[A Gift to the Serpent]
Aiden arrives at the old Logrus. A voice from behind him calls out.
“You’ve come. Why?”
“Things have changed.”
“They always do.”
“Agreed. A threat exists that no one understands.”
“And what should I care about an existence that I no longer participate in?”
“That won’t always be true.”
“Then why have you come?”
“I’m looking for tools and answers.”
“And you’ve come here for those tools?”
“Are you aware of the threat?”
“I can give you knowledge, but a price.”
“I imagined so, the gift should be arriving soon.”
“Ah, the daemon skinned one? He’s mine?”
“If you can use him.”
Then he is aware of the serpent for a flash of an instant, massive beyond comprehension, yet formless and meaningless. In that he sees several things, like the unicorn and it’s hatred for it, the spider, and something else; then the thing that you’re seeking. A smiling little girl, a being on par with the unicorn or the serpent. As she grows, shadow will loose its destiny. Then Aiden is left back to himself.
“Will you persist without shadow?”
“I don’t need it. I am before shadow, and I will be after shadow is done, but only beings like me can.”
Aiden nods and heads back toward shadow.
Oberon and Crystal sit in the study waiting for Rhys and Tomo. Oberon passes the time with some scotch.
“Father, we will need a trump master to help us figure out how to use these as a weapon.”
“Well, we don’t know how to get a hold of Jonathan and Rosaline is part of the problem. We’d have to get someone from the other side.”
“I might need to travel down there. I might know someone.”
“You’ve made friends?”
“Yes, but I’ll need a ride back. Tomo might have a trick.”
“She’s on her way.”
“Well, I’ll head down to the Pattern room and get down there.”
Crystal makes her way through the castle and greats Torg with a ‘hello stud’ and asks the Pattern to not screw her over for a change. And with that. like a spurned lover, she’s back on the Pattern. At the center, she heads to a bar near Firegate, where everybody knows her name.
When she gets there she finds that it is full of the typical degenerates, knights of chaos and the like. She hits up the bartender and asks if their friend who knows about cards is around.
“If it’s important, you should go and find him.”
“It is, where do I find him?”
“In the courts; let me give you a map. Also ignore the doomsayers, ever since the spider made its last proclamation…”
“I’ll be fine.”
“In Firecourt, there is a lot of shouting and blades are being drawn. It’s a gnashing of teeth between the old guard versus the apologists; the Serpent vs. the Spider. Herrick of Hendrake rolls in and chastises his followers and shouts that there is no time for this. A debate arises regarding the general lack of cooperation.
Crystal keeps a low profile and heads to her destination. In the place marked out is Dutchess Ioggia, Cranmore, and Kored. When she enters, all three turn and look at her.
The duchess makes the blasé comment; “I told you that she was coming.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever met. It’s an honor and pleasure. I am the Daemon Duke Lord Cranmore Theradune. I am curious do you know why one of your brothers tried to contact me with a curious device?”
“That depends, which one?”
“The Pattern Lord, Rhys.:”
“Is it one of these?” Asks Crystal as she withdraws her smartphone.
“No, much larger, but just as curious. So why are you here?”
“There is a common threat here, and I’d like to talk to you about it.”
“Why do I even need you?”
Kored speaks up. “Look dad, no one needs you. Most would be happy if you just walked off a short peer and called it a day, but we all stand to benefit to from some cooperation here.”
“Okay Amberite, what do you have to offer?”
“We have a weapon that my mad old hobbit of a grandfather left behind, like Legion.”
“I remember Legion.”
“Well, the enemy has that now.”
Cranmore asks Kored: “is this true?”
“Yes, actually, all of trump can be monitored by it, and none of it is safe anymore.”
“That explains the device, then. “So Amberite, I’d like to hear what your Pattern Lord has to say.”
“Do you have the equipment here?”
“Now is as good of time as any.”
[A Casual Family Breakfast]
In the morning, Argyle has Octavius’ breakfast for him, along with reports from the previous night: several aunts and uncles have been coming and going, Amon was spotted running down Crystal, Bethany is still in the infirmary, dire omens cast in the Church of the Unicorn, none of these matters warranted waking you according to master Oberon. Also, Crystal walked the Pattern. Your father and siblings wished to see you before they left for Avalon. Octavius casually thanks Argyle, dresses, and heads out for the day. He swings through the infirmary on his way to see his family. Circe is knocked out and broken and Clarissa is curious to what’s going on. Octavius casually fixes Circe with magic. She wakes up.
“What happened? Where’s the Jonathan? Why am I here and not in the cornfield?”
Clarissa speaks up. “You started to pull an angry Fauxmon through and mom had to hit you in the face to stop you.”
“Well, I found Jonathan. He’s in the cornfield. So what’s the plan?”
“I’m not good with plans says Clarissa.”
“I have to meet my dad”, says Octavius, “I’ll have to get back to you.”
Circe and Clarissa follow Octavius to breakfast. When they get downstairs, Ariel (the Queen and Octavius’ wife) and Tiberius (Octavius’ son) are there along with Brutus, Julia, and Caius. Brutus answers the door, and Julia stops when she sees Circe. She gives her the ‘karradoc’ look.
“Karradoc remembers you” she says.
“Yeah, it would remember the person it couldn’t kill.”
“WOW! Look, bagels!” Blurts Octavius in a futile attempt to distract the dialogue from violence.
Caius approaches Octavius. “I heard you were talking to the Old Man. I’m glad to see that you’ve survived.”
Caius the turns his attention to Circe “so, how’s Marek?”
“Aren’t you sleeping with him?”
Brutus gags on his food; “what?!”
Caius continues, “Also, I hear you got the Unicron’s horn cut off.”
Julia gags on her food; “what?!”
“Actually, that was Aiden.”
“Oh. At least you stopped to say good-bye. I really only get to see Rhys.”
Caius looks to Clarissa. “You have your fathers face, and your grandmothers hair.”
“You knew my grandmother?”
“Well, I don’t think anyone really did…but as much as any of us did.”
Caius regards Octavius again. “Tomo is going to come soon to help us get home, but I hear there are problems.”
Circe answers to his query. “Oh yeah, Rosaline and Jonathan had a crazy, flipper-trump baby who sends people to the cornfield and end the world.”
Brutus speaks up. “You are bug-nuts crazy. What about Theridune? I thought he was the bad guy.”
“No, Alice is the problem” says Circe.
“Where is she? Asks Caius.
“Everywhere there is trump.”
“What is the priority target?”
Circe says; “we should talk to Rhys.”
“And the Old Man”, adds Octavius.
“Tomo will be here soon.”
[Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch]
Reese sits in his office, reading the Apocrypha with the Jewel. It’s like an acid trip. The first person to have noticed the Serpent still seems to live, as Dworkin saw it, and the book is written to this person as Dworkin reconciled this for himself. Dworkin getting the eye from the Unicorn somehow this created Oberon. The book seems to have a conciseness and it’s a bit like Legion: sentient knowledge. This makes one think that one can do this, and that Dworkin makes more sense. It is about how an idea can have a destiny. This gives some idea of how Legion works now, that it’s derived from trump. This book is destiny of destiny. Far out, man. And whatever is Alice, is massive.
Tomo finds her father and gets informed that the Old Man wants both of us to go to the Grove. Coffee happens. Enonia approaches with Hector and Anna. But before they arrive, the conferencing equipment happens, Seele style.
The conference is with the new bloods and the opportunists…and Crystal. Kored mentions that there are only three members of the salon left. They discuss the importance of mutual information sharing, and Rhys discusses the nature of the threat in detail. Enonia appears and mentions that the trumps are designed to be used, but not by who or why. Only Dworkin would know their purpose. After their discussion, the only action items are to gather more information before they re-convene.
Tomo goes to fetch Crystal and maybe Kored. Enonia and Rhys go to Marek, and text Hala on their way over.
[Amon Hits on a Princess]
After a fashion, Amon arises from his meditative stance on the broken pattern. Eventually, he notices a pale skinned woman in a purple dress in the chamber.
“Are you okay?”
“I’ve been in worse. How’d you get here?”
“I live down here.”
“Its my home.”
“…with the things?”
“You mean the others? I’ve never seen a man like you, or a building like this before.
“You’ve never seen one of these?” Amon gestures to the Pattern.
“No, why are you here?”
“I’m looking for something…”
“Have you found it?
“What’s your name?”
After that, she takes him off to meet the others. This time he doesn’t hear the growling in the passageways. They get to a city that feels familiar, but its not Amber.
“What’s this place called?”
“Take me to your leader.”
She consents and takes him to a small castle with a familiar motif on the gates: the Unicorn. There, she asks the guards for her father.
“You’re a princess? I’m a prince (wink wink).”
Inside he finds Tangata.
“Hey, I know you from inside my head.”
He smiles, “it’s about time that you showed up.” “Thank you Emilia. I’m certain that you have many questions.”
[Tomo the Taxi]
Tomo finishes scribing the Pattern in Firegate and grabs Crystal and Kored. Oberon appears on Earth. Then Tomo scoops up Caius, Julia, Clarissa, Circe, and Brutus and shuttles them to Earth from Amber. Hala takes the second generation away (sans Octavius and Tomo). Once all the big kids are together, Marek speaks.
“So I heard that you have some questions.”