Part Five: The Poetry of Dreams
"I'll worry about it tomorrow."
Oh, yes, the King. He's suppose to be in charge here isn't he? He was not answering his trump. The way Gerard spoke, it sounded as though Random had been kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon somewhere.
So the man dose not feel like taking a trump call, so what?
The topic of King Random lasted all of five seconds, then returned to the Door people. What Bleys said came as a bit of a surprise.
"I was in shadow with a lovely blond lass.........." he paused and smiled, then continued. "Anyway, good brother Julian trumped me into some deserted vale in Arden. Seems his daughter had found one of these doors, as Krysta has drawn, standing in the middle of the valley. It was made of bronze, and about six feet tall. Gerard or Castor here would have to stoop to walk through it."
Castor smiled at the joke, while Gerard merely looked agitated.
"Anyway," Bleys continued, "it also had an additional symbol...of eight arrows extending out from a point in all directions. I took a look at it with mage sight, and saw that it was indeed charged with some odd energy. I then went to probe it further, and it disappeared, burning a line in the grass where it stood. Brieanne then told me of this little tete a tete, and so I figured I should show up for the party."
That information was more than a little unnerving. It is one thing to have strange men from other realms invading your dreams, it is an entirely different thing for there "gateways" to appear unannounced. Especially so near Amber.
"No came through it or anything?" Percy asked.
Bleys replied with "No" and went into a little speech about how he thought this was the first attempt by the door people. Krysta disagreed with Bleys.
Cyllene broke in then. "Well.......in my dream, the enemy ship had a door symbol similar to the one Krysta saw, Uncle. Also, some of the uniforms of the ship I boarded had this eight arrowed symbol, too."
More than anything, I wish I could remember the exact shape of the symbols worn by the attackers in my dream. Unfortunately, that information floated on the edge of my unconscious, refusing to pass over into the realm of thought. Pity. "Were you able to determine if the door was fixed on the vale specifically or did it just happen to arrive there?" Brandeigh asked Uncle Bleys, a small frown on her face.
Without waiting for an answer she continued, "And does this eight arrowed symbol mean anything to anyone?" I got the impression that she had an idea, but she wanted someone to confirm it for her.
Larissa shook her head no, and I decided to keep quiet too.
Cyllene regarded Bleys, then gave Krysta a glance. "Krysta has ALREADY met one of those door people, uncle, and has apparently had hostilities with him for a long time. So, it seems that these people can get into our dimension, for lack of a better word, and place people here. It seems, though, from your account.......they need to focus their destination. So, they are indeed apparently trying to place a Door near us."
Again, not a comforting thought. Especially this talk of dimensions. Amber is the ONLY real realm; All else is shadow, even Chaos. The thought that there could somehow be numerous Amber's or like places, all with Primal Pattern's is very unnerving.
Of course, I suppose that these realms could somehow all be shadows of another realm, more real than Amber, though I don't care much for that idea.
We are on top and I would like us to stay there.
In my musings I missed another story about space vessels from Cyllene, who was *apologizing* to Brandeigh for the sidetrack.
Poor Clarissa just looked confused. "Raider-class Cruiser?"
Don't feel bad, I thought, I have no idea what it is either.
"Does it remind you of the Courts, mother?" Brandeigh asked, waving towards the symbol. Rylan openly squirmed when the Courts of Chaos was brought into the conversation. I suppose that says something for his lineage.
Brandeigh looked toward Benedict. "You Uncle? You've been around longer and seen more than all of us. Have you seen it before?"
Mother shook her head. "Of the Courts themselves, no. I have seen similar symbols in shadow, especially towards the Chaosian side of the universe, but as far as I know, it is not a symbol of any House of Chaos."
Benedict tilted his head slightly. " I have seen some armies, again only in shadow, employ that symbol. They were not, as far as I know, directly affiliated with the Courts, just various reflections of their empire."
Noys, who up until now had been sitting quietly while giving Lorius puppy dog eyes, spoke up. "Actually.......I have seen his symbol before, I think. Something my father gave me before he died. I will go and bring it here. Will you excuse me?" She stood, then walked towards the door.
Larissa leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. Seemingly ignoring us.
Brandeigh winked at her, grinning.
Rylan, on the other hand, was sitting on the edge of his seat, elbows propped on knees, head on hands, listening quite intently and studying us as though we were strange animals at the zoo.
Krysta looked confused. She then looked toward Brandeigh, intending to answer her question about the symbol. "It is hard to tell, but it was, oh, thirty years or so of mine that I last saw him. I don't think that it was terribly close, as it took me a while to get here from where I was after that." She smiled at Benedict. "The details aren't that important, but I do think that he may be......" she paused, "scouting, for the others, or possibly testing."
An idea came to me then. Something derived from an elective class I had taken in college on solving crimes. One of the first rules was to look for a pattern in any series of crimes, or, in this case, random appearances.
"Were you, per chance, in a forest of some sort. Perhaps there's a connection with the terrain......" I trailed off, frowning to myself. That was not much of a pattern, rather chance. There had to be something though, something.
Krysta shook her head.
I continued to frown, trying to devise some other pattern in the sightings aside from the symbol. Unfortunately, two events are not much to go on and Krysta was not exactly sharing her experience in full detail.
Percy spoke then, telling us all how terrible it would be if Chaos if was allied with the Door people. He felt that they were everyone's enemy and, if Chaos was allied with them, that the Door people would turn against them. He then asked if anyone had spoken with any Chaosites recently.
Not me, thank you. The closest I have gone to Chaos is Corwin's Pattern, and I don't visit it much anymore. Some strange "people" have been hanging around.
Uncle Julian entered then, followed by more of my cousins. There was now nineteen people in the library. I'm not sure I've seen so many family members gathered here at once. Incredibly that a blond haired man and several bronze doors could bring a family so together.
Julian nodded to us all. How he can walk in that ridicules armor is beyond me. Torri followed him in, then Pollux entered.
"Hi all!" Pollux cried. Castor rose, and the twins hugged.
Asteria followed him in, wearing a low cut green dress. "Well........Hello everyone."
Her blue, blue eyes scanned the room, then settled on Rylan.
"Nice to see you again so soon, Rylan," she purred, looking right at him. Larissa looked up from where her head was rested and gave Asteria a disgusted glare. Flora's daughter did not seem to notice.
Asteria made her way over to Rylan and sat down next to him. He blushed and looked confused. For a moment he gazed at the curves of her body, then looked down and the floor, still red as sunrise.
Castor grinned. "Gotta hand it to Asteria. Rylan just got here, and ALREADY she knows who he is." It may of been my imagination, but Rylan seemed to turn an even darker shade of red.
I smiled. Men's reactions to Asteria are always amusing.
"Torri! Pol!" Brandeigh exclaimed. "I'd feared you two had gotten lost somehow chasing Brieanne." Chasing Brieanne? Now why, I wonder, would they be chasing Julian's daughter?
"Good morning Asteria," my sister said pleasantly.
Torri smiled at us all, strands of auburn hair falling across her eyes. "We almost did, Brandeigh; Ran into a certain apoplectic Lord. Luckily, Uncle Julian was kind enough to step through and sidetrack him for us." Apoplectic Lord? Perhaps I shouldn't ask........
Torri suddenly looked serious. "Uncle," she said to Julian, who was now sitting near Gerard, Benedict, and my mother, his enameled armor glinting in the pale light, "what *did* happen?"
"Not too long ago, my daughter Trumped me to show me a mysterious object that had appeared in a vale in Arden," Julian said, his voice colder than ice. "I went through and was confronted by a six foot tall door of bronze, freestanding."
"Judging from Brieanne's unnaturally hostile and fearful reaction to it, I realized immediately that this was no practical joke by a certain sorcerer." He gave Lorius a cold withering glare and I frowned at my Uncle, digging my finger nails into the chair arms.
One of the reasons I dislike Julian is his sense of humor. Perhaps Lorius asks for the comments that get thrown his way, but still, no one likes to be teased.
I speak from personal experience. There was this boy back in my home shadow who used to steal my lunch money. When I got older I used my superior strength beat him up. He didn't take it well and found his way to a Broken Pattern and has been trying to kill me off and on. I keep meaning to track him down and annihilate him, but I have not gotten around to it yet. One of these days.
Uncle Julian was still talking. "..........and that it represented something dangerous. Brieanne then told me of her dream last night, and of the warning this so called Stranger gave concerning such an appearance.
"After a quick visual inspection of the artifact, I decided to call in someone more knowledgeable about magic phenomena. Brother Bleys, of course. He then tested the door, which suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed and disappeared."
Mother gave him a look. "I tried you, too, dear sister, but you apparently was busy or distracted." That seemed to mollify her and defuse any acidic comments she was about to make.I raised my eyebrows in question. Whatever was she doing?
"I have Brieanne, and Carl, planning out patrol routes in Arden. No doubt these Door people will try again...and if they reached Arden once, it is likely that will be the scene of their next attempt. I will NOT let them appear unchallenged." He gave us all an icy look, as if to say "If you were Door people you wouldn't be sitting here right now, because I would have chopped off your head." He was over doing the theatrics a bit.
Minh, whom I had almost forgotten, stood then. We all looked towards him.
"As for my dream. I was in a hedge maze, of the kind Toireasa has been showing me lately." He gave Torri a shy smile. "I did not recognize this maze, so I followed the standard procedure of following one wall. Any simple maze, you know can be solved this way.
"I managed to get to the center. There was a fountain, something which resembled a huge bonsai tree, and sitting under it was the Stranger.
"He called himself Gayjin. This means in my tongue foreigner or outsider, and so I asked him his real name, but he declined to give it, and warned me not to utter mine.
"He then called me over to the tree, as he traced a hand along the branches. He then said that we were related, and that he had told a Celtic cousin of mine this."
Minh looked at Brandeigh for a moment. "He then continued, and said that he thought, but was not sure, that himself and I were more closely related than most of my cousins."
"Indeed," Brandeigh said, "we did speak of that. Not as much as I might have wished, though........."
"He said something that the tree was one way to look at the way the worlds were connected, just as he had shown another cousin he met in some sort of bubble," Minh continued. "I had no idea what he was talking about, so I let it drop."
"He was convinced, however, that some sort of threat - these Door People, intended to invade our part of the tree - our entire universe, from Amber to Chaos. He hoped to get here physically somehow, or that we would go THERE." I resisted the urge to finger my trump deck. It may not work, then again, it may........
"He began describing one way he was SURE would work," Minh continued. "He said it in weird terms though. I remember it clearly:"
"The crowning jewel of your land
"Or the city under the Sea
"Will have power enough to bring you here.
"Walk the design which gives you power over worlds
"With one of the Jewels in tow.
"Reach the center, and think of me.
"Use the jewel's power to bridge the gap
"And you will reach here, mayhap."
It was rather obvious. The Jewel of Judgment and the Pattern.
Minh continued after a brief pause, "He said that it was dangerous to do it, however, since use of the Jewel or the Sapphire might actually alert the Door people, and allow them to pinpoint our world with greater accuracy.
"He then said something about he had already asked a cousin to retrieve the Jewel of Judgment," Larissa frowned deeply and pulled a trump deck from her pocket, "and had warned the son of the bearer of its reflection. I asked him what he meant about retrieving the Jewel, since of course the King has it, but unfortunately, the scene faded and the dream was ended."
Random had the Jewel and now he wasn't answering the trumps. Coincidence? Perhaps I was wrong not to be worried about the King's decline to answer the trumps.
"Mother," Brandeigh said, looking up sharply. "Perhaps Gerard had something there when he asked about Random. Could you try calling him?" Mother nodded and withdrew a trump.
Brandeigh then took on a distant look. "Brieanne wants me for something," she said. "I have to go. I'll return as soon as I'm able." She disappeared in a rainbow shimmer.
Damn. I still needed to discuss the trumps I'd drawn with her. Oh, well. There is always later.
Castor asked Torri and Pollux to share their dreams. Fortunately, he did ask Asteria to. I would hate to know what kind of dream she had. Probably managed to seduce the blond man before he was able to tell her anything.
Torri tugged at her long red braid and glanced at Uncle Bleys. She then sank to the floor with one knee up and the other leg curled beneath her.
"Well," she began, "I don't know that it's much different than what you've already heard.
"It started out like any other dream - me, riding a white horse instead of Jet. I ran into him on a bridge, and he called me Rhiannon, lady of the mares. He seemed rather surprised when I got the pun... Celtic, Greek, it's all mythology. He went on to call me by other names, Epona, but all ladies of the horses.
"He said I could call him Gwydion, who in the background I grew up in was a shapeshifter, a master of change of all types. He was fair -- of face and hair and eye, dressed like nobility, though surprised that I should address him as sir. And he had a series of verses for me, which I, like Minh, remember."
Suddenly she looked very far away, as though her body was here, but her mind was somewhere else. Then she began to recite.
I am the man without a state,
A man without a home.
Who would not see his fate
Become your own.
The lady bard fair
The man of the sea
Queen of the mares
They I will all see.
Jewel of the trees
The sorceress' lass
The warrior maid
All a visit I have paid.
The Tourist from afar
The Amazon, hot as a star.
The man of the Sands
I have visited their lands.
The lady from the distant past
The man of three eyes
A son of who is thought to have died
They, too, I will ask.
The thirds from the King
Their minds I will bring
A tale of what may come
So it will not be done.
Suddenly, she looked "normal" again, the
faraway look fading as unexpectedly as it had come "He had
me tether the horse and we walked -- 'over the river and through
the woods, but hardly to grandmother's house.
"The way became steep, perhaps too steep for a horse, and at the bottom of the rill, in an open meadow there stood a doorway. It shone bronze in the sun, and the door was closed. I walked around it, remembering a book I had read long ago.
"I reached out and touched it, and it was cool to the touch.
"Gwydion opened it, then, and through it, though not beyond it, was another land: one very different from the one we were in; a bustling city scape. He smiled at me, said farewell, and before I could ask any more of him, stepped through and both he and door vanished. I woke, and began looking for all of you, Brandeigh first. On the way I realized that he resembled us enough to be one of us, which seems to have been confirmed.
"And that is my tale, however useful it might be."
And what a strange tail it was cousin. "The thirds from the King, Their minds I will bring" whatever is *that* suppose to mean?
"This stranger in the dream last night didn't say any poetry to ME," Asteria pouted.
"Were the two of you too busy in a horizontal dance for him to speak?" Cyllene quipped, glaring at her. "Wait...I take that back. I think the Stranger has much better taste." Inwardly, I smiled.
"Enough the both of you," one of the elders snapped. "I do not want to sit here and listen to the two of you go back forth like a pair of cats. The important thing is that we figure out what this Stranger is trying to tell us, and use that information."
Julian rose. From the returning expression on his face, it was clear that he was returning to "reality" from Trump Contact.
"I have to disagree at the moment, brother. We have another problem. I just was talking to my daughter - and found out why Brandeigh trumped out. She is concerned about a threat to Rebma's Pattern, and our Pattern as well. Time is of the essence - we have to get to it immediately."
Minh looked thoughtful. "It is clear this has something to do with the Jewel of Judgment or the Sapphire, just like the Stranger said. I will go to the Pattern Room."
Bleys nodded. "I am with you, Minh."
"I'll come with you," Torri said. For some reason she looked relieved.
Percy stood, and withdrew a trump, brandishing it like a spear. "Any one wish to help me go to Brandeigh?"
Larissa moved towards him. "May I accompany you?" I would of if she hadn't spoken up first. It hardly seemed necessary for three people to warn Brandeigh. Rylan stood and joined them.
So much for unnecessary.
Gerard stood. "I and my sons will go and warn the King." He gave my mother a glance, still apparently frustrated in her attempts to contact Random. Castor and Pollux stood. Cyllene moved to join them.
Lorius spoke then, "As I will go to the Primal Pattern. Any one wish to join me?" He look thoughtfully at me for a long moment before looking at the others. Benedict looked gravely at him and then curtly nodded.
Mother looked serious. "I will go with my son." She gave me a thoughtful look. "Anyone else?"
Krysta stood. "I too will go to the Primal Pattern." She looked toward Benedict.
I rose, smoothing my clothes as I did so. "I'll accompany you." I smiled at Mom and Lorius, ignoring Krysta.
Asteria looked confused.
After some more mingling and decisions, Minh, Bleys, Clarissa, Torri, and Asteria decided to head for the Pattern it's self.
Larissa, Percy, and Rylan were heading for Rebma to warn Brandeigh and deal with their Pattern, while Gerard, Pollux, Castor, Julian, and Cyllene were going to find the King.
Mom, Lorius, Benedict, myself, and, unfortunately, Krysta, were going to the Primal Pattern.
We formed a group and Mother withdrew a trump. "Everyone ready?" Without waiting for a response she concentrated on the trump and, one by one, we traveled through in a rainbow shimmer.
We arrived in a misty clearing, outside of a large cave.
A large Avian was chained to a boulder near the mouth of the cave. Purple feathers, large claws, and brilliant eyes which sparkled like gem stones.
"Look," Lorius said, striding towards the bird, "he's got a new Griffin." He walked forward until he was just out of reach of the chained beast. "I wonder if he's around........." Lorius peered into the cave, searching.
"I wonder if he's still disturbed," I said, tapping my head with one finger. Intrigued by the beast, I stood several steps behind Lorius and peered around him. If it were to attack I think Lorius' magical abilities would protect him better than my power words would.
Lorius moved closer. The beast reared and moved towards us.
My brother laughed. "Hey, calm down you refugee from Sesame Street. We are not bothering your master just yet, and if we did and you gave us any trouble, you'd wind up as Thanksgiving dinner for a football team."
He turned to me. "C'mon, sis. Let's go see the Primal Pattern. We can always check on our refugee from a psycho ward of a great grandfather later."
I laughed, "Thank you, but no."
Benedict sighed. "Lead on sister." Mother started off down the trail, Lorius and I in tow, followed by Benedict and Krysta.
"Unfortunately," Benedict said to Krysta, "this is rather mild for Lorius." I ignored that one. I do not dislike Uncle Benedict as much as I loathe Julian.
The trail was anything but well worn and I was amazed that Mother was able to follow it at all. Some places seemed to be nothing but clumps of brush and grass before they parted forming the dirt track once more.
Suddenly, in a clearing, the Primal Pattern appeared, it's fine curves traced in gold and pick.
We were all silent, even Lorius, as we made our way towards it. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but looks can be deceiving.
The quiet was broken by Uncle Benedict. "Someone is here." He suddenly looked wary.
Mom looked up from the Pattern and began to study the terrain.
Lorius looked at me. "Mom thinks it's about time you and Brandeigh started learning the family business. Sister is wrapped up right now with getting Percy, so how about you? If you like, take my hand and I can start by showing you how to Mage sight." Then, almost as an after thought, "Oh, yeah, Uncle Bennie is right by the way. There is somebody nearby. Has an enchanted sword, but nothing much else of note. Not a threat at this moment."
I watched as Krysta headed for the clump of trees on the far side of the Primal Pattern.
I took Lorius' hand, trying to hide a smile. **Whenever you are ready.**
**Lesson One, sis. Mage Sight. While you can look at things, if you are skilled enough, with the Pattern itself, or, like the Boyo from Berkeley, use the Logrus, magicians can see changes in the magical environment. Such an ability is called Mage Sight.**
**It is not as diverse as the other two,** he continued, **but it is absolutely essential if you want to be a sorcerer, since unlike the magic of Conjuration or the so-called Power Words, you deal with actual magical forces.**
Mutely, I nodded.
**Now, look at the Pattern. Unfocus your eyes, like looking at one of those stupid Find the Picture things. Except, feel your personal energy rise. You are a sorceress, and you wish to see the magical energies. Concentrate hard until it becomes clear.**
It was amazing. I strong glow came from the pocket where Lorius kept his stones and the Primal Pattern it was brilliant......
The energy of the Pattern suddenly throbbed, and Lorius was taken aback.
"See that sis? The energy is in flux. A lot. I've never seen it like this, not even when a person is walking the Pattern. Except, maybe..." He didn't finished the thought.
"Mom!" He exclaimed, looking at her. "Call Bleys. Someone is walking one of the other Patterns, RIGHT NOW."
He then looked to me. "We'd better call sis, too. It might be the Rebman Pattern."
I nodded and withdrew my trump deck, shuffling out Brandeighs trump.
The eye of the storm was shifting and the winds were increasing here in the real world..........
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