Over The Five Years, 113-118 PPF
Session 1.7 Index Session 2.1
- At Tristan's urging, Random finally formalises the succession to the throne of Amber. Flora is declared the heir. Gerard looks relived that he wasn't chosen. Ibrahim is next in line after her, but of course Flora can adjust the order of succession if she comes to the throne.
- Esmée goes to pieces, but is rescued.
WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK POST-JUBILEE:
- A guard tells Damien that Vigilant, Llewella's Pattern sword, is missing from the Armoury with no signs of a break-in. Damien decides that Llewella must have decided not to wait, but lets Random know anyway.
WITHIN THE FIRST MONTH POST-JUBILEE:
- Damien finds out the background to the attack on Bleys. His minions in the anti-Bleys campaign are quite eager to report on this topic, if only, it seems, to cover their own backsides. It seems that the main leaders of the campaign fell ill (though it has since turned out that they were poisoned) and the person upon whom the leadership then fell, Roberto Fulleri (a very low-ranking member of House Fulleri) convinced the hot-headed elements of the campaign that now was the time to Strike, while Bleys was distracted with the evacuation, regardless of what Damien had said. So off they went to have a go. And died. Damien suspects Caine.
- Tristan goes to Chever to check what Caine did there. He finds that all the cities of Chever have been neatly destroyed, crumbled and turned to dust, by technomagical 'atom bombs', killing all the demon lords too, but leaving the countryside intact. The populace still seem to be worshipping the CfV, but are not trying to build themselves back to a war footing at present, simply to cope with the loss of their industrial base and government, and having themselves knocked a considerable number of rungs down the technological tree. Tristan makes sure their next few harvests will be good ones, then tells the rest of us, then gets drunk. Damien gets drunk with him because he needs it.
- Damien gets Tristan to Trump him and they have a talk over the ruins of the shadow hospital destroyed by Martian War Machines. This conversation includes talk about Bleys, when Damien tells him the full story of what happened between Bleys and his mother. Tristan makes it likely the Martian war machine attacks have caused the shadow to unite under a benevolent government to fight the off-world threat, making the attacks a blessing is disguise.
- Damien returns to Medmenham, and notices nothing amiss.
- Evander dies being separated from the host body he had been put in (a guard named Randor) by Fiona. Apparently she did not ask Caine to help in this. Randor (who still looks like Evander, externally) is allowed to go off on a long period of leave.
- Damien holds a memorial service for Lady Ranghell, Evander, and Chaos as a civilisation. Caine, Brand, Ibrahim, Benedict, Random and Vialle attend. Damien repeats what he said about Chaos at the family gathering. He pronounces a eulogy to Ranghell - she was a lot better than the others, showed signs of being able to change, but in the end could not. He also speaks at length regarding Evander. Ibrahim also says a few words on the subject of respecting their code of honour. He disagrees with what they did, but respects their reasons. No-one else speaks. It is a solemn occasion.
- Tristan and Damien Trump to the Abyss, where they scatter the ashes of the CfV and Lady Ranghell into the Abyss.
- Ibrahim goes off on an intensive 'parenting skills' course in shadow(s) where collective crèche raising of children is the cultural norm. He also finds some exceptionally able people in the course of this research who he brings back to Amber. He and Altair spend the most time learning from these people.
- Damien and others have conversations with Brand about the life-force problem. When asked Brand says the spikes he made in the land of the dead will not help the Beloved Zombies - they provide a substitute for ones own life force; they do not replace it. Damien also shows him the faux Shining Trapezohedron and they talk about that, too.
- Tristan has Brand, Bleys and Fiona all examine Isobel to see if there is anything which can be done now to restore her. There does not seem to be. That being the case, he heads off into shadow looking for some way of curing Isobel. He does this actively, i.e. he turns up in shadows and invests huge amounts of wealth obtained elsewhere to set up medical research centres, magic schools, healing circles and so forth which will pay huge wages to the best and brightest practitioners (to attract them to join), buy the best equipment and so on. He does this kind of thing in a variety of different shadows: high magic, high tech, high both, 'faith curing' shadows, shifting towards shadows where there is abundant healing energy around. He then uses the Pattern to magnify these changes throughout shadow, making more likely that this kind of thing will happen everywhere. To stop the economies of his research shadows from going to the wall, he makes it probable that what he sees as bad governments in these shadows are toppled by much more benevolent regimes with the result that they become more wealthy and prosperous and that other counties cut back on military spending because of the reduced threat. A kind of Golden Age effect, again using the Pattern to magnify these changes throughout shadow...
That done, Tristan volunteers his body for Brand's use, resigns as Lord Legislator, and the research begins. Tristan lets Caine put Brand's spirit into his body, on a time-sharing basis, so that Brand can have access to his full powers to assist the various researches he is involved in (taking various precautions, such as telling the King, and of course Caine). Brand studies life force problems, newly borns, pregnant women, the dying, things growing and the like.
- Brand pays for a pamphleteering and poster campaign over Amber and the whole of the Golden Circle. The pamphlets read:
- "Make the most of these days. I - and others - have seen what happens when we die. It does not get any better than this. After this, there is nothing. We have seen it. Do you? There is no sin. No hell for our bastards to burn in. No heaven for our saints. No great punishment in the next life for the killers and rapists. Nothing. So, if nothing else, live. It is the only important thing."
This causes some ructions with the Church of the Unicorn, but nothing too bad; the Church is a very inclusive faith.
- Brand examines the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble trapping Beltaine and Owen.
- Brand, Deirdre and Tamarind travel to the fortress on the edge of the Abyss where the Chaos Power (the 'Impossagon' as it becomes known) is housed. There they initiate themselves into it. It doesn't take them long.
- Altair starts sneaking in Damien's room and replacing his sheet music with sea shanties - carefully transcribed renditions of dirty and silly sea-shanties including, but not limited to:
- "The Good Ship Venus" (that's the polite title, anyway)
- "She Was Only A Fisherman's Daughter"
- "The Crabs of Tsoruzumi"
- "A Belaying Pin Has A Knob On The End"
and so forth...
Damien catches Altair in the act. They have a falling out.
- Esmée starts spending time in Castle Arden with Julian.
- After discovering that Dr Mesmer was one of Tristan's escapees, shapeshifted, he checks out the body of Kalen Clemens, also murdered by ninjas recently. And it turns out that he was shapeshifted too. However, it has been too long for Tristan to tell who it was had been made into Kalen.
- Esmée prefers to let her lost bits die off; Damien burns them for her. Tamarind keeps his. Although technically they have Esmée's life force in them she shows no desire for their return. Tamarind keeps them in a fishtank of nutrient solution.
- Damien shows Brand, Deirdre and Fiona around the Museum. They seem quite impressed.
THE END OF THE FIRST MONTH POST-JUBILEE:
- The Museum Amber Museum of Arts and Antiquities burns down very late at night, taking some of the buildings around it with it. By the time the fire burns itself out only the gates, the vast carved pillars that supported the frontage and the most fire-resistant of the exhibits survive. The Mummy survives, but as a charred skeleton. Josephus is found to have been inside when the fire started. It looks like he had a stroke or heart attack, fell, and set off the fire. Tamarind is upset at the burning down of his galleries in the Museum, but more concerned about whether anyone was hurt. Vialle likewise. "Only the people who died," responds Damien. Damien begins works on rescuing exhibits and designing a new museum. He sets about rebuilding after raising money off in shadow, buying up the surrounding properties which were affected by the fire as he does so. He has trouble with the workers, and fires and subsidence delay the work, as does the high rate of accidents. A number of workers fall of the scaffolding and die. It is as if the site is haunted or cursed in some way. But Damien perseveres and eventually it is completed. However, the new design is very different to the old - scattered buildings in gardens with underground storerooms and workshops so it would be very hard for a fire like this to happen again. The New Museum is finished by the end of the five years.
ONE TO TWO MONTHS POST-JUBILEE:
- Some mopping up of remaining CfV fleets and the like is done.
- Bleys abducts Damien for a 'chat'. This does not go as well as Bleys seems to have hoped it might...
Damien tells everyone about Bleys' ability to grab people out of the Castle; his interest in spreading the news is mainly 'how do we counteract it, and I really want everyone to know Bleys can do this.' Apart from Tamarind who is not available, and cannot be Trumped. Tristan examines where Bleys 'disappeared' Damien. There is no shadow trail per se, but there are traces and he can see roughly how it was done even if he cannot, currently, do it himself. Tristan goes and asks Bleys, who gives more details and says it only works with people who are very close, shadow-wise. When Ibrahim goes to see Random regarding Bleys' 'abducting to shadow' abilities Random says he is resigned to being bottom of the heap among his siblings in terms of power. It is not news to him. Ibrahim notes that it is something he did not think possible.
- After the confrontation with Bleys, Damien spreads the rumour/fact that Bleys raped his mother in a black magical ritual. The anti-Bleys campaign continues. So does the pro-Bleys one.
- Altair starts seriously avoiding Damien; perhaps this is something to do with Altair's suggested alternative interpretation of Bleys' actions, which gets very short shrift from Damien. She goes off after his revelation about Bleys and ignores Damien when he Trumps her (she takes the call, glares, then drops the contact, which Damien can do nothing to stop).
- Tamarind is out of contact at this point, working on a plan to contact Beltaine and Owen.
- Tristan looks for a guardian creature for each of the next generation. He does indeed find six guardian creatures in shadow, one for each of the six nippers. They are each an extraordinary creature in their own shadow, with their own names and personalities, fit and strong and fast and hard to hurt, intelligent (though they do not speak) and hard to sneak up on. Especially by Julian. Tristan hopes. The creatures are:
- BELISARIA - a griffin from a shadow where a young griffin was born at the site of a Rolemaster-like Earthnode just at the precise time that all twelve planets in the system came into alignment in the griffin's astrological birth sign.
- RACHSIEL - a horse from a shadow where a religious order had been conducting a breeding program for many generations with the aim of producing one perfect horse which would then, conveniently, protect a Lord of the Universe.
- SALCILIA - a small dragon from a world of huge lava pools surrounded by cooling fields of rock where dragons roost in large caves. Salcilia is the first born of the two rulers of the dragon clans.
- SENSENYA - a cat from an ancient Egyptian type shadow where it was at the (unexpected) occult centre of a huge network of pyramids just as the capstone was put into place on the final pyramid.
- TAGARIA - a hound from a Celtic shadow which lapped up the blood of a dying Celtic hero, absorbing some of his essence (not the barking mad bits, however!).
- UDRIEL - a falcon from a pastoral and quiet world. It was struck by lightning when still in its egg.
In all cases the creature (and its parents if relevant) realise that they have been granted these powers as part of a higher purpose that they must fulfil. For example, Salcilia's parents are proud when Tristan turns up to take the young dragon away as opposed to trying to burn him to death for kidnapping their son...
- Lady Alana Ashlurian is appointed Tristan's successor to the post of Lord Legislator. She turns out to be quite progressive too.
TWO TO THREE MONTHS POST-JUBILEE:
- Caine checks the parentage of the 132 foetuses, and discovers that there are two of every possible combination of Martin, Esmée, Caleb, Margot, Damien, Altair, Ibrahim, Tristan, Tamarind, Hania, Prava and Aximia, one boy and one girl. Precisely how this was done - making them in the first place, or telling parentage by touch (as Caine does it) - remains a mystery.
Tristan moves all the nippers to a fast-time shadow, and they are born from their tanks within three months (Amber time) of the jubilee. The six nippers who will form the first batch to be raised are randomly selected in a draw carried out next to the Pattern (to avoid people manipulating the outcome via their powers). Only those who wish to know, know whose they are (Ibrahim and Tamarind do not; Tristan, Altair, Damien, Margot and Caine do). The six nippers are:
- ANGELIQUE. Her guardian creature is the falcon, Udriel. She has straight black hair, dark eyes, high cheekbones and is gorgeous as a child.
- BEATRICE. Her guardian creature is the cat, Sensenya. She is pretty with dark hair, blue eyes and pale skin.
- CARL. His guardian creature is the hound, Tagaria. He is short and muscular with dark hair, pale skin and very dark blue eyes.
- ELEANOR. Her guardian creature is the horse, Rachsiel. She has swirling red-pupilled eyes (the patterns of which change slowly with time), pale skin, blonde hair, a thin build, pointed fingernails, and pronounced canine teeth. She is the clumsiest and least healthy of the six nippers. She wants to be good at drawing but seems to have no talent for it whatsoever, which frustrates her a lot.
- LUTHER. His guardian creature is the mini-dragon, Salcilia. He has black hair in a widows peak and swirling brown eyes the patterns of which change slowly with time. His fingernails are slightly claw-like and his canine teeth slightly pronounced (both of these are less so than in the case of Eleanor). His build seems average. He gets on particularly well with Salcilia.
- OCTAVIUS. His guardian creature is the griffin, Belisaria. He is very handsome with dark hair, blue eyes, and an average build. He is very good at drawing and artistic things from an early age.
The parentage of the nippers is available if people want to see it.
At Ibrahim's suggestion, the other 126 nippers are put into magical stasis by him and Damien (this is done after they are born to avoid problems with clashing techno-magical and stasis magics). Isobel is put into the same stasis.
Tamarind is not involved in the communal parenting, at least not at first. He keeps his distance. Instead, he spends quite a lot of time talking to Brand...
The nippers are initially raised together in dormitory-style accommodation with a big playroom/living room. They seem happy enough being brought up together. It seems that what Ibrahim and Altair learnt from the shadows where children are normally raised this way, and the people they brought back, helps a lot. Their guardian creatures never leave their sides and get on well enough. Angelique turns out to be the fastest, strongest and prettiest. Eleanor is the slowest and clumsiest. They are all OK children.
- The nippers are introduced to the elders who did not seem to hate the very idea of them earlier. Gerard is brought round to liking them. Altair tells the nippers he is good to climb on. Random and Vialle occasionally come to play with them. Bleys, Caine and Flora also play with nippers every so often, and Fiona once or twice. They do not seem to like her. They show no ill effects from Damien's presence. As of yet.
- Tamarind goes to see Brand/Tristan. He wants to forge Soulstone-like stuff into a Trump in Tir-Na Nog'th, then use it to try and contact Beltaine and Owen. Most of the ensuing discussion is over Tristan's head. A lot of it is over Tamarind's head too, but he goes off and plans anyway.
- Tamarind takes to singing, since there aren't that many instruments one can play with only one hand.
THREE TO FOUR MONTHS POST-JUBILEE:
- As part of his Plan, Tamarind goes to the edge of the Abyss using one of his own super-Trumps and looks for the portal into Chaos (using one of his other Trumps). He finds it, and can activate it as before. Everything inside seems to be lapidified. The portal just seems to lead to an infinite loop, as before. The angles are calling out to him as they did last time. Tamarind contemplates the angles in the way Tristan did, and although this method is not at all pleasant, it seems to work, and he reaches a portal which looks like the one we used before, only of solid grey rock, not glowing white light. He works on it for a week and cannot penetrate further.
- A general expedition to Chaos occurs to check the place out as we said we would. We want to go, and Random wants us to go. We discover Tamarind already there (we bump into him on the edge of the Abyss) and he Trumps us to the lapidified portal leading (hopefully) into the entry tetrahedron. Tristan makes it probable that Tamarind's work has not been in vain. Ibrahim and Altair find and widen the crack Tamarind made. Beyond is a winding, organic looking tunnel of the same grey stone. After several hundred metres there is a tetrahedral space like the area where we met the Gatekeeper the last time. It feels very, very old and very, very dead. There are no signs of any living things.
We go inside. The portal out to the concourse area is now a long twisting passageway which, after a hundred metres or so, has not led us to the concourse. We Trump to one of the alveoli chambers. Damien uses a Hellfire spell into the middle of the concourse to give us some light. We enter the heart chamber. It is dark and full of skeletons. Sound seems to die away unnaturally fast, and there are no echoes. In front of the entrance are two piles of ossified organs with, between and before them the skeleton of King Merodach. There are no skeletons which are obviously demons. Even Tristan cannot make it probable that a demon appears.
Tamarind goes off on his own and looks for stores of real Soulstone-like things to which Brand has given him directions. He finds another long winding passageway leading to a large vaulted chamber with three corridors (which look original, unlike the organic-seeming passages which have replaced the portals) exiting it. In the centre of the chamber is a short pillar with a pair of non-human footprints in the stone as if something, now gone, had stood there for a very long time. The place seems to have been stripped; the items he was looking for are not here.
In the Heart Chamber, Altair goes off into the shadowy darkness and discreetly takes a small child's skull which she puts away in her pack. Tristan takes 45 minutes to cast a light spell and creates a mini-sun which follows us about. Tamarind tells Altair (when she asks) that he was looking for things to assist in freeing Beltaine and Owen, but they were not where Brand said they would be.
We find various sculptures and a library with books of thin bound stone slabs. Damien takes some of the books; the others help him loot the place. Damien leaves a 'Removed for Conservation' card in place of the books.
We return to Amber.
- Afterwards, every month, weather permitting, Tamarind spends every night of the full moon in Tir-Na Nog'th working on his Device, using the bits of his arm rather than whatever he was looking for in Chaos. When Tristan asks, Tamarind says he is trying to build a Device to contact Beltaine and Owen, which is why he is going to Tir-Na Nog'th such a lot. Constructing this device takes much of the five years (the full moon parts of that time anyway). It also leads him to construct a Trump-enhancing Frame, with which even Brand and Fiona seem quite impressed.
FOUR TO FIVE MONTHS POST-JUBILEE:
- Damien returns to Medmenham and finds it has gone to hell. Two followers of Wilkes, inspired by the French Revolution, sought a way to bring a similar upheaval to England. They found the Isfahani Black Mass, a vastly powerful and dangerous ritual which had not been used since before the birth of Christ, and brought it back to England. They came up with 'The Nobles Rot' - a magical plague to act against the English ruling class whose effects are speeded by the victim using magic, or having magic used on them. To do this they needed a focus on and from the English ruling classes, one alive, one dead. Lord Sandwich and the corpse of Elizabeth Mortlake were used for this purpose. Sandwich did not survive. As the Nobles Rot began to take down the English nobility the instigators of the Rot exhorted the Mob to rise up - this was obviously a Sign from God of His displeasure with the nobility, and they must be cast down.
A Venetian Black Mass was attempted to return things to normal, but with the Rot and the lack of people it all went horribly wrong, and ended in many deaths as the ritual failed catastrophically. The heart of the Hellfire Club was torn out in this failure, which triggered the uprising. The Mob stormed about, lynching many of the nobility who had not already fled the country and imprisoning many others.
Over the next few weeks the various imprisoned nobles were 'tried' and executed by burning at the stake, but the instigators of the revolution also came under suspicion and were tried and executed in their turn. This was the first of a rampage through the English people that turned into a full-scale Terror as anyone with the tiniest hint of a link to the old regime was disposed of.
Now the England of Medmenham is a dour and run-down place, an anarchy of blood-thirsty mobs that makes the Paris Terror look like a Temperance Meeting. The country is dotted with the burnt-out shells of buildings connected with the old regime - mansions, townhouses, universities, museums, churches, the law courts, parliament. The people wear nothing but Mob-style clothing; anything else is suspicious, and suspicious means dead at the moment. A junta of Mob leaders rules with an iron fist from their headquarters in what was Westminster Abbey.
Even Damien seems susceptible to the Noble's Rot when in Medmenham. Shifting shadow seems to remove the disease, but the disfiguring rotting effects have to heal of themselves (fortunately Damien's Endurance means these effects are only very minor). He conducts a one-man raid on Westminster Abbey before he leaves. The Mob will need new leaders.
- Back in Amber, Damien (dishevelled, wild-eyed, smelling faintly of black powder smoke and he seeming to have contracted something akin to both smallpox and tertiary syphilis in the five days since Ibrahim last saw him) tells Ibrahim to watch his back, his sister, his cavalry and his own home Shadow.
Upon calming down, Damien suggests that it is time they got some Family advice on blood curses...
- Damien's butler killed in coach accident the next day. Damien then warns his servants about the curse; almost half of them leave.
- After the conversation with Damien, Ibrahim goes to check on his home shadow of Keirei. He finds a nasty plague ravaging the place and calls in Tristan, who stops the plagues and other nastiness going on there.
- Damien, Ibrahim, Tamarind and Altair talk to Caine, Brand and Fiona about blood curses.
Caine doesn't think a blood curse is undoable; you just have to let it run its course.
Brand thinks Dworkin invented blood curses; they are certainly detectable with API. But the cure depends on what their purpose is - final punishment for those who kill family members, or a deterrent. And who it is meant to deter - other family members, or the people of shadow? Brand says Damien's Pattern walk has made a difference for the better, in which case perhaps it was meant to be used against those not of the Blood, and Ibrahim should walk the Pattern too.
Fiona is not there and in fact spends most of the five years out in shadow.
- Damien does some Trump readings on the subject of Blood Curses, and visits Tir-Na Nog'th. He only sees one vision that seems to be significant:
- Damien (whether a vision of him or the real him is not entirely clear to Damien once he has come down from Tir-Na Nog'th) was being pursued down a dark corridor by some a huge menacing blackened skeletal figure, back-lit by fire, which was clearly The Mummy, in its post-Museum fire condition...
Once this is done, Damien then walks the Pattern twice more, to hopefully deal with remaining two blood curses. After his third time around the Pattern, Brand can no longer detect the curse on him. Ibrahim lives for a week in the desert of Keirei to meditate and prepare himself and then walks the Pattern too. This also seems to work.
- Damien has himself checked by Brand every now and again over the five years, and it seems that the curse is not coming back...
- Damien does more Trump readings and goes to Tir-Na Nog'th again, meeting Tamarind up there, who tells him of his plan to contact Beltaine. Damien sees two visions that seem to be significant this time:
- There is a party in the ballroom at one of the great houses in Amber; Damien knows it is one, but after coming down from Tir-Na Nog'th he cannot remember which one. There is light and (not that he can hear it) music and dancing. Then a vision of Damien enters. The dancing and music stops and as the vision-Damien moves into the ballroom, everyone steps back and they turn away from him, turning their faces to the wall. Vision-Damien moves up to someone, grabs their arm and spins them round, but the person he does this to has no face now, only a blank expanse of flesh from chin to brow. Vision-Damien turns person after person but they are all faceless in this manner. As he begins to rush from person to person spinning them about, the vision fades away as if blown by a wind...
- There is a vision of Young Beltaine, perhaps nine years old, walking in Amber. She sees Damien (the vision sees the Damien in Tir-Na Nog'th, that is) and draws back, then turns and walks quickly off, almost running.
- Damien asks Tristan to try and stop the Nobles Rot in Medmenham, but when they go there Tristan can't, at least not without rewriting the entire Shadow. Damien decides to let it lie. However, they do find Elizabeth Mortlake's remains and rebury them. Tristan is affected by the Noble's Rot while he is Medmenham, if less so than Damien.
SIX MONTHS TO FIVE YEARS POST-JUBILEE:
- Ibrahim mounts an expedition, with ten others (including a trained medic, an experienced cartographer, a geologist, a naturalist, an experienced navigator and some experienced explorers), to discover the extent of Amber in Amber's own 'shadow'. He goes west, straight inland, parallel to the mountain range of which Kolvir is the seaward end. Navigation is a bit more difficult than normal due to the lack of stars over Amber now, but not impossible.
The mountain range becomes lower as he goes inland. At about 160 miles from the coast the forest starts to become hotter and dryer, the trees becoming lower and more spread out, with grass between them. As he continues it gets hotter, and the trees thin out further until they are growing in clumps dotting meadows of mostly dry grass. Further yet and the clumps of trees thin out further, the grass gets dryer, it gets hotter and sunnier, and patches of black sand start to appear in the grass. Continuing on there is more and more sand relative to grass. The last tree is about 210 miles from the coast. At this point the mountains which began at Kolvir at basically foothills. At 230 miles the ground turns from islands of sand among the grass to islands of grass in the sand; the mountains are now hummocks. At 250 miles is the last withered and scrawny patch of grass under the hot, hot sun. The end of the mountain range is a small rise to one side. Ahead a flat expanse of black sand desert stretches away, rippling in the heat haze. It is very hot in the day, very cold at night. After another 50 miles the sand has thinned down to a very thin scattering of grains, then nothing at all, leaving featureless black glass underfoot, stretching off to the horizon, glinting in the sun...
After 400 miles of this, black sand begins to appear, then dry grassland, grassland and forest again, in reverse order to the way he came out from Amber, including distances. A mountain range builds up parallel to his course as he goes. After 1000 miles he reaches the sea, where there is a settlement - a small walled town, surrounded by fields, with a harbour.
He makes contact, and after some initial mistrust meets Richard and Leander Clemens, who, to confirm Ibrahim's story, say they would like to talk to Tristan. Tristan comes through when Ibrahim Trumps him, and Tristan recognises the two Clemens as people he knew before he fled Amber, and who disappeared when Oberon started persecuting the Clemen's family - it was widely thought Oberon had killed them. They remember Tristan too. From what they say Ibrahim and Tristan discover that the Clemens' sailed around the northern coast of Amber after Oberon started persecuting them.
They do not think there is a problem re-establishing contact with Amber now, if Oberon is gone and Random is a good King, as Tristan insists.
As Ibrahim rides across Amber, Altair sails round the coast by the south. Forest lines the coast. After a while, when the coast is bearing about 30 degrees to the west, she finds another mountain range leading inland like the one of which Kolvir is the seaward end. She sails on, mapping as she goes. When the coast bears about 60 degree off north there is another mountain range. This seems to repeat every thirty degrees around the coast. There are no signs of human habitation anywhere, just virgin forest reaching down to the sea. Altair semi-circumnavigates the continent to meet up with Ibrahim at Clemenstown on the opposite side of the continent, anchoring offshore. She meets the Clemen's too, and they show them their rough maps of the north coast, made during their escape here.
Altair and Ibrahim sail home round the north of the continent for a full circumnavigation, and establish that Clemenstown is the only coastal settlement on the Amber continent other than the city of Amber itself. The continent seems to be like a target roundel, with a glassy desert in the centre.
Friendly relations are established between Amber and Clemenstown.
- Jaheira bitches to Ibrahim about the noble from the Golden Circle shadow of Roynova she was interested in at the Jubilee Ball. Ibrahim tells her to beware (Damien having reminded him of the blood curse by this point).
- The children grow up some. They are allowed to play with other castle children (both of nobles and of servants) from an early age. Every year Tristan sends all the kiddies a birthday present each. On their fourth joint birthday the gifts are (wooden) practice swords for them all.
- Margot creates a tree-house for the nippers in a shadow just outside Arden. It is a place where it is always summer, thunderstorms are frequent but never dangerous, and the trees are very big. It is built of polished wood and tented roofs, several stories tall, spread over of the tallest several trees, with rope bridges linking its various parts. It is very open and airy with rugs on the floors. She says she chose this shadow for safety reasons - you cannot fall fast here and pushes Tristan off the side to demonstrate.
- Everyone's fingertips, which were 'sampled' in Chaos, regrow. Altair's is the first to fully regrow, then Ibrahim's and Tristan's, then Damien's, then Tamarind's. Damien's lost teeth regrow too.
- Ibrahim works on his magic, including, with Damien, magic relating to our new understanding of death.
- Tamarind goes out into shadow to find some very fast and very slow shadows (the very slow shadows for completeness) and makes Trumps of them. This he does, the most variable being out at Chaos, and also in the vicinity of Chershan, with a less variable (somewhat more Amber-like) region between. Also, shadows with such huge time ratios relative to Amber do not seem terribly stable - the time flow rates, and other characteristics, seem to vary essentially randomly with time. Somewhere very fast like Chershan appears to only be so fast for a while, then it will revert to an Amber or very slow time rate while other shadows near it flip from slow to Amber or very fast. This behaviour really only seems to apply on the Chaos side of Ygg, taking into account the modification of that boundary by Corwin's Pattern...
- Brand spends a lot of time at Beltaine's 'bubble', apparently studying it.
- The military forces at the edge of the Abyss are scaled down until only an observation force is left.
- Reports of a more than usual number of sea monsters and other unusual things seen at sea trickle in from around the Golden Circle.
- The Impossagon is moved to a fortress a few shadow veils from the Abyss, so it can be kept somewhere which does not drive people mad simply by their being there.
- Damien spends a lot of time trying to restore Nitocris. This includes (unsuccessfully) hunting for Nyarlathotep out in shadow (as Nyarlathotep and its minions are literal soul-eaters). When his initial attempts fail, he has Nitocris put into the same magical stasis as the 126 nippers and Isobel.
- Altair spends time out in shadow, both with the Navy, with Gerard, and otherwise. She also acquires herself another ship, the 'Morningstar', with which to conduct 'extra-curricular' activities.
- When not engaged in any of his other activities, Tamarind drifts through shadows as part of a group of travelling players or gypsies, fellow travellers interested in journeying between worlds. He also takes to performing live concerts in Flora's home shadows, mainly acoustic and vocal material.
- Brand and Deirdre both do things they had none of in the land of the dead. Eating and drinking. Going to the theatre and musical performances. Sitting in the sun. They both put on some weight.
- A treaty with Rebma is worked out over the three years after the Jubilee.
- Some ships are found drifting without crews on the shadow paths which link the Golden Circle. After that the rate of disappearance of merchant ships throughout the Golden Circle goes up somewhat.
- Esmée thanks Damien for his help saving her. Margot does too.
- Esmée spends time with Julian in Castle Arden. By the end of the five years Damien has not brought her round to liking the nippers but she is softening towards them.
- Caleb is getting drunk an awful lot. Much more than he used to. Altair tries to buck him up, and later dry him out with her own particular brand of tough love. He eventually tells her about all the bad shit that happened to him in Aximia's Boot Camp, which he is having problems with and drinking in an attempt to forget. Altair encourages him to relax and have fun. He tries this and it seems to work, and he does improve. He resigns his commission in the Navy and heads off into shadow where he seems to become a full-time beach bum.
- Margot resigns from the Rangers and spends quite a lot of time out in shadow.
- Over the five years Esmée regains the body mass she lost when she was disintegrating, filling out from her rather thin state to what she was before. Tamarind tries not to make her any more guilty about his losing his arm whenever he meets her.
- Damien spends some time with Esmée when he is not with Nitocris, moping. Sometimes she has to physically drag him out and make Damien have a life.
- Caine thanks Altair for weaning Caleb off the bottle.
- At one point Margot, after returning from a long trip in shadow, asks Tristan if he can make cities less bad. She gives him a book which she has acquired in shadow (not written herself) to outline her ideas. Tristan agrees to do this and does indeed make shadow a nicer place in yet another way.
- By the end of the five years Brand (in Tristan's body) has learned how to detect life force. He has created a black glass viewing lens with which those with API can see people's life force; bodies show up faintly, with life force as a glow (brightness varies), which can be seen trickling away. Brand concludes from this that even Amberites do age, just very, very slowly. That is all he has done so far; he has not yet figured out how to put life back into a body. He himself is low on life; Deirdre too, and those who have been to the land of the dead. The beloved zombies appear to have no life force. Esmée also has less life force than others of the younger generation - it seems to have gone into the detached 'bits'.
- Tristan suffers a memory blackout at some point during the five years when Brand is in his head. He tells Brand that if it happens again he will no longer let him use his body. Tristan does not notice himself having any more blackouts.
- The Amber Cavalry (of which Ibrahim is the General) is decimated in shadow Whistan during one of the regular serving-in-the-field rotations into shadow they perform. They were led, at that point, by Prince Bentrik of that shadow, who survives the engagement. Ibrahim is not pleased, especially as it was a glory-grabbing thing that Bentrik was doing at the time. King Jerusal of Whistan, Bentrik's father, sends Ibrahim a box with the head of Bentrik in it, having had him executed for what he did. Ibrahim tells the King he bears no grudge and begins to rebuild the Cavalry.
- By the end of the five years Tamarind has just grown his arm back.
- Bleys spends a lot of time out in shadow over the five years.
- Altair, Tamarind and Damien receive invitations to the Amber docks from the King, where three new ships are christened into the Amber Navy. The HMS Princess Altair, the HMS Prince Damien, and the HMS Prince Tamarind. They are of course capital ships - the largest and most powerful in the Amber Navy (note that there are already an HMS Prince Ibrahim and an HMS Prince Tristan).
- What with spending so much time in Tir-Na Nog'th, Tamarind sees a great many visions while up there. The following are the ones that seem most significant of them:
- Tamarind sees himself and Brand working to free Beltaine. And he succeeds! Unfortunately, as you can see, but as the vision-Tamarind cannot, Brand is doing something to the ritual, and when the vision-Tamaind uses the thing he made to free Beltaine, both of them become his mind-slaves...
- Brand stands outside the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble which traps Beltaine and Owen. Although the vision is silent, Brand can be seen laughing insanely...
- Tamarind sees himself working with Brand on the device to free Beltaine. Events seem to follow exactly the same course as he recalls them taking. And the vision-Tamarind succeeds in contacting Beltaine and freeing her and the others from the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble. Unfortunately, as the bubble collapses, it becomes apparent that all those inside appear to have starved to death fifteen years ago, and the vision-Tamarind has only contacted their ghosts, which quickly fade to nothing, screaming...
- Tamarind finds himself at the Tir-Na Nog'th Pattern, but the surroundings are those of Castle Rosa, at Corwin's Pattern. The air glitters in the moonlight, as if it is full of crystal.
- Tamarind sees himself and Brand working to free Beltaine. Unfortunately, it turns out that Brand needs Tamarind's life force to power the device he has created to break the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble. He slips a knife between the vision-Tamarind's ribs, and as the vision-Tamarind's life fades away, sucked into the device, the real Tamarind sees Beltaine's bubble start to crack and shatter, revealing a void beyond...
- Tamarind sees Deirdre and Corwin in bed together; the location seems to be Deirdre's rooms in Castle Amber.
- Tamarind sees himself and Brand working to free Beltaine. As the device is completed, the vision-Tamarind clubs Brand over the head, knocking him out. He adjusts the device and the real Tamarind feels power flowing out of the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble and into the vision-Tamarind. The bubble shrinks, and those inside it shrivel up as their power and life is sucked out. Vision-Tamarind glows with power. When the bubble finally disappears, revealing the desiccated corpses of all those within, vision-Tamarind smiles slightly, just briefly, then turns and goes...
- Random stands over a baby's cot at night, Vialle by his side, her hand on his arm. In his other hand he holds something; a pulsing glow escapes between and through his fingers as he looks down at the sleeping child. At this point you realise the child is one of the nippers - Eleanor to be exact...
- Tamarind sees himself and Deirdre working to 'free' Beltaine, but both of the vision-people have a co-conspiratorial look about them. The pair of them make a device not dissimilar to the one the real Tamarind is making, and it does free Beltaine from the bubble. However, the real Tamarind can sense it also putting Deirdre's mind into Beltaine's body, and vice versa. Then the vision-Tamarind kills the Deirdre-body. He and the Deirdre-in-Beltaine look at one another, smile, and leave...
- Tamarind finds himself at the Tir-Na Nog'th Pattern, but it is in the open, and beautiful crystal and silver flowers grow along the glowing lines of the Pattern, diffracting their light, the heads of the flowers turning to face the moon above.
- Tamarind sees Deirdre and Llewella in bed together; the location seems to be somewhere in Rebma.
- Tamarind sees himself working with Brand on the device to free Beltaine. Events seem to follow exactly the same course as he recalls them taking. And the vision-Tamarind succeeds in contacting Beltaine and freeing her and the others from the Tir-Na Nog'th bubble. Unfortunately, as the bubble collapses, rather than freeing Beltaine from the Tir-Na Nog'th dream-world inside, the Tir-Na Nog'th dream-world spills out into Amber, sucking it in to a dream world which shifts and changes at Beltaine's will. And Beltaine seems to be sleep-walking. Not actually awake. The Tir-Na Nog'th dream-world spills out of Amber and across shadow, turning it all into dreams, and nothing and no-one can get close enough to Beltaine to affect her without becoming part of the dream...
- Damien also spends some time out in shadow during the five years...
Session 1.7 Index Session 2.1
The Last Enemy Page.