Part 2: Trumps and the Library

"......and then the fun began."
-N. Bonaparte

I awoke, in my own bed, in my own Amber. Foremost in my mind was the fact that I must have had too much to drink, but I could not recall even touching alcohol at dinner the night before.
The sun shown brightly in to my bed chamber and from somewhere beyond the hazy glass a bird sang. It was a beautiful March morning in Amber, it would be a shame to leave, but.......
I rose from bed and changed into my usual pants and shirt ensemble of crimson and gray, pausing only to put my worn nightgown in the laundry hamper.
I am very tidy and though my room is not bare, it is not overcrowded.
The bed is carved of a dark, almost rose colored wood and has a large headboard in which an ornate design of roses is carved. There is a dresser of the same wood adjacent to it, atop it is a white lace cloth and an assortment of rarely used jewelry lies atop it, clothes folded within the drawers, which bare ivory handles on which are painted tiny pink unicorns. Next to the dresser is a wicker hamper of a deep crimson hue. The closet is to the right of the bed and holds about seven dresses which I alternate between various social events. A tall, oval mirror is next to the closet and held in place by and stand made of the same wood as the rest of my furniture. The carpet is plush and the same shade of pale red as my lacy curtains.
I opened the top drawer of my dresser and withdrew my trump deck. Withdrawing a card, I placed the trump deck in my pocket.
The card depicted the edge of a rocky outcrop. Bellow it was fields and clumps of trees, the beginnings of a town fading off to the right.
Focusing, I stepped through.
It was not as sunny as the card depicted, but rain did not ride on the horizon, so I did not worry about it.
The shadow was called Lumia. It was my personal creation, far from Amber. The time flow was incredible, making it possible for me to stay here for weeks at a time while only minutes passed in Amber. Of course, this took time. Aside from the incredible time flow I needed to create a stabilized culture, so my people would not kill each other off during my long absences, I also had to make the folk nearly immortal, so that there would not be a new King every time I visited one of my countries here. It had taken time, but had proved useful.
In Amber it would take me a good six hours to accomplish what I wished to do, and that was rushing and assuming no one thought to call on me.
No one challenged me as I walked the halls of Illoreth's castle. Illoreth is my favorite kingdom, therefore I set up my operations there.
Using a secret passage I entered a small room littered with art supplies. Confident that no one had disturbed anything since my last visit, I withdrew several sheets of paste board and began work on the trumps
The first was of my mysterious "brother in law to be" and I spent half a day, working out the fine points and adding details. There was no reason to rush, so I did not. Here, I had all the time in the world.
The second trump was of the alien library. I painted the mirror with careful strokes. It helped me establish s difference between my library and the dream visage. Changing the lighting a bit, I made the warped library look inviting, where as in my dream it had been bleak and dreary.
I ate, then slept, then trumped back to my room in Amber.
To many it seems eerie and almost impossible. In one minute, Amber time, I have eaten, slept, and created two fine trumps. Eerie to them perhaps, but not to me.
I would have liked to have tried both trumps upon my return, but logic overcame my curiosity. The blond haired man had said he was a prisoner. Say I trumped him and was captured as well? No one would know what had happened to me and no one would probably worry for several years. That is the curse of being an Amberite, your relatives are always prepared for you to disappear at a moments notice. From everything I've read, it took quite some time before people actually became worried about Oberon and he was King.
Placing the trumps in my deck, I headed to the library, the REAL library, that is.
If none of my family comes to the library, then so be it. I was certain they would come though.........
My trip to the library was uneventful. I met no one of importance, but upon entering the library I saw that one of my cousins was already there.
Noys, Eric's daughter, sat at one of the main tables with a large tome in front of her. Noys is very pretty, resembling her late father. For a reason which is beyond my comprehension she has a crush on Lorius, which surprises everyone since Lorius' is condescending, morose, arrogant, and enjoys showing off and bickering. I love him. It may sound strange, but I truly have an affection for my brother. However, had he not been my brother, I do believe I would dislike him as much as most of the others.
"Hello, Shannon," Noys said, smiling as I approached her. "After a strange night, I thought I might get some information," she added in explanation. I smiled and resisted the urge to laugh. At times it seems as though my family thinks I own the library. I'll admit, I spend a great deal of time there, but still, it is Random's castle after all.
I opened my mouth and prepared to ask her about the "information", but there wasn't time.
In a sudden, brilliant flash of light, Lorius appeared in his sorcerers attire, his limp, red hair neatly combed and cut near his shoulders.
Noys' smile went up a notch or two and she exclaimed, with warmth in her voice, "Oh, hello cousin Lorius! Good morning."
"And what a good morning it is," I said, fixing Lorius with killer look and a drop dead smile. The faintest hints of challenge were in my voice. Though I will never admit it, I enjoy the verbal fencing that occurs between myself and my brother and myself and my mother. I can understand why Brand had a fetish for words. They can be more deadly than a blade if used properly.
"I trust you slept well, brother?"
"Slept well?" Instead of his usual, nasty retort came an echoing of my words laced with puzzlement. He looked at me for a second, then gave an evil smile.
"Well, lets just say I taught someone a lesson last night, shall we? And I learned something as well." Then he said something which made a shiver go up my spine.
"Oh, good morning to the both of you." There was no trace of sarcasm. Not even a hint of a snarl. This is my brother? I felt sick to my stomach, though I continued to smile while I contemplated Lorius sending a shadow of himself to reside in Amber.
What happened next quelled my fears slightly. Lorius casually began to levitate towards the catwalk, despite the fact that the stairs were less than ten feet away.
I glanced over at Noys who was gazing up at Lorius with adoration rather than disgust, which is the more common reaction to my brother's antics.
Lorius reached the catwalk, selected a thick, green tome that looked as old as the castle it's self, then walked back down the stairs.
I blinked. Lorius? Lorius actually walked down the stairs when he could have levitated? It just didn't seem right........ All my earlier suspicions were pushed aside, however, when Lorius provided both Noys and I with the surprise of the century. He sat down, but not at his usual table in the corner of the room, where he could watch everyone and stay secluded 'till he chose to trump out, no, Lorius seated himself across from Noys. Naturally, she was delighted. I, however, could not contain my surprise.
"So, I decided not to sit in the corner for a change. Is that so horrible?" He looked up, meeting my eyes. "You know, if you stand opened mouthed like that in summer, we could solve the mosquito problem in the castle."
"No, cousin," Noys said quickly, beaming, "it is a pleasant change." She then turned back to her book, shooting Lorius not-so-subtle looks from time to time.
I was suspicious. Lorius avoids romantic endeavors like the plague and it's no secret Noys has been smitten with my brother for years. In fact, Brandeigh has been attempting to pair the two for some time now, getting them to dance with each other at social events, bringing Noys with her when she went to call on Lorius, you name it and chances are Brandeigh has at least thought of it. But here Lorius was, sitting with Noys by his own violation. Foremost in my mind was the question "what does he want" but if I asked I would not only offend my brother, but Noys as well.
At that time diversion came and I was thankful.
"Yes?" I opened my mind to the trump call. It was Brandeigh who seemed to be in her quarters. I was excited despite myself. She was never going to believe what was happening.......

Slither on over to Part 3!

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