Part Six - The Lords of Chaos
"Has anybody got a plan?"
- G.A. Custer
The soldiers should have been easy. I mean, we were
only out numbered 10 to 1 with a group of angry elder Amberites
at our backs.
Adamantis is a rather bad swordsmen. At least, I always thought so.
He was great against Amber's guards, managing to disarm three of them before they knew what was happening.
I dove into the fray, throwing punches as I slapped away blades.
We were going nowhere fast.
The guards weren't trying to kill us and we weren't trying to kill them which gave them the advantage of number. Every time one lost his blade another filled his place while the former scrambled around on the floor for his lost weapon.
On top of all that I was fighting in a frilly purple dress.
Like I implied, we were sinking faster than the Titanic.
"Adamantis!" I cried, nailing some poor bastard in the face with Nightstar's pommel.
I heard a distinctive grunt then, "What?!?!"
"Fall back!" I dodged a mailed fist. "Then get rid of the sword!"
I had a plan.
My cousin said nothing, but I watched him as he steadily retreat, beating back his opponents weapon.
I knocked the legs out from beneath the man in front of me and raised my sword.
"Power of night gather here," I chanted. "Creatures of darkness hear my plea........." I could feel the power focusing in the blade. "ABYSMAL FLARE!"
Red lightning shot out around my blade, zapping each of the weapon holding guards. They fell to the floor amid a clang of armor and swords.
I turned, smiling, to face Adamantis.
What I got was a scowling Random with an apparent death grip on Adamantis' arm. Behind his was Drew(looking thoroughly confused), two un-named soldiers who hadn't been holding weapons, and M'ky and my Father.
Gerard's gaze pierced my soul. It was full of hurt and.....disappointment.
I heard my name upon his lips and turned my face away, ashamed to look him in the eye.
I grabbed the nearest fallen guard and hauled him to his feet. He was blond and weighed nearly two-hundred pounds.
"Let him go," I said softly, "or he loses his head." I looked at Random as I spoke.
He glowered back. "I wouldn't kill him if I were you. 'Sides, I don't think you will." His grip seemed to tighten on Adamantis' arm.
I shot my cousin a look, but he did nothing but stare blankly back.
"Damn," I murmured. I wasn't gonna kill the blond and Random seemed to know it. Not to mention Adamantis, fat lot help he was.
I tossed the guard back on to the floor, wanting my hands free.
Gerard took a step towards me.
In panic I raised my blade. "I wouldn't," I said softly, staring directly at him. Then, "Boil, boil, toil and trouble........turn this hall into a pile of rumble!"
I raised my sword above my head and quickly uttered the rest of the spell which happened not to rhyme.
Thunder sounded overhead and the floor began to shake.
"Damn it!" Random swore. "She's out of her fucking mind!"
I took advantage of his momentary lapse in concentration to spring forward and grab Adamantis. Surprised, Random let go.
"Run!" I tossed Nightstar into the Abyss and shoved Adamantis.
"Huh?" He stared at me blankly.
I cursed. "Run you idiot!"
Suddenly he seemed aware of the shaking floor.
"Kris," he asked wildly, "what did you do?????"
A chunk of ceiling fell.
"Earthquake spell. Now move!"
Adamantis moved, quite quick in fact. I guess he was afraid of the rapidly cracking ceiling.
I, however, was not so lucky.
First I tripped over one of the fallen guards. I almost managed to regain my footing and avoid the fall, but my dress caught on a sword or some such and I toppled to the floor.
Adamantis paused in the doorway to look at me. I shook my head. He understood and turned the corner, leaving me to fate.
The earth stopped moving.
"32 seconds," a familiar voice said. "Not bad."
I turned, careful to avoid being cut, and saw Fiona in all her monstrous glory standing with the others.
Glowering, I forced myself to my feet.
"Think you can do better?" My voice was soft, calm, but inside I was scared. If it came to a duel of sorcery Fiona had me beat hands down.
She laughed, a high musical sound, but said nothing more.
"Krisilyn...." my Father again.
"Yes," I flicked my hair, "it's me. We've established that. Why don't you stop repeating the same three sibyls."
M'ky's shock turned to anger. "You idiot! You nearly kill us and now you insult us?!?!?"
I smiled, because I knew something they didn't know.
"Yeah, well, life's full of risks and dangers."
M'ky stared at me, brow furled, as if he did not know how to answer.
Subtly, I slipped my right hand behind my back and reached into the Abyss.
Fiona felt it, but she was too late. With a power word on her lips I was already gone. The black void of starless night surrounded me and took me into it's arms.
I floated there for a while, nursing my injured
pride. I was worried about Adamantis, but I did not doubt his
ability to escape from Amber.
Mentally I cursed myself for all the stupid things I had done.
Not only did they now know I was alive, but they thought I was out of my mind to boot.
Happy, happy, joy, joy.
I couldn't sulk forever and I knew it, but I was afraid to locate Cyanne and get my trumps. Rather, I was afraid she might be with Dellen and I didn't want to face his worshipfulness' wrath.
Anger boiled within at the thought of his name.
What did I have to be afraid of? Sure, I had messed up, but he was the one who didn't trust me! He was the one who sent Margo along to baby-sit! He was the one who........who was only being practical.
I sighed and cursed under my breath. He was being practical and I was being, well, being me. Over-sensitive, I guess you would call it.
Carefully I twisted the fabric of the Abyss, gently warping it ever so slightly.
Cold assailed me; Vibrant, frigid air.
Surprised, I stopped my magic.
"Brand......" his name formed on my lips. I knew it was him. It had to be. He wasn't affecting me directly, but altering the make up of the entire Abyss.
I laughed despite myself. He who could not change the Pattern was now remodeling Hell.......
I swam upwards through the inky black, aiming for the rim of the Abyss. Granted, it was a slower, less accurate way to travel, but I couldn't manipulate the fabric of the Abyss without putting myself in extreme danger.
The buoyant layer of the Abyss came to and end about 100 feet from the rim. Going from there was a bit tricky. Shapeshifters often grew wings or clawed their way up the towering rock.
We lunatic Amberite sorcerers have other methods.
I pointed to myself. "Livatio."
I pointed to the darkness of the Abyss below me. "Ivatio."
Finally, I pointed to the rim it's self. "Vatio."
The powers of magic wrapped around me and sent me hurtling to the rim. I landed(by falling flat on my face) at the edge.
Looking around I recognized the place.
Sulfur pits on the horizon and charred granite as far as the eye could see. Let's not even think about the smell.........
"Pools of Bordano," I muttered. "Fuuuuun."
I began to walk, shuffling through nearby veils of shadow.
The atrocious smell vanished replaced by that of peppermint. Another veil and the air smelt of lemons. Another and it was chocolate. Then basil. Then honeysuckle.
I stopped when I came to a place which smelt of lilies.
"Mmmmm........" I paused and inhaled.
My Mother used to grow lilies. Big purple ones with orange stems. At least, they were orange where I grew up. I found them on shadow Earth, but the stems were green, not orange, and they weren't quite so big.
"You like the ssssssmell, child?"
I jerked my head around. "Who said that?"
"Why me of coursssse."
Still, I could see no one.
"And who might you be, honored one?" I may not be visually perceptive, but I know my manors. Especially so far from home.
"Here." The voice was very close now.
I bit my lip, uncertain. "Where?"
Something wrapped around my legs and I screamed.
It was snake, three or four times as long as I, with glittering silver scales.
I looked down and saw that more of the beast melted into the ground.
"Hello, breakfasssssst," it hissed.
"Breakfast? Certainly not! Unhand.....uh....uncoil yourself at once!"
It slithered up my chest and brushed it's tongue against my cheek.
"Yesssss," it hissed. "Yessss, breakfasssst wishessss to be free."
"Of course I do." I repressed a snarl. When funny chaos creatures want to eat you it's best to be polite.
"I'm here on a diplomatic mission, you know. I'm a relative of the King and I've come to speak to him on behalf of Amber." Lies, lies, little white lies.......... It twisted it's silvery head. "The King? You know the King?" "That's right," I confirmed. "Merlin and I, we're like this." I crossed my fingers on my left hand since the beast had found it convenient to coil about my right. "Issss that a fact?" It's grip tightened and I wondered if I had said the wrong thing. "Let ussss vissit him now."
I winced. "Oh, bother."
Slowly the coiled serpent and I began to sink into the cement.
"Yessss," it continued in it's sexless voice. "We'll go ssssee Merlin."
"You know, I really don't want to bother him. I mean, I'm not supposed to arrive until tomorrow and......."
"You sssseem nervousss." The beast's tongue tickled my ear.
I laughed. "Who? Me?"
Then we sank through the stone and, for a brief moment, I couldn't breath. However, we continued downward and, after perhaps twenty seconds, we........we resurfaced.
Now, I'd swear we never started traveling up, but somehow I found myself standing on a marble floor with a silver serpent coiled about my neck.
"What wasss that?" The snake's grip relaxed.
I gasped. "I said that was most fun and we'll have to do it again sometime."
"Yessss. Let'ssss." It's coils began to relax, and it slithered away, melting into the ground once more.
"Good riddance," I muttered, catching my breath while looking around me.
The room was enormous and made of black and white marble. The ceiling and floor where made of black marble and the walls of white. It had an eerie, claustrophobic sense to it.
There were no doors, no windows, no exits.
I stamped the floor, where the serpent had vanished. Not in the least bit malleable.
"Oh, goody. Now I'm in an asylum. Wouldn't Random be happy........."
I paced, searching for exits, for cracks in the marble.
There were none. Even the corners were rounded, the two colors gently bleeding into one another.
I tried to summon the Abyss, but received only a faint, dead chill. Brand again, damn him.
While I was loathe to use it in such a place, I did attempt to raise the Pattern. It didn't work of course, this deep into Chaos, but that didn't matter, because I hadn't expected it to work.
"Boil, boil, toil and trou......." I began. Then I was struck by lightning. Literally.
"Now, now, now. Didn't your Mother ever tell you it's not nice to play with magic?"
I turned to my right and saw him, leaning against the bleached wall.
While very little can be said for the appearance of Chaos Lords in their primal form, they really can be quite attractive in their human guises.
He was at least six feet, probably taller, with straight mahogany colored hair that fell to his waist. His eyes were green and he were lose fitting, pale colored clothing that was oriental in style. Like a master of Judo's outfit or something.
To accent the outfit he carries a long, slightly curved blade.
"What are you? The Samurai of Chaos? No, wait. You most be the Shogun." Mentally, I kicked myself. Being rude to Chaos Lords does not let you keep your head long.
To my amazement he smiled and laughed, then twirled around.
"My, my.......are you insulting my attire?"
I wet my lips and forced the words out. "I beg your forgiveness my liege, for I spoke out of turn."
He stopped his dance and cocked his head to the side, regarding me curiously. "An Amberite with manners. Now here's something you don't see everyday."
He strode toward me, his bare feet making no sound on the flawless floor. With his free hand he reached out and grabbed my chin, forcing my head upwards.
He released my chin and smiled, the mirror image of hungry fox. "No response to that, sorceress of the realm of Order?"
"Thank you for the compliment."
Chuckling he circled me, fingers dancing on my shoulder blades.
"You didn't mean that, Krisilyn." I jerked. "You didn't mean that at all."
He rounded my left side and stopped before me.
"Seeing as how you know who I am," I said carefully, not wanting to insult him, "might I have the pleasure of your name, sire?"
"Ronin," he said, meeting my eyes. "Ronin of Sawall."
"Ron-in?" I repeated. He had an odd accent.
"No. Row-nin. You know - long 'o.'"
I smiled faintly. "I see. Sawall was it?"
"Yes." He smiled bitterly, then sighed. "Galcia tells me that know, Merlin. Says you two are like.....this." He crossed the fingers on his left hand. "Lovers are you?"
I blinked. "We're cousins."
"'Incest is best' my mother always used to say........"
"No," I interrupted. "You don't understand. Merlin and I aren't lovers."
"I figured that. I mean, you don't look much like the type anyone would want to go to bed with."
"Just look at your clothing," he continued. "Horrible fashion sense for a girl."
I looked down at the purple shreds which adorned me. "Um......I didn't chose this."
"Really?" He acted as though he didn't believe me.
"Yeah. Really." Chaos Lord or not this guy was pushing my buttons.
He did not respond with words. Instead he raised his sword.
"Hey......." I put my hands out in front of me.
Then he sliced.
The guy was very, very good. Either that, or the blade was magiced. Probably a bit of both.
Shreds of purple fell from my body, the dress neatly split in the front.
I blushed, now standing there in my bra and a dainty lace slip.
"Now," Ronin said, "you may just get a guy to go to bed with you."
"Pervert." I slapped him.
He recoiled, seemingly shocked.
"You hit me!" he raged.
I put my hands on my hips. "You sliced up my clothes."
"You're impertinent." He snarled, caressing his injured cheek.
"And you're crass, vulgar, and rude." I stamped my foot and tried to look dignified. "And I shall not stand for it! Where is Merlin?"
Ronin reached out and ensnared my wrist, crushing it in his grip. Had I been mortal he would have shattered my bones. Being an Amberite he managed to bruise the flesh fairly nicely.
He didn't say anything, just pulled me across the marble.
When we reached the wall the Chaos Lord muttered something I didn't quite catch and passed through it with ease.
There was another room, this one lined with walls of black and white marble in a checker board pattern.
He released me and pulled a card from his pocket.
"Who's that?" I asked, coming up beside him.
"Quiet you," was his reply.
The card depicted a slender, white haired man with blue eyes, dressed in black and white leather.
"Mandor?" Ronin muttered. "Yes. I have the girl."
I stepped back, prepared to attack should anyone come through the contact.
"No, not at all. Yes, yes, I suppose so." He glanced away from the card and focused on me. "Yes, she's the one."
"Ummmm........" I began.
Ronin reached for me and caught my wrist.
I winced. "Not so hard you bastard."
He scowled. "Yes, most unpleasant.
The contact flared around me and I saw him, sitting at table made of glass somewhere in Chaos. From the colors around him I could see that red sky had just begun.
The man with pale hair and pale skin bowed. "Ah, My Lady Krisilyn." He rose from the bow. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Mandor of Sawall."
"I've heard of you," I said bluntly.
"Nothing bad, I hope." His voice was soft and smooth as silk, but his eyes were those of a predator.
"I was hoping," he said at length, "that you would come and visit me." He smiled, flashing his pearly white teeth.
I wiggled, for Ronin's grip had eased slightly.
"I thank you for the kind offer, but I'm afraid I must decline.........."
His smile faded.
"I am afraid that isn't an option, my dear." His hand moved suddenly, a fluent motion.
SOMETHING flew across the contact and connected with my forehead. It wasn't heavy really. It was just.....I don't know how to say it......overwhelming.
As I fell, released from Ronin's death grip, I knew what had happened. Mandor had packed an explosive force of psychic power into one object and it had hit me like a ton of bricks.
Barely concius I focused on the flickering contact.
"You're gonna pay for that."
I uttered a curse of minor power and managed to complete the words before I fell.
Bully for me.
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