Death of the Unicorn

The End
And the Beginning

After Grimnir returns from Shadow, the group gets together to plan. Between everyone present, several more were contacted and asked to join in the master plan. Grimnir brings Die Spinne and the Giant. Rupert says that he won’t assist until he can talk directly to the Unicorn; Adagio and Anastasia take him inside the Jewel to talk to her (after he won’t be accompanied by Anastasia alone). After he spends some time speaking alone with the Unicorn, he agrees to assist. He is also much more respectful to Indigo and Anastasia after talking with her, and begins calling Indigo the “Trump Knight.” Oliveris reluctant to assist in the upcoming battle, but agrees to join, so as not to get destroyed along with Amber. Anastasia will join the battle, serving to the last as Queen of Amber. Of the pirates, Ida, the “Butcher of Amber,” relishes joining; Dmitri agrees to join them, but he refuses participate in the fight; Vasili, despite protests from Indigo and Anastasia, wishes to be destroyed along with the rest of Amber.

Once the final participants have been gathered, the planning begins in earnest. Grimnir will destroy and remake The Pattern at the same time, so as to lesson both the destruction across Shadow, and the time to defend the Pattern. Die Spinne will be in charge of triage. Jacob and Anastasia will lead from the center of the circle, with Tamati beside them, providing communications. Adagio, after putting up protective wards along with the Company of the Campfire, will be troubleshooting. Elouiseand Dooley will guard Grimnir. Bjorne will lead the Rebman forces, on the opposite side of the field from Ida. Oliver will fight alongside Rupert, in the front lines, near the Arden Rangers. Indigo and Anastasia, as the Unicorn, will go throughout the battlefield, as needed.

The Forces of Chaos attack almost as soon as preparation is completed. The first major attack was by Rigoberto, King of Chaos. With his fearsome, demonic visage, Rigoberto barges through the troops to where Grimnir is working on the Pattern, as Serpentine attacks the center in concert. In the fighting, Dooley is pushed onto The Pattern, severely injured. As everyone tries to figure out how to reach him, Rigoberto dissolves in a pool of blood and bursts up through Dooley, onto the Pattern, killing him. Grimnir stops and turns to battle Rigoberto, managing to knock him off The Pattern, to be ripped into oblivion. After this, DJ Treble and DJ Bass attack, and are fought off by Bjorne and Adagio. Violetta shows up, spawning a mass of demons. Indigo and Anastasia go off to face her, and manage to drive her back into Shadow. When she shows up again, it is just her body, making aerial attacks. Jacob grabs Hayden’s head from Anahera and strides forth, challenging Violetta. He fights her, but not with his usual prowess, and she takes the head and leaves. Jacob then reveals it was full of explosives that would go off once she left the Shadow.

Solomon shows up next, towering above the battle. Jacob feeds the dead to the Giant, who grows to Solomon’s stature and fights him, although he is clearly no match for Solomon’s prowess, and the Spikards. His distractions allow Indigo and Anastasia to force him to a more normal size, although he continues to fight his way towards the Pattern. Dmitri joins the fight, hooking onto Solomon with his chain “hand” as he begins to head towards Grimnir on the Pattern. After an epic battle, Dmitri manages to push Solomon off, but gets stuck on the Pattern himself. Lastly, The Serpent shows up, and Anastasia charges out to meet him. As she does, she transforms and truly becomes the embodiment of the Unicorn. It is a long and bloody battle, but she prevails, in part because of assistance from Indigo, and drives The Serpent into Shadow.

Finally, shortly after the Serpent is routed by Anastasia/The Unicorn, Grimnir finishes. As he does, all of the “residents” of the Jewel begin to appear, except one, the Unicorn. Having spent the remainder of herself keeping the Jewel residents safe, she lets herself go on to whatever existence, if any, follows. Bee is also gone, letting go of his mortal coil.

Grimnir has created an Amber where there are no technology limits, where almost anything is possible. He has allowed for any “ Amberite” to walk his Pattern as well, not just his descendants. When he is seen again, his form has changes to that of a girl, wise beyond her years. Anastasia claims the Jewel from Grimnir, and says to all it is her right, as the Unicorn’s heir, to choose the King of Amber. After a moment’s contemplation, she give it to Adagio. She then walks the new Pattern, and disappears. A short time later, a message arrives for Adagio, asking him to care for her children as if they were his own. Indigo journeys into Shadow for a time. Unable to resist the lure, however, she returns to Amber a short while later. King Adagio begins the process of rebuilding Amber, taking Ice for his queen.

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Music Soothes the Savage Beast
Unless that Beast is named Dmitri...

Visitors arrive in Arden: a caravan with two amoung the crowd who are “above average.” Anastasia and Indigo send a ranger to question their intent. When Adagio, the leader of the caravan, asks about the Unicorn, Anastasia invites him to lunch with her and Indigo.

At lunch, introductions are made. Adagio turns out to be the son of George de Saint Marc, one of Isidor’s brothers trapped in the Pattern. He had been locked in shadow after being evacuated from the old Amber, but was freed after having a dream/vision about The Unicorn. The other person of interest is Sascha, a servant of “the lady,” also a resident of Old Amber. Anastasia says she will introduce Adagio around, but he would be wise to disavow his parentage; and gives him summary of the " official" history about Isidor, his family, and the new Pattern.

Indigo and Anastasia then take them to meet everyone. They run into Hayden as they are leaving Anastasia’s room, running naked in the halls. He chats for a moment, unabashed, before continuing his pursuits. Most of the rest of the introductions are uneventful, although when they go to meet Jacob, he informs them that Bjorne and Ida have separated, and he is close to finding Ida.

At Hayden’s suggestion, Anastasia arranges for a family dinner, so that everyone will have time to get to know each other more thoroughly. Before they introduce Adagio to Tamati, Anastasia insists on more info about Sascha. He ends up taking them to his shadow via the Abyss, and Anastasia discovers it’s a shadow of the Old Amber. Satisfied that Sascha can be trusted to some extent, they meet with Tamati in Forest Arden. He wants to make more concrete plans for taking care of the Pattern, but Anastasia and Indigo are uncertain. They decide to try and gather some support from other Amberites.

Right before the dinner, Tamati trumps Anastasia and tells her that Hayden has decided to “invite” Oliver and Dmitri in order to force a show of support. After some discussion, during which Anastasia and Adagio realize they don’t really have a choIce of not going without making serious waves, Sascha decides to go, and Indigo decides to just be fashionably late. Oliver and Dmitri are brought into the room in chains; Dmitri is missing his teeth, as well as his hand, his leg, as well as both his eyes; Oliver seems well physically, but his mind is gone. Elouise tries to help Oliver, but gets frustrated, and eventually storms out. Adagio asks Hayden if he may assist Dmitri, in the spirit of generosity, and Hayden assents, but warns him that Dmitri will not appreciate his effort. The entire table seems to brace themselves for the results. When Dmitri is let free so he may eat freely, he stabs the Giant (sitting next to him) with his spoon before he is subdued. Shortly afterwards, Anastasia begs off dinner sick, and stays the night in Rebma, inviting Adagio to join him when he leaves after her. Indigo says there is a security problem, and begs off as well, but Sascha stays for a while.

The next morning, they start to seek others for support. They contact Elouise first, who is willing to go along after she confirms what they have to say by studying the Pattern in Rebma. Next, they go to find Ice at Anastasia’s insistence; she thinks she may be with Ida. Indigo uses trump to approximate their location, and then Anastasia shifts into Hayden and uses his mastery of the Logrus to take them there. When they arrive, there is a bright flash of magic: Anastasia / Hayden is immediately injured and Indigo is bull rushed off the side. While Anastasia is putting up a trump defense, and shifting back to herself, Sascha is killed, but returns in a different form a moment later. There is a standoff on the deck. Then Indigo is thrown up onto the deck, and Bjorne follows after. After a “discussion” during which Bjorne berated Anastasia for coming as Hayden, he agrees to discuss what they claim with Elouise before making a decision to join them; Ice still wants nothing to do with Anastasia. They arrange the meeting between Elouise and Bjorne.

After some time, they all meet. Elouise says she will help, but she insists on putting Sandrah in the Jewel, as she is slowly going insane, and rescuing Oliver. Ice says she will join, as long as Anastasia cuts out the family stuff until afterwards. Bjorne will help as well, but he wants to put the twins in the Jewel. After some thought, Anastasia assents. Elouise takes the Jewel and is able to put Sandrah and the twins inside.

They make plans to break Oliver and Dmitri out the day after the next full moon, so Hayden has to wait to make a new Marshal if Anastasia is discovered, although they will try not to involve her or Tamati, so they can maintain their ties in Amber for the time being. Anastasia says that they shouldn’t tell her anything, so her ignorance will pass muster with Rupert. Indigo and Sascha go off to plan while Anastasia returns to Amber. When she returns, she finds out Oliver is set to be executed.

Oliver and Dmitri are rescued the night before the execution is scheduled. During the course of the attempt, Indigo and Sascha find out that Rupert and Anahera have been plotting against Hayden; the rescue is booby trapped, and they end up killing Hayden. Sascha captures Wilda, against the wishes of Rupert and Anahera, and she turns out to actually be Selkie, once again. When they return to Arden with Oliver and Dmitri, Indigo calls for Anastasia to heal them.

She finds out Oliver is merely in his primal form, and is quickly able to restore him. When he awakens, he reveals he was in on Rupert and Anahera‘s plot. Dmitri is much harder; Indigo obtains his eye and hand so they can be restored with him, and he won’t be blind when he awakens. When Anastasia thinks she won’t be able to do a lot without his cooperation, they awaken him. Anastasia tells him what is going on, and he makes a whispered reply. When Anastasia leans closer to hear him, he bites her – Adagio immediately knocks him out again with sorcery.

They decide to try and get Vasili, hoping it might calm down Dmitri some. Indigo trumps him, and returns with a pool of decaying flesh; Anastasia is able restore him to just a skull before Adagio says they won’t be able to keep Dmitri out much longer. They awaken Dmitri again, and he jumps back like a cornered animal. Anastasia tries to offer to help him and Vasili further, but Dmitri insists on having the skull, and then he backs away, disappearing into Forest Arden.

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In false quarrel there is no valor.
Really, we finally get to find Rupert and Gutlaugh

Dmitri and Grimnir discuss terms. Dmitri offers Grimnir all of what they have brought with them in exchange for the violin, but Grimnir refuses. He wants only satisfaction, or an apology. Dmitri is not willing to apologize, so the fight begins. Grimnir and Dmitri are well matched, and the advantage swings back and forth.

As they are locked in combat, Anastasia begins to fashion a flag of truce, and approaches the group of pirates. Indigo approaches as well. At Indigo’s approach, Ida pulls Elouise to her, holding a knife to her throat. Indigo concentrates, and tries to make trump contact with Anahera. As she is doing so, Anahera seems to reach out to her. Indigo tries to use this contact to pull Anahera to Amber, but only succeeds in pulling herself to Anahera, in the middle of the pirates. All hell breaks loose as Ida slits Elouise’s throat. Anahera is pulled away from the group and towards Hayden by the Logrus, and Indigo goes for Elouise. Ice backs away from the conflict, with Anastasia approaching her as a Unicorn. Selkie takes advantage of the distraction to run off into the water.

As this is happening, Jacob takes advantage of Grimnir and Dmitri’s single-mindedness and rushes forward, impaling them both on a silver tipped spear and pinning them to the ground. They continued to struggle, until Grimnir gains the upper hand, and crushes Dmitri’s collarbone. Dmitri’s form begins to shift, and Bjorne lays before Grimnir on the beach. Grimnir leaves him, and beings to focus on the group of pirates. Jacob turns his attention to Ida.

Indigo trumps Elouise to Arden, where she does her best to stabilize her, leaving her in the care of the Forest. The Jewel, however, stays, its control contested by several people on the beach. Ida is grabbed with Logrus tentacles and lifted into the air, where Jacob fires an arrow at her which pierces her through the eye. Undaunted, she pulls the arrow out, and eats her eye, then throws it aside. She utters a power word which disrupts Hayden’s control of the Logrus, and falls to the ground. The Jewel, meanwhile, has fallen as well, Grimnir having asserted control over it. Ida grabs it, and rushes towards Grimnir, the closest target.

Grimnir surrounds them with a cage of force, and the crunch of bones is heard as they struggle within. Dmitri appears, and he walks towards the cage, taking a ring off his finger and placing it on Ida, who disappears. Grimnir, not trusting his cage to Dmitri’s strength, disappears as well. Dmitri then goes to the beach, picks up the violin case, the chest, and Bjorne, and drags them off into the ocean.

Indigo arrives back on the field, and begins directing the troops while fighting amoung them. Jacob, seeing the battle under control, returns to the castle with Hayden.

Meanwhile, Anastasia has been approaching Ice. Exerting her control over Fire, she prevents Ice from completely leaving the field until she arrives. As she approaches Ice, she tells her that she is her mother. Ice, confused, teleports away. Anastasia absorbs Fire into herself, and walks off into shadow.

Anastasia eventually becomes frustrated in her attempts to follow Ice by denizens of Chaos who are attacking any Pattern user that ventures into their path. She decides to go to Die Spinne’s shadow, to consult with her on removing the taint of Violetta from her body. When she arrives, she finds out Grimnir is there as well, recovering from the fight. She works with Die Spinne to remove her taint, although she also removes her power over Arden as they are doing so. They contact Indigo, and return to Arden to redo the ritual. When they arrive, Indigo tells Anastasia about Elouise, and she heals her enough for her to go back to Amber under her own power.

Grimnir, Anastasia, and Indigo decide to finally pursue Rupert, and begins to trail him through Shadow. Eventually, they find him upon the field of battle, leading a group of fanatically, futuristic marines against a horde of bestial, yet strangely technologically advanced, orcs. They beat down the orcs, and while they are doing so, Anastasia suggests to Indigo that if she is more accomplished as a warrior while riding, perhaps she should ride the Unicorn, as it would give her an advantage and allow Anastasia to bolster her in battle. Rupert’s men attack as well, after he calls the trhee of them heretics. They finally get to Rupert and subdue him, but it does not break his reverie. Grimnir guides him to walk the Pattern in the Jewel, and by the time he gets to the center, he has recovered both his strength and his mind. Anastasia follows them to the center, and Rupert tells them how he was captured. He found out that Solomon had obtained two of the Spikards, and Solomon overcame him and thrust him in this reverie. Rupert then disappears. Anastasia tells Indigo they are leaving, but Indigo wants to stay and fight, so Anastasia teleports to Amber. Grimnir teleports away as well.

When Anastasia returns to Amber, she insists on talking with Hayden, and when she finally is able to meet him, she tells him about Rupert, and tries to convince him to give Rupert as much trouble as possible, as he was instrumental in crucifying her. She then meets back up with Grimnir and Indigo, and they travel to find Gutlaugh.

Indigo is able to determine from her Trump Gutlaugh is in the Golden Circle, so they travel to her land. When they arrive at the “evil castle,” they are greeted by a pale reflection of a person, wondering if Solomon sent them, and insisting she is hungry. Anastasia reaches to touch her, and Gutlaugh latches onto her wrist, sucking the blood from her. With this contact, Anastasia is easily able to break into her mind, and determines that she is a Pattern ghost, created by the previous Pattern before it was destroyed. She was sustained by Solomon’s blood, but has not seen him in some time, and was thus reduced to her current state. They discuss Solomon, and she confirms what Anastasia, Indigo, and Grimnir learned from Bee and from investigating the Primal Pattern. They leave, with Anastasia promising to return to sustain her.

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What's in a name?
"Dear Perfection" and Indigo don't seem to go together...

Time drags on, and Jacob wears down the pirate fleet little by little, but there is no attack on Amber. After a couple of hours, a rider appears in Arden. Anastasia sends a ranger to question the stranger, and it is Ice, riding Fire. The ranger questions her purpose in Arden, and she refuses to answer him. When he insists, saying that he speaks in Anastasia’s name, she slays him. Indigo decides to go into Arden to question Ice herself, so she drags Elouise in to stay on guard with Grimnir. Anastasia sends an imp to accompany Indigo.

Indigo goes into Arden to meet Ice, who says she is there to duel her for the right to bear the name Indigo. When Indigo questions this, Ice tells her that she was orphaned as a child after her mother disappeared, and the pirates found her wandering in shadow and told her she was an Amberite. They tutored her, and snuck her into Amber to walk the Pattern, but told her she could not use her given name, Indigo, as there was already a warrior of some renown bearing that name. She therefore chose to be called Ice, after her companion, Fire, but pledged to seek the one with her name and claim it back.

At Anastasia’s insistence, Indigo asks her more about her past. She reveals that Fire came to her shortly after her mother disappeared, and they have been steadfast companions ever since. With this information, Anastasia starts to think that Ice might be the daughter, Indigo, that she raised with a shadow of Eric after Solomon cast her and Indigo into shadow, destroying their minds in the process.

Indigo and Ice determine terms for the duel, and they begin. While they’re fighting, Anastasia sends the imp over to Fire, where she is able to use it to determine that Fire is, indeed, forged of her blood. She merges the imp with the creature, that she might learn more about Ice from it. She learns from it that the homoculous she sent after her daughter was transformed by shadow into the creature it is now as it got farther and farther away from Anastasia’s influence. By the time it had reached Ice, it was its own creature. It befriended her, and became her constant companion. As Anastasia is learning of her daughter, Indigo and Ice continue to duel. They are almost exactly matched, and the duel continues for hours, ranging through the shadows surrounding Amber.

While the duel is ongoing, Grimnir and Elouise wait at the treasury for the expected attack, with candles set by Elouise to ward the area. Grimnir shows the violin to Elouise, who explains that it used to belong to Dworkin himself. After some time, Grimnir notices that Elouise has started walking the Pattern in the Jewel. He begins to as well, and when they meet in the middle, Elouise tells him that her wards indicated someone was watching them, but she could think of no other way to convey that information to Grimnir. They discuss the intricacies of sorcery and the Pattern as they wait… and wait… and wait. Finally, tired of waiting, Grimnir decides to join Jacob, hoping to draw Dmitri out somehow.

When Grimnir gets to Jacob, he tells him about the violin, and Jacob suggests he show it to Vasili, who is currently attached to the figurehead of his ship. Grimnir flies over and shows Vasili, eliciting a chuckle, then returns to Jacob. A short time later, Vasili calls out to him to discuss terms. They decide to meet on the shores of Amber, with both parties bringing whoever they wish to fight with. Jacob and Grimnir prepare, and as they are leaving the ship, Jacob launches a parting shot at Roderick, who was commanding the pirate fleet in Vasili’s absence. The spear flies true, hitting Roderick and knocking him into the water. It does not, however, pierce his skin, instead just bouncing off. Jacob nods, knowingly.

Indigo and Ice continue their duel, fighting to a draw at the top of Mt. Kolvir, both exhausted and wounded. Indigo tries to tell Ice that her mother is in Amber, and wishes to see her, assuring her safety. Ice doesn’t believe her, and returns to the pirates. Indigo trumps to Anastasia.

While the duel was concluding, Jacob and Grimnir arrive on the beach. They have with them the violin case, a large chest, and several of Jacob’s men. Dmitri is there, along with Ida, Selkie, Ice… and Elouise (with the Jewel given to her for safekeeping by Grimnir) and Anahera, both captives. They also have most of the treasury of Amber with them. As Dmitri approaches under a flag of truce to discuss terms with Grimnir; Anastasia, Indigo, and Hayden arrive via a trump gate, along with many soldiers and palace guard.

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You shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Will we ever find Rupert and Gutlaugh?

Anastasia, Grimnir, and Indigo arrive in Amber after deciding to track down Gutlaugh and Rupert. Sortly after they arrive, Hayden sends a message to Grimnir, asking for the Jewel, or Grimnir, as Jacob has been attacked several times by “the pirates,” who have been using the weather to their advantage. Grimnir declines, and sends the Jewel to Hayden. When Hayden receives the Jewel, he contacts Anastasia, telling her to take it and go to help Jacob. Finding no good excuse to back out, she agrees, and recruits Indigo into going with her. They, in turn, manage to rope Grimnir into coming after all.

Before they leave, Indigo decides to do a little spying, and trumps Nervous Vinnie surreptitiously, having him show her who is on the ship. On the Vile Whore, besides Ida, is a blue woman named Ice accompanying a sea-sick red Unicorn, and a man of above average Psyche, but unknown to her (or Anastasia, when shown). She also decides to spy on Jacob, and attempts to do so by trumping Pete. Instead, she discovers that Pete is being cared for on an island by several crewmen from the Vile Whore. She reports this back to Anastasia, and they grab Grimnir and get ready to go.

Anastasia tries to trump Jacob, but after he resists her first attempt, Indigo tells her to send him “a message.” After some discussion, Anastasia tries futiley, and Indigo finally sends the message herself. Anastasia receives a trump from Jacob shortly thereafter, and after confirming it is him, answers. Jacob brings them to the ship, and they discuss the situation. All of the weather attacks have been cold-related, and Anastasia and Indigo believe it’s Ice. All three settle in, with Anastasia seeming to do her level best to annoy Jacob and his crew with her obvious displeasure at being aboard. The three go down into the hold of the ship to see what’s up with Pete, and see him there, blissfully chomping away at his feed. Anastasia examines him with the Pattern lens, and Indigo with Trump, but he seems perfectly normal. Anastasia refuses to tell Jacob that they think Pete (or Shmete, as Indigo calls him), is a spy, certain he will simply laugh at her in derision. Neither Grimnir nor Indigo volunteer to float the suggestion, so they leave it be.

After a couple of days at sea, the pirates still had not attacked, and Jacob has not been able to track them down. Even more convinced there is a spy on the ship, Indigo and Anastasia use their magics to examine the crew. Everything checks out. Bored to tears, and anxious to move on to other pursuits, Anastasia begins trumping back to Amber for an hour or so each day, and spends the rest of the time working on Trumps in her cabin. Indigo and Grimnir take advantage of the time to go fishing.

After a couple more days, Anastasia trumps back to Amber to immediately sense that there is danger in Forest Arden. She rushes to the Forest, only to discover that nothing seems to be wrong there. A few moments later, just as she is about to contact someone aboard the ship, Indigo appears in Arden, mortally wounded. After healing Indigo, Anastasia contacts Grimnir, who tells her that as soon as she left the ship, “Shmete” began trumping people aboard. Ida and Ice immediately started attacking Indigo, who, while able to stop some of their attacks, was not able to defend herself from all of their sorcery. She did manage to severely injure “Shmete” with Mormegil. Shmete immediately turned into a seal, and slid off the deck into the ocean. As she began to black out, Indigo managed to trump to Arden.

While Indigo was fighting with the sorceresses, Dmitri also trumped in, and went straight for Grimnir. Their battle was epic, with Dmitri trying every dirty trick in the book, while Grimnirnir managed to keep an iron grip on him. Ida disappears as Jacob begins to arrive, and Ice engages him. She fully concentrates on defense, but is able to hold Jacob off long enough for Dmitri to use a power word to break Grimnir’s grasp, and falls into the ocean. With Ida and Dmitri gone, Ice disappears as well.

Wanting to find out more about the pirates plan, Indigo spies on Nervous Vinnie once again. He is about to get Ida to go over over the plan with him when Dmitri arrives, silencing Ida and clocking Vinnie in the head. After discussing their information with Jacob, including Indigo’s knowledge of the pirates’ tactics, they decide the pirates are planning on attacking Amber, probably to raid the treasury and embaress Hayden. Anastasia, Indigo, and Grimnir return to Amber to inform Hayden and plan, Anastasia and Indigo closing Arden to Trump as they do so. Anastasia insists on seeing Hayden, but Tamati tells her she won’t get in unless she lets him in her mind, as they are concerned about a shapeshifter attacking the King. Anastasia goes to Indigo, to get her take on letting Tamati into her mind, and finds her and Grimnir in the process of stealing Dmitri’s violin via Trump. After some discussion with Indigo, Anastasia decides to let him, and returns to find Tamati.

Tamati is in and out in a flash, and gives the ok for Anastasia to talk to Hayden. She briefs him on the current situation. While Grimnir and Indigo were plotting, the attack has started against the fleet, led by Vasili and Roderick on the Vile Whore. The Raven is deep within the pirates’ fleet, too far in to determine who’s aboard. Hayden complains about losing contact with Jacob, and Anastasia explains they have closed Arden (and btw, she’s the Marshall now). Hayden says he had been communicating through Tamati, but he seems to have disappeared. Anastasia asks Indigo about Tamati’s disappearance, and she says he went to talk to Bee, after the shock of realizing exactly what the three of them were planning to do, and why. Indigo sets up a “drop box” for Jacob to leave messages for Hayden, and says she will check it and relay them.

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Hayden's Wedding
Hayden and Anahera sitting in a tree...

Anastasia corners Oliver at a pre-wedding party and he tells her that Maggie got Leviathan to summon the Krakens. Several of Anastasia’s and Hayden’s siblings show up for the wedding; Anastasia gets Hayden to introduce her, they are cordial, but don’t say a whole lot, call her “a favored one”; she also notices that they call certain men there “Uncle” – Jacob, Oliver, Grimnir, and Bjorne (who doesn’t arrive until right before the ceremony). She asks Hayden about it, and it’s a term they use for the fathers of their siblings. She then asks who Oliver’s and Grimnir’s children are, and he tells her about El Gigante and Die Spinne.

Sandrah, Elouise, Anastasia and Indigo are Bridesmaid’s; Dooley, Jacob, DJ Bass are groomsmen; Grimnir officiates – the ceremony is Indian; Tamati gives away Anahera; DJ Treble is the First Maid; Thin Man is the Best Man. At the end of the ceremony, Grimnir takes Thin Man and Anahera away for several minutes; when he returns, alone, he announces that there is a tradition of the best man “kidnapping” the Bride, and they’ve been given a ten minute head start. Whoever finds them first will be “the baddest.”

Anastasia goes with Hayden and ‘the family’ to discuss plans; Indigo goes her own way to hunt. After a while, the rest of the ‘family’ goes to make sure the guests are entertained, leaving Hayden and Anastasia; Hayden says he has known Thin Man since they were children, and he knows where to find him, they both change forms and stalk to a chicken coop, and then wait in hiding. During the wait, Grimnir is overheard discussing his new church, and invited to talk with El Oso. El Oso turns out to be a pious man (bear?), and wants to exchange emissaries between the Church of the Pattern and The Courts of Chaos, who are known to form small Amber cults. He invites Grimnir to visit with him and the King; Grimnir says that if he wishes to send students to the seminary, he should speak with Anya, and El Oso says he may bring whoever he wishes.

About 8 hours after the ceremony, Thin Man and Anahera show up – Thin Man raiding the chicken coop – Anahera says she told him he didn’t need to eat. Hayden and Anahera go on their “honeymoon.”

After convincing Grimnir it was ok to leave the Jewel in Amber, Grimnir, Anya, and Indigo decide to go visit El Oso. They trump to Veneto, but instead find themselves caught in a spider web. Turns out the spider web was a trap set by Die Spinne, who greets them as they work their way out – she is pleasantly surprised to see Grimnir, but worried that Anya is still under her mother’s influence. When questioned, she tells Anya the “truth” about Violetta – she is an ancient creature who creates armies of fantastic creatures out of her children, shaping them in her womb. When her body is eventually nearing exhaustion, she spawns one more child; a daughter. She raises this daughter in seclusion, molding the “favored one” to her desires, then takes the body and continues on. Die Spinne used to be a favored one, but managed to escape Violetta’s influence over her body by rebirthing herself, and she has been gathering an army to attack Violetta. Anya relates she had been told, somewhat, of her seclusion, but not of its purpose, and realizes that her mother still has her children in Veneto.

When Die Spinne hears of the children, she tells them they must be rescued at once, before Violetta is allowed to influence them further, and they cannot be saved. The planning begins. Anya decides she will influence the destiny of Veneto so it ends up next to Die Spinne’s shadow, and the three of them (Grimnir, Anya, and Indigo) cross into the shadow, along with several spiders from Die Spinne. As they enter, they are immediately met by one of Serpentine, who tells them that Violetta is awaiting them in the study. Indigo quickly dispatches the messenger, and sends the two spy-ders to reconnoiter. They continue towards the house, ignoring the servants as they head towards the nursery. When they arrive at the nursery, it is guarded by several servants, and the butler, who again tells Anya that Violetta is awaiting her in the study. Anya says she will go there, once she has her children. The butler will not let her pass, and chaos ensues!

Grimnir fights the butler, who grows into El Gigante, in the hall. Grimnir is able to overpower him with his force of will. Anya is able to stop him from killing The Giant by shouting that he is Grimnir’s brother. Indigo fights the servants, who are trying to prevent Anya from entering the room by grabbing her legs. After Indigo and the spiders dispatch the servants holding Anya, she enters the room, the front of which is filled with a giant, poison cloud. The posion starts to blind Anya, but she is able to shake it off, her body adapting as she walks. Indigo gets the cloud to leave by throwing Mormegil into it. As Anya approaches the womb, she sees that it is surrounded on all sides by Serpentine, and she threatens to strike as Anya walks closer. Anya tries reason, but to no avail, so, resigned, she goes with Grimnir to the study while Indigo stays in the room.

Violetta is lounging in the room. Anya demands her children, but Violetta refuses. She does offer her the boy, but says she can’t have either until they are born. They go back and forth a couple times, but no further compromise is reached, and Anya, resigned, decides to leave. As they make their way back to the nursery, both Anya and Grimnir realize that the shadow is closed off, and Anya realizes she does not actually have control over it. Anya turns around to go back to Violetta. When she arrives back at the study and asks how they are supposed to leave, Violetta says she would like to discuss a more amicable solution, and invites the group to dine with her. Anya leaves to convey the message to Indigo and Grimnir.

As Anya enters the room and nears the womb, Indigo, who had been standing guard near it, leaps forward to attack Serpentine, placing herself in the way of any of Serpentine that might try to strike the womb. Anya reaches out to contact the womb and try to help it. Serpentine strikes true on both the womb and Indigo, although Indigo slays several of her. As this is happening, the walls of the house falls away to reveal Violetta, in her true form, a giant, distorted womb topped by the torso of a woman. Serpentine flees as more of her are struck down by Indigo, but soon she starts to succumb to the poison, and collapses, dropping Mormegil.

Grimnir picks up Mormegil and charges at Violetta, slicing through her as blood sprays over him in a fiery shower. Anya is able to commune with her womb, only to realize that the children are fine, as it is endowed with her own extraordinary endurance. Indigo beings to use her Trump magic to stabilize herself. Through this all, spiders start to pour into the shadow through tears in the veil that surrounds it.

Grimnir collapses, charred beyond all belief, as the torso seperates from the monster and flies away. As the shadow begins to disintegrate, all three are caught in Die Spinne’s webs. Anya begins to reintegrate her children, then goes to help Grimnir and Indigo. Die Spinne insists on helping Grimnir, so Anya begins to assist Indigo, who has managed to stay the course of the deadly poison from Serpentine, but has not been able to recover from the damage already wrought. Anya heals her enough that she can begin to recover.

While Grimnir and Indigo are recovering, Anya and Die Spinne talk. She allows Die Spinne to enter her body and her mind, and she is able to tell Anya that the children has definitely been tainted by Violetta, as well as Anya. They discuss possible courses of action. Die Spinne can help her cleanse the taint now, but as the children grew, they would be reinfected from Anya herself, and were quite likely to be born under Violetta’s control, however insidious. It would also be exteremely dangerous for Anya to attempt to cleanse herself while carrying the children. Although Anya is very reluctant at first, she finally agrees to let Die Spinne assist her in cleansing them, and then allowing her to act as a surrogate, however painful it may be for her to let her children go again.

Die Spinne carefully takes the children from Anya, and ends up laying two eggs which contain them. While expecting it to take a further three months, the children “hatch” in only about two weeks. Grimnir takes the time to get to know his brother, The Giant, and takes him to Amber. Indigo and Anya have both taken that time to contact Bjorne. Anya asks him to make arrangements to care for the children, whom she now wishes to be raised in Rebma. Bjorne is overjoyed to oblige, and looks forward to seeing them. Indigo finds out, after talking to Bjorne, that she is not, in fact, Mareah’s child. Bjorne tells her Mareah was barren, so they went to a witch, who was able to create a child for them from Bjorne alone. They then needed a surrogate, who turned out to be Violetta. Eric, her brother, was the bastard son of Bjorne and a woman from the Golden Circle, named Audrey; a nomad who he has since lost track of.

After the children are born, a boy and a girl named Eric and Hope, Anya takes them, along with a few precious possessions Die Spinne managed to save from her shadow, to Rebma, where she leaves them in Bjorne’s care. The three then venture through shadow back to the Courts, to El Oso’s shadow. Indigo leaves the Pattern Blade behind. While they are greeted with a somewhat wary welcome, after allowing themselves to be searched by Royal Guard, they meet with El Oso and King Rigoberto Del Sotto. Grimnir and El Oso are soon deep into talk of religion, so the King invites Indigo and Anya on a hunt. Anya takes the opportunity to ingratiate herself with the King, who seems welcome to her overtures. Indigo falls back, chatting with the guards who accompany them. After several hours, they take their leave, although Anya leaves a trump with a manservant, in case the King should wish to contact her again.

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The Conscience of a King
If there ever is one...

Anya goes to talk to Indigo, asking for her protection while she carries her children. Indigo agrees readily. Anya then goes to talk to Bjorne about the crown. She states she doesn’t want to give it to him because he already lost it once, but he says he will store it as she does, so she hands it over.

After some discussion over whether the Krakens are still in Amber harbor, Indigo and Anya trump to Vasili, where Anastasia tells him she is with child, and asks him to intercede with Dmitri to ask him to play at Eric’s funeral. Vasili agrees, although he seems uncertain of Dmitri’s answer. Shortly afterwards, Dmitri contacts Anya and refuses, saying he doesn’t want to get involved in the politics.

The funerals are held – both presided over by Grimnir. To prevent Anahera from singing, and to silence any bickering, Grimnir and Anya agree that Eric’s funeral will be speechless. Besides Solomon and Rupert, who are not present at all in Amber during these times, Dmitri and Vasili are also not present. At Maggie’s funeral, Dmitri does show up (although he does not play). Anya, who is attending with Indigo, shows her indignation. Maggie’s son, Dooley, is also present.

Hayden calls a meeting of the third generation (Anya, Indigo, Grimnir, and Dooley), and says that he thinks someone from Chaos should be King, as they can bring order to the court. He states that there are only two people at the table who fit the bill, and as he doesn’t want to burden anyone without their permission, he should be King. Anastasia and Grimnir question him extensively, until Anastasia finally announces that she will need time to think, and leaves the room with Indigo.

Afterwards, Anya goes to discuss the meeting with Bjorne, where he shows her a letter Hayden has sent, asking for the crown, as he already has at least 4 supporters. The letter is signed by Jacob, Anahera, Dooley, and Oliver. Bjorne is visibly upset, and Anya does not commit to which side she intends to join.

Anya and Indigo try to contact Vasili, but Indigo thinks he is dead. They try to contact Dmitri, who doesn’t answer them, then Ida, who ignores them as well. When they try Dmitri again, he uses a power word to dispel their contact, after they break through into his thoughts. They try to break through to Ida to determine what’s going on, when Dmitri appears and clocks Indigo over the head with a belaying pin, knocking her out cold. He then tells Anya, “No means no!” and disappears again in a shimmer of trump. Indigo and Anya go out to the harbor after she recovers, and find Jacob and Hayden watching a battle in the harbor – where the pirate ships are attacking the Kraken. Indigo and Grimnir use their magic to join them, while Anya watches the battle with Jacob and Hayden. Sometime after both Krakens are dead, Vasili walks out of the water, dragging Grimnir’s corpse. He gets Dmitri to run him through with Gugnir, which also doesn’t kill him, and stays on the docks, pinned to a stanchion, while Dmitri watches. The servants are instructed to take Grimnir’s corpse to the morgue, and told he may or may not re-awaken. Anya also send a bird of her form to find him in Shadow.

After some time, Anya decides to join Hayden, but she has demands. When she goes to his chambers to meet with him about them, he is gone, but Dooley is there to meet her. He walks with her to the hall, where they find Bjorne, in Chaos form, attacking Hayden, who is standing between him and Sandrah, unconscious on the floor. They join the attack against Bjorne, and while Dooley, Hayden, and Elouise (who had been with Sandrah) get his attention, Anya is able to grab him long enough to take control of his shapeshifting, and she transforms him back to his human form, and sedates him. In response to this, Hayden delays the meeting to determine the crown.

Anya has Bjorne taken back to his room, where she puts guards at the door, as well as a guardian of her own form, with explicit instructions to not let anyone in, and inform her when he awakens.

Hayden and Anya meet, with Indigo and Dooley as chaperones, before his dinner. Anya gives Hayden her demands – not to kill or cause Bjorne to be killed, no matter his actions; to support her in a bid to become Queen in Chaos; and that she will not turn over the Jewel at this time, as The Unicorn has need of it. Hayden says she he will discuss the Unicorn with her later, but may keep the Jewel for now. He does not want it going to the Courts, where the Serpent may attempt to reclaim it, so his first order as King will be that it does not travel beyond the borders of Forest Arden. Says that he is going to put together a group of people to study removal of the Blood Curse, and that he wants her to help, and let them study the Jewel. He also wants to be attuned to it. Anya agrees, but warns him that though she will regret it, if she requires access to the Jewel, and he does not give it, she will take it from him.

The dinner finally happens. Solomon, Rupert, Vasili, Dmitri, Grimnir, and Bjorne (still sedated) are missing. Shortly after dinner starts, a servant arrives and announces that Grimnir is still dead and will not be attending. Anya tells him to relay to Grimnir to “get his ass up here,” and he arrives after a short time. Hayden rises, and makes two announcements. The first is that he is engaged to Anahera. The second, his intent to take the throne. Anya is the first to swear to him, handing him the crown she recovered from Bjorne. Anahera swears next, then Jacob. Oliver leads the rest of the table in a group oath, after which Ida gives the entire table the finger and leaves the room. As dinner is winding down, Indigo and Dooley leave together, saying they are going to go drinking. Hayden tells Anya and Grimnir that he would like to speak with them after dinner.

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The Primal Pattern...Again
Once more into the breach

Shortly after Bjorne and Indigo return, The Unicorn arrives in the room, announcing, “Don’t let the Flaw rule you,” before returning control of her body to Anya. Anya, somewhat disoriented, ignores Indigo’s offer to join her in pursuing Maggie, and tells Grimnir they have to go to the Primal Pattern…now. The Unicorn has told her to “seek the flaw.”

They both leave to go to the Primal Pattern, where she turns into The Unicorn once again, and assists Grimnir to enter the memories of the Pattern’s creation, where they discover the truth about how it happened.

Isidor was the weakest of his siblings, but found sorcery and magic while wandering in Shadow. He mastered all forms of Power, and then systematically killed most of his siblings. He also destroyed the two Patterns already in existence, and proceeded to create his own, in his own image. His remaining three brothers confronted him as he was doing so, so he trapped them in the Pattern, in each of the three veils. With the Unicorn’s knowledge, they were also able to determine that each time someone scribes a Pattern, they set the rules for its reality, and Isidor had made his so that it would not survive without him. Everything real since then has had that same flaw in them. Isidor had written The Pattern so that the universe would disintegrate without him, and since he was now dead, it was doomed to break apart. This was the flaw The Unicorn had spoken of. They also realized that The Unicorn had managed to save some of the two previous Patterns, and herself, by putting them inside the Jewel.

After these discoveries, Anya and Grimnir sought out Bee, and sought his advice on their course of action, including trying to enlist him to help create a new Pattern. He tells them he can’t, but is able to teach them that order to draw a Pattern, one must be a Master of Trump and Pattern, and wield control of the Jewel. He also tells them that whoever draws the new Pattern will become a part of it. Anya and Grimnir determine that the only course is to enlist Indigo’s assistance, and both attempt to master those arts, so that one of them might be able to draw a new Pattern.

When Anya and Grimnir return to Amber, they go to tell Bjorne what they have discovered, and meet Indigo there. She is sorely wounded, and Anya rushes to assist her, but she has slain Maggie and holds her head. Bjorne informs them that the others have decided to let cooler heads prevail, and will meet in three days to decide the kingship. He enlists Grimnir to find the crown, and then Anya asks Grimnir to give them some time alone, as she has some family matters to discuss with Indigo and Bjorne. He graciously leaves, and she tells them she carries Eric‘s child. After their meeting, Anya goes to [[:indigo | Indigo’s chambers, where they console each other with tales of [[:eric | Eric]].

The next morning, over breakfast, Elouise approaches the three of them and asks Anya and Grimnir which of them has the real Jewel. After a moment’s hesitation, Grimnir admits it is Anya, and Elouise pulls out the crown, handing it to Anya for safekeeping. She places it within herself, so that it cannot be taken.

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And Losing Him...
Good Night, Sweet Prince

When they arrived back at Castle Amber, Bjorne informed them that he would be waiting three days before crowning himself, and left them to take care of other business. The three days pass uneventfully, as most of the Princes and Princesses of Amber arrive. Anya has breakfast with Hayden during that time, with Hayden expressing glee at the conflict that he assumes will ensue.

When the time comes for the ceremony, Eric informs Anastasia that he’s not going, and despite her best efforts to persuade him, he doesn’t change his mind. As Anya is headed to the ceremony, she trumps Bjorne, breaking through his mental barrier to let him know Eric will not be there. He tells her he will talk to Eric and make him come.

Indigo is one of the first to arrive, and when she does, she rearranges the seating at the table. Other trickle in, until finally Bjorne arrives, later than expected, without Eric. After some less that polite conversation, he admits that he doesn’t have the crown, or know where it is, but orders everyone to stay as the castle is searched. During the resulting bickering, Anya attempts to contact Eric via trump. He resists, despite her use of their pre-arranged signal, and when she finally breaks through, he tells her, “Be Gone, Demon!” She can see him riding through Arden with Maggie behind him, whispering in his ear.

Anya ends the contact, and marches over to Grimnir, telling him to stop them, but he is unable – Maggie still has control over Arden. She then goes to Indigo, and together they try him again. They are able to make contact after much effort, and when they do, their connection is severed and a lightning bolt emanates from the card, striking… Grimnir. They both go to Bjorne, interrupting a show-down he is having with Dmitri, and tell him that Maggie has kidnapped Eric. After doing so, Anya begins to shift, turning into The Unicorn and attempting to leave, forcing Bjorne to stand between her and the door to stop her. When he refuses to move, she uses the Pattern in the Jewel to teleport to Eric. Bjorne and Indigo then leave to track down Eric in Arden.

When Anya arrives in Forest Arden, she finds Eric…decapitated and scalped. In her anguish and rage, The Unicorn take over…and she turns back to Amber. Several minutes later, Indigo and Bjorne find him. They return to Amber, where Indigo tries to get Vasili and Dmitri to help her kill Maggie.

While Bjorne, Indigo, and Anya were gone, Grimnir tracked down the crown to Dmitri’s chamber, and goes to retrieve it, encouraged by a conversation he had with Oliver. He returned to the hall, but Oliver was nowhere to be found. Exasperated, he ended up giving it to Anahera, who delights in toying with it. As this is happening, Grimnir, with his knowledge of the happenings of Arden, sees The Unicorn traveling towards Castle Amber, the Jewel prominent upon her breast, but instead of telling/warning the company, simply waits.

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Rescuing Eric
Scalped? Really?

While they were waiting near the edge of Arden, avoiding Jacob’s patrols, they noticed one group of men seemed to continually follow them, even through Shadow. After some discussion, they decided to let him join them. It turned out to be the lieutenant they had seen earlier in Westmoreland, along with a squad of men. He introduced himself as Hayden, son of Jacob and Violetta. Anya was somewhat taken aback by the statement, mentioning that she was not aware she had a brother. The three made some idle chatter, and then promised to meet again in Amber.

When they judged the time to be right, Anya and Grimnir used the Pattern within the Jewel to travel directly to the Heart of Arden. When they arrived, they could hear Bjorne fighting in the distance, but he had not yet appeared. Maggie was there, the crown of Amber upon her head. She spoke with Grimnir. When Anya asked her where Eric was, and demanded him back, Maggie told her they shouldn’t get involved, and that they would be safer that way. Anya insisted on seeing Eric, so Maggie opened a path for her through Arden. She and Grimnir began to walk slowly down it, trying to stalling somewhat, when Indigo appeared in the clearing and attacked Maggie.

Grimnir joined in the fighting as well, knocking away the branches of the living trees to assist Indigo. Bjorne still had not made it through, so Anya began to fight her way out of the clearing towards him, skewering rangers upon her horn and trampling them under hoof. Grimnir used his mighty strength to cause the ground to quake, knocking most of them to the ground. While they were recovering, Anahera leapt out of the shadows and drew her knife across Maggie‘s forehead in one swift motion. Maggie fell to the ground, the crown, and her scalp, still in Anahera’s hands. Anahera tossed the crown as she went towards the center of the clearing, and Anya caught it upon her horn, then turned and started down the path Maggie had opened earlier, towards Eric. Bjorne arrived shortly after, and he and Indigo followed Anya. They left Grimnir in the clearing with Anahera, who had collapsed in the center, and Bjorne’s men, who had instructions to tend to Maggie and bring her back to Castle Amber.

Bjorne and Indigo caught up with Anya, and they followed the path through shadows of Arden to a cave, and deep underground. Finally, they came upon a frozen room where Eric was encased in ice. Lowering her head to give the crown to Bjorne, Anya shifted into elemental Fire, melting the ice until they were able to remove Eric. He awakened as they freed him, but he was still weak, so Anya and Indigo supported him as the family journeyed back to Amber.

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