Session 41: "I know why (Archi) does this, but I don't know why."
About a month, Amber time, after the fight with Brand/Delwin,
Melanie is Trumped by Sand. Melanie asks how she got out of the Taormin.
By her own reasoning. Could Brand do the same? Maybe, but he lacks a
body to return to. Sand wishes to discuss her nephews. She tells Melanie
that Claudio no longer wants to kill her, but it would be useful to have
some way to distinguish her from Abigail. Melanie comments that the last
method was unacceptable. Well, yes, speaking of which, Kaedric's been
very sad lately. Melanie is heartbroken to hear this. Not. Sand is
uncertain as to whether he is still in love with Abigail, but suggests she
avoid him if she doesn't want to be an Abigail substitute. Whatever.
Melanie asks if Abigail has any scars. She doesn't, Melanie does, ID
problem solved. Melanie asks Sand to let her know if she manages to find
Abigail. Sand says she'll inform her of Abigail's death, if it happens.
Fine with Melanie.
Laughter gives birth to a boy and a girl, and names them Alaric
and Beatrice, respectively. Well, at least one Laughter managed to get
that name in.
Six months after the fight with Brand/Delwin, Benedict tells
Caitlin that, according to the Queen, whatever happens today, she
shouldn't be upset by it. She finds this less than reassuring. He tells
her something else that makes her say she needs to be alone for a bit.
Probably the fact that Sandr is marrying his lover, Anton. Benedict is
getting the happy couple swords. Of course, just what a fashion designer
and a Dworkin wanna-be need. Caitlin goes looking for someone to help her
find appropriate clothing for a wedding. She's directed to either Flora
or Ulysses, so she, of course, chooses Mr. Plaid himself.
Laughter tells Archi that she accepted an invite without telling
him about it. An invite to Sandr's wedding, to be precise. Archi wants
to know why that would irritate him. Well, Sandr's family will be there.
Archi says that he'll kill Maron if he sets foot in Amber. Not a problem,
since the wedding won't be there. Archi tells her to send his
condolences. Nope, she insists he's going. He is the King of Amber, and
this is about Sandr, not Maron and Archi. Archi won't budge, saying Maron
is his enemy. Laughter threatens to go alone, then. Archi is quite
annoyed. Laughter assures him there will be a barrier between them and
Maron, but he still won't go.
Laughter complains to Ulysses that Archi is being obstinate.
Ulysses points out that Archi isn't nearly as level-headed as even she is.
Scary thought. She asks him to speak with Archi. He knocks, but Archi
doesn't want to speak with him. Laughter asks to come in. He says she
can, but not Ulysses. She leaves the door open, so Archi moves into
another room. Laughter calls him pig-headed, and asks if she should write
him out of the spell. He's not sure she's going, either. Sequence
grumbles. Laughter leaves, before he can order her not to go. Archi asks
how long Ulysses has known about this. A couple of months. Archi wasn't
told because they figured he'd react like this, and this way gives him
less time to disgrace the throne. Archi dismisses Ulysses and closes the
door in his face.
Laughter Trumps Sandr and breaks the news. He offers to talk to
Archi, so she brings him through. He finds Ulysses still standing outside
of Archi's door. Archi opens the door, congratulates Sandr, and dismisses
Ulysses again. Ulysses tromps down the hall, then returns. Sandr says he
figured Archi wouldn't come, but family is family, so have fun all alone.
He leaves. Archi sees Ulysses standing outside and dismisses him yet
Sandr tells Laughter that Archi's a lost cause. Laughter is
concerned about how long it will take to write him out of the spell. It
is suggested that maybe Archi will listen to Fiona. By some strange
coincidence, Archi runs into Fiona shortly afterwards. She assures him
that the spells will hold. Archi thinks going would legitimize Maron's
existence. Fiona points out that they won't be in Amber. For some
reason, Archi agrees to go, although it's hard to say what persuaded him.
Laughter hears the good news and sneaks up behind Archi. He demonstrates
his annoyance by picking her up and spanking her, and is treed for his
troubles. He frees himself, Trumps her, and says it's not over by a long
shot. Then he goes up to the room, and tells her in person that he's
still not pleased, just in case she hadn't figured that out yet.
Melanie talks with Sandr, who's having pre-wedding jitters. She's
not surprised that Archi refused to come.
A Trump is distributed to the attending Amberites. It looks like
a featureless plain. When they go through, they are standing on separate
disks, surrounded by forcefields. The disks also have the effect of
causing those who are angry to feel calmer. The name of the place is
Paxis, and the ceremony is performed by a Rabbi. Benedict, Caitlin,
Bleys, Fiona, Laughter, Archi, Flynn, Sky, Flora, Ulysses, Mok, Melanie,
Maron and Eve attend. A fellow who looks rather like James Bond is there
as well, although he's not standing on a disk. Melanie seems to recognize
him. After the ceremony, those who can get along are invited to the
reception, which means that Archi and Laughter leave. Ulysses, Sky, Mok,
Merlin and Caitlin all stay for the fun.
Archi gets an intelligence report from Cameron, who's missing a
hand. Apparently, all Amberites are to be shot on sight in Chaos.
Six months after the wedding, Sandr trumps Archi. He wants to
call a meeting of the Big Shots of Amber, because he may have a solution
to the multiple Patterns problem. In attendance are Sandr, Fiona,
Dworkin, Archi, Laughter, Ulysses, and Benedict. Sandr explains why he's
called them all together. Synopsis: the Badlands are sucking Shadows into
them, and within 30 years everything will be destroyed. This is bad.
1) Do nothing, and flee to other Patterns.
2) Cut off the Amber Pattern from the others.
3) Destroy other Patterns.
4) "Pave" the Primal Pattern, putting a Black Road through the
center of the Badlands, then redraw the Pattern to erase the Black
Sandr believes that a group rewriting of the Primal Pattern will
work. The general feeling is that the other Patterns must be destroyed in
order for this to work. Sandr does not believe this. He and Archi argue
over whose interests are at stake. Fiona and Sandr are commissioned to
find a solution within a year. Sandr is upset that the Crown is not
heeding his warnings. Laughter and Sandr discuss his kidlet. The group
Sandr returns to the Intellex and discusses the meeting with
Eddie. Eddie says that there's another one out there like Eddie. Sandr's
two year-old daughter, Nadine, pouts that "Green is an ucky color," which
begins an incredibly heartwarming conversation about green poop and
beating up little boys.
Archi discusses the situation with Laughter. She likes the idea
of him redrawing the Pattern not at all. It killed Oberon, after all.
Hmm, maybe they could attune someone else to the Jewel and have them do
it. Like, say, Ulysses. Ulysses is invited to join them in their
quarters for dinner, along with Oriana. Something tastes funny in Archi's
juice, and he suddenly feels like he's had two shots of tequila. He asks
Laughter if she can detect poisons. Nope. He leaves and hides in a
storeroom. Laughter is concerned and Trumps him. Someone left a wreath
of wormwood on his chair. What is wormwood? Something that's used to
make absinthe, a very strong liquor. Archi wants to be left alone until
it wears off. Laughter is concerned. Ulysses tries the juice and gets a
buzz. Laughter takes Oriana away from him. Ulysses asks where Archi is.
Laughter doesn't know. Try using your wedding ring, silly. Oh yeah,
that. She locates Archi's hiding place. Ulysses goes there and offers to
take Archi someplace else. Archi agrees and is brought to a fast time
Shadow where he can't shift, conjure, or Trump anyone but Ulysses.
Ulysses says "See ya, wouldn't want to be ya." and gets punched in the
throat as he Trumps out. Unfortunately, since it's one of Ulysses'
Shadows, it's full of beautiful women. Archi proceeds to rape and pillage
for the three hours it takes for the alcohol to wear off.
Sandr tells Melanie about the meeting in Amber, and that Archi is
planning to destroy the other universes. Melanie brings Maron through to
Intellex and relays what Sandr told her. She suggests that whoever has
the Eye had better keep it under close guard. Maron no longer has it, but
he's planning to separate his universe, once he psyches himself up. He
thinks redrawing his Pattern will do the trick. Eve may help, or stay
with Melanie. Maron leaves. Sandr berates Melanie about not having a
boyfriend, so Melanie leaves as well.
Caitlin, Claudio, Merlin, Mok, and Sky go drinking. Sky
eventually leaves, which gets Merlin rambling drunkenly to Mok and Caitlin
about how Sky doesn't love him. Mok and Caitlin quickly get bored of
this, so Mok shows Caitlin how to work his Mecha, then they go
paintballing. Afterwards, they Trump Ulysses with the idea of White
Castling. Yuck. Ulysses is there, man. The employees all know him by
name. It's sad. The log will not record the rest of this nauseating
Archi comes to himself while raping someone, and departs this
situation pronto. He cleans up and Trumps Ulysses, who opens a gateway
back to Amber for him. Archi fills a bathtub with cold water, sits in it,
and thinks for a while. Laughter Trumps Ulysses and asks where Archi is.
He figures she should know, having the ring and all. Duh. She finds him.
He asks how the absinthe was introduced. Laughter has checked, and it
must have been added after it left the kitchen. Archi decides to conjure
his own meals, from now on. And next time Ulysses sends him somewhere,
make sure it's not populated. Urm.
Laughter Trumps Ulysses, goes through, pulls him aside, and smacks
him on the back of the head. He asks what that was for. For sending her
husband somewhere he could rape and pillage. Oops. Well, it's better
than raping and pillaging in Amber. Laughter admits that this is true.
She wants Ulysses to take her to Kalevala. Why? She wants to find out
why Archi does this, and see if it can be fixed. They'll go after they've
gotten more information out of Archimedes. Ulysses really doesn't want to
be that guy. Laughter stays and eats with them. What to do next? Mok
suggests drinking. Laughter wants to go on a Wild Hunt. Ulysses is not
thrilled about this idea, so they go watch Mortal Kombat, the live action
version. Then everyone Trumps back to Amber.
Laughter crawls back into bed with Archi, humming the Mortal
Kombat theme. Oh, joy. She asks Archi if there's a way to stop the
effect that alcohol has on him. He explains that the pirate personality
chip was overlaid over his own personality for so long, that it became a
part of him. He can usually ignore it, but when he's drunk... Best keep
the cattle prod on hand. Laughter uses her talking bones to determine
that the servant bringing Archi's juice froze momentarily on the way to
their quarters. Archi wonders if Fiona can ward the entire castle from
sorcery. They find Fiona and ask her if she can help restrain Archi's
nastier impulses. Well, she can't remove that part without removing part
of his personality... Archi decides to pass.
Ulysses escort Caitlin back to her room. They chat about
Benedict, and how Brand's death upset him. Ulysses suggests coffee. His
place of hers? Hers, since God knows what might be in his. Like Tianen.
Caitlin keeps hitting on Ulysses. Badly. The conversation turns to
Sandr's wedding, and Caitlin's Ferrari ride with him. She takes off her
weapons belt and mentions that she feels safe. Urm. Ulysses wonders
where that coffee is. Caitlin has "trouble" ringing the cord for the
coffee, so Ulysses pulls it, hard. She turns to face him, and is standing
really close. Ulysses takes a deep breath and runs for the table.
Caitlin thanks him for the lovely dress. He thinks maybe he should go.
The coffee arrives, just in time. Caitlin, subtle as always, tells
Ulysses to pick up the coffee, and kicks over the table. Er. Ulysses
asks why she wants him. Because he's the man, of course. Ulysses can't
get beyond the Benedict's daughter thing. Caitlin sobs in a corner and
asks what she did. Ulysses is doomed. He drags a chair over and comforts
her. She begs him. He suggests she find a Shadow for the night, if it's
that bad. She jumps him and plants a big kiss on him as a last resort.
Nope. He gets the hell out of there, then sinks down the wall outside the
Sylvie walks by and tells him that she's figured out who poisoned
Archi. It was the cultists. She heard them talking down at Bloody
Jake's, down on the waterfront, saying the plan was in effect and the
ingredient was in place. Ulysses wants to interrogate them. Sylvie wants
no part of this. The cultists are crazy, and they're up to no good.
Ulysses wants to find the leader, take him to an isolated Shadow, and
mindrape him. Sylvie thinks they're dangerous, especially for people who
shouldn't be. Besides, they were hooded, so she doesn't know what they
looked like. So there. She goes with Ulysses to Bloody Jake's, but the
cultists are long gone. Sylvie also reveals that the place is warded.
They try to track down the three people whose names were on the petition.
They're not known in Amber, so Sylvie is set to looking for them through
the Golden Circle.
Sandr Trumps Laughter, but she's sleeping, so he tries again
later. He tells her what Maron is up to, and suggests maybe the other
universes can be separated that way too. Hey, she'll pass it along. He
wants to move before a year passes. She assures him that she doesn't
think they will wait that long. He figures that if Maron's plan is sound,
they could redraw the Amber Pattern. Could be. Sandr is pissed that he
researched this for four years, only to be told "Thanks, we'll tell
Ulysses goes looking for the Eye, and after ten hours finds it in
Chaos. He uses the Taormin to determine that House Wickling has it.
Archi works out in the morning, trying to exhaust himself.
Caitlin joins him after a while, along with Benedict's men. Archi feels
tipsy again and Trumps Fiona. She comes through, determines that the
stuff is being conjured into Archi's bloodstream, and blocks it. Despite
this, the stuff continues to get more potent. Fiona moves him to his
quarters, leaves, and bolts the door. A Trump hole opens up underneath
him and he falls unconscious. He wakes up in a forest clearing, tied in a
five-fold knot and suspended from a cross-tree thing. Archi contacts
Laughter, via the ring. Laugher pauses in the midst of hacking apart
dummies and races out of the room. Caitlin follows and asks what she can
do. Find Fiona. Caitlin tries her Trump first, and Fiona comes through.
Laughter explains that Archi's tied up somewhere.
Archi conjures something sharp and tries to cut himself loose.
People in white robes begin filing in. He saws faster. The sun sets
quickly, far faster than it would in Amber. Archi finally frees himself,
falls, and is immobilized by a touch on his shoulder. One of the cultists
reaches for his chest, takes something, and conceals it. Archi feels as
though there's a slight time delay on everything he feels. The cultists
let him go and begin leaving. Archi manages to shoot a few with a
conjured crossbow, before they're all gone. He begins walking.
Fiona gets an psychic impression from Laughter as to where Archi
is, and teleports herself, Laughter and Caitlin there. He tells them what
happened. It is speculated that they were druids sacrificing the king of
the land. Archi doesn't know what they took. They bring him back to
Amber and lock him in his quarters again.
Melanie Trumps Kaedric and goes through to him. They discuss the
progress of the Abigail hunt, and Sand's suggestion that they devise an
identifying mark. Kaedric thinks Abigail is most likely hiding between
the universes, somehow, but he is certain he would know Melanie from
Abigail now. Melanie has a slightly different air about her. Gregory may
be dead, given the war in Chaos. Bertram is still frozen in Melanie's
time spell. Next topic: Delwin. Kaedric thinks he's either in her mind,
Maron's or the Eye. No one else was close enough. Melanie finds this
discomforting. He doesn't think Delwin could control her or Maron, but is
just riding there. How to get him out? Who knows? They discuss why
Kaedric was imitating Balin. Initially he wanted to get Maron to spy on
him, so he could spy on Maron. He also was the blonde woman, supposedly
Ulysses' child, although a blond child could have been Dalt's. Speaking
of whom, Dalt has vanished with Abigail. Kaedric mentions that Archi's
not likely to welcome Melanie back in Amber, unless she apologizes for
disobeying him. An apology doesn't seem likely, especially since Melanie
doesn't think she technically disobeyed Archi. Kaedric tells her that, in
several Shadows, Ulysses and Laughter are lovers, having killed Archi.
Sand has also noticed that Melanie's Shadows are being killed off, but
Melanie isn't concerned. Kaedric verifies that the Badlands do create
creatures from your mind, having learned this the hard way. They aren't
sure how Abigail can survive there.
Kaedric asks how Melanie's nightmares are. She thinks maybe she
should have paid more attention to them. He disagrees, suggesting that
just because her first two relationships ended badly, doesn't mean a third
won't work. She asks how he knew what her nightmare was about. He sensed
it when they were sleeping together. Doh! What are his nightmares of?
Usually of his mother, a prostitute and drug addict who sold him when he
was two, and was murdered shortly thereafter. Sand brought him to Ixaxis,
where she was watching Claudio. Claudio has great potential to be a
sorcerer, if only he'd apply himself. They both think this is unlikely.
Kaedric thinks it's just as well, since it's best for siblings to have
differing interests. Melanie points out that Brand's children didn't: he
emphasized learning sorcery, Trump, and Pattern for all of them. She
doesn't think he was too fond of her shapeshifting, though. Kaedric
thinks Tianen taught her well. Doh! How does he know Tianen is her
mother? Well, he was talking with Sylvie, and she showed him her true
form, which bears a resemblance to Melanie. She asks him if he's told
Sand. No, although if Sand knew, it might help her to tell Melanie apart
from Abigail. There are words that can make a shapeshifter change form.
Melanie asks if he thinks Abigail can shapeshift. Probably not. Melanie
makes to leave, but she'll likely contact him again. For the information,
"Wait, you're going to ask a man who had a plaid Shadow how to dress for a
wedding?" -- Kris to Dwinn
"Look, you're, like, the Chancellor, so go chancel." -- Laughter to
"Dismissed!" -- Archi
"I'm not even in the room!" -- Ulysses
"I wasn't going to tell (Archi) at all, but I figured he'd kill me, or
something." -- Laughter to Sandr
"Absinthe users are known to die young deaths, usually on their second or
third glass." -- Laughter
"Well, I've got one or two to go yet." -- Ulysses
"She's a damn Vestal virgin." -- Merlin
"Now that sounds like a problem." -- Caitlin
"Ulysses, the King wants you!" -- GM
"Everybody wants me." -- Ulysses
"Not that way." -- Archi
"I know why (Archi) does this, but I don't know why." -- Laughter to Ulysses
(Caitlin's) Nicole Kidman." -- Wendi to Dann
"And you are her Batman." -- Merrie to Dann
"I've been here for a year, and talked to many people." -- Caitlin to Ulysses
"And they've all told me you're an easy lay." -- Kris
"Tell me what (the cultists) look like." -- Ulysses
"They were all wearing hooded cloaks. Now what're you going to do, tough
guy?" -- Sylvie
"Do you have any idea what that was about? Maybe I should ask Fiona
that." -- Caitlin to Laugher
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