From  Sun Jul 14 15:55:52 1996
Subject: Re: AMBER: Ryan's Arrival
York, 13-- AD
"Ryan!, your left lad, Watch It!"
"Damn!" Swore Ryan Fitzgerald as he side-stepped the English foot man, 
and helped him on his way with his axe. The Ending to the siege of York 
was at hand, with only a few stragglers left. Ryan watched Sir William 
Wallace, the Defender of All Scotland, as he was passing out orders. 
Ryan dispatched 2 more footmen as he fought to position with William. 
"Well fought, Ryan. You're becoming death on legs!" Wallace clasped him 
on the back and smiled. Ryan relished the attention. Growing up in the 
cloister of St. Marks-o're-Loch, Ryan had received little enough. The 
Abbot, though a kind man, had little attention to pay a boy, and some of 
the others, well perhaps they were too attentive. Ryan was shaken from 
his revere by Angus, his clansman.
"Wake up, lad, there's still much to do!" Angus was a huge man, and even 
though Ryan could beat him arm wrestling, Angus was by far the stronger 
of the two, Ryan could only out last him. Angus broke left down an 
embankment toward a group of fleeing footman, his Kilt flying. Ryan 
stooped and picked up the Crossbow, which had been a "gift" from a 
Burgundian at one of William Wallace's other Triumphs. Aiming carefully, 
Ryan led the lead pikeman just so....And shot. The desired effect was 
realized. The pikeman toppled, causing mayhem among the others. of the 
Dozen men in the Fleeing troop, three were dead,.impaled on their own or 
a comrades weapons, and four others were injured beyond helping. Ryan 
stood on the hill and watched Angus cleave and hack his way through them 
like so much spring butter. Ryan laughed at the site, giving himself 
enough time to be caught off guard. The English assassin had been among 
the trees, and had lain in wait for his moment, for William Wallace.
"Death to Wallace" The assassin screamed as he stepped from the forest, 
dagger raised. Ryan dropped to one knee, his hand going up his sleeve to 
find his "special". In the flash of an instant, six inches of metal, 
sharp enough to cut the Princess's silk, was buried in the eye of the 
assassin. The Assassin screamed and flipped back, dead before his 
screams carried to the ears of Ryan and Wallace.
Wallace looked over to notice Ryan Handy work. "Again well done Ryan. 
Well done!" 
"Thank you William." Ryan blushed purple under the watchful eye of 
William Wallace.
"Needn't be bashful, lad. You've done a man's work here this day, As 
have we ALL!" Wallace's words were greeted with cheers and resounding 
repeats and accolades among the gathered army.
Ryan watched from his guard post. The men of the army were having a 
houlie, and dancing to the pipes brought for the occasion. The honoring 
of the battle dead was important, Important to Wallace, important to the 
men, and important to Ryan. The only thought that nagged at Ryan was 
that these men were a means to an end, and even though he was sad at 
their passing, he could not bring himself to tears. They had Known 
before hand what was expected, as had he. They had died, he had lived, 
so be it. Ryan busied himself with his hobby. The "special" worked the 
wood, as Ryan's hand made the nicks and gouges. Ryan was known from St. 
Mark's to the Highlands as a maker of toys. It was his hobby, to take a 
piece of wood, and shape it into something to catch a wee one's eye. 
Mira, William's wife, had painted some of his carvings, using the dyes 
and plants of the land, before an English Baron killed her at the post. 
Ryan cocked his ear, and smiled
"Ryan..You poor, dumb bastard..I've brought you some Drink!" Angus 
belched as he sat down by Ryan. Ryan smiled, took the drink, and set the 
wood and his knife aside. "You making this for Maive?" Angus asked as he 
looked at the doll.
"Aye Angus, 'tis Maive's 6th harvest. And I promised her on St. 
Stephen's Day I'd make her one."
"Aye Lad you did. I've a question though."
"And that would be Angus?"
"Why don't you give up this warring, and make things with your hands? 
You're a creator not a killer. 'thou I'd be hard pressed these last few 
months to call you anything but!"
Ryan smiled, "Why thank you Angus." in the midst of the talking, Ryan 
had Picked up the doll again, and had worked the arms and legs into the 
sockets he had carved. "And here, Angus, is Maive's Doll!" Ryan 
presented the small piece of work to his clansman.
"Tis a beauty, Ryan a true beauty!"
Ryan blushed, then his head came up, a new scent on the wind. "Down 
Angus!" Ryan flipped the "special" in his hand and readied for a throw.
"Hold, Ryan Fitzgerald"
"Father Abbot?" Ryan peered through the darkness
"Indeed Lad, indeed, though I'm a deposed Abbot now, just making my way 
as a hermit." The former Abbot of St. Mark's came and sat with them.
"Well I'll be taking my leave, Father, Ryan" Angus rose, unsteadily to 
his feet, and began to walk away. 
"Leaving on my account, Angus?" The former abbot asked after the man.
"Yes, Father, I am. My tongue is too loose, and I fear what I might 
say." Angus Raised his hand to Ryan, "Take care, Ryan, and thanks for 
the Gift! Maive will love it!"
Ryan waved to the giant, and returned to his unexpected guest. "So what 
brings you to me Father?"
" was left with you, when we found you on the steps of the 
Abbey" The former Abbot produced a black oblong box. "I fear it may be 
of Satan, Ryan, but I could not allow Michael and those hooligans to get 
there hands on it!" The Former Abbot hissed the last through clenched 
teeth that told Ryan volumes. The Abbot never spoke in such a manner 
unless he was very upset.
"Yes Father, I'll be careful." Ryan was filled with curiosity at the 
box, then the priest handed over the key.
"Go with God  boy" The former abbot turned mendicant blessed Ryan and 
turned on his way. Disappearing into the night. Ryan looked at the key, 
gold, with a stone set in the open end of the Key.
"Amber" muttered Ryan as he fingered the key and marveled at it's 
workmanship. By torch light, Ryan adjusted his great sword, axe and 
dirk. his "special" was tucked back under his sleeve, in it's waxed 
sheath. Ryan addressed the box before him. He placed the key in the lock 
and turned it. As he opened the box he saw a letter, and some cards.
The letter, faded, was written in a strong hand, in Latin,
      My Son
              My Hope is that you find this gift well
              We have much to discuss, but first, you 
              must come home. To Amber.
              Look to the Trumps for answers
                              Your Father,
Ryan looked at the cards, and realized they were Cards like none he'd 
seen. The artwork was vibrant, almost life like, and like a prayer at 
Compline, Ryan kept repeating, Amber.....Amber......Amber.
And something happened.
"Welcome, Ryan, I am Zachary of Amber"