I don't really remember what happened between the time that I got
out of the Labyrinth and when I woke up covered in blood. I was
exhausted, my head was spinning, and I felt sick. The entire aim was to
make it from being minotaur chow to climbing into bed someplace safe. I
made it, but it required getting beaten by Cameron, being subjected to
humiliations at breakfast, and the care of a misladen child. All of the
details are just blurred together. I remember being pulled through the
Trump, and I remember Melanie telling me that I looked like hell. I
remember telling Melanie, telling her everything I knew, telling about the
Fountain, and the Library, and the Trump. I remember the feeling of
hitting the bed.
That's all right, since the story doesn't begin until I wake from
I woke in bed, in Foil, feeling mildly queasy and covered in
something sticky. I lifted my head and looked down at hands, and saw that
they were covered in a dark reddish substance. The coppery smell gave it
away immediately; I was covered in blood. I sat up, and looked down at
myself. It was like someone had thrown a bucket of the stuff on me. I
looked up, and several large drops fell from the ceiling onto my face. It
was like the movie "A Nightmare on Elm Street", when Johnny Depp was
pulled down into the bed, then he was spewed up through the hole onto the
ceiling in a big geyser of blood, and the cops had to collect him in
buckets. It did indeed look a bit like that. The blood was soaking into
the carpeting, and through the bed sheets. The only reason that it hadn't
doused me completely was because I was under a quilt.
I reached down and grabbed the quilt, noting that this was one of
the five most bizarre things to happen to me in the last 12 hours. I held
the quilt over my head like a makeshift umbrella, and went to explore. It
was raining blood in the hallway, and in the rooms across the hall.
"Okay," I thought. "Someone isn't just trying to mess with my head." I
went to the window and looked out. It was raining blood outside as well.
I blinked, trying to take this scene in. It was interesting to watch, but
a little sick. I turned around, and the few servants who hadn't already
run out of the house screaming were running around inside the house
screaming. Seeing that I'm not keen on following popular trends, I chose
not to scream. I did, on the other hand, attempt to look for anyone else
who might still be in the Manor. A quick search turned up no one. A more
thorough search still turned up no one. I had this sinking feeling that I
had been abandoned in a Shadow that may well be ripping itself apart to
die. "Well," I figured, "at least I get the gallons of blood I wanted."
It took me a few minutes to come to terms with the fact that I had just
been left behind, and the implications of this. The rain stopped, and in
a matter of speaking, I understood. It was the beginning of a slow climb
Realization that I had been abandoned did not make me a happy
camper. But what was I going to do? I couldn't run, the bracelet
prevented that. Hiding wasn't an answer, since if the Shadow was going to
go, I was going to go with it, regardless if I hid under a bed or not. So
I did the only think I could think to do. I went down to the kitchen,
found a bottle of whiskey, and began to drink myself into a stupor.
I didn't get very far. After the second shot, I heard a familiar
voice upstairs. Excitement shot up into my throat, and I dropped
everything. I turned, and ran from the kitchen upstairs to the second
floor, to find out that I was correct.
Standing there, complaining about a turtle, was Dworkin.
I could have hugged him. As a matter of fact, I was sorely
tempted. But I didn't. He was extremely agitated, talking about the 'Bad
Guys killing his Turtle'. I figured that the Bad Guys in question were
Finndo and Maron, but I wasn't sure. Knowing Dworkin, they could have
been enemies from a thousand years ago. But he did relieve me of that
awful bracelet, claiming that it was bad for me. I figured that no time
was as good as the present, and I begged Dworkin to take me with him. He
held out a hand, extended the Logrus, and off we went.
We stopped in a hardware store in Shadow, and he had me carry bags
of fertilizer. I was starting to wonder if going with Dworkin was the
hunkiest of dory ideas. When we were finished with our purchases, Dworkin
extended the Logrus again, and off we went again.
We ended up at Ygg, the same place I had gone with Melanie to
discuss the Fountain. But with my Imprint back in place it was different.
Worse. Evil in ways. Dworkin started fertilizing, and I figured I would
follow suit, not knowing what good it would do. The man had promised to
teach me things for the time being, and I wanted to get everything I
He did tell me about Melanie, her Trump, and how they were
powered, which I found immensely interesting. It didn't come as much of a
surprise that she is a Trump artist, but how they were powered, that's
In time, I was eventually Trumped by Melanie, trying to figure out
where I had gone off to, as I figured she eventually would. I wasn't in
Foil where I had been left behind (obviously) and I hadn't bothered to
leave a forwarding address. So I played around. Eventually it came out
that yes, I was free of the manacle, and yes, the other Amberites can go
blow themselves, or each other for all I care. We argued, I told her I
was with Dworkin, and she wanted to be pulled through. I complied, and we
stood around, gawking. I asked Dworkin about Dad. He told me I should
best leave him alone. Melanie looked horrified. What did she think I was
going to do, go run off and find him in Shadow?
It didn't matter much anyway. She spoke of Maron kidnapping
Laughter, and the universe going to hell. Dworkin felt this was a bad
thing. He decided that we were going to rescue Laughter right there and
then, and that was that. The next thing I know, I'm being pulled across
Shadow via Logrus, and deposited in front of Castle Amber, and being told,
"Make a diversion." I looked at Melanie, and she looked at me. I
shrugged, shook my head, and didn't even want to know. Dworkin was
already off to rescue Laughter. Melanie pulled out her Trumps, and
started pulling through the Pigs. I was neither happy nor disappointed to
see them. Archimedes quickly disposed of the guards, and the rest went
rushing through. People were slaughtered, and I tried to do my best with
a few supportive spells.
The problem was, of course, Finndo. I wanted to kill the bastard,
true. Ulysses thought a group Trump might get through to him. My hands
were grabbed, a Trump was open, and combat was initiated. It ended as
swiftly as it began, with Finndo raising the Logrus, and our Trump contact
I raised Pattern, and felt Melanie's smooth hand in mine - I
decided right then and there I was going to kill the fuck, if I had to. I
felt her mind, and used it as support, as I was dragged through a Trump to
Foil. Shadow receded, but my mind was still there, ready to fight.
There was no fight. The old man collapsed before I ever got the
chance. I announced that he was out, and was pulled back across Shadow
through Trump to Amber.
By time I dropped Lens, and had a good look around, it was all
over. Ulysses was jumping up and down on Finndo's body, and Cameron had
lit it on fire. The Pigs were having a field day, and I felt sick. That
was not exactly how I wanted it to end.
There was, of course, a run for the Jewel. Luckily, it was
missing. Somehow I think there would have been a fight, right there and
then over it. Who would have won, I couldn't guess. But that's one fight
I would have stayed out of.
When all was said and done, I put out the fire Cameron had lit,
and returned with the others to Foil.
Not one to stick around for the festivities, I left Foil
immediately afterward. There was nothing left for me there. The
Amberites had made their split, had made it clear that I was not one of
them, will never be one of them. I realized that there was nothing I
could do, ever, to allow me to be accepted the way I wanted to be. What
do I want? A family, friends, a home. I'm denied the most basic of
rights: to be happy. And at their hand, I feel nothing but misery. So,
into Shadow I went, to get away from the Pigs who had left me to die, and
the pain of Amber which had destroyed my life.
I'm trapped in my father's position, maybe six, seven hundred
years ago. My siblings are so much more powerful, so much BETTER than I.
So, to be accepted, to know what it feels like to be NEEDED, I learn. I
continue to learn and learn and learn newer and more interesting tricks,
in some vague hope that people will love me for what I know. There is no
way they will ever love me for who I am.
After Foil, I went into Shadow, where it wraps around me warm like
a blanket, and I am conscious of all that goes on. After some wanderings,
I decided on a change of clothing. That was simple enough, an easy
change. I even had enough presence of mind to replace the guitar I had
lost with another one. But my mind was full of the blackest despair.
Alone, depressed, I didn't know what to do.
I stopped in a small grocery store on the way out of a nothing
Shadow between Foil and Ygg. I remember, I was standing in the aisle, a
can of Sprite in one hand and an open box of rat poison in the other. I
was seriously considering dumping the poison into my beverage, drinking,
and seeing what would happen. But, as I was about to begin, I felt a soft
hand on mine. I looked up into the face of an old blue-haired woman, who
was looking with some mild concern. "You don't want to do that, son," she
said. I paused, and placed the poison on the shelf. I kept the pop.
I made my way to Ygg, not knowing where else to go. Dworkin was
there, still playing with the fertilizer. I picked up my shovel, and
joined him. But it was different this time. As I wandered across the
Badlands, I saw the rifts and rips that the other Patterns were making.
With Lens, I began to understand Dworkin's purpose: to drive the other
Patterns apart, to keep his stable for a little while longer. I joined
him in earnest, but silently.
Time passed. We worked.
Eventually, I had to tell someone that I had almost made another
attempt. Considered one, at least. It's not something that I should keep
quiet. So I spoke to Dworkin. It didn't come out right, my plea for
help. A confused tangled mess of what I want and what I have, a wish for
stability and warmth I can never have.
But for Dworkin, there would be nothing, ever again. The Pigs had
ignored his warning, went their merry ways after his cry for help. They
had been so tangled up in our own little petty problems, that his
assuredly meant nothing, although our lives rely on the well-being of his.
The death threats, the attacks, the destructive attempt on the Pattern.
I was one of the Pigs briefly. But never again. Oh god, no.
He told me just enough, for me to realize that the Pigs had been
horribly, terribly wrong. They were wrong about Maron and his role in
things, they were wrong about Finndo, they were wrong about Chaos, they
were wrong about everything. With my realization came the knowledge that
a good man, a man who had been futility attempting to save this universe
from destruction as had his own before, had been murdered at their hands
like an animal.
So many... so many have to die, have to be in pain, at the hands
of the Amberites. So many have to live what is left of lives in torment,
because a few believe what they know is correct and the only path.
I fell to my knees before Dworkin, sobbing, and begged
forgiveness, for in my inaction and stupidity, I had sinned. Sinned I had
in such a way... he will never forgive me.
But I'm leaning against Ygg now. The crying jags come and go. I
stare at what the Pigs and the fool Chaosites have made of the universe,
carefully going over their placement in my mind. It's like staring at the
gallows in horrible fascination, before being hung on them. Helplessness.
That is all I know, the helpless feeling of the condemned.
I think of ways to correct the problem, even a little. What to
do? I try to learn what Dworkin tells me, and formulate my questions
between bursts of emotion. I try to study and learn, because that is the
only way I'll have enough knowledge to be effective.
I need to talk to Melanie. Quickly. This is her problem, as
well. And her solution - there may be a way to rescue Maron, even after
the fact. The Pattern works on many different levels, in many different
ways. Some are far more subtle than others. Maybe I can get a message
through. But he will not listen to me. He will, on the other hand,
listen to his sister.
I was wrong. I admit it freely. What do I know? I'm just a dumb
kid, with too much power up in his head. I was wrong about Maron.
There has to be a way to do something. Save him. Save me.
Save us all.
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