As I stood at the center of the Pattern, gasping for breath, I
paused to consider how it was that I arrived there.
The meeting concerning locating a new book to replace the one
Finndo had stolen was interesting indeed, although it raised more
questions than it answered. Like, who was this Melchior, and where did
Bleys dig him up? No one was overly familiar with Atlantis, but Melchior
knew how to get there, and where to go once we were. He said there was a
great library there, and that is where we would find the book.
I asked for volunteers, then. Benedict quickly volunteered, bless
his heart, and strongly suggested that we take along a sorcerer as well.
Bleys pointedly looked at the far wall. He must have felt his eyes on us,
though, because he eventually volunteered my wife. Right. I'd allow that
about as fast as Bleys would let me pluck him bald.
I leaned back in my chair and grinned. "Since Benedict is coming
along, I can trust you to behave yourself, so you're coming too." One of
the few perks of being in line for the throne was being able to order
Bleys around. Bleys then suggested that we leave in twenty minutes.
Benedict, picking up the spirit of things, said we would leave in fifteen.
And leave in fifteen minutes we did. Melchior had given Bleys a
Trump. I took the opportunity to ask Bleys about Melchior then. I mean,
who was he that he knew all of this and was willing to help? And I wasn't
completely driven by paranoia, I was more curious than anything else.
Bleys said he was someone who had the best interests of Amber and Chaos in
mind. And then he clammed up, saying he couldn't say any more because he
didn't think he was at liberty. Apparently Melchior's father didn't know
about Melchior. Interesting. He volunteered that information without me
We stepped through the Trump and found ourselves on stairs leading
into the water. I guess this place wasn't just coincidentally named
Atlantis. Bleys assured me that its magics were the same as those in
Rebma, so he and Benedict had nothing to worry about.
The stairs proved to be a whole lot shorter than those in Rebma,
and we soon found ourselves at the end of them, and were staring at a
kiosk of all things. Since it conveniently had a "U are here" map on it,
I quickly deduced where the library was and indicated in which direction
we were to go. I'm sure Benedict and Bleys were utterly stunned by my
powers of deductive reasoning. I know I was. On the way there, I asked
Bleys if he had any brilliant plans for getting the book. "I'm going to
apply for a library card." Brilliant, just brilliant.
We arrived at the library. Melchior wasn't kidding, the library
was huge, but was also labeled with easy-to-read directional signs. We
made our way to the information desk. "I'm looking for a book," Bleys
actually said. The librarian refrained from doing something despicable to
him and merely replied with, "Well, sir, you've certainly come to the
right place." And then gave him a rather stunning plastic smile. I let
my eyes wander over the periodicals, so Bleys wouldn't see mine. When
Bleys told him which book we were looking for, the Book of the
Strangeways, we were told it was in the rare books room. We could look at
it, but it was not allowed to leave the library, nor would we be left
alone with it.
On the way there, I asked if Bleys had a photographic memory. He
assured me he had. We arrived at the rare books room and the librarian
began to unlock the large, iron- bound door. These people took their rare
books seriously, I guess. As the lock clicked, the Jewel around my neck
pulsed once. "How odd," I thought, and then, "I wonder if I should do
anything about that," but the librarian was opening the door. Then the
whole room exploded, and, needless to say, everything went black for a
I woke up to a large pain, which I eventually was able to
determine originated in my head. At least, when I tried to actually think
about it, the pain got a lot worse, so I assumed it originated in my head.
The room was pitch black, which was okay. I also heard someone breathing
about five feet away from me, which wasn't okay. I rolled over and
reached out that way, thinking it might be Benedict or Bleys. I hit the
floor hard for my trouble, and it dawned on me, a bit late, that the bed I
had been laying in was much softer than the floor I currently found myself
sprawled on. I believe I said something that started with an F and ended
with a K. I said it like I meant it, too. What had happened to the
I tried to clear my head enough to conjure a lighter. It worked.
My head wasn't happy about it, but it worked. I was in a bedroom. There
was a guy in green sitting on a chair about five feet away and staring at
me. That was fucking creepy. I wanted to ask who the hell he was, and
what the hell was going on, but I toned it down a bit. He informed me
that he was my devoted servant. That didn't help my general feelings of
unease. He informed me that I was the keystone. Right, whatever. I
tried to call the Pattern to mind, and then realized why it was that I
hurt so badly. My Pattern was gone. I Trumped Benedict, but he cleanly
blocked me. Bleys answered his, but already knew that he had lost his
Pattern, but thanked me anyway for informing him. About then I realized
the Jewel was gone. I told Bleys of this. He wanted to know where we
were, so I asked my servant. I also asked him for some light. Somehow,
we were still in Atlantis. He also told me that there had been a terrible
accident, an explosion at the library. Well, I could certainly vouch for
that. I kept feeding Bleys the information the guy was feeding me. He
went on, saying that rescue crews had arrived swiftly and had recognized
me for what I was. I asked how they had recognized me.
"You had no clothes."
I blinked. "I beg your pardon?" He clarified that by saying they
had recognized the scars on my chest. Must have been one hell of an
explosion. I asked the guy about the Jewel, but he swore he hadn't seen
it. He then asked me if I was hungry, and I was, so he scurried off. I
let Bleys go, then poked my head out into the hall to look after the guy.
Hmph, just more doors. I opened the curtains. Ah-hah, that explained a
lot. I was looking over the lake that Atlantis was under. There were
several other towers poking up above the water line, so at least I knew
what happened to the water.
I Trumped Laughter, then. If she had gotten anything through the
ring, she'd probably be real worried right about now. At least I was
pretty sure I hadn't died this time. Pretty sure, anyway. Her Trump
"What happened?" she said, as soon as I had contact.
"Well, there was this horrible accident..." She didn't think that
was funny, so I quickly told her what happened. She said that Random,
Fiona and Ulysses had not returned yet. I let her go, assuring her that I
would be home soon.
The guy brought the food, and I ate my fill. I tried to get more
information out of the guy, but he mostly spewed religious brouhaha. He
said I was there to help them. I told him the Book of the Strangeways
would help me help him. Then I tried to look sincere. He ended by saying
the Spirit in the Wall wanted to talk to me when I had rested. I noticed
then that my shard ring was gone. Crap.
Well, the spirit in the wall ended up to be Dworkin. I told
Benedict that it was okay to ruin the surprise. Apparently Benedict had
talked to the old fart earlier. He wasn't overly chatty when I first
arrived, so I laid my hand on the wall, in case he wanted to make this
private. He informed me that he wanted a steak. I asked him why.
Because he hadn't eaten anything in the past three weeks. Apparently, the
unlucky bastard had gotten stuck in the wall when he reversed time. I
tried not to smile, and I thought we'd just have to get it right this
time, since Dworkin didn't look to be able to pull that stunt again. He
had also started the cult in Atlantis for no reason that I could
determine, other than boredom. I told him the Jewel was gone, and that
made him nervous. He informed me that I had been set up, and that I had
to get the Jewel back. Really, I hadn't thought of that. Helpful
bastard, that Dworkin. He told me to come back when I wanted an
explanation. I conjured a two inch thick filet mignon and left it next to
the wall. His frustrated cry as I left made my heart happy.
We got the book and headed back to Amber, then. Since nobody ran
for my attention when we arrived, I made my way to the Pattern room. I
mulled over a few things on the long way down. The only thing I really
came up with was that Finndo had all the answers, and I didn't. When I
arrived in the Pattern room, I noticed that Killian was sitting in the
center. Interesting. I took a moment or two to collect myself, then
stepped onto the Pattern. Something was terribly wrong. I barely made it
through the First Veil, and my chest started hurting like a bitch. I
could hardly breathe, and was already gasping. Granted, I don't walk the
Pattern much, but this felt wrong. I took a deep breath before I hit the
Second Veil, and was very glad I did. It dawned on me then that I was not
going to make it. I remember thinking that, boy, Laughter was going to be
really mad at me, since I didn't think even I would get over being frapped
on the Pattern, soul or no soul. I hoped I wouldn't see the Unicorn this
time. Then I felt arms on my back. It was Killian. That gave me a good
idea of how slow I was going. He must have teleported to the beginning
some time after I had started, and had actually caught up with me. I told
him to keep me moving, no matter what.
I won't bore you with details, other than it sucked and,
obviously, I survived the ordeal, or I wouldn't be writing this now.
Unfortunately, as I stood there gasping, all I had for my trouble were a
lot more questions, and absolutely no answers.
the Diary list