Part Two - Flashback of the Past and a Mission for the Future

"What do you mean, 'You've got a little job for me?'"
-Hercules


Those little details were taken care of, but I ended up in a lot of pain because of them. Not only did I have to act out my feelings betrayal and rage, but Andrews plan to get Brand on his side was to knife me.
Brilliant plan, but I would have liked it better if he had warned me first. Here's how things went:
He waited until we(Dellen, Margo, Andrew and I) *accidentally*(Andrew planned it) met up with Brand. Acting as shocked as the rest of us, he maneuvered his way to the front of the group and pulled a dagger. He then said this:
"Uncle Brand," he said, "once before you offered me a place by your side, to help you destroy Amber, and I refused. Now though, I have reconsidered and ask you to accept me."
"As a token of my good will, I put the blood of my own kin on my hands." Without another word he turned to his right and put the dagger into my chest. I was shocked.
Now the wound should have been fatale, but Andrew wouldn't have delivered it if he had thought it would kill me.
While Andrew went and stood next to Brand, Dellen and Margo took defensive stances before me and Adamantis knelt beside me and used his healing powers to patch up the hole. I, in the mean time, spit up a lot of blood and concentrated on not choking. The knife had gone into my right lung.
Somewhere during the time that Adamantis healed me and I coughed up a lot of my precious bodily fluids, Brand and Andrew trumped out, and as soon as I was healed, Dellen, Margo, Adamantis and I trumped out.
I went on to drink a couple shots of scotch to revive me from the shock and get the horrid taste of my own blood out of my mouth. I then drank a glass of sugar water to get the taste of scotch out of mouth, followed by a can of root beer to get the taste of sugar water out of my mouth.
I then spent the next half-hour telling Dellen how I hadn't known about this(half true) and how I was shocked(most definitely) and outraged(yeah, that, too) that my brother would do this to me.
After all, Brand had tried to kill us both when we were younger by forcing us to walk the Pattern.
Ah, the past. The only thing that is truly the opposite of the future.......

:::::Flashback:::::


My father left when Andrew and I were three, M'ky twelve. That was the time that dear Grandpa Oberon disappeared from Amber. He was gone, we didn't remember him, life was semi-normal.
Andrew and I enrolled in school and ever since the first day of kindergarten Andrew and Adamantis were competing to be better than one another. At the time we didn't know Adamantis was an Amberite.(I later learned that Eric had visited my father and stayed for about two weeks years and years before. He had also had his way with several local women, producing two bastards nine months later. One was Adamantis, the other a girl named Seri.)
After the two had been kicked out of school several times for fighting, they suddenly decided not to try and get the better of each other and to get along. I never understood what happened(some sort of weird male bonding, perhaps?), and I still don't know now what it was that occurred. They just quit hating each other and said "Buddy!" and "Pal!" to one another. Weird.
When we were twelve things changed. We met Dellen and Margo. They told us we were Amberites(to confirm this they sliced our wrists open to see how long it took them to heal. Charming people, Margo and Dellen) After they confirmed it among each other, Margo bought a place in town and became a permanent resident(oh, happy day!).
Andrew and I both began to spend a lot of time around her. Mom didn't know.
We learned to fence, to shoot, and other warrior traits. Cyanne, who fancies herself a magician, taught us magic. Andrew learned magic from Cyanne, I learned to fence from Margo, and Adamantis learned the healing arts from some old woman who lived in the woods. The women's name was Mardi and she taught him everything he knows about the healing magic.
Adamantis didn't have a problem. His mother was a bar maid and she worked long, late hours and didn't notice if son was out until after dark. Andrew and I, however, were not so fortunate. Not only did Mom oppose to us being out past sunset, when a month or so after we turned fourteen Brand nabbed us(Andrew, Eric's daughter Seri and I) and took us to the Pattern.
Andrew and I had thankfully heard of it from Dellen, Cyanne and Margo, but Seri didn't even know she was an Amberite, let alone what to do when Brand shoved her on to the Pattern.
I'll make things short and simple. She died, obliterated upon stopping near the first veil. Andrew and I survived, each reaching the center and then returning home based on an earlier agreement(don't ask, just don't ask.......).
We were too young to have walked the Pattern. We both made it home, but became mysteriously ill with extreme fatigue for the next two weeks.
We got better and Margo and Dellen gave us each crash courses in shadow walking, then took Adamantis to walk the Pattern. We all learned to manipulate shadow at a very young age.
Then came sweet sixteen. Things went fine. Three months later Dad came home, having sorted things in Amber out best he could, and planned to stay.
Neither Andrew or I remembered him, and he actually made us follow the rules. If we were told to be home by seven o'clock and we didn't get home 'till seven forty-five, we were grounded. Andrew never pushed him beyond that. I on the other hand was caught sneaking back in more than once. Andrew was a magician, therefore he could practice alone. I was a warrior and required an opponent. Dad lost his temper more than once. He set rules, Mom set rules, I was expected to follow those rules and except the punishment that came with breaking them. Dad slapped me on more than one occasion for breaking his rules. It's not something you forget easily. Gerard is known as the strongest Amberite for a reason, he's strong and whether he's breaking somebody's neck or slapping you across the face it hurts. It's not that he's cruel or anything, but I managed to push him over the edge more than once with my lack of following the rules......that among other things.
Delwin was a real problem. He wanted Dellen dead and Dellen was hanging around and helping me with my fencing.
I was arrested seven times for disturbing the piece, four times for breaking and entering, and twice for arsine. Each time Dad, sadly I might add, paid the fine and my bail. Each time I had been arrested because of something that had occurred with Delwin. I never even graduated high-school(which was something Andrew did manage), too many cuts.
When I was twenty-five I was still living at home(by this time M'ky had walked the Pattern and was off in shadow and Andrew had told everyone(a lie of course) that he had gotten a job as a clown in the circus. Therefore, he left town and the shadow, keeping in touch with me via the trumps Cyanne had drawn and helping Dellen deal with Brand). One night I was trying to think of a lie on why I was leaving home, when I decided to scurry my fathers trump.
His words have lived with me to this day.
"She's hopeless," he had said to my mother sadly. "A punk kid whose ruined her life and," he had drawn a shaky breath, "I feel it's my fault for not being here for her."
Not only had my father called me "hopeless", but he thought it was his fault. Shame was what drove me that night. Shame at being a useless daughter, the shame of having to lie on so many occasions because either Brand or Dellen was trying to kill someone, I was ashamed of who he thought I was.
I left that night, trumping out with a packed bag via Andrew. Not once in the two centuries that have passed since then have I dyed my hair. I let my short cut locks grow long, and in my shame I never spoke another word to my father, except to give my regrets to him and M'ky at my mothers funeral. Neither had recognized me. Shame still drove me to hide my face.

**************************************************


Dellen interrupted my musing with a sharp knock on my door.
"What?" I asked.
He replied with, "Can I come in?"
"A question answered with a question," I mused. Then, "Yeah, come on in."
He entered, slamming the door behind him and sat down across from me in my favorite easy chair. I was lying on my bed.
"Might I ask again, 'what'?"
He studied me for a moment and leaned back in the chair.
Dellen's a tall man, well over six feet. His hair the same sandy color as his father, but unlike his father's his is long, well past his shoulders, and always neatly cut, while Delwin's always seems to be short and a mess. He wore light leather armor; no weapons that I could see.
"I need you to do me favor," he said.
"Depends on what kind of favor it is," I said bluntly. I wasn't about to let myself be suckered into something bad.
"It's nothing bad." Is he reading my mind? "Just dangerous." Ah. My brothers a traitor so you want to kill me off, eh? "I need you to go to Amber." Hah! You really do want me dead don't you! Shall I let the Pattern fry me, or simply try and assassinate Uncle Julian, or even better Random?
"To do what?" I really do wish that he would get to the point.
"The Golden Circle kingdom of Tyshen is siding with Brand....."
"Everyone knows he's alive?"
"Not everyone. Rinaldo in Kashfa knows......"
"Does he know about Coral?" I interrupted again.
"No. But hear me out will you?" I nodded. "Good. Brand used to hang around in a Golden Circle kingdom known as Tyshen. Tyshen is on very good terms with another kingdom known as Serlyn." I nodded again, wondering what his point was. "I've arranged things so that Serlyn is going to send several ambassadors to talk with Random about Tyshen's sudden alliance with Brand."
"You arranged this?"
"Yes. I want you to go and take Margo and Adamantis with you while Cyanne and I further explore Brands defenses around the Abyss."
"I will," I said.
"Good," he said with a nod. "You three leave tomorrow for Serlyn."

Go On To Part 3!

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