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Campaign - Thralls of Prophecy

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Jarrod Stanek:
Thralls of Prophecy

Premise
Selene, the oracle of Rebma, received a prophecy that the PCs must work together to avoid three threats to the multiverse.

Timeframe
This campaign begins after book 9 and before book 10. After the first adventure, the rest of the campaign takes place after book 10. (One of my players hadn’t finished the final novel when we began and I didn’t want to spoil anything for her.)

The Characters
Artemis is a Lord of Chaos. He is the Chaos ambassador assigned to Amber. He is equally quick with his blade and his tongue. He knows that everyone in Amber will be distrustful of him, but he is a team player and feels he will win them over.
Kailani is daughter of Llewella. She is a warrior but also practices elemental magic. She was raised in Rebma and knows Maeve from when she spent some time in Rebma. She has a difficult relationship with her mother and is still getting over her Shadow lover’s murder.
Maeve is daughter of Bleys. She is a sorceress and conjurer. She was raised both in Shadow and in Amber. She also spent some time in Rebma where she befriended Kailani. She and her father get along famously, but she is also close to her Aunt Fiona.

New Recurring NPCs
Edmund is the son of Brand and Allette, a servant-girl, and was conceived when Brand was in Rebma trying to get information about Martin. The Sea-Court watches Edmund carefully, hoping he doesn’t turn out like his father.
Gradlon is an enigma to most of the Sea-Court. He has been coming and going for as long as anyone can remember. He is the Rebman equivalent of Dworkin.
Lorelei is enigmatic, even in Rebma. She is rumored to be a sorceress of considerable power, but says little to acknowledge or discourage speculation. Famed for her beauty, many young Rebmans have duels over her and met grisly ends.
Nestor was the son of Queen Moire and was born after Morganthè. He spent his time in personal exploration, and led an expedition to the mysterious Sargasso Sea over a century ago, and never seen again.
Oswald is one of the most competent warriors in Rebma and is the captain of the Queen’s Guard. He is the son of Scylla, making him Moire’s nephew. He is an honest soul, trusting in codes of chivalry and honor.
Scylla is Moire’s younger half-sister and a trusted advisor. Enigmatic and subtle, Scylla is both fickle and friendly, demure and dangerous, seemingly having a distinct and separate personality for each person she encounters.
Selene is a mystic and seer, who can see the future. She has great distaste for the machinations of the Sea-Court, spending much of her time away from it. She serves as a consultant to Moire.
Vaughn made his way to Rebma several centuries ago from the surface world, but who he was before coming to Rebma remains a mystery to this day. He is Rebma’s Admiral of the Fleet, which entails defending Rebman from above.

New Important Locations
The Coral Branch are a series of undersea Shadows that Rebma has regular trade with. They are the Rebman equivalent of the Golden Circle.
The Labyrinth and the Maelstrom is supposedly where the Tritons live. No one really knows for sure since no one from Rebma has ever been there.
The Sargasso Sea is a Shadow that is difficult to pass through due to the Sargasso weed that grows everywhere. The Sargasso Sea lies beyond the Coral Branch and most Rebmans have no reason to travel even that far from home.

Jarrod Stanek:
Artemis’ Journal Entry #1

As a member of the Bregan D’aerthe, I am prepared to perform any duty assigned to me by the king. I was not prepared to travel all the way to Amber. Of course, the assignment came to me somewhat suddenly, but I am adaptable if I am anything.

My trip to Amber was preceded by the discovery of a fleet of undead that were moving through Shadow on ships that looked as if they had been sunk at one time or another and raised to the surface once more. The fleet originated in the Black Zone on a world with several archipelagoes. With a bit of investigation, we (meaning the Bregan D’aerthe) discovered that there seemed to be a sorcerer of some power at the center of this fleet of the damned. Once they began moving through Shadow, Captain Jarlaxle bade me to travel to Amber to assure them that should this undead fleet arrive on their shores, it was not an attack from the Courts of Chaos, and that we had done nothing to violate the terms of the Patternfall Treaty. Furthermore, I was to offer any assistance that was in my power to give.

It took me some time to get to Amber using the Logrus. I reached as far as my fortitude would allow, pulled myself to that location, and rested for as long as I dared. Only to repeat the process several times. but I pushed through, and eventually arrived at my destination. I declared myself to the first pair of guards I came across and told them that I urgently needed to King Random. They seemed relieved when Prince Benedict came along and escorted me personally. In short order I found myself in Amber’s library, with King Random, Queen Vialle, and Prince Benedict, who stayed behind to guard me personally. I’m flattered.

After telling Random everything I knew about the undead fleet, he began Trumping his various family members and assigning them tasks. All the while, I waited patiently off to the side with Prince Benedict watching me like he expected me to try and steal the fine china. The last person King Random called was his niece, Maeve, who he pulled through to us. He introduced me to Maeve and asked us to go to Rebma to fill in Queen Moire and her Sea-Court of the situation. Anything I can do to help. Queen Vialle used some sort of Trump sculpture of Queen Moire and before you knew it, we were in Rebma’s throne room. With Queen Moire was her half-sister Princess Llewella of Amber, and Llewella’s daughter, Kailani.

I did not realize that this kingdom of Rebma was underwater. I know so little about the geography of this end of the universe. Before I could think logically and realize everyone was somehow breathing normally, my shape shifting kicked in and created gills for me. Someone must have noticed my surprise (not panic – surprise!) and informed me that powerful magics were upon Rebma which allowed anyone there to breath the water. I willed my gills away, returning to my normal human form, and found it to be thus.

I repeated my tale of the undead fleet, trying to be as thorough as possible for the sake of expediency. After my report, Queen Moire set her people out on various assignments just as King Random had done. Princess Llewella left to guard Rebma’s Pattern. She spoke in hushed tones to Kailani on her way out. Probably something along the lines of “watch that Lord of Chaos. He looks like trouble!” Such is my lot in life. I expected to be dismissed and make my return journey to the Courts but was surprised, to say the least, when Queen Moire asked that I join Maeve and Kailani in investigating the fleet and hopefully find a way to stop it. Anything I can do to help.

In short order, Maeve used a spell to teleport us to a nearby beach. I assumed I was somewhere between Rebma and Amber City which I could see in the distance. It was at about that time that my pet snake, Sssssorsha, could no longer stay silent and begged to become visible and introduce herself. I usually keep her coiled about my arm or inside my coat. I allowed her to become visible and say hello. She loves meeting new people and gets overly excited easily.

Maeve Shadow walked to a small boat with Kailani and I following. This was a novel experience for me. Never did I think I would have seen someone using the Pattern to move through Shadow, much less be going with them. It was novel, but somewhat backwards to how we Lords of Chaos do it. We use Logrus tendrils to move through Shadow until we find the person, place, or thing we are looking for, and then pull ourselves toward it.

Before long we were moving through Shadow on our little boat. Apparently Kailani had sailing experience like myself, so while we operated the boat, Maeve shifted Shadow. An efficient arrangement, if I do say so. After some time, we found ourselves behind the fleet. How exactly this occurred I am not sure. I later asked Maeve and was told “it was so because I desired it to be so.” I think she was being vague on purpose.

Once following the fleet, Maeve’s pet miniature dragon, Anya, did a quick survey. She reported that there were about one hundred vessels of varying size and design and the largest, most formidable ship was at the fleet’s center. Obviously, this was the flagship and would be where we would find the sorcerer. I used a Logrus tendril and my Logrus Sight to look at the Shadow sorcerer. I saw all of these lines of magical energy coming off of his hand and going off into Shadow. I… have no idea what I’m looking at. I described it as best I could to Maeve and Kailani and they said it sounded like nothing they were familiar with either. Maeve Trumped her father, Bleys, to ask him about it. Apparently, he was in charge of Amber City’s defenses but once Maeve described what I saw, he dropped everything and had Maeve pull him through to us.

They asked if I could use the Logrus to pull us into their ship, in an unoccupied area. I did this thing. Our battle plan was that Kailani and I would take on the undead, while Bleys and Maeve went after the sorcerer. Personally, I thought I would have been better used against the sorcerer, with my Chaos Form and superior swordsman skills, but hey, its their party. Anything I can do to help.

So, we made our way onto the main deck and executed our plan. Kailani and I made a good team taking out numerous undead. Before I knew it, the fight was over and the sorcerer was dead. As soon as that happened however, the remaining undead all became normal dead again and the ships began to fall apart and sink. I began to summon the Logrus to enact our hasty retreat but, alas, before I could finish, the deck gave way below our feet and Kailani and I tumbled onto the deck below.

As I came to, I found myself on a beach, my companions with me and seemingly intact. Bleys had with him the severed hand of the sorcerer, complete with magic ring. Bleys referred to it as a spikard but something I did not see during the skirmish was that every time the sorcerer used the spikard there was a superimposed image above him of some kind of aquatic merman. Based on the description Maeve gave, Kailani said it sounded like a Triton, ancient beings from Rebma’s past. Good thing Bleys had the foresight to wrap the severed hand in his cloak so he would not have to touch the spikard.

We returned to Amber and informed King Random of our success and discovery. He stood everyone down from high alert, and the various Princes and Princesses returned. He said they would all dine together that evening to discuss matters and offered for me to stay and join them. Perhaps it was just a formality, but I did just help save them all, so I figured a good meal is the least of what they owed me.

The meal was delightful and I met all of the other various Princes and Princesses of Amber. Perhaps at some point later, I will go into what I thought of each of them. After dinner, the discussion turned to what to do with the spikard. Bleys said that it seemed possessed by the Triton spirit and he knew a spikard expert who might be able to get the possessing entity out. But what of the item after that? Everybody seemed to have their own ideas of course. I suggested that someone from Amber keep it for themselves, after all, to the victor go the spoils. I think this impressed some of the Amberites, because I think they assumed I would say that the ring should go to someone in the Courts.

As desert was about to be served, Llewella received a Trump contact and pulled Queen Moire and a member of the Sea-Court, Selene, through to us. Apparently, Selene is a seer and prophetess of no small skill and had received a prophecy that she needed to share. I will repeat it here verbatim for posterity’s sake.

Threats to the multiverse numbered in three
Catastrophe averted, my eyes can see
Three champions together, to avoid utter fail
From three different domains does each champion hail
The first is of Amber, with hair of fire
With items conjured and spells most dire
The second from the reflected realm deep under water
This elementalist, is the founder’s granddaughter
The third is a true son of Chaos born
In red and black, with a serpent adorned

After some short debate, it was decided that the redhead from Amber was Maeve, since she was also known for her skill at conjuring. The woman from Rebma was obviously Kailani (being the granddaughter of both Oberon and Lir, founders of Amber and Rebma, respectively. And obviously, the last person was me. Looks like I’d need to be staying longer than planned. King Random did not seem overly happy at this turn of events.

I excused myself to check in with my captain and inform him of everything. I found a Shadow with a time flow closer to that of the Courts of Chaos and Trumped Captain Jarlaxle. I informed him of our success, of the fleet’s destruction, and of Selene’s prophecy. Jarlaxle informed me that King Swayvill had died, and that Lord Bances of House Amblerash was running things in the interim, while Swayvill’s successor was decided. It seems there was a plethora of fatal duels and assassinations happening, including the entirety of House Swayvill being killed. I was suddenly very glad that I was not there for all of the rigmarole. Too bad though, King Swayvill had always been kindly and was a good king. I will miss your good counsel and kind words, my king.

Captain Jarlaxle said he would get back to me in short order, so while I waited, I fetched some fresh clothes and made a quick Trump sketch of Maeve. Jarlaxle Trumped me back and said that Lord Bances agreed with him that it sounded like I would need to stay in Amber due to this prophecy. So, I was now on special assignment as ambassador to Amber. My duties as a Bregan D’aerthe include protecting the king, patrolling the Black Zone, escorting members of (the now defunct) House Swayvill, and delivering messages to and from the king. What do I know of being an ambassador? I guess I’ll learn by doing and hope not to make a fool of myself. The silver lining of the situation was that it looked like I would get to spend some more time with Kailani and Maeve. Anything I can do to help.

I used the Trump sketch of Maeve and she pulled me back to Amber. I informed King Random of my new status, and he must have put some stock into this prophecy as well, because he decided to go along with it. Perhaps I was winning him over. Quarters in the dignitary wing were assigned to me. Most of the other rooms are empty and only used when visiting dignitaries are in Amber. So, I seem to have the place to myself, more or less. Perhaps I’ll make a quick trip back to the Courts and gather some personal belongings. I’d love to hang Sartori’s Musings on an Infinite Abyss above my fireplace. Plus, I think my room needs a minibar. I plan on returning to the Courts anyway because I’d like to attend King Swayvill’s funeral. I’m sure it will be a placid and uneventful affair…

Jarrod Stanek:
Kailani Journal Entry #1

What an incredibly odd day. It had barely begun when I received a report of a disturbance outside the city walls. It turned out that someone was trying to break OUT of a crypt. As the Rebman guards gathered, I rushed to inform Queen Moire. I was frustrated when Moire wouldn't let me accompany the guards to the crypt to investigate, but it turned out that there was something even bigger going on. After a short wait, Moire Trumped in Vialle, Cousin Maeve, and a stranger who was introduced as Artemis.

It turns out that Artemis is a Lord of Chaos, and he was sent to inform us that there was a fleet of undead traveling through shadow commanded by a sorcerer. Concern was immediately raised for the safety of Rebma and Amber. Moire coordinated defense with Amber and started assigning rolls. I was pleased when Moire asked Maeve, Artemis and I to see if we could track down this fleet and see what we could do to stop it. The three of us moved to a private room where we could come up with a plan. Here is where we met Sssssorsha, Artemis' snake companion. She was very excitable, and I was surprised she had had the self-control to keep herself hidden up till now, but she seemed sweet – I will have to remember to bring her treats.

After hashing out a rough plan, Maeve transported us to the beach where Anyanka caught up to us. I started our walk-through Shadow, which went very well...until we ran into the ocean. I think I played off my mistake okay by redirecting us to my boat; I'm pretty sure no one noticed. We sailed through Shadow for a while, and I was rather impressed by Artemis' sailing skills. When we finally found the fleet, I was stunned by the number of ships and slightly sickened by the sight of the dead crew (not that I would let anyone know that).

Anyanka did some scouting and reported that the sorcerer was located on the largest ship at the center of the fleet. Artemis used his powers to view the sorcerer and the layout of the ship. The sorcerer seemed to have tendrils of magic streaming from him which apparently controlled the ships and the crew. None of us had any idea what this was, so Maeve Trumped her father. Uncle Bleys came through and informed us that the sorcerer was using a spikard, which is apparently a strong magical item. We decided we couldn't wait for Amber or Rebma reinforcements, so we had Artemis transport us to a secluded part of the sorcerer's ship. We decided that Uncle Bleys and Maeve were the best ones to go after the sorcerer and that Artemis and I would be best to hold off the undead crew. So, we charged from our hiding placed and made our way above deck.

We had barely begun fighting off the dead crew members when the sorcerer called up an image of a Triton. The sight chilled me to my core. I barely managed to dive out of the way in time to avoid being hit by a giant bolt that blasted a hole in the deck where I had been standing. Gathering my wits about me, I jumped back into the fray! Artemis and I made a pretty good team against the hoard of dead crew members, but of course Uncle Bleys gets the glory of striking the final blow and cutting off the hand of the sorcerer that carried the spikard.

As the sorcerer's hand fell away, all of the dead...died? Which was great, but not so great was that the ships all started to fall apart. I don't think any of us were keen on being thrown into the ocean in the face of the oncoming storm. Artemis attempted to transport us again. I'm not entirely sure how this went wrong, but basically it felt like the ship fell in on us before Maeve stepped in and whisked us to safety.

A quick Trump back to Amber saw us debriefed with Random, cleaned and fed. It seemed like a decent end to a wild day. Then Moire and Selene showed up with a prophecy that put a bit of a damper on the evening. Apparently, there are three disasters coming and it requires three champions to avoid the end of the multiverse as we know it. There was some discussion on who the three champions were, but in the end, we determined that it would be Maeve, Artemis and myself. 

Artemis left for a short time to take care of some things in Chaos before coming to stay in Amber for the foreseeable future. I'm also setting up residence in Amber for now; I figure it's best to stay close to the others. And now we are all just waiting for this first great disaster to rear its head. I'm glad that Maeve is part of this strange little team, she is one of the few people I really trust. But I'm not so sure about Artemis. He did help us defeat the fleet of undead, but he IS a Lord of Chaos. I guess time will tell if we can truly trust him.

Jarrod Stanek:
Artemis’ Journal Entry #2

Something told me that with Anya, a sentient, talking, miniature dragon, at my door my plans for brunch with Maeve weren’t going to pan out. Which was a bummer because I was really hungry and Bernadette’s waffles were the stuff of legend.

I’d been back from the Courts of Chaos for a week local time. I had returned to attend King Swayvill’s funeral, followed by King Merlin’s coronation. The king is dead. Long live the king. You know the drill. The week back in Amber was much more enjoyable, having spent it with Maeve and Kailani (both of which are easy on the eyes). They had given me a grand tour of Castle Amber, Amber City, and a quick tour of Castle Rebma. For some reason Kailani didn’t want to stay long there.

So, here’s Anya at my door, telling me Maeve was delayed and I realize my chances of eating Bernadette’s waffles were quickly diminishing. I just reread that sentence and realized it DOES NOT sound right. Oh well. Moving on.

Maeve arrived only a couple minutes later, so I thought we were all good. Then she says King Random wants to see us in the library pronto. So, brunch is off the table for sure.

We met Kailani there as well and Random addresses all of us. He says King Merlin touched base with him and want someone in Amber to track down his sentient, mobile strangling cord called Frakir. It really says something about a guy who not only carries around a strangling cord, but goes to the trouble of making it sentient so he can choke people without lifting a finger himself. My new king, ladies and gentlemen.

Of course, we agree to track down this Frakir thing. When not just one, but two kings, want you to do something, the answer is always “how high.” Merlin made this special wand that has a psychic impression on it and Random gave it to us. I guess that way Frakir will think its Merlin and wrap itself around the wand without hurting anyone.

So, apparently Merlin, for some reason, left Frakir in Brand’s room when he was last here. Benedict, Fiona, and Random have all already checked the room for it (her?) and found nothing. Obviously, she wasn’t in there anymore but it gave us a place to start.

In a nutshell, Brand’s room was creepy. The rooms of other deceased Amberites have been cleared out and made available to younger Amberites. Brand’s room has remained untouched because, I guess, nobody wants to live there and nobody’s in a hurry to go through this nutjob’s stuff. Lucky us.

Kailani searched a sea chest and found a pack of creepy Trumps at the bottom. Weird looking people and scary places. Given the context of the Trump cards, the sunny field with flowers and puffy, white clouds was perhaps the most disturbing. Kailani asked me to check the cards to see if I recognized anyone. She must have been thinking they looked evil and weird so they must be Lords of Chaos. She seemed disappointed that I didn’t recognize anyone and any place. Then she surprised me and pocketed them. Well, alrighty then. Guess we’re here to loot.

We must have been because out of the corner of my eye, I saw Maeve pocket a dagger off of the bookcase. Given that these items belonged to Brand, shouldn’t that make these people be a little bit more cautious about pilfering his stuff, all willy-nilly?

It was around that time that the skull on the bookcase started talking to us. Great Serpent, what a strange sentence to write. Maeve noticed what appeared to be tiny points of light in the eye sockets of this skull. It took some doing, but she got it talking. Then getting him to shut up was the challenge. Guess he had to be quiet for a long time. He said his name was Faradin and he was the “echo” of some great sorcerer from way back. Now he exited as a bodiless spirit bound to the skull. After much talking on his part, we finally got out of him that he saw Frakir untangle herself from the bedpost where she was tied, crawled over to the window, broke said window, and crawled out. Now we were getting somewhere. Then Maeve decided to keep the skull and went and put it in her room. Sure, why not? I’m sure nothing bad will come of this clearly good idea. <sigh>

So, we headed outside and tried to find Frakir’s trail. No luck. We split up and started questioning the groundskeepers. Maeve and I didn’t have any luck but apparently Kailani got lucky, just not in any way that helped us. She ran across a talking frog who traded her information about Frakir for a kiss. He fed her some line about being a Prince of Amber who was cursed and turned into a frog and only a kiss would turn him back. I have no idea why she bought it. I need to remember to keep a better eye on her. Having someone that gullible around can be a real liability.

So, we walked off of Mount Kolvir to the base of the mountain but still found no trace of this pesky little thing. One of the ladies suggested leaving Amber behind and moving through Shadow toward Frakir. Sounds good to me. Pretty soon, Arden Forest begins to get darker and creepier. Before too long we hear hunting horns, hoof beats and barking dogs. Maeve says its probably just their Uncle Julian. When he finally shows up, they say hello to him, but when they call him by name, he looks mad and goes on the offensive. Isn’t Julian’s armor white? Well this guy’s is black, so… not Julian? I’m not sure what’s going on but then there are archers shotting arrows at us, hellhounds charging, and the like. Enough is enough. We’re far enough away from Amber where I feel comfortable bringing up the Logrus. I do this and pull us a few Shadows away.

The ladies believe that it must have been a shadow of Julian. A reflection of him in Shadow. At least we left him behind and we can get back on point. Why do I hear hoof beats and barking hellhounds again? Damn, he followed us? Wait, how did he follow us? Is that possible? Maybe this Shadow of Julian is so close to the real thing he has some of Julian’s power? But the ability to move through Shadow? We can debate about it later because its time to make like a tree and leaf. Another use of the ol’ Logrus and we’re gone again.

Now that we’re far enough away from Amber for Logrus usage, I use it to find Frakir. It’s a specific search so I figure its gonna take a while but we must have been close because I found her relatively fast. A quick pull through Shadow and we’re next to her.

She appears to be stuck in some kind of oversized spider web. Experience has taught me that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Or in this case where there’s giant spider webs, there’s giant spiders. More than I could quickly count. Everybody went on to offense mode without hesitation. Go Team Artemis! I was pulling Frakir out of the webbing with the fancy wand, while Maeve and Kailani were doing their best Bilbo Baggins impersonations and killing spiders. See, I read.

I heard wanna-be Julian’s hunting horn in the distance and cursed my bad luck. Still tracking us. Why not? Didn’t he have anything better to do? Weren’t there some dogs somewhere he could be off kicking? (Something Julian would do, not me.)

Then things got weird. My head felt funny and I couldn’t focus my eyes very well. Hey, who put that arrow through the back of my head? Bastard. It’s a good thing my shape shifting has allowed me to build all kinds of redundancies into my biology or I would have been dead. My sub-brain kicked in and I tried to pull the arrow out but I was having trouble with my fine motor skills. I tried to tell one of the women to pull it out but, for some reason, nobody would do what I asked them to. There’s a sharp pain in my head and things kinda go black after that. At that point I “passed out,” because men don’t “faint.” So much for my image. I just hope I didn’t pee myself.

When I came to, I was in Amber’s infirmary and Kailani, Maeve, and the nurse were all looking at me like I’d grown a second head. Which I could totally do I wanted to, by the way. I asked if they were okay (which I thought was really funny considering…). I explained about my internal redundancies, like two hearts, a sub-brain, etc. They seemed impressed and equally taken aback. I guess they’re not used to us super cool and suave shape shifters. It turned out that I DID NOT pee myself.

So, it turned out that we got Frakir on the stick, ditched Shadow Julian and Trumped back to Castle Amber. Luckily, it was dinner time and I’d only eaten trail rations all day long. We parted ways, cleaned up for dinner, and joined the Amberites in residence for dinner. Random seemed impressed that we got Frakir but was equally disturbed about the Shadow Julian who could move through Shadow. Tough deal, dude. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all.

We volunteered to bring Frakir back to King Merlin in person. I was happy about that since I’d be able to visit with my family and friends and would get to show Maeve and Kailani around the Courts of Chaos. That’s right, who’s that handsome devil running around with an Amber babe on each arm? That’s right! It’s me! Eat your hearts out you other Lords of Chaos losers.

Jarrod Stanek:
Kailani Journal Entry #2

This was sure a maelstrom of a day. It started like most of my days, out on the training grounds. No other Amberites were around to spar with, but Benedict’s men are always up for taking me on 3 or 4 at a time. It was late morning when I headed back to my rooms to clean up.

As I came to where the corridor for my rooms should have been, I found myself facing a strange hall filled with smoke and mirrors. I had heard of the Corridor of Mirrors before, but this was my first time actually seeing it. I had also heard that if the corridor appeared for you that it was best to go in... I’m not really sure what would happen if you didn’t. Either way, in I went.

The mist swirled around me as I moved toward the first mirror. As I stepped in front of it, my mother’s image was there looking back at me. Exactly what every woman wants to see when they look into a mirror! She seemed disappointed as she reminded me that it is a mother’s duty to protect her children, and that she wished I didn’t hate her so. Guilt settled over me as her image faded from view; I don’t actually hate her; I just can’t stand to be around her. I silently resolved to try to be a better daughter to her... try.

I moved to the next mirror where Vaughn looked out at me. I was confused by his ramblings of “regret” and wasn’t able to get any straight answers from him before he too vanished from sight. The next mirror held the images of Moire and Edmond; Moire sat silently, but Edmond seemed to express concerns over his recent actions. I tried to reassure my cousin, but he too faded from view without any more clarity.

Approaching the next mirror, I stopped short as Rowan’s face swam into the frame. My heart tore as the sound of his voice echoed in the hall. I moved quickly away from the sight of him; it has been less than a year and the pain was too much. As I sit here penning these words, I am filled with regret that I didn’t stay to speak with him, but his words had cut me to my core. It wasn’t my fault? How could he say that? But it wasn’t really Rowan, just a trick of the room. Right?

I shakily stepped up to the next mirror, regretting my decision to enter this place. My own reflection looked back at me. “We can have it all, if we play our cards right.” My mirror self said. I tried finding out more, but had small success. I’m pretty sure my mirror self wants me to take over Rebma, but wasn’t clear on why or how... I’m not this cryptic in real life, am I? As Lir’s granddaughter I’ve always known my place in the line of succession, but I harbor no desire to rule. As my image faded from the mirror, I felt a Trump call coming through. Answering it was surprisingly difficult in the Corridor of Mirrors. Uncle Random’s face faded in and out in front of me and his voice was kind of muffled. He asked me to join him in the library and offered to pull me through. I declined, seeing as our connection was tenuous, I thought it was safer to walk.

I found my way out of the cursed hall, which vanished as soon as I exited. I didn’t want to keep Random waiting, so I headed straight for the library. I cleaned up a bit on the way since I didn’t want to meet Random all grimy and in full armor from my sparing earlier. The cool water I splashed on my face helped dispel some of my unease from the strange experience I just had.

I entered the library and we waited for Maeve and Artemis to arrive. Now I was really glad I had cleaned up a bit on the way. Random asked us if we could assist him with finding a lost item of cousin Merlin’s: a strangling cord named Frakir. Apparently running petty errands is what you get two weeks after saving the world from an army of undead. The three of us graciously accepted the task and Random gave us a stick that would help us catch Frakir once we found it. It turns out that a few of the others had gone searching for it, so I guess it wasn’t so belittling to be asked to pick-up where they had failed.

We decided to start in Brand’s rooms as that was the last place it was seen. I was surprised to find his door unlocked. We let ourselves in and I lit of the room so Maeve could find and light the oil lamps. Maeve and Artemis searched the sitting room while I moved on to the bedroom. My Glamour illuminated a bed, a large chest, and a bookcase. I went straight for the chest and was again surprised to find it unlocked. Rifling around I found mostly clothing, but towards the bottom I came across an ivory case. Opening it I found a stack of unusual Trump cards; they seemed to be of dark, eerie places and strange creatures – except one, which was of a beautiful field of flowers. I showed the Trumps to Artemis (who seemed reluctant to look for some reason) and Maeve. Neither of them recognized any of the cards. I pocketed the case; I’ll speak with Uncle Bleys about them later.

Turning from the chest, something caught my eye on the bookshelf. A human skull sat there, and for just a moment I swear I saw red eyes shining from the sockets. Maeve moved toward the bookshelf and I cautioned her, explaining what I had seen. She carefully picked up the skull with a pair of conjured tongs, and then it started speaking. It scared the hell out of me, but I was standing behind everyone and I don’t think anyone noticed. This is how we met Faradin; an “echo” (still not sure of what) that is trapped inside this human skull. He offered to trade us information on Frakir for a little freedom and a new place to sit. Maeve volunteered to keep him in her room (better her then me), and we found out that Frakir escaped the room through a crack in the window.

Maeve sent Anya to investigate, but she found nothing. We decided to go check the grounds for ourselves. We split up to search for groundskeepers that may have seen something. Maeve and Artemis headed off together and Ssssorsha came along with me. I quickly found a groundskeeper and asked him if he had seen a strangling cord wandering off on its own. For some reason he seemed to think I was crazy. Needless to say, he was no help and the two of us moved on to find someone else.

We were making our way toward the koi pond when a large toad caught our attention... actually, let’s call him a frog, for some reason that sounds a little better. This was a talking frog who identified himself as Prince Flynn and spun me a tail of being an illegitimate child of Oberon and being cursed to live as a frog. I asked him for information on Frakir and he proposed a deal: he would tell me what he knew in exchange for a kiss that would return him to his human form. Not seeing another way to get the information, I agreed. In retrospect I suppose I could have tried threatening him... So, he told me that he had seen Frakir head off down the mountain. Seeing as we had made a deal and he had kept up his end, I gave him a kiss. The little bastard thanked me and hopped away. I left to find Maeve and Artemis, feeling foolish for having been tricked. The saddest part is I can’t even say that it was the worst kiss I had ever had.

Once we met up with the others, Ssssorsha ratted me out – I’m going to have to rethink how I feel about her. In a bout of childish retaliation, I tried to douse her with water, but as she was on Artemis’ arm, he was drenched as well. I explained what happened and dried Artemis off. Turns out that Flynn was one of Maeve’s early creations – I might have to rethink how I feel about her too.

Moving on, we made our way down the mountainside and I started shifting us through Shadow toward Frakir. Things grew darker and stranger as we went and we eventually came to stop in a clearing and decided to have Artemis try finding Frakir using the Logrus. While he searched, Maeve and I noticed some strange men approaching from one side of the clearing, we drew swords and Maeve called out to them with no reply. I soon heard the sound of approaching hoof beets, and we had Artemis pull us away from the situation.

Not a minute after we landed, we heard the unmistakable sound of Hell Hounds, hunting horns and hoof beets. I left Maeve to guard Artemis while I went out to make sure this was in fact Julian coming after us. Turning invisible I crept through the woods, using the wind to keep my sent from the Hell Hounds. I found Uncle Julian riding with some strange looking me. I called out to him so he would know who I was before making myself visible to him. I felt a Trump contact coming through, but ignored it; I would ask Julian to call off his Hell Hounds and then we could go about our business. Turns out this was not Julian, but a shadow version of him named Jaylin. He had no idea who I was and ordered me out of his forest. I was quick to agree and make myself invisible once more.

I was about to turn and run back to the others when I was lifted off my feet and pulled backwards. It was a very strange sensation, and I kept expecting to hit a tree or something. We landed in a dark clearing and I lit up the area. My light illuminated a massive network of spider webs and we noticed Frakir trapped in one of them. Before any of us could rescue it, we were distracted by half a dozen or so spiders the size of horses. Acting quickly Artemis took off to get Frakir while Maeve shot lava at the spiders overhead. I turned the ground underneath the spiders into quicksand. They managed to hold themselves afloat, but they weren’t going anywhere soon. A massive thud behind me caused the ground to reverberate through the soles of my shoes. I turned prepared to defend myself. I was not prepared for how close or how big the spider was. I rushed forward and stabbed it through the face. Before I could even blink its, sting whipped forward aimed right at my abdomen. I barely managed to slide to the side in time, and the sting struck a glancing blow off my side. It hurt like hell.

I finished dispatching the spider, and was now thoroughly covered in guts, gore and goo. An arrow went whizzing past my head and I look up to see Jaylin’s strange men coming through the forest toward us. Another arrow narrowly missed Maeve, but the next one found its mark in the back of Artemis’ head.

The world seemed to slow around me as the tip of the arrow blossomed from his forehead. All I could think was “not again” as I rushed toward him. Maeve turned and ran with me. As we ran, I threw up a wall of stone between us and the archers, I should have done that sooner. We were almost to Artemis when movement on top of the wall drew me up short. Two of the massive spiders stood on top of my wall, poised to attack. I used a gust of wind to blow them from their perch, and the archers on the other side took care of the rest.

Maeve was with Artemis by the time I got there. I snatched up the stick Artemis had been using to get Frakir and finished the job while Maeve prepared to teleport us out of there. She landed us in the infirmary and I was stunned to see that not only was Artemis alive, but he was trying to pull the arrow from his head. I rushed forward, snapped the tip of the arrow off, braced myself on the back of his head and pulled the arrow free. A fountain of blood gushed out at me as Artemis fell to the floor, writhing in obvious pain.

A nurse bustled over with a stack of towels, like that was really going to help. Artemis got slowly to his feet, already healed. All us Amberites heal quickly, but this was something different; he should have been dead. Turns out this guy has two hearts and two brains.

Maeve Trumped Random to let him know we had completed the job and he asked us to join him in the throne room right away. I hide my gory appearance and Maeve does the same for Artemis, that way people wouldn’t think we were zombies or something walking through the castle. I just hoped no one would actually touch me.

Random thanked us for a job well done and offered for us to take Frakir to Merlin in Chaos. We agreed and I helped myself to a large glass of rum before leaving the throne room. The others seemed alright, but I sure needed a stiff drink. Artemis invited us back to his rooms for a drink, after we had cleaned up of course. Maeve expressed concern that I might have other plans that evening, which was odd – perhaps the wear of the day was showing even through my Glamour and she was trying to give me an excuse to be alone. Not wanting to seem like the weak link on our team, I agreed to join them. As we sat together that evening, I reflected on how Artemis was fitting in. He and Maeve seemed to be getting on very well, and after today I found that I no longer held any distrust for him. Not only had he saved my life by rescuing me from Jaylin, but had almost died himself.

This morning Artemis took us to Chaos and we delivered Frakir to Merlin. We plan on spending several days here. Artemis has already showed us around a bit and introduced us to his family and friends from the Bregan D’aerthe; there’s just something about a man in a uniform. I think I’m going to enjoy my stay here.

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