looks down the corridor, "What is it, Datarik?" Dataraik looks to Realmer, "Have you spent a lot of time in dungeons?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer laughs quietly without taking his eyes off the corridor. "A considerable amount of time, Datarik. I was an Adventurer... a Dungeon Delver, for many decades." He carefully extends his Psyche down the corridor, Spells at the ready. (Staff, Ring and Robe all have Danger Sense.) Realmer now wears the Defender Blade across his back with the pommel over his left shoulder. The Kalota Clan Blade is now sheathed and on his left hip, his right hand moves towards its handle.

  • Michael James Watson

He senses something extremely subtle. It isn't the building but the building is part of it. It isn't the people around him but they are part of it. Its in the air. He feels the need to raise the sigil of Adagalask. When he does, for the first time he notices something about it is in motion. Maybe a millimeter a day but now it feels like a millimeter an hour. Something about it is feeling more active, direct. When his hand touches the sword he suddenly sees the spiral as if its furry with strands of hair reaching out to many things. Looking into the hall he sees a single strand reaching to attach to a wall in the hall, with its incremental change toward a look Relmopator unconsciously feels at home in.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"It seems things are changing, slowly, subtly, to look more to my liking... more, homey, if you will. How very odd." He says to no one in particular. He continues to look around at everything with the Sigil of the Spiral still up and his hand still on the Clan Blade to see what else he can see.

  • Michael James Watson

Datarik nods, "Yes, I had forgotten. My father and my grandfather and as it turned out Hagalta all had similar tastes. So First Step and much of the Odaraxta have a similar style. I suppose in time you could change all that. You can also make it not change. I do not bear the Sigil of the Four Winds, just the West Wind, and If the blade had come to me I would not have been able to effect that kind of change." Gangdis says, "Unless its immediately important I think we should get back to the capital"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I agree, Gang; let's move out. Datarik, you are welcome to join us, but I warn you... the king and queen are not going to be at their best. Either way, I will make sure to mention that you are my Seneschal now that I am Clan Lord and that they are to deal with you in all Clan Kalota matters in my absence." Realmer moves away from the corridor and towards the Exit of First Step / the Entrance into the Main Realm, then makes his way back up the West Stair and back to the Capitol. Once back in the Main Realm, Realmer will reach out to contact Bob. ~Bob. How are things going with the young ladies? And where are you now? And sorry about the excruciating pain earlier... it was a surprise to me as well.~

  • Michael James Watson

~ I realized you were not dead so i was more inquisitive then worried. We have some trouble with Dorna and Tesa. We are in quarters now, Are we well wherever you came from?~

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

~Well enough for now, Bob. But we have some headaches ahead... and maybe some advantages too. I'm on my way up the West Stair now, be there shortly. Has anyone seen or heard from Julian or Nina?~

  • Michael James Watson

~Julian has returned and is in quarters. Nina didn't return with him~~

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

~That doesn't bode well. Thank you, Bob.~ Realmer turns to Gangdis. "There's some trouble with Tesa and Dorna, they're in quarters now. Julian returned without Nina. We should move without delay." Realmer picks up the pace as they climb the Stair.

  • Michael James Watson

Arriving back in quarters bob says ~Julian's daughter has returned to her own quarters. Dorna is inside and Tesa has locked herself into her room. Shall i teleport her out here?~

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

~Yes, Bob; do that. And Dorna as well.~ He turns to Gangdis and quickly says: "Get ready. You listen to Tesa, I'll listen to Dorna." When they arrive, Realmer asks: "Who did what and what kind of trouble are you in? You're going to make the new Kalota Clan Lord look bad."

  • Michael James Watson

Dorna was in the front room already when Realmer entered. She was sitting formally, and rose, to parade rest when Realmer entered. She said nothing. When Tesa is teleported she turns at Bob, "Damn you! Give me warning or the next time I'll filet you for bbq skewers!!!!!" She sees Realmer and scowls. "There is one thing I want to make perfectly clear right from the beginning." She walks over to Dorna, Turns to face Realmer. "Ok, just to be clear, alright? This was absolutely not her fault. That lunatic daughter of Julian's started everything and Dorna stopped it. That should be clear to start, alright?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer firstly closes his mouth and removes the shocked look from his face at Tesa coming to the defense of Dorna. Then he looks to Gangdis, shrugs slightly then turns back to the pair. "Tesa, don't take your ire out on Bob; he was following my orders. And Bob, for future reference, let Tesa know before you Transport her. Settled? Good. Now someone please explain what happened."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa says, "we went to a place Sada said she knew. In a land of sheep I supposed a crippled wolf might be excitement. We came into the place and its a drinking place with something close to a hard saki in tubs people dip tankards in. She took us to a back area where there was gambling on frigging racing rats…" Datarik gives Dorna and Tesa a look-over that has lust tinged on it. Tesa stops talking and stares at Datarik, "And you are?" A stern sounding knock on the door is followed by Julian entering, nodding to Gangdis, and walking to Realmer, "Well, cousin, we have a problem with Young Tesa's elite. Call Random and have her replaced. I can't have someone murderously antagonistic to my daughter." Dorna stands, "Dread King Julian, I accept complete responsibility for the incident and the rat races. I had greatly misunderstood an important issue." Julian turns, "Oh? And what issue is that?" Dorna says,"I had greatly misunderstood that the Princess Sadashi is deeply stupid. I should have realized that as soon as I met her but I was distracted by my new duties. It will not happen again, Sire"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"If anyone is to take responsibility it will be me; Sadashi is my Ward, Tesa is my Partner and Dorna her Elite Bodyguard. But before we go much further, I will need to know the full details of what occurred. Then I will decide what needs to happen next."

  • Michael James Watson

Julian scowls a clear dislike at Dorna. Tesa, "Partner, Prince Julian, I address you as royals of the House Barimen, you are both familiar with King Random's view on card cheats when playing poker? Its the gossip of the servants and the nobles alike. Might I ask your estimation of how King Random would react if he discovered someone he was gambling with was cheating at cards with him?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I assure you, it would not go well. Since I have never been present at such an occurrence, I don't know exactly what he might do, but I am sure it would not go well for the cheater."

  • Michael James Watson

Julian, "He drew a knife on Caine once when he caught him cheating. Random takes his cards seriously." Tesa says, "So the legend goes. Well she took us to this place and she was clearly a regular. These rat races have rats running in routes and players cast dice to see who gets paid off when the vermin choses to run down a particular path. Everyone bids into a pot, the house takes its cut, and the pot is split between the bidders on the winning path. A Run is rounds of betting. Everyone knew who she was, and groaned about how expert she was at tossing the dice for winning paths. Well, Darling Sada was using the Unseen Hand cantrip to nudge dice till she was the only bidder on a path and then used it to nudge the rat down it. I am sure she thought she was being clever about it but I doubt she has ever had anyone call her on it. I got the impression from the locals that it never occurred to them that someone could do that." She looks at Dorna, "Well, after a dozen full runs an Adask looked at her and said-"Kwim is hexing the dice." The game runner looked pissed and sent a couple brunos at her, the Adask pulled a knife and was a foot away from sticking her. Then this one, "pointing at Dorna, "Stepped between the Adask and Sada, yelled at her about cheating her, punched her in the nose-hard. She fell like a sack of rice. Dorna turned and kicked the Adask in the yarbles and he hit the ground just as fast as the princess did. Dorna picked up Sada, tossed her over her shoulder and marched to the door. The brunos went to grab Sada and she picked up a handful of rats and threw them at one. She threw her heavy arsed knife at the other, hit him mid forehead with the pommel, caught it and sheathed before the guy hit the ground. I almost missed the door because i was laughing too hard. We left but the game runner had more guys chase us. We ran back here. Once we got to the royal compound the guys stopped following us. Anyway, that's what happened.

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer arches an eyebrow, looks to Julian then back to Tesa and Dorna... then back to Julian. "I, much like Random, and most people, don't take well to cheating and don't like cheaters. As my Ward, I would punish her harshly for her actions and make her payback all those she had cheated, and try to teach her a better way. But since we are still here, and you are her father, I will leave it to you for now to deal with your daughter's unacceptable behavior, Julian. Unless you condone such behavior, then I would like to terminate my Guardianship immediately. I also will not be contacting King Random regarding Kyr Dorna's reassignment as I feel she did no wrong. In fact, Sadashi got off easy; she could have been seriously injured, tortured, held for ransom or just plain old murdered. Nobody likes a cheater."

  • Michael James Watson

Julian nods, scowls, "Ya... I'll have a word with her.. She will be here tomorrow. " he turns and leaves the room. Tesa says, "Want to hear the funny part? Dorna didn't punch her to protect her from the Adask or the brunos. She did it because Sadashi cheated her. Then her protective instincts kicked in"

  • Michael James Watson

Dorna says, "We Dreanans have our priorities"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"That I can fully believe" Realmer says while chuckling. "So, I'm guessing the matter of Aries is still unresolved, since Julian made no mention of it. It will have to wait until tomorrow morning when I will petition Nina for his release." Realmer sighs. "In the meantime, you both should know I am now the Leader of the Kalota Clan of the Adask and will be having to tend to many more duties and responsibilities, fortunately the main Kalota Clan Hall is in First Step, where Julian wants the University built, assuming that was not just a ruse to get Aries here, so that will make things a bit easier. As will having access to vast resources of labor and skills for building and staffing the University." Realmer considers for a moment if the 'influence' he has over the Clan House looks, could somehow be used to build or shape the buildings needed for the university.

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa says, "You are the new leader of the Kalota Adask Clan? Which had its clan hall in the world Julian wanted you to build a university in. ANd the dean of the university you wanted to build a branch of is run by Nina's archenemy? Thats a lot of coincidences." Gandis says, "I said the same thing." Tesa nods, "And i thought i had a rough night."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yeah, it's been a day. Ladies, this is my Seneschal, Datarik, son of Asarxa, one of the last of the true ruling line of Clan Kalota, and one day my successor. Datarik, though I have not introduced you to him, you already know Gangdis, my Elite Bodyguard and advisor. This is Lady Tesara of Amber, she prefers to be called Tesa though; she is my Partner... an equal but not my spouse. And this Kyr Dorna, her Elite Bodyguard. Perhaps when King Julian is in a better mood I will have the opportunity to introduce you to him formally. As my Seneschal you will need to know how I conduct matters and you need to know that I have important matters that are not Clan matters, but you may still need to know about them. I invite you to stay and learn while we drink and talk." Realmer turns to the others in the room. "And though much has happened and I believe it's time for a War Council..." he pauses and looks to Datarik. "By that I mean, a meeting of advisors to discuss some ideas and formulate a plan, or three, not actually about going to War... I am tired... and I am torn between taking some rest, or getting a drink and holding the meeting now instead of tomorrow morning."

  • Michael James Watson

Datarik nods to Tesa and Dorna, then Gangdis, "Sir, it seems to me that we are not in a state of war at the moment. Krelat is a long term problem and is unlikely to attack tonight. When it comes to planning, when one is not rushed, plan rested. When one is rushed, Plan fast, hope for the best."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Good advice, Datarik. Most of what needs discussing and subsequent planning can certainly wait until morning. However, the matter of Aries and how to deal with Ninaartes is a pressing matter and I intend to deal with it the first thing in the morning and would like some opinions first, then some time to think on the matter before I rest. Any suggestions or advice? Anyone?"

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa say," She said tomorrow. Act like nothing happened. Unless you plan to rescue him tonight, tomorrow it is. Give her a chance to renege. If she refuses, then tell Julian you are leaving, taking the Kalota, and your ward, and returning to Amber. If she calls the bluff; do it. Pull the clan and his daughter out of Adagalask. Make Nina blink.

  • Michael James Watson

Doria says, "Demand him now. March to their chambers and demand his return." Tesa says, "and if she refuses, punch her in the face?" Doria shrugs. "One must have priorities"

  • Michael James Watson

Gang is says, "Xorit is pragmatic. If she reneges, see if he would like to trade up to serving Amber"

  • Michael James Watson

Dorna ponders, "Lord Relmopator. We Dreanans are keen students of history". Gangdis snorts. She continues, "One of the distinctions each of your cousins in Service to Amber is the forces they brought with them. War bands. Warriors. Prince Benedict has several fine bands. Prince Julian recruited warriors for the rangers. Gerard and Caine the navy. Princess Deirdre brought the Green Company. Even Dalt eventually joined his troops to Amber. Brand, Fiona, Flora, never did. It made others suspicious of them. Taking 4 clans of Adask to Amber would put you in loyal company. I can see no reason for you to stay here except your personal desires. Priorities.”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer ponders for a few moments. "The loss of one clan would have far reaching effects... the loss of four clans would be devastating, assuming Xorit and the others would follow. The loss of their daughter would be adding insult to injury. And then they would have King Random demanding the return of Aries and the full might of Amber's Military and Diplomatic Corps to back him up. I would have a few new enemies and might never be able to return to Adagalasck... a shame, I like this place." He snorts. "Priorities. Well, it's excellent food for thought. Let's all get some rest and meet in the morning here before I go to see King Julian and Queen Ninaartes. Thank you all for your advice; it is appreciated."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

After everyone heads off to their rooms, Realmer mentally tells Bob what he is up to and orders him to stay and keep watch over everyone here and contact him only in the most dire of circumstances. Then he will draw out his special glass sphere and think on the Study in his Castle in his Personal Shadow of Adagaar, off of the 23rd Step of the North Stair. Once he has the location in mind, he will perform the Ritual and bring the image in his mind into the glass sphere, then he will transport through. Once within his Study on Adagaar, he will alter the Time Flow from 1 to 1 to Adagalasck, to 1 day in Adagaar being equal to 1 hour at the Capitol... he needs a few days to get some things done before facing Nina and Julian... the first being sleep. He then moves to his bedroom and falls into bed, he tells his Robe, Staff and Ring to wake him in eight hours, then he sleeps. Upon awakening, he eats heartily then begins the process of Permanently Empowering his Personal NP Dagger with the capability to Rack & Use Spells. Twenty plus hours later it is done. He rests for eight hours again, using his Artifacts to again wake him. The following day he repeats the process of the previous day upon Vulcan's NP Dagger and twenty plus hours later he is done. And once again he sleeps and once again his Artifacts wake him. When he wakes late into the third day on Adagaar, Realmer begins Weaving Spells and Racking them in his NP Daggers. He eats heartily then sleeps until dawn. He rises on the fourth day, ready to Hang and Rack a few more Spells, then consider his options and tactics for his upcoming visit with Nina and what may lay beyond if push comes to shove. He Weaves and Hangs a personalized Dispel Magic naming Ninaartes and the Magic of Shadow leaving only a single Lynchpin to activate it. Then a personalized Paralysis for Nina, a personalized Stone Binding for Nina and finally a personalized Paralyze for Julian. All are Hung upon the Sigil of the Spiral. He then goes over some battle and spell tactics with his Staff, Robe and Ring, setting up one or two word commands for each attack or defense strategy. Then he eats heartily, ponders the afternoon and evening away, eats heavily then another night of good sleep. On the fifth day on Adagaar, he wanders the countryside outside his Estate to become a bit more familiar with his nature based Fey Powers. He only eats and drinks what he can find with his senses. When sunset approaches, he returns to his Castle at his Estate and dines lightly then gets one last night of good sleep. On the sixth day on Adagaar, the beginning of the sixth hour since he left the Capitol, Realmer wakes, drinks a single cup of coffee and eats some fresh fruits while rehearsing his thoughts and plans. Then he pulls out the glass sphere, pictures the front gates of King Julian's Estate in his mind, performs the ritual and appears outside the gates... if his timing is right, it's still dark just before dawn. He smiles and nods to the guards there, then moves inside and makes his way to the sitting room of the quarters they were staying in to meet with Tesa, Gangdis and Dorna before his big meeting with Nina and Julian.

  • Michael James Watson

Upon arriving at the chambers he is greeted by a string smell of coffee. Tesa and Dorna are seated playing chess. Gangdis is sitting with someone in a bathrobe. Shorn hair, his back to the door. The table is filled with empty plates. Gangdis rises as you enter and the girls stand a moment later. Turning the elderly bald man is Aries. Gangdis says, "Aries has been here about two hours. All i could do was get him to eat and bath. He hasn't said a word. The bath was a short one. He shaved his head. It was matted like the Dresil cords braids.. He has a lot of minor scars and a few major ones that seem long healed." Aires puts his hand on Gangdis's arm, rising, Looking to Realmer. "Good to see you. I am in need of magical assistance. I can't leave Adagalask. I need more time before we see Ninaaratres."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer is surprised to see Aries as he was sure he was going to have to plead with Nina for his release... so he is suspicious of his sudden arrival. Realmer knows Nina is crafty and he gets a sneaking feeling that this may not be Aries, so he brings up the Pattern and looks through its Lens at Aries to see if he is a Magical Clone or Simulacrum or other type of Construct. He also checks his Aura to make sure he is not a Shape Shifter. He also looks him over for spells, residual magics and possessing entities. "Aries, by the Primal Beasts, it is good to see you. I had no idea Nina was going to banish you, and I am sorry for what has befallen you. Of course, I will lend you any magical assistance I can. But what happened to you? How long were you gone? How did you get here?"

  • Michael James Watson

He looks about, "Do you have an ally who owns a stair that isn't Nina or Julian, Caine or Emilisa? Of course you didn't know Nina would do what she did. Hell, i doubt she knew she would. Ninartes is a Princess of Amber, daughter of Oberon, Granddaughter of Dworkin, As is Emiliesa. But their connection to Chaos is fairly direct. Their mother is Calmirian. A son and daughter of the Calmir Royal line that survived the destruction of the realm. They lived in the abyss for eons. They lived in Black Zone worlds. Hid from the Lords of Chaos. Oberon befriended them when he traveled before the creation of the Kingdom of Amber. There is serious madness in their mother Laeessas and it was long ago passed on to her daughters. There is a reason Ninartes and Emiliesa were imprisoned in Adagalask. They are extremely dangerous. Julian and Caine might well have rose against Oberon for their sake. But instead they fled Amber for them. I had hoped that meant there was reason to hope they had mellowed, with age, and in the glow of their renewed loves. But she is as fickle as ever. " He stands, shakes. "A university here is a good idea. But there is much to think of. I think, maybe, Ninaaratres has had her fit and will be ready to deal. But at the moment i am under something of house arrest. However, I have had 500 years to think about all this in a very inhospitable climate..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I know very few of the 15 Stair Lords, and three of them you have already taken off of my list. So that leaves the Lord of the East Wind; Lord Trualta. Though I do not believe he is a Stair Lord, I am sure he can help us out in some way. When last I saw him we were still on good terms, though he is a supporter of Nina's and has become friendly with Julian because of their shared interest in horseflesh. But I feel confident that if we asked him for temporary asylum he would grant it. If not, I'm sure Xorit knows at least one other Stair Lord and could possibly make arrangements for us, if needed. But, let me start with Trualta." A small glass sphere rolls out of Realmer's sleeve and into his hand. He thinks about Lord Trualta, performs the Ritual, and attempts contact.

  • Michael James Watson

Gangdis says, "If I remember from our time here Trualta was centered in the grasslands of the plains of Orvania, Varci, and Ciampia. There were three major and one, maybe two minor Stairs in those realms. If the Horse Lord isn't the master of them he would know someone who does. Bill Roth might know the current situation"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer stops just as he begins the Contact Ritual, listens to Gangdis then nods his head. "Smart thinking, Gang. Best to get the lay of the land first. I'll contact Bill first." Realmer thinks about Bill Roth, then performs the Ritual to contact him.

  • Michael James Watson

"Yes? ah.... who is it?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"It's Realmer. Do you have a few minutes, Bill? I have a situation... actually several situations, and I need some advice." If he has the time to talk, then Realmer will explain the situation.

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, asks a few questions. "I don't suppose Random sent you to relieve me? I am quite done with my first diplomatic posting. I am growing old again. Ok, first, Julian has been a calming effect on Nina if anything. Caine has riled Emiliesa up. They have a war starting down south. I like the idea of a University. What do you want to know about in particular"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

“I'll start with the easy part; no, I was not sent by Random to relieve you, Bill. I'm actually on Random's shit list... plus me being the Ordaraxta Clan Kalota War Chief might prohibit me from such a position at the Embassy." Realmer chuckles then continues. "What I need, currently and specifically, is access to a Stair that is not owned or controlled by Julian, Caine, Nina or Emilie. A Stair Lord who might be sympathetic to my need for a very Fast Time Shadow and some privacy. I know Lord Trualta, and I know he is the Lord of the East Wind, but I do not know if he is a Stair Lord, nor which Stairs are in his Realm nor whom controls them. And I don't know the current lay of the land in the East; current events, who supports whom, local gossip and rumors. Plus, you might know if any Stair is ruled or controlled by Clan Kalota. I thought perhaps you could help out with at least some of that.”

  • Michael James Watson

He looks wide eyed. "You claimed Hagalta's clan? Officially? Did you kill Datarik? I heard his sister arrived at the plains kingdom of Coimia. Its a battleground kingdom in the west of the West Winds regions. Krelat has forces in Ciombia, Varci, Kwongia, really all the Alagasa Sea kingdoms. That's a really mess of a region. Coimbia has no government really. Technically its a West Wind kingdom but it borders the South Wind and Emilisa and Trualta have spent a generation fighting over it. Supporting a new king and having the other kill them off. I'm not sure right now who technically rules it. As I understand its largely depopulated except for combatants. Peasants either went north to Varci or South to Seize. East is Elaram which is almost as bad as Coimbia. Damn shame too. Elaram only recently fell into chaos and still has a sizable population but its split between its winds and a civil war is starting. Lovely beaches. The northern border of Elaram is a steep jagged mountain range that frames the bottom edge of the great Grass lands of Varci, Ciambia, and of course Trualta's Orvania." "So, to answer your question. Trulta is not a Stair Lord only because Paper Lord Larga Dane owns the stair in Orvania. They have an understanding and Trualta has stairs there but I am not sure of the politics betrween them. The other thing is Coimbia, the battle ground kingdom, has a small stair. ITs a prize for the taking if you want to fight somewhere. The other Stair in the East Wing is Book Lord Walker Dane's in Qion. Nina wants him dead, Emilisa wants him dead, Trualta wants him dead but he is Larga's brother.. So.. politics. I hear hge is a unpleasant fellow. But hell, i was a city lawyer mostly doing wills, and Slip& Fall law till i suddenly became counsel to Amber.. Its been a tough learning curve but the Embassy here has been a true education. First one I've had since Harvard Law." with a minor stare. "So, to answer your question. Trualta is not a Stair Lord only because Paper Lord Larga Dane owns the stair in Orvania. They have an understanding and Trualta has stairs there but I am not sure of the politics betrween them. The other thing is Coimbia, the battle ground kingdom, has a small stair. It's a prize for the taking if you want to fight somewhere. The other Stair in the East Wind is Book Lord Walker Dane's in Qion. Nina wants him dead, Emilisa wants him dead, Trualta wants him dead but he is Larga's brother.. So.. politics. I hear he is a unpleasant fellow. But hell, i was a city lawyer mostly doing wills, real estate, and Slip& Fall law till i suddenly became counsel to Amber.. Its been a tough learning curve but the Embassy here has been a true education. First one I've had since Harvard Law. I wish my Alice was here sometimes, or my son. But if i found them now they would be but shadows, wouldn't they? "

  • Michael James Watson

Bill ponders, "You know, if you establish a branch of the University of Fantalin here, i'll be one of your first students. History, sociology, customs.. ah....magic." He looks side eyed at Realmer... "Magic... I learned a cantrip recently. Fire Finger.. Cool trick.. Any chance if i attend the new Fantalin that i might get a few magic lessons on the side? Cantrips....Sorcery..."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, I officially claimed Clan Kalota. And no, I didn't kill Datarik; I made him my Senaschal. And one day I will hand the Clan over to him. I have no intention of remaining Clan Lord forever, too many responsibilities and a little too restrictive for my lifestyle. But in the meantime, I intend to make the best of it and do everything I can to improve the quality of life for the Adask people, and all the people of Adagalasck, if possible." "In regards to your wife and son, if you were to seek them out they would be but Shadows of the people you once knew. But, if that is something you truly desire, I'm sure we could find a Shadow where they still exist and where they would be amicable to coming to Amber with you. But again, remember, they would not truly be your wife and son, but they might be a very close approximation if we can find the correct Shadow." "The University..." he sighs heavily, "Yeah... I'm beginning to wonder if that is actually something that King Julian wanted. I feel it may have simply been a ploy for me to get Aries here so Nina could exact her revenge against him. But regardless, I still intend to start a University of Fantalin here in Adagalasck, somewhere, and begin an education process for all of the peoples of this Primal Realm. And yes, there will be courses on Magic, and yes you are absolutely welcome to attend. In fact, I may be teaching the initial magic courses myself until I can find appropriate Wizards and Sorcerers to teach them in my stead." "Bill, I am a bit pressed for time right now, but I will be in touch with you in the very near future to discuss other matters, including the University and your enrollment. Until then, know that your information has been most helpful and that I consider you a friend and Ally." Once Bill says his goodbyes, Realmer will break contact then relay all of the information he just learned from Bill to his companions in the room with him. "So, Aries, does any of that help? What have you got in mind?"

  • Michael James Watson

He nods, "Yes, but it may be moot. I'm not sure hiding in a Stair would prevent her from hearing me. I was hoping to find a cooperative Nina and Emilie. But that isn't the case. I can't stay here and she has locked me in. I am going to have to do something ugly right away. If you tried to get her to release me even if she said alright it would be hours, days, till she did it. I have felt a few probes. I know things she must not know. I think the university a fine Idea. Come to Fantalin and we will pick a few deans and a few administrators as well as a few contractors, a;ll willing to come here. But you understand I can't stay and risk her doing that again to me?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I completely understand, Aries. Let's get you out of here and back to Fantalin immediately. I have a few things to take care of here after I get you back home, but then I will contact you and visit you at Fantalin to make arrangements." Realmer reaches for his Trump Deck, thinking to use the Trump of Thelusia to get Aries back home. But then he reconsiders, thinking that Nina may have blocked Trump transport out of the realm. So instead, he focuses on the Pattern, and walks it in his mind until he has reached its Center. Once he does he reaches over and places a hand on Aries shoulder then uses the pattern transport ability of his Advanced pattern imprint to get them directly to Aries office at the University.

  • Michael James Watson

Aries nods, "Dworkin. I summon Thee."

The Dworkin Intervention & Fallout[edit]

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does not stop his Pattern Mindwalk once he hears Aries summon Dworkin, instead he continues until he reaches the center and leaves the Pattern up before him, just in case it must be used defensively or otherwise. He knows that once Aries leaves the realm that Nina will most likely know and possibly seek out Realmer to figure out what happened. If she is angry or tries to attack him he will at least have a Pattern Defense in place already. He turns to his companions. "Well, I guess the meeting with Julian and Nina is not as pressing and vital as it once was, but I still think I should meet with them and discuss some matters before we move on to other things."

  • Michael James Watson

Tesa and Dorna stand unsure. Gangdis looks confused. Dworkin appears in a moment. 7', black, He is wrapped in a bathrobe that shifts into a wizards robe as he shifts to his Dworkin form. He scowls at Aries. "Really? Really? Time issues alone I'll never get back in time.. what is so important to namedrop me, son? Where are...oh fuck." Moments after he arrives Ninaaratres and Emiliesa appear each looking angry in their own way. Nina yells, "Get thee from my realm miscreant wizard! You are not welcome here!!!"

  • Michael James Watson

Dworkin looks at Emiliesa who remains silent, but on guard with powers marshaling. Dworkin says, "Nina, are you totally deranged now? Its hardly your realm. Hell its belongs to none of the Wind Lords. Pick a king among you if you like but it doesn't give him title. Title does not pass. Now, why am I here, Aries?" "I arrived here at Relmopator's invitation to discuss putting a university here. When Nina saw me she sent me to a stair realm for a lovely 500 years. Now i needed the break but i would have preferred someplace with more water. Maybe a few more trees." Emiliesa yells suddenly, "Then try a thousand years in eternal fire!" Waving her arm Aries disappears.

  • Michael James Watson

Dworkin frown, waves a hand and two things happen. Emilisa is slammed against a wall and quickly taped to it with sticky gray tape, including her mouth. Secondly Aries returns, looking scorched.

  • Michael James Watson

Dworkin yells, "Family Meeting. Attendance required." Julian arrives looking as if he was running, in a evening kimono. Caine arrives, looking fresh from a sea battle, smelling of smoke, but smiling,. a blade in his hand. Satura arrives, falling a foot to the ground, as if she was longing, she sits up in surprise. Giovanni appears, looking as if he was eating soup, sitting, balances to stand. Tesa looks surprised to teleport across the room A black haired man in ninja attire, looks shocked, throws stars at Dworkin that stop mid air. Attempting to draw sword Dworkin sends him to the wall to be covered in gray tape. Lastly, Arloxedra looking like he has been hiking in mountains, staff in hand. Dworkin, "Well, that's a surprise.. I expected to get Julian and Caine, and Satura, but its a surprise to see the rest of you."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer arches an eyebrow and looks at the assembled faces. "Well grandfather, it could just be a matter of proximity. Tesa was across the room and you brought her much closer, Giovanni was in the city, and I'm not sure about the ninja or Arlo, but I would guess that they were in the vicinity of Adagalasck. And speaking of the Ninja..." Realmer uses the Unseen Hand Cantrip to snatch the hood off the ninja's head to reveal his / her face.

  • Michael James Watson

Caine walks over, looks at the black haired face, and smiles. He says, "Anyone want to start a war with Borlak? That's Hiroaki, his son. He was apparently doing some night work. Dworkin do you know where he was...hey...why is my wife duct taped to the wall?" Gangdis says, "Bad manners." Giovanni snorts. Julian says, "He was probably in my chambers. There are 10 or so others in there dead. I was chasing this one. " Dworkin says, "I didn't intend to bring him here though its interesting he is here. I can settle a couple things. Those of you not attached to walls sit the hell down." He walks up the Julian and starts to raise his hand. Nina screeches, "Noooo!!!!! no!!!! no....." with a whimper, "please no......" Dworkin looks to her. "There is a price for being a leader of men. You knew not to attack Aries. After this they will make their own choices." Placing a hand on Julian's forehead a humming occurs and Julian looks confused. Dworkin turns and puts a hand on Caine who twitches away at first. Then he too looks confused. Nina looks at Relmopator with anger in her eyes as well as tears. Dworkin says, "Ninaartes. You will need to walk the primal spire again. You have lost your imprint." Turning to Emilisa, "So have you." Julian walks to Nina and lifts her, kissing her lightly. Caine scowls at Emiliesa and withdraws a trump, "Dworkin, I assume you don't need me?" Dworkin shakes his head. Caine goes on, "Random. Yes its really me. Pull me through" He steps through the trump. Emilisa screams and writhes in furious anger. Dworkin looks to Nina, "The bonding is gone. Whatever is left is love. " "Aries, do you want to stay or go?" He says, "Go..Realmer, after this gets sorted out, call me. Julian, a university is a good idea, if you have not done so already, make him Chancellor of it and I'll help from Fantalin." He withdraws a trump and steps through. Dworkin walks to Dorna, "Forget. Sleep" He looks at Realmer, "Well, I'm done. This is your room, you clean up the mess" He disappears. Arlo says while pulling a cig out with a shaky hand and lighting it, "I assume we need drinks?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"I do so enjoy our family get-togethers." Based on the look on his face and the tone of his voice, no one can tell if Realmer is being sarcastic or serious. He withdraws a thin cigar from a pocket in his robe, lights it with a flame from his fingertip, draws in deeply, holds it for a moment, then exhales multicolored smoke. He looks to Arlo. "Yes Arlo; drinks. Strong drinks. And lots of them." He looks to Julian: "Perhaps it is best that I leave Hiroaki, Nina and Emilie to your care."

  • Michael James Watson

"I have no idea what to do with this one. I don't want a war with Borlak but if he sent ninja against me I think i already have one. If any of you have a better idea then cutting his throat, I am listening." Silence fills the room. Arlo says, "Well, Julian, as I see it you don't want his blood on your hands. We don't want his death curse. I can handle this for you if you like." Julian looks to Realmer, "What do you think?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer looks to Julian with an eyebrow arched, then to Hiroaki with brows furrowed. He purses his lips a bit then looks Hiroaki in the eyes. "Hiroaki, Son of Borlak, Grandson of Oberon, Great Grandson of Dworkin, know me: I am Lord Relmopator of Amber, War Chief of Clan Kalota of the Odaraxta, Son of Hagalta and Satura, Grandson of Dworkin and Verna the Primal Adask. Your fate has been left in my hands. All of your men that came here to kill King Julian are dead and you might have been as well had it not been for the... untimely intervention of the progenitor of our family. King Julian is now aware of both your and Borlak's intentions towards him... as is Caine and soon, King Random." Realmer pauses for a moment. "You are a lucky man, Hiroaki. You should be dead twice over at least..." he looks to Julian and Arlo with a wicked smile for each, then back to Hiroaki "yet still you live. And you shall continue to do so, provided you call off any and all hostilities against Amber, the Royal Family of Amber, and their interests. And I suggest you tell your father to do the same. If you agree to my conditions, you are free to leave and live, if not..." he pauses for effect. "Call it compassion, mercy, weakness... I don't really care, but you owe your life to me, Hiroaki... they wanted to kill you. So, do you agree?"

  • Michael James Watson

He laughs, "Julian will kneel before the Horde or die before it. Normal comes to claim his birthright. What was promised him...I recognize no debt. Dworkin did this. None of you have the glass balls to face me blade to blade. So kill me. My curse is ready."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer does not hesitate, he draws HIS NP Dagger and moves like a flash (Robe: Engine Speed) and slashes Hiroaki's throat deeply, making sure to severe both arteries and veins on both sides as well as the throat. Then he shoves the blade deeply into his heart while looking him in the eyes. He moves the blade around a bit, then pulls it out, flings off the blood and sheaths the blade. "Bring on the curse." Realmer inhales deeply through his nose, as though snorting something, then exhales sharply. Then he smiles calmly. "So... what's next on the agenda?"

  • Michael James Watson

Arlo steps up as Realmer speaks, producing a blank trump. Turning it to face the recently dead body the trump glows, and the body disappears. Turning to look at Realmer with a scowl. He turns the blank trump to face himself and he vanishes. Julian laughs, "Well, war is good for industry. We better get on a war footing fast. Xorit is Bannerlord of the Odaraxta and he has nominally pledged to me. I can offer him land and lordships for a more oath-bound service. And tell him if he wants to challenge for the Trexcat, Gaxag, and Darxti banners he better do it fast. He may have to cut the Shaxta out of the Odaraxta no matter how much that hurts.. Fast Realmer. A few dead ninja are not the same as a dead son of Amber. You're in it for certs. Tesa, welcome to the family." He kneels next to Nina, still sitting on her knees. "Come beloved. Your binding never held me to you as much as my heart did. We can't wallow." Nina stands and goes to her sister, writhing in anger against the primal duct tape. She places a hand by her temple and calms her into sleep. "Her anger is deep...Beloved....She may not recover. She has done something horrible..We may have two curses to deal with. I can't.... do more then make her rest. Send her to the realm we put the Ice statues in. I can't. My imprint is gone, I've lost my stair. I lost the Wind. She has no imprint and has lost her wind. I must get back to Blomish immediately if I am to recover them. We can argue there...” Julian moves the Emilie and raises a hand. She vanishes. He comes and takes Nina's hand, speaks a word and they vanish. Tesa looks to Dorna. Gangdis says, “Well, company is coming”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer's mind is already racing; realizing the consequences of Dworkin's actions, accepting the consequences of his own actions and the all of the events that would soon unfold because of both. He looks over the faces of those still in the room and ponders many things in an instant. Satura, his mother who just watched him murder a man in cold blood, mind not all there, she might now fear him which is unfortunate. Gangdis, his Bodyguard and Advisor who has experienced more wars, battles and Amber Family issues than anyone he knew seemed at ease but ready for anything. Tesa, his Partner who had had a rough life almost beyond his reckoning, whom he had trained with and fought beside, who seemed she would back him regardless of the insanity level. Dorna... she looks so peaceful and sweet when she sleeps. Giovanni the Protector who watches over Tesa... he seems capable and he his is an odd outlier of the Family and Realmer likes odd and outliers. And Bob, always there, always out of site, always watching and listening, always in his head listening, always ready. He recalls Datarik is still here, possibly still in his room, but unlikely still asleep after the noise... his local knowledge and advice will be invaluable. Xorit would need to be contacted immediately, he would need to know what had just happened, the Banner Lordships of the other Clans were up for grabs, the Clans of the Odaraxta must prepare for a new war... several perhaps, and those Orders needed to be given soon. The South Wind was open and up for grabs, and Lord Relmopator of Amber, the Vampire of the Dungeons, Field Commander of Amber's forces on Adledross, and now the new War Chief of Clan Kalota of the Odaraxta of Adagalasck, was about to make another power grab, hopefully before anyone even knew that a power void ever existed. ~Bob; new image time. Always appear as a white raven when you're not hiding or in combat. Also, time for a War Council. Go get Datarik and bring him in here. But let him know who you are and what you're doing first; I don't need him surprised, I need him ready.~ Realmer takes a few breaths and lets it all sink in... then, before anyone else breaks the silence, he speaks. “War Council!” Realmer calls out, but not loudly, just authoritatively. “Everybody in the room just saw what happened, now here are the consequences.” He pauses as he looks over the faces again then says, “Somebody wake up Dorna.... never mind, I'll do it” he says with an evil grin. Realmer uses a Pinch Cantrip on Dorna's butt cheek to wake her up. “As I was saying...” glares at Dorna as though she had fallen asleep during a war council, “the consequences: the South Wind is open for the taking, Xorit now has many opportunities to claim, including up to three Banners if he fully swears oath to King Julian... and I will need Xorit's help, and all the Clans of Odaraxta... but the Shaxta will be a problem. And eventually, we will need the help of all other Banners as well. Because first, I intend to claim the South Wind.” Slight pause. “I am family to Emilie, the former Mistress of the South Wind and Lady of Fire, and I am Adask and Fey, as was she and as many of those who reside in the South Wind Region are.” Again, slight pause. “Aaand because we don't want Krelat of the Shaxta or anyone else for that matter, claiming that much power and influence now... because secondly, Borlak's Horde is coming here to wage war.” Another pause. “We need to help Julian unite the peoples of Adagalasck and prepare for war. We are going to need to secure the Arch soon and garrison more forces there... I get ahead of myself.” He sighs, takes a deep breath. By this time, Bob has certainly returned with Datarik and is perched somewhere as a white raven; Realmer says aloud. “Bob; locate my Ward, Sadashi, and bring her here in a polite and informed manner befitting her station. Make sure she is ready for travel, but do it quickly.” Realmer looks around the room at each face as he speaks, gauging their reactions. “First; we need time to plan so we are all going to First Step; the Time Flow is faster there, five to one. Plus Xorit and the other Clan War Chiefs are there. And my mother is coming with us. She will need our protection until I can establish a secure base of operations; the King has been generous in her care, but now that I am here and involved in local politics again, she is my responsibility. And Giovanni, you don't have to get involved if you don't want to, but I would welcome your experience and advice, if not your sword. So... until Sadishi arrives, I am open to questions and advice.”

  • Michael James Watson

Giovanni nods, standing,”Like it or not, my presence here has left a cold bowl of soup nearby and I'm still pretty hungry. I'm a solider, at times a soldier of fortune. I'll stay because I guard Tesa fo the sake of my sister, which I will now do openly. But, give me a silver piece and You'll have hired my service for the duration. Call me the Count, or Count Solvi, when speaking to others until I introduce myself. I'm not much of an advisor, I tend to get distracted, but your idea of a fast time realm sounds solid and we should get their fast. ” Gandis stands and goes to help Satura as she attempts to stand. “Ole Son, your mother is not well. Her scatterbrain is almost a visible fog around her. If the Flowing Horde is coming I suggest you get her out of here. Send her to Amber perhaps. To Random and Dworkin. Random will almost certainly be angry, and Arlo is there now telling him all about it, the snitch. But the Flowing Horde will come here, not there.“ “Tell King Random that Hiroaki died in a time of war. Assassins In King Julian's bedroom is an act of war. Borlak is moving against Adagalasck. And just between you and I, Julian said you did what he was going to do but you were quicker. I can't deny my own knife was just a bit slower then yours too. And Tesa had her snikura blade palmed against her wrist as well. Once Dworkin brought them all here and stuck Hiroaki to the wall, his life was measured in minute one way of the other. Tesa asks, “Will Amber ally with Adagalasck?“ Dorna glares back. Bob returns with Datarik, putting on dressing clothes, “Its war? But against who? The word of you taking Odaraxta is just now making the rounds of the clans. Not that they will object...Xorit will be delighted.. your bird was unclear. What word from the King?”

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Datarik, the enemy is known as the Flowing Horde and they come from outside of Adagalasck. I will explain in detail when we reach First Step and the Clan Halls, after we gather the Clan Lords." "Tesa, I'm fairly certain Amber will come to our aid. Especially now that Julian and Caine are free from the influences of their wives. And by the way, he," points to Giovanni, "is your uncle on your mother's side and your protector. You two should get acquainted when you can." "Giovanni, consider yourself hired." Realmer tosses an Amber Goldwing to him. "And Gangdis, you are correct. My mother would be much safer in Amber and though I don't relish a conversation with King Random at this time," he sighs loudly, "it must be done. And sooner is better than later." He pulls out Random's Trump and attempts contact.

King Random at Vulsar Base, More Consequences, a Key[edit]

  • Michael James Watson

Random answers, "Well, me boyo, you were next on my call sheet! Good timing. I am at Vulsara. Star Fleet Command in fact. I don't suppose i can convince you to come through can I? Good time rate. Excellent alcohol. The King here is very accommodating."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Yes, Majesty, I can come to you, but only for a very short time and only because the time rate there is much faster than here. Hang on a second." He turns away from the Card and looks to his companions. "When Bob returns with Sadashi I want all of you to get to the Clan Halls on First Step as quickly as possible. Datarik, call a meeting of the Clan Lords and let them know I will be joining them shortly. Gangdis, I want you to meet with Xorit immediately and fill him in on the necessary details. Tesa, you're in command of our little cadre until I return. Once all the Clan Lords are assembled, if I have not arrived within one hour of their assemblage, I want you to contact me by Trump. The time rate on Vulsara is 60 to 1 compared to Amber, which makes it only a little faster than the time rate at First Step compared to Amber.. I shouldn't be long. Mother, you're coming with me to Vulsara." Realmer slips his arm around his mother's waist then returns his attention to Random. "Pull us through."

  • Michael James Watson

Arriving in a open area in front of the arches at the headquarters of Starfleet Command Realmer sees the usually busy compound lightly attended. A few people wandering around under the bright summer sun of Vulsara. Random is sitting on a stone bench in the main walkway. "Well, aren't you the cock of the walk? Its rare that Dworkin is caught by surprise but it seems he was. I would like to see his face when he doesn't know everything. I guess there is a reason kings rarely hang around after their successors take the throne. " He stops his prepared speech and looks at Satura... "Aunt Satura...This is a surprise. To what do I owe the honor? Realmer? Is there some part of the story Arloxedra hasn't told me?"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Ah, yes, I had forgotten you had not met my mother yet. King Random, allow me to introduce Lady Satura, my mother. Mother, this is your nephew King Random of Amber, the man I have sworn fealty to." He turns back to Random. "My father has done something to her mind and in her current condition she isn't capable of taking care of herself. So that is why I brought her here with me. I know I am asking a lot, especially considering some of my recent actions, but I need her to be safe and well cared for while I am about my business. I would like to request Sanctuary for my mother in Amber until things in Adagalasck are stabilized." "And since I don't know exactly what Arlo DID tell you, and there is a fair amount that happened before he arrived, and a small amount that happened after he left, perhaps I should brief you on all that has occurred since I last spoke with you in Amber." And so he does. Making sure to cover every detail, remark, and supposition. Including his intentions to claim the South Wind.

  • Michael James Watson

He says, "Lets walk, Aunt Satura. I have been so looking forward to meeting you. I have heard so much about you. " Taking her arm in his. She says ,"I would like that. Its been awhile since i had a nice walk." Random says, "Would like to carry something pretty while we walk?" "Is is heavy?" "No, Aunty. But as we walk you should look at it a lot" He slips the jewel of judgment into her hand, raising it so she gazes into it. He starts walking, leading her, looking to Realmer, "Go ahead and talk."

  • Michael James Watson

He walks across the plaza into the main lobby. Nods are given but not salutes. He leads through a series of long corridors. Listening.. He asks no questions till he gets to Dworkin summoning people. "Arlo was annoyed to have his vacation interrupted. No rest for the wicked I suppose." He listens about the assault on Julian, "Borlak has been edging Regor for centuries, raiding around the Regor Sway, driving Nicholas insane and frankly Regorians don't have to go far to get there in the best of times." Patting Satura's hand, reaching and turning the Jewel, catching her eye again. "When the Arden Stone came west the Regorian star force went to seize the stone and Vance led a battle band in a forced shadowshaving that about ruptured his fore-brain. Went in and they mixed it up.. While that was happening Borlak raided a shadow a little further out of his path of destruction. He has always been careful not raid shadows that allowed faster then light travel or energy weapons and the Regorians never could hit them. This time he led a huge swath of his force a little too close. The Regorians figured it out, begged Vance to retreat. Instead Vance took command of both forces. He, Agrom, Vander and Candle lead both fleets. He told them to grab rocks with grapplers and tractor beams and follow him. He circled around brought the ship to high warp, then shadow shaved across the realm Borlak was attacking and they dropped the rocks like letters from angry gods. Vance calls them Thor Weapons-orbital bombardment. Blasted about a quarter of the Flowing Horde attack force to road hash. The Regorians are pleased as hell with Vance and on good terms with us. Benedict thinks Borlak thinks Adagalasck and King Julian are just possessions of Amber so that's where he is taking the battle first. He knows he can't make it past Diaga Raks so he may pick off outliers. We are not technically at war with him yet. He sent a huge force into Mandalay never to be heard from again. Well, they can be seen at the Alodor Equestrian Region of the Dramaturge. Shows every Saturday. Friggin pacifist magic." He listens to the politics of the Winds. "Sounds like you have some trouble in realm to sort out quickly. I don't want to get in the middle of it. If you need some CHAD troops, I know a guy."

  • Michael James Watson

Walking down a corridor of rooms with unlabeled doors. Reaching one he enters it. The room is filled with droids and people in red full body coverings. On one side Realmer sees Caine and Benedict looking into a glowing blue device casting shadows on their concerned faces. Stepping beyond he sees the blue water of a Kolto Tank with a body floating in it. Realmer recognizes Hiroaki. Random says, "Now, tell about this"

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer smiles briefly then turns to face Random. “The short answer is: I killed an enemy of the Crown of Adagalasck that attempted to assassinate King Julian.” He pauses to look at Hiroaki's body in the tank of fluids. “After Aries and Dworkin left, Julian asked if anyone had a good reason why he shouldn't just slit Hiroaki's throat then and there. The silence was deafening. Arlo stepped up and offered to take care of it. Julian asked my advice. I gave Hiroaki the opportunity to end all hostilities against Amber, her Royal Family and her interests. He laughed in my face, said Julian would kneel before the Horde or die before it, that Normal was coming to claim his Birthright, then he said to kill him, his curse was ready. So, I did. And Julian and Arlo weren't the only ones ready and willing to kill Hiroaki; Tesa had a blade at the ready as did Gangdis... he admitted to me that I was only slightly quicker than he was.” Realmer turns to look Random in the eyes. “Sending assassins to kill a king, any king in any Realm, is an Act of War. Borlak knew what he was doing and the possible consequences. Hiroaki knew the consequences as well; he was an Enemy of the Crown and he died in a time of war. Were he not an Amberite we would not be having this conversation, or it would be have gone differently. And 'the corpse' certainly would not be in a Regeneration Tank.” “And I was already considering CHAD troops... I also know a guy... several in fact.” He chuckles and smiles. “So, what more do you want to know? And will you grant my mother Sanctuary?”

  • Michael James Watson

"Sanctuary? No. But my aunt can visit indefinitely. Heck, she is the only aunt I have. I am restoring her attunement to the jewel. That should kick the hell out of anything magical Hagalta did to her. She lost her attunement when Dworkin did a clean sweep early in my reign. That allowed Hagalta to do what he did. In the mean time ill put her in a more comfortable cell near Brand. Its beneath the pattern and that does wonders for magical illnesses." "As for him, " Random points to Hiroaki. "I have fucking Brand in the dungeons. Do you think I didn't want to kill him? Eric had Corwin eyes burned out rather the killing him. Julian has a lot to learn if he thinks killing an amber is a good idea. But tell Julian that Hiroaki is my trading piece now. For your information, Arlo had no intention of killing him. He has a trump card that delivers one unwillingly to the cell Brand is in."

  • Michael James Watson

"Tesa...is a whole different problem for you and I but lets table that till Borlak crosses the 50th parallel. Once he is on the Chaos side of Ygg I'll breath. If Gandis killed an Amberite he better be able to Juice the blame upstairs or I'd have his guts for garters. Borlak is going to war no matter what. One day I'll see if he is sentimental about his son. I doubt it. In the mean time he was mostly dead when Arlo got him here. Galvar lost 2/3rds of his brain and survived. Corwin had his eyes burned out. Agrom from was flayed alive by sentient abysmal diamond shards. Desri was decapitated and carried her severed head around in a box for half a decade. Benedict lost an arm. Bleys lost his nuts. Caine lost an eye. Hiroaki will heal. I may install a new pack of memories though." Caine walks over. He extends his hand. When Realmer shakes it he feels a key passed to him. He says, "That's my key to the Stair in Codupia. Emilisa's true name is Cadwallow. Tell her I love her but won't be bound. If she wants me, I am in Amber." He leaves the room.

  • Michael James Watson

Benedict steps over for his turn. "If it comes to it, I would prefer my brother Borlak alive. If you expect to be in personal combat with him... in moments... call me."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

Realmer is shocked by the gift of the Key and Emilie's true name but manages to nod his head solemnly to Caine before he turns and leaves. He says to Benedict. "The thought of summoning you in that instance had already occurred to me, but thank you for the permission. And I will refrain from killing Family members in the future. I'll keep a Stone Binding Spell handy and Arlo's Trump up my sleeve." He turns to Random. "Thank you for helping with my mother; it means more than you can know. She said to me recently, that Hagalta took a piece of her mind and hid it away in a secret place. I hope the Attunement helps. And though a cell in the dungeons is not quite what I had in mind, I understand why. And speaking of cells in the dungeon... is Hagalta still imprisoned there? If so, perhaps it's best to keep mother far from that cell." "Oh, and there are two Hagalta's. And before anyone asks; I don't know how or why or when or anything about it... but I do know there are two of him. When I took up the Kalota Clan Blade, I felt searing pain, then a flash of knowledge of all who had held it before, starting with the previous War Chief, Hagalta... and I distinctly felt that there were two of him and that they were in pain and they knew the Clan Blade had been passed... but I do not know if either Hagalta knows that it is I that claimed it." His eyes drift to the Jewel of Judgment and he peers within it depths.

  • Michael James Watson

Random grabs the jewel. Realmer feels suddenly the absence of attunement. Random says, "my trust is shaken, you understand?" Stepping from an alcove is a powerful presence, feeling like wizard and warrior. Realmer recognizes Corwin. "Two Hagaltas. That is what brought me."

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"King Corwin of Avalon, Well Met by Moonlight and Magic. Cousin; it is good to finally meet you. Your Trump doesn't do you justice. I'd introduce myself, but it seems I'm rather infamous at the moment. So, how do you know about two Hagaltas?"

  • Michael James Watson

Corwin says, "Because there are two Deirdres. There is some evidence what happened to her happened to this Hagalta. He looks to Random, "I am here to convince him to let me take a good long look at Hagalta. I've heard that he did some pit diving in Chaos. The spot Brand fell is a popular Pit Diving spot. Tourists...So far I have barely gotten him to approve letting me see Brand. "

  • Daniel Eric Van Campen Sr.

"Ah, yes. I do recall over hearing something about two Deirdres after Vander returned from retrieving the Mind Sword. I retrieved Hagalta from the Oracle of Night before he was sent to the dungeons. And I have only seen him once myself, right after he was