Part 7: Enemy From The Past
"Reputations are fine to a point. After
that they become a pain!"
- Don Juan
I immediately searched for anyone or anything. Pattern ghosts, people, small animals........ There was no one. However, it seemed that Corwin had built a large manor house off to one side of His Pattern.
There was no visible agitation on this Pattern, though there had been none on the one before either. Carefully, I attempted to summon Mage Sight as Lorius had shown me. I was slightly surprised when it worked.
Quite pleased with myself, I searched the Pattern for any sign of magical agitation. There was none. Either the effects had not yet reached this place, or Corwin's Pattern was more detached from our own than I had first suspected.
The female voice, which I have decided must be a psychic entity of Corwin's Pattern, spoke up once more asking me to walk it, saying that it would like to have me as a template in the troubled times to come. That surprised me as well as gave me a feeling of smugness. This Pattern was offering me something it had refused my mother..........
I felt the gentle knocking of a trump call then and, as I moved to accept it, watched in fascination as my cousins Luke and Malachi suddenly trumped in to the center of the Pattern, then trumped out again. I did not, however, have much time to speculate as Benedict came into view.
He seemed to still be at the Primal Pattern, behind him was Lorius, who was taunting and mocking a man whom Krysta had under guard. It was Tyler, the grade school bully who used to steal my lunch money. Wonderful.
"This gentleman," my uncle said, "claims to know you, niece, and furthermore wants to talk to you. Despite his poor manners, I thought you might like to speak to him, or tell us who he is."
**Tyler,** I scowled, naming him. **Wonderful. How did he manage to come near the Primal Pattern?** If Benedict knew, he did not offer to tell me. **Will you please hold on for a moment?**
I looked at the Pattern. "I have something which I have to take care of, but I'll be back soon - I promise."
"As you will, Watcher," the voice replied cheerily. "I will await your return."
I stepped through the trump then, any doubts about Krysta's captive's identity vanishing. He was tied nicely and kept in place by Krysta, who wore her usual daunting expression. Benedict looked exasperated, which was understandable since Tyler has a very big mouth which is normally filled with idiotic gibberish.
"Hello, Tyler," I said, walking towards him. I stopped three feet in front of him. "Most unpleasant to see you again."
"There you are!" He exclaimed. "Now, if you give me what you stole, and tell your amazon friend here to let me go, we can end this stupidity once and for all."
Krysta raised an eyebrow as he called her "amazon", but made no comment on that. "Even if she returns what you claim she stole, there is the little matter of that crossbow bolt." I refrained from smiling. Tyler always was a horrible shot. "There is unfinished business between us now," Krysta finished darkly.
Upon seeing Tyler's facial expression, the smile broke through. "First, I never 'stole' anything. You dropped them in your haste to retreat the last time you tried to kill me. Second, you can walk away and stop trying to kill me, and that will be the end of things. And third," I took a step towards him, "I want to know how you came to this place." A pause, then, "And if you chose not to tell me I may be inclined to psychically rip the answer from your mind."
Tyler opened his mouth to respond, but he was cut off by Lorius who was pulling a man with long, coppery hair through a trump.
"Hey everyone," Lorius said, grinning, "look whose here." He turned toward Krysta. "Krysta, this is Kyle. Kyle, this Krysta, related to us somehow and some way - sort of like Malachi, but with a different list of suspects - she is even older than me, but away from Amber for a long time." Krysta grimaced slightly, but said nothing.
Bowing, Kyle said, "Pleased to meet you cousin."
I flashed Kyle a genuine smile.
"The imbecile she is holding," Lorius continued, "is an creep named Tyler, who has a penchant for nasty swords." He gestured towards a glowing, purple sword which I had not been paying much attention to.
Kyle turned towards Tyler. "Now, what manner of beast is it that would assail such a lovely lady as cousin Shannon?"
I continued to smile. We red heads all look out for one another.
"Hey....lemme go!" Tyler wailed, struggling. "Oh, it's you, not the girlie witch." I bristled. I absolutely loathe being called "girlie witch", especially by Tyler. "To the Throne of the Gods with the trumps you stole Shannon - just make him let me go!"
I ignored him.
"You did assault a Princess of Amber, Tyler," Benedict said simply. "Do you not think that should go unpunished?"
"Witch?" Kyle said, raising one eyebrow. "Be silent, dog, before your mouth kills you." Kyle's amber eyes began to glow, reminding me who, no matter how pretty his speeches, he was; Kyle, son of Brand, the mad Prince of Amber.
Tyler suddenly became rigid, a look of terror passing over his rough features. "Now," Kyle continued, "let us see about that little shield, shall we?"
Kyle regarded Tyler as if he were some distasteful stain on the bottom of his shoe. After a moment, Kyle gestured nonchalantly, and Tyler's face unfroze from it's grimace. My cousins normally unaccented voice contained something, which crept into his Thari, "Speak, now, and if ye utter a spell or attempt to access that Power of yours, I will know, and I will kill ye."
Krysta studied Tyler, who began to drool. "Will that wear off? I have no wish to slaughter an imbecile."
"Oh, certainly," Kyle replied. "I wouldn't do any permanent damage without cause. I am most curious as to how this knave got here, of all places, with that sword of all things."
"The sword is not as important as discovering how he got here," I said. "I know your power, Tyler. You do not have access to this place. Assuming you want to live a little longer, I would suggest you tell us how you got here."
I paused, then spoke in the little used language of my child hood.
"Be reasonable, Tyler, and talk. If you do, then I will......speak with my relatives and try to keep them from beheading you, or worse."
This had nothing to do with wanting to save Tyler's life. While I am sentimental where family is concerned, I am not a humanitarian, and I certainly am not kindly disposed toward overbearing bullies who keep trying to kill me.
After a moment he responded with, "All right. I agree. I want my trumps back.....the sword was only for self defense. My new power only works if you have a strong recollection of a place - I cannot use it to go where those trumps depict. And since the shadow reached with the city of Eleria trump you took from me is somehow barred to my Broken Pattern somehow......I need to find out what is going on there."
"For the final time," I sounded exasperated, "I did not steal the trumps! You dropped them trying to flee!" Sighing, I continued, "I don't want to argue with you about the particulars. You may be able to take the sword with you, but I would not count on it. As for the trumps, I do not have them with me." A small lie. "Besides, they are not part of our deal. She," I motioned towards Krysta, "happens to have a very high opinion of her self and Benedict supports her. I may not be able to convince them to release you at all, so I would not be demanding things if I were you. Understand?"
His voice was glum. "I see."
"I used a Gateway to get here," he resumed in Thari. "Truth of the matter is, I had to guess where you were, Shannon. The tarot reading said that you were at the pole of reality. I chose the obvious one. Fortunately, your Uncle wrote that book, and so I had that to go on as a description of the place. Otherwise, I would have waited until you were in a familiar locale. That is how I got here, even though the Power of which you speak does not normally allow me such access."
I responded, the faintest hint of sarcasm in my voice, with, "How fortunate for you that Uncle Corwin is such a well known author."
Krysta looked confused as Tyler commented about the books. However, "What is this Gateway that you spoke of? What does it look like?" she asked, hostility barely concealed.
Kyle regarded Tyler with a cold gaze. He smiled slightly, never a good sign. Then he took a small gemstone out of his pocket, held it at eye level, then released it, upon which it hung in mid air. With a causal flip of his finger, Kyle sent it spinning on it's axis.
"Soul gem," he said simply.
The stone was used to capture souls, using Kyle's patented Soul Rend spell. I had never actually seen him use it before, since he tends to shy away from the darker side of the arts, probably to appear less like his father.
Krysta seemed disinterested, turning away to study her arm which was dyed with dried blood.
I smiled faintly and watched the gem as it spun.
Part 8 is this way!
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