Session 55: "Scalping someone tends to take a lot out of you."

	Archi tells Laughter that the whole Claudio/Sky thing, however it
turns out, is all in her lap.

	Fey and Bleys try to drink each other under the table.  Fey wins. 
Bleys passes out.

	Caitlin asks Benedict if being a part of the Jezetti would force
her to choose between Amber and Chaos.  Not now, but things rarely remain
stable for long.  Caitlin tells him of the tournament.  He'll be there,
since his old students Archi and Laughter will be competing.  He shows her
around Avalon, then she returns to Amber.

	Caitlin Trumps Archi, and asks who their opponents will be
tomorrow.  You know, he was meaning to look into that...  Archi tells
Caitlin who's competing for Amber.  Then Caitlin tracks down Random to ask
who's competing from Chaos.  He explains that each house fields a team,
and the assignments are made randomly (no pun intended).  The list will be
posted at the beginning of the tournament.

	Claudio finds one of Laughter's guards and receives instruction in
jousting, since it's not something he's ever done before.  Archi and
Laughter wake up to the sounds of Claudio practicing.

	Melanie finishes her conversation with Sand, waits until it's
after midnight, then goes to a hospital in Intellex to have the child
aborted.  Unfortunately, whenever she tries to take an action that would
cause this to happen, even something like filling out a consent form, she
keeps feeling like she's burning up from the inside, and then losing
consciousness.  She tries aborting the child with shapeshifting, with the
same results.  She is woken up by a Trump call from Brand, who asks her to
pull him through.  She does so, and he asks what she's doing.  Practicing
for the tournament.  Sure she is.  Brand tells her that Cyril has told him
of their prior acquaintance, and that she's carrying Cyril's child. 
Melanie says that won't be a factor for long.  Brand tells her that
Amberites have difficulty aborting, and he won't allow it, anyway.  She
has a choice.  She can marry Cyril, or he can lock her up in Shadow until
the child is born.  Melanie says she needs to meet the others for the
tournament, and Trumps to Amber.

	Fey gets into the cooler in the castle kitchen, eats all the meat,
and sleeps.  It is woken up when the door opens, there is a gasp, and then
the door is closed and locked.  Fey begins clawing its way through the

	Random Trumps Archi and tells him about the creature in the
cooler.  Since it's Archi's creature, he gets to deal with it.  Archi
throws on some clothes, explains things to Laughter, and then has Random
pull him through.  Fey gets through the door and enters the kitchen.  It
begins playing with the shiny things.  Much clanging ensues.  Archi
arrives at this point, and shouts "No!" at Fey.  Fey pauses.  Archi draws
Song and points it at Fey.  It stops.  Archi tries to get it to put the
pans back.  No such luck.  Archi uses Song to guide it through the
motions.  It gets the idea after four or five repetitions.  Then Archi
herds it on its way with a judicious slapping on the ass via Song.  Once
outside, Archi feeds it some chocolate, and directs it to the forest. 
Then he returns to the kitchen and conjures replacements for the food Fey
ate.  Once this is accomplished, he Trumps Laughter and fills her in on
Fey's escapades.

	Caitlin is awakened by the noise, and gets the skinny from a page. 
There is witty repartee, but it's not all that funny, so I'll skip it. 
She finds Melanie in the castle, and they talk about the upcoming
tournament.  They also talk of the Rat Dog, and Archi's attempts to herd
it out of Amber.  Kaedric told Melanie about it, and how it's smarter than
it should be.  They talk about Benedict and Aelle, and of Benedict's lack
of memory, and how that affects Sandr.  Caitlin almost flinches, and
Melanie notices.  They beat around the bush, and Melanie tries to find out
the truth.  It's out there.  They agree to not look for him, but Caitlin
is going to keep the child.  They continue talking until Random arrives at
breakfast.  Melanie is introduced to him.  Caitlin tries to ponder the
lack of Fun Guyness on Random's part.

	Archi talks to Random to inform him of the successful
accomplishment of his task.  Random wants Archi to talk with Fey at some
point in the future.  Archi and Melanie acknowledge each other's presence
at breakfast.  Fey goes about filling up the meat cooler again, by killing
horses and dragging their bodies in.

	Ulysses and Claudio arrive, and Ulysses begins eating.  Caitlin
tries to strike up a conversation with Ulysses, but he's too busy eating. 
Laughter arrives, and has food in her hair, and is flustered.  Beatrice
likes to throw food, and Beauty.  Breakfast is passing, and Claudio wakes
up.  :)

	Melanie leaves when she realizes Kaedric is around.  Archi offers
him a sympathetic look.  Archi and Laughter talk, he asks about the
quality of the meat, which wigs Laughter out.  The rest of the Amber Team
arrives, and all gather in the Main Hall.  There is a big debate over who
gets to do the Force sorcery.  Laughter is planning on entering the
free-for-all as well, which Melanie gets a kick out of.

	It is noticed that something has dragged bloody carcasses through
the castle.  Archi goes to look, and Laughter goes with him, to explain
the Melanie/Force magic dilemma.  And to try to con her way into the
free-for-all.  Laughter agrees to trade the free-for-all for Force
sorcery, leaving Melanie out in the cold.  Kaedric sneaks up on her, and
they argue about the baby some more.

	Archi finds that Rat Dog did the bloodying, and was putting meat
back in the cooler.  Archi shoos it out.  The group gets ready to leave.

	The group arrives in Chaos, and is met by an official delegation
of the Throne.  They are shown to their lodging.  Archi is hiding his
tattoo with gloves.  The Amberites are going to have to do squire duty for
each other, because they weren't smart enough to bring pages.  Laughter
agrees to buddy with Melanie, who greets it with trepidation.

	Claudio is in the first event, which happens an hour after they
get settled.  The jousting takes place on the backs of winged dragons in
the Abyss.  Kaedric is tapped to be Claudio's second.  Claudio's first
opponent is Acmon Rheged.  Archi conjures a shield for Claudio, and the
joust begins.  Claudio avoids Acmon the first two times, and on the third,
he passes to the left of the other guy, and uses the lance to clothesline
Acmon, but not unhorse him.

	Ulysses is next.  He's wrestling Alane Helgram.  This first
contest is in Demon Form.  Ulysses oils himself up, as he's at a little
disadvantage.  Beauty helps him.  Archi and Laughter trade dips and

	The wrestling is out on a platform over, you guessed it, the
Abyss.  Ulysses fights in close, and grapples with Alane, eventually
picking him up and holding him over the edge.  Alane submits.  The second
round is in human form, and Ulysses wins even easier.

	Kaedric competes in shapeshifting against Sylvester dur Vertix. 
Sylvester has red hair and blue eyes, and looks kind of like the red-heads
of Amber.  Sylvester chases Kaedric on the first round of the circuit,
Kaedric chases Sylvester on the second.  Kaedric wins.  Kaedric has a
private conversation with Melanie afterwards.  He promises that if she
still doesn't want to marry him after a week, he won't force her into it. 
She's annoyed that Brand will imprison her until the baby's birth if she
doesn't marry him.  He points out that if she marries him, she can spend
the next eight months in his place instead.  She agrees to give him the
week to change her mind, but points out that he's off to a poor start in
wooing her.  Kaedric conjures her three roses: one white, one pink, and
one red, representing, cold emotion, friendship and love, respectively.

	Jurt Sawall knocks on Archi's door at midnight.  He's about 16 and
wearing a page's costume.  Jurt ascertains that Archi's in charge of the
Amber party, and tells him to retrieve his pet from the weapons room. 
Archi follows him there, and finds Fey merrily tearing apart the place. 
Archi says "God damn it, no!" at which point Fey begins putting everything
back.  Archi requests quarters for the creature, and conjures it jewelry,
food and wine to keep it occupied for a while.

	Melanie checks out the contestant list.  She finds that Sylvester
is also competing in the Shadow races, and Maron is competing in
illusionary conjury.  She finds a robe and bunny slippers in her quarters
when she returns.  The tab on them reads "Made by Kaedric."  She is amused
by the slippers, but refuses to wear them, although she does make use of
the robe.

	Caitlin finds Merlin, and asks how he chose between his two sides. 
He hasn't really, he just uses them both.  The current regime in Amber is
more friendly than the one in Chaos.  And if he had to choose?  Well, if
he was in love, whichever side she was on.  Otherwise, probably Amber. 
Caitlin explains her dilemma with the Jezetti.  Merlin points out that the
Jezetti aren't the most friendly types.  They discuss the sword contest,
which will go until first-blood.  Caitlin isn't sure if she should use her
Pattern swords.

	The following morning, Laughter draws Orrin as her opponent in
force sorcery.  She likes this not at all.  Ulysses mentions that Dworkin
said to befriend Orrin.  Orrin smiles knowingly at Laughter, which pretty
much settles the question of whether he remembers his actions in the
future.  Archi conjures a laser pistol behind his back.  Jest in case. 
The contest begins.  Orrin throws a fireball at Laughter, who avoids it
and trees him.  The judges confer for a bit, then award the victory to
Laughter.  Orrin's squire hefts an ax, but Laughter warns that will
probably kill him.  She rejoins Archi, and tells him that his pistol
wouldn't have gone through the barrier around the ring.  She wonders if
perhaps they shouldn't kill Orrin after all.  Fey hands both Archi and
Laughter a ring.  They put them on, and Claudio and Caitlin sense this. 
Laughter lets Orrin out of the tree, causing Fey to promptly sniff him
over, and then leave.  Orrin lands on his knees.  Archi offers him a hand
up, which he takes.  Laughter asks Archi for some chocolate.  He conjures
some for her, and she offers a piece to Orrin.  He eats it, at which point
Archi mentions that you have to watch out for his wife, she's rather
sneaky.  Orrin looks like he wishes he hadn't eaten the candy after all.

	Melanie draws Nathan Chanicut for her contest.  He's got blond
hair and blue eyes, and is kind of young.  He wastes a lot of energy on
his first illusion, trying to scare Melanie.  It doesn't work.  Melanie
lets him wear himself out, and is declared the victor.

	Archi draws Roland for the sword fight.  Claudio agrees to act as
his second.  Archi acts very casual about the whole thing, and plays to
the crowd for a bit.  Eventually he makes a real effort, which Roland
avoids while asking if he's ready for a real fight now.  They begin going
at it in earnest, and Roland turns out to be quite good.  They talk while
they are fighting, and Roland calls Archi his brother-in-law.  This is
strange, since neither the marriage nor Laughter's relationship to Mandor
is common knowledge.  After the fight has been going on for quite some
time, Archi asks what Roland remembers.  His life up until now.  Nothing
beyond?  Er...  Archi gets first blood in the confusion, and the fight
finally comes to an end.

	Caitlin draws Orrin for the two sword competition, with Merlin
acting as her second.  Orrin points out that the fight's until first
blood, and that's already been taken from her, hasn't it?  Benedict gives
her a look that says she can take him.  Caitlin fights defensively at
first, while Orrin fights offensively, but can't reach her.  Eventually,
he makes an attack that splits her shirt down the front.  Caitlin decides
she's had enough and attacks full force, pressing him for a while.  After
half an hour, she's doing much better than Orrin is.  She backs him up to
the wall, and scalps him with her sword.  Ouch!  Then she hands his scalp
back to him, and says she's sorry.  Er.  Sure she is.  That's it for the
day, since Archi's fight took so long.

	Fey spends the day hanging around Archi.  It has a flute much like

	Benedict tells Caitlin that he wouldn't have given Orrin his scalp
back, but rather would have mounted it on his standard and flown it as a
flag.  Caitlin says she considered it, but didn't want to showboat. 
Benedict chuckles, which blows everyone's mind.  Fey hands rings to
Melanie and Benedict.  They both study the rings, and Benedict places his
on a chord around his neck..  Melanie can detect a power, but can't
identify it.  Archi tells her psychically that it's the Jewel from the
future.  Benedict asks what Archi knows of the rings.  Archi takes him
aside and explains, once he learns that Benedict has spoken to Caitlin and
Random, and knows about the future that was changed.  Melanie shows hers
to Kaedric, who says he wants one.  Benedict removes the ring from around
his neck and says he needs to talk to someone.  Melanie asks Archi what
else the ring does.  He says you can tell where the other ring-holders
are.  You have to actually be wearing the ring for the others to find you,

	Caitlin finds Aelle, who says that no one would have taken too
much offense if she'd killed Orrin.  She invites Caitlin to a party at
House Rheged.  Caitlin's up for it, as soon as she thanks Merlin for
seconding her.  He offers to take her to a party, and is disappointed that
she's already going to one.  At the party, Aelle points out the other
houses that have Hellmaids: Wickling, Helgram, Chanicut, and Vertix. 
Caitlin talks with one of the other Jezetti, who won her joust earlier. 
The woman recalls how her opponent fell screaming into the Abyss.  She
doesn't find being a Jezetti limiting at all.  Caitlin tells Aelle that
she isn't sure she's ready to make the sacrifices required in joining the
Jezetti.  Aelle observes that she's been talking to Benedict.  She points
out that Caitlin still has a couple of weeks to decide, and leaves to talk
to someone else.  Merlin shows up with some bizarre, barely human
creature.  Caitlin says hello.  Merlin gives her some good scotch, and
then dances the Chaos version of the hokey-pokey with her.

	Melanie points out to Kaedric that Orrin should have been
expecting that.  Yep.  He asks her to accompany him for a bit of
something, and leads her to her quarters, where dinner is laid out for
six.  Soon they are joined by the Prince Regent (George IV), "Beau" 
Brummel, Jane Austen and Lord Byron.  The creme de la creme of Georgian
society.  Melanie manages to have a good time, in spite of herself.  At
the end of the evening, Kaedric kisses her hand and leaves.  Melanie
eventually tries the ring on, and gets a sense for where everyone is.  Her
sense of Archi is very strong, and Archi also senses when she has it on. 
He tells this to Laughter, and notices the same effect with her.

	Archi and Laughter return to Foil to play with the kids.  Archi
says she confused the gender issue by dipping him earlier.  He also
mentions that Roland knew he was Archi's brother-in-law, which implies
that Mandor may remember.  Maybe they should see him.  Later.  She says
that she's waiting for him to seduce her.  He conjures a brick.  She trees
it.  We know where this goes, and we ain't following them there.

	Claudio Trumps Julian and asks him to find him an instructor in
the Chaos jousting.  Julian takes him to a fast time Shadow and sets this


"I've sent many people to the baths before, and have they ever come out...
doing anything... to each other?" -- Laughter to Archi

"Ever dance with the Rat Dog in the pale moonlight?" -- Dann
"You mean sunrise."  -- Wendi

"I think Fiona has the ability to sense when people are pregnant." --
Caitlin to Melanie

"Well, Random's balls just crawled." -- Wendi to the group at large

"Did Laughter back down when the Na Siogai started throwing porridge?  No! 
And she's not going to back down now!" -- Ulysses to the group at large

"I wish my brows could knit.  I'd never have to buy another sweater." --
Dann to GM

"You are the most stubborn woman." -- Kaedric
"You are one to talk." -- Melanie
"Yes, but I am not a woman." -- Kaedric

"Are you sure you don't want me to go help Ulysses oil up?" -- Laughter
"No, I'm confident Ulysses is good enough at oiling himself." -- Archi

"Dworkin said to befriend (Orrin)." -- Ulysses
"Are you sure he didn't say behead him?" -- Claudio

"I gave (Orrin his scalp) back.  I replaced my divot." -- Caitlin to the
group at large

"Scalping someone tends to take a lot out of you." -- Caitlin to Aelle

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