From Sat Jan  4 11:30:15 1997
Subject: [AM] Mother dearest
Scene: The Main Library
        Zachary sighed.  It had been a busy night, and a much busier 
morning.  Brandi had absorbed all the recent events in Amber with her 
typical nonchalantness.  Not much seemed to faze his slightly older 
cousin.  Surprised, certainly, but she seemed to have an air of 
unconcern as well.  It was understandable, being orphaned as she was, 
her parentage unknown.  She didn't seem to have had a pleasant childhood 
and it left a tinge of bitterness in her.  Not to say that Brandi 
Blackswan wasn't pleasant to be around.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  
Zachary always liked his cousin, more so than many of his other 
relatives.  He wasn't sure why, it just happened that way.  But there 
were times when he had found Brandi bitter and resentful, though she 
rarely took it out on him, and for that he was grateful.  He was quite 
sure he wasn't a match for her strength or swordplay, and even Amberites 
could get drunk for a goodly amount of time.
        She had gone off to rest after their talk the night before.  
Zachary was intrigued to know what had brought her back to Amber, not 
one of her most favourite places to be.  But she only told him a brief 
amount before begging tiredness, and took her leave of him.  He had to 
admit that he had been feeling tired himself, and soon retired to his 
own quarters.  However, instead of heading straight to sleep, he 
remained awake long enough to finish his Trump of Laura.  He hoped that 
she liked his rendition of her.  He sat back and gazed at the Trump, and 
then up to the sketch he had begun of her earlier.  He was sure that he 
had not seen such beauty before, except possibly one place ...
        He sighed then, and went to sleep.  He would have to rise early 
and complete his work.  But even beneath the sheets, he found himself 
lost with his thoughts.  A lot has happened, and he wondered briefly of 
Brandi's sudden appearance.  She did not have a lot of love for Amber, 
but then he couldn't imagine her in cahoots with Dalt.  And yet, the 
thought remained with him til sleep overtook him.
        He had awoken early, and completed his Trumps over a wonderful 
spread of eggs and bacon, complemented with pancakes, syrup, and a 
wonderul strawberry preserve served with his toast.  After breakfast, he 
gathered together the completed Trumps, and called for servants to 
deliver them to those relatives who happened to be at the Castle.  
Stretching, he decided to relax for a while, a nice walk through the 
gardens would do nicely.
Scene: Later that day, in the Library
        Zachary was beginning to wish that Amberites took more time to 
write about their enemies.  The information on Dalt was sorely lacking.  
Merlin's account being the most comprehensive.  He sighed and leaned 
back in his chair.
        The familiar itch of a Trump contact scratched at the back of 
his mind.  "Who is it?"  Zachary asked as an image formed in front of 
him, beautifully long blond hair filling his sights as a smile sparkled 
back at him.
        "Zachary, my dear, so good to see you again."  She smiled a 
breathtaking smile, eyes shimmering brightly.
        "Aunt Flora, what an unexpected surprise."  Zachary smiled.  
"Shall I pull you through?"
        "If you would be so kind."  Flora replied, holding out a 
perfectly manicured hand for him.
        An instant later she stood before him in a shimmering rainbow.  
Flora stood before him, wearing what would have been a simple red gown 
except that on Flora it was radiant.  Zachary quickly pushed such 
inappropriate thoughts away with a blush.
        "Thank you."  She said, then stretched enticingly.  "Oh, it's 
good to be back.  How are you parents?"
        "Just fine, thank you.  It is good to see you again."  And it 
was.  Zachary had felt Corwin did little justice to his sister in his 
books.  But then that may be because Zachary also took the time to 
listen to his aunt.  He knew that there was much more to her than the 
simple fashion plate she seemed.  And seeing Florimel's near glittering 
blond hair proved one thing; it was exactly the same as Laura's.
        "Things quiet as always?"  Flora asked, stepping gracefully 
around the Library, glancing at the titles on the bookshelves.
        "Far from it, actually.  Dalt has made another push against 
Amber.  And we've had a few new Royals show up in the last couple of 
weeks."  Zachary followed his aunt, watching as she descended slowly 
into a plush chair.
        "Oh really?"  She asked.
        Zachary nodded.  "And one I believe will be of particular 
interest to you."
        Flora raised an interested eyebrow.  "Hmm, can't wait to meet 
him them."  She knew better than most that Zachary wouldn't gossip.  If 
he wanted to say something, then he would get to it.  About the only 
thing that you could get him to overindulge in talking about was history.
        Zachary shook his head.  "A she, actually."
        The door opened then, causing both to pause and peer over as 
Laura half-entered the room.  Zachary glanced to Flora, noting a small 
glint of surprise in her eyes.  Laura gasped aloud.  Recognition was 
apparent on both their faces.
        "Hello, Laura."  Flora said softly.
        "Mother!"  Laura exclaimed.
        Zachary rose to his feet.  "You two have much to discuss.  I 
shall see the two of you at dinner."  He said gracefully, walking to the 
        The two women watched him leave in silence, watching as the 
doors closed behind him.  Laura turned back to her mother.  "How could 
you have left me?  Why?"  She asked, fighting back tears that came 
unbidden to her eyes.
        "It's never easy to explain things, Laura, especially if one is 
of Amber."
        "That's not an answer."
        "You are right.  But we shouldn't have chased poor Zachary from 
his Library.  Why do we not take a walk in the gardens."  Flora 
suggested, rising elegantly to her feet.
        "No, I want an answer, now."  Laura demanded.  She was fighting 
between being angry and happy to see her mother.
        "I have centuries on you, daughter, I think I know what's best.  
Now come."  Flora answered, leaving the library.  With little choice, 
Laura followed.
                        *       *       *
        "It wasn't that I was young and scared, or even naive.  No, 
that's in the far past.  I met your father travelling through Shadow.  
Oh, I do so love to travel Shadow.  I hadn't planned on staying any 
length of time, merely to have a sumptuous dinner and then move on.  But 
meeting your father, I had to admit I was struck by him.  And he was 
certainly struck by me.  So I stayed.  I suppose I should have been more 
careful that night, but the night sky was just so beautiful, I was 
overtaken with the wonder and beauty of it all, in more ways than Paul 
could understand.  It wasn't long after than I discovered that I was 
pregnant, with you."  Flora turned and smiled to her daughter.  "You are 
simply beautiful."  She smiled radiantly.
        Laura was silent, listening to her conception.  She didn't want 
to say anything for fear of not hearing anything more.
        Flora resumed their walk.  "So I had stayed even longer.  Paul 
was ever so good to me.  How is your father?"
        Laura swallowed hard.  "He died."
        Flora looked saddened.  "That's too bad, he was quite a 
wonderful man."
        "Yes, he was."  Laura agreed.  She was surprised, and yet not, 
at Flora's apparent lack of concern.
        "Soon after I had you, though, I received contact from one of 
your aunts, Fiona.  I tried to explain that I was indisposed, but the 
matter was most urgent.  King Random had even ordered my return.  I had 
not choice.  I had little idea of how long it would take, or even how 
quickly you would grow while I was in Amber, so I left you my note and 
        "But you could have come back."
        "And then what?  Our story was that I had died, and strangely 
enough, I preferred it that way."
        Laura stopped, aghast.  "Why?  Were you ashamed of me?"
        Flora smiled warmly.  "Of course not, dear."  She took her 
daughter's hand and continued on their walk.  "But I wanted for you to 
have a more normal upbringing.  Paul was a good man, and he could 
certainly take care of you.  And I did come back, watching you from 
afar.  But you seemed so happy as a child, I just couldn't risk ruining 
that happiness for you."
        "And so you left me without a mother, and eventually without a 
father.  He had always said he was going from one set to another, but 
now I can see things more clearly.  I think he was searching for you."
        "Me?"  Flora asked.
        Laura nodded.  "I think he missed you terribly, and he obviously 
knew you weren't dead, or perhaps didn't believe it.  How much did you 
tell him of Amber, or did you just say you wanted time to yourself?"
        Flora turned to Laura.  "There are some things that were between 
your father and myself.  The fact is that you are here now, and 
apparently already well on your way to be a true Royal.  Why don't you 
tell me about what happened.  I am sorry about Paul, but I hadn't seen 
him in so long, feelings tend to drift when apart."
NRPG: I'll stop there.  Hope this is all right, Judi, I wasn't sure how 
Laura would act, but this seemed the most logical to me.  Also, a 
thousand apologies that this took so long, I should have had it done a 
long time ago.  But this or that kept coming up, and clearing up things 
with other groups, etc.
At any rate, here it is, at last.
Matt: Now that you're back from your trip, how about Brandi???? Hmmm?  
Hmm? Huh?? Hmmm?  *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* :)
                           ///          /// 
                           \ //        /  /           
      Christopher           \ ////   _/  /     Zachary, Librarian of
      Ackney                 \_  ////    /     Castle Amber, son to
                              \___/    /       King Random   /         \_      
                             /,)-_(  \_   \     
                             (/   \\ /\\\\         <\
                                   //               >\
                                    '               >/
        "It was a very foul blow, about four