[Battle in the Eye of the Storm]
Octavius casually dives into the shadow storm. He is psychically aware of the creation and demise of a great multitude of universes. In the midst of it all is two great wills battling each other. At some point…in a place where space and time loose their meaning…Octavius looses his dragon and he’s sure it’s dead. After what could very well have been an eternity, He finds him self on a blackened red-earth plane. There is one other form on the plane; King Swayville.
“You are Octavius, are you not?”
Octavius casually pulls out a phone and sends a text message:
To: Barringer, Tomo; Barringer, Reese; Barrimen, Hala
OMG hey im fighting the king of chaos LOL if you wanna help
The phone’s screen displayed: “no service”.
Octavius casually slips his phone back into his pocket and regarded the figure standing off in the distance. “Yes I am. Octavius, King of Amber, and you are the King of Chaos?”
“Yes. You are the grandson of the man who killed my father.”
Octavius casually shrugs and approaches the other king, drawing his sword and in response, so does Swayville
“You know Octavius, this war will go own long after we’re gone. Do you know where you are? Where are you going?”
“Oh yeah, I sure do.” Octavius pulls out a gun, and casually shoots at him.
The bullet got dodged the two charge at each other and an epic blade fight ensues. Swayville manages to complement Octavius for not being a complete disappointment. Wounds happen. In the eye of the storm, the battle may have raged for minutes or months.
All that there is here is pure will versus will. The kings are exchanging blows and every time they cross, they hurt each other.
“What are you willing to give, king?” Swayville asks of Octavius as they lock blades and the fighting grinds to a halt in a titanic struggle.
“All that I am, all that I have.”
The lock is broken and in three quick exchanges, Swayville is mortally wounded.
“It seams like tomorrow belongs to you." Are the kings dying words.
The eye of the storm breaks and shadow itself is torn asunder. Octavius is ripped through the storm and thrown back to Amber. The black road is gone. Back in Amber, he can feel isolation creep in. Looking toward the forest, he realizes that it is not actually Arden…just some woods. Not even the Golden Pathways are immune to this Shadow Storm.
[Ahoy, off to Adventure]
Circe books it out of the Grove of the Unicorn into the Forest of Arden while carrying Clarissa. Aiden is nowhere in sight having disappeared into the jing. They make it to the lighthouse of Cabra and her boat is waiting there for her. There is a figure walking with a sack over his shoulder out of the light house towards the boat. It’s Marek.
He calls out to her as she runs over. “I figured you’d get here eventually.”
Without stopping to respond, Circe jumps into the boat and he shoves it off from the dock.
“We need to move” he said. “That (pointing to the storm on the horizon), that’s real bad. Is that Crystals daughter?”
Circe nods. Clarissa is still unconscious.
“…so, do you know why the Unicorn saved you?”
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to think…and I don’t want to think about it right now, either.”
“So I knew that the Unicorn thing was going to happen since I came back. It’s part of what’s going to happen.”
“Yeah. I don’t like being used.”
“um…who got the horn…?”
“Mandore, Aiden’s master.”
“That makes so much sense!”
“Listen Marek, I don’t want another ‘me’ walking around. I just want to get this girl away from all of this. She doesn’t deserve any of it.” Circe chokes a bit, on the edge of tears.” It was so pathetic to watch the Unicorn walk away like that.”
“You do know why it chose to save you. Dad was the child of the Unicorn and Dworkin…though I don’t know how that works.”
“That is an issue. More importantly, don’t things want to chase you down, are you a liability right now?”
“Not anymore…things are changing…but so far the thing I fear can’t happen…for now. The child of parents both of Pattern can undo Shadow. Thankfully, the blood of the Unicorn and the Sign of the Pattern cannot bear children.”
Gone from Amber, Crystal now finds herself standing in a small room. The Sword is sheathed leaning on a chair. The room seems comfortable. It’s a clear winter day. Moving slowly, she delicately picks up the blade. Disappointingly, it doesn’t un-sheath. The door opens behind her. It’s a serving girl with a basket of laundry. She screams, turns to run but Crystal gets across the room during her hesitation. Crystal grabs the girl and pushes her up against the wall next to the door. Laundry spills onto the floor. Crystal palms the side of the girls head and stares intently into her eyes.
“You didn’t see me. It was a mouse that frightened you. Now run along.”
The girl runs.
Crystal start contemplating her next move. She considers starting to weave a teleport spell. Before Crystal could set any plan into motion the door opens again. This time a tall stately woman with grey eyes and olive skin is standing in the threshold most likely thinking about why the laundry is all over the floor.
Crystal composes herself and seizes some initiative: “Hello your highness.”
The woman slews her head around to regard Crystal.
“You must be Crystal.”
“And where exactly are we?”
“Hmm. You had better ask your father.”
“Perhaps not, I’m rather cross whit him right now.”
“You still you should speak with him.”
“So be it; there are things to be said. Where might he be?”
“With your brother.”
“If you only knew.”
Oberon and Hexian are eating waffles as father and son. In actuality, Hexian is being fed as he is still mortally weak from his run-in with Chaos and a nuke. It’s quiet, mostly Oberon talking. The silence is punctuated with three hinge-rattling knocks at the chamber door.
“Don’t get up” says Oberon to Hexian as he gets up from the table. “I’ll get it. Eat, our you’ll never regain your strength.”
Oberon opens the door to a daughter on the precipice of abject rage.
“What are you doing here?” Asks Oberon in a very confused tone.
“Cleaning up your messes that you’re to busy to deal with.” Crystal’s words where as sharp and accusatory as possible.
Oberon, unfettered and still genuinely confused, continued a line of questions. “Why do you have my sword? Cymnea, really?”
“I found her casting a spell and she had your sword.”
“How did you get here?”
Oberon let out a sigh. “Alright. Give my back my sword; its dangerous. What do you want it for?”
“To finish the battle at Amber.”
“The battle is already over.”
Crystal thrusts the sword into Oberon’s hands “Great. Take your [expletive]-ing sword. I have other things to do. Like fetching my daughter from the monsters that this (points to Hexian) [expletive]-sucking, pig-[expletive]-ing, [expletive]-clown, piece-of-[expletive] who murdered and lied his way to kidnap my child and sell her to the most vile and ruthless [expletive] [expletive]-ing sons-of-[expletive]-s possible!” Hexian made no eye contact and only slowly chewed wis bite of waffle.
Oberon donned a serious sincere tone. “They don’t have her anymore. She should be back in Amber now. Besides, you’re not going anywhere. There’s a shadow storm, so you won’t make it. You’ll die and I don’t want to lose another daughter.”
New target acquired. Crystal turned back at Oberon. “Funny…now that you mention it.” She throws a note in his handwriting into his face.
“Oh my, you think it’s you? It’s not. Listen, I entrusted the fate of Amber to the three people I trusted and you succeeded.”
Crystal stood slowly defusing. “So it’s not me?”
“No, it’s Rosaline; heck of a way to start a marriage.” Oberon let out another sigh and paused to put his thoughts together. “Lets get this out there. You’re my daughter by Clarissa, Rosaline is Dworkin’s daughter…by Clarissa.”
“Okay…that was a bit much…you’re telling me that I cannot get back to my daughter in Amber that on the brink of destruction?”
“Yes, but I made sure that she was safe. Trust me.”
“You know, its hard for me to trust you after you abandoned us.”
“Do you know what would have happened if I was there? Do you not realize what Chaos is capable of? This had to happen.”
“And you, the strongest of us left us to deal with it?”
“Yes, so you could grow stronger, otherwise you would have relied too much on me. I think almost all of you would have welcomed my death. I tried to be a good king, but I am to blame for most of it.”
“Shadow storms…I have to get back.”
“You have to wait out the storms.”
“If I was there, you (pointing to Hexian) wouldn’t have come to its defense.”
Hexian swallowed hard. “I always came to its defense.”
Crystal had almost for got he was there. She pivoted her head slowly towards him as visions of homicide clouded her thoughts. “Don’t think I haven’t forgotten about strangling the stupid straight out of your soon-to-be-lifeless body. Your mother will cry when she sees what left of you when I’m done, you pathetic [expletive]-licking, waste of -”
“Stop!” Oberon put a hand on Crystal’s shoulder. “Look at you two. Nothing about your state of mind is right. Crystal, you came here thinking that I wasn’t your father.”
“Hoping. Anyhow, my state of mind isn’t going where you want it too. I’m stuck here for the time being with you too –“
“ – and Cymnea, and the surrounding three kingdoms.”
Crystal starred long and hard at her father before deciding that she wasn’t going to get away with any fratricide here an now. “I need to sit down.”
“It’s not that bad, i can show you where i grew up.”
“My childhood -
“ – was the best I could make it.”
“My daughter’s childhood was destroyed thanks to that [expletive]ing failure of a human. One day I will destroy you for it.”
“Get in line after you get over yourself” whispered Hexian as he rolled his head away from is sister.
“Big words from the man helpless in bed in front of me.”
“Go ahead [expletive]; I dare you to try something.”
“Do I need to separate you two children?”
Hexian coughed up some blood and what remaining voice he could. “More to the point, there were plans to keep your daughter safe and return her long before I took her.”
“More to the point, little man, you have made an enemy of me for it.”
“Stop it, both of you. I know I’ve been a piss-poor father, but I try to be better than mine.
“I can’t speak for that,” muttered Hexian.
“You never introduced us,” stated Crystal flatly.
“I had to find out that it was Dworkin. I originally thought that he was a fallen soldier…that didn’t pan out. I had to piece it together and Dworkin had a bunch of other kids but they are all dead. I could go into details
“Don’t worry about it,” dismissed Hexian, “you’re long winded enough.”
“So that somehow annoyed King Cronus and he had all of us tortured and took our lands like the duplicitous bastard that he was. I killed him in our defense. The fall of House Barimen isn’t talked about much…”
“Well, I finally get to hear it from the horse’s mouth. (Crystal)
“…and I’ve never been popular in the courts…”
“And you still aren’t” (Hexian)
“…I’ve broken too many hearts and notes. Sound familiar?”
“So were stuck here until the storm clears? When is that?
“Crystal, it’s over when it’s over.”
“Wait – I’ve seen you control them before.”
“I had the Jewel of Judgment.”
Crystal checks her cellphone. There’s no signal. “Is there somewhere i can go and scream?”
“Come on, lets go see how good you’ve gotten with a sword.”
Oberon hurries a un-satisfied Crystal out of the room.
Cymnea stood near the doorway the entire time, and after Oberon and Crystal left, she walked into the room and went to sit beside Hexian.
“So how are you feeling?”
“I’ve been worse.”
“No, not really. You always bite off more than you can chew. Cranmore would have killed you if he stayed.”
“But he didn’t.”
“There was no plan. You hoped that someone would be there to save you.”
“Well thank you none the less. So how have you been – stuck here with dad?
“I’m the one who took him out of Amber.”
“I see now.”
“It’s not really about love. Cranmore was dabbling in things that he shouldn’t be.”
“Abysstisism. Look, you need to rest and recover.”
“The Black Road is gone and there is something going on with the Logrus, and everything else is lost to the Shadow Storm.”
“A shame; there are a lot of good places out there…it’ll be nice to be a farmer again.”
“Yes, you were rebuilding the Eatons. I’ll leave you to your rest.”
“Thank you again for your help.”
[Spinning a New Web or the Depths of Treachery]
One million destinies. Uncounted people. Born. Breathe. Die. All in a flicker of time. It’s like trying to fight a fractal as a fractal, until the Mandebrot Set breaks down. Enonia is dimly aware that they are both committing numerous shadows to ruin, and also that Emerson is here…somehow…everywhere. Suhuy is very difficult to strike…substance with out form. Enonia is trying to force a direct confrontation, but cannot trap him in one whilst pulling in allies. No Allies are available. In the end they confront at the site for it is where it all began: Fire Court, the last place you can stand before you set upon the Logrus. Suhuy – still dressed like a priest.
“I was never certain that any of Oberon’s brood could assay the Logrus. Maybe it chose you.”
“It doesn’t choose favorites”, said Enonia, “you should know that.”
“Wai- What is that?!” Suhuy turns and looks in horror toward the Logrus.”
Enonia stabs him through the heart and cuts him in half. At that moment, she gets a trump call. There’s a huge spike of energy from the Logrus. It’s Kored on the line.
“I know. I just killed Suhuy.”
“No. Something worse.”
Enonia is pulling through the Trump. Chaos is disintegrating everywhere.
Kored regarded Enonia now that they were face-toface. “Do you know what Mandore did?”
“Well, what I’m going to tell you isn’t going to go over well. You know Aiden and that Mandore trained him, right?”
“Vaguely. Go on.”
“And that he got Aiden to cut off the Unicorn’s horn so that he could take it.”
“And I should kill him for that, among other things.”
“I don’t think you can.”
“No, I’m sorry. He killed the Serpent. We need you and I’ve been working for him the whole time.”
“And what if I decide that I don’t need you? Mandore can’t kill me because he needs me.”
“You need me because Mandore took the place of the Serpent to go beyond this place. We need you to make a new Logrus.”
“Kored, you’re my brother…” Enonia pauses to land a full strength punch in the face. “…and because you’re my brother, I’m not going to kill you here and now.”
Kored got up as far as one knee. “Enonia i chose you because I trusted you to do the right thing the right way. No one else is powerful or wise enough.”
“If you EVER do this again; if you EVER put my children in danger ever again; this was your ONE time; if you EVER do this again, they will have to make a new word to describe what I’ll do to you. I’m holding you to it. Do you understand!?
Kored stood up and set his nose back into position letting a spout of blood roll down. “Well, I know I chose the right person.”
Enonia gets to it. She has a vision of not a Serpent but a Spider that never finishes spinning a web that turns in on itself. The spider was once Mandore. Enonia calls out to the Spider.
“Can you hear me? Can you speak?”
“Well then, what do you want me to do?”
“…you already know…spin a new web for us…”
And with that she gets to it.
[Emerson Discovers Himself and Playstation]
H.P. Lovecraft can not explain the horrors of what Emerson experiences as he is torn apart in an infinity of ways upon the onset of the shadow storm. Eventually, when the storm is fully established, what was Emerson goes about exerting his psyche into an ever-coherent unity. He rolls down the un-tethered Black Road, consuming it; consuming everything but the Abyssal construct at Avalon. He goes about this until everything is noise and fury and white.
He wakes up from an unintelligible nightmare in a dark wet room with an IV in his arm. He is in a dank stone cell. The IV is empty. He’s really tired, really hungry, and not really sure who he is and where he is. Beyond the room is a dank dark hallway. It looks familiar…similar to castle amber but not. The door is not locked. He wanders out. In a neighboring cell, he finds a man bouncing a ball in the chamber.
Emerson calls out to him, “who are you?”
The man replies, “Rodger. What do you want?”
“Why are you hear?” asks Emerson.
“I upset a queen of Amber…Paulette.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll be back.”
Emerson goes to the end of the hall in a haze and a bit of a stupor. There he finds a guard in an alcove.
“Oh hello, you look a little different than I remember, but you’re wearing clothes this time.”
“Who are you?”
“Torg is my name. What do you want?”
“Who am I? You seem to know.”
“You’re name is Emerson. Here, have a beer.” Torg reaches down to a plastic bucket packed with ice and beer in glass bottles. With his bare thumb he cracks of the bottle cap and lets it fall to the floor with a metallic ‘tink’.
“Okay” responds Emerson before he takes a swig of from the bottle. It’s cold, full flavored with a strong taste of hops and a subtle hint of orange. “Who is Rodger?”
“I have no idea, why do you ask?”
“He’s an emaciated man, bouncing a ball in a cell down the hall.”
“Oh yeah, the war. Hey Riff, I’m going to feed a prisoner, watch the door.”
“Sure. What if an Amberite comes by?”
Riff comes over, “where’d you get the beer, I thought we were out”?
“Rhys just brought some. You’d know, if you’d step away from the Playstation™ for a while, you’d know these things.”
Riff notices Emerson standing there. Some Amberites where so weird. He’d never seen anyone look so confuse from drinking a beer. “Hey Emerson, you hungry?”
“Come on then.
Riff walks them around to a room with a flat screen LED TV mounted on the wall with a couch in front of it and a Playstation™ controller on one of the cushions. The coffee table in between the two has a half dozen assorted empty beer bottles on top and a bowl of salsa with a bag of chips next to it. A full-sized fridge hums dutifully in the corner. Torg is rummaging through the fridge putting together a plate of different foods. He off-handedly hands Emerson a cold burrito. Once he finishes with the plate, he looks over to Emerson.
“Take me to this ‘Rodger’, will ya?”
Emerson nods while he chews. They walk down the hall to Rodger’s cell. Torg opens the cell and tosses him the plate and a beer.
Rodger chows down, and magically remembers how long it’s been since he’s been in here.
“W-where am I?
Torg chimes in: “Castle Amber, if you want, we have a Playstation™.”
They go back to the guardroom, both Rodger and Emerson eating on the go.
Rodger breaks the ice: “so, what are you guarding?”
“Ah, I know of that…it’s important, I guess.”
“Yeah. Old Man Oberon hired us a long time ago to guard the Pattern. Most people that get down here can mop the floor with us, but we haven’t died yet, and it’s a good gig. If you both wait around long enough, some one will be by to explain everything.”
“I don’t have the time.” says Emerson.
“Oh, you’ll have the time” smiled Torg as he hands him another beer.
[Settling in for the Storm]
Amon gets woken up abruptly to the sensation of water in the face.
“Hey wake up!”
“Who are you!? Why did you wake me up?”
“Jonas, dude. Are you broken again?”
Amon was silent for a second. It hurt a little to take a deep breath. “Probably.”
“I got good news and bad news.”
“I have no idea where we are.” I’ve been trying to get us back to Amber.”
“We are a bit, yes.”
“We you and me?”
“There’s one more of us. Listen bro, talk to her.”
“Is that the good news?”
“What good news?”
Julia is out in the middle of a calm river winding through the wilderness of somewhere. She is up to her waist in the water spear fishing. Amon stumbled up out of the leaves on his broken body.
“I see that you’re awake” remarked Julia walking to shore with the day’s catch.
Amon yawned and stretched. “Whats up?”
“Apparently you are.”
“Yup. How you been?”
“Where’s my dad?”
“You where there; when I got there, it was glass.”
“Okay, long story short, the Abyss.”
“Why is he there?”
“I want to see a smile. I’ll trade that for information.”
“Uncle Amon, why is he in the Abyss?
“He went looking for your mother…sort of…where’s my smile?”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“Okay…who don’t you like the most?”
“That’s along list: Cranmore, Swayville, Steve…”
“Steve!? Who is Steve?”
“He took my candy…when I was like eight, and I’ve carried that ever since. …Hexian, Circe…”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s psycho and Karadoc hungers for her blood.”
“Come here niece, lets fix some of that anger with a hug.”
“Fine…one of your uncles kinda kicked him into the Abyss.”
“The one on your hate list…”
“There’s more than one!?”
“I never finished the list.”
Amon tries to make a psychic contact because he doesn’t want to say it, so he trys to make a ‘knowledge head-butt’. She dodges it and then she sulks off into the woods. Little did either of them know just how long they’d have to argue about it.
[Everything According to Plan]
Octavius is battling Swayville, Enonia has just killed Suhuy, and Cranmore is all occupied. Everything as predicted. The time had come. Rhys left Torg in good order and headed straight back to Earth. He handed Nyoko and Tomo the proverbial keys and set of for level EEE. It was time to ensure that Earth would weather the storm. Once the doors where closed behind him on EEE, they’d never open again. There was no need. The time had come to scribe a unique pattern every bit the equal of Amber’s and no one could interfere now. After the storm subsides, he’ll be in position for the events to come…