I've explored most of the facets of Benedict's life available to
me, and I've come to the decision that anything more to be learned will
only come from him. I visited Avalon again, and having talked with his
generals, I can get no more than the usual things from them -- that he is
a private man, not very demonstrative, but a warrior of unmatched skill
and a tactician as well. Oh well. Maybe that's all I need to know, for
it seems when Benedict does reveal something new to me, trouble occurs.
Although it warms my heart to see I can have a positive influence on him,
now and again. To see him smile is rare; I'm glad I can witness it now
Running into Merlin again, I find that he too is worried about the
influence of my grandmother upon this tournament. Apparently, every seven
years Cymnea offers a sacrifice to the demons of her Underworld. Merlin
theorizes that she'll pick whoever wins the tournament with the most
promise. That looks to be Corliss, as we speak. Merlin said he was
thinking of throwing his next match. While I do not look favorable on
such a dishonorable action, I must admit that I was relieved that Merlin
would come to no harm. He would eventually lose his match, but with his
honor intact, and thus my duties in this tournament were over.
We left together to warn Claudio of Cymnea's interests, as the
Moor was looking forward to winning the Joust. I was surprised to find
him hung over from the previous night. I asked him about Sky, and I found
that to be his source of woe. We left him to his thoughts. Merlin
thought maybe that being hung over would be the best thing for Claudio. I
wondered about that as well, as I bid Merlin good day.
Despite the obvious differences, Chaos is very much like Amber, in
some ways. The streets and bazaars hold shops and eateries. I watched a
dog fight for a moment, when I was surprised by a voice behind me. It was
Melanie. We discussed my previous match with Orrin, which brought a smile
to my lips. Shocked after that I was, when Melanie asked me to be in her
wedding ceremony. She and Kaedric were finally going to wed. I accepted
the position with honor, even if the position was little more than to walk
behind her down the aisle.
We left to look at clothing, including corsets and strange devices
that covered just as little as the getup Orrin made me wear. I was
relieved when Melanie and Laughter got Kaedric to get us armor for our
positions. Some of these costumes are completely outrageous. After being
fitted for armor in Ivory (some strange Shadow with salesmen who let their
hands wander a bit too much), Melanie and Laughter invited me to dinner.
The food was excellent, but the atmosphere was...not what I was
expecting. Such a wanton display of public nudity and erotica was making
me..."uncomfortable." I excused myself, went back to my quarters in
Chaos, and hurled the last of my crockery at the wall. I was surprised
again by Merlin showing up. He wondered why I was always throwing plates
and such at the wall. I made up some excuse and asked him what the
occasion of his arrival was. He invited me to a party then, and I
The party was okay. Merlin talked with a group of Chaosites he
knew, and there was some talk about a higher position or something for
him. I went to have a drink, and looked across the bar to see Claudio.
He was drinking and talking with Orrin.
I walked over to him and asked for a moment of his time. Claudio
came over to where I was standing, and I grabbed his chest and slammed him
up against a wall. What the fuck was he doing talking with that man, he
who had shamed me so, and had brought about the downfall of Amber? He
glowered and said that Dworkin had told him to befriend Orrin. I really
didn't care, and I told him so. He won't be my friend, and I'll be damned
if I go off into Shadow with him. I left in a huff.
On my way back to my room, the ground opened up beneath me. I
fell into a small room, closed off from the outside, dark as pitch. I
magicked up some sparks to ignite some straw on the floor, and Trumped
Benedict. He pulled me through, when I noticed that he was not in
Benedict's form twisted and curled into a female, with brown hair.
I hit her with a burst of pain, kicked her over and put Trueblade to her
neck. I gave her ten seconds to explain. She said she was my
grandmother. I pained her again, and backed off a bit, asking her to
explain. She was Benedict's mother. Cymnea. She knew, and I knew I had
to kill her. I sensed the Logrus, and brought the Pattern to mind.
I offered her a chance at a fair fight, but she wouldn't agree to
terms, and she shifted into a large demon creature. I retreated and ran
towards the Abyss, shapeshifting wings, and I floated out over it. I felt
terrific pain in my back as Jen tore into my flesh. This gave me the
chance to carve behind me with Trueblade and Nevermiss, and the cloud of
sparks signified that they had found their mark. Jen tumbled into the
Abyss, and I followed, beheading her, making sure she was dead. Noting
what Merlin and Benedict had told me, I carried the head back up to Chaos.
Waiting for me there was Orrin.
I demanded to know why he was there. He claimed to know about
Cymnea being after me, and how Jen was not Cymnea, and such. I let him
speak. He told me that Cymnea's death without an heiress caused the
events leading to the destruction of the universe. He could help me...
I didn't want to do anything with Orrin. But I somehow knew that
what he said had validity. I don't want Amber to be destroyed. And if
that means taking the position of Priestess of the Serpent, then I guess
I'll have to do that. I agreed to Orrin's request to team up, only on the
condition that I could get someone to help me. I chose Merlin, as he
seemed likely to be able to deal with Orrin if he betrayed me.
May the Unicorn be with us.
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