From Wed Jan 15 20:05:19 1997
Subject: AM Brandi (FINALLY!!)
        Things were predictably quiet in the little village of Aum 
Leth.  Brandi walked down the middle of the street, seemingly at ease, 
absently rolling a rounded stone across the backs of her quick fingers.  
She appeared to be daydreaming, but the way her other hand casually hung 
near the hilt of her scimitar and her cursory glances at her 
surroundings, absorbing every important detail in a heartbeat, betrayed 
her to the knowing eye as an experienced and capable adventurer.
        She opened the creaking door of the butcher's shop, allowing her 
eyes to adjust to the dim interior as she stepped in.  Geril was 
sharpening a cleaver with a whetstone, a picture perfect stereotype of a 
man of his trade.
        "Morning, Geril," said Brandi, and flashed him a winning smile.
        "Morning," he replied, his usual sullen self.  He stared at her 
for a moment.  "Same thing?"
        Geril never wasted words nor time.  Brandi liked that about 
him.  He was a lot like Benedict, she thought, though she didn't know 
who Benedict was at this point in her life.
        "Yes.  And, Master Drokk has been in the mood for some beef 
lately, so I thought I'd add a pair of cows... to my usual list."  The 
drums in the distance were becoming a little distracting.  Why did they 
persist so? she wondered, tossing her long red hair back from her 
        "Very well," responded the butcher, a bit uncomfortably.
        "Don't be such a miser," Brandi laughed.  "Besides, its better 
this way than having him steal them from the fields, burning your homes 
and scaring you and your neighbours to death."
        Geril nodded once.  Though the people of Aum Leth benefited from 
their new relationship with Master Drokk, they were having a hard time 
getting used to trading with him rather than fearing him.  This was why 
Brandi was the one who usually came to town to do the bartering.  
Besides, all the livestock (and the villagers, too) would flee in terror 
if an elder dragon came to town for market day.
        Geril gestured towards her.  She hadn't heard what he said.  
"What?" she asked, barely hearing her voice over the pounding of the 
drums.  They were really loud now, and the ground was shaking in time to 
them.  The darkness of the shop's corners took on a sudden, malevolent 
life, and moved in conjunction with the beating.
        She stumbled outside, suddenly desperate for air, and stumbled 
to the ground.  The entire world was shaking, crumbling around her.  The 
drums were flaying at her ears- all she could hear was their incessant 
DOON! DOON! DOON!.  Jagged cracks of mad darkness ripped through the 
ground, the mountainside, the air itself, stabbing the sun.  The world 
itself was collapsing in on itself.  She tried to stand, to flee, but 
was thrown violently about.  The earth itself was pounding itself into 
her head, DOON! DOON! DOON! as the darkness enclosed itself around her...
        Brandi woke with a jerk, staring wildly around her, pressed in 
by the darkness reaching for her, the tilting ground and the now 
receding drums.  A faint sloshing sound could be heard now; her mind 
latched onto it, as a mountain goat grabs on to the tiniest of footholds 
to keep it from breaking away into the icy chasm below.
        Slowly her surroundings took on a more comfortable form.  The 
encompassing darkness defined itself again, shadows contrasting each 
other: her quarters on the Heart of the Sunrise.  The crazed tilting of 
the earth in her dream became the rocking of a ship at sea, and the 
incessant drumming in her head became the savage beating of her own 
heart, slowing even now.
        Brandi ran her hands through her thick hair.  She was shaking 
and sweating. The sheets were twined and crumpled.  There was no hope of 
getting back to sleep, she knew, so she got up and washed her face in 
the tub of water in the corner.  She dressed, strapped on her scimitars- 
The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea- and proceeded topside.
        It was windy and pouring solid sheets of rain.  A big storm.  
She made her way carefully across the tilting deck to the helm.  The 
helmsman, a big Marhaultian with braided blond hair, assured her 
everything was clear, so she returned to her quarters.
        It was a nightmare, obviously.  Like none she'd ever had before, 
no doubt about that.  But it had sprouted from one of her memories- Aum 
Leth, Geril, and the great wyrm Drokk, who had been her mentor, were 
real.  What was the significance?
        Because the dominant feature of the dream was the incredible 
/power\ that coursed through it.  That power was in many ways more real 
than the subject of her memory.  It was no ordinary dream.  That sense 
of incredible power came from outside of herself, but her own blood had 
responded to it.  There was only one place for such power.
        Brandi marched down the narrow passageway and banged on a 
door.  "Eanon!" she shouted. Her first mate, dark hair tousled but eyes 
alert, answered the door a moment later.  "Yes, Captain?"
        "I have to leave soon, and I don't know when I'll be back.  
You're in charge now.  Get the shipment to the Dorovinians as we 
planned, and do as you wish from there.  Remember the High Chosen's 
bounty- don't let the Sunrise get caught.  I'll find you when I return."
        "Aye, Captain," he answered.  He was used to Brandi's sudden and 
mysterious departures and returns, and didn't question the fact that she 
was about to disappear off a ship in the middle of the ocean in a 
storm.  Sometimes a sorceress' reputation precedes her.
        Later the same day, Brandi found herself in her room.  Most of 
the day had been spent planning with her crew and getting herself 
ready.  She had chosen a white furled silk blouse, black silk pants, and 
high red leather boots to match the flame of her hair.  Now, it was time 
to go.  She pulled out her Trumps, thumbed through them thoughtfully, 
and after some deliberation focused on one.  The image phased into three 
dimensions, and became alive.
        "Who is it?" said a handsome voice, cautiously.
        "Hi, Zachary, its Brandi.  Can I come through?"
        "Of course," said Zachary, and held out his hand.  Moments 
later, Brandi found herself in library of Castle Amber, her familial home.
        "Good to see you again," smiled Brandi.  It was true; Zachary 
was the only one of her relatives that she was actually glad to see.  
And he was probably the best one to talk to about the dream.  She sat 
down in a comfortable couch, her leg curled under her, as Zachary 
returned to the seat he had previously occupied.
        "Likewise," he replied.  "What brings you back to Amber?"
        "The storm was annoying, the High Chosen of Tarthon has 
quadrupled his bounty on me and my ship, and that damn halfling is a 
better cook than I am."  She leaned forward.  "And I=92ve got a bad 
feeling.  Is there something happening in Amber, something I should know 
        "As a matter of fact, there is."  Zachary filled her in on the 
recent events- Dalt's apparent attack on the Unicorn, and the 
destruction of the shadow She and Karina had been in seconds after their 
escape by some unknown power.  Things were beginning to fit together in 
a way Brandi didn't like.
        "Zachary, I had a... dream this morning.  It may fit in to what 
you've told me."
        "Oh?"  He leaned forward attentively, blue eyes seeming to look 
right into her.
        "I was thinking about... actually, reliving an event in my past 
in Shadow. Nothing significant, but it did actually happen.  Suddenly, 
the whole world began to disintegrate, but it wasn't me that was doing 
it, it was something else, something /imposing\ itself on my dream.  Or 
on my memory.  I spent a lot of time in that Shadow..." her voice 
trailed off and a stab of cold apprehension stuck in her stomach.
        "Brandi?  What is it?" asked Zachary.
        "Hold on a second," she said.  She closed her eyes and focused 
her will. The image of the Pattern came to her, and she sent her mind 
out through Shadow.  She coursed through dimensions, looking, searching 
for a familiar presence.  Using her memory as a guide, she came to...
        She had been looking for a Shadow she had not been to in may 
years, and found nothing.  Instead of Devil=92s Rook, Winter Crescent 
Vale, Aum Leth, and the great wyrm Drokk, there was a seething 
.  Her nightmare made heavy, horrible sense now.
        "The Shadow that was destroyed," said Brandi in a flat voice, "I 
used to live there.  It was a special place. "  Tears threatened to show 
themselves, but she ruthlessly pushed them back down.
        "Hm.  Your psychic connection to that shadow may explain your 
dream," Zachary mused.  "Its destruction may well have triggered your 
episode.  That raises some fascinating questions; I=92ll have to look 
into it some more. There are some books in our library that may give 
some sort of explanation, but I=92m not sure.  I=92ll have to read 
through them again.  Interesting."
        Zachary stopped his ruminations and looked at Brandi, certain 
that she was not listening.  She was looking somewhere behind him, 
though what she really saw he could not guess.  Her glare added to the 
intensity of her mismatched eyes, deep pools of mystery and passion.  
One booted foot swung slightly above the carpet.  Abruptly she stood, 
and walked over to the easel positioned near a window facing Mt. Kolvir.
        "It's been a while since you've been in contact with Amber, and 
there are some recent additions to our family."  Zachary had followed 
her across the room silently.  "This is Laura, from Shadow Earth.  I'm 
working on her Trump."
        Though it was still unfinished, the magic of Trump had already 
infused it with a life.  Laura was beautiful, the kind of beauty that 
sneaks up on you when your guard is down rather than knock you over all 
at once.  Finely chiseled features, an athletic but definitely female 
figure, and a cascade of blonde hair that shimmered almost silver.  
Brandi knew it was all natural, too.  And Laura was evidently taller 
than Brandi was.  Once she would have been jealous of that fact alone, 
but taller women happened just a bit too frequently for her to maintain 
a good grudge.
        "She's a heartbreaker, no doubt about that," said Brandi.
        "Do I detect a hint of jealousy?" asked Zachary, amusement clear 
in his icy blues.
        Brandi responded with doe eyes, a bite of the lip and a finger 
twirling her hair.  "I guess not," Zachary laughed.
        Brandi's mood turned serious again.  "Zachary, do you believe in 
        "I'm an Amberite.  There is no such thing as coincidence."
        "I thought so too.  I assume that the Unicorn had a reason to be 
in one of my old haunts.  And whoever destroyed that shadow also knew of 
my relationship with it."  She looked up at Kolvir=92s summit for a long 
moment. "If you find anything in your search, please tell me 
immediately.  I'd help, but you know your way better around this room 
than I do," she smiled apologetically.
        "Yes, it's something I'd better take on by myself.  I'd 
appreciate calling on you for more questions when I have them."
        "Sure.  I'm going to get settled in then."  She excused herself 
from Zachary's presence and left the library.
        As soon as the library's doors closed her black mood descended 
in full. She fairly stomped her way down the corridors, arriving finally 
to her room on the second floor.  She entered cautiously; when she was 
sure she was alone, her defenses dropped and the flood of tears she had 
been holding back burst forth.
        She had not been entirely honest with Zachary.  Yes, she had 
lived in Devil's Rook.  But it wasn't just a favourite place to go.  She 
was born in Devil's Rook.  She grew up there.  It was as close as she 
had ever come to calling a place home.  And now her home had been 
destroyed, by another petty conflict of the Amberites she was 
unfortunate enough to call her family.
        She nearly stumbled into the low table beside the couch of her 
anteroom, toppling one of the stone shent pieces from the finely 
detailed playing board.  She stared at the game for a second.  Shent was 
an amazingly intricate game that took years to learn; a single game 
could easily last for years.  The object was not to win quickly or 
decisively, but to explore the different permutations and possibilities 
that each move uncovered.  This particular game had been going on for 
seventy years, and it was Master Drokk's move.
        Quick as lightning she swept The Devil in a blazing red arc and 
smashed the scimitar into the table, smashing the dark wood and sending 
the shent pieces flying.  The shent board itself had been fractured into 
several shards, just like the world in her dream.  No, it wasn=92t a 
dream.  It had actually happened.
        The shent pieces descended to the floor as if in slow motion.  
As she watched them fall, a resolution formed itself in her heart.
        "You, who did this.  You will pay," she swore softly.
        Zachary looked out the window.  Brandi had certainly given him 
some interesting information.  Her emotional tie to the destroyed shadow 
must have been much deeper than she was letting on for it to affect her 
so.  Ever since he had known her she had never been able to hide her 
emotions well; she was learning, but her intense feelings still showed.
        She was probably correct in assuming that the Unicorn knew about 
her tie to that shadow, and it was safe to assume the same about the 
Unicorn's attacker.  Why was the Unicorn there?  How did the attacker 
find her?  Did the shadow itself have something to do with it?  Perhaps 
the attacker had some sort of connection with Brandi.  If so, Brandi 
suddenly became a suspect in the attack- willingly or unwillingly.  Was 
the Unicorn looking for her?  Or the attacker?  Or both?
        "Oh, what a tangled web we weave," he quoted Shakespeare- in its 
original Klingon- and turned to the meagre stack of books he had 
collected.  Time to get to work.
Sorry to everyone for the horrid lateness of my post.  I've had a pile 
of work and I'm new to this email roleplaying, and it's taken me a while 
to figure out what to do.  But once I got started, Brandi took over, and 
hopefully the result fits with what we're doing in Amber.  Before I 
didn't know where to start, now I've got too many ideas for my first 
post. Hopefully this will give Chris some avenues to continue.
Judi:  Brani definitely wants to meet Laura, too.  I'm sure it will be 
Jason: Brandi thinks Julianna is a dork. Hee hee.