Chronicles of Andy

Shadow Reflection

Amy’s meditation brought no peace that night. Images of the future on the Shadow she’d taken the shape-changing ooze kept scratching across the surface of the void within her. She held the picture of the Broken Mandala in her mind, her first Broken Mandala, and fed the errant thoughts into the Void. Variant images returned as quickly as she could feed them.

You’re no oracle.

Of course not.

She found no solace in that. Nor did she find solace in her rationalizations: That the actions of others were beyond her control. That if they minded her warnings, the World-City New Tokyo would not fall. That it was a century, if not a millennium too soon to gauge the good or evil she’d done to the Shadow. Even were the Chaos Ooze to break containment, through its own guile or human folly, might apocalypse’s bizarre alchemy — the blood of valiants and innocents, tears of the newly damned, a swamp of terror-pheromones — not birth another unique Shadow-person like Amy? Might the blunders of another like Amy spawned the strife in her home Shadow, the unique soil which had produced her? For all that she thought herself unique to the multiverse, could Amy’s existence be nothing more than the response to her own Amanojaku ultimately becoming the Amanojaku for another Initiate?

The thoughts disturbed her. Mostly because they wouldn’t go away. She’d broken her own cycle of reincarnation.

Only a fool denies the Universe’s nature.

But neither her, nor her deriding voice knew fully the Universe’s nature. And Amy did know she had never met the theoretical Amanojaku who had wrecked her home Shadow’s peace, just as she didn’t know — no one knew — the outcome of her actions in New Tokyo.

I am unique.

That thought slowed the arrival of others beyond the image she held in her mind, one imperfect mandala of the ten-thousand and one imperfect mandalas she had collected. In time, her mind stilled.

Where in infinite Shadow have I encountered one such as me?

She hadn’t. She had encountered no one like her. No one with her appearance, her mind, her powers. Amberites had talked of encountering Shadows of themselves, but Amy, for all her searching, had encountered nothing of that kind.

She had encountered no one who had stood against the power of outer chaos, the Logrus, with nothing but the cracked blade of a flawed mandala, and survived…

I lost.

Fury crushed the mandala’s image. Amy had bared her full power before the Amberites. She had bared her full power in the fight against Chaos. She had lost.

Amy chose victory or defeat for herself. She refused this unchosen outcome.

You’ve found a rival.

I’ve found a power that exceeds my own.

The thought disturbed her profoundly: She had found a person whose grasp of the fundamental powers exceeded her own. It felt the same as when she’d first viewed the broken mandala, beneath the omen trees, so long ago. A rival. A power. Something to test the limits of her power against.

Had she been bored until just now? She had been. But no longer.

It never occurred to Amy that the power she faced could have been pooled by many initiates. Her psyche demanded one monolithic power to strive against.

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7-20-2013 Session Log

End State:
- Crisus: Returns to the Embassy.
- Amy: Returns to her rooms, preparing for a trip to the Waves. Jordy meeting this afternoon. Still looking to model the chaffing at the Embassy bombing scene. Looking for a catalyst for the dyer.
- Dmitri: Making preparations to visit the Waves.
- Radiance: Bedrest.

- Amy dons a new outfit, goes to Dyers and Leatherworkers to help solve the labor shortage.
- Crisus receives Trump from Mandor, they lost Ramesh. Dara, Rachal, Dalt, etc. are at the abandoned camsite. Crisus casts the tracking spell again. Mandor asks her to distract Rachal. She makes small talk and after an itnerchange or two, Rachal sics a mind-controlled Dalt on Crisus. Combat ensues. She shunts Dalt away, but Rachal uses Vitae to travel. She Trumps Mandor and leaves the connection open. Crisus then gets pulled through into the inside of an assault beast, where she investigates the Horn, which they had recovered in battle. After she turns it off (it was still active), she chaffs the combat site, then asks Mandor to nuke it. Afterward, she chaffs the site again. They Trump out to Chaos, to the Logrus Chamber. Suhui stands before it. They all await Merlin together. Merlin arrives after 15m and begins synchronizing with the Horn.
- Dmitri travels to Ramesh’s fleet by Shadow Walking from the nearest Golden Circle Trump to that Shadow. He arrives at a spaceport and asks directions from a security guard, gets the guard to take him to Ramesh’s people. None are around, so the guard takes him to the quartermaster. The fleet is pulling out, so none are groundside. Dmitri asks them to contact the fleet. He bribes the quartermaster to take him up. They hail the angry captain, who agrees to take them on board (so that he can give them the tongue-lashing of their life). He meets Dmitri under the watch of armed security. After they go to a conference room, Dmitri shows the captain Ramesh’s Trump, and asks if Ramesh has encountered trouble. The Captain brings Dmitri to Ramesh, who is in a healing tube. Dmitri begins to administer magical first aid, removing shapeshifter matter from Ramesh. Some of the samples turn indigo once removed from Ramesh’s body. The extraction will take many hours.
- David arrives at Radiance’s home early, and ready to depart, but mentions that they have a problem: The Zesh cannot turn down their Broken Pattern imprint, which would be disruptive to the Waves. Radiance says not to take the Zesh then. David takes the actors away. Radiance then continues working on the script for his musical. He has an image of the Unicorn Horn lacking something, but he can’t put his finger on it. It keeps impinging on his thoughts of the play. Radiance sets the play aside and starts trying to articulate it. When he starts working on it, he knows that the horn has been stolen. When he attempts to sculpt the culprit, he gets a Logrus shaped knot. He Trumps Random and shares the information and insights he’s gained. Radiance discusses espionage with Random.
- Amy finds a dyer and optimizes the mechanics behind it. She promises to go find a catalyst that will make the conversion process more efficient. She returns to the castle, stretches her Broken Pattern against the hard background of Amber, and then teleports away to find a special substance.
- Radiance/Dmitri get a ping from the castle’s detection net, but it goes away. Radiance jumps to where the Zesh are and tells them the Horn has been stolen by Logrus users; if they can find it, they will be allowed to walk the Pattern. They ask if he wants unimprinted Zesh to ride the Waves. He says yes, but he has to attend to other things right now. He Trumps to Flora’s foyer, asks about the Broken Pattern signature. She says to talk to Random. He Trumps to Random. Random says that Broken Pattern is used by a couple people, and to ask Flora… He dances around the issue of who uses Broken Pattern inside the Castle. After back and forth, Random informs Radiance that he should focus on the other issues that he is investigating. Radiance begins to wander the castle.
- Crisus discusses sorcery with Suhui as Merlin interacts with the Horn. After a couple hours, Merlin gets out, having made some progress. Crisus returns to the Embassy. Goes about her usual social calendar, continuing her inquiries into the Horn of the Unicorn. Goes to the Church of the Unicorn, where Pontifex Cody greets her. He tells her it is a legend, but gives her a bibliography of reading about it. She thanks him and leaves.
- Dmitri reaches a state of as much as can be done on the surgery. Before he leaves, he mind-reads Ramesh. Shapeshifters attacked, then his limb was cauterized. Ramesh is turtled up, but Dmitri sends a message that he’s only intruding because of dire need. That he means no harm. He sends that he just healed Ramesh.

Sudden ambush, overwhelmed, reacting and attempting to get out, fought as hard as he could, cut off his own hand and escaped.

Dmitri takes his time replaying the attack and stores it away in a data crystal for later analysis. As he’s pulling away, Dmitri plants a seed of psychic restoration. Dmitri goes to Random’s seneschal and is immediately let in. Shares news of the attack. Dmitri suspects Crisus’ involvement.
- Dmitri and Random contact Radiance and ask him if he can construct a Trump using Ramesh’s psychic impressions of the Horn. Radiance collects paper and ink. Dmitri goes to Flora, who gives him a spa treatment. After the treatment, he comes to dinner with Random. They go through to Ramesh, get a good snapshot, and levae for Amber. They transfer the knowledge of the Horn in Random’s presence. Radiance goes to the glassblower to make a True Trump of the Horn.
- After what is a long, arduous journey, Amy arrives at a crystalline Shadow with aggressive psychic impressions. She witnesses a fight between two crystalline creatures. After one loses, she scavenges materials from the corpse and heads back as fast as possible, dropping the materials back off at the Dyer. She then Trumps Dmitri. He says he can’t help with the Embassy bombing investigation right now, but hands her the crystal of Ramesh’s memories, asking what she thinks. After watching, she Trumps him back, saying it looks like the start of a War. [Off Screen interchange between Dmitri and Amy] Amy makes a hop to a Future Shadow Neo-Tokyo.
- Crisus looks into the Horn of the Unicorn reading list.
- Dmitri goes to the scene of attack, which is now a smoking crater. He records it all and puts it into a crystal. After he finishes his investigations, he returns to Random. Before he rests, he sets up a few experiments and makes copies of the crystals.
- Amy searches for a zaibatsu of high capability and competence to contract.
- Radiance finishes his work and requests that he have time to rest before using it. Asks Dmitri to lunch tomorrow. He also invites Random, Amy, & Crisus.
- Crisus off-screen.
- Amy receives a call from Radiance inviting her to lunch. She, having finished her business, goes through, finishes her conversation, and heads back to her quarters.
- Radiance invites Crisus to lunch.
- Amy reads the Embassy Bombing interrogations for a while and then goes to sleep.
- In the morning, early, Crisus gets a courier from the palace saying to come in. She goes. Random enters and asks for Peacekeepers to enter Chaosian territory. The warrant is boiler-plate except for three psychic signatures to be affixed later.
- Crisus contacts Mandos about the warrant. They have a conversation.
- Dmitri sets up a study on how shapeshifters work. He doesn’t understand the psychic context of shapeshifters enough to decode the psyche, so he runs experiments on his computer.
- Amy checks in and gets what information the scientists have done so far. Warns them that exposing this material to humans and animals would be dangerous and foolhardy.
- Radiance invites Random to lunch and the recital of the musical. He gets together actors for it.
- Dmitri talks to Random about Broken Pattern surge, meeting with Chaos. Random requests psychic fingerprints, a statement from Ramesh. they talk about a potential third artifact.
- Crisus and Radiance are at lunch early. Dmitri arrives in Brand’s costume and colors. Amy arrives too. The musical starts with an Oz house dropping on a Unicorn. Intermission with snacks. Plants attack Ramesh and take away the horn. Intermission. Comes to a castle and sets the rod. Intermission. Random comes on stage shapeshifted as a Logrus, using the Unicorn Horn trump. He opens the connection. Meets resistance, so calls Dmitri on the stage. Logrus energy starts pouring in through the connection. Amy goes up too, acting as a battery for Dmitri to pull from. After the Logrus energy builds, she starts diverting the Logrus energy into the Flaw. Across a thousand Shadows, a thousand Broken Patterns scream in unison. After intense struggle, they give up and close the connection. Afterwards, Radiance lies down, morphs into a Unicorn and attaches the Trump Horn to his forehead, totally exhausted. Amy takes a signature of the Logrus energy as Dmitri pulls the Horn from Radiance’s head. Dmitri leaves, as does Amy. They both go to Random’s office. They decide to visit the Oleai, with the contingency, Amy says, that the Oleai try no funny stuff on her.

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A Shadow Done Waiting

Amy slammed the door to her quarters shut and took another staggering step. Her knee buckled and she fell against the wall’s brick, skewing her favorite ink painting, a wren caught just as it alighted on a bamboo branch. She rolled with the impact automatically, but once she’d hit the ground, she just stayed. Her deep breaths, borderline ragged, formed a rhythmic base for her aching head-meat to rest on.

Amy was tired. She offered up a different word, exhausted, but truth was her candle probably wasn’t even half burned down even with that. It’d just been forever — ages — since she’d pushed herself so far.

Was pushed so far, the doubting-voice quipped.

Truth was Amy could claim no agency to her own life right now. Walking the Broken Pattern in Zesh. That was about it. Truth was, knowing or unknowing, Radiance had run her like a hound the past weeks, and she had higher business than his. Stacked against her purpose, not even Random’s investigation, and that friendship that stretched back to the King’s fast and loose past, mattered. She had put it off too long, coming here. She had felt out the waters, she had been water, matching the shape of whatever container held her, for fear of being out of place, for fear of becoming a perceived threat, for fear of the last time she’d held a shape besides society’s accepted role for her.

A splinter chillier than the Abyss pierced under her sternum as she recalled what shape she’d held when she’d last chosen it; how she had — Amy grabbed that errant stalk and wrenched it loose, but failed to pull its roots up too. That memory would return. It always did.

She thought of Radiance’s chameleon-ape; how its camouflage failed to release it once caught. How its camouflage had become a liability once caught. How it still pretended that its camouflage mattered.

Like it or not, Amy’s camouflage had failed. While she wasn’t caught, she certainly couldn’t go unnoticed anymore.

Especially not after tipping your hand to Dmitri.

Sure, Dmitri seemed, of all the Royals, the least likely to run his mouth, but Amy felt certain he’d filed away her neat little quirks and the polite not-quite-requests would start rolling in any time now. She refused to work for three people and herself.

Radiance’s demand that I visit the Oleia.

She sat bolt upright, the livewire thought shocking her like a DC electric fence. She reasserted her calm after a dozen breathing cycles and stood up — if she had energy to rage, she had energy to stand. She knew that Radiance didn’t mean any harm in signing up her and a dozen method actors as Oleia sex slaves — Yeah! No harm whatsoever! — but the constant line-crossing, that demanded redress. She’d need to set some boundaries — ah, but the very problem was that he wouldn’t understand any boundaries that she set! Very well, then she’d need to find some other, non-fatal way to even the score, and something that didn’t distract her much from her main goals.

Amy put on a pot of tea, ideas already boiling over inside her mind.

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6-22-2013 Session Log

End State:
- Amy: Finally gets to sleep. Waiting on audience with Jordy in a day or two.
- Dmitri: Making preparations in his home Shadow.
- Radiance: At Castle Amber having servants make white robes for the Method Actors. (the poor bastards)
- Crisus: Waiting on the Senate to get back to her.
- Edward: Delivering cloth to Radiance.

- Dmitri assigns a scribe to eyewitness reports for Amy.
- Radiance checks in on the Zesh.
- Amy pulls an all-nighter to build a prototype unicorn horn.
- Crisus prods the Amber social circuits for news of Ramesh.
- Radiance has a new outfit! And the Zesh reach out to him psychically, inquiring as to the progress made on their request. Radiance replies that without an exchange it will be harder. They almost overwhelm Radiance with psychic knowledge transfer, so he cuts the connection. When he tentatively reopens the connection, they ask him to frame requests rather than attempting to give him all the information at once. After some back and forth, he tells them that in order to walk the Pattern, they must first visit the Oleai and teach Radiance how to ride the Waves. They agree. Afterwards, he trumps David to act as a guide. David does not respond. Radiance then informs a servant that he (the servant) will be having an adventure.
- Dmitri has a talk with Kaleth, and then has Kaleth walk the Broken Pattern. the scribe finishes the first interview in the meantime. Dmitri holds off on sending the transcript until he has the scribe finish all of the transcripts.
- Amy finishes the prototype and begins work on the rest of the enhanced unicorn horn batch.
- Radiance contacts Dmitri and asks if he could make an inhibition-lowering potions, and asks what Dmitri’s price would be. Dmitri says he will ‘consider’ it and get back to him. (subtext: No.)
- Dmitri’s newly empowered Dragon, Kaleth, awakes. 2nd of 3 interviews transcribed. Kaleth asks how to make use of his master’s gift. Dmitri tells him to wait and recover first.
- Crisus does things off-screen.
- Amy finishes the Horns and Trumps Radiance. He comes there, asks a servant to package up the horns. As the servant is leaving, he has a knowing look about what he thinks is going on between Amy and Radiance. Amy heads to the library and begins to research the Pattern and familial corner cases on walking it, especially family members that failed to successfully walk the Pattern.
- Radiance puts up a sign in town saying “Method Actors Wanted!”
- Crisus doesn’t get a lot of progress on her investigations with the Amber socialites.
- Amy triages the Metaphysics section, no real luck. She contacts the genealogist descendant of Andy, Jordy, by letter, and requests an audience.
- Crisus calls Dmitri and asks him about Ramesh. Dmitri says Ramesh is with the Oleai. Crisus contacts Chaos about getting a contact in Oleai.
- Jordy sends a letter to Amy saying he’ll be able to grant her an audience in a couple days. Amy then returns to her rooms and begins to meditate, only to be interrupted by Dmitri personally delivering the transcripts she had requested requested earlier. She secures the notes in her rooms and then steps through the Trump connection to Dmitri’s Shadow, from which they Shadow-Walk to the Zesh Shadow. Dmitri takes this time to explain this cosmological anomaly.
- Crisus makes some awesome inhibition-lowerers for Radiance on request.
- Edward does something off-screen.
- Dmitri and Amy arrive one Shadow out from Zesh. He raises many layered protections around himself. She just steps across. After quickly establishing her bearings and erecting a shield, she perfects the membrane between her personal bubble of control and Zesh outside of it, and creates propulsion. She brings them to this Shadow’s Broken Pattern, where Zesh are congregating. Dmitri begins communicating with the local Zesh while Amy begins nailing down the cosmological constants. When Dmitri posits that it might be a balance-point for all of the major Powers of reality, she decides to investigate. During this conversation, she seems constantly distracted by the Broken Pattern before her. When Dmitri leaves, she starts walking that Broken Pattern.
- Crisus finishes the potions, then goes to Ramesh’s window and peels some detritus from it. She returns to the Embassy and uses magic to track down Ramesh or his fleet. She discovers quickly that she needs the whole port window. After creating a fake and swapping it out with the original, she performs the rite again, and this time is drawn out into Shadow, shape-shifted into a space-rock. She grabs a sympathetic link from Ramesh’s quarters in the Fleet and returns to the Embassy.
- Radiance gets the enhanced rum from Crisus and works on the spurt feature of the Unicorn horn. The operating mechanism is Trump connected to a pressurized cauldron of lemon curd. While waiting for David’s Trump, he interviews the method actors, telling them they will be going to the Oleia to learn their role.
- Radiance trumps Amy as she’s walking the Zesh Broken Pattern, but her entire attention is focused on the task, so she doesn’t respond.
- Dmitri gets a Trump call from Sarah, the contents of which are off-screen.
- Amy finishes the Flaw-Walk, crosses the Veil out of Zesh, and meditates on the spot to recover.
- Crisus casts a tracking spell to find Ramesh using the improved sympathetic link.
- Amy calls Radiance back once she recovers. He pries into what she’s doing on Random’s behalf, teleprots to her room to find she’s not there, then tries to pull her through to him. She asks him not to, so Radiance teleports to her and after more discussion (Radiance wants her to go see the Oleia, something Amy is subtly putting him off on), he tries to trump them through to Random’s study. After intense and well-matched resistance, Amy lets him take her through to him. Radiance demands an audience with Random, and asks the King if Amy could be spared from her duties so that she could go with the method actors to visit the Oleia. Behind him, Amy silently motioning “no”. Radiance then tries to get Random to open up about what Amy is investigating, but Random rebuffs him. Radiance and David return to Radiance’s estates, with Radiance dropping Amy off back at the Shadow on the edge of Zesh along the way. Once there, she begins taking readings from the adjacent Shadows.
- Radiance convinces David to take the Zesh along with him when he returns to the Oleia.
- Dmitri teaches Kaleth how to Shadow-Walk.
- Edward Trumps Amy and asks how the investigation is coming. She says she doesn’t have anything but theories yet. he asks if he can help, and her response is that she’d love some light woven into fabric, alluding rather baldly to the fact that she needs to distract Radiance from constantly interrupting her. Edward says he’ll investigate.
- Crisus’s spell finds Ramesh. She teleports there and seeks an audience with Ramesh, asking to see the artifact. Upon seeing it, and finding out it’s the Horn of the Unicorn, she lies and says that it must be the wrong thing. She Trumps back to the Embassy and tells Mandor what she’s found via Trump. She suggests overwhelming force. (INTRIGUE!)
- Crisus answers a call from Dmitri. He asks her about her search. Crisus says she could not find Dmitri.
- Edward meets with ‘Him’. ‘His’ famiyl comes over, they retire after dinner and Edward inquires about ‘his’ job. Edward reaches out and finds ‘his’ memory edited so that ‘he’ is no longer curious about his old job. Checks on ‘other guy’ and if he can undo a blocked memory. Afterwards, Edward recruits ‘him’. Follows up on the cloth he was finding for Amy.
- Amy finishes her measurements and contacts Dmitri, provided him with the technical analysis she’s made. Afterwards, she returns to her room and sleeps.

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A Shadow At The Pattern

Well, you were just complaining about whalebone corsets! Amy’s humbling voice noted as she folded up the season’s newest fashion and pulled on a navy-blue silk robe embroidered with white lilies. She changed more quickly than was graceful, but, well, Radiance had just popped into her rooms. How many others could?

And yes, she had complained about whalebone corsets, but this? Well, a gentle reminder that a Shadow could be made uncomfortable by the Blood in oh so many ways.

The Pattern.

Radiance had brought her before it. There, laid out before her, plain to see, the real thing.

And she’d balked.

He’d flippantly displayed the penultimate test of ascendancy, and She Who Surpassed Gods had gawked like a moon-faced paddy-farmer. The mountain rose above her, and she had stopped her stride.

Amy mopped up tea from the table, spilled when Radiance had done that neat little Trump-teleport trick, and let the humbling voice do its customary lecture. Amy needed that voice. Had a younger Amy paid it mind… well, a younger Amy hadn’t.

But then, maybe this once, the humbling voice had no point.

As a distant memory, an elder’s glimpse of childhood play, she recalled the first time she’d sighted a Pattern. A broken one, obviously with the flaw from edge to center like a riven teacup. She’d found it in a tiny mountain valley, the omen trees surrounding it laden with peaches and blossoms despite the crisp midwinter air. She recalled staring into that awful flaw from her arrival mid-morning until long past sunset. She recalled staring at this beautiful, broken thing uncomprehending. It had transfixed her. And just being near it made her brains ache.

She tossed her mop-up rag in the laundry for the servants to get.

How long had she meditated under the Omen Trees seeking enlightenment? Seasons flew as she strove in that place laden with the peach blossoms’ scent. And then finally, without knowing why, she stood, mind blank, and her feet found the flaw. Every nerve fired, horrific, sweet, painful, all at once. Every muscle cramped. Rolling nausea. Exploding lights. A typhoon’s shriek against her tympanic membrances. A god had seized her whole nervous system, her whole being, and clamped it between its thumb and forefinger. The flaw tore at every grain and plane of her being obstinately, ruthlessly, thoughtlessly. It was nothing, and so too, would she.

And then she stepped forward. And again. And again. She kept walking until she stood at the center, wrung to the bone, her mind a mess of shattered crockery, sweating and shivering and still cramping, but it was over. She collapsed there, and probably didn’t vomit. Yeah, you did. Okay, maybe a little. Sometime later, she got up, feasted on the fruits of the Omen Trees, and came down from the mountain.

The roads and villages had changed. Forests were where there were plains. But the land’s bones were the same. A dozen and twelve generations were dust since Amy had first ascended the mountain. Whether she had stayed there in contemplation that long, or time ran differently, she had no idea.

But if it had? Say she’d pondered the Pattern’s broken Shadow for three hundred years. What shame then a thirty second, or even thirty minute or thirty-day staring match with the real thing before she took that fateful leap?

Oh! Camp in the Pattern Room! You Trump Random, I’ll get the tent and marshmallows!

Now the humbling-voice had a point. Understanding never strikes the same way twice.

So. Unicorn horns? she asked the humbling-voice.

Why am I here again? Your recent gadgets and outfits… you’re doing a fine job without me.

Or Radiance is. Amy said, and sighed. Now keep quiet, these unicorn horns won’t make themselves.

View
6-8-2013 Session Log

End State:
- Crisus returns to the Embassy.
- Radiance waiting for unicorn horns from Amy.
- Amy works on unicorn horn prototypes while she waits for more info on the embassy crimes. Follow up with Dmitri about modeling the chaff from the bombings. Follow up with “other investigators” re: eyewitness reports.

Log:
- Crisus requests an audience with Suhui
- Radiance receives a call from his servants. The Zesh appear to be dancing. The Zesh dance appears that they’re mirroring each other physically and psychically. Putting that to the side, he insists that his servants ensure an outfit he made for Amy is delivered to her posthaste.
- Crisus receives a response from Suhui granting her request for audience.
- Amy receives a package from Radiance, the season’s newest style! Apparently SF video game booth babe is in fashion in Amber now…
- Crisus eavesdrops on Pontifex Cody and some monks as they converse about the Horn of the Unicorn. The Head Librarian thanks the Churchmen and brings things out. She goes to Ramesh’s room and begins gnawing a small hole from the outside of the castle into his room’s interior.
- In the middle of the night, Radiance is awoken by his protections alerting him that a man is in the courtyard. The man has a halo, tall, thin, darkly well-dressed, he addresses Radiance as nephew, and says he can help with the Horn of the Unicorn. “I’m Osric, and you can find me in the basement of the castle.”
- Amy’s research uncovers that the chaff used to obscure the energy beam is more local than the beam itself, that there is no demonstrable Pattern-imprint on the chaff, but that there is on the laser. The chaff prevented observation of the details of the escape, and where the escapee went. He was of course later found dead. She notes to follow-up on Subsequent Crime Scenes and Reports.
- Radiance calls Amy, and asks if she got the outfit. Of course, she’s wearing it in anticipation of this call. He checks up on a couple of small details, and then trumps himself into her rooms. He then drags her along to Osric via Trump. Once there, Osric quite directly says, “What can you do to get me out?”. Amy freaks out and trump calls Random, then the Seneschal when she can’t get a hold of Random. Random and Gerard come through via trump as Crisus, on a line to Radiance, tries to talk Radiance down from letting Osric out. Random encourages Radiance to only talk to Osric when another family member is present. Random assigns Henry to Radiance upon hearing that Osric projected himself out of the prison. They pull Amy along with them when they go to Radiance’s estate.
- After investigating the spot where Osric projected to, they go back to Henry’s office/lab, then to the cell.
- Crisus contacts Radiance, and they chat for a bit. Crisus advises against talking to Osric at all.
- Radiance then chats with Osric (about inane things) as Henry is viewing the protections placed on the cell.
- Crisus disappears out of the hole she’s been gnawing THIS WHOLE TIME to meet with Suhui. He gives her an adjunct to detect the Horn. After that, she returns to the hole she’s been digging — finally finishes it — and investigates the room.
- Back at the cell, Henry’s still working. Radiance investigates the Trump block on the cell out of academic curiosity.
- As Radiance leaves Henry to his work, he asks Amy to come along. On the way out, he shows her the Pattern. She stands transfixed by it, silent, for some time, before backing away, rubbing her temples. Afterwards, they pull Crisus along to lunch. Afterwards, Crisus gets Radiance to trump her to Castle Argent (Corwin’s kingdom)
- In a rare bit of downtime, Amy requests subsequent crime scenes, eyewitness reports, and ponders methods for modeling the chaff used in the bombing. Since she’s not skilled enough to do so, she decides to follow up with Dmitri. She then begins work on the unicorn horns.
- Radiance speaks with Random about the Horn of the Unicorn, Crisus, Benedict, Amy & The Pattern, and the Zesh.
- Crisus concludes that Corwin’s Kingdom has no weird sources of energy (such as the Horn)
- Amy finishes proof of concept for Unicorn Horn v1.0. Gets a transcript of eyewitness which seems shaky. They mention that other investigators had more success. She sends off notes to those ‘other investigators’
- Crisus speaks to Mother re: Cherry Tree.
- Radiance asks Amy how the horns are coming along. She shows him. Radiance pulls Crisus through to Amy’s room. They all trump to the Rainbow Bridge. Go into Mt. Gachal. When Radiance notices a weird Trump signature, he stops and investigates. His interest piqued, he requests an audience with Lord Gachal.
- In the Audience, radiance tells Gachal about the weird Trump effect he noticed. Gachal permits him to interface with Mt. Gachal and teach it how to Trump him. While Radiance does that, Amy tags along with Crisus doing sightseeing.
- The mountain’s consciousness does not know the identity of the trump artist, in fact, it cannot sense the person using its awareness at all.
- Amy and Crisus meet up with Radiance again, and they all Trump back to Amber.

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A Shadow in Amber

Amy tapped the tips of her shoes to loosen them before kicking them off her feet. She shut herself into her chambers and dropped the lock.
Her head spun from just a day in Amber: images and metadata from the Embassy Bombing data crystal in every conceivable angle. The brilliantly sparkling sea as she investigated the energy beam’s origin point, the wind screaming around her and chilling her to the bone. The dingy tavern where she had met the man named Edward. And of course, the infuriating ease of Crisus’s jokes leading to Radiance’s impositions for Amy’s own technical help on the… improvements to his absurd musical’s props.
Amber-specific equations and cosmological constants bubbled to her forebrain, until an image — moving images, displaced them.
“Maybe if you wore a horn, you’d attract a male,” Radiance said, the one he wore bobbing up and down in a disturbingly elastic dance.
“What need would I have for one?” Amy asked.
“Well, you know, for it."
Crisus interceded, relieving Amy for only four words. “Perhaps Lady Amy prefers to handle those things herself?”
“Eh, yes, if it happens at all,” Amy stuttered. Her face felt like it’d been smeared in satay. This just was not a thing one discussed over dinner. Or ever. In fact, Amy got along just fine without thinking about those things, and had for centuries.
If she could have walked the True Pattern right then, she would have deliberately failed and welcomed Mu*.
“But my dear, it has to happen…" Radiance’s remembered speech trailed off as present-Amy exhaled the distressing memory, banishing it from her mind.
“No. No. It really doesn’t.” It amazed Amy to be reminded, despite their earth-shattering power, self-mastery just wasn’t fashion for Amber’s Royals.
“And curse my broken tongue for my lack of it right then.” Comparing her conversational wit to those born at Creation’s poles was like comparing her Patterns to the unbroken one they’d walked. They were born to all this.
Amy. Eternal student. Uncomfortable with any mountain before her until it went behind her and the next one loomed. Which is why she’d come to Amber, right? For the challenge? So why get flustered over it actually being a challenge?
Well now, she had an investigation, and an engineering project, and her own projects to juggle. Challenge!
I’ve until morning to sort my thoughts and begin action. First, change clothes. Whalebone corsets don’t limber the mind. She gave thanks that her body, at least, had stayed elastic enough to slip even the feminine straightjacket of Amber ladies’ fashion without needing a servant. Amy disliked others waiting on her. What I’d give for jeans and sweaters to come in style here… A thick cotton robe would have to do.
She knelt seiza** on her parlor’s tatami mat floor, right before the wistaria bonsai she’d received as a boon from some monarch on some Shadow long forgotten. She slowed her breathing and loosened her muscles, slipping down into a trance, continuously interrupted by unschooled thoughts:
That damned Radiance, who does he think I am? I’m a toy-maker, not a, well, ah, “toy”-maker.
Focus.
But seriously though, is he my amanojaku***? It seemed awfully deep into her striving for Old Jack to show up. Was that pride I heard? Amy had always been too proud…
Focus.
You’ve an investigation to complete. Random believes in you, ancestors, saints, and spirits help him. He takes priority. Radiance’s project, well, Radiance will just have to understand.
And if he didn’t? Amy, a Shadow in Amber, a one-armed acolyte in a shoving match, by nature ever the lowest personage. Could she rely on Radiance’s clemency? More bleakly, could Amy weather his anger should Radiance’s sunny disposition darken?
Of course not.
Amy stood to put on some water for tea. From the lack of pinpricks in her ankles and calves, she guessed she’d spent less than ten minutes in repose.
Amy had things to do, things other people valued.
“A man who only himself serves, a tool with no artisan, only waste makes,” she quoted.
As long as the artisans were worthy of the tool, that maxim matches her mood. She’d be fine. Better to focus on their cares right now.
Her own cares had proven far more intractable.

Footnotes

  • Mu: Nothingness (in a religious context.) A state beyond Heaven and Hell.
    • Seiza: “Proper form” for sitting. kneeling, butt resting on ankles, hands cupped upturned in lap.
      • Amanojaku: A taunting demon. “Heaven-Obstructing Ogre”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanojaku might be more useful than anything I could say.
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5-25-2013 Session Log

Session end state:
Dmitri: Dinner with Fiona (no other character is privy to this knowledge)
Edward: Investigating servants.
Radiance: Working on fabulous musical/horns
Jack: Drinking to forget, then returning to Camp Julian.
Amy: Much to her horror, torn between the King and the Artists’ Guild president. She’s working on both adding some, ahem, special features for the unicorn horns, and crime scene investigation for a long-cold trail.

- Amy of Mt. Pine Monastery returns to Castle Amber after over a year of absence. King Random immediately calls upon her to investigate the Embassy Bombing, a case that has gone cold in the weeks since it happened.
- Dmitri returns to Castle Amber from pursuing Broken Patterns. He receives a note from Amy to meet him regarding the information surrounding the Embassy Bombing.
- They met, and some theories about power sources were generated.
- Meanwhile, at Camp Julian, Jack recruits several rangers for a team-building exercise meant to make them into something more closely approaching Marines.
- Amy visits the Chaos Embassy, where she is met by Crisus. After an initial check around the now-repaired site of the Embassy Bombing, she decides there’s nothing to really see here now.
- Edward contacts Katy about the attack on the embassy, who tells him that she and Henry have moved on, and that the case has been closed. When he contacts Henry, he is told nothing’s new. On his way to an audience with Random, he notes increased guards, and Andys talking to the servants. When Edward tells Random that the murder scenes were closed, Random regards this information with surprise, and tells Edward that he, the King, is not done being interested in them. Random tells him to contact Amy, and cooperate with her on the Embassy Bombing investigation.
- Edward meets with Amy. She suggests the Embassy Bombings may have had a technological angle. They agree to meet tomorrow morning for Amy to get his copy of the evidence.
- Meanwhile, Jack exits the forest while tracking bandits. He scouts a city, which lacks overseers & military. Plantations are being rebuilt by the peasants, who regard his inquiries in a standoffish manner. He resolves to go into the city, and passes a wrecked garrison post on his way there.
- Radiance contacts his country estates to check on the Zesh. His mother then contacts him and inquires about his guests. Afterwards, he teleports to the Abyss and plants a spy cherry tree in a floating island above the Abyss, outside a cave on a ledge overlooking the Abyss. He then trumps Amy, they converse about bombing. Amy is reticent, but unskillful in her evasions. She eventually manages to change the subject to art, saying that she has new pieces in her collection and she’d like to put on a show sometime in the next couple of months. Would Radiance be so kind as to help her organize it? She’s not really good at that sort of thing. He asks her if she’ll be at the next Artists’ Guild meeting. She says of course, since she’s in Castle Amber again.
- Crisus has a chat with Mother.
- Radiance receives a Trump from Random. Random asks him about “The Horn of the Unicorn” an artifact similar to the Eye of the Serpent, but apocryphal, as no one has ever seen it.
- Edward delivers a partial of his data crystal to Amy, who decides that isn’t enough, and contacts Dmitri for a copy. Also needs it to be usable without Sorcery, since she’s so rusty as to basically have to begin studying Sorcery all over again. Dmitri balks at this, but says out loud that he’ll think about it. When he also receives a contact from Random re: “Horn of the Unicorn”, he questions Random about outsiders and security risks. Random asks what Dmitri would have him do, given that Henry keeps claiming cases are closed, and the “in-family” resources are stretched thin. After the conversation, Dmitri creates a warded lab for Amy and leaves her there for four hours. She begins her research.
- Meanwhile, Jack leaves the city to do military exercises. His rangers are in high spirits and enjoying the training exercises.
- Dmitri and Crisus chat. Crisus attends court and mingles her way through the crowd. As she’s soothing fears surrounding the events out the Chaos way, she gets a call from Radiance re: “Horn of the Unicorn”. She says she’ll look into any of the Chaos legends surrounding the artifact, and then finishes her day at court. When she gets home, she plans to inquire re: Horn of Unicorn to Mother.
- Amy’s research finished, her and Dmitri compare notes. After she leaves the lab and turns around the corner of the hall outside, she teleports back to her room. This registers as a surge of power on Dmitri’s monitoring nets. He receives a trump call from Random, who asks if Dmitri felt that too. Dmitri asked if Random knew about Amy’s power, and Random replied that it’s not really a secret, but that Amy doesn’t tend to bring it up.
- Edward dominates a Seneschal of Lady Gulda’s household, finds out that Ramesh visited, and then Gulda packed up and left in a hurry. He masks his doings. Investigates further. Finds out that Lord Ramesh is missing. He contacts Random, who points him to Julian, Andy, and Benedict as possible points of contact. Since Benedict is out of the picture, he contacts Julian and Andy. No real leads. He holds another conversation with Random re: Gulda. Random tells him not to worry about it.
- Meanwhile, Jack is team-building. His team wins capture the flag, and after that, they begin archery practice on a moving target, uses arrows stripped of their broadhead (which would still hurt!). After calisthenics drills, he returns to Camp Julian to rest and inquire with Julian about where he could hunt beasts of legend. Julian suggests a shadow of Arden with beasts that have near-perfect camoflage. Jack goes there.
- Radiance, wearing a prototype unicorn horn for his fabulous musical, contacts Jack. They discuss the similarities between missiles and unicorn horns. Jack promises Radiance a camoflage-ape for Radiance’s menagerie.
- On the sideline, Dmitri confers with someone mysterious.
- Amy briefly converses with Crisus at dinner about the Chaosian Embassy attacks and her findings. When Radiance arrives, their dinner conversation turns perverse to the horror of the pious among Amber’s nobility. Specifically, certain features that would make the unicorn horns used in Radiance’s plays more interesting.
- Jack gains some insight into the camoflage-ape’s habits, sets a trap and catches one of the apes. When he contacts Radiance, Radiance pulls him through the trumps. After placing the ape in a cage, Radiance tells Jack about the WONDERFUL unicorn horns he’s making for the troops. They glow in the dark, and vibrate, and have a sort of slick fluid for self-lubrication, and…

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4/27 Session
Moby Mack

End of last session:

Jack – Burning down the holdings of the slaveholders in the unnamed Shadow, apparently some of the ethics of the man he absorbed rubbing off on him.
Edward – Infiltrating a fortress, but for unknown reasons. Dimitri – Resting comfortably in Castle Amber.
Crisus – Resting comfortably in the Chaos embassy.
Radiance – Second guessing his artistic arrangement of the courtyard rubble.

The Matterwhale Mack’s dreaming thoughts:

“The morning of the third day dawned fair and fresh, and once more the solitary night-man at the fore-mast-head was relieved by crowds of the daylight look-outs, who dotted every mast and almost every spar.
__
“In his infallible wake, though; but follow that wake, that’s all. Helm there; steady, as thou goest, and hast been going. What a lovely day again! were it a new-made world, and made for a summer-house to the angels, and this morning the first of its throwing open to them, a fairer day could not dawn upon that world. Here’s food for thought, had Mack time to think; but Mack never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels; that’s tingling enough for mortal whale! to think’s audacity. God only has that right and privilege. Thinking is, or ought to be, a coolness and a calmness; and our poor hearts throb, and our poor brains beat too much for that. And yet, I’ve sometimes thought my brain was very calm—frozen calm, this old skull cracks so, like a glass in which the contents turned to ice, and shiver it. And still this tail is growing now; this moment growing, and heat must breed it; but no, it’s like that sort of common grass that will grow anywhere, between the clefts of Amber or in the abyss’s lava. How the wild winds blow it; they whip it about me as the torn shreds of my split fins lash the tossed body they cling to. A vile wind that has no doubt blown ere this through prison corridors and cells, and wards of hospitals, and ventilated them, and now comes blowing hither as innocent as fleeces. Out upon it!—it’s tainted. Were I the wind, I’d blow no more on such a wicked, miserable world. I’d crawl somewhere to a cave, and slink there. And yet, ‘tis a noble and heroic thing, the wind! who ever conquered it? In every fight it has the last and bitterest blow. Run tilting at it, and you but run through it. Ha! a coward wind that strikes stark naked Crisus, but will not stand to receive a single blow. Even Mack is a braver thing—a nobler thing than that. Would now the wind of Crisus but had a body; but all the things that most exasperate and outrage mortal whale, all these things are bodiless, but only bodiless as objects, not as agents. There’s a most special, a most cunning, oh, a most malicious difference! And yet, I say again, and swear it now, that there’s something all glorious and gracious in the wind of Crisus. These warm Trade Winds, at least, that in the clear heavens blow straight on, in strong and steadfast, vigorous mildness; and veer not from their mark, however the baser currents of the sea may turn and tack, and mightiest Mississippies of the land swift and swerve about, uncertain where to go at last. And by the eternal Poles! these same Trades that so directly blow my good body on; these Trades, or something like them—something so unchangeable, and full as strong, blow my keeled soul along! To it! Aloft there! What d’ye see? It is Crisus, herself in full form. She must be destroyed!”

Awakened by his horrific dream he continues on his way home.

The serpent ceremony finally ended and all seem to finally go well for the courts of Chaos, this time. Although Radiance thought they should hire an event planner the next time to make it a bit more festive.

Ramesh received a letter of correspondence from Gilda, Gilda would like to become general pen pals but Ramesh takes it a bit further and trumps to Gilda’s shadow and finds the disturbing news that there is a wool crisis with some sort of parasites involved.

Chrisus is diligently catching up with her paperwork and duties in her home.

Radiance is fabulously redecorating his home and updating his decor.

Dmitri is pondering the events of the last couple of days.

Ramesh, disturbed by the ongoing wool crisis, finally meets the “ice queen Gilda and finds out she is looking to expand her knowledge about other places and such. Ramesh returns to amber after being trump blocked by an unknown source.

Dmitri starts to investigate the energy beings which he has encountered before with Corwin and learns the beings want to go to Amber. Dmitri unsuccessfully tries to convince them that would be bad. Dimitri tries to get the stubborn energy beings to leave but is unsuccessful and finally does opt to send them to Flora in Amber.

Radiance is contacted by his mother Flora and is asked for assistance from him with communicating with the energy creatures. He says after he is done planning the party for the return of Andy’s Children he will be there to assist. After diligently getting the unwilling, but helpful, Crissus to donate furniture that won’t eat the children for the party Radiances trumps to Amber Castle to assist.

Ramesh is looking for a voluptuous blond to boink.

Dmitri is investigating broken Patterns to learn more about the energy creatures. He determines there are approximately a 100 or so energy beings currently in Shadow.

The energy creature finally arrive at the east gate of Amber castle and Flora notifies Radiance to meet her there. Radiance find the energy creatures, which they now know are called the Zesh, there and after setting up a communication trump finds the would like to see the Pattern. Radiance tells Flora, and her response is to think about it. Radiance offers to host the Zesh at his glorious abode and sets up a watchful trump to observe them.

Crisus delivers the mostly kid-safe furniture to Radiance.

Radiance is working on eighteen Trump figures for Dmitri to place around as an observation net. Dmitri finds Radiance has put several observational trumps in the figures and reports to Random; which ultimately makes Radiance peeved but he works with everyone to allow access to the trumps to a select few nominated by Random, for the greater good.

Radiance’s for Andy’s Kid party is a fabulous hit although Crisus needs to learn how to dress better, sadly she has an uneventful time. Andy’s children and family enjoy the great festivities and are most thankful.

Dmitri and Crisus decide to visit the Zesh home shadow and discover it is a destructive shadow so alien to Amber style life as require the best efforts of both to survive even a short time. They do manage to confirm the shadow contains a Broken Pattern, but little else.

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4/13 Game

Crisus is back at the Chaosian embassy, organizing her projects and taking notes.
Dimitri is in Amber, working on his web spell.
Radiance is at his estate in Amber, setting up animal pens.
Edward is in Amber, investigating the latest news of the city.

Life in Amber has slowed down a bit, the kidnapped royal children have been returned under circumstances that are murky at best to the general populace, but they have long since learned to avoid the difficult questions and are content that they are once again safe in the castle.

The Serpent release ceremony is tomorrow and Merlin has requested the Crisus attend as the representative of Chaos, she was planning on going anyway, so this is not an inconvenience. Dimitri and Radiance have not been required to attend but intend to do so anyway.
Meanwhile, Dimitri receives a Trump call from the seneschal of his home shadow, apparently his castle has some unusual visitors and would he please stop by and deal with them. Upon arriving, Dimitri finds six floating spheres, similar to the one radiating Pattern energy he drove off some time ago, when he and Crisus first met. They are hovering in a formation outside his gate, not making any threatening moves, but not leaving either. Dimitri attempts mental communication, as the conventional methods his servants have been trying for hours seem to have no effect. It works, although their minds are alien enough to make the communication sketchy at best.

The general gist of what why they are at his castle revolves around the Pattern. They had encountered another of their people who had had contact with Pattern energy via Dimitri and they wish to do the same. The need is almost compulsive, like a drug to them.
Wary of encouraging Pattern parasitism, Dimitri suggests they try the refreshing alternative of Logrus and Trumps in Crisus, who is just intrigues enough by floating, spherical pattern parasites to fold up her current project and come through. She gives them a taste of Logrus energy and they are polite about it, but clearly if Pattern is their upper, this is their downer and they have no further desire to taste more.

Working with Dimitri they are able to understand more of the sphere’s history. They come from a very abstract Shadow where their sort of energy based life is normal. They exist largely as a hive mind. And at some point they discovered a broken Pattern in their world and some gained the ability to traverse shadow, but the broken Pattern imprint that gives them the ability also slowly kills them. Being a hive entity, they can share the Pattern imprint with another sphere before the first dies, but it is still a costly way to travel.
Dimitri finally relents and gives them a dose of Pattern energy. Three immediately perish in an orgasmic frenzy, which is awkward but doesn’t seem to surprise or offend the remaining three. They are hoping he can work with them to give them the Pattern buzz they so desire, but without the death-gasm that makes it a less than optimal party activity. Uncomfortable and not entirely sure who, or even if, he should help them Dimitri punts the problem and directs them to Corwin’s shadows. Amused, Crisus returns to her Embassy.

Edward does some stuff off camera, secretive bitch.

The night passes uneventfully and with morning it is time for the Serpent release ceremony. Crisus travels with the Amber delegation out of politeness. The ceremony is heavily attended, both by Chaosians and Amberites but it’s a bit slow to ramp up and it’s nearly 3 Amber time before everyone has finally arrived to the non-descript shadow at the edge of the Abyss.

Finally, and very formally, Sara steps forward and Merlin formally thanks her although he’s a bit vague on what for. She looks to Random, who nods formally and then Sarah twitches slightly and falls over. Most bearing an imprint feels a subtle rush of power and then suddenly the Unicorn appears on one side of the gathering and the Serpent on the other. They nod at each other and that seems to be it. Just as most attending seems to tire of waiting to see if either of the Great Powers are going to do anything a bit flashier there is a sudden flash of color and fire and a great spout of matter appears at the edge of the Abyss. The incident is about a half mile away, but visibility is clear and most of the group strain to see what has so politely waited until the end of the ceremony to be disruptive.
At first glance it appears to be several massive matter transport beast crashing off the edge and into the Abyss, followed shortly by what appears to be G’chall’s fleet. While this provides a certain level of closure, particularly for the Chaosian side, mass suicide is not a typical Chaosian trait and most are confused as to what G’chall hopes to accomplish.
Unless he intended after ceremony entertainment, in which case it’s all fine.

Crisus makes a quick inquiry of the Serpent which responds that it has no idea what’s going on but thinks it’s fabulous! Not finding that reassuring at all, she requests that Mandor politely get everyone under cover, which he attempts with limited success.

Adding to the general festivities the Dragon of the Oleia shows up as well. Dimitri attempts to converse with the Dragon (“Bruce” as the Serpent refers to him) and he is willing to talk, but seems more interested in the abstract and his information is not very helpful. The most relevant bits are that things may change completely or in ways distinguishable from the present, although change is inevitable. He does note that while the group present can do nothing to stop it, they can decide its outcome. Essentially he considers this to be primarily between the Serpent and Unicorn and he’s come to watch but trying to stay out of it for politeness reasons.

Crisus has flown to the scene and, once closer, it becomes apparent that what everyone at first took for ships diving in to rescue the matter haulers is more a construction project, the matter haulers are being used as a focus point for a stream of matter/energy/vitae. There are some guards down there interacting with G’chall but the legalities are a little vague.

Crisus Trumps Merlin and requests context, which unfortunately he doesn’t have. They next discuss whether or not they actually object to what G’chall is doing. If he’s building some sort of Abyssian condo it gets him out of everyone’s hair without needing to have an untidy war about it. They eventually decide to take the high road and not only get rid of G’chall but pick up some good PR for the crown at the same time. Crisus is empowered to manage the local situation as Merlin’s representative. Crisus makes her presence as a representative of the crown known and tells the guard to allow things to continue. She then politely monitors the spell G’chall is casting, learning it’s mechanics and intent.

Edward and Jack move from the party down to the events at the edge and scout the surrounding area, but find nothing out of place.

Bored up at the party and with watching Mandor ineffectively attempt to motivate the crowd to come indoors to enjoy the refreshments, flies down to the site as well, taking the form of a bird which is similar to, but notably more resplendent than that Crisus formed. They exchange distant pleasantries.

Jack Trumps Dimitri to compare notes but the general consensus amongst the Amber contingent is that whatever is happening a) probably wasn’t planned and b) is important but c) it would be rude to interfere unless asked.

Apparently not having received the last piece of that consensus and distressed at the slow dying of the matter haulers, Radiance throws a Trump Trap at the most distressed hauler, transporting it to the courtyard of his estate and “saving” it. Keeping the trap together in the Abyss is harder than he anticipated and the effort exhausts him but is ultimately successful.

The effects on the spell are immediate and severe. Robbed of one of its primary focus it begins to destabilize and G’chall is heavily strained attempting to keep it from falling apart. Crisus takes a moment to messenger creature Merlin to request if it is in the interest of the Crown for G’chall to survive this attempt. Receiving a reply that, for now, it probably was, she enters the spell herself and uses her not inconsiderate abilities to help restore the matrix. It is a challenge, but working together she and G’chall are able to restore the working to a stable balance. G’chall is confused to say the least, but too involved in the project to question the sudden and unexpected aid.

Radiance explains to Crisus, who is far too involved in the working to notice, that he was saving the whale and Trumps back to his mother. She off-handedly comments that interfering was probably rude, but her heart clearly isn’t in it and she radiated more approval than annoyance.

Adding the celebrity guest list is Suhuy, who wanders in his cane assisted slow pace to the edge of the Abyss where Jack chats with him. Suhuy seems amiable to conversation and informs Jack that he’s come to help with the working. Jack relays this to Julian who repeats the party line that the Amber contingent is to watch but not intervene, or at least not intervene more than Radiance already has.

With Suhuy helping, the spell is not only stable once more but increasing speed and efficiency. Crisus is reminded that while she is a very good sorcereress, she still has some things to learn. Most notably with Suhuy’s influence is the modification to the Abyssian beachfront is much less sever, perhaps he has a timeshare.

Sarah re-appears at this point, apparently more or less fine and with the spell moving into a boring construction phase Mandor is finally able to usher people inside for refreshments and the party moves into a more conventional swing.
The Amber contingent returns home several hours later after it becomes obvious the working at the Abyss is going to be a long term project.

Radiance, meanwhile, has returned home early and is now stymied about what to do with the massive whale like mass hauler flopped across his now heavily damaged courtyard. He trumps Dimitri and requests assistance. Dimitri things he can restore enough of the things mind to make it viable but it will take time. Radiance tells him to get to it and goes to bed. Dimitri works late into the night and then does the same.

The next morning the mass hauler is in much better shape. Radiance trumps and thanks Dimitri and names the beast “Mac”. He creates a pen for it, gets it moved and begins repairs on his courtyard.

By the middle of the day the work on the spell is done and Crisus Trumps back to the embassy.
Radiance, having arrange the rubble in his courtyard to his liking, spends some time mentally influencing Mac. Unable to manipulate him to kill Crisus, he creates a deep loathing with the hopes of at least inconveniencing her.

Edward returns from Chaos as well and sets up clandestine meetings with his contacts.
Waking up later that evening, Crisus finds a note from Lady Gilda, which says little other than she wishes to maintain their discourse. Crisus returns the note with one of similar flavor. Also awaiting her is a messenger creature from Lord Rhakal, the double agent the Crown had placed in G’Khal’s camp only to be in turn betrayed by him. His missive is fairly predictable, things had not gone as he wished and he now wishes a deal. Crisus returns the creature with a bored inquiry as to why she should bother, as far as she can see, he has nothing of interest to her.

After spending the afternoon with Mac, Radiance discovers that the creature has little interest in staying in Amber and eventually he allows it to leave, with a request that it rough up Crisus on its way out.

Meanwhile, Jack has spent the day speaking with Julian, requesting and receiving some time off to pursue personal matters. He spends a couple of days in Shadow, moving and camping until he receives a “ping” on the special sense that allows him to feel his targets.
Following the sense, he finds a Shadow of Julian’s camp and, easily avoiding the scouts, he finds at the center a man who looks like Caine, but dresses like Julian. And who is also clearly in charge.

Jack observes the camp until sundown, noting some prisoners being brought in and interrogated.
That evening Jack sneaks in and ambushes a guard, taking his clothing. Using this as a disguise, he is able to sneak all the way to the center of the camp and assassinate the earlier observed leader, absorbing his power. It’s quite a rush, apparently he found a juicy one. It also puts an abrupt end to the unnamed man’s valiant attempt to end slavery in the current Shadow, but this is unimportant to Jack.

At the end of the game the characters are as follows:

Jack – Burning down the holdings of the slaveholders in the unnamed Shadow, apparently some of the ethics of the man he absorbed rubbing off on him.
Edward – Infiltrating a fortress, but for unknown reasons.
Dimitri – Resting comfortably in Castle Amber.
Crisus – Resting comfortably in the Chaos embassy.
Radiance – Second guessing his artistic arrangement of the courtyard rubble.

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