'You're with me now
You will be again
And other points in between'
I stood in Connie's small sparse bedchamber at the Church, leaning against the wall near the door. My head was starting to hurt as my brother, my cousins and I frantically tossed about ideas on how to save Random from the headsman's axe.
It had been one of the longest days of my life. Still, in between puzzling over what we were supposed to do here, my mind kept wandering to the current whereabouts and state of a certain red-headed rogue...
And I found my thoughts turning that way even now. We were supposed to have gone house-hunting today, I suddenly remembered wistfully as I dragged my attention back to the arguments, which now had Locke casually explaining that we could just kill the guards around Random.
I bit back a retort, having learned that my cousin and I don't see eye to eye on his cavelier attitude about the lives of those around us. Butting heads with him on that now would just distract us from forming a coherent plan that wouldn't require those deaths.
Fortunately, I was about to get some surprise backing...
Connie and Locke were "discussing" the feasability of of a small strike force to rescue our king (for that is how I still, and always shall, think of him), when a small flare of light appeared int he center of the room. Locke and I both went for our swords, but by then the light was coalescing into a familiar hunchbacked shape...
Earlier that day...
Our trip to Ygg only confirmed what Connie had told me earlier, and after some discussion, we decided to split up and research our current predicament. Dworkin had said this had been foretold; maybe there was something written somewhere that might give us the clues we needed to figure out what the hell we were supposed to do to fix all this.
Locke still wanted to try replanting Ygg right away, but I was leery about that. We didn't even know what Ygg did, let alone if a simple relanting would replace it.
As it ended up, Connie and I trumped back to Amber with my brother, who quickly bade us farewell and wandered off. I was about to suggest we go to the library when Connie said, "I want to go talk to Juno."
Juno, it turned out was the Royal Treasurer, whom Connie had been working with. Unfortunately, it seems Juno's job security had vanished with the coup. He'd been replaced.
So we did end up in the library, and after gathering a few books, I suggested we find somewhere less obvious to do our research. I really wasn't looking foreward to explaining to some aunt or uncle just why we were reading books on Ygg, prophesy and the like. My room was closer, so we settled down there.
I must admit, while I am a creature of action, the one thing that can keep me happily settled in one place for any length of time is a book. Research satisfies that small, yet rabid, scolarly part of me, and this was a research problem to put mot others to shame.
Of course, the Amber library was a hodgepodge of texts with no real indexing (and I suddenly wished for the neat, ordered work of the brothers at the Jaggonath cathedral library), but we found a few things of interest, mostly on Ygg.
The theories differed on the details of how, but all agreed on Ygg as a boundary between Order and Chaos, and that without Ygg, the two Primal forces would, mix, or collide or whatever, with assumedly detrimental effects.
I also stared at Psalm 23 for almost an hour, but I still could make no real conncetion between it and what was going on. I would have dismissed it entirely, but that was what Dworkin had been quoting while he skecthed the symbol off of Locke's door...
We weren't getting anywhere else, though, so I slammed the books shut, which caught Connie's attention.. "Let's try the Church."
Elistan greeted us with a reserve I have never seen in the man. And when I requested his silence, he gave me a long look. "Are things not as well at the castle as I was led to believe?"
I shrugged non-comitally. "It was a shock, let's say." Then I realized that of all the people in Amber right now, Elistan was probably one of the few we could trust. I hoped. "I do not wish to endanger you, or the Church."
He seemed somewhat surprised by that. "I thank you for your concern, but we will be all right."
God, I hoped so. So we showed him the drawing of Dworkin's etching, and he thought it looked familiar, though he couldn't place it. We left him to his ruminations, and spent a few more hours pouring over texts. It was during that time we think we figured out what was happening. Maybe, if the theories about Ygg were correct, the resultant intermingling of Chaos and Order after Ygg fell was causing all this - enhancing, or even creating traits and tendancies in people. It would explain Dad's increased bitterness. Merlin though, was the oddity; but since he was already a product of the two poles of reality, then maybe he wouldn't be affected?
We didn't get much further before Simon Trumped...
Holding my breath slightly, I watched Simon and Locke's reactions, but if either realized that Darien shouldn't be able to get out there, neither showed it. Damn. I was going to have to figure some way to keep Connie quiet on that subject before he blows Darien's cover. Of course, if my brother is going to be a moron, maybe it would serve him right.
So I stepped away, and pulled out the sketch of Darien. It animated, and sure enough, he was at the Rose Pattern. "Sister," he looked faintly surprised.
I wasn't in the mood for any of his evasiveness, so I got right to the point. "What are you up to, big brother?"
And sure enough, there was that sly smile. "Something."
I tempered the urge to try and reach through the Trump and throttle him, but he wasn't forthcoming. So neither was I. I didn't tell him much more than was already obvious, just enough to try and figure out where he stood. "I may be making the biggest mistake of my life in spelling all this out to you...."
A flash of something I can only describe as sinister crossed his face and vanished as quickly as it had come.
I wasn't sure how to take that, and quickly ended the conversation.
Dinner was a ghastly parody of a family gathering. The more I saw, the more I'm convinced that my earlier theory is close to the truth... I left as soon as it was feasible, but not before Gerard annouced that Random would be executed on the morrow.
Damn, damn, damn. We have to stop that.
I stewed about the entire way up to Dad's room, and had worked myself into a nice state, which wasn't helped by his sharp tone when I knocked on his door. "Who is it?"
The door opened. "Oh."
I stepped past him. "I thought I'd bring you some dinner."
"I would have gotten something eventually," he sounded, well sullen. "How are you?"
I set the plate down on his desk. "All things considered..." I shrugged, though the gesture was lost on him. "So, where do you stand?" Nothing like blunt honesty.
"It's obvious where you stand," he commented dryly, neatly evading my question. So then, time to drop the bombshell.
I sat on the edge of the bed, chewing on my lower lip. "They're going to execute Random tomorrow."
He was quiet for a moment. "Damn. Though I guess I can see why."
Wrong answer, Dad. "We can't let this happen," I said quietly.
That's when things started to go downhill.
"What do you want me to do? I'm blind!" he threw up his hands. "Should I take my sword and try and best the likes of Julian and Caine as I am now?"
The bitter resignation in his voice triggered all the frustration I'd been feeling since I woke up in Dworkin's cave. "Is a sword all there is to it?" I snapped. "What about standing up for what you believe!"
"Oh, and just how do you plan to defeat them?" He inquired with a edge of dark sarcasm.
Suddenly all the anger was gone. "Faith," I said simply as I turned on my heel, and left him standing there, speechless.
Faith. It echoed in my head as Dworkin solidified and pinned us each with a dark glare. "No one else must die!" he bellowed.
"All right, old man," Locke suddenly stepped foreward. "If you don't want anyone esle to die, we need more than your vague inconsistencies."
Dworkin's eyes practically bugged out of his head. "You want more? Go there!" He flung an arm toward the window, where out in the light of the moon, hung the Tir.
And then he was gone.