Kaedric went over his plans for Claudio, while Alora and I
listened.  Essentially, Claudio was to put about that Kaedric was only
seeing people on an individual basis, thus making it hard to confirm
exactly who he was seeing.  Especially since no one was likely to admit
that Kaedric had refused to see them.  Also, if Claudio had time, he was
to look into who was actually leading Finndo's army, given that Finndo was
dead.  Naturally, Claudio had no difficulty with this order.  I was
relatively certain that the leader would turn out to be one of the
Halybards who had left with Finndo, but it never hurt to be sure.

	Kaedric concluded by asking Claudio to fetch a man called Lykos,
explaining that he was the head of Kaedric's spy network in Chaos.  This
information was, of course, not to go beyond the three of us.  He also
told Claudio not to send him in until I had left.  I raised an eyebrow at
this, and tried to determine why.  The two most likely explanations were
that Kaedric did not wish Lykos to know that I knew who he was, or that I
would be busy doing something else when he made his report.  Probably
both.  Under other circumstances, I might have raised some sort of
protest, but not with Kaedric in the sort of shape that he was in.  His
condition was obviously deteriorating, a fact which was distressing me
greatly.  I heartily wished he would turn everything over to Alora and get
the rest he needed.

	Once Claudio had left, taking Alora with him, Kaedric gave me a
rather wan smile.  This did nothing to reassure my fears about his health. 
Nor did the fact that when I asked how he was doing, he promptly passed
out.  I summoned Kimberly immediately, trying my best not to show my
concern.  She was able to rouse him quickly, and said that all of his
facilities were being directed towards maintaining the child and preparing
for the delivery.  Until then, he should rest and eat, and nothing else. 
Kaedric said that he would do so, once he had arranged a few more things. 
I had to restrain the urge to tell him that he would do so at once, since
I knew that it was pointless to argue the matter with him.  I resolved
instead to do what I could to get the arrangements out of the way as soon
as possible.

	Kaedric dismissed Kimberly, then looked at me for a moment, before
observing that I seemed to be doing better than he was.  I pointed out
that I had done this before, which earned me a rather annoyed look from
him.  I reminded myself again that I was trying not to irritate him
unduly.  After studying me again, he mentioned that the matter of the
damaged powers needed to be looked into, and I was one of the few people
he trusted to do this.  I had been afraid of that.  He was right, of
course.  We could not afford to ignore the matter any longer.  It was why
I had already begun looking into the problem with Trump.  For all the good
it had done.  And at least there I possessed a significant amount of
knowledge about the power.  As far as the Logrus was concerned, I had not
the faintest idea of where to begin.  Some of this must have shown on my
face, for Kaedric suggested that I begin with the Logrus room.  I frowned
a bit at that.  My last visit to that place had not been of my own
volition, and I was not especially eager to return there, but after a
moment, I nodded.  What choice had I, after all?  Kaedric added that I
might want to bring along a few of his fellow Guardians of the Logrus.  I
decided this was an excellent idea, since they would doubtless know more
about the Logrus than I.  And I would not have to enter the Logrus room
alone.  That aspect alone made the idea appealing.

	As for the other powers, I had no way to reach the Plane of Trump,
so that area would have to remain on hold until Logrus was working better.
Which left sorcery.  If there was a problem with sorcery, it likely lay
somewhere in the Nexus.  And, unlike the Plane of Trump, I had been to
Ivory, so getting there did not pose as difficult a problem.  Kaedric
agreed, but said I was to bring Claudio with me for this.  Seeing as how
Pattern was functioning better than the Logrus, I offered no objection.
The sooner this was accomplished, the better.  I would not mind having
someone competent with a sword around, either.  The loss of most of the
powers I relied on had left me feeling a bit vulnerable.  Not that I would
have risked exposing this by asking for an armed escort, of course.

	Since there was nothing else Kaedric wanted from me, I left and
sent Claudio in, as Kaedric had requested.  The man left standing in the
hall I presumed was Lykos.  I studied him for a moment, committing his
face to memory.  Someday, when Trump was working properly again, I would
put those features to paper.  I spent the next couple of hours in my
quarters, setting up the magical energy traps I had once used to gather
energy for my Fount.  At least this way, if we were attacked before the
powers were restored, we would have an ace up our sleeve, so to speak.

	I was just finishing the last one, when Elspeth and Avery asked to
speak to me.  They wished to go to Thelbane to prepare for our removal
there.  And for the coronation, of course.  I rather did not want to think
about that part.  I granted them permission, and decided to accompany
them, since the Guardians I sought made their home in Thelbane as well.  I
found the Guardians standing watch over Swayvill's body, and recognized
Bruce among them.  He was one of those who had stood with Kaedric at our
wedding, so it was he that I chose to approach.  After a brief greeting, I
bade him pick out two others besides himself to accompany me to the Logrus
room.  They discussed this for a while, as I gazed at Swayvill's body.  It
was not a pretty sight.  In Chaos, they do not bother to hide death.
Seeing Swayvill like this only served as another reminder that some day I
might be standing here looking at Kaedric's body.  It was a reminder that
I could have done without.  It seemed like forever before Bruce and two
others broke away from the group and approached me again.  I allowed them
to lead the way to the Logrus room.

	We proceeded down a flight of stairs, then stopped in front of a
door while the Guardians chanted a few incantations.  I watched with
interest, having no memory of my one and only trip to the Logrus room.  At
least I did not until we stepped into the room.  Suddenly, I was
overwhelmed with all of my memories of that night, in disturbingly vivid
detail.  Waking to find Caitlin standing over my bed.  The sound of the
Serpent's voice as it spoke to me.  Calling out desperately to Kaedric,
and knowing that he would never reach me in time.  I shook off the spell
of those images with an effort, and took a good look around.  The first
thing that caught my attention was the holes I had blasted in the rock
walls while trying to escape.  No one had bothered to repair them, it
seemed.  I once again shook off the memory of that night.  It was then
that I noticed the Logrus, or rather the lack of it.  Whereas before it
had filled most of the room, now it only occupied a small portion of the
floor.  The reason for its diminished size soon became apparent, as I
noticed that there was, for lack of a better word, an energy sink hole in
the floor, into which the Logrus' energy was being drawn.  I asked Bruce
what lay beneath the Logrus.  As far as he knew, nothing but rock.  I
recalled the place where Kaedric and I had awoken, and I suspected
otherwise.  Unfortunately, the only access point to that place that I was
certain of was several Shadows away.

	I left the Guardians examining the room, and made my way to the
entrance of the passageway where Kaedric and I had been captured.  I
thought that perhaps it might lead to the...underworld, for lack of a
better name for that place.  Unfortunately, I could not locate the
entrance, despite being certain that I was in the right place.  My
frustration rapidly mounting, I was preparing to return to Kaedricways
when a page informed me that Bruce wished to see me in the Logrus room
again.  I ran into him as he was ascending the stairs, assisting one of
the other Guardians who had accompanied us.  The man was wearing a
straitjacket and had a familiar crazed look in his eye.  Of the other
Guardian, there was no sign.  Bruce informed me that the Logrus had
suddenly expanded, shortly after I had left, and was now spilling out of
the room.  I summoned the Logrus cautiously, and felt the same sort of
out-of-control feeling from it that I had experienced when we had first
made our escape.  Obviously, there was a cyclical pattern here, with a
span of approximately a day.  Which was especially interesting given that
Ian had told me that Pattern was fluctuating as well, although quite a bit
more rapidly.  Unfortunately, knowing this did not give me any better idea
of what was causing the problem, much less how to solve it.

	I gave Kaedric a full report upon my return, trying to hide my
concern about how drawn he looked.  He did not seem too surprised by
anything I said, until I mentioned my failure to locate the passage where
we had been captured.  He looked rather confused at that, and asked what
passage I was referring to.  When I explained, he assured me that no such
passage existed, for the Ways were too new for any passages to have been
constructed to them yet.  It was with a growing sense of unease that I
asked how he had been captured.  He explained that he had been on his way
to Thelbane when he was attacked from behind.  I told him of how he, or
someone who looked like him, and had his wedding ring, came to get me
during the attack, and brought me to the passageway.  He told me that he
had been captured before the attack began.  Which explained how they had
gotten his ring.  Given this new information, there was little point in
continuing my search for the passageway.  If the Serpent had put it there,
it could just as easily remove it again.  Damn.  Another dead end.  I
offered to retrace our steps back to where we had escaped from underworld,
but Kaedric wished me to work on something with a better chance of
success.  Namely, the sorcery angle.  This suited me just fine, since at
least I was familiar with the Nexus.

	As I was preparing to leave, Kaedric asked me to fetch him
something from Ivory.  It is rather hard to describe, and if you have
never been to Ivory, you would not understand it anyway.  Suffice it to
say that it is a delicacy there, and one of Kaedric's favorite dishes.  I
smiled at that, and told him I would, provided he was a good boy and got
his rest.  He groaned at that, but did not protest, and I felt myself
relax a bit.  I told him of the energy traps I had set up, in case he had
need of them while I was gone.  He suggested that I tell Alora of them as
well.  I said I would, and bid him good night, hoping that he would
actually get some sleep.

	After telling Alora of the location of the energy traps, I went in
search of Claudio.  It did not take me long to come across him sleeping on
a chair in the hall.  I roused him and asked if he was ready.  He was, but
he wished to know about the Nexus.  Apparently, Kaedric had told him to
ask me about it.  I gave him a rather brief explanation, anxious to be on
our way, and said that we would be going to Ivory.  Specifically to the
site of the explosion that had opened a hole between Ivory and Atlantis,
and stripped my Pattern from me.  The event that had set in motion the
Serpent's plans for me.  Another place I had no particular desire to
revisit.  I did not especially like the trend that was developing this

	The journey itself was rather uneventful, for once.  I took a
moment to check my netmail when I arrived, but no catastrophe seemed to
have taken place recently.  Magic felt exceedingly weak, though, a fact
which some of the population was doubtless finding rather distressing.
Certainly Theo was.  Especially the loss of her cards.  I introduced
Claudio to her, which gave her quite a start, until Claudio explained that
he was only Kaedric's half brother.  They really do not resemble each
other much at all, even discounting the obvious difference in skin color.

	Once introductions were out of the way, Theo brought us to the
room where the explosion had occurred.  There was a hole in the wall, with
nothing but water beyond it.  A force wall was holding the water back.  I
was rather surprised that the force wall was working at all, then I
realized why.  And why magic was almost non-existent in Ivory right now.
Ivory's magical energy was rushing through the hole into Atlantis, while
Atlantis' energy rushed into Ivory.  After further examination, I
concluded that if left alone, the two types of magic would equalize
eventually.  Unfortunately, there was no way to speed things up, nor to
repair the hole between the Shadows, at least not while the Pattern and
the Logrus were fluctuating.  Which meant this was another dead end.  I
tried to hide my frustration.  Being surrounded by so much magical energy
flying by too quickly to use did not help matters, either.

	Just to be thorough, Claudio and I checked the Atlantis side of
things as well.  That site proved a bit more difficult to gain access to,
since the area around the hole was barricaded and guarded.  With a few
inquiries, I was able to learn that it had been the rare book room in the
main library of Atlantis.  The circumstances surrounding what happened
there were classified, of course, but I already knew who had been there,
if not why.  Fortunately, the flow of magical energy was so strong that I
did not need to actually get near the hole to be certain that the same
conditions existed here as in Ivory.  Claudio decided to make the attempt
anyway, just to practice, I guess.  After bribing the guard with his ring,
he stepped inside for a few minutes.  Once he emerged, I asked him to
return us to Ivory, for I had come upon an idea while I was waiting for
him.  The magical energy might be moving too quickly for me to use it to
power a spell, but there was no reason it could not be collected.  The
speed with which the energy was moving would work to our advantage in this
case.  Certainly, the energy could be gathered far more quickly than I had
been able to manage in Chaos.  I set about creating more energy traps.
Maybe the trip had not been useless after all.

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