From: Allen Veazey 
Subject: [AM] Time to make a stand

(chamber of the Pattern)

Orbus hunched over, breathing heavily, sweat running over his face and
threatening to drip off his nose. Not far away, the Crown Prince of Amber
stared at him with open shock.

Orbus stood, stretched; he felt much better, although each time he had
walked the Pattern he felt like throwing up.

I made it! he thought. Sure, he had done it before, but it was so
*exhausting* to
do. And the memories, the tricks of his mind, the mental replay of some
of his more idiotic actions, the long dark night under the not-so-subtle
attentions of Jacinth, he could have done without those.

Again, he looked at Zachary, who's face had composed itself. Still, he could
see the desperation in his cousin's eyes.

"What's the matter with you?"

"Weren't you paying attention to yourself when you walked the Pattern? What
you were doing?"

"No, I was a little busy at the time."

"You changed altered yourself over and over in response to the
Veils. Some of your forms weren't very pretty."

"You knew about my heritage. I told you. I would have done that before, had
it not been for Mother."

"I guess I had to see it, for it really to drive home." Zachary squared his
"You trusted me, once. Now you've changed. I know, I know, we all have.
I think I need to know where your loyalties lie."

Orbus laughed. Standing straight, he raised his arms to heaven, his laughter
swelling as his form changed, became a whirling, twisting vortex of
oil, burning with a green eldrich fire.

"Know this, my cousin," his voice boomed. "I have found my heritage.
I have been led through the walks of power by my parents, and have
survived to name them. They both have schemed to bring me to this,
subjecting me to the darkest treachery. Now I possess what they had hoped
for, and I will *not* do their bidding!"

Zachary was undaunted. "But what of Amber?" he yelled.

"Amber," Orbus replied, "has nothing to fear from me. I support her...but I
also support Chaos. I will not pit one against the other. You cannot make me
choose!" he yelled at the Pattern. Sighing, he humanized.
"What do you want of me, Zachary?" he asked. "I have seen them both.
I love them both...the serenity of Amber, the wildness of the Courts. They
both call to me. Even the personalities of those who dwell in them, reversed
as they are. Must I take one above they other?"

"Why should you have to choose now?"

"There are those in Chaos who still plot to overthrow Amber. They tempted
me, Zachary. If they hadn't screwed me, they might have succeeded. That
scares me. Knowing Mother, I have no doubt that the same thing is going
on within Amber herself. That scares me, too; Mother is no pushover.
While we're here playing our old games, forces are aligning against us
that are stronger than ever before. We don't need to be divided!"

"You're not going to get very far standing and talking about it."

"No, you're right. I have a lot of places to go, and people to talk to.
Mother is one of them."

"Takes a lot of balls to stand on the Pattern in a chaos-form."

"We are who we are. I did that to make just that point."

"Is that why you walked the Pattern?"

" A last remnant of my father's treachery had to be removed. This
was the quickest way."

"And now?"

"Now I go to have a little talk. Or maybe, a few of them. I'll be back,
Zachary. When you need me, I will be there. I side with Amber's safety."

"We shall see." Zachary's form faded, replaced by the furniture of
Fiona's room.


Fiona stood framed in the doorway, her small form topped with the
red hair that was her trademark. Size had, of course, nothing to do with
her formidability; she reeked with power.

"What did you mean, insure your safety first?"

"Never waste time, yes Mother?"

"You wasted no time going off on your own. What have you done?"

"I walked the Pattern. Father left a spell lingering about that I wanted
to remove."

"What else did he leave lingering about?"

"I carry both the Pattern and the Logrus within me now, Mother. You could
not stop my birthright. You'll be pleased to know that I have a half-sister
as well."

"Jacinth." Damn, did the woman know everything?

"Something you failed to tell me."

"You did not need to know. I take it you met her?"

"In a matter of speaking, yes. She's out for my blood, of course. I endear
so well to family."

"Laura, for example."


"So, what now? Do you intend to throw everything away for the lure of
Chaos? Amber needs you."

"So does Chaos...but I'm not going to choose sides. Dad and I didn't quite
eye-to-eye on some things."

"Care to explain what those things were?"


"Don't be impertinent, Orbus. Can't you see I want to help you?"

"Maybe some other time, Mother. I have some things to do." Orbus
turned and opened the door to Fiona's apartment.

"I want to talk to you again, Orbus," Fiona said. "Perhaps I can help you
to make that choice, when it comes."

"Perhaps." He left.

Sure you want to help, he thought. Keep me in ignorance all my life, don't
prepare me for what you knew I would have to eventually face, then try
to act helpful when I come through. Typical for this place. He thumbed out
a Trump, concentrated on the scene of the little cabin he had used in
It was time to re-hang some spells...


A quick nap, and Orbus felt refreshed. His head had felt like mush after
of preparation and chanting. He felt heavy with power, both the Pattern
and Logrus signs sparkling with potential spells.

Another Trum, a focusing of concentration, and he stood in the gates of
Amber. Close by, he could see Brandi and Sarah, horsed, with Brandi
concentrating hard on something. He walked up and held Moonghosts's

"Hell of a way to be under house arrest."

"Laura's in trouble," Brandi replied. "I can't reach her anywhere."

"Anywhere?" Orbus' eyebrows shot up. "Not counting one of the Powers,
there's only one place I know of where that can happen. Let's go look."
He pulled himself up on Moonghost behind the redhead, and they began to
gallop towards the gates...