The material on this site is owned by Samuel Penn, and any queries should be directed there. Most of the material on this site is licensed under CC-BY-SA.
The material on this site is owned by Samuel Penn, and any queries should be directed there. Most of the material on this site is licensed under CC-BY-SA.
I have spent the last few weeks here in Castle Amber. It seems that the lull following the Pattern Wars has come to a close, at least for those of us who are the children of Amber. King Random has called us together to start a search for the other children, wherever they be in the countless shadows. He informed us also that he had received word from Corwin, who spoke of having found his kingdom - whatever and wherever that is. Oh well, things are bound to get clearer as time goes on. Assuming of course there isn't some malicious person stirring up the mud at the bottom of the pool with a big stick.
Our first destination was one of the many reflections of late 20th century Earth. There, we met Corwin, Randoms's missing brother. He seemed much older than last time he was seen, and hinted that a great amount of time had passed since he sent that message. Anyway, he directed as to one of those places who cater to the insecure and egotistical who try to find refuge in high fashion and outward appearances. As any sensible person knows, such outward appearances are merely of use to the weak minded. Not so surprisingly, we encountered the first of the children - a young lady who goes by the name of “Blue”. Her annoying insistence on fashion (she has insisted on changing my clothes to so called 'fashionable' items) is rivalled only by her awful american accent.
Blue vanished into who knows where, so I was saved from having to wear 'tasteful' clothes. Kriss decided he wished to go to a flying party, except he found a note from Corwin (or so he claimed - I don't trust Kriss anymore than, well, I don't trust him full stop). From this, we were told to seek out Benedict, which we did using Trump. With Benedict was Ash and Teramon. The latter was a warrior from a shadow of Earth, a child of Amber and hence one of the people of our search. The former is also a child of Amber, but also a person of Chaos. Teramon seems okay, but I have never been happy around chaos.
Eventually, we returned to Amber, going via a shadow that belonged to Kriss - a Victorian steam punk Earth with great airships and other oddities. During our stay there, I was contacted by another. It felt a bit like trump contact, so I pulled the contacter through anyway to find out who disturbed me. He called himself “The Son of the Spirits” - a sioux indian from 19th century Earth. It definitely seems to be family reunion again, for he was yet another cousin. Kriss rather foolishly swore a blood oath to help the sioux (a shaman poor fool), to free his land of the white man. Considering most of us can be considered to fall into the general category of 'white man' I don't know whether this was a sensible thing to do, but oh well, they are only shadow people.
We returned to Amber, reporting the success of our mission to Random (hardly the stuff Kings are made of if you ask me), and then setting some plans to help “The Son of the Spirits”. Kriss decided to get drunk (as usual) then stormed out in a huff. I followed him - truthfully I wouldn't have bothered if Julian hadn't insisted - but was so kindly told to 'piss off' that I left him to his moods. I did briefly return to my own shadow for a brief experiment to see if I could get the Imperial fleet to rid the sioux of the white man menace. As expected, the shuttle sent through failed to function properly, and since I can't be bothered to exert any of my own powers helping him (it wasn't me who made the promise), I left things as they were. Kriss returned in a bad shape - walking shadow while drunk is not a good idea. Bloody fool.
I made an interesting discovery in the library at Castle Amber. I was looking for any information on the Chaos Courts, when I happened across a book written by Dworkin. It contained little of interest, save for the very last page which had a picture of Kriss. My first thoughts was surprise that he (of all people) should appear in a book written probably long before he was born. Surprise became suspicion, so I examined it for any mystical significance - it was a trump card of sorts. It probably wasn't Kriss I thought, but always one to go in feet first I tried to make contact - wumph! - he turned to face me then promptly yanked me through, with Lilith trailing behind.
Kriss was sitting there, at a desk in a small room. Shelves were filled with bottles and other implements suggesting some interest in alchemy or chemistry. This wasn't Kriss. We talked, and he told me some information I found hard to believe, and still do. I won't record it here, save that to say at the end he changed his form, and introduced himself as Dworkin, before sending me back home. It seems I was away for a couple of days, and though some suspicions were raised, I have kept quiet about my little 'chat'.
Ash came to see me today to suggest a little 'jaunt' outside of Amber. He cannot walk the pattern himself, despite - or maybe because of - his chaos spawned powers, and needed someone to tead him to beyond Amber's reach. I agreed, though decided to have some fun at the same time.
We left Amber, and I slowly shifted to a rather nasty region, a world of dark clouds and deep swamps, with lurking castles and dark shapes swimming through the waters. He made to contact one of his Chaos Masters, and I decided to go for home, letting him make his own way back. Before I could return, chaos tendrils grabbed at me, and there was nothing I could do to stop me being forced back. I think it was Ash at first who tried it, but there was someone else who interfered. It was time for us to meet the chaos pawns with the 'K' emblazoned on their breast plates.
Another stood before us, a Lord of Chaos he claimed, and I was willing to believe him. He named himself Lord Karse, son of Lord Karwan, a Duke of Chaos. He threatened us with a crossbow, and had his men coming down from the castle to surround us. Some minor fiddling with reality on my part ensured his crossbow would misfire, while huge bulbous gelatinous blobs hauled themselves up out the swamp and devoured his men. Ash started to run, and so did I. Lord Karse tried his crossbow, which failed (of course), and we made ourselves scarce on our horses. Karse tried to follow, but I summoned further blobs to waylay him. We past through the gates of a huge wall, leaving the swamps behind, and returning to Amber to relate our tale.
The others were preparing themselves for the freeing of the Sioux from the white man. Fiona was convinced to come with us, to aid in the reallocation of the Sioux. We arrived at the home of the SotS just as the white men were attacking his tribe. Again, I exercised my talent and prevented the white man's rifles from working.
Ash rather foolishly turned into his demon form and earnt the wrath of Kriss - not that that isn't too difficult. We won of course, but after the battle I discovered that the guns were marked with a 'K', and that they had the touch of magic about them. On relating this to Fiona, she remarked that they were enchanted for accuracy.
We reallocated the Sioux without further hassles. Afterwards we set about discussing what to do about Duke Karwan and his cronies. As usual, Kriss got into a huff and went off shadow walking. No further decisions were reached. That day.
We decided to take the war to chaos. We gathered together and gained the aid of Julian in case things went wrong. Our plan was to return to the swamp world where Ash and I were attacked, to see if the Chaos Lords were still there. I scouted out that world, and found it was high in magic, lacking in civilised technology. We went first then to a similar world, and stocked up with weapons which would work on the swamp world - magic wands and so forth. I then teleported through to the world, and brought the others through via trump.
It was much as we'd left it, so we made our way up to the castle on the hill, from which the chaos pawns had come from that first time. We obtained some ropes, and I a wooden stake (the atmosphere of the place was getting to me), we found on some conveniently dead adventurers). A single light blazed in a window, and a figure stood there. He returned my wave, so didn't seem immediately anti-social. Which just made me all the more cautious. I still went in through the front door of course, while Teramon insisted on climbing the wall.
Ghouls were in the courtyard, who approached us with malicious intent. We got to use the wands - and they worked. The rest dived for cover. The figure in the window called down to us to stop hurting 'his pets'. They didn't seem like they would harm us anymore, so we left them, and climbed the stairs to his study.
He introduced himself as Ver Shade, a haemovore (probably called himself a vampire) by the looks of him. He owned the castle, and had done for some time. He knew of the Duke, and sometimes did business with him, though there wasn't much friendship between them. The chaos people sometimes stayed here for reasons unknown to the haemovore. It was sometime around here that Ash summoned one of the Duke's soldiers. We questioned and then killed him, then decided to bring through Lord Karse and 'have it out with him'. We linked our minds via Kriss' all-singing-all-dancing cloak, and Ash used the logrus to pull the lord through. We then set about killing him.
It was hard work, but we finally vanquished the demon. I built a big bonfire to burn his remains so he couldn't reform. Then we ran into a problem. The elder Amberites were dying. They had become sickly and old. Benedict whome Teramon summoned at the end of the fight was practically useless. I called up Dworkin to see if he knew anything. Apparantly Duke Karwan had put a curse on Oberon's children, which was why they had aged so much.
We returned to Amber, to find them all sitting on their thrones, dying of age. Random tried to give someone the Jewel of Judgement, but collapsed before he could. I gave the Jewel into the keeping of Blue (who had returned to us by this point), since she was the only one I didn't not trust. Kriss agreed and said he trusted her also, which was a point against her, but I let it pass.
Teramon then had the brilliant idea of contacting Corwin, since he was the only one (excluding Dworkin and Dad of course) who wasn't here dying. Corwin was okay, but a bit worried, and invited us all through to his shadow, which was protected by his own pattern. Somewhere oZombies along the line, Andar disappeared - someone was blocking him when I tried a trump contact. Corwin now has the Jewel, for good or ill. Now we await the next move.
Andar is back, but still no sign of Ash. Teramon and I (using my ability to scan other shadows, with Teramon tagging along in trump contact) scouted out the vampire's castle and found the armies of chaos massing here. A large gate was opened to Chaos itself, and beast creatures of all sorts were coming through, readying it seemed for a march on Amber.
After a stroke of brilliant thinking on my part, Teramon and I set about laying a trap between here and Amber. We both returned to the Wall which Ash and I encountered when we first withdrew from the swamp world, and organised the people there into defence, since it lays directly on the path from swamp world to Amber. Armies in swamps, plains and forests were set up, and weather traps prepared across the seas which Chaos will have to cross to reach Amber. All this will come to naught of course if Chaos takes a different route, but that cannot be helped. I will keep my sight open for further developments in this area.
Journeyed to the aquatic reflection of Amber, to check on the condition of the Lady there. Alas, she sickens also of the curse which ages the Elders. All but her are now moved to Corwin's Paris, for safety, since they are useless now in the coming battle between Amber and Chaos.
It appears the Chaos Lord we killed was not who we thought it was, a fact which merely added another enemy to our already extensive list. His forces were soon to join those massing at the swamp world. It wasn't much longer before they decided to begin their march on Amber.
We found Ash. It turned out he had been captured by Chaos - not much of a surprise really considering the circumstances he vanished in - and, um, shown the full extent of their hospitality. When discovered he was tied to the front of a rather large battering ram which was being carried at the head of the armies of Chaos. They had managed to reach as far as the Wall, and were massing on the plains between the forest and the Wall. Obviously they weren't settling down for a chat and a cup of tea, so I trumped in Teramon to help take charge of matters.
Kriss is back on the scene, and it was he who bravely volunteered to lead the assault force to rescue Ash. I got the distinct impression he had ulterior motives for this, considering his dislike of Ash, but he nonetheless carried out the assignment effectively. I managed to get together the sorcerers of this land - it seems they are exceptionally good at mind effective magic. Some 300 of them were summoned to the wall, and through their aid, Kriss and 30 other volunteers rode out, grabbed Ash and wrecked the battering ram. They returned with half their numbers slain, and Chaos reeling from the blow.
Lilith has made a new friend - Kriss' mount - a large purple cat the size of a horse. They seemed to get on quite well, though Kriss seemed rather distressed about something. Can't imagine what. It wasn't much later that the attack on the Wall began. First, bird riders were launched from the cover of the forest, taking to the air in droves, and raining a hail of bolts down on the defenders on the wall. It was here that the sorcerers really came into their own, using their magic to seed confusion among the ranks of the riders, turning them upon their companions. Before long, with the combined might of both our own archers, and the spells of the sorcerers, the bird riders were no more. The generals of the Chaos armies must have been a bit peeved by this, for they chose this moment to chuck subtlety out the window and launched a full scale assualt of the Wall. It was at this time that I decided to leave, not being too versed in the ways of warfare, and returned to Amber, to view things from there.
Eventually the Wall was taken, with the beastmen climbing over it, battering through it, and probably burrowing under it as well. With our own troops in retreat we initiated plan B - we blew up the Wall.
In a ditch behind the wall was a river of naptha, which was ignited, the explosion from which totally shattered the Wall sending a sheet of flame high into the sky, immolating any beastmen too close, and crushing others as rock and stone came thundering down atop them. The survivors retreated into the forest, clearly deciding that though the one major obstacle was now no more, they had had enough. It didn't save them. With Teramon's use of the Jewel of Judgement, we caused a wind to blow the flames from the Wall into the forest. Further breezes fanned this flame until we had a nice bonfire going. Any Chaos beastmen still alive either died from fire or asphyxiation (do they breath I wonder?). Whatever their fate, the battle was won.
We returned to Amber victorious (well, I stayed in Amber victorious). Kriss stormed off in a huff about something (I think Lilith knows, but she isn't telling), which is getting to be a common thing. Anyway, we got new from Merlin. It seems he has been busy over the past few days, and has managed to sow confusion within the Courts themselves. Lord Karwan had been made to lift his Blood Curse on Oberon. The Elder Amberites are now slowly recovering. It remains to be seen what their next move will be.
Kriss has returned with a new friend - Dierdre! Last everyone had heard she had fallen into the Abyss with my father, which suggests some rather interesting possibilities. Not surprisingly, everyone is rather surprised by this turn of events, and some (including me) are also suspicious. Dierdre has been more or less accepted back at Amber though.
Lilith has got a new playmate - Gaspode - a rather scruffy dog with the ability to say “woof”. Lilith has been worried that his fleas will find her obviously superior fur more comfortable, and has complained with having to share a castle with slum dwellers, but other than that they seem to be getting on like a house on fire, except a fire would probably cause less damage to the furniture.
Got a Trump contact from Teramon. Wow! I hear you say, what's so special about that. Well, just before contact was made, an unknown psyche butted in, and a voice cried “Son, Help Me!”, then contact was gone and I was left talking to Teramon as normal. Seems like Dad's gone and got himself into trouble - or maybe he's still in the Abyss? I tried getting in touch with Dworkin, but he refused my call. Unsociable git. Means I'm going to have to do some hunting myself. Ahh! Some action at last!
I checked with Dierdre about where she had come from, which she didn't know the answer to. I offered to try and follow her trail back using by abilities to shift pattern, and she agreed, though suggested I took someone along with me. I would prefer to go alone, especially if I were to find what I expected to find, but decided some hired muscle would be in order. Teramon agreed to accompany me. I asked Kriss if he wished to come, but he declined, as expected. So far so good.
We followed Dierdre's trail back to Jervan (a tacky place if I ever saw one, no wonder Kriss is so moody if he has to live here!), and after a few calculations (which where right, except the universe was wrong), found both the asteroid Kriss found Dierdre on, and also the wreck of a ship which bought her here. Nothing was found, so we hopped aboard the ship (Cylon Raider, rather outdated model, but it worked - eventually) and followed the trail further back - to a black hole. She had come from a black hole! To enter would be suicide - so we went in, much to Teramon's discomfort. You only die once after all.
We survived (obviously since I'm writing this), but the ship was damaged beyond repair. The 'other side of the singularity' opened up next to an asteroid though, which we landed on. Well, our craft ended up on the surface at any rate. I was okay, but Teramon had the stupidity to break his leg. So much for hired muscle. There was no sign of Dierdre's trail any more, but the asteroid was very real, as if someone of Amber had been living here quite some time. I found the most real area, and we moved towards it - a castle, apparently dead and deserted. We entered.
A search of the ground floors and those above uncovered nothing, a rather bland place in my opinion. Which left the dungeons. Now they were a lot more interesting!! In the lowest dungeon, chained to a wall, was Dierdre, looking rather the worse for wear. Now things are getting interesting.
The most obvious conclusion is that this is the real Dierdre, and the one back home is a fake - Brand maybe? If this is the case, then they're in for some serious problems back at Amber.
Alternatively, Dierdre could have been captured and taken down here while we were in the Black Hole (you can never be sure of Time when in one of those things), though I doubt this.
Thirdly, the Dierdre back home could be real, and this one here could be a fake. Again, a possibility that she is in fact Brand. But why would Brand be down here? Captured by someone else, and maybe changing his form to make us rescue him?
I think most probably the first idea is the most probable. Which begs the question - what do we do with this Dierdre? Free her? That could possibly blow Dad's plans, unless he expected us to come here and discover her. Teramon is going to want to rescue her of course, but a quick knife across the throat would solve a lot of problems, and make things easier in the long run. I doubt I could handle Teramon though - even with his broken leg and with surprise on my side. I think I'll just wait and see what turns up next.
Teramon went to check Dierdre #2, and I went to look around the cavern. I found nothing else here, except for some strange basalt figures which pulled themselves away from the wall and came to attack us. Teramon quite happily disposed of these with a few shots from his gun (well, we know technology works here at any rate). Teramon and I decided we needed to know more about Dierdre #2 before freeing her, so we agreed to mind rape her together. We took our trumps of each other to form a link - but no trumps. Or rather, our trumps were there, but they were all black, apart from the one of ourselves. Bugger.
Anyway, we exchanged trumps, made the link, and plunged into her mind. She was definitely female, but very cold and unemotional. A warlike mind though, which could be Dierdre. We left a suggestion in her mind - an instruction to freeze if she ever heard a certain word. It was the word for 'Hunter' in Teramon's language. Well, if something goes wrong, we've got an easy way to prevent her going wild - hopefully.
We freed her anyway, and woke her up. She seemed quite confused, but glad to see us once we explained who we were. Like Dierdre #1, she had been tormented by Brand while in the Abyss, and thought that maybe she was still there - I hoped not, because if she was in the Abyss, then so were we!
Next problem - how to escape. Easier said than done. The asteroid was too real to shift pattern easily, and with no trumps of anyone who wasn't here, we couldn't trump out. With hindsight, I should have simply teleported, but instead I fell back on the Trump of Dworkin I had - this one was not blank, but was simply of his study. I made contact, and we went through. It led to his study and a bedroom, but no sign of Dworkin himself, or anything really interesting, though Dierdre #2 picked her axe up out of the cupboard. There was a pack of trumps sitting on the desk, which I took - it seemed a fairly complete set, and made by Dworkin as well. If he wants them, I'm sure he'll come asking, since I pocketed them. Well, first we used them to get back to Amber.
We checked the throne room via Trump first, to see Kane and a servant chatting there. They talked about somthing having happened to Random, and mentioned other interesting stuff which for the life of me I can't remember. The servant, who looked a bit like Eric, said he was going to go hunting after his brother - no names unfortunately. He teleported out - by means which looked like pattern mastery, but I could be mistaken. Anyway, we continued hunting the rooms until we found Jerard by the Pattern of Amber. He was there with Andar. Teramon and I decided Jerard might be the best one to go to first. We Trumped through - all three of us.
Jerard was a bit surprised to see us. Especially so when I introduced Dierdre as number 2. I asked Jerard if anything had happened to Random - not mentioning the conversation we overheard. Something had - he'd been murdered. Ah. A though suddenly occured to him - apparantly Dierdre #1 was guarding the Primal Pattern with Kriss. Oops. I've never seen anyone 'run' round the pattern before. He reached the centre and teleported. Teramon trumped out with Dierdre. Andar ran out. I was last to leave, to make sure everyone else had. Then I mind walked the pattern and teleported to the Primal.
Dierdre - both of them, were there, with Kriss et al. What a reunion that was! Can hardly say it was a happy one. At least no blood was shed. We retired to the throne room, and tried without success to sort things out. It seemed that BOTH Dierdres were the real one - just two halves of the same person. During this time Son of the Spirits got in touch (he'd been away during all this) via Trump. “Son! Help Me!” he cried when contact was made, then asked to be taken through. Dad butting in again.
The final solution was to take them to may Shadow, and with the use of some high tech medical care, dump both minds into one body. So we set off, clambered into my TARDIS which was parked at the edge of the Forest of Arden, and slipped through shadows to Coruscant, where through a bit of high tech, the minds of Dierdre (both of them) were put into a third body - together. So Dierdre was now back together.
On the way back, Ash disappeared (getting to be all too common I think), then returned a bit later. He claimed to have found Brand - stuck in the Abyss it seemed. I managed to follow the trail Ash had taken, which went off in the direction of the Abyss, but I couldn't find Brand anywhere. Oh well.
When we all got back, I decided to try and little experiment. While alone, I took out the Trump of Dad I had and tried to contact him. I succeeded! At last! It seems he is fine, in fact, he's been doing quite well for himself. He's found out how to control the Abyss, but was very interested to hear about his cries for help, and the 'him' which Ash found. He thinks bits of him are still floating around with their own agenda in mind. His plan - he couldn't give a pig's fart about the other Amberites now, he's found other things beyond the Abyss which are far more interesting. He agreed to teach me about it at some point.
This could be fun!
I've hidden the Trump of him away from the rest of the deck - Dad doesn't want anyone else getting hold of it. I'll just act surprised and confused when I find it missing if someone wants to use it. Dad also claims he didn't kill Random, and doesn't know where the Jewel of Judgement is - he isn't even attuned to it in fact. Ah! Should I believe him? Well, what the hell, things will get interesting if I do. I'll just play both sides of the fence for now, and side with whoever gives me the biggest advantage.
For once everyone has a purpose - to find the Jewel of Judgement, and therefore Brand. Well, that's there idea at any rate, though I know that Brand hasn't the Jewel of Judgement - well, the real Brand hasn't at any rate. Kriss, Teramon and I set off on our own to track down the Jewel, Hell Riding in the hope that maybe we'll find it.
A long journey, in which we were followed by someone (or something?). Eventually, we tracked it down to - Random! It seems he isn't dead as we'd thought, and was most displeased with us for finding this out. The snivelling coward had faked his own death in an effort to hide from Brand. I wonder how he would take it if I told him father wasn't interested in him?
Anyway, after giving us all a good telling off, Random set off to hide once more. I myself wandered off into Shadow. After much travel I found myself near the Courts of Chaos, not far from the Abyss. An uneventful place, except Kriss was there, weapons training he said, but there are a lot more suitable places a lot nearer to Amber. I would say I didn't trust him one bit, but that's taken as the default where Mr All-Singing-All-Dancing-Tacky-Black-Cloak is concerned. I gave him a lift back to Amber.
And there we found we'd missed out on all the fun! Julian was dead, his hearts and other useful organs ripped from his body. Kriss seemed most upset about this, and went off in a sulk. Strange guy. Anyway, it seems Andar and Julian had both gone missing. Ash had tried to find both, but found only Julian's body. Where Andar and Julian were last seen (the Pattern Room) some of Andar's trump cards were found. The trump of Andar had changed into a green crystal, which I found most disconcerting for some reason. Leaving Amber to make Pattern Travel, we were interrupted by a great surge of power that seemed focused on Amber. Someone had called down a Blood Curse. Kriss of course. He seemed to think Brand had killed Julian and was going after him to avenge his death, so he'd Cursed Brand for good measure.
Travelling to where Julian had been found, I reached out with Pattern to try and discover the events which had happened here. It wasn't too difficult - the killer had been Brand. Not the real Brand, but one of his psychopathic shards. He seemed quite mad, and I broke contact before he could drag me to the Abyss with him. I found Kriss, and teleported to him. He was with some other guy I didn't recognise. I informed him of what I had discovered - but didn't tell him the full truth, only that Brand had killed Julian, and was probably in the Abyss. Kriss told me that Julian had been his father, which was the reason he'd thrown a tantrum when Julian had been killed. Much later we all received trump contact from Kriss, he just told us to “Go Away”. Some people are so unsocial. Anyway, I informed father of what had happened - he didn't sound too pleased, but he was grateful for the info, apparently he'd got some hate mail from Kriss earlier for reasons he hadn't understood. Typical of Kriss to be so bloody unsubtle about it.
I had a rather unusual conversation today with Ash. Unusual, but also very interesting. It seems like the bloody fool thinks that Antony would make a good king of Amber - and intends to try and see this come about. Surprisingly enough, he seems to think that he could actually pull it off. Anyway, he was foolish enough to come to see me about it - to see if I wanted a part of his plan. I informed him that I wasn't interested unless he could prove that he could achieve what he wants, though he refused to be forthcoming on this issue. I said I wouldn't stand in his way at any rate, which is a total lie but he doesn't know that. He intends to start my killing Random and taking the Jewel of Judgement. Should I warn Random? Might be an idea, but I think I'll pay a little visit to Gerard at some point, I'm sure he'll find the information very useful….
My training has partly paid off, in that I have some control over my body's shape. Still needs a lot of work though before it becomes really useful. Anyway, the day started well, with a major alert and all the elders running around like headless chickens as it was Defon I or something. Even Corwin and Cain (or was it Eric?) making up. Anyway, it seems Chaos have decided to do something interesting and are causing the collapse of the universe. So much for a nice peaceful day in front of the mirror.
The Elders have rushed off to do battle with Chaos, leaving us lot to protect Amber. They seem to have overlooked the fact that neither Teramon or Kriss were with us, leaving only Antony as the best candidate for working out the defence. Some hope of that.
Finally, Andar has returned! I stumbled across him, Ash and Blue having a friendly reunion, though the fact that Blue had just sprayed Ash with her mace suggested Ash was up to no good. Wonderful! Ever one to be helpful, I stabbed Ash through the back of the head, forcing him to use logrus to escape. Bugger. At least shadow people have the decency to die when you do things like that to them.
It appears Andar had been held in a trap trump, by Brand (the nasty one) - in Dworkin's study no less! Now, this tudy is just off from the Primal Pattern - which means we could have problems. Eventualy, Kriss arrived, with an undead army (totally lacking in taste as usual) to play with.
At least our defences are a bit better organised for now. Julian also turned up at this point (can't anyone stay dead in this place? And I though Dallas was bad), though he didn't recognise me, and his body was still down in its sarcophagus. Hmm.
Anyway, time for Plan A (sub section 2). I informed Kriss about the possible whereabouts of Brand (if he knew I had him in my jacket pocket…), and also the traitorous plans of Ash and Antony. Rather predictably, he got me out of the way before doing anything about it. The exact details are unknown to me, but it seems Brand #2 made 'friend' with Kriss, and he is now here amongst us, with a lovely half-void look to him.
So much for him killing Kriss.
The battle against chaos isn't going too well. Several Elders have 'vanished' (dead? I hope so, and hopefully they'll stay that way), though any connection - trump or pattern - is getting difficult. Indeed, the entire pattern seems to be suffering problems. Time for something to be done.
Kriss had a plan, and for once in his miserable life, decided to let everyone else in on it. Together with Brand, we were invited to Kriss' rther gruesome shadow, in an attempt to do away with Ash once for all. Well, Brand used his trump ability (look! no cards!) and summoned Ash into a pentagram, whereupon Kriss quickly got violent.
Apparently things were a bit more complex then we'd though though. Remember that big nasty demon thing which attacked us at Ver Shade's place? Well, he hadn't been destroyed, but had taken over control (more or less) of Ash. Brand banished him from Ash's body, and we promptly blasted it to pieces as it tore free, until Brand dumped it into the Abyss. Ash survived, and is still with us, claiming he had no control over his actions previously. Kriss seemed most upset when Brand told him not to kill him. I was surprised when Kriss obeyed, since last thing I knew he'd put a blood curse on him. Anyway, enough of that.
With the demon lord destroyed, the attack of Chaos was stopped, since their attack had been a distraction to allow Ash to do something or other. Since he'd failed, there wasn't much point continuing. No sign of any of the Elder Amberites though. At least, not until…
Andar approached me with a surprisingly good idea. I still had copies of Deirdre stored away back on my shadow after we'd put her back into one body. A quick hop there found both the bodies and memory dumps stolen, though the memory cubes weren't beyond the reaach of Andar's strange new powers. So, we now have Dierdre back, alive and well - but in a computer. She didn't fancy the idea of a different body (since we didn't have any of hers), so she stayed in a portable, carried around by Antony.
Anyway, Lilith has just done her jump-on-back-of-silly-human-with-claws-fully-exten ded trick, and is demanding a saucer of milk. Oh, with a drop of brandy as well. I suppose I'd better go and feed her.
I'm writing this while recovering in my home shadow. My apologies to whoever may be reading this (in which case who the hell do you think you are reading MY diary?) for any poor handwriting, but I am having to write with my left hand, having lost my right a few days ago. It's growing back nicely though.
It all started when Amber through a party - one of their normal mindless binges headed by Kriss and Anontony, so it had to be crazy. It would have been fun to watch if Chaos had decided to strike at that moment, but alas they did not. But, I was not there, for I had more important matters on my mind.
Having already tried normal means of locating the elders, I decided to try my luck with a Hell Ride. Keeping the Elders in mind, I set off for lands unknown, letting fate guide my steps. The first land I came to consisted of a huge savanah, where I was set upon by the most unsociable robots I've yet to meet. Needless to say, I lost my hand in that battle, but escaped with my life. Using my shapechanger powers I cauterised the wound, and shut off the pain, and carried on. I came to a city nestled on a river, populated by black skinned men who worshipped me as the 'One Handed One'. Most unfortunate that they wished only for my sacrifice. I fled from there, making my skin as theirs and leaving in a land speeder some kind soul had left behind.
My journey eventually took me into mountains, where science soon failed, and the laws of physics broke down. I was getting close to chaos. I spent the night in a hut belonging to an old woman who gave me shelter, but could provide no information on the land about. Eventually I left the mountains, on foot by now, and descended into a forest within which I could make out the spires of a great city, below a sky of ever changing colours.
Within the forest I met a great wolf, who spoke to me and asked me my business. I told him I sought the Elders of Ambers, and he agreed to let me pass, and told his brethren, who had been hunting me since I'd entered the forest, to cease and hunt elsewhere. Eventually I came to the city I'd seen - the Courts of Chaos. At the end of the bridge that led to its gates I waited while a mounted Knight rode out and asked me my business. He declined to offer me information, but by now I was sure that the Elders were held within, alive as far as I could tell. The chaos knight called up two great demons to battle me, but I left to return here to heal my wounds and ponder what I'd learnt.
I've since returned to Amber, my hand now healed. I informed the others of what I'd found, and Teramon and I have a plan to work on to rescue them. It will take much time to prepare for it, for we will need to learn some power words to boost our abilities. The idea is a 'commando raid' into the Courts, which is incredibly dangerous and can only work i we know exactly where the Elders are. We have a general idea about Corwin - his wife has him we think.
I returned to Amber to find that Brand had got there first, with an army, and evicted everyone. My father seems to have vanished from the trump, so whether he has been 'removed from the game' or the three (+?) Brands have joined together can only be guessed at.
We decided to go in search of the Unicorn, to see if we can find a way to defeat Brand (who again wants to destroy the universe, shape all patterns in his own image, control the cosmos and have infinite rice pudding etc etc). We managed to find a herd of unicorns - not the original, but shadows of her), and from them we got the idea that she might be found in Tir-na-nog, or a unicorny version of said place.
We traversed many shadows, slowly shifting to a celtic world, that seemed to be some version of Ireland. We met with a warrior (whose name eludes me for the time being) who had recently left the court of his queen after accidently killing her war chief in circumstances best left unmentioned.
After much travel, we reached the Mountains of Desolation, where the path to Tir-na-nog was said to be. After fighting our way through hordes of nasty swamp creatures, undead and other horrors (well, okay, after Teramon, Kriss and the celt fought their way through, and the rest of us followed), we reached a great lake, where we settled down for the night. A bridge formed over the lake, cast by the light f the full moon. We crossed it, and came into a new land. Within a forested grove, we found a gravestone, marked “Corwin”. Corwin was not within though, just a collection of empty bottles.
It was then that The Unicorn came into the glade. She forced both Ash and Kriss' friend to reveal their Chaos forms, then she turned to Blue, and touched her forehead with her horn. The she turned and fled.
Whether anything has been gained from this encounter is unclear, but hopefully Blue has been given 'something' which will aid in the coming battle.
We all returned to out own shadows, to raise an army ready to retake Amber. I'll conscript some wookies and noghri to begin with, and wait for the others to raise their own armies.
The armies of shadow did march to liberate the people of Amber-On-Sea! Amber on sea? WHAT?! Um, yes. And what a dismal failure that was. After going to all the trouble to gather our armies, we marched as far as the Forest of Arden, and sent some scouts on ahead to find out defences and general status of Amber. they returned reporting that the village seemed more or less undefended, and the fort didn't look too hard to take.
Village? Fort? What village and fort? Teramon and I decided to take things into our own hands and see things for ourselves. We arrived to find a hill top fort - a motte and bailey fort rather than the grand sprawling stone montrosity which was Castle Amber. Below it, was a village, of about thirty dwellings. not far away was a shepherd herding some sheep. As he came closer we saw that he was Benedict!
“Hi Benedict” We both walked out to talk to him, though he failed to recognise us. Yes, he claimed he was Benedict, and that this was Amber, and that Oberon was king. Naturally our suspicions about the reality of the situation were aroused, so I did a rather more detailed check with Pattern Mastery, which turned up the fact that this was Amber. Now for the good bit!
Just to test Benedict, Teramon challenged him to a game of chess. Teramon won. So I challenged him. I WON! I BEAT BENEDICT AT CHESS!!! Which just goes to show how really screwed up reality is becoming.
We quizzed Benedict some more, and found that Brand was dead, he had dyed saving Amber from the Hordes. He is generally considered a hero. His body was entombed not far off, so we paid a little visit. Skeletons are so difficult to recognise though. Maybe I should have taken a piece to do some carbon dating on it. But Brand would have though of that.
Amber still had a pattern of its own, which I visited, shown the way by a very helpful Martin. It was powerless, and didn't even react to Ash. Finding a pick axe, I set about destroying it, with the small hope that something interesting might happen. Nothing. It seems though that everything here is an opposite of reality - well, of what we call reality anyway. Benedict is useless at tactics, Random is a bureaucrat, Oberon is indecisive, Merlin is useless etc. My guess is that Brand has created this version of Amber to keep us occupied, except there is no sign of him anywhere. The real Amber seems to have vanished.
We journeyed to the Primal Pattern to see if that still existed. It was still there, and seemed unchanged. Within Dworkins study there was nothing of interest. It was then that Kriss did something which could be described as silly, though it got results. He walked the pattern, and when he arrived at the centre, he yelled Brand's name and vanished.
We finally caught up with him to find him battling Psycho Brand. Kriss won, but not before having his face ripped off. Psycho Brand was dead, decapitated - though how long he'l stay dead is another matter. Kriss was in a very bad shape, and trumped back to his own shadow. It'll probably be a while before we see him again (at least his face, at any rate).
We now need to find out what's happened to Amber, and where Brand is. I'd like to know where Dad is - there is still no sign of him. I may try Kriss' trick, though there is a 50% chance of getting the wrong Brand, and even the right Brand might not be quite as helpful as he has been in the past. Then again, maybe he's in need of rescuing. Then again, he may be the one behind all this trouble. You never can tell with Brand.
It's been over a month between the events that happened here and now, as I write it., so I'm bound to miss something out. Anyway, we have still been unable to find the real Amber, though have taken to staying here at Amber-on-Sea for the time being at least until some probable course of action crops up. Kriss has finally returned, though not in very good health since his fight with Mr Psycho. Now we're all together again, I think it's time for something stupid. I retired to my room for some peace and quiet and opened up my mind to the Pattern, reaching out to try and find a trace of Dad - anything however slight. After much work I finally located - something, a mind which matched what I was looking for. I teleported, deciding to worry about the consequences of exactly what I had found when I got there.
It was Brand. Not Father Brand, not Psycho Brand and not Half-black Brand, but - Farmer Brand! Brand, a farmer? He was friendly at least, though cautious about who I was. I introduced myself, as Johannes of Amber. He didn't recognise me, so I didn't elaborate that I was his son. I now wonder just how many Brands there are. Each one seems to be a facet of his personality - just like Dierdre was, just there are a lot more of him than there were of Dierdre. Does this mean that Father Brand is his trustworthy side? I'm not taking the risk of assuming something like this. As least not yet.
Anyway, I informed Brand that there were others of him, a fact he seemed aware of. I asked if he could help with our current dilemma - the location of the true Amber. He thought for a bit, and found the answer quite quickly - Amber hadn't been moved, but the shadows had. To shift to Amber we do so my moving through the shadows, navigating amongst them to reach their centre. But they had been skewed. All we had to do was to unlearn our normal routes, and just head for the centre of it all, finding a new route to navigate by, forgotting our old paths. At least in theory anyway.
I thanked him, and he asked me not to tell anyone else of his existence. He was quite happy tending to his sheep without interference from outside. Informing anyone else wasn't what I intended to do anyway, so that was an easy reassurance to give.
So I returned to Amber, and informed the others of where Amber was, and how to find it. I told them not of how I found out these things, just that I had been 'thinking on the matter.' It was at that point that I had to leave them for reasons of my own. What they do next is up to them.