Apparently, discussing having another child made Kaedric rather
amorous, and we decided to be late to breakfast.  It was rather humorous
to watch Kaedric trying to undo my laces, and getting them all tangled up
instead.  It would have been much easier if he had decided that he could
not possibly go to breakfast without having me *before* we had gone
through the trouble of getting dressed.  Not that I was complaining.  As
we prepared, once again, to go down to breakfast, I found myself thinking
back to the incident with the laces with no small amount of amusement, and
wondering what all of those warm places he kept mentioning were like. 
Fiji?  Kaedric kept glancing at me all through the meal, apparently
disquieted by this.  We broke the news of our move into Shadow to Alora
while we were eating, and she seemed to accept this.  I knew the questions
would come later.  She wished to come along view the Shadows we would be
spending the latter part of the trip in, so Kaedric left to prepare.  I
could not resist asking, "Will we be going someplace warm?"  Kaedric
grimaced and left quickly.

	I decided to spend the morning with Alora, it being a far more
preferable way to pass the time than dealing with the paperwork on my
desk.  As I expected, she soon had many questions about our upcoming move. 
Where would we be going, how long would we be there, did I have any
suggestions?  She seemed relieved that we would not be returning to
Chantille Vale, although she admitted that she had not been aware of how
isolated it was until we came to Chaos.  I felt a bit better for hearing
that.  At least she had not felt lonely.  She shared my opinion of Ixaxis,
though, feeling that it was a rather boring place.  At least her schooling
would leave her with little time to be bored.  Myself, on the other
hand...  Then I remembered I would have something to keep me busy at least
part of the time, and I smiled.  This lasted until Alora mentioned Graham,
and how he would still be the same age when she returned.  I felt a twinge
of sympathy for her at that.  She would be losing her first real playmate. 
On the other hand, she and Graham formed a dangerous catalyst together,
and I privately felt that they would be best separated for a while.  With
any luck, she would make new friends when we reached Ixaxis, and forget
Graham entirely.

	I felt the sudden presence of a Trump call then, and identified
the caller as Claudio.  This was certainly unusual.  I excused myself from
Alora and retired to my sitting room.  Whatever Claudio wished to discuss,
I doubted it was fit to air in front of a ten-year-old.  I took the call,
with a bit of a questioning look on my face.  Claudio looked worried. 
This what not what I was expecting.  He asked to come through, and when I
complied, he immediately asked where we were.  He relaxed slightly when I
said we were in Kaedricways.  I began to wonder who was after him.  I
should have expected the answer:  Finndo.  Not actively, at the moment,
but Claudio had been a part of the group who aided Caitlin in overthrowing
Cymnea, and if Claudio continued to stay in Chaos, it was only a matter of
time before Finndo decided to enact some sort of revenge.  I now
understood why he was looking so nervous.  I remained curious as to why he
had Trumped me, however.  He did not leave me guessing for long.  He
apologized to me for bringing Alora to Random, citing his ignorance of the
seriousness of the situation.  I tried hard to keep the surprise from my
face as I listened to him.  When I had told Kaedric that I wished an
apology from Claudio, I had never actually expected that he would do so. 
What could have prompted this?  Did it have anything to do with his
confrontation with Corwin, or the manner in which he awoke from it?  I did
not ask, for fear it would shatter the tentative rapport we had
established.  I told him that Kaedric, Alora and I would be passing
several years in Shadow, and we chatted amiably for a bit about his child
and mine.  Then he departed, having a few things to wrap up in Chaos
before returning to Amber for his wedding.

	Kaedric returned in time for lunch, and afterward he took us to
see the Shadows he wished to offer for our consideration.  One was quite
lovely, with a culture perhaps 70 years beyond that of Mayfair.  I liked
this place immediately.  The other...the other was...different.  It was
loud, and the people wore very little in the way of clothing.  The women's
skirts did not even make it down to the knee.  I felt dreadfully out of
place.  Alora, of course, loved it immediately.  Kaedric looked at me with
a grin.
	"I thought we would start with Ixaxis, then spend a year or so in
Mayfair, for polishing, then here for Alora's final education."
	I saw Alora's eyes widen, and turned my head to follow her gaze. 
A naked man ran past.  I frowned and looked back at Kaedric.
	"And just what sort of education do you think Alora will get
here?" I asked, my displeasure evident in my voice.
	"I like it here, Mom," chimed in Alora.  I began to wish I had
tried to talk her out of coming.
	"Well?" Kaedric asked, the smile on his face only growing wider as
he watched me.
	I evaded.  "It is not as though we have to make a decision right
away...  We have six years to think about it."  Six years to find another
Shadow, was more like it.  If I was lucky, Alora would have completely
forgotten about this place by then.  I could only hope.

	It was a day for unexpected Trump contacts.  The next one I
received was from Laughter.
	"In light of the new openness between our two realms, would you
like to come through and help me plan Sky's bachelorette party?  We had
such a good time with yours, and now I have to top it."
	I briefly wondered why on earth she thought I would be of any
assistance.  Then it occurred to me that if I did not go through, I had
nothing to look forward to but a lonely evening of packing, since Kaedric
would doubtless be organizing Claudio's bachelor party.  I held out my
hand and was brought through to Amber, where we were quickly joined by
Beauty and Flora.  The four of us, plus my bodyguard, apparently comprised
all the female family members who were foolish enough to take part in this
endeavor.  Laughter proposed that we bring Sky to either Ivory or Rebma. 
I quickly nixed the former idea as being too dangerous for this group.  At
my bachelorette party, Caitlin was the only one not familiar with Ivory. 
There were too many novices in this group.  Rebma was much safer, and
closer.  Unfortunately, the dress was far more exposed.  As the reality of
what I was going to have to wear began to sink in, I began to wish I had
not dismissed Ivory so quickly.

	Flora said she knew of just the place, an establishment called The
Egg and the Cup.  Sky was fetched, and we all dressed appropriately for
the occasion.  I shifted my features so I would not be recognized, but
even so, I could not bring myself to go topless.  Fortunately, Laughter
felt the same, so I did not feel too out of place.  Although, to be
perfectly honest, I felt out of place enough, dressed as I was.  I
reminded myself once again that no one would know who I was, except my
companions.  Flora produced a Trump and we all went through.

	The Egg and the Cup was an interesting place.  It was essentially
a bar with a male floor show.  Nothing on par with the floor show on
Ivory, but it was interesting in its own right.  I personally preferred my
party to this one, but Sky seemed to be enjoying herself, so the party was
accomplishing its goal.  I found myself losing interest in the event after
an hour or so.  There is only so much variation you can see on the same
basic theme, and since I was unwilling to take one of the dancers into a
back room, as Flora and Beauty had...  Let us just say that I was only too
happy to leave with Laughter and Sky, and change into proper clothes once
more, and go home.  I had not quite fallen asleep when Kaedric returned
from Claudio's party, his hair still rather damp.  Apparently, Claudio's
party had taken place in Rebma as well.  I had to admit, seeing Kaedric in
Rebman garb made me revise my opinion of that particular mode of dress.  It
did have its advantages...

"Ghosts and Shadows"
Melanie's Page | Melanie's Diaries

All text on this page is © 1996-200 by Kris Fazzari.

Last modified on January 5, 2000 by Kris Fazzari.