Session 38: "If this ends up with me getting my head chopped off again,
I'm going to be pissed!"

	Claudio gets tested for sorcery by Abigail, who looks suspiciously
like Melanie and hasn't aged in 30 years.  She drops some hints that maybe
he should look into his parentage.  He tells the local King he will do
this thing, then Abigail transports them to the sea, where they board a
ship, and eventually arrive on a small island called Ixaxis.  Then Abigail
focuses on a playing card, grabs his hand, and steps through.  Claudio
hits a wall and bounces back.  Abigail reappears, asks for his armor,
weapons, jewelry, etc., and they make it through.  They arrive in a hall
decorated by tapestries showing the hunting down and killing of the
Unicorn.  He asks where he is.  Eregnor.  She's a houseguest here.  He
puts his ring, etc., back on, and asks why she wants to tell him of his
parents.  So he can reclaim his heritage, silly.  There was a woman named
Fatima, who was his mother.  His foster father may have been her brother,
but Abigail's not sure.  His real father was a ruthless man, who's rights
were denied him by his sister and his father.  His father's name was
Delwin, and the country that he was to rule was Amber, of course.  He is
invited to dinner with the King and Queen of Eregnor, then she'll take him
to walk the Pattern, as only the "heirs of Amber" can do.

	Breakfast in Amber.  Balin, Melanie, Tianen, Sylvie, Ulysses and
Flora are there.  Sylvie asks what Tianen is doing after breakfast, and
asks to go with her.  Something begins draining the Trump energy out of
Ulysses and Melanie, causing Tianen to give them a shocked look.  Melanie
leaves to sever her connection with Ulysses, since the drain is occurring
through him.  Ulysses tries to touch Tianen, who pulls away, not wanting
to join in the fun.  He leaves, she follows, and he asks where the energy
is going.  It gets lost somewhere around Ygg.  They try to Trump Dworkin. 
No answer.  Sylvie is no help, either, so Ulysses goes looking for Fiona.

	Melanie severs her connection to Ulysses, but not before some of
her own energy is drained.  She fans her Trumps, but none of them seems to
be the drainer.  She Trumps to Ygg and checks again.  Still nothing.  No
sign of the Eye, either, or any new Patterns.  It's enough to cause a gal
to lose heart.

	Ulysses finds Fiona sleeping in the infirmary.  Archi is talking
to Laughter, who doesn't remember him at all.  Wait until she learns that
she's pregnant.  Ulysses asks Fiona to trace the drain.  She tells him
that it gets tangled up near Ygg, and then...  She mumbles that she never
noticed that before, Trumps Dworkin, and goes through, leaving Ulysses
with no more information than he started with.

	Ulysses asks when Laughter's going to walk the Pattern, but Archi
doesn't think she's strong enough, especially in her condition.  She keeps
trying to leave the infirmary.  Eventually Archi allows this, but goes
with her.  For some reason, Ulysses doesn't follow.  Laughter leaves the
castle and begins shifting Shadow, eventually arriving at a mountain range
with a cave, which she enters.  Archi conjures a flashlight, and notices
that Laughter is stepping lightly and paying much attention to where she's
walking, so Archi decides to step where she does.  He asks where they're
going.  The cave.  Archi convinces her to go back to the castle for a

	Ulysses asks if Archi can Trump Fiona, which he does, but she
doesn't answer.  Ulysses goes looking for someone who can help him, which
doesn't take very long, since no one can.

	Archi quizzes Laughter on what she remembers.  She remembers her
mother, her siblings, learning Faerie magic, but that's about it.  Nothing
about the Mergence War, Shadows, etc.  She goes to the bathroom and throws
up.  Ulysses finds Archi waiting outside, and they discuss Laughter.  Then
they are enveloped in the new, fiber optic version of Trump holes and fall

	Claudio dines with Eliabella and Garion, the Queen and King of
Eregnor.  He stays the night, then tells Abigail that he wants to go to
Amber.  She tells him that his father was to be the next King of Amber,
and was simply acquiring power to make his reign prosperous and bountiful,
but his sister grew jealous and bound him, preventing him from taking the
throne.  Right, and I have some swampland in Florida for you.  The evil
aunt is Sand, who apparently raised Abigail, but Abigail is an ungrateful
bitch.  Sand had help from Claudio's half-brother, Kaedric.  The good news
is that Delwin is fighting his way free of the binding, with help from
Abigail and her pals.  Apparently Delwin's container was stolen from Sand
by another Amberite.  Abigail gives Claudio a brief explanation about the
nature of the universe, and tells him that the current King has agreed to
a duel with him over who is the rightful heir.  Guess we know where Archi
is, now.  She shows Claudio a Trump of Archi from when he was in Foil. 
He's dressed in Calamus' clothes, and looks like a wuss, so Claudio
doesn't want to fight him, but it's already been agreed.

	Claudio determines, by process of elimination, that his ring is
what prevents him from using Trump, so he removes it and they arrive in
the main hall in Amber.  Abigail suggests he either walk the Primal
Pattern, or the Tir-na M'beo one.  She doesn't have access to the Primal
one, so Tir-na M'beo it is.  (One wonders why she bothered suggesting the
Primal one, if it wasn't an option.) She takes him to the Yellow Sitting
room, taps on a wall behind a tapestry, and leads him into a long
passageway, giving him instructions on Pattern walking along the way. 
They enter a room full of fire, which gives Claudio pause, but he walks
the Pattern there anyway, being stupid.  It's the hardest thing he's ever
done, but he survives (what a surprise) and rejoins Abigail.  She Trumps
Dalt, who pulls them through to Kashfa.  Claudio decides sleep is in

	Melanie is Trumped by Maron, who asks what the hell's going on. 
She goes through and learns that the other initiates also experienced
feedback from the Eye.  Maron's hair caught on fire.  Cool.  The feedback
could have been caused by someone attempting to use the power of the Eye,
and failing.  She admits that the Eye was stolen, most likely by Brand. 
Maron doesn't exactly leap to try and recover it.  Melanie tells him of
the interesting reaction she observed between the Eye and the Jewel.  He
tells her that Lady is fading, and Adrian has already left, having found a
motherly niche, somewhere.  She visits Eve, who is now 12 and asks to come
to Amber.  Melanie is agreeable, providing Maron approves.  Darn.  Melanie
fills Eve in on Amber happenings.  After learning of Laughter's poisoning,
Eve decides that maybe she'll stay away from Amber, being a Halybard
herself and all.  Melanie takes Lady to Ygg.  Lady figures she'll take it
from here, but thanks for the lift.

	Archi wakes up in a dingy cell, followed soon after by Ulysses. 
Archi conjures a chain saw, but Abigail arrives before he can use it.  She
admits to being in league with Brenner, and says Archi must fight a duel,
and lose, and they'll be set free.  Really.  Otherwise, they'll be
prisoners forever.  Ulysses refuses and insults her, so she mutters a few
words and knocks him out.  Much better.  Archi asks what this is really
all about.  She admits that it's an assassination attempt, and that she
was responsible for the previous attempt on him.  Archi will be allowed
his sword and armor, of course.  He asks if he gets to kill her after
Claudio.  She figures she'll be weak enough, then.  He agrees to the duel.

	Archi and Ulysses are let out the next morning.  Archi opts to
fight without armor, stripped to the waist.  The duel takes place in a
small, stone courtyard.  Claudio is asked to carry a sword other than his
own into the battle, since Abigail claims his will break against Archi's. 
The sword she brings him flies around until Abigail says a word, at which
point it flies to Claudio's hand.  This pleases Claudio not at all, given
his dislike of all things magical.  He asks for Mazadan (some dude from
his Shadow) as his second.  Archi finds himself facing a 6'5" tall black
man, weighing about 250 lbs.  Archi is only 5'9" tall and 168 lbs., so the
odds would seem to be in Claudio's favor, all other things being equal.

	Archi decides to try talking first, and learns that Claudio is
doing this to reclaim the throne.  Archi inquires as to this claim, and
explains how Random got the Jewel.  Claudio's sword gets bored with all
this talk and flies at Archi, who beats the blade aside.  They talk some
more.  The sword makes another attempt.  Archi suggests sinking it into
the ground.  Claudio does this, then steps on it when it starts to work
its way free.  Persistent bugger.  Archi explains that Sand and Delwin are
children of Oberon, the first king of Amber.  Random, Archi's father, was
the second.  He admits that Delwin is older than Random, but the
succession was done via the Unicorn.  The audience, watching from
balconies, starts shouting for them to fight.  Archi tries to force open a
door with Song, but it breaks.  Claudio has no better luck with his own
sword.  The flying one remains embedded in the ground.  Archi conjures
some crossbows, and the crowd decides to go indoors.  Mok and his mecha
finally show up to rescue them.  Mok thinks they were on a diplomatic
mission.  They left a note, you see.  Brains has never been Mok's strong
point.  They return to Amber and find, of course, that Laughter is nowhere
to be found.  Archi dumps Claudio on Bill Roth for proof that Archi is
indeed the rightful King, Claudio being too stupid to know better than to
trust anything a lawyer says.

	Melanie finds Fiona and Dworkin looking at the ground.  She
inquires as to why, and learns that an abyssal plane is forming around
Ygg.  They can watch it happen, destroy the universes, or separate them. 
How?  Well, Fiona doesn't know.  Melanie asks if she's checked into
Ulysses' problem.  Oops, she forgot about that.  She checks it out, but
won't tell Melanie the result, since she's not involved.  She does reveal
that it's not Brand.  Melanie declines Fiona's offer to return to Amber
with her, and Trumps Balin, but he doesn't answer.  She Trumps back to
Amber and uses her handy scrying lens into the past to determine that
Balin left the castle, took a Trump call, and disappeared.

	Fiona finds Ulysses and goes over the possible draining suspects:
Maron, but he doesn't have the finesse.  Tianen.  Sylvie or Melanie, but
they don't have the training.  Brand.  Or Sand.  Fiona is inclined to
think that it's Sand, wanting a source of energy that she could drain
instantly.  Ulysses would like this stopped.  Fiona thinks that might open
them up to something bad, given that they don't know what Sand is doing. 
She points out that Sand has never worked against Amber, and has actually
worked for them.  If he wants, though, he could walk the Pattern to block
whatever Sand is doing to him.  She also explains about the abyssal plain
that's forming.  Archi is all for cutting the other universes loose.

	Melanie sense a Trump contact deposit someone in the main hall. 
It's Balin, who goes to his room, then goes to the library.  Then she
monitors this conversation, between our favorite mystery couple: "Are you
watching?"  "Yes."  "Brand has a Jewel, he's using it too.  It's only a
matter of time."  She finds Archi, and tells him that Brand has a Jewel. 
He tells her of the Shadow of her that's running around causing mischief. 
She senses something Trump into the main hall, and Archi is attacked by a
flying sword shortly afterwards.  He imbeds it in the wall and checks it
psychically.  It hates him, because he's with Laughter.  Guess Abigail and
co. woke Song up.  Archi spends half an hour reprogramming the damn thing,
by showing it how what Calamus did hurt Laughter.  It decides that maybe
it shouldn't hate Laughter too much, since Calamus was kind of a dick.

	Melanie looks up Balin.  He's reading about Pattern theory, and is
still not keen on walking it.  They talk about their respective days.  She
tells him about the Badlands turning into an Abyss.  He tells her that
Corwin Trumped him and told him stories about the Pattern, drawing it, and
getting his eyes burned out.  They decide to go out to dinner.

	Ulysses tracks down Sand, on the other side of Ygg, and they have
a nice chat.  He learns that she's trying to stop Brand from freeing
Delwin, who is bad news, so he agrees to let her keep using him as an
Energizer battery.


"Shit, (Claudio) had better not be mine, or I quit." -- Wendi to the group
at large

"Do you want to wake your mother-in-law up?" -- Ulysses
"Why?" -- Archimedes
"Because she's less likely to kick your butt than mine." -- Ulysses

"Where are you going?" -- Archi
"I don't know." -- Laughter
"Well, I guess some aspects of her personality have survived." -- Kris

"Your wife's whacked out." -- GM
"Well, she always was, but this is a new form." -- Archi

"You're in a foul mood today." -- Archi
"I'm in an impotent mood today." -- Ulysses
"Oh, that would be tragic for you." -- Archi
"It's a metaphor, fool!" -- Ulysses

"If I could be helpful, I would.  I'm lucky if I can butter my own fucking
toast, right now." -- Ulysses to Archi

"Shortly thereafter, you are deposited someplace unconscious, that you
can't know because you're unconscious." -- GM to Archi

"If this ends up with me getting my head chopped off again, I'm going to
be pissed!" -- Wendi to the group at large

"You tell me that I'm the King of some place I've never heard of, and you
want me to fight a duel with its King.  Why do I not believe you?" --
Claudio to Abigail
"I don't know.  We thought it was a pretty good story." -- Kris, answering
for Abigail

"Do you really want to draw that much attention to us right now?" -- Archi
"Like they don't know we're here." -- Ulysses

"If it was going to be a fair fight, we wouldn't be locked in the
dungeon." -- Ulysses to Abigail

"I've been betrayed!" -- Claudio
"Well, duh!" -- Ulysses

"I thought you had all the answers." -- Melanie
"I do, but the universe keeps creating new questions." -- Fiona

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