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Random at castle Amber

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

2: Tonacat and the Puma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That can’t be good”

4: Traffic of various sorts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And our kids? "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5: Arloxedra in the Library of Amber

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

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

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

6: Callings Echo

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

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

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

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

7: Bleys and Dworkin in Brand's Tomb.

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

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

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

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

8: Jurt & Untara in Thin Whip's Place

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

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

He is Thin Whip.

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

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

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

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

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

9: Random and Flora in the Music room

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

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

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

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

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

"You are avoiding my question."

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

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

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

"Anything else?"

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

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

10: Julian and Duncan in Ardan

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

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

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

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

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

"Ok, i forgot."

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

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

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

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

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

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

11: Despil and Jurt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12: Random, Vaile, and tyler

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

"too many secrets...."

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

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

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

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

13: Gerard and Flora at Sea View Gardens

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

15: Jurt and Shava in Castle Amber

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

It was not much more then closet. He had sold the second room long ago. He falls onto the mattress on the floor, in the corner. A shelf above his head belongs to his Satelwin, which usually kept the form of a small yippy dog. It peered over the edge as he shut the door behind himself.

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

Shava turns over on its side, ignoring him. He was going to stay here regardless.

16: Guardsman First Even of Hale Riding

June 13

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

Court of Amber in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Reign of King Random the First.

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

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

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

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

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

From the back the great doors open.

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

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

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

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

“May you live in Amber, forever. “ June 21

The crowd echoes, with the usual suspects remaining quiet.

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

Sitting, he nods to Allen to begin.

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

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

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

Dinner in the Green Room.

June 22

The green room was filling with golden light from candles and glow globes.

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

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

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

The family members and close friends of the court wander about speaking to each other, glancing over those that they do not know.

Some things stand out.

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

Llewella looks uncomfortable above the waters, though her attire is gorgeous as she is in sea greens in blue. Her son, to be recognized soon, stands near her. The rumor of his name, Levcomagnus, filters about the room.

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

Waiters refill drinks as they wander about.

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

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

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

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

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

20:37, 12 July 2013 (PDT) He walks among the diners, speaking softly, sharing a joke here and there, and casual under the scrutiny of all eyes as he shakes no hands except those to be Recognized this evening. This has become the custom. Till he takes his first drink, no hand touches his except his wife, and those he recognizes as family. It’s a strange custom but in a family so guarded, it’s a friendly one.

20:37, 12 July 2013 (PDT)20:37, 12 July 2013 (PDT)~ Each person is greeted briefly, as if in passing, a few words exchanged. He lightly kisses the hand of Osa, Gerard standing by her side.

Moving on he stops by Llewella and grasps the ship worn hard grip of Levcomagnus. Rebma is well represented tonight as Llewella, Levcomagnus and Osa all hail from the realm of the sea. Rene is somewhere in the gathering as well though he shys from speaking to the king this evening. Martin is already seated and looks distinctly unhappy to have made the scene.

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

Moving on he stops by Vance and Fisk, shaking his hand and grasping his elbow. Fisk is heard claiming not to know the whereabouts of his father. Random turns to Vance and hands him a bundle Vaile had been holding. Vance unwraps the gift and sees that it is a fire arm. Eyes widen as the meaning of this gesture escapes few of the elders. Having been presented the weapon means Vance is now included in the extremely small circle of those allowed to know the secret of gunpowder in Amber. Benedict, Gerard, Caine, Julian, and Dalt all look less then pleased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dinner in the Green Room 2

Dinner in the Green Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A quick note

July 4 (From Dave)

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

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

a Little Dinner Music

July 9

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

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

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

'Sleepwalk in D boys'.

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

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

Dinner Conversation with Jurt and Vance

July 3

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

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

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

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

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

"Interesting turnout, eh, Whip?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walking away, Jurt scowls behind him.

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

===A Servant of Amber=== July 11

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

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

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

Glasses always seemed to come back empty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The king nods and walks back into the room.

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

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