I awoke to stale air and the choking smell of dust. Something was
definitely wrong. I was no longer on the vast prairies, but in a room of
medieval design. The bed I was laying on was covered in dust, more than I
had ever seen collect, but stranger still was my hair. I no longer had a
military buzz as I had had in Germany, but a mane that could run easily
past my knees. I sat up slowly, to disturb the dust as little as
possible. I conjured a blade and hacked my hair off to a more manageable
length. It was then that I noticed the sword in the room. Quite a fine
weapon it was. I assumed that whoever had brought me here had left it for
a reason, so I felt obliged to take it with me.
The house was deserted, so I went outside. I saw a woman and
three children by some distant trees, so I headed over. Maybe she could
give me some answers. I noticed the children had green hair, and the
youngest hid behind the woman when I approached. I found the green hair
rather disturbing. The woman, though, wasn't familiar to me, and seeing
her only reminded me of Marie, and why I didn't want to see people right
now. Just as I was about to ask her my first question, one of her
children announced that the sleeping man was awake. The sleeping man? I
directed my question at the woman, whom I assumed was the child's mother.
Her face fell and she began to babble, something about how I had been
asleep for the last four years and must have amnesia. My stomach turned
as my eyes again noted the green of her children's hair. Mine? I prayed
she was just crazy, like she sounded.
The more she talked, the more I knew my prayers were not to be
answered. I agreed when she suggested we return immediately to Amber.
I took the boy, Alaric, with me, and sat him in front of me for
the ride. He looked to be about five, as did one of his sisters,
Beatrice. Twins, I guessed. The youngest, Chance, was the one that had
hid behind Laughter. Alaric, Beatrice, Chance and Laughter. I searched
desperately for them in my mind on the way to Amber, to no avail.
Occupied as I was, I didn't really notice how long it took us to
get to Amber. I set Alaric gently down when we arrived, and Laughter
immediately wanted to know where somebody named Ulysses was, and went off
to look for him. I followed after her a while later. I'd been away from
Amber so long that I couldn't tell whether or not anything had really
When I caught up to her, she was talking to a blond Adonis, who I
assumed must be Ulysses. He was painfully German, but I tried to ignore
it. For all I knew, we might be friends, and it wouldn't do to offend
him. He didn't look very healthy, but not wasted, so he must not have
been sick for very long. He backed up Laughter's story while Laughter
went to get breakfast. Apparently you had to feed the man before he would
make himself useful. I still had no memories to match what he was saying,
and worst for Laughter, no emotions.
When Laughter returned, Ulysses suggested that she find the two
missing shards. Laughter left, and since I found Ulysses more than a
little irritating, I wandered the castle, which probably wasn't the best
of ideas, given my memories current lack of being. But I had a lot to
think about, and I always think better when I'm moving.
I ran into three men and a boy, who obviously seemed to know me.
Great. I played along as best I could, which was not very good at all.
Somehow I didn't think leaving the child with these people was the best of
ideas, so I spirited him away. Apparently I had agreed to watch him
before my little accident, which was now four years ago for me. I had to
hand it to Laughter's devotion. I took the boy, Ian, to see Random.
We left Ian in the outer room with a book, and went to the inner
room to talk. I told Random of Ulysses' idea about finding the shards
that were missing. Apparently Dworkin had made them, and would be the
best one to talk to about their absence. Only Benedict and I knew where
Dworkin was, however, and Benedict had gone missing that morning, looking
for Fiona. Fucking great. Random summoned Ulysses, and it was suggested
that he could shuffle through my mind and try to recover my memory. While
this idea hardly thrilled me, under the circumstances I didn't feel like I
had the right to say no. Ulysses began this process, but soon I saw the
Pattern laid out in perfect detail in my mind. I had certainly never been
able to remember it with this kind of clarity before, having walked it
nearly a century before. Not only did I remember it in great detail, but
Ulysses soon was forcing me to walk it, and damned if it didn't almost
feel like I was walking the real thing.
My memories drifted back to me slowly as I walked, with one
painful exception. By the time I reached the center of the Pattern, I
still hadn't remembered Laughter or the children, at all. Why? I pulled
myself out of the trance and funneled the energy into calling the Jewel to
Remembering that Mok had mentioned something about looking for
Fiona, I used the Pattern to touch my mind to his. I told him not to
bother, as Benedict was looking into that, and hadn't been heard from. I
did have something for he and Killian to help me with, though, and told
him where I was.
About that time, we noticed that Ian was missing. I ran out of
Random's office and snagged a page. He said he had seen Ian heading for
the Pattern room. Shit! I concentrated, once again walking the Pattern
in my mind, and took myself to the Pattern room. It was far too late to
stop him. I tried to contact his parents, but for some reason they
wouldn't answer, so I tried his sister, Alora, instead. I relayed to her
what her brother was doing and asked her how she would like it handled.
She wanted Ian to come home, and when Ian reached the center, I shouted
this information to him. The little bastard had actually timed his walk
with the Pattern's current fluctuations, and had made it to the center
Once he left, I prepared to teleport back upstairs. I wanted to
speak to Random about returning to Atlantis.
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