A Message from Beyond the Grave
Annotated by Lord Franich, Keeper of the Royal Archives and Court
Historian to Queen Leoness of Chaos, in the nine hundred and ninety-ninth
year of her reign.
(Found in a strange object floating in limbo, protected by Trump-Powered shields.)
Well, perhaps I can use these last few instants before I evaporate to give my side of the story...
It all began when Father was laying on his (apparent) deathbed. I was contacted by Mike Loader, Official Procurer of Teas and Coffees for the King of Amber. I've always thought of myself as caring for the common folk, and so have been disgusted by the slavery situation in Therin for quite some time. Mr. Loader offered to help me start a slave revolt there, by using contacts of his to smuggle in arms and 'military advisors', including me.
While this was something obviously worthy of doing, I was very suspicious of his motives -- why do this now, when Father is about to die and name his successor? And what possible reason could the Tea man have for fostering a slave revolt?
I did two things. First, I talked to my full sister Juri, who also hated the Therin slavery, and who could lead armies in a fashion that I could never dream of, and asked her if she was interested. We agreed that she would go to Therin and lead the revolt, and try to figure out things on her end, while I tried to figure out things on my end. I gave her a shadow Spikard I'd created to help her, and told her I would attempt to convince Utena and Wakaba (the only other two I fully trusted) to back her up.
Second, I talked to my friend Keiko, who headed
the Sorcery Division of the city watch, to see what she could find out.
When she checked the departments's evidence room, she found several suspicious
things... including a trump sketch of former Queen Sakura that was found
on a murder victim -- and had been used just four days previously. There
was also a detailed map of the castle, with a route marked to the royal
chambers, found in a den of thieves. If I'd been able to put those clues
time... oh, well. There was also a high-powered rifle that had been found, whose bullets did not work in Amber.
I was becoming very twitchy at this point.
Some of my network of friends overheard a couple of ordinary servants
in the castle talking about burying guns in the garden; and indeed, another
friend had noticed them being buried. (I don't remember at exactly what
point this happened; my memory is blurring.) However, my first friends
noticed something very odd -- they could tell that these servants had been
very careless and blatant about discussing this, almost as if they'd *wanted*
to be caught. I decided to investigate, but very cautiously. I
built a little device that burrowed underground from far outside the garden, reached the site underground, and trumped one of the guns out to me. On examination, it was identical to the one in the evidence room -- apparently functional, but with gunpowder that wouldn't work in Amber. They appeared harmless, but I was worried about the potential for damage if someone *could* get them working, so I created duplicates that were guaranteed to be non-functional and used the trump device to replace the original guns underground.
And then there was the chaos (both literally and figuratively) of Sakura's
attempt to kill Father. I'm sure my surviving siblings will write extensively
of this event, and it was one of the few moments where we were all of one
spirit, so I do not fear their bias in this. When the lights went out and
Sakura swore to kill Queen Anthy, I started forward to try and interpose
myself between the two, in hopes of stopping Sakura; on my way forward,
my foot bumped something soft and thus I found Father. He
whispered something about a Primal Chaos explosion; at that, I immediately picked him up and tried to carry him out of the blast radius. When I reached the hallway, unfortunately, I found to my shock that *he* was the object invaded by Primal Chaos; after sharing a helpless moment with Leonna and Kagoyasha, I managed to trump him to the plains outside, where
his explosive death wouldn't kill anyone else. Poor Father; whatever our differences, no one deserved to go like that.
At that moment, we were attacked by a Logrus-weilding
agent of the Courts of Chaos. I engaged him in psychic combat as Kagoyasha
spitted him on his Patternblade; as he died, I extracted from his brain
the images of my exiled brother Touga (no big surprise) and my sister Yenll
(a big surprise, as she'd always struck me as fairly innocent and loyal
to Amber). The fact that she came running up a moment later was not exactly
a reassuring thing. I also found out that he'd not been expecting what
happened inside the King's chambers. Of course, then the chambers exploded; fortunately, in the fight with the assassin we'd moved far enough away to keep from being killed with more than half of our siblings. I also remembered Sakura's attempt to destroy the Pattern the last time she'd shown up in Amber, and alerted both Juri and the castle guards to the danger.
When we went to a window a few moments later to see what had happened
to Father, we were met by the sight of a horde of Elvii attacking the castle,
firing bursts of energy at Sparky out of their guitars and worshipping
my brother Tenchi as a god. This did not bode well; I do not take kindly
to siblings that send armies to take over the castle, particularly after
they'd just been named as the regent (before the assassination). Unfortunately,
all of the honorable genes of his generation appear to have
resided with my sisters Wakaba and Utena, now dead in the explosion (rest in peace, dear ones.) I resolved to deal with my betraying brother at the soonest opportunity. Yenll both eased and increased my misgivings by going down to the garden and defusing the situation.
A short time later, I ended up with Leonna alone when she tried to trump
Tenchi, and got through. With my advanced Trump abilities, I was able to
ride along with the call and discover both his badly weakened state and
get further impression of his treasonous intentions. I was also able to
discover his location; the time to take care of him was now. Unfortunately,
I knew his psychic strength could crush me like an eggshell, and also knew
he had his fire Pattern stronghold too well guarded for me to slip in and
deal with him by force of arms; I reluctantly decided to use more catastrophic
methods. When I had a spare
moment, I trumped to Marx (my true home, a bastion of free-thinkers devoted to the people), sped up time, and created a large asteroid. Then I sighed, and used a trump gate to dump it on top of his stronghold. Unfortunately, he survived. I returned to the castle, and shortly ended up back at the Library with Yenll, Kagoyasha and Leonna.
About this time, I heard from Juri that the castle guards were not allowing
her into the Pattern room, and their altercation was
threatening to spill over into bloodshed. I went down to see what was going on there, and Yenll went with me. As we were trumping down there, I decided to use the opportunity to find out the truth of her involvement with the Chaos assassin, and diverted us to the Forum of Truth in Marx.
Since I do not have any of the sorcerous methods of determining if someone speaks true, I unfortunately must rely on the brute-force method of reading their brain directly. The Forum is set up for this purpose; it is essentially an ampitheatre filled with 300 of my best thinkers, divided into groups of six, each with a wand that grants increased endurance, psyche and the power word Burst of Psyche. One member of each group would speak the word, focus his will, then pass the wand to the next person as the power word expired. In addition, a group of strong men would act to physically restrain the subject, while I used my skill at arms to keep the subject from skewering myself or any of my people.
Unfortunately, Yenll was not amenable to revealing her intentions, and tried first to trump away; when I used my sword to knock the card out of her hand, she drew out a golden statue that immediately started to attack me. In the process, it killed many of my people, but I was still able to keep her from leaving while my people and I tried to read her mind. At that moment, I received a trump contact from a friend of mine back at the castle -- warning me that the traitor Tenchi and his partner in duplicity, Mike Loader, were planning on looting the castle vault. When I returned to myself, Yenll had vanished. I was able to use the flawed Pattern at the heart of Marx to expel the golden warrior into deepest Shadow.
I then went with a group of my faithful Marxian friends to try and prevent the looting of the vault. Allow me to backtrack for a moment; after finding out that the castle guards were preventing Juri from ensuring the safety of the Pattern room, I decided I needed to find out why from the Castellan, Lord Baen. I used a conjured trump device to bring him to the Forum of Truth, where I discovered that he had been placed in such a web of compulsions and mental controls by the traitorous Tenchi that he could hardly breathe. I released him from these compulsions -- thank goodness, my control of time over Marx allowed me to take all the time I needed, as unravelling them was a nasty business -- and returned him to the castle. Naturally, when his former puppetmaster contacted him and informed him that he was coming to loot the vault, he notified me as someone who could help stop this from happening.
Sadly, they seem to have been alerted to our presence, and vanished
just as we got there; to make matters worse, they had left a trap that
would bathe the corridor in flames. Fortunately, my conjured spikard gave
me enough warning to pull out myself, Lord Baen, and as many of my friends
as I could manage; some were still killed, though, yet another injustice
to lay at the feet of the arch-traitor. We quickly trumped back in to the
corridor and found the vault still open; fortunately, the traitors had
managed to completely loot it, and we removed the remaining contents for safe-keeping. I discovered a combined trump/pattern gate that the arch-traitor had not had time to find, and followed it to find the demi-jewels of Fire and Metal, plus the Cup of Life and the Seed of Hope. I could not risk the chance of them falling into the arch-traitor's hands, so I took them with me.
Possession of the demi-jewels gave me an unexpected opportunity to protect myself and my people -- and weaken the power of the Fire Pattern held by the arch-traitor. I used them to convert the flawed Pattern at the heart of Marx into a *real* Pattern, of Metal and Fire interwoven, giving me the strength to defend and preserve Marx. I then collapsed unconscious at the heart of the new Pattern, awakening a few months later (local time, fortunately; only a few seconds had passed in Amber). I checked the arch-traitor's Fire Pattern and found it fortuitously weakened, and then went to check on Amber --
And stopped, as a sudden overwhelming feeling of danger overwhelmed me. I quickly teleported out of the center of the Pattern to the edge of the Pattern room, only to see nothing at the center. I commanded the Pattern to block/dispell all powers in the room... and stood sadly as my other full-sister Leonna was also revealed as a traitor, treacherously attempting to backstab me in conjunction with the notorious evil Chaosian mage of destruction, Makoto the Mad. After her first attempts to attack me across the Pattern failed, and Makoto hopped around enraged by the loss of his evil sorcery, we engaged in psychic combat. We proved to be evenly matched at first, fighting each other without budging, until Keiko and many of my friends from the Forum heard the commotion and started pouring into the Pattern room. As Leonna started to falter, she managed to conceal her true nature and summon the Unicorn. (I am still surprised that it did not attack her for being in league with a Chaos lord, let alone take Makoto to safety along with her.) The Unicorn took both of them away, and I finally saw that she had the Jewel of Judgement with her; I attempted to trace it, only to have them send in a massive bomb. I was forced to trump completely out of the shadow, and returned to find a 250-mile radius crater where the capital city of Marx used to be, punctuated by a 10-mile high pillar with the Pattern of Marx at its top. I stood heartbroken at the losses of my people.
While Leonna had managed to build up a reckoning owed even higher than that of the arch-traitor, the needs of my people came first. I sat down in the middle of the Pattern to begin rebuilding the world for them...
And so we come to the present, where the traitorous ones (managing to convince Kagoyasha to join them) have teleported in here to try and destroy me. Leonna is attempting to use the Jewel of Judgement to eradicate the Pattern of Marx, thus destroying Marx and all its people. I have managed to knock away some of their allies with a rain of acid, and wound Leonna by throwing my sword, but she continues to press on supported by Yenll and Kagoyasha. My attempt to take over Kagoyasha's brain and stop the traitors is slowly working, but I am afraid that I will not be able to finish before they destroy Marx. In consultation with the spirit of my Pattern, we have decided to destroy ourselves in a Final Strike if they manage to reach the mid-point of the Pattern; the traitors must not be allowed to bring Amber and its people under their soiled fists.
To whoever finds this, salutations and goodbye. May you defend the people better than I have managed. May those who harm the people be cursed unto destruction.
Mike Loader, Official Procurer of Teas and Coffees for the King of Amber: Believed to be the same Mike Loader who is now Official Procurer of Teas and Coffees for the Queen of Chaos
Juri: Princess Juri of Amber was the younger sister of Queen Leoness and Prince Harpo. She was murdered during the Day the Pattern Died, but the exact perpetrator of her murder was never determined. This mystery may, perhaps, never be solved.
my friend Keiko: Certain records would seem to indicate Harpo and Keiko were lovers, although it's hard to be sure without further evidence. She is believed to have died from the explosion of Queen Leoness' and Makoto's JewelBomb which tore the huge crater in Marx, but no body has ever been found.
a Logrus-weilding agent of the Courts of Chaos: Believed to be the notorious Chaos renegade/assassin, CATS.
Marx (my true home, a bastion of free-thinkers devoted to the people): Marx was a Flawed Reflection of Amber, assumed to now be destroyed due to the events detailed at the end of this account and the reclaiming of the Eye of Order by the Serpent of Wisdom.
the Cup of Life and the Seed of Hope: The fate of these potent artifacts is unknown, as they seem to have been lost in the final battle of the Day the Pattern Died
Leonna: Believed to be an affectionate nickname for his sister Leoness, now Queen of Chaos. Or perhaps a sign his mind was going...