Sylvester spent some time visiting his niece before he departed,
and Alora seemed to enjoy seeing him as much as ever.  After he left, I
tried to learn more about her talk with Swayvill.  She thought him nice,
in the way that children do, and mentioned that he seemed impressed with
her drawing skills.  I found that rather telling, to say the least.  Why
should he have asked to see her artwork?  Checking for her skill with
Trump, perhaps?  I suppose he could have simply been making conversation,
but I found this rather unlikely.  Still, it was not unexpected, nor was
the fact that he intended to see her again.  I resigned myself to the fact
that I could not keep her isolated from the world any longer.  It was a
harder thing to face than I had thought it would be.  Still, it could not
be helped.  Given this change, I suggested that perhaps it was time to
relocate to Kaedricways, and, once she assured herself that her animal
friends could come with us, Alora agreed.  "I have things to learn in
Chaos," she said.  I do not think I have ever felt more proud of her than
I did at that moment.  Nor as aware of how much she needs to meet some
children her own age.  Kaedric and I had done our best to keep her happy,
and she had the horses and dogs that she loved so much, but there was no
one else for her in Chantille Vale.  I do not think she felt lonely, the
way I did when I was her age, but...  Perhaps it was time for her to meet
her cousin, Graham.  They were of an age, after all.

	I put the idea of moving to Kaedric, and he posed no objections. 
I rather got the feeling that he had simply been waiting for me to decide
that it was time.  The move would take place in a few days, after the
appropriate preparations had been made.  Not that Kaedricways was not
adequately protected, but there were certain items that had to be dealt
with.  Like Ran's deck, for example.  Kaedric was a bit amused by my
efforts to prevent Alora from coming near it.  I had to admit, it did
neatly parallel what he had done a decade ago, to protect me from it.  The
thought bothered me considerably less now that so much time had passed. 
Another change wrought by my time in Chantille Vale.  I was finding more
of them than I had suspected.

	Scarcely a day passed in Chaos before I was summoned to another
meeting with Swayvill.  Events had brought the selection of an ambassador
to Amber to the fore, and he wanted my opinion on the matter.  Swayvill
had two candidates in mind: Mandor dur Sawall and Niccolo dur Vertix.  I
was to suggest a third, if I had one.  I suggested that this would depend
on the purpose of the ambassador.  Swayvill conceded that the person
would, doubtless, engage in some information gathering, upon hearing which
I pointed out that Chaos was possessed of a house full of those who prided
themselves in such abilities.  Unfortunately, non of my three finalists
for the Corwin position were on the Council, and no one less than a
Council member would do.  Sylvester would be disappointed.  We spent some
time discussing the relative merits of Swayvill's two choices.  Mandor was
by far the more diplomatically skilled of the two.  Niccolo could,
however, be trusted more.  Unfortunately, Niccolo was given to fits of
madness, having never fully recovered from his experience with the Logrus,
although, near the Pattern, there would be a limit to how much damage he
could do.  Chaos would certainly gain from either one of them being
absent.  In the end, it would be a matter of deciding whose absence would
be most beneficial.  Swayvill decreed that we would convene the following
afternoon to interview them.  I returned to Chantille Vale to oversee the
moving preparations.

	The afternoon was interrupted by a Trump call from Benedict.  I
composed myself such that the surprise no longer showed before answering. 
His request was as unexpected as his call.  He wished me to transport
himself and Archimedes to Bleys.  My aide was necessary since Bleys was in
Corwin's universe.  I agreed to do this, since it required little effort
from me, and it is always good to have Benedict owe you a favor, but I was
puzzled as to why they chose to ask for my help.  Ulysses was certainly
capable of doing the task, and would not refuse such a request from
Archimedes.  I Trumped Benedict and Archimedes to Bleys, and then decided
to see if I could find Ulysses.  I was unsurprised when I could not.  He
could simply have been someplace barred to Trump, of course, but as a
living Trump he was no more fond of such places than I.  Something strange
was going on, something very strange indeed.  I decided to mention this to

	It was a day for unexpected Trump calls.  Scarcely two hours had
passed when I received a Trump call from Sky.  The news she bore was even
more unexpected.  She and Claudio were to be married.  Corwin did not take
this news especially well, it seems, and decided to send them from his
universe by way of his son, the man I had met on my previous visit,
walking his Pattern while carrying them.  I observed that this sounded
rather fatal.  Sky concurred, and asked to come through.  I sent her on to
Amber, then went in search of my husband, figuring that he would wish to
know of Claudio's situation.  I found him in the sitting room, reading a
treatise to Alora, and drew him aside to tell him of Sky's news.  He
borrowed some of my energy and departed post haste.  A few seconds later,
he appeared in Kaedricways, along with Killian and Claudio.  Killian
immediately began bludgeoning Kaedric's force wall with Claudio.  While
this was ironic in one aspect, I decided I did not approve of such battles
taking place in my home, and attempted to make an end of it, at least
until Kaedric asked me to desist, expressing concern about having to watch
out for my welfare.  As if I had anything to fear from someone as blind to
magic and Trump as Killian.  I decided it was a discussion for later, and
switched tactics, opting to wake Claudio, instead.  The second time I did
so, he managed to stay conscious long enough to put Killian to sleep,
which is what I had been planning to do originally.  Why Kaedric had not
done so is beyond me.  I suppose he thought he could reason with the man. 
Reasoning is done far more easily once an enemy has been subdued, I think.

	Claudio chose to rejoin Graham soon thereafter, while Kaedric
occupied himself with a bit of reprogramming.  Killian was much more
cooperative after this, and agreed to allow himself to be Trumped to
Amber, thus ridding ourselves of the problems he posed.  I found it rather
amusing how Swayvill and Kaedric had such a similar mindset as regards to
problem children.  With the barbarian now Amber's problem to deal with,
Kaedric and I returned to Chantille Vale and discussed the ambassador
position for Corwin's realm.  He was of the opinion that Balmora would be
the better information gatherer, while Dermot would be the one more likely
to pass it along.  He suggested that Sylvester could perhaps suggest
someone not on the list who would satisfy both categories.  I agreed, but
first I would need something to offer Sylvester in exchange.  As for the
Amber ambassadorship, Kaedric recommended informing Swayvill of Mandor's
connection to Laughter.  I was rather loathe to give up such a juicy bit
of information, but I could see the wisdom in this.  Swayvill would hold
onto such a valuable tidbit, so it would not lose much of its value, and I
would gain by having discovered it for him.

	Kaedric and I passed the remainder of the evening investigating a
few comments that he had made earlier.  Claudio Trumped Kaedric the
following morning.  Very early in the morning, actually, and I made a
mental note to route Trump to the answering machine again.  The
conversation seemed to have something to do with a "sweat lodge," which
appeared to mean as little to Kaedric as it did to me.  I would have asked
him about it, but Kaedric went back to sleep almost as soon as the contact
ended.  He really is not a morning person, much as he tries to hide it,
and we had gone to sleep rather late the night before...  I resolved to
ask Laughter about the subject.  It sounded crazy enough to be something
she would know about.

	Laughter revealed that the sweat lodge is some sort of ritual,
where men sit together naked in a very hot building and bond, somehow. 
Why this was necessary for Claudio to marry Sky, I did not know.  Laughter
did not think Kaedric would be invited, since he was Claudio's relative
and not Sky's, although they are cousins, of a sort.  I decided it was not
worth worrying about any further, one way or the other.  Although, I had
to wonder how Claudio would handle it.  It did not strike me as being the
sort of thing he would be comfortable doing.  But then, there were many
things which fell under that category.  I decided it was long past time to
have him over for dinner.

	The rest of the morning was spent investigating the two
candidates.  Nothing unusual was found about either of them, but I had not
really expected to.  Afternoon brought my next meeting with Swayvill, who
found my information on Mandor quite interesting indeed.  He agreed that
this pretty much decided things in Niccolo's favor, but we would go
through with the interviews, anyway.  You never can tell what you might
turn up, after all.

	We began with Niccolo, who had a rather unusual humanoid form.  It
was very tall, around seven feet or so, with no hair, pale skin, pointed
ears, and red eyes.  My first thought was to picture how Laughter would
react to him.  My second thought was that he was going to have to use a
different form while in Amber.  Niccolo was hard to read, as one might
expect of a Vertix, but not impossible, and displayed no traces of his
alleged madness.  Swayvill posed several questions for the man, and I
asked a few as well.  He said or did nothing that would disqualify him
from the position, and we dismissed him.  The interview with Mandor was
much shorter, with Swayvill making it clear that Mandor had too many
attachments to Amber as it was, without going into detail as to what those
attachments were, of course.  I do not imagine Mandor was especially
pleased by this, but he was, of course, unreadable.  I once again had to
wonder how such as he and Fiona managed to produce offspring like
Laughter.  I am sure Swayvill was wondering the same.  Swayvill and I
spoke only briefly after Mandor's departure, and then I returned to
Chantille Vale, to inform Amber of our new ambassador.

	I met with Niccolo later that afternoon, to go over the details of
his new assignment.  It turns out that my fears about his form were
unfounded, since he already had another form in mind for while he was in
Amber.  It bore a remarkable resemblance to Random, something that was not
lost on him.  Even if Random himself does not believe there is a
connection, others will wonder, all the same.  Most ingenious.  We passed
an hour or so, bringing him up to date on Amber and the Amberites there,
discussing his staff, and making arrangements to ward his quarters in
Amber, once they were assigned.  I gave him a Trump of myself to use in
making reports, as well as one of Amber's main hall, then left him to his
preparations, while I returned to mine.  I had a move to oversee after
all.  I wonder how differently things might have gone had I chosen to
remain in Chantille Vale?

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