Visit to a Disastrous Debut

"Bastards!" Bleys curses, mulling all this over, and more. "Which Greater House hates us so much to take a chance on their own destruction?"

"Do we have no allies in Chaos? None who would at least remain neutral?" Margot didn't understand what was happening around her, why this child was harming her children, or which children she was referring to.

The great doors are still open, where some members of the Court of Amber had fled from the dramatic events surrounding the supposed child Amber. It is through these doors that another Lord of Chaos arrives, dressed all in flowing black. He walks with a purposeful stride through the milling and wondering crowd directly up to the small group surrounding the child who was not a child.

Pale blue eyes scan the faces, locating the people of interest to him, though his expression remains closed and neutral. Seeing the King and the acting Queen, he first extends his regards with a bow for each. "My apologies for being late to an event of such drama and fascination," he tells the young Queen.

It was minute, but she faltered and she knew it. Stoic as she had mustered to this point, her eyes soften when they rest upon the Chaosian, her expression an odd mixture of surprise, relief, concern and confusion. Her pulse quickens as she releases her grandfather's fingers and the breath she had not realized she was holding. Never had a sight been more welcome.

"Tardiness is easily overlooked, Lord Chanicut," she returns. "However, it seems this day's celebration has reached its conclusion early. I fear you have arrived only to be asked to depart." Her eyes never leave his. Quietly, she felt proud to have maintained a neutral, cordial, and above all strong voice for all present to witness. Every fiber of her being told her to go to him, yet she would not run to his arms to seek comforts and reassurances.

Though she had been about to politely excuse herself and depart to the Garden of Roses where she had spent the morning so pleasantly, Rosabelle changes her mind after Lord Kendall arrives. She remains silent however, for in truth, there is nothing more she can say. She does glance toward the place where Brand writhes, then stares into the untouched glass of rich red wine that she holds, though her expression remains both calm and unreadable.

Bleys looks at the young Chaos Lord as if he was a piece of very disagreeable meat upon Bleys's plate. Amber, girl-child, doesn't seem surprised at Kendall's appearance, and just watches the interaction with interest. She takes just a moment to share a knowing smile with Lady Moon and Rosebelle behind her. And though smiles are beyond her in this present moment, Rosabelle raises her blue gaze from the sweet rich red wine that promises relief from pain, and again begins to join the steps of this dance.

"It is true that I must soon ask the King's leave to depart from Amber, with no more desire to return than there is in having us here," Kendall replies, straightening from his bow. He looks again at the people still nearby, nodding to both Moon and Rosabelle, two he recognizes. Then turning his gaze to the Being for whom he has no name, he addresses his next words to her.

"I had thought to find you here. I suspect the question of whether the Houses of Chaos are justified in the desire to destroy this place will never be answered to any one person's satisfaction. There is far too much history, and far too much shadowing of circumstances. Though I would know, if you would answer my questions now, whether there is truth to be found in stories I have heard. Of the place you once held amongst the Houses of Chaos, and your betrayal of the Courts."

"Before there was a Court, and unity, the Lord Serpent did occasionally demand sacrifices of the children to him," Amber explains. "It was this House that stopped the practice, which allowed the other Houses to flourish and grow. So in gratitude, it was we who were given the Thrones to rule over all of Chaos." She lets those words sink in. "And it was I who broke that tradition, betrayed that which was a betrayal, freeing my children and leading them here to flourish."

Rosabelle speaks to the others while Kendall speaks with Amber, tones calm and steady. "Though it is revealed I have no family here, and am only a guest, it seems to me that while the barbarians are at the gates the situation remains far from hopeless. A bubble of slower time around Arden perhaps would buy the time to research and develop permanent solutions. Or simply rescuing as many as possible then transporting Arden itself into the heart of the Sun. If the kind of power recently revealed with fits of temper were directed toward positive constructive goals, if all the sorcerers and sorceresses of Amber united and sang together, such spells could become possible."

"Arden has the Great Tree it in… it won't suffer such a trick, not even sure we could anyways," Bleys replies to Rosabelle. "And Brin certainly won't. He may be young but don't let that fool you. He's his father's son, so can become a right cold vicious bastard if pushed." The Red Prince, at least one of the two that shared that name, mulls it over. "The Veil will buy us some time, I doubt anything could corrupt it besides the two that created it… or She." His eyes go to Amber, then back to Rosabelle. "As to family, the Unicorn has never spoken to anyone who wasn't of her blood. Ever, as far as I know…"

"So I have heard, generally," Kendall acknowledges to the childlike creature. He pauses to consider her answer, paying no attention whatsoever to those around, determined to learn what he could while the opportunity afforded itself. The imperiousness in his demeanor retreats as his curiosity takes the fore instead. "You admit to betrayal, but say you it was against another? Do you mean your actions against the Serpent that ended the sacrifices was itself a betrayal?"

"I betrayed it all, all of them but my own bloodline and those that kept faith in me," Amber shares. "But my betrayal of the Serpent was the keenest, for I marred his vision by pilferage of his eye." Which by the slight smile on her young thin lips, is a act she is most proud of.

Turning a little, Kendall comments to Margot, "This may answer your question regarding potential allies in the Courts."

Giving his attention back to the child, he adds. "You did not feel as though your House could flourish in the Courts, then." It's not entirely clear from his tone whether this is a statement based on his observations since arriving in Amber, or a question posed to invite her to elaborate. But the child doesn't answer, merely nodding in the affirmative.

Margot listens, dismayed. Angered. "And what are we to do, Grandfather? Where do we go when Amber falls? Do we run? Hide? Do we stand? What do we do to preserve our legacy?" She shook her head. "And what IS that legacy? Cannot the Pattern be summoned, called to action? Is it not omnipotent… the foundations of our very reality?" Her questions came in a soft hiss, her frustration plain in her face. That she would lose all she loves, that she and all around her would pay for the actions of another long before Time knew how to count… Surely, the Unicorn would not have, left her Legacy without the ability to defend itself. Not while knowing the Houses would rise once more to reclaim that which was theirs.

Vague surprise again occurs on Rosabelle's peach-pale face as Margot speaks the words 'foundations of reality'. "What does a potentially lethal teleportation device have to do with reality?" she asks.

"It is more than that," Margot returned to her cousin. "It has to be." She once more gave her grandfather her attention.

"Amber isn't going to fall if I have anything to say about it," Bleys says, meeting Amber's gaze for a moment before dropping his in guilt. "The Pattern defines the bounds of reality, sets our power over it, and its limits. A symbol of her love for us, and a weapon we can use against our enemies… but like most armaments, it's the skill of its user that matters."

He thinks for another moment. "I'm thinking its high time you walk it, Margot!" Her Grandfather states.

Just then, Eric appearing to be done with guests, staff, and officials, is making his way over. Bowing his head low as he addresses Amber first. "Good Evening, Milady." He offers his arm. "Would you care for a chair? Refreshments?" His tone cool, respectful, allowing the child to take notice that very few are left in the dining hall. "I believe the Family Library would be best; its chairs are famed for their comfort."

"I believe they are," Amber replies, taking the offered arm and allowing herself to be led out by the King of Amber.

Bleys gives a chuckle about something, watching the pair leave before addressing his grandchild again. "Margot, if you wish, I can go about securing your parents' permission right now."

Margot had not expected her Grandfather's outburst, let alone the offer to come a second time. Words abandon her; things were happening so fast! Her eyes go to her father, hosting the Unicorn as a honored guest. She supposed She was, yet Margot could not help but feel frustration at Her seeming lack of interest in protecting Amber from this outside source. She did not truly believe that the Unicorn should take care of their problems, but it felt like she found some dark pleasures in watching her realm crumble around them. The princess' eyes rest for a few more heartbeats on the Chaos Lord who watched the pair retreat. Her answer for her Grandfather is a simple nod of her head.

Kendall is drawn from his internal musings as Bleys and Margot discuss the prospect of the princess essaying the Pattern, and he turns his attention to their exchange, curious to see how this all would turn out. Truly, that permission was needed was more than he would have expected. But he remains silent for the moment, watching with interest as the two talk.

"That's my girl!" Bleys says with joy, lifting Margot up into the air as if she was a mere six again to grace each cheek with a kiss. Holding her close, he whispers, "Best you say goodbye to your Little Lord before retiring, and take a nice long hot bath to relax."

He sets his granddaughter down again, caressing her lips, ear, and hair. "This will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, Margot. You can die on the Pattern with a single misstep, so staying focused is important." He puts his hands on her small hips like a lover. "So no thinking with these, or about him, while you're on it. It's you, just you!"

With a chuckle, he gives Margot a shake before moving his hands to hers. "I want you to survive, so do you understand?" Bleys asks pointedly, almost the same he said to her mother so many years ago.

A guard, a member of the King's Own, stations himself near Lady Moon. Announcing to all, yet directed towards Moon only. "Priestess Moon, you have been summoned to a Royal Audience."

Moon is clearly surprised. "Er, thank you." She looks down at her hand and twists the ring.

The guard waits till Moon raises her eyes once more before answering. "If you would follow me, Milady." He motions with a hand towards one of the closed doors. "This way…"

Margot's eyes widen at her grandfather's words, the color of her cheeks rising to rival her gown. Had it really been so obvious? She was almost terrified to glance over her shoulder to the Chaosian, nodding her appreciation for the gravity of what he was putting before her.

"That makes two of us, Grandpa," she returns with a sigh. Drawing a cleansing breath, she hazards a glance at Kendall, though the Lord's attention had gone elsewhere. "How do I tell him that which needs to be said?" she asks Bleys softly.

"You simply do," is her granddad's advice. "For it you don't, then it hangs there forever in your heart and causes all sorts of problems." He gives her a hug, honest to the love it contains. "Perhaps you should think of this moment as your last, then tell him what you must. For it could be; you could really die on the Pattern."

Bleys looks to Margot's eyes, making sure she understands. "One misstep or a slip, and what will happen to you is far, far worse than what that little child did to my brother." He smiles now, to reassure. "It's Her symbol of the love She has for us, even while defining reality and giving us power over it. But it's an intense love, dangerous if you are careless or oblivious."

She hugs her grandfather, her pulse racing. "I will … I will…" she whispered, her breath laden with emotion. "Will you wait for me or will you approach him and the child in the library while I … speak with Ken… I mean, Lord Chanicut."

"Yes, I will ask for permission," Bleys teases. "You've gotten in enough trouble, I see no need to add to it."

Releasing Bleys, she smiles though her gaze remains somber. "I will be but a moment."

"Just take your time," he says with a grin, hugging her one more time before letting his darling grandchild get beyond his grasp. He reaches into a pocket to pull out a card that holds Margot's image wearing a gown yet with a sword across her lap. The school she once went attended in the background.

"That's me!" she gasps, her hand going to her mouth.

"I now have the means to contact you wherever you may be," Bleys says with a laugh.

She looks at the picture in wonder but then glances over her shoulder toward the Chaos Lord, who stood observing everything in the hall. "I will wait for you," she says, giving him a last hasty embrace and kissing his cheek. "Thank you, Grandpa, for everything." Releasing him, she moves slowly toward her lover.

The younger Chaos Lord's attention had been caught by something at the end of the near-empty hall, but movement nearby draws him back again. He folds his arms, tucking his hands into his sleeves as Margot approaches, bowing a little in acknowledgement.

"Princess," he greets her, expression serious, almost grave. No smile or levity eases the intensity of his gaze.

"Lord Chanicut," she returns, her voice catching slightly. "I require a moment of your time. In private." She struggles to meet his gaze — or rather, to not be distracted by those who may see her approach to the Chaosian and the intimate way with which her eyes held him. "Please, Kendall… I don't have much time," she whispers, emotion lacing her words.

An eyebrow quirks and his bright gaze flicks from her to Prince Bleys and then back to her again. Thoughtful. Calculating. Weighing against strictures known to only a few. "Very well," he agrees after a pause of 10 heartbeats. His expression relaxes into his faint smile. "I am at your disposal for the nonce."

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she contemplates what those gathered must think of the Princess so obviously smitten by the Chaosian. Her parents, were they present, would be furious. Not that it mattered; none of it did. Those around her would draw their conclusions based on their own desires. Yet when she stares into his eyes, saw how his expression transformed from one of measure to one of welcome, she found that she, too, could relax a touch.

While still standing poised and full of grace before him, her shoulders relax minutely and she releases a breath that she had not realized she clung to. "Walk with me, please. I promise not to consume too much of your time." She turns to lead him out, waiting for him to align with her before she begins her long walk out of the Hall.

The very idea of consuming Time is enough to elicit a quiet chuckle. With a nod of assent, he turns to accompany her out of the hall. "Time is not mine to command or control," he reminds her. "Though Time may be fleeing Amber soon, in search of more congenial climes."

His response summons a bemused expression of her very own. Too true, she supposed, as she walks in silence next to him. All the sounds of discord seem to fade away, leaving the swish of her skirts married with the whisper of his long black robes until even this fades away to leave only the sound of her heart ringing in her ears.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
Parting Ways

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