I had thought that Amber was bizarre beyond comprehension, beyond
equal. There could be no place harder to understand than here. I was
wrong, it seems, as Amber has now become even more odd. The great powers
have stopped working, and all of the elders have disappeared, or been
taken. Even the great Prince Benedict, warrior supreme and Protector of
Amber, has gone missing. And no one knows why.
So I prepare, again, for a journey through Shadow, which is also
made stranger by whatever affects the powers. Archimedes, Mok, and I will
move through Shadow, seeking Dworkin. Dworkin, it is said, will know why
Trump and Pattern have gone weird, and know how to fix it. Dworkin the
crazy, prone to uncontrollable shape- changing, locked up for his own
safety. We three, not even together a match for some of the Elders.
Does this, then, mark us all as crazy as Dworkin? Do we, by the
mere undertaking of this quest, proclaim ourselves lost to reason? Or are
we working to ensure the survival of the universe, as was done by Corwin
and his siblings, long ago, in the Patternfall? Bah. Delusions of
grandeur, that. We are as crazy as loons, thinking that we may accomplish
something where the Elders have failed. Surely this will lead only to
death, or some grimmer fate at the hands of those powerful enough to take
down the elite of Amber. A fool's quest, undertaken by idiots, devised by
If only I could reach Cordelia. Then I would have no reason to
try a stunt of such incredible idiocy. But she is why I do this at all.
She is cut off from me now, walled away by the weirdness of Shadow, and
the flux of the Pattern, and the flames that are Trump. So, I must
undertake this journey, to find the source of the failing of the powers,
and destroy it. Then will I see my Rebman maid again. If only she were
here now, to deter me from this course.
Truly, though, I do not think I could resist, even were she here.
Think of it! Hunting down the Bane of the Elders through unstable Shadow!
My heartbeat rises, my eyes widen, at the mere thought. Stalking that
which must be powerful beyond knowledge, hunting that which could as
easily be hunting you! This I have not felt since my early years in the
Wilde, hunting the demons from the deep forest. It will be good to be out
again, stalking death, while death stalks us.
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