The dinner was a tense, lengthy ordeal.  Orrin ate every bite with
practiced ease, smiling all throughout.  The hatred that wells within me
is an indescribable miasma of resentment and disgust.  Suppressing this as
best as I was able, I decided to get as much out of him as I could.  The
jewel, its silvery glaze catching the light, was a Shadow of Archimedes'
Jewel, from Tir.  It was *not* connected with Orrin's mastery of the
undead, however.  Wanting more information on Graham, I asked about the
man who killed him, and discovered that it was Tristan, my cousin from
Avalon.  So Orrin was taking out Shadows of note, one by one.  Archimedes
must be warned of this, and soon.  Noting the resemblance between myself
and Orrin, as well as the man I slew upon the Primal Pattern, I asked if
he knew what was going on that day.

	"It was an efficient way of winnowing out my brothers," remarked
Orrin.  Seems the entire family of Osric made an assault on all five
Patterns that day.  I had killed his brother Faine.  He said something to
the effect that he'd look past that and still make me his wife, which
generated a startled response from Kaedric, and brought hot blood to my
cheeks.  Not until my last breath is drawn, cousin.

	We returned to the room, my prison, where I was returned to the
bed and the shackles.  Orrin poured over his maps, while I laid upon the
bed.  "I'd suggest you sleep, lest you want me to...entertain you."  I
turned over and watched him for a while, then fell into an uneasy slumber.


	The whisper awoke me, but I was able to control my reactions.  I
lay perfectly still, regulating my breathing.

	"I understand.  I'll do what I can..."

	I felt a light behind my eyelids.  Merlin?

	I opened my eyes, and saw the sigil of the Logrus in action, just
before Orrin hurtled over me from the opposite side of the bed.  He
grabbed the puff of light, tumbled about, and disappeared.  I'm sorry,
Merlin, to have brought you into this.  Another death stains dark blood
upon my hands.

	Not long after, Jubal returned with a tray of food.  "Where's

	"He left, and he told me to tell you that you could let me go."

	He didn't buy it.  Nor would he release me, though I doubt he
could if he wanted to.  Magic chains, you see.  But he did bring Aelle and
Kaedric in to keep me company.  And thus our escape attempt began. 
Kaedric observed the chains for what seemed an eternity before getting a
small grin.  He began working on the chain with sorcery.

	It began to heat up, rather painfully for a while.  Aelle and I
started pulling on the chain as hard we could, until a bright spark was
unleashed, and Kaedric was hurled back into the wall.  Aelle checked for a

	"On to plan B, I guess."  I cradled my head in my hands.  I had no
more tears.  Orrin returned, bemused by the scene.  Apparently Kaedric had
not diffused all the wards on the chain.  "Well, I have an invasion to
oversee.  Enjoy your final hours together."  He left us, chuckling.

	She is my mother, but there are things about us that are so
disparate from the other...  Aelle was able to manipulate my body to get
my out of the collar.  How this happened, I have no clue, as I had eaten
some of the drugged food.  Aelle remarked that my brain might still be in
my stomach.  I am surprised at nothing anymore.

	The castle was empty, and we made our way out into Helene.  The
cauldrons that has created the undead had been destroyed, and I grabbed a
piece of it, thinking it might be needed for analysis.  We hid in the
forest, but no one was about, and the Shadow was blocked to Pattern and

	It all makes sense now!  The ability to manipulate one's body... 
I understand the principles behind shapeshifting.  And it was through this
that Aelle and I were able to shapeshift through Shadow.  Aelle gave me
the information through psychic contact.  The things I will be able to

	Moving through Shadow, we found Melanie and Claudio.  This I had
been dreading.  I told Melanie what had come of Kaedric, and another part
of me died.  Benedict, you were right, my father.  Your blood is cursed,
and everything we love or cherish will be destroyed.  I'm sorry.

	I'm back at Amber, having gotten my swords through the help of
Ulysses, my dignity through my clothes, and a feeling a purpose after
having talked with Archimedes.  I gave him everything I knew about Orrin
and the invasion plans; I actually felt useful for once, and he rewarded
me with my own unit of troops to command.  Not that I'll ever replace my
father, by any means.

	Benedict, I don't know what to say.  I hope...before you died,
that all your love for me wasn't gone.  We've each done horrible things to
each other, things no father and daughter should ever do, things that
never should have been done at all.  I will remember you as before this
all happened, as Defender of Amber, as mentor, as friend.

	Rest well, father.  The armies approach.

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