Session 61: "I don't like playing with myself."

	Melanie spends a month learning sorcery in Ivory, then tries to
leave, but finds that she can't.  Trump stop working, too, at this point. 
Since none of her methods of leaving work, she decides to continue her
studies while trying to find a way out.

	Caitlin insists on talking to Swayvill herself.  Merlin says this
is fine.  Swayvill wants to reschedule their dinner, anyway.  Caitlin's
sorry it all turned out this way.  Merlin leaves.  Benedict Trumps Caitlin
shortly afterward and comes through.  He had the most interesting
conversation with Merlin this morning.  Caitlin knows, but isn't sure why
Swayvill's interested in her.  Benedict points out that Caitlin now holds
three very important positions in Chaos, is an Amberite, is his daughter,
and has her mother's looks.  Caitlin would rather marry for love.  Well,
for the record, he wouldn't have any objections to Caitlin allying with
House Sawall.  This surprises Caitlin, considering their relation. 
Benedict mentions that he now has full memory of past events, but he no
longer stands in her way.  She's proven herself an adult with her coup. 
If she doesn't want Swayvill, don't take him, although there are benefits
to being Queen of Chaos.  Caitlin needs time to think this over.  Benedict
turns to leave, then tells her not to use his permission as an excuse to
deter people from courting her, since he doesn't want 400 people coming to
his door.  Caitlin finishes up the paperwork for Aelle's entry into the

	Claudio Trumps Kaedric, who's more than happy to be saved from
paperwork.  Claudio wants to know if Kaedric can contact Corwin.  Not
without borrowing energy from either Ulysses or Melanie, and he's not on
the greatest of terms with either of them at the moment.  Why does Claudio
want to contact Corwin?  Claudio thinks he might want to be involved with
his kids, since he doesn't want to be like Delwin.  Of course, Sky may not
like this idea very much.  Kaedric wishes him luck with that.  He's
welcome to Graham, of course.  Claudio mentions the pig shit that Melanie
dumped on him.  Kaedric thinks that may have been going a bit too far. 
He's inclined to let her stew for a couple of days.  As for Graham, he'll
help if Claudio needs it, and Sand also loves children.  True, but Abigail
is in Ixaxis, as well.  Kaedric says Claudio should just kill her.  Of
course, Sand would be pissed.

	Laughter leaves Archi alone with Vain.  Archi quickly learns that
Laughter hasn't filled him in on much, yet.  He came because the "hot
chick" said to.  Archi points out that the hot chick is his stepmother. 
Which makes Archi his dad.  Oh.  Vain's mom told him that his dad was the
Great Space Pirate.  Archi buys Vain a drink and gives him the lowdown on
Kalevala and Amber.  Then he brings him by to meet Random.  Random is a
bit nonplussed at the sight of another grandchild.  Archi takes Vain to
Foil to meet the family, then leaves him with the prince formerly known as
Grass to commiserate over their mutual culture shock, while he Trumps
Laughter.  She's still in Amber.  Does she want to come to Foil?  Nope,
not yet.  She's still pretty cheesed at him.  Archi begins going over
names with Flynn.  I mean Grass.  Whatever.  He likes the name Dakota,
which, coincidentally, is a name Archi used to use.  Eventually, everyone
goes to bed.

	Ulysses keeps checking for a moment when Archi is alone, finally
catching him when he's getting ready to go to sleep.  He apologizes for
his earlier actions.  Archi accepts, with the condition that Ulysses never
do anything like that again.  Ulysses points out that he takes raising his
child very seriously, so he got kind of mad at what Archi did to Oriana. 
So, now things are square with them, but Laughter's miffed at them both. 
Archi figures he'll wait until she cools off.  Beauty Trumps Ulysses, who
takes it as he leaves Archi's room.  She tells him that Laughter wants
help getting the children back to Foil, and passes little Beauty through,
commenting that she finds playing with herself rather disquieting.  Then
she passes the twins through, and Ulysses hands them off to Archi.  Archi
doesn't think this is a good sign, but he's happy to play with his kids. 
Ulysses joins Beauty in Amber, and finds Laughter putting on war paint. 
Ulysses asks what she's doing.  Getting ready to round up some na siogai. 
They've burned a village.  Ulysses suggests that she bring Archi along, so
they can bond over the violence.  Laughter Trumps out.

	Melanie does a Trump reading.  The first two cards are Melanie,
crossed by Brand, who represents what opposes her.  Sandr is in the past,
Cymnea, the near future.  Underneath, is Benedict, representing the
overlying emotion.  In the four cards up the side, we have Caitlin as the
personal indicator, Kaedric as family, Delwin as hopes and fears, and Sand
and Swayvill as outcomes.  Yes, that's actually five cards, but that's how
it came out.

	Orrin reminds Caitlin that she's supposed to see the Serpent soon. 
She'll take care of that tomorrow.  The night passes uneventfully, and
Orrin wishes her luck in the morning.  She heads for the temple at the
Abyss, assuming her Chaos form.  The people there are in human form.  She
finds a priest and requests an audience with the Serpent.  Um, actually,
she's the one that arranges the audiences.  In that case, she has the man
show her to where the audience takes place.  They descend a narrow spiral
staircase until they reach a landing with six doors.  One leads to a
terrace that sticks out of the side of the Abyss.  The priest leaves
quickly.  The Serpent slithers up about three minutes later, saying, "You
summoned me?"  Caitlin explains that she needs the form to enable her to
rule the demon underworld.  Is she willing to accept all this entails? 
Well, what does this entail?  Actually, she thinks better of asking this,
and agrees.  Then the more feminine head (the one missing the eye) darts
forward and bites her wrist.  She falls unconscious.

	Claudio is woken up by a pounding on his door.  It's a demon with
a small child.  Claudio takes the child, then Trumps Kaedric and goes
through.  He asks if Kaedric's found a nanny yet.  Where is he going to
raise the child?  His Ways, once they are finished.  Of course, he'd like
to dump the kid someplace until it's old enough that it sleeps through the
night.  Kaedric points out that the child won't know him if he does that,
and it's hardly the best way to be a father.  OK, well he'd at least like
to have some time pass with the kid in a fast-time Shadow, so he doesn't
get interrupted.  Kaedric sets this up.  There isn't much around in the
Shadow, except for the forest, although the place has a good library. 
Kaedric stays with Claudio for a year, and begins teaching him the very
basics of shapeshifting.  Claudio inquires about naming customs.  Kaedric
explains that Amberites don't really have any, and Laughter had bad luck
with Beauty's.  Claudio decides to have the naming ceremony in Shadow.

	Melanie passes another month in Ivory.  She mostly works on
refining her grasp of Ivoran magic, and assimilating into House Cormallon. 
She continues to be unsuccessful at finding a way out.

	Archi gets a Trump call at about 3:00 a.m. from Laughter.  There's
a bonfire in the background.  She says she's ready to come home now, and
comes through with four skulls at her belt.  She goes down to the baths to
clean up.  Archi leaves a few lavender sprigs there for her.  She knocks
on the door when she returns, prompting Archi to observe that she's never
done that before.  They discuss why they were both mad at each other. 
Archi says he'll work on not being an asshole, if she stops dragging
Ulysses into their fights.  OK.  He kisses her forehead and gives her a
hug, before they go to sleep.  Laughter sleeps in.  Archi Trumps Random,
who answers looking somewhat bleary.  Apparently Vialle drank him under
the table.  Archi tries to toss the Jewel through the Trump at Random, but
it bounces off and smacks him on the head.  Guess he'll just have to keep
it, then.  Fine with Random.  Laughter wonders what Archi is doing.  Archi
tries to make sure Laughter gets to sleep in, then notices that there are
several people waiting for her.  He tells her of their presence, causing
her to roll out of bed onto the floor.  This finishes the job of waking
her up, and she leaves for her meetings.

	Caitlin regains consciousness and finds that she has bite marks on
her arm.  There is no swelling, but the holes are about an inch across and
a foot apart.  Ouch Caitlin goes back up the stairs, and finds the man who
lead her to the terrace.  She inquires about the meaning of the snake
bite.  She's supposed to know that.  Does he have the keys to the other
doors?  She's supposed to have them.  She returns to her offices, and
talks with Orrin about the whole new powers thing.  He admits that he has
one of the spiffy magic keys.  Caitlin suggests putting together a group
to hunt the rest of the keys down.  She does some stupid shapeshifting
tricks, and then Trumps Merlin, inviting him to dinner.  He is surprised
to find out she wants to go out with HIM, and not with the Rep. of
Swayvill.  She tells him Benedict said that she could get with whoever she
wants to.  Merlin is pleased.  They discuss relationships, and the unborn
child, and getting over the father of the child.  Merlin suggests that
they go see a movie.  They wander around, letting Caitlin experience
Earthness after the movie.  Merlin says he knows of something they can do,
but it would involve going to her bedroom.  Gee, now what could that be? 
He demonstrates.  No coffee tables are kicked over in the process.

	Claudio passes two years for him and Graham.  Details in e-mail. 
After a year, Kaedric splits for a month.

	Melanie gets a knock on her door, and it's Kaedric, asking if
she's still bitter.  They bicker over Claudio's child, and it's getting
old.  She feels he should have let her know in advance.  He says he's not
going to continue running around in circles, the way she's been having him
do.  She denies forcing him to do so.  He says he'll come back when she's
done exacting her petty revenge.  She pretends not to understand, and says
she rather likes this Shadow.  He turns on his heel and leaves.

	Archi and sons construct a sweat lodge.  Laughter comes out at
noon, as they finish, and begins casting a spell.  A breeze begins to
blow, and she cuts the throat of a lamb.  Archi wanders over when she
finishes, and asks what that was about.  Putting up a few walls.  She'll
complete the spell at midnight.

	Kaedric returns looking rather pissed.  He tells Claudio that
Melanie is completely unapologetic about the pig shit.  Claudio expected
nothing different.  Kaedric mumbles something about needing to get his
arguments in line before the next talk with Melanie.  He takes Claudio to
see Claudioways.  Claudio requested that they be very decorative, with
lots of gardens and bushes, and is pleased with the results.  He asks
Kaedric to teach him Trump.

	Random Trumps Ulysses, and says it's come to his attention that
Ulysses needs something to do.  He figures Ulysses will get in less
trouble if he's busy, so he makes Ulysses his chief diplomat for the day,
based on Ulysses performance in the future as Archi's Lord High
Chancellor.  So he's sending Ulysses to Assysla, Loria and Falner.  Swell. 
Ulysses decides to bring the family along.  He meets with the various
delegations, which is very boring and tedious.

	Random Trumps Archi and tells him of the diplomatic mission he
sent Ulysses on.  Archi thinks he's nuts.  Random mentions that Ulysses
noted a family resemblance between the him and Archi.  They're both
equally offended.  Random would ask for the Jewel back, but it wouldn't do
any good, since he doubts Fiona will make another cage.  Archi says he'll
ask her, being married to her daughter and all.  Or not.  They'll have to
make the marriage official in this time.  Random says he'll finish with
the papers, and leaves.


"Literature is dead.  Torture is alive and well." -- Dwinn to the group at

"I don't like playing with myself." -- Beauty to Ulysses

"(Vialle's) a Rebmite, she drinks like a fish." -- Random to Archi

"Broke my finger off in the lock!!" -- Dann, speaking for Caitlin, to the
group at large

"Yeah, time flows differently in my womb than in the rest of Shadow." --
Kris, speaking for Caitlin, to Merlin

"Claudioways are erect." -- GM to Claudio

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