A Bride for Merlin
Session XXV, 22 December 2000
A Lord of Chaos stands in the Cave of the Logrus for the second time, having completed the higher initiation. Oddly enough he does not remember anything more than this as he contemplates the exit. There is a troop of soldiers waiting, and the commander looks relieved to see this man, and greets him as "Your Grace".
The commander offers a robe to replace the Lordís tattered clothing, and asks, "Shall we go?"
The Lord replies, "Certainly."
He is brought to a well-appointed chamber, and is greeted by a well-dressed nobleman who greets him, "Nephew."
"Uncle," the Lord replies.
"Are you well?"
"Yes," the Lord lies.
The Nobleman nods his head in acknowledgement. "Much has transpired during your absence. We need to get you up to speed."
The Lord is offered a seat, and a glass of cognac. Through the eyes of the Logrus, he sees there is no deliberate poison in the proffered drink.
A briefing begins. someone named Felara has returned from a journey, apparently one ordered by this Lord, and has information on someone named Gracian and someone else named Seonaid. In summary, this Seonaid person seems to be the illegitimate daughter of King Merlin and Julia Barnes, apparently stolen away by Jasra, who entrusted the baby to Ellionis Minobee, who then entrusted the baby to Anakara (who seems to be this Lordís sister).
Felara also discovered that this Gracian person is actually Merlinís elder brother, fathered by Corwin during his exile in a place named Shadow Earth. Gracian has been abiding in the vicinity of Corwinís Pattern.
This word, "Pattern", fills the Lord with a feeling of menace, antithetical to his very being.
"Well, what do you suggest we do now?"
"You may want updates from your own personal agents, and make your plans accordingly. And then we can decide how to best make use of your foster niece."
"My trials in the Logrus have tired me greatly, and I shall retire and sleep a while. When I awake, please have my library on advanced Logrus available so that I may compare my experiences. In the meantime, have a servant show me to my quarters."
"Tela and Kor will resume their duties as your bodyguards." Tela is a woman, and Kor seems to be a mobile patch of darkness. They wait for this Lord to lead the way.
The Lord then feigns passing out. He leaves himself enough consciousness to detect any attack upon himself. As soon as he collapses, an alarm is sounded and medical attention rushes in, followed by the Nobleman, who orders the Lord taken to his quarters to recover.
Instruments are applied to the Lordís person, instruments that begin to integrate themselves into his body. They begin to monitor his physiology, and immediately report that he is actually awake.
He seems to come to, and orders the people and the devices out of his room. They leave, except for the Nobleman, who asks for an explanation. The Lord says only that he is tired, which is only just sufficient to placate the Nobleman enough to gain the Lord some momentary privacy.
The Lord sleeps, indeed rather exhausted after all.
Racing across Shadow are two wolves and a lynx. At the horizon are some blue hills they are rapidly approaching. One wolf recognizes this as a scene from a picture she has seen. As they approach the cliff they notice a giant blue sphinx, which forbids them passage until they answer a riddle.
"Halt, you may not pass until a riddle is answered!" the sphinx bellows. Keliith shifts into human form.
"Fine. Whatís blue and red and flat as a pancake?" he replies. Audrey-Manette shifts to human form as well, looking peeved.
"No, Iím supposed to ask the riddle!" the sphinx replies. Keliith quick-draws his blaster and fires, and about three cubic meters of cliff disappear beneath the sphinxís left paw.
"Like I was saying, whatís blue and red and flat as a pancake?"
"Um, I donít know."
"You, if you insist on tangling with one Lord and two Ladies of Chaos." Meanwhile, the lynx sits in the back licking her paws.
The sphinx looks at them, counts aloud how many there are, and waves them a cheery goodbye.
Having been dismissed, they shift back and race for the blue hills. As they approach, Seonaid realizes that she may recognize what powers Keliith uses; it seems to be a Pattern. They noticed a boulder that has crashed from the top of the hill. Keliith shifts to human form, Audrey-Manette shifts to human, but Seonaid stays lynx. Both Keliith and Audrey-Manette start to climb.
At the top, they find a sinkhole leading down into a cave. Keliith produces a rope and a flashlight, and says, "I figure this may be a place heís hiding out. It blocks Trumps, Pattern, and Logrus. I think Merlin may have been trapped here a few years ago."
Seonaid makes a sly comment on why he didnít just walk out the front like they walked in, and Keliith says the boulder was blocking the way. Of course, you also canít walk out the front, you have to climb a ladder to go up the hole. Seonaid stays up top, and lets the other two go down. Keliith uses something to fuse the rope to the wall, and shimmies down the rope. As Audrey-Manette decides what to do, Keliith calls for a first aid kit.
Audrey-Manette takes the first aid kit down to Keliith. She gives it to Keliith and he helps the unconscious, bleeding man. Audrey-Manette peers over his shoulder to see who it is, and gasps at seeing Luke. Seonaid calls down to see who it is.
"I think your concert may be delayed." Audrey-Manette calls up.
"Why is that? . . ."
"The king has been shot."
Seonaid seems worried, but decides to stay at the top of the cave. She puts up Logrus View and sees that there are old corpses laying around. Loose, spent cartidge shells are lying around, too. A couple of those shells are outside the cave, near a bloodstain which actually slides into the hole. She realizes they are a large caliber for a handgun. ]Luke seems to have been the person sliding down the hole and leaving the blood trail. She spreads her vision and sees that nothing is threatening.
"Do you need help getting him out?" she calls down.
"I donít know, do we?" Audrey-Manette asked. Keliith says heíll rig up the rope, and theyíll hoist him up that way.
"Weíll stay down here in case he falls, just pull up the rope." Keliith calls. Keliith holds the rope for Audrey-Manette, and she thanks him as she goes up.
Soon, they both join Seonaid at the top of the hill.
"Well, you wanted to find him." Keliith said.
"And so we did." Seonaid said.
"Letís go." Keliith pulls out a Trump. (Seonaid notices itís of Kashfa.)
They appear in an alley in the Market in Jidrash, the capital of Kashfa.
"You know, itíd be bad to walk in through the Market carrying their bleeding King. . ." Keliith says.
Seonaid uses Logrus to go into the kingís chambers. Sheís surprised itís so easy. All four show up, and thereís another Luke. He looks surprised.
"Oh, you found him! Great! Put him over there." He points to the bed. Seonaid looks skeptical but Keliith says itís okay. She puts Luke on the bed. The other Luke says to call him Rinaldo.
"By the way, who are you?" Rinaldo asks them.
"By the way, is that a decanter of brandy?" Keliith asks. Keliith serves Seonaid and Audrey-Manette, and asks Rinaldo if he wants any. "Iím Lord Kaltoson. This is Lady Seonaid; I believe you may have heard of her."
"Yes, actually, I have. . ."
"And my other friend is Lady Sawall."
"Fine . . . What are you doing with my other?" Rinaldo asks hesitantly.
"You may want to send for a medic." Keliith replies, motioning to Luke. Rinaldo calls for medical aid. The medic is not surprised to see two Lukes, takes care of wounded Luke, and then is dismissed when he says heís done all he can. Then Rinaldo waits for all of them to explain.
"Werenít you going to discuss something with him?" Keliith asks Seonaid quietly.
"Yeah, but not him. What is he? . . ."
"Remember the Corwin ghost? Heís the same."
"Oh. So now what do I say. . . ?"
"Itís okay, you werenít briefed."
Seonaid asks Rinaldo if he knew what Luke was about to do. Seonaid tells Rinaldo that the ghost of Brand tried to kill her awhile a go, and how they didnít leave on the best of terms. She was going to apologize when she found him. Rinaldo asks where she found him, but neither her nor Keliith give a straight answer. Seonaid says theyíll just wait for him to wake up.
Rinaldo offers them a place to stay for the time being. Audrey-Manette had been watching over Luke, but the servants come and show them to their chambers. The girls share one suite while Keliith gets another. Seonaid and Audrey-Manette die of happiness finding out that theyíre going to be pampered completely, with a huge bath and mostly modern plumbing.
Meanwhile, in Shandorways. . .
Shandor is in his laboratory, assimilating the information he got from his recent forays into Shadow. He has learned evil stuff. He theorizes that the mage had used the world itself as his soul keeper. He finds nothing that really helps him, even though he finds he could actually use his Ways to hold his soul. He finds nothing profound, but a few minor details that might help. No one will help him because they seem to think heís using it for evil ways.
("Shandor's willingly walking down the dark path." -Gloating GM/Franklin;
"'Dark path'? Iíve already got that paved into a four-lane highway." ĖFlark/Tom)
Shandor finds that he didnít find what he was specifically looking for. He theorizes that he could connect two peoples to each other. He finds no clean way to separate them. . . Itíd be tricky. Heíd have to practice.
He thinks back on things, about Brand and the melting ninjas. Although it was the spontaneous combusting ninjas that went after Seonaid, and no one ever found out who was behind those.
Shandor realizes he has been studying for quite some time and decides to go get something to eat.
He learns that Flark has returned from the Cave of the Logrus, and decides to go visit, but only after he eats enough to fill him up. However, then he starts to feel really sleepy. . . He realizes that itís been a long time since he both slept and ate. So he goes and sleeps in the fast-time areas of his Ways.
Quite some time later, which was really only a short time later, he wakes up and cleans up, going to visit Flark. He goes to visit his sister first.
Madeline the maid (bodyguard) welcomes him. Alana hugs him and asks why heíd been away for so long, and he says he has lost track of time.
"I even forgot to eat and sleep, if it makes you feel any better."
"Actually, no it doesnít that you forgot to take care of yourself. You need me around. In other news, Merlin has declared a crusade against Brandís Pattern with the help of Prince Benedict of Amber."
"He knows where it is?"
"Yes, he does. Cousin Despil told me. Also, Iíve heard that Prince Bleys and Princess Fiona are here, but they do not seem to be very happy."
"Any ways on how to destroy it?" he asks. Sheís heard many dangerous and said ways, including sacrificing Luke. Shandor thinks, "Thatís too bad," but doesnít say it. He asks if there are any other ways, and she says they could loan Luke the Jewel of Judgment to make his own. Shandor wants to see them drop Primal Chaos on it, but she says that Suhuy said whoever did that would spontaneously combust. Shandor ponders of any Lords of Chaos he does not like. . .
"How large is the army?"
"Hendrake was the first of mobilize, no surprise. Helgram has not fully mobilized, for whatever reason. Minobee has mostly mobilized. Chanicut and Jesby are only partially mobilized. Amblerash and Barimen, their small forces, are fully mobilized. So far as I know, Sawall has not mobilized at all."
"You havenít heard why, have you?"
"No, I donít. I havenít heard from Cousin Despil in a while. Longer than I hadnít heard from you."
Shandor contemplates that she is naïve, and does not realize things donít work the way they should. He thinks he may just have to check with Despil about that.
"Anything else happened that I should know about?"
"No, itís been very boring otherwise." she tells him.
"Boring is safe." he tells her. They quip at each other about sister and brotherly things in a caring way. They hug good bye and the maid escorts him out. He proceeds to where Despil should be. He finds that Despil is indisposed, seeing to the mobilization of the forces of Sawall.
Shandor asks the aide why no one had mobilized early, and he finds that in the time of peace, they did not keep forces ready, and are now embarrassed about that. (Shandor realizes this is a crock.) The aide asks Shandor not to repeat what he heard here.
From there to the Jesby suites, where things are much more mobilized. He is hailed by the Captain, welcoming him and taking him to the Duke.
The amnesiac Lord of Chaos wakes up hungry, and is given a lovely, non-poisoned breakfast. Once refreshed, the female bodyguard, Tela, tells him his books are in the study. He asks her to bring them here, and she asks if he is okay. He says not really, but declines medical help for the reason of not wanted to be prodded.
Tela leaves and the servants start bringing books after books after books. He knows how read and remembers a lot of the things in the books. He searches to find out why he has amnesia. It may be his form of insanity from doing the Logrus. Time is a cure he finds out, and itís extremely rare for anything to be permanent. However, before he gets any further, a servant says that someone is here to met him. The Lord of Chaos says to take him to a meeting room, and he will meet them there.
The servant escorts Shandor to a parlor, explaining that the Duke is not quite well. He shows Shandor to a parlor, and Duke Flark enters soon afterward, followed by his bodyguards. Shandor recognizes Kor.
"Flark, good to see you again. How are you feeling?"
"Not bad, a little under the weather." Meanwhile, he thinks, "Good, my name is Flark."
"So, whatís news?" Flark asks.
Shandor assumes that Flark knows about the mobilizing of forces. Shandor remembers that also the ghost of Brand has been reported, as well.
"Well, other than the mobilization of most of Chaosís forces, not much has happened."
"Well, I suppose thatíll be enough. So what brings you by?"
"I was wondering how you felt after taking the Logrus. We all get something strange, what happened to you?"
"Oh, I saw these midgets, but itís getting better." Flark replies. Shandorís slightly taken back by this but doesnít really say anything.
"Well, I guess itís better than loosing an arm or a leg or something. . . " He mentions something about Brandís ghost, and ask if Flarkís heard anything. Flark does not respond, really.
"So, are you going to take part in the military actions?"
"I donít know, Iím not really one of the houses warriors. Maybe in another front. How are your troops?"
"Seems to be progressing enough."
"Thatís really all I came to check on. Anything else you want me to check on?"
"Just the unusual, I suppose. The noteworthy."
"Unusual and noteworthy. Will do."
They part on good terms. As the servant escorts him out, Shandor asks if Baron Laan is about. The servant takes him to him, to his study. They greet, and Shandor takes a seat in some sort of bean-bag chair. They have a small drink of a very fine brandy that tastes to be two, maybe three, centuries old.
"How is Flark doing?" Shandor asks.
"If he is suffering anything, he has not let me know."
"He seems more evasive than normal, which worries me."
"Well, we all have our secrets."
"Yes, yes we do. He mentioned something about midgets, and though I wouldnít put it past the Logrus. . . Perhaps itís a waste of time."
"Allow me to say, showing true concern for oneís friends is never a waste."
"I suppose so. Please, keep an eye on him."
"Of course. Other than being my sovereign lord, he is my nephew."
Shandor finishes off the brandy, says it is good, and Laan says heíll send him a bottle. Shandor is escorted out and decides to think over things in his ways.
Flark requests to Tela to see his uncle. He confides in his uncle.
"Iím not entirely feeling recovered. Is it possible I could go to a fast-time to catch up?"
"Are you all right?"
"Shandor mentioned midgets. Is there anything else?"
"I canít remember anything."
"That would be a problem."
"I think that going into fast-time would be the best idea."
"Weíll have to continue the safe keepings you set before you took the Logrus. You left me and my niece Felara acting as your regent. In an effort to keep Feng under control, you signed a warrant for his execution, but left it undated. Thatís proven to have been unnecessary. The Trumps you had done, and used by Felara, have been successful in curtailing his traitorous ways. As for your memory, I would suggest vigorous exercises of the Logrus."
"Wonít that be noticeable?"
"Yes but it would be expected of one who has achieved the power you have."
"What do you suggest?"
"The type that strengthen inward."
"Also, I understand weíre soon to be at war."
"We are at war." Laan says.
"Will I be able to lead troops?"
"If you hadnít been tired from the Logrus. You are assumed to be some what incapacitated."
"Iíd like to keep up the illusion of my incapacity."
"With your permission, Iíll spread the rumor of midgets."
Flark goes off and mind-rapes himself. (Sorry for not being able to put it in any other way.)
Meanwhile, back in Kashfa, in Seonaid and Audrey-Manetteís suite, after two baths and a lot of napping, it is time for dinner. Keliith is collected and the three are escorted to the dining room. With room for sixty, it is set for Rinaldo, Coral, a second lady similar to Coral, and the three. Keliith is at one end, with Audrey-Manette to his right and Seonaid at his left. Nayda and Coral are to Rinaldoís left and right respectively. Dinner is served, good food.
Keliith asks after Luke, and they are told he shall recover. Everybody dances around other non-topics, something Keliith seems to have a good deal of practice with. Rinaldo asks "Lady Sawall" about things, and Audrey-Manette answers about school and her travels with Seonaid.
Keliithís line of questioning seems to be leaning toward discovering how economically well-developed Kashfa is.
Audrey-Manette asks Nada about her travels. She hasnít traveled much lately, mentioning that things have been restful.
Dessert is Crepe Suzette. After supper they are shown to their rooms, Keliith kisses Audrey-Manetteís hand and Seonaidís cheek, and wishes them pleasant dreams. Seonaid asks after things Keliith promised to tell them, and he asks to come in.
The three go into the girlís sitting room, and Audrey-Manette and Seonaid prepare wards using energy from the Keep of the Four Worlds. Keliith explains that the secret of the blue crystal cave is considered a "family secrets" of the regime in Kashfa, and that possession of the Keep of the Four Worlds is a "family treasure". It would not be good to have them know that we were in on their business. They may consider it a threat.
Seonaid asks if all of the wards they just put up might be a screaming beacon to the latter fact. He blanches, and tells them to take them down once he leaves the room, that way they will come after him instead of them if they did notice them, thinking him responsible.
Keliith mentions sleeping elsewhere, and notes that Seonaid has, as a Lady of Chaos, other means of defense at her disposal.
The wards come down and Keliith leaves for the evening. Audrey-Manette mentions the slant in Keliithís questioning at dinner. Seonaid chalks it up to intelligence gathering.
They discuss matters and go to sleep after setting some Logrus wards.
The Lord of Chaos, "Flark", seems to feel a connection with this name. "Laan" seems to strike a welcome chord within his foggy memory. "Feng" seems a dangerous person who is not entirely untrustworthy anymore, perhaps. His bodyguards "Tela" and "Kor" are trustworthy, as is "Tlon". He seems fond of this "Shandor," who has been his friend for many years.
He appraises Houses of Chaos. He is the Duke of the Most Important House in all of Chaos, Jesby.
Sawall is a threat. Shandor (of House Sawall) is an extremely apolitical Chaosian. "Mandor" reeks of danger and of opportunity. Mandor is a puppet-master. Despil is an opportunist. Merlin, the King, is both an obstacle and a useful ally. Technically, Flark owes him, even though Merlin sits in a throne that should have belonged to Flarkís late father.
Hendrake. . . never get on their bad side. They are completely trustworthy as long as you donít violate their code of honor. If honorable in dealings with Hendrake, youíll be fine.
Jendo, Duke of Helgram, was an ally of Feng. Jendo and Despil are at odds with one another. Jendo is supposedly a tool of "The Emerald Lady" (Clarissa, the dowager queen in exile of Amber, and mother of Fiona, Bleys, and Brand). She has been placed in protective custody under Benedictís protection. Benedict is the finest swordsman in existence. Fiona and Bleys are worthy of contempt, having made a pact with Helgram and then betraying them.
Chanicut is a rival and a strong ally. Amblerash and Barimen; not a threat but not to be underestimated either.
Going over reports from his agents, he identifies "Keliith", his heir. For some time he has had secret open access to Duke Minobee at all times. Flark asks Baron Laan about this, which surprises the Baron. Flark asks about the succession, if Keliith is an agent. Laan feels this depends on Keliithís feelings. Keliith is supposed to be under the Black Watch, but he was never found, for whatever reason, and is at large. Jurt Sawall, Despilís heir, also has never been placed under the Black Watch. He also has not been found and has not been seen in Chaos for quite some time.
Felara is recently returned from Shadow Earth. Another report explains that her research, through the interrogation of Agent OíSullivan, indicates that "Seonaid" is really the daughter of Merlin and "Julia Barnes-Sawall", which would place her in the line of succession if Merlin were to acknowledge her as heir. As far as can be told, Jasra, Juliaís teacher, kept the pregnancy secret. Merlin is certain to know now. Laan has no advice on if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Flarkís interests.
Flark considers leaving Thelbane during the war. He is told he could travel, accompanied by the Black Watch, to accompany his forces. There is no sign the Black Watch will be lifted anytime soon. Flark muses over Merlinís intent in such matters. Laan suggests Merlin may have forgotten the imposition this represents.
Flark begins preparations to lead his forces in the field, and arranges a small command for Feng, using this as a chance to test his loyalty. If circumstances warrant, Feng can "die for the glory of Jesby." Laan doesnít think this will arise while under the observation of the Black Watch.
For Seonaid, Jendo kept insisting that Seonaid was Flarkís foster niece. She was placed with Kalto Minobee, to be as far away from Merlin as possible and still within control. Jendo kept her under observation and shared this with Despil and Feng. Despil, seeing her as a threat, attempted to have her assassinated multiple times, unsuccessfully.
Seonaid has recently visited Minobee, only to disappear again. She has not been contacted directly since Flark last spoke to her (before he went into the Logrus). She was less than forthcoming, but Flark discovered certain pieces of information, prompting him to order Felaraís expidition.
Seonaid is aware of her true heritage, and has made Julia aware. There has been a confrontation between Julia and Jasra, the results of which are unknown to Felaraís sources.
Shandor has acquired some of this information, but he has been ordered by the King to keep silent. Felara confirmed he had access to some of this through trickery, but was unable to discover the extent of his knowledge.
Laan suggests preparing to support the war effort, but is unconvinced this would give Flark much greater freedom of mobility, as an honor guard of the Black Watch would accompany him.
The King is in Thelbane. His strategy is not public, and his plans for Brandís pattern are not known. Laan believes Merlin doesnít have a strategy in this regard. One option is the sacrifice of one of the Kingís dearest friends, voluntary or otherwise. The action is expected to be fatal, either through his demise, or through complications of retracing a Pattern.
Flark contemplates a set of cards, which he feels are a means of communication. Rather than using the card, he instead sends a Logrus tendril to Shandor.
Shandor senses a tendril at his wards, and discovers it is Flark. Shandor accepts the connection, but by extending his own tendril outside of Shandorways.
Flark apologizes about his curtness during their prior meeting. Shandor gets a mental image of midgets dancing about him in Flarkís mind, and decides he should keep the contact tentative, in case they are contagious.
"Itís been a while since Iíve heard anything terribly substantial," Flark begins, "I was wondering if any of the business you are about requires my assistance."
"Would you be able to get out of Thelbane?"
"No, but I could lend assistance. I may be able to leave soon, but only on a military venture."
Shandor admits studies in necromancy. He inquires about things in Flarkís library that might help. Flark knows this to be "evil, dark magic," but doesnít care and offers access to the Jesby libraries. (Shandor has used these before, they pale in comparison to his sources. Shandorís surface thoughts are rather dismissive of the offer.)
Shandor asks after Keliith. "Itís been awhile, but last I saw he was with Seonaid, Audrey-Manette, and Fendrith. Audrey-Manette is a cousin of mine whoís been accompanying Seonaid recently."
Flark tries to contact Seonaid, but cannot do this by Logrus. He doesnít want to reveal the existence of the secret trumps, and doesnít pursue this.
Flark sends word to the King that he would like to meet him, and the same to Anakara and Kalto for another meeting.
A restful. peaceful night passes in Kashfa.
Seonaid answers Keliithís knock in a towel, busy with a third visit to the palatial bath. He suggests having breakfast sent up and Seonaid accepts immediately. He mentions going horseback riding, and will check in with them at lunchtime. Eventually servants arrive to serve breakfast in the bath and turn the room.
Seonaid and Audrey-Manette discuss possible plans, and are interrupted by Keliith, who brings word that Luke is conscious. He suggests a visit, and offers an arm to each of the girls.
Approaching Lukeís door, he knocks and immediately walks in. "Hi there, I thought weíd give you a chance to thank us for saving your life."
Seonaid is shocked and shouts, "Keliith!" looking aghast.
Audrey-Manette says, "Glad to see you up and about," to Luke.
"Good to be up."
Seonaid looks worried, and Luke says, "Thank you."
"Unlike our companion, we werenít trying to be rude."
Keliith says, "I understand you like plain upfront speech."
"There are times where that is useful."
Audrey-Manette waxes patriotic, "I see a great threat has been brought before your country, if you tell us who it was we will try to avenge you."
"It was Jurt who shot me. He was trapped in a place he should never have been, and happened to have a firearm and shot me."
Audrey-Manette and Seonaid bumble a bit about how they found him, and admit they were following Keliith.
"How did you find me?" Luke asks.
"Iím just that good," Keliith replies.
"Why were you trying to find me?"
Seonaid answers, "I didnít think our previous meeting went as well as it could, and I was trying to find you, and you couldnít be found."
Luke admits, "I felt from what you told me Random would be out to kill me."
Seonaid explains that Merlin made quite clear this an unacceptable option, and that Random seemed to acquiesce.
Luke considers. "So whatís the alternative?"
"We donít have one."
Audrey-Manette says, "That someone could rewrite the Pattern."
"Itís been suggested that someone could, if Random were to loan them the Jewel, or do it himself. Well, the latter probably wonít work since itís Brandís Pattern, and that brings us back to you again."
Luke mocks Plan B. Seonaid dissembles about the unviable Plan C, dropping Primal Chaos on the Pattern, and in passing mentions the massing of the forces of Chaos at Merlinís direction.
Luke mocks Merlinís intentions, the King that was to bring an end to assassination and war.
Seonaid mentions the rash of assassinations, and the confinement of the Dukes and Duchesses to Thelbane under the Black Watch.
Keliith asks, "Assuming you were given the chance, would you retrace your Fatherís Pattern to prevent your Fatherís ghost from going after Seonaid anymore, if that were the only way of preserving your Fatherís legacy."
"Considering the alternatives, I donít have much of a choice."
Keliith mentions, "I have some connections, some people who could help. Basically, I can ask Suhuy to talk to Dworkin to loan you the Jewel."
Eyes move to Keliith and back to Luke. "How confident are you about that?"
"If I wasnít confident, I wouldnít have said it." Keliith confidently replies.
"Do you know where this Pattern is?"
"Yes, Iíve been there."
Both girls try not to react to this, and defer to Luke.
Luke indicates his support of this plan, and asks for time to recover. Seonaid offers access to Anakaraís fast time shadow, and takes him there.
Audrey-Manette and Keliith return to her chambers in Kashfa, and then she transports him and Keliith to the Keep via teleportation.
Keliith excuses himself to return to Chaos to meet with Suhuy. Audrey-Manette offers him a trump of hers. Asking for a kiss for luck, he receives a kiss on the cheek.
Audrey-Manette trumps Luke, and compliments him on his bravery, and wishes him good luck. He accepts graciously, and seems genuinely touched.
She checks over the Keep.
Keliith returns, and says that Suhuy did agree to his terms. He no longer has the ring, Audrey-Manette notices. Seonaid asks if Merlin has been informed. Keliith says no, and offers to go along with Seonaid to inform him.
Seonaid trumps Merlin. "We have some news for you, Keliith and I. May we come through?"
"Yes, bring him along."
They arrive. Keliith removes his sword, and drops to one knee, saying, "My Liege, I have returned."
Merlin replies, "You have news?"
Seonaid replies, "Weíve met with Luke, and heís lent his support to redrawing the Pattern with the Jewel. Keliith has traded a favor with Suhuy, and Suhuy will talk to Dworkin about obtaining the Jewel for this purpose."
Keliith elaborates, "Suhuy will ask Dworkin to hand the Jewel to Luke when we are on site to redraw the Pattern."
"And youíll be ready for this when I launch our military diversion?"
"Yes, my Liege," Keliith answers.
"Yes," Seonaid says in unison, then follows with "My Liege," a heartbeat behind.
Merlin says, "No, I am not your Liege, I am your father, though I have not had the opportunity to publicly acknowledge that yet."
Seonaid looks a little overwhelmed, "Y-you intend to?"
"I will if you want it of me. But I will keep silent if you want it, as well. I was never given the chance."
"N-no. . . I n-never thought it was . . . ", she stumbles.
"I know what it is like to grow up without one of oneís parents."
Keliith excuses himself, sending a thought to Seonaid, "I love you too, Big Sister."
Seonaid continues, ". . .I-I should stay tonight. . . I think we have a lot to talk about."