…Margot looks up at the elderly man, a smile forming. "Dreams are not for youth alone; they are the creation of those wise and experienced. A gift of inspiration can shine brighter than the sun if well placed and generously received."

"Yet dreams can become nightmares," he replies." Both for the young, and old."

"Ah…" Brisbane adds, seeing his nephew making his way over. "I believe it may be time for me to find another dance partner." He looks to the wheel. "See if the Captain has any ideas to our next port of call."

Kendall comes to a stop by the little group, giving first Margot and then Brisbane small bows. "Not at all, Uncle. There is no need for me to interrupt what appears to be an enjoyable conversation between the two of you."

Margot whirls at the sound of the Lord's voice, more quickly and looking far more surprised than she intends. Her jaw slackens to speak, but then her eyes fell to the plush creature and her lips close without a word. She looks instead to Brisbane, questioning why he would abandon her so readily, and realizes she was hiding her wounded hand in her cloak and hoping Kendall was too distracted to note that this was her third change for the day.

"Is he alright?" she asks softly, staring at the small beast with eyes filled with worry and concern.

Kendall looks down at the little downy puff of fur he holds and then nods, rubbing it on the head between its ears. The bunny-cat creature has two little spots of white on the backs of its ears, which Margot may recognize as the one she had named Caerus.

"It will be, with proper care," the younger Lord answers. "But they are quite delicate, and prone to suffer from many passing maladies."

Margot nods. "That is… good to know," she manages to reply through a jaw tight with emotions she refused to let loose. Control. Restraint. It was terrible enough to know that she had inadvertently harmed the sweetling that she was honored to give name to; but it seemed to be just one more transgression to be added to an ever-growing list of how she was inept, inferior and ill-equipped.

"You are welcome to join us, unless you have House business to conduct with your Uncle, at which point I will humbly excuse myself," she says, forcing herself to meet Kendall's eyes. Willing herself not to hold a pout. Forcing her face to relax with a soft smile. And still, with all the calm she tries to exude, there was no hiding the turmoil roiling in her mind and heart; that no one could loathe her more than she did herself.

"Later perhaps," Brisbane declares. "The view is too pleasant not to enjoy. We soon will be at the Black Reef and more familiar seas. Few of our House will ever see this view, and far fewer would understand its beauty with the uniform colors and their orderly motions."

"Nevertheless," Margot says with a smile for the elder Lord. "The invitation is warm and genuine." She reassured Kendall, before her eyes went to the Qur, fingers twitching beneath the bandages expertly placed by His man.

Brisbane doesn't reply or gesture, though for a moment, it looks as if he might take the Qur with him. But then changes his mind and simply ascends the stairs and walks aft to speak to the Captain. His nephew offers a nod when his uncle departs.

"If you would prefer to return to the cabin for some solitude… please…" Margot's sentence doesn't end so much as she feels additional words washed away upon the spray of the sea. "Peace is yours until such time you desire otherwise."

Kendall turns to Rory, who had been standing there the whole time, quiet and patient. He extends the Qur to the servant, who accepts the animal with a nod.

"If I may be excused, Princess, I will take this escapee to rejoin his littermates," Rory addresses Margot, since it was in her service that he had come on deck in the first place.

"Of course, Rory. Thank you for all that you have done." Her words carry a weight of an intimacy shared, advice asked and given, aid ministered. She waits until Rory departs beneath the deck, watching him vanish below. Unconsciously, she shivers deeper into her cloak; the wounded hand fights against the strain of holding the cloth closed against the wind.

Breathing deep, Margot is faced with the choice of meeting Kendall's eyes or staring out to the horizon. Deciding it would be rude to not look at him after offering him the opportunity to retreat to the quiet of the cabin, she forces her gaze upon his likeness. He is watching her, as is his wont, but when she meets his eyes, he is the one to look away out over the waves.

A heavy pause waits between them for six heartbeats, but then he apparently makes a decision. "Please accept my apology, Margot, for my behavior of before," he says at last, his gaze coming back to meet hers again.

"Your actions were justified," she replies softly. "I let my mind wander in speculation and desire and with it came a lesson I shall never forget."

Her eyes turn to the waters now. "Not all lessons come without a price, nor without pain. No matter the nature or will of the heart. My only true regret is that you had to … intervene … because of my desire to see your sister's pain eased."

"There is an adage," she adds, turning to face him again. "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Another is: o good deed goes unpunished. These aren't excuses, nor are they justifications. I …"

Her eyes fall to stare into the distance beyond his shoulder. "I know your sister means everything to you and your devastation at her suffering was so plain upon your face … I just wanted to try to make it better. To ease both your pain."

"You are a Being of Power now, a creature of the Pattern," he observes, his brow furrowing. He reaches over to comb wind-blown hair away from her eyes. "Tis a thing which is anathema to me and those of the Courts, Margot. You have the ability to cause great harm, and desires can provide strong channels through which power might flow. How do you plan to prevent this, to gain control of your abilities?"

"Is it an anathema because it must be or because trust has become such an impossibility?" she questions.

Defensiveness sharpens her voice even as she sought greater understanding. It seemed her Uncle Brand had been welcome among the Courts; surely he did not abandon his Power and he was definitely a creature of the Pattern. Her mother's brother, Devlin, also preferred Chaos. While she had never met him, if he was anything like her Queen, she seriously doubted he would abandon his strengths and advantages.

"You healed me with your shifting. I would trust you to do so again if it was required," Margot adds. "I am not only a creature of the Pattern. And I am not reared to be a child of Amber with all the treachery. My blood is not pure."

His expression turns even more puzzled, clearly not understanding her point or her question. "Tis anathema because it is," he answers. "The Pattern defies the very fabric of Chaos and its denizens, like me. You are…rock, and I am water. Tis our nature and why the Pattern can cause me pain."

"To answer your question, discipline," she begins after a moment of thought. "I will have to discipline my mind in such a fashion that when I contemplate conundrums, I do so without summoning the Pattern unconsciously or unnecessarily."

Her eyes leave his for a moment, looking past him to the place where he and his sister had so recently embraced. "I locked the bracelet away; but Rory shared his wisdom… that a person cannot learn how to use knives by locking them away… and then he placed it back upon my wrist. I had no idea that my Grandfather had charmed it, though I should have suspected. Again, see how his desire to show love and protection only helped to cause folly and mayhem."

"You made a mistake, Margot. That is all," Kendall says.

"Yes. I did," she agrees, her voice heavy with honor, obligation, and conviction. "For which there are consequences and actions to answer."

Once more she returns her gaze to look deeply into his eyes. A hand slips from her cloak to smooth the line of his jaw. "I am sorry. For everything."

"There are very few beings in the multiverse with legitimate claim to omniscience, Margot," he comments.

Another brief pause, as his mind thinks on some implications of her assertion. "But you are… resolved, then?" he questions. "To continue the journey to Chaos with me? This path?"

"This is what I desire," she says, her hand falling to her side again. "I want to see your world through your eyes. I want to learn and understand and be amazed at the beauty and fluidity and all the wonder."

Her voice wavers. "It was as I said to your uncle. He asked what I wanted to learn and I told him culture and history and why Chaos and Amber hate with such vehemence. I do not want to convert Chaos; I want to appreciate Chaos. But to say resolved… to be resolute? My mind and heart have never wavered from this decision; knowing the challenges and risks. I knew that it would be difficult and dangerous, but I never doubted."

She hesitates. "But what are your wishes?"

The question is unintentionally painful, another scratch across the place in his heart his sister had scraped raw with gentle, sorrowful words. But he pushes such considerations aside by dint of much practice, and turns his mind to formulating an answer to the question. Desires of the flesh were simple; easy to understand, easy to appease. He had found escape and satiation in the arms and beds of many, though seldom had he found satisfaction. But escapism was for the young, he supposed.

"My desire for you is to see you become the gracious Lady that I see hints of now," Kendall answers, his voice taking on warmth and something she might call sincerity.

"I would like that very much," she agrees. "And my preference would be to do so in your company. If you will continue to have me."

"Why do you suppose I would change my mind?" he asks instead of answering.

Margot reaches up with both hands to pull her flyaway hair back and raise her hood in an effort to ensnare it. "Because you continue to ask me if this is what I truly want as if secretly there is some hope that I will yield and say, 'Nay, I wish for the stability and known environs of Amber'."

Her voice is not bitter in her answer, and yet her answer still tastes of hurt. "And after what happened earlier, you are well within your right to revoke sponsorship and anything else you desire. Toss me and my belongings overboard, I suppose. Technically, there was an attack upon House Chanicut; surely any of you present are justified in action against me and I am in no position to refuse."

A sigh reveals resignation and some weariness. "At the very least, with appearances being what they are and your sister's grave displeasure with me…" She does not finish the sentence; he need only read her eyes to see that she believed he would choose the love and approval of Diona over her.

Kendall is quiet for a long while, turning her words over in his mind. "It appears to me that neither my words nor my actions have made an impact on you," he observes at last with no hint of anger or pain coloring his calm tone.

"I have spoken of my feelings for you, my desire for you as a companion," he continues. "I have explained that my relationships with other women are separate from ours, and even outlined my reasons for bringing to you Chaos. I have cared for you, made love to you, counseled and advised you to the best of my knowledge. I have made promises to you that should never be made, and yet…you believe me capable of discarding you like stained clothing on the word of my mad sister."

He shakes his head, lips curling upwards in self-mocking smile. "I begin to believe I am the one being beguiled."

"No, Kendall," she answers, daring to move closer to him and looking up into his eyes. "Not on your sister's word. I… the way you… No, please. Let it be. I am an only child and cannot fathom the closeness of siblings."

A hand timidly peeks through her cloak and lands on his chest. "Just tell me why you keep asking me if this is what I want if the answer is always the same. What must I do to convince you that this is what I want and no other path will suffice? Tell me, please."

"I ask because I want you to be honest with me," he answers. "And because new information and new experiences may change one's perspective. You are young, naive, inexperienced, Margot. You say you are resolved to do a thing, and tis not that I disbelieve your resolve. I only disbelieve that you have real knowledge of what you are resolved to do, not due to some deficit of your character, but a deficit of experience."

Again a shake of the head, along with an impatient wave of one hand. "I have no doubt that I will break your heart, Margot," he continues. "This foreknowledge gives me no joy or pleasure. Nor does the prospect of you journeying to Chaos out of some sense of honor or duty only to be miserable. And so I ask, perhaps, to be reassured."

Her expression softens, and she captures his hand in hers. "I choose to be here because I love you, this is true. You spoke of such wonders, I want to know what gave you such joy in those brief moments when you would forget you were trapped in Amber. I choose to be here because I have faith in you and because I trust you, more than any other person, from either side of the multiverse."

She hesitates before going on. "You do not know with absolute certainty that you will break my heart; but I accepted that as a possibility when I decided to come. I know you care for me and want what is in my best interest, but that you do not share the intensity of feeling as I do for you. I know that you have these pockets that you sort things into, and that I have my very own, separate from others and that what happens with others — even other women — in your heart, does not betray what you feel or believe is left pure between us in my pocket."

She smiles, lips pressing thin for a moment as she tries to master her emotions. "I've always known, since the moment I arrived in Amber, that I would be a pawn or resource or something to be guided and manipulated for someone else's gains. What everyone, except maybe Grandpa, fail to realize is that it will be my choice and no other's as to whom gains that vantage."

Margot takes a steadying breath. "I choose to be here with you," she declares.

"Very well, Margot," he says, accepting her answer, as far as that went. "But I must ask one other question."

He pauses while the words order themselves and lie down in a tidy line in his mind. He crosses his arms out of habit, in spite of the fact that he is not wearing the heavy robe of his House during the journey.

"What does it mean to you that you trust me, more than any other person?" he asks. "In light of what we were just saying, I perceive myself to be distinctly un-trusted."

Margot blinks, a frown forming. "It has never been a matter of trust, Kendall. I bare my soul to you and tell you things I would never share with another. You have seen me naked, even when I am fully clothed. When no one else in all the Kingdom would answer my questions, you would. I do not believe you would raise a hand or blade against me. I do not believe you would betray me. I do not believe you would harm me intentionally. I feel completely safe in your presence; more so, I feel protected and… and cared for."

"When I spoke earlier of you revoking your sponsorship, it was as a House representative based on an attack upon your House; not as my closest friend, adviser, lover and confidante," she insists.

Sadness fills her eyes. "That was all I meant by such talk, and believe or not, I do recognize the difference… even if at times I do not act as such. And if the Lady demanded it, would you not be obligated to seek restitution for aggression taken against her?"

"A slight to a member of Chanicut does not mean, necessarily, that my House has been slighted," Kendall answers slowly, thoughtfully. "Though tis true my sister could demand retribution on behalf of and through our House, then it would be handled formally by the House. In this, the responsibility would fall to my older brother, my father, or some designee to see to the matter's resolution. Twould be far easier — and more satisfying, in most situations — for her to take direct retribution. She has not chosen to do so, and thus I surmise she has decided to let bygones be bygones."

She considers his words with care, mulling and considering what if anything she should do. Eventually she nods.

"What would you advise?" she asks softly. "Honor and remorse draw me to the Lady to offer… to explain… something. But, as you say, if she has elected the path of bygones and mercy for an unintentional mishap, would approaching her only worsen may be a deteriorating circumstance?"

"While I understand the desire to seek a path of remorse and honor, I do not recommend it in this situation," he answers with gravity. "She is more… stable currently, or was, but she is still… unpredictable."

"Then I will leave it for the moment," Margot agrees. Her expression remains sober, but had relaxed considerably since their conversation had begun. "Now, what is it that I may do for you to ease your weariness?" she asks as she unclasped the cloak and begins to wrap his shoulders.

He catches her wrist before she can flourish the fabric around him, effectively stalling the motion so he can hold her injured hand at eye level. "What is this, then?" he asks.

"It is …" Margot's eyes flicker to her wrist briefly before meeting his once more. "Consequence. Payment. Punishment. A debt paid to the ship and to the House for my transgressions. The Shadow I grew up in was not terribly forgiving, and less so when attempts to correct insults are refused. But it's nothing of consequence. Rory was just… over-generous with his ministrations."

"I see," Kendall says, scrutinizing her face as she answers. He releases her wrist after five heartbeats, allowing her to reclaim her arm and hand.

"Keep your cloak, Margot," he continues, some warmth seeping into his tone. "I am not prone to cold, but I believe I shall retire for the nonce. It might behoove you to speak to Dara in the meantime, given recent events, if you deem it useful. Or you may find my sister more congenial company now on neutral topics, or you may join me."

She feels exhausted, but wonders if he wouldn't prefer to be alone. "I will see you back to the cabin, and from there… we will see where my path takes me."

"As you wish," he agrees, offering her his arm so he could escort her. Margot clings to his arm with the affection she felt.

They reached the bristly doorway, and she cannot completely hide her excitement when the branches part at her command. She enters, hoping he would follow, but does not immediately step far beyond the threshold. A quick survey shows that, as suspected, Rory had already removed any evidence of her dour mood. She would have to find a way to express her gratitude to him.

Once more, she turns study him, noting the weariness in Kendall's expression. "I think I shall give you the same gift of solace you so generously offered me earlier," she says. A half smile warms her expression. "You seem tired and I'm afraid I am restless. These are not terribly complimentary states for us to be in at the moment."

Stepping closer to him, she reaches for his hands with both of hers. "Would you mind if I went for a walk and allowed you some privacy?"

Kendall smiles just a little, returning from the far-off place where his thoughts had taken him. Bringing a hand up to her face, he tips her chin up so he can lay a kiss to her lips. "Thank you, Margot. If you feel the need for a walk, please do. But you may stay if you would prefer to rest. I fear you are correct that I will be a poor conversationalist for a time."

She returns the kiss with equal tenderness. "Peace and balance are important to you, and I'm afraid you haven't had much of either since this journey has begun. While it is tempting to remain in your presence and simply enjoy the radiance of your aura, you require time alone… even from me. Much to my chagrin and disappointment," she adds with a somewhat rueful smirk.

Her hand brought his to her lips so that they could caress the inside of his palm. "I will find a quiet, well-lit place and read, or walk the deck and learn of the different points of interest, or simply watch as the landscapes and horizons change. All of this is so new to me… it would be a shame to miss it all because of fear of discomfort."

Releasing him, she retrieves her book on the Pattern. "Please rest. I worry about your well-being." With a final smile, she departs.

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Unexpected Intoxication

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