Thin Whip-Jurt's Tale

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Thin Whip's Place

A Breath of Chaos

The place is wild. It jumps. It swings. It is a breath of Chaos on the shores of Amber.

Deep in the industrial area of southern reaches of the city of Amber, in an area no longer fashionable lies a series of warehouses that no longer hold cargo. They hold Rough Trade: hard booze, loud music, dangerous men, and loose women. It is a place where a smack in the face may just be how one orders a drink. No warnings are given, and the only bluff one is likely to see is at the card tables in the back rooms.

It has no name. It is Thin Whip's Place. The folks who own the warehouses might be as surprised to find the place there as any one in amber who accidentally wanders in. What would you see if you came across it?

A long U-shaped warehouse faces onto Bleak Street in the industrial area of a city not know for its industry. A pair of heavy steel doors lay pushed open and music seeps on to the streets like fog. The people try to hide their faces as they approach the outside because they know the second they step inside no one will say a word about having seen them there. Don't rat me out, I won't rat you out. If you saw me there, you were there. No one wants to smell of the breath of chaos, no matter how sweet. Yet everyone leaves smelling of smoke and sin.

This is Thin Whip's Place.

Sometimes it moves.

Inside you have to choose what you want. Drinks are to the left; smoke to the right, music is straight up the middle. Stairs on the left and right lead to hidden pleasures, no clues are given. Since you had a long walk you turn left and you walk to a place that looks like where all the dead boxes of Hell were heaved up by an angry god. Amongst them are kegs, dip barrels and a vast cacophony of bottles, jars, boxes of fruits and vegetables all doomed to arrive at someone's table before taking that last slide into blackness.

But you are thirsty. So you pitch a copper wing into the box guarded by a really big guy, furiously scratching off a tattoo the Amber Guardsman all got one night in Seaport, Diego. Call him Carl. It isn't his name but he answers to it tonight. . He gives you a mug that has been flat, round, oval, flat again and may once have been a planter in one of the nice areas of town. Now it is a tankard.

You dip it in a keg of something that smells like beer and is surprisingly tasty. Ignore the color, you don't want to know. Assume is is a dark Amber Ale, appropriately enough, or a deep red.

Remember to check on your horse before you leave to see if it is drowsy.

Wandering across the room you see the massive dance floor. Where once boxes of commerce moved now move the feet of people from all sections of shadow. Golden Circle sons dance with the daughters of denizens of the Black Zone. Men grow bold under lights cast from colored gels over floods covering sorcerously glowing stones. The daughters of the noble houses of Amber shake with abandon they never knew they had mere hours before they gain other life lessons that require that they move far less. They will wake at dawn sadder but wiser. Many will return here again regardless.

Over it all howls music Amber is just learning to love. It flies off guitars and long-necked basses, off stand up pianos and the long brass tubes of trumpets and the cupped barrels of saxophones. It screams out off steel and glass bulbs that only chaos recognizes as musical items. The band plays fierce to cover the fact that they don't play well.

Around the edges of the warehouse floor sit booths that seem to have been stolen from a dozen other clubs by the dark of the night. Each is filled with people who have come to see and not be seen. Many of the booths are private. Cloaked. Like little rooms in the vastness. Some are packing crates crammed with couches and pillows.

Smoke wafts in from the far side of the dwelling. It smells of burning libraries and blazing rope lockers. Dancers wandering in boldly and stagger out happily, to rejoin the dancers. They do not dance as well afterwards but they do it with enthusiasm. The girls of Amber seem more relaxed as the wolves drag them into the darkness upstairs.

Upstairs lies a bank of rooms that might once have been offices, storage rooms or torture chambers. Now they hold tables around which are dirty men whose hands are filed with dirty white cards. Some have long flat tables with improvised edges that guys with long sticks push stone balls around on, bumping them into each other till they fall into rough cut holes near the corners. Lastly, some are crammed with low padded beds where the worst and best nights of the dancers are played out in exquisite detail. Sometimes privately, sometimes for an audience, sometimes for anyone who passes by. Sometimes you can't tell the artwork from the artist, performance art from the acts of despair. The breath of Chaos wafts overall.

Through the haze across the dance floor, by the booths and by the smashed boxes and their mixed contents strides a man who seems too narrow to glide on two legs. He wears long black pants over long skinny legs. His black coat over a white shirt makes him look almost formal. His head is topped my a black bowler hat that in no way makes him look elegant, it makes him look sinister. His dark purple eyes peek out and seem to track separately of each other. Dark clouds and grim humor shine from them, as if laughing at some private joke at the expense of someone else. Men see him and shiver as if a cold chill shrivels their manhood. Women blush as if their loins were suddenly warmed.

He is called Thin Whip. His brothers call him either slim, slick, or prick depending on which you ask. He is a Hendrake, a Helgram, a Sawall, and through his great, great grandfather a Bariman, thus he is of the blood of Amber. His father calls him bastard despite knowing his legitimacy. His mother named him Jurt.

He wanders from table to table sharing a word here, a joke there, and a sarcastic insult. He dispenses twisted joints, refills drinks, and casts occasional spells. He walks with a cane though he does not limp. Serpents are engraved on the black stone staff and the head is a fine black silver in which is mounted a smooth red gem.

Everyone wants to know him, everyone is afraid to be known by him. He arranges favors, takes bribes, introduces strangers, greets foes, plans assignations and discusses politics. He seems everywhere and knows everything.

His pedigree gives him entrance into strange venues. He is the brother of Despil, the Ambassador to Amber from the Courts of Chaos. His brother Merlin is the Crown Prince of Avalon. His father is Gramble Sawall, and his mother is the indomitable Dara of the Lintros Clan of House Hendrake. He is the Heir of the House Sawall, since Mandor, Merlin, and Despil have all removed themselves from consideration for it. His great, great grandfather is Benedict, Marshal of Amber, and his great grand aunt is Doria. His great, great grand uncle is Random, King of Amber. He is even on the short list for the throne of the High Lord of Chaos itself. His resources in Chaos are incalculable; his resources in Amber are extraordinary. The chip on his shoulder is immense. His goals are unknown. His morals are negligible.

He raises the Sign of the Logrus sometimes so that the people of Amber can see what it looks like, feel its power, and be lulled by its glory. He repulses some, some are shocked, and some are enamored.

Some follow him from Amber into Chaos. They do it because everyone loves the wild life and he is, after all, the Breath of Chaos.

Jeweled Amber