I Trumped Kaedric after spending some time with Laughter and
pulled him through to me. I conjured a knife and handed to him.
"Okay, now stab me."
The look on his face was priceless, as were the sputtering excuses
he made thereafter. He wimped and called Laughter. She came out less
than appropriately dressed, turned smartly on her heel when she saw
Kaedric, and returned to her room. I had to chuckle. Kaedric and I must
sound an awful lot alike, or his call had caught her deep in thought.
When she came back out, looking slightly grouchy, she refused to
stab me as well. I sighed, then drew the blade slowly down the length of
my arm. I hissed at the fire-like pain the action inspired, but I kept my
eyes locked on the red line of blood. Before I had finished the cut, the
eldest part was already beginning to knit back together. The experiment
had worked! I thanked Kaedric and wrapped my arms around Laughter,
holding her close. I had taken the first step in insuring that I would
always be there for her.
The next morning, I received a Trump call from Merlin. He had
bittersweet news. Caitlin had given birth to twins. I tried to hide my
initial reaction and smiled my congratulations to Merlin. Somewhere out
in Shadow was the twins' ill-begotten father, may he never be found this
I chuckled when Merlin asked for advice on raising twins. I told
him I hoped he was a patient man, and told him I was sure Laughter would
be happy to offer advice to Caitlin as well. Did Merlin intend to help
her raise them, I wondered? We would owe him a great debt if he could
make Caitlin forget about Sandr.
Later that morning, I got a Trump call from Claudio, and I'll be
damned if he didn't try to get me to step through to him. I grinned, and
hedged, and then Sky apparently arrived on Claudio's side of things. With
Corwin there, I was quickly released from Claudio's contact. I had
certainly stirred up a nest of hornets there.
I guess I wasn't really surprised when I heard the scream, but I
headed towards its source, anyway. I met Claudio and Corwin instead, a
bit of blood in both their eyes. I had a feeling I was soon to hurt, but
I wasn't going to make it easy for them. I gave Laughter a quick distress
call over the ring, and Ulysses appeared before either Claudio or Corwin
could lay hands on me. The merits and necessities of beating me up were
then discussed at length. Personally, I thought it would be another good
test of the tattoo, despite the discomfort that would come with it. I
also had to point out that whether they kicked my ass or not, I had won,
in that they were now working together and not trying to kill each other.
I don't think that improved their respective moods. When Ulysses nixed a
compromise ambush, they both left in a huff. Blessed be Ulysses and all
that he stands for.
It certainly wound up to be my day for Trump calls. Moire was
next. Apparently Killian was in her throne room with a large pack of
dogs, and he wanted to walk the Pattern. I guess I could understand why
she felt saying no would be a poor tactical move. I went through to my
grandmother and asked Killian why he wanted to walk the Pattern. He swore
it had something to do with his courting. Based on his last performance
at the Pattern, I wasn't inclined to let him go alone. I asked if I could
tag along, and he consented.
When I walked down the dais towards him, I was engulfed by dogs.
They appeared to like me, however, thank Lyr. A side effect of shared
souls, no doubt.
I have walked the Pattern more in two months than I did in 200
years, a fact that I find rather annoying. We arrived in the room with
the ensorceled duplicates, which didn't exactly please me. Killian made a
beeline for the horn that hung over my duplicate's head. I asked Killian
what he wanted it for. It was to be a courting gift. I reminded him that
it made no sound for anyone be me. He said it was a collector's item, one
of a kind. My god, is he learning fast. Since the horn was spelled to
come to me at the appropriate time, I saw no harm in Killian giving it to
a Rebman, and I Trumped Moire for passage home.
Since Killian had not betrayed his word, I decided to reward him.
I took his wrist and gave him the image of Corwin and Claudio tied
together. I've never seen anyone so serious dissolve into fits of
laughter so quickly.
Kaedric Trumped later that day. I pulled him through to me, as he
wanted to talk to Sky. He was also kind enough to warn me that Claudio
was gunning for my ass. I wandered back to my quarters, as I thought it
prudent to warn Laughter of the beating that may soon be mine. I spent
the rest of the day wandering in hopes that I could get it over earlier
than later. Random couldn't offer me much advice on the situation.
That evening, Kaedric got a bachelor party for Claudio together.
I felt rather dubious about the whole affair, but how could I say no?
Kaedric had managed to round up quite a few people, and he announced that
since the party was to be held in Rebma, we should all look the part.
This was not a problem for me. Claudio was less than enthusiastic, but
when we told him that we'd dress him if he didn't dress himself, he
complied rather quickly.
The owners of the establishment made sure that there were enough
women to go around. I smiled at the nubile young creature that seated
herself in my lap. Where was she when I needed her, 200 or so years ago?
I spared myself an explanation to Laughter with a bit of pressure-point
massage, and she was soon fast asleep, leaving me to enjoy the ridiculous
antics of the others. Once Ulysses got permission from Beauty, he had
quite a queue form. Can't say as I appreciated the fact that he serviced
them right there at the table, though. That had to play hell on Claudio's
libido. It sure as hell didn't do mine any good, not that the woman on my
lap really noticed.
Claudio's resolve wore down as the evening continued, but Kaedric
had been keeping an eye out for him. When he got too close for comfort,
Kaedric took the girl away from him and got punched for his trouble. Then
the bastard turned around and punched me. There went your pay back for
the lesson I taught you, Claudio. Too bad you were too drunk to really
The evening wound down after that and I Trumped myself home. I
was toweling off when I heard the door to our room open. Laughter must
have been in Rebma as well, based on her current state of wet. I admired
the way the wet cloth clung to her as she crossed the room, and sighed
happily when I felt her fingers undoing the tie to my loincloth. This
evening wasn't going to be a waste, after all...
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